Disclaimer: I own nothing. Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling. Blah blah blah. should just put a blanket disclaimer on the site for all the idiots that could possibly believe we actually own these stories or make any kind of a profit.
Harry very nearly bumped into Hermione outside their first shared lesson of the day, that being Defence Against the Dark Arts. She appeared suddenly before him, her eyes wide and full of questions, and he had to pull up quickly before he ran straight over her, he was walking so fast, also eager to see her and talk (albeit in the limited manner they could). From her expression he knew that she must have heard all about the events of the previous night, so he held up his hands and smiled to show that everything was okay. She seemed little relieved, or maybe just curious to hear his version of events, so after pointing over her shoulder, to which she discovered they had an audience of also curious students, he led her out of the way around the corner so they could speak privately - rather, he could speak privately.
'I'm okay,' Harry said. 'No one got hurt.'
Hermione held up her hands in a gesture that clearly said, so what happened?
Harry bit his lip in thought. 'You never asked me about the fires before. Do you really want to know now?'
Hermione lowered her head –ashamed that she had asked? Or just considering? Harry could not tell.
'I'll tell you if you really want to know, but… I liked that you never had to ask before… that you trusted me… that no matter what the reason was, you believed in me.'
Hermione kept her head down, but nodded. Harry didn't know quite how to take that.
'Just… last night, it was bad, but… because of you, I think I've finally got through it. I don't think I need to ever worry about the fires again.'
Hermione looked up at him, glancing through her eyelashes, a faint smile on her face. She pointed at herself. Because of me?
Harry nodded, smiling back. 'It was almost like I heard your voice in my head, guiding me through it, and helping me.'
Hermione looked confused.
'Almost,' Harry said, laughing. 'I didn't actually hear your voice. More like see your handwriting. It's hard to describe. But I've never felt more free in all my life. Like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.'
Hermione held up a hand, outstretched only a little, as if she was considering reaching out and grasping his hand, but she faltered, and then let it drop. Instead she pointed back the way they had come. We better get back to class.
'Yeah, I guess we should get back.'
Hermione nodded and led the way. Harry followed behind her, looking at the hand she had almost touched him with, watching it sway ever so slightly by her side. He felt an ache in his heart - a bittersweet feeling. He knew she wanted to touch him, yet she didn't quite have the courage yet. Would she ever? He hoped so, because he desperately wanted to touch her.
To hold her hand.