NOTE: Hermione isn't staying in Grimmauld Place with the Weasleys and therefore doesn't know anything about the Order of the Phoenix, just like Harry.
"Thanks for coming all the way out here, Hermione. It's really nice to have some company during the summer, even if it's only for one afternoon and evening…"
Harry and Hermione were having a walk in Little Whinging. Harry had been laying in the Dursleys' flower bed, listening to the news, when he had heard a loud crack. After a discussion with Uncle Vernon about this odd 'behaviour', he went to investigate the front of the house and noticed a silver Ford stopping in front of Number 4, Privet Drive. Much to his surprise, it hadn't been a member of Dudley's gang, but his female best friend emerging from the car!
Hermione saw the happiness on the face of her troubled friend. "Don't mention it, Harry. I know you need some support right now and I can't imagine those awful people give you anything like that. I'm sure we'll come and get you out of Privet Drive in the next couple of days."
"Well, make sure to say thanks to your parents from me. They drove you all the way over here just so you could see me-"
"It was their pleasure. I explained what you've been through last year and my mother thought it was a very good idea, considering that you hadn't heard or seen anyone since the school year ended."
"Well, you truly are your mother's daughter, Hermione…"
Both teenagers smirked at that line. It made Harry wonder when he was going to see Sirius again. After the third Triwizard task, his godfather had promised that they would see each other again very soon, but Harry hadn't heard anything from him at all. He hadn't heard anything from his friends as well. He was growing more and more frustrated every day, especially when he didn't even get one message on his fifteenth birthday two days earlier. Of course, Hermione's current presence made up for that frustration.
By now, Harry and Hermione had reached the playground where Harry liked to spend most of his days this summer. The playground was out in the fields in the outskirts of Little Whinging, near a highway overpass.
"Fancy a swing?" Hermione pointed towards the rusty swingset in the middle of the playground.
"Yeah, why not?"
And so, a few minutes later, Harry was very busy making a happy memory. The Dursleys had never taken him out to a playground, and he spent most of his days alone while he was in muggle primary school. This unusual moment also gave him an opportunity to get to know his best friend from a different side. Harry couldn't remember engaging in activities like this with her or his other friends at Hogwarts, the closest thing to it probably being the occasional snowball fight during the winter months.
There was something else about this, though. Although Harry had developed feelings for Cho Chang during his fourth year, these feelings had started to evaporate when Hermione had kissed him on the cheek at King's Cross during the first day of summer. That small peck still gave him a warm feeling when he thought about it, even though it had been a couple of weeks ago.
At this very moment, he was having the same funny feeling in his stomach he experienced when talking to Cho last year.
Could this mean that he had started to fancy Hermione? And if it this was indeed a fact, would she return his feelings? He hadn't really given it much thought, but now that he was out here alone with her, his mind seemed to get bombarded with thoughts about Hermione.
The teenagers decided to get off the swings and lie down a bit on the grass. It had been a very warm summer indeed, and so the grass was all dried out and yellowish.
"I think I could develop a tan out here, if only I had the right tools with me…"
Harry reddened immediately when thinking of what kind of tools Hermione was talking about. He already had difficulties not blushing when he had seen her emerge from the car, dressed in a pair of tight jeans shorts and a blue tank top, which rather emphasized her 'assets'. Hermione smiled when she saw her best friend's face.
"Oh, I'm sorry Harry. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable."
"That's OK, Hermione. I actually kind of like the thought."
"Do you, now?"
"Of course! I mean, you're a girl-"
"You don't say?"
"A good looking girl."
Now, it was Hermione's turn to start blushing.
"Do you mean that?"
Hermione didn't really know what to say. Could it be that her best friend had started to like her that way? She had discovered her true feelings towards Harry a little over a year ago, the night they had saved Sirius. Hermione had hoped that he would notice that she could actually be more than a best friend, and based off the look he had when he saw her during the Yule Ball, she might have succeeded. Harry's attention for her had decreased a bit in the following months, but Hermione hoped that the peck on the cheek she gave him after leaving the Hogwarts Express might have given him a hint.
Hermione took Harry's hand.
"That's sweet. Thanks, Harry."
"You're welcome, Hermione."
Hermione noticed that her best friend seemed to get a bit drowsy.
"Are you feeling OK, Harry? You look really tired."
"Yeah, I suppose I do. I don't sleep very well since… well, you know… and this hot summer air isn't helping either."
"Well, if you want, you can rest your head on my lap and take a quick nap."
"Erm… well, I suppose it would help me, but won't it bother you?"
"No, it's OK. I might actually take a quick nap too. I was so excited about coming here that I didn't get much sleep last night, too…"
Harry looked around. The playground was surrounded with high grass and they were still alone. He supposed it wouldn't hurt them.
"Well, OK. But I don't want to sleep too long… I'd like to enjoy the time we still have left, together."
Hermione smiled. "Well then, come over here and get your head on my lap. I'll make sure you won't be asleep for too long."
And so, Harry made his way over to Hermione's side and rested his head on her nearly bare upper legs. He smiled when looking up in her brown eyes, and after a few moments, closed his own. He shuddered when Hermione started running her hands through his messy dark hair, but a few minutes later, he had already fallen asleep.
Hermione thought that this was one of the first times that Harry had shown a few signs of weakness. He was very pale and looked skinnier than she ever saw him. Of course, he was only human, and any normal human would suffer after what Harry had been through at the end of June. But Harry, despite his looks, had always been a strong person. The only time Hermione could remember him showing true weakness was when he was affected by the Dementors back in their third year, and given his past, that wasn't his fault either.
Hermione was disrupted in her thoughts when she heard a couple of voices emerging from the path next to the playground. It sounded like a group of boys, laughing loudly.
Suddenly, she felt Harry tense and his eyes shot open. "Oh no…"
"What's wrong, Harry?"
"Well, unless I'm very much mistaken, I can hear my pig-headed cousin and his thugs approaching. I've seen them vandalize this playground before, so they're probably up to no good."
"Do you suppose we should get out of here?"
"No, just relax. Poor Dudders doesn't dare attack me because I'm a wizard."
"But we're not allowed to do magic now!"
"I know, and he does too. But he's still too scared to attack me either way, otherwise he would have already done it multiple times this summer."
Hermione didn't really seem to feel much better about that piece of information.
Dudley and his group of 'friends' had indeed entered the playground and noticed Harry and Hermione sitting down at the edge of the swingset.
"What are you doing here, Potter? And who's that?"
Dudley and Piers, one of his mates, had already come closer to them and were now standing before Harry and Hermione.
"Just sitting here, Dudders, enjoying the weather with my friend Hermione. You might want to do that more often too, you know. If you can ever find a girl who'd like to put up with a jerk like you…"
"Oh, shut up, you freak."
"And what if I decide I don't take orders from you, dear cousin?"
Piers was quick to react and had already grabbed Hermione's upper arm, but Hermione's reaction was just as quick to follow. She jumped up and raised her hand-
Piers fell to the ground, an imprint of Hermione's hand covering his left cheek. By now, Harry was on his feet as well and had pulled out his wand.
"Dudley, I'm warning you. Leave now, or-"
"Or what, freak?"
Harry closed the distance to Dudley and poked his cousin's chest with his wand.
"Or I'll make you regret it. Both of us will."
"You're not allowed to use those things outside school-"
"How do you know they haven't changed the rules, Dud?"
Harry was growing angrier every second and opened his mouth to continue the argument, but suddenly the attention of the group of teenagers shifted to something else.
The warm summer air was starting to vanish. The slight breeze was developing into a stormy wind, and all around them, dark clouds were gathering.
For a moment, both Harry and Hermione thought they had accidentally done magic, until they realized they didn't have the power to change the weather. Piers had gotten up by now, while Dudley's other gang members seemed to panick and ran off into the grassy fields. Piers quickly ran after them, only to be followed by Dudley, who seemed terrified.
"Harry, I don't like this. Something's wrong…"
Harry was staring at the darkening sky intensely.
"Hermione. We need to move. NOW!"
She didn't have time to respond: Harry had already grabbed her arm. The next moment they were running, no, sprinting, towards the houses in the distance, in the opposite direction of where Dudley and his group had fled.
"Keep running, Hermione. KEEP RUNNING!"
Rain was now starting to fall.
"What's happening, Harry?" Hermione shouted.
"I don't know, but I have a feeling… I just hope I'm wrong!" Harry shouted back. "All I know is that we need to get to my Aunt's house, right now."
They had reached the underpass below the highway. The many houses of Little Whinging, including Number 4, Privet Drive, were on the other side of the small tunnel.
When Harry and Hermione entered the underpass, they were stopped dead in their tracks. Both of them felt the cold creeping up on them from the other end of the tunnel. The yellowy lights in the underpass were flickering and dying. So too was the sound of cars roaring above them. The few puddles in the underpass were frosting over, while both Harry and Hermione were soaking and starting to shiver.
"It's them, Hermione. They're here. Do you remember the Patronus Charm?" Harry said while turning around.
"Yes, but I've never managed to produce - HARRY!"
It had all happened in a flash. Behind their backs, a Dementor had flown into the underpass, grabbed Harry by the throat, and pinned him up against the graffiti-covered wall.
"HERMIONE. RUN!" Harry managed to choke out. The grip of the Dementor's icy hand on his throat was strong and felt impossible to get away from.
Hermione tried to conjure a Patronus. Only a thin cloud of silver smoke appeared out of her wand, but she couldn't make the spell work properly. The Dementor turned its face towards the feeble light she had conjured up, but the creature didn't retreat or release Harry.
"Behind… you…" Harry called. Another Dementor had entered the underpass and was now closing in on Hermione, who turned around and directed her attention to this new threat. "Harry, you have to cast one… I can't hold them off…"
The silvery vapour suddenly stopped erupting from Hermione's wand, and the second Dementor was coming closer, stretching out its filthy hands towards her shoulders. Meanwhile, the other Dementor had turned its focus back to Harry and was bringing its face dangerously close to Harry's. A few more moments, and both Harry and Hermione's bodies would be soulless shells.
The second Dementor had reached Hermione and was already lowering its scabbed face towards her mouth.
Harry was now thrashing wildly, desperately trying to escape the Dementor's grip on him. The horrible creature was so close that he couldn't point his wand towards it.
And just as suddenly as it had grabbed him, the Dementor seemed to lose its grip on Harry and hit him to the floor. Harry didn't hesitate: he still had his wand clutched tightly in his hand. He glanced at Hermione, who was trying to get away from the Dementor's hungry mouth. Harry quickly changed directions and pointed his wand towards the Dementor holding Hermione. He didn't care about its fellow that had just released him: he had to save Hermione. He summoned the fresh memory he had of playing on the swingset with her, and shouted:
The silver stag they had seen once before blasted out of Harry's wand. Its silvery antlers hit the Dementor right in the face: screeching in agony, it released Hermione and was thrown out of the underpass. Harry turned around as the other Dementor was quickly closing in on both of them, but it was too late: the silver stag had already jumped over the teenagers' heads and hit the Azkaban guard, which was sent soaring away from them.
"HERMIONE!" Harry ran over to her, as she had slowly fallen to the ground.
"Are you okay?"
She was shaking violently. Harry felt a horrible fear take possession of him. Had she been Kissed?
"It's okay, Harry… I'm OK."
Harry had never before been so relieved to hear her voice. He wrapped her into a fierce hug. Meanwhile, Harry's stag Patronus disappeared and the lights in the underpass shot back to life.
"Can you walk?"
"Yeah, I think so. I was just so scared… I've never encountered something as horrible as seeing you pinned up to the wall by that Dementor, or having that thing nearly Kiss me."
"Make that two of us. I was horrified when it got so close to you…"
Hermione started sobbing. "It's OK, Hermione. We're safe now, both of us."
Harry turned around, wand at the ready, but was surprised to find his batty old neighbor, Mrs. Figg, standing in one end of the tunnel.
"Mrs. Figg!" Harry brought out.
"Harry! I saw everything, but you've got to get out there, right now. I saw that cousin of yours and his friends out in the fields just before I reached you. They were being approached by two Dementors as well."
"Wait. You can see Dementors?"
"Yes, but hurry up now! I fear those boys are in serious danger. You two are the only ones who can help them right now. I'll call Dumbledore and the others for assistance. GO!"
Harry had to obey. He hated Dudley and his gang, but after nearly escaping a Dementor's Kiss twice now, he thought nobody deserved that fate. He helped Hermione to her feet and helped her past Mrs. Figg. Once outside the underpass, Harry took Hermione's hand and they started running back into the direction of the playground. The rain was still pouring down.
Surprisingly, Hermione regained her composure very quickly. It took them only half a minute to reach the now abandoned playground. Harry was looking out into the fields, while the rain continued to crash down on them.
"Over there!" Hermione shouted. Mrs. Figg was right: in the distance, they could see a few silhouettes which were almost certain to be Dudley and his thugs. One of them, who appeared to be Dudley, was on his back in the grass, a Dementor floating just above him. The other creature was circling around the four remaining boys, who didn't move a muscle. Harry and Hermione, still holding hands, ran closer to the scene as they watched one of the boys fall to the grass.
"Those have to be the same Dementors you just fended off, Harry!"
"I don't know, but we have to save them, come on!"
Harry pointed his wand to the group of shapes in the distance and shouted out: "Expecto Patronum!"
For the second time in a few minutes, an enormous stag erupted from the tip of his wand. It galloped towards the pair of Dementors and lowered its antlered face, ready to drive them off for good.
"You too, Hermione! You've already broken the Restriction on Underage Magic, so you might as well try to cast a Patronus again!"
Harry gave her hand a slight squeeze, which made Hermione's sensations tingle.
Hermione thought about the ride she and Harry had on Buckbeak, at the end of their third year. Although it had been terrifying in a way, Harry had been there with her, and the thought of sitting behind him and holding on to his waist seemed to fill her with joy each time she thought about it.
Hermione yelped as a shape shot out of her wand.
It looked like a small animal, definitely not as huge as Harry's stag Patronus. It did, however, seem eager to aid the stag in driving away the Dementors. The two silvery animals chased off one Dementor each, until both of the hooded demons decided to flee. The rain stopped and the wind died down, but the dark skies remained in place.
Both the stag and the unknown shape that Hermione's Patronus had taken, returned to their casters.
"What is it, Hermione?"
"I think… it's an otter!" She smiled as she watched the cute little animal dance around her. Harry's stag had lowered its head towards him, and as Harry patted it, both the stag and Hermione's otter Patronus dissolved into silver mist.
"Fantastic, Hermione. We did it!"
They went out to investigate. Dudley was still on the ground, barely moving. The other boys looked shocked when they saw the two teens come closer, but everyone appeared to be unharmed. By now, Mrs. Figg had caught up with them.
"Come on, boys, it's better to go home now… right, off you go…"
Dudley's thugs appeared reluctant to obey the old woman, but they ran off nonetheless.
"And now… you! Move it!"
Mrs. Figg poked Dudley with her walking stick, but it still looked like he didn't want to move at all. He was looking dangerously sick.
"Come on!" Harry didn't know his cat-loving neighbor could possess such anger. She was now fuming and desperately trying to get Dudley to stand up.
"It's OK, Mrs. Figg. I'll get him up."
And so, Harry took one of Dudley's massive arms and threw them around his shoulders. Hermione came closer to help carry him, but Harry refused. "It's no problem, Hermione. I'll carry him. But it's best if we hurry over to Privet Drive now… they might come back."
"Agreed", Mrs. Figg said. "Unless I'm very mistaken, you two are in big trouble. You both cast a Patronus in the presence of five Muggles. I wouldn't be surprised if the Ministry was already preparing to Obliviate those other boys."
"And I already got a warning for doing underage magic three years ago. I'm probably getting expelled from Hogwarts now."
"That's nonsense!" Hermione bellowed. "They can't expel us, even if you already received a warning. Underage magic can still be used in life-threatening situations!"
"Well, I think having a Dementor nearly suck your face off is definitely life-threatening…."
"Of course it is. We'll be OK, Harry."
Harry was convinced that she was right. Hermione was always right.
BAM, there we are! I hope you enjoyed reading this first chapter, please review! As of now, I have no idea how long I will make this fic. Should be another 2 or 3 chapters, maybe. We'll see!
#1: I have read one fic where Hermione is with Harry during the Dementor attack in Little Whinging, and that is 'Notebooks and Letters' by chem prof. However, I'd like to emphasize that I didn't get the idea for this story there. Nevertheless, go check it out, one of the best fics I have ever read!
#2: for those of you who read my previous fic 'Night at the Lake' and are wondering about this. Yes, sometimes I like to leave the books for what they are and take some inspiration from the movies. The encounter with werewolf-Lupin in my previous story was inspired by the POA movie, and it's the same with the OOTP movie and the environments/some details of the Dementor attack in this story. No alleyway, but an underpass, for example. It probably won't float everyone's boat, but then again: this is my story :P
#3: I can vaguely remember one of Dudley's friends being called Piers, so I decided to give his friend in this chapter that name.