Categories > Books > Harry Potter > What He'll Sorely Miss?

Chapter 2

by MayorHaggar 2 reviews

Hermione gets an assist from an unlikely source.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG - Genres: Romance - Characters: Harry,Hermione - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2010-07-05 - Updated: 2010-07-05 - 3219 words - Complete

Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. If I did, Harry wouldn't have ever named one of his children after a man who did everything he could to make his life a living hell for 6 years.

What He'll Sorely Miss?
by MayorHaggar

Chapter 2

At first glance, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. After all, Hermione Granger spent more time in the library than any other student at Hogwarts. It was also quite common for her to drop by after dinner, so her presence in the mostly-deserted library as curfew approached didn't raise any eyebrows either. Madam Pince, as well as the select few others who found themselves in the library at this hour, didn't give the bushy-haired Gryffindor a second glance.

If they had paused to take that second glance, though, they would have spotted something unusual. Whenever she claimed a table all to herself in the library (that is to say, whenever she didn't have her friends Harry Potter and Ron Weasley at her side to distract her), she could always be seen doing one of two things. She would either diligently complete her class assignments—well before they were due, of course—or she would bury her face in the pages of a book, whether it be a class textbook or a tome she was reading purely for enjoyment.

Not this time, though. Hermione did have several books and parchments spread out on the table in front of her, but she had long since given up trying to concentrate on any of them. As had been happening all too frequently as of late, her mind was preoccupied with thoughts of a certain bespectacled, green-eyed, raven-haired Gryffindor.

It had been eight days since the Second Task of the Triwizard Tournament. Eight days since Harry had begged off from the party in the Gryffindor common room, claiming a headache. Eight days since Hermione became convinced that her earlier suspicions had been correct, that something was indeed bothering Harry, something aside from the dangers of the Triwizard Tournament and the mystery of who managed to get the Goblet of Fire to spit out his name. Eight days that Hermione had spent trying, and failing, to answer the prevailing question on her mind: What's Eating Harry Potter?

Hermione may have failed to come up with the answer during these eight days, but it certainly was not due to lack of effort. She had tried her very best to get Harry to open up about what was on his mind, but he never provided a straight answer. On the many occasions that she caught him staring off into space with a frown across his face, she immediately tried to ask him what was the matter. He would simply blush, say that everything was fine as he refused to meet her eyes, and hastily change the subject. She knew he was lying, of course, but what could she do? He refused to talk to her about his problem.

Ron did agree that Harry had been acting strangely in recent days, but he wasn't nearly as concerned as Hermione. He simply pointed out that Harry had a lot on his plate at the moment, and suggested that Hermione just keep her nose out of it and let Harry work it out on his own.

”Besides,” Ron had insisted after undergoing another bout of questioning from Hermione, “even if you do get him to tell you what's bothering him, what can you do to help him? If he's still hung up on Cho, he needs to get over her on his own. If he's now mooning over Fleur and hoping something happens between them, it's up to the two of them to figure that out. Give it up, Hermione. Not even you can solve every problem.”

Hermione had to concede that Ron made some good points. It was true that if, as she expected, Harry's troubles were of a romantic nature, she couldn't solve them, at least not entirely. Whether he was distraught over Cho's relationship with Cedric or he was nervously hoping to start his own relationship with the gorgeous part-Veela, it would ultimately be up to him to either get over Cho or tell Fleur how he felt (assuming the confident French beauty didn't approach him first.)

That didn't mean she couldn't help him, though. She knew from personal experience that bottling up your feelings and refusing to talk about them didn't lead anywhere good. He needed to talk to someone, and since Ron had no interest in broaching the subject with Harry, it fell to her. Whatever his problem was, she was sure she could talk him through it, and help him figure out what he should do next. Even if it would pain her to hear him speak about his romantic feelings for another girl, she would do it willingly. She'd do whatever she could to help Harry, even if he unknowingly hurt her in the process. As always, she'd do anything, put herself through anything, to help him. All she needed was for him to open up to her, something he didn't seem to have any intention of doing.

No matter. Harry might have been reluctant to confide in her about what had been bothering him, but she would not rest until she got it out of him. All she needed was an opening.


As fate would have it, Hermione would get her opening the very next day. In the end, it wasn't her friendship, her support or even her stubborn refusal to give up that broke through Harry's defences. Instead, she received an improbable and entirely unintentional assist from two of the last people on Earth she'd have ever turned to for help: Draco Malfoy and Severus Snape.

The day had gotten off to a promising start. At breakfast, Harry received an owl from Sirius, requesting that Harry come and meet with him the next day, during the scheduled Hogsmeade visit. Harry had voiced his concern to she and Ron about the possibility of his godfather being spotted, which would obviously be disastrous considering most of the wizarding world still thought he was a Death Eater and had betrayed Harry's parents to Voldemort. Harry was indeed worried about Sirius, but Hermione knew her friend well enough that she could tell that he was also quite excited at the prospect of seeing his godfather the next day, as much as he tried to hide it.

Predictably, Harry's good mood vanished on the walk down to the dreary dungeon that served as Professor Snape's Potions classroom. The surly professor was always extremely unpleasant to be around for any non-Slytherin, but Harry was usually his favourite target. Hermione couldn't blame Harry for his reluctance to subject himself to the presence of a man who had loathed him seemingly before he'd even met him. The fact that they took the class with the Slytherins only made things worse, as Snape would let Malfoy and his goons get away with anything and everything, only to promptly penalize any Gryffindor who took the bait and retaliated.

This time, the Slytherins were less focused on antagonizing Harry, and instead set their sights on Hermione herself. Before the class had even begun, the Slytherin contingent, led by Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson, took great delight in taunting Hermione with a Witch Weekly article written by Rita Skeeter.

Hermione's opinion of Skeeter was already extremely low thanks to her shoddy and sensationalistic article about Harry earlier in the year. Thus, she wasn't particularly bothered with the article, which suggested that she was toying with the affections of both Harry and Viktor Krum, and also implied that she could be doing so through the use of a love potion. Who cared what a bunch of stuck up, anti-Muggleborn bigots thought of her? Anyone who really knew her would dismiss the article for the nonsense it was.

Of greater interest to Hermione was how Rita had managed to learn details that she shouldn't have had any way of knowing, such as the specifics of her conversation with Viktor by the lake immediately after the First Task. She had no idea how Rita could have managed to overhear them, and gave herself a little mental reminder to give the matter some more thought at a later time.

Hermione soon set all thoughts of Rita Skeeter aside, because she'd noticed something considerably more intriguing: Harry's reaction. Harry seemed to be far more offended by the demeaning article than she herself was. If his reddened cheeks and clenched jaw weren't proof enough, the murderous look in his eyes revealed just how angry he was. Thankfully, though, he was managing to hold his tongue. Responding to the taunts would have only made the situation worse, and she was proud of Harry for displaying such maturity. Still, she had to admit that it was rather flattering seeing Harry get so worked up on her behalf. It was all she could do to maintain a neutral expression when what she really wanted to do was flash a beaming smile in Harry's direction.

She should have known that the feeling wouldn't last—she was in Professor Snape's dungeon, after all. Her mood rapidly deteriorated once the Potions professor billowed his way into the classroom. He penalized her for disrupting his class, even though it was Pansy who brought the magazine into the room in the first place. Not that this was anything new: the Gryffindor students were constantly punished for incidents caused by the Slytherins.

Snape's verbal abuse soured Hermione's good mood, but she was quite used to his loathsome attitude by that point, so his insults didn't particularly bother her. Harry was a different story, however. Snape had a natural aptitude for antagonizing Harry that even Malfoy couldn't match. As Snape began reading the article aloud, Hermione swore she could see Harry trembling in an effort to suppress his rage.

Don't let him get to you, Harry, she silently pleaded.

The Slytherins laughed heartily throughout, but Hermione's attention was squarely on Harry. Hermione watched with dread as Harry got progressively angrier during Snape's sarcastic, drawling reading of the article. When he got to the bit about Hermione brewing love potions, Harry lost it. Despite Hermione putting a calming hand on his arm and urgently whispering for him to calm down, Harry bolted out of his seat and to his feet to confront the Potions professor.

“That's enough!” Harry shouted, red in the face.

“That'll be ten points from Gryffindor for disrupting my class, Potter,” Snape said nastily. “I realise that merely listening to someone else discuss the details of your vaunted social life was simply not enough to satisfy your massive ego, Potter, but it is quite rude to interrupt someone whilst they are speaking. You really should learn to keep your mouth shut, no matter how much you love the sound of your own voice.”

“I'm not the one going on and on about rubbish that's got nothing to do with Potions, sir,” Harry bit out.

Hermione let out a defeated sigh and held her head in her hands as Snape's eyes narrowed to slits.

“Another ten points from Gryffindor for your cheek, you insolent brat. If you don't close your mouth and sit down, detention will be next. While I'm at it, I think I'll take another ten points from Gryffindor because you had the audacity to try and tell me how I should run my class. Believe it or not, Potter, I am far more qualified to teach this subject than you are, no matter how large your fan club has grown since you became a Triwizard Champion,” Snape said with disdain. He was not done yet, however.

“Besides, if you'd been paying attention, you would have noticed that there was indeed an interesting bit of information in the article regarding the subject of Potions: apparently, Miss Granger has been brewing love potions. I must confess that I am not entirely surprised. She has always struck me as too ambitious and attention-starved for her own--”

That's a lie!” Harry interrupted fiercely. “Hermione would never brew a love potion! She doesn't need to! Of course Krum bloody well fancies her! He'd be an idiot if he didn't!”

Hermione gaped open-mouthed at Harry, unsure how to take what he'd just said—unsure if she'd even heard him correctly. He'd be an idiot if he didn't? What does that mean?

Regrettably, she didn't have much time to ponder the meaning behind Harry's statement.

It took a moment for Snape to react to Harry's impassioned declaration. Once he properly absorbed Harry's words, though, Snape smiled. Not the sneer that could so often be seen on his face, but an actual, honest-to-goodness smile. Any and all chatter in the room immediately stilled, so shocked were the students to see a smile on the unpleasant professor's face. No one in the room had ever seen Snape smile before. Indeed, it had been many, many years since he'd smiled—since before anyone else in the room had even been born, in fact.

To Harry's chagrin, Snape was smiling for one simple reason. He'd been presented with a golden opportunity to humiliate the boy he'd despised from the moment he'd been born; the boy who forced him to relive his memories of James Potter on a daily basis. And he wasn't about to let this opportunity pass him by.

“I suppose I'll have to take your word for it, Potter,” Snape said quietly, with a disturbing gleam in his eyes. “I've never been able to stomach Miss Granger's presence, myself. If you insist that Krum would, as you so eloquently put it, “be an idiot” were he not attracted to Granger, I will trust your judgement on the issue. However, this raises another question. Why are you so convinced that Granger would never have any need to brew a love potion? What makes you so certain that a male would be interested in her even without ingesting said potion?”

Harry's eyes widened and his face began to redden in embarrassment as he realised exactly what he'd blurted out while trying to defend the integrity of his most loyal friend. Unfortunately for him, Snape was not finished.

“Is there something else you wish to share with us, Potter? If Miss Granger is indeed such a charming individual, perhaps Viktor Krum isn't the only one who has feelings for her. Perhaps Miss Skeeter's reporting isn't quite as “rubbish” as you claimed it was,” he finished with a satisfied sneer.

From her vantage point, Hermione could only see the side of Harry's face. It was still enough for her to see that he was utterly mortified. He'd gone beet red, blushing so fiercely that he reminded Hermione of Ginny whenever the “Boy-Who-Lived” spoke to her. He stood completely still, staring wide-eyed at Snape, who was sneering back at him and thoroughly enjoying his humiliation.

Hermione shook herself out of her stupor and reached out to give Harry a reassuring pat on the arm. She never made contact, though, because Harry suddenly made a dash to the door. Snape made no effort to stop Harry, though he did assign him a detention as he exited the room.

“Now that our Triwziard Champion has made his dramatic exit, let's begin our lesson. Last time, as hopefully at least a few of you are intelligent enough to remember, I instructed you to--”

Snape was interrupted once again, this time by Hermione. She hastily gathered her things and darted towards the door, oblivious to all else around her. Snape was threatening her with detention, the Slytherins were chuckling in amusement at what had turned out to be a thoroughly entertaining Potions lesson, and Ron was frowning at her in confusion. But Hermione paid no attention to any of it. Her thoughts, as usual, were focused on Harry.

The door closed behind her with a thud, and Hermione hurried along, hoping to catch up to Harry before he got far. She still wasn't sure how to react or how to feel about what Harry had just said, but her instincts told her it was vitally important that she get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. She didn't want to give Harry a chance to calm down, because she had learned from experience that the best time to get Harry to open up about something was when his emotions were running high. She had to find him, and get him to talk.

She wasn't positive, but she had a feeling that what had just happened was at least somewhat related to the brooding Harry had been doing recently. She didn't for a second believe Snape's obvious implication that Harry fancied her. Why would he, when he could practically have his pick among the female student population of Hogwarts? Still, it seemed that something in that article troubled him more than it really should have.

Perhaps she had been right in her assessment that Harry's problems were of a romantic nature, but had been wrong that his concern was towards his own romantic interests. It occurred to her that she had never made it explicitly clear to he and Ron that she considered Viktor a friend, and nothing more. She considered the possibility that, after she was chosen to be Viktor's hostage in the Second Task, Harry had become concerned that she would start spending more time with Viktor, and less time with him. One of her own biggest worries was that Harry might not spend as much time with her or need her as much once he began dating another girl. Losing Harry's friendship, or even having its importance diminished somewhat, was a terrifying thought for Hermione. She supposed he might feel the same way about her, even if he had no interest in turning their close friendship into something more.

She actually found herself feeling somewhat relieved at that thought. It would be far easier on her to reassure Harry about his place in her life than it would be to have to listen to him speak about his romantic feelings for another girl. Still, she would not back down, regardless. She knew this was her chance to finally get Harry to open up and tell her what had been bothering him lately. She would catch up to him, and together, they would get through this, whatever it was. She'd help him through his troubles, just like always. Because she loved him. She loved Harry Potter.


A/N: I hadn't initially planned to end this chapter here, but I've decided to split what would have been Chapter 2 into two chapters. Combined with my planned final chapter, this puts the estimated length of this fic at 4 chapters, meaning I've ALREADY broken my original estimation of 2 to 3 chapters total. Will it grow larger still? I don't plan on it, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me. I should probably never make an attempt at defining the length of one of my stories before I've finished writing it.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this chapter, even if Harry and Hermione haven't had their little chat yet. That's coming next chapter, honest! And thanks for the reviews for the first chapter. I'd love to hear what you thought about this one as well.
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