Title: Something to Be Thankful For
Author: Katie A.
Author E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keywords: Harry, Hermione, Ron, Thanksgiving
Summary: Fluff and full bellies ensue when Dumbledore announces a Thanksgiving feast at Hogwarts. After all, what is Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie and cinnamon kisses?
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Note: This probably won't be my best work, as I completely forgot to start working on it until the day before Thanksgiving. I, however, am on a mission to write a fic for every holiday. Or at least the common American ones that I know about. So, I steadfastly wrote this piece. I hope nobody cringes.
"I am happy to announce," said Dumbledore, his powerful voice swiftly quieting the massive hall of chattering students, "that in order for wizards to better understand the Muggle world, which we all have to face at some point, we will be holding several Muggle activities. One of these is coming up soon, and I'm sure everyone will enjoy it. It is an American-Muggle tradition called Thanksgiving. A feast will be held for this occasion, and everyone will learn the meaning of it on the last Thursday of November. Thank you."
With a slight bow, Dumbledore sat down, and the hall erupted with voices.
"Why the last Thursday of November?"
Hermione was beginning to look very annoyed with everyone. He cleared his throat to silence a few oblivious Gryffindors, and looked toward Hermione. "Would you, er, care to explain?" he asked, sensing the necessity of letting her speak before anybody witnessed the power of her hexes.
She shot Harry a look – he wasn't sure if he should be happy or terrified – and began to speak. "America," she explained first, "is a country across the Atlantic Ocean. Thanksgiving is a holiday they have. You see, these English pilgrims –"
"What's a pilgrim?" Ron interrupted.
Hermione's countenance silenced him. "These English pilgrims, who were leaving England because of religious persecution –"
"All right. The pilgrims had a certain religion, and the English people had a different one. So the pilgrims left and sailed over to America. All clear?"
A few heads nodded.
"They weren't very well prepared, though, and when winter came along, they didn't have any food. There were native peoples there, however, who had been living on the land before anyone from Europe discovered it. When the pilgrims needed food, the natives shared with them. Therefore, they were thankful. Since, the Americans have celebrated the last Thursday of November. They remember to be thankful for what they have, which is why it's called Thanksgiving."
There was a moment of pensive silence.
"So, you just sit around and be thankful?"
Hermione hesitated. "Well, no. Generally, there's a large meal…"
"Wicked!" Ron exclaimed, obviously enjoying the idea of a large meal.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Honestly, isn't there anything more important than food?"
He seemed to consider this. "No," he finally answered.
"Oh, you're all impossible! If you'll excuse me, I think I'll just go back to the common room," Hermione announced, hurriedly getting out of her seat.
"I'll go with –" Harry started to say as he stood, but cut off as he realized they were face to face with three Slytherins.
"Why are you running off?" Malfoy asked with a self-satisfied smirk. "Plan to go to the library and research this stupid Muggle holiday, like all good Mudbloods do?"
Harry's eyes narrowed, and his wand reached his hand somehow. He didn't remember how it got there. "Get. Away," Harry said through his teeth. He could tell Hermione was unhappy because of Ron and the others, and wasn't about to let Malfoy hurt her even more.
"Overprotective type, are you, Potter?" Malfoy leaned forward conspiratorially. "You know, girls generally don't like that."
Hermione's eyes flashed. "As if you'd have any idea what I'd like."
Malfoy looked like he was ready to say something even fouler, and Ron had made his way out of his seat. Harry knew he'd have to do something. Quickly, he stepped between Malfoy and Hermione.
"I said get away, Malfoy. Otherwise, all the professors," he said warningly, gesturing to the staff table, "might suspect something."
Perhaps Draco Malfoy wasn't the brightest person, but he was smart enough to realize when not to pick a fight. Still glaring, he sauntered off, Crabbe and Goyle following dumbly behind.
"Stupid, really," Hermione commented as Ron went back to his dinner. "Why does he bother picking fights like that? He knows he'll never win."
As they began to walk back to the common room, Harry replied, "Confident, are you?"
"Really, Harry, you're a much more powerful wizard than Malfoy. And it's not as if you have Crabbe and Goyle to worry about."
Harry chuckled. "Too true."
It was the last Thursday of November. Each and every student was packed in the Great Hall, anticipating the food, wishing Dumbledore would hurry up and tell them about the holiday so they could eat. Ron was grumbling more than usual, causing Hermione no little annoyance. Harry was remaining silent, not wishing to set off a bickering match between the two.
Eventually, after much moaning and groaning, Dumbledore stood.
"This holiday plays an important part of Muggle history, both British and American…" Dumbledore began, but it didn't take long for Harry to tune him out. He had already heard all about the holiday, probably much more than Dumbledore would tell them, from Hermione – a person he would much rather devote his attention to.
As was his habit these days, Harry's thoughts wandered to Hermione. Of course, he couldn't stare…but that didn't matter. Her image came clearly into his mind, wild curls, round brown eyes, soft face, innocent smile.
It was only when the clanking of spoons and plates met his ears did Harry wake form his reverie. Ron was enthusiastically spooning random casseroles and other foods onto his plate, familiar or not. Even Hermione seemed to be enjoying herself, piling what seemed to be large, red potatoes covered in some sort of sauce onto her plate.
"What are those?" he questioned, beginning to fill his own plate.
Hermione looked shocked. "You've never seen a candied yam?"
Hermione grinned, putting a few on his plate. "They're delicious, you'll love them. They're yams – or sweet potatoes – cooked with cinnamon candies and marshmallows, and it melts all together into a sauce. Ohh, they're wonderful," Hermione gushed, making Harry smile. It was good to see Hermione happy.
Tentatively, and mostly to please Hermione, Harry picked up his fork and stabbed a yam, putting it bravely into his mouth. He didn't particularly think potatoes with cinnamon and marshmallows sounded like a good combination.
He chewed, and swallowed. And found that, as usual, Hermione was entirely right.
"Like them?" Hermione asked, smiling with satisfaction at Harry's expression.
Harry nodded, politely not speaking with food in his mouth. Ron didn't show the same courtesy.
"Try the green stuff, it's great," he said, spraying the 'green stuff' at Neville and Seamus. Neither looked very happy about this.
It wasn't long before Hermione pushed away her plate and insisted that she would most certainly explode if she had another bite. Harry, even being a sixteen-year-old boy, had to agree. It was simple not possible to have more than two servings, and he was soon feeling quite heavier than normal.
Hermione sighed contentedly, moving to stand up.
"Where are you going?" Harry asked, wanting nothing more than to follow her.
"For a walk," she said, smiling. "It's not healthy to go to sleep after eating this much, and I won't be able to stay awake if I go back to the common room." She paused, considering something. "Do you want to come?"
Did he want to come? Now that was a loaded question.
"Of course," he said simply, following her out of the Great Hall and into the Entrance Hall.
It was becoming quite cold outside, and a few snowflakes were beginning to find their way down from a thickly clouded sky. Harry regretted not going back for a cloak, and soon noticed that Hermione was shivering as well.
After a quick moment of consideration, Harry turned toward the general direction of Gryffindor Tower and summoned down his cloak.
Once it was safely in his hand, he looked up to find Hermione grinning at something.
"What is it?" he asked.
"You've become terribly good at Summoning Charms," she told him. Harry found himself blushing slightly.
"Still not as good as you," he said.
Chivalrously, Harry held out the cloak to her. "Here," he said.
Hermione waved it aside. "No, that's all right."
"I Summoned it for you," he insisted, thrusting it forward again.
Hermione looked suspicious. "Then why didn't you just Summon my cloak?"
"Because, I can't remember what it looks like. I might accidentally steal Parvati's cloak."
She gave up and took the cloak from him, wrapping it around her shoulders. "Thank you," she mumbled, turning away. Harry noticed that her cheeks were pinker than the cold alone would make them. He took this as a good sign.
"Did you, er, have any of the pumpkin pie?" he asked, attempting to get past the awkwardness that had suddenly settled between them.
"Yes," she answered quickly. "The elves did a good job on it."
Harry bit his lip. The elves. He was surprised she wasn't indignant on their behalf, after all that she had done their fourth year.
"Hmm?" he managed, startled.
"Is something bothering you?"
Another loaded question. "Well, yes. But I don't mind much."
Hermione frowned. "That's an odd thing to say."
"Yes. It is."
Hermione stopped in her tracks. Harry noticed a moment later, and turned around to find her with her arms crossed and a scowl on her face.
"What's wrong?" he asked. Had he said something, done something?
"Why won't you just come out and say what's on your mind?"
"What do you mean?"
"Something's obviously on your mind. I want to know what it is. If you don't want to talk about it, just say so, but don't give my questions vague answers."
Harry sighed. "Have you thought that maybe you won't like what's on my mind? That maybe it's not something you'll want to hear?"
"It doesn't matter. We'll still be best friends, no matter what it is," she said, taking his hand.
"That's what I was afraid of," Harry muttered, but she heard.
"What do you mean?" she said, mimicking his earlier statement with a deeper note of panic.
Harry looked up at her. The snow was beginning to fall more heavily. She was beautiful, standing there with flakes falling into her hair, cheeks rosy from the cold, eyes bright, looking small in his cloak, that had somehow become too big and too long for her. He knew he had to answer her question – and knew that there was one wonderful way he could answer it, all risks aside.
He stepped toward her, pulled her close to him, and pressed his lips against hers. She was incredibly warm, compared to the chill at his back, and kissing her was everything he had imagined it would be – and more.
And she was kissing him back.
After drowning in her for just another moment, he broke off the kiss and pulled away just enough to see her face clearly, arms still resting around her. She fit perfectly in his arms, he thought.
He smiled slightly. "You taste like cinnamon."
His smile faded. Hermione looked like she was about to cry.
Very suddenly, as Hermione was prone to do, her arms wound around his neck, and she was pressed against him, face in his shoulder.
"Is this it? What's been bothering you?" she asked, her voice muffled against his neck.
"Yes," he replied, tightening his hold around her. "But I said I didn't mind much."
Hermione quivered. Harry felt a wave of regret pass through him. He shouldn't have told her. She didn't want this. There would be a cleft in their friendship now, the furthest thing from what Harry wanted.
But then why had she kissed him back?
"Ohh, Harry," she whispered thickly. He felt tears. "You made me wait so long."
Harry froze, about to question this, but she went on, "Do you know how long I've wanted this? Wanted you to kiss me, and hold me, and just…be like this?"
Relief. It wasn't as sweet as one would think. It left one rather weak, actually. Not exactly happy, but free, and at the same time, surprisingly empty.
Hermione pulled away from him, wiping away her tears. What should he say now? He honestly had no idea, but he managed something as he brushed Hermione's hair out of her face.
"Do you still want that?"
Hermione's lip trembled ever so slightly. "Yes. Of course. I – I –"
But Harry made it very difficult for her to speak, the emptiness of relief disappearing as the realization sank in, and he pulled her into another kiss. He needn't hide anything anymore. She felt the same way.
Eventually, lack of breath caused them to break away, and the wind, suddenly sharp, pushed them back toward the castle.
"You taste like cinnamon, too."
~ fin ~