Ron was waiting in his room, watching Harry’s snitch fly around, and occasionally trying to catch it. It was now almost eight, and he hasn’t seen Harry or Hermione yet. He knew that Harry only liked Hermione as a friend, he heard Harry say it himself; “I love Hermione like a sister.” He said. Ron started thinking, ‘ What if he only said that to make me feel better? ‘
And then he heard it. A gentle pop outside, He ran up to the window and, for a moment, saw nothing but the glowing orange of the sunset. Then he saw two people appear out of thin air. Harry was holding the Cloak, while Hermione was holding something small and green that slowly turned into her large, black bag. She was staring at the Burrow, looking exhausted. She was also wearing new clothes. Harry was, too. They slowly made their way back to the house, leaning on each other. Hermione was leaning on Harry more than necessary, but his face only showed tiredness.
They finally reached the door and Harry knocked. Ron quickly ran downstairs, but Fleur beat him to it, as she was opening the door when he reached the bottom of the steps.
He saw her hug each of them until he heard a firm snap. She wasn’t at all affected by the fact that Harry broke up with Ginny. In fact, after she heard that news, she called her little sister and one of Harry Potter’s many fans and ‘rescuees’, Gabrielle Delacour. The entire house could hear the little blonde’s scream, even though there were silencing charms on the walls.
When she was finished hugging them, she told them that she was fixing dinner. Molly didn’t cook as much since she heard of both of the couples’ break-ups, and the food just didn’t have that special taste anymore. She hadn’t made treacle tart since then, also. She was just holed up in her room, sulking and grieving.
They saw Ron and they both gave a little wave and smiled. As they walked by him, Harry whispered, “We’ll talk in your room,” and went slowly up the stairs, exhausted, as Ron quickly followed.
When they reached the room and closed the door, they were flooded with questions from Ron.
“Where did you go? What took you so long? Did you see Sirius’ vault? What did you guys buy? Did you—?”
“Ron!” They both yelled to silence him in unison, and Ron quickly shut up. Harry and Hermione answered his questions in a way that eerily reminded him of Fred and George, continuing where the other left off.
Harry answered the first question. “First, we went to Gringotts. We read a letter that was left from my mum that must have appeared on my seventeenth Birthday.” Hermione took out the note and handed it to Ron, but Ron put it aside for now. He wanted to hear what happened.
“Then, we went to a department store, to get muggle clothes and toiletries.” Hermione explained next. At the look of confusion on Ron’s face, Hermione cleared things up.
“Like a toothbrush, soap, washing rags, —”
“—A razor.” Harry added. Ron nodded at this, but asked, “So, you guys aren’t using wands at all ?”
“Of course we’ll use a little magic,” Hermione asked, “but the places we go to have to look normal, don’t they?
“We went to other places, to buy sunscreen, tanning oil, beach towels, and sunshades.” She continued, pulling out each one in her bag as she said so. Ron looked amazedly at the sunshades, while Harry formed a smirk at the tanning oil. Fortunately, Hermione did not notice Harry’s reaction, as she was still looking in the bag.
Harry continued, “Of course we had to stop a few places to eat during the day.”
“As we didn’t eat breakfast this morning…”
“We saw Bill at the bank…”
“And we met Griphook…”
“He’s not mad at us, by the way…”
“And he gave us a wallet.” Hermione added, pulling a wallet out of her pocket and handed it to Ron. Ron frowned a bit, knowing why she chose the color green. Before he could ask if Harry got one, Harry answered another of Ron’s earlier questions. “We didn’t have time to ask about Sirius’s vault. Or Bellatrix’s.”
Hermione started unloading the bag. “We got a lot of clothes, though. I guess I got carried away,” she said as she only took out half of the clothes, yet the entire bed was piling up with clothes. At one of the stores they were shopping, Hermione sneaked some of the shirts that she promised herself she would get for Harry when he wasn’t looking, so she put them behind the pile, so Ron nor Harry will notice.
“We also went to the airport to get tickets for the plane,” Hermione said as she pulled out two tickets and put one of them on the dresser by the lamp next to Harry’s bed.
Hermione continued. “We also dropped by the Wizarding Post Office in Diagon Alley. They gave us Muggle Passports with just a wave of a wand over us. To them, it’s only a book who says who we are and the other half was for inkblots. They even offered to fill in the other half of the book for Harry and me with stamps from other countries, because they wouldn’t be standing without us.” She finished with a smile.
“We bought some regular binoculars for the sights in Australia,” Harry explained as he pulled out two expensive and large looking glasses (from Ron’s point of view).
“We went back to Diagon Alley after all the shopping,” Hermione continued, now done with unpacking the clothes, but there were other items in the bag. “We stopped by Quality Quidditch Supplies.” She said, smirking as she saw Ron’s jaw drop.
“Hermione Granger…went into a store…that sells only everything Quidditch? Hermione Granger didn’t go into a store that sells quills?” Ron asked incredulously.
Hermione held her temper. “For your information, Ronald, I did buy some quills.” After seeing a smirk on Ron’s face, she smirked herself as she thought of the reaction Ron will have when she said the next sentence. “However, Harry did get me a broom.” She was rewarded with an even worse face than she expected. Ron’s jaw was at his chest when she pulled out a short, sterling silver broom.
Harry introduced the broom. “It’s the Second Generation Firebolt. Just came out for a tribute to Voldemort’s death. I have one, too.” He pulled out a gold one and a dark red one. “I got one for you, too, Ron, but you always turn my gifts down, so I could save it for Christmas.” Harry grinned as Ron got up and ran to the red one before he even finished.
The broom was incredibly smooth, sleek, and shiny. Just touching it made you feel as if you were already flying; happy and content, like there is nothing else that you want to do but fly all day. Ron would have been truly happy if he wasn’t mad about Harry buying Hermione her first broom. He wasn’t going to say that, though. After all, he just bought him a broom.
“You don’t have to wait till bloody Christmas!” Said Ron, giddy about his new broom. “But I swear I’ll still pay you back.”
“Ron, you don’t have to. I’m rich!” Harry said, exasperated. Hermione thought of all of the money in her wallet as she opened it. Galleons started pouring out of her wallet onto the bed, to show that Harry was, indeed, very rich. Ron’s mouth was almost watering at the sight of the big gold coins pouring out like a waterfall (Hermione decided not to think of the Plunos falling for obvious reasons).Ron never actually knew how rich Harry was. The only times he saw Harry with a lot of money was on their annual (almost) train rides to Hogwarts, when Harry usually pulls out a small pouch and buys a bunch of foodand sweets for everyone in the compartment. The only other time was at the Quidditch World Cup, where he bought the Omnioculars.
He finally spoke a few minutes after the Galleons were done falling. “Bl…blo…BLOODY HELL!” He finally managed to yell.
“See, Ron?” Harry said. “I’m not going to live in a cardboard box when I give you money. That’s only about 1 percent!” He scooped up the Galleons and put some in the wallet. He left a few on the bed for Ron and handed the wallet back to Hermione.
“We went to see a muggle movie at the end of the day,” Hermione said as she put the wallet in her pocket. “It was a Star Wars movie. It was pretty good, compared to the others.”
Harry grinned. “I didn’t watch the other movies, so I can’t compare notes, but it was still a really good movie.” He said as his grin was replaced with a frown and laid back on the bed. “Then something very…unpleasant happened.”
“Like what?” Ron asked as he wiped the drool from his face. Part of him wanted Harry to say that Hermione kissed him and he almost threw up.
Harry started with a sigh. “Well…after the movie….”
Harry and Hermione were walking down the street from the movie theatre at about seven. As soon as they left, they didn’t notice that they grabbed each other’s hand. Hermione transfigured her black bag into a purse that she saw in one of the department stores.
“Star Wars was made that long ago?” Harry asked, deep in conversation with Hermione.
“I told you the classics are the best.” She replied, laughing at Harry’s enthusiacticity of going to a movie theatre. She thought in her mind, ‘Is this a date? He’s holding my hand.’ She slyly looked down her arm to see her hand linked with Harry’s and brightly smiled. She was honored and saddened that the first time Harry went to the movie theatre, it was with her on a possible date.
And that’s when it happened.
A man casually walked up to them, wearing a black cotton jacket with a hood on and hands in his baggy, blue-jean pockets. Harry and Hermione looked suspiciously at him; the sun was still up and it was very warm out, even though it was late. He was on their side of the sidewalk, not bothering to move on the other side to let them pass. They moved to the other side, but a second later, he walked on their side. They were about ten feet apart. They moved to the side again, only to have him accompany their side. Five feet apart. Harry and Hermione tried one more time, and this time he stayed on his side of the sidewalk. As they tried to walk past him, he stopped at Harry’s side and said something that stopped them both in their tracks.
“Stop or you’ll die.”
He pulled one of his hands out of his pocket. His hand was holding a black gun with a strange pipe attached to it. He pointed it at Harry’s side, who seemed unphased. He has stared death in the face many times, and has been the closest to death any one has ever gone just almost 2 weeks ago. But he’ll be damned if he was killed by a muggle, when he just defeated the most powerful magical person in the world.
Harry’s wands were in his back pocket, but made no move to get it. One slip-up, and he will die, and he will definitely turn to Hermione to silence her. That was the only thing in Harry’s mind that was keeping him from doing something to this guy. He couldn’t even let him touch Hermione. If he does, Harry will definitely have enough hatred for the Avada Kedavra .
Hermione’s heart stopped when she saw the gun being pointed at Harry, and immediately went stiff. It felt like the TriWizard Tournament all over again. Harry felt that Hermione’s hand had gone rigid and squeezed it firmly, to say that he’s alright.
“What do you want?” Harry asked in a bored tone.
“I want your bloody money…and your girlfriend.” He said, pointing his gun at Hermione for a half-second, then turned it back to Harry.
“Why don’t you harass someone else?” Asked Harry, a little more angrily, not correcting him on the ‘girlfriend’ statement, as he was too enraged at the fact that he just pointed the gun at her, even if for a fraction of a second.
“Because I know you have money.” He explained in a low growl. “The purse looks expensive…hand it over.”
Hermione was about to let the bag slide down her arm, feeling scared for Harry, but Harry let go of her hand and put his arm around her shoulders, securing the exquisite green leather purse from slipping down and pulling her closer to him.
“And what if we don’t?” Asked Harry bravely.
“Then I’ll kill you,” he said simply, “and take your girlfriend.” He looked over to Hermione, then turned back to Harry, who’s hand was fingering his wand in his back pocket by now. “She’s not very pretty, but worth at least a good shag, then I’ll steal the money and kill her.” He said with a toothy grin.
It happened in barely a second. Harry had taken his wand out and pointed it at him, sparks flying out of it, like a gun, which stunned the man for a moment, who thought he was just shot. He silently cast a weak ‘Expelliarmus’ at him, knocking the gun out of his hand. He then pointed the wand at him and said, “Crucio!” with an extremely hateful and a bitter voice. The man started screaming as Harry took his blackthorn wand out of his front pocket and placed a nonverbal ‘Silencio’ spell at him, while still holding the curse. Harry couldn’t believe what he said…and right in front of her. He was going to pay for what he said!
Hermione was looking in horror, shock, and amazement. She was horrified at the look of pure anger on Harry’s face, when he was content just a minute ago. She was shocked by the horrible thing that the awful man said about her. She didn’t want to believe him, but she didn’t think she was exactly ‘beautiful’. She thought she barely passed as pretty. She always thought Ron thought of her that way, and she also thought that she wasn’t pretty enough for Harry to notice her. But the pure anger in Harry’s face when the man said she wasn’t pretty left her slightly confused.
She was amazed at the fact that not only was Harry able to cast three spells at the same time, but was able to perform two of them nonverbally. ‘He really has gotten stronger over the year’ , she told herself.
After ten seconds of silent screaming, Harry lifted the curse off of him. The man was sweating terribly and looked as if he was whimpering. He was also wide-eyed at the shock of him being in an extreme pain just from a boy that was holding two sticks. “Tell her you’re sorry,” Harry said in a cold, hard voice. He took off the silencing spell and waited for him to speak. “I-I-I…I’m sorry,” He finally spoke, barely in a whisper. Harry placed his dragon heartstring-core wand back in his pocket and put his arm around Hermione’s waist. He pointed his phoenix feather-core wand at him and said, “Obliviate!“
The last thing that Hermione saw before Harry threw the cloak around them and turned on the spot to dissapparate was the vacant emptiness in the man’s eyes, as if he never knew anything.
Of course Harry had to edit some things. Instead of Harry saying ‘your girlfriend’, he said ‘the girl’, and he didn’t mention that he held Hermione’s hand. Ron was amazed and disappointed at the same time. The calmness of Harry through the ordeal; the pure rage that leapt out of him when he said those words: the nonverbal spells and the Cruciatis curse that he performed; and the memory deleting spell he placed on the man that he never even attempted to do before; impressed Hermione all the more, as he was doing it all for her. Of course any friend would have done the same. Hermione probably misunderstood, though.
He wished that Harry would end this charade with Hermione so she could have common sense so she could realize who she really loves. ‘ Forget what Ginny said ,’ he kept telling himself, ‘she just has a crush on the hero, like every other girl. Why can’t Hermione see that?’
When Harry was finished, Ron blurted, “How do you know how to use a memory charm?”
Harry had a slightly sadistic grin. “I used Lockhart’s wand movements. That was the only spell he was good at, wasn’t it? And, to tell you the truth, I was trying to delete all of his memory.”
Ron gauged Hermione’s reaction. Usually, she would cluck on and on about doing the right thing the right way, and how he better be lucky that the Ministry was in a bit of a problem, or he would’ve been caught. But this Hermione did something that he never expected. She laughed.
“He really did deserve it, though.” She then changed the topic. “Too bad I can’t try out the broom tomorrow. Today was too much for me.” She finished by leaning back on Harry’s bed. Harry grinned. “Should we postpone the trip for a day, then?”
Hermione stifled a yawn. “No…I think we should leave tomorrow, as planned.”
Harry shrugged and pointed his wand at the clothes. “Hermione, remember the Cinderella movie commercial we watched earlier today? I’ve always wanted to do that, you know, see if it works.” Hermione could guess what he was about to do, and sat back up as Ron was puzzled. “Harry,” she asked, “are you going to do a repeat of Cinderella’s Godmother?”
Harry smirked. “Yep. I don’t know if it’ll work though. I remember the wand movements.” He focused his wand on the clothes and said the ‘incantation’.
Amazingly, the clothes started slowly lift up and start to form a line, folding back up as Harry was waving his wand. He couldn’t believe he was doing it, but he didn’t stop waving his wand, in case it would cease if he stopped waving. Hermione was just as amazed as he was. She didn’t believe the spell would really work. Ron was amazed, also. “How are you levitating all of the clothes in a line like that?”
Harry’s smirk went wider when the clothes straightened out and landed perfectly in the bag, creating two neat stacks in the large space of the seemingly small bag. “I’m not telling you until you watch the movie, Ron,” he replied. When Harry finished, Hermione was still staring at him in shock. Thinking that she should research more of this newfound, but not-so-hidden spell when they were in New Zealand, she zipped the bag up and placed it on the floor. “Well, I might as well stay up a little bit longer. I’ll have twenty-one hours to sleep, after all.” She sat up in the bed.
“The sun is down, but it’s still warm out.” She said, waiting for them to come to their own conclusion. As she guessed, Harry was able to know what she was thinking and ran to his new golden Firebolt II and out the room. When Harry grabbed the broom, Ron finally figured out what Hermione was implying. He got up with the red broom still in his hand and ran out. Hermione got up and walked towards the door, broom in hand, but then looked back. Still, on Ron’s bed, was the letter that Lily Potter wrote for Harry. She walked over to the bed and sat down on it, picking up the letter as she did so.
She remembered when Harry said that she was very much like Lily. She wanted to know what he meant by that. Did he think of her as his mum? Do I really nag him that much? She unfolded the letter and read again. As she keeps reading, her mind processes. ‘ I know we have some similarities, but…oh my…she started a sentence with ‘honestly’…she had to set James straight in school…she made sure that him and his friends didn’t get into much trouble…she dislikes Professor Binns…she’s the top in his class…she’s the top in every class…’
As Hermione kept comparing her to Lily, she didn’t notice Harry coming back into the room and sitting down next to her. He could guess that Hermione was thinking of their similarities. He leaned over and whispered into his ear, which made her shiver.
“She was known as the smartest witch in her year, too.”
Hermione beamed, but didn’t look up. It was amazing how he could easily figure out what she was thinking. Hermione could also do that to Harry, but she always thought it was obvious what he was thinking, yet she didn’t know anyone else who did that.
“Harry?” She asked, still not looking up.
“Hmm?” he asked, still looking at the note.
“When that guy said all that stuff…”
“About you not being pretty?” Harry asked, looking up at her. “Are you trying to believe him?”
“I’m not trying to, but—”
“You really think that, don’t you? You honestly think that you’re not pretty?” He asked incredulously. He hesitantly nodded a little. “You are verypretty,” Harry said, his cheeks pink.
“Come on, Harry, are you just saying that?” Hermione asked, her voice slowly getting lower until it became a whisper.
Harry answered with a whisper of his own. “You are one of the prettiest girls that I know, Hermione. What do I have to say to make sure that you know I mean it?”
Hermione was speechless. Harry called her pretty. He was the first boy to ever call her ‘pretty’. She doesn’t think that Harry would say something that he didn’t mean, other than ‘I’m fine’, but she didn’t know anything at the moment.
After a moment, she finally spoke. “Thanks, Harry.” She looked up to Harry and hugged him. She’s been doing that a lot, lately. “How come you always know what to say to make me feel better?”
“Well, even though I wasn’t only saying that to make you feel better, as I was just telling you the truth. I could ask the same thing with you, though. I guess it’s because we’ve known each other for seven years, then?” He asked with a cheeky grin that made her heart jump up and down.
“Yeah…I guess.” Said Hermione as she was deep in thought, once again. She knew that she and Harry always had a sort of connection, almost like they can read each other’s mind. Ron didn’t have that connection with either of them, and he’s known them for just as long. Was it because Ron never paid attention?
She quickly forgot about her thought when Harry took her hand in his and gently tugged.
“Hermione, you’ve been thinking too much for today. Let’s go race,” He said as she finally got up and followed him. The were still holding hands until they reached the bottom of the steps and stepped outside to see a red streak of light zooming across the Burrow. Apparently, the broom glows in the dark when ridden on. Harry and Hermione quickly mounted their Firebolt II and sped off into the sky, gold and silver joining red. The original had nothing on this; it was almost twice as fast and much easier to handle, to Hermione’s delight. The design looked sleeker, but could still take the look of a regular broom. Silver, gold, and red light filled the sky like a brilliant lasershow.
Hermione was smiling brightly, and not because of the SG Firebolt she was riding. She thought of what she was going to do tomorrow. She was going on another adventure with Harry. Ron wasn’t coming. She no longer had any feelings for the redhead. Just a few minutes ago, Harry called her pretty (she didn’t know if he was saying that to make her feel better, but it surely worked). She added all of this together. Her smile faltered a bit. She couldn’t add it up. She was afraid that she’ll get the wrong answer. She’ll just have to…let fate decide.
Harry was also smiling a smile that could damage his face if any more teeth showed. He wasn’t paying attention to flying. He was thinking about the trip he was going on with Hermione. Her parents are his first priority, but he hoped that he could be closer to Hermione during the journey. He really thought that he saw a connection between them when Ron left, even though Hermione was crying over Ron most of the time. He had spent more time with her; they had even held hands when they went to Godric’s Hollow. He had almost completely forgotten about Ginny. And Hermione had completely stopped crying over Ron…until he came back. And then the damned locket opened.
Harry was crushed when he saw that sight. He wanted that kiss to very much happen, but he couldn’t just do that to his best mate, who just then, had saved his life. He had to drop all of his more-than-friends thoughts of Hermione then and there once again, distancing himself from her again as he did so. And when he saw Hermione kiss Ron, he instantly felt that his heart had disapparated, never to return. Harry was devastated, but tried to smile, even tried to make a joke to cheer himself up. And then he thought of Ginny when he saw her run from the Room of Requirement. She loved him; he couldn’t just break her feelings. Maybe, in time, he would grow to love her, too?
But after Hermione broke up with Ron, and Harry broke with Ginny, they had a clear path. Harry felt the feelings he had for her two years ago that mysteriously disappeared had returned two-fold during that earlier encounter. Something powerful spurred in Harry’s chest, much larger than the monster that died away. He wasn’t even sure what it was. Was it…was it love? Harry didn’t know what love meant, but he knew that he cared more about Hermione more than any other person in the world, even himself. It is a very good possibility that it is a feeling light-years beyond ‘like’. ‘ But does she even like me like that?’
While Ron was still flying, grinning madly for obvious reasons, the other two were deep in thought. They both came to a conclusion at the same time.
I’ll just have to see what happens.