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Eyes had closed and she had nearly found herself asleep when the creaking of the door and the voice of Sirius woke her. The girl was almost grudging getting up and even leaving the library as it had been the most at ease that she had been since she had been in the Black House, but even she could agree that getting on Mrs. Weasley's bad side would be stupid as the woman could hold a grudge and make you feel her displeasure.
So when the hand was offered to her, a soft smile traced her lips as her cat lazily hopped down from her lap. [b "Thanks for the warning, Sirius..it is the last thing we need and the night was nice."] The girl said as she answered the question that Harry's godfather had asked of them.
Slowly she turned and gave Harry a soft smile, a giggle slipping her lips as his hair was sticking up. [b "Of course, see you in a few hours. Sleep well while you can."] And with that, the girl walked out of the room past the two males and off down the hall and to the room that she shared with Ginny, thankful that the other girl was still asleep.
When she got into bed, brown eyes stared up at the ceiling and she ran a hand through her hair. The alone time with Harry had been just what she needed. She had not felt so light or happy since she had arrived. And though she felt bad for admitting it, the girl wanted more times like the one they had had that night and soon she found herself falling into sleep.
It seemed only a few moments to the girl when she felt hands on her shoulders, shaking her to wake up. A groan slipped her lips as she covered her head with the blanket. She was not wanting to get up, but before she could even turn over the blanket was yanked from her.
[i "Breakfast will be ready soon and I need you to wake the boys while I get everyone else. Come on get up."] Molly Weasley was saying as once more she shook the girl.
As soon as the blanket was yanked from her and the cool morning air hit her, brown eyes opened and fell on Mrs.Weasley and after a moment she nodded. When the woman was gone, Hermione was up and padded across cold wooden floors as she slipped out of her room and down the hall to where Ron and Harry were staying. Without knocking, the bushy haired girl slipped into the room and gently began to shake Harry as she knew he would be easier to wake.
[b "Harry, it's time to get up.. Mrs.Weasley wants us all up and downstairs for breakfast soon. I have the feeling she is going to have us all cleaning again.. Please wake up."] Came her whispered words as she would more than need his help with Ron.
[i I'd die for you], Harry wanted to tell her, but he knew that would only upset her. They'd had far too many conversations regarding his total disregard for his own safety. So, he made do with giving her a small smile and a quiet laugh. [b "I think you might have done a bit more for me in this friendship. I've lost count of the number of times that you saved my skin in class, or last year with the Tournament. I'd have been a goner."]
The conversation lulled in to a peaceful serenity with the two just listening to the other breathe. It wasn't often that they got a chance to just relax. Harry's eyes had fallen closed by the time Sirius found them hours later with a playful smile. Harry couldn't even be bothered to feel embarrassed. [b "Right. Don't want to get Mrs. Weasley upset,"] he agreed, hauling himself up off of the couch.
Reaching out a hand, he helped Hermione up. [b "I'll see you in a few hours then?"] he ran a hand through his hair, making it stand up even more.
He waited for her to leave the room before looking at his smirking godfather. [b "Don't start."]
[i "I wasn't going to say anything."]
[b "We were just talking."]
[i "I'm sure."]
[b "I'm going to bed. I'll clean up in the morning,"] Harry shook his head, moving past Sirius.
[i "No need. Kreacher will have it cleaned before you get up. He can't stand leaving something dirty."]
Harry was grateful that Ron was still snoring when he returned to their room, sliding in to his bed. He felt lighter than he had earlier. As guilty as he felt for thinking it, he wanted to spend more time with Hermione, without the company of their redheaded friend every now and then. It was nice to have a conversation that didn't turn in to a fight. As he rolled over and buried his face in his pillow, he heaved out a sigh. Maybe they could talk about it tomorrow.
The girl's hand continued absently along her cat's soft ginger fur as Harry came back and joined them on the couch and reached out to stroke Crookshank's chin. [b "Oh that's right... he was rather possessive. Funny thing is, he still hasn't let Ron close without a growl or hiss."] The girl said, a chuckle slipping her lips as she could not help but be amused with her 'baby's' opinion of their other friend.
And soon, brown eyes fell on the cat as he gobbled up the treat that had been given, brown eyes going back to Harry. [b "Bribery is not an honest way to get him to like you.. but I can't blame you as he can be very picky and spoiled. Rather have him like you and see that you are a brilliant friend."] She whispered and then smiled again, eyes lightening with a spark.
[b "When we get the chance, a week of muggle fun and all we have in mind would be brilliant! Gives us a break...oh and no, the Order won't let us out. We've been begging for a while. But they keep us locked up here..lucky for me there are tons of books."] She commented, half joking and half serious in what she had said.
As soon as Harry mentioned the help she had given him the year before, a bright pink came to her cheeks and she shook her head. [b "Honestly Harry, it was nothing..you're my best friend and so I wanted to help you. Besides, you would have done the same for me."] The girl said and then bit her lip as she wanted so to ask him how he had been holding up since the graveyard and watching Voldemort kill Cederic and come back from the dead. But seeing the look on his face and having spent the time catching up and them being so content she could not bring herself to even say anything.
And so she fell i to silence, resting her head on the couch and enjoying her friend's company.
At a quarter of three, the door creaked open and there stood Sirius looking at the two. A light smile traced his lips as he gave both a pointed look. [#9251c1 "Have a good night you two? Best be off to bed or at least your rooms before Molly's up and sees you."] The man said with a chuckle, eyes continuing back and forth between the boy and the girl.
He rejoined her on the couch, reaching out a hand to scratch the cat under his chin. [b "Well, I'm only willing to share you with Crookshanks. Wouldn't be fair to keep you all to myself. I just got him to like me, and I'd rather not go back to him hissing at me every time I got too close to him."]
It was more of a mutual understanding of tolerating each other. Harry broke off a piece of a croissant and held it out to the giant orange cat, who gobbled it up without a second thought. [b "A little bribery doesn't hurt though, just so he remembers that I'm cool,"] Harry joked.
He rested his head back against the couch and gave her a lazy smile. [b "I'm taking you up on that deal. A week of muggle activities is just what we need. I'd suggest we do something this summer, but something tells me that the Order isn't going to be on board with us leaving headquarters."]
His thoughts drifted back to the previous school year, and all of the trying events that the Tri-Wizard Tournament had caused. If Hermione hadn't stood by him and helped with each event, Harry wasn't sure he would have made it out alive. [b "Thank you, by the way. If you weren't there to help last year, I probably wouldn't even be alive this summer. That dragon would have had me as a snack,"] he chuckled, remembering the intense stare of the Hungarian Horntail as it stared him down while practically licking its lips.
From what she heard of Harry's family, the girl did not at all like them. And his next words made her detest them all the more. She could understand protecting a five year old in that matter, but a boy his cousin's age was more than mental. It was ludicrous and she really wanted to say something, but she couldn't bring herself to. In her opinion, her friend suffered much more than he should have at the hands of his remaining family and she didn't want to remind him of it.
[b "Well if we didn't who would enjoy the simple nonmagical pleasures in life? And you've honestly never been? Maybe..."] But her words trailed off at his crooked smile and his demand, a soft giggle that nearly no one ever heard escaped her. It was nice talking with Harry like this and simply being free.
[b "How about this...when all this is 'said and done' we do the carnival or anything else you want? Cinema..you name it and we'll make a week or some short time just to have normal, muggle fun. Sound like a plan?"] The girl asked, brown eyes locking on the boy before a creaking was heard outside the room and she froze, hoping they wouldn't be caught or told off for being up so late.
But as soon as she heard the yowl of a meow from beyond the door, the girl let out the she had been holding and rolled her eyes. It was only her cat, which she considered her baby and so when the fat ginger furball padded in and hopped into her lap she giggled and stroked behind his ears and beneath his chin. Her eyes then found their way to Harry and she couldn't help the soft blush from rising in her cheeks.
[b "Sorry...you know how he can be...and next time the three of us?"] She asked, still petting the cat who looked content.
Harry snorted. [b "Dudley could set fire to the entire block of Privet Drive, and Aunt Petunia would find a way to believe that it was everyone else's fault. The boy has been able to get away with everything our entire lives. He once tossed my shoes over the fence for the neighbour's dog to chew on, and his mother told me it was my fault for leaving them out. The entire family is mental."]
He'd long since come to terms with the fact that he wouldn't have a loving relationship with his remaining family. It was much easier to let things go and laugh off their ridiculousness than to let it bother him for the two months he was with them every summer.
Throwing an arm around her shoulder playfully, Harry gave her a hug. [b "We Muggle raised wizards have to stick together. Otherwise things like going to the cinema and carnivals will go unappreciated. I'd love nothing more than to spend a day at a carnival stuffing my face with cotton candy and going on cheap rides. I've never actually been to one before."]
He glanced at her with a crooked grin. [b "After all of this is over, we're going to a carnival. I demand it."]
The door creaked and for a moment, Harry stilled, wondering if someone had woken up. His fears were put to rest when the faint meow of Crookshanks came through the wood. Rolling his eyes, the boy got up and opened the door, letting the fat orange cat waddle in to find his owner. [b "I believe I may have made someone jealous. My apologies, Crookshanks. We can share her."]
The girl couldn't help a laugh at the way her best friend described his cousin. It was terrible and she knew that she shouldn't, but it was just one of those things. Besides, she was more or less picturing a pig doing these things rather than a boy. Again, bad on her part, but Harry had described him in such a light as to where she, though never meeting the boy had no taste for him whatsoever and so didn't really feel bad when her mind wandered as it did at that moment.
[b "With how nosy and into everything as your aunt is...I am kind of surprised she hasn't found his stash...or is she ones of those where everything, no matter what he child does he's perfect?"] It was rude, but she couldn't help the question from slipping her lips as almost everything about Harry's family mystified her and though she had muggle parents, his relatives were the worst she had heard of or could picture.
Slowly, the bushy haired girl set down her chocolate frog and picked up her drink, taking a sip, before listening to Harry's next words. And as she heard them, a soft pink rose in her cheeks. Honestly she had quite thought of that herself and had always wondered if the boy had himself. [b "Living closer really would be nice...and having someone my own age to do things like that with would be too...though you're right that Ron would never get it...but that's his loss."] She couldn't help her last words from slipping from her lips.
Though he was their friend, Ron irritated her to no ends. Just because their worlds were so different didn't mean that he couldn't try to at least show a little care. But alas, she knew that was too much to ask for and so like Harry had long given up in trying to make anything nonmagical sound of interest to the Weasley boy.
[b "Actually, that's a good idea. It would give us a chance to just relax and be ourselves.. and admittedly, they are a bit nosy and loud...I honestly like times like this.."] And as his arm brushed hers, Hermione turned to where her eyes met his and she gave a small smile, once more her cheeks alight with blush.
Harry gestured to the food. [b "Muggle chocolate just can't compete with this. Besides, good luck to anyone who tries to wrestle a candy bar away from Dudley. He'd probably bite their fingers. He says he's training for boxing matches, but I know he has a stash of candy hidden in the garden shed."]
He dusted off his hands of crumbs before reaching for his pumpkin juice. [b "I just wish I lived closer to your family. At least we could have enjoyed a muggle summer together. Maybe gone to the cinema and made fun of the cheesy acting. I don't think it's something that Ron would be interested in. I mean, they have moving and talking portraits in the magic world. He wouldn't appreciate it."]
It didn't help that Ron didn't care about muggle things. He found them too boring. He'd always question why it was so interesting to Harry and Hermione when they had talked about things from their lives prior to Hogwarts. [i What's so great about swing sets and playgrounds when you can fly on broomsticks?] The two had stopped trying to make their lives sound fun to Ron.
[b "I say that we have one night a week, just for us one school starts. I'm sure we can sneak down to the kitchens. The cloak would come in handy for that. As much as I love our Gryffindor house, they can be unbelievably loud and nosy,"] Harry joked, sitting back so their arms were against each other.
The girl was amazed at how he didn't seem to think what she had said boring. All the others when they had asked about her summer before being stuck at the "Ancient House of Black" got bored or asked her over and over again to explain certain things to them . And she couldn't help as if feeling like she didn't really belong. But with Harry, that feeling wasn't there. She knew that he knew what it was like and would understand. It was one of the many reasons she loved the fact that he was her friend. He would listen and let her speak, even if he did find what she said a bit boring.
[b "Sometimes it is nice to have normal summers without all this magic... But being away from this world and back home... Sometimes it feels like you don't belong in your normal life anymore. At least sometimes it does with my mum and dad.. They try and understand, but they can't relate, not really..."] The girl almost said sadly and then found herself cringing when a certain blonde had been mentioned.
As soon as she turned the conversation to his summer, Hermione almost wished that she hadn't. It wasn't that she didn't like hearing about how things were for him, it was just she figured he had been through enough. So when he spoke, the girl gave a weak smile and nodded. Though she couldn't imagine just what he was going through, the girl couldn't help but feeling sorry for him. Harry did have it worst of all among all of them and they all knew it too.
[b "Yeah, she does make amazing foods. And given the way your aunt and uncle are, I can see why you are happy to be back with the group and the candies and food."] The girl said, smiling a bit more, a real smile now as she picked up a chocolate frog herself and opened it, nibbling on it.
Harry listened with nothing but interest. A soft smile rested on his lips. He didn't mind her rambling. He often found in amusing how she could just talk about something she enjoyed, while barely pausing to take a breath. He shifted on the couch slightly, so he could see her better. Her summer sounded like everything he wished his would have been.
When she cut herself off, looking embarrassed, Harry brushed off her apology. [b "You don't have anything to apologize for. I understand what you're talking about. Sometimes it's nice to not have to worry about dark magic, or annoying blonds with a horrible ego,"] he joked, almost wincing at his own mention of a certain Malfoy.
The topic changed to his summer, and he gave a light shrug, trying to make light of it. [b "Oh, the usual. Chores, threatening the Dursleys with magic if they didn't let me out for my daily walks. And the Dementors. Just a regular teenage summer, if you ask me,"] he took another bite of cookie.
It wasn't the first time Harry had poked fun at his own misfortune, but he found it was easier to joke about the minor things, like his obnoxious family, than to let it bother him. He had more important things to worry about.
[b "I have to say though, I have missed the deliciousness of Mrs Weasley's cooking. And magical candy tastes so much better than regular chocolate,"] he gestured to the mound of Bertie Botts and Chocolate Frogs he had lifted from Ron's stash.
The girl couldn't help but to let out the breath that she had not even realized that she had been holding. Deep down, she knew that Harry wouldn't have been angry with her if she had made him wait; knew that he was much more patient than their redheaded friend but she couldn't help the feeling of guilt. And when the boy mentioned the other boy whom they has left out, a soft laugh came from her lips and she nodded. Many a night had she roamed the halls of the silent Grimauld Place when she couldn't sleep and heard those thunderous snores. It was always a wonder to her how for lack of better wording 'the dead was not woken' by Ron and his snoring. It was truly horrid.
[b "He's much like a bear...very loud and it's a wonder anyone can sleep. But I never did notice how long it took for him to actually fall asleep as I have only ever heard him, of you know what I mean."] The girl said, her cheeks almost instantly going pink as she realized what she had said and just how rude it had sounded. [b "I'm sorry, Harry I shouldn't have said that....it really was rude."] Hermione said as she finally made her way over to where Harry was sitting and had even pat the seat beside him.
Slowly she took the seat at the boy's side and her eyes went to the treats he had knicked from the kitchen and she couldn't help a soft laugh at his joking words. [b "It looks to die for."] The girl teased back as she too picked up one of the pastries and began to nibble on it, just enjoying the silence between them. And as they sat, the girl allowed herself to enjoy it and remind her that the times like these with her friend were ones she had so very dearly missed. There was just something so relaxing about being with Harry. The fact that he was just as content to silence as she was was a huge plus as it mean she didn't have to strain to find something for them to talk about. And the fact that they both came from muggle backgrounds was nice as she could talk to him about 'normal' life and he would understand without her having to explain and have someone angry because she supposedly sounded snide.
[b "Actually it was quite nice getting to see mum and dad again, though it wasn't long. It was nice talking to my dad about his work and helping my mum out in the garden and just doing all the things I used to with them before I started at Hogwarts...I had forgotten what life outside of this world was like and how I missed it...the simple joys and the not having to be afraid...to just be 'normal.'"] The girl said, having picked up one of the glasses and staring into it as she spoke.
As soon as she realized what she had said, the girl mentally kicked herself. What she had told Harry was something she had never confided in to anyone, not even her own parents. What had made her say what she had? [b "I'm sorry, all of that must sound silly and like I am complaining.....Aside from what we so know...how has your summer been?"] It was more than clear that she was embarrassed and trying to change topics.
Harry looked over his shoulder at her as her voice fills the room. [b "No worries at all. I've only been here for a few minutes. As heavy as Ron sleeps, it takes him forever to actually pass out. It's unbelievable."]
Patting the spot next to him on the sofa, he waited for her to join him. [b "I present to you, our feast for the night."]
The assortment of goodies had been categorized in to little groups, and the drinks were already poured. [b "A feast fit for kings, don't you think?"] he teased, lifting a chocolate pastry to his mouth.
He was already feeling relaxed. He knew they didn't even have to have conversation to enjoy their time together. Hermione was just as happy to sit in silence as he was, but if they wanted to talk, the topics were endless. It helped that they both came from Muggle backgrounds. [b "So. I want to hear about Hermione Granger's summer. Before you were locked away in this dungeon with the rest of the prisoners."]
He stretched his legs out in front of him, with his toes reaching under the table. The pillows on the couch made it a much comfier spot to sit than the one he had the unpleasant experience with downstairs.
His green eyes peered at her with a goofy smile on his face, sincerely interested in her story.
The girl smiled at seeing the boy seeming so happy. If she were to be honest, it was the happiest that she had seen him all evening and she wished that she could see him as such at all times. But she knew better and knew that it was just a 'pretty thought' because life for all of them, most of all him would never be a 'walk in the park.'
[b "Mrs.Weasley would kill him before he could. She knows how everyone enjoys her cooking and goes to great lengths to make sure that it lasts a few days at a time. But somehow, I could see Ron if given the chance, eating it all."] Hermione couldn't help but muse with a soft giggle at the thought of Ron leaving them nothing.
For a little while, the boy and girl spoke and then Harry was bidding her a 'farewell' and letting her know the rule for the night, which she thought cute. And though 'sleepovers' were not her thing, the girl did agree and would even indulge in the whole they had to wear pajama rule. After she watched him go, Hermione read for a little longer and then headed up to the room that she and Ginny shared.
Upon getting to the room, the brunette found the redhead sitting on one of the beds and motioning her over. [#2caaf6 "Why don't we have a little girl talk before bed? I am so bored and the others keep telling me that I've no business in their 'boy talk.'"] The younger girl said with a pout, eyes begging Hermione to indulge her wishes.
She found herself inwardly groaning as it was not her thing. But she did feel bad for the other girl as it seemed she was lonely, and she herself knew all too well what it was to listen to talk and to be excluded. So 'unwillingly' the girl sat and talked about boys, and anything else Ginny chose to bring up.
When it was time 'for bed' the girl was more than thankful. The hours of talking, but mostly listening had been painful. So when the light was out, brown eyes stared up into the darkness, waiting to hear the soft breaths of Ginny to let her know the other was asleep. As soon as she heard them, the girl silently slipped out of bed and tiptoed her way through the now silent, dimly lit house until she came upon the library and peeked in to find that Harry was there, waiting.
Quickly, she slipped in and closed the door behind her and walked over, taking a seat. [b "I'm sorry if I kept you waiting..Ginny wanted to talk and so I decided to humour her...I also had to wait for her to fall asleep."] The girl said, seeming a little nervous as she spoke, fearing that he might be a tad mad for having been made to wait.
Harry smiled widely, like a child on Christmas. [b "Brilliant! I'm sure there'll be plenty of leftovers for us to steal. So long as Ron doesn't eat them all before the night is over."]
After a while, he bid her farewell, after informing her that the rule for the night was that she was to wear pajamas, as he would. While he decided to be the respectful guest and visit with the others, he couldn't help but glance at the clock every few moments, awaiting the appropriate time to say goodnight, to excuse him from further participation. Since he would be rooming with Ron, the redhead had followed him to bed.
Harry stayed quiet for almost two hours, listening to the snores pour from his friend. It hadn't taken long for Ron to fall asleep, but Harry was waiting for the sounds of the rest of the house to quiet down before getting up. His invisibility cloak was already waiting for him when he rises from the bed, draped over a desk chair. Slipping it over his oversized t-shirt and flannel pajama pants, he ducks out of the room, and tries to navigate his way back to the kitchen.
It took him several tries before he found the right hallway, since the house looked even more grim in the darkness of the night. He carefully wrapped some scones and cookies in a hand towel, and grabbed the pitcher of pumpkin juice. It wasn't quite midnight yet, so he was the firs to arrive to the library.
Harry placed the treats and drinks on the table in front of the only couch in the room, which faced the large window overlooking a field across from the house. He lit a few lanterns, but other than that kept the room dim, so as not to raise suspicion or curiosity from anyone in the house who might get out of bed.
A sad smile traced her lips and the girl shook her head slowly. [b "I don't mean to get you so distracted, Harry..most the time I try and hide it, but I guess I do rather poorly...Especially where Ron is concerned.. and he does need the slap, but you know him and how he never learns."] The girl couldn't help a weak laugh at her last words as she knew that the boy sitting across from her knew the redhead just as well if not better than she did.
But when she sat and thought about it, Ron really was more of a pain to her. He was always shooting her down or shooting snide comments her way all because she was trying to correct him and help him learn something. Of course she was more than aware of the saying 'ignorance is bliss', but when it came to Ronald Weasley, he was straight out arrogant and it really made her skin crawl. At least with Harry he made the effort to try and learn or actually ask when he didn't know something. He was also more kind in the way he asked her not to say anything, and for that reason the girl was able to 'bite her tongue' and keep quiet.
[b "Actually...a night just the two of us catching up once everyone is asleep sounds really nice. As much as I have liked being around the others...there has been constant stress and tension around...And of course I have missed you and would love the chance to talk without...."] But she quickly snapped her mouth shut and let her words trail off.
How could she have said the words that she had? It wasn't that she didn't like having Ron as a friend, but she just liked Harry more. The two of them got on well and he never made it a point go try and get under her skin. Also she thought this would be good for them as she knew once at school she wouldn't get much one on one time to spend with him because of both Ron and her school work.
[b "Yes, Harry, it sounds brilliant. I will definitely meet you back here later tonight and we can have the just us night."] The girl said with a soft laugh at his puupyish look though she had tried not to.
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