Hermione wonders why she elected to stay over the Holiday at Hogwarts with Harry.
A Harry Potter FanFiction Story
Author: Jason Thompson
May 20, 2005
Disclaimer: Once upon a time there was a guy he wrote a story with characters and settings he didn't own, but he put a disclaimer on his story and that made it a little less illegal. Harry Potter is owned by JK Rowling, Scholastic Press and Warner Entertainment.
Category: AU; Harry/Hermione, Ginny/Neville, Ron/? (With mention of several Weasley Pairings)
Spoilers: A sprinkling here and there maybe.
Warnings: I apologize beforehand if I butcher any Britishisms.
Summery: Hermione wonders why she elected to stay over the Holiday at Hogwarts with Harry.
Rating: Without the blasted Movie rating system, I haven't the foggiest, so let's say rated Safe.
Distribution: Ask First.
Notes: It's the sixth year for Harry and Hermione.
Dedication: Dedicated to the usual suspects; Genova aka Schweet, Bri, Mary, Duchess, Dale, Blaire, Red, Stone Cold, Ice Wing, Arashi, Aslan, Vega, Tony D, Jen Zimmer, Louise, Sairs, and Queen Angel who have allowed me to bounce my ideas off them, and Krac, cause she has the evil bunny slippers.
Peaceful Moments are a Rare Joy
Part 1: For Love or Monkey
Hermione Granger had found that one of Hogwarts' secrets, its many, many secrets, was just how many secrets it had. Large ones, such as the appropriately named "Chamber of Secrets" Harry and Ron had ventured into during second year, small ones such as the little clearing she and Harry had found last year near the Quidditch field that had a perfect view for Astronomy homework.
Hogwarts had secrets both profound and mundane, exceptionally dangerous and entirely safe secrets, wonderful and terrible ones as well. She sometimes thought that the school motto of Hogwarts should be; "Secrets for all occasions."
She came upon this particular secret as she passed the empty Great Hall; when Hogwarts was empty, it was perhaps one of the most eerie places on Earth. Floorboards creaked, shadows were longer and darker, and she felt a near constant need to look over her shoulder.
Of course, the school wasn't completely empty; she'd passed a few of the Professors over the last few days, Neville Longbottom had stayed to take care of his ever growing collection of plants, she'd seen a first-year Ravenclaw boy in the infirmary who'd had an unfortunate allergic to a spell to treat his measles and had turned a bright shade of orange, and she had seen a pair of third-year Hufflepuffs at breakfast this morning. Of course there was also the young man she'd actually stayed for, Harry Potter.
In the six years she'd known Harry, he'd never gone home for the Holiday break. It wasn't that surprising when she considered how big of a bunch of bastards his family was. She'd had the distinct displeasure of meeting the Dursleys late last summer, between the dirty looks Mrs. Dursley kept sending her and Harry's way and Mr. Dursley's off-color humor she was so angry that when Dudley had dropped his spoon to try and take a peek at her legs, she'd ground out "Dirty little pig!" Then she reached for her wand.
It was only Harry's hand gripping hers that prevented Dudley from having a curly little tail for the second time in his life.
A few weeks ago, just before the Holiday Break, Ron had pulled her aside. Traditionally he'd stayed over Christmas to keep Harry company; usually claiming some holiday his parents were going on. He never had the heart to tell Harry that the Weasleys' gathered every Christmas and he'd only stayed because he never wanted Harry to feel alone. After all, he loved Harry as much as he loved any of his brothers.
He also didn't have the heart to let Harry know how much it hurt him to be away from his family. He might have complained about living in the shadow of his brothers but he loved both them and the rest of his family dearly. This year, Ron couldn't bring himself to stay away, even for Harry. So he asked her to stay, it didn't take her long to accept.
Now, she was half regretting it, the empty hallways had a quality not unlike a scene from a slasher movie, even when Peeves wasn't doing his part to frighten or annoy her. She made her way to the tower and found the fat lady sitting in the background of her portrait and reading a book. She paused and looked up with a smile, "Oh Hermione, did you find anything worth reading today?"
She smiled, "No ma'am." The fat lady raised an eyebrow and Hermione spoke the password. The portrait opened and Hermione stepped inside. There was no noise coming from the common room and she wondered again what had possessed her to agree to this.
That is, until she caught sight of the slumped young man on the couch.
Harry was on the couch, sleeping. He'd apparently drifted off while reading a novel he'd borrowed from Dean before the break, as it was at his feet pages down. He'd slouched down enough so that his face was smeared on the arm of the couch and his glasses sat awkwardly on his face. She silently crossed the room to him, gently plucked his glasses from his head and after a quick whispered "Occulos Raparo" to correct the bent frame, she set them aside on a nearby lamp-stand.
She reached down and picked up the book he'd dropped then sat down next to him on the couch. She began to thumb through the book, it wasn't really her kind of reading but she'd found nothing to read today and despite what others thought of her, she didn't want to read for her classes today.
She was muddling through the prologue when Harry mumbled in his sleep. Ron had told her that he'd been having horrible nightmares since Sirius had died and she was worried this might be one. Then she noticed a rather strange grin cross his features. He chuckled and adjusted in his sleep slightly. He mumbled again and Hermione found herself mesmerized by the sight.
She'd watched him sleep a few times over the years, mostly on the train to and from school. On the ride to school this year, he was almost rigid in his sleep. Worry lines had marred his face and he'd looked far older than sixteen.
Right now he seemed completely at ease and she was going to enjoy it. She reached out to slide some of his hair away from his face and she was surprised by him leaning into her touch. Her name escaped his lips in a contented sigh and she raised an eyebrow. Could it be that Harry Potter was dreaming about her? 'Now this may be interesting,' she thought.
Her thumb traced the scar on his brow and she pulled back slightly. He frowned in his sleep for a moment; it wasn't really a sad expression, it was more confused. "Hermione?"
She gently stroked his shoulder and whispered, "It's alright Harry, I'm here."
He relaxed again and chuckled. What was he doing with her in his dream? After a while, he gave her a hint. "...never taken care of a monkey before... what do I feed it?"
She bit down hard on a yelp of laughter and clamped her hand over her mouth. She leaned into his ear and whispered, "Have you asked Ron?"
He followed her voice and leaned against her so that her nose was now buried in his hair. He seemed pleased with their new proximity as she could almost hear his smile. "S'gone."
Hermione now wondered if it was rather stupid of her to play with a sleeping sixteen year old boy, especially one who seemed to be dreaming about her before she began playing. She had to wonder if her counterpart was being as affectionate with him as he was being with her; and if she was, what did that mean? Driven by instinct more than reason, she pulled his head onto her shoulder and wrapped her arm around his shoulder. "What about Hagrid?"
He sighed and mumbled incoherently. She could make one word out though, "Alone."
Her eyebrows rose and several emotions found a home in her. After a moment though she found herself somewhat annoyed at him. Harry was dreaming about them being alone... with a monkey? The annoyance quickly faded however, it was just so hard to maintain when he looked so adorable with his sleepy little grin. She reached over with her free hand, squeezed one of his and softly whispered, "Harry? Harry? Wake up."
He stirred slightly and his fingers laced through hers. Her heart stopped in mid-lub and seemed to forget that it was supposed to dub at some point. He squeezed her hand and nestled into her shoulder, fighting against her request.
When she'd managed to restart her heart she shook his shoulder, "Harry, wake up." She didn't whisper this time.
He pulled his face from her shoulder and his eyes fluttered open to look at her. Their noses weren't even a hand's-width apart and she could feel his breath dance across her lips. From the look in his eyes, she was sure he was still in that confused place between dreaming and fully awake, "Hermione?" His voice was little more than a confused whisper.
She was enchanted by his eyes; she'd never seen them this closely before, "Yes?" He didn't say another word, his lips simply found hers while he squeezed their joined fingers tightly. She gave a valiant effort to pull away, but he followed her all the way across the couch until her back was firmly pressed against the other arm of the couch.
It wasn't a demanding kiss, nor was it unpleasant. Far from it really, which might explain why when she regained some semblance of control she squeezed his hand back and her free hand found itself tangled in the raven colored mess he called his hair. The shock that Harry was kissing her was replaced quickly by the equal shock that she was kissing him back.
She managed to yank her hand away from his fingers and gripped his back tightly. She had no intention of stopping their mutual explorations or allowing him to stop for that matter. His hand slid up her side and a delightful shiver ran through her, causing her to gasp against his lips. She took the sudden opportunity to caress his lips with her tongue. He quickly took the hint and the kiss became deeper and far more intense for her.
She'd never read a romance novel, she'd always felt that they were rather unrealistic, and considering some of the things she'd seen at Hogwarts that's an accomplishment. She'd never seen how a person's entire life could be altered merely with a kiss. However, as she found her body arching towards him she began to wonder if she had been wrong.
Her fingers brushed across the back of his neck and she felt his shudder. She flushed with unrestrained pride for a moment, which quickly changed to another unrestrained emotion when she felt Harry's hand cupping her left breast through her clothing. She arched into his hand and a whimper escaped her throat, Harry paused suddenly.
She hadn't realized that her eyes had been closed until after they fluttered open and she found herself staring into shocked green orbs. Their lips came apart and she had to swallow a giggle when she noticed they were swollen. She was rather proud of herself as clearly she "gave as good as she got," as the clichÃ© went.
He was stunned, he was frozen, he was... digging into her hip. She smirked and looked down, he followed her gaze and when she looked back up she laughed at the shade of red he was turning. "I hope that's not the way you greet Ron in the morning."
He looked at her, struck dumb at the whole situation and seemingly unable (judging by the pressure against her hip, she'd wager he was more unwilling) to move. She raised an eyebrow at him and watched with amusement as his mouth moved soundlessly. Somewhere between his lips attacking hers and now, she'd seized complete control of both the situation and Harry. It was leaving her giddy.
She wasn't sure exactly how long Harry gaped at her, but finally he stammered out, "W-what?"
Her fingers gently slid up and down along the back of his right arm as she smiled up at him. "I said that I hope that you don't greet Ron that way. I'd feel terribly offended." He shook his head gingerly, as though his neck and head were connected by something flimsy and his head would snap off and roll away.
"N-nn-" He cleared his throat and his face went from pale to red to pale again. "No."
Knowing Harry Potter as well as she did, Hermione could almost see his next words brewing behind his eyes. In fact, she could probably predict exactly which words he'd stumble over. "Hermione... I'm... I-I'm sorry. I didn't..." He scowled slightly; she'd seen that expression enough to know that he was berating himself. "I would never... attack-"
She leaned up and silenced him with a kiss that landed on the corner of his mouth. She lingered there until she was sure he was concentrating only on her and a few seconds longer. The extra time was for her sake. She pulled back and smiled at him gently, "You didn't attack me Harry." When he started to protest she pressed a finger to his lips, "You were confused. You were clearly having an intense dream and you woke up in confusion."
She thought he said, "But I-" but it was muffled under her finger.
"Harry, has it occurred to you that I could have stopped you at any time? Has it occurred to you that after the shock wore off, I was enjoying myself?" His mouth went slack against her fingers and he looked like he couldn't decide whether or not kiss her again. "I was, you know? I'd like to say that I was expecting something like this. I'd like to say that I've been harboring feelings for you for a long time, or some other nonsense." She smiled as his hand reached up and grasped hers. This time it was she who entwined their fingers, then she pulled his hand to her lips and kissed him on the knuckles. "The truth is that I'm rather shocked."
He frowned in a confused manner again, "You've never thought about... me... th-that way?"
She laughed, "Of course I have Harry. Just because I'm shocked doesn't mean I haven't thought about you. You're a handsome man Harry and I'd either have to be blind or interested in other girls not to realize that. I just didn't think about us being together, not seriously."
He looked at her and his whisper barely reached her ears, "I've thought about you... about being with you."
She smiled gently at him, "Why didn't you ever say anything?" They sat in silence and she stroked his arm with one hand while squeezing his hand with her other. She watched him relax under her touch with pride.
He smiled sheepishly, "Honestly? Rampant terror for one, the idea of you rejecting me..." He frowned as he trailed off. He closed his eyes and gathered his strength. "It would have broken me, Hermione." His eyes opened and he looked at her with such caring. It was a look she'd seen in his eyes a thousand times before.
Still, knowing what she knew, it suddenly meant so much more. She trembled at the look in his eyes. It wasn't hormones; he wasn't some randy sixteen year-old whose mind was solely occupied with getting under the skirt of a pretty girl. He wasn't confusing affection of one sort for another. He'd thought it through, he'd had these feelings for only he knew how long and he was sure of them.
He loved her.
She frowned, how did she not notice? How did she not see how intense his gaze was every time it landed on her? How did she not melt into his arms the first time he'd said her name the way he'd just said it. He'd said her name as though she was the most precious thing he could imagine and she'd simply tricked herself into thinking that was how friends looked at each other.
It occurred to her that at that moment that every person who'd ever called her intelligent was a bald-faced liar. She was an idiot; she was a bigger idiot then anyone she'd ever met.
Being an idiot allowed her a certain freedom however; she could say the first that came to mind, "I wouldn't have."
He smiled strangely, "There were other reason too. I know, because the excitement that the possibility you'd welcome my affections eventually overwhelmed my fear. Then one day, as I was trying to find a way to tell you, he came and gave me another reason."
She raised an eyebrow, "Voldemort?"
He laughed, "Worse, it was Ron. He told me he fancied you and that he was going to ask you out. He wanted you so badly that I just didn't want to get in his way."
She tried not to cry, it was chivalrous of him to step aside and let his friend be happy. Then, she wanted to hit him, "I'm not some trophy Harry. I won't go to the first boy who reaches me." She raised an eyebrow at a sudden memory, "Wait, Ron asked me to go with him to Hogsmeade when we first came back to school..." She laughed at the memory, "It was a disaster, Harry. He was so nervous that he couldn't say two words to me, then he got so pissed he couldn't see straight. I had to ask Neville and Dean to take him home and pour him into his bed."
He laughed, "I know. I don't think he'll be asking you out again either."
She laughed, "Well I certainly hope not, I'm spoken for after all."
Silence settled over them and she looked into his eyes. Now that she knew; she welcomed the intensity, she welcomed the fire storm in his eyes that warmed her spirit. She welcomed the affection that radiated from him. She welcomed it, because she was beginning to return it in equal amounts. She squeezed his hand in a reassuring fashion. "It's alright Harry, you can say it. You can tell me."
He didn't ask what she meant, but his lip trembled. It bubbled out of him slowly, he'd held on to this feeling far longer then he'd let on. Long enough to be able to rein it in and bury it. A feeling that tightly controlled wouldn't escape easily, not even when it was free to do so. "I love you."
Her voice left her; it was one thing to determine Harry was in love with her in her mind. There was always the chance that she was wrong, while it was only her thoughts she could think about her feelings logically. Now, with three words, Harry had performed a nearly impossible feat, he'd forced her to think with her heart.
She abandoned reason and squeezed his hand. "Harry, I love you too."
He smiled strangely, "I..." He broke out into an awkward chuckle and looked away.
She frowned in confusion, "Harry, what is it, what's so funny?"
He looked back at her, "You certainly changed your mind quickly enough."
Her eyes narrowed to slits in a mock scowl, but it quickly cracked as she tried not to laugh. "Well, you are so very charming, Harry. I just couldn't resist." Her tone was sarcastic, he didn't reply except to attack her ribcage with quick fingers.
She was slightly embarrassed by the high-pitched squealing laughter that soon filled the room. She tried to squirm out from underneath him unsuccessfully twice before her hand found a sensitive spot on his rib cage. He jumped enough for her to leap off the couch and jump to her feet; he leapt to his feet a second later and surged towards her.
She scrambled around the couch, putting it between them. He smirked at her and she held her hands up defensively, "Harry..." Her warning tone was betrayed by the silly grin she was fighting. His left eyebrow cocked and he started around the couch, "Don't!"
A part of her was annoyed at the warning and it looked like Harry agreed. Why was she warning him off? The way his normally wild hair stood and the predatory look in his eyes had her trembling, that annoyed part wanted to curl her finger and beckon him so she could kiss that smirk off his face.
He took a step forward, "Or what?"
She retreated unsteadily, "I'll... I'll..."
A long, confident step forward, "You'll what, Hermione?" Did his voice drop an octave as he said her name and why was it so hot suddenly?
She nearly stumbled back, "I'll run up the stairs..."
He shook his head as he approached, taking two steps forward this time. "Go ahead." She took two more steps, her back collided with the wall and he swooped in. Her fingers were splayed on his chest and she could feel his pulse racing as wildly as hers. "You won't leave."
She felt a grin tug at the corners of her mouth as she whispered. "No... I won't."
He reached up and twisted a lock of her in his fingers, "Good." He nuzzled the side of her throat and she heard a growl roll in the back of his throat.
She inhaled deeply and committed his scent to memory. "Harry?"
He paused only long enough to mumble, "Yes?"
She smiled and slid her arms around his waist. One hand slid up his back and gripped the back of his head to keep his lips on a particularly sensitive patch of skin, "Say it again."
He pulled away and gently breathed into her ear, "I love you."
She pressed her lips against his cheek and pulled him closer. "I love you, Harry."
"Oh..." They both froze and turned towards the Boy's stairs. Neville stood at the landing, red faced and fidgeting with embarrassment. He turned his wide-eyed gaze to the floor and stammered. "I-I just... Well I..."
Hermione's face was scorched with embarrassment and she buried her face in Harry's chest. She felt a suppressed chuckle rumble through Harry and he spoke in a soft fashion. "It's alright Neville, no harm done."
She could hear Neville stammer before he said, "I'm s-sorry. I just wanted to b-borrow... Borrow Hedwig. T-tto send Ginny her..."
Harry stroked her arm gently and said, "Christmas Present?" Neville must have nodded mutely as Harry said. "Go ahead Neville."
"Thanks." There was a pause and then Neville said, "Happy Christmas, Harry... and Hermione too."
"Happy Christmas, Neville."
She heard Neville retreat up the steps. A moment later Harry's finger lifted her chin until she was looking at him. He smiled down at her, "Neville caught us, you know what this means of course?"
She had a hard time thinking with his emerald gaze boring through her. Finally she said the only to come to her rattled mind, "I should take you up to my room where Neville can't find us?"
He laughed gently and shook his head, "That too. I was going to say that we'll be hearing from the Weasleys tomorrow."
She turned scarlet and bit her lip, 'Nice.' After a moment she spoke, "Oh..."
They stood in comfortable silence as he gently played with her hair. She was content to merely inhale his scent and feel his heart beat through his shirt. He smiled, "I had the strangest dream."
She raised an eyebrow at him, "Really?" She realized after a moment that she'd completely forgot about Harry's dream.
He shrugged, "I dreamt Hagrid gave me a monkey."
She felt a wicked grin forming and she said, "What did we feed him?" His eyes widened at her. "You talk in your sleep Harry."
He nodded, "Well..." He frowned, "I guess that's how Ron knew where to find my cloak last week."
She grinned and yanked him up the Girl's staircase by the hand as she said, "Never mind that Harry, I want some privacy."