Despite what others thought, Harry Potter was not oblivious to girls. He just had too much on his plate to pay most of them any attention. Well, most of the time. When spending the summer vacation with his relatives he didn't really have anything to occupy him, and then his thoughts drifted, becoming very like every teenage boy's thoughts, and that meant – girls. Unfortunately, due to the conditions he had while living there, he could only think of girls but do nothing. Well, that was what he considered to be his situation.
He had enough time to think of girls and even day-dream of spending his time with them when being forced to stay in his room or while doing the boring chores his relatives required of him. At almost fifteen, despite the traumatic events during the school year, and especially the third task, his mind tended to drift from the memories that were still tormenting his dreams to much nicer thoughts, like Lavender's cleavage, or Susan's; Parvati's tight bum and her laughter; Ginny's shy smile whenever she caught his eyes. Yet no matter what he was thinking, he was eventually drifting to thinking about his best and most loyal friend – Hermione.
Harry had always been aware of Hermione being a girl, and a very nice one, as far as he could judge. Her bushy mane seemed to give her character, and her face was really nice, maybe even pretty. He hadn't minded her larger than normal front teeth, and after they had been shrunk a bit, her improved confidence made her look even prettier. She had certainly looked stunning during the Yule Ball. Ever since he found out he needed a date for the Yule Ball, Harry was berating himself in his mind that he didn't ask Hermione to be his date. He could only blame his lack of confidence, thanks to the way his "loving" relatives had been treating him since he could remember.
Thinking back, Harry thought he had always had a soft spot for Hermione. Even during the first few weeks at Hogwarts, before they became closer, he was fascinated by the bushy-haired bookworm, by her knowledge, her dedication, and her looks. Hey, as a boy he was supposed to notice girls' looks, wasn't he? Oh, he knew Parvati was considered prettier, Lavender was more sociable, Susan was well connected and Daphne (yes, he noticed Slytherin girls too,) was as beautiful and as cold as a marble statue.
None of that mattered, really. Hermione was a warm, passionate person that he liked. Being a pretty girl with a nice figure that was disclosed at the Ball seemed unimportant, at least for a while. Now, alone with the Dursleys, his mind seemed to focus on every minute detail about Hermione's look. He knew the way she was absent-mindedly moving stray hairs behind her ears. He adored the way she was concentrating, making her face really cute. He could certainly do without her nagging to finish his homework or study more seriously, although he couldn't fault her for trying to help him. Lately, when sitting near her, he also noticed the way her blouse let him see a bit of her chest when she bent down to show him something in a book or whisper over the Library table. He really liked what he saw.
He wondered why he didn't pay as much attention to Lavender, whose blouses were always open at least one button too many, showing much more of her much more prominent breasts than he could see on Hermione. Parvati had also let him have more than a glimpse at her breasts, that were much smaller, closer in size to Hermione's. None of them seemed to interest him as much as Hermione, though.
Then, there was Cho. He'd had a crush on her, captivated by her petite figure, pretty face and athletic figure. It didn't last, though. When he found she was dating Cedric, he realized she could never show any real interest in him. Yet what made him drop all thoughts about Cho was Hermione's expression turning stony whenever Cho's name came in a conversation. Hermione was too important for him to risk their friendship for a crush.
He kept wondering why he'd gotten no mail from Hermione since parting at the train station. The previous summers, Hermione had written to him about twice a week, at least. Three weeks had passed since they said goodbye for the summer and he was still waiting for her first letter. He didn't mind not getting a letter from Ron, though. Since Harry's name came out of the Goblet, Ron proved to be much less than Best Friend, much less than a friend at all; and he hadn't even properly apologized for his behaviour. Harry had no expectations from Ron any longer. He was still wondering about Hermione, though.
Like most mornings, he was actually left alone. Uncle Vernon was at work, Aunt Petunia went to visit and gossip with some neighbours and Dudley was just sleeping in, as usual during vacations. Harry had his chores, of course, but he was doing them automatically, paying them no real attention. Doing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen and sorting the laundry were barely needing any conscious attention. Instead, his mind was drifting back to its favourite subject. He recalled Hermione's smile, her frowns, her rare laughter. He really missed her. He wished he could be with her, or at least talk to her. He wondered if she was even thinking of him during vacation.
He was brought out of his musing by the harsh sound of a phone ringing. The Dursleys didn't put their trust in new technology, so their telephone had an old fashioned mechanical ringer that had only one volume setting: loud.
He tried to lift the receiver as quickly as possible so that Dudley would not be awakened. "Dursley residence, Harry speaking," he answered, hoping that neither his aunt nor his uncle would be angry at him for answering the phone. They usually preferred to completely ignore his existence and pretend he wasn't there, except for the chores.
"Harry? I was hoping you'd be able to answer. I'm so glad you could!" There was no doubt about the identity of the person on the other end of the line. He could recognize her voice even while sleeping.
"Hermione? How come you're calling?" As much as he liked talking with her, this was the first time she called.
"Well, Dumbledore said that we shouldn't write to you so that the owls would not give out your address. I argued that you needed your friends as much as you needed the security, but he dismissed my words. Then I thought that neither he nor the V person or any of his followers, would be able to trace phone calls."
"It took you three weeks?" He couldn't believe she was so slow to realize that. Oh, he was probably whining a bit, but she stayed out of touch for that long, so he had a right to whine, hadn't he?
She sounded apologetic. "My parents took me on vacation to Greece two days after returning home, so I really had no chance to do anything about that. We've only returned home yesterday."
That sounded more like Hermione. "Oh, and how was Greece?"
"It was wonderful, and I learned so much there. I'd like to tell you all, but I think we should meet for that. Can you leave the house?"
He shrugged, although she couldn't see it. "As long as I finish my chores, they couldn't care less about what I do. When and where would you like us to meet?"
"Well..." There was a moment of silence, and Harry could almost see her face getting the "thinking" expression that he always loved to watch. "I don't think we should meet at your relatives' house or at my parents' due to security. No need to attract attention to either place, you know. We could just go to London and meet there."
"I don't have Muggle money to go there, and I don't think my Aunt would give me any."
"You could just use the Knight Bus, the way you did before the third year. Just walk some distance from your house before summoning it."
"I wouldn't like to be seen at Diagon alley either."
"We can meet somewhere else. How about… Piccadilly Circus? I can wait for you there, near the fountain, and there are always many people there, so nobody will notice two more teens."
Harry liked the idea. It only took them a bit longer to set the time before they hung up. It was just in time, as Harry could hear Dudley's thunderous descent on the stairs only a minute or two later. As expected, he served his cousin a sizeable breakfast, waited for the fat boy to eat his humongous meal and then did the dishes. His aunt returned home as he was almost done with that.
"Have you done your chores?" she asked sharply.
"All that you asked me to do this morning. I'm going out for the rest of the day."
"Good! The less we see of you, the better."
Harry chose his best-looking clothes before he left home, walked for ten minutes to one of the main roads and lifted his wand.
The triple-decker bus appeared moments later. Harry was a bit apprehensive of meeting the same people as two years earlier, fearing they would recognize him. He didn't need to worry. The day crew was different, and his baseball cap hid the famous scar well enough to make him unrecognizable. A short while later, after a just as bumpy ride as the first, he dismounted at Piccadilly Circus.
It was evident why Hermione chose such a place for their meeting. There were hundreds of people wherever he looked. No Death Eater would be able to follow him there. He was barely able to move in the dense crowd, making his way to the fountain that wasn't quite in the middle. He wondered how he would be able to find Hermione in the crowd.
It took him a few minutes to circle the fountain. He didn't find Hermione, but she found him. "Harry! I'm so glad you could come!" she said as she hugged him tightly. Harry had always liked her hugs, and since she got breasts, he liked them even more. Hermione didn't mind to press her front to his body, and Harry suspected that she liked it just as much. He also suspected that she was not wearing a bra, judging by the softness he was feeling. His teenage mind was starting to imagine what that meant, but his good friend wouldn't let him dwell on it.
"We first need to buy you some decent clothing," she said, taking his hand in hers.
"I don't have money, you know," he objected.
"I'll pay. You can pay me back at school, no problem. I just don't want people to think it's a pity date."
"We're dating?" That was certainly news for him.
She blushed. "Well… Not exactly… Still, people who see us together, only the two of us, may think that way."
Harry wasn't sure what got into him to make him ask, "Do you want us to date?"
Hermione's face turned redder and her eyes looked at her feet. "It doesn't matter right now. Come, I don't want us to waste all the time on shopping."
An hour later, Harry was dressed in much fitter clothing and had two more sets of clothes in his shopping bag, along with the clothes he'd been wearing earlier. Hermione also insisted on buying him new trainers, after noticing that the ones he was wearing were practically falling apart.
"We can have lunch now," Hermione told him. She directed them to one of the many food outlets nearby, where they had a modest lunch. Unaccustomed to eating out, Harry let her select the servings. She passed him some money under the table, so he could pay. While waiting, she talked about her vacation in Greece, like any enthusiastic teen would tell about it.
With lunch over, they walked along Piccadilly street until they reached Hyde Park. Harry didn't remember how that happened, but somewhere along the way, he found his arm around her waist and her arm around his, her head leaning on his shoulder. He decided that he liked it. None of them seemed to mind that walking that way was much slower.
They found a secluded area at the park, where they could talk without worrying about being overheard. Harry sat on the ground, leaning on a tree trunk while Hermione lay on the lawn, resting her head on his lap. By the time they left the park, Harry couldn't remember what they'd been talking about all afternoon, but he was certain that this was one of the best afternoons in his life, maybe even the best.
They found a small restaurant near the park, and Hermione insisted on them having dinner there. Once again, she passed him the money so he could pay. Harry felt a bit awkward about it but appreciated her cooperation in making him feel better about the money. Still, when they left the restaurant, he felt in her debt. "Maybe I can go to Gringotts and change some of my money," he suggested.
She gave it a thought. "I think you should refrain from being seen in magical places. Besides, I've almost run out of magical money. If you have enough, we can exchange some so both will gain from it."
He shrugged. "I don't mind. I still have most of what I took out of my vault last time. I didn't have much chance to spend it."
"Can you bring a hundred Galleons next time so I'll exchange it for pounds? That should suffice for a while."
"Sure! When do you want us to meet again?"
"I can't come tomorrow, but we can meet the day after. Let's meet at Hyde Park corner," she suggested.
"That's fine with me."
Harry escorted Hermione to the train station, where he got another tight hug for his effort, along with a kiss on his cheek, and then took the Knight Bus back to Little Whinging. By the time he reached home, his relatives had already retired for bed, leaving him a list of chores for the next day.