A/N: Hi guys! This is my first fanfic (it's been posted elsewhere) but I figured I could post it here and see what other people think. It's not done (it'll probably be obscenely long...sorry about that) but so far, I generally like it. Also, I don't have a beta, so sorry if I make a couple of mistakes. Some of the chapters are a bit shorter than others, but I'm really neurotic about stopping points. I've changed a few things from the original version, like the chapters are a bit longer. I hope you guys like it!
July 30, 1997-10pm
The rain fell steadily outside, but Harry Potter didn't even notice. The raven-haired boy was in his room at 4 Privet Drive, packing his meager belongings into his trunk. He was leaving the Dursleys froever in a few more hours. His elation at this thought could hardly be expressed. He wasn't quite sure where he was going yet, just that he was definitely going. His best friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, had planned on staying with him at the Dursleys, but Harry hadn't wanted them subjected to his relatives. As it was, he had convinced Hermione to go to France with her parents, and Harry was sure Mrs. Weasley was keeping Ron busy with preparations for Bill's wedding.
"I could always go to Grimmauld Place," Harry thought aloud, "or I could head to the Burrow early. But that would mean seeing..." he broke off as a petite redhead filled his thoughts. It wasn't that Harry disliked Ginny, he was just afraid of the inevitable post-breakup awkwardness. And there would be awkwardness in abundance. Even moreso since Ginny had been owling him constantly, begging to be taken back, claiming that he was playing the hero.
"Well, she would think that, wouldn't she?" Harry mused, "that is why she likes me after all. Because she thinks I can't be happy unless I'm chasing Voldemort," he spat. Ginny's assessment couldn't be further from the truth. She didn't seem to understand that Harry hated being the Boy-Who-Lived. The real Harry was so very different from the image the public held of him. Only one girl could see the true Harry, but he tried to push thoughts of her from his head as well, though for a completely different reason...
Harry was also a little hesitant to go to Grimmauld Place though. Harry hadn't been there since Sirius's death just over a year ago. The loss of his godfather had hit Harry extremely hard, and he had found it difficult to express his grief. It became even more difficult after he had seen Snape kill Professor Dumbledore in the astronomy tower. Still though, being back in Sirius's house, even with all the memories, would be so much better than Ginny hanging on me all the time.
Harry was jolted from his reverie by a soft hoot from the window. A gorgeous snowy owl held a bit of parchment in her beak. Harry ran a hand over her soft feathers as he took the parchment from her. "Thanks girl," Harry murmured. Hedwig hooted softly again before flying to her perch, where she drank from her water dish. Harry unfolded the parchment and read the neat, familiar script:
Harry, Bring your things and your arse
downstairs. It's time for you to glow this popsicle stand Love,
Bring your things and your arse downstairs. It's time for you to glow this popsicle stand(Harry laughed at this). Besides, I've missed you!
Harry grinned while he tossed the last of his socks into his trunk (a gift from Dobby, naturally). Grabbing Hedwig's cage, he crept silently into the hall, being careful not to wake the Dursleys. Once he was downstairs, he tiptoed to the front door and opened it to find his best friend on the other side. She seemed startled to find the door suddenly open, but grinned at the sight of those familiar emerald eyes. Harry stepped back to take in Hermione's appearance. Her normally bushy brown hair was plastered to her head, with a few tendrils curling around her face. She was wearing a green t-shirt and jeans under a pink slicker, but Harry couldn't help but notice her protruding nipples through the thin, wet fabric of her shirt. Harry couldn't remember a time when he had seen someone look so...well, frankly HOT, in the rain. What the bloody hell are you staring at her for? She's your best friend! Stop staring at her breasts! But they're so lovely! That's not the point! What about Ron? He's probably pummel you! Probably...
Hermione's voice snapped him back to reality. "Harry!" she squealed, rushing into his arms. He held her tightly, noting that she smelled faintly of magnolias. The feeling of her body pressed against his gave Harry chills, but he managed to maintain his composure. "Hermione! What are you doing here? Merlin, you're soaked! Come in, but please be quiet. The Dursleys are sleeping." He heard her mutter "silencio" before she laughed and looked at him again. "Problem taken care of." She cast a drying spell on herself as Harry motioned her to the sofa and sat next to her.
"I know you didn't expect this, so I'm sorry for surprising you-"
"Don't worry," Harry assured her, "it's a pleasant surprise." He caught himself staring at her again, and quickly looked away.
A slight pink tinged Hermione's cheeks as she continued. "Remus asked me to come get you and bring you back to Grimmauld Place. He would have come himself, but he's recovering from a nasty bout of...er...wizard's flu."
"That's perfect!" Harry exclaimed, "I was planning on going there myself."
"I can apparate us there if you like," Hermione said. "I've gotten the hang of side-along apparition."
"Actually, as the rain's let up,"-a quick glance outside confirmed this-"I was kind of hoping to fly. I know you're not comfortable with it, so you can apparate is you li-"
"Harry," Hermione cut him off softly. "I won't be afraid if I'm with you."
Her chocolate eyes met his emerald ones as he grinned. She shrunk his belongings as he released Hedwig into the night. After leaving a note for the Dursleys, they huddled under his invisibility cloak and mounted his Firebolt. "Hold on to me," he whispered back to her, and she clenched her arms around his waist, her cheek resting softly on his back. She breathed in the soft scent of his soap and sighed contentedly. Harry pushed off, and they took off into the velvety black sky.