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                          True realization brings you to 
                          the point where you see that 
                          you don't know a thing. That 
                       you literally cannot know anything, 
                        because all knowledge is from the
                           mind and is therefore garbage.
                                      
                                       - Julie Sarah Powell



It had been one week.

One week, seven days, one hundred and sixty-eight hours, twenty-two minutes and seven… eight seconds and I still had no idea why I was counting.

It was an understatement to say that I was upset without Harry’s presence looming so near to me, his shoulder touching mine, his smile shining… oh God, I was turning into a sap! But it wasn’t my fault, it was his! He was the one who had been avoiding me all week, he was the one who refused to talk to me or even acknowledge my presence. People came up to me daily not to congratulate me, but to ask if we had broken up… but I didn’t have an answer to that. I honestly didn’t know. It felt like we had, but I still wasn’t sure what to say to them. What did Harry say to them? I wish I could ask him… but nooo, he was too busy acting as though I don’t exist. The only connection to him I had was Ron and I knew I couldn’t drag him into this. But if I didn’t do something soon I knew I was going to go insane. Why, you ask? Because I had abso-bloody-lutely no idea as to why he was avoiding me in the first place!

I mean, it’s as though the k… the ki… the kiss had changed our entire relationship. When I pulled away, it wasn’t because I wanted too; it was because I had too. I was saving our friendship, for Merlin’s sake, and he was doing a fine job of thanking me! This wasn’t what I intended when I muttered “I’m sorry” to myself, and definitely not what I wanted to happen. I mean, any sane person would do what I had! They would’ve pulled away, they would’ve put their friendship first; they would’ve… done a way better job than I had, because clearly I had done something wrong! And that wrong move might have cost me Harry’s friendship!

The nightmares I had were horrid. They always started out with the k… kiss… and ended up with not me, but Harry walking out of the room without so much as a teeny explanation as to why he did so. And it wasn’t as though he was just walking out of the room, oh no, he was walking out of my life. Figuratively, of course.

But the nightmares were a solstice compared to real life. Without Harry… it felt as if my life had no meaning anymore. All I did was study, read, study, eat, study, sleep, study, wash… well, it’s not like it differed drastically from what I usually did, but it did lack that little thing called a social life. I don’t count scolding snogging couples in the hallway during my night patrols or nodding and ‘mmm’ing along with the other girl’s in my dormitory’s oh-so-coveted gossip sessions as being social. The only people I really talked to were Harry and Ron and because of the kiss I had single-handedly ruined my friendship with Harry and dampened any chance I had of talking to Ron because all they did was hang around each other. Honestly, it was like they were married, or something. And I ruled out talking to Ginny, she was too busy with her latest boyfriend to take notice to anything else. Lucky witch.

As I closed my novel I felt a pair of eyes on me, I turned and saw Dean Thomas looking over at me. When he noticed I had become aware of his gaze, he turned away, blushing slightly. I smiled shyly to myself as I got up and started to make my way to my dormitory. Before I could reach the steps, however, I heard footsteps following me. It wasn’t too much of a shock when I saw Dean, again, looking at me pointedly, and this time close enough where I could see the slight nervous smile on his lips. I nodded politely, “Hello, Dean.”

“Hey, Hermione” He said shakily. I thought the shake in his tone was cute.

“Anything you needed? I was just about to go to–”

“Yeah” he interrupted. “I-I was wondering how it was going between you and Harry. I mean, I haven’t seen the two of you together in ages.”

I let out a shaky breath and tried my best to smile, “We’re just going through… a rough patch right now.” It sounded believable enough to my ears.

“Oh, well, I’m sorry to hear that.” He said sincerely. And he actually looked it, too, believe it or not. I thought for sure he would stalk off or something. But, then again, Dean was too nice a bloke to do something like that.

“It’s alright, Dean; thank-you for your concerns.” I began to turn back towards the staircase as I felt an arm on my shoulder. As I turned around, I saw Dean with an unreadable look on his features.

“Well… if you ever need someone to talk too, I’m here, ya know. Ron siding with Harry must be a damper on your social life.” You have no idea, I thought. “So if you ever want to get together at the Three Broomsticks to talk, the invitation is always open.”

I smiled sweetly at him. “Thanks, Dean, I’ll think about it.”

“Alright, well, goodnight Hermione.”

“Goodnight Dean.”

I made my way to the girl’s dormitory deep in thought. My canopy felt like heaven when I collapsed onto it after my warm shower. The pillows seemed especially fluffy as I snuggled into them and fell into a deep slumber. I slept on that offer, I actually considered it. I mean, what else did I have to do? My options were pretty slim at the moment if you ask me. But what would it look like if Hermione Granger, girlfriend of Harry Potter, would go out to Hogsmeade with Dean Thomas? Then again, I didn’t know if the girlfriend title still stood. There was no better way to find out then to go out with another guy, though…

And then it was settled.

~*~

The next morning came slowly as I stretched and groaned, my body protesting the ungodly hour I was making it function at. My clothes were already at my dresser as I slipped them on and made my way quietly out of the dormitory, trying to be as silent as I could as to not awake the other girls. The common room was empty as I sat down on the sofa and began to study for the upcoming Charms exam. Throughout the entire time I was reading I couldn’t help but feel as though I was being watched. I even looked around the vacant room more times than not, searching for a whisper of another presence, and after each time I shook my head and whispered, “Ridiculous.”

The clock struck seven and I made my way to the Great Hall, claiming my usual spot and loading my plate with eggs and bacon. I licked my lips as I nibbled on the crispy bacon strips and pulled out another book, this one just for pleasure. I glanced up once in awhile to see who was coming though the entryway. I felt my heart stop as I saw Harry and Ron enter, looking tired as usual, even if it was a Friday. Usually I was the one to remind them of the date. I sighed sadly as I let my gaze remain on them as they took their seats at the far end of the table, immediately going to a deep conversation.

I was too busy looking at them to notice that the person I was waiting for entered the hall. It wasn’t until he took a seat across from Harry and Ron that I took notice of him. I immediately gathered up my things as I swallowed the last bit of my food. Sliding my book bag over my shoulder, I made my way to where he was. I felt my heart quicken as I approached him. He was so close to my former two best friends… so close I thought I might vomit. But I held it back as I came to a halt next to him and tapped his shoulder.

He turned around and smiled surprisingly at me, “Hey, Hermione.”

This statement caused Harry and Ron to look up at me in shock, staring at me with wide-eyed curiosity. I avoided their looks and kept focused on Dean, smiling shyly. “Hey Dean, I just came to tell you that I would be happy to go to Hogsmeade with you.”

His smile immediately brightened and I felt a slight tug at my stomach. I didn’t know quite what for, but didn’t pay much mind to it as I heard Dean speak. “Well, that’s great! Meet me at the front gate tomorrow afternoon around two?”

I nod quickly as I adjust my strap, “Yeah, I’ll see you then.” I brave a quick smile at Harry and Ron before I leave, not bothering to look at them too long for fear of sadness to overcome me once again and put a damper on my day. I know that it’ll happen eventually sometime today, but I don’t think on it.

I arrived early at the Transfiguration classroom and took my seat, getting out my supplies and waiting for the bell too ring. Dean sits next to me that class period, claiming that Seamus is sick with the flu. I nod and let him sit down, grateful for some company at my usual empty table. Again, I felt eyes on me the whole period but was surprised to find that they weren’t from Dean like I thought. I craned my neck, looking around the classroom casually before the oral lesson began and came eye-to-eye contact with Harry. I felt my stomach drop to my feet and turned my neck back around quickly, feeling a kink form. Damnit, just what I need. I thought as I began to massage it with my hand.

I felt no progress and was about to give up when Dean tapped my shoulder, “Need some help?”

It took me a second to figure out that he was referring to my arm and its current place on my neck. I nodded frantically without a second thought, only to flinch at the movement. I turned sideways in my seat and let his hands gently massage my neck. I moaned at the contact and let him slowly ease the sore spot that was beginning to throb. He was finished within a few minutes and smiled at me as I turned back around. It was at that moment Professor McGonagall chose to make an entrance and begin the class.

I exited the classroom as soon as the bell rang and made my way to my Ancient Runes class, the only class where I felt at ease. It really was a fascinating subject and I don’t know why there are only ten people in it. I mean, learning about ancient languages, their culture, how it came to be… this is the class where we learn about the building blocks of the magical society! It’s truly a mind-turner and really gets my mind off of things.

This class was especially fascinating, but I felt my mind wander a bit during the time period where we were supposed to be decoding an ancient scripture. I kept on doodling a lightning bolt on my parchment and putting a heart around it. When I came to my senses and saw what I was doing, I abruptly stopped. If I didn’t know better I’d think I fancied Harry. But I did know better. I didn’t fancy Harry… I just missed him… and Ron. A lot. More than a lot.

The bell rang and I was shaken out of my stupor. I had never let my mind wander that far on the subject. Truth be told, I rather avoided it. I mean… Harry was my best friend, it wasn’t heard of to fancy someone you’d known for most of your life, at least in my book. The only reason I did any of this was for–

“Hermione!”

I looked up and saw him, a frown growing on my face. “And what do you want?”

He stepped up to me and looked at me with a pointed look, “I just… wanted to apologize for what I said. I heard about you and Harry and–”

“What about me and Harry?” I asked, my brow furrowed.

“You two are fighting, aren’t you? And I can’t help but think that’s it’s my fault–”

“Of course it’s your fault!” I yelled at him. “You don’t think those things you said were hurtful, that I wouldn’t take them seriously?!”

“I mean, I know they were hurtful, but I never meant for you and Harry to fight because of what I’d said.”

I snorted, not believing a word that was coming out of his mouth. It was as though liquid lies were spilling out, the thought causing my temper to rise even more. “You know as well as I do that that is a load of bollocks! It was so obvious that you were using Deanna to get me jealous, that you only picked a fight with me to rile up the relationship between me and Harry!”

“Oh, I’m the bad guy in all of this?! What about you, hmm? You aren’t the type of bird to go on the rebound, let alone with your best friend! I haven’t seen you two kiss once! You convinced you best friend to go out with you just to win me back!”

I felt my breathe leave me. He knew! He knew and he didn’t say anything, he just let things unfold to where they are today! “This would have never happened if you hadn’t dumped me in the first place! Lack of sexual intimacy my ass! You know what… I’m done with this. I’m done with the lying, and the sneaking around, it’s not worth it! You aren’t worth any of this. You are a horny, selfish prat that is only concerned with sedating Terry junior! Goodbye, Terry!”

I left the scene with tears pouring out of my eyes, not of sadness, but of relief. I had just told off the guy who had made this all happen and it felt damn good to do it! It was as though a giant weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I smiled to myself as I wiped the tears from my eyes and went into the bathroom to wash up. As I splashed water into my face, I saw the smile I had on and felt my chest tighten with happiness. I hadn’t been this elated in Merlin knows how long and I deserve to be! Life was great, fantastic… bloody brilliant!

~*~

It was two-fifteen and I was on the way to Hogsmeade Village with Dean, in a very heated conversation about Quidditch of all things. He was telling me everything about the sport and I found myself listening to it, not tuning it out as I usually do. He made it sound so interesting and vivid, worth-watching for a bookworm like me.

“You know, you should be the commentator for the games. Don’t get me wrong, I love Luna, but you make it sound so exciting!” I said enthusiastically as we entered the pub.

“Commentator Dean Thomas… I like the sound of it… although no one can beat the brilliance of Lee Jordan.” He joked.

We both took our seats in one of the booths and ordered butterbeers. When they arrived I sipped mine slowly, savoring the taste of the velvety-smooth drink. “Now,” Dean said, shifting my gaze to him, “to the reason we’re really here.”

I sighed and slumped back in the booth lazily while he looked at me. “It feels great to have someone to talk to, to be honest, even if it is about Quidditch.”

He chuckled, “Yeah. So what really happened with you and Harry? I know you guys are fighting… but you’ve never lasted this long without speaking, at least not to my knowledge.”

I wished I could tell somebody, but I knew I shouldn’t. “It’s just a spat, really, nothing to be worried about.”

“Then why do you look so depressed? Most of us have been in a pool on when the two of you would get married since third year!”

I was taken aback, “Really?”

“Yeah, it was a relief when you two finally got together. We thought you’d be blind forever, especially you.” He pointed a finger at me as he took a sip of his butterbeer.

I looked at him, confused, “Blind?”

“Yeah. I mean, it’s so obvious. Harry’s been– wait, you didn’t know this?” he asked. I shook my head slowly in response. “Well then I shouldn’t be the one to tell you.”

“But–”

“But nothing, Hermione, now come on, let’s go for a walk.” He got up and left the money on the table, me following him out.

And walk we did. The whole time I was contemplating what he said. Me and Harry… married? A pool dedicated to it? I mean, there are worst pools that could be out there, like me and Ron. I snorted at the thought, the mere image of us as a newlywed couple on our honeymoon was an interesting one to say the least. But the thought of me and Harry as a married duo wasn’t very hard to picture, surprisingly. We are best friends, so we already know almost everything there is to know about the other, we wouldn’t fight much because we agreed on almost everything, we would have the exact same initials… Oh my god. I was actually picturing it… all of it. The wedding, the beautiful house, the honeymoon, the kids… everything. It was as though our future was a painted portrait and I was the eager buyer. It was so simple… so obvious.

We finished each others sentences, our hands fit perfectly together, my stomach swoops every time he does something cute, grins, or is just in my presence, I feel completely at loss without him, our kiss was… mind-blowing… it all made sense. I was in love with him. I was in love with Harry. My Harry.

A grin spread on my face as I turned to Dean, placing a hand to stop him, he looked at me oddly as I spoke, “Thank you so much for the talk, Dean, it was great. But I have to go; there are some things I need to sort out!” I got on my tip-toes and quickly pecked his cheek and dashed off.

“Good luck with shagging Harry!” he called after me.

My grin broadened as I ran faster towards the castle, not caring that I was already out of breath. I pushed myself through the gates and through the stone hallways, swiftly avoiding any person who got in my path. Ignoring the calls from a few select Professors, I continued my sprint until I reached the common room and collapsed, catching my breath on the couch. I lay spread out there, my hand on my sweaty forehead, trying to calm myself. I caught a glance over at my side and saw two very familiar boys staring at me. I smiled at them but it faltered as I saw the raven-haired one get up and leave. He took the stairs two at a time and left me there bewildered. I let my gaze go back to Ron. It was the first time we had been alone in over a week.

I thought I would be the first to say something, but I was wrong as I heard Ron speak so quietly, I had to strain my ears in order to hear him. “You’re killing him, you know.”

I sat up, not believing what I was being told, “What do you mean?”

“Cut the crap, Hermione, you can’t possibly not know what you did to him.” He said, his face beginning to twist up angrily.

“I-I don’t.” I said truthfully.

Ron looked at me oddly, as though he was studying me. “You honestly don’t know what you did… what you’re doing?”

“No!” I said fretfully, “For Merlin’s sake, Ron, tell me!”

He sighed and leaned forward, “You don’t honestly think that you could kiss him, reject him, then go out with another bloke without having some sort of effect on him?”

“Okay, first of all he kissed me.” He looked at me as though saying ‘well-duh-what’s your point?’ I closed my eyes and breathed in before I continued, “And second, I didn’t go out with another guy, Dean just wanted to talk to me. He’s the only one who offered so I accepted.”

“I would’ve talked to you!” Ron defended.

“Yeah, in all of your time away from Harry? It’s  like you’re Siamese twins the way you two don’t leave the other’s site!”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I was too busy mending my best friends broken heart to care about anything else!” he whispered fiercely, seeing a few third years entering the tower.

“What are you–”

“Oh, honestly Hermione, are you so thick that you can’t see it? Even I could, for Merlin’s sake! The reason he agreed to do this whole ‘pretend-to-date-his-best-friend’ thing was to get closer to you, he kissed you because he couldn’t say what he felt out loud, he’s been avoiding you because every time he sees you, he’s afraid you’re going to come up to him and end your friendship because you don’t feel the same way!” I was too shocked to say anything. I just stared at Ron, wondering what he was getting at. My mouth opened and closed, trying to find the right words to say. From my perspective, it sounded like… “Harry’s in love with you!”

I stopped breathing.

~*~


A/N: Sorry about the lack of humor in this chapter! I really wanted the emotions about what Hermione was feeling to be realistic, and if I was Hermione, there is nothing funny about realizing that you love someone. Well, after the initial shock, you could make fun of yourself for it... but i'll leave that for the next chapter. Which, sadly enough, will be the last one in this story : ( Unless, of course, you want me to write an epilouge... which I deffinitly wouldn't mind doing : ) Speaking of which, what happened to the reviews?! I mean, I sound like a greedy witch when I say thatm but come onnnnnn!! The reviews were just getting better and then abrakazam, the disapeared! That makes me sad face : ( <-- not cool! So please review, they are the things that modivate me to write, you know. So small reviews, small chanse of me writing the last chapter any time soon. Sorry, but it's true... And, on a last note, I would like to reccomend a story: "Under the Apple Tree" by magicinthemoonlight29. She is an amazing author and has the BEST cliffies ever, totally surpassing mine! Go check it out, review it, it's awesome! Other then that, that's all. I love you all and hope to talk to you soon!

-Shar

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