A/N: Here it is, beloved readers. I don't want anyone getting too sad before starting this chapter, but as I was editing it, I was beginning to get emotional (and I knew what was coming). If I get enough positive reinforcement an epilogue or maybe a sequel could be in order. I enjoyed this story so much. The reason I enjoyed it was because I had you guys that were reading it! Thanks! And, enjoy!
Cormac looked down at Hermione. How was she so exhausted? Her eyes were closed already. She looked like an angel. Not because she looked so peaceful, but because she looked so beautiful.
He walked around to the other side of the bed and pulled the covers back on that side. He picked up his sleep pants and slid them back on. Just in case they were interrupted by Mr. or Mrs. Granger in the night, it would look a little better if his lower half was covered. Once his pants were on, he climbed in the bed and pulled the covers up over him and Hermione.
He rested his head down on the pillow behind him, and went to close his eyes. He opened them briefly when he felt Hermione shuffle closer to him. Instinctively, Cormac removed his arm from his immediate side so that Hermione could access him closer.
Hermione placed her bushy-haired head on Cormac's chest. With her right hand, she draped it over his upper abdomen and lower pectoral muscle. Half-asleep, she nuzzled against his body once and then succumbed to sleep again.
Cormac had his arm wrapped around Hermione's back. Her hair was awfully close to his face. All throughout the night, Cormac was going to be in danger of having her hair tickle his nose. He lifted his neck toward her and fought through several of her stray hairs. He kissed the top of her head gently. He didn't want to risk stirring her.
"I love you, Hermione Granger," Cormac whispered to her. He knew that she was asleep, so when he whispered it, his words were really meant for himself.
Cormac laid there with Hermione. He only had his thoughts to keep him company. Clearly, he wasn't as sleepy as Hermione. He thought about what had caused her to be so tired, and he realized that they had had a long day. In the past twenty four hours, a lot of things had happened. The news about Hermione's departure was probably the biggest cause of why Hermione was so exhausted. Cormac could only imagine how emotionally draining that had been for her.
Then there was the thought of her leaving that stood out in his mind. He gave it another thought, and the fact that she was leaving shouldn't have changed anything. He was expected to leave in the morning and never look back anyways. What was different now? She was expected to go her own way after that night. Why did that idea stand out in his mind?
Again, Cormac lifted his head off the pillow and kissed her. When he rested his head back on the cushion, he closed his eyes and tried to let sleep take over him, like it had Hermione. He had a hard time getting to sleep. If it hadn't been for Hermione resting on his chest, he would've started tossing and turning, but he fought the urge.
Hermione almost slept through the whole night. She stirred momentarily. She thought she felt Cormac shifting to his side. She also thought she felt a cold sensation run over her bare skin, but when the warmth returned to her, she fell to her other side and drifted back to sleep. Before she had completely returned to her dreams, she could've sworn she felt soft, perfect lips on her cheek. She smiled and nuzzled into her pillow. She thought she heard someone murmur something, but it could've been in her head.
Hermione slipped back into the same dream she was having, before she was disturbed. She would never remember it. She never remembered any of her dreams, but when she opened her eyes early the next morning, she knew that it was a good dream.
She half-opened her eyes and rolled over to her side. She had been aware the night before that Cormac crawled into bed with her. With her eyes semi-open, her hand groped around for Cormac. When she didn't find anythng on the opposite side of the bed, Hermione's heart raced in a panic and she was instantly fully-awake.
"Cormac," she called out, while still whispering so she didn't wake her parents up. She spun her head around the room and was worried when she didn't see him.
Hermione leapt out of bed, found the clothes that she had intended to wear to bed the night before and headed out of her room. In a muffled hurry, she descended the stairs and peered into the living room. Cormac was not there. She walked through the empty room and crossed the doorway into the kitchen. It was also empty.
Hermione's heart was pounding in her chest. The hallway light was out. She flicked the switch and the walkway was illuminated. Quickly, she walked to the end of the hallway. She placed her hand on the doorknob and turned it.
She pushed the door open into an empty guest bedroom. The overhead light was out, just like the hallway, but light was shining in from the west-facing windows. Even though the room was full of light, it was empty of the only thing Hermione was looking for. Cormac was not there.
Hermione's heart sank into her stomach. She tried to search in the deserted room for a trace that Cormac was still there. She checked in the corners for a stray sock, and under the bed, hoping that he left a shoe, but there was nothing.
Hermione sat down on Cormac's bed. She placed her elbows on her thighs and covered her eyes with her hands.
"He didn't even say goodbye," Hermione told herself. She wasn't sobbing, but tears were falling down her cheeks and into her palms. Her chest was heaving up and down as she tried to steady her breaths.
By the time she got the tears to stop falling down her face, she was beginning to control her gasps. She removed her hands from her eyes. Her vision was distorted, until she wiped the last, lingering tears from her eyes.
When she pulled her eyes away, she noticed something that was unusual for the guest bedroom for the first time. On the night stand, there were two envelopes. Three names were shared between the two envelopes. One was addressed to John and Alice. The other, in the neatest handwriting Hermione had ever seen by a boy, Hermione.
Hermione was certain she had hardly ever seen Cormac's handwriting before, but she knew that this was his. Even his penmanship was perfect.
The envelopes were not seal. Hermione reached out for her parents' first. It would be too real if she started with the one addressed to her.
By the time Hermione got to the bottom of the letter Cormac had written, she summarized that it was perfectly worded to thank her parents for their hospitality. Not only did he thank them for allowing him into their home or for the invitation to the gala, he expressly thanked them for the opportunity to share the time with their daughter that they allowed him. Hermione knew that her parents were going to love it.
Hermione placed the letter to her parents back on the night stand. She turned her eyes to look down in her lap where the letter to her rested. She took a deep breath to brace herself for what was in the letter. She turned it over and lifted the flap. She reached in for the letter. She took it out and opened it in her lap gingerly, like if she moved too quickly it would hurt her. Without reading any of it, she looked at the letter from top to bottom. Again, she couldn't help but notice his perfect handwriting. It could only be Cormac who's writing could look so seductive.
Hermione moved her eyes to the top of the page. She held the letter in her left hand, because she had to move her right hand over her lips. She thought that if she hid her trembling mouth from the letter, her murmurs would stop. She was wrong.
As Hermione's eyes shifted from one line to the next, she was having a harder and harder time continuing reading. Her lip continued to shiver, her eyes were filling with tears, but she couldn't stop from seeing what he had written to her.
By the time she reached the end of the letter, and had stored "All the love I, Cormac McLaggen, can offer," in her memory, only one single tear fell into her lap.
Hermione repeated the last line to herself out loud, "Be safe, Granger, and remember me."
"How could I ever forget you?" she responded to his request.
Hermione tilted her head upward as if it would force all the building tears back inside her. She closed the letter and placed both of her hands on it. She looked down as she placed the letter on her heart. She closed her eyes and that squeezed the last tears out.
She opened her glossy eyes and peered back at the words of the letter. She quickly re-read the letter. She paused and touched the spot on the paper that held Cormac's love, and she wished that he could sense that she was reaching out to him. She envisioned him walking down some busy street and stopping as if he was struck by a blow to the head. But rather than a sudden punch, it would be Hermione's love traveling across time and space to reach him.
She folded the paper for a final time. In that moment, she promised to never utter a word of the letter to a living soul. She wasn't ashamed of it, but it would be infinitely more special if this was kept between Cormac and herself. It seemed like a romantic sacrifice to her.
Again, she placed the folded piece of paper to her chest. She covered it with both of her hands, and wished that the world wasn't so crazy.
A/N: There it is. Be sure to let me know what you thought. I'm sorry for the sad ending, but it was the only way I saw that I could keep the story believable and keep to Ms. Rowling's storyline. Again, with the proper motivation, I could see an epilogue or sequel. Let me know.
Also, I still need help with my camp story. Few people have volunteered to give me helpful suggestions. I'll still take any ideas.