Disclaimer: All characters from the Harry Potter series belongs to J.K. Rowling.

Hermione sighed as she sat down in her chair. She had just finished cataloguing the newest arrival from Manchester. Taking off her glasses -she started wearing it two years ago- she leaned on her hand, face down on the table. A few minutes passed by uneventfully, and her surrounding was silent. She didn't notice the door opening and the bell above it only gave a slight jingle as it closed.

The man was looking for a book randomly. He went from one bookshelf to another, pulling out a certain book when he thought he'd found it, putting it back when it wasn't. After a while looking through, it seemed he'd found what he was looking for. He pulled the book out carefully, looked at the cover, satisfied with his find. He walked to the counter, placing the book on the counter unsurely. Was she awake? What should he do? He rapped his knuckles on the table slightly. "Excuse me?" he said, a slight chuckle in his voice. Hermione immediately put on her glasses, brushing her hair out of her eyes, pulled the book towards her. "Sorry", she muttered, while writing down today's date on a piece of paper.

The writing seemed so familiar. The t's never get crossed and the i's never get dotted until the sentence is finished.

"Name?" she asked, her pen never leaving the paper.

He was too immersed in his thoughts. "Sorry?" he asked, coming out of his thoughts.

"Your name, sir?" Hermione asked again, all the time never once looking up.

"Right… Harry Potter", he replied, looking at her hand. It froze midway. She looked up. Her brown eyes searched his green ones. He looked at her steadily. He took everything in; her brown hair tied into a neat bun, her brown eyes, her slender form. She was still the Hermione Granger he knew from Hogwarts.

"Harry?" she asked, rising from her chair. Harry nodded, his face breaking out into a grin. "Ron said you'd be here", he said before enveloping her in a hug. "But you're back. And so soon. How come?" she said, looking at him in disbelief. "I told them I wanted to come back", he replied easily. "But why? I thought everything was going well", she said a little too casually, sitting back in her chair, completing the purchase form. "Oh, 5 years is a little too long from home", his answer came. Hermione smiled. "Where are you staying?" she asked. Hermione handed him the book. Harry gave her 10 galleons for it. "Well, that's another reason I came to see you. Ron said you'd be able to help. You have a vacancy at your place, right?" he asked her, looking at her a tad bit pleadingly. Hermione looked at him, rolled her eyes playfully and said, "Sure. But you have to pitch in. I don't want you to act like Ron did. I had to kick him out, to teach him a lesson. Honestly, that boy…" , Hermione said, shaking her head. "Well, at least he's better than what's his name? Gill?" Harry asked her, smiling.

"Yeah… you think you know a guy. Next thing you know, he's telling you he's gay!" Hermione answered. Harry laughed.

"So, this place yours?" he asked her, looking at her desk and all the things on it. "Yeah. But it's still not my primary interest. Kind of just to provide me some side income".

"Just in case", she added. "In case of what? I thought your job pays more than enough already", Harry said, looking at her, puzzled. "Oh you know, in case I need extra cash or something", she brushed the matter off quickly. "Mmm. I see. So, got any plans tonight?" he asked her, holding a snow globe, peering into the little house in it. "No", she answered.

"You want to go out for dinner?" he asked, looking at her. "Dinner? Yeah, that'd be great", Hermione replied, smiling. "All, right. That's settled then. See you tonight at 7?"

"Yeah. 7's great", she answered.

"Well, I'm off", he said, putting down the snow globe and making for the door. " It's nice you're back again, Harry", she said, giving him a genuine smile as she stood near the door. Harry grinned in response. "It's nice to be back", he said, opening the door before flashing her another smile, and headed outside into the snow.

---

"You know, Ron didn't have to lie. It's not like we don't know what he's up to, over there", Hermione said, laughing. Harry grinned. "How long have they been together, again?" he asked, cutting the steak. "2 years. I never knew that boy could stick to anyone. He was always dating someone else, week after week. I'm glad I'm not playing the shrink anymore", Hermione answered him. "Shrink?"

"Oh, he'd complain to me every other week about some woman he's dating. Half of the things he said about those unfortunate women made my ranting to Rita Skeeter those years ago seem like nothing. So you can just imagine my surprise when he announced he was going steady with Luna Lovegood! Of all people…" Hermione replied comically. Harry laughed. "I seem to remember faintly about her fancying him when we were in Hogwarts. Is she still as wei –I mean, unique as she was before?" he asked her. Hermione set the glass down. She giggled and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. Nodding, she said, " I guess, but she's certainly not as unique as before. You can actually tell when she's going serious mode or nonsense mode. She's really quite nice, and not all that strange once you get to know her. But the Quibbler's still not a smooth subject between us", she replied, picking at a fleck on the table.

"Well, I guess that's where she draws the line, huh?" Harry asked, looking at her closely. He placed his hand on hers. Hermione looked up to find him looking into her eyes deeply. Her gaze faltered under his searching emerald ones. She was blushing hotly and managed to murmur a quick 'uhuh' before looking away quickly.

Harry withdrew his hand and was silent for a moment. He decided that ignoring the embarrassing situation was probably the best way to handle it. He cleared his throat and said, " So, how's your life been, lately?" . Hermione, it was clear to see, was relieved to find something to talk about.

"It's fine, I –I guess. The bookshop business is blooming, my work at the Ministry is doing well. How about you?" she answered, then lifted her glass and sipped from it. "Well, now that I've transferred, I guess the usual, then. Still waiting from Kingsley about some transfer papers, though; but other than that, everything is fine. So, when can I move in?" he popped the question suddenly at her. Hermione laughed. "Whenever you want to, Harry", she said. Then that was that; the strain was gone, everything was normal again.

A/N: I know it's really short, but I promise it'll be longer in later chapters. HONEST! Read and review, please! xoxox