When I'm Away From You
2 November 1996, 8:26 P.M. - Gryffindor Common Room
"Harry you should leave the book alone. It could have belonged to a Death Eater and could contain spells that are lethal or may be a way to draw you out. You have got to be careful now that Voldemort is up and about and after your head." Hermione Granger said as she sat in a plush red couch with a book open in her lap.
Harry removed the bangs covering his scar and rubbed it irritatedly. The scar was itching which meant that Voldemort was either angry or ecstatic and that wouldn't mean anything good. Plus, it was irritating the hell out of him. And, Hermione's continuous rants about the damn Potions book wasn't doing his mood wonders.
He wasn't really paying attention and could hear the same thing being repeated over and over again, "Dangerous… Death Eaters… Voldemort…" Finally, he couldn't take it anymore and he snapped. He hadn't ever shouted at Hermione because she was his best friend but he couldn't take it anymore.
"THAT'S IT!" He roared, capturing the attention of every Gryffindor in the Common Room. He was very sure that some of the students who went to bed way early in his opinion, would have woken up when he shouted.
He looked at Hermione with pure, unadulterated rage. His scar was prickling and was now an angry red rather than its faded red. Hermione looked shocked that he had shouted at her but he had had enough.
"I've had it, Hermione. The book is helping me and if you can't understand that just because I'm finally doing better than you in a subject other than DADA then frankly, I think the six years of our friendship meant nothing to you!"
Hermione was shocked by what he had said and had the beginnings of tears in her eyes but she was a Gryffindor and she could be just as rash as Harry when it came to certain confrontations, "How could you say that, Harry? After what we've been through?" She shot back.
"Well, I don't know." He started sarcastically, "Maybe because you just can't shut up about a book which could have belonged to a Death Eater. A book that is finally helping me in the damned subject that Snape ensured I had absolutely no remaining interest in it."
"I'm just worried about your safety because if you haven't noticed Voldemort is alive and terrorising Britain."
"Oh gee, how could I have forgotten? After all, he does have a personal vendetta against me, doesn't he?"
"You know what?"
"I'm just trying to keep you safe and if you won't listen to me, then I can't say anything else."
Harry grabbed his book and stood up, "Well, Hermione, if you haven't noticed, can keep myself safe from a book. So, goodbye!"
"Fine!" She stood up and dashed up to the girl's dormitories.
He looked around to see most of the Gryffindors looking at him with wide eyes, "What are you looking at? Get back to your business."
He climbed the stairs to his dormitory and laid down on his bed. He knew he wouldn't sleep and just stayed up thinking and contemplating.
"You shouldn't have done that." A soft voice spoke from the other bed in the corner of the dormitory. He recognised the voice belonging to Neville Longbottom. He sat upon his bed and looked at the boy who was reading some book on Herbology, his favourite subject.
"You shouldn't have shouted at Hermione, Harry."
He rubbed his scar, "I know, Nev. But, she was just constantly biting my head off about the damn book. She was jealous because I was doing better than her. It wasn't even a significant argument but whenever we sat down together she just had to bring it up."
Neville closed his book, "Harry, I just have one thing to say."
"When has Hermione ever done anything without caring about your safety?"
24 December 1996, 11:50 P.M. - The Burrow, Ottery St Catchpole
Harry laid in his bed in Ron's room thinking about the particular statement Neville had asked him almost two months ago. Harry had avoided Hermione like a plague and she had done the same, opting to stay company with Ron at first, but when he got together with Lavender and spent most of his time sucking her face off, she went back to how she used to be in the first year. The lonely Gryffindor with bushy hair, who always sat in the library.
The two months had taken a huge hit on Harry. He had never felt so empty. Without Hermione, he realised that he couldn't do a thing. If Ron ever completely abandoned him, he would be able to carry on but if Hermione ever left him, he knew that he would not be able to recover.
He closed his eyes trying to sleep but he couldn't forget that Hermione was in such close proximity to him. Just in Ginny's room in front of him. Instead of sleeping, he found himself in memories of himself and Hermione.
1993 - Hospital Wing
Harry held the cold hand of one of his best friends. He wanted to cry his eyes out at seeing the lifeless state the monster of Slytherin had brought his best friend to but he knew Hermione would want him to stay strong. He spoke in a cracked voice, "Hey, Hermione. Another day gone. Very boring day to be honest. I missed you a lot in classes today. Snape was insufferable like always. Yes, yes, I know. Professor Snape. I mean how you could ever respect the overgrown bat I can never know."
"Neville has taken over your role of winning points in our year during classes but he has nothing on you. You were and will be the smartest our year and this generation. I've even started taking notes."
He chuckled bitterly, "I know the exact reason why I'm taking the notes. Not because I want to. No, not at all. It's because you would just freak out knowing you missed so many classes."
He stayed there for a long time just grazing her hand with his fingers before it was time for bed. He stood up and placed a kiss on her cold forehead.
"I hope you hear all this, 'Mione. You're very important to me because you're my best friend."
1994 - Hogwarts Grounds
Harry felt the wind mess up his already messy black hair as Buckbeak soared towards the tower which held his only remaining family as a prisoner. He felt Hermione bury her head into his back and squeeze him tightly. He would never admit the fact that he quite liked Hermione hugging him like that.
As they soared through the air Harry whispered comfortingly, "Hey, 'Mione it's alright. You're safe. You're on a trusty Hippogriff with the youngest seeker in Hogwarts history. What could possibly go wrong?"
He heard Hermione sniffle, "I hate it when you call me 'Mione."
Harry chuckled, "Well, that's why I call you 'Mione, 'Mione."
Hermione huffed, her fears forgotten, "Stop calling me that, Potter."
"Potter, eh? Taking inspiration from Malfoy, are we?" He smirked and knew that Hermione heard the smirk in his tone.
"Please. That prick? No, no. I am my own inspiration. Whenever you irritate me, I will call you Potter, not Harry,"
Harry fake sniffled which caused Hermione to laugh and Harry noted that he liked Hermione's laugh.
He didn't know it but that ride on Buckbeak made him like Hermione in a very un-sisterly way.
1994 - Abandoned Classroom
"Harry you have got to master the Summoning charm. You're facing a Dragon. Merlin, why did someone have to add your name to this blasted tournament? I hate the Goblet of Fire, the person who put your name in…" She was pacing around and her hair was becoming a much bigger mess.
Harry tried a weak attempt at a joke, "Maybe someone's trying to do me in as Moody said."
Apparently, that was the wrong thing to say. Hermione whirled around to him and looked at him angrily, "What?"
"Well, you asked why someone put my name in and I said… Ow!" Harry yelped in the end because Hermione had hit him with a stinging hex.
"What was that for?"
"If I hear you talking like that one more time, I'm gonna hit you with something much harsher than a stinging hex."
"Harry," She said in a warning tone.
"'Mione…" She sent another hex towards him and Harry dodged him and Hermione chased him around the classroom. Harry somehow found himself crashing into a wall and Hermione crashing into him with her on top of him.
They were both laughing unaware of their positions when Harry said, "Hermione, you're wonderful."
Hermione blushed a bit, "Come on Harry. You're just saying that."
"No, I am not."
Hermione looked into his eyes and said, "I'm not pretty, Harry. I'm a bookworm and I have bushy hair. How could I ever compete with anyone like Cho?"
"Hermione… You are beautiful. Don't ever doubt that."
Hermione was shocked by his sincerity and before she realised it they both were leaning in. When she realised it, she jumped back and said, "Well, we still need to practice. Come on!"
21 June 1996 - Hospital Wing
Harry was, once again, in the Hospital Wing sitting beside Hermione's bed, holding her hand and whispering.
"Why is it that whenever I don't listen to you, something bad happens and it happens to you?"
"You somehow always get hurt when I'm reckless. Why is that? Why can't I keep you safe? Why do you always try to go with me in reckless and dangerous situations?"
"Why am I always at fault when you get hurt?"
Hermione's hand twitched and Harry looked at her and saw her eyes moving. She opened her eyes and he looked into the chocolate orbs which were probably still bleary from just waking up.
"It's me 'Mione."
She sighed and closed her eyes again. Just before she drifted off, she mumbled, "It wasn't your fault, Potter. Don't give yourself a hard time."
Harry smiled a bit at what she said and rose from his seat and placed a kiss on her forehead just as he had done almost three years ago. But this time, Hermione smiled as she slept.
That smile brightened up the gloomy day for one Harry James Potter.
Harry's eyes snapped open as he realised one very important thing.
Neville was right.
Hermione had never left his side and had helped him in every way possible. He groaned into his pillow. He had made a terrible, terrible mistake when he shouted at Hermione. He had never known love in his life but he was pretty sure that what he felt for Hermione was love.
He slid out of his bed and snuck out of the room. He climbed down the stairs as quietly as possible and stopped dead in his tracks when he saw someone sitting in the living room.
It was Hermione.
She heard him on the stairs and looked directly at him. He could see that her eyes were slightly red and puffy and she had tear tracks over her cheeks.
"I'll be going now, Harry." She moved past him but he grabbed her wrist and turned her towards him.
"Save it, Harry. You made your views very clear that day. By the way, you're avoiding me, I can only assume that you don't want to be my friend anymore, so good night!" She turned around and Harry could feel the heartbreak and a pit of despair forming in his stomach.
"'Mione please." He could hear the pleading tone in his voice and he was sure that it was because of the tone, that Hermione turned around.
He moved closer to her and grabbed her hands, "'Mione, I'm really sorry for what I said that day. I can't lose you, Hermione. You're my… best friend, Hermione. Please."
She stayed silent and did not respond.
"Hermione, I was a little miffed that day and my scar was hurting. I am really sorry for what I said, Hermione. Please. I'm sorry for what I said. You were the only one who has always stayed by side and I can't let you leave because of something stupid that I said. Please, 'Mione." He was close to tears now. He was only just realising how much Hermione's abandonment would result for him.
"Harry, I was just worried about you. You should know I would never bite your head off just because I was jealous of a book."
"Yes, and I was an idiot for forgetting that. So, please Hermione, forgive me?"
Hermione gave him a soft smile, "Of course, Harry. You're forgiven." As they were about to depart a soft pop! occurred above them. They looked up to see mistletoe hanging from the ceiling.
"Magical mistletoe," Harry said with a smirk.
Hermione gave him an equal smirk, "Well, it is tradition." She leaned in and placed her lips on his for a chaste kiss. Harry, however, would not allow that. He circled his arms around her waist and pulled her closer as he kissed her, expressing the love he felt for her.
They broke apart from the kiss after a few seconds. They rested their foreheads against each other panting for breath.
Hermione said, "I love you, Harry James Potter."
Harry smiled, "And I love you too, Hermione Jean Granger."