Disclaimer: As in chapter 1
A/N: Thanks to Sist3rSpo0ky for beta-ing this (and the previous) chapter. I’d be lost without her! Also thanks for all the reviews, there’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you discover someone actually thought enough or your story to take the time to comment on it. Please continue to review!
Harry awoke to the mouth-watering smell of bacon wafting through the house. He rolled over and threw his legs over the edge of the bed; he looked at the clock, it read 10.25. Man, he’d slept a long time! He supposed he should really go and show his face downstairs before Hermione started to worry that he’d died or something.
As he was only wearing his boxers he quickly put on a pair of jeans and headed downstairs. He entered the kitchen to find Hermione, who was already dressed, putting the finishing touches to breakfast.
“Harry. I was just going to come and wake you; breakfast is nearly ready,” she said without taking her eyes of what she was doing.
“It smells delicious. You didn’t have to do this y’know.”
“I know, but my parents have already left and I wanted to do something special for your first day… Don’t you go expecting it everyday; that’d just b…” Hermione had turned around and the sight of Harry topless had stopped her in her tracks. Luckily the plates she was carrying had stayed in her hands.
<Wow> thought Hermione, <all that Quidditch training has really paid off. Harry looks amazing!>
Hermione knew she was staring but felt powerless to stop herself. She couldn’t help but think how it would feel to run her hands up those well-defined biceps and over those broad shoulders…
“’Mione, are you okay?” Harry’s voice penetrated Hermione’s daydream and she felt a blush rising to her cheeks at being caught staring. She put Harry’s breakfast on the table in front of him and then took the seat opposite.
“Yeh, I’m fine. I…erm…I just remembered something I haven’t done, that’s all.”
They made small talk throughout breakfast; Hermione trying her best not to look at Harry’s chest. Hermione was quite relieved when they’d both finished and Harry excused himself to go and get dressed properly. As she loaded the dishwasher and set it going - she began to wonder what was going on between her and Harry.
She’d missed Harry terribly in the two weeks since they’d finished school; more so than she’d missed Ron. She couldn’t stop thinking about him; she missed his smile, the way he could always cheer her up when she was feeling down and how he’d defend her against Ron’s little digs. She also had nightmares about him dying at the hands of Voldemort; she’d woken up screaming for the first few nights she was home… until she’d received that first letter from him. Her heart had skipped a beat when she’d first seen Hedwig fly into her room, and when she read his short response she was left disappointed that he didn’t seem to want to correspond with her, but she wrote back nonetheless hoping for a better response. She received a short reply and, again felt disheartened. And so it went on until Harry had arrived at her house yesterday. When she had seen him standing at her front door, she couldn’t believe it. He looked so sexy – he’d definitely bulked up in the 2 weeks since she’d last seen him and he’d grown about two inches too. And last night, well gone were the nightmares, to be replaced by something of equal disturbance – Hermione had had an erotic dream about her best friend! She had been awake since about 5 o’clock analysing what all this meant. She had tried to pass it off as her unconscious having a laugh at her expense, but after he’d come down to breakfast shirtless this morning that theory had been thrown out of the window, and now there was no denying it: Hermione Granger was falling for her best friend. The only question now was what she was going to do about it.
Hermione was saved from having to think about that too much when Harry appeared in the living room with a pile of text books and a very sheepish look on his face.
“’Mione?” he asked, pleadingly, “is there any chance you could help me with a bit of my homework.” Hermione’s eyes lit up at the thought,
“Sure Harry, how much have you got left to do?” she enquired. If it was possible Harry looked even more sheepish.
“Erm, well you see, erm, I haven’t actually done any of it. I’ve been rather busy with other things these past two weeks.”
“Harry, this is the summer before NEWT year, you can’t continue as you have done for the past six years, you have to start showing some commitment.”
“I know, ‘Mione, but I haven’t just been lazing around,” Hermione raised her eyebrows questioningly; “I’ve been training, for facing Voldemort. Not magic training, obviously as I would have been underage. No I’ve been doing physical training, y’know getting fit. Running, swimming, weights that kind of thing. I figured it might help when…when the time comes.” The last part of that sentence was said quietly and Hermione could hear the fear and sadness in Harry’s voice.
Hermione, though annoyed that he was neglecting his studies, was glad that he was finally preparing for his showdown with Voldemort. During sixth year, he’d been very apathetic about the whole thing. It was probably something to do with Sirius’ death, but he just hadn’t seemed fazed by the prospect of facing the darkest Wizard in the world, and so hadn’t bothered with any training. Even when he told Ron and herself about the prophecy, it was with detachment; as if he was talking about someone else... He didn’t understand why Ron went a deathly white colour and why she started crying. She was glad he finally seemed to be accepting the fact that this was his destiny and he had to do everything in his power to survive.
“You’re probably right, it will help,” she said, “and I think we should continue the physical work-outs here too. But for now, let’s start with Transfiguration.”
So they spent the rest of the morning battling with transfiguration theories and managed to get their essays completed just before lunch.
“I don’t know about you Harry but I’m getting a little hungry. What do you want to do for lunch?”
“Well, I was actually hoping we could go into London today – I think I need to buy some new clothes, plus I need to go to Gringotts and sign some papers to do with Sirius’ will; stuff that couldn’t be done until I was of age.”
“Sure, I need to nip into Flourish and Blotts anyway; a book I’ve ordered should have come in by now.” Harry rolled his eyes and smiled. Unfortunately for him, Hermione saw him. “Something funny Harry?”
Harry feigned innocence. “No, nothing.” Hermione got up from her chair and began to walk towards Harry,
“I’d hate to think you were laughing at my love of books, Harry. There are dire consequences for anyone who does that,” she mock-threatened.
“Oh yeh? Like what?” Harry challenged, while standing up and backing away slightly towards the sofa.
“Like this!” yelled Hermione launching herself at him and tackling him onto the sofa. Harry, however made good use of his quick reflexes and grabbed onto Hermione as she pushed him, therefore pulling her down with him… They landed on the sofa and Harry took advantage of the fact that Hermione was startled at being pulled over, to start tickling her.
“Harry, stop! That tickles,” she cried. Harry laughed.
“That’s the whole point ‘Mione,”
“Well, lets see how you like it!” Hermione had somehow managed to wrestle one of her hands free and began her own attack on Harry. They tickled and wrestled for a few minutes until they both became breathless. They stopped and their eyes met; and neither of them could look away. A tension suddenly filled the room and both found themselves unable to look away from the other. There faces moved towards one another, slowly, as if they were magnetic opposites; neither could stop nor turn away.
The sound of the telephone ringing brought the two teenagers back to their senses and Hermione jumped of Harry to answer it.
<Damn!> thought Harry <what the hell was I thinking? If I carry on I’m going to ruin our friendship. I have got to control my emotions>
Hermione returned to the living room after a brief moment.
“Erm, that was Mum. She and Dad are going to be late tonight so they’ve asked if we’ll sort ourselves out with tea.”
There was an awkwardness in her voice that suggested she was uncomfortable and embarrassed about what had just happened. Harry tried to make her feel at ease.
“Shouldn’t be a problem – we can grab something in London if you like?”
The fact that Harry didn’t seem flustered by the events that had occurred moments ago made Hermione relax slightly and the awkwardness between them began to disappear.
They apparated to Diagon Alley and made their way towards Flourish & Blotts. Hermione rushed to the desk to see if her order had arrived, leaving Harry to wander aimlessly around the store; he stopped and browsed some books on Quidditch while he waited for her.
“Honestly, what is it with men and sport?” Hermione said reading over his shoulder. In her hands she held a rather large packet – obviously her order had arrived.
“Sport gives us a chance to show our boyish agility, in the hopes of turning on the girl we like.” He replied with a smirk. Hermione blushed slightly.
“Oh er well.”
<Damn, she’s cute when she’s flustered> thought Harry. He placed the book back on the shelf and grabbed her by the hand and led her out of the shop,
“C’mon, we’d better to get to Gringotts, I want to get this over with as quickly as possible.” Hermione squeezed his hand,
“Are you going to be okay?” she asked concerned,
“Probably not, but as long as you’re there I’m sure I’ll manage to get through it.”
Hermione smiled and began to walk faster,
“Well come on then, lets get this over with.”
When they arrived at Gringotts they were met by Griphook.
“It is good to see you again Mister Potter, please come with me.” Harry and Hermione followed Griphook but neither of them said anything. When the silence was broken it was Griphook who spoke again, “I’m sorry Miss, but you will have to wait here, this is business that only concerns Mister Potter.”
Hermione looked at Harry to ascertain if he was going to be okay.
“Can she not come with us, Griphook. I have no problem with it, in fact I want her there.”
“If Mister Potter is sure, then I think we can make an exception,” Griphook conceded as he led them into his office and gestured for them to take a seat in front of a large oak desk. Griphook walked round to the opposite side and took his seat there. “Now then, as I’m sure you’re aware Mister Potter, Mister Black had a considerable fortune as well as a house in London. Now the deeds to the property, ‘Grimmauld Place,’ are to be transferred to you, as is 50% of his fortune, which would be a total of 500,000 galleons. The other 50% is to be split 3 ways, 200,000 galleons to a Mister Remus Lupin, 200,000 galleons to a Miss Nymphadora Tonks, 50,000 galleons to a Mr Ronald Billius Weasley and 50,000 galleons to Miss Hermione Jane Granger. Once you have signed to accept the deeds to the property and your share of the money, acceptance slips will be sent to the other four beneficiaries for them to sign and return. When these have been returned to us, and only then will the transactions be completed and the money transferred. Miss Granger can of course have her transaction completed today. There are also a few of Mister Blacks personal items in storage in his vault that are to be give over to yourself to do with however you see fit. Do you have any questions?”
Harry was looking blankly at the goblin and Hermione could tell he was having trouble taking everything in, so she addressed Griphook on his behalf.
“Not at the moment thank you, but would it be possible to trouble you for a glass of water please?”
“Of course Miss Granger I shall go and get that for you.”
As soon as Griphook had left Hermione rose from her seat walked over to Harry and placed her hand on his shoulders. He wrapped his arms around her midriff, buried his face in her stomach and sobbed. Hermione’s heart ached; she hated it when Harry was in pain. She moved her hand to his hair and began stroking it in a soothing motion, just as her mother had done for her when she was little. During this Griphook returned with some water for the teenagers: he placed it on the desk and signalled to Hermione that he would be outside when they were ready to continue. Eventually Harry’s sobs died down and he looked up at Hermione with tears still brimming in his eyes,
“Sorry, ‘Mione,” he said, looking ashamed that he’d lost control of his emotions.
“It’s okay Harry.”
“It’s not. Look, I’ve left a wet patch on your shirt.”
“Well that’s nothing a little drying spell won’t solve, don’t worry. Are you ready to carry on?”
“Yeh, I think so. It’s only signing the paperwork and getting the personal items then we can go.”
“Ok, I’ll go and get Griphook.”
Hermione returned with Griphook and they set about signing all the required papers; Harry didn’t utter one word the throughout the entire time. Once both Hermione’s and Harry’s transactions were completed, Griphook summoned another goblin to bring the box of Sirius’ belongings. It was a rather large ornate chestnut box, about the size of a jewellery box and the letters SB were engraved into the lid. Instead of putting Harry through the trauma of having to open it in public, Hermione quickly took the box from the goblin and shrank it down to fit in her pocket.
“I think Harry would prefer to open this at home,” she explained. Harry simply smiled. “And if that’s all I think we would like to leave now,”
“Of course, Miss Granger.”
Harry and Hermione walked back down Diagon Alley in silence. When they reached The Leaky Cauldron, Hermione spoke softly.
“I think we should go home Harry, we can come back to London later in the week to do the rest of your shopping.”
They apparated back to the house and Hermione removed the box from her pocket and placed it on the kitchen table; she then took out her wand and returned it to its original size.
“I’ll leave you to it…I’ll be in my room,” said Hermione softly, as she moved passed him to leave the room. But Harry grabbed her hand,
“No. Stay…please,” he whispered. Hermione nodded her agreement and sat at the table. Harry joined her and slowly opened the box. Inside there were 2 gold rings, which Harry assumed to be his parents wedding bands, letters for himself, Hermione, Remus, and Tonks, the key to Sirius’ flying motorcycle, and several photos; one of his parents on their wedding day, one of them that looked like it had been taken just after Harry had been born – his Mum and Dad were smiling at each other and at their son; they looked like the perfect family. There were also photographs of Sirius holding his newborn Godson. Harry felt the tears begin to form in his eyes and he put the photos back in the box.
“I think I’m going to go and lie down,” he said.
“Okay, I’ll order in some take-away for us; I don’t really feel like cooking. Is Chinese alright?”
“Yeh, that’s fine. Feel free to open your letter from Sirius. I’m leaving mine at least until tomorrow.”
“Nah, it’s okay Harry; I’ll wait,”
Hermione ordered in the food and then put all of Sirius’s belongings back in the box and just tidies up the kitchen a little until the food arrived. When the delivery man had been paid, she took the food and Sirius’ box up to Harry’s room. Harry was lay face down on his bed, but looked up as she entered. Hermione could see his cheeks were tearstained; he’d been crying.
She placed the box on his desk and set about dishing up the food. They ate in silence; Harry not really feeling like talking, and Hermione been apprehensive about what to say. Just as they finished eating, they heard Hermione’s parents arrive home. Hermione excused herself from Harry’s room and went downstairs to meet them. She explained in hushed tones that she didn’t think she and Harry would be socialising with them this evening and she briefly described the events of the day. Her parents understood and told her to get back to Harry. When she returned, Harry had taken the picture of Sirius and himself at 14, and was sat on the edge of the bed, hunched over, his shoulders quivering with the strength of his sobs. Hermione shut the door behind her and went straight to Harry and wrapped her arms around him. She manoeuvred them so they were lying on his bed and she just held him while he cried. Eventually his sobs tapered off and his breathing became very even and light; he was asleep. Hermione, who could not bear to tear herself away from Harry at all, followed soon after and they spent the entire night wrapped in each others embrace.