A/N: So I haven't written any Harry Potter for like, two years. But, after recently re-reading the series, I decided I wanted to pick it up again. And this is the result. I like it, I think. Also, it should be noted that originally this was intended to be a romance sort of thing, but I changed my mind. I didn't want to force it, and it just didn't fit. BUT: I'm still a Harmony fan =) Finally, the reason "Acoustic" is in the title is because this fits better with the acoustic version of this song, and because I'm planning on writing another fic for the regular song. So, after that longwinded crap, enjoy the story!
Disclaimer: How can I say this? Oh wait. Harry Potter isn't mine. That works!
There was a paranoid, antisocial part of Hermione that swore up and down that her friends were not truly her friends. This voice suggested that her so-called friends simply used her for her intelligence, and it had been there as long as she could remember. So strong was this demon, in fact, that for a few memorable weeks in elementary school, she had pretended to be stupid. When teachers called on her, she would immediately answer "I don't know" and smile largely at her neighbor. It continued this way until, after having "failed" a spelling test (she spelled all the words incorrectly on purpose), her teacher contacted her parents, who, in turn, interrogated their daughter as to why she'd failed to spell words she'd known for years. Hermione, who never was a very good actress, broke down and admitted her insecurities, sobbing that she would never have any true friends. Her father had offered her the best advice she'd ever received.
"You and you alone decide who your true friends are," he'd said. "And you'll know whether they're using you or not."
Armed with his advice and half a hope that she would be challenged by the course load at a new school, Hermione set off for Hogwarts, determined to find friends.
Unfortunately, the first two months of school proved to be just as daunting socially as her previous years. Because she hadn't been sorted into Ravenclaw, where those whose "intelligence was surest" were thought to reside, her smarts and aptitude for any spell or charm given to her isolated her everyone around her. In fact, as upsetting as it was, she was unsurprised when Ron Weasley made fun of her with those sharp-edged, but mostly true, words.
"She's a nightmare, honestly! No wonder she hasn't got any friends!"
That was it: her worst fear, confirmed by a boy she barely knew. She seriously considered dropping out as she sat, alone and humiliated, in the farthest stall from the restroom door, only to let the troll attack her.
But then he came to save her, along with the boy who had made fun of her. It was the first of many times he would save her.
Of all the people at Hogwarts whom she had expected to offer her the hand of friendship, the last on her list had been famous Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived. She expected him to be snobbish, stuck-up, and rude; in short, she had pictured the complete opposite of who he turned out to be. He came to her rescue in her time of need, rather than the other way around. She knew she'd found the friend of whom her father had spoken. She did not trust Ron; he had called her a nightmare, and she wouldn't be surprised if he had been dragged to help her. Nonetheless, she trusted Harry, and he trusted Ron. That was enough for her.
First year passed, and although she still had nagging, secret suspicions about Ron, she had found her very best friend in Harry. He was brave and noble and just; everything she'd always wanted in a friend could be found in him.
For reasons she would discover later, he never answered her many letters that summer, which undoubtedly tested her faith in him. When he returned to Hogwarts, though, he was perfectly fine, and, to Hermione's supreme disappointment, closer than ever to Ron.
He was there, again, when she needed him. He visited her nearly everyday in the hospital wing after the Polyjuice Potion mishap, and he figured out what had Petrified her and the others and saved the school. Despite his growing list of accomplishments, he remained her friend and never let the fame go to his head.
With third year came the threat upon Harry's life in the form of Sirius Black, along with many of her own bitter fights with Ron concerning their pets. She half-expected Harry to take Ron's side, but he stayed with her, and this, more than anything else, proved him to her. She reveled in the moments they could spend apart from Ron. The time they spent together using the Time Turner was counted in some of the best moments of her life: they talked about anything and everything, as they never had before. By the end of third year, she felt the closest she ever had to him.
And then came fourth year and the Triwizard Tournament. Harry's life was in danger again, and Ron was refusing to be there for him, confirming Hermione's suspicions about him from the first. Thus, Harry to Hermione.
Her demon, having chosen a very prudent time to come out of hiding, made her doubt her friendship with Harry for the first time. She couldn't ignore its perpetual whispers suggesting Harry was only friends with her because he didn't have Ron.
And so, threw weeks before the first task, she left him in the library.
To her surprise, he noticed her absence immediately and called her name, but she ignored him.
The common room was empty except for a few sixth-years in the corner, so she took her normal seat by the first and curled her arms around her knees. By the time she reached the chair, angry tears were threatening spill onto her cheeks. She was a coward: Harry didn't use her, and she should know it by now…
The demon, who, she had noticed, fed off her insecurity, whispered that it was all for the best; that she might as well end their friendship before he did. This made her cry even more, and she shook with the effort of suppressing her sobs.
"Hermione?" his voice questioned. He put a comforting hand on her shoulder and pulled a chair over so that he was next to her. "Hermione, what's wrong? One minute we're finishing that Transfiguration essay and the next…" He left his sentence unfinished. "What's wrong?"
She breathed deeply, trying to calm herself so she could speak without embarrassing herself (anymore). "Nothing," she muttered, and her voice sounded so feeble that even she didn't believe herself.
He knew, she supposed, that it was rubbish, but he didn't say anything. He took her hand and rubbed it soothingly, looking into the first and not into her eyes. His touch was rapidly calming her…
"This is going to sound really stupid," she warned.
He shook his head, continuing to rub her hand. "It won't, but I want to hear it anyway."
She bit her lip and looked at the hand he held. "I'm scared you're only friends with me because I'm smart, or because Ron isn't around, and if I were to fail you, you would leave me."
A slight pause followed her words, and she was too afraid to look into his face to see his response. When he spoke, there was a hint of—hurt? disdain?—in his voice.
"Hermione, you know I would never—"
"I know," she interrupted, still refusing to look up. "But there's a part of me that's been telling me for years…that I could never have…it's not you."
Another pause followed; it was longer, more thoughtful than before. A fresh, shaking sob escaped, and a tear fell from her eye, but before she could wipe it away, he caught it. His finger remained on her cheek for a fraction of a second longer than she expected, and it was this that finally caused her to lift her eyes.
"Hermione," he began, his finger moving from her cheek to under her chin. He seemed to be choosing his words painstakingly. "Hermione, I would never use you for anything. You are too good a friend, too good a person, to be used by anybody. You could be the dumbest girl in the world, and you would still be my best friend."
She closed her eyes.
And then, as though his words had started a fire within, a rapid warming sensation began, spreading from her toes to her fingers, to her brain, and, finally, to her heart. The demon's regime had ended, and, overcome with her warmth, he fled, dragging doubt and insecurity behind him. A smile made it way to her lips, and she opened her eyes.
He wore a crooked, embarrassed smile, and he dropped her chin. "That sounded better in my head."
"It sounded just fine out loud," she answered, shaking her head. "It was what I needed to hear."
I know that I'm not perfect,
I'll admit that I'm a fool,
But every time I'm lost I'm always
Finding my way back to you…
"Take Me Home (Acoustic)" by After Midnight Project
A/N: Love it? Hate it? …review, please?