Make It Up To You
He wanders silently on the second floor, folding his arms against himself as his thoughts go to what had just been discussed downstairs.
He knew that Voldemort and his Death Eaters were gaining power; in fact, he always suspected there would be the day when this would happen again, when Voldemort would attempt, once more, to seize control of the Wizarding world, killing everything and anyone that got in his way. But it was what Sirius said that bothered him the most. What could Voldemort possibly want in his possession that he didn't have fourteen years ago?
He knew, though, most of all, that it was something that you absolutely wouldn't want in Voldemort's hands.
Sirius had looked straight at Harry when he delivered those news, and because of that, he knows, without a doubt, that whatever Voldemort wants has something to do with Harry.
He feels bad for Harry. Everything unfortunate seems to be attracted to the poor guy, he's like a magnet to it.
His mother had stopped Sirius before he could go any further, because, of course, she always does.
He had looked around at everyone after that, studying their faces. Most had abandoned their concern on the subject for the time being, and went back to conversing with everyone else on more lighthearted subjects. Harry, of course, looked a little sullen, but how could he blame him for that?
Then he had looked to his right, past George, to her. She was watching Tonks and Ginny; Ginny was asking Tonks in between laughs to change her appearance to red hair, then a pig's snout, then green spiked hair... but it was clear that, even as Hermione watched with a small smile, her thoughts had not left what Sirius had said about Voldemort.
Her dark brown eyes conveyed what her face did not. She was worried deeply, and he just knew that her brain was whirring, scrambling to put together the pieces of the facts.
He had watched her eyes dart every few seconds to Harry, and he had been surprised to find that something unmistakably like jealousy had risen in him. Her deep care and concern for Harry was something she never bothered to diminish or hide, and he couldn't help but be envious of Harry, for the way she looked at Harry was enough to render any other guy speechless when under that look.
He wondered if there was something secretly going on between her and Harry.
He had not known how long he must have been looking at her, but at one point, she had seemed to sense his gaze, and brown eyes had met blue.
He had caught himself and managed to give her a small smile, then looked away.
He had been sure he could feel her eyes on him long after that.
Some while later, dessert had been passed out, but he had felt the strong urge to get away from the crowded table, to be alone for a while, and to collect his thoughts.
He had not been very hungry for dessert anyway, and besides, he could always sneak back down to the kitchen at night when he felt hungry for some.
Everybody still had been in deep conversation, so he had known that nobody would really notice at first that he had left the table.
He had whispered to George that he would be back in a little while, and George had merely nodded, more interested in the slice of pie upon his plate.
So, now, here he was, still walking along the narrow hallway of the second landing, the rumble of loud talking and clinks of glass cups and silverware downstairs ringing in his ears.
It was probably due to the noise that he had failed to acknowledge the soft sound of footsteps approaching him.
He stops in his tracks, startled, bringing his gaze up to rest on her.
She was standing a couple of feet away from him, leaning casually against the wall, her arms folded against herself, and a soft smile upon her lips.
He puts on one of his well-known grins, ignoring the odd jolt in his stomach.
"I saw you leave the table. Are you all right?"
The concern shines bright in her eyes.
He nods. "Yeah, I just wanted to get away for a bit."
He feels as if she can sense just exactly why he wanted to leave the table, and it's because of that, that he expects her to begin voicing her worries about Harry and Voldemort.
But, to his slight surprise, she doesn't.
"Yeah, sometimes I feel the need to get away as well."
Her voice is soft, understanding, and it fully dawns on him that they are alone together. It's really just him and her now, a situation that has never occurred before, due to them each always being surrounded by people.
"Of course, I never really thought of you as the type to need to be alone." She adds, and he detects the hint of playfulness in her tone.
He is glad of this. She has finally put away her serious manner, and this new behavior really suits her.
He leans against the wall as well, a mischievous grin spreading across his face.
"Why's that, Granger?"
She shrugs. " You just seem more like a people person."
He supposes she might be right. But he did value alone time, as much as any other person.
"Well, there's a lot you don't know about me, Granger."
A slight frown creases her lips, and he is confused.
"Why do you call me Granger?"
Her voice is not accusatory or angry, but curious.
He realizes that he doesn't even know why he calls her by her last name.
"Just a habit, I guess." He tries to make his voice indifferent. " What would you like me to call you?"
"Just Hermione is fine."
He couldn't resist.
"All right, Just Hermione."
She rolls her eyes at him, but she laughs, and in that moment he is mesmerized by the sound of it, what the full smile does to her face.
Her beauty is clear to him, and he can't believe he's just noticing this now, after all those years of her in his presence.
She closes her eyes briefly, as if she is remembering something.
"Oh, I'm sorry about Crookshanks. He's usually not that bothersome."
Now it is his turn to frown. He had forgotten about that incident, but yes, that cat did cost him some interesting Order information.
But it's not like he won't try again with the Extendable Ears.
He shrugs, a reassuring smile occupying his lips. " Well, there's always some other time."
She smiles back, and it is a relieved one. " I'll make it up to you somehow, though."
In her mahogany eyes shines a promise, and he wonders just how to interpret her statement.
They are suddenly enveloped in an awkward silence, but as he tries to think of what to say, a distant voice breaks the silence.
"Hermione? Are you up there?"
He can hear Ron slowly climbing the stairs, and he is amused to see the annoyed look on Hermione's face.
"Oh, no," She whispers. " I need a place to hide."
And she proceeds to open the doors nearest them, peering in the rooms.
"Why?" He asks, but his voice is a whisper as well.
"Because Ron and I currently have a disagreement. And he won't shut up about it."
He holds back a laugh.
The footsteps on the stairs cease, then Harry's voice, not so far away, resounds against the thin walls.
"Is she up there?"
"I don't know, I'm checking."
The footsteps resume.
Hermione approaches the door to his left, opening it and looking inside at a dusty, abandoned drawing room.
"This is good," She murmurs, more to herself than to him.
She slides inside, but before she closes the door, she looks back at him.
"Don't tell him I'm here."
It's more of request than a command, and he smiles deviously. In every situation, she's so polite.
"What if I do tell him?"
She studies him intently. "Fine."
Then her hand shoots out to grasp his wrist, pulling him inside the room with her with a force that takes him aback. "Then you're staying with me."
He waits against the wall, her hand still warmly enclosed around his wrist, as she leans against the door, listening hard.
"She's not up here, either." Came Ron's voice.
Then Harry. "She's probably downstairs and we just missed her."
The footsteps move further away, then down the stairs, but Ron's voice was still loud enough for them to hear.
"Oh, and have you seen Fred? He isn't around either."
He smirks, and Hermione moves back towards him, sighing in relief.
He can tell she had forgotten her grasp on him.
She's very close now, close enough for him to smell the strawberry scent radiating from her hair.
He feels the sudden urge to reach out to her, pull her to him, but then he is ashamed that the thought even crossed his mind.
She's his brother's best friend. He shouldn't be feeling this way.
But since when has he ever followed boundaries or rules?
His voice nears that of a whisper, and he doesn't really know why, for they have no need to whisper any more.
She turns quickly, as if she had forgotten he was even there in the first place.
She realizes their proximity and a blush rises to her face.
He wouldn't mind seeing that more often.
But she doesn't make an attempt to move away from him, nor remove her hand from his wrist.
And he would rather she didn't.
Their eyes lock for long seconds, and for once, he can't read her eyes.
Then she closes the distance between them, once and for all.
Her lips are soft, and at first she is tentative, but as his hand tangles in her brown waves of hair, she responds, and they are lost in one another.
If this was her idea of making it up to him, he wasn't complaining.