"Bloody git needs to get laid," Harry mumbled as he plopped down in one of the over-stuffed crimson chairs in front of the crackling fire.
"That bad mate?" Ron asked sitting at Hermione's feet. His lips were rather swollen and Harry saw a purplish bruise peaking out from under his shirt collar.
"No, I just love having that prick plowing painfully through my memories," Harry said with sarcasm dripping from every word.
"There's no need to be snappish," Hermione reprimanded Harry, sounding too much like Mrs. Weasly for his liking. Harry sighed.
"Sorry, he just gets to me," Harry said. Both of his friends nodded sympathetically.
"Are you sure Professor Snape isn't being horrible to you," Hermione asked quietly.
"Yeah, mate, if he's being a down right arse go to Dumbledore."
"I think Dumbledore told him specifically this time around he can't be completely evil, especially after fifth year's pensive incident," Harry mused.
"You would tell us if he was treating you badly?" Hermione asked one more time. Harry gave her a tired smile.
"If Snape was hurting me in anyway I promise I would tell you two," he said before standing and stretching. "I think I'm going to take a shower." As he walked away Hermione noticed the slight limp that Harry couldn't mask completely.
"Don't you think Harry would tell us if Professor Snape was harming him?" Hermione asked Ron quietly later as they lay in front of the dying fire together.
"Unless Snape threatens him or prevents him with some curse or something," Ron said, gently running his fingers up and down Hermione's denim clad leg.
"But Professor Snape wouldn't—"
"Why wouldn't he?" Ron shot at her.
"If Professor Dumbledore trusts Professor Snape then he's trustworthy," Hermione reasoned running her fingers through Ron's hair.
"We've always knowing that Dumbledore's been long since crack," Ron murmured.
"Ronald! He's perfectly right about this!" Hermione scolded her boyfriend. "Dumbledore wouldn't put Hogwarts and Harry's safely at risk."
"You're right, but I just wished I knew, just to make sure," Ron sighed. Hermione suddenly gasped.
"What?' Ron asked sitting up when he felt Hermione push against his back. She swung her leg over his head and dashed out of the common room towards the Head Girl's room, leaving behind one confused ginger. She returned five minutes later with a giant leather-bound tome in her arms, Ron groaned.
"I can't believe I haven't thought about this before!" she said in a rush, tossing the book on the couch in front of Ron, who sneezed from the dust partials that flew up from the moth-eaten cushion.
"I picked this up months ago for a bit of light reading," she said sitting down facing Ron and crossed her legs, pulling the book towards her. Ron stared at his girlfriend with wide eyes.
"A bit of light reading? Blimey Hermione!" he looked at the title of the book. The Handbook of Rune Magic was written in peeling, curvy golden letters.
"We've been learning about rune symbols inked and tattooed on people for a plethora of reasons," Hermione explained, leafing through the pages. "They're used for protection, invisibility, strength; Sirius even got some before he went into Azkaban that helps him achieve his animal form without a wand."
"That's good and all, but what's that got to do with our problem with Harry?" Ron asked confused. Hermione sighed looking up at him.
"Honestly Ron! You should really drop Divinations and pick up Runes or something equally worth your time!" Ron scoffed. They've had this argument dozens of times.
"How about you tell me where you're with this and save me from all the hassle, Oh Brainy One." Hermione stuck her tongue out at the playful nickname.
"As I was saying, Runes can be used for magical defense, but offence as well," Ron gave her a blank stare. "Oh for goodness sakes Ron! You can use Runes for surveillance! All you have to do is ink the Rune on the wall of you room you wish to watch and etch the matching symbol on a mirror you want to watch through."
"Hermione, can you please get to the point…"
"We can write the bloody rune on Harry and watch him through a mirror!" Hermione said finally able to dumb it down enough for her boyfriend.
"Ahh..." Ron said in realization. He beamed at Hermione. "You're so brilliant!" Hermione blushed form the praise.
"What are we going to draw on him?" Ron asked actually interested in the class Hermione was always going on about different symbols from ancient times. Hermione smiled at Rona eagerness. Twenty minutes later Ron and Hermione were creeping into the Boys Dormitory. A loud chainsaw noise met them.
"How to you manage to get any sleep?" Hermione asked in between the thunderous snores. Ron shrugged.
"After six years, you het use to it."
"Boys," Hermione sighed rolling her eyes. They tip-toed to Harry's bed.
The crimson curtains around Harry's bed were pulled closed. It was nearing one o'clock and the moon was position high in the sky, shining through the window, casting an eerie glow over everything. Hermione pulled Harry's curtains open and peered into his bed. The sixteen year old slept topless, his comforter tangled around his legs and one foot poked out.
Ron and Hermione were thankful when they found Harry on his stomach, gripping onto his pillow. They had both agreed to place the symbol on the back of Harry's neck, a place where they hoped he couldn't find it. Both felt bad magically bugging their friend, but they soothed themselves by saying it was for Harry's own good.
"Do you have the mirror?" Hermione asked Ron. He nosed and pulled out the palm-sized mirror and handed it to Hermione. "Do you remember the words?" Ron gave her a panicked look. She chuckled quietly.
"Just kidding," Hermione said pulling out her wand.
"Not very funny."
"Kind of funny," Hermione whispered back holding out the mirror in front of her.
"Plene mihi specto fusus tenus," Hermione chanted. The tip of her wand glowed a pale blue, casting shadows on her and Ron's face. She drew the wand tip across the back of the mirror and etched two triangles on it. One was upside down and the other was right side up, one on top of the other. In the middle empty space she drew a small eye with two dots above it. The picture glowed like her wand for several seconds before fading away, leaving behind the burnt image.
"Wicked," Ron breathed. Hermione smiled pocketing her wand, and pulled out a quill and a bottle of ink.
"Can you open and hold this?" she asked handing the bottle of ink to Ron. Ron took it and opened it, letting Hermione dip the tip of the quill into the ink. Both teens held their breath as Hermione slowly leaned over Harry and penned the image from the back of the mirror on to Harry's neck. It wasn't until Hermione placed the two dots above the eye a little too hard did Harry move. He jerked and Hermione was just able to get out of the way of Harry's flailing limb.
"Sorry Harry," she breathed, taking her wand back out, but instead of burning the words into Harry's flesh, Hermione merely waved her wand over the symbol murmuring the same string of words as before. The picture glowed faintly.
"Did it work?" Ron asked.
"Give me the mirror," Hermione whispered. Ron handed her the mirror over and Hermione tapped it with her wand. "Imago itaque sanus."
Faintly at first a blurry, dark image flashed in the mirrors depths, but it slowly came into focus. Ron and Hermione both gave quiet laughs of triumph when they saw the dark outline of Harry laying face down, hugging his pillow.
"I knew you could do it," Ron whispered pulling Hermione into a hug and she cleared the mirror. He kissed her gently on the lips.
"Go some sleep," Hermione whispered, pushing Ron towards his bed.
"Come with me?" he asked innocently.
"I know that look Ronald Weasly! It's a school night! We need our rest!"
"No fun," Ron murmured into Hermione's neck.
"Probably not," Hermione said kissing Ron on the cheek and moving away from him. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"I love you," Ron said holding Hermione's hands loosely.
"And I love you too," Hermione said walking to the door. Ron waited until Hermione closed the door behind her before he pulled off his cloths and crawled into bed.