DISCLAIMER: Characters are the sole property of J.K. Rowling. I own nothing except the story and the plot. 'Nuff said

(A/N: I am a newbie here. So please be kind. ;p)

Chapter 1 – Tired and Uncalled For

Harry Potter just apparated at the only apparition point outside his house after a rigorous, two-day Auror training with his Senior and boss at the Ministry, Kingsley Shacklebolt. He's really thankful to be finally home. He's tired and all he wanted to do is take a quick cold shower then go lie down on his fluffy bed and sleep all his troubles away for at least a couple of days. However, that is not possible if you live in a house with your two best friends who keeps on bickering and bickering like there's no tomorrow.

"Oh, shut it, Ron! We are not going through this again, do you hear me?" Hermione Granger shrieked, her arms outstretched over her head for dramatic purposes, her hair coming out loose in the tight bun she wore.

"But 'Mione.." Ron Weasley whined, putting on his best puppy-dog look but was immediately cut off by Hermione.

"No buts buts, Ron. I've had it."

And with that, she stalked off towards the stairs to her room, and with a bang, shut her door.

Harry still standing by the doorway, just rolled his eyes and walked over to where Ron was, the kitchen.

"What's up, mate?" Ron asked upon noticing the arrival of his best friend. "You look like you haven't slept in 2 weeks," Ron commented while sipping his butterbeer. He grabbed his humungous turkey sandwich and took a large bite.

"What was that all about? I could hear you screaming two blocks away," Harry exaggerated, opening the refrigerator and taking out a butterbeer for himself.

Ron rolled his eyes and said, "The usual, mate. I asked her again if she could just go to Madam Malkin's and get herself a new dress robe, one that would complement her figure, you know. I told her I would pay for it. All she has to do is walk in there and take whatever she likes."

Ron shrugged and took another large bite of his sandwich. Harry snorted into his drink. He could just imagine the annoying look that Hermione probably gave Ron while making his suggestion.

"Yeah, I could understand your concern," Harry shook his head in amusement. "She's always hiding under those Ministry robes when she can wear something else, seeing as she's working at the Department of International Magical Cooperation and talks with different people. And even here at home, she wears something that can rival that of McGonagall's. Merlin knows if she's gonna get a boyfriend by that."

It's been 5 years already since the "Golden Trio" as they were fondly labeled back in their Hogwarts years, has graduated. It's also been 5 years since Harry defeated Lord Voldemort, a couple of weeks before their graduation and brought the wizarding world into safety. Now, Harry is no longer The-Boy-Who-Lived but is now The-Wizard-Who-Save-The-World.

It was a long healing process for all of them but with each other and the rest of the Order, they eventually learned to cope up and live again. Among the things that helped them overcome the pain they all suffered was to fulfill a promise, which they did during their sixth year at Hogwarts. Right after graduating, the three decided to live with each other in muggle London so as to escape once in a while the hassles of being in the wizarding world.

They have all changed over the years. Ron, still tall, about 6'2", with his fiery red hair but with a now well-built, toned body, is now the reserve Keeper for his long-time favorite Quidditch team, The Chudley Cannons. Hermione, no longer has her bushy hair and now has curls of beautiful long brown hair (although usually hidden in a tight bun she wears at her nape), has grown to be a beautiful and interesting woman, who is now the youngest witch to be the Assistant Head for the Department of International Magical Cooperation at the Ministry of Magic. Harry, still with his bright emerald eyes and messy jet-black hair, is now one of the Junior Aurors at the Ministry of Magic and the most sought-after bachelor in the wizarding world (which Ron always teases him with).

The Dark Lord may already be long dead and gone, but some of his followers (the Death Eaters that didn't die during the final battle) are still at large and so Harry, who is determined to get the whole lot of them, joined the Auror ranks after he graduated from Hogwarts. Before one of those bloody Death Eaters continue on what Voldemort failed to do during his reign: rid the world of muggles and muggle-born wizards and witches.

"I still can't see the point at why she doesn't accept my offer. Is it really that dubious?" Ron asked Harry, while contemplating on what to do next with Hermione.

"I don't think so, mate. She's probably embarrassed or something," Harry mused. "Oh well, I'll go get a quick shower and nap a little. Call me when it's time for dinner already."

Ron nodded as he took a large gulp of his butterbeer and took a bite again of his sandwich.

Harry yawned and sleepily ambled towards the stairs to his room to get a towel to shower first before going to bed. Sharply turning towards his room, he suddenly collided with something warm, soft and oddly smells like vanilla. His glasses flew from his face from the impact.

"Ouch!"

"Bloody hell," Harry muttered while attempting to find his glasses in the floor. He was blind as a bat without them.

"Harry? When did you arrive? You look…. Tired," Hermione's voice wafted to his ears.

"Thanks for noticing," he said sarcastically, more to himself than at Hermione.

Hermione noticed that she accidentally knocked his glasses off his face and is now crawling on all fours trying to feel for it.

"Oh! I'm sorry, Harry. I didn't mean to knock your glasses off! Here, let me help," Hermione then stooped over, got Harry's glasses and placed it on him.

Harry got a whiff of Hermione's vanilla scent, and before she actually placed his glasses on, he briefly touched her face and hair, which was damp from the shower, trying to feel her before getting a good look. When his glasses were rightly placed, he saw that Hermione's hair is not in a bun as it usually is. It's flowing down her back freely. He also noticed that she's not in her usual robes and boring clothes. She's wearing a knee-length khaki skirt and loose white shirt with a pair of white thong sandals. She actually looked good to him.

"Your hair is not in a bun," he murmured then inhaled deeply, catching her scent, still stroking her hair.

"Huh?"

"You're so beautiful without that bun…"

"Harry? Are you alright? You're not sick or anything, are you?" Hermione peered at him worriedly, looking at his dazed face.

Harry suddenly came out of his trance and saw Hermione looking at him with… What's that? Worry? She's worried about me? Harry thought.

"Earth to Harry! Earth to Harry! Hello?" Hermione started waving at his face.

"Wha— Oh, nothing. I was… I was… I was just… going to my room… my room… for… for… for my towel. Yeah, that's right! I'm about to take a shower. I'll see you at dinner!" Harry stammered and quickly left Hermione standing at the hallway with a bemused face.

What happened out there? Harry thought once in the confines of his room. That's Hermione, you big buffoon. Oh, Merlin. Did I just tell her that she was beautiful? Did I say that out loud? Bloody hell. He quickly got his towel and went to the shower to drown out images of Hermione he just saw a little while ago.