Always and Forever
Disclaimer: Harry Potter, and all the characters associated there with belong to JK Rowling, and Scholastic. Also, any similarities to any other work is unintentional. I make no profit from this story. I wrote it, just for fun.
A warm thank you to both Dementor149 and Old Crow for all their hard work helping me with this story. If you haven't read their work, I strongly recommend you check them out.
This is my first attempt at a novel length, fanfiction story. The story is based on the Harry Potter series, written by J.K. Rowling. My story, "Always and Forever" is an alternate ending to the original. It starts at the end of Harry's third year, and continues thru his seventh. To better understand this story, one should be familiar with the first three books in the series.
It doesn't have to end the way Rowling wrote it.
Having studied engineering in school, and never getting better than a "C" in English, this is very much a learning experience for me. Any feedback will be graciously received.
Another FanFiction author wrote;
"J.K. Rowling created a magical romance, sadly she herself couldn't see it."
I couldn't agree more!
AN: First, I hate author notes, but here's mine, take a good look, you won't see many.
I thought I'd give you some notes about this story, so you could decide if it was your cup of tea or not.
One; it's a long story. This first chapter begins to setup the next seventy or so and tries to explain some of the differences from canon for the first three year.
Two; this is a Harry and Hermione story… enough said.
Three; one or more of your favorite characters' may get beat up a little. All I ask is that you hang in there. Some of them will make a great comeback.
Four; there will be parts of this story that are completely different from canon. However, the parts that are the same, I will try to tell from a different point of view to avoid just repeating JK's original work. Also, I'll take most of my canon from the films.
Five; while there is action in many of the chapters, it's not the focus of the main story. I believe the overwhelming focus should be the main characters. I'm trying to write about a realistic and honest relationship between Harry and Hermione.
Finally;please note that I'm a horrible typist, therefore I use dictation software because for me, it's so much faster. Unfortunately, it can't read my mind, and sometimes makes mistakes so simple that I miss them while proof reading (and sometimes so big, I'm not even sure what I was trying to say). Again, please let me know.
I sincerely hope that some of you, will take the time to review. Good, Bad, or Ugly, tell me what you think, especially the errors (spelling, grammar…)
Harry was currently staring at his two best friends as he sat silently in the corner of their compartment. The only sound being the rhythm of the steel wheels on the tracks as the Hogwarts Express took them home. Occasionally, Ron would let go with a round of soft snoring, and then he'd seem to catch himself only to be quiet again. Luckily, it never lasted long enough or became loud enough, to wake Hermione. Since Harry wasn't tired, he sat there and either stared out the window watching the countryside slide by, or like now, he'd take a moment and watch them sleep. Alone with his thoughts, Harry soon found himself remembering his third year at Hogwarts.
Harry turned to look back outside, only to have his eyes refocused on the reflection in the glass. Hermione was sound asleep. She was younger than him! The idea still amazed Harry. During his first year around the end of September, Harry had noticed one day in particular that Hermione seemed a little depressed, kind of melancholy. Up until then, she had always been fairly upbeat, and full of energy. He had asked her about it, and of course, she had said she was fine, "Just a lot on my mind," she'd said, and at the time he had let it go, thinking nothing more about it. Then, the following year it happened again.
Harry had woken up feeling a bit off. A bit of a dream he couldn't remember, something lying just on the edge of his subconscious. As the day progressed, the feeling faded, until Harry again noticed Hermione was being very quiet, and then he remembered the previous year. 'It must be something,' he had thought, 'today must have some meaning, but what?' Maybe she had lost someone special to her, like he had. She did kind of act the way he did, on Halloween. Harry was determined to find out what was bothering her. He had tried talking to Dumbledore, but had no luck. Then he wrote Hermione's parents, her mother acted concerned of course, but would only say that if Hermione didn't want to talk about it, then neither could she. Mrs. Granger did thank Harry for his concerns, and told him it was probably nothing, and not to worry.' She knows,' he had thought.
Hermione had again claimed she was fine, but Harry didn't stop there this time, he went to Professor McGonagall. Harry explained everything to her. He had told her about talking to Professor Dumbledore and writing Hermione's parents. Finally, in desperation he added, "Professor, I know something is bothering her. I don't want to intrude… I just want to help."
Initially, McGonagall had been very adamant about keeping Hermione's secret, but she too had noticed Hermione's loneliness, and so had decided to help. "Harry, I need your solemn word, that if I tell you why Miss Granger is feeling this way, you will not tell another soul… not even Mr. Weasley." Professor McGonagall had pinned Harry with a stern look, "Do I have your word Mr. Potter?"
"Yes ma'am, I swear." Harry remembered saying.
"September nineteenth is her birthday."
"I don't understand, why would…"
McGonagall raised her hand to stop him, "That's all I can tell you. Maybe someday Miss Granger will tell you more."
"Yes ma'am," Harry had known that it was all he was going to get from his head of house. "Thank you for your time professor."
"You're welcome… Harry, remember, not a soul, Miss Granger does not wish for anyone to know."
Harry had nodded his understanding before leaving. He had decided that he could still do something special for her and keep her secret. However, by now Hermione's birthday had long since passed, Harry would have to wait until third year to surprise her.
Harry smiled to himself as his thoughts ran forward to that day, Hermione's thirteenth birthday.
Dinner was over, and it was a mysterious Harry that led Hermione through the halls to a yet to be determined destination.
"Harry, where are you taking me?" huffed Hermione, "I'm really not in the mood for another one of your adventures."
"Patience Hermione, we're here."
"Here? And just where is here, we're in the middle of the hallway Harry," Hermione's temper was growing short.
"You'll see, but first I need you to close your eyes." Harry was wearing a devil of a smile.
"Harry I'm not going…"
"Hermione please," he pleaded with a smile, then turning more sincere. "I promise, if you don't like this, you can hex me all the way back to the common room."
Hermione had her hands on her hips, she was torn, part of her just wanted to be left alone, the other part didn't… especially today. With another huff, "Fine," and she closed her eyes.
Harry tickled the pear, and the passageway opened leading to the kitchens. Harry carefully led Hermione to a small table near the back. Turning her just so, he moved to stand behind her. "Open your eyes," he whispered next to her ear.
Hermione shivered slightly at the feel of his breath on her neck. Slowly, she opened her eyes, "Oh my!" In front of her stood about twenty house-elves, all wearing tiny paper hats proclaiming 'Happy Birthday'. Around them were hundreds of balloons, some tied in groups to various fixtures, others just floating free. Wide-eyed Hermione slowly turned taking it all in. Next to her on the right was a small table, on it sat a beautiful cake. It was shaped like a book, but not just any book, this one resembled, 'Hogwarts a History'. The writing on the cake said, 'Happy Fourteenth Hermione,' and was accompanied by fourteen candles, which were already lit.
Hermione turned further to face a sheepish looking Harry. With tears in her eyes and a look of wonder, she whispered, "How…"
Not knowing whether Hermione was happy or upset, Harry answered with a nervous smile, "In first year, you said you were fine. Last year too, but I didn't believe you the second time." Harry spoke softly as he stepped a little closer. "I don't know why you want to keep your birth date a secret, and I have sworn that I would not tell anyone. However, that doesn't mean I can't do something special for you on this day." Hermione only nodded her understanding. "You don't have to tell me anything Hermione, and if you want me to forget all this next year, I will."
Hermione was speechless. She looked back down at the cake, smiling, she bent down and blew out the candles. "There's one too many," she said quietly, never taking her eyes off the cake.
Harry looked down at the cake and did a quick count, coming up with fourteen. Confused, he replied, "There's fourteen, what do you mean?"
Hermione looked back up at Harry, "Have a seat Harry."
The reluctant sound of her voice had Harry complying without a word.
"There is an ancient rule Harry," Hermione began. "It states; a child not yet age eleven on September first, may still be allowed to attend Hogwarts, if all of the following conditions are met. First, they must be age eleven by the first full moon following Halloween. Second, they must have the recommendation of at least two current professors at Hogwarts. Finally third, and most importantly…" Hermione paused, unsure if she should continue. Harry gently touched her hand and smiled reassuringly, "It's okay Hermione, you don't have to go on if you don't want to."
After taking a deep breath, Hermione continued, "No Harry, I need to get this out, even if you're the only other one who will know."
Harry sat back, and waited patiently for her to go on.
"A child will only be considered under these rules, if… if they show exceptional ability and maturity at age ten." Hermione closed her eyes; her secret was out, if only to one person. She waited, certain that Harry would make some comment inadvertently ridiculing her. Something like, that figures, or, so you have to be a bookworm? She knew Harry would never say anything mean on purpose, but after years of hearing disparaging comments about her intellect, she was still a little defensive.
Tired of waiting for the inevitable Hermione opened her eyes, "Well?"
Harry sighed, "I'm sorry, but I don't see the problem. You're brilliant, maybe even gifted. Obviously, the professors know this too. You should be proud Hermione."
Hermione smiled, pleasantly surprised, then went on to explain, "Harry… they already call me a bookworm, know it all, show off, and my favorite, insufferable. This would only add fuel to the fire."
"Okay, first year in the beginning I could see, you really didn't have many friends back then…"
"I didn't have any friends."
"Fine, but you do now. Hermione, who cares what a bunch of berks say, they're just jealous. Your real friends don't think that, I don't think that. Hermione I am proud of you, and you should be too… you're better than that!" Harry finished in an agitated tone after getting a little worked up.
Hermione sat there staring at Harry. For the second time in just a few minutes, she didn't know what to say.
"Hermione if you still want to keep this a secret, I won't tell, but I'm still going to give you a little party every year. You shouldn't be alone on your birthday, believe me, I know.
Because she did believe him, Hermione consented, "Okay Harry, but for now this stays between you and me. I need some time to think about what you've said. We'll see about next year later."
"Well… when you say between you and me… you mean, you, me, Professor McGonagall, and about a hundred house-elves." Harry laughed seeing her quickly glance around the room. "Don't worry, they're sworn to secrecy too."
Hermione turned back to Harry and gave an uneasy smile, "Thanks Harry."
"No, I mean, thank you for doing all of this. Thank you for not laughing at me."
Harry turned to face Hermione directly and stared straight into her eyes for a few seconds before slowly nodding, "You're welcome Hermione."
Returning to the present, Harry smiled to himself, he liked sharing this little secret with her. This year was over and still no one else knew.
Remembering Hermione's first time in the kitchens made Harry laugh quietly to himself. After she got over the shock of him knowing about her birthday, she started asking questions about the elves. Finding out they all work for free, she nearly blew her top. Hermione was outraged; she had called it 'slave labor!'
Harry knew a little about Dobby of course, but he had learned about elves, mostly from the Hogwarts house-elves. During second year when Hermione had been petrified, Harry had missed quite a few meals sitting by her bedside. Fred and George finally decided to let him in on one of their many secrets; where the Hogwarts kitchen was and how to get in. This allowed Harry to eat at a time of his own choosing. It was during those late-night meals that Harry learned about the life of a house-elf. One or two would sit with him, and they would talk while he ate, just to keep him company.
Harry with the help of a couple of brave elves, managed to calm Hermione down enough to see it from the elves' point of view. A half-hour later, Hermione had a better understanding of the relationship between wizards and house-elves. However, before letting it go, she promised to look into the situation further when she had more time, as it still felt wrong to her.
As much trouble as Hermione had understanding the elves' way of life, the elves had in understanding her concern. They were grateful though, and even more so, that she had calmed down enough that she was no longer a threat to destroying the kitchen.
As the train continued along, Harry shifted his gaze, he focused on Ron. He was changing; Harry didn't know why, but Ron was definitely changing. Looking down, he found Crookshanks looking up at him. He reached over and started to scratch him, while his thoughts returned to Ron, and how he had acted this last year. Harry closed his eyes as he recalled one particular fight between his two best friends.
"Hermione, you know it's true, that… monster you call a cat, has eaten Scabbers," Ron had yelled, his face flushed with anger.
"Don't be ridiculous Ron, Crookshanks would never do that," Hermione pleaded.
"Sure, you'd stick up for your pet. I've seen the way you carry him around, pamper him, like he is some kind of… royalty or something. Wouldn't be surprised if you put him up to it." The last bit had sounded rather vindictive.
Harry had heard his fill, "Enough Ron! Hermione would never do any such thing." Calming down a little, he went on, "and I don't think Crookshanks would either."
"Yeah, well where is he then?" A red-faced Ron had demanded.
"How should I know? Maybe he just ran away. What I do know, is you've had it out for Crookshanks from the beginning."
"Well maybe when he starts after Hedwig you'll change your mind," Ron had stated angrily, before he had turned and stormed away.
Hermione had settled uneasily onto the couch, shaken and hurt by Ron's accusations. This hadn't been the first time he had accused her and Crookshanks of terrifying his rat. Harry had sat down next to her, and had gently taken her hand giving it a squeeze of reassurance. Hermione slowly laid her head on his shoulder and sniffed, "You don't believe him, do you Harry?"
"Of course not, he's just being... a git."
Hermione had closed her eyes and had started to settle down. She was beginning to see a pattern. Whenever things went wrong for Ron, he would lash out, mostly at her. It seemed the more upset he could make her, the more satisfied he was. Thank goodness for Harry, he was her buffer. She liked the fact that Harry would let her fight her own battles, but he was always there it seemed, whenever it just became too much, and she needed a little backup. Harry may not have always known exactly what to say, but he was getting better. Besides it really didn't matter, as long as he was just there for her she felt better, just like now, and she had told him so, just a moment later.
Hearing a soft sigh, Harry looked over at Hermione, and found her fast asleep with a little smile on her face. 'I wonder what she's dreaming about,' thought Harry. They still had three hours to go before reaching King's Cross station. If it wasn't for all he had on his mind, Harry might also have fallen asleep to the gentle rocking of the train. After a quick glance at Ron who was also still sound asleep, Harry turned his gaze back outside the window, his thoughts returning to his third year. Thinking of Ron some more, Harry couldn't help but wonder about why his best friend had started acting differently since the start of term.
He seemed normal enough at the beginning of the year as Harry remembered his first meeting after summer just before the start of third year.
As Harry descended the stairs into the main room of a Leaky Cauldron, he had paused momentarily to take in the site before him. As usual, the Weasley's had pretty much taken over most of the dining room. Percy was chastising the twins for some hideous act; a mark against the family honor no doubt, at least as it appeared to him. The Twins of course were in full drama mode, playing the part of the innocent as only they could. Mrs. Weasley was talking to Ginny, Hermione, and some other girl whom Harry didn't recognize, her hands moving in animated sync. The best the girls could do, was nod their heads in agreement to whatever lecture she had been giving them. Mr. Weasley had been standing off to the side, talking with someone Harry had never seen before. Finally, Harry had spotted Ron, sitting alone at one of the tables eating. Harry continued down the stairs, and after catching Hermione's eye, he had made his way over to sit with Ron.
"Hey mate," Harry had said with a smile as he sat down.
"Hey Harry, how was your summer?"
"Oh you know, the usual… worked like a slave, fought with the Dursley's, and… blew up my aunt." Harry said the last part with a snicker.
"Oi, heard about that, brilliant as far as I'm concerned," laughed Ron, he had thought it quite hilarious.
"Yeah thanks, don't know how Dumbledore will feel though." Smiling, and looking back at the girls, Harry added, "Who's that girl with your sister and Hermione?"
"Oh, she's just our neighbor, Loony. That's her father over there." Ron had jerked his head in the direction of Mr. Weasley and the stranger.
Harry knew Ron had no problem, calling people he didn't like funny names. "Ron, what's her real name… and why don't you like her?"
"I'm okay with her, that's what everyone calls her."
"Ron, I doubt that, besides she seems nice enough."
Ron looked over, "Yeah she's nice enough… just a little… well, different… you know?"
"Yeah, I know." Harry had nodded. He knew all about being thought of as different.
"Her real name is Luna… Luna Lovegood."
Harry had stared at her for a moment wondering what made her so different, and then had quickly turned away when she looked over.
When Harry looked back a second time, he caught Ginny looking at him. She gave a little wave and quickly looked away. He remembered her blushing furiously. Harry also remembered how hard it had been getting her to relax, and just act normal whenever he was around. Thankfully, with Hermione's help, she had finally come to grips with her hero worship by the end of term.
After Hermione had excused herself from the giggling girls, she had come over to sit with her boys. "Hi Harry, how was your summer? I hope you had some fun."
"You might say I had some towards the end, it was actually rather… uplifting." Harry had smirked. "How about you?"
Hermione only raised an eyebrow, she had already heard about the incident with his aunt, but she had decided to let it go. "Oh yes, I had loads of fun, we went to France on holiday..."
As the train passed a small village, Harry thought some more about Ron. Back then, Ron had been so… normal, well normal as compared to how he had acted during first and second year. He didn't seem to be angry all the time like he was now. This year, especially towards the end, Ron always seemed to be trying to start something, particularly with Hermione. He would take something fairly insignificant and try to turn it into more, especially if it concerned something between himself and Hermione, Harry thought. It was as if he was trying to drive a wedge between them, like he didn't want either of them to be happy.
Looking back at all the fuss over his new Firebolt, it seems more obvious now than it did back then, as Harry remembered some of the things that had been said.
"Harry! She is the one responsible for you losing your Firebolt, how can you sit here with her?"
"Ron just stop, I don't even know why you're so upset, it is my broom after all."
"Yeah and what good is it, if you can't use it?"
"I told you, as soon as Professor Flitwick is done checking it, they'll give it back."
"Wouldn't have to wait if Hermione hadn't gone behind your back."
"Look mate, she did what she thought was best at the time. Yeah I wish that she would have at least talked to me first, but what's done is done. Hermione and I talked it over, we're good with things the way they are. Next time, she'll talk to me first, and I promised, that I would stay calm and listen to what she had to say."
"So, she made it out to be all your fault?"
Harry remembered sighing sadly, "Well, it mostly was… the fighting part afterwards anyway. I overreacted, she was only looking out for me. I know that now, and I told her so. I apologized to her Ron, you should do the same."
"Right… that's not going to happen, I didn't do anything wrong."
Ron never did apologize, and Harry was fairly certain he wouldn't have been able to make him. Instead, Harry decided to be a better friend to Hermione. It wasn't just the Firebolt incident; she was always looking out for him, from helping with homework, to rescuing his Godfather. Next year, he'd be sure to let her know, both in words and actions. Although they didn't know it, she was slowly displacing Ron as his best friend.
Harry stopped scratching Crookshanks for a moment, who responded with a soft mew. "Oh, sorry fella." Harry returned to his duty, keeping Hermione's ginger cat happy. 'I just hope he grows up a little next year, don't know if I can handle another year of him being mad at Hermione all the time,' Harry thought as he leaned back and closed his eyes. Sitting there in peace, his mind continued to race through his third year. He couldn't help the smile that formed as he remembered the look on Draco's face, when Hermione had him at wand point, while she told him off. However, it was the solid punch in the nose ending the confrontation, that made it so brilliant. 'Merlin help Malfoy, and his goons, if she ever really learns how to fight!' he thought. His smile grew bigger as he remembered later, holding her in his arms while she cried.
They had just left Hagrid's hut, and were halfway up the trail when it happened. Stopping, they turned and looked back in time to see the executioner's ax come down with a sharp crack, ending Buckbeak's life. Horrified, Hermione turned to Harry. She wrapped her arms around him and cried into his shirt. Surprised and clueless, all Harry could think to do, was gently hold her and rub her back.
Harry was thankful that later, they had found a way to save that magnificent creature.
Crookshanks had finally, had his fill. He got up and stretched long and leisurely, then as if to say thank you, he nuzzled Harry's hand before jumping off the bench to lie on the cool floor. Harry actually liked Crookshanks, and it seemed the feisty cat like him as well. Ron on the other hand, always seemed to be in need of a healing charm after an encounter with the feline. Apparently, Ron's hair color didn't automatically make him an ally to the ginger colored cat.
Naturally, it didn't take long before Harry's thoughts turned to Sirius. This time last year, Harry hadn't known that he had a Godfather. No one had bothered to tell him, probably because Sirius was locked away in Azkaban. The whole thing was so surreal. First finding out about Sirius, then Pettigrew, somehow they would have to find a way to prove Sirius was innocent. Second, learning that Professor Lupin was a werewolf. That alone was a big surprise. Lupin was so soft-spoken; Harry was certain he was a kind and gentle man.
It had most certainly been a very busy year, besides his regular classes and Quidditch, Harry had to deal with dementors, and yet another crazy person who supposedly had been trying to kill him. Harry couldn't help but to quietly laugh out loud at the very thought. After a quick glance to Hermione, he decided that as busy as his year was, it paled in comparison to Hermione's. Her year was so bad; she had resorted to using a Time-Turner!
Harry actually knew a fair amount about Time-Turner's, and a little about time travel in general. In addition to practicing with Professor Lupin on the Patronus Charm, Harry had also started reading other textbooks about defensive spells, some of which included manipulating time somewhat. The Impediment Jinx used to slow down your opponent, was the only other spell he had learned this year beyond what was taught in class. Harry had learned that the spell worked by slowing down time locally relative to your target. Although he hadn't learned any others, Harry did read a little about other time manipulation spells, and a little about Time-Turners. All of which had similar cautions. Messing around with time was dangerous, and the more you interfered with time, the more dangerous it became. If a Time-Turner was capable of reversing time by several hours, then it stood to reason that it was far more dangerous than the simple jinx, Impediment.
Looking back now, it seemed ironic that Hermione was the one flirting with danger. Normally, she was the voice of reason.
Harry remembered his reluctance at first to using the Time-Turner with Hermione, fortunately everything had worked out somehow. He had even managed to get Hermione to fly with him, which was most definitely the highlight of his year.
Leaning back, eyes closed, Harry smiled as he mentally went back in time to when he had first learned that Hermione was using a Time-Turner.
"More time!" Harry turned to Hermione, "what's he talking about Hermione? What did he mean by, 'what we need is more time'?
Hermione hadn't been quite sure yet herself, but had a pretty good idea it had something to do with her Time-Turner. So, coming to that conclusion she had said, "Harry, come over here, we need to hurry!" She had then reached into her robes for the delicate chain that hopefully held the answer to their current problem.
Harry had moved closer and stood in front of her, but was still just as confused as ever, "Hermione, I don't understand…" his voice trailed off as he recognized the Time-Turner she had pulled out. "Hermione is that a…"
A little surprised that Harry recognized the tiny device Hermione cut him off, "A Time- Turner, yes Harry, it is. How did you… never mind we have to hurry!"
"But they're dangerous. How did you get…"
"Harry stop, we don't have time for this!"
Harry raised an eyebrow, not appreciating the joke, even if she hadn't meant it as one.
Hermione sighed, realizing how strange what she had just said must have sounded. Under different circumstances, she would have slapped her head at the bad pun. However, at the moment, she was in a hurry and needed Harry to just go along with her. Stepping closer, and holding up the long chain, ready to slip it over his head, she asked, "Harry… do you trust me?"
Harry remembered standing there, staring into her eyes. She had never lied to him before, had never tried to trick him. Never let him down. Of course he trusted her. "Always!" Came his one-word reply.
Without wasting another second, Hermione had slipped the chain over his head and around his neck. After three turns of the hourglass, the room began to spin.
It was later that same evening, when Harry got even with Hermione. Buckbeak had just finished chasing off Professor Lupin who had been in his werewolf form. Harry and Hermione had held on to each other, both still shaken from the experience of nearly being viciously attacked.
As their nerves settled, Harry had loosened his arms from around Hermione and had slowly released her. She gradually let her death grip on his robes go and had stepped back a little.
"Hermione, are you okay?"
She gave a shaky smile at his concerned voice, "Yes… yes I'll be okay in a bit, still just a little bit un-nerved is all."
Harry smiled back, then after a glance at Buckbeak his smile faded. Hermione had been through so much already tonight it didn't seem fair, but he wasn't going to leave her alone, not now, and certainly not here.
Harry turned to Buckbeak, and gave the customary bow. After being acknowledged, he approached. After a few quick words of thanks, he climbed up, settling on Buckbeak's back.
Hermione had followed Harry's example, then walked up and stood next to them. "Harry, you remember which tower, and which window, right?" She didn't like the idea of being alone in the forest, but there was no way she was going with Harry, and he had to go now.
Harry waited a moment as a thought occurred to him, then smiling, he stuck out his hand to help her up.
Hermione looked at him in horror, "Oh Harry, I can't… you know how I feel about flying, I just can't. You go, I'll meet you back in the infirmary."
Harry continued to stare at her, never pulling his hand back. Then after what seemed like forever, his smile turned serious. "Hermione… do you trust me?"
Hermione glared back at Harry, shocked that he had used her own words against her. Her features softened when she realized it was only fair. She had asked him for a leap of faith, now it was her turn. Trying to keep the fear out of her voice, she answered, "Always!" Reaching up, she let Harry pull her up behind him. No sooner had she wrapped her arms around his waist, than they were airborne.
Hermione had hung on for dear life pressed tightly into Harry's back with her eyes squeezed shut. With her arms wrapped around his waist, she was sure if she had squeezed any harder, she would have broken a rib. Then slowly, subtly, she began to think, 'well this isn't so bad,' and she smiled into his back after scooting yet a tiny bit closer. She still didn't dare open her eyes, but she did loosen her grip after giving Harry a quick little squeeze, to let him know she was doing better.
Harry felt Hermione relaxed a little, and looked down at her hands after she gave him a quick squeeze and smiled. He knew how much she hated flying, but was glad she trusted him enough to come along tonight. He didn't know why, but he rather liked having her hanging onto him while they rode Buckbeak.
Unfortunately, the moment was broken when Buckbeak decided it was time to dive towards the Castle. It was hard for Harry to believe possible, but Hermione had somehow tightened her grip on him even tighter than before, as she let out an ear-piercing scream that would have made a banshee proud.
Harry was both happy and sad at the same time. He had a godfather, but he couldn't live with him yet. He had good friends, but they would all part ways very soon. Harry felt he had learned a lot this last year, about magic, and his life. But there was so much he still didn't know, again about both magic, and his life. Did he have any other family, did Sirius, other than the ones he already knew about?
Harry, with his eyes still closed, and his head resting on the back of the bench, released a long sigh. So much, had happened this last year from Ron acting up, to the dementor attacks, to a truly magical flight with Hermione. The last thought brought a smile to his face.
"Careful Harry, someone might take you as a perv, with that goofy smile."
The smile however, never left his face as Harry opened his eyes to find Hermione watching him with keen interest. "I thought you might sleep the whole way home."
"It's good to see you smiling Harry," Hermione said softly, careful to keep her voice down so as not to wake Ron. "I don't suppose you'd care to share your thoughts?"
Harry turned and stared out the window for a moment, and then at the images that shown on its surface, before turning back to see a warm smile on Hermione's face. Harry smiled back, "Just… reflecting."