A/N: I personally don't think this is as good as my other stories, but I hope you enjoy it just the same ^^
"So." Harry said around a mouthful of Chicken. "You guys staying or leaving this winter break?" He took a drink from his goblet and glanced between the two sitting on either side of him.
"I'm having to stay." Ron said glumly. "My parents are leaving on a trip and they are taking Fred with them. If I did go home, I would be bored outta my bloody mind… not to mention starved to death."
"Hermione?" Harry looked to his left. "How about you?" He gave her a smile.
The girl in question blushed lightly. "Well, I for one, need to use the school library, so I will be staying as well."
"Great!" Harry exclaimed. "We're all gonna be together then!" He merrily pulled his friend into a group hug, getting another blush from Hermione and a squeak from Ron.
"Come on, Ron." Harry said, pulling his robe over himself and reaching for the door. "We're almost late and your still in bed!?"
"I'm a bit under the weather, I'm afraid." Ron replied, sticking his head from under the covers. "I do believe playing in the snow has given me a quite nasty cold."
"Well, take some medication and get plenty of rest then." Harry opened the door and went out, calling over his shoulder "I'll tell Hagrid for you." And with that, he was gone.
"Hermione! Hermione, wait up!"
The girl being addressed turned and saw a very tired Harry Potter chasing after her. "Harry, Harry, Harry, I swear, your almost late for almost every class now." She scolded him, but allowed him to fall into step beside her just the same. "Where's Ron?"
"Sick, I'm afraid." He informed, looking her over. " A bit of a cold. Mighty fine earrings you have there today."
"Thanks." She beamed. "My father sent them to me as a reward for scoring so high on my test."
"Don't remind me." He sighed. "Potions almost killed me…again."
"Harry, dear, you have been training for five and a half years now, can't you get that potion down yet?"
"Well, some of us aren't as smart as you, Hermione." He replied with a sarcastic tone in his voice but held a smile that clearly told her he was playing. His smile, however, still earned him a smack on the backside of his head and a 'tut' from her.
Harry grinned. She had to almost stand on her tiptoes to hit him.
"Ah, hello there, Hermione, Harry." Hagrid greeted. "Nice of you to show up on the last class before winter break. Where's Ron? Don't tell me he's skipping the last day too?"
Hermione looked around. More than half the class was absent. " How could anyone just skip like that?" She huffed, annoyed at her fellow students. In the back of her mind, she slightly registered Harry telling their friend that Ron was sick.
"Well now, today we have something special before we start class." Hagrid told the people around him. "The professors and me have thought of a bit of extra credit to be earned over the winter break."
Hermione suddenly paid more attention, excited. Harry allowed himself a small smile at his friend.
"The conditions are that you must be staying here for winter break and not be goin' home." A few students muttered at this. "The second is, it's a group project. You will be in groups of three." Harry and Hermione suddenly looked at each other and grinned. "Also, you will be going into the Forrest for a total of four days. NOW! Before anyone starts asking me all sorts of questions, listen up!" This ceased the mumerings. "You will be provided with a tent large enough for three, ample supplies to cook with, and everything needed to carry out your task. Dumbeldor personally set up a magical field in a twenty foot circle around your tent –however big that is-, so you will be safe while there."
"What exactly are we doing?" A voice sprang up. He too was a sixth year.
"Oh, yeah. Must've forgot to mention that there." Hagrid clapped his big hands together once. " You will-"
"Plant a seed and cast a spell to make it grow, turn the plant into an elixir and feed it to a wounded animal." Hermione read the parchment in front of her while Harry idly placed more food into his mouth.
"So, we are doing several classes all in one. Potions, magic, herbs, and even caring for an animal. No wonder its universal extra credit."
Hermione nodded. "And with the three of us, we can't mess up." Harry grinned broadly. "Well, with me there, we can't mess up."
"Ron! Hey, Ron!" Harry opened the door to his room and looked around. "Ron, we got a—hey, why are you packing?"
Ron looked up from his trunk. "Fred can't make the trip for some reason, so I get to go along after all." He sniffed and wiped his nose on his sleeve. "Not even a bloody cold will make me miss this trip. I'll get to see the dragon after all!"
"Aw man, we signed up for an extra credit assignment! We put you down too, thinking your trip was still cancelled."
"Sorry, Harry, but I'm not missing this for anything." He again sniffed. "Besides, with this cold, there's no way I could work."
Harry sighed. "Oh well, have fun on your trip, I'll go tell Hagrid that you'll be dropped."
Harry padded his way through the snow, leaving footprints behind him. Hagrid's house was just up ahead and he quickened his pace a little. He didn't want to stay in the cold for any longer than needed. Reaching the door, he knocked on it and called. "Hagrid, open up- it's me! I'm freezing out here!"
To his surprise, Hermione opened the door. "Hey Harry."
"Hermione? Where's Hagrid?"
Hermione pointed behind her. "I'm asking about the extra credit work." She explained, moving so he could come in. "I was just making some hot cocoa, want some too?"
"You know it." He spoke, moving to his friend. "But I have some bad news, Ron can't join us."
"Eh?" Hermione stopped her cocoa making to stare at him, jaw slightly agap. " Why not? He won't mind going out in the cold?"
"His family contacted him and told him he could go on the trip afterall, so he'll be leaving tonight after dinner."
"Oh that's too bad." Hagrid told them when Harry paused. "The extra credit was meant for three people, not two…."
"You think we could do it and split three people's points two ways!?" Hermione was trying her best to keep the extra work. Harry once again noticed how dedicated she was.
"I'm not sure…. I'll have to take it up to the professors and ask them." He stood. "I mus' hurry now. They will all be together for a few more minut's 'for they go on thar separate ways now. Wait here you two."
"Thank you, Hagrid."
It was almost an hour before he came back to his hut. Harry and Hermione were biding their time by idly talking about what they would do for four days out in the woods if they could indeed go. When the sound of the door opening reached their ears, both turned expectantly to Hagrid.
"Well? How did it go?" Harry asked, anxious.
"It seems everyone agreed, but Snape." He informed them. "You're points will be split two ways, but not in 'is class."
"All right!" Hermione squealed. "We can do it now!"
Harry raised an eyebrow. "Yeah. But do you need to be that excited about working during the break?"
She set her classic glare on him.
"Got everything you need?" Hermione asked Harry, sitting on his bed and watching him toss things into a small suitcase. "Oh geeze, here, let me help." She got up and lightly moved him aside. "This is why all your cloths are always wrinkled, you don't fold anything!"
Harry watched her neatly fold his cloths, blushing brightly when she held up a pair of boxers with little red hearts on them, her raising an eyebrow at him. "Hermione!"
She giggled, blushing herself when he looked away. "The great Harry Potter wears the cutest little underpants."
"Now I remember why I stopped letting you do my laundry…"
Meeting once again at Hagrid's house, Hermione and Harry smiled as they saw their friend already holding up two backpacks with sleepingbags tied to the top of them.
"'Morning there you two." He greeted, handing them each a pack. "You'll find your food, utensils, supplies, and sleeping bags are all there for you. Now remember, you are not allowed to cast any magic other that what is written on the parchments you both received, okay?"
"Okay." They both answered in unison, nodding.
"'Righty then! Follow me and off we go!"
"There's your tent." Hagrid pointed in the distance to a bright blue tent in an opening in the forest. "Just cross that creek there and you're home free. Now I must be getting back, I'm already late to greet the next group."
"Thanks, Hagrid." Harry nodded. "See you tomorrow."
"Bye." Hermione added, walking over to the log that made a bridge over the creek.
Hagrid nodded at them one last time before hustling off to meet his next group of students.
"Be careful, Hermione." Harry warned. "There is a good bit of ice on that log."
"Don't be silly." She told him from the middle of the log. "It's just fine, see?" She turned again, but her foot overbalanced and a sound of a splash then followed. "Moouuuuu…"
Harry couldn't help but laugh. "Hahahaha, see!? I told you so!"
"Of all the rotten luck…" Hermione pouted, taking her things out from her backpack. Everything was drenched. " At least non of my things were damaged…."
Harry walked over to her after taking some things out of his pack. "Here, go change in he tent. You'll be sick as a dog if you wear those wet things."
Hermione looked up at the sweater and sweatpants he was handing her and blushed lightly. "I'm perfectly fine." But a sneeze proved her wrong. "Very well then. Peak and I'll make you eat slugs."
Harry winced, remembering poor Ron all those years back. "Wouldn't dream of it…"
When Hermione returned from the tent, she saw Harry shaking his head lightly at the cloths he had hung up with a string between two trees. "This is pointless, 'Mione." He informed her, using a pet name he himself came up with. She always seemed flustered when he used it. "They'll be frozen solid in this weather. I'll have to cast a heating spell on them..." He went for his wand.
"No!" This caused his to successfully stop. "Don't you listen?" She asked in an indignant voice. "Hagrid told us not to use any magic not permitted by our list! We'll lose credit if we do."
"Ah. Right then." He lowered his wand and turned around to see her for the first time.
He never laughed so hard.
Hermione had to roll up his sleeves several times, leaving a bulk on her wrist. The sweater revealed almost all of her shoulders (she constantly pulled them up for warmth), and went down to her knees. Her pants were so baggy she looked as though she was drowning. She only sulked and muttered something about it being his fault for getting a sudden growth spurt over the last few years. Harry only continued to laugh.
He blinked. His vision was skewered by a white flaky substance that was awfully cold. It took him all of three seconds to realize he had been hit with a snowball. "That was mean." He spoke, only to get another directly in his mouth.
"This is weird." Harry commented, looking at the woodpile in front of him and the parchment in his lap.
"What?" Hermione spared him a glance as she picked out a few vegetables from her pack that was magically enchanted to store great quantities of food.
"This." He held up a small book of matches. "Matches. There isn't a single spell on here that gives out any kind of heat.
Hermione shook her head disapprovingly. "Harry…. Universal credits remember? Not only does fire ward off forest imps (as read in Mysteries of dark arts unfolded), but the matches are Muggle like. Defense against the dark arts AND Muggle studies as well."
Harry shook his head lightly and lit the match without a problem. "They really though of everything, they have." He lit a small tender of wood and blew on it gently; just enough to get hot and burn a small piece of paper laid next to it. Within the next few minutes, he had a full-fledged fire going.
Hermione was impressed to say the least. "Very well done. I hated that in class."
He couldn't resist the opening. "You hated something in a class?"
"Oh save it Harry." Her face, though, revealed a feeble attempt to hide a smile. "It taught us things we know as common sense. Even I don't like some things."
"Sure thing, 'Mione."
She wrinkled her nose.
"You know…." Harry said, looking up at the stars in the sky. "I think they gave us four days to do this on purpose."
His friend paused her stirring of her stew long enough to ponder on it a bit. "What do you mean, Harry?"
"Well." He looked over at her, smiling secretly as she pulled her sleeve back over her shoulder absentmindedly. "We could have easily planted a seed, grown it, mixed it, and made medicine all in a few hours, you know?"
She blinked. "Yeah…"
"So I guess this is kind of like an outing for students who had to stay for some reason or another. Maybe because I told Hagrid how boring it was without you and Ron around."
"Sounds like something Hagrid would do for us." She agreed. "Here, taste this soup."
He leaned over and allowed her to spoon-feed him a bite. Immediately after the reflex action, both looked away. Hermione scolded herself when she felt hr cheeks turn pink.
"I said it's good." He gave her that grin of his. "I want a bowl soon."
And she smiled brightly.
"Um…" Hermione looked at the sleeping bag and flustered a bit. " Even if Hagrid gave us larger sleeping bags that was needed, it's still too small."
"I'll sleep on the floor, you can have it."
"I can't take your sleeping bag! You'll freeze!"
"So will you!"
"…" She crossed her arms. "Well, its not like we're dating or anything…I mean… we're just friends after all." She glanced at him nervously. "You mind?"
Harry actually gave out a blush. "Together!?"
"Yeah, why not!?" She got all indignant. "What are you saying I'm fat?"
"No no no!" He quickly racked his brains for something to say. 'Why isn't there a spell for things like this!?'
"The there should be no problem then." She slid into the bag and held it open. "Well, come on then."
Harry, already changed into his night cloths, slide slowly next to her. "Ron would kill me if he knew I was sharing a sleeping bag with a girl…"
"Not if it's just me." She replied, with a small giggle. "But then again, he did get with that one cute girl…"
The pair shifted a little bit and decided to face away from each other, back to back, for the most room. "Yeah. I guess this is okay after all then."
"…Sorry for stealing your bag like this… if only I could cast one simple spell…."
"Just, don't touch me or anything weird."
Harry jerked. "Huh!?." He shifted to turn over, but his hand grazed her backside.
They both tired to move.
"HEY! Now who's touching whom!?"
It was way later that night before the two could get comfortable. After countless times spent moving and shifting, finally the two faced each other and had a mad giggle fit. Once Hermione settled her self, she found that it wasn't as bad as she thought. In fact, it was kinda nice being this close to him. She smiled up at him sweetly and felt her cheeks grow red hot as she allowed herself to nuzzle up under his chin and lay one arm around him. She could feel him grow tense for a moment before settling down. "Good night." She whispered into his shirt, closing her eyes and feeling a strange calmness sweep over her as she heard his heartbeat.
"Goodnight, 'Mione" He said after a bit, and he too wrapped an arm around her, suddenly aware of all the room that was not needed in his single sleeping bag.
And with that, they fell asleep.
A/N: Like it? Hate it? Tell me ^^. If this stoy touched your heart in any way or made you laugh, please leave a review.