Disclaimer: Harry Potter was created by J.K.Rowling.
Author's Notes: This story is woven into the plot of the fourth book, The Goblet of Fire. Any scene or line you recognize from the book belongs to Ms. Rowling. Enjoy!
Hermione Granger and her two best friends pushed their trolleys towards the barrier at Platform Nine and Three Quarters. She thought about the Slytherins they left cursed outside their compartment.
No, she scolded herself. That was their fault and it shouldn't bother you.
She looked back at the train and realized that there was no need to worry. Draco Malfoy was walking with an elder Slytherin girl she didn't know. She handed him something and they were smiling at each other. Hermione realized that she may never see Malfoy smile like that again. Next year, his sincere grins will go back to sneering smirks. She had managed to bridge the gap between her and Malfoy, but now the rift was wider. A chasm.
"Hermione?" Ron called. "What are you looking at? Let's go."
"Yes, of course." Hermione followed them through the barrier into the Muggle world. If there was one thing she learned from Malfoy, it was that friendships were fragile things. People can be torn apart and usually not of their own accord. When that happens, it hurts.
Beyond the barrier, they found Harry's uncle standing near Mrs. Weasley. She enveloped Harry in a hug and said that they may see each other in later in the summer. Ron clapped his best friend on the back. "See you, Harry."
Hermione looked at Harry and Ron and realized just how much they meant to her. They were brave and good-hearted people, albeit rather hard-headed. She resolved to do anything in her power to protect them. She would take a bullet for them...or a curse, whatever the circumstances would bring. She was going to keep them in her life for as long as she could.
"Bye, Harry!" Hermione said, and kissed him on the cheek. She could tell he was surprised, but she was feeling sentimental and she was entitled. The twins muttered their farewells and they watched Harry follow his Uncle outside the station. They weren't going to see him for a long time. She hoped he would be able to get his mind off He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named over the holidays.
Ron was looking at her strangely. "You kissed him."
"Just offering some comfort." Hermione said. "We have to be there for our friends."
"I know." Ron agreed. "Take care of yourself Hermione. You-Know-Who won't keep his venom from spreading outside the magical world."
"You take care of yourself, too." She told him. "If something should happen..."
"Don't think about that." Ron interrupted. "I will see you at the end of the summer, maybe even earlier."
Hermione smiled. She reached up and gave Ron a hug. He hugged her back and patted her head.
"Everything will be okay."
"How do you know?" she asked.
"Because I wouldn't be able to handle it otherwise," He answered. They pulled away and there was a pink tinge in his ears.
"Fred," George said to his twin. "I need a hug too."
"Aw, me too." Fred returned his brother's grin and draped an arm over his shoulders.
"Knock it off, you guys." Ron muttered.
Not long after that, Hermione spotted her mother and father making their way towards them to the crowd. Mr. and Mrs. Granger said hello to Mrs. Weasley and the boys then Hermione waved goodbye and left the station with her parents.
Her thoughts wandered to a certain pale-haired boy. He seemed so far away now.
"...I hope someday, we can talk to each other in the open."
She still believed it was not impossible.
- The End -
Authors Notes: I wish to extend my thanks to all those who followed this story till the end. I am also exceptionally grateful to all the readers who took the time to share their thoughts and comments. Till next time everyone! Take care!
July 20, 2006, 7:39pm