Despite the fast approaching summer season, the weather outside was cool and oppressive. The evening had brought with it a thunderstorm, complete with a heavy downpour. The castle felt cavernous as the sound of rain pounded across rooftops and blew into the window pains, echoing throughout the large building.
The mood inside the castle seemed to be almost the complete opposite of that outside. Being the last week of the term, many students had already began the end-of-year celebrations. Of course this year the students of Hogwart's, in fact the whole of the wizarding world had more to celebrate then just the summer holidays. For just a few weeks earlier, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named had been defeated and the Boy-Who-Lived became the Boy-Who-Saved-the-World.
That boy now found himself wandering the deserted halls of the castle, avoiding the many parties that were taking place. It's not that he wasn't grateful that it was over, he was. He had spent too many years in fear of knowing that sooner or later he would have to come up against Voldemort, now he could finally put that behind him. He had even managed to survive relatively unscathed, aside from a few new scars. And only had to spend a few days in the infirmary, a new record for himself. He even had managed to be well enough in time to complete all of his NEWT exams along with the rest of his fellow 7th years the week before. Now he was just patiently awaiting the farewell feast.
It was this, he decided, that made him feel so down. The celebratory feast marked the end of his time here at Hogwarts, the place he had come to think of as home. Dumbledore had long since assured him that he was welcome to visit anytime, but somehow he knew it just wasn't going to feel the same. He had so many memories within these stone walls and almost all of them included his two best friends. Being here with Ron and Hermione at his side was half of what made it home, without them it was just a castle.
At that thought he momentarily felt a pang of guilt for ditching the two them at the Gryffindor common room party, hours earlier. He just hadn't been in the mood to celebrate. So after aimlessly wandering in search of some privacy and a place to unwind, he found himself making his way up to the Head Boy and Girl's dormitories. Silently hoping that Hermione would be back from the party, she usually never stayed long, and he was hoping maybe they could sit and play a game of chess or something else equally distracting to help him keep his mind off his lonely feelings.
Entering the cozy Head Students' common room, Harry glanced around, a little disappointed to see Hermione had not yet returned. He knocked lightly on the door to her room, but didn't expect an answer as she had become quite the night owl over the years and usually preferred to hang out in their common room before retiring to bed.
Harry plopped himself down into one of the squashy armchairs that filled the room. He often wondered why Dumbledore had chosen to make him Head Boy, what with quidditch, NEWTS and saving the world, he had hardly had time for many of his duties. Poor Hermione, getting stuck with most of them. In the end he decided that Dumbledore just knew that he would appreciate the added luxury of having his own dorm room, from which to plan out the destruction of Voldemort. And no offense to Ron, Neville, Dean or Seamus, but Hermione made a much better dormmate then any of them. Although, anything had to be better then sharing a room with four snoring boys.
As he sat, wind gushed in, blowing open a window, previously left ajar, causing a shiver to run down Harry's spine. He got up and shut the window, pausing to watch the torrential rain still spilling from the heavens.
As he watched the water drain down the glass pane he had a good idea for a nice place to relax, he would take a bath. Any prefect knew that one of the amenities for being an upstanding student was the access to the Prefect bathroom. And if they thought that was nice, they should see the Head Student bathroom.
A small door off of Harry's head boy dorm room led into into a small, but elaborate powder room. It was made (seemingly) entirely of white marble which glistened as the candelabras reflected off of it and off the large mirrors above the porcelain basin sunken into the marble countertop. He had a full walk-in closet off to the side and on the other side, his own toilet. There was a rather sizable shower stall which looked like any other from the outside of the sliding doors, but upon entering there was a small relaxing "pond" that sat below the base of a trickling stream that poured into it much like a waterfall. It made for a rather more intriguing shower.
Hermione's bathroom was much the same, except her closet seemed a bit a bigger. There was also a vanity set up, although, not really being one to wear make-up, hers was often piled with books and notes. Harry had spent more than one morning sitting with these piles quizzing her over something as she bustled around him doing last minute things to get ready. They knew that she hardly ever needed the last minute review, but it was an easy way for both of them to prepare, as Harry was often ready long before she was.
Connecting the two bathrooms to each other was a large room between them much like the prefect's room which held the swimming pool sized bathtub. The Head Student version was more elaborately decorated with a large fireplace along one wall of the room and a couple cushioned benches and shelves of fluffy towels and robes along the other side. The bath itself was more of a kidney shape then a rectangle, but had just as many elaborate taps all the way around it, full of all different types of scents and bubbles.
Yes, a bath sounded rather nice, now that Harry thought about it. The small common room had gotten rather chilly from the windows that had been left open earlier in the day.
Harry went into his bathroom, stripping down to just a towel around his waist and gently placed his glasses on the counter. He left out the back door that led into the larger room with the tub, taking in the comfort of the warm humid air already filling the room.
His bare feet softly padded across the smooth marble floor and about halfway over to the sunken tub, he stopped. He heard a movement and he turned, squinting, as he made out a shape at the far edge of the pool. Allowing himself a moment to let his eyes focus, he suddenly realized why the room had already been so warm, Hermione was already occupying it. She was leaning back into the nook at the end of the tub, her thick mane pulled up into a clip at the back of her head. She was reading a book that she no doubt had charmed to protect it from getting wet.
It was that very moment that Hermione had apparently became aware of a presence in the room. She whipped her head around to find Harry, half-naked standing there squinting with a dumbfounded look on his face.
"Harry!" She yelped as she splashed backward lowering herself into the thick pink foam. She dropped the book she had been reading and it too fell with a splash before quickly resurfacing, apparently she had charmed it to float as well.
"What are you doing?" She exclaimed, with only her head bobbing above the bubbles.
"I...ur...er..." He paused to take a breath. " I didn't know you were in here, I'm sorry." He could feel his cheeks flush, how embarrassing to walk in on your best friend in the bath. Honestly, the bubbles provided a great shield, she was getting a better look at him in his towel, then he was of her. Perhaps that was what embarrassed him so much.
Hermione caught herself staring at him for a moment. She hadn't really gotten a good look at him since the battle against Voldemort. He had seemed more shy than usual about her catching him without a shirt on. She had obviously seen the scars on his chin, but didn't realize that they continued down across his chest. She had learned while he had been in the infirmary that much like his famous lightening bolt, the new scars were also made by powerful dark magic, and would likely never go away. She rather liked his new scars, they were a constant reminder to her that he had survived, he had battled the greatest threat known to wizarding kind, and he still managed to walk away.
She had been dragged out of her daze, when Harry shifted uncomfortably, pretending to scratch at his shoulder in an attempt to cover his bare chest.
"It's okay." She stated reassuringly. "You just startled me is all."
They both stared silently at one another for a moment before Harry spoke.
"So, ah, why are you up here?" He asked, filling in the awkward silence. "Why did you leave all of the celebrations?"
"I wasn't really in the mood." She slowly raised her shoulders up out of the water shrugging. She wiped away the bubbles that had clung onto her chin, and waded over to the edge near Harry. "I mean, of course I'm happy that the war is over... and I'm proud that we made it to the end of school, but...I'm kinda sad all at the same time." She trailed off feeling a little foolish.
"You're going to miss this place too." Harry stated, moving closer to her, a smile at the corner of his mouth, realizing that he wasn't the only one.
"Yes. I'm also gonna miss sharing this with you." She gestured around the room. "I've liked living with you. I was actually coming up here to hopefully hang out with you, but when you weren't up here..."
"You figured you'd take in a nice relaxing bath."
She nodded, smiling.
"Me too, that's how I ended up here. I wasn't trying to sneak in here and catch you reading in the tub." He chuckled and she did too. "You know Hermione, NEWTS are over, you don't have to study any more."
"I wasn't studying." She protested as she looked around for the book she had dropped earlier, seeing that it had floated it's way over to the deeper end of the tub.
"Hogwarts: A History no doubt." Harry laughed out as he walked around to the edge where it had floated, beating Hermione there and pulling it out.
"Ha ha. Just give it back." She quickly demanded in a tone very unlike her.
"Alright, geez." He absentmindedly shook the beads of water off the cover of the book. "Hang on." He said, looking at the cover. "Just what ARE you reading?" He squinted at the picture of a scantly clad witch, her hair blowing in the wind as she gazed up at the rather manly wizard standing above her. The painted wizard flexed his bicep at the witch before winking up at Harry.
He whipped his head up staring straight at his friend. "Hermione Granger, are reading a romance novel!?"
It was Hermione's turn to blush. She tried to think of an excuse, but finally just mumbled out a feeble, "Ginny gave it to me."
Harry laughed. There was just something so outright ridiculous about the whole thing. This was Hermione for goodness sakes, the woman who read textbooks for amusement, the one who was always too busy studying to go on dates!
He was laughing so hard that his eyes were tearing up. He leaned down to hand her the book back and saw the horrified look on her face.
"I'm..." He tried to stifle his laughter, "...sorry."
"Oh you're sorry are you?" She asked reaching out for the book. She reached for the end of it, trying not to come too far out of the water. Harry playfully pulled it back out of her reach at first. She frowned trying to give him her best crusty glare. Still laughing, he reached it out further towards her, as he stood precariously near the edge of the tub.
Acting as calm and dignified as one could while being naked, and getting caught with a romance novel by her best male friend, Hermione smiled graciously and reached for the book. However, instead of grabbing the novel, she instead grabbed Harry's wrist and yanked down, pulling him head first and shocked into the water.
A great echo of the splash reverberated throughout the large marble room, accompanied by the slaps of the displaced water smacking down onto the floors and sloshing across the room.
Harry reemerged taking in a great breath, sputtering and coughing a bit. He had still been mid-laugh when he was pulled in and had managed to inhale a good amount of the soapy water. He mentally noted to himself, that not only did the pink foam smell like real strawberries, but surprisingly, it rather tasted like them too.
"Ha..." He coughed again, "ha." He pushed his wet hair back out of his eyes, making the usually unruly hair stick up even worse.
Hermione had been laughing whole heartedly as soon as he had hit the water. She managed to contain them just long enough to give him a good smirk in his direction which clearly stated. "Serves you right."
Getting over his initial shock, Harry let out a chuckle, knowing when a good one had been pulled on him. "Have you been training with Fred and George?" He joked.
She just smiled shaking her head.
Being close enough now to pretty much get her in focus, Harry realized just how cute she looked with her hair pulled up, and now thanks to his splash, wetted down. As he looked at her now, he realized just how much more embarrassing his situation had gotten. He was now IN that tub, with his very naked best friend. And now, as he felt around for his towel, knowing that it was probably at the bottom of the water by now, he was naked too.
"Hermione... er" He paused not knowing what to say.
She had kicked back a ways in the tub but stopped to raise an eyebrow in his direction.
"I seem to have lost my towel." He felt his cheeks burn again.
"Oh relax Harry, it's not like I can see anything through these bubbles." She turned to her front and began to swim to the other side.
"Besides, haven't you ever gone skinny dipping before? It's no big deal."
She stopped swimming and turned to look at him as though she was expecting some sort of an answer.
"Apparently you forgot who you were talking to. If it's something remotely fun and it wasn't with either you or Ron, then I haven't done it." He answered. There was no remorse in his voice, just honesty.
"Oh. Right." Hermione mentally kicked herself for not realizing that before she had said it. She didn't mean to intentionally remind him of what a lousy childhood he had had.
"Well, now you can say that you've done it." Was the best thing she could think of to say.
"Have you been drinking?" Harry asked, still not moving from the spot he started in. "I mean, who are you and what have you done with my Hermione?"
She playfully stuck her tongue out at him.
"I mean, my Hermione wouldn't be caught dead with a book that wasn't intellectually stimulating and she certainly would never allow a naked guy to be in the same tub as her.
" Hermione lifted an eyebrow, her expression challenging him. She waded a little closer to him, the foamy bubbles swirling around as she passed through them. She stopped a few feet away from where he stood, shoulder deep in water, his hands automatically under the surface, covering up what she couldn't see anyways. She looked him in the face.
"Do you think I would let just ANY naked guy into my tub?"
Harry's eyebrows shot up into his dripping hairline wondering what all she was implying with such a statement.
"I've learned a lot in these last couple of months Harry." She paused for emphasis. "Life's way too short to be prudent."
All he could do was stare at her as she continued talking.
"During the final battle, I lost sight of you and when we knew it had ended and everyone else was celebrating, I wasn't even able to think straight until I knew you were ok. Those few minutes it took me to find you felt like an eternity. My mind was racing through all the 'what ifs', the 'if onlys' and the regrets. All the things I regretted that I would never get to do with you if you weren't alive."
"You regretted never getting to go skinny dipping with me?" Harry asked, trying to lighten the mood with a joke, but also a little confused.
"I regretted having more memories of studying with you, going to classes or fighting for our lives then... well, then good memories with you." She had slowly moved towards him until she was close enough to see the warm candlelight reflecting in his emerald eyes, unhidden by his customary glasses.
"And this will be a good memory?" Harry asked quietly. "Even though I startled you during your bath and teased you for your choice of reading material?" He smiled a lopsided smile at her. "This will still be a good memory?"
She returned her brightest smile and waded just close enough to lean forward and place a gentle kiss on his lips.
Time seemed to stop for that brief moment as both friends eye's fluttered shut. All at once Harry's senses went into overdrive, he could feel every molecule of water move between his body and hers. He could hear his heart pounding in his chest. He realized that the scent of the strawberry foam was a scent he usually placed with Hermione, and now he could taste it on her lips as well. As the kiss ended, he opened his eyes and saw Hermione smiling at him, her cinnamon eyes sparkling with mischief and he had never thought she had looked so beautiful.
"This will most definitely be a good memory." She said grinning.
He just nodded in agreement, his voice momentarily lost. Hermione playfully splashed a small amount of water at him and began to swim away. Harry felt his heart begin to race, he knew that he had complained about his first kiss being "wet", but this kind of "wet", he decided was just fine with him.
"A good memory indeed." He thought to himself as he smiled, shook the water from his face and swam after her.
A/N Hope you enjoyed it. The idea just sorta popped in my head the other day while, I myself was taking a relaxing bath. (wishing to myself that there was enough room to swim around in it) :o)