Disclaimer: I don't own HP or any of these characters. That belongs to JKR, Scholastic Books, Warner Brothers, etc.
Part III: Love
In the end, the farce had been finished off with a single question.
"Do you love me?" she had asked without a shred of hope.
He didn't want to answer. He avoided her eyes. He shuffled his feet and pretended as if he had not heard her.
"Harry, do you love me?" she had asked again. "I think that we've been friends long enough that I at least deserve an answer . . . whatever it may be."
"That's not the sort of question a friend should ask. Especially when the 'friend' knows that I'm dating another witch. Hermione, you can't honestly expect me to answer something like that!" He had begun to pace back and forth in front of her, dying to tell her the truth but afraid to live.
"Do you love me? I know you're dating Ginny. You've dated so many other witches and not me but that's not what I want to know right now. So please – if you care for me at all, answer the question. Because it may be selfish beyond belief but I really need to know. Do you have any room in your heart for me?"
"You are my heart," he had whispered but she had still heard his words.
And that was it.
To this day, I still do not know what possessed me to ask Harry that question but I was glad I did. I had been content in just knowing that he was happy. If he was happy, that was all that mattered. I knew that while I might not ever be able to find someone who could take his place, that I could still find someone to love with the rest of my heart and who would love me back. So my wondering about if Harry loved me – that was more academic than anything else.
I've always been too curious – some would say too curious for my own good.
Since I no longer cared if he did love me – though I hoped in the brightest part of my soul that he did – I knew if he said no, it wouldn't have hurt me as much as it could. Rest assured it would have been painful, to know without a doubt that I had no chance with him. But with whatever measure of pain that would have passed to me, I would have gained the knowledge of what he truly felt for me. I would no longer question if he had any glimmerings of desire long concealed for me. I would perhaps be able to move on with my life and find that someone else, get my second chance.
So though I risked making him feel guilty, I had to ask him. If he had said no, I would have claimed that my love for him was a passing fancy and have left him alone after that. Not completely alone – I would always be his friend, even if I couldn't be more, even if he was not my friend – but I would not bring up the subject ever again.
But he said yes. He said I was his heart. I had always thought the sun bright but its brightness cannot compare to the dazzling joy I felt then. I had ran up to him and enveloped him in a hug, and somewhere along the way, we had started kissing.
I had he who I loved. I have he who I love and together we shall be till the end of our days and beyond.
To this day, I do not know what would have happened if Hermione had not asked that question. Perhaps I would have made my confession in another way – maybe after the fight with Voldemort was over and my life was as much my own as it would ever be. I might have been brave enough to tell her I love her then but I can't be sure. It's easy to become caught up in others' expectation of you and by then, everyone had expected me to marry Ginny. The hints from the Weasleys alone were sickening. I could not visit the Burrow without some reference being made about my becoming one of the family some day in the near future. And how I hated dinners sitting between Mrs Weasley and Ginny, with the two of them discussing what were their favorite gemstones and what would be the best decorations for a wedding.
I didn't know then that I would tell Hermione I love her but I did know that I did not want to spend the rest of my days with Ginny. She's a perfectly nice girl but she wasn't who I wanted. I didn't know if I could depend on her like I knew I could depend on Hermione. I had already been thinking about how to break it off with Ginny, without her being too hurt or having Ron coming after me to inflict bodily harm when Hermione insisted on her answer.
And I could not lie.
Telling her the truth was such a relief. It got even better when she threw her arms around me and hugged me. And then I had to kiss her. After denying myself of her for so long, I had to know then and there how she tasted and how she felt. I wanted to memorize her soul though I knew that we two would never part.
Some things after that weren't easy. Ginny had ragged on about how we betrayed her and Ron would have hexed me to hell and back if Hermione hadn't hexed him first. The very next day, I received Howler from Mrs Weasley while Hermione had received another one of those cursed letters. It had taken all of Hermione's persuasion to convince me not to send one back. Instead, we sent one letter thanking her for announcing our new relationship in a more effective way than any we had planned. I also asked Dumbledore if there was any way to prevent such mail coming and thankfully, there was. It's rather sad to say but we didn't have much correspondence with the Weasleys for a while after that. It was as if I weren't to marry Ginny that they didn't want to know me and it was worse for Hermione. Oddly enough, the only one we kept in touch with was Percy and I always suspected that was because he only did that because he thought it would be good for his career. Eventually the rest of the Weasleys began to talk to us again.
Yet although I've not made everyone happy with my choice and indeed, I made many people unhappy with my choice – the one I love is happy and that's all that matters.
The one I love is happy and smiling, so I'm happy and smiling too. And pretty soon, we'll be three – and that makes us happier yet.
I have all that I love and I am content.