Hermione Granger and the Case of the Cherry Blossoms – by Sara's Girl

Disclaimer: Why not NOT OWN two things at the same time? Harry Potter is not mine, and neither is the wisdom of Sherlock Holmes, which belongs to the brilliant and sadly deceased Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I do, however, now have a small collection of brain marbles that some of you wonderful people have found for me. They're rattling around rather nicely – thank you.

AN – clearly this is not the next chapter of 'Turn', and for that, I apologise. All I can say is that this is what the little men in my brain wanted to write, so here it is. It's silly and fluffy and pretty much pointless—please enjoy. I'll get back to writing the serious stuff post-haste.


"What do you want for your birthday?" Ron asks suddenly, peering over the top of his copy of Which Broomstick? and chewing on the end of his quill, obliviously staining his lips with bright red ink.

Hermione frowns, puzzled. "My birthday's in September. It's April."

"I know when it is," Ron mutters, wounded. He kicks his feet restlessly over the arm of his chair, dislodging a previously-sleeping Crookshanks, who yowls in protest and scuttles across the common room, scattering first-years in his wake. "Just trying to be organised and stuff."

"And stuff?" she repeats, marking her place in 'Roodvig's Compact Rune Dictionary' and shifting it awkwardly in her lap, wondering if Mr Roodvig shouldn't brush up on the meaning of the word compact. She looks at Ron, feigning concern. "You're trying to be organised. Do you need me to take you to the hospital wing?"

"Oh, ha ha." Ron pulls a face, and it's all Hermione can do not to pull one back. She is, however, Head Girl, and as such, a role model, and role models do not pull childish faces when surrounded by first years. "I can be organised. Last night I did that homework for McGonagall that isn't due until Thursday," Ron says, scratching his eyebrow with his quill and streaking the ginger hairs with scarlet.

"And what about that Potions essay you were trying to copy from me less than an hour ago?" Hermione challenges, arms folded atop her book. "That one's for tomorrow."

"Never mind about that," Ron says, scowling. "I'll copy it from Harry when he gets back."

"Ron," she reproves, knowing it's useless. She frowns. "Where is Harry, anyway? I haven't seen him since dinner."

"He went somewhere with Malfoy," Ron says vaguely. "Come on, what do you want for your birthday?"

"What do you mean he went somewhere with Malfoy?"

Ron shrugs and glances back down at his magazine. "Speak now or you'll be getting a tin of broomstick lacquer that I can borrow."

"Do you think he's alri—oh," she says as the portrait hole swings open and Harry scrambles through into the common room. "I don't want a tin of broomstick lacquer."

"Hey, Harry, can I borrow your Potions essay?" Ron calls as Harry picks his way over to the fireplace.

Harry nods wearily, lobs his bag in Ron's direction and throws himself into a spare armchair—or, at least, an armchair that has been vacated by a third-year girl at the sight of him. Hermione frowns and glances over at the girl, but she only smiles, turns pink and settles herself on the hearthrug, apparently delighted to give up her seat for Harry. So many of the younger students—not all of them girls—seem to hero-worship Harry, and he doesn't even appear to notice.

Hermione rolls her eyes discreetly and settles back into her armchair, pulling her feet up underneath herself. Harry is stretching his legs out toward the fire, eyes closed, and Ron is unrolling Harry's essay and examining it with his quill between his teeth.

"Where have you been?" she asks, trying and failing to keep the demanding tone out of her voice as she turns to Harry.

One green eye blinks open. "In the library. Working on that sodding Astronomy project."

"I was in there earlier."

"Shocking," Harry mumbles, shifting in his seat and stifling a yawn.

"Don't start that, mate, it's catching, and I've got all this to copy out—I mean, write in my own words—er... I mean, use as inspiration for my own, very... original essay," Ron amends hurriedly before Hermione has a chance to say anything. These days, she barely has to tell him off at all; he leaps in and chastises himself. It's all quite efficient, really.

"Sorry," Harry says, stretching and allowing his arms to flop over the sides of the chair and toward the floor. "'M'tired."

Hermione frowns, taking in his ruffled hair—more ruffled than usual hair, she corrects herself—and his reddened lips, and his...

"What on earth have you done to your tie?"

Both eyes are open now, and dropping sleepily toward the mess of a definitely-not-Windsor Knot that is currently draped around his neck. The thing is, Hermione muses silently, the thing is that despite being a chaotic creature in general, Harry is rather adept at ties. Or, at least, he usually is, and he certainly didn't look so dishevelled at dinner.

"Haven't done anything with it," Harry murmurs, rubbing an ink-spotted hand across his face.

"You have," she insists, brain already whirring and throwing up images of Harry at breakfast, at lunch, practising water-control charms with her in Flitwick's class and flicking peas at Ron at the dinner table. Irritated, she presses her lips into a thin line and wishes all of the pictures away. It's late, and Harry's tired, and she could do without the noticing... they could both do without the noticing, but she hasn't yet figured out how to turn it off.

She breathes in the soothing scent of old chairs, tea, and burning wood and shakes away her frustration. The rustle of parchment draws her eyes and she hesitates for a moment, watching Ron as he pores over Harry's essay, eyes narrowed in concentration. Her heart speeds, sending flickery warmth out to her cold fingers, making them twist with longing around the edges of her book. She notices him, too. All the time. All the time.

"You alright?" he says suddenly, eyebrows knitted.

She smiles and gets to her feet. "I'm fine. I think I need to go to bed."

"Well, at least think of something you want first—I need to finish my list before I start this," he insists, pulling a piece of parchment from between the pages of Which Broomstick? and holding it aloft. Halfway down the page, she sees her name followed by several large inkblots and an increasingly angry series of crossings-out.

Heart lifted, she stoops and gives Ron an impulsive hug. "You know, I don't really need anything. But a Pensieve would be nice."

"Right," Ron says after a moment, and then all she can see is the top of his vivid head as he bends to write, apparently unaware that she's mostly joking.

Amused, she heads for the staircase, but has barely stepped off the hearthrug when Harry calls out to her.


She turns, cradling her rune dictionary against her chest. "Mm?"

He's fully alert now, sitting straight-backed in his armchair and gazing at her in the dim light. "I had to take it off—my tie—because I was hot. It's hot in the dungeons... you know. No... er, windows."

"I thought you said you were in the library," Hermione points out gently.

Harry inhales sharply. He blinks. Flashes Hermione his most sheepish smile, no doubt unaware that she hasn't fallen for that in a very long time. "Library, yes! That's what I meant. It's warm in there... all those... west-facing windows."

Hermione sighs. She knows the words are coming, whether she wants them to or not. "Actually, all the windows in the library face south."

"I wonder how you know that," Ron mumbles, his voice barely audible above the frantic scratching of his quill.

"I read it in 'Hogwarts: A History'," Hermione says, all too aware that an answer is not required.

"I'm beginning to think you wrote 'Hogwarts: A History'," Ron says darkly, and Harry laughs.

"I'm going to bed."


The dormitory is empty and Hermione hums to herself as she washes her face, runs a comb through her rebellious curls and puts on her favourite pyjamas, the ones dotted with brightly-coloured books whose pages flutter in an imaginary breeze. She knows that Lavender thinks her pyjamas are childish and stupid, but then there are few things she cares about less than what Lavender thinks about anything. Especially what she thinks or does not think about Ron.

Hermione frowns at her reflection and turns away, dropping onto her bed and pulling the hangings tightly closed. In the darkness, she feels around for her wand and murmurs, "Lumos", before flopping onto her back and pulling her flannel-clad knees up to her chest, wrapping her arms around them and staring up at the scarlet fabric of her canopy.

Her head is whirring, like it always is at the end of a day. Like it is most of the time, if she's honest. Full of pictures and odd little sense memories and information gathered, almost without her knowledge, during the preceding hours, each little piece bringing with it a new connection that crackles and races and keeps her awake.

Although, she supposes, it isn't as though anyone else in this dormitory—a sleep room, quite literally, her mind adds helpfully—gets the recommended eight hours. Parvati and Lavender are always tiptoeing in at ridiculous hours, and then there's the curtain-swishing and the giggling, which is far louder than she thinks is advisable with the Head Girl only feet away, even if that Head Girl has mostly stopped noticing them.


Harry, though, he's different. It's difficult to miss what he's up to, unless one is Ron, who has a... Hermione frowns. A one-thing-at-a-time sort of mind, which is usually too focused on food or a Quidditch magazine or avoiding homework to notice that his best friend is almost certainly involved with Draco Malfoy.

Hermione's lips twist into a wry smile. She idly watches the flapping pages of a vivid green book on her sleeve and then releases her knees, flopping starfish-like across the sheets. She suspects that 'involved' is the understatement of the year, but at the same time, knows that the consideration of any more accurate terms is likely to lead to some very confusing, stirring—confusing—images indeed.

She coughs lightly and closes her eyes for a moment, even though there's no one around to observe her discomfiture. Of course, it's been painfully obvious to anyone with a functioning pair of eyes in their head that Harry has been nursing a messy little crush on Malfoy ever since the start of term, though, as usual, hers seem to be the only eyes that are in full working order.

Having read every book the library has to offer on the subject (plus a few more obtained by owl-order), she has tried again and again to engage Harry in conversation about his feelings. She has tried the subtle approach ("I didn't know Malfoy could smile—looks quite different, doesn't he?"), the sledgehammer approach ("Harry, you'd tell me if you were interested in someone, wouldn't you?") and something she likes to think of as the 'Gryffindors can be sneaky' approach ("Do you think I should ask Draco out? He's changed a lot this year and I think he likes me.")

Frustratingly, though the last attempt had made Harry cough so hard that he'd sprayed pumpkin juice all over his breakfast, none of her carefully planned lines of questioning have yet to bear any fruit.

This new development, however, is very interesting. Hermione curls on her side and pillows her head on her hands as she thinks. Harry's absence, obvious embarrassment and happy dishevelment mean only one thing—a secret encounter in the dungeon-slash-library.

She grins into her pillow. She has to admit that this time last year, she would have found the idea bizarre, even horrifying, but these days, the boy she once loved to slap isn't all bad. Granted, he can still be a bit of an idiot, and he's still a Slytherin, but he's alright. He's paid what he owes. And though he'll probably never be good enough for Harry, she doubts anyone ever will be; that boy is far too caring and self-sacrificing and clueless for his own good.

He needs to talk about this. To her, of course. She can be a good listener. It's not her fault that she notices things and sometimes has to say them out loud. They just leap out, and then everyone looks at her as though she's just vomited up the entire library on the common room floor.

Hermione frowns as the third-year girl who had given up her seat for Harry leaps into her head. She needs to talk to him about that, too. But not right now. She rubs her eyes and sighs as the dormitory door creaks open and someone walks lightly across the floor.

Yawning, she scrambles under the sheets and reaches for her favourite bedtime book, one so well-read that the most of the pages are dog-eared and she knows almost all of the words by heart. She props up her wand between her pillows, allowing the light to illuminate the pages.

It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment, she reads for perhaps the hundredth time.

"Fair point, Sherlock. Evidence is power," she mumbles to herself.

"Are you talking to me?" Lavender demands from the other side of the room.

"No. Just to myself."

"Weirdo," Lavender mutters.

Weary, Hermione drops her self-control and makes a face at her scarlet hangings; when she hears the swish of sheets and the rustle of Lavender's ubiquitous Witch Weekly, she turns back to her book.


"Where did he say he was going?" Hermione asks, glancing at Ron as they walk along the dungeon corridor to Potions, the first lesson of the day. Having bolted down a bowl of porridge without even appearing to taste it, Harry had pulled yet another disappearing act as soon as Hermione had so much as looked at him.

"I think he said he had to grab something from the dormitory," Ron says uncertainly. "But I'm not sure... I wasn't really paying attention. The bacon," he whispers, hollow-eyed.

Hermione snorts, caught somewhere between exasperation and amusement. "Yes, I know. It's terrible about the bacon. But look at the silver lining—I don't think we've ever been this early for Potions," she says brightly.

Ron groans. "Oh, good. Maybe Snape'll decide to test my buggered up potion on me instead of Harry. I'm sure that will end well. And how could they have run out of bacon? Is that even possible?"

"Apparently it is," she says. "Heaven forbid you should have to cope without your usual intake of salty pork products for one day. In fact... I think I can hear the sky falling in."

She frowns and cups one hand to her ear and Ron elbows her in the side. "It's a serious matter."

"Oh, yes, about as serious as..." she trails off, eyes caught as they turn a corner.


"Er," she manages, stopping dead in the middle of the almost empty corridor, heart hammering with a mixture of triumph and panic.

Ron looks up from his examination of a stain on his robes and blinks. "Oh."

Halfway down the dark corridor, just out of sight of the Potions classroom, is Harry, half-leaning, half-sprawling against the wall; his fingers are spread out across the stone, scrabbling slightly as he tries to right himself, darting glances at Ron and Hermione—especially at Hermione—from under his messy black fringe. Most interesting of all is the presence of Draco Malfoy, who is standing just feet away, pale skin flushed and hands clenching at his sides as though he has no idea what to do with them.

"Harry? Are you alright?" Ron says, eyes flicking between the two of them. Watching his posture straighten as he automatically prepares to defend his friend, Hermione has to curl her fingers around her bag strap to stop herself from reaching out to touch him.

"I'm fine," Harry assures, fully upright now. He stoops to pick up his bag and flings it over his shoulder.

"What happened?" Ron demands, taking a step closer and glaring at Malfoy, who barely appears to notice, given that he can't seem to avert his eyes from Harry.

It's all evidence.

"Ah... I fell," Harry says at last.

Hermione doesn't bother to hide her dubious expression this time—not one of those boys is looking at her.

Ron scowls. "What's he doing, then?"

Harry hesitates and scrubs at his hair. "He pushed me," he says, all in a rush.

All eyes are on Draco. Fine blond eyebrows draw down for a moment in what is unmistakeably a hurt expression before his face clears. He nods shortly. "Yeah. I pushed him."

"What the fuck, Malfoy? I thought we were all supposed to be behaving like... decent people now... like adults towards each other—you can't just go around pushing people into walls!" Ron rages, staring holes into Draco like he hasn't done in quite some time.

Hermione sighs, unable to banish the thought that had Harry just talked to her earlier, none of this would be happening. She knows it doesn't quite work like that, but her brain can be inconveniently self-righteous at times.

"Listen, Weasley—"

"Do not waste your time, Draco. Weasley is not capable of listening," someone interrupts from behind Hermione. She turns, even though the voice is instantly recognisable. Ron's face falls as he turns, too.

"Professor Snape, I—" Ron attempts, but it's useless.

"Twenty points from Gryffindor for your foul mouth, Weasley," Snape murmurs, black eyes glittering. "And if you must scuffle like animals, then be sure to do it somewhere other than the corridor outside my classroom. Am I understood?"

"Yes," Harry and Ron mutter sulkily.

"Of course," Malfoy says, shrugging.

"Yes, Professor Snape," Hermione adds for good measure. There's no way she is risking her NEWT Potions grade, however irrational her professor might be.

Snape's lip curls in contempt. "In. Now." He holds out a black-clad arm and indicates the classroom. "Seeing as you are all so delightfully early, you can sort through my new barrel of tubeworms."

"This is all because of the bacon," Ron mutters as he slouches past Hermione, glaring at the back of Malfoy's head.


Ron's mood brightens as soon as they walk into the Great Hall. His freckled nose twitches, reminding Hermione of a hopeful rabbit. One which, quite inexplicably, she'd rather like to kiss.

"Pork chops," he breathes, turning to grin at Hermione. "I think the day has been saved."

Harry, who has been trailing behind them, laughs. "That's a relief. I was worried for a minute you'd be taking the great bacon fiasco to the next level."

"What level would that be?" Ron asks, taking a seat at the table. Harry sits next to him and Hermione squeezes into a space opposite them both, squashed between a gaggle of chattering first years and a product-stiffened cascade of Lavender's hair. The sickly smell of strawberry and pineapple spray that seems to follow her everywhere invades Hermione's nostrils, blocking out the scent of the admittedly delicious-looking pork chops.

"I don't know," Harry says thoughtfully, spearing a couple of chops with his fork before Ron can clear the entire plate. "House-elf massacre?"

Ron snorts and Hermione shoots him a dark look. "Don't even think about it."

"Spew," Harry coughs, grinning.

"Don't you start," she warns him. "I can give you detention, remember." She quirks a half smile and shakes her hair away from her Head Girl badge, knowing that it's an empty threat, and knowing that Harry knows it, too. She'd sooner sort ten barrels of tubeworms than give Harry or Ron detention, though she hopes to keep that fact a secret. It wouldn't do to appear inequitable.

"I'm terrified," Harry grins. He slices into his second pork chop and then glances at his watch.

"You should be," Ron advises, swallowing his mouthful of food and sighing happily. "Don't you remember what she did to me the last time I mentioned it?"

Harry shudders. "Oh, yeah. I dunno, though, I thought you looked alright with purple freckles... sort of... rakish."

"I clashed," Ron mumbles.

"They weren't purple," Hermione corrects absently. "They were lavender."

"Hmm?" Lavender Brown turns quickly at the sound of her name, whipping Hermione across the face with her scented waves.

"Nothing," Hermione mutters, spitting foul-tasting hair out of her mouth. Lavender shrugs and turns away.

Harry looks at his watch again, eyes anxious. Hurriedly, he stuffs the rest of his pork chop into his mouth and reaches under the table for his bag. "I've got to go," he says, still chewing.

Hermione's senses prickle and she stares at him hard, attempting to look casual. She suspects that she fails; subtlety has never been one of her strong points. "Where?"

"Er..." Harry glances around, avoiding her eyes. "Practice," he says suddenly, standing up and looking down at her, face lit with incongruous triumph.

"Don't you have Quidditch practice after dinner tonight?" She sighs inwardly, hating that she has somehow managed to memorise everyone else's timetables, even if it is coming in useful.

"Yep," Ron says, looking up. "I think I've got that Trident manoeuvre down now, Harry. I'll show you tonight."

"Yeah... great," Harry says absently. Once again, his eyes flick around the room and Hermione takes the opportunity to glance over at the Slytherin table, where Draco Malfoy is standing, leaning over and conducting a whispered discussion with a grinning Blaise Zabini. Apparently, he's not hanging around for lunch, either.

"Harry?" Hermione prompts, morbid curiosity rife in her veins.

He blinks at her, bright green eyes startled. "It's not Quidditch practice. It's... Apparation practice."

"You never told me you were going for your test," Ron says, looking slightly put out. "I thought you said you were going to wait until after school."

"Changed my mind." Harry shrugs and points vaguely at the doors. "I need to... er... yeah."

Hermione watches him leave, and, sure enough, two and a half minutes later, she watches Malfoy leave, too. Carefully, she tucks the information away, keeping it safe from the sharp edges of her whirring brain until she can figure out how to confront this... this thing that Harry is doing.

That's not a very nice way to talk about Malfoy, the brain in question advises helpfully. She smiles at her plate. Apparation practice indeed.


"Astonishing," she murmurs to herself, standing in front of the common room notice-board some minutes later, arms crossed and foot tapping. "There are no Apparation practice sessions running anywhere in the school right now." She sighs, wondering—as she quite often does—why she's bothering.

"Maybe he's practising on his own," Ron suggests, leaning in behind her and resting his chin on her shoulder. His hot breath tickles the back of her neck and she closes her eyes briefly, wishing he wouldn't. "You know, in a spare classroom or something."

Flustered and more than a little rattled, she spins around, putting several feet between them and sending Ron stumbling. "Ron!" she cries angrily. "For—oh, for goodness' sake!" she falters, taking in the room full of younger students, some of whom are now staring at her, wide-eyed.


"When will you get it through your head that you cannot Apparate or Disapparate within the grounds? Unless the trainer from the Ministry is here, which he clearly is not, then Harry is not Apparating anywhere, never mind in an empty classroom on his own. I can't believe I'm still telling you this; you're a seventh-year!"

"So is Harry—why are you yelling at me?" Ron demands, shoving his hands into his pockets.

It's not his fault she's so frustrated. Well, not entirely. But it doesn't matter, anyway; the whirring has flicked into overdrive and her head hurts.

"Harry's not here and I need to yell at someone!" she shouts, turning on her heel and stalking out of the common room before he can reply.


She walks.

She walks until she runs out of castle, and then she walks out into the spring sunshine, down the steps and out into the grounds. The gentle breeze ripples through her hair, caressing her heated skin and soothing her irritation, while the mingled scents of lake and trees and freshly cut grass wrap around her like a cool silk shawl, ensuring that by the time she reaches the long grasses at the far side of the water, she feels silly for her outburst. A sharp pang of remorse makes itself known as she picks her way through the recalcitrant grasses and glares half-heartedly at the clear sky that, rather irritatingly, reminds her of Ron's eyes.

Maybe she should have confided in him, she thinks. "Nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person," she murmurs, holding on to the familiar words, letting them spur her on as she struggles out of the worst of the grassy patch and makes her way toward a group of cherry trees that have been transformed by the spring into cradles of beautiful, fragrant pink blossoms.

And the trees are not alone.

Beneath the largest of the group, two figures recline, twisted comfortably together. Hermione catches her breath.

Eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth.

Harry and Draco Malfoy. Just as she expected. Just as she knew. Except, as it turns out, she didn't know anything at all. This isn't just sneaking around for crafty... fumbles, or whatever it is that boys call what they do when they're alone. There's nothing rough or forceful about this. Harry, lounging on his side with one leg flung carelessly over Draco's, laughs warmly and rests his forehead against the white cotton shirt and Slytherin tie beneath him. Draco, on his back with his knees drawn up, smiles more indulgently than Hermione ever thought him capable, and weaves a pale hand into Harry's hair.

"Oh," she says softly, clutching at the grasses that brush against the hem of her skirt and her bare thighs. At the sound of her own voice, she suddenly becomes aware that she's extremely visible, and drops down into the long grass as gracefully as she can manage.

Grateful for the camouflage, she crouches on the hard ground and peers through the grasses, watching as a particularly strong breeze plucks a flurry of blossoms from their branches and then drops, allowing the delicate pink petals to float down to the ground. For a moment, green eyes and grey watch them fall, and then Harry is leaning close, threading his fingers through white blond hair and kissing Malfoy, kissing him like he's done it a thousand times before.

She swallows dryly. Blinks. Feels that she should look away, but seems oddly incapable. All the while, the constant, rapid whirring in her head pours shame and embarrassment into her stomach, her heart, her fingertips, even as they anchor her to the ground, driving dry soil under her nails. This isn't her case to solve, her decision to make. It's Harry's, and he's not ready. They're not ready.

It's obvious.

Resisting the urge to flop onto her back in the grass and just stay there for the rest of the afternoon (she doesn't want to miss Arithmancy, after all), she pulls herself together, turns and crawls back through the waving grasses, hoping not to be seen.

"No one's going to fall for that, Potter—you're going to have to start coming up with better excuses. Why don't Gryffindors know how to lie properly?" Draco's voice drifts toward her on the warm air.

"Don't call me Potter."

"Don't tell your annoyingly clever friend that you're doing Apparation training, then. Idiot."

Hermione smiles.

"I'm not an idiot."

"You are sometimes. Everyone knows that you can't Apparate within the grounds of Hogwarts. Don't tell me you haven't read—"

"Hogwarts: A History?" Harry says wearily, and Hermione's smile widens into an all-out grin. "You and Hermione should talk. Seriously."

Draco laughs, and Hermione, who has emerged from the grass and is now pelting her way across the lawn toward the castle, thinks it's rather a nice laugh.


She finds Ron almost exactly where she left him, although he is now sitting in a tatty armchair and looking bewildered rather than standing by the notice-board and looking bewildered. He is leafing through a magazine in his lap and sighing gently every now and then.

She bites her lip and sits on the arm of his chair. "I'm sorry I shouted at you."

Ron looks up. He shrugs awkwardly. "It's alright."

"No, it's not. I was angry at someone else, and I took it out on you," she admits, dropping her eyes and inspecting her soil-smeared knees.

"Who were you angry at?" Ron frowns, following her eyes. "And why are you so dirty?"

She exhales messily and smiles. "It's a long story."

Ron raises his eyebrows in mild curiosity, but before long, returns to his magazine. Resting her arm along the back of his chair, she idly reads over his shoulder.

"Hermione?" Harry calls, climbing through the portrait hole some minutes later.

"Yes?" She looks up, feeling herself flush at the disarrayed picture he makes, knowing exactly how he got that way. His shirt is untucked and covered in grass stains, his tie is stuffed into his trouser pocket, and his face is alight with wellbeing.

"Can I borrow a quill, please? I've just snapped my last one," he explains, flashing an appealing smile.

She nods, uncurling herself from the chair arm and fishing one from her bag, which she hands to him. As she does, she notices the pink petal caught in the ruffled mop of hair just above his ear. Without thinking, she reaches out and pulls it free.

"You've got cherry blossom in your hair," she says softly, holding it up for him to see.

Harry blanches. Swallows. Shuffles his feet in place. "Yeah."

"Did you know that these are the main ingredient of a really good Vitality Draught?" she says, twisting the delicate blossom between her thumb and index finger and allowing a real, genuine smile to bloom on her face as relief floods Harry's features.

"I didn't," he says, mirroring her smile. "Better let me have that, then. You never know what Snape's got up his sleeve."

Hermione easily relinquishes the blossom. Her mind is peaceful.

"Have you got any idea how much Pensieves are?" Ron cries, shattering the hush. She doesn't mind too much. "Even second hand?" he continues. "I'll get you one when I'm playing Quidditch for England, alright?"

She turns to find him goggling at his magazine, mouth open in horror. Smiling, she perches on the arm of his chair once more and quite recklessly kisses him on the top of the head.


He flushes a deep, vivid red and makes an odd sound in the back of his throat. That'll do for now.