Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter
J.K Rowling does and I'm a big fan of JK Rowling and her work and I am using some of her character names and their history along with the historical story line of the Harry Potter books and pre-existing characters will be involved throughout the story but as the story progresses I have created my own characters to bring into the world of Harry Potter.
I am only writing for my own enjoyment not for profit but to share my ideas for a story that I loved. I've never had to write a disclaimer before so I'll come back and edit this in the near future to make something more sensible. I do not claim to be a professional writer and I'm doing this for something to do in my evenings rather than zoning out and watching pointless tv repeats.
I'm hoping that you'll enjoy Harry Potter going in a different direction to where J.K.R
This story begins a few weeks after the end of Deathly Hallows and all the characters that have died in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series are still dead and I've tried to stay true to characters already created in the Harry Potter Series while creating my own characters in the later chapters. Existing characters we don't know much about I've developed them as I've always pictured them in my head.
There isn't Weasley or Dumbledore bashing as I always believed that Dumbledore like Molly Weasley always had Harrys best interests at heart even if they didn't always present their thoughts and motivations to him in the best way and genuinely cared about him.
Fair warning the first five or so chapters will probably feel very much like a lot of other stories that you've read but once I've got the usual cliché things out the way I've been able to enjoy a bit freer license to make Harry's life a bit more like a normal teenager's life. I would however ask you to think of this that even though it starts after the Deathly Hallows books finish, I'm writing as if this is modern day as there are things I want them to see and do that weren't available back when J.K.R finished her timeline..
Edit: - REPOST - I wasn't in love with this chapter and now thankfully I have Goldzar editing my work now and helping me with my spelling, Grammar and flow. It's been nice having someone to bounce my ideas so can't stress enough how much I appreciate the work you've been putting in dude.
So here we go the first chapter of what I hope will become one of your favourite stories. Enjoy and thanks to all those who have left reviews so far and especially all those who have said nice things ha ha.
Chapter 1 – A Confusing Invitation
Friday 13th May, Aunt Muriel's House, Sparrowpit, Derbyshire
Harry Potter was at peace. More at peace than he had been in a long time. He sat at the table feeling relaxed, truly relaxed and unafraid for the first time in his life. He wasn't being targeted by dark witches and wizards, no one was trying to kill him, he wasn't being treated like scum by the Dursleys. He was with people he loved, cared about, and for once he didn't have a plan or anyone telling him what to do.
The battle of Hogwarts had been over three weeks ago and he, Ron and Hermione were at Aunt Muriel's house since the Burrow had been destroyed after the Death Eater attack at Bill and Fleur's wedding. The new property which was being funded by the ministry since the protection that was meant to be in place for the wedding when Harry was in attendance was ruled as insufficient by the new Ministry. The Wizengamot felt that more could have been done to ensure everyone's protection at the event.
The Weasleys except Molly, who was currently in the kitchen with Muriel cooking, were seated with Harry and Hermione at a large oak table in the dining room waiting for Muriel and Molly to bring in the mountain of food that the Weasley family normally consumed in a morning's breakfast. The only Weasley missing was Bill, who was on an assignment for Gringotts helping them search the home of one of the Death Eaters. The aurors had found several dangerous curses on the property and needed a curse breaker's expertise, but Fleur was sitting in the attendance looking as beautiful as ever, except maybe a little tired.
All the Weasleys were understandably still upset over their missing family member Fred, who had died in the Battle of Hogwarts. The loss of Fred was still raw as the battle was recent and was understandably hitting George the hardest. He missed his twin brother more than any of the others.
"Have you heard anymore about how long you're going to be off work, Father?" asked Percy, "I've not heard anything official for some days now. They are meant to be doing a reshuffle of positions after what's happened. I heard that they are set to make Kingsley officially the minister today, once they have got out of the Wizengamot meeting. Three days they've been in there apparently arguing about who should be next minister," he added with a shake of his head.
"I've not received anything official since yesterday and I don't even know whether they are going to keep me in my current position," Mr. Weasley replied.
"I'm sure they will dad, you were a good department head. You weren't corrupt, you got the job done, your staff liked working for you and unlike when Fudge was in charge, Kingsley is at least competent and has seen you in action and can attest to your skills" Charlie countered.
"Charlie is correct, dad, you've got nothing to worry about. I, on the other hand, don't know what will happen to me. I had that whole mess with Mr. Crouch and they've stuck me working on Cauldron reports and other pointless assignments. Well before I got moved to work for Fudge, who really didn't have a clue." Percy commented, "I know it sounds pompous but I was Head Boy at Hogwarts and I just thought that after working that hard to get to be Head Boy that it would start me off in good stead," he added.
"It did Perce, it got you to be a department head's assistant and you'd have been in line to take over for Mr. Crouch once he'd retired." George explained.
"You'll be alright son," Mr. Weasley added, as he put a hand on Percy's shoulder. "It's going to be a new ministry now with Kingsley in charge. After losing some very good people like Amelia Bones and Barty Crouch Sr., they can't afford to waste the talent that they have."
"Can you get that Ginevra?" Muriel called. The people in the dining room looked at each other, puzzled, until they heard the sharp and now louder more insistent knocking on the door.
Ginny gave huff and got up to answer the door. She refrained from telling her Aunt for the hundredth time to not call her Ginevra because she hated being called that. She knew her Aunt wouldn't listen to her anyway.
Ginny opened the door to see a dark haired Wizard whose hair was slicked back over his scalp, it looked like he'd dunked his head in a bucket of lard. He was wearing a dark plum colored pinstripe suit with matching waistcoat with black leather shoes, holding a dragon skin briefcase with a gold emblem on the side of it that Ginny couldn't quite make out and looking rather impatient. "Hello, Can I help you?" Ginny asked.
"I'm looking for Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley and was led to believe that they are at this location. Can you confirm if they are here?" asked the man with a bored voice, as if he was doing the most mundane thing he could think of by being there.
"Depends, who are you and what it's regarding?" Ginny replied coolly, not liking the wizard's tone or demeanor.
"I'm Greaves from Gringotts, I'm one of the junior curse breakers there and I was led to believe that the three people in question were here." Greaves answered with an air of authority Percy would have been proud of.
"Ah, I see," Ginny commented, "and who led you to believe this and gave you this information?" Ginny added, drawing her wand behind the door as no one other than Professor McGonagall and Kingsley Shacklebolt knew Harry was here.
"My superior, Mr. Weasley, provided me this information, not that I have to explain or justify myself to you, a mere child. I'm on official Gringotts business." answered an even more irritated Greaves. "Time is money and I'm being used as an owl as it is, if they are here then I'll just leave what needs to be delivered and make my way back to work," Greaves explained while checking a large pocket watch that he had pulled out of his waistcoat pocket. "if they aren't here then I'll have to start other lines of enquiry to ascertain their whereabouts."
"Well they do happen to be here, yes, and if you must come in then I'd request you remove your shoes before entering, or my Aunt will have a canary." Ginny replied.
"No, no I've other more important things that I need to get done, before returning to the office. I'm just going to leave these letters for them." Greaves explained, while roughly pressing three letters into Ginny's hand before she had time to move it. Then before Ginny had a chance to say anything else Greaves had turned and made his way to the end of the path and through the gate, where he disapparated with a sharp crack.
Ginny looked down at her hand to see three black envelopes addressed to Harry, Ron and Hermione in gold writing that shimmered as the light caught it. She turned one of them over to see the Gringotts crest in gold on the back and the seal was gold wax and stamped with an ornate G on top of two crossed axes.
She closed the door and made her way back into the kitchen. "Who was it Ginevra?" Muriel shouted from the kitchen.
"It was a rather snooty and arrogant wizard full of his own self importance, from Gringotts. He was about ten seconds away from getting hexed Aunt Muriel, and he was delivering some letters but don't worry they aren't for you," Ginny shouted back "and please don't call me Ginevra." she added causing the rest of the Weasleys, Harry and Hermione to laugh.
"He was a right pompous git," Ginny commented to the room at large as she tried to calm herself. "talked to me as if I was about six years old and he was doing me a favor. Like I was some sort of inconvenience on his quest, the idiot."
"What did zis wizard look like Ginny?" Fleur enquired.
"Slicked back black hair, Plum colored suit and wai..."
"Greaves," Fleur interrupted with disdain, "ee is one of Bill's junior curse breakers and ee makes my skin crawl, he is very arrogant and ee as wandering ands as well. I av ad to curse im on more zhan one occasion." as she gave a slight shiver as if someone had walked over her grave.
Ginny slid the letters across to Harry, Ron and Hermione, who all looked at them with a quizzical look on their faces. "What are Gringotts writing to me for?" Ron asked out loud, "I haven't even got an account or anything with them, so why would they be writing to me?"
"Here's a crazy idea Ron, why don't you open the letter and find out." George replied, sounding more like his old self.
Ron turned the letter over and opened it along with Harry and Hermione and began reading his letter as the others read theirs. Unsurprisingly, Hermione finished first and declared "It's an invitation to a Will reading tomorrow."
"Although it doesn't say whose Will it is." Harry added.
"Or why they are wanting me to attend," Ron chipped in before adding, "just that they want myself, Harry, Hermione and Neville Longbottom to attend? I'm not related to Neville, am I dad?" Ron asked with a confused look on his face.
"Course you're not you idiot otherwise we'd all be related to Neville wouldn't we?" Charlie retorted.
"Plus you're not related to Harry and Hermione are you dung brains and they've been invited as well." added Percy.
"Yeah, no matter how much you'd like to be!" George said with a smile on his face, causing Ron to blush fiercely.
"It is a bit odd though isn't it," said a perplexed Harry, "what or who do us three and Neville all have in common to be invited to a Will reading or being left something in a Will?"
The table thought about it for a minute or so before Ginny announced "I can only think of you being Gryffindor's."
"As well as being instrumental in helping save the wizarding world from Voldemort." added Mr. Weasley.
"It wasn't just the four of us Mr. Weasley. All the Order helped, Dumbledore, Snape, Aberforth, Hogwarts' staff, Parents and Students, the Hogwarts elves, Gwap, Ministry Employees, people in Hogsmeade. The list goes on" Hermione countered as she struggled to think who it could be.
"Yeah we had loads of help. The list is extensive on who helped get rid of Voldemort, so why single out us four and again who would be close enough to the four of us to leave us something or want us to attend a will reading?" added Harry fearing that something bad had happened to someone he hadn't heard about like Hagrid or Professor McGonagall or something.
"Well at least you know you vill be zere together, whatever it is." Fleur replied, trying to steer the conversation away from talking about the battle because she didn't want them all starting to think about the loss of Fred. "Just make sure zat you dress smartly as ze Goblins expect smartness, efficiency and arriving on time. Zere are plenty of Wizards who turn up late and zat just annoys ze Goblins."
"Well I'm glad I've got new dress robes now and don't have to wear that monstrosity I had to wear to the Yule ball." Ron whispered. "I heard that!" Mrs. Weasley yelled from the kitchen where the dishes were now washing themselves.
George and Harry shared a look and looked down while they contained their laughter if not their smiles at what Ron had said.
"So what are we going to do for the rest of the day?" Hermione asked.
"Quidditch" Ginny, Harry, Ron and George replied at the same time causing them all to laugh.
"We've played Quidditch every day since we've been here and I'm completely rubbish at it. You all know I hate flying!" said an exasperated Hermione.
"Well I can't play," Charlie added, "I'm back off to Romania in a couple of hours and I need to pack, you should play though Perce."
"I can't, I've got a date with Penny, she said she has something she needs to talk to me about and from the way she's worded her letter, it doesn't sound like it's going to be particularly good news. Her letter sounded very ominous, plus I'm as bad as Hermione." Percy replied, looking glum before leaving the kitchen and walking to the end of the garden and apparating away.
"You should come out Hermione, you've improved loads the last couple of days. It's like you say to me and Ron with our homework, practice, practice, practice." Harry said with a boyish grin on his face.
"Yeah, I'll share a broom with you and give you a pointer." added Ron. Who winked at Hermione causing her to blush at his crudeness, especially in front of Mr. Weasley.
"I do not like flying either Hermione, so if you'd rather stay with your feet on ze ground then I could do with your elp with somezing. I want to get your opinion and thoughts. Maybe we could go for a coffee or somezing?" Fleur asked while giving Hermione a pleading look. This worried Hermione as Fleur always seemed so composed as if nothing fazed her, but something had her rattled.
"Sure no problem Fleur that sounds much better than flying," Hermione replied, completely at a loss to what could have got the girl looking so worried and why she would want to have her help with whatever it was. She and Fleur had gotten on a lot better since the three of them, Griphook, Luna, Dean and Dobby turned up at Shell Cottage a few months ago after escaping from Malfoy Manor.
She guessed that she'd find out what was the matter soon enough. "You lot go and play. We'll meet you back here later on."
Hermione and Fleur went to the front door and gathered their coats before leaving through the front door while the rest of them went outside to play. Leaving Charlie sitting at the table with just Mr. Weasley, where he picked up the Daily Prophet and started reading.
The Quidditch game had gone well with Ginny and George against Harry and Ron. They'd come in after Ginny and Ron had collided mid-air. Ginny was flying through to the goal, Ron moved to block her, and then she had fainted into his path while trying to send him the wrong way.
They were both holding their ribs as they entered the kitchen to find a very somber Percy sat at the table.
"You alright Percy?" asked Harry, noting the far away expression on his face.
"I'm fine thank you Harry." Percy replied a little frostily as he left the room with his head down looking like a man who had lost a Galleon and found a Knut.
"What's the matter with him?" Ron asked the room at large.
"Don't know, but it doesn't look like his date with Penelope went very well." George replied.
"I'll go and have a word with him." Ginny commented.
"Just leave him be dear," Mrs. Weasley interrupted while entering the kitchen. "I think he and Penelope might have split up. He's not really said anything about what happened since he came back. He normally says where they went on dates and things but he seems very closed off and I thought he looked rather teary when I walked in on him earlier." she added.
"Percy, Teary?" George asked, surprised and partly appalled at the idea that his big brother would be teary over a girl. Obviously George thought Penelope was very attractive and couldn't believe that Percy had managed to snare himself such a good looking witch, but teary? That didn't sound like Percy.
"Percy doesn't do teary Mum he's a pretty closed off kind of person and doesn't normally let
any emotion show." Ginny explained.
"Either way, best leave him alone for a while and not mention it just in case," Mrs. Weasley countered.
"But if we just ask him then we'll know either way won't we?" asked Ron.
"NO do not bring it up with him Ronald Weasley! How would you like it if we all started poking around in your love life?" Mrs. Weasley fired back giving Ron and the rest of them a stern look.
"We won't say anything Mrs. Weasley, promise." Harry replied, getting a small smile from her in return.
Just then there was a tapping on the window and they looked up to see an owl with a letter. Mrs. Weasley got up to retrieve the letter and saw that it was for Harry.
"It's for you dear." Mrs. Weasley said, handing Harry the letter.
"It's from Neville," Harry called as he started to read the letter, "he said that he's got his letter from Gringotts and asks if we know what it's about. He can't think why the four of them would be in someone's will."
"He also wants to know if we want to meet up before going to Gringotts."
"May as well meet up for a butterbeer or something to eat before going in, I suppose." Ron replied.
Harry took a quill and wrote on the back of the letter that they would meet up with him at 10:30am in the Leaky Cauldron then they would all make their way to Gringotts together. He rolled the letter up and tied it back to the owl's leg before it turned and took off to return the letter to Neville.
Dinner that night was a rather somber affair with Percy categorically stating that he wasn't hungry and stayed upstairs in his room. Fleur had a very distracted look about her since returning with Hermione. She looked like she had been crying as her normally perfect face looked a little red around the eyes. When Harry went to ask if she was okay, Hermione gave him a shake of the head to warn him to not ask.
The rest of the Weasleys minus Charlie, who had returned to Romania, sat around making plans for tomorrow. Mrs. Weasley stated that she and Ginny would go with them to Diagon Alley because she had some things they needed to buy, and that Percy and Mr. Weasley would be going back to work tomorrow as a patronus from the minister had arrived during the afternoon asking them to attend a general meeting. Now that he was confirmed as minister he wanted to reshuffle the departments after the war and the losses incurred both through disappearance, deaths and members of the ministry who were corrupt and working for Voldemort.
They all went to bed that night with different things on their minds. Ginny and Hermione were in their room getting ready for bed when Ginny asked Hermione "What was it that Phlegm wanted to talk to you about? You were gone all day together. What could possibly have been so important that it would take all day?"
"Well we went into Muggle London for a couple of drinks in a bar and a chat about some stuff and then we met up with Penelope Clearwater." Hermione replied.
"What did you chat about?" a curious Ginny enquired, "It's not like you really know each other or anything, so why did she ask you and not both of us or me, I am her sister-in-law now, so surely I'd be the person she should be coming to with stuff and what did Penelope have to say for herself? Percy has been really quiet and reserved since she met with him earlier and no one has seen him since lunch. He is locked away in his room." Ginny finished.
"Ginny I can't really answer that in regards to either Fleur or Penny," Hermione replied, unconvincingly. "They both asked me not to talk about what we discussed to anyone and I wouldn't want to betray her trust by talking to you or anyone else about it. Just like I wouldn't want them talking about what I discussed with them."
"Fine, be like that then," huffed Ginny "I thought we were supposed to be friends!"
"We are friends Ginny, but what kind of friend would I be if I discussed a friend's secrets with someone else? I never discussed your secrets or how you were feeling about Harry with him and he's my best friend and I tell him everything!"
'Well that wasn't strictly true.' thought Hermione as she had quite a few thoughts and feelings that she hadn't shared with Harry. She wanted to but was scared of the murky and complicated waters it would lead them into if she told him everything that went on in that head of hers.
"Hmm I guess you're right about that. I wouldn't have wanted you talking about the things we discuss with anyone else. Just promise me if they do say that they don't mind talking about it will you let me know? I'm worried about Perce. He looked really upset earlier," Ginny pushed.
"I promise if I could talk about it I would Ginny, but until they tell me that I can then I won't betray their trust. Of course if they say I can, then I'll tell you first."
"That's all I needed to hear, sorry I bit your head off. Night then." Ginny finished as she stretched and yawned before getting under her quilt with her back to Hermione.
Hermione extinguished the light and lay there for a few moments collecting her thoughts on the day's events and what she had discussed with Fleur and Penny. She knew that she could make that promise to Ginny honestly because she knew that Penny and Fleur wouldn't want what they discussed divulged until it was time, and she certainly didn't want them to tell anyone what she had spoken about.
With this in mind she went to sleep. She felt like she had only been asleep for a few moments when she was having a nightmare about the night the Battle of Hogwarts took place. When Voldemort and his Death Eaters approached the castle with Hagrid carrying what she believed to be a dead Harry in his arms.
Hermione awoke suddenly with her heart hammering in her chest but she realized that it was only a nightmare. She had been having the same dream for the last couple of weeks since the battle and didn't know whether it was some form of post-traumatic stress, because it always woke her up when she dreamed about Harry being dead and it never woke her up when other people in her dreams were getting hit by curses or dying.
Hermione lay there for a few moments trying to get to sleep but it wouldn't come as her brain had started thinking about the Will reading the next day and who it might be for. She pushed the covers off and put on her dressing gown wrapping it tightly around herself to protect against the chill in the room. She looked at Ginny to see that she was fast asleep and she tiptoed to the door trying to be as quiet as possible. She opened the door very slowly so that the lock wouldn't click and slipped through the door pulling it gently behind her until it was closed and then eased the handle back into place.
She crept along the hall past Muriel's room, past Mr. and Mrs. Weasley's room and then past Percy and George's room. As she made her way past Harry and Ron's room she heard what she thought was a warthog being strangled until she realized it was Ron's snoring. The door was ajar so Hermione took a quick peek to see her boyfriend asleep on his back with one arm above his head and his other hand down his pants. This caused her to pull a face as it really wasn't a good look or attractive. She looked across to see Harry's bed was empty and she understood why because she couldn't imagine he'd be able to sleep through that noise and she wasn't sure she could either.
She pulled away from the door wondering how on earth the rest of the Weasleys were always able to sleep with that kind of racket going on all the time, until she realised that must be why Ron had the only room on the top floor as they probably wanted to have the noise travel upwards and the only person who'd get disturb would be the ghoul who had lived in the attic. As she got towards the end of the corridor where the semicircular stairs led to the living room downstairs, she saw that Fleur's door was also open and upon sticking her head in, saw that Fleur was out of bed as well.
Hermione moved towards the stairs, and started going down stepping as close to the wider outside of the step next to the bannister. Trying to avoid putting her weight on the step so that the boards didn't creak.
After what felt like an age, she reached the bottom of the stairs and let out a breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. She started moving around the living room looking for signs of Fleur. Instead she found Harry on a two seater sofa, laying on his front with one arm dangling over the side with his hand resting on the floor. While the other arm disappeared under the pillow his head rested on. His feet were up and over the arm of the sofa as his body was clearly too long for the sofa because he had another growth spurt over the last year and was now just over six feet tall.
The quilt was covering his legs but had spilled off his chest to pool on the floor leaving his torso exposed. Hermione couldn't help but look at his chest and stomach and the several scars he had on there from his adventures in the past.
Harry shifted in his sleep and started shaking quite violently as if he was having some sort of nightmare or something. Hermione moved over to where he was, kneeled down, and gently put her hand on his shoulder trying to calm him. He seemed to go still for a few seconds before he started again letting out a small moan in his throat as if he was truly terrified of whatever he was dreaming about.
Hermione put her hand to his forehead and made soothing shushing sounds to try and calm him. She noticed that his forehead was all clammy as if he was just back from going for a run or something.
Harry started mumbling something as he started moving his arms and legs with more purpose as if he was trying to fight off whatever was in his dreams, he started making a low wailing sound that gradually grew louder into a scream. He suddenly sat bolt upright, his eyes with a wild and totally terrified look in them. This caused Hermione to jump at his sudden and unexpected movement, and caused her to topple over.
Seeing Hermione kneeling next to him he looked at her like he was surprised to see her there, unharmed. "Are you alright Harry?" Hermione asked, causing him to nod and then start taking deep breaths trying to calm himself while Hermione did the same.
"Nightmare." he replied, trying to slow his breathing. "What are you doing up?" he asked.
"Same as you, I had a nightmare as well and it caused me to wake up and I couldn't get back to sleep. So I thought I'd get up and get a hot drink and see if that helped, I'm not surprised to find you here as well because I heard Ron's snoring," Hermione explained.
"What was your nightmare about?" she softly asked, putting her hand on his shoulder and feeling a tingling at touching Harry's skin. She'd only ever seen him without his shirt on when she was polyjuiced as him and they were getting him out of Privet Drive. He'd gotten a lot slimmer over the last ten months.
Harry looked down at her arm "I was having a kind of flashback about when we were at Malfoy Manor and Bellatrix was torturing you, and I couldn't get out of that cellar to help you. I was reliving that all over again. I felt so helpless and hated not being able to help you and you being in pain and not being able to stop it happening." he replied as he felt his eyes start to water.
What he dreamed about really had scared him. He vowed to himself that he would never let anything like that ever happen to Hermione again.
"I promise I'll never let anyone hurt you again Hermione." he vowed while looking back up into her eyes as he saw tears forming.
Hermione felt a lump in her throat. After everything he'd been through having Voldemort, Dementors and Basilisks try to kill him, losing his parents and Sirius, and not to mention being the most wanted person in the country if not the world. The thing that upset him and was giving him nightmares was her being tortured and him not being able to help her.
Ron had never spoken to her like that. That was the intensity and emotion that Harry just had. It caused her stomach to do a little somersault. She'd regretted not telling him how she really felt about him at the end of fifth year after the incident with the ministry but she'd stupidly got so caught up in her OWLs she hadn't taken her chance to just lay it all on the line. Then in sixth year he'd started liking Ginny and she had used Dean to try and attract Harry's interest and it worked. She'd had to play her emotions off to make him believe that she only thought of him as a friend but was purely down to her own fears that he only thought of her as a friend and she couldn't handle the humiliation of opening her heart to him if he didn't feel the same way.
She'd battled with herself all these years to move on and she was with Ron now. She took her hand off his shoulder as she had promised herself that she wouldn't allow these feelings to come bubbling up again as it would confuse everything and everyone all the more. She didn't really believe that Ron was the one for her because she'd always fancied Harry, going all the way back to first year and she'd found out who he was. She hadn't fancied him because of who he was but she still remembered that good looking boy in the oversized clothes on the train. She'd been determined to learn everything about him and that was how she found out about his dad being a seeker when he was at school.
She'd wanted to get close to him and get to know him when they first got to school. She'd even told the sorting hat that she wanted to be in Gryffindor instead of Ravenclaw as she thought that was where Harry would most likely be sorted and thank god he had been.
No, Hermione really didn't want to be involved in some weird love triangle but Harry talking like that made her start questioning her own feelings for Ron and she would have to sort these feelings out before moving things any further with Ron. She had to give Ron the chance. They were together now and it wouldn't be right to throw that away on a possible chance that maybe Harry felt the same way about her.
Harry was also very aware of Hermione's hand on his shoulder as he was tingling all over at her touch as he looked down Hermione took her hand off his shoulder and the tingling sensation continued for a few moments before they faded. 'Why had he had that sensation go through him? That had never happened to him before when Hermione had touched him. Although it might be because he had never been half naked around her before.'
Thinking that he was upsetting her he plowed on "Well the nightmare woke me up and then I couldn't get to sleep again. I do miss the curtains around the beds at Hogwarts because they always blocked out the snoring and because I'm in the room casting a silencing charm at the door just isn't going to work. I promised Ron in first year that I wouldn't silence him again after trying a silencing charm and getting it horribly wrong. He'd ended up with Broccoli sprouting out of his ears until George and Fred had stopped laughing long enough to cancel the charm." Harry said giving a slight chuckle as well causing Hermione to do the same.
"Anyway I came down here nearly falling down the stairs because I missed a step. I thought I'd have woken everyone as I had to grab the banister to stop myself from completely falling and I was making a right racket, I got down here and just dropped onto the first available sofa. I tried to get to sleep again and then I was just drifting off again when I had the dream about Malfoy Manor again. Being in that cellar and hearing you and then I woke up and saw you sitting here."
"Why haven't you gone to one of the larger sofas, so you'll be more comfortable rather than this small thing?" asked Hermione.
"I don't know, I just laid on the first one I came across." Harry answered shrugging.
"Well go and settle on one of the bigger sofas and I'll go and make us a hot drink and see if that helps us nod off again." Hermione commanded as she got to her feet and walked towards the kitchen.
Harry watched her leave the room before gathering up the quilt and pillow and making his way to one of the large three seater sofas that not only were longer but also a lot deeper as they were made for lounging in than sitting upright.
Hermione entered the kitchen to see Fleur sat on one of the bar stools at the kitchen island in a grey silk dressing gown that was partly open revealing one of her perfectly toned thighs while she was holding what looked like a cup of cocoa between her hands. She looked up as Hermione entered the kitchen.
"I take it zat Arry woke you up as well? I honestly thought that the roof was falling down or somezing." she questioned, with a smile on her face.
"No I had a bad dream which woke me up and I thought I'd come and get a hot drink to try and help me back to sleep. Are you doing ok now?" asked Hermione kindly.
"Ah I see and then I suppose you ad to stop to have a… um look at Arry on your way past, non?" Fleur countered with a knowing smile. "I am doing a lot better after this afternoon Hermione, thank you for coming with me. I know I needed to talk to someone. You and Penny, I zink, are the only ones who will understand properly and not take a biased opinion."
"Well it was nice to spend some time away from here with you to get to know you better because we've never really had a chance before. I just wish it had been under happier circumstances really." Hermione commented. "Have you had anymore thoughts about what you're going to do and how you and Bill are going to tell them?"
"Non, I need to speak wiz Bill about zis but until he gets home and we discuss it together then I'll just have to try and cope as best I can." Fleur said dejectedly. She wasn't looking forward to that conversation at all. "I zink I will write to my Mother and Father tomorrow and see if they can elp, I might also contact Madame Maxine as well as she az always been a loyal confidante." Fleur added.
"Well I guess I best get Harry and I a drink and then try and get back to sleep." Hermione finished. She made her way around the breakfast bar Fleur was sitting at to a small cauldron on the hob which she lit a small blue flame using her wand before going to the larder to get some milk, butter and cocoa powder. Hermione started making the cocoa by putting a small piece of butter into the now hot cauldron allowing it to melt before adding the cocoa powder until it had made a claggy cocoa colored dumpling in the bottom of the cauldron before Hermione added some milk and started stirring like a crazy person trying to make the cocoa dumpling melt, all the while Fleur watched on with a quizzical and amused look on her face.
"What?" Hermione asked as she saw Fleur's face and wondered what the older girl was looking at her like that for.
"Have you ever made cocoa before Hermione?" Fleur questioned with a look of amusement on her face.
"Course I have!.. well sort of," replied Hermione, giving the cocoa a stir on the hob in the cauldron before pulling out the spoon she had been using to find a thick porridge like coating on the spoon. She licked the spoon and pulled a face in disgust as it wasn't very nice at all and tasted like burnt cocoa powder and was gristly and powdery on her tongue.
Fleur, laughing, got up and made her way around the counter "Well at least your brains don't go everywhere. Merde have you never been taught to cook at Ogwarts Hermione?" Fleur asked with a big smile on her face.
"Well I've never really had to cook before except for last year when we were on the run from Voldemort. I got all my meals at Hogwarts made by the house elves and when I was off in the summer my mum and dad or Mrs. Weasley tended to do all the cooking." Hermione replied in a slightly wounded tone. "Granted I'm not as good as Mrs. Weasley or Mum in the kitchen but we got by last year between Harry and myself doing the cooking."
While she thought about it Harry always finished whatever food she had made and put in front of him but Ron certainly hadn't and had normally made a remark after eating half of his about his mum's cooking. He never made the same remark to Harry when he had done the cooking.
'Am I really a bad cook?' Hermione thought. She had never been bad at anything in her life except perhaps flying but with that she did enough to get by. Even knitting the house elves hats she had got better the more she did as time went by but she couldn't think of anything else that she wasn't really good at. Other than cutting hair as she had made a right mess of Harry's a few months ago when they were on the run and Ron had gone to Bill and Fleur's place.
"Well maybe it's just a case zat you haven't had enough practice. At Beauxbatons all the witches had to take at least one year of Home & Cooking classes. We French pride ourselves in cooking ability and knowledge of flavors etc." Fleur kindly explained. "Why don't you go sit with Arry, while I make and bring you both some cocoa, and next time I'll show you how to make it." she added with a small smile.
"That would be nice thanks Fleur." Hermione replied as she turned and made her way back into the living area where she saw Harry stretched out again but awake on one of the longer and wider three seater sofas. He sat up to make room for Hermione and moved the quilt, so that his chest was more covered than when she was there a minute ago.
"Who were you talking to?" Harry asked.
"Fleur was up in the kitchen not able to sleep as well, she'll be here in a minute as she's making our drinks." Hermione answered. "Harry I need to ask you something and I want you to give me an honest answer." she tentatively said putting her hand on his leg causing Harry to tense up at the unexpected touch before he relaxed. Not that he was complaining but it was sending shivers through him as he and Hermione had never touched like that before.
"I always give you honest answers." replied Harry with a gulp as he felt like he had a lump in his throat wondering where this was going.
"I don't know… sometimes I think you would hold things back just to spare my feelings because you don't want to upset me." she said searching his eyes to see if she was right.
"Errr well I don't like seeing you upset Hermione, it broke my heart sixth year seeing how upset you were over Won Won and Lav Lav," Harry explained, "I would never deliberately upset you and I'm always honest with you especially if it's something important. I know I might tease you every now and again like with the liquid luck for that Quidditch game in sixth year, but I would always tell you the truth afterwards." he added thinking that he may never tell her the truth about how he really felt about her.
He was never able to talk about how he felt about Hermione with Ron because he knew Ron liked Hermione, and he couldn't say anything to the rest of the boys in his dorm as one of them would have said something. Well maybe not Neville. He had to push his feelings for her down as much as possible and he knew that Hermione only thought of him as a friend and not romantically. He wished he had told her how he felt about her during that time they had spent alone when Ron and Lavender were together. It would have given him the opportunity to at least see how she felt and whether Ron was the only person she liked. He should have talked to her months ago when Ron left them when they were hunting horcruxes. Hermione had stayed with him even though he knew she really liked Ron. She liked Ron.. that was the truth of it. She had chosen Ron and not him. He didn't like it but he'd have to live with it.
Too much time had gone by now and he couldn't bring up those feelings. They were together now and he missed his chance and that was that. There was no hope unless she and Ron split up, but he couldn't be the cause of it.
"Well if you're prepared to be honest with me then I've a question that I need you to answer for me." Hermione prompted while steeling herself for the possible answer.
Harry was beginning to wonder what she was going to ask him, especially if it required a hand on his leg and seemed to have her so worried. He was getting concerned as it didn't normally take a lot for Hermione to ask him something important, so it must be something difficult or personal.
Hermione took a deep breath and looked Harry straight in the eye "Do you think my cooking is good?"
Harry was stunned for a full five seconds before erupting into laughter, causing Hermione to shush him so that he didn't wake the rest of the house up. Harry wiped the tears from his eyes with the back of his hand as he tried to calm his chuckles while Hermione looked at him with a look that made it obvious she was less than impressed about being laughed at.
"And what is so funny?" she asked with anger flaring in her eyes.
Harry gave a soft chuckle, thankful that it wasn't something serious "Sorry Hermione but I thought you were going to say something a lot more serious or worrying than that, and of course you're a good cook." he replied, refusing to look her in the eye.
"Don't you lie to me Harry Potter… look me in the eye and say that."
Harry sucked in and breathed out a big breath to try and compose himself and turned to look her in the eye, but on seeing the look on Hermione's face burst out laughing again.
"Why you little… " Hermione said while giving him a playful smack on the arm. "Am I really that bad? I know I struggle doing it magically, but when I do it the muggle way I'm alright aren't I?"
"It's not your strongest attribute Hermione, but you're not that bad, seriously." he said kindly. She really wasn't a good cook.
Hermione could tell that he was just being nice and that his words probably weren't true but she was thankful for him trying not to hurt her feelings as usual. She was pretty sure that Ron wouldn't have been as tactful. He had about as much subtlety as a sledge hammer.
Fleur entered the room and gave them their drinks and sat on the couch opposite them. They all talked about what to do tomorrow and what time they would go to Diagon Alley. They were due at Gringotts at 11am and Harry needed to get some new dress robes or some new Wizard Robes because Fleur said that, since they were meeting with the account managers, it was always best to do so in formal wear when first meeting them. It showed them respect, and respect and honor were two things that Goblins held in importance along with gold.
Hermione decided that she would look Madam Malkin's as well because the gown that she wore to Slughorn's party had ripped when that oaf McLaggen stood on the hem of her dress because she tried to make a quick exit from his attempt at getting a good night kiss, causing a good size rip along the seam and no matter what she tried she couldn't get it to look proper when she tried to repair it.
Fleur agreed that she would come with them as she needed to speak with Bill because he didn't get home a lot of nights. He was out with other werewolves and he tended to go straight to Gringotts the next day.
Harry suggested that maybe they all go for breakfast in the Leaky Cauldron the next day and that he was buying.
Harry couldn't miss that something was obviously off with Fleur as her face and cheerfulness dropped whenever she seemed to talk about Bill these days. Harry guessed that she was staying at the Weasleys because she didn't want to be at Shell Cottage on her own. It was a lovely place but it was very remote.
Fleur stood saying that she was going to go back to bed and try to get some sleep, causing Hermione to agree that she had best go back to sleep as well since they had a big day and hopefully she wouldn't have any more nightmares.
Harry suggested that one of them possibly cast a silencing charm on the door so that they couldn't hear Ron. He added that he would be staying downstairs as there was no hoping of being able to sleep in the same room as him.
Hermione and Fleur made their way upstairs while looking over the bannister at Harry as he stretched and then lay down on the sofa again and seemed to instantly go to sleep.
Fleur said good night to Hermione as she slipped into her room and closed the door gently. Hermione, concerned for the older witch, thought about knocking to see if she needed to talk again but given the time decided she'd let her try and get some sleep and that it was probably a good idea for her to do so herself.
Looking at the door to Ron and Harry's room she heard Ron's snores coming through the door and it felt like the door was almost vibrating. Pulling her wand out of her dressing gown pocket, she cast a silencing charm at the door instantly silencing the snores coming from the room.
Hermione made her way into her bed wondering why she hadn't had the idea to do that herself when she had first woken up. 'Clever boy that Harry Potter' she thought to herself before settling under the quilt.