The library was her sanctuary, which would come as no surprise to most who knew her, but not only for the reasons they believed. It was where she went whenever she was upset and needed some peace and quiet, or a place to think. She had been going there more often nowadays, and she had tried unsuccessfully to convince herself that it wasn't because of Draco Malfoy. The grey-eyed boy had come back blind after the holidays and had changed. He was no longer the arrogant spoilt brat who spat insults everywhere, instead, he had become quiet and studious. She had to admit, he did do well when he put in the effort - he was rivaling her results, often coming in a close second in most of their classes. The memory of his apology still shocked her. He had stopped them after Charms that day...she grimaced as she remembered Ron's disbelieving response and how up till now, he still insisted that it was all just a plot to lure them to Voldemort. Really, of all the ridiculous suggestions! Well, Ron would be Ron. Harry was at least neutral towards it, agreeing that he did seem sincere and they should give him the benefit of the doubt.
She was the only one who had actually made any effort to get to know him better after that though. They had been studying together in the library for quite some time. She smiled, thinking about how he had slowly opened up to her. He had been even paler than usual that day and his face was taut with pain. She had commented on it, telling him he should be resting in such a state. When she asked if anything had happened to cause it, he finally caved after a bit of gentle prodding on her part and told her about his nightmares. She had been horrified, but she knew there was nothing she could do to change the past and could only squeeze his hand as a gesture of comfort. She came back to the present with a shiver. Sparks flew whenever they touched, at least for her. Heading towards the secluded corner she had come to think as theirs, she was surprised to note that it was empty. He was usually earlier than her... her ears picked up the sound of a muffled moan, and she saw him as she rounded the corner. He was on the ground, clutching his ankle. She wondered briefly about why he hadn't called for help, and groaned internally at the obvious conclusion. Of course, it was his damn pride at work again.
He looked up towards the direction of her voice and took a deep breath, as if to brace himself.
"I know this is a weird time, but I have to tell you this. I like you, Hermione. I have for some time...and as more than a friend."
How he wished it didn't have to come to this. Now he would probably lose the company of the only person who actually cared about and bothered to talk to him. But he couldn't let this continue...He couldn't continue to let himself be a burden to her. She stood, stunned by his revelation. To think that she had been thinking over the very same matter earlier...she noticed his posture, how stiff he was and the slight turn of his body away from her. She racked her mind. That psychology book...he thought she was going to reject him? Oh.
"Actually, I feel the same."
She leant forward impulsively, catching his lips in a passionate kiss. That should erase any doubts he had on the matter, she thought triumphantly. Her last coherent thought was on Ron's probable reaction, which she brushed off quickly. They would learn to accept it, their six years of friendship had taught her that much. They would come around when they saw how happy she was with him - they would not begrudge her happiness, even if the person she found it with wasn't ideal to them in any way.