With Hermione, affection had always been about touching.
Which was almost funny, because for someone as smart as her, vocal praise had always been something she had been chasing. That, however, was barely scraping the surface. Touch was…something else.
She had never been someone to easily make friends, not until she had met Harry and Ron anyways and well, that hadn’t gone down easily either. From that moment on though, things had changed. It had always been about touches, arms thrown around each other in hugs, fingers brushing against each other in a silent affirmation.
Strangely enough, or maybe not so strange at all when she looked back on it now, it had always been Harry. From that moment she had squeezed his hand and told him how brave he was, going after Quirrell, or who they thought to be Snape at the time, to long hugs after summers that had passed, and kept them apart, to that time Hermione had been ready to die for him.
She knew Ron would have done the same, but the sentiment had been a different one.
Even there in the battlefield, in the midst of a war, Hermione had no doubt that, had she gone with Harry, he would have done everything in his power to protect her.
In a way he had done it then, by facing Voldemort all by himself. Hermione didn’t like to think back on that day. Sometimes it still caught her off guard, she’d be in the middle of the street, a memory flashing before her eyes.
Harry’s lifeless body, limp before them, and the cruel laugh that echoed through the rows of Death Eaters. It was in those moment she could see her knuckles going white where she was trying to hold on to the grocery bags, so she wouldn’t drop them and spill all of her shopping onto the busy London streets.
It was funny, how on some days everything was almost fine, and then the grief came back, crashing over them like waves and threatening to pull them under.
They had begged Ron not to pull away from them, but it was hard for him to deal with losing his brother, and grief was selfish, it took up too much room inside your body, not caring if it pushed away the people who had been at your side for years.
Harry and Hermione had decided to give him some space. After the war they had been living at The Burrow for a while, but the collective grief had been all too present, even with Molly attempting to put on a brave face for the rest of the family.
So, Hermione had gotten a flat in London for the two of them.
Well, initially she had gotten it for herself, but Harry had showed up on her doorstep one night, and then he had just never left.
And she had never asked him too.
These days things were a little better. There had been talk of opening Hogwarts back up and Hermione intended to go to finish her last year. It wasn’t like her to not go, despite everything that had happened, and Harry had agreed.
He had even spoken about Grimauld Place, which was legally his, and about renovating the place to give it some new, happy memories.
They had spent nights on the couch, fingers intertwined in an attempt to comfort each other, and it was then that Hermione had realized that, at least in that aspect, nothing had changed. Being with Harry still made her feel safe, it always had.
Strangely enough Hermione had never connected it to possibly being in love with him. There had never been time for it, either. Between their adventures, and near-death experiences, they had all just been glad to be alive. Her brief romance with Viktor, if it could be called a romance, was mostly that: brief, and the horrible incident in year six, when Hermione had convinced herself that she had been in love with Ron, had put her off romance entirely. Then the war had taken over their lives, and in the end, it had still been Harry who’d stayed by her side.
He was the one who woke her up with breakfast in the morning, and who pulled a blanket over her when she had fallen asleep reading. In return Hermione was the one to wake him from his nightmares when he tossed and turned at night and the one who took his hand and pulled him outside into the sun whenever he wanted to just curl up inside and never leave the house again.
The first time he had kissed her had been strangely normal. Hermione had just sent off a letter to Ron, asking how he was. He never replied, but she thought it would be nice to let him know that they were still thinking of him. He’d come back to them in their own time.
Hermione had stood by the window for a moment, watching the owl take off, before making her way into the kitchen where Harry was cooking breakfast.
“Hogwarts is opening again this fall.” She had then told him, going through the letters they had received.
Harry, who had been glancing up from the bacon and eggs, had asked “Are you going?” Though Hermione knew that he wasn’t really asking. He knew her too well to not already have the answer to that question.
“Are you?” She had asked, their eyes meeting for a moment.
“I’ll go wherever you’re going,” And then he had leaned in to kiss her. It had been simple, and sweet, and yet filled with so much love that Hermione’s knees had almost buckled.
All of that had been three months ago, and now they had found themselves on Platform 9 3/4, waiting to board the train to Hogwarts.
Ron wasn’t coming along, he wasn’t ready to go back and face the demons that still haunted them, but they had met up with him a couple of times, and while things weren’t completely back to normal, it was comforting to know that they hadn’t lost him. At least he was here to see them off.
Hermione found herself smiling as a familiar arm wrapped around her waist. Harry had brought their luggage on the train and had now returned to so they could bid their goodbyes.
“All good, though I am still not quite sure how everyone at Hogwarts is going to react to having a baby around, I’m guessing that’s a first,” She chuckled, glancing at Teddy, who was on her arm, giggling and grabbing at strands of her hair, before turning what little hair he had on him into the same color.
“Yeah well, I’m sure Minerva won’t mind babysitting.” Harry replied with a grin, and Hermione laughed again.
“I’m also not sure you’re allowed to call her that when we go back.”
It was almost funny, how they were talking about such trivial things now, when a few months back, neither of them had known if they would come out alive on the other side.
Nobody had questioned their decision to take Teddy in. Not even Hermione when Harry had first brought it up.
He was the boy’s godfather, and Hermione knew he would have given anything to grow up with his own godfather. They were young, sure, but both old souls and even though they had only been officially dating for a few months, they had always been a great team.
Molly was approaching them now, a smile on her face and tears in her eyes. For once, Harry could tell, they weren’t tears of sadness though.
“Oh, look at you two,” She gushed, ruffling Teddy’s hair as she leaned in to engulf all of them into a hug. “Write to us, alright? And on Christmas you’re coming back to The Burrow,” Harry and Hermione hugged her back for a second, their smiles matching hers.
“We will, don’t worry,”
Meanwhile Ginny had passed them, stepping onto the train with a nod. “See you on the other side,” She grinned and when Molly stepped back, she pulled out a handkerchief, drying the tears that were now falling onto her cheeks.
“Ready?” Harry asked, his fingers intertwining with Hermione’s, and a familiar warmth flooded her body.
“As I’ll ever be,” She then chuckled, before she let him pull her up the few stairs and into the train. Molly was waving at them with her handkerchief, and a little further behind Fleur and Bill were waving, too, with Ron by their side, who managed to give them a somewhat smile.
Ginny had saved them seats in her compartment and Teddy was pressing his face against the glass, looking at the passing landscape.
Hermione, with Harry’s hand still in hers, had to admit that she had no idea what the future held for them, but for now, she found that this was enough.