Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any other characters.


Chapter 1

"Did you hear the announcement?" Hermione asked casually.

"Gee there have been so many; did you have one in particular?" Ron asked annoyingly.

Harry glanced up at his friends, then quickly back down as Hermione glared at Ron.

"The one, Ronald," she began waspishly," where the new headmistress said students could retake their last year."

"You're not seriously considering…"Ron trailed off looking to Harry for support.

Harry purposefully kept his eyes trained on the material in his lap. He had heard the announcement, actually considered it carefully, and made his decision without once consulting either of the two people sitting on the floor opposite him.

The silence stretched Ron gazing helplessly from one to the other while Hermione concealed a smirk. She automatically knew Harry's answer without him opening his mouth.

"We should make a trip to Diagon Alley," she stated calmly.

"Whatever for," Ron shook his head clearing the cobwebs, "Wait, you're not seriously going back are you?" his question directed toward Harry because he knew Hermione would in a heartbeat.

A sigh of defeat echoed his book closing. Harry finally managed to raise his eyes level with his two best friends.

"Actually, I have thought a lot about it, and it only makes sense. I mean what kind of career could we expect to follow without our N.E.W.T.s." A good rational thought without all the inky emotional things running through his brain.

"You sounded just like Hermione, mate."

"Ugh. But he is absolutely right, Ron. We didn't even finish school. And auror training requires several N.E.W.T.s."

It was Ron's turn to avoid eye contact. "I guess we have all been doing some thinking," he admitted.

"What?" Hermione nearly shrieked, "You have actually used your brain?"

"Shut it," Ron came back.

Harry noticed Hermione's eyes narrow, "We're not going there," he said. "Let's stay on topic for once, shall we?"

"Fine, it seems that you and I have already reached a decision. If I am assuming correctly the same one, and we shall be gracing Hogwarts with our presence for one more year."

"Right," Harry said once again avoiding Ron's eyes.

Ron expressed his shock at Harry for only a moment, then his heart felt burdened. Here he was looking at his best mate, and his girlfriend? Well could she be really called his girlfriend, well they had been snogging quite frequently. Anyway so off topic, this time their paths seemed to be going in different directions. His good news from hours earlier faded into a nuisance.

"Well I wish you both the best of luck," he said sadly.

"Huh?" Harry couldn't hide his surprise.

"What?" Hermione shrieked this time.

"You aren't coming with us?" Harry asked. His deliberations had always included Ron in the equation. Ron was a major factor in his decision even if they hadn't spoken about it before now.

"Sorry, mates."

"Is that all we, I get?" Hermione sounded hurt.

"Mione, do you remember all those forms I've been filling in, they were for an internship at the American Ministry of Magic. This internship is very selective." He felt some of the pride from earlier resurfacing. It was an exclusive program that quite by accident he had stumbled upon, and with no immediate plans had applied for and shockingly enough he had been accepted.

Hermione waited with bated breath for Ron to continue, although her emotions were screaming for her to tune him out, her brain was in control straining her senses to comprehend.

"I was accepted. Me," his voice sounded awed. "This is an amazing opportunity. After I complete the program I can come back and enter into the ministry here at a much higher level."

"Sounds as if you have been doing some major planning."

Harry noticed the tone of Hermione's voice, and he briefly caught a glimpse of tears in her eyes before she blinked them away.

"Of course," Ron said completely oblivious to the tension, "I mean we're free to do whatever we want now, and with the current circumstances, I thought I was doing something for our future. "

Certain thoughts began to plague Harry's brain. He felt like an intruder, this apparently should have been a private conversation, because he was pretty sure that the comment Ron just made did not include him. While Harry was secretly proud of Ron for thinking about their relationship, Ron's and Hermione's that is, he probably should have talked about it with her first.

"I mean honestly, "Ron continued."It was an accident I even got the forms and I filled them out thinking I would be turned down. Blimey, I never thought they would actually choose me."

"Right," Hermione said. "How long?"

Ron looked slightly perplexed by the whole thing, "Oh the program lasts for a year."

"So, so you just made a decision that would affect our lives for the next year without bothering to discuss anything with anyone." Those words were not what she had wanted to say, she wanted to scream at him for being inconsiderate of her. Of course, at the same time she was overwhelmed with a feeling of pride that her boyfriend (?) had been accepted to such a prestigious program.

"Well I was going to tell you tonight. I had it all planned out." Along with a few other choice words.

"Apparently, you have made quite a few plans," Hermione insinuated.

Confusion bubbled into Ron's brain spreading through all the crevices, "I don't understand why you are upset. You didn't say anything to Harry about planning his next year without talking to you."

"Oh Ronald," she labored, every word laced with more anger, "Harry doesn't have to concern me in his future plans because he's not my boyfriend," she shouted.

Now, Harry felt he should depart from this particular argument, "I'll just go," he announced meekly.

"No," Hermione screamed, and Ron pleaded.

"But I don't think…"

"Stay," Hermione forced him back down with a sharp glare.

"Mione, please I was thinking of us."

"Were you really? Because if you had you would have perhaps thought to include me in the decision making process."

"I already told you I didn't think I would be accepted. If and when I had I planned on telling you, and if I wasn't I didn't want to admit it."

"But I would have encouraged and supported you, like I am supposed to."

"But if it was all a letdown I didn't want to face it."

"Oh, Ron," her voice softened slightly understanding dawning, but then her anger came raging back, he had cheated her out of something important. "That is no excuse."

He flinched from the sudden changes. "I was doing it all for us, do you understand that with this job and the experience I will gain, I will be better suited to provide for the future."

Wow, Harry thought, Ron had focused a lot of his attention into this and it showed how much he cared for Hermione and their future together. Slowly, Harry, made movements to the door, he did not want to be here if they started snogging again, especially after they just had a fight.

Hermione turned away, her fingers going into her big bushy hair, trying to corral her emotions into a single form. It touched her deeply that Ron thought they had a future together, but to completely cut her out of the process stung.

"So is this how it is going to be?" she asked barely containing her rage.

All Harry's movements stopped, his eyes widened in shock to see such anger from Hermione. Ron scooted back in fear.

"I mean with you making all the decisions."

"Well…" Ron paused thinking; he knew before he spoke there was no right answer. "Our decisions should be made together," he finished lamely.

Hermione sniffed loudly making her point more eloquently as she raised herself and strode out of the room.

"Botched things again, haven't I?"

"Sorry, mate."

"I should just stop trying."

Harry managed a half smile, more of a grimace. "When do you leave?"

"Next week," Ron managed a hollow laugh. "Not…."

"Next week?" Hermione yelled coming back into the room.

Harry quickly got up and ran out of the room; their raised voices followed him all the way down to the kitchen. Guess that book didn't help Ron as much as he claimed or maybe he hadn't read all of it. Harry shook his head, oh how he didn't envy Ron at all. Being friends with Hermione was a strain at times, although they had become much closer of late.

"Problems?" someone asked as Harry entered the kitchen.

"You have no bloody idea."