The graduation celebrations were in full swing. Everybody had taken this as an opportunity to celebrate the fall of Voldemort and the dawn of a new era. A year had passed since the war ended, but it was only now that the dead had been mourned and the living started to move on.
It had been a long year. Most so for the students that had been in their 7th year during the last months of the war. Most of the surviving students had come back and re-taken the final year. This was their party.
Hermione had slipped away from the crowded Great Hall and was standing in a deserted courtyard away from where the occasional couple had found refuge. She was looking at the stars wondering what her parents might be doing.
A tear was slowly making its way down her cheek as she heart soft footsteps approaching behind her. That would be Ron. She sighed. She had hoped he wouldn't find her this quick.
She felt the tall figure standing behind her. Any minute now he would wrap his arms around her. She waited. Nothing happened. She knew he was still there. She could feel it. Why didn't he embrace her like he normally did?
She turned around. This was not Ron.
His voice was soft. His eyes looked at her with something she could only describe as kindness.
"Hi. What are you doing here?"
"Would you believe me, if I said that I was looking for you?"
She shook her head.
"It's true though. I have been wanting to talk to you."
"Me being a total git towards you."
She just looked at him. Was she hallucinating? She had only had two glasses of champagne and had then stuck to the pumpkin juice. She wasn't that drunk, was she?"
"Hermione, I am truly sorry for all the grief I caused you."
She couldn't think of anything to say really. This was so surreal.
"Am I forgiven?"
"You are serious, aren't you?"
"Yes, I am. You, Potter and Weasley saved my neck as much as anybody else's. I am still alive because of you."
She looked at him. He looked really handsome in his crisp shirt, waistcoat and dress robes. His grey eyes were devoid of any malice or smugness. She wondered, if this was the person behind the mask of evil bastard he had been wearing for all those years.
"Yes, you are forgiven."
She smiled at him. He returned the smile.
"I hope you will forgive me for this as well."
He slowly reached out towards her face. After holding it in his hands for a moment he leant closer and slowly lowered his lips onto hers. It wasn't hasty or hard or forced. It was very soft and very gentle. He caressed her mouth tenderly. She was too shocked to do anything at first, but then she slowly shut her eyes and her hands found their way underneath his robes and around his midriff to lie on his back.
Hermione felt like she was walking on a cloud. She had never been kissed like this before. Neither Krum nor Ron had ever displayed so much caring for her in a single kiss. It was like drowning and wanting it. His warm body was touching hers. And his aftershave smelled like fresh grass. It was intoxicating.
When he pulled slowly away she could see something in his eyes she had never seen there before, he cared for what he did to her, what he did with her.
"I have never had the good fortune to kiss a girl like you before." He whispered.
There was the question for an explanation in her eyes. He brushed over her mouth just for a moment before answering.
"You are warm. You are soft. You kiss with your soul not just your body. You taste divinely sweet."
"You have kissed a lot of girls?"
"Enough to know how special you are, Hermione."
She blushed. He tenderly embraced her.
"If I could, I would spend the rest of my life right here with you in my arms."