Harry Potter and the Grimoire of Darkness

Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all associated characters and places do not belong to me. If they did Harry and Hermione would have been dating since 4th Year

Chapter 1: Summer at the Burrow

Harry Potter lay in his bed, staring at the pattern the early morning sunlight made on the ceiling as it shone through the trees surrounding the Burrow. He was alone in the room. Ron, who shared the bedroom, had got up early and left while Harry was still asleep. Idly Harry wondered about this odd behaviour on the part of his friend, as he was usually the one who had to wake up Ron.

Realising it would soon be breakfast time, he reluctantly got out of bed and after a quick visit to the bathroom to shower and shave, returned to his room to dress.

As he pulled on clean clothes, Harry reflected on the difference a few weeks could make. A few weeks ago he had been fighting in the Battle of Hogwarts, after months of travelling the country with Ron and Hermione, trying to locate and destroy the Horcruxes. Now the Horcruxes had all been destroyed, Voldemort was dead, never to return, and he could finally get on with his life, without constantly worrying about a madman after his blood.

A few more weeks would bring yet another change as he, together with his two friends, returned to Hogwarts for the seventh year they had missed. At first he and Ron had been reluctant to return, but Hermione with the help of Arthur and Molly Weasley, had eventually convinced them about the importance of taking their NEWTS. Harry grinned when he realised that one advantage of returning a year late was that he would be in the same year as his girlfriend Ginny and share most of her classes.

As he made his way downstairs to the kitchen Harry decided that he really was lucky. A couple of months ago he believed he would have to sacrifice his own life to defeat Riddle. But he had after all survived. He had a beautiful girlfriend, great friends and the prospect of a trouble free last year at school. Things couldn't be better.

Entering the kitchen, he saw Molly by the stove, cooking bacon and eggs and greeted her pleasantly.

"Good morning Mrs Weasley." He smiled at his hostess.

"Oh hello Harry dear," she replied as she continued to prod the contents of her frying pan with a fork. "Have you been up long?"

"Nah not really," he responded, "Where are Ron and Hermione?"

"Out in the garden somewhere." She nodded towards the window "Perhaps you could find them and say breakfast is almost ready?"

"Sure thing Mrs Weasley," and with these words Harry made his way out of the Burrow and started looking around for his two friends.

He could see no sign of them anywhere but as he passed close to Mr Weasley's shed he heard the sound of soft giggling coming from behind it. Harry hesitated. He knew Ron and Hermione were now together and didn't want to interrupt them, but he was sure Ron would not be pleased at missing breakfast, even for the sake of snogging his girlfriend.

"Ron, Hermione, are you there?" Harry called out their names loudly and heard hurried movements from behind the shed. After giving them a moment to sort themselves out, he walked round the building to come face to face with his two best friends.

They stood noticeably apart, their faces flushed and hair and clothing dishevelled. As he took in their rumpled appearance Harry felt an odd sense of desolation creep over him, a feeling that only intensified when he noticed Hermione's smudged lipstick and the traces of it around Ron's mouth.

Feeling acutely embarrassed Harry mumbled "Um.. Mrs Weasley asked me to tell you breakfast is ready." Hermione was staring fixedly at the ground, avoiding Harry's gaze. Ron was oblivious to her embarrassment and grinned broadly at the mention of breakfast.

"Great, I'm starved!" He looked at his girlfriend. "How about you love?"

"Yeah, me too," she muttered, still not looking at Harry. "But I think I'll go freshen up first"

With these words, Hermione dashed away towards the Burrow, leaving the two boys alone. Ron looked surprised for a moment, then shrugged and started toward the house at a more sedate pace, Harry following him.

"Ron, you've got lipstick on your mouth," Harry told him.

"Oh, right!" Ron wiped it away on the sleeve of his shirt, looking a little abashed

"So..." Harry began tentatively "Things between you and Hermione are going well?"

"Terrific!" Ron grinned at his best friend "Hermione must have been having us on all these years. There's a right firecracker under that bookworm image she likes to give out!"

Harry did not reply to this. Hearing Ron talk about Hermione like that made him even more uncomfortable. After so many years of closeness with his friends it was disconcerting they now shared something in which he had no part

Harry remained standing at the entrance to the Burrow while Ron hurried inside, intent on breakfast. He sighed, running fingers through his already untidy hair. He had started the morning in such an optimistic mood, but now he felt more than a little depressed and he was not really sure why.