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Chapter 3: Old Friends
Disclaimer: There actually is a character in this chapter who belongs to me, though the universe in which she exists doesn't...I think universe wins over character, don't you?
Hermione ran to the door and threw it open. She smiled wide and wrapped her arms around the ginger's neck. He laughed, picked her up, and spun her around once. Butterflies filled her stomach.
"Welcome," she said, the same stupid smile on her face.
Ron smirked, the smirk that made her melt. "Good to see you again, 'Mione. You look…very nice."
"Very nice? She's beautiful as a veela." Ginny grinned ear to ear as she pushed past her brother and embraced her best friend. "Now, where's the handsome man you have trapped inside?"
"In the kitchen." Hermione chuckled as Ginny ran inside. She heard Harry's cereal bowl fall to the ground and his chair scoot back. She laughed again and shook her head.
"That's why I gave him a plastic bowl this morning," she said to Ron with a wink.
She stepped back to let her friend enter. Ron sent her a warm smile and wrapped his arm around her shoulders as he stepped inside. The butterflies in her stomach swarmed. She closed the door, and the two of them walked into the kitchen.
Ginny was sitting on Harry's lap, preventing him from cleaning up the mess she'd made. Hermione rolled her eyes, and with a wave of her wand the puddle of milk and Wheaties disappeared into the sink. She stepped out of Ron's hold and picked up the bowl and spoon.
"I'll get you another bowl. Gin, try not to knock it over this time."
Ginny stuck her tongue out at Hermione before kissing Harry again. Hermione noticed Ron wrinkle his nose and suppressed a laugh.
Two pairs of footsteps headed down the stairs. Ginny climbed off of Harry's lap as Hermione's parents entered the room.
"And what's all this commotion?" her mother said with a smile. "Hermione finally invites the three of you over, and you wake us up at the crack of dawn?"
"Sorry, Mrs. Granger, Mr. Granger." Ron stepped toward them and extended his hand. "I'm Ron Weasley, and that's my sister, Ginny."
"Yes, I remember you from that shopping trip a few years ago," Mr. Granger said as he shook Ron's hand. "Your father was the one who kept asking us about rubber ducks and microwaves."
Ron laughed. "Yes, that would be him."
"You've certainly grown, though." Mrs. Granger's smile seemed permanently etched onto her face. "I believe you were only twelve when we saw you last."
"That sounds right."
"Mum, Dad, can I make you anything for breakfast?" Hermione asked as she set Harry's new bowl in front of him.
"Oh, we'll manage ourselves," her mother said.
"We ate before we came," Ginny said.
"Yeah, like four breakfasts. Mum wouldn't let us leave the house until she was certain we were full."
Hermione laughed and started cooking herself some eggs. The morning was carefree—Hermione's parents knew nothing of the raging war, so Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny pretended they didn't either. It was liberating for all of them to put their worries on the backburner, but that didn't change the fact that they were there. Still, they found what enjoyment they could in their false ignorance.
Just as Hermione's parents stood from the table to get ready for work, the doorbell rang. Mr. Granger raised his eyebrows.
"Hermione, you expecting anyone else?"
As Mr. Granger went to the door, Mrs. Granger headed upstairs to change. Ginny was almost immediately on Harry's lap again. Ron slid into the seat next to Hermione and rested his arm on the back of her chair. She pretended not to notice.
"It's really, really good to see you again," he said with his signature smirk.
Hermione hid a smile. "You said that already."
Ron's smirk widened. "That I did."
She laughed and stared at her plate, playing with her food. Ron took a deep breath before speaking again.
"And Gin's right, you know. You are beautiful."
Hermione's heart stopped as he reached over and took her hand. Slowly, she set down her fork and turned to face Ron completely, keeping a hold of his hand.
"You're not too bad yourself," she said quietly.
Ron's face grew serious and he scooted even closer to her. "Hermione, I've been thinking a lot lately."
"About our future. Together."
Something caught in Hermione's throat. "Together?"
"Hermione, you'll never guess who's here!" her father's voice called around the corner. Ron practically jumped away from her just before Mr. Granger entered the room, followed by a young woman, about seventeen, with long, curly blonde hair. Hermione gasped and her face lit up. The blonde girl beamed ear to ear.
"Hey there, Books."
Hermione sprang from her chair. The two girls embraced, laughing. Harry, Ron, and Ginny exchanged curious looks. Mr. Granger promptly left the room as the girls squealed.
"I can't believe you're here!" Hermione exclaimed.
"I can't believe you're here!"
"When did you move back from the States?"
"A couple months ago. I didn't say anything in my letter because I wanted to surprise you."
"Well, congratulations!" Hermione let out a joyful laugh, and Genvi joined her. The two girls embraced again.
Ginny stood and cleared her throat.
"Oh!" Hermione released Genvi and faced her friend, her smile wider than any of them had seen it in a long time. "Genvi, this is Harry, Ron, and Ginny. I've told you about them before."
Genvi smirked. "Oh yes."
"Guys, this is Genvieve Allen, my oldest friend." Hermione beamed.
Ron frowned. "I thought we were your oldest friends."
Hermione punched him in the arm. Genvi laughed.
"Hermione and I have known each other since Primary School." Genvi sat down next to Ron. "For a long time, she was the only friend I had."
"Not even close to true," Hermione interrupted as she grabbed a glass of water for her friend. "Genvi was always the most popular girl in our year."
Genvi rolled her eyes. "Being popular doesn't mean you have friends."
"I was always the one sitting in the corner of the library alone." Hermione sat on the other side of Genvi and handed her the glass of water. "That's why everyone called me 'Books'."
"So, what you're saying is, you haven't changed at all?" Ron interjected. Hermione and Genvi exchanged a look before Genvi turned and punched him in the arm.
"Ow! I didn't mean that as an insult!"
The girls laughed. Harry and Ginny both smirked.
"Oh, Hogwarts has changed Books quite a bit," Genvi said with a smile.
"Wait," Harry frowned, "you told her about Hogwarts?"
Hermione shrugged. "She was there when I got my letter. Besides, I knew she'd never tell."
Harry's frown deepened. "How much does she know?"
"Enough to ask if I can see your scar." Genvi leaned across the table, a sly smile on her face.
Harry ignored her and turned to face Hermione. "How much, Herm?"
"A lot, but not everything. Hardly anything about the last year and a half. She's been in California with her parents. The only way we could really communicate was through mail, and I'm very careful with what I put in my letters."
When Harry didn't look convinced, Genvi rolled her eyes. "Come on, Potter, lighten up. You guys are the only magical people I know—or, at least the only ones I'm aware of. Even if I wanted to, who would I tell? The press? They'd lock me up the minute I started talking about Death Eaters and the Order."
"You told her about the Order?" Harry stood, staring at Hermione with wide eyes.
Hermione rolled her eyes in a way almost identical to Genvi's. "Show her your scar, Harry."
"Do you really doubt my judgment on this? Genvi's entirely harmless!"
"I'm not worried about her, I'm worried about what she might accidentally say to people!"
"Genvi keeps secrets better than Dumbledore," Hermione said with a scoff. "Now will you please sit down and show her your bloody scar?"
Harry sat, still frowning. He briefly pushed his bangs off of his forehead before leaning back in his chair. Genvi's smile faltered and she leaned back some as well.
"I promise, I'm not a threat to you," she said quietly. "Truly. In fact, I'd love to help, if there's any way—"
"I already told you that was out of the question, Genvi," Hermione said before anyone else could respond. "It's too dangerous for you."
Genvi sighed. "Doesn't change the fact that I want to help."
"I'm sorry, Genvieve," Harry said after a moment. "I just really don't want anyone to get hurt. It's nothing against you."
"Oh, I understand." A small smile returned to Genvi's face. "And I don't expect you to trust me completely right away. But while we're all here, we might as well get to know each other, right?"
As they cleaned up what remained of breakfast, Genvi asked all of them endless questions—about Howarts, their everyday lives, their adventures. Hermione interjected at points, but for the most part she let the others answer the questions. She'd wanted Genvi to meet her friends for a while now, but it never seemed to be the right time—either Genvi was out of the country or Harry, Hermione, and the Weasleys were in hiding or on the run.
It wasn't until the five of them settled in the living room that Hermione let her thoughts wander back to what Ron had been about to say. She tried to catch his eye in between conversations, but was unsuccessful. As always, Genvi held everyone's attention. This fact didn't usually bother Hermione, but at this present moment it was inconvenient.
When it became clear that Genvi had no intention of leaving, Hermione excused herself to do some reading, leaving her four friends to get to know each other better out in the living room. She rifled through her bag until she found the book she was looking for and settled on her bed to read.
Hermione looked up. Ginny stood in the doorway, her arms crossed.
"Why aren't you with the others, Gin?"
"I just came to invite you to come back out and play a game with us. What sort of dreams are you having?"
"Nothing." Hermione put on her best smile. "And I think I'll pass on a game for now. Most games are only four-player anyway. Maybe later."
Ginny shrugged. "Suit yourself."
The red-head closed the door on her way out. Hermione returned her attention to the book in her hand. There had to be something in here that would give her even the smallest clue to the meaning of her dream. There had to be more to it than what the snake said, because that couldn't be true.
She just had no idea what it was.
A/N: So this chapter's longer than the others, but i think I want the chapters to lean towards more this length anyway (although, in the future, they'll definitely be less rambly...) Please review! :)