A/N: Inspired by "Bella in the Abyss" and her "Visions of Drabbles Dance in My Head", I've decided to start a series of my own one-shot short stories. Most of these will be scenes that have popped in my head, unbidden. Like my other stories, they won't go away until I write them down (pesky things). Some of these scenes may be used in later stories, and some may never go anywhere at all. Also, like my other stories, most of these will revolve around exploring the Harry and Hermione relationship, be it canon or pure non-canon fantasy, though I can't guarantee they all will be about those two alone. I'm an incurable romantic, so many of these stories will be complete fluff, like this first one.
Standard disclaimers apply: I'm not J.K. Rowling. I claim no rights or ownership over any of the characters, concepts, or storylines written by J.K. Rowling. I am "borrowing" her characters and universe for a bit of self-indulgent fantasy and parody and will not earn or claim any financial reward from it. I also admit that some of the scenes may be similar to ones read elsewhere in fan-fiction, but are presented through my own words and imagination. There are few truly original ideas out there, just differing visions of how to describe them. If you doubt me, just compare the plotline of any current movie to Shakespeare's plays or Greek myths, or compare a sitcom today to an episode of "I Love Lucy".
"Um, Hermione?" Harry said, bending forward to whisper softly into his friend's ear.
"Yes, Harry?" she whispered back, leaning toward him conspiratorially, wondering what he was going to tell her that caused him to wait until Ron was gone.
The bushy-haired, thirteen year-old girl was sitting in her bed in the Hospital Wing with rolls of parchment, open textbooks, and empty chocolate frog wrappers strewn about. Harry brought the treats for her, but it was no surprise when Ron ate most of them. She didn't mind. She was just happy that they both came to visit her. Not being able to attend classes was excruciating for the young bookworm. The boys shared their lecture notes with her and the three did their homework together. It was nice having friends, Hermione thought, happily.
Over the afternoon and into the evening their conversation had drifted from schoolwork to the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets. Hermione gave them more ideas to research in the Library. Eventually the evening became night and Madame Pomfrey came by, telling them that visiting hours were about to end. Ron left immediately, but Harry stuck around for a few moments afterwards to speak with her, sitting on the edge of the bed next to her.
"Um," he stammered, seemingly uncertain how to continue now that he'd started. "Well, I…I don't think Ron noticed, but ever since we came in, you've sort of been…um…purring."
"Oh!" she exclaimed, blushing fiercely and covering her mouth with both hands. She was still recovering from the unfortunate incident with the polyjuice potion that left her half cat and half human. While Madame Pomfrey was able to sort things out, it was just taking time for the reverse transformation to be complete, days actually, which was why she was still confined to the Hospital Wing. Her fur and whiskers were mostly gone now, and she looked almost totally human again.
"I'm sorry!" Hermione squeaked. "Madame Pomfrey said I'd still show some feline tendencies for a few days yet. Sometimes I don't even know I'm doing it. At least the tail's gone," she said with an embarrassed chuckle. "I kept knocking over her potion bottles with it. Though I do still have cravings for cream." She said the latter as she absentmindedly started to bat around a crumpled wrapper from one of the chocolate frogs, smiling as she did so.
"Don't apologize," Harry said reassuringly. "I didn't think you knew you were doing it…are doing it." Hermione gasped and covered her mouth again, but the soft rumbling continued, coming from deep within her chest, not through her mouth.
"I'm sorry," she said again, trying desperately to make it stop, but not succeeding. "I can't really control it. I guess it just means I'm happy to see you guys," she finally admitted, dropping her head shyly.
Harry smiled that bright, disarming smile of his that made his green eyes twinkle. He said, "I….um…we were happy to see you, too. I'm glad you're getting better. I can't wait until you can come to classes with us again. It's not the same without you there, Hermione."
"Thanks, Harry," she said, blushing even more as the purring got louder and deeper. "Sorry!" she whispered again, hiding her face behind her curls.
"Stop saying you're sorry," Harry urged, putting his hand on hers. "I think it's kind of cute…," he said with a smirk and a squeeze to her hand. Then he added in a softer voice she barely heard, "…like you." She looked up with wide eyes. Had she heard right? Did Harry just call her cute? She wanted to see if he was telling the truth or just having one on with her, but all she saw were the tails of his robes as he dashed out the door.
Madame Pomfrey came by a few minutes later to check on all the beds in the ward. The aging school healer smiled as she approached Miss Granger's bed. She'd seen the way the three friends interacted, and noticed that Mr. Potter stayed for a few minutes after the youngest Weasley boy left. She didn't hear what Potter said, but given the volume of the purring and the stupid grin still splitting the girl's face, it was definitely something Miss Granger liked hearing. Moments like this reminded Poppy of how much she enjoyed working around young people.