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Granger's Army
Choosing to Look
    Defining the Dots Series, Part VI
    by vanillaparchment
He saw her sitting outside in the grass, eyes fixed out onto the gray-blue expanse of the sea. The
wind was playing with her hair, and Harry felt compelled, suddenly, to go and join her.

He excused himself from the table where Ron and Bill were engaged in a game of chess, and
stepped out the back door into the nippy air.

Hesitantly, he strode across the lawn and stood behind her, feeling rather stupid, just standing
her behind her silently. But then she spoke.

“If it isn't Teddy's godfather.” Her tone was warm enough, but Harry could hear the
undercurrent of... was it sadness? No, it was more a wistful tone, and he couldn't help but think
that if her voice had a color, it would match the soft, pearly gray of the sky.

“Yeah.” he said, and with a quick step, he sat beside her. She turned and offered a small smile.

“I think Remus and Dora made a good choice.” she said quietly, reaching out and softly
squeezing his hand. “Teddy's a lucky boy.”

A flush crept to his cheeks, and he looked away.

“I dunno.” he said after a pause. “I don't exactly know anything about babies.”

She made a slight noise, almost a sigh, but more of a wordless whisper.

“But it's okay.” he said, after allowing another pause. “He's got his grandparents, hasn't he, and
the Weasleys.”

“And you.” she reminded him. His lips twitched in a dry smile.

“And me, I suppose.”

Another silence ensued.

“You haven't given up yet, have you?” she asked him seriously. Harry frowned, puzzled.

“I don't have a choice, do I? I have to end him.”

“No, not You-Know-Who.” she said, with a quiet cluck of her tongue. “I meant... I mean, haven't
you ever allowed yourself to think about-- about what happens
afterwards?”

“Have you?” he countered. She paused, and as Harry turned his eyes towards her face, he saw
her eyes close.

“Not much.” she admitted, nibbling her lip. He gave a half-hearted chuckle. “But honestly,
Harry.”

He shook his head, sighing and plucking a blade of grass from the ground.

“No. I try to be realistic.”

Her hand was on his arm then, and he felt her fingers contract around his wrist.

“Afterwards
is realistic.” she said, and the passion in her quiet tone surprised him. “For you and
for me.”

He lowered his eyes, the flush returning to his cheeks. As if realizing the implications of her
words, Hermione's fingers twitched nervously around his wrist.

“Is it?” he spoke finally, after another long silence. The sound of the waves echoed in his ears.
“Hermione, this whole-- this
thing... it's all I have.”

“No, it's not.” Hermione said fiercely, and he looked up, surprised. Her eyes were alight in a
way he'd never seen there before. “You have me!”

A silence occurred, in which Hermione blushed slightly and stammered something that
sounded like, “I mean...that is to say-- I'm your best friend-- I--”

Unbelievably, yet uncontrollably, Harry found himself smiling. It was a small smile, but the first
real smile he'd felt in a long time.

A shy smile played at the corners of her mouth as she looked away.

“When this is over--” Hermione began, then stopped. She slipped her hand into his, pushing her
unruly curls out of her eyes and dampening her mouth with her tongue. “Just know that you do
have an afterwards to look forward to.”

He smiled again, and carefully brushed a finger across her cheek. Her eyes fluttered closed, and
instantly snapped back open as she cast him an embarrassed glance.

“I'd rather look to you. You're closer.”

He reached up and caught her tears on his thumb, and she smiled.

“You shouldn't-- but you can, just as long as I can look back.”
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