IN THE ATTIC
A/N: Hi. I'm back.
Yeah, so, I bet a lot of people have forgotten everything but my name (it's pretty unique, in my opinion). It's great to be back and posting again!
Honestly, Jayu's challenge in the Forums was what inspired me to write this. Funny thing is, I sort of mixed two challenges together. Harry85 already wrote a one-shot, I thought it was fantastic. Love his work! The main difference between his one-shot and mine is that the setting is in the Burrow's attic instead of the library.
My note isn't very long…I don't really know what to say, so just read.
The Weasleys' attic was a mess, Hermione declared in her head. She stood under the doorway with a small novel tucked under arm while her other hand carried her latest read: Magical Hieroglyphs and Logograms. If she wanted to score an Outstanding, she would have to start immediately. After all, she only had the two months before summer would end.
Scrunching up her nose in disgust, she maneuvered her way through the haphazardly stacks of boxes and old memories that the Weasleys decided to discard. After nearly tripping over an extremely old toy piano, which was probably from another one of Mr. Weasley's collections, Hermione managed to clear a small area near the window of the attic. With a huff, she delicately placed her books on the floor and sat herself on the windowsill.
She was satisfied with her chosen location; there was just enough light for reading. Then, quickly remembering, Hermione withdrew her wand and gave it a slight flick.
Through the doorway came not one, not two, not three, but four large textbooks that were nearly as thick as her Hogwarts, A History floated into the attic and landed with a loud thud on the floor.
Hermione smiled and tucked her wand inside her summer jacket. It was a good thing that no one was inside The Burrow. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley decided to talk a quick hike through the woods. Charlie, Bill, Fred and George, Ron, and Ginny were outside in the field. Of course, they were all playing Quidditch.
From her view at the window, Hermione spotted the Weasley kids flying in circles, as sporting content smiles. However, there was one black-haired among the mass of redheads. The head belonged to Harry Potter.
In the summer entering seventh year, Hermione couldn't help but notice a drastic change in her best friend. He was more reserved and opted to stay quiet when among his friends. She couldn't count the numerous times she'd see him sit in the living room, staring into space.
She knew the reason why. Everyone did.
Albus Dumbledore, his mentor and the closest thing he had to a grandfather, was killed at the end of sixth year. Hermione knew Harry felt responsible for it. He was also the Boy-Who-Lived and the Boy-Who-Was-Destined-To-Save-The-World.
If he wasn't depressed, how else would he feel?
Hermione sighed. At least he let himself smile as he played his favorite game.
She observed as Ron successful blocked a throw from Ginny, causing the latter to put on a frown and throw some angry words at her big brother. Ron merely flew past her, pushing her lightly by the shoulders.
Ginny immediately smiled once Harry came near her. The smile turned to her previous scowl when all he did was shrug at her.
Poor Ginny, Hermione thought sympathetically. Then again...Ginny Weasley was a bit of a witch to her last year. Hermione had the feeling that Ginny was trying to compete for Harry Potter's affection.
She immediately noticed the way her best friend ignored Ginny. In the kitchen, the living room, wherever. Harry snatched every opportunity to get away from Ron's little sister. Hermione supposed it was because he was keeping his promise. He told her during the train ride that he broke up with Ginny for security reasons. By staying away from his former girlfriend, Harry was upholding his promise.
However, Hermione felt as if Harry had another reason to avoid Ginny. Maybe it was because he didn't fancy her anymore...
Hermione Granger, stop giving yourself hope, she scolded herself.
Heaving a great sigh, Hermione turned so that her back was to the window. No more sitting around and doing nothing.
It was time to get some reading done.
She bent over to reach for her Magical Hieroglyphs and Logograms, but in doing so, her eyes set upon her favorite fictional novel Pride and Prejudice. Hermione always brought it with her to Hogwarts. If she got tired of reading textbooks (which had never happened before), she would open up Jane Austen's book. It was something about the plot or the characters that had Hermione wanting more.
Hermione bit her lip, mentally arguing with herself. Catch up on Ancient Runes or...
You can sacrifice a day.
With a small smile, she grabbed Pride and Prejudice. She stacked her textbooks so it would create a makeshift ottoman and rested her legs. Finally, Hermione leaned back against the window pane, savoring the feel of the sun shining through.
By the time someone found her, Hermione was laying on the wooden floor of the attic room, curling her body so that it shielded the item in her hand. The person smiled slightly, thinking, Of course. With the lightest footsteps he could manage, Harry Potter made his away around the disarray of cardboard boxes and miscellaneous items.
Crouching down to his knees, he took one of the textbooks into his hands, delicately feeling the suede cover.
He glanced over at Hermione who was still sleeping and felt his heart sigh with content. He sat down next to her body and stretched his legs so they were laying in the same direction as his friend.
My god, she is something, he thought with awe.
She probably chose this place because it was the only area where light could shine through. As night fell, the moon took place of the summer sun, luminously casting a beam of light. Hermione's bushy hair was tied back in a elaborate braid that fell to the middle of her back. She still wore her summer jacket which was a delicate shade of green and loose baggy cargos that still allowed Harry to notice her. The outfit was oddly mismatched, but it summarized Hermione's personality with a look. She preferred a simple outfit rather than the outlandish sort of clothes girls wore currently.
Still sleeping, she used her two hands as a pillow. Tucked close to her was--Harry squinted his eyes to read the title--Pride and Prejudice. That name sounded familiar. Perhaps he heard about it in muggle primary school.
He chuckled suddenly; he could just see Hermione's horror-struck expression. You don't know what Pride and Prejudice is?! She would think it was a crime to not know the title of a book.
He sighed again.
Hermione sensed that someone was near. She had heard the footsteps as they approached her and was trying to keep still as the person crouched down next to her. Discreetly, she snaked a hand down to her pockets. It should be there...
Her eyes widened and she quickly rolled to her side and stood up.
"Harry," she breathed, straightening out her clothes and smoothing down her hair. "Oh, er, what are you doing up here?"
Her friend smiled slightly at her as he stood up with his hands tucked in his pockets. This was the normal Harry Potter. Shy, humble Harry. He was still wearing his day jeans and a slightly worn green t-shirt. Mrs. Weasley was kind enough to shrink the article so it fit him nicely.
The most distinguishing part of Harry shined clearly as the moon cast a luminescent light. His eyes. They were the color of trees in the forest, the grass in the summer morning. They were the windows to his soul that he kept locked from view.
But Hermione saw clearly through it. Of course. She knew him the best.
"Well, Mrs. Weasley was panicking. She thought she lost you," he answered, amusement flickering in his eyes, "so I volunteered to go look for you."
"I think I saw you while playing Quidditch. You weren't outside like usual so...well, I caught sight of you by accident. You didn't see me though."
"Oh," Hermione said, a bit embarrassed that he noticed her like that. She shifted and raised a hand to swat away the dust particles that were getting in her eyes. The rustle of her clothing seemed abnormally loud to her ears. She caught Harry staring at her, causing her to smile again. "I was up here reading for N.E.W.Ts--"
"I don't remember Pride and Prejudice being on our list," Harry commented lightly.
"Well, I don't always read school related items," she mumbled, bending down to pick up her books. As she did so, she saw the time on her watch. "It's eleven at night! My god, I didn't know I was up here for so long."
When she straightened up she saw Harry gazing her with a faraway glint in her eyes. She wondered if he even saw her.
Her friend awoke from his reverie. "Sorry...just getting a bit sleepy."
"That's alright." Hermione knew he was making an excuse; it seemed like he wanted to say something. "How was Quidditch?"
"Really good. My team won. Ginny and the others were a little upset." To her surprise, Harry didn't even pause when he said his former girlfriend's name. He saw her reaction and gave her a comforting smile. "I don't fancy her anymore, you know."
Should I...Hermione tilted her head in a questioning manner and finally asked, "Why?"
Harry shrugged, "The relationship was great in school...but it felt fake like...like I wasn't really there. It was so weird--me having a girlfriend." He laughed. "It was too quick, too sudden. And I realized that I didn't really know her that well. Except for her being Ron's little sister, I don't know her favorite color, her favorite food, her favorite book--does she even read?"
Hermione who was amused that he was so sensitive to small details shook her head. "No. But you can't know everything about one girl."
Harry wasn't supposed to say it but he said it anyways, "Well, I know everything about you."
His friend hid her smile by masking her face with a skeptical look. Hands on her hip, she asked, "Examples?"
"Your favorite color is green, but I don't really know why. You just like to use green bookmarks, and I noticed that you wear green in the summer...of course, you can't wear it at Hogwarts because muggle clothes are not allowed," rambled Harry matter-of-factly. He didn't seem to notice Hermione's shock."Your favorite food is fried chicken and chips at Hogwarts."
"And your favorite book is Hogwarts, A History, though that might be obvious from the numerous times you quoted from it," Harry finished in one breath. His face registered shock for a second. It seemed that even he was surprised at how much he paid attention to Hermione.
"That's...um, good," was her response.
Wow. Great answer, Hermione said sarcastically to herself.
"Yeah," said Harry who looked down at his shoes, "so we should be heading down."
As the two companions walked across the room, Harry asked, "Is it quiet up here?"
"Yeah, I thought it was better than the Hogwarts Library," Hermione replied.
"Can I--well, Ron and his family are going to go shopping tomorrow--I don't really want to go--I was wondering..."
"If you want to come up here with me?" Hermione finished, amused that her friend was getting so flustered. He smiled and nodded again. "Of course."
They walked down the wooden stairs, making sure to skip the last creaky step. Eventually, they reached Hermione's bedroom.
Harry stood awkwardly, hands back in his pockets. "Well, goodnight."
Hermione smiled and raised a hand. "Yes, goodnight."
The next day, as always, Hermione rose early in the morning. She took quick shower, made toast, and gathered her reading materials. She supposed Harry was still in bed so as she passed his room, she tried to go as quietly as possible.
Then she realized that the door was slightly ajar. Looking in, she observed that Harry's bed was already made. That would mean that he was already awake. Confused, she hurriedly took the steps to the attic.
Hermione spotted Harry sitting at the same spot she had sat yesterday: by the lone window of the attic. He was staring out, wistfully thinking of something. She wished she knew what about.
"Morning, Harry," she said softly, walking to his end of the room.
He turned around and blushed (or maybe it was just the light?).
The two smiled at each other and without a word, they sat down on the attic floor.
For the remainder of the month, the attic became their "secret" place. It wasn't a secret anymore since the Weasleys knew where to find them. If they were looking for Harry, they'd find him with Hermione in the attic and vice versa. The both of them were glad that the Weasleys respected their privacy.
Ron shrugged and exited the attic, muttering something about talking to Loo--Luna.
Ginny...well, Harry and Hermione made sure to ward their place against her. It wasn't as if the two of them were doing something scandalous. They supposed they merely wanted their place to be Ginny-free.
The logic was clear enough and both were satisfied with their wards.
Harry and Hermione enjoyed each others' company. On some days the two would read silently...or attempt to read. There were moments where Hermione would find herself staring at her male friend's exquisitely black hair which shined when the sun was out. The same went for Harry. However, he wasn't as discreet as Hermione. She'd look up at him once and awhile and see that look, that gaze of wishful thinking. She would think that he was in another world.
The odd thing was that everything she'd catch him in a daze, he would be staring at her.
Well, not directly but his eyes were certainly looking past or at the area around her.
Hermione didn't know what to say in those situations. Should she tell him to go back to reading? No! That'd be extremely embarrassing for Harry, and she didn't want to be a nag. Harry deserved a break for once in his life.
So she kept her eyes pasted to the pages of her book and said nothing. But she always felt his gaze on her. Was he actually looking at her?
Deep inside, Hermione hoped so. It was futile to deny the attraction for her best friend. It may have worked in the last few years, but now, ever since she was spending her time with Harry, denial was useless. She loved Harry Potter.
To be honest, she was flabbergasted that Harry would want to spend time with her. Though Harry was doing his homework better than ever, Hermione knew that her friend was not so keen on academics.
The rest of days the two friends would chat quietly. Harry would maybe comment on Hermione's books and exclaim, Those books should be outlawed; they're too long. His friend would glare at him in a playful way and say. I like them like that. Then, books would lead them to another subject to another to another, and it was all a comforting cycle.
Hermione liked those moments the most. It was strange though; there were never days where they talked and read at the same time. It was always a 'reading-only' day or a 'talking-only' day. She—and Harry too—was always able to sense what type of day.
One day, the pattern was broken.
In the attic, the atmosphere was light and soothing. Summer was nice on everyone so the weather was clear. Again, there were only two inhabitants of The Burrow's attic.
Sitting on the windowsill, Hermione was engrossed in the last chapter of Magical Hieroglyphs and Logograms. She managed to avoid--though she would never intentionally avoid reading a book--the N.E.W.T level textbook for the whole month by (re)reading her other reference books.
Harry sat on the floor, just a few feet away from Hermione. She could tell that something was bothering him. His eyes continued to remain on the same page after ten minutes. Hermione knew it was best to just wait for him to speak. There was no need to hurry him.
She soon forgot about her surroundings as her mind focused on only her book.
Her ears were being to tune everything out until--
He sounded as if he was about to ask something.
"Hmm?" She licked the tip of her index finger and pinched the top right corner of her page. Her eyes were reaching the last sentence.
The translation of erwatz boron tewit is "to be as one"...initially used in the 15th century...
It can easily be confused with ehratz boron tewita, but notice the different consonants and vowels that were added.
"I love you."
Dumbfounded, Hermione stared at the little piece of paper held by her forefinger and thumb. Page 345. She ripped her page! And it was the new edition of Magical Hieroglyphs and Logograms! She had never treated her other books this way. They were all still in fair conditions, despite the numerous times she dog-eared her pages or bent the binds...
Suddenly, as if it was her sole purpose, Hermione began to search her bag for Spellotape. Harry watched, with a look of confusion and a bit disappointment. He spent all of his time mustering his strength to tell her his deepest feelings, only to find that she did not care. But he said it! He finally said to her. Surely he deserved something.
Desperate for a response, he reached over and grabbed her wrist.
The Spellotape fell onto the floor of the attic and the silence was deafening.
He held her by the wrist for a moment, astonished that he had been so bold to touch her. Now he was afraid of her reaction. Was she…going slap him? Yell?
"H-Hermione," he stuttered.
"Can you pick up the Spellotape for me, Harry?" His friend asked in return, a curtain of her bushy hair hiding her blush as she spoke. Now holding her by the hand, Harry did as asked, but instead of handing it to her, he placed it on her lap. As Hermione reached down with her other hand, Harry snatched it too. Now the two faced each other, knees touching.
Hermione was now staring at her lap, the blush revealed.
"D-Did you hear me, Hermione?" Harry asked, bending his head so that he would catch her eyes.
"Yes," she answered meekly.
Hearing her short reply and nothing else, Harry sat back.
"Oh." So she felt nothing.
He let go of her hands, ducking his head so that she wouldn't see the tears lurking his eyes. Now he was just embarrassing himself.
Harry grabbed the book he was "reading" before and turned his back on her. He pretended to busy himself with the reading, flipping the pages as loud as possible to block out the awkward silence that filled the room. He should have known. Now everything will be ruined.
His friendship with Hermione kept him alive, and she was his life. If she didn't love him like he loved her--and god, how he loved her--then, so be it. But if he lost her as a friend, then...no.
He couldn't let that happen. He threw his book to the side and sighed loudly, "Look, Hermione--"
"I love you too, Harry," whispered Hermione softly.
Eyes widening and his heart jumping, Harry whirled around.
She was fiddling with the corner of page, glancing nervously at him while biting her lip.
He smiled at that instant, a gesture filled with youth and adoration. It made Hermione's heart leap--at least if felt like it to her. Harry scooted closer to her and took her hands into his. This time, she wasn't so shocked; she even sighed in content when he embraced her. At first it was awkward, for Harry had never initiated any intimate gesture, but Hermione soon sank into his arms, the scent of her love encompassing her.
As for Harry, he could have declared his love for her again and again at the top of his lungs.
She loved him.
How he doubted it seconds ago was now irrelevant.
Hours passed by, and the books continued to lay useless as the two had decided that it was best to spend their time doing...other activities.
And I guess that's all. If something else inspires me, I'll be sure to post. Seems like a lot of my random, spur-of-the-moment products are well received.
Thank you for reading In the attic.