DISCLAIMER: JK ROWLING owns the characters in this story.
NOTE: This story was originally intended to be a comedy. My apologies if it gets a bit dramatic towards the end. Hope you like it, I only proof read the last bit…so there's probably mistakes galore. Oopla! (Also, the title fit when I first started writing it…sorry it doesn't flow all the way through…what happened?)
Oh that Harry! He can really be daft sometimes! Hermione thought as she raced her way to the Hospital Wing. Of all things! Quidditch! Bursting through the door into the room, she immediately spotted Harry lounging on one of the small hospital beds, a wide grin on his face.
"Hey Hermione! Great game wasn't it?"
"Harry James Potter!" she exploded, storming towards his bed. "What on earth were you thinking?" A startled look crossed Harry's face and his smile began to fade.
"Hermione, it's only Quidditch."
"Exactly Harry! You have more important things to be going on with!" Harry's face dropped.
"Well, at least we won," he whispered almost inaudibly.
"Blast! Harry! You could have died!" She fumed, pacing the room and waving her arms wildly through the air.
"Yes, and I should be saving that for Voldemort, right?" He asked softly. Hermione stopped mid-pace and a soft blush rose to her cheeks.
"Oh Harry, I didn't mean…"
"No, it's all right. I understand. Listen," he said, shifting himself in bed, "I'm getting a little tired. I need to be rested so I can save the world."
"Right, I'll go." She paused at the door, wanting to say more but knowing she had already said much more than her fair share. "Good night Harry."
Hermione made her way slowly back to the common room in silence. She hadn't meant to hurt Harry like she had. It had never crossed her mind that if he died now, he wouldn't be able to face Voldemort. It had been purely instinct to worry about him. She'd always worried about him, and she was never going to change.
Finally stopping at the portrait of the Fat Lady, she struggled her way into the Common Room. The space was crowded, due to Gryffindor's success, and she ambled her way toward the stairs.
In her room, she threw herself onto the bed feeling utterly horrible. A soft knock on the door signaled Ginny's entrance.
"What's wrong, Hermione? Did you visit Harry?"
"Hmmm…didn't get a chance to jump his bones?"
"What? You know that I know that you - love - Harry!"
"That's not true. You don't know what you're talking about Ginny." Sighing, Ginny flopped onto the bed beside Hermione and they lay together staring at the ceiling.
After a few quiet moments Ginny repeated, "Didn't get a chance to jump his bones, then?"
Then Hermione sat up abruptly, "I was just worried about him, but it came out all wrong and now Harry's mad at me and I don't know what to do Gin."
"Well, surprise him or something."
"What do you mean surprise him?"
"Just something that would cheer him up."
"You're supposed to be the smart one, Hermione."
"I don't know anything about…"
"Well, you know, relations…between boys…and girls."
"Why don't you just start with what you do know then…friendship."
"What do you suggest?"
"He's your best friend Hermione, not mine. Think of something he would enjoy. And something that might help him to see that you have his best interest at heart."
Hermione fell back onto the bed with a loud exhalation. She was completely clueless. She had no idea what could cheer Harry up at this point. Quidditch had seemed like his last refuge, and she had ruined that for him. She would have to start simple.
The next day, Harry was out of the Hospital Wing and joined them in class. Hermione had stayed up most of the night pouring through the books in her room in search of some useful charms. She sat nervously behind him in Transfiguration waiting for her first surprise to come into effect. She had decided to send him a nice note…what some might think of as a love note. Strictly anonymous of course. But this note had a few special traits that Hermione had managed to fix up so as to make it extra special.
She could hardly force herself to sit still while McGonagall lectured them about the hazards of amateur self-transfiguration. The class was 'ooing' and 'aweing' as she gave detailed accounts of transformations gone wrong. But Hermione paid no notice. Then, suddenly, it happened. With a poof, a small scroll of parchment appeared on Harry's desk. Hermione's heart lurched in anticipation, right on time!
"Oy, what's that mate?" Ron leaned in to examine the tightly rolled note. A thin red ribbon trailed downward as Harry lifted and inspected it.
"I have no idea," Harry whispered back.
"Is there a problem, Mr. Potter?" McGonagall's voice called from the front of the room.
"No, no problem Professor," he said, slipping the parchment out of sight below his desk. McGonagall straightened her glasses atop her nose and continued on. Harry glanced down towards his lap and began unrolling the note. Hermione felt her palms begin to sweat. She watched the ribbon fall to the floor as Harry slid it off, and then a loud crack filled the room, followed by a billowing cloud of black smoke.
The next thing Hermione saw was Harry falling backwards in his chair, crashing to the floor. She sat rigged looking at what appeared to be an extra crispy Harry writhing on the floor in agony clutching a blackened, curled bit of parchment.
Oops, she thought.
Harry was back in the hospital immediately. Hermione stood alone in her dormitory as a rage rapidly took over her body. She grabbed a pillow and began thrashing it against her bed, mumbling obscenities in the process.
In mid-swing, Ginny popped her head into the room.
"Hermione? What on earth is going on in here?"
"Oh Ginny! It's no use! I'm wretched!"
"What? What's wrong?"
"Yeah, I heard. Back in the Hospital Wing again, isn't he?"
"That's not the half of it."
"What do you mean, Hermione?" Ginny slowly took the battered pillow from Hermione's grasp and sat down on the bed, clutching it to her chest.
"It's my fault. I was trying to do what you said, you know, make up with him. It just went all wrong."
"What did you do?"
"I charmed a note to him…and well, I guess I'm not too good with…emotional charms."
"I heard his eyebrows were blown clear off!"
Hermione winced at the thought of an eyebrow-less Harry.
"Oh, I'm sure he's fine Herms. Why don't you go visit him?"
"I can't! He'll know it was me! He'll be furious, he'll see right through me!"
"That is, if he still can see," Ginny chuckled.
"Not funny Ginny," Hermione snarled, grabbing the pillow from Ginny's grip and giving her a good whack.
"You just need to come up with something better. I mean, a note? That's not very inventive Hermione. You can think of something better. I know you can."
Two days later, Harry once again returned to regular classes from the Hospital Wing. And although her last charm had gone severely wrong, she felt she had perfected her latest idea. It was rather ingenious. At least she thought so.
She sat at the long table in the Great Hall waiting for her friends to join her, nervously eyeing the goblet of pumpkin juice that sat at Harry's usual seat. Genius, she thought. Or incredibly stupid, another voice shouted from somewhere else in her brain. The idea was that when Harry drank the juice, he would get a feeling of Hermione's apology. It was hard to explain, but the overall effect was supposed to be Harry's emotional understanding of Hermione's undying loyalty and apologetic energy. Sort of an emotional link would be temporarily formed between the two.
It was an excellent bit of magic, in Hermione's mind, and she was sure she had pulled it off quite cunningly.
She saw Harry approaching from a distance, Ron beside him. She smiled and waved as the two drew near.
"Oh Harry! I'm so glad you're out of the infirmary!" He smiled at her and took his place beside her.
"Mmm, looks good," he said, grinning at the food.
"And the pumpkin juice is excellent today, might I add," she beamed, lifting her own cup to her lips. Harry lifted his own glass and tilted it toward Hermione, "Cheers!" With that, he took a large swallow.
Hermione sat ogling him, waiting for the effect to take place. Setting his goblet back onto the table, he resumed munching on a piece of toast. Her brows furrowed in disappointment. What did I do wrong this time? Then, Harry gripped his stomach in alarm, a moan of pain spilling from his lips. Uh oh, what did I do wrong this time? Harry was suddenly on his feet and racing out of the Hall. Hermione tossed her napkin onto the table and followed him.
When she finally caught up to him, he was retching into a disheveled suit of armor.
"So I hear Madame Pomfrey finally found a potion to stop the barfing," Ginny said, grimacing. Hermione could only nod. Her body felt limp. She just wanted to climb into her bed sheets and never come out again.
"Listen," Ginny began, "maybe you should just tell him how you feel."
"It was your dumb idea in the first place, Ginny!"
"Well how was I supposed to know the brightest witch in all of Hogwarts could be so horrible at a few simple charms?"
Hermione conceded and rolled limply over on the bed to face her friend, "Tell him? Really?"
"Hermione, he deserves to know how you feel."
"I know. I just…it's just…he has much more important issues to worry about."
"You really think Voldemort is more important than something that could possibly turn out to be love?"
"I never said that I love Harry."
"You didn't have to."
That evening, Hermione crept from the Common Room unnoticed. Holding her robes tightly around her, she made her way to the Hospital Wing. Pushing the doors open, she walked to the only occupied bed in the ward. She slipped through the curtains and sat down beside Harry's bed in a thick wooden chair.
He was fast asleep. She watched him as his chest slowly moved up and down with his breathing. His face was slightly pale from his day of vomitous exertion. She reached out and brushed the hair back from his forehead, exposing his scar. Somehow, she found herself sitting on the bed beside him, slowly running her finger over the scar. Softly, she traced her fingernail lightly over the flawed skin.
Harry murmured something in his sleep, and Hermione quickly withdrew her hand from his forehead. Looking away from him, she felt tears forming in her eyes. Then, gasping, she felt someone grab her wrist. Glancing down, she saw Harry looking sleepily back up at her.
"What?" she whispered.
"Nobody's ever…well, no one has…" he trailed off.
"Nobody has what, Harry?"
He closed his eyes, and then looked back up at her, his voice softening, "Nobody's ever touched my scar before. I-I mean…besides Voldemort."
"It just felt nice, I guess," he whispered, releasing her wrist from his gentle hold. He closed his eyes again, and Hermione swallowed the huge lump that was forming in her throat. Silence settled on them for a few moments before Hermione stretched herself out beside Harry. Lifting one arm, she began once again to delicately massage the small lighting bolt on his skin. He sighed contentedly and rolled to face her. Resting her elbow on Harry's shoulder, she continued to rub the scar with her thumb. Soon, his breathing became shallow and sleep overcame him.
Hermione was already exhausted the moment she awoke the next morning. She went through her regular routines of readiness then dressed and made her way down the stairs toward the Common Room. Flopping herself onto the squishy couch she stretched and yawned as Ginny stepped through the portrait hole.
"You're lucky it's Saturday, sleep-head," she scolding, walking briskly towards Hermione carrying two steaming mugs of coffee.
"Coffee…" Hermione moaned wistfully, "however did you get it?"
"The house elves, of course," she grinned, handing a thick green mug in Hermione's direction. The disheveled Prefect immediately began taking practiced sips from the warm cup. "Sooo…" Ginny began, "somebody was out late last night," she winked.
"Patrols," Hermione said, matter-of-factly.
"Mmm hmm, sure."
Hermione simply blinked at her innocently until Ginny conceded, "Fine, don't tell me, but I know you went to visit Harry."
"So what if I did? I'm a Prefect," she said, lifting her head and pushing back her shoulders.
"Oh, well, if you're going to pull rank on me."
"That's exactly what I'm doing."
"Hermione, I don't want to sound…motherly or anything," Ginny started, "but you are sixteen now…"
"And your point, Mum, is?"
"When are you going to wake up and, well, slap some sense into Harry?"
"I'm working on it."
"Well," Ginny said, sighing, "I guess I'll have to settle with that for now."
Harry was out of the hospital wing that afternoon and made his way outside to join his friends as they lounged about the grounds chatting. Hermione had propped herself against a tree by the lake and was deeply engrossed in a book. Ron was skipping stones across the lake's surface. Neville, Luna and Ginny were all laughing over a game of exploding snap. Smiling politely, he greeted them all with a wave and quick hello before settling down beside Hermione under the tree. She looked up, surprised, and grinned at him.
"Hey Mione," he said softly.
He looked away toward the lake and relaxed his legs, stretching them out in front of him. Hermione returned her attention to her book.
"You left last night," he spoke suddenly, without looking at her.
"Oh," a soft blush rose to Hermione's cheeks, "well, I didn't want to wake you after you fell asleep." For some reason, she felt embarrassed about the previous night. It had seemed to be such an intimate moment and in some ways…she was hoping Harry wouldn't remember.
"Right, yeah." The two returned to their silent thoughts before a thought occurred to Hermione –
"Did…did you want me to stay?" She asked, looking up at him as he stared across the lake. Slowly, he turned his head to face her and in a soft, serious tone simply replied, "Yes." His eyes rested on hers in a piercing gaze and Hermione felt her lower lip tremble slightly. Until this moment, she hadn't noticed how close he was sitting to her. Another foot and his lips could be hers…
Just then Ron sauntered over with a wide grin on his face, "Oy, Harry, up for a game of chess?" Hermione quickly buried her nose between the pages of her book. Harry forced a smile and jumped up to follow Ron back to the castle, brushing the grass from his pants as he went.
Hermione didn't know what to do with herself. She sat fidgeting at a table in the Library, unable to read, unable to focus. Her whole body was tingling slightly. She had almost kissed Harry, hadn't she? She had been so close!
Ginny came skipping into the Library and threw herself down onto the bench beside Hermione.
"Have a nice little chat with Harry today, did you?"
"Er…what?" Hermione asked, twirling a strand of curly hair on one finger. Ginny giggled and continued, "You're twirling your hair, Hermione."
"I am not," she scoffed, pulling her hand quickly away from her toffee colored locks. With a soft hmph of disapproval she went back to pretending to read her book.
"Now you're biting your lip," Ginny sniggered.
"Okay," Hermione snapped the book shut, throwing dust particles into the air, "alright!"
"Whoa, easy Hermione," Ginny chuckled, smiling at the students who were now looking in their direction. Quietly but insistently Hermione told Ginny about the 'almost kiss.'
"So what's the problem?"
"I don't know if I should be kissing Harry…"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you remember what happened in fourth year with that whole Rita Skeeter article."
"Herms, that's ancient history!"
Sighing deeply, Hermione shook her head, "I just don't know if he needs all that bad media attention again…not with what's coming."
"Yeah, you keep saying that and I keep telling you, Harry could use a little lovin. You have to stop making excuses Hermione. The truth is that Harry needs you!"
"If Harry really needed me he would tell me himself."
"Since when has Harry even been capable of expressing his needs?"
"I just don't think it's a good idea right now."
That evening, Hermione sat beside Ginny in the Great Hall for dinner. Harry cast curious glances at her from farther down the table, obviously confused at to why she wasn't sitting in her normal place beside him. She pretended not to notice but she could feel his gaze on the side of her face. Ginny was telling some outrageous story about something Professor Flitwick had said in her Charms class that day, but Hermione couldn't focus. She picked at her food until she finally gave up and excused herself early, striding quickly across the Hall and upward to the Common Room.
She had decided to put some distance between herself and Harry. The farther she was from him, the easier it would be to stop thinking about him.