Harry nearly ran over two students as he stormed into the bookshop. His eyes scanned the room, looking for Hermione's head of brown curls. He found her in the far corner reading an old version of Hogwarts A History.
"Hermione!" he called as he pushed his way towards her. She initially smiled, but her face turned serious when she saw his worried expression.
"Harry, what's wrong?"
"I can't believe I didn't notice before; look at your school list, Hermione." She did as he asked but failed to see anything.
"I don't understand, what's the problem?"
"Hermione, all of our classes are there but one…Defense Against the Dark Arts!" His girlfriend gasped at first, but she took the surprise a bit better than he had.
"Well…maybe they think that it's not needed anymore; you did destroy the Lord of Dark Magic, Harry."
"It doesn't matter, Hermione, there's always gonna be someone else who comes along. I can't believe Professor Dumbledore would even consider this!"
"I know…maybe they changed the course or something; maybe we won't find out until we get to Hogwarts."
"That could be true, but still…something just doesn't feel right about this."
His eyes were somber, and Hermione took his hand.
"Don't worry, love, everything is going to be fine. After all, you are the most powerful wizard in the world," she said proudly.
"Power alone doesn't win a fight, Herm, you should know that better than anyone."
"I see your point, but I still think that we'll find out at school. You're right, Dumbledore wouldn't just allow this to happen; he has a plan."
Hermione's words soothed Harry's buzzing thoughts, and his smile returned.
"I believe you're right. So, did you find the books you needed?"
"Yup, but I only needed the one for Potions. The rest I already have in my trunk."
"Let me guess, you read them last year!" he chuckled. She stuck her bottom lip and crossed her arms.
"No, you jerk, I bought them last year. The classes I had last term were the first half of the book, and this year is for the second half."
"That makes sense – especially if you have the same professor."
"So, want me to help you find your books?"
"Do you even need to ask?" he inquired with a raised eyebrow. Hermione giggled softly.
"Come on, follow me."
The teens spent the next hour weaving their way through Diagon Alley. People who wanted to have Harry's autograph stopped them quite often, but he turned them all down. They'd been hoping to see Ron or Ginny there, but the Weasleys were nowhere to be found. Making their way back through the Leaky Cauldron, they headed back to meet Hermione's father.
John Granger was sitting in his van reading the morning paper when he saw Harry and Hermione approaching. Harry was carrying armfuls of brown-wrapped packages while Hermione was carrying a single, white bag. He quickly got out to the help the young man with his things.
"Goodness Harry, why did you get so much?"
"Actually Mr. Granger, half of this Hermione's," he replied cheekily.
"Harry was sweet enough to carry them for me," she added with a bright smile.
John helped Harry unload the items, and they sorted them between Harry and Hermione's trunks.
After picking up two trolleys, it was time for them to say goodbye. Hermione hugged her father tightly, and he kissed her hair.
"Bye Hermione, make sure you write to us, or your mother will have a fit!"
"I will, dad, thank you."
John Granger then turned towards Harry. He extended his hand, and the young wizard gladly shook it.
"I'm glad to have met you, Harry, take care of Hermione okay?" he said with a serious look in his eyes.
"I always will, Mr. Granger," the young man returned fervently. John was satisfied when he heard the determination in Harry's voice and hugged his daughter one last time.
"Goodbye, you two, have a good year."
"Goodbye," they both said at the same time, and Hermione's father made his way back to the entrance.
"Well Harry…it's just us now," Hermione sighed.
"Yeah, I'm gonna miss your parents; this was the best summer I've ever had."
"Oh, come on, two weeks back at Hogwarts, and you'll forget all about it."
"No, I won't, Herm, this was a summer to remember…" he looked straight into her eyes and squeezed her left hand, "…in more ways than one."
"Yes, it was, but that doesn't mean that we can't make this year one to remember either. After all, wouldn't you like to go out with bang?"
"As long as there are no explosions then yes." Hermione chuckled softly.
"We better go, or we'll miss the train."
Harry hadn't realized that it was so late, and they quickly headed for platforms 9 and 10.
Hermione followed Harry towards the barricade, and he stopped several feet in front of it.
"Go ahead, Herm, you first."
Harry watched to make sure no one was looking then Hermione pushed her trolley forward and passed through the wall. He took one last look to make sure he wasn't being watched then followed her through.
Harry emerged onto Platform 9 ¾, and he smiled at seeing 'Hogwarts Express' across the front of the train. He and Hermione handed their things over to the loading staff, and they headed onto the train to find a compartment.
The young couple found a cabin near the back of the train, which was completely empty. They took their seats, facing one another. Hermione playfully kicked his shin, and Harry gasped in surprise. She tried to kick him again, but he blocked it with his own foot. The match was on! They both laughed as it really turned into a game of footsie more than trying to kick one another.
"There you guys are!" A familiar redhead appeared in the doorway.
"Ron!" his best friends said at the same time. Hermione got up to hug him, and Harry shook his hand.
"I've been looking for two; so this is where you've been hiding," and he sat down next to Harry.
"We tried to find you in Diagon Alley, but you weren't around," Hermione explained.
"Yeah, I just arrived about an hour ago; my dad decided to try out a new car he bought; it's a piece of junk!"
"At least you didn't miss the train," Harry stated.
"I guess so, but I haven't seen Lavender either," Ron said with a sad expression. Harry jumped at the opening.
"Ah, how sweet, you miss your honey don't you?" he laughed. Hermione kicked him in the shin again.
"Be nice, Harry, they've been apart all summer."
"It's okay, we owled each other every week, but it's still not the same as seeing her."
"Cheer up, Ron," Harry stated and put a hand on his shoulder, "You'll see her soon, and I'm sure she'll be ecstatic to see you."
As if fate heard his words, another Weasley appeared in the doorway.
"Ron, where have you been?" It was Ginny, and she was out of breath. "Oh sorry, hi Harry…hi Hermione."
"What's up, sis, where's the fire?" her brother asked with a grin.
"No fire…just a certain pretty blonde looking for you…I believe you know her?" Ginny answered with a coy grin. Ron's eyes lit up!
"Lavender! Where is she?" His sister rolled her eyes.
"Come on, bro, she's in my cabin."
Ron was about to stand up when he froze and gazed at Harry and Hermione.
"Um…guys…" They both started laughing.
"Would you get out of here!" Hermione giggled.
"Go on, you lovesick puppy," Harry drawled. Ron followed his sister down the hall with a bright smile on his face.
"Well…I see those two haven't changed much."
Hermione grinned at his comment. She kicked off her pumps and ran her toes up and down Harry's leg. He reached down to hold her foot and pulled it up into his lap. Smiling warmly, he gently stroked the arch and squeezed the soft flesh.
"That's so nice," she sighed and leaned back against the seat.
They were both jerked as the train started out and headed out of the station. Harry continued to massage her foot, and Hermione closed her eyes, enjoying his skillful hands. After a while, she pulled away, but her eyes locked onto him.
"Thank you, my lovesick puppy," she giggled.
"I beg your pardon!"
Hermione stood up, and before Harry could say anything, proceeded to straddle his lap. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and he gulped at the fire dancing in her beautiful brown eyes.
"Admit it, love, there's nothing I couldn't make you do," she teased and stroked the back of his neck.
"Well…I…I mean…" He couldn't think with her gazing at him like that.
'She's right, Potter; you're whipped!'
"All right, sweetheart, I'll admit it if you will. You know it runs both ways; we'd both do anything for one another."
"Very true, but it has its advantages…" she cooed and leaned forward.
"That it does," and he caught her mouth for a long kiss.
Harry wrapped his arms around her and pulled her tight against him. Hermione wiggled in his lap, and his body reacted the way it always did. If it weren't for the fact that they were on a train full of students, he'd make love to her right here!
"Oh my!" she gasped, feeling his reaction to her quite firmly.
"Forgive me, Hermione, but you know I can't resist you." She ran her hand down the side of his face.
"Don't be sorry, Harry, I want you too, but we'll just have to wait a little while."
She reluctantly slid off his lap but sat down beside him so he could keep his arms around her.
A while later, the lady with the cart came by, and Harry got a box of Bertie Bott's, some chocolate frogs, and two bottles of pumpkin juice for he and Hermione. They enjoyed their snack, occasionally feeding one another which both enjoyed thoroughly.
'Hmm, I'll have to remember this,' Harry thought silently.
After taking a sip of her juice, Hermione leaned against his shoulder and gazed out the window at the passing landscape. Harry wrapped his left arm around her and held her close for the remainder of the train ride.