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Under the Stars Tonight by American Ginny

Format: One-shot
Chapters: 7
Word Count: 17,347
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Contains profanity

Genres: Drama, Romance, AU
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, OC
Pairings: Harry/Hermione

First Published: 06/24/2010
Last Chapter: 08/18/2017
Last Updated: 08/18/2017

Summary:



Banner by:magicalmuggle @TDA

“A shooting star! Make a wish Harry…” he whispered to himself.

“I wish I could just have one friend while I’m here…” Harry repeated over and over again squeezing his eyes closed tight.

Based off the original One-Shot. For all the wonderful fans who asked me for more, this is for you. Please leave a review.


Chapter 1: Their First Dance
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Author's Note: Wow, it's been a long time since I've been able to write fanfiction or even read it. A bit of a veteran on this site, but just coming back in. This is an older story, but I've revised it to fit their ages better and corrected the grammar and spelling. Hopefully, it's as enjoyable as the first time around. So without further Adu...

I own nothing but the plot. All rights remain JK Rowlings.

Harry sneaked out of the Dursley's house quietly around midnight. He was so sick of living with them.

They hated him. They hated him with and undying passion, and as to why they even kept him around was beyond him.

They didn’t care about him. They often talked about him as if he wasn’t even in the room, calling him “A waste of space”, “A burden”, “The baggage”. No, they didn’t even think he was worth the time or effort. That’s why they shoved him in an old broom closet under the stairs and handed him clothes that were 10 sizes to big for him. He may be alive, but to the Dursleys, he was not worthy of life itself.

Harry let out a deep sigh and shoved his hands deep into his pockets. He was ready to be off on his own, but he knew he would never get very far — he was only 10 after all. Kicking a stone laying on the drive, Harry made his way to the end of Privet Drive.

Finally, reaching the edge of the sidewalk, the spectacled, lanky boy plopped himself onto the curve in front of the hedge that blocked him from the pry eyes of Number 4.

He had spent most of his life with the Dursleys — nine years almost exactly now. He didn’t quite understand how he ended up here, but he knew this was the closest thing to home he would have until his 18th birthday.

What he didn’t understand was why. Why did his uncle and aunt keep him around? Why did they bother clearing out the broom closet for him to call his room? Why — if they hated him so much — didn’t they just pack him up and ship off to an orphanage? If he was such a waste of space, why not just throw him out with the trash? After all, that’s what he was to them — garbage.

Harry picked up the few stones that the days traffic had carried in and began to bounce them off the blacktop street. He was tired of being stuck here. It wouldn’t be so bad if he could have friends, but his cousin, Dudley, had made sure he never had any. It maybe lonely being an only child, but at least, I wouldn’t be tortured by Dudley every day, Harry thought.

“And maybe have a friend,” Harry added to himself.

Harry leaned down to pick up a rock, but scrapping his fingernails on the pavement, he realized he had thrown them all. He folded his hands in his lap instead and let out a deep sigh.

Why did he even have to be alive? His parents had died in a car crash when he was only a year. He had been in the vehicle with them, but some how at the expense of their lives, he himself had survived the crash. Why couldn’t he have died with them? Why’d he have to live? He just wish he could have been with them whether in death or on earth.

Harry laid back onto the cement and took in the sky above him. It wasn’t much, but it was dark enough to see the big dipper and a few stars here and there. The wind blew over him ruffling his bangs that stuck out every which way. The crickets chirped, and the night sung its lullaby as got lost in the abyss above him.

Harry just wanted to be loved. He just wanted one person who didn’t look at him like he ruined their lives or wasn’t a waste of space. Someone he could call friend. He wanted one person who when they looked at him he knew they really cared about him for him.

Harry enjoyed the silence. He never really got time to himself, and having time in his day where Dudley wasn’t throwing a tantrum was the best thing to happen to him.

“A shooting star…Make a wish Harry,” he whispered to himself.

I wish I could just have one friend. Just one friend, Harry chanted to himself, squeezing his eyes tight.

Harry opened his eyes in a hurry as if expecting a friend to magically appear in front of him. With a deep breath, Harry sighed. He was being silly. He knew magic wasn’t real, but for a second, he had actually thought…that just maybe…

Harry heaved himself up from the ground, resuming his sitting position. He pressed his palms into his eyes. This was ridiculous. He was being silly. Life didn’t get better by wishing on stars.

Harry slide his hands up to his forehead. He was always going to be alone. Nothing ever changed around here. No one cared about the little boy that lived with the Dursleys — Not even God if there was one. No one cared about the scrawny, spectacled boy who lived under the stairs of number four Privet Drive, and until Dudley left or Harry grew up, life was always going to be the exact same no matter how hard he wished it otherwise.

SQUEEEEEEAAAAAAAAK. Harry jolted up from where he had been seating, knocked from his solom thoughts. Harry froze. He couldn’t be caught out this late at night. Uncle Vernon would kill him. But it’s too early for someone to be leaving for work, Harry thought.

Harry watched as a young girl slowly guided the front door of number 6 to a quiet close. She carried a big box by its handle and walked away from the house. She clearly was breaking curfew as tip toed away from the house and continually swiveled her head to make sure no one had awaken.

Once at the end of number six’s drive, she set down the box and began to tinker with it. She eventually seemed satisfied and walked a few feet away. She smoothed out the wrinkles that invaded the short gray dress that she wore. After deciding she had vanquished the wrinkles, she quickly adjusted the dress belt and pointed her fist at the box.

Harry watched as the girl bowed. She took a step forward and place her hand on the invisible boy’s shoulder and as “he” lifted her other. Slowly, she began to sway around the end of the drive as she danced to the unheard music.

Harry strained his ears in an effort to hear whether she had really turned on the music or she was just making it up in her head. He heard nothing but the crickets singing to the wind.

Curiosity got the best of him. Harry scurried across the road for a closer look. He wanted to know more about her. He wanted to know if there was really music playing. He wanted to know if she was as strange as she was appearing in the dead of night.

Harry curled up beside a car and watched as the girl spun around the drive way. She was more graceful than he expected. She must have been taking lessons for years to be able to move so fluidly and unhesitantly like that. Though, he supposed she could have just been naturally talented that way too, but either way, she mesmerized him with her ability. He wanted to join her.

That was crazy though. . . wasn’t it? He had never seen the girl before — let alone met her, but there was something about her that beckoned him in. He didn’t know what friendship was or what it felt like for sure, but he knew that he had never felt this way before either. He was terrified, but he was curious too. Something was pulling him toward her, and he wanted to let it. He wanted to get to know her. He wanted to be her friend.

Harry took a step forward.

But he quickly retracted it and settled back behind the car. What if she didn’t like him? What if she made fun of him? What if she treated him like everyone else did? What if she thought he was a waste of space too?

But she wasn’t friends with Dudley — he would have met her if she was. The Dursleys did not know about her. If he became friends with her, there was a chance he would finally have a way to escape from their prison.

Harry took a deep breath and cautiously made his way to her, trying not to scare her. He struggled to breath. He was nervous. His hands began to feel clammy, and he kept touching his glasses to adjust them even though they were as high as they would go.

This was the first possible friend he would ever have. This was actually the first girl he would even talk to that wasn’t his aunt. Harry was excited for the opportunity to have a new friend, but if he didn’t hurry up, he was going to back out. What if she runs away scared of me, said Harry.

He didn’t know much about showing people friendship, but if he learned one thing from his aunt’s mockery of his mother, it was that loving and caring for someone means there is no fear in love. You don’t have to fear anything if you truly care about someone. They’ll accept whatever you throw your ways. He didn’t know if she would care for him enough to be friends, but he hoped that she would come to.

Harry took a deep breath and closed the gap between him and the girl. He tapped her on the shoulder to get her attention from her invisible partner.

The girl froze — most likely stricken with fear of who stood behind her, but she eventually took a deep breath and turned around. Harry bowed to her, knowing words were meaningless in the moment and offered his hand. She smiled and curtsied, placing her hand in his.

Harry smiled. This felt good. It felt like home almost. It felt like he had spent years to find this, and now that he found it, he was at peace.

Harry placed his hand on her waist and slowly began to guide her around the drive. He took in the warmth of her brown eyes. They were so warm and comforting. It was almost as if she could read him and his thoughts.

He blushed at the thought of her reading his thoughts. Those were probably best for him alone to know. He didn’t want to scare her away. After all, one could hardly say he was in a good place while living with he Dursleys.

The girl broke the silence first, “Hello, I’m Hermione Granger.”

“Hi, my name is Harry Potter,” he replied. “I live in number four with my aunt and uncle.”

“Oh, they’re not very nice people,” Hermione said.

“No, not reall that why I came out here actually, to get away,” he confessed.

She giggled, “I come out here a lot, just to dance. I like dancing even though I mostly dance a lone. I like this better though. I like having a partner I can actually see.”

“I like dancing with you too. I don’t really know how to dance, but this is fun.”

“Oh I think you’re a brilliant dancer. You haven’t stepped on my toes once,” she giggled.

“Well that’s good then, I suppose.” Harry smiled at her.

“If you need to get away again, may be you will join me then?”

“On two conditions.”

Hermione arched an eyebrow and said, “What’s the first condition?”

Harry stopped dancing and pulled away. He was a little timid about this. He wasn’t used to asking people to be friends. How was one suppose to go about asking someone to be his friend?

“Well I was…I just…I wanted..”

Harry couldn’t seem to control his nerves enough to get the words out. Hermione reached out and touched his shoulder, encouraging him to say what was on his mind.

“I just mean I was wonder if you would maybe possibly want to be my friend?” Harry sped through the sentence.

“Of course,” Hermione cheered.

“Are you sure? I mean I’ve never really had any friends before. My cousin always beats anyone who tries, but he wouldn’t know about you so you wouldn’t really have to worry about that. If he ever did find out about you though, you might change your mind. He’s very persuasive when it comes to not being friends with me.”

“You’re right. On second thought that doesn’t sound fun.” Hermione said changing her mind.

Harry’s face dropped from the smile that had just been there. He didn’t feel so courageous anymore. He felt like a fool. He had been dumb enough to think that she would be his friend.

“I’ll be your best friend!” she exclaimed. “Don’t worry about your cousin, Harry. He won’t scare me away.”

Harry smiled bigger than he had ever thought possible. He was so happy. He had not just made a friend today; he had found his best friend today. Harry hugged her and said, “Thank you, Hermione.”

She pulled away from him, but she kept her arms locked around him. She smiled and replied, “You’re welcome. What’s the second condition?”

“Let me always be dance partner? Don’t dance with anyone else?”

Hermione smiled. That she could live with, but she wasn’t about to let him know that without something in return.

“What if I grow up and want to dance with someone else?” she quizzed him.

“I’ll tell you no. Maybe I’ll step aside. I don’t know depends on the guy,” he answered.

Hermione sat there contemplating the deal. She did want to dance with Harry, and there was no one else she wanted to dance with more. That was a big commitment though. She was only 10 years old, but a forever dance partner was like a marriage to 10 year olds. Forever meant forever. It was a big deal.

“On one condition,” Hermione answered.

Harry’s stomach dropped. What if he couldn’t fulfill her condition? What if he had to run away because of it? (He didn’t find this an entirely bad idea due to the fact that he would never have to see the Dusleys again, but he was still only 10, almost 11.) What if he had to leave her here alone having gotten both their hopes up? What if Harry failed?

Harry looked nervously around and took a deep breath. He needed to face this before he made up these crazy stories. Harry stalled hard and then said, “What’s the condition?”

Hermione smiled. She had him. She was sure of it, “You have to want me as your girlfriend until we find other dance partners.”

Harry smiled. He could do that. That was just like a really good friend you spent all your time with. It was like a real forever friend. He could handle that. Harry nodded. He bowed again and pulled her closer.

They resumed their swaying around the drive, but he paid more attention to her. She was shorter than him but not by much. She could nestle her head into the crook of his neck perfectly so he could rest his chin on her head. He could work with this.

As they swayed around the driveway, Harry shifted his head to lay his cheek on her hair. Hermione’s breathing had slowed, and the two barely moved around the drive. Harry could smell Hermione’s fragrance of parchment, frozen flowers and rain wafting off her hair. He didn’t know what would become of them in the future, but he at least had someone for now.

He looked at the moon and knew that they both were pushing their luck of being up still. It may not have been any where close to 5 A.M, but he knew it was time to say goodnight and sneak back in to their respective homes.

Harry pulled away and bowed to Hermione. She curtsied in return, and they quietly bid each other goodnight. Harry scurried back to the hedge, but before he returned to his prison, he looked back and watch Hermione disappear into the house across the street.

Harry hurried back to the house and lifted himself through the living room window through which he had exited earlier. He slide the window back down before latching it shut. Sliding under his sheets in his closet of a room, he smiled inwardly to himself.

Tonight was the best night of his life. He would never forget it. In one night, he had gain a friend — his BEST friend — and danced only dance partner. Would it last? He didn’t know, but if it did, he wouldn’t want it to be with anyone else…


Chapter 2: One Year Later
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Dedication: To GinnyCullen, Moondanser83, LilyPotter123, GryffindorGirl153, Liza Potter and probably a few more whose name i remember but usernames I forget… I owe so much to each of you, and I cannot thank you all enough for the endless memories. Love, Am.Ginny

Chapter Two: One year Later

Time passed quicker for Harry than it ever had before. Hermione had become his best friend quickly, and though, they were often left to finding time to spend together in secret, Harry and Hermione spent every second they could together. They quickly found sanctuary in her home as the Dursleys rarely carried where he was and the Grangers were more than welcoming to Harry.

Harry had never been so happy in life. Things were as perfect as they could be while living with the Dursleys, and nothing could ever ruin it.

Or so he thought.

Harry pushed his way through the hedges behind Number four, Privet Drive. He had finished his chores as quickly as he could this afternoon and was desperate to get away before Uncle Vernon could stop him.

Uncle Vernon was in a right foul mood today. It seemed he had lost a deal with a big name company because his assistant had messed up some information. Days like today made Harry a target for ridiculing, extra chores, and yelling at. He was determine to avoid it today though.

Harry settled behind a car parked next door to Number Four and peered over to see if the coast was clear. He expected Dudley was upstairs playing video games or watching tv so he had little to fear as far as his cousin went, but Aunt Petunia was another story. She was often bustling around the kitchen, cleaning and cooking for her oversized husband to gorge himself on later.

However, no one ever showed. Harry bolted to the red VW Bug across the street, pausing behind the car for a moment. He pulled at his shirt collar, hoping to create more space for his chest to expand in and calm his racing heart.

After a few moments, Harry looked back over the bug, but quickly dropped back behind the bug with his back against the wheel. Aunt Petunia was at the kitchen window, watering the plants before the hot summer sun dried them out.

Harry slowly turned around and peered just over the hood of the car. Aunt Petunia had disappeared from veiw. As calming as it should have been, it made Harry more nervous not knowing where his aunt may be, but after no one reappeared, he decided it was unwise to linger any longer and dashed up the hedges beside Hermione’s house.

Pushing his way through the brush once again, Harry found himself behind the Granger’s house. He brushed off the bits of rubbish that had broken as he made his way through the hedge. Once he was satisfied with his appearance, Harry walked up to the back door and knocked.

Hermione rushed to the door and slide it open before embracing him in a hug, “Hi, Harry!”

Harry pulled away and smiled at her before said, “Hi, Hermione.”

“You’ve got a twig in your hair, did you know? Right there?”

Harry reached up and began sifting through his hair, but deciding he was being slow, Hermione stood on her toes and pulled out the bits of brush mangled in his hair. She looked him over before giving him an approving nod and inviting him in.

“Hi, Harry,” said Mrs. Granger who was prepping for the night’s meal.

“Hi, Mrs. Granger,” Harry responded.

“You know, Harry, you are always welcome to use our front door. You don’t have to come through the back. You do live at number four, don’t you?” questioned Mrs. Granger.

“It’s okay. I don’t think you want my Aunt spying on you like she would if she knew I was here,” responded Harry.

“Funny, I thought she didn’t need a reason to do that,” joked Mrs. Granger.

Harry smiled. He liked that the Grangers were comfortable enough to tease about the Dursleys with him. It was almost like having a real family — or what he imagined one would be like. He always assumed that families would pick on each other and joke about how crazy and psychopathic the extended family was — well maybe not psychopathic but in the case of the Dursleys.

“Can we go play in my room?” asked Hermione, darting away with Harry before Mrs. Granger ever answered.

“Yes, but remember to keep the door open,” called Mrs. Granger.

Hermione dragged Harry up the stairs and into the first door on the left. He was use to this routine. They didn’t play outside much because he didn’t want to risk the Dursleys seeing him, but Hermione was never opposed to showing off her stuff. While most 11-year-old girls would have makeup kits or stuffed animals or polly pockets cluttering their room, Hermione filled her space with books  and science kits. The most normal things in her room were model horses and a few dress up clothes.

Hermione plopped herself down in the middle of the floor as Harry took in her room once again. It was so much bigger than what he had ever known. While he barely had bed that was crammed into a closet, Hermione’s bed was pushed against the wall on the right hand side of the room. A window was on the wall beside the bed, and beside the window was a bookshelf comprised of books of all sizes — many of which Harry knew he would struggle to read while Hermione flew through them. Her closet was against the far wall and still bigger than his living quarters.

The rest of the room was covered in furniture that was garnished with various science experiments, unopened kits and the model horses she had collected over the years. The room was done in a lavender color with white molding around the edges. It wasn’t much to Hermione, but to Harry, it was so much more than he’d ever known.

 “Sit down already,” Hermione demanded as she pulled him down next to her.

“It’s as if you’ve never seen my room before,” continued Hermione. “It’s not changed since the last time you came over. Honestly, it hasn’t even changed in the year that we’ve known each other.

“Sorry,” Harry mumbled.

Hermione pulled a puzzle off the bottom shelf of the bookshelf beside the window. Opening the box, she dumped the contents between them, and together, they began to piece together of big ben in London.

Harry worked on the bottom edge of the puzzle as Hermione put together the top. Every so often when he knew she was too preoccupied with the problem in front of her, he would sneak a glance of her working. It had been a year since they had become friends, but he never quite tired of being with her and watching her work together.

To him, Hermione was a mystery. As much as he knew about her, there was something about her that was so vastly different than anyone he had ever met — given he hadn’t met many people. Still, something about her beaconed him to learn more about her. He didn’t know if he would ever figure out what made her such a mystery to him, but he was determined to at least try and solve the puzzle.

“Harry.” Hermione’s voice interrupted his thoughts, and he hurried to bury his face back into the puzzle before she looked up and caught him staring.

Harry began putting pieces together — even though most of them were wrong — and responded with a simple Hmmm.

“There’s something I need to tell you,” she continued.

Harry looked up to see Hermione scowling very concentrated on formulating what exactly she wanted to say and how she wanted to say it.

Harry smiled and said, “You can tell me anything.”

She returned his smile but shifted her attention to the puzzle before resuming, “Well, as you know this year, we both move schools since we are headed into secondary school. We both were going to end up at Stone Wall High since our elementary schools feed into it.”

“Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it,” Harry said cheerfully. “Dudley and Piers are going to be going to Smeltings, and I finally won’t have to worry about everyone hating me. Not to mention you will be—“

Harry cut off as he looked up and saw a disappointed look on Hermione’s face. Why was she disappointed? Did she not want to go to school with him? Had she tired of him already without Dudley threatening her?

“What?” Harry asked concerned. “Are you disappointed that you’ll be going to school with me next year?”

“No, it’s not that.” she replied.

“Are you worried about being at a new school? Because I completely understand that.” Harry continued to probe.

“No, Harry.” She paused, thinking for a second before continue, “Well, actually yes that one a little, but no.”

“Then what is it Hermione?” Harry demanded, tiring of the game.

“Harry, I’m not going to Stone Wall,” Hermione confessed, tearing up from the disappointment.

How could Harry possible like her ay more if she was just up and abandoning him. They had spent their last year of friendship talking, planning, scheming and dreaming about this year. They would finally be able to hang out more without anyone caring or interfering. They could finally go out and have fun away from Hermione’s home. They both would finally have a friend at school, and Hermione wouldn’t have to be the freaky know-it-all at school — well she might still be that, but she wouldn’t be alone this time.

Harry stared at her, stunned with her announcement. He didn’t know what to feel about it. He was mad because she was leaving him to once again face the horrors of school alone, but he was heartbroken, knowing they wouldn’t be able to spend all that time together. How could this have happened? Not but a week ago, they had discussed their classes and excitement for the new school year.

“How?” Harry barely mustered to say.

“I got accepted into a private school for gifted children. We found out today before you showed up. Mother and I were discussing it when you knocked.”

Hermione paused, waiting for Harry to say something. However, he didn’t move. He didn’t speak. He didn’t even blink. He just stared off trying to process her news.

“Oh, Harry. It’s a really great opportunity of me. I will finally be challenged in my school work and be able to get a better education than Stone Wall. I’ll have so many more opportunities open up in my future if I go. My parents really aren’t giving me an option, but I want to go anyways. It’s a really big deal for me.”

Hermione stated everything as quickly as she could as if trying to get it out before Harry could interrupt her. Her breathing was deep and ragged, but her eyes never left him. He just stared at the puzzle piece in his hand.

“Oh, Harry please say something,” Hermione begged.

Harry looked up at her, meeting her eyes. Tears threatened to breach the edge, and her eyes appeared hollow as if her soul had fled and pain and sorrow filled in in its stead. He honestly just didn’t know what to say.

Harry was absolutely excited for her. He was proud that she had gotten into such a school with prestige. She was smart, and he had always known that. He was proud to see that other people also recognized it, but he was also filled with a horrible agony of disappointment. He had looked forward to having a friend at school for the first time, and now, he was just going to be alone all over again.

“Harry?” Hermione softly said, reaching over the puzzle and touching his bicep. “Harry?”

Harry shook himself from his thoughts and smiled at her, “Congratulations, Hermione. That’s absolutely wonderful. I’m so proud of you.”

Hermione returned his smile before saying, “Thanks.” She bit her bottom lip as if hesitant to continue, “You know, we’ll be okay, Harry. I’ll come back on breaks, and we will hang out.”

Harry smirked. “Promise? You won’t leave me to live with Dursleys without you again?”

“Of course not!” Hermione said acting appalled at the very thought, causing the two to laugh.

Harry grinned at Hermione. “Friends forever?”

“Always.” Hermione replied.

Harry hopped up from where he was sitting. He bowed to her and offered his hand, “One last dance till then shall we?”

“Really, Harry? We’re in the middle of my room.” Hermione giggled.

“Since when does it matter where we are?” Harry replied appalled at her rejection.

Hermione just grinned and pushed the puzzle aside. She took his hand and stood up, allowing herself to be twirled around the room.

The two laughed and played around as they danced in the confined space, but soon, the two settled into a slower dance. Hermione nuzzled her face into Harry’s neck, and Harry pulled her closer not quite ready to let her go. She was all he had had in life, and he knew he was about to lose her. He didn’t know what was going to happen after this moment.

All he did know is that this year was going to suck without her.

~~~~

A/N: I’m as old as Dumbledore on this site. I wander back on every so often, and this is probably one of the hardest times I’ve had being back. A lot of friends have moved on. A lot of validators and administration has come and gone. The forums are gone (my heart broke at that), and many people I once knew are gone. But I owe much to this site even now as I wrote that chapter. So if anything I wanted to expand one last story for you all to enjoy. Will I write more after this story? I don’t know we will see, but I really wanted to leave one last thing for anyone still on here to enjoy. So I will be expanding Under the Stars Tonight as so many people requested I do long ago. So if you are old to the story, this is for you; if you are new to the story, welcome to the family. HPFF is and will always be the greatest family I have. Here is where true unity comes together and divides do not exist. Be kind to each other on here because the friends I made on here long ago are honestly some of the greatest people I have ever known. Respect each other no matter your opinion and encourage each other because this was what has made me the writer I am today. Please leave a Review. I would love to hear your opinion, thoughts or just to meet you.

Love Always,

AmGinny


Chapter 3: Letters and Farewell
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Dedicated to all the amazing staffers that made this site what it was. To LovelyRita who promoted our stories and entertained us with countless stories and podcasts. To WeasleyTwinMom who was actually our mom sometimes on here. To Snitchsister who wow-ed us every time we turned on a podcast with your amazing voices and pure talent. To the countless Validators who worked countless hours on approving our stories so we could read wonderful, time consuming stories, and to the countless Prefects and Staffers who ran the forums and made every summer an amazing time, competing for the House Cup, allowing us to learn about team work, friendship and our shared love for Harry Potter despite never meeting in person. I know no matter how old I get, how long its been or how much changes this place will always be here to welcome me home. Love you all and thanks for everything you do. We owe you all a lot for keeping Harry Potter alive even after the magic stopped being new. ~AmGinny

A/N: Parts of the letter directly pulled from Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone located on page 39. No infridgement is intend from the use of this, and no money is being made by myself or HPFF. Rights remain with JK Rowlling, bloomsbury publishing and scholastic books.

Chapter 3: Letters and Farewells

It had been two weeks since Hermione had told Harry she wouldn’t be attending Stone Wall with him. He was disappointed, but he didn’t let her see that. He continued to play the role of her best friend as best as he could until she left. However, that didn’t stop him from spending his time away from her moping in his closet.

For what it was worth, the broom closet which the Dursleys had converted into his room was not the hardest part of his life. The close quarters were almost comforting in time like this. He never had to worry about someone bothering him since it was so tight. Actually, if he was in his closet, the Dursleys hardly cared to bang on his door or disturb him at all. They mainly left him alone until they wanted him to cook dinner.

Today would be no different. Hermione had begun to pack since her family were going to visit Paris for a family trip before she headed off to school so Harry had spent his entire day with her yesterday to say good-bye until Christmas. 

Harry turned over and looked at the letter sitting on the edge of his bed leaned against the wall. His name was written across the front in smooth, cursive lines. Hermione had given him the letter as they had part ways, but he was honestly too nervous to open it. What if this was the last thing he ever got from her? What if this was the final pages of their friendship? 

He laid back on his back. He couldn’t do it. He wasn’t ready to really say good-bye. She was going to a different school, and he knew eventually she’d forget about him. He just didn’t want to speed up the process of it being over.

Harry was jolted from his thoughts as his aunt went about her daily routine of waking him up.

“Get up! Up!” Aunt Petunia screeched as she rapped on his door repeatedly.

“Now!” She bellowed one last time before Harry heard her stalk away.

Mornings at the Dursleys were the worst. They were full of yelling, banging and clanging while his brain was far from being alert. Today he at least got to by pass his brain trying to cope with the sounds while it was groggy since he had been up for an hour at this point.

Harry pushed himself up from the bed before dressing as best he could in the tight conditions. Once dressed, he headed for the front door and picked up the mail laying on the rug. He began to unconsciously shuffle through it.

He really never understood why he looked at it, but for shear curiosity, he couldn’t help but to snoop through it. However, today he was caught off guard by the surprise awaiting him at the bottom of the stack. An old worn envelop laid at the bottom with his name on it.

Harry stopped just before the door way of the kitchen, dropping the rest of the mail on the ground at his feet. Not only was it addressed to him, it was addressed to his cupboard:

MR Harry Potter
The Cupboard under the Stairs
4 Privet Drive
Little Whinging
Surrey

He couldn’t believe it. Whoever had sent him the letter, knew exactly who he was and where he slept. He didn’t think anyone even knew he lived at 4 Privet Drive. 

“Why the hell did you drop the mail, boy? Ruddy lazy kid. Must I do everything myself,” said Uncle Vernon as he plowed Harry out of his way.

“Sorry, Uncle Vernon.” Harry muttered, fearing what Uncle Vernon would do seeing the letter in Harry’s hand.

Uncle Vernon didn’t seem to notice the letter in Harry’s hands and picked up the discarded bills and junk mail before making his way into the kitchen. Harry looked quizzically at Vernon. He had never seen the Dursleys ignore Harry with something addressed to him in his hands. He hadn’t received much over the years, true, but the few times he had, the Dursleys had been instantly on top of him and taking it long before he could ever read it.

Harry was confused. He walked into the kitchen and laid the letter beside his plate at the table. “Go mind the bacon, Harry,” ordered Aunt Petunia as she placed the toast on the table. She also didn’t seem to notice the letter.

Harry picked it back up and walked over to the stove before setting it on the counter beside him. He flipped the bacon and cooked it until his Aunt walked over and took it. She brushed him out of the way and threw the hot pad onto his letter. He stood there, watching as she finished up the bacon.

“What are you staring at? Go sit down.” Aunt Petunia yelled.

Harry was about to attempt to walk around her and grab the letter, but she had already grabbed the pad and letter and walked to the table, throwing down the letter and then the pad before setting the pan on it. Harry just stared at the phenomenon.

Aunt Petunia acted like she didn’t even know there was a letter underneath the hot pad. She appeared completely unaware that she had picked up anything other than padded fabric. Harry walked over to the table before taking a seat and filling his plate.

He spent the rest of breakfast watching the letter which was protruding from beneath the pan full of bacon. No one said anything about it. Uncle Vernon talked about his business and a big contract he was about to land as Aunt Petunia updated him about the neighbors —spending a significant amount of time on how the Grangers appear to be packing for a trip and how the drive will look “more up class with that rubbish gone for a few weeks.”

Harry sat quietly and watched the letter.

Once breakfast ended, Uncle Vernon headed off to work, Dudley went up stairs to play with his new birthday presents that had managed to survive the week, and Aunt Petunia went to dye the rest of his clothes for Stone Wall which required gray uniforms, leaving Harry to clean up the kitchen. Harry couldn’t complain as he appeared mesmerized by the letter that had escaped the Dursleys attention. 

Harry hurried to clear off the table and clean the dishes so he could escape and investigate his letter further. Once finished, he wandered outside. He hid himself in the hedges separating number four from the street.

Harry looked at the letter turning it over and over in his hands. He flipped it over to see a red seal with a coat of arms holding it shut. On the seal was a lion’s head, a snake, a badge and an eagle with a large H in the center. Whoever had sent this to him must have been determined to let him know it was for him only. 

Harry heard a russling in the brush nearest to the street. He curled himself up, making himself as small as possible to prying eyes. Hermione appeared through the branches and crawled in next to him.

“Hi.” She said, “I saw you crawl in here. We are about to leave. I just kind of wanted to see you one last time before we headed out.”

Harry forced a smile. He didn’t want her to go, but he wasn’t going to tell her that. “I’m going to miss you,” was all Harry could manage to respond.

“I’m going to miss you too, Harry.” Hermione replied before hugging him and nestling herself against him.

Harry didn’t say anything. He just held her. 

Time passed but neither was willing to say what they knew they must say. Neither wanted the moment to end. Finally, Hermione sighed and broke the silence, “I have to go now. My parents are waiting.”

“I know,” Harry whispered, not pulling himself away from her.

Hermione finally made the move to pull away and smiled at him. “I’ll see you in a few months,” she said giving him a reassuring touch.

Harry forced another smile. Hermione began to crawl out of their hiding place, but Harry was burning to ask her. “Hermione?” He called.

She twisted in her crouch to look at him, waiting for him to speak. “Erm…I got a letter today in the mail.”

“Oh?” Hermione questioned, “Who from?”

“I don’t know.” He paused letting it soak in his mind for a moment. “I’m afraid to open it. What if it’s something bad? I mean I don’t know anyone besides you.”

“What if it’s something good,” Hermione countered. 

Harry dropped his eyes, knowing Hermione was right, but he was still scared. What if it was just a mistake? What if it wasn’t meant for him? What if it was just a cruel joke from Dudley or Piers?

Harry heard Hermione shift and crawl back toward him. She crouched in front of him before pushing his head up with her hand. “Read it, Harry. There is nothing in that letter that could make your life worse. It can only get better from here,” she comforted. 

For the first time, Harry smiled. That thing inside Hermione was beaconing to him again. It was harder to resist. Something was different inside of him. He wanted to be closer to her. He wanted to feel her next to him, but Hermione broke away from him, causing the emotions to vanish. 
 
“I have to go, Harry. I’ll see you soon,” she said apologetically. 

With that, she was gone. Harry sat there listening as she scurried across the road. He knew better than leaving right now. Aunt Petunia would surely be at the window watching the Grangers’ departure, and he did not want to deal with the Dursleys’ finding out about his friendship with the Grangers and their “horribly, ugly daughter.”

Harry watched as Hermione threw her back pack into the car. She leaned down beside the door, appearing to tie her shoe as she secretly waved goodbye too him. He smiled and slowly waved his hand back at her despite knowing she could not see it. 

The Grangers’ car backed out of the drive, and he watched as the turned the corner at the end of Privet Drive, feeling so very alone once more.

Harry picked up the letter, turning it over and over again in his hands. The fear was still there. This could be the worst thing he ever receives in the mail. It could however also be the best. Harry stared at the thin, slanted writing on the front of the envelop. 

Hermione’s words echoed in his ear. He had trusted her with everything since the moment he had met her. There was little he feared to tell her; there was even less she ended up wrong about. 

Read it. Hermione’s voice repeated.

With a deep sigh, Harry broke the seal and pulled out the thick paper.

Dear Mr. Potter,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been formally accepted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Enclosed is a list of all necessary books and equipment as well as your ticket on the Hogwarts Express. The train leaves at 11 in the morning sharp so please don’t be late. Term begins September 1. We look forward to seeing you at Hogwarts.

Yours Sincerely,
Minerva McGonagall
Deputy Headmistress

A second letter sat behind it:

Mr. Potter,

Considering the circumstances, we are sending our gamekeeper Hagrid to escort you to get your supplies as well as see you to the Hogwarts Express. He will arrive the day prior to your departure at which time he will also inform your guardians of the situation.

Albus Dumbledore.

This was a cruel joke even from Dudley’s standards. How in the world had he even managed to come up with this whole idea? Dudley was thicker than an oak door; he would have never been able to even spell words like Dumbledore and Hogwarts.

Harry placed the second letter behind the first and stared at the list of supplies. He gapped at the list in front of him with disbelieving eyes, but there was something weird about this all. It almost felt right. It almost felt like there was truth to it. 

He dropped the papers into his lap with the papers, finding himself stunned.

What if it wasn’t a joke? That would make him….That would make him a wizard…

A/N:

I hope you all enjoyed the third chapter. It’s getting harder to write. Not in the way that I don’t know where it is going — though I’m not sure I know that, but I feel like its becoming more emotional to me, knowing this could be my last one. I hope I can do it the justice it deserves. Please let me know what you think in the reviews. I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and feedback. Also, feel free to go venture and check out my old stuff. Thanks for reading.

Love Always,

AmGinny

 


Chapter 4: Surprises
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Dedication: To Jay, the founder of our wonderful site. You’ve created a world in which Potterheads could gather together to form deep, meaningful friendships and a place allowing us to dwell in our favorite world. Thank you for the time you’ve spent building and running this world. Thank you for not creating it and forgetting about us. Thank for the years of participation you gave to it. You were our friend as much as the founder of all this. You participated in events, podcasts, validating, and so much more. You were the head of this wonderful place, but you always treated us like friends and family. Thank you for holding us to a higher standard in writing. I will never find a fan fiction site that required so much of its authors, and to this day, I have appreciated that detail the most. I know no matter what I am reading on here it satisfies a higher standard of writing and is always worth my time. Thank you for all you’ve given us. We owe a lot to you for creating a world that allows Harry Potter to continue to live in our lives.

A/N: I do not own the sorting hat song. "The Sorting Hat Song" is from Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone located on page 88 and owned by JK Rowling, and no infridgement is intend by its use. I'm just an awful writer for not wanting to come up with something more original, and poetry was never truly my forte. Hopefully, you wall can forgive me. The song belongs to JK Rowling, and neither I nor HPFF make money off of its use.


Chapter 4: Surprises

Harry stood looking up at the Crimson train sitting on the tracks puffing smoke out of its engine. It looked like a normal train, but for Harry, it was a new life away from the Dursleys. He knew that it would only be for the school year, but compared to attending Stone Wall and living every day with them, this was for a lifetime.

“AHHHHH!!!” Harry jumped at the sound of two girls screaming. He glanced over to see them embrace each other and begin to rattle off a conversation about their summers as fast as they could. Their parents stood behind them, talking to each other, laughing and smiling. Harry looked around the platform, watching family after family hug and say their farewells to each other.

He settled on a family full of red heads. The mother hugged one of the sons. He was already dressed in his robes which were accented with a gold and red tie, a patch of a lion and a badge with a giant “P” emblazoned on it. He shook his father’s hand before walking off and disappearing into the crowd.

Three sons and a daughter were left. The daughter held onto her mom’s hand while the boys hugged their mother goodbye. Two of the boys appeared to be twins, identical in every way apart from the actual clothes they were wearing. They towered above their brother who appeared to be right around Harry’s age. The mother hugged him the youngest with a tear rolling down her face.

Harry was suddenly hit with a wave of loneliness. An image of his parents hugging him with tears running down their face as they sent off their only — perhaps their oldest in hopes he would have had siblings — son off for the first time to Hogwarts. Suddenly, in a place full of families and friends, Harry longed for Hermione to be there with him again. He knew she wasn’t family, but she would have been a person he at least belonged with — and he wanted to believe he would have joined her family in their farewells.

Harry let out a deep sigh and began attempting to load his trunk onto the train. After a few moments of struggling, a man with dark hair walked up to him and offered to help him load it onto the train. Harry murmured his thanks, and the man flicked his wand, levitating the trunk onto the train.

Harry picked up the cage holding his snow white owl, Hedwig and followed the man through the train into an empty compartment. The man levitated the trunk onto the luggage rack and said, “There you go.”

He smiled down at Harry before lifting his eyes to Harry’s hair line. “I was wondering when we would be seeing you,” said the stranger.

“Excuse me?” Harry stated, confused at the statement.

“You are Harry Potter. We’ve waited a long time for you to come home to us.” He paused, allowing the weight of Harry’s past to settle over him. “Welcome back. I bet you’re a bit overwhelmed and may be feeling a bit out of place.”

Harry tried to refrain from acknowledging the fears, but the man’s words evoked a feeling of comfort and safety for Harry causing him to give a small nod. The man knelt down until he was eye level with Harry. He laid a had on the young boy’s shoulder before saying, “Don’t worry. You’ll fit in here more than you ever have in your life. This is where you belong, Harry. No matter what happens in the future, this is your new home.”

The man smiled again at Harry before standing up and patting him on the back. The man left the compartment, and Harry took a seat under the luggage rack. He looked out the window and watched as the man exited the train and joined a woman waiting near the entrance to platform nine and three-quarters.

The man wrapped his arm around the woman’s waist before beginning to walk away together. The train blared its horn, signaling its 11 o’clock departure. The man paused for a moment, turning around and waving to Harry in the window. Harry waved back as his watched the man’s wife lean against the stranger.

The wife looked up at the man and said something to the dark haired stranger as the train began to take off. The stranger’s hand hung in the air for a second more after he had quit waving, watching the train pick up speed and make its way out of the station, and Harry watched as he and the woman disappeared through the entrance.

****

Harry looked out the window as the country side flew past him. Harry had lost track of how long it had been since the train had left King’s Crossing. He had past the time mostly by looking out the window. A lady pushing a trolley had come by soon after leaving and asked if he had wanted anything off the cart. Harry having never had anything on it bought a bit of everything which now laid piled beside him forgotten. Harry was ready to get to Hogwarts so that he would have a bit more to do.

He heard the door to his compartment slide open, and he turned around to look. The youngest red headed boy he had seen back at the station stood in the door. “Mind if I join you,” asked the boy.

Harry nodded and watched as the boy shut the door and took the seat across from him. “My name is Ron Weasley.”

“I’m Harry Potter.” He replied.

“Are you really?” Ron said excitedly.

“Yeah.”

“Blimey, I can’t believe it’s you. Fred and George will never believe me when I tell them.”

Harry’s face flushed at the attention; most people had always ignored him once they found out who he was. While it was a nice twist, he hoped he wouldn’t attract unwanted attention simply for his name. Harry let silence fall between them, and Ron looked out the window.

“If you don’t mind me asking, where have you been this whole time if you are joining me so late into the trip?” Harry asked.

“I was in a compartment with my twin brothers, Fred and George.”

“Oh, I bet that was fun.” Harry chimed, thinking it would have been wonderful to travel with family.

“Actually, not really.” Ron confessed, “Fred and George can be cruel to just get a laugh. They’re family and I love them, but sometimes they toe the line between being funny and hurting someone for a laugh. I just kind of wanted some peace and quiet.”

Ron had looked away from Harry as if embarrassed by the conversation and for invading Harry’s space. “I’m glad you left then,” Harry comforted. “I was actually getting a bit bored and lonely. i’ve been here alone the whole time, and I was really wishing I had someone to join me.”

Ron perked up and began to engage in conversations with Harry. Harry had a bit of trouble following along in the conversations sometimes due his lack of knowledge about the wizarding world, but he was learning a tons from Ron.

“What house do you think you’ll be in?” asked Ron.

“House?”

“Blimey! You don’t know!”

“Know what?”

“Every first year student is sorted into a house at Hogwarts. There are four houses: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. Throughout your time at Hogwarts, your house kind of acts like your family. You eat with them, you attend classes with them, you share a dormitory with them. They’re who you end up spending all your time with. I personally want to be in Gryffindor — It’s probably where I’ll end up; my whole family has been sorted into Gryffindor.”

Harry didn’t know anything about the houses, making it impossible to know which one he wanted to be sorted into. However, Ron seemed like he’d be a good friend so Gryffindor would be a good option since he’d like to think he’d have a friend already in the house.

“Slytherin is the worst. You don’t want to be in Slytherin.” Ron continued.

“Why not?” Harry asked.

“There’s never been a witch or wizard to come out of that house that wasn’t evil. You-know-who himself came out of that house. I reckon someone has told you about him.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard of him.”

Hagrid had told Harry about you-know-who when they had been eating in Diagon Alley the night before. He had told Harry how his parents had really died at You-Know-Who’s hand. He had told him that he was the only one to ever have survived an attack by He-who-must-be-named. Harry had tried to get Hagrid to say You-Know-Who’s name, but the gamekeeper refused to say it despite saying the great wizard had been vanquished by Harry.

Harry had no desire to belong to a house that had once played home to Harry’s parents’ killer. He could live with being in any of the houses as long as it was not the one where HE had resided. Any house would be alright as long as it wasn’t Slytherin.

“I reckon we are about there. We’d better get changed,” Ron said. By the time the two boys had changed into their Howarts uniforms, the Hogwarts Express was pulling into the station.

Harry and Ron made their way off the train and onto the platform outside where they heard a boom voice bellowing, “First years! First years this way, please! Gather around here. First years!”

Harry recognized the voice immediately and — with Ron in tow — hurried off in the direction of the voice. He forced his way to the front of the pack before saying, “Hi, Hagrid.”

“Well, ‘ello there, Harry,” Hagrid said. “Have a good ride here?”

“Yeah, I did. This is Ron.” Harry pointed to the red-headed boy beside him.

Hagrid said hello before yelling, “Follow me. We’re going to take boats across the lake to get to the castle.”

Harry and Ron followed Hagrid and climbed into one of the small  boats where a third boy joined them. As soon as the third boy sat down, the boat took off for the opposite shore.

Harry looked up at the sea of stars above him. Living in the suburbs of England, he had never seen quite this many stars. With hardly any lights emitting off the castle and no nearby cities, the black sky was filled with thousands — maybe millions — of stars. The lake reflected the magnificent castle against the dark sky as the stars appeared to accent the majesty of the castle.

The  boat slid quietly onto the shore, and the boy in the front climbed out and held the boat steady as Ron and Harry made their way out. Harry stood on the beach looking up at the castle which sat on the hill in front of him. It’s windows glowed in contrast against the midnight blue sky. Torches adorned every door appearing on the outside of the castle, and every so often you would see a stain glass window, glistening against the candles lit inside the castle.

Harry had never felt so small in the world as he had in that moment. The world he had lived in back at Privet Drive seemed so small now in this moment. He felt like he had lived in a bubble his whole life, and in this moment, that bubble was popped, opening his eyes to a world beyond what he had ever know. Standing in this moment, he knew his life would never be the same, but something inside of him told him that the dark haired man back at King’s Crossing had been right about this new life. He would belong here in this world more than he ever belonged back at Privet Drive.

Ron nudged Harry from his thoughts, and the two boys joined the mass of first years climbing the stairs up to the castle. Hagrid lead the group into the castle and through a set of double doors in which an overwhelming chorus of students talking wandered out of. Hagrid led the group down the middle aisle between the tables and to the front of the room.

Hagrid walked off to the side of the room as a older woman in dark green robes walked to the front of the stage and placed a rickety old stool with an old, patched up hat on it beside her. She took a step away from the hat and waited.

Harry looked around, wandering what exactly what they were waiting for. Suddenly, the hat opened where it appeared the stitching had worn away and began to sing,

“Oh, you may not think I’m pretty,
But don’t judge on what you see,
I’ll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me..."

The Sorting Hat continued his song describing each house's traits and qualities. Soon enough, the hat settled into silence, and the hall erupted into applause and cheers. Ron leaned over to Harry and said, “This is what I mean. Fred and George told me we’d have to tame a hippogriff to determine our house. I’m going to kill them!”

Harry didn’t know what a hippogriff was, but if the test was as easy as putting on a hat, he felt much better about being sorted. He just had to worry about not being sorted into Slytherin now.

The woman in the green robes raised her hands to calm the room before saying, “When I call your name, you will take your seat on the stool, and I will place the hat on your head. Once the hat calls out your house, you will join your house table. The one on the far wall to your right is Gryffindor…”

The table exploded with cheers, but quickly quieted at the look the woman threw their way. She continued once the table had quieted, “then, Ravenclaw (the table applauded, but much quieter.), Hufflepuff, and Slytherin on the far wall to your left.”

She unrolled a rolled up piece of parchment and called out, “Abott, Hannah.”

A meek, scared girl climbed the stairs. She took a seat on the stool, and the woman placed the hat on the girls head; the hat fell over half of the girl’s face. A few moments passed before the hat cried, “HUFFLEPUFF!”

The table decorated in yellow and black erupted with cheers, and the professor lifted the hat off the girl’s head; the girl hurried down the stairs to join her new family. The sorting ceremony was quickly well underway, and as the crowd of first years began to thin, Harry’s nerves grew more and more with every passing moment.

His worst fear would be to end up in Slytherin, but having to find a new friend if he and Ron didn’t end up in the same house, did not help sooth Harry either. Harry never felt like he was particularly good with meeting new people and making friends easily. Hermione hadn’t been so hard since he hadn’t felt much of a need to talk the night they met. After the first night, they both fell into an easy flowing and carefree friendship. There was never a pressure to talk, and sometimes they would simply build things, do science experiments or play in silence for hours.

Ron had made things on the train easy as well. He had done most of the talking. Harry had asked a question here or there, but Ron was never short of things to say, opinions on what he was talking about or information on the wizarding world. Harry was sure having six siblings had made the young boy get overlooked and ignored as much as Harry had been at the Dursleys. Ron appeared enthusiastic on the train to have someone to talk to. Harry was just happy to have a friend.

“Granger, Hermione,” called the professor suddenly knocking Harry from his thoughts.

A/N: Wow. I cannot believe how long these are ending up! I never thought when I wrote that one-shot back in 2010, it would have turned into four chapters, averaging around 2.5k words each. AND I’M NOT DONE!!! Crazy. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday last week. With Easter and covering my boss at work while he was on vacation, I decided to hold off on posting this chapter. I actually hadn’t written it yet, and then I did and lost the flash drive it was on (UGH). So I had to rewrite it, and let me tell you the rewrite is way better. Very happy with how this turned out, and I hope you enjoy it. As you can see, there were some surprise for you, Harry and even for me. Tell me what you think of this chapter. There were a couple new faces — who is the mysterious stranger???? — and events that occurred so I would love to hear your thoughts on it all. Cheers!

Love Always,

AmGinny


Chapter 5: Reunited
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Chapter 5: Reunited

Harry’s head whipped up to look at the girl with bushy, brown hair sitting on the stool. He could not believe his eyes. After all this time, he thought she had been going to a prestigious school for gifted children, but now as he stood there looking at her, it all made sense.

Hagrid had said Hogwarts was the best Wizarding school in Europe, one of the eleven most prestigious Wizarding Schools in the world. Of course, now it clicked. Hermione was a witch and enrolled in Hogwarts since the moment she was born. Naturally, not knowing Harry was a wizard as well, she had had to make up an excuse as to why she wasn’t going to Stone Wall. Hagrid had said there was a International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy as well so she wouldn’t be able to tell him the truth.

Harry stood there bouncing on the balls of his feet as the hat cried out Gryffindor. Hermione hopped off the stool and hurried off to her new found family unaware of Harry’s presence. 

Now, without a doubt, Harry wanted to be in Gryffindor. He had no desire to be in Slytherin, and with the sudden appearance of Hermione, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw seemed dull in comparison. He knew he wouldn’t get to choose, but he had to hope.

Harry bounced faster as the sorting slowly past by. It seemed to take forever to get the “P’s”. 

Harry watch as a round kid with bucked teeth stumbled his way up the steps and on to the rickety stool. It seemed to take forever for the sorting hat to decide where to place him. Harry didn’t really understand why since the clear choice was Hufflepuff, but after what seemed — to Harry – to be several long minutes, the hat cried out, “Gryffindor.” 

Harry stopped his bouncing for a moment, stunned at the announcement, but he soon quickly decided he didn’t care much and resumed bouncing on the balls of his feet, impatient for his name to be called. Harry watched a pale, smug-looking blonde haired boy take the stool and be sorted into Slytherin almost immediately. A few more students were called up, but soon the Professor called out, “Potter, Harry.”

 

Harry heard a tiny squeak off to his right and knew it was Hermione but was suddenly rooted to his spot unable to react or move. He looked at Ron who reassured him with a nod, and Harry slowly made his way to the stool. Harry attempted to catch a glimpse of Hermione as he took his seat, but the hat fell over his eyes before he could find her.

Looking into an abyss of black, Harry was forced away from the environment surrounding him. He tried to be patient but felt himself wandering in his mind, thinking through today’s circumstances. One thought simply kept repeating in his head, Anything but Slytherin. Anything but Slytherin. 

Not Slytherin? Really? It would push you to do some great things, echoed a voice in his head.

It startled Harry, causing him to almost fall off the backless chair, but he resumed his thinking, Not what was HIS house. Not HIS house. 

Oh ho, you do not wish to follow in his footsteps?

No, replied Harry.

Hmmm…Well, then… if it is a path opposite of his that you desire, than it best be….”GRYFFINDOR!” Cried the Sorting Hat.

A chorus of cheers broke out from the house on the far right of the Grand Hall. It was the loudest of the night, but Harry didn’t care. He was scanning the room as soon as the professor lifted the hat off his head and quickly rushed to the Gryffindor table, trying to refrain from running. Harry saw Hermione gleaming at him as he made his way across the hall. 

Harry felt many thumps on the back and people attempting to shake his hand as he past down the aisle between Gryffindor and the wall, but Harry paid no mind to them. He had eyes for only one person and she for him.

She slid over on the bench, making room for him. Harry saw her body tense as he grew closer, restraining herself from running and embracing him in a hug. Harry sat down, putting the least amount of acceptable distance between them as he could.

As soon as Harry had settled into his seat, Hermione reached over under the table and slid her hand into his, interlocking their hands for the first time. Harry looked over at her and saw the glint of excitement and thrill sparkling in her eyes. It was taking everything inside him from closing the space between them and embracing her for the first time in weeks, but they both knew it would do neither of them any good creating more of a scene than Harry was already creating on their first night at Hogwarts.

Harry looked up to watch Ron be sort into Gryffindor. Everything would have to wait until after….

****

Harry waited until he heard deep, slow breaths coming from the other four beds in the room before he slipped out of his covers and walked to the door. He slowly pried the door open to the point he could slide out unnoticed. Quickly closing down the door behind him, he rushed down the stairs to the common room where he saw Hermione pacing in the middle of the room.

Seeing him hurrying down the stairs, Hermione rushed over, threw herself into his arms, and whispered, “Harry…” 

She pulled away from him and once again took his hand, leading him to the couch in front of the fireplace while saying, “I wasn’t sure if you’d be here. I was so happy when I heard Professor McGonnagal call you’re name. I was worried we ended up at different schools.”

Harry looked at her confused and felt his voice catch in his throat. He had so many questions, so many things he wanted to say but was struggling to find the words to say them. Finally, Hermione reached up and touched his face before saying, “Breathe, Harry.”

As if she had said the magic words, his throat and his head cleared, and he found his voice, “You knew?”

“Yes.” She paused, pondering for a moment before continuing, “Well, kind of. I didn’t know until I was on vacation and had no way to reach you to check for sure, but I read through my school books while on vacation, and soon enough, I was reading about this great Harry Potter who had vanquished the Dark Lord when he was just a baby.”

Harry looked at her stunned. There are books written about me, Harry thought, but Hermione showed no notice to his starstruck look and plowed ahead, “At first, I thought it couldn’t be that same boy who lived across the street. It couldn’t be my Harry Potter.” I’m her Harry Potter? “But the more I read the more I knew it had to be you. The only thing is that there are Wizarding Schools across the world. You could have been at any one of them. I figured once I boarded the train and saw no sign of you, you must have been accepted to another school, and we weren’t lucky enough to end up at the same place after all. I had hoped we would. I missed you terribly so on vacation, but there was nothing I could do if you were enrolled at another school. Our names have been on the lists since birth who was I to cause you to forsake your destiny at another institution.”

“You’re my best friend,” Harry said as if that was a good enough reason as any for him to be convinced to give up another Wizarding School for her.

Hermione blushed at his comment but smiled grateful for the honor. Harry was still curious though, “You didn’t know about any of this before you left for vacation then?”

Hermione shook her head and said, “No, I had just received my letter that day you came over. Mom and I had been discussing it before you showed up. We couldn’t discuss it with you since you were a muggle, and it’s against our laws to disclose it. When we heard you knock, we agreed to tell you a partial truth but keep the facts obscure so you wouldn’t be tempted to check things out.”

Harry sat there processing it all. He didn’t question any of it if he was being honest. He was just very content having her here with him and no longer being alone in this new world. 

“Harry, I was dying to tell you. You were the only person I wanted to talk to about it, and I couldn’t.” 

“I know. That’s how I was with you.”

“When did you — the letter?”

Harry nodded, knowing she was thinking back to the day in the bush. Hermione smiled and pushed his shoulder before squealing, “You actually read it! I didn’t know if you actually would. You read it because I told you to!” 

This time it was Harry’s turn to blush as he murmured, “Yeah, I thought it was a joke at first. I thought Dudley was being extremely cruel, but I don’t think he’s smart enough to invent the names they used.”

“How did your aunt and uncle take it?” she questioned.

“Uhhhhh, not so well.” Harry chuckled. “They were actually kind of furious. Apparently, they knew and were hiding it from me my entire life. Can’t exactly say I’m surprised, but I was pretty mad when I found out they had lied about my parents death.”

“Oh…right….” Hermione faded off in the tense silence.

“It’s okay.” Harry whispered, forcing the tears to stay at bay.

“I’m sorry, Harry,” comforted Hermione. 

She closed the space between them silently and curled up against his chest. Harry couldn’t help but let the tears fall as he wrapped his arms around her small frame, feeling completely loved for the first time in his life. The tears rolled down his face, and Harry let the silence fall between them. 

This was the first time he had a moment to fully feel the force of the truth of their deaths since finding out about them, and he didn’t want his voice to betray him to Hermione. Though, he had an inkling she knew he was crying but was acting like she didn’t for his pride’s sake.

 

Hermione pulled herself closer to him, snuggling perfectly under his arm and nuzzling her face into his neck. He thought he could feel a warm liquid on his skin and knew she was crying for him. 

They had become close over the last year. With so few other kids around, it was inevitable from the moment they first met. Harry was glad that their goodbye had been so temporary. He didn’t know if he could have lasted another school year without her. She was the only person who had ever cared about him, and even though he thought about the friendship that would bloom between Ron and him, he didn’t think it would ever be the same as his relationship with Hermione. There was nothing he couldn’t tell her.

“I’m glad you’re here, Hermione,” Harry whispered as he laid his head on hers.

Harry heard her sniffle and felt her hand lift off his stomach. She returned it soon after and  whispered, “I am too. I didn’t know what I was going to do without you.”

Harry smiled against her hair and watched the fire lick the logs invading the cave. He knew they should head to bed soon, but he felt no desire to break this moment up. It was perfect to him. He felt peace wash over him and a foreign feeling of safety. Privet Drive had never been a place he felt at home. It had never been a place away from harm or a place of tranquility.

He had spent many days there being ordered around, beaten up by his cousin or yelled at for something going wrong, but this was different. The room was peaceful as the fire crackled quietly in the fireplace. No one yelled. No one was trying to beat him up. He felt no need to hide. He no longer felt trapped or confined in the space. He just existed. He and Hermione existed in the perfect moment.

“Harry?”

“Hmmmm?” Harry responded as his mind wandered through the peace. 

“Are you nervous about all this?”

“Wouldn’t I be mad if I wasn’t?”

“No? Yes…I guess.” Hermione let the silence.

“You’re bubbling with excitement, aren’t you?” Harry said, smirking against her head.

She shifted her head to look at him, forcing Harry to pull away a bit and look down to see her eyes. They had a mischievous glint to them. Fortunately, when it came to Hermione, it meant a new experiment or some sort of excitement for school. “Is it that obvious?” 

“Hermione, if you weren’t excited, I’d be worried. It’d mean you were actually becoming a normal eleven-year-old.” Harry let out a chuckle as Hermione slapped his shoulder and settled her head back to its original position. “You’ve read all your books then?”

She nodded against his chest.

Harry knew she was smiling taking comfort in his knowledge of her. He let a few moments pass before asking, “What class?”

“What?”

“What class are you most excited for?”

“Why do you th—“

“Hermione, I know you well enough that you already know what you’re favorite class is going to be. So what is it?”

“Transfigurations. Oh, Harry it’s going to be such a challenge! It’s complicated just reading about it. There’s tons of theories, and everything has to be exact from the words you say, the pronunciation, the wand movement —“

Hermione continued to rattle on and on about Transfigurations, and Harry knew he had punctured the dam she had built up to allow him time to grieve. He was enjoying it though. This was how it was suppose to be.

He missed his parents, and there wouldn’t be a day he didn’t wish they were still here. However, there would always be another day to grieve. Another moment that would cause him to long for them. There was only limited time for this though — for Harry and Hermione to be together alone with no need to share the other.

He figured Hermione would not be the problem though. He had had a sense of what life would be like in the Wizarding World during dinner earlier. Everyone wanted to meet and talk to him. He was all the sudden the most popular kid in school without knowing anyone, and he wasn’t really sure how he felt about that when he didn’t even remember the thing that made him so popular. 

The entire idea of fame was strange to him after all these years of being ignored by the Dursleys. He understood why he was famous, but he was just ready to have a normal life. Something in between being famous and being ignored. He felt that if all he had while at Hogwarts was Hermione and Ron he’d be pretty happy with his life here. It was after all already feeling like home.

Harry felt his breathing fall in sync with Hermione’s which had slowed and become drawn out. Harry was vaguely aware that she had gone silent a while ago, but he knew the moment he awoke her was the moment reality would set in and the world they had created in these stolen moments would most likely be shattered in the morn. 

Harry watched as the fire danced in its dominion, consuming the little wood still left in its cave. Harry wondered if he would have to find a way to put it out, but he soon decided it would take care of its self.

He looked down at Hermione sleeping peacefully against him. He didn’t know what it was, but he knew something was shifting between them. They were growing closer with every passing day, and he knew whatever this place had in store for them would only make their friendship stronger.

Letting out a sigh, he knew it was time to end the night and let these solitary moments fade with the passing night before he fell asleep as well. Harry gently touched her shoulder and shook her awake. Hermione awoke groggily and smiled at Harry.

“I fell asleep, didn’t I?”

Harry whispered, “Yeah, but we should head to bed before its too late. We have classes tomorrow, and what would everybody say if Hermione Granger were late for her first class?”

Hermione punched his arm playful but allowed him to help her up. She bade him goodnight and began to climb the stairs to the girls dormitory. Harry watched her until she had disappeared from view before climbing his own stairs, thinking about the warm, welcoming bed awaiting him at the top.

A/N: I’m not really sure who was more tired while I wrote this: Harry, Hermione or I. It’s rather a toss up, but once again, I’m pleasantly surprised by the results. You should all be grateful though as I considered to stop the scene almost immediately after he sat down. I decided it was way too short though, and I could not handle it. I had to keep going, and I think it turned out pretty spot on. I am a bit stuck now though, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Originally, when I thought about expanding this, it was going to be a bunch of moments between Harry and Hermione at Hogwarts building their relationship. I was not originally planning five straight chapters of one story building off each other. I’m not really sure where I’m going now because of this. So are you okay with the moment idea? It’d just kind of skip forward in years and just show the moments building their relationship. Do you want me to continue with the traditional story format and see where it takes me? It’ll still focus heavily on their relationship. I just won’t be churning the chapters out once a week since I’ll have to actually sit down and plan a plot now. I really just would like to hear your thoughts. Feel free to share ideas or input on what you were hoping for, but I’d really appreciate you weigh in! Cheers!

Always,

AmGinny


Chapter 6: Fights and Laughs
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Chapter 6: Fights and Laughs

The weeks past quickly as Harry and Hermione struggled to adjust to their new way of life. The overwhelming load of homework and crazy schedule kept them from spending any time together aside from the stolen moments in the common room after everyone else had gone asleep. Unfortunately, Ron made those secret meetings few and far between.

Ron despised Hermione, and he made sure everyone — including Hermione — knew it too. Ron would spend the first ten minutes after class ranting about her, and today was no different. 

“I can’t stand her. She’s a nightmare,” spouted Ron. “I don’t understand how you can hang out with her.”

Harry made no response trying to ignore Ron as he continued his rant as they walked across the court yard. “Every single day in class, ‘Ooo, Ooo, Ooo,’ mocked Ron hoping as he walked with his hand stuck in the air. “‘Oh please sir, I know the answer. Please pick me because I have to be better than everyone in the room. Oh please, professor.’ Gosh, she’s awful, honestly. I bet if you glued her to the stool, she just hop on the stool.”

Ron continued to rant as they made their way into the castle. Harry was trying to ignore Ron. It wasn’t worth the fight to him, but the closer Harry and Hermione grew, the harder it was to hold his tongue while Ron belittled her. Ron just didn’t understand Hermione. 

She came from a world of fact and science, and this world had shattered everything she previously knew. Hogwarts was a fantasy for Hermione; one she would have shook her head at you a month ago had you tried to tell her it was real. Even if you rid the entire place of actual magic, Hermione would find it just as magical.

“Can you believe her? Constantly correcting everyone else as if she’s the smartest witch in the class. I mean how can she be when she didn’t even grow up wit—“

“Ron, shut up!” Harry yelled, cutting Ron off. He couldn’t take it any more. Hermione was his absolute best friend, and even if Ron couldn’t stand her, Harry was tired of him berating her.

“Harry?” 

“Look Ron. We’re mates, and I know you can’t stand her. I get it. The two of you just don’t get along, but she’s my longest friend. My life would have sucked a lot more if we hadn’t become friends and I get you disliking her, but I can’t handle hearing these rants every day after every class. You may not like her, but you have to get over it. She’s in our house, and she’ll be in all of our classes for years to come. Even if she wasn’t, she’s still going to be around all the time because she’s one of my best mates — just like you. So I don’t know what you have to do to get over it, but you have to get there. I can only take so much more of this.”

Harry turned around and stormed away from a stunned Ron. He walked back out on to the grounds toward the lake. He hurried past the sixth and seventh year couples cuddling under the trees until he found a secluded spot of his own. He threw his bag down beside the tree and plopped down on the roots of the tree, looking out over the lake until he could feel his anger ebbing away.

He felt a bit guilty for yelling at Ron and storming off, but Harry was so tired of him going off about Hermione. If Ron would shut up for ten minutes and get to know her, Harry didn’t think Ron would dislike her so much, but to Ron, Hermione was just the annoying, arrogant classmate that was too socially awkward to be aware of her own affects on others. 

Thing was Hermione was just excited to be learning something completely new. Harry knew Ron wouldn’t really understand, having always had that second world to run into after elementary school, but Hermione and Harry had been learning the exact same thing for the past six years in school and after school it was the exact same thing. Nothing really ever changed for them. Life at school was the exact same as life at home. 

Ron was lucky growing up. He had always lived in the fantasy world Harry had always craved, but Ron would never truly understand that with the fantasy always being his reality. How could he?

“Harry?” said a meek voice behind him.

 Harry turned around to see Hermione standing behind him with her book bag slung over her shoulder. She was clearly unsure if he would want her company and was seeking his permission for her approach. Harry just turned back to look out over the lake, and Hermione — taking his silence as approval — walked around the tree to sit on his right. 

“How did you know I’d be here?” Harry asked.

 “Ron came and found me. He told me you’d stormed off mad at him.” Harry scoffed, finding the whole thing ironic. Hermione ignored it and continued, “He seemed a bit embarrassed about the whole thing, but I didn’t stick around to question him. I ran off to find you. Since there are no bushes to hide in here — that we know of yet, I figured you’d go find the next best thing. Trees by a lake seemed like the best option. I just kept walking until the couples began to thin.”

Harry was unable to prevent the smirk from creeping onto his face. It solidified his anger at Ron; Hermione knew Harry better than anyone else in the world. He was not willing to give that up for Ron.

“So what did he do this time?”

 Harry just continued to stare out at the lake, determined to remain silent about the whole thing. 

 “Come on, Harry. We can sit here all day until you talk, or we can fast forward through the silence and enjoy the time together with the time we save,” bartered Hermione.

 “He just went on one of his rants again,” Harry answered.

 “You mean about me?”

 “Yes. I am so sick of hearing them.”

 “I can’t argue with that.” Hermione muttered.

 “He doesn’t even know you, Hermione. If he invested sometime in getting to know you, he wouldn’t think all those things about you. I mean some of them are true —“

 Hermione looked at Harry, raising one eyebrow questioning him.

 “Oh come on. Sometimes he has a point. Like if we glued you to your seat in class, you’d just hop up and down on your seat to get the professor to call on you.” Harry looked down at Hermione and saw her trying to fight off the smile trying to form on her lips. “Sometimes the stuff is true, but its not funny at the time because its just bunched with a bunch of other stuff that is wrong.”

 Hermione sat in silence as Harry let out the anger he’d built up over the last few weeks. It may have been hard to hear the stuff Ron had been saying about her, but she took comfort in Harry defending her and thinking better of her than who she was here.

 “I just wish he understood that you’re just excited to be here — we both are.” Harry said exasperated. “I wish he could understand that this isn’t the world we grew up in, and you will calm down in a few months when the newness of this place will wear off. He just doesn’t see this place as magical as you do, and that’s what he hates.”

Hermione smiled before saying, “Just give it time, Harry. I’ll try to spend more time with you around him. Eventually, he’ll come around.”

 “Yeah. I know. I just wish he could understand what you mean to me.” Harry sighed. “Come summer, he won’t be there. You will. I don’t want to choose, but if I have to, it’ll always be you.”

 Hermione gently pushed Harry with her shoulder and whispered, “Thanks.”

 The two fell quiet, enjoying the view of the lake. The water splashed against the shore line, lulling the two into a peacefulness as the birds sang overhead. The leafs rustled as a nice breeze blew through the tree. The sun reflected off the lake, highlighting the bugs on the surface for the fish to enjoy in the middle of the afternoon.

 Harry allowed the last of his anger at Ron to float away in the breeze. He just needed to get to know Hermione to understand why she was worth having as a friend.

 “So, transfigurations, is it everything you expected it to be?” Harry asked with a smile. 

 Hermione pushed herself away from Harry in excitement and sat so she could look at him. “Oh my yes, and so much more!” Hermione said, bubbling with joy. Harry chuckled as she continued, “McGonnagal is my favorite professor. She’s so wise!”

 “Doesn’t she…you know,” Harry stumbled over his words, embarrassed by what he was trying to say. “Isn’t she…you know…I mean…Doesn’t she scare you a little bit?”

 Hermione giggled before replying, “Not really. She kind of makes me think that’s what I’ll be like if I never marry.” 

 It was now Hermione’s turn to be embarrassed. It probably wasn’t a very comforting thought for her future, but Harry smiled and said, “Don’t worry. You’ll marry. Any guy would be lucky to have you. Plus I mean if you too can turn into a cat, I’m sure there’s tons of tabby’s looking for a mate.”

 Hermione looked at him horrified and punched him as hard as she could on the arm. Harry just laughed and found himself wondering how Ron could not want to be friends with a girl like this. Hermione was the best person Harry had ever met. True he had probably tripled the number of people he had met in life just in the last few weeks, but even including everyone he’d met at Hogwarts so far, no one was like hermione — the twins were a close second.

 “Alright, Mr. Funny, what is your favorite class? You have to have one by now.”

 “Uhhhh…” Harry stared at her dumbfounded. “Do the flying classes count?”

 “Haaarry!” Hermione yelled pushing him. “A real class. Not the class that got you recruited for a sport.”

 “Alright, Alrgiht. Uh well Charms is alright. Defense against the Dark Arts is pretty cool, but Quirrel is a bit.” Harry paused looking for the exact word he wanted to use to describe the professor. There really wasn’t a way to describe the professor he had met in diagon alley so harry just pressed on, “odd. I don’t know what it is, but he just puts me on edge you know.”

 “Yeah, he does seem to be a bit skittish, does’t he?”

 “Yeah. He just doesn’t seem to be the teacher type you know?”

 “Yeah. So what about a professor then?”

 “Well definitely not Snape. I’m pretty sure he hates me.”

 “Don’t be silly. He’s a professor, Harry. He can’t hate a student.”

 “He also shouldn’t have favorites, but no one is going to argue if I say Malfoy is clearly his favorite.”

 "Alright, but who do you like the best.”

 “I guess if I had to choose it would be Professor Sprout. Hopefully that will change, but she’s pretty nice and friendly. Plus her classes aren’t terribly boring like History of Magic. It’s got as much life to it as the professor.”

 “Harry, that’s mean. I think it’s fascinating!”

 “Hermione, how can you find that class even remotely interesting? Professor Binns stands behind his desk, droning on in one tone. Even you can’t find it that ‘Fascinating’ all the time.”

 Harry and Hermione sat under the tree talking about classes and sharing funny stories about their roommates until the sun began to set. Hermione was leaning against Harry’s shoulder laughing at Harry’s story about Ron waking up screaming about something slimy touching his feet the night before only to find Neville’s frog Trevor under his sheets.

 The two quieted as their laughter was carried away in the air. Hermione let out a sigh before saying, “You know, we should head in. Dinner will be over soon.”

Harry mimicked her sigh, “Yeah, I know.”

Neither moved as they dreaded breaking the first moment alone since the night of the beginning of the year feast. It was the first moment away from classmates and prying eyes that always seemed to watch Harry no matter where he went. 

 But no moment could last forever, and after a few minutes, Harry and Hermione gathered their things and hurried off to the grand hall for the end of dinner. Harry looked over at Hermione just before they entered the hall, knowing he would have to go sit with Ron the moment they walked into the hall. Hermione glanced at him and smiled knowing this was goodbye until next time before crossing the Grand Hall’s threshold and disappearing.

A/N: I think I’ve found a path for the story, and I really hope you enjoy it from here on out. I’m hoping to go back to writing one a week for you and kicking this out. Thanks for your faithfulness in reading this story and the patience you’ve showed me along the way.


Chapter 7: Without You
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Chapter 7: Without You

Harry sat in the plush chair with his legs hanging over the arm, watching the fire lick the wood in the fireplace. He smiled at the memories. The years had past, and eventually, Ron and Hermione became friends. From that moment on, they became inseparable and entering into their fourth year had been no different.

Unfortunately, a quarter of the way through the year things took a turn. Harry's name had been spit out of the goblet, entering him in the Triwizard Tournament despite being too young to qualify. Since that night, Ron hadn't been talking to him.

In fact, most of the school wasn't talking to him because Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw thought he was trying to steal Cedric's glory and…well… Slytherin never liked him. Most of the Gryffindors were friendly with him, but a lot of them were jealous that he hoodwinked his way in.

The only one to stand beside him was the same person who always stood beside him…

"Harry?"

…Hermione.

"Hi." He said somberly.

"Worried about the first task tomorrow?" Hermione asked as she curled herself into the other chair facing Harry.

"A little."

"But mainly Ron?"

"Yeah."

"Use your words, Harry."

"I don't know. I just can't believe he's being such a prat about this whole thing. Every time I turn around or have to deal with something I expect to turn around and have him to talk to, and then I realize he's not there. It's like being stunned every time I finally get back up."

"He'll come around, Harry. He's just nursing his ego right now. You of all people know how he is."

"Yeah. It just sucks because I want him to be here you know. I hardly remember life without him always being there. It'd be like you just not being there all of the sudden. I just wouldn't know what to do."

Hermione blushed a bit but pushed the conversation on. "Just get through tomorrow," said Hermione, reaching over and touching Harry's knee. "After that, I promise we'll try to get Ron back on board."

Harry forced a smile at her. He appreciated her confidence, but he knew she was just trying to get him to prepare for tomorrow.

Hermione stood up and said, "I'm going to head to bed. You should too."

She walked over to Harry and kissed the top of his head before whispering goodnight and heading up the stairs.

Harry watched her disappear as she headed up to the girls' dorms. His stomach was in knots after she kissed his head. As much as the task unnerved him and Ron's disloyalty irked him, nothing could overpower the emotions he felt every time Hermione walked in or out of a room

It had been five years since they'd met, and there had not been a quiet, normal day since. Yet he just couldn't imagine life without her. She had become his best friend.

He knew she been so since the first time they met, but he hadn't really understood what it meant then. He didn't understand how close it meant they would. He didn't understand the depth in which they could talk. He didn't even understand the amount of time it would mean they'd devote to each other or the longing he'd feel to be with her.

But they were all part of being best friends. Harry thought back to that first night where they had swayed around the sidewalk, the fun it had been, and the tradition it had created. A tradition he would always be able to hold on to.

"Let me be your permanent dance partner? Don't dance with anyone else?"

Hermione smiled. That she could live with, but she wasn't about to let him know that without something in return.

"What if I grow up and want to dance with someone else?" she quizzed him.

"I'll tell you no. Maybe I'll step aside. I don't know depends on the guy," he answered.

Harry stared at the fire as the words echoed in his mind. The problem was he didn't want her to dance with anyone else anymore. He hadn't really meant it then, but he didn't want to see Hermione dancing with another guy. He just wanted to always be the guy she ran to whether she was crying or she was excited over school. He just wanted to always be the guy…her guy.

Harry groaned as he sank further into the chair and stared up at the ceiling. He didn't understand. When had he developed feelings for Hermione? He didn't want to ruin their friendship and liking her was sure to destroy that. How was he ever going to get out of this?

He knew there was no way to quell the constant prodding inside him to be with her, but did he want to risk losing her completely. He had tried to bury the feelings, but fourth year had made it hard to do that as they spent more time together than ever before. He wasn't sure what to do with them anymore because every day seemed harder to hide them.

Harry looked at the fire as it struggled to hold a flame on the dying embers. He knew it was well into the night, and as much as he had no desire to sleep, the impending dangers of the first task would be best handled with his body well rested.

He heaved himself up from the chair and slowly began his ascent to the boys' dorms. He quietly pushed his way into the room, utilizing Ron and Neville's snoring to help mask the door's squeak.

He pulled the curtains around his bed and changed into his pajamas before crawling under his sheets. He tucked his hands behind his head thinking about the last five years with Hermione. Life had been anything but normal since he'd met her, but more often than not every moment felt magical to him.

He never would have thought in his wildest dreams that he would be where he was. He knew facing a Dragon was not exactly something to be excited about, but after a lifetime with the Dursleys, it was still amazing to think about. Every day here at Hogwarts seemed better than the last, but Hermione made even the most mundane things like homework fun.

No, life wasn't anything like he could have imagined because it was even better than he could have imagined. Harry turned onto his side and set his glasses on his bedside table before drifting off into another world of Dragons, Hermione and dancing…

A/N: Thanks for sticking with me on this one.Hopefully it was worth the wait though, and you enjoyed it. It is not my favorite chapter, but hopefully it'll get me where I am going. Hope you enjoyed it. Thanks to all who reached out to me to make me aware of the problem!

 


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