Saturday night, June 6, 1998

Hermione lay physically sated and warm in Theo's arms after a passionate lovemaking session, but the odd fluttering in her chest that had been following her around for the last month could no longer be ignored. It had to be addressed, because it was making her quite ill with worry.

Plainly put, she was afraid that this wonderful, amazing relationship that they'd had for the last six months was going to end now that they'd graduated this afternoon and wouldn't see each other in the same manner. No more sitting next to each other in the Great Hall, sharing meals. No more sneaking off between classes for a snog or clandestine shag. No more meeting here, in the Room of Requirement for romantic, all-night sessions that left her breathless and sweaty and glowing with the knowledge that she had never loved – could never love - anyone as much as she loved Theodore Nott.

And therein lay the problem: millions of words said to each other over the intervening months since their hook-up on Halloween night, and neither of them had spoken the 'L' word to the other.

What if he didn't feel for her the same as she did for him? What if this had all been just one glorious last go, before leaving their school years behind? What if…?

Shutting her eyes, she marshaled her Gryffindor courage and met her terror head-on.

"I love you."

There, she'd said it. It had been scary, but not because it wasn't true, but rather because it left her vulnerable. For the first time in her life, Hermione was truly open.

His answering silence frightened her even more.

"Sorry, I-" was all she managed to get out before she was rolled onto her back and Theo had her legs spread and he was back in her, kissing her with a wholly unrestrained heat. At that point, thinking was an exercise in futility, so she went with the flow.

She loved how he filled her up to that point of near pain, and how he claimed her with every touch and kiss. He made her feel feminine and beautiful and sexy in bed. Out of it, he treated her as an equal and respected intellectual. They played together, held hands and cried on each other's shoulders like best friends. He was her perfect lover and partner.

Wailing and clinging to him as he brought her to a brilliant, devastating orgasm, she rode the bliss as he continued thrusting, his pace incrementally increasing. When he tightened up his lower body and his breathing became sharp she knew to wrap her legs around him and lock her ankles, as it made him come the hardest.

This time, instead of burying his face in her neck and shouting his rapture, Theo lifted his head to look her in the eye. His face was crimson from exertion and shiny with sweat, his expression determined and filled with an animalistic wildness that made her heart catch. He was utterly beautiful.

"About fucking time," he grit between clenched teeth. His mouth hovered over hers, but he never broke their staring contest. "You're so stubborn, woman! I've been waiting months… to hear it… and to tell you…" He arched his back, and his face shifted angles until he seemed almost pained, and she knew he was on the cusp of his own climax. She tightened around him, creating greater friction, wanting him to know so much pleasure. "I love you, my sweet girl. I love you, too!" he gasped, and with a final surge forward, he slammed his lids shut as the exquisite sensation of complete freedom and satisfaction rolled over him. He roared his triumph into the curve of her shoulder.

Feeling him release deep into her body, hearing his words echo in her head, Hermione cried tears of joy and held on until he collapsed against her, exhausted and replete. Weakly, he rolled them to their sides, and drew her into his lightly furred chest.

"About time, 'Mione," he murmured, the need for sleep already causing his voice to drop an octave and slur a bit. "Thank God."

Her mind buzzing a million miles a second, she knew she wouldn't be sleeping any time soon. Instead, she touched him as she knew he liked, soothing him into the world of dreams with soft caresses. When his long-lashes fluttered and his eyelids closed, and his breathing became deep and even, she knew he was out.

As they'd kicked all of the blankets and pillows off of the bed in their earlier romp, she summoned a new blanket with a thought. The Room of Requirement was good to provide. Snuggling them under the covers, she rested her head on his shoulder, listening to his strong heartbeat, and willed the room to darken for sleep.

To her surprise, she heard Theo chuckle. "This is much better on a king-sized bed than on a lumpy, old couch."

"More comfortable certainly," she agreed, covering her yawn with a hand, "but that night was perfectly unforgettable, and we have the sofa to thank for that. In fact, I'm thinking of going to the Headmaster tomorrow and asking him if I can buy that old thing for my new flat in London. What do you think? We could christen it properly?"

He kissed her cheek around another light laugh and tucked her under his chin, settling them down for the night. "You're an odd bird, love, but sure. As you wish."