By: Liz and Rita (aka Magicalkitten2 and Mystified Providence)

A/N: This is the first story Liz and I have written together, please remember to review!

Chapter One

Saved From The Flames

Ding Dong

Hermione ran down the stairs two at a time, and threw open the door to see Ron and Harry, smiles across their faces. "Aahh!" She squealed with delight. She engrossed them both into deep hugs, and gave them each a kiss on the cheek. She noticed the blush that spread across Ron's face as she did this, and how Harry shifted from foot to foot uncomfortably. Hermione tried to ignore it best she could, however, telling herself she was just imagining them looking her up and down. She knew she had really grown into herself this past summer, developing feminine curves and such. She had even gotten her hair under control...but they couldn't be checking her out...they were her BEST friends! Rolling her eyes and shaking away her thoughts, she said, "So, guys, are you gonna stand there all day or are we going to get going?" Ron and Harry snapped out of it, muttering things like "Oh, yeah, sure" and "Hmm...what?". They helped her with her trunk, placing it in the trunk of Mr. Weasly's new car. She waved politely at Ron's father, as she turned to give her mother and father a large hug goodbye. During the car ride, Hermione swore she saw Harry and Ron staring at her. She grumbled, "If I turn around and you're staring at me, you're both walking the way home." Immediately she felt the stares go away. Mr. Weasly chuckled at Hermione's threat, as he glanced into the rearview mirror just in time to watch the boys avert their eyes. The rest of the ride was driven mostly in silence, with the occasional, "So what have you been up to?".

Finally, they reached the burrow. Hermione was looking forward to the attention being off her. When they landed, Mrs. Weasly was standing by the front door. "Hermione, darling! You look so...grown up!" Hermione knew Mrs. Weasly was just being kind, but she couldn't help grumble and wish people would just stop looking at her like that. She was still the same Hermione Granger, why couldn't they stop. She was glad when Ginny came to greet her, Gin seemed to be the only one who didn't care about her 'womanly changes'. Instead, she talked like a motorboat. "Oh, wow! I missed you, Herms! I have SO much to tell you! Like, first, George taught me to ride a broom! See this mark," she said, pointing to her elbow, "I fell off the broom! Not something to be proud of, but I actually got off the ground so I fell! Oh, and I bugged Ron all summer, that's typical. So, anyway, how was your summer?".

Hermione grinned, "Oh typical. I studied, and hung out with some muggle friends at the mall and clubs. Have you done your homework, Ginny?".

"Are you kidding me?" Ginny replied. "'Course! Mum had to threaten me with a hot frying pa--" Ginny stopped short when she saw Mrs. Weasly glaring at her. "Oh, hi, mum!"

Hermione laughed, knowing Mrs. Weasly could never truly get angry with her baby girl. Ron and Harry had already made themselves comfortable around the kitchen table. She smiled at the two warmly, and joined them. She didn't know where she would be without the two of them. When she saw Ron's ears blush and Harry push his glasses up though they hadn't fallen off, she had a pretty good guess of where she would be without them.

Fred and George stampeded down the stairs, stopping with one step left, when they saw Hermione. "Hermione, Hermione!" Fred said in a friendly tone. "Hiya, Fred. Long time no see?"

"VERY long time, I suppose.." George said looking at Hermione. Fred nudged him in the ribs.

Hermione felt a blush creep up her cheeks as she lowered her eyes, was George suggesting something? "How's the joke shop doing?" she asked, quickly changing the subject.

"Oh, fine. Great, actually, thanks for asking." When Fred caught a glimpse of Ron's face, he burst out in laughter. It was as red as the strawberries in Mrs. Granger's pie, pleading not to embarrass him. When George saw him, he pointed, doubling over in laughter.

Hermione turned her head to look at Ron, he was so red she could barely contain her laughter, "Ron, I don't believe you had a sunburn when we entered the house. Is something wrong?"

She touched his hand lightly in a concerned gesture, she hadn't seen him this red in years...

"Fine, He-Hermione," his voice cracked with embarrassment. He mentally stabbed himself and promised he'd never blush AGAIN, then he saw her hand and his promise was broken. Harry looked at Ron and pushed up his glasses, refusing to laugh, knowing that could happen to him at any given moment.

Hermione was feeling more then a bit silly, what were they so excited over? She sent them each one more smile, and ran up to Ginny's bedroom, hoping to get a bit of peace from the eyes of guys.

Ginny and Hermione had so many memories, so many laughs. They've been through everything together, and shared all their secrets. Ginny was about to tell Hermione something juicy about Ron, when Ginny's face became like a deer in headlights. "What is it, Gin?"

Hermione felt as though she wanted to scream, throw up, and die, or possibly do all three at the same time. Hermione turned her eyes to where Ginny was looking, you see earlier that summer Ginny had learned this fantastic spell that made it so she could see right through her door, much like a two way window. Of course, none of the boys knew Ginny had done this, and didn't know that if they were in the hall, they were most likely being watched. What had shocked the girls so terribly was there in the hallway was a naked Harry Potter, shouting for Fred and George to give him back his towel and clothes.

Hermione's mouth hung open, wishing she didn't have to see that. She couldn't look away, however, and wished this were all on camera. Muggles had this great show, 'Funniest Home Videos'.... this would win for sure.

"I'm not sure I'll ever be the same again," Ginny said in all seriousness.

"Poor Gin," Hermione joked, "Still like Harry?"

"ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I LOVE HIM NOW!" The girls' laughter filled the house, and downstairs in the kitchen Mrs. Weasly shook her head, pretending to be upset but really just being happy the girls were having fun." Hermione wondered what Harry would say if he found out she had seen him naked. Agreeing with Ginny, they decided it would remain a secret. He'd never have to know that everyone saw him...

The girls skipped dinner, deciding it would just be to embarrassing to look Harry in the eye right now. Before they knew it, they were both sleeping. Their slumber didn't last for long though, they soon woke up coughing as smoke filled their lungs.

"Ginny," Hermione choked, shaking Ginny, "wake up! There's a fire!" Ginny sat up in her bed immediately, and her eyes grew wide. "We have to get out of here!" Hermione yelled.

"I know!" They both got out of bed and tried to open the door, but the doorknob burnt their hands and Ginny started crying. "I'm..I'm too young to die!" Hermione shoved the door many times, but it wouldn't open. "We have to scream," she ordered. "On the count of three! One, two, three!" Their piercing screams rang through the whole neighborhood, but nothing happened right away. Hermione, the smart and resourceful one, wasn't feeling smart OR resourceful, just scared. They screamed again, and heard a noise outside.

They watched the door begin to splinter as something rammed into it repeatedly. The girls instinctively backed up as the door burst off the hinges. A tall shadowy figure was seen looming in the doorway, the light of the fire silhouetting the persons image.

The dark person (whom Hermione nor Ginny could clearly see) picked up Hermione with much difficulty and made it clear for Ginny to go on his back. Ginny had a clear thought of who it was, but decided Hermione would figure it out on her own eventually. The shadowy figure carried them out of the room, trying to find a good exit. Hermione was in such shock that she fainted, and by the time she came to, the house was in flames, and charms were being set on the house to protect it. Ron and Harry surrounded Hermione. "Oh my word.." she said, staring at the smoldering house that was once the Burrow. Ginny was in her mom's arms, and Mr. Weasly just stood there, mouth agape.

Hermione coughed a bit, her mouth was dry and itchy from the smoke, as were her eyes. She took a deep breath of fresh air and asked timidly, "Who saved me?"

Ron started to say something, but changed his mind. Hermione got close to his face and whispered, "Ronald Weasly, if you saved my life I have a right to know."

Ron looked around nervously, "I heard you scream...Harry was getting Pig, Hedwig and Crookshanks out...the door was locked...I'm...really glad you're okay Herms"

Hermione smiled and hugged him tight. She was going to kiss him on the cheek, but this shade of red looked good on Ron, no need to make it magenta. "That was for saving me." She then looked at Harry (who was lifting up his glasses) and hugged him as well. "And that was for saving Crookshanks."

"Uuhh..No problem, Herms..." both boys muttered.

Now the question was, who started the fire? The question was quickly answered when she glanced up and saw the Dark Mark and the Malfoy's Trademark Slytherin Snake hovering above the burrow. She chuckled darkly, thinking about how disappointed Voldemort would be when he found out his dark mark had been put up and no one had had the decency to die.

Hermione nudged Ron and tilted her head towards the dark figure. Ron's face turned red, except with anger and not embarrassment. His palms turned into fists, and he started breathing heavily. "Why I aughta.."

"Don't, Ron. Don't." Hermione tried to figure out why now, of all times, Lucius would try to set fire to the burrow, and one answer rang in her head. I was visiting.

She put her head in her hands and sobbed. "It's all my fault! You know how much the Malfoy's hate mudbloods! He must have known I was coming!" Ron rubbed her back to keep her cool, and Harry held her hand. "I doubt that's why, Herms," Harry said gently. "He hates mudbloods almost as much as he hates Ron. (Sorry, Ron.)"

Hermione shook her head, tears streaming down her cheeks, "But it IS my fault Harry...even though they don't like the Weaslys...they hate mudbloods more! If I hadn't visited, the wouldn't have bothered! They were just killing two birds with one stone!"

"Don't blame yourself Hermione, if it wasn't us, it would have been someone else...and they might not have made it." Ron interjected as he took the opportunity to comfort Hermione, gathering her up in his arms protectively. She sobbed in his shoulder, imaging how much pleasure Lucius Malfoy, aka biggest scum on the face of the earth, was getting.

"Oh, you 3, calm down and look at the house," Mr. Weasly said, pointing to the house. It was perfected, other than a large brown spot at the ceiling. "That'll be fixed, too."

"How--? Oh, my!" Hermione smiled, happy that everyone would be going back to normal except for Harry, Hermione, and Ron, who would have to torture and / or kill Draco Malfoy when they got to school.

The heads of the Weasly Clan (aka Mr. and Mrs. Weasly) lead the frightened teenagers back into the house. The found that it was still quite warm inside, but other then that, it was as if there hadn't been a fire at all. Mr. Weasly exchanged some words with a wizard fire marshal, thought the teens couldn't hear what was being said. Mrs. Weasly gave them all a stern look, and sent the up to bed.

Ginny and Hermione laid down, and though Ginny fell asleep right away, Hermione couldn't. What if Hermione didn't come today? What if Ron hadn't saved her? What if? Without thinking, Hermione got up and tapped on Ron's bedroom door. Ron answered and said, "Hermione? What are you doing?" Hermione replied, embarrassed, "Couldn't sleep."

Ron gave her a lopsided grin, "Come on in Herms...Harry's asleep but I can wake him up if you want me too..."

"No that's okay..."

Hermione perched at the very edge of Ron's bed, as an awkward silence descended upon them. "Ron, thanks again for saving me," she said, looking into his eyes. He blushed and looked away. "Don't mention it." Hermione tried to think of something to say to break the silence, but Ron ruined it.

"You've changed."

"Excuse me?"

"You've," he said pointing up and down, "changed."

"I'm quite aware of that, thank you very much!" Hermione snapped. She couldn't believe how insensitive he could be at times, he could be so thick!

"Bloody hell, Hermione! Did I say that out loud?" Ron slapped himself on the forehead.

"Yeah, you did, Ron," she said while getting up to go for the door.

"Sorry! I'm a bit groggy. When I'm groggy it's almost as bad as a truth potion."

"Oh. Better not speak then, I don't feel like hearing all your dirty secrets."

"Not all my secrets are dirty ones Hermione." Ron stated, his eyes filled with a passion Hermione had not seen there before.