Once upon a time, Hermione had thought that those girls she saw pining after those boys who would never love them in return were silly. The boys were clearly not interested in their respected admirers, if they recognized their affections at all. Yet, those girls would follow behind them, trying to make themselves noticed, trying to make themselves desirable, and always coming up short no matter how pretty or charming they became. More often than not, Hermione would see younger girls sighing over the older boys who thought of them as younger sisters. Or the quiet girl wrapping a hand around a locket with a hidden picture inside when a popular boy who didnít even know her name passed by. She would see these girls and shake her head condescendingly, thinking how silly it was to fall in love when there were so many other important things to worry about. Like final exams for example.
Once upon a time, Hermione had thought that those girls she saw pining after those boys who would never love them in return were foolish. No matter how much evidence they were shown that their love was hopeless, their hearts still fluttered at the very mention of the beau they would never have. He could find another girl, he could find another boy, he could say hateful things and make her cry, or he could kindly refuse her and make her cry. It didn't matter. Nothing ever changed. Hermione could not understand it. They had to face all of these reasons to stop loving someone, but they did not. She pondered it once for hours on end one very dark, lonely night. She stopped when she found that her eyes had begun to water with the intensity of the headache she received.
Once upon a time, Hermione had thought that those girls she saw pining after those boys who would never love them in return were stupid. They were dependent, overly emotional, empty-headed bints who should have been shipped off to an all girl school to physically remove them from the male gender. She could not comprehend why they would willingly put themselves through this pain. It was as if they relished in the anguish because it made their lives oh-so-very-tragic-and-important. Perhaps if they cried enough, that special boy would finally come to his senses and love them as they deserved to be loved. Of course, he never did.
And though Hermione was not a girl inclined to much self examination (as there were far too many things outside of herself to be examined), Hermione realized that her hateful reaction to them was because somewhere along the line, she had become one of those girls.
She waited for him, and she followed him, and she protected him from all manners of danger. But still he would not turn around and see her there. Still he would not acknowledge what she was certain she had made all too obvious. Still he would not love her the way she loved him.
By the time Ron Weasley finally turned around, Hermione was gone.