Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognize.
Succinct explanation of my views: Hated Jo's ending, my Hermione's middle name is Jane, dislike several Weasleys, and Harry and Hermione are fated in my opinion.
A/N: I've had two particularly long and tiresome weeks. During lunch break, I was reading Lunch at Maxine's by apAidan, and got an itch to write something.
"Come on, Harry. You have to tell her, just this once!"
"Can't do it. It's impossible," Harry admitted earnestly.
Not for you. Harry, you've fought a giant and lived to tell about it.
"Half giant, and all I did was keep him from stepping on people when he was drunk until he fell over into a vacant lot."
"Oh. Right..." Wracking his brain for some other extraordinary feat, "Well, you drove off dozens of Dementors by yourself.
Harry scoffed "I didn't really have any choice, they were going to devour Sirius' soul-" he paused and then continued in a quieter tone of voice. "-and Hermione was in trouble."
"See, no matter how much you deny it, you care for her. Don't miss out on your one chance at happiness, Harry. Just this once, you have to tell her!"
Harry gave a bitter laugh. "Just this once? No way in hell is that happening."
Neville ran a hand through his hair in frustration. "This is unbelievable! You killed the most terrible and dangerous dark lord in centuries, all by yourself, and you can't say three little words to some girl?"
Suddenly, Harry was in Neville's face. "She's not just some girl. She's Hermione Jane Granger and she's the most outstanding witch to pass through Hogwarts in the past two decades and If you say one bad word against her then I might have to forget you're our friend.
Neville smirked slightly at that. Not too much, mind; otherwise, Harry might cast some horrible curse on him. There was no telling what sort of spells he might have gleaned off of Hermione. But this was looking promising he had said, 'our friend'. Clearly, he thought of them as a couple, at least in his own mind. "Wouldn't dream of it, mate," Neville declared in a solemn tone.
Harry nodded his head slightly and then said, "And for your information, I didn't kill Voldemort by myself. Hermione was there." A wistful smile appeared on his face and his eyes seemed very far away. "We killed him together... I couldn't have done it without her."
He remembered the bone tired feeling of dodging killing curses in the Forbidden forest, the thrill and amazement after he had maneuvered Voldemort into killing Bellatrix, and the relief when Hermione had stood up while Dumbledore resumed dueling Voldemort. He had been so worried about her, he thought his heart might split in two. The sword had been there and then it all happened so fast. His scar had split open and it was only with Hermione's help that he was able to bring the sword down on that monster's neck. He owed her so much - there was no way he was going to just once say those three special words.
Neville, was undeterred. "Try to see reason, Harry, you obviously have deep, intense feelings about Hermione or else you wouldn't have reacted the way you just did. We only get one real shot at happiness and your window of opportunity is closing fast."
Harry stepped back, crossed his arms, and cocked and eyebrow. "And what's that supposed to mean?"
Neville looked uncomfortable. "I ran into Ron before I came to see you. He was psyching himself up."
"Psyching himself up? What could be so important that Ron 'I'll do it tomorrow' Weasley needed to give himself a peptalk?" Harry hadn't really been all that close to Ron since the end of first year, but his reputation preceded him.
Neville swallowed hard and then reached out both hands to clasp Harry on the shoulders. "Harry, mate, He's been eyeing her for a while now. She's one of the prettiest girls in school. He's gone off to propose."
Harry brows scrunched together. "Propose? Propose what-to who!?"
Neville couldn't help but roll his eyes. "Marriage, Harry. He's going to propose Marriage to Hermione. That's what I've been trying to warn you about."
Harry's posture suddenly stiffened. "Ronald 'I can't go 30 minutes without propositioning a pretty girl' Weasley is going to propose to my best friend in the entire world?"
Neville smiled grimly and nodded his head. "In a word, yes."
Harry's shoulder's sagged slightly. He stepped back a bit and then ran both his hands through his eternally messy hair. "Phew. So that's what this is all about. You had me worried for a moment there, Nev."
Looking wary, Neville asked, "And you're not worried because?"
Harry looked very proud. "We were going to keep this a secret until the end of the year, but since you have proven yourself such a good friend, I'll let you in on our secret." He lightly wiggled his fingers on his left hand and a gold band appeared. "Hermione and I realized we love each other during the first week of school. We got married that same weekend."
Neville's mouth dropped open in shock. "First years can't get married" he blurted.
"Neville, use your head. -First week this year. We've been married for 8 weeks."
"So, all this time I was worried Ron was going to sweep the second best looking witch in the school off her feet and you've been married this entire time?"
"Yes... wait- second best?"
"Eye of the beholder; Luna said yes - we're engaged."
"Good man," he declared in a brotherly tone. "Take good care of her and you won't have to worry about me cutting off your… privileges."
Neville gulped and squeezed his legs together. He had one last question to ask. "The why in Merlin's name did you say it was impossible for you to tell her you love her?"
As if it was the silliest question in the world, Harry responded. "I have no problem telling her I love her. What I do have a problem with is only telling her once and only once. I have to tell her multiple times a day or I don't feel right."
Neville could literally feel his hand lifting to slap himself in the face, but a sudden spate of raised voices distracted him.
In the common room, near the sofas upon which Hermione liked to hold offices hours at as Head Girl, a commotion was being raised.
"Lucky!? Why in Merlin's name would I consider myself lucky that a hygienically challenged buffoon such as yourself deigned to lower himself to ask a muggle born like me to marry you? I mean, it's not like we know each other barely at all aside from the time you nearly got me killed by a mountain troll back in first year.
Annoyed that she would bring that up, he blustered "Blood hell, woman. I am a good catch, pureblood an' all. It's not like I see people lined up to marry you."
From around the room, voices rang out. "Is she available?" "I thought she was with Potter!" "Harry hasn't staked his claim yet?" "If she's looking for a suitor, then I'm first in line!" "If she's with Ron, then is Harry Potter available?" Strangely, that last question was simultaneously asked by both Ginny and Colin. They glared at one another.
"Shut IT!" boomed Hermione sonorous enhanced voice. "Let us just be clear about this. I am not now, nor have I ever been interested in Ronald 'wouldn't know a toothbrush if it bit him' Weasley in a romantic way. Also, it is completely and utterly impossible for me to agree to marry anyone today. To recap: I am NOT with Ron Weasley and NO I am not available!"
Ron still stood there until Hermione turned to him and said, "For the record, Ron. In case you missed it, that's a no."
Looking completely shocked Ron turned around thinking how barmy Hermione must be to turn him down. Probably a lesbian or sumthin', he thought. Mebbe I can ask Loony Lovegood, haven't scored with her yet. But before Ron could get far enough away, he mumbled grumpily, "Probably a lesbian, too." But instead of just thinking it, he actually spoke the words. Hermione heard this and in a fit of rage, pointed her wand and cast, "Avis!"
Extraordinarily large yellow canaries appeared and began to peck at the crude young man as he fled out the portrait hole and out into the castle.
Following at sedate pace with a smile on her face, Hermione made her way to the Head Suite. After giving the password and stepping into the common room she shared with her husband, she noticed the portrait door lagging a bit before closing. Grinning happily as a particular set of arms underneath a familiar invisibility cloak encircled her waist.
"So, if I asked you to marry me, would you say no?"
"I already answered that question once before. You know I don't like to repeat myself."
"Then I take it your feelings haven't changed?"
Hermione visibly scoffed. "As if."
"Not a one."
"Not even after you got another offer?"
"Saw that, did you?"
"Yes, though you didn't answer my question."
"No need. My answer hasn't changed. Were you worried about what I might say?"
"Not really, but I knew if you said anything even remotely close to a 'yes' then you'd been potioned."
"As if he has the brains to pull something like that off. His sister; though; she bears watching…"
"Agreed. Good thing we're gone after this year."
"Absolutely. I want to hear you scream my name when we make love."
Harry looked confused. "But I already do - on a nightly basis."
"Allow me to preface that statement. Without needing a silencing charm, I want you to scream my name when we make love."
"You're right, that would be nice," Harry readily agreed. "The same goes for you."
Hermione smiled at that and nibbled at his ear.
Harry's lustful gaze met Hermione and as one they uttered, "Bed. Now. Hurry."
Racing each other to their shared bedroom, Harry spoke quietly to himself. "I don't know what I'd ever do without you."
Naturally, Hermione heard him and replied, "I hope to never find out."
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A/N: Yes, I know. Nothing terribly new here. Not very imaginative either. I needed to write something and this is what resulted. I've not even run it by anyone else first so there are inevitably loads of mistakes. I'll fix them later. As an aside, this actually references events in another story that I intend to post soon in honor of my first story on FF dot net reaching 100 reviews. For me, that's a small but significant milestone.