A/N:This could be in the Lessons and Soaked universe if you want, but it doesn't necessarily have to be. You don't need to read those stories to understand this one. I'm like Harry, I know the basics of math and so whatever you may find beyond these author notes is completely made up (except for the Greek alphabet, that much I do know). I hope I was convincing! Oh and the song referenced is the great "Aquarius" by the 5th Dimension. Thanks once again to Satch and Pips for the betas!
Ron nudged Harry and jerked his head over to where Hermione was sitting on a couch furiously scribbling away on a piece of parchment. She had quite a stack next to her, all with what looked like complicated equations. "Harry, she's been at it for two weeks. At first I thought it was N.E.W.Ts, but our last N.E.W.T was yesterday and she's still scribbling away."
Hermione poked her tongue out the side of her mouth, her brow furrowed in deep concentration. "I don't know what to tell you Ron. Maybe she can't let it go," Harry replied, tearing his eyes away from her and back to the chess set.
"Make her stop," Ron whispered over his chess pieces that were dominating the board. "She's really starting to scare me. I never thought she was mental before even though I always said it. But now . . . now I really do think she's gone completely mental!"
Harry sighed. "I'll see if I can get her to relax, but I can't promise I'll get her to stop."
Ron nodded and watched Harry move over to the couch and sit next to Hermione, the stack of paper between them.
"Hello," Harry murmured softly.
Hermione replied with a soft grunt hardly slowing her quill or slacking her concentration.
"What're you doing?" he asked looking over the top paper on the stack with interest. The page was full from top to bottom with equations so dizzying he got a headache just looking at them.
Hermione glanced over and gasped, yanking the papers away from him, clutching them to her chest. "Harry! How could you!"
Harry's eyes shot back up to hers, bewildered and completely confused. "What? I didn't see anything."
Hermione squinted her eyes and pursed her lips, scrutinizing Harry's expression. "I take that back, I did see something, but I have absolutely no idea what it means," he replied, caving under that expression. Forget veritaserum. The most hardened Death Eater would spill his guts under that frightening gaze.
Hermione's scrutiny grew into a scowl and Harry gulped. "Honest. I have no idea what all that meant."
She relaxed slowly. "Ok. I'm sorry."
"No, I'm sorry, I should've waited for your ok. But we were wondering what you were working on. You're starting to scare Ron," Harry grinned.
Hermione glanced down at the papers and relaxed her hold on them. "I -" she sighed. "It's just a little project. I can't really tell you much about it beyond that."
"But you will tell us when you're finished?"
"If the results are positive, yes," she replied with a grin.
"Good. How much longer will you be on it?"
"Not long. Maybe another day or so. Definitely before we . . . leave."
For the past two months, the sadness of leaving Hogwarts and the fear of having an unknown future for once had been coming in waves, leaving Harry a bit depressed. He felt the sudden onslaught of those feelings again and hid them behind a smile. "Ok. Well, I'll be over there with Ron if you need me."
Hermione watched him settle back into his game of wizard's chess and sighed softly. "Please let the results be positive," she whispered softly to herself.
"And?" Ron asked quietly, glancing back over at Hermione who had resumed her scribbling.
"She wouldn't tell me what it was, but she did say she'd finish soon," Harry replied moving his rook who shook his fist back at him screaming about his ineptness and after seven years he should know not to make that move.
"Thank Merlin," Ron sighed. "Now I can at least start to relax."
"You do realize that your relaxation does not hinge upon her not relaxing," Harry grinned watching his rook roll his eyes upward and accept the left hook Ron's pawn gave him.
"It'd be nice to see her live a little at least," Ron murmured, studying the board.
"And if she is already?" Harry asked raising an eyebrow over at his friend.
Ron glanced over at Hermione and shook his head. "Then she well and truly is mental."
A day and a half later Hermione entered the Great Hall for lunch with an extremely satisfied and above all, calm air. The manic scribbling and tension were completely gone and it looked as though she was actually enjoying her vacation.
"You look wonderful," Harry blurted when she sat next to him.
She blushed and smiled shyly while pouring herself a cup of pumpkin juice. "Can I talk to you after lunch?"
"Of course. Is this about what you were working on? Are you going to tell me what the big secret was?"
Hermione smiled and nodded and tucked into her lunch.
Afterwards they headed up to the common room where Hermione had stored her parchment that, after she had finished, reached about three inches thick. She opened her mouth to explain and Harry was immediately lost in a sea of cosigns, sigmas, thetas, complicated equations, arithmetic runes, runic lateral strategies relating to the position of Saturn and Aquarius . . . and the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars -
"You're humming. Aren't you paying attention to what I was saying?"
"I wasn't humming."
"Yes you were. It was that Muggle song, Age of something or other."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Were you paying attention?"
Hermione cocked her eyebrow at him.
"Ok, no I wasn't, but I never took arithmancy. I know how to add, subtract, multiply and divide and even then it'd be better if I had a calculator. After boiling all this," he gestured to the stack between them, "down to an answer, what was your conclusion?"
Hermione took a deep breath. "I've proven that it is a statistical improbability that you don't love me." She looked quite proud after saying that.
Harry's eyebrows shot into his forehead in surprise (more from hearing the words "you," "me," and "love" in the same sentence than actually understanding what she'd said) then slowly furrowed in confusion as he thought about that statement. "There were about ten negatives in that sentence. I didn't quite catch what you said," he replied after a moment.
"According to this, it is a fact, not theory because there is a difference, that you," she pointed at him, "love me."
Harry hid his surprise by looking down at the papers. He wanted to be sure of Hermione's feelings before he confirmed or denied that conclusion. "How in the world did you come up with the factors for that?"
"See here," she riffled through the sheets and selected a piece of parchment near the bottom. "I made various interactions we had constants, like hand holding, staring, sighs, jealous reactions, unexplained hugs, touching, et cetera. Once I had assigned the amount of times you had performed an interaction to each constant I assigned a Greek letter to those constants. From there it was plugging in those Greek letters into equations and voila. You love me."
Harry was deeply impressed. Only Hermione could distill love into an arithmetic equation and make it look so easy because when it all boiled down to nothing, arithmancy was cake compared to love. "Even though I still have no idea what any of this says, I can tell this is N.E.W.T worthy work, if not better," he murmured, glancing up at her to give her a small smile, pride in his eyes. "And you're absolutely sure about your results?"
A great doubt swamped over her. Her results showed that Harry should've immediately told her that he loved her. Did she mistake an alpha for a gamma or an omega for a zero or maybe a sigma for an E? No, she'd trained herself to write legibly even when she was dead tired and nearly asleep. "Yes," she replied with a confidence she didn't quite feel anymore.
"So how do you feel?"
"Well you've just proven without a doubt that I love you. How do you feel about your results?"
"I -" Hermione looked into Harry's eyes and saw his feelings laid bare before her. She had been right and she'd just stripped away all his protective barriers proving herself so. There was no way she couldn't not tell him, it'd be too cruel.
She set aside the ream of paper and scooted closer to him. "The funny thing about the equation is that if I substitute myself for you and you for myself, the results are the same," she murmured.
Harry grinned and leaned slowly forward. "I love you too," he whispered, closing the last few inches between them to kiss her softly. "But next time, just ask," he grinned against her lips.
"I concur," Hermione grinned.