They stopped for dinner in the Leaky Cauldron, and, upon learning that the Floo Network was down for cleaning, sent an owl to Grimmauld Place, telling them they’d be home in the morning.
Dinner was good, but the only remaining room had only one bed, a double. Ron offered to sleep in the chair, but Heather shook her head. “It’s fine, if you try anything, I’ll just curse you.”
Ron smiled. They crawled in under the covers, but neither felt tired. The didn’t say much for a while, until Heather rolled onto her side and looked at Ron.
“Is Harry glad I’m here?” She sounded, for the first time, scared.
Ron nodded. “He’s elated. He has family. Do you know what that means to him?”
Heather nodded. “I know.”
“I’m glad you’re here too.” Ron whispered. Heather looked at him, smiled, and laid back down, looking up at the ceiling.
Meanwhile, at Grimmauld Place, Harry and Hermione were sitting side by side on the couch, a fire lit in the fire place, staring at the flames and wondering what was wrong with themselves.
“Harry?” Hermione asked.
“Are you glad she’s here?”
Harry smiled to himself. “I’m elated. I’m overjoyed. I have a family. I have someone who shares my genetics. It’s.....it’s the best feeling in the world.”
Hermione smiled and turned to look at Harry. “Good. You need family.”
Harry looked at Hermione. “What would I do without you, Hermione?”
Hermione, without missing a beat, stated “fail your History of Magic exams.”
Harry groaned but smiled. “Thanks for reminding me.”
“At least you’re done with Divination.”
“Of course I am.”
She smiled and he did too.
“What do you think Heather and Ron are up to?” Harry asked a moment later.
“Snogging,” Hermione answered off hand. She was knitting elf hats now.
“What?” Harry sputtered out. “You mean you know?”
“That Ron likes Heather.”
“Oh please. It’s been obvious since before your birthday that they were crazy about each other.”
“You mean that she likes him too?”
“Yes, she does,” Hermione answered.
“Well, that’s a relief. If it’s going to be someone, better it be Ron than...”
“Seamus or Dean or Neville?”
“You’re such a good brother, Harry.”
He shrugged. “I’m just glad she’s not my little sister. Poor Ron, always having to worry about what guys are trying to get into Ginny’s knickers...speaking of knickers, what’s going on between you and Krum?”
“Victor? Nothing. We’re friends, but that’s all, and that’s all that’s ever been between us.”
“So you don’t like him?”
“Really? Why’s that?”
“No reason,” Harry answered quickly. [You just keep telling yourself that, Harry Potter, you just keep on telling yourself that. But I know you and I know my knickers are a lot more interesting to you than you’ll admit.]
“What about you, Mister Boy-Who-Lived? Now that the wizarding world doesn’t think you’re crazy and out seeking attention, you could have almost any girl you wanted.”
[Even you, Hermione Granger?]
Harry didn’t say anything. They turned their attention back to the fire, resting their socked feet on the coffee table. After a little while, Harry slid his foot over and laid it against Hermione’s for a moment. Hermione, after stealing a peek at Harry, who was resolutely looking anywhere but at her, slid her foot very slowly along Harry’s foot and up against his calf, massaging in circles. Harry slid his arm around behind her and Hermione leaned against him slightly.
It was the voice of Arthur Weasley which separated the two. They sat up and looked over the back of the couch, looking guilty.
“Now, you two look like Molly and I used to whenever anyone else would walk into the common room late at night,” he commented. Then, after some reflection, “Harry? Hermione?”
They looked sheepish but said little. Arthur nodded to himself and left the room.
“Well, I’ve got....reading to do...” Harry stated, starting for the door. Hermione, who had also started for the door, mumbled something about cleaning a broom.
After a moment of wondering why they felt mixed up and backwards, Harry mumbled that he needed to clean his broom and Hermione stated she wanted to do some reading.
When they each arrived in their respective bedrooms and had closed the door, they slumped back against the door and slid down, cursing themselves for being so stupid.
“I need a cold shower,” Harry muttered to himself.
“Teenagers!” The portrait on his bedroom wall muttered, and Harry froze for a second before collecting his things and heading for the shower on the third floor- just in case Hermione had similar notions and wanted to use the second floor bath.
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