Chapter 8 : Tying Bows and Breaking Ties
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The cold breeze hit against Hermione’s face as she stormed through the small streets. She knocked into many frantic shoppers, but she didn’t stop to see if she caused any injuries. She could hear the distinct footsteps of Harry running up behind her, which made her quicken her step. She felt a distinct knot in her stomach. It was the same feeling she felt before her, Ron and Harry went on their many adventures. She couldn’t bare to look at Harry in the face, but she knew he was right on her tail.
Hermione whipped her head around and cast Harry a look that could have burned a whole right through his forehead.
“Granger?” She snapped, as her face grew hotter.
“I—er, Hermione I’m sorry. Look, you have to listen!” Harry pleaded as she turned from him to continue her quick march.
He ran up behind her and grabbed her arm to spin her around.
“Listen to me!” He said rather harshly, making Hermione jump slightly. “I’m not what you think I am.”
“Oh really?” Hermione snapped, before grabbing his forearm and tugging his sleeve up to reveal a bare arm, free from any tattoos. She looked mildly embarrassed and felt somewhat let down. She frantically grabbed the other arm and did the same procedure but yet again, there was nothing but a bare arm, filling up with goose bumps against the winter air. “I-I—where is it?” She shouted, before throwing his arm out of her grasp.
Harry slyly grinned and pulled down his sleeve to warm up.
“What’s next, a full on strip search?” He said, tilting his head to the side.
“You’re not a Death Eater?”
“My dad and uncle are Aurors. Do I need to say more?” Harry said in a monotone.
“Is that the only reason why you choose not to become one?” Hermione asked, raising an eyebrow at him.
“Malfoy tells me when every meeting is. He has been trying to get me to join since First Year.” He answered, avoiding the question. “Let’s get going.” Harry said, starting to walk off.
Hermione frowned and felt like she ruined the entire day by accusing him. Everything was going so well. She ran up behind him.
“Harry, I’m sorry.”
He didn’t turn around or even look at her, but muttered under his breath.
“Don’t worry about it.”
They waited outside for Sirius for about 15 minutes until a rough looking car came speeding around the corner and ricocheted off the curb to screech to a halt in front of them.
“What took you so long?” Harry asked as Sirius opened the door.
“Hi to you too, smiley and your welcome for picking you up.” Sirius sarcastically answered as Hermione and Harry hopped into the car.
Hermione buckled up as soon as she was sitting and double checked that she was secure in her seat.
“If you must know,” Sirius started, “I was driving, minding my own business, then all of a sudden a car was right up behind me and he was flashing his lights and these loud sirens were going and all. Then after about 10 minutes of driving, I pulled onto the sidewalk to tell him to bugger off and he starts yelling at me to get out of my car with my hands on my head and such. What a wacko eh?”
Hermione didn’t know if she should laugh or not. She looked over at Harry, who was trying his hardest to not crack a smile.
“What did you do after that?” Hermione asked, as her voice shook.
“Well I performed a memory charm and drove off.” Sirius finished, as if that was a normal thing to do.
The whole ride home, Hermione held her breath once again and let out a sigh of relief when the Potter sign came into view. It was evident that the rest of them were decorating the house the entire day with large tacky Christmas decorations. Without a doubt, magic was used to hang out the thousands of lights. Hermione was sure that their house could be spotted from space.
The house smelled like gingerbread and hot chocolate when they entered the front door. The interior of the house was just as tacky but she appreciated it anyway. Rafe and Remus were still out on their “father-son shopping day”, while Lily and the twins were starting on dinner. Hermione went up to her room to drop off her parcels and lied down on the bed, staring up at the ceiling. She almost drifted off to sleep when there was a knock on the door. She sat up to see Harry standing in the doorway.
“Er, want to help me wrap my presents?” Harry asked, looking around the room. “I can’t wrap a gift to save my life.”
“Maybe it’s because you’ve never actually taken the time to buy anyone a gift.” Hermione said, before thinking about it.
“Look, I’m not going to pull your arm into helping me but I just thought since no one else really talks to me, maybe you’d help.”
A sudden wave of pity came over Hermione as Harry blushed a little.
“Okay, come in and let’s wrap.”
Harry grabbed his gifts and a roll of wrapping paper from the hallway and walked in the bedroom, and looked around as if he was examining every last detail.
“You make it look like you’ve never been in your sisters’ room before?”
“They yell at me when I come in.” He put on a fake high pitched girly voice. “Harry, get out, this is girl business! blah blah blah.” Harry finished, rolling his eyes.
Hermione laughed and sat down on the ground, pulling over the paper and his gifts. Harry displayed his lack of gift wrapping by showing off the wrapped pair of socks that were in the exact shape of the sock.
“Um, Harry you might want to re-wrap that. It kind of gives it away.” Hermione said, grabbing the socks and putting a few more layers of paper around it to plump it up.
“I happened to be proud of that wrap job, thank you very much.” Harry said in a mock bitter tone.
Hermione rolled her eyes and continued to wrap their gifts.
“Tell me what life was like before you left.” Harry said, out of the blue.
“Uh, random question…but okay. Well I met you on the train in First Year. I helped to fix your glasses. You and Ron eventually started to like me after I almost got killed by a Troll.” Hermione said, frowning as she remembered the situation. “Not one of my brightest ideas.”
“Did we, uh date?”
“Are you kidding? That’s like incest Harry. You and Ron were my best friends. Who have you dated since school has started, Harry?”
“Second Year I dated Parkinson.” Harry said, scrunching his nose in disgust.
“Oh my, if only your former self could hear you say that…okay that was the strangest sentence that has ever come out of my mouth!”
Harry quietly laughed and turned his head. Hermione couldn’t believe that they were having an actually civilized conversation. A knock on the door interrupted her laughter. She stood up and opened the door just enough to peak one eye through. She looked up to see Rafe standing there with a confused look on his face.
“Who’s in there with you?”
“Harry. We’re wrapping presents, you can’t come in.” She said with a smile.
He pushed the door open and scowled down at Harry.
“What are you up to Potter?” Rafe spat out, leaving Hermione with wide eyes.
“Trust me, Lupin, nothing that concerns you.” Harry said coolly, not even looking up from tying a bow on a gift.
Hermione stepped in front of Rafe and pushed him back with one of her hands.
“What is going on, we’re just wrapping presents.”
“Oh yeah? Since when has Potter become quite the merry mate here? This is the only time I’ve ever seen you give a damn about anyone but yourself at Christmas, why now?” Rafe said, becoming louder by the word.”
“Fine.” Harry started, standing up. “You want me to do this?”
“Do what?” Rafe questioned.
“This.” Harry said before walking in between them and slamming the door behind him.
Hermione could hear him walking down the hall and slamming his bedroom door. She walked over and picked up the remaining presents and the gift wrap and walked to the doorway.
“That’s really great Rafe. Thanks for ruining the good day we had going.”
Dinner time was very silent and the only sounds were clanging dishes and the twins bickering.
“You know, if you fling one more pea at me, I’ll dunk your head in the mashed potatoes!” Gracie said, firing up.
“Oh yeah? Unless you want to find gravy in your pillow case, I’d watch your big elbows!” Holly retorted, pointing to Gracie’s elbow that was above the table, as she was trying to cut the chicken.
“If you both of you don’t stop bickering, you’ll find canned corn in your stockings.” James said, as he poured himself some more juice.
“Tis the season.” Lily said, rolling her eyes.
Hermione helped with the dishes and went into the fireplace room and curled up on the couch, staring into the flames. She started to second guess her choice to come to the Potter’s for Christmas and thought that maybe an awkward trip with her parents would have been better. As she was thinking of her parents having a good time on vacation without her, Sirius came into the room and sat down on the couch.
“Have fun shopping today?”
“Yeah, it went alright I guess.” Hermione shrugged. “Do you think Harry would ever become a Death Eater?”
“Not at all. I think this I’m-so-cool-and-I’m-to-good-for-you stage is almost through. A few months back, he’d never been caught shopping with a Muggle born, you see.”
“You know what I don’t understand is, how can he change that much? I mean his own mother is Muggle born!”
“He’s just a bitter child. He’s always been like that. He feels that the twins are favoured and his life is so bad. Not to mention he hangs out with that git, Malfoy, who has been evil since he was a seed.”
“I hope I can change him before I go back.” Hermione muttered, without even thinking.
Sirius choked and sat upright.
“Oh! I mean, er, go back to school after break.” Hermione frantically said.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes I’m sure I want him to change!” Hermione burst out, as her cheeks flushed.
“No I mean, about what you said about going back. Did you really mean after break?” Sirius quietly said, with a small smile.
“I-uh…I don’t know…I can’t talk about this!”
Hermione stood up and muttered “sorry” before running upstairs and making a right to run up to Harry’s door. She didn’t even knock before she burst into his room to see Harry lying on his bed.
“Sure come in.” He said, without even sitting up.
“Harry, I know you don’t like me, but you’re the only familiar face I have right now, so it’s as close to a comfortable situation as I can get. Can I hide out here for a while?”
Harry patted the bed beside him.
"I s’pose you’re going to tell me what’s wrong, so lets get it over with.”
Hermione walked over and lied on the bed, face down and turned her head to him and began to spill out everything that happened when she went back in time. To her surprise, Harry didn’t fall asleep but kept his full attention on her and even gave her a tissue when the tears began to fall…
Sorry it took me so long to post. My internet crapped out for a week so I was left in the Stone Age with no computer. I hope you liked it!
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