“Get up, Hermione!” Ron yelled. Hermione felt her legs and back being hit by a pillow repeatedly. She absentmindedly threw her hand out, searching for any part of Ron’s body to hit. She managed to find his stomach and continued to hit it; Ron retaliated by thwacking her head. Hermione grabbed the pillow, threw it across Ginny’s room, and sat up, scowling at the red head. “See,” Ron gloated, calling back to his sister who was standing in the doorway giggling, “told you all you needed was to hit her. Shaking never works.”
“How long have you been trying to get me up?” Hermione asked, taking an elastic off her wrist and gathering her bushy hair into it.
“Dunno, but a good while I reckon. I only just got here, Ginny’s been up here trying to shake you awake.” He shook his head. “Mum’s nearly through with breakfast. Wipe the drool off your face and come downstairs.
Hermione nodded and yawned as the two Weasleys made their way out of the room and down to the kitchen. She crawled out of bed and made it, then stretched on her way downstairs. She bade a sleepy good morning to Mrs. Weasley, Fred, and George, and took her normal spot at the table between Ginny and Ron and across from George.
While Ron was explaining what all the yelling earlier was about to the twins, Hermione slid some toast off a plate and asked Mrs. Weasley where Mr. Weasley was. “He had to go into work early, some urgent owl came,” she replied hastily. By the tone of her voice, Hermione thought it best not to press the issue.
“He’s still going to be able to get Harry from the Dursley’s, though, right?” she inquired, passing George the jug of orange juice. Mrs. Weasley smiled broadly and nodded, catching everyone’s eyes. Hermione felt her intelligence was insulted. Did they really think she didn’t know what those swift looks meant? Pushing it out of her mind, she ate silently, and then excused herself from the chatter of the Weasleys, claiming she wanted to wash up a bit.
As Harry’s date of arrival came nearer and nearer, Hermione was becoming sort of a nuisance at the Burrow. She’d constantly ask Mr. Weasley if he was certain about the time, date and way he was bringing Harry. She’d also talk about nothing but how excited she was to get to see him after so long and urged everyone else to feel the same. Once, sick of the nonstop jabber about Harry, Fred had taken to claim that Hermione had an "ickle crush" on Harry. She denied wholly but stopped talking about him quite so much, though he was still the first thing on her mind.
I just want to make sure he’s alright, Hermione thought as she passed the Weasley clock, to which she and Harry had been added (“You two are practically family now and just as important,” Mrs. Weasley had said two summers ago when making the alterations). She made her way to Ginny’s room and rifled through her trunk for some clothes to change into. On the way to the washroom, Hermione heard Fred’s – or George’s, she wasn’t quite sure – voice float up from the kitchen.
“-all blow over once she sees him and sees that he’s dandy.”
“Doubt it,” Ron’s voice cut through, “she’s just gonna smother him when he does, not letting him out her sight.” Hermione got the feeling they were talking about her. Intrigued, she sat outside Ginny’s door to listen.
“Yeah, then she’ll probably continue asking us if we’re glad he’s finally here,” one of the twins said.
“The only logical explanation as to why she’s so antsy is that she fancies him,” the other said.
“She’s in lo-ove!” Laughter from the boys followed his comment. Mrs. Weasley muttered a half-hearted “stop it.”
“No,” Ginny snapped, “she’s just missing him. We all are.”
“But we’re not gabbing about him every two seconds like she is,” Ron stated matter-of-factly.
“And I seriously doubt we miss him as much as she does.”
“This past year, Lupin and Sirius died, and we thought Ron was next!” An uncomfortable silence thickened the air. Hermione thought she heard Ginny’s voice quiver, but if it had, she’d quickly collected herself. “You know how hard Harry took their deaths and the reckless way he acted afterward. Especially when he thought you’d gone too, Ron.
“He’s never returned any of our owls and I know you all remember how worried sick you were at first. But you eventually gave up and figured, ‘I’ll just see him when he gets here.’ Hermione wasn’t even able to send anything in the first place; she had no way of knowing if Harry was okay, if anyone was okay. And then when she gets here and finally can get him a letter, he doesn’t write anything back to her. And you’re all just sitting around making jokes and brushing it off like its nothing-”
“You’re not exactly innocent yourself, Ginny,” said one of the twins angrily, “You can’t just get mad at us. You gave up, too.”
“Yes, and I admit that. But lately I’ve been sending my letters with Hermione’s. I just haven’t been telling you lot about them because I didn’t want any grief for it.”
Ron scoffed. “Either way, it still doesn’t mean she has to be annoying with it.”
“She’s worried!” She banged the table.“What do you expect? The last time she saw Harry, he was having a mental breakdown! Of course she’s going to be anxious to get him here, where she knows he’s safe!” She stopped to take a calming breath. “Besides, you only see what Hermione wants you to see. I’m the one comforting her at night when she’s crying because she can’t figure out why you guys don’t care, or when she’s creating all these bad scenarios as to why Harry isn’t answering her letters.” Ginny paused, probably to see if anyone had anything to say: no one did. “If anything, Hermione has the most reason to give up on Harry, but she never stopped. You did. And to be honest, you could all do with taking a leaf from Hermione’s book.” With that, Ginny stood from the table and began making her way upstairs, leaving her brothers and mother, Hermione suspected, dumbstruck.
Hermione hadn’t really been thinking much of their neglect to Harry’s welfare. She’d thought it was just their way to cope with it, seeing as how they were also affected by Lupin’s and Sirius’ deaths, but never in a million years would she have thought it was because they’d simply given up on him. That was not what Harry needed right now. He needed a support group, a safety net, a family. She could care less what they thought of her, however bothersome it was; it was Harry she was concerned for.
She gathered her clothes and stood, choking back tears. While in the shower, she pondered why she felt the need to cry. She wasn’t sad, not at all. Perhaps it was the extreme disappointment Hermione felt in the Weasleys, the most loving family she’d known other than her own. Either way, Hermione planned to pretend she hadn’t heard their conversation and smile as if nothing were wrong.
“I don’t know what to do,” Ron whined into the floor. He was lying on his stomach in the middle of the living room.
Glancing at the scene around her, Hermione smiled. Ginny was sitting with her legs crossed at his head, messing with Ron’s flaming red hair. George was sitting on one of the arms of the couch, tossing a ball with Fred; Hermione was sprawled out on the couch, her head in Fred’s lap. The Weasley children never held grudges against each other; one moment, Ginny was chewing them out, the next they were all racing each other to the nearest bathroom. She loved that quality about them.
She figured only an hour or two had passed since breakfast finished, and that was around nine o’clock. Usually, they wouldn’t get up until around ten, but for some reason (Hermione attributed it to the fact they were all antsy to see Harry, regardless of her new found information) they all were up bright and early. After Hermione’d gotten out the shower, the rest of the Weasleys followed suit rather quickly, thus deeming them all to sit around doing nothing. Mrs. Weasley took to de-gnoming the garden and all the kids were more than happy to help, but she claimed she wanted to be alone, so instead they sat in the living room.
“We could always go get Harry ourselves,” Fred teased, twirling Hermione’s hair with his wand.
Ron sighed. “Yeah, ‘cause THAT worked out so well the last time.”
“It did,” George started, “Mum just got unnecessarily angry with us.”
“What did I get unnecessarily mad about?” Mrs. Weasley said, wiping her brown hands on her apron.
“When they went to get Harry from the Dursley’s in the car,” Ginny answered.
Mrs. Weasley just laughed. “What are you lot doing, just sitting around?”
“That’s about it.”
“C’mon, budge up, get up and do something.”
“Eh, we’ve already done everything,” Fred moaned.
“Well, why not a quick game of Quidditch?” she suggested.
Ron propped himself up on his elbows and looked around. “We have an uneven number of people.”
“If you do play, I’m not going to. You know I’m incompetent on a broomstick,” Hermione said.
“See, there you go,” Mrs. Weasley turned to Hermione. “You and I can just watch then, I’m sure it’ll be worth watching.”
“I’m sure it will.”
"Well, I'll be outside with your brooms when you're ready." She gave a quick smile to her children and Hermione and left the room.
The conditions were rather favorable for a Quidditch match, but not so much for Hermione's hair. Practically the moment she and the Weasley children stepped outside, the blazing heat and humidity attacked her already bushy brown locks and added at least three inches of volume to it. Luckily, it wasn't just Hermione. Ginny and Mrs. Weasley seemed to be self-concious as well and had their hands to their heads; the boys either didn't care or didn't notice that they, too, had a large mass of red growing rapidly from their scalps.
Ginny and Fred teamed up against Ron and George. Because the teams weren't full size, the Weasleys played with a Quaffle only and had no Keepers, Beaters, or Seekers. Since Fred and George were both more experienced with the Bludger and not the Quaffle, the game progressed slowly. Ginny was constantly threatening Fred with hexes and charms if he didn't, "get his ass over there and take the Quaffle from Ron!" Mrs. Weasley appointed a penalty shot to Ron and George for Ginny's profanity.
Hermione started losing track of the game once both teams hit sixty points. She took to gazing at the clouds and letting her mind wander. She thought about Harry, mostly; how it would be to see him again, how he would act, what she would do when she saw him, how frightened he seemed the last time she saw him...
"Hermione, dear, are you paying any attention?"
"What? Oh!" she said, surprised by her sudden return to reality, "Sorry, no. What happened?"
Mrs. Weasley waved her hand dismissively. "Nothing, nothing, I was just asking if you were thirsty. I was going to bring out some lemonade in a bit." She studied Hermione's face. "Are you alright?"
"Yes, just lost in thought. Who's winning?" Hermione asked, faking interest in the game.
"George and Ron, Ginny's not too pleased-"
"FRED, GET YOUR RUDDY BACKSIDE OVER HERE!" Ginny roared as her broom zoomed past.
"She has to take after Muriel... Anyway, you must've been thinking hard, I've been talking to you for ages and getting no reply."
"Oh, you know me, I start thinking and can't stop," she laughed feebly.
Mrs. Weasley smiled knowingly. "Thinking about Harry, are you?"
"Yeah," Hermione admitted and looked back to the clouds.
Mrs. Weasley placed her hand on Hermione's. "I know this is tough, but it's going to be alright, Hermione. We're going to make it work."
Kill Voldemort, and then we can talk about making it work, Hermione thought.
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