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Harry shrugged, nonchalant. [b "You know us. Pretty standard day, really. Robbed a bank, destroyed some public property. Went and got matching tattoos of Hungarian Horntails on our backs. Typical day for Harry Potter and Hermione Granger."]
He glanced at her with a grin, remaining tight-lipped on what actually occurred. They shared most of their lives with Ron and the rest of their friends. He liked having something private, just between himself and Hermione. No outsiders. Just the two of them, with memories that only they will share.
[b "I think next time we'll do something a bit more grand. Maybe steal the Hogwarts Express and tour Europe,"] he smirked.
The Weasleys were unimpressed. Ginny rolled her eyes and turned away, stalking back to the castle. Ron shook his head with a raised eyebrow. [i "Sarcasm isn't an endearing quality, Harry Potter,"] he dropped the subject, motioning for them to follow Ginny inside.
[b "Sorry, I could have sworn that's what we did today,"] Harry feigned innocent. [b "I might be remembering things wrong. I've had a handful of concussions, remember? Must be making my brain go wonky."]
The halls were filled with students juggling bags, boxes, and other assorted treasures they'd picked up on their weekend shopping sprees. Harry clutched his own purchase tightly, afraid that an accidental bump into someone would send it out of his hands again. He leaned close to murmur in Hermione's ear. [b "Give me two hours, and then meet me in the Astronomy Tower,"] he let go of her hand and flashed her a grin as he disappeared into the crowds.
When he metioned keeping the secret as long as he had and saying he was actually surprised, Hermione did raise a broe. And when she thought about it, the girl too was really surprised. Usually he did tell her everything..well he did after their third year and she had been the one to get his Firebolt taken by Professor McGonagall. But in her defense they didn't know ANYTHING about Sirius and she had been worried about her best friend. [b "I trust you. And can't wait to find out."] Came her soft words when she was able to truly focus on what she wanted to say.
It was when they got back did Harry decide to tease their friends and tell them he was going to be cancelling Quidditch. And she couldn't even speak to try and help Harry in his little game. Before she could, the Weasley siblings had the raven haired boy all but pinned and all of them were laughing. All like siblings and for a moment she did feel the odd one out. But that was kind of a normal thing. She knew though to keep those thoughts to herself and did love the times that Harry was happy and he was free. The times like this when he got to banter and have fun.
[b "I did too. Was so much easier to think and to talk.."] The brunette said, returning a smile of her own to Harry's words. And when she heard Gunny's snarked comment, her cheeks lit up a dark red. She KNEW questions from the Weasley girl would be coming.
[i "So gonna tell us how the date went? The two of you were alone all afternoon."] Ron started, blue gaze going between his two best friends.
He rolled his eyes with a smile. [b "I promise, the secret won't be kept for long. Let's be honest, it's a miracle I've kept it for one afternoon. Give me until tonight, and it'll make sense."]
Truth be told, Harry had absolutely no idea what the hell he was going to put together in order to make the surprise work. Unfortunately, he didn't trust his friends enough to leave the present unattended in his room for longer than the few hours it would take to throw something together for her.
Looking up, he spotted those very friends looking rather smug and pleased with themselves. [b "I may have to cancel Gryffindor's Quidditch games for the rest of the month,"] he rolled his shoulder, feigning pain. [b "I think the fall jacked my arm up too much to play."]
The smugness left Ron's face. [i "That's a joke, right? You're not serious?"]
Ginny scowled. [i "Do we need to hold a mutiny for a new captain? I will elect myself, if need be."]
Harry forced a limp. [b "Tell them, Hermione. Tell them how you had to set my broken legs and carry me most of the way here."]
The Weasley siblings tackled him to the ground. Ron sat on his back to hold him down while Ginny rubbed her knuckles into his scalp in a noogie. Harry wiggled to get free, the lot of them laughing too hard to be putting much effort into the struggle. [b "Alright, alright! I give! You win! Quidditch is on!"] Harry tapped his hand to the ground in surrender.
[i "Knew you'd see things our way,"] Ron got to his feet, helping him back up.
Harry moved beside Hermione again, smiling down at her. [b "I knew I liked it better when it was the two of us in a field without them."]
[i "I bet you did,"] Ginny snarked with a knowing eyebrow.
[b "Both of those things sound absolutely terrible. But at least this time you are in one piece and haven't anything missing. That night I didn't sleep.."] She muttered with a small shake of her head. And after realising what she said, her cheeks became dusted in a light pink. She knew he had never known that..and she assumed because of the little bit of alcohol still in her system it was messing with her head and she would spill things.
[b "Hi there.."] Hermione whispered when he had come up to her and stopped in front of her. The last thing she had expectes were his words or the kiss to her cheek. Both made her incredibly flustered and had her cheeks even redder. [b "I...well I couldn't just leave you alone. Besides you know how they are...and the walk seemed a nice way to clear our heads."] She said with a small smile as she was TRYING so hard not to stumble over her words.
The walk back to school wasn't exactly long but it wasn't short either. A nice one all the same with the trees and the cottages along the way. Even the open grasslands too. But more than that, this gave them more time together. So all in all, Hermione could not complain. [b "No I don't think we did have this on our list of things to do today..so a very nice surprise. And I think with it being as nice as it is, we can count it as a second date."] The brunette said as she glanced to him with a smile.
Things were so easy and free now. It was like it had been all afternoon. And she couldn't help laughing at the fearher-light touch of the leaf as he tickled her. These moments were the ones she loved most. The ones they were free in. [b "I trust you and won't ask. But secrets do drive me mad."] She said, still laughing.
When they got back up to the school, the others were waiting for them. [i "Nice walk you two?"] They were asked, expectant gazes upon them.
Harry had slumped back against a tree when he spotted her walking back to him. Grinning sheepishly, he glanced down at his dirt-covered jeans. [b "I'd rank the experience somewhere between getting bitten by Cornish pixies, and Lockhart zapping away my bones. All in all, I'm in one piece."]
He pushed off the tree and approached her. [b "Hi,"] he murmured, coming to a stop in front of her. [b "You really didn't have to come back, I would have caught up eventually."]
Leaning forward, he pressed a kiss to her cheek. [b "Thank you though, for rescuing me. My own knight in shining armor. Or, you know, knight in shining wizard robes."]
The school was at least a half hour walk away. Under other circumstances, he would have been groaning at the idea of hiking the rest of the way. But, it was going to give him extra time with her. Not a bad turn of events. [b "Does this count as our second date? I don't think hiking was on either of our plans for today,"] he teased, falling into step beside her.
It was peacefully quiet. Without the chattering of their friends, the tension from their questions had disappeared. It was back to being easy. Harry plucked a leaf from the overhanging branches, reaching behind her subtly to tickle the back of her neck with it. [b "I promise, I have a valid reason for my overreaction with Ron. But, I can't reveal my secrets just yet. It'll be worth it in the end though. I think. Hopefully."]
Brown eyes narrowed as Luna and Ginny had purposely left the narrow spots for her and Harry. Was everyone trying to push them together? She didn't have much time to ponder that because the moment they sat, the carriage began to move and Gin seemed bored. She began to ask questions, which Harry did answer. And brown eyes locked on her, causing the prefect to internally groan. She KNEW that the Weasley girl would corner her later thanks to what Harry had said. This was a thing with them. Ginny would hear something and then she would want Hermione to spill.
[b "Her detentions are...medieval in practice. Both Harry and I know that first hand. We just aren't allowed to say or it will get worse.."] Hermione muttered, agreeing with Ron's annalysis on Umbridge and why she would not torture the students in the open. Her eyes had gone to Harry's scabbing hand and the scabs on her own hand. How the nightmare in pink was able to do such things was still beyond her.
The girl was getting lost to her thoughts again when Ron got bored and took Harry's parcel and Harry all but jumped up. It was in slow motion and the boy fell out of the carriage. For a moment, Hermione wondered if it was still the liquor or the bumpiness of the carriage. She decided on bumpiness of the carriage as she was pretty much fine and the angle Harry had rushed to get up from had been awkward to say the least.
Brown eyes filled with worry as they were on their friend. [b "Harry, are you sure?!"] She called out as the carriage continued on its way. She really did wish that they would stop when these things happened. She then turned and looked to Ron, Ginny, and Luna. [b "I'm not going to let him do this alone..."] And with those words, the girl gripped onto a tree's branch over head and used it to dangle for a moment and then let herself fall to the path, rolling out of the way of the next carriage. The fall had stung, but it was NOTHING like their being hit by the Willow in third year.
Slowly she got up and began back to where they left Harry and gave him a small smile. [b "I thought maybe you could use a walking partner? It is a beautiful."] Her words were quiet as she spoke them and she gave a small smile. She had gotten Harry's parcel from Ron and it was in her bag. [b "You sure that you're okay after the fall?"] She asked as she was rubbing her wrist a little bit.
Ron groaned in relief, slapping a hand to his chest. [i "Never thought I'd say this, but I'm happy to see you,"] he declared to Ginny. [i "You're a life saver."]
The girls pushed over to make room, not even being subtle about leaving two narrow spots for Harry and Hermione to squeeze in beside each other; narrow enough that their thighs were practically overlapping. The Weasley sister looked far too pleased with herself. [i "I almost told Luna we should just keep the carriage to ourselves and head back, but I didn't want to miss any juicy stories. Why were you blabbering on to Umbridge?"]
[b "He was being our hero,"] Harry interjected. [b "We didn't want to see her today of all days, so he jumped in to distract her while Hermione and I hid out in the alleyway."]
He saw Ginny's eyes dart to Hermione with a wild glint. He groaned internally, knowing that she would corner the poor prefect later on for answers. [b "I thought she was going to jinx him, honestly,"] he spoke up first.
[i "Nah, that would ruin her public image,"] Ron didn't seem bothered. [i "She keeps her monstrous tendencies to the privacy of the castle, where she can torment students away from prying eyes."]
Harry glanced down at the scabbed over words etched into his hand. [b "You've got that right,"] he muttered.
The carriages rattled against the bump pathway. His shoulder bumped Hermione's more than once, making his heart race just a little faster each time. The wrapped parcel with her gift was resting on his lap. Ron must have gotten bored staring at the passing trees, as he reached across the middle of the carriage and snatched the book up. [i "This for Sirius?"] he asked, turning the package over in his hands.
[b "No!"] Harry jumped in surprise, bolting from his seat to get it back.
And ultimately toppled over the side of the carriage, right to the dirt path.
He landed on his shoulder and he felt the air leave his lungs. The liquor must have still been in his system. Either that, or his balance was entirely off all on its own. Groaning, he pushed himself to his knees and hurried off the pathway; lest he get run over by the next carriage.
[i "You alright?"] Ron called, looking concerned as their carriage was still moving.
Harry knew it wouldn't stop. The thestrals pulling the damn things listened to no one. They knew their destination and were set on getting there with zero interruptions. A passenger going overboard was an inconvenience they weren't going to acknowledge.
[b "I'll catch the next one!"] he called, dusting himself off.
For a good moment, he was alone as their cart disappeared around a bend in the trees. Silence, except for the birds. [b "Fantastic,"] he sighed.
The merpeople actually scared her a bit. She had heard what they had done to Harry and the others during the task. Frightful for sure and not those you would want to cross. [b "I'm sure we could always ask Hagrid how to charm them all. He would know and we would have an easy time."] She was half joking but half serious as well.
It wasn't long before Ron's heavy steps were heard and he was before them. He had a smirk on his face that would make the Cheshire Cat jealous. But that meant he had done his job. [b "We owe you for that save, Ron. Though couldn't you have gotten more creative or dull?"] Hermione said wirh a smirk.
Soon, her hand was being taken by Harry's again and they were heading back since Ron had checked the time and didn't want to be sat with "a bad bunch". Even her head wasn't getting THAT swelled. She actually rather hated being a prefect and having to judge the "good and the bad" of the otjer students. Ron on the other hand loved it.
[b "We don't watch out and we may have Percy 2.0 on our hands."] The girl muttered just loud enough to have Harry only hear her. And she meant it too..everyday it seemed Ron became more like Percy.
[i "There the three of you are. We were getting worried and about to come and search for you."] Luna said as she and Ginny were stood waiting on a carriage. It was clear the two girls had been saving the room for them.
There wasn't a doubt in his mind about whether or not he wanted another date with her. [b "Scuba diving in the Black Lake it is!"] he teased. [b "I'm sure the giant squid won't mind a few guests. Now the merpeople on the other hand, they might be a bit dramatic."]
Ron's heavy steps echoed against the brick, announcing his arrival before he'd spoken a word. [i "I'm telling you, it's incredibly satisfying to see her nearly combust with irritation. I just went on a tangent about Zonko's rising prices. She didn't know what to do with herself."]
Harry grinned. [b "Job well done, Mr Weasley. You can add 'Pestering Ministry Officials' to your resume."]
A quick glance around the corner reassured him that they were once again on their own. Ron checked his watch and gestured back to the main road. [i "We'd best be heading back. The carriages will be arriving soon to take us to the school. I'd rather not get stuck with a bad batch of students."]
[b "As prefect, are you actually allowed to have opinions on other students?"] Harry fell in to step beside them. [b "Aren't you supposed to be unbiased?"]
Ron snorted. [i "Eighty percent of being a prefect means judging other students' actions as good or bad. It's honestly the only redeeming quality of this job."]
Harry reached a hand out for Hermione to grab. [b "Uh oh, I think Prefect Weasley is on a power trip. All of this authority has gone to his head."]
[b "I'm sure we'll figure out something else dangerous. Scuba diving in the Black Lake or a picnic in The Forbidden Forest."] She said with a laugh of her own. Though mostly having sobered out it appeares perhaps they still weren't fully "normal".
Brown eyes slowly looked around the corner and she let out the breath she had not realised she had even been holding. [b "Chocolate frogs or perhaps a broom kit like yours.. We are lucky he can deal with that right troll."] The girl said with a shake of her head as Ron looked to be going on and on about something. The woman looked bored and like she wanted to hit him or something. BOTH emotions she had felt herself but she could not feel bad.
Her cheeks brightened with a blush when her hand had been taken. A small smile came to her lips and she nodded. [b "This was the most fun I have had in a long time.. what made it the best is it was with you.. So I would like to.. that is..if you still did?"] She whispered as dark gaze locked with bright green.
He snorted. [b "Maybe next time we'll go scuba diving in the Black Lake, or box the Whomping Willow. You know, keep things exciting."]
The brown packaging paper containing her present was slightly wrinkled from the running. Harry subtly checked it over. No tears to be seen, other than a tiny piece near the corner. He sighed in relief. Nothing would give the surprise away.
For a moment, he considered giving her the present right then. Something to make up for their suddenly being on the run from Umbridge. He fought himself internally before deciding against it. Best to wait until he'd had the chance to write a small message to her on the inside cover. A souvenir of their first date.
Harry risked a peak around the corner. Umbridge still stood with Ron in front of her, speaking animatedly with his hands. [b "Remind me to get Ron a nice gift, for taking one for the team,"] he grinned. [b "Maybe a year's supply of Chocolate Frogs."]
He'd never been so grateful for their friend. Ron knew how to handle Umbridge, judging by the way he appeared to be babbling on nonsensically to waste her time. The Ministry official looked torn between throttling him and rolling her eyes. Ron, ever the professional, appeared to be describing a Quidditch maneuver.
Turning back to Hermione, Harry took her hand once more. [b "You've enjoyed today, haven't you? I mean...are you still interested in seeing where we go?"]
Brown eyes had followed the blue of their friend and when she saw the devil in pink, it was suddenly like a weight fell upon her shoulders. The happiness she had felt of the afternoon was draining away . And the girl was frozen in her tracks until both she and Harry had both been nudged by Ron who began towards the woman. It looked like their redheaded friend was DEFINITELY trying to help them dodge a bullet and to have peace of mind for one day at the very least.
Her hand had never let go of Harry's and as quickly as the two could they darted for the alleyway. Her head was starting to feel like it was swimming as the affects of the alcohol were kicking back in. This would be the LAST time she drank if they would have to run after. [b "Yeah..next time lets just drink if we know we're not going to have to run."] The girl panted out as the two were against the wall, hands unaclasped.
The girl was still trying to catch her breath and laughed at Harry's look that he had given and his words. [b "No one can say dates with you are boring."]
Harry glanced her way, smiling softly. [b "I'm sorry, I don't mean to be gloomy. She didn't mean harm, I know. Just made me think that I could have done something more romantic for you. But, I can always save the romance for the second date. Right?"] he nudged squeezed her hand.
He was too lost in thought that he didn't even realize Ron was speaking to them, until her attention was drawn away first. [b "What? What's wrong?"] he turned to look.
The sweets and alcohol in his stomach churned. He was not about to let the pink devil herself ruin their day. His eyes darted around them, looking for somewhere they could go before she spotted them. [i "Duck into the alley, and round the corner at the back. Wait there until I come and get you,"] Ron ushered them off.
Without questioning the order, Harry pulled Hermione after him. The alley was likely the only place in Hogsmead that wasn't full of students. The nook at the back was just large enough to hide. He felt his head swimming. [b "Note to self, running after drinking is officially off my list of activities,"] he leaned back against the stone wall, dropping her hand to hold his own against his stomach.
He smiled wickedly at her. [b "Look at that. Adventurous and dangerous all in one day. Take that, Ginny Weasley!"]
Hermione gave Ron and anguished look at he announced to his sister and Luna just what she and Harry had been up to. Honestly it was none of their business and they really didn't need others to overhear them. [b "It wasn't all that much. And as you can see we are perfectly fine now. Aside from having flushed cheeks and dialated pupils."] The girl tried to explain.
But as she spoke, Ronald pulled his usual stunt and had dragged the attention back to Harry. And the youngest Weasley looked at the pair, eyes bright and interested. She even made it sound like a first date should be something out of novels she had read or movies she had seen. To be perfectly honest, Hermione had been the one who had chosen the Shrieking Shack and not Harry. And she had wanted to comment and save Harry from what had been said. However, the two younger girls were gone just as quickly as they had come up and Ron was all but ushering the pair of them through the crowded street.
Her hand remained in Harry's and she noticed how silent he had become. His eyes had gone to his feet and had not come up since Ginny had spoken her words. All signs that the younger girl had upset him. As they walked, Hermione gently nudged Harry and gave his hand a squeeze. [b "I didn't find it odd at all. It was something we needed and it was nice to get away. Remember we both chose it and not just you."] She whispered in an attempt to cheer him up. She wanted him to know that they could have done anything or gone anywhere and she would have been perfectly happy because it was together.
[i "Oi love birds. Are either of you listening to anything I've just said?"] Ron asked, giving them a pointed look. He had caught sight of Umbridge and had been trying to guide them in different direction. The last they needed was for the hag to catch them and find they had been drinking.
Ron clicked his tongue, looking as smug as Percy after exams. [i "I don't know if I like the influence this one's had on you,"] he told her, gesturing to Harry. [i "The Potter men are all scoundrels, I hear."]
Harry gave him a shove. [b "I can't be all that bad. Your mother's never sent me a Howler before. How many of those have you had again?"]
[i "Enough to know that he's nowhere near innocent,"] Ginny chimed in as she and Luna joined them. [i "What all the fuss about?"]
[i "These two have gone off the rails. Had a few too many drinks,"] Ron diverted attention back to Harry and Hermione.
Harry looked around to make sure no one was paying too much attention. [b "Keep it down, will you? No need for anything to get back to the school. We don't need any teachers hearing about it."]
Ginny grinned. [i "I think it's absolutely adventurous. That's how dates should be! Danger and romance all mixed into one. Where did you go?"]
Harry shuffled on his feet, bashful at the turn of conversation. [b "The Shrieking Shack."]
The girl's smile faltered. [i "Oh. Not exactly where I'd think to go on a first date, but we all have our own ideas of fun, right? I'm sure it was wonderful. We'll catch you lot back at the carriages. We've a few more stops to make!"]
Ron shuddered as they walked away. [i "I never want to hear my sister discuss her romance preferences again."]
Harry was lost in momentary thought. [i Had the Shrieking Shack been a bad idea? Was it too odd?] He barely noticed Ron urging them along the sidewalk, though he still gripped Hermione's hand in his as they followed their friend through the crowded streets. His eyes remained fixated on his feet, Ginny's words circling his brain.
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