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Under the Stars Tonight by American Ginny
Chapter 2 : One Year Later
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 2


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Dedication: To GinnyCullen, Moondanser83, LilyPotter123, GryffindorGirl153, Liza Potter and probably a few more whose name i remember but usernames I forget… I owe so much to each of you, and I cannot thank you all enough for the endless memories. Love, Am.Ginny

Chapter Two: One year Later

Time passed quicker for Harry than it ever had before. Hermione had become his best friend quickly, and though, they were often left to finding time to spend together in secret, Harry and Hermione spent every second they could together. They quickly found sanctuary in her home as the Dursleys rarely carried where he was and the Grangers were more than welcoming to Harry.

Harry had never been so happy in life. Things were as perfect as they could be while living with the Dursleys, and nothing could ever ruin it.

Or so he thought.

Harry pushed his way through the hedges behind Number four, Privet Drive. He had finished his chores as quickly as he could this afternoon and was desperate to get away before Uncle Vernon could stop him.

Uncle Vernon was in a right foul mood today. It seemed he had lost a deal with a big name company because his assistant had messed up some information. Days like today made Harry a target for ridiculing, extra chores, and yelling at. He was determine to avoid it today though.

Harry settled behind a car parked next door to Number Four and peered over to see if the coast was clear. He expected Dudley was upstairs playing video games or watching tv so he had little to fear as far as his cousin went, but Aunt Petunia was another story. She was often bustling around the kitchen, cleaning and cooking for her oversized husband to gorge himself on later.

However, no one ever showed. Harry bolted to the red VW Bug across the street, pausing behind the car for a moment. He pulled at his shirt collar, hoping to create more space for his chest to expand in and calm his racing heart.

After a few moments, Harry looked back over the bug, but quickly dropped back behind the bug with his back against the wheel. Aunt Petunia was at the kitchen window, watering the plants before the hot summer sun dried them out.

Harry slowly turned around and peered just over the hood of the car. Aunt Petunia had disappeared from veiw. As calming as it should have been, it made Harry more nervous not knowing where his aunt may be, but after no one reappeared, he decided it was unwise to linger any longer and dashed up the hedges beside Hermione’s house.

Pushing his way through the brush once again, Harry found himself behind the Granger’s house. He brushed off the bits of rubbish that had broken as he made his way through the hedge. Once he was satisfied with his appearance, Harry walked up to the back door and knocked.

Hermione rushed to the door and slide it open before embracing him in a hug, “Hi, Harry!”

Harry pulled away and smiled at her before said, “Hi, Hermione.”

“You’ve got a twig in your hair, did you know? Right there?”

Harry reached up and began sifting through his hair, but deciding he was being slow, Hermione stood on her toes and pulled out the bits of brush mangled in his hair. She looked him over before giving him an approving nod and inviting him in.

“Hi, Harry,” said Mrs. Granger who was prepping for the night’s meal.

“Hi, Mrs. Granger,” Harry responded.

“You know, Harry, you are always welcome to use our front door. You don’t have to come through the back. You do live at number four, don’t you?” questioned Mrs. Granger.

“It’s okay. I don’t think you want my Aunt spying on you like she would if she knew I was here,” responded Harry.

“Funny, I thought she didn’t need a reason to do that,” joked Mrs. Granger.

Harry smiled. He liked that the Grangers were comfortable enough to tease about the Dursleys with him. It was almost like having a real family — or what he imagined one would be like. He always assumed that families would pick on each other and joke about how crazy and psychopathic the extended family was — well maybe not psychopathic but in the case of the Dursleys.

“Can we go play in my room?” asked Hermione, darting away with Harry before Mrs. Granger ever answered.

“Yes, but remember to keep the door open,” called Mrs. Granger.

Hermione dragged Harry up the stairs and into the first door on the left. He was use to this routine. They didn’t play outside much because he didn’t want to risk the Dursleys seeing him, but Hermione was never opposed to showing off her stuff. While most 11-year-old girls would have makeup kits or stuffed animals or polly pockets cluttering their room, Hermione filled her space with books  and science kits. The most normal things in her room were model horses and a few dress up clothes.

Hermione plopped herself down in the middle of the floor as Harry took in her room once again. It was so much bigger than what he had ever known. While he barely had bed that was crammed into a closet, Hermione’s bed was pushed against the wall on the right hand side of the room. A window was on the wall beside the bed, and beside the window was a bookshelf comprised of books of all sizes — many of which Harry knew he would struggle to read while Hermione flew through them. Her closet was against the far wall and still bigger than his living quarters.

The rest of the room was covered in furniture that was garnished with various science experiments, unopened kits and the model horses she had collected over the years. The room was done in a lavender color with white molding around the edges. It wasn’t much to Hermione, but to Harry, it was so much more than he’d ever known.

 “Sit down already,” Hermione demanded as she pulled him down next to her.

“It’s as if you’ve never seen my room before,” continued Hermione. “It’s not changed since the last time you came over. Honestly, it hasn’t even changed in the year that we’ve known each other.

“Sorry,” Harry mumbled.

Hermione pulled a puzzle off the bottom shelf of the bookshelf beside the window. Opening the box, she dumped the contents between them, and together, they began to piece together of big ben in London.

Harry worked on the bottom edge of the puzzle as Hermione put together the top. Every so often when he knew she was too preoccupied with the problem in front of her, he would sneak a glance of her working. It had been a year since they had become friends, but he never quite tired of being with her and watching her work together.

To him, Hermione was a mystery. As much as he knew about her, there was something about her that was so vastly different than anyone he had ever met — given he hadn’t met many people. Still, something about her beaconed him to learn more about her. He didn’t know if he would ever figure out what made her such a mystery to him, but he was determined to at least try and solve the puzzle.

“Harry.” Hermione’s voice interrupted his thoughts, and he hurried to bury his face back into the puzzle before she looked up and caught him staring.

Harry began putting pieces together — even though most of them were wrong — and responded with a simple Hmmm.

“There’s something I need to tell you,” she continued.

Harry looked up to see Hermione scowling very concentrated on formulating what exactly she wanted to say and how she wanted to say it.

Harry smiled and said, “You can tell me anything.”

She returned his smile but shifted her attention to the puzzle before resuming, “Well, as you know this year, we both move schools since we are headed into secondary school. We both were going to end up at Stone Wall High since our elementary schools feed into it.”

“Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it,” Harry said cheerfully. “Dudley and Piers are going to be going to Smeltings, and I finally won’t have to worry about everyone hating me. Not to mention you will be—“

Harry cut off as he looked up and saw a disappointed look on Hermione’s face. Why was she disappointed? Did she not want to go to school with him? Had she tired of him already without Dudley threatening her?

“What?” Harry asked concerned. “Are you disappointed that you’ll be going to school with me next year?”

“No, it’s not that.” she replied.

“Are you worried about being at a new school? Because I completely understand that.” Harry continued to probe.

“No, Harry.” She paused, thinking for a second before continue, “Well, actually yes that one a little, but no.”

“Then what is it Hermione?” Harry demanded, tiring of the game.

“Harry, I’m not going to Stone Wall,” Hermione confessed, tearing up from the disappointment.

How could Harry possible like her ay more if she was just up and abandoning him. They had spent their last year of friendship talking, planning, scheming and dreaming about this year. They would finally be able to hang out more without anyone caring or interfering. They could finally go out and have fun away from Hermione’s home. They both would finally have a friend at school, and Hermione wouldn’t have to be the freaky know-it-all at school — well she might still be that, but she wouldn’t be alone this time.

Harry stared at her, stunned with her announcement. He didn’t know what to feel about it. He was mad because she was leaving him to once again face the horrors of school alone, but he was heartbroken, knowing they wouldn’t be able to spend all that time together. How could this have happened? Not but a week ago, they had discussed their classes and excitement for the new school year.

“How?” Harry barely mustered to say.

“I got accepted into a private school for gifted children. We found out today before you showed up. Mother and I were discussing it when you knocked.”

Hermione paused, waiting for Harry to say something. However, he didn’t move. He didn’t speak. He didn’t even blink. He just stared off trying to process her news.

“Oh, Harry. It’s a really great opportunity of me. I will finally be challenged in my school work and be able to get a better education than Stone Wall. I’ll have so many more opportunities open up in my future if I go. My parents really aren’t giving me an option, but I want to go anyways. It’s a really big deal for me.”

Hermione stated everything as quickly as she could as if trying to get it out before Harry could interrupt her. Her breathing was deep and ragged, but her eyes never left him. He just stared at the puzzle piece in his hand.

“Oh, Harry please say something,” Hermione begged.

Harry looked up at her, meeting her eyes. Tears threatened to breach the edge, and her eyes appeared hollow as if her soul had fled and pain and sorrow filled in in its stead. He honestly just didn’t know what to say.

Harry was absolutely excited for her. He was proud that she had gotten into such a school with prestige. She was smart, and he had always known that. He was proud to see that other people also recognized it, but he was also filled with a horrible agony of disappointment. He had looked forward to having a friend at school for the first time, and now, he was just going to be alone all over again.

“Harry?” Hermione softly said, reaching over the puzzle and touching his bicep. “Harry?”

Harry shook himself from his thoughts and smiled at her, “Congratulations, Hermione. That’s absolutely wonderful. I’m so proud of you.”

Hermione returned his smile before saying, “Thanks.” She bit her bottom lip as if hesitant to continue, “You know, we’ll be okay, Harry. I’ll come back on breaks, and we will hang out.”

Harry smirked. “Promise? You won’t leave me to live with Dursleys without you again?”

“Of course not!” Hermione said acting appalled at the very thought, causing the two to laugh.

Harry grinned at Hermione. “Friends forever?”

“Always.” Hermione replied.

Harry hopped up from where he was sitting. He bowed to her and offered his hand, “One last dance till then shall we?”

“Really, Harry? We’re in the middle of my room.” Hermione giggled.

“Since when does it matter where we are?” Harry replied appalled at her rejection.

Hermione just grinned and pushed the puzzle aside. She took his hand and stood up, allowing herself to be twirled around the room.

The two laughed and played around as they danced in the confined space, but soon, the two settled into a slower dance. Hermione nuzzled her face into Harry’s neck, and Harry pulled her closer not quite ready to let her go. She was all he had had in life, and he knew he was about to lose her. He didn’t know what was going to happen after this moment.

All he did know is that this year was going to suck without her.

~~~~

A/N: I’m as old as Dumbledore on this site. I wander back on every so often, and this is probably one of the hardest times I’ve had being back. A lot of friends have moved on. A lot of validators and administration has come and gone. The forums are gone (my heart broke at that), and many people I once knew are gone. But I owe much to this site even now as I wrote that chapter. So if anything I wanted to expand one last story for you all to enjoy. Will I write more after this story? I don’t know we will see, but I really wanted to leave one last thing for anyone still on here to enjoy. So I will be expanding Under the Stars Tonight as so many people requested I do long ago. So if you are old to the story, this is for you; if you are new to the story, welcome to the family. HPFF is and will always be the greatest family I have. Here is where true unity comes together and divides do not exist. Be kind to each other on here because the friends I made on here long ago are honestly some of the greatest people I have ever known. Respect each other no matter your opinion and encourage each other because this was what has made me the writer I am today. Please leave a Review. I would love to hear your opinion, thoughts or just to meet you.

Love Always,

AmGinny


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