Chapter 1 : Pets No More
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The story will soon be M to be safe and it will have the kinds of: Romance, Hurt/Comfort, Family, Angst (sometimes), Humor, Friendship and a few more that i cannot think of now lol and yeah... you little dirty people... it will probably have SMUT later on lol :P
So with no more words... Welcome to another Journey
Chapter 1 – Pets No More
March 23rd 2002
The flat was dark as the young man apparated inside and stumbled on the darn table he never avoided after apparition. He cursed in a whisper as his toe took the collision with the table's foot and he Lumosed the place with a flick of his wand.
Harry Potter remained in silence for a moment, when he made sure he was alone in the flat and Ron hadn't returned yet, he lit up all the candles of the place with another wave of his wand and collapsed on the couch.
The flat smelled of burnt food, beer and some dirty laundry was around the place, Harry sighed and shook his head, Ron had been there recently and had made sure for Harry to clean up the mess. The raven haired man remained collapsed on the couch, making a mental note to clean the mess in the morning, if Hermione was to come by she'd hex them both and his ass had nothing to do with the current mess of the living room.
He could feel every muscle of his body aching as another day in the training had been over. Finally, he thought with a small grin as in less than a month he would be in the graduations and there were already rumors about the ministry proposing to him for a job. If he was happy for something more than being employed that was for the end of the torturous hours in the gym of the Academy.
His grin faded as he thought of his empty stomach but he didn't even had the power to go and have a shower, let alone search in the fridge for whatever food survived Ron's advance in it. Harry sighed, wishing the female of their trio could be there to keep them in order but Hermione had to be away for now on.
She had aced her last year at Hogwarts of course, her NEWTS had been all perfect and she was right accepted in the Healer training program. It was a surprise to some people, she could be an excellent Auror or an Unspeakable but for people like Harry who knew her so well, being a Healer was something not so surprising. Hermione Granger was great at taking care of others and she found the perfect way to keep up with it without being in a battlefield for the rest of her life, like Harry had chosen to be as he followed his dream to become an Auror. Now Hermione lived and worked at Hogwarts where her internship had appointed her to be an intern next to the very much experienced and old Madame Pomfrey.
Harry was happy for Hermione, and very proud as his best friend loved her decision to be a healer and was just so happy to have her years of internship at Hogwarts, the place they both love so much, fact was, however, that Harry missed her greatly. After the war that he had been through by her side, the trio and Ginny had decided to have their year at Hogwarts as the Trio needed their NEWTS and Ginny had to finish her education too, at first as struggling young adults and then as couples, they tried as hard as they could.
Harry and Ginny had tried to make it, keep up from where they were left off while Hermione and Ron had tried to start all over again, war and madmen in their wake aside. The attempt lasted a torturous year of studies, fights between the couples, tears for the girls and smashing objects from the two young men until right before the graduation, Harry and Ginny had a quiet break up at the line of the Forbidden Forest while Hermione and Ron had a loud and eventful break up at the astronomy tower, giving everyone in the grounds a nice show of how two people can break up loudly.
Harry cared about Ginny, she was his first serious relationship if you can call that their few week long, snogging-based relationship in his sixth year and their few months after the war, comparing to Cho's tearful, jealous thing, Ginny meant more things to Harry, but when they tried again, he felt like all these nights watching at her dot in the Marauder's map was in vain. They were not the same people anymore, he wasn't the same person anymore, he had other expectations, other needs than what she could give and it wasn't her fault, he was just in another level by then and she still needed miles to get where he was. And she on her side, she needed other things, needed carefree days and parties, like most people needed after the war when Harry needed quiet nights before the fireplace to heal his wounds from the war, the fact that he actually killed, to proceed information like this of Snape being so different than what he thought and to realize that there was no more danger and he could actually plan longer than the next day of his life…
Not being able to open up to her about how he was feeling for most of the things around him was another problem, he wasn't that kind of person and Ginny wasn't the person to get the hints, she needed straight words, clarifications and talking when Harry needed someone to understand his needs of being alone or in the company of someone just by looking at their eyes… They had both lost the connection they had tried to build and the passion was extinguished now that there was no danger to hide from in this way. Ginny had been his distraction from evil, Harry had realized, when he was the young teen boy in Hogwarts and later on the hunted young man in that cold tent, he had put in her image all the things he wanted to return to: safety, Hogwarts, life, and when he achieved to return, the image broke as she was demystified in his eyes and nothing was left.
Nothing was built as the base of their relationship, no deep love, no real deep conversation in the search of who they were and why they wanted to be together, the passion had been there for a little more but then it was gone too, as the daily life showed them just that, Ginny wanted to be with Harry because of the myth she had made in her head about him and his achievement, a myth that was far away from reality and Harry had wanted to be with Ginny because she was his distraction from the most dark period in his life, when he needed someone out of his misery to be held as a reason to move through every day in that bloody tent back then.
Ron and Hermione were a totally different matter, the two best friends proved that sometimes, the "opposite that attract" can be "pole opposites" and they were the definition of this difference.
They tried hard, Ron on his part trying to be more understanding, less critical and ironic, less insensitive, less oblivious, and Hermione on her part tried to be less demanding, less bossy, less strict, less expecting, more understanding, more hopeful and positive… up until they both cracked after a dinner, spilled all their suppressed feelings at that Christmas Eve night and then brushed it off again, trying once more to beat their differences without talking them through.
Harry had been so uncomfortable when the two were together, when they were fine, he had a sickening feeling every time they kissed or hugged and when they were fighting and the time after their fights, when that awkwardness hang over their heads, he had felt as uncomfortable as he had to take someone's side. He had tried to be nuclear but Hermione had Ginny, another girl and Ron's sister, to back her up so Harry had tried instead of being the guy to help the other guy and have Hermione glaring at him too, he tried to be with the one's who was right side, and that usually led both to be glaring at him as there was no right and no wrong in all that situation, they were just different and too stubborn to accept it and stop the whole thing.
Hermione needed someone to get what she wanted and needed just by looking in her eyes or taking care in the details like her delicate blush or the biting of her bottom lip when Ron needed straight talking and no hints and signs, like his sister, he wanted straight things when Hermione wasn't the type to give all her needs on the plate, she needed the other to try, to search for what she needed like she always did with the people she cared about.
Ron's jealousy and insecurities hadn't helped things a lot, especially with the healing they both had needed to do after the war, his jealousy over everything that had to do with Hermione and her small patience with him and the scenes he was setting up almost every night at the common room were enough to be sending them both in their dorms furious and glaring.
Harry could remember one of their biggest fights, even before they could go back at Hogwarts, when Hermione was about to go and bring back her parents from Australia, Ron couldn't afford the journey and Harry would follow his best female friend as to help her and be there for her, even then, Ron had screamed at her face that she was choosing Harry over himself and Hermione had screamed back at him that he needed to mature before it was too late. Harry had been shocked at his mate's accusations once again, proving that he had never got past his fears of Harry and Hermione getting together, something that back then simply seemed silly and impossible …
Now things were different, Ron and Hermione had decided to salvage their friendship after that disastrous year as a couple and Ron had decided to everyone's surprise to keep up with Quidditch, the past three years he was playing as the Keeper of the Cannons, making his dream come true and filling his family's vault with galleons, while he had returned to Lavender Brown who was just too in love and happy to be with him once again.
Harry was happy for his best male friend too, with Lavender he was carefree and the old good Ron, none demanded things from him and he evolved in that relationship slower but with no precipitation and pressure, even if Lavender was exhausting most of the times, Harry was happy Ron had found a way to be happy with a girl who happened to be his greatest fan too, boosting his ego continuously…
At the thought of Ron and Lavender, Harry wondered where they were, Ron was having days off from the Cannon's camp and Lavender had made sure to take days off from her job as the editor of Witch Weekly magazine, since they weren't at the flat they had probably hit some club downtown. Harry was happy for them to be out, they could be loud and he was exhausted to cast powerful silencing charms to save his ears from bleeding.
Harry's eyes heaved as all the memories and thoughts about the four people's past was now slowly evaporating and sleep was taking over his tired body and mind. His eyes had almost drifted close the moment the silver creature past through the living room's window and circled the couch Harry was on, making the young man shot up in anxiety as Hermione's Patronus Otter was there to ask for help.
The young man didn't think about it twice, instead of sending a Patronus back at her, he moved close to the floo. If she hadn't flooed at their house and she sent her patronus something was really bad and he was going to find out immediately.
The moment he flooed at Hogwarts and moved out of the right fireplace, at her quarters the youngest and brightest intern in history of Hogwarts fled in his arms as her tears ran down her face. Harry thought exhausted, hugged her tightly as her long, less bushy but always rich hair blocked his view as she sniffed in his neck.
'Oh Harry thank Merlin you were at the flat…' Hermione cried against him and Harry caressed her back as she clang to his sobbing best friend.
'Hermione, what happened? What's wrong?' Harry asked alerted as the brunette witch finally moved slightly away but remained in his arms, her eyes were bloodshot and her nose was pink because of the crying.
'Crookshanks… he – he…' Hermione tried to say but another wave of fresh tears and sobs erupted and Harry frowned and hugged her again. He knew her half-Kneazle half-cat had been sick for the past days, not eating and not drinking milk or water and even if Hermione had tried her best to help him with potions and spells, the creature was just too old by now and his days were counted, that night was his last. Harry sighed and kissed his best friend's head, trying to sooth her, he knew how she felt, he had lost Hedwig four years ago and still hurt, he hadn't bought a new pet yet and even if Ginny had offered him an owl, three years ago he had refused to take it and the Weasleys had kept the bird as Harry didn't want any other pet than his snow white owl.
'I found him a few minutes ago… after I returned from dinner and my patrol, he wasn't moving and he – was –asleep- on my pillow,' Hermione said through sobs and sniffs and burst in new tears again. 'I didn't know who else to call- I can't- take care- of him on my own,' Hermione whispered and Harry sighed and made a hushing sound, he was there to help.
'It's ok 'Mione, he spent a great life by your side, he loved you and you loved him and he knew that, he was such a smart creature,' Harry tried but Hermione cried harder. Harry remembered Sirius' words about Crookshanks.
"This cat isn't mad. He's the most intelligent of his kind I've ever met."
'He liked you too,' Hermione whispered and Harry smiled sadly, that was true, the pet always enjoyed Harry's lap for a nap and preferred him over anyone else after Hermione, Harry could even remember himself shivering and feeling uncomfortable the times Hermione was absent and Crookshanks had pinned him with his eyes just like she would look at him when he was doing some mischief behind Hermione's back. 'I'm glad it wasn't Ron at the flat, I wouldn't stand a smartass comment like "finally the shoebruss is gone" or something,' Hermione added and Harry sighed.
'He liked Crookshanks at the end, he even placed Pig close to him for a sniff,' Harry tried to defend Ron but Hermione snorted. 'Where do you have him?' Harry added and Hermione let loose another sob.
'Where he fell-asleep, on my pillow,' Hermione whispered and Harry nodded as the two were still standing in the small common room.
'You want to stay here while I'll go in?' Harry offered and Hermione nodded her head as he squeezed her tighter a moment before he could leave her arms.
'And Harry… take the pillow too, I won't sleep on it ever again anyway,' Hermione called out as Harry was ready to get inside her bedroom. 'We can take him to some clearing maybe?' Hermione offered and Harry nodded and got inside the smaller bedroom.
Even if the walls were made from brick and the place could seem cold, Hermione's bedroom at Hogwarts was as cozy and warm as her bedroom at their flat, half of her books were in bookshelves there, covering two of the four walls while photos and diplomas of her NEWTS covered the other two walls of the chamber. There was a desk before one of the walls with the moving and Muggle pictures and there was a bed across the room, there, on the pillow, the large deceased pet was laying eternally asleep.
Harry sighed as he felt his own tears building up at the image of the large cat dead at his mistress' pillow where he knew he had smelled her hair the most. Harry sighed as he moved closer and touched the fur of the cat as it was curled in a ball. At least he had spent a good life next to Hermione for his final years when none wanted to buy him from the store and Hermione had taken more than great care of him ever since she was thirteen years old.
'Come on, buddy,' Harry whispered as he picked up the pillow carefully, wandlessly, Harry conjured a sheet and put the pillow on it, he covered it and the cat and then he conjured a wooden box, similar to the ones he had learnt to make in his training for storage of precious objects. He put inside the bundle and closed the box. He took it in his arms and moved out of the bedroom where Hermione was crying silently while staring out of the castle's window.
When she looked back at him and the box, her brown eyes filled with tears again and Harry could only nod as the two moved out of her small common room and into Hogwarts' deserted corridors. Hermione illuminated her wand and the two moved in silence until they moved out of the castle and into the grounds that were chilly with the April wind being cool yet not cold.
The two friends moved inside the Forbidden Forest and untypically decided to head for the only clearing they knew that existed. Grawp's old area seemed good for Crookshank's last resting place and the two moved towards there, soon passing by the tree the two had hidden behind from, years ago when Grawp had tried to grip Hermione and Harry had helped her from falling on the ground in her panic to save herself.
The two moved through the clearing and after making sure none and nothing was following them in the middle of the night, Harry set down the box carefully and took his wand out of his pocket once again, he pointed at the space before a large oak and soon a deep enough hole was opened. Harry looked at the tearful Hermione and she nodded her head as they bowed their bodies, took the box together and placed it carefully inside the forest floor.
Hermione covered her lips with her hand as Harry covered the small grave magically and then she hugged him tightly once again, having Harry hugging her back as his tears finally escaped his own eyes. If he had made an eulogy for Aragog back in his sixth year, he was sure Crookshanks deserved one too.
'Crookshanks, you were a great creature, half-cat, half kneazle, like your mistress is a witch from Muggle parents, you both know how is to be different and smarter than everyone else,' Harry started and Hermione gave a small chuckle as her lips were against the side of his neck. Harry smiled slightly as he achieved to make her smile even through all this. 'You were also loyal and bossy, I never expected a cat to be bossy but you were special, like your mistress and you knew when something was wrong, you even tried to show it, again, like your mistress, and at the end you usually end up right even if the rest didn't pay attention.' Harry went on and now Hermione moved her face as to look at him while he spoke.
'I am sure you're going to have fun where you're now, you can find Hedwig and together can watch me and Hermione here…' Harry went on and his voice cracked just a bit at the mention of his own pet that he didn't have the time to burry properly as he had escaped a lethal attack back then. Now it was probably the time to say a word about his owl too with Hermione by his side, squeezing his waist in support.
'You always wanted to take care of Hermione and you helped my Godfather a lot, and for that I am grateful, without you, he wouldn't have made it to get in Hogwarts and I would probably had never met him like I did.' Harry went on as more memories rushed in his mind, making him sigh, sniff and let the tears to fall, he was never embarrassed to cry before Hermione, they knew each other so well that he felt comfortable to express himself in the middle of the Forbidden Forest with centaurs and other creatures around but her in his arms as well.
'I can promise you I will take care of her like you did and I am sure you had a great time with her, oh and thank you for preferring me over Ron, that always annoyed him beyond imagination…' Harry added and this time Hermione chuckled and smiled sadly at Harry before she could hug him again and place a soft kiss on his cheek.
'Thank you,' Hermione whispered and Harry sighed and hugged her back, even after four years, sometimes there were moments like this that they healed yet another small wound in their souls, doing so by each other's company was all the more better.
'You want to tell him something too?' Harry asked softly but Hermione shook her head negatively.
'You said it all,' she whispered and Harry nodded and started moving away, all the while taking her from the shoulders while she wrapped her arm around his waist, a way of walking they had got accustomed to ever since that Christmas night at Godric's Hollow.
'You'd like to stay here tonight? You can sleep on the couch if we enlarge it slightly,' Hermione offered as the two moved out of the forbidden forest and Harry smiled and nodded his head, sleeping over at Hogwarts, his second home was another bonus of Hermione being an intern there.
'I would love to see everyone's faces tomorrow morning when I'll be down for breakfast,' Harry said teasingly and Hermione grinned.
'And the rumors will spread again about us being in love secretly and "hiding our love within the Hogwarts walls"' Hermione mimicked Rita Skitter's high-pitched voice, causing Harry to laugh and herself to follow suit. 'The Headmistress might allow the Gryffindor team to have a fly with you before lunch, they have practice at twelve preparing the match with Ravenclaw this Saturday.' Hermione added and Harry grinned.
'Even if McGonagall doesn't want me to, I'm sure the guys won't let me be until we have the practice together so… it'll be fun, my fire bold is still in your closet right?' Harry asked and Hermione grinned and nodded her head.
'Safely kept there after I have declined all of your fangirls to touch, snapshot, caress and even lick it…' Hermione said and Harry blushed and then burst in laugher 'I've missed watching Quidditch matches, I never missed any of yours but now as an intern I usually watch them from the healing room of the pitch, waiting for the bludgers to bring in patients,' Hermione said and Harry laughed again as the two got inside the castle and sobered as they didn't want the ghosts and the rest to get startled by their noises.
'You think we could sneak in the kitchens and take some food? I didn't have time to eat anything ever since the lunch break at the training,' Harry whispered as they moved through the entrance Hall, still in the hug and Hermione moved towards the kitchens' direction without a second word spoken.
'You should be taking better care of yourself while I'm away Harry…' Hermione said in a serious voice and Harry grinned. Ever since Hermione had learnt to decently cook, she had became overprotective of their food habits, she might had given up the diet she had for Ron to follow but she was still in great care of Harry's eating.
'It's not my fault you took the internship here and you're letting me and Ron starve back in London.' Harry said and Hermione this time snorted and chuckled.
'Oh please… Ron can eat anything out of the fridge, the butter from the box included, and you can cook just fine as far as I remember,' Hermione said but Harry didn't have the time to say something more as she tickled the pear on the painting and the entrance to the kitchen was revealed, where many elves rushed close to the two and after being kindly asked for some leftovers or even some plain milk and biscuits, they brought a lot of food for the two to enjoy.
Hermione took only one slice of cake and a cup of milk as to calm down her stomach that had been uneasy like the rest of her from the sobs and the crying while Harry helped himself with some leftovers of pot roast, potatoes and salad, always accompanied by a large glass of pumpkin juice. The two friends held a small chat and after Harry was done with his late dinner, the two thanked wholeheartedly the elves that stuffed their pockets with candies and said their goodnights.
When the two returned in Hermione's quarters, she brought sheets, blankets and conjured new pillows for both of them, she set the couch for Harry with his help after he had enlarged it and Harry was the one to lay down on it with a groan before Hermione could sit down, close to his sides, they both fell in comfortable silence as they watched the extinguishing fire in the fireplace from which Harry had flooed in before.
'Harry, again… thank you for tonight, I wouldn't have made it on my own.' Hermione said and Harry smiled softly at her as she took his hand and squeezed it. The two had grown to be more comfortable in each other's company than with anyone else ever since their break ups with the Weasleys and Ron's consumed time by Quidditch and Lav-Lav.
'You know I wouldn't let you alone in this, you were there for me with Hedwig and Dobby… this was the least I could do, I'm really sorry he passed,' Harry said in a soft voice and Hermione smiled even if new tears built in her eyes. She nodded her head and took them away with her jumper's sleeve.
'It's OK, you're right, he had a good life while in my care and he was an amazing pet, I wouldn't ask for any other and I will certainly need time before I can have a new one, he was just so good,' Hermione whispered and Harry nodded and with his free hand he caressed her back soothingly. Without thinking too much of it, he tagged at her hand and Hermione leaned in and laid down before him, they found themselves spooned against each other as the exhaustion finally took over both of them.
'I should go to my bedroom,' Hermione whispered sleepily as her eyes heaved and Harry nodded but kept the hold on her hand as his arm pillowed her head and the hand that had been caressing her back was now around her waist.
'Mhm,' Harry agreed as sleepily as his eyes drifted closed, now he felt so much better and at ease than before in the messy, empty apartment while he starved.
Now he was comfortable, warm, seated and full and Hermione's body before him was only very promising of a sleep free of nightmares and startled wake ups in the middle of the night, and with that thought, a smile formed on his lips as sleep took over both of them...
OOOK i know... i killed Crookshanks... you hate me, i hate me too but a few days back one of my cats got sick and i for some reason, in my fear and panic and tears, got inspired to make this chapter, i promise the next ones will be happier (hopefully : P)
sooo what u think? we had a lot of description but i needed to set up the whole thing of how things are, did i show correctly why i don't like harry-ginny and hermione-ron? and what u think of harry rushing to help hermione and giving an eulogy for the kneazle? was it good? was it nice to see the two feeling so comfortable with each other? oh yeah and they got spooned at the end :P and we're just at the beginning :P AND YES, HARRY POTTER FANGIRLS ASK HERMIONE IF THEY'RE ALLOWED TO LICK HIS BROOMSTICK (take your minds out of the gutter! i meant his firebolt...) ;P
PLEASE REVIEW I NEED A POSITIVE START TO KEEP UP!