This story is a happy for my junior/daughter/granddaughter (don't ask) who is having a bad day and needs a pick-me-up that won't give her any more of a caffeine and sugar high than she's already got. Much hugs, Jessi, happy procrastinating and good luck with your Tales paper.
Disclaimer: I own a copy of all the books, but not the franchise and/or copyright.
It was a particularly delightful day outside at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. The sun was shining, the clouds had picked easily recognizable shapes to float around as, and the breeze was just right.
In a red and gold bedecked tower of the castle that was Hogwarts, Harry Potter opened his eyes.
His first sight was the roof of his canopy bed, and his first thought was a pleasantly surprised "Saturday!".
It was indeed a Saturday. Harry was in his sixth year, and wasn't having a very good time of it. Just on Monday he had two papers due (in Defense Against the Dark Arts and Transfiguration, to be exact) and was expected to attend one of Professor Slughorn's parties. He would probably need to start the homework today and read through the books in his other subjects so he would be ready for class.
But—no. It had been far too long since Harry had had a day to just rest, and he intended to enjoy this perfect-weathered Saturday to the fullest.
He promptly got out of bed, noting with pleasure that it was still too early for most of the boys in his dorm to be awake. That was good—Harry wanted to get some alone time.
He dressed quietly and went downstairs to the Common Room, where he ran into Hermione.
She was surrounded by books and appeared to be working on her DADA paper. Harry couldn't help but smile at her concentration so early in the morning—it was only eight thirty.
"'Lo, Hermione." he said cheerfully, leaning over her shoulder to get a glimpse of her paper. To his amusement, she jumped at his voice.
"Oh! Harry!" she squeaked, one hand over her heart. "You frightened me. Have you come down to work on your paper?" The look on her face seemed to suggest that he darn well better have come down to work on his paper.
"No," he replied, smile not leaving his face, "actually, I've come down to go have a walk around the castle. I'm feeling a bit stressed, you see, so I thought I'd unwind a bit."
Hermione frowned in disapproval. "The paper is due in two days, Harry. I know how long it takes you to write one…"
"Oh, I'll get it done eventually. Don't worry about it." then, before she could speak again, "See you later, Hermione."
He ducked out of the common room entrance before Hermione could scold him again and made his way towards the outdoors.
Once outside, he beamed at the green grass and perfect breeze and strolled at a leisurely pace across the grounds. He first walked along the edge of the Forbidden Forest, intending to swing by Hagrid's hut and wish him a good morning. He gazed happily at the warm green that the Forbidden Forest imposed on the clear blue sky. He was jerked out of his admiration, though, by a sharp voice.
"Freeze, Potter. You're about to crush a specimen!"
Harry froze with one foot in the air, and took a couple of one-footed hops backwards before bringing it back to the ground. A cursory glance at the ground revealed a small pale blue flower standing alone in a patch of especially short grass. He gently plucked the flower from the ground and offered it to Professor Snape, who had a basket full of identical flowers on his arm and had a look on his face that was equitable to the face of someone who had just ingested an unripe lemon.
Before Snape could even justify that the delicate flowers were necessary for some potion or another, Harry pressed the flower into his hand and smiled. "Happy Birthday, Professor."
As Harry serenely walked away(wondering if Happy Springtime would have been a more seasonally appropriate greeting), Snape gaped after him, gobsmacked.
It was a complete coincidence that it actually was Snape's birthday.
When Harry arrived at Hagrid's hut the friendly half-giant was nowhere to be found, but Harry wrestled playfully with Fang for a bit before continuing his walk. Doggy slobber covered the front of his open robe, but Harry didn't really mind—it was rare that he got to spend time around a dog that wasn't trying to rip his face off.
Harry next drifted towards the lake. He thought he might play catch with the giant squid. He was intercepted halfway there by an alarmed-looking Luna Lovegood.
"Harry," she said in obvious worry, staring at his robes, "the sloberty wogs have taken up residence on your robe. They cause delirium and fever. Maybe you should take the robe off?"
Harry gave her a peaceful smile. "Good morning, Luna. I think I'll be alright. Would you like to walk with me to the lake?"
Luna frowned unhappily and shook her head no. Harry was a little disappointed—Luna seemed more down-to-earth than usual, which was unfortunate on such a beautiful day—but he gave her another gentle smile before waving goodbye and heading on down to the lake.
When he arrived at the shore, he spend a good deal of time entertaining the squid by playing catch and water tag. When he finally managed to tire himself out, he wrung out his soaked robe, dumped the water out of his tennis shoes, waved farewell to the squid, and began weaving his soggy way back to the castle.
He relaxed in a patch of sunlight near the closest entrance to the castle, waiting for his clothes to dry before entering to avoid making a mess. Filch, who was passing on the inside with a mop to deal with the problems left by someone less considerate, noticed him lounging against the outside wall and was so impressed that he gave Harry a couple of melted peppermints from a hidden pocket in his jacket and spent a good ten minutes discussing muggle cleaning solutions, a topic both of them had experience in.
Shortly after Filch left Professor Flitwick passed by on his way to lunch and chatted with Harry a bit about the lovely weather before casting a drying spell on him.
Clean and dry, Harry made his way to the kitchens. He was immediately swarmed by eager house-elves, and laughingly waded through them to a table. He soothingly reassured them that he understand that they were busy making lunch for the rest of the school and showed some of the younger ones how to double-knot shoe laces while he waited for his food. One delicious meal later, Harry thanked the little elves profusely and waded back to the entrance, waving goodbye.
Harry spent the afternoon wandering the castle and generally enjoying his self-appointed day off. He helped Madame Pince reshelf books in the library, learned how to play ultimate power chess from a couple of seventh year Ravenclaws, rescued Mrs. Norris from a trick step, discussed a bit of seventeenth-century politics with the Fat Friar and helped Peeves make a commotion on the third floor.
Sunset found him perched on the wall of the west tower, legs dangling over the edge, watching the sun go down over the lake. It was the most amazing thing Harry had ever seen, and he was more glad than ever that he had spent the day enjoying himself and the weather. Before much time had passed, and shrill voice came from the doorway.
"Mr. Potter! What on Earth are you doing hanging off the side of the building like that?"
Harry turned to find that Professor McGonagall had made it from the doorway to his spot on the tower wall in a few short strides. She was right behind him, one hand on his shoulder and one resting on her own heart. Her face was unnaturally white and her breathing was coming a little short.
"Breathe, Professor. I'm perfectly fine." Harry assured her hastily. "I just came up to watch the sunset."
He watched in satisfaction has her breathing slowed to a normal pace and the hand left her heart. "That's fine then, Mr. Potter, but don't you have an assignment due in my class?"
"Yes, yes, " Harry said in exasperation, "I've got papers due for you and Snape, the sloberty whatsits are going to eat me in my sleep, Voldemort might attack any second and I'm too kind to even exist in the same plane as everything else. That's all very nice, but I'd just like to relax for a bit."
"Everyone has responsibilities, Mr. Potter." McGonagall chided gently.
"I know that, Professor, but it's just—" Harry hesitated for a long second. "Don't you ever just want to forget about what the world wants from you and look for something beautiful?"
McGonagall smiled gently at him. "I think everyone does at some point, Mr. Potter."
Harry smiled back. "Well, I've looked all day and I've finally found something beautiful, right here." He offered her his hand. "May I share it with you?"
McGonagall laughed and took the proffered hand, using it to lift herself onto the wall.
If anyone had cared to look that evening, they might have imagined that the dark silhouettes of a teacher and student framed against a flaming sky was something beautiful.