Chapter 6 : Fights and Laughs
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The weeks past quickly as Harry and Hermione struggled to adjust to their new way of life. The overwhelming load of homework and crazy schedule kept them from spending any time together aside from the stolen moments in the common room after everyone else had gone asleep. Unfortunately, Ron made those secret meetings few and far between.
Ron despised Hermione, and he made sure everyone — including Hermione — knew it too. Ron would spend the first ten minutes after class ranting about her, and today was no different.
“I can’t stand her. She’s a nightmare,” spouted Ron. “I don’t understand how you can hang out with her.”
Harry made no response trying to ignore Ron as he continued his rant as they walked across the court yard. “Every single day in class, ‘Ooo, Ooo, Ooo,’ mocked Ron hoping as he walked with his hand stuck in the air. “‘Oh please sir, I know the answer. Please pick me because I have to be better than everyone in the room. Oh please, professor.’ Gosh, she’s awful, honestly. I bet if you glued her to the stool, she just hop on the stool.”
Ron continued to rant as they made their way into the castle. Harry was trying to ignore Ron. It wasn’t worth the fight to him, but the closer Harry and Hermione grew, the harder it was to hold his tongue while Ron belittled her. Ron just didn’t understand Hermione.
She came from a world of fact and science, and this world had shattered everything she previously knew. Hogwarts was a fantasy for Hermione; one she would have shook her head at you a month ago had you tried to tell her it was real. Even if you rid the entire place of actual magic, Hermione would find it just as magical.
“Can you believe her? Constantly correcting everyone else as if she’s the smartest witch in the class. I mean how can she be when she didn’t even grow up wit—“
“Ron, shut up!” Harry yelled, cutting Ron off. He couldn’t take it any more. Hermione was his absolute best friend, and even if Ron couldn’t stand her, Harry was tired of him berating her.
“Look Ron. We’re mates, and I know you can’t stand her. I get it. The two of you just don’t get along, but she’s my longest friend. My life would have sucked a lot more if we hadn’t become friends and I get you disliking her, but I can’t handle hearing these rants every day after every class. You may not like her, but you have to get over it. She’s in our house, and she’ll be in all of our classes for years to come. Even if she wasn’t, she’s still going to be around all the time because she’s one of my best mates — just like you. So I don’t know what you have to do to get over it, but you have to get there. I can only take so much more of this.”
Harry turned around and stormed away from a stunned Ron. He walked back out on to the grounds toward the lake. He hurried past the sixth and seventh year couples cuddling under the trees until he found a secluded spot of his own. He threw his bag down beside the tree and plopped down on the roots of the tree, looking out over the lake until he could feel his anger ebbing away.
He felt a bit guilty for yelling at Ron and storming off, but Harry was so tired of him going off about Hermione. If Ron would shut up for ten minutes and get to know her, Harry didn’t think Ron would dislike her so much, but to Ron, Hermione was just the annoying, arrogant classmate that was too socially awkward to be aware of her own affects on others.
Thing was Hermione was just excited to be learning something completely new. Harry knew Ron wouldn’t really understand, having always had that second world to run into after elementary school, but Hermione and Harry had been learning the exact same thing for the past six years in school and after school it was the exact same thing. Nothing really ever changed for them. Life at school was the exact same as life at home.
Ron was lucky growing up. He had always lived in the fantasy world Harry had always craved, but Ron would never truly understand that with the fantasy always being his reality. How could he?
“Harry?” said a meek voice behind him.
Harry turned around to see Hermione standing behind him with her book bag slung over her shoulder. She was clearly unsure if he would want her company and was seeking his permission for her approach. Harry just turned back to look out over the lake, and Hermione — taking his silence as approval — walked around the tree to sit on his right.
“How did you know I’d be here?” Harry asked.
“Ron came and found me. He told me you’d stormed off mad at him.” Harry scoffed, finding the whole thing ironic. Hermione ignored it and continued, “He seemed a bit embarrassed about the whole thing, but I didn’t stick around to question him. I ran off to find you. Since there are no bushes to hide in here — that we know of yet, I figured you’d go find the next best thing. Trees by a lake seemed like the best option. I just kept walking until the couples began to thin.”
Harry was unable to prevent the smirk from creeping onto his face. It solidified his anger at Ron; Hermione knew Harry better than anyone else in the world. He was not willing to give that up for Ron.
“So what did he do this time?”
Harry just continued to stare out at the lake, determined to remain silent about the whole thing.
“Come on, Harry. We can sit here all day until you talk, or we can fast forward through the silence and enjoy the time together with the time we save,” bartered Hermione.
“He just went on one of his rants again,” Harry answered.
“You mean about me?”
“Yes. I am so sick of hearing them.”
“I can’t argue with that.” Hermione muttered.
“He doesn’t even know you, Hermione. If he invested sometime in getting to know you, he wouldn’t think all those things about you. I mean some of them are true —“
Hermione looked at Harry, raising one eyebrow questioning him.
“Oh come on. Sometimes he has a point. Like if we glued you to your seat in class, you’d just hop up and down on your seat to get the professor to call on you.” Harry looked down at Hermione and saw her trying to fight off the smile trying to form on her lips. “Sometimes the stuff is true, but its not funny at the time because its just bunched with a bunch of other stuff that is wrong.”
Hermione sat in silence as Harry let out the anger he’d built up over the last few weeks. It may have been hard to hear the stuff Ron had been saying about her, but she took comfort in Harry defending her and thinking better of her than who she was here.
“I just wish he understood that you’re just excited to be here — we both are.” Harry said exasperated. “I wish he could understand that this isn’t the world we grew up in, and you will calm down in a few months when the newness of this place will wear off. He just doesn’t see this place as magical as you do, and that’s what he hates.”
Hermione smiled before saying, “Just give it time, Harry. I’ll try to spend more time with you around him. Eventually, he’ll come around.”
“Yeah. I know. I just wish he could understand what you mean to me.” Harry sighed. “Come summer, he won’t be there. You will. I don’t want to choose, but if I have to, it’ll always be you.”
Hermione gently pushed Harry with her shoulder and whispered, “Thanks.”
The two fell quiet, enjoying the view of the lake. The water splashed against the shore line, lulling the two into a peacefulness as the birds sang overhead. The leafs rustled as a nice breeze blew through the tree. The sun reflected off the lake, highlighting the bugs on the surface for the fish to enjoy in the middle of the afternoon.
Harry allowed the last of his anger at Ron to float away in the breeze. He just needed to get to know Hermione to understand why she was worth having as a friend.
“So, transfigurations, is it everything you expected it to be?” Harry asked with a smile.
Hermione pushed herself away from Harry in excitement and sat so she could look at him. “Oh my yes, and so much more!” Hermione said, bubbling with joy. Harry chuckled as she continued, “McGonnagal is my favorite professor. She’s so wise!”
“Doesn’t she…you know,” Harry stumbled over his words, embarrassed by what he was trying to say. “Isn’t she…you know…I mean…Doesn’t she scare you a little bit?”
Hermione giggled before replying, “Not really. She kind of makes me think that’s what I’ll be like if I never marry.”
It was now Hermione’s turn to be embarrassed. It probably wasn’t a very comforting thought for her future, but Harry smiled and said, “Don’t worry. You’ll marry. Any guy would be lucky to have you. Plus I mean if you too can turn into a cat, I’m sure there’s tons of tabby’s looking for a mate.”
Hermione looked at him horrified and punched him as hard as she could on the arm. Harry just laughed and found himself wondering how Ron could not want to be friends with a girl like this. Hermione was the best person Harry had ever met. True he had probably tripled the number of people he had met in life just in the last few weeks, but even including everyone he’d met at Hogwarts so far, no one was like hermione — the twins were a close second.
“Alright, Mr. Funny, what is your favorite class? You have to have one by now.”
“Uhhhh…” Harry stared at her dumbfounded. “Do the flying classes count?”
“Haaarry!” Hermione yelled pushing him. “A real class. Not the class that got you recruited for a sport.”
“Alright, Alrgiht. Uh well Charms is alright. Defense against the Dark Arts is pretty cool, but Quirrel is a bit.” Harry paused looking for the exact word he wanted to use to describe the professor. There really wasn’t a way to describe the professor he had met in diagon alley so harry just pressed on, “odd. I don’t know what it is, but he just puts me on edge you know.”
“Yeah, he does seem to be a bit skittish, does’t he?”
“Yeah. He just doesn’t seem to be the teacher type you know?”
“Yeah. So what about a professor then?”
“Well definitely not Snape. I’m pretty sure he hates me.”
“Don’t be silly. He’s a professor, Harry. He can’t hate a student.”
“He also shouldn’t have favorites, but no one is going to argue if I say Malfoy is clearly his favorite.”
"Alright, but who do you like the best.”
“I guess if I had to choose it would be Professor Sprout. Hopefully that will change, but she’s pretty nice and friendly. Plus her classes aren’t terribly boring like History of Magic. It’s got as much life to it as the professor.”
“Harry, that’s mean. I think it’s fascinating!”
“Hermione, how can you find that class even remotely interesting? Professor Binns stands behind his desk, droning on in one tone. Even you can’t find it that ‘Fascinating’ all the time.”
Harry and Hermione sat under the tree talking about classes and sharing funny stories about their roommates until the sun began to set. Hermione was leaning against Harry’s shoulder laughing at Harry’s story about Ron waking up screaming about something slimy touching his feet the night before only to find Neville’s frog Trevor under his sheets.
The two quieted as their laughter was carried away in the air. Hermione let out a sigh before saying, “You know, we should head in. Dinner will be over soon.”
Harry mimicked her sigh, “Yeah, I know.”
Neither moved as they dreaded breaking the first moment alone since the night of the beginning of the year feast. It was the first moment away from classmates and prying eyes that always seemed to watch Harry no matter where he went.
But no moment could last forever, and after a few minutes, Harry and Hermione gathered their things and hurried off to the grand hall for the end of dinner. Harry looked over at Hermione just before they entered the hall, knowing he would have to go sit with Ron the moment they walked into the hall. Hermione glanced at him and smiled knowing this was goodbye until next time before crossing the Grand Hall’s threshold and disappearing.
A/N: I think I’ve found a path for the story, and I really hope you enjoy it from here on out. I’m hoping to go back to writing one a week for you and kicking this out. Thanks for your faithfulness in reading this story and the patience you’ve showed me along the way.
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