Title: July 1st
Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns all of them and does far more productive things with them than I do, which is probably good for all parties involved.
Warning: FLUFF ALERT! There is absolutely NOTHING of substance in this fic. It has NO redeeming qualities. It's just unabashed fluff. I'm just making that clear up front…
Author's notes/Explanation: So I was at my cottage on my lake in the Laurentiens having a spectacularly cold, wet, thunderstormy (3 storms in one day. Seriously. That's gotta be a record or something) Canada Day. My dog is absolutely terrified of thunderstorms and it was through watching her quake that the idea for this fic was born. Five pages later, Canada Day, Politics, thunderstorms, H/Hr shippiness, and panic attacks had all been included. Does it make sense? Probably not. Fun? Well… I can hope…
Dedication: Oh Canada! My home and native land! True patriot love, in all thy sons command… continues singing in an off-key, yet slightly charming voice. Anyhoo. Happy Birthday, Canada!
After their fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry, Ron, and Hermione decided that they'd have to do something extraordinarily special that summer to wipe away the remaining foul taste of the school year. So with a little help from the Weasely twins (their joke shop was running superbly well), Harry's vault at Gringotts, and Hermione's parents, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Fred, and George found themselves packing for a two week vacation in the Laurentiens of Quebec, Canada.
The Laurentiens promised to be spectacular. Known for its pine mountains, ski hills, clean lakes, and tourist towns, Harry was eagerly looking forward to spending long days lounging in the sun on the dock, swimming in the crystal clear water, and horsing around with his best friends.
The house they rented was no disappointment. Nestled in the hills, a sparkling lake just in front of it, it appeared to be the perfect summer getaway. However, there were several key things the travel brochures had neglected to mention. The Laurentiens were cold, wet, and the lake adamantly refused to heat up. The group, much to their dismay, found themselves spending most of their time locked inside… with the heat going.
When July 1st rolled around, Harry was growing increasingly frustrated. Every time the sun came out, they would eagerly grab their swim costumes, only to find the sky overcast and ominous looking five minutes later. Harry did not understand why the weather insisted on torturing them so.
Mid-afternoon, he wandered outside, staying hidden under the overhang of the deck. Feeling dejected, he scowled darkly at the pristine looking lake. The sky rumbled threateningly and Harry glared at it, silently daring it to storm.
He jumped in surprise when the door swung open and Hermione clambered out to join him.
"Oh, things don't look very reassuring, do they?"
Harry shook his head moodily. "I can't believe it's really this cold. I mean… it's July! What's wrong with this place?"
At that very moment, as if in answer to his question, there was a loud BANG!
Harry whirled around, searching frantically for his wand. "We're under attack! Get the others!"
Hermione just laughed softly and Harry stared at her, bewildered.
"It was just a cannon, Harry," she explained, pointing to the dock next to their own. Indeed there was a cannon. Though empty, their neighbour had apparently set it off anyway.
"But… why?" Harry asked, aghast.
She looked at him disapprovingly. "Well, you know. It's Canada Day. Canada's national holiday."
"It is?" Harry said, incredulously.
Hermione stared at him. "Honestly, don't you ever pay attention to what's going on in the rest of the world?"
Hermione frowned at him. "Well, you should!" she said shrilly. "Maybe if everyone paid a little more attention, we could get along better, and bring about some kind of peace!"
Harry seriously doubted that him knowing about Canada Day would bring about world peace. Unwilling to do anything to annoy her (further), he said uncertainly, "Anything else, then, that I should know about Canada?"
Hermione studied him, as if trying to decide how curious he actually was. "Yes," she said shortly. "Did you know they had an election last Monday night?"
Harry didn't, but he nodded anyway.
Somehow his agreement set her off and she was suddenly talking about politics. Canadian politics. And Harry couldn't really think of anything more boring. Still, she was grinning and Harry thought she looked rather cute. Besides, the sound of her voice, clearly fascinated by the subject (though Harry could not, for the life of him, understand why) was comforting.
Harry tuned her out, but continued to study her. For some reason, Hermione was the only one of them that managed to get any sun. Ron swore that it was a "girl thing" because she certainly hadn't been outside more than the rest of them. Her nose was red and peeling slightly. However the rest of her, and Harry lingeringly swept his eyes over her form, had browned nicely.
She had also decided to forgo her regular school year wardrobe, replacing it with what she deemed "summer clothes." To Harry, "summer clothes" seemed to actually mean "wearing as little as possible." She'd started sporting tank tops and short skirts. Ron had secretly told Harry that he was far, far from forgetting that she was a girl. Harry had silently agreed.
She was still talking rather heatedly about politics, and it seemed to be about the results of Monday's election. She was throwing around the words "minority government." "seats," and "liberals and NDP" quite a bit. Harry wondered how she knew all this stuff, seeing as how she was a British citizen and should have absolutely no idea what was going on in Canadian politics.
There was a loud clap of thunder and it rocked through the mountains, shaking the deck slightly. Hermione shrieked and grabbed onto Harry's arm. "Oh no!" she moaned. "I hate thunderstorms… they terrify me."
Harry winced, as she was holding on quite tightly. "That's erm… nice, Hermione."
There was a flash of lightening and Hermione shrieked again. She pressed her face against his arm, shuddering when a loud rumble of thunder snapped in the air.
Harry patted her back awkwardly. "Do you want to go inside?"
She looked up at him fearfully. "Would you come with me?"
"I dunno. I sort of like thunderstorms… they're kind of neat."
Her grip on his arm didn't loosen. Harry was beginning to get distracted by it, and he didn't think that had anything to do with the coming storm.
"But… I don't want to be alone!" she wailed.
"You wouldn't be alone," he said soothingly, uncomfortably aware of how close she was pressed against him. "Look… I'll take you to Ron. You could hang on to him."
More lightening. The darkened sky flashed, and a loud roar of thunder followed. Hermione practically dived into his arms, quaking.
Harry held her, suddenly aware of how good she smelled. He tried to remind himself that he was trying to make her feel better. "Hermione… it's okay. It's just a light storm, really. Compared to everything we've faced…"
"Oh, no!" she said, pressing herself tighter against him. "Thunderstorms are quite dangerous! People die every year from them! AND THERE'S NO WAY TO PROTECT YOURSELF!"
"Okay!" Harry said, rubbing her back as she trembled against him. "I'm just going to take you inside, and we'll find Ron, and it'll all be okay…" And, Harry thought, he could stop responding to her being pressed up against him.
More thunder and lightening. Hermione let out a terrified squeak.
Then, her heard her mumble quietly, "I feel safe with you."
Harry found that hard to believe. She was trembling so badly that her entire body was vibrating. "Erm, Hermione, I think that…"
"Don't you dare pass me off on someone else, Harry Potter!" she shrieked, terrified.
Harry was feeling increasingly panicked because having her in his arms was driving him crazy. He had to remind himself that she was terrified and that she wanted comfort. He certainly couldn't think about the way her breasts were mashed up against his chest, or how he could feel her breath tickling over his neck, or how her hands gripped his sides…
There was another loud clap of thunder that echoed through the woods. The rain came next. Big, fat droplets that pelted from the sky and banged on the house.
Hermione's face became very pale, and she squeezed her eyes shut. Harry swallowed hard. He stroked her hair soothingly. "Really, Hermione," he said. "I don't think it's such a good idea for you to be out here."
"Don't let go of me!" she wailed.
Harry grit his teeth. She was terrified. She wanted comfort. He just had to concentrate on that fact and certainly not the fact that he was suddenly undeniably attracted to his best friend…
Hermione pressed her face against his neck and Harry resisted the urge to moan out loud. She was still quaking. "I need to hold on to you!" she whispered urgently. "You've always made me feel safe…"
With a little reflection, Harry realized that was true. This was certainly NOT the first time Hermione had ever latched on to him when she was scared. There was the time Sirius had broken in and smashed the Fat Lady, the time in the Shrieking Shack, the time when they were riding Buckbeak, and the time they met Gawpy. Of course, this was the first time she'd ever launched herself into his arms with such persistence, and Harry realized that was a little bit more distracting than simply grabbing his arm.
"It'll be okay," he said again, trying to be soothing. "It's practically impossible to be hit by lightening from where we're standing."
"DON'T SAY THAT!" she hollered.
"Oh, no!" she moaned. "Now we're going to die and it'll be ALL your fault!"
Harry felt himself growing desperate. "So, about those Canadian politics…"
That seemed to have some kind of chemical reaction in her brain. She looked up at him, still trembling, but smiling. "You were actually listening to me?" she asked softly.
"Um… let's see…" Harry stuttered.
Fortunately he was saved having to make a reply when there was another boom of thunder and her eyes got wide and terrified.
"So… how about that minority government?" Harry asked weakly, picking the only thing he could remember from her earlier rant.
Hermione, though she was still trembling, seemed to take some kind of a cue from his words. Harry realized, with no small amount of horror, that he was still very attracted to her… even when she was babbling on about minority governments! The minority government of Canada, no less! What in God's name was wrong with him?
More thunder. Hermione twittered nervously and jumped into his arms again, her hands fisting through his hair. Harry tried hard not to think about her hands in his hair, tickling his scalp, and he tried even harder not to think about how snogging her might take her mind off the storm.
Hermione titled her head up to look him in the eye. There was another flash of lightening, and her entire face was illuminated. The thunder echoed through the hills again, but Hermione went very still. They stared at each other breathlessly.
Hermione made the first move. Leaning up, he felt her breath whistle over his face right before her lips met his. Harry, after his initial shock, returned the kiss willingly. He proceeded onto kissing her senseless. The storm raged on around them, the wind picking up bits of leaves and sticks and throwing them angrily at the house, the rain continued to pelt down, drenching everything in sight, and the thunder roared through the mountains as the lightening lit up the sky.
Neither of them so much as noticed.
Sometime later Hermione pulled away, breathless. Harry noticed that she seemed to have completely forgotten about the storm. He decided that he was more than fine with that.
She smiled sweetly. "Happy Canada Day, Harry."