Collide by Lord-Duguerre

HBP, page 301 excerpt:

He found her in the first unlocked classroom he tried. She was sitting on the teacher's desk, alone except for a small ring of twittering yellow birds circling her head, which she had clearly just conjured out of midair. Harry could not help admiring spellwork at a time like this.

Leaving the comfort of the doorway, Harry stepped closer to the silent witch. He had seen her leave the chaos of the common room and the celebrating. He was assured that his best friend before him had witnessed Ron Weasley and Lavender Brown attempting to outdo one another's tonsils.

Harry pondered what he should do or even say in such a situation. His own history with girls was mild comedy, with his own thoughts upon the youngest member of the Weasley family mired in trouble and uncertainty. And yet, this was no ordinary girl to Harry. She wasn't a tittering fan girl unlike most. She didn't ingratiate herself upon him just because of his name. No, Hermione Granger was his best friend, whom proved her trust in him all of last year, most especially in fourth year. She deserved better.

An idea came to him glancing down to his wand. Magic was a fickle thing. It had its rules and guidelines. You could only do so much with magic, though more so than without. Magic had a will of its own in some ways, but thousands of wizards and a thousand years brought an understanding few could understand. Magic was about intent. And right now, Harry was intent on making a simple gesture.

Harry could almost feel the magic flowing through him. Soon enough his own flock of black canaries twittered around his head. He smiled briefly and with a nod, sent them to join Hermione's own.

"What?" startled Hermione. She was aware someone had opened the door, but assumed they had merely left. "Harry? What are you doing here?"

"I could ask the same of you," Harry replied.

"Oh," she commented in a brittle voice. "I was just practicing."

"Yes, they are rather well done," added Harry, stepping around her to the other side of the desk. "Though I think mine look better."

Hermione gave him a lopsided smirk, which to Harry was a start, but not quite what he wanted from her. He would have to try a different tact.

"I'm sure," Harry continued. "If you continued to practiced, yours could look like you, too." Case in point a few black canaries with magical green eyes took roost upon each of his shoulders. A few even took to fluttering around his messy mop of hair.

"Ron seems to be enjoying himself?" she continued in an unnaturally high voice.

"Um...I'm not too about Ron right now," Harry commented dryly.

Hermione angrily looked up to share with Harry just what she thought of their other best friend, but stopped herself short. Before her was an image that would forever be burned into her memories should she ever in her life face an unending horde of dementors. The young witch was at a loss for words as Harry was covered in a feathery sea of yellow and black. Pairs of black and yellow canaries sat together, chirped at one another and apparently were getting along with each other quite well. As a number of the birds took liberty with Harry's spectacles, the young wizard let out a single meek word.

"Help," Harry squeaked.

What happened next delighted Harry to no end. The sounds that came from Hermione were sweet and innocent. It was the sound of pure joy of the moment. If ever Harry wanted to know that he had done something, anything right in his life, it was to hear Hermione laughing.

The laughter cased the birds to all take off at once, leaving behind bits of feathers and other things birds leave behind upon the grinning wizard. Around the room they flew as Harry joined in the laughter, not caring in the Quidditch victory earned by neither Gryffindor today nor the dense and callous emotions of the red-haired wizard. The two friends laughed a good long while, snorting and laughing anew when they look at each other.

They were both startled out of their reverie as the door burst open. To Harry's horror, Ron entered leading a giggling Lavender by the hand.

"Oh," he spoke suddenly.

"Oh, sorry," giggled Lavender, holding close to Ron.

Time seemed to stand agonizingly still as the four Gryffindors stood in the growing silence. Ron kept his gaze wandering around the room. Lavender looked between Ron and Hermione. Hermione had her face down watching a pair of canaries share a tender moment with each other beneath an empty desk. Harry, on the other hand, had only kept his eyes upon Hermione. Just moments ago, he felt that same connection between the two as they had in years prior. And now, the ugly truth reared its head interrupting a wonderful moment of sharing a good laugh between close friends.

"Well then," Hermione spoke stiffly. "We'll leave the two of you to whatever you wish."

Hermione was followed by Harry as they left. Ron stood straight and still as a statue, waiting upon anything to happen to him. Beads of sweat formed on his brow, as his two friends shut the door behind them.

"Harry," Hermione spoke once they were in the hall. "Would you do a favor for me?"

"Sure, Hermione," Harry pondered.

"Do exactly what I do," she instructed. Hermione pointed her wand at the door and with a wave spoke clearly, "Oppugno!"

As a courtesy, Harry followed her lead as well.

"Oppugno!" He announced succinctly.

Screams and crashes could be heard through the door as two flocks of birds began pecking at the inhabitants. While Harry felt a bit bad for doing that Lavender, he was quite sure Ron deserved it for being an insensitive prat. The two young friends in the hall shared a knowing look and a secret smile.

"Thank you, Harry," Hermione spoke clearly. "I needed that."

"Anytime, Hermione," Harry replied wholeheartedly.

Then, Hermione did something she hadn't done since the end of fourth year. Standing on her tiptoes, Hermione gave Harry a lingering kiss upon his cheek.

Standing back with her hand on his chest, Hermione smiled at Harry, a knowing and private twinkle in her eyes. Harry squeezed her hand, telling her what he could in that simple act everything he was thinking.

Together they returned to the Gryffindor common room, sharing a single moment of happiness between the closest of friends.