A/N: Yeah, haven't updated in a while. I'm just so freaking busy now. I'm not going to predict how long it may be until my next post, because I have no idea. The only thing I do know is that I appreciate all of the reviews from the last chapter, and I hope everyone is still interested in this story. Also, I know this is relatively short, but I figured it's better to post something now, rather than this plus another 1,000 words or so a month from now.
CHAPTER 10 – Bad Timing
Lunch was more of a blur than anything for Harry. While Hermione, as well as most of the other people seated at the table attempted to pull him in to conversation, he just wouldn't budge. He responded to most queries with short and direct answers, and put little or no thought into any of his statements. He didn't care, either. He just sat and waited until he could leave without being rude, occasionally taking a bite of the food in front of him.
Finally, Mrs. Weasley rose from her seat, which signaled the end of the meal. Harry followed suit, and seconds later was standing. To his surprise, however, someone else had already left the table, too. Ron was already rooted between Harry and the door. Harry raised an eyebrow at his friend, curious to know what he was doing. Ron merely glanced around the room as if to check to make sure no one was watching, and when he was satisfied, nodded towards the door. He then turned and exited the kitchen. Without hesitation, Harry followed. Neither said a word until they were back in the drawing room, the only place other than the kitchen that Harry did not want to be at that moment in time. Before he could suggest moving to another location, Ron shut the door and turned towards Harry.
"I need to talk to you," he said, his voice rather bold.
"Oh, is this about…erm, what was in the letter you sent me?" asked Harry.
"Uh, yeaaahh. Did you, um, give it any thought?" Ron asked.
"Listen Ron, I don't know about this sorta stuff. I'd like to help you, but I don't know what to say."
"But this isn't a typical situation. This isn't just any girl. We're talking about Hermione, here," said Ron, desperation evident in his voice. "Harry, you have to help me."
"Okay, you like her? Then just tell her that," Harry said, as if it were obvious.
Ron groaned loudly. "I can't tell her that I like her! It's Hermione!"
"Well, I don't know what else to tell you, mate." This caused Ron to groan rather loudly once again, and sit on the couch where he had been during the reading. He buried his face in his hands, and remained motionless for a moment's time. Then, as if there hadn't been any pause in their conversation, he lifted his head from its resting place and said, "You know, Sirius mentioned this in his letter to me."
Harry, who had been leaning against the wall as he waited for Ron to speak again, immediately straightened. "What did he say?"
"He talked about the war, and he said something about how we all need to come together. Then, almost out of the blue, there was a sentence that explained that I'm going to need Hermione to get through it all, and that I need to not waste any more time."
Harry was beginning to see a connection form between all of Sirius' letters. For some reason, before he had died, Sirius felt obligated to give relationship advice. But was that really what all this was about? Something told Harry there was more to this sudden trend in Sirius' thoughts.
"The strange thing is," Ron continued, "that I've been thinking almost the exact same thing since the night at the ministry. When I read Sirius' letter today, it pretty much confirmed things for me." Then, Harry witnessed something that he never expected, nor had he ever thought capable of Ron. The tall and lanky redhead stood from his seat on the couch, and in the most courageous and sincere voice Harry had ever heard from his friend, said "He's right. I have to tell her how I feel, because I'm afraid of what will happen if I don't."
Oddly enough, Harry vaguely understood what he meant. He was about to say so, when he noticed Ron's face suddenly turn as pale as a ghost. His eyes were wide and his jaw was now hanging open. Harry turned to see what it was that caused Ron to freeze, and he quickly found the source. Standing in the doorway with an equally shocked expression plastered across her face was Hermione. There was no need to even ask how long she had been standing there, as her expression was evidence enough that she had heard Ron's last statement.
Harry cleared his throat, in hopes that they would both snap out of their state of shock. The effect wasn't exactly what he was hoping for, but it was enough to make Hermione partially refocus her mind. She shook her head, and then looked to Harry for a moment. Then, her face still pearly white, she looked back to Ron, but dropped her eyes to his feet. Speaking at a lightning fast speed that made it difficult to understand the words, she said "WehavetogonowRonaldcomedownstairseveryoneisleavingbye." With that she swept back through the door and out of sight, hastily slamming the door as she went.
Harry looked to Ron, who plopped back down to his previous position on the couch, with his face buried in his hands. He then began to grown softly.
"Well, look on the bright side," he said, "at least now you don't have to work up the courage to tell her." This only caused the volume of Ron's groan to increase.
Harry stared at the ceiling of the bedroom as he lay on top of the covers. He had been in this position for nearly an hour, replaying the day's events in his head. Everyone departed shortly after the unexpected occurrence between Ron and Hermione. Incidentally, neither said a word to one another for the remainder of their time in Grimmauld Place. Both had a newfound interest in their own feet, it seemed. After saying goodbyes to everyone, and assuring them that he would be fine at the Dursley's, Harry and Lupin once again found themselves to be the only occupants of the house.
Now, as he lay on the bed, revisiting everything that happened over the course of the day, Harry once again felt alone. Sure, Lupin was still in the house; but, for some reason, he felt as if he needed his friends right now. Moreover, he felt as though the time he did share with them today, namely Ron and Hermione, was insufficient. A wave of guilt suddenly swept over him. He had forgotten about Ginny. After everything that happened, he forgot that he was supposed to talk with her, yet they didn't speak a single word to one another.
She deserved an explanation, but he felt as though he wouldn't be able to face her anytime soon. Besides, he was supposedly back at the Dursley's, where everyone thought he had to stay for the remainder of the summer, while she was at the Burrow. He would have to wait half the summer to talk to her, unless he took the easy way out and sent her an owl. He pondered this idea for a moment. It would be better than nothing. At least he could apologize, which would surely put his mind at ease.
Harry rose from the bed, and walked to where his trunk lay once again after having been retrieved from upstairs. He pulled out a small bit of parchment and one of his older quills, along with an ink bottle, and then sat and stared at it all. What exactly should he say? Time flew by as he contemplated what it was that he wanted to say to her. He simply couldn't seem to find the proper starting point. Finally, he decided to keep it simple, as he had in his most recent letter to her.
I want to apologize for what happened today. I wasn't thinking straight, and I would never intentionally do something to upset you. When I saw that you left on my account, I felt terrible. We didn't even get that chance to talk. Please let me know if there is any way that I can make it up to you. Hope everything is alright.
After reading over the letter three times in order to make sure it was perfect, he folded it up, placed it in an envelope, and sealed it. He then realized that Hedwig was not in the room. He had forgotten to bring her out of the meadow when he retrieved his trunk and other items. With a feeling of self-disgust for having forgotten her, Harry dropped the letter on the bed and hurried out of the room and up the stairs to Sirius' room.
He entered the empty room and made his way towards the portrait of the meadow, pulling out his wand along the way. He then tapped the frame and muttered the incantation that Lupin taught him, and watched as it began to slowly expand vertically until it was the same size as the closet door directly to the side. Before he had a chance to step inside, however, Harry was nearly knocked off of his feet by a flapping white blur soaring past him. He turned to see that she was frantically trying to exit through the window on the opposite side of the room, hooting loudly all the while.
"Hedwig, what's wrong girl?" he asked.
Before he could approach her, though, the lights in the room extinguished, and he was left standing in the dark. Instinctively, Harry raised his wand.
He turned in a circle, shinning the light in each direction, until he faced the entryway to the meadow. There was still some light escaping through the doorway, though it was much dimmer than he remembered. Curious, he cautiously stepped through the frame, and at the same time turned out the light on his wand. He surveyed the area and found nothing to be out of place. The meadow seemed to be the same as always, with the exception of the light. Or could that just be his mind playing tricks with him? Satisfied that all was well in the meadow, he turned to exit. However, as he turned, he heard a rustling noise which made him freeze. It sounded like a gust of wind, except extreme. And then it began to get louder, and he felt the ground shake slightly. Harry whipped around to face the whole of the meadow again, and was met with the full force of an intense gust of wind, so brutal that it knocked him to the ground. Harry didn't waste any time getting back on his feet. He scrambled out of the room as quickly as possible and tapped the frame immediately to close it. As soon as it was shut, he raced towards the door to the hallway, calling Hedwig to follow him as he ran, and raced down the stairs.
A/N: Please oh please review! Thanks!