Harry and Hermione crept downstairs and joined the Weasley family in the living room, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible. Harry took a seat next to Ginny on the couch, while Hermione found Ron on the opposing loveseat. Mrs.Weasley was conjuring a pot of hot tea and mugs on the coffee table, and distributing the mugs around the living room. The teapot hovered around the room on a silver tray, accompanied by a china pot of sugar, and a matching pitcher of cream. Harry took a mug, and poured his tea with a dash of cream, and passed the tray on.
“So Harry, I’ve heard you’ve been thinking about returning to Hogwarts to finish your last year?” Mr.Weasley looked at Harry inquisitively from the big maroon armchair.
“Yes, I have Mr.Weasley.” Harry glanced around the room at his friends. “Did anyone else intend on returning as well?”
Ginny sat up a little straighter. “I was.”
Ron piped up from the other side of the room. “Ginny, you already went to the bloody school for seven years. Why the hell do you need one more?”
“Honestly, Ron. Do you think anyone could focus with Snape as headmaster and a bloody war going on?”
“Ginny’s right,” Hermione added. “I’m going back as well. I want to take my N.E.W.T.s anyways.”
Harry shot a quick smile at Hermione, which she returned before taking Ron’s hand gently. Harry felt a jolt of pain in his chest.
At that moment, the family jumped as they heard something hit the living room window. Mr.Weasley got up and pulled back the curtain, revealing an owl with several letters in its mouth, all of which were addressed in emerald ink. Mr.Weasley opened the window slightly, and took the letters from the owl’s beak, distributing them amongst their proper addressees. Harry ripped his open immediately, studying his supply list for the coming year.
“McGonagall must have known you three were coming back,” Mr.Weasley observed.
“Mum, we should go to Diagon Alley tomorrow to go shopping. Term starts on September first, and that’s nearly a week away,” Ginny said.
“Then we will, if need be,” Mrs.Weasley responded.
Hermione let out a squeal of delight as a small, shiny object fell from her letter. She got up and did a small dance around the kitchen.
Ron laughed. “Who spiked her tea?” He picked up the object. He raised his eyebrows. “Head Girl. Congratulations, Hermione.” He smiled and rose to kiss her. A round of congratulations echoed amongst the family.
“Alright, off to bed, all of you! It’s nearly midnight!” Mrs.Weasley got up and cleared all of the tea settings with a flick of her wand. Harry and Ginny walked up the stairs hand in hand, followed by Ron and Hermione. Harry stopped in front of Ginny’s room, and took both of her hands in his. Ginny smiled warmly at him, and kissed him warmly on the lips. “Goodnight,” she whispered, and disappeared into her room. Harry walked up another level of stairs to his own room, and put on a pair of boxers and a Chudley Cannons t-shirt. He turned down his sheets, and took out the old photo of his mum and dad. He watched them, preserved in a frame for seventeen years, twirl and kiss just like they always did. He smiled, and put the picture back in the drawer of his bedside table, turning out the light. He climbed under the blankets, and closed his eyes for several moments when there was a knock on his door. He flipped the switch on the lamp back on, and clambered out of bed to open the door.
Hermione stood outside, looking at Harry with lustrous eyes.
“Harry, I don’t think I’d be able to sleep. Could I….could I sleep here with you? I mean if that’s okay with you, because if it’s not I can leave, that’s not a big deal-“
Harry leaned forward and gently kissed her on the lips, pulling her into his room. He gingerly shut the door, careful to be quiet so as not to wake anyone.
“Of course you can, Mione.” He motioned for her to lie down in the spot next to his. She climbed under the covers, her pretty, brown hair falling just past her face. Harry thought she looked beautiful in the dim lamplight. He returned to his bed, and flicked out the light. Taking a chance, he wrapped his right arm around her waist, pulling her into him. She smiled, and turned around to kiss him on the lips.
“Goodnight, love. And congratulations on Head Girl,” Harry said.
“Goodnight. Thank you.” Hermione turned around, still smiling, and snuggled into the pillow. That night, Harry got the best sleep he had had in months.
The next morning, Harry awoke, slightly puzzled by the brunette figure beside him. He shook off the drowsy feeling that comes with sleep and came to his senses. His wonderful best friend had fallen asleep next to him, her eyes shut and her mouth curving sweetly into a smile. He propped himself up on one elbow and grinned. She’s adorable when she sleeps, he thought. He reached out a hand and gently touched Hermione’s cheek. She stirred to his light touch and turned to face him, rousing out of slumber.
She smiled. “Good morning, Harry.”
Harry leaned over to leave a soft peck on her forehead. “Good morning, Mione.”
“It is time to return to reality?” Hermione asked disdainfully. Harry could reciprocate. He didn’t want to reenter the world of troubling relationships and misunderstandings.
“I think it is, darling. I’m just glad you’re here even if you have to pretend you’re not.” Harry kissed her, and for a moment, the whole rotten reality was gone. All that mattered was Harry and Hermione and their perfect moment. Until the door opened.
Harry and Hermione broke apart instantly, as a puzzled George Weasley peered into the room.
“Harry…what is…Hermione…lips…” George was dumbstruck and at a loss for words. Harry was ruffling his hair awkwardly as Hermione slithered back into the blankets in an attempt to hide. George looked into the hallway as if to check for onlookers. Then, he slipped into the room, closed the door and crossed his arms. “Explain,” he dictated.
Harry explained most the story, starting from his and Hermione’s encounters from years four on, minus their most intimate moments. George listened, his angry expression softening as Harry spoke. Hermione chimed in every once in a while with small details Harry would’ve otherwise left out. By the time Harry was done, the sun was shining brightly through the cracks between the curtains, and George seemed far less upset than when he entered the room. He rose and spoke.
“Not that I approve of what you two are doing to my siblings, but I’m happy that you two are content. I never would’ve guessed though. Harry, you and Ginny just seem so…content. Same with you and Ron, Hermione.” George’s expression looked like he wanted an answer.
“Well that’s the problem, you see,” Hermione began to reply. “We are. Or, erm, were. But now that this happened, the world’s turned around.”
“Well, as much as you don’t want to hear it, you’re going to have to break it to your significant others eventually. But I’ll keep your secret for now.” George gave a little nod for reassurance. He turned to leave. “Just…don’t expect me to give you an easy time.” He winked at them, and then sauntered off, closing the door behind him.
Hermione rose from Harry’s bed and combed her hair with her fingers. “Well,” she began, “time to sneak back to my own room. I have to get my bag ready, and make a budget, and-“ Harry spun her around and sat up to kiss her, effectively quieting her. After they broke apart, Harry smiled and opened the bedroom door for her, and she glanced back briefly before scurrying back to her own room. Harry sighed and stripped himself of his pajamas, and pulled on a simple pair of jeans and a teal hoodie. He made his bed quickly so Mrs.Weasley wouldn’t have to later, and headed down to find Ron, George, Mr.Weasley, and Mrs.Weasley waiting with breakfast to go and a pot of Floo. George grinned.
“Sleep well, mate?” Harry nudged off George’s muffled laughter and walked over to his best friend. “Hey.”
Ron smiled. “Hey. Long time, no talk. How are you?”
“Same as always,” Harry answered. “I’m a guest in my best friend’s house and I never even talk to him. How sad is that?”
“Been too much time snogging my sister, that’s it,” Ron laughed a little. “This whole house is a snog fest. I’ll tell you, mate, when you and Hermione and Ginny go back to school, I have no idea what I’m going to do. My lips are sad just thinking about it.”
Harry laughed. “Can’t imagine how that’ll be.” The friends stood in each other’s company while their significant others walked down the stairs giggling. Harry wondered what about, but shrugged off his curiosity. Mrs.Weasley handed the girls breakfast and began to line everyone up in front of the fireplace. Ginny would go first, then Harry, followed by Ron, Hermione, Mrs.Weasley, George (who would be checking on his shop), and Mr.Weasley brought up the rear.
“Alright,” Mrs.Weasley said, “we’re meeting at Flourish and Blotts for books all together, than the three of you who need to go school shopping can manage on your own. Arthur and I will be wandering if you need anything. Alright? Let’s go!”
One by one, the large brigade departed in a blast of green smoke. Harry arrived in a fireplace outside Flourish and Blotts right behind Ginny, who smiled at him and took his hand.
“Hi,” she said softly, and then she pecked him on the lips lightly. Harry smiled at her and waved to Ron and Hermione, who appeared in the special fireplace in the center of the Alley as a sort of main terminal. They were walking hand and hand, and Harry felt that familiar pang of sadness in his chest, but ignored it. He knew he would get his beautiful Mione back later.
The rest of the day progressed as any other trip to Diagon Alley would. Hermione spent far too long in the book store while Ron patiently held her purchases. Harry and Ginny devoured everything inside Quality Quidditch Supplies with their eyes, eagerly ponying up many galleons on new equipment for the year. Ron bought tons of merchandise from Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. When Ginny shot a glare at him, he shrugged and said “What? I’m supporting the family business. Plus, it’ll be fun for my year alone. George can have a taste of his own medicine.” Ginny rolled her eyes and walked on, dragging Harry behind her to another side of the store.
After their long day of shopping, Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione settled down in The Leaky Cauldron for lunch and butterbeer. Meal talk was trivial, and the gang contemplated who would be head boy for a while. Ginny was confident it would be Harry, while Ron guessed Draco Malfoy and Hermione shrugged, insisting she wanted her partner to be a complete and total surprise. The group headed back to the fireplaces and transported back to the Burrow.
They spent the rest of the afternoon going about their regular activities. Hermione read on a windowsill where Ron pulled up a chair. He entertained himself by levitating random objects within the room to surprise his unsuspecting mother while she made dinner. Harry and Ginny ran Quidditch drills outside until Mrs.Weasley called the family in for dinner.
The table was full of laughter and glorious stories that night. Mr.Weasley had caught up with some coworkers at Diagon Alley today and shard some Ministry follies. Hermione talked about some ridiculous muggle novels she had read when she was younger. Harry shared stories about the ten worst teachers to ever enter Hogwarts from a Daily Prophet article he had found lying around.
The lively table chatter came to a close and everyone left to go to their respective rooms. Harry kissed Ginny goodnight like he usually did, and went to his room to wait. He peered through the cracks in his door to make sure everything was still, then he snuck across the hall to Hermione’s room and quietly rapped on the door. Hermione opened the door a crack, and then motioned for him to enter. He took her face in his hands and kissed her properly, releasing all the passion he’d been holding in all day. She reciprocated. They broke apart, breathing hard, and Harry rested his forehead on hers.
“Hi,” he muttered with a smile. Hermione couldn’t help but grin back. “Hi.”
Harry pulled away a little more and noticed she was in her pajamas. “Should I…” he motioned to the door. Hermione shook her head in response and instead pulled him into a hug.
She looked up into his green eyes. “Stay with me tonight?” She pouted at him.
Harry chuckled and nodded, and then noticed what he was wearing. “Should I change first?” Hermione pondered his question for a moment, and then shook her head. “Don’t wanna risk being caught. Just…sleep in your boxers.”
Harry looked at her warily for a second, but then slid off his jeans and hoodie, and stood near naked in Hermione’s room. She gave a little gasp, but tried to hide her intrigue. She motioned to one side of her bed, and Harry obliged. Hermione climbed in after him and curled up into his bare chest. “Goodnight,” Hermione smiled at him.
Harry beamed. “Goodnight, Mione.”
A/N: Hi! It's been, what, a year? Oops. Welp. I've decided I'm finally over my writers block, and, uh, THIS happened. Hope you like it! Thanks so much to The_Wolven_Critic for their wonderful ideas that inspired this chapter! A big thanks to onorous who has been so loyal (I sincerely hope you see this!) I also have to thank HappinessRocks for their review, which gave me an extra surge to keep writing. Also, Athene Goodstrength's reviews were AWESOME and thank you so much. Alright, hopefully you won't have to wait a year for a new chapter this time :)