Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter
A/N: Hey guys sorry I've been gone so long, schools been hammering me pretty hard. Anyway some of you may be mad at my portrayal of either Harry or Jean during this chapter and I'll completely understand that, but this is just my interpretation of what their relationships would be like.
Hermione froze at Dudley's words. They rang through her head over and over.
A slow blush was creeping up her neck as she looked between Dudley and Harry, not quite sure what to do in the current situation. Hermione's quick mind latched onto a viable option, reaching over to Harry and cuddling up next to him.
Harry's arm naturally swung around her body, fitting comfortably around her back on her waist.
"Prove what?" Hermione asked saucily, looking at Dudley daringly. Dudley seemed to back off a little, the fire in his eyes beginning to diminish. Hermione and Harry seemed to fit well together, their bodies forming together naturally.
Hermione looked into Harry's eyes, turning her head against his shoulder as he turned down to look at her. While Hermione attempted to adopt her most sincere loving look, Harry's only held confusion. Things were moving too fast for him to figure out.
Hermione almost lost her composure then, trying to fight a laugh from breaking out, and ignoring the butterflies Harry's eyes were giving her.
Dudley stormed back in the direction of number 4 Privet Dr, going off at a much slower pace than when he came. Hermione rolled her eyes at his childish departure, not realizing that she had snuggled into Harry even more as they watched Dudley leave.
After a couple seconds, she felt Harry cough harshly and realized he was getting uncomfortable holding her. Hermione blushed and pushed off of him, but held onto his hand as she led Harry to the park she had seen coming in. Once there the two just walked in silence, Hermione comfortably, Harry still in thought.
Hermione saw a swing set, with both adult and child sizes, and squealed as she ran over to them. Being one of the better recreational devices in the park, Hermione had grown up loving the singular nature of swinging ones self.
She had seen older brothers and sisters pushing their siblings, and while she had recreated those moments with her parents, things just didn't feel the same. But now that Harry was here, she could enjoy a friend pushing her along.
Hermione jumped onto the seat, swaying slightly as she adjusted herself. It wasn't the smartest idea to wear any type of dress on a swing, but they were the only two there that Hermione had seen so she thought it'd be ok. Plus, Harry couldn't push her that much could he?
Hermione grinned at Harry, who could only roll his eyes, a trait he had learned from Hermione.
"Push me Harry!" she exclaimed in delight, and Harry gave a mock sigh of annoyance before he got behind her. Hermione raised her legs in anticipation, ready to begin pumping along .
Forwards. Contract. Backwards. Extend. Forwards. Contract. Backwards. Extend.
Harry was pushing Hermione along faster and higher than she had ever been. Her hair once slightly tame, was flowing behind her. Harry didn't seem to notice however, because he was only interested in the sounds Hermione was making. Her voice was a mixture of pleasure and excitement, screams yet gasps.
Finally Harry had to back off, Hermione going faster and higher than he thought was safe to be near. Hermione was no longer screaming in delight, as Harry saw a serious and determined expression on her face. At the apex of her next climb, Hermione leapt off the swing, Harry too stunned to do anything but move in her direction.
Hermione landed on her legs, which quickly crumbled leaving her face first in the sand. Harry ran over to her, but as he approached he saw her turn around, a wide grin on her face.
"I've always wanted to do that" she exclaimed, Harry slowing down after he realized that she was okay. Hermione shot him a sly grin, seeing his stunned face turn into a playful scowl. Soon both of them were pumping their legs, Harry at a more sedate pace than Hermione.
Eventually Hermione seemed to tire, slowly letting herself sway at the bottom of the swing. Harry followed her example, and just sat there, again in thought.
"Why'd you pretend to be my girlfriend?" Harry asked into the silence, blushing as he looked away from Hermione. "I mean you didn't have to..." Hermione smiled at Harry, who had turned to look at her.
Patting his hand that was still clinging to the chain of the swing, Hermione leaned back in thought.
"Well honestly" she said, looking for the words "when he said you couldn't get a girlfriend I got kind of angry. Especially considering who those words came from...I guess I just wanted to put him in his place " Hermione said with a shrug.
"Well I haven't had a girlfriend either Hermione..." Harry said, still confused. Hermione was shaking her head and waving her hand, so Harry stopped.
"The difference, Harry, is that you don't act like some kind of male jiggalo. Dudley was bragging about all the girls he had shagged, when I doubt he's even kissed one." Harry just nodded, taking Hermione at her word and filing the information away.
Hermione eventually checked her watch, realized the time, and dragged Harry back to his home.
Hermione hadn't thought that her actions that night would have any real consequences, but upon arriving at number 4 Privet Dr., the two teenagers entered to find a standoff occuring. Her mother and Harry's aunt were standing just inside the entryway, glaring frostily at each other.
Vernon and Dan were off to the side, muttering to each other as the tension continued to grow. At the sound of the door opening behind them, both women turned their attention on Hermione. She unconsciously slid closer to Harry, grabbing his arm protectively.
Jean saw the action, and grinned in triumph before turning to look at Petunia. Harry's aunt, in simple terms, was furious at Hermione's current position. She turned to Jean.
"Thought you could play us huh? Thought you could pass one by me did you? Harry won't be going to anyone's house this summer" she said vindicatively, moving towards Harry and grabbing him away from Hermione. Hermione, however, had already fought one Dursely that night. Another wouldn't be that much of a problem.
"What's going on here?" she asked, quite threateningly, attempting to pull Harry back out of Petunia's firm grasp. Harry was now struggling to get out of the hold of both women.
"Is it true Hermione? You and Harry?" Dan said from the side, no longer talking to Vernon. Both men seemed to be looking on with neutral expressions, although Dan's eyes were more amused where Vernon's were calculating.
Hermione blushed at this, how was she supposed to explain the situation? Dudley had obviously come running back and cried to his mum. Hermione's distaste of the boy grew even more at this realization, as her quick mind continued to find an explanation.
Vernon, before Hermione could respond, delicately laid his arm on Petunia's, receiving a quick harsh look from his wife. Not backing down, Vernon began to speak in a whisper that everyone, fortunately or unfortunately, could hear.
"Come dear, you must see reason. The boy could be gone for the whole summer! We won't have to see him until next year! Why can't he go?" Vernon said in a pleading voice. He had long given up on the Dudley and Hermione situation, especially since Dan had privately given him the negative.
Vernon, no matter how ugly of a person he was, was actually fairly intelligent. He knew that Dan could help him rise to new heights not only socially, but in the world of business as well. Connections and networks were so important in his line of work, even more so than actual ability or knowledge. Playing games and being nice was one of the most important aspects, and he strove to please Dan.
That's why, when he had learned Dan would be pleased if Hermione could have Harry over, and that Dan disapproved of Dudley as a suitor, Vernon quickly agreed to both. Especially when he realized the Grangers would have no problem keeping him for the summer. His wife, however, had seen the girl's pictures, and had practically fallen in love. Freakiness and all.
Petunia was looking at her husband queerly, obviously not expecting that reaction from him. Vernon had thought Hermione a cute girl when he had seen her picture, probably the best Dudley would ever get. Vernon had even agreed that they could live with Hermione's "freakiness", maybe forcing her to live under the same rules as Harry, as long as she would continue the Dental Practice.
"What do you mean? What about Dudley?" Petunia said coldly, as if her husband had betrayed her. Both of them were attempting to be quiet, but their whispers were loud enough to stretch to the rest of the occupants.
Dan was still looking at Hermione amusedly, but now his attention was on the Dursleys. The Grangers had worked so hard to get this to work, if only for Hermione's sake, and were about to see the fruits of their labor. Dan was just glad that he was able to work down Vernon so expertly, his ability to be nice to everyone working just as well as Vernon's hatred for Harry.
"Dudley's smitten with the girl Vernon! It'd break his heart to know his cousin, his worthless cousin, took her from him. What will it do to his self-confidence?" Petunia said, and Vernon had an uncharacteristic eyeroll.
He didn't care about Harry or Hermione. He didn't care about any love triangle, or any confidence issues that his son was having. Vernon especially didn't care for another magic user around their house, but hadn't told Dan that in fear of angering the man.
"Petunia...Dudders will be fine" Vernon said, stroking his wifes cheek. Hermione stuck her finger in her mouth as if to gag and vomit. Jean shot her an approving amused look, where Dan seemed to hold in his chuckle. Harry was too busy paying attention to the Dursleys to pay her any.
"There are plenty of young ladies out there. Why Dudley was just telling me about another girl he fancies" and Petunia seemed to dissolve at this, losing all ground to stand on.
"He's just growing so fast" Petunia finally wailed, clutching at her husband. "Soon he'll be leaving the house, getting his own flat..." she was soon muttering to herself, detaching from her husband and moving to the living room. Hermione whispered a crack at Dudley being full grown already, but the Grangers had to quickly school themselves as Vernon turned to them.
"Boy, go get your trunk" he said, addressing Harry while turning back to Dan. When Harry didn't immediately move, Vernon turned back to Harry with a half-angry half-confused look.
"The Grangers are taking you in for the Summer. Now go before I change my mind." Vernon said threateningly, not having to speak again as Harry dashed up the stairs to grab his trunk. It was still laying down on his bed, not even opened after the trip home from the station.
He made his way down to hear Dan and Vernon making final arrangements. Vernon was giving Dan instructions on how to most effectively discipline Harry, as well as tips and reccommendations on how to handle the broody boy. Harry rolled his eyes, moving to stand near Hermione, who stood there beaming at him.
Vernon seemed to finish up with Dan, as he turned to Harry.
"Now you be good alright boy. Don't need to be hearing about you using magic and causing trouble for these fine folks. And you better not do anything with her" Vernon said, the last sentence as quietly as possible. Harry still didn't understand the need to reference Hermione and himself as a couple, but remained quiet and nodded.
Vernon saw that his nephew was behaving rather well, so turned back to Dan and Jean.
"If the boy acts up give me a call. I'll straighten him out" he said with a grin, shaking both of the Grangers hands. Dan had to fight the scowl that threatened his face, but managed to exchange farewells, before the group of four were loaded up and on their way back to the Granger house.
Hermione and Harry were soon fast asleep in the backseat, both having opted for window seats in the small car. But while Harry was content to lean towards his window, Hermione was somehow leaning awkwardly across the gap and resting her head on Harry's shoulder. Dan couldn't help notice his wife looking back every couple of minutes, and soon had to speak up.
"They're not going to dissappear you know" he said with a smile, speaking softly as to not wake the car's other occupants. Jean just looked at him with a smile, one that Dan found distracting so he turned his attention back onto driving.
"It's just...it's been a long time coming, hasn't it" Dan nodded at this, it had been ten years late in fact.
"She just looks so happy Dan, look at her" Jean said, and Dan chanced a quick glance in the rearview mirror to see Hermione wearing a soft smile, even in her sleep. He couldn't help a smile spreading on his own face. Jean reached over and squeezed Dan's thigh.
"Thanks for tonight" Dan remained silent, something Jean actually loved because it allowed her to work out her thoughts out loud. "I know it was you who did everything dear, you don't have to say it. I'm so proud, you're such a good father"
Dan wanted to argue at this, but not wanting to disagree with his wife during such a happy moment, he remained quiet. True he had worked really hard at remaining lively and engaged with the Dursleys, Vernon in particular. He had worked so hard at being friendly with the man, that it was now a role that he could play quite well.
His wife, Dan guessed, probably knew it was he who had stuffed Vernon's head with notions of getting rid of Harry. It had actually been rather easy, Dan thought as he patted himself on the back. Their initial invitation had been for two weeks, or a weekend if possible, anything that would give Hermione what she wanted.
But it had taken just the first dinner date for Dan to realize that there was no love for Harry in that family, and that sole reason upped the Grangers gambling chances immensly. The cards were stacked in their favor, so to speak.
"Did you notice" Jean said, after a long silence in thought "that there were no pictures of Harry in the house?" Dan scowled, he had indeed noticed that upon first entering the Dursley house.
"Poor boy, I feel so sad for him. I'm just glad that he and Hermione are now friends, it looks like they both need each other" Jean said, again looking back with stars in her eyes. Dan huffed in annoyance.
"They aren't really dating dear" he said to her, and Jean gave him a mock angry glare.
"A girl can dream can't she"
"Aren't you too young to be a girl?" Dan said teasingly, Jean hit him square in the shoulder. Dan knew the unspoken rule of speaking with women, namely don't speak about a woman's age. His relationship with Jean, however, was now strong enough to not care about any of those superficial factors.
"You don't think he would be a good match?" Jean asked finally, again looking back.
"Jean!" Dan finally said, exasperated. "We just got ourselves the first real friend. Don't rush things" he said, noticing the sound of his voice and trying to regulate his volume.
"Well...I don't know...I mean" Dan was shaking his head, forcing his wife to stop the train of thought.
"Nope. Nope. Nope. I got the boy to stay over for the Summer, so it's my rules. No talk about boyfriends or any such nonsense. Hermione's far too young" it was Jean's turn to roll her eyes. It was indeed a weird perverse pleasure, however, for both parents to be speaking about their daughters love life.
It hadn't been so long ago that they were at Church, praying for their daughter to finally get friends, or have someone that she could at least confide in. With one prayer answered, Jean was going for two while Dan was content to let the friendship flesh itself out.
Neither had really held out expectations to any romance for their daughter before she turned at least twenty-five. But now there was a real chance the boy could be something even more for Hermione, so Jean wasn't about to let it go. She couldn't get the thought about how well Hermione fit next to Harry out of her mind.
Jean thought she would go crazy thinking about the two. Dan obviously didn't want to become involved, but Jean wanted to ensure that the relationship didn't get friend-zoned and actually got a chance to fly. She began to plan. She had all Summer.
Dan drove the ride home in silence, his wife having fallen into a light daze as well. One of Dan's greatest secret pleasures was driving, especially at night. With instrumental music just flowing through the speakers and melting in his ears. It was peaceful, calming.
These rides were his safe haven, especially from the chaos of his otherwise great life. Adults who didn't care for their own teeth, children who wouldn't settle down, parents who would call at random hours with extraordinary problems. The nighttime car rides were his zen garden, where he could center himself and relax.
He slowly rotated the dial to the car speaker, not wanting his family to wake from any surprise musical inflections. As he looked back into the rearview mirror, however, he noticed Harry was now blinking the sleep rapidly from his eyes. Awareness returning to him as Harry looked around, not moving so that he wouldn't disturb Hermione's sleep.
Dan shared a small smile with Harry when he noticed the boy looking, and Harry shared a smile with him. A victory! Dan did a mental happy dance.
"Go ahead and go back to sleep s-Harry. We'll be there in about an hour" Dan said softly, Harry's intelligent eyes acknowledging the request as he closed them and fell back to sleep.
Dan had to catch himself, he had almost called Harry "son". Maybe it was the peaceful atmosphere, or the fact that he had been thinking about family, but in that moment it had just felt right. Dan shrugged the mental cobwebs out, regaining focus on the road. Hermione would kill him if he somehow got into an accident while transporting her new friend.
On and on the scenery passed in the night, the car not necessarily alone, but close enough that at the moment only their lights were showing. Dan was left again in his own thoughts, contemplating what it was like to have a son.
How would the relationship between Harry and himself be. How he could become a figure in the young mans life. Would he still be close to Harry if they ever stopped being friends. On and on his mind roamed.
Soon Dan was pulling onto the off-ramp, and then slowly making his way through the winding streets back to their home.
Hermione was sluggish getting out of the car, so Dan ordered her to her room, where she promptly fell on the bed and went to sleep. Harry took his trunk, and Dan took Hermione's, Jean giving Harry a quick mini-tour, before heading off to her own dreamland.
Harry took a quick shower, placed his toiletries inside the bathroom, and went to bed. Dan secured the house, made the rounds of the bedrooms to see that his daughter and Harry were situated, and then also went to bed.
The summer would prove to be interesting indeed.
"Hermione dear, why don't you go wake Harry up?" Jean said the next morning, turning to her daughter who had walked down in her pajamas. It seemed that she had woken in the middle of the night, and had the sense to change.
Hermione's eyes widened in surprise, a happy smile creeping on her face. She had forgotten that Harry had come over, the initial plan being thrown for a loop as Harry had come over much earlier than she had expected.
She was just glad that her room wasn't a mess, thanks to her own fotune at being a clean person. Hermione softly crept back up the stairs, hearing the water rush through the house because of the shower her father was taking.
She slowly pushed the door open, peeking in and seeing Harry still sleeping. It was an odd feeling, watching someone sleeping before you. Hermione had never seen a boy resting, and felt a blush creep up her face.
Harry was normally in the Great Hall before her, Hermione thought it had something do with him being uncomfortable with his vulnerabilty around others. Her presence, however, didn't seem to stir him. Hermione watched him for a second longer, wondering what the best way to wake him was.
A slow, wicked smile was now on her face. Hermione crept forward, inch by inch, and was soon at the foot of his bed.
"WAKE UP!" Hermione screamed, jumping on the bed, her hands spread to the sides of Harry's face as she straddled his prone form. Harry's reaction was immediate, as he rose to attention, his head soon finding itself smashing into Hermione's own.
A loud *THUD followed by the groans of the two occupants. Harry fell back onto the bed, clutching his face, Hermione writhing around on top of him. There were soon footsteps hammering through the floor as Hermione's parents entered the room.
Dan was wrapped in a bath towel, drops of water still dripping from his face and hair. Hermione's mother was wearing an apron and carrying a spatula, looking like she was ready to go to war. The two adult Grangers' took one look, and soon had very different reactions.
There was soon a self satisfied smile on Jean's face, as if she herself had made the situation happen. Dan merely turned away with a groan, walking back down the hall and muttering "too young" under his breath.
"Hermione. I told you to wake the boy, not have your way with him. " Jean said, tutting as if in disapproval, as Hermione and Harry both blushed. Hermione put her arms against Harry's bare chest, ignoring the feel, as she hurried to exit the room.
On the precipice of the doorway, Hermione realized where she was, and turned back quickly.
"Oh breakfast will be ready soon. Come down when you're ready" she squeaked, before hurrying off. Harry sighed in relief, getting up to get ready for the day.
His experience and knowledge about emotions and feelings was little, but it was growing rapidly with Hermione's help. Old Harry might not have even blushed at the moment, nor gotten the insinuation, but the new Harry actually knew the appropriate moments to blush.
No one had ever told him much about girls, although Sirius had tried a little. But Hermione had told Harry to start using his gut feelings, and follow through with them. His gut feeling right now said he needed a cold shower to forget the way Hermione had felt, straddled against him like she had.
After his quick morning routine, Harry went down to see the adult Grangers bustling around, both already dressed for the days outing. Spotting Harry, Dan spoke up as he hurriedly munched on his food.
"Sorry Harry, Jean and I are running a bit behind. You and Hermione are on your own for the day" he said, Jean nodding along as Hermione indicated for Harry to sit down next to her.
Soon the breakfast was eaten, headaches were nursed, and the two were left alone in the kitchen.
"Sorry about this morning" Hermione started, obviously worried that she had angered Harry. Harry waved her off though, not really caring. One of the things he had learned, being Hermione's friend, was that she would feel guilty for the littlest things.
"What'd you want to do today?" Hermione finally asked, as Harry was beginning to move back up the stairs to his guest room.
"Oh probably just going to do some homework, then go for a walk around the neighborhood?" Harry asked questioningly. Hermione nodded, pleased with the plan that wasn't hers.
She quickly went to her room, and grabbed her own magical materials. She did not, however, think it was a good idea when Harry was soon caught leaving his room.
"Where are you going?" Hermione said quite worriedly, and grew even more scared when Harry adopted a guilty expression.
"Well...I just wanted to watch some telly..." he said, head down as if he had been reprimanded. Hermione's face was torn from allowing her friend to do what he'd like and making him respect the school work given.
Finally she seemed to give in. It wouldn't do to start a fight with Harry the first day that he was in the house.
"Oh alright. Just lets keep the volume down okay?" Hermione felt more like a mother in that moment, seeing Harry look at her with anticipation. At her agreement, Harry quickly hugged her, before bolting down the stairs.
Hermione stood there stunned. It had taken a lot for Harry to even accept her small gestures of friendship, even after the talk she had with him on the subject. That he had initiated a hug with her, almost unconsciously, made Hermione burst with happiness.
It wasn't like she was training him, or forcing him to do anything he didn't want to. Hermione had learned early on how stubborn Harry could be about things. But the obvious drop in his shield was too much for her to handle, and Hermione couldn't focus on the subsequent homework session.
She hadn't even really cared when Harry had foregone doing any actual work, instead choosing to just watch. It finally dawned on Hermione why, and she just came to accept that today would be Harry's day.
"You didn't get to watch much at the Dursley's did you?" Hermione asked, Harry caught up in his show. He shook his head in the negative, not really listening. But finally Harry felt the need to respondinto the silence.
"Aunt Petunia would let Dudley do homework while watching, but always locked me in my room. I just wanted to see what the fuss was about" He said simply, smiling at her as she stretched across the couch. Hermione just watched along, occassionally glancing at the childish smile adorned on Harry's face.
If she had to guess, the Harry she was currently looking at would actually represent the "real" Harry more than anything else. There was something significantly unique about Harry, a lot more than the average person he portrayed himself to be. Hermione suspected that it was this quality that had somehow attracted her to him in the first place.
It was the aspect of him that made her stop and actually look at the boy. His real smile, his real laugh, his real tears. She wanted to see them, all of them. She wanted to know him. Through his tragedies and his triumphs.
Hermione slowly dozed off to the sound of the television program, Harry still watching on. Around noon, Harry sheepishly roused her from sleep.
"Sorry about that, I guess we didn't get much studying done"
"It's okay Harry, we'll just make sure not to turn the telly on next time" Hermione said with a wink, earning another smile from Harry.
She had yet to make him laugh outrageously, and Hermione was a little annoyed at that. Harry was now prone to breaking out into smiles and giving her hugs, but he had yet to give her a genuine hearty laugh. His eyes would crinkle sometimes, almost enough for Hermione to think he was about to, but he never actually did.
"How about we go out for lunch? My treat" Harry said, helping Hermione up to her feet. Hermione gave a small frown at her state of dress. She hadn't studied, nor even gotten dressed that morning. Was that one of the side affects of being around friends?
"One minute" Hermione said, dashing up the stairs. Harry seemed to realize why, as he too ran up back to his room.
Ten minutes later Hermione came down dressed in jeans and a blouse, sporting her on the go bag as well. Harry was already downstairs, having thrown on Dudley's old jeans and t shirt, as well as a belt. Hermione frowned in distaste at the state of his wardrobe, but made no mention of it as she grabbed the house keys and followed Harry out.
"So where to?" Harry asked, and Hermione rolled her eyes. Trust Harry to offer to buy lunch without any idea where to buy it at.
"Well there's a small shopping centre not far from here. We can eat at the Deli" she suggested, and Harry just nodded in agreement.
Soon the two were walking down the road on an uncharacteristically warm day. On their way Hermione made sure to point out significant areas of the neighborhood.
After a couple minutes walk they reached the shopping centre with the nearby food court. As Hermione crossed the parking lot, she felt her Harry tug on her arm and the familiar sound of her name being called.
She turned to where Harry was looking, and had to groan in annoyance. There, in all their resplendent glory, were the reminders of her embarassing years prior to Hogwarts. Hermione grabbed hold of Harry, almost unconsciously, as the group came over.
Three guys and three girls, obviously part of some group date. Hermione knew that there were more of them, twelve in total she remembered, but guessed that these six would be more than enough to ruin her day.
"Hey Hermione" one of the girls said. Hermione had seen them only a handful of times since she had started at Hogwarts, and honestly struggled to remember their names. She had never been that great with names and faces, instead using her vast memory power to memorize favorite characters or plot lines.
"Hi" she replied a little awkwardly. The girl- Tiffany- Hermione finally remembered, continued to speak, not noticing the silence.
"How've you been?" Tiffany said, now sneaking glances at Harry while her boyfriend introduced himself to Harry. Hermione was still clutching his arm, but the way these newcomers had adressed them left Hermione little ability to help him, or to request his help.
"I've been great, just back for the holidays from school. You?"
"Oh we've been so good, I'm sure you remember my boyfriend Tom right?" Tiffany said, motioning to her quite handsome boyfriend. Tom had a bored, aloof expression that probably came with the territory of being less than well educated.
Indeed both Tiffany and Tom seemed to not have that intelligent spark that Harry had. Their eyes didn't hold any depth , and in all honesty Hermione questioned why she had once wanted to be friends with them.
"Ya nice seeing you again" Hermione said to answer Tom's half-hearted wave. The foursome in the back were still talking behind hidden hands. Hermione couldn't catch any of the words, too intent on holding the conversation with the pair in front of her.
But Harry's stiffening posture told her that the words of those in back were less than flattering to either her or Harry. Hermione squeezed Harry gently, before she realized that Tiffany had spoken to her.
"Is this your cousin then?" she said, obviously confused. Hermione supposed she couldn't hold it against the girl, Tiffany had never really seen Hermione in the company of anyone else besides her parents.
"Hi I'm Tiffany," she said, shaking Harry's hand "and I only ask because Hermione's never been seen around a boy before, let alone a boyfriend" she said, giggling to herself.
The boys in back were bored, but there was an even larger eruption of chatter and Hermione wished she could hear what the two girls were saying. No doubt it was something about her inability to get a real boyfriend.
"I've only seen you a couple of times since I left for boarding school" Hermione said, a little annoyed.
"And yet I've never seen you with a boyfriend..." Tiffany said, with a sly smile that Hermione wanted to punch right off her face. Before she could respond, however, another voice intervened.
"Actually" Harry said, surprising Hermione with the smoothness of his voice. "I am Hermione's boyfriend" he said, wrapping his arm around her waist securely as Hermione's face burst red and her next breath was caught in her throat.
(*this was originally the end, but I decided to fit two chapters in one because I haven't updated in a while*)
Hermione stood flabbergasted. She distinctly recalled similar words coming out of her mouth just recently, but Harry saying them stunned her. He had, until recently, had the social skills of a child. He was learning, true, but she had thought his underdeveloped friendship skills would take much longer than this. As it was Hermione quickly lost her surprise and snuggled into his side and tried to play the lovestruck girl.
Tom gave Harry a new, calculating look. He hadn't felt threatened by the boy at first glance, but if he did have a girlfriend that did make him more challenging. And the couple standing before Tom wasn't bad looking either, rather they just looked like they didn't care to work on their image.
Tiffany scoffed at Harry's words, stammering as she spoke.
"Y-Y-you have a boyfriend?" she said for a second, bewildered. Then she began to laugh heartily, the group behind her joining in with their own amused chuckles. Harry was now confused, where he had expected angry indignation like with Dudley.
"Is there something wrong with that?" Harry asked tersely, wanting to just move along already. He had seen enough to know that he didn't want to stay around these people longer than he should.
"Well" Tiffany looked Harry up and down, "Actually it makes a lot of sense. You were made for each other" Tifanny said sarcastically, Hermione wincing as she too looked over Harry's form. Dudley's old hand-me-downs really didn't do him justice.
Harry looked down too, wondering what was wrong with his body. He had never really realized how important clothing was to an image, he really only wore clothes because everyone else did. To be honest if everyone else went naked, Harry didn't think he would have a problem following suit. Clothes were just clothes, right?
Hermione whispered quickly into his ear as the group again laughed, this time at Harry. Harry adopted an understanding look though, now realizing that his appearance of being poor was now detrimental to Hermione's own social interactions. Well he had just the thing to fix it.
"Sorry about " Harry gestured down his body "I've just outgrown everything I own. Actually, Hermione and I were going to go get me a new wardrobe, weren't we?" Harry said, as he made a show of pulling out his magical wallet. He quickly fisted a large number of bills, and made a show of counting it in front of the now dumbstruck teens.
"That should be enough right? " he said, handing over the money to Hermione who was just as stunned as the people near her. She had never seen anyone carry that much money on them, and to pull it out like it was nothing was just as surprising.
Hermione wordlessly took the money, and looked over to see that his actions had caused the group to now eye him in a new light. Quick glances were sent at Hermione as she pocketed the bills.
"W-W-Why do you have your life savings in your wallet?" Tom asked incredulously. Harry didn't want to get into the magic of a Gringott's wallet, so addressed Tom's other comment.
"Life savings? That's just a drop in the bucket" Hermione had known how much Harry was worth, but didn't want to spoil the fun that he now seemed to be having.
"D-D-drop in the bucket? Who are you?" Tiffany now said, and Hermione noticed the predatory gleam that was now in her eyes. She remembered the days when that same look meant only one thing, "mine".
Hermione saw Harry was now becoming agitated with the questioning, so she tugged at his arm as she made to move onto the food court.
"Sorry guys, but we have to run" she said, and not waiting for a reply, the two hurried along their path. Hermione finally slowed down when they were out of vision range with the group, now turning to Harry.
"What was that back there?" Hermione asked, pressuring Harry with a poke in his side. Harry seemed uncomfortable, having just been exposed to what a tense social situation could entail.
"Well, wasn't she making fun of you like Dudley did to me?" Harry asked, wondering if he had read the situation correctly. Hermione nodded, and now Harry was even more confused.
"Yes but Harry their words meant nothing to me. Dudley was actually trying to impress me by making himself seem "cool"" Hermione said, making air finger quotes. Harry shuffled a little, obviously nervous. He always got this way when talking about these types of things.
"But you did seem hurt, that's why I spoke up" he finally admitted, and Hermione inwardly frowned. She wasn't hurt at the accusation, was she? She wanted a boyfriend, true, but she wasn't necessarily desperate for one. Nor did she think she had shown any outward reaction to the words, they were just words after all. Right?
"Even if that was the case, you didn't have to do that for me..." seeing Harry about to argue she continued "but thanks. I really appreciate it." Harry blushed and looked down, a little surprised that he seemed to be pleased by her words.
"So what did you want to eat?" she asked, and Harry looked around wide eyed. His Aunt had never taken him to the mall before, so he had never seen firsthand just how many people were there, and how many stores there were.
After getting some food and settling down to eat, Harry noticed Hermione looking awkwardly at him. Slowly she took the wad of bills out of her pocket, and slid them back to Harry. Harry, however, shook his head with a small smile. His eyes lit up like he had just created the most magical trick.
"Nuh uh Hermione. That's yours now, you accepted it from me" Hermione opened her mouth to argue. "Plus your parents are taking me in for the Summer, and I expect we'll be going on a lot of outings so you'll need to be prepared to pay, and that money really is insignificant to me" Harry rattled off all in one breath. He was pleased to see an annoyed scowl on Hermione's face.
"Harry, we don't need your money" Harry shook his head.
"Well if you won't take it, it's going to stay on the table for the next bloke to find" he said, hurrying to get up to throw away his trash. Hermione huffed in annoyance, before grabbing the money and hurrying after him. Honestly neither of them needed the money; Hermione's parents being comfortably well off, while Harry could live off the interest from his estate alone.
It was more the principle though. Harry needed to learn to not throw money around like that. People were influenced by money, ands he wasn't so sure that the wrong people wouldn't try to do something to him for that.
As Hermione caught up to Harry, another thought struck her mind. Slowing down to match his pace, she caught her breath before she continued.
"You know" she began, waiting for Harry to look at her "you were right. We do need to get you a new wardrobe" Harry frowned, he had worn Dudley's old hand-me-downs in front of Hermione before. She had never seemed to be disturbed by his state of dress then, he wondered what made it different now.
Realizing Harry's train of thought, Hermione went to elaborate. It wasn't right if her best friend was to get the impression that she didn't like his clothes, as they were a part of him. But this was a part of him that could be better.
"It's just that if we go out with mum and dad, you're going to want to look nice right?" Harry paused then shrugged as if to agree. "And also since money isn't an issue we can go find what you like. Wouldn't it be nice to have your own identity for a change?" Hermione pressed.
She had already had a semblance of the discussion with Harry before, when he asked her about the weird ratio of nice to homey clothes she had. At the time, Harry hadn't really understood, but now that he thought about it things began to make sense. Hermione had just enough sweats and baggy t-shirts to be content and happy, but also had her own set of nice clothes when she felt like going out and having fun.
"I guess" Harry said "it's just... I don't know what I like" Hermione smiled at his words, a smile that made Harry look in alarm. It was almost predatory in nature, and if he hadn't known Hermione he would have already begun to run.
"It's alright Harry, mum and I will get you fixed right up" she said, already planning on the things Harry would try on.
Dan could only shake his head in amusement, looking pityingly at Harry's confused expression. The second that he and Jean had gotten home, Hermione had ambushed his wife with the news. Jean's eyes had lit up, appraising Harry with the same feral grin that Hermione had worn previously.
Even now, enjoying the supper that Harry had made, the two were still planning out the weekend ahead. Harry was a little overwhelmed by their excitement, and Dan shared a look with Harry.
"You have no idea what you've got yourself into" he said with a laugh, and at this his wife finally turned from planning with his daughter.
"You know dear, we are going to need someone to carry everything..." she trailed off with a sickly sweet smile. Dan was shaking his head quickly; he had to find a way out now!
"Uhhh. Sorry dear! I just remembered I have a meeting that day" he said, looking away from her. He knew that she would call him out on his lie if she truly wanted him to go.
"Oh it's okay honey, you go to your meeting. I know you'll make it up later" Dan groaned at this, making it up at her convenience gave her all the power. But then again, it couldn't be as bad as spending a whole day in a shopping mall. Right?
Harry was now looking at Dan a little strangely, not understanding why the man was so hesitant to leave on an outing. It couldn't be that bad, could it? Harry had never gone shopping with the Dursleys, as Vernon usually didn't want him there in fear he would beg for a treat of some kind.
Hermione seemed to understand Harry's questioning look, as she gave him a wide grin.
"Don't worry Harry. It's going to be great" she said, and Harry took comfort in her encouraging look. Dan rolled his eyes down the table, shooting his wife a warning glare when she kept looking at Harry and Hermione with a loving look.
That week was a turnstile of homework, walking, and talking. Hermione had previously deduced many of Harry's little nuances, from his preferred breakfast, to his inner fears of inadequacy. It was his turn, however, to learn about her little world.
Hermione, while being absorbed in books and learning, had a small girlish side to her that came out every now and then. Harry couldn't deny that she was a girl, with some of the tops she wore, but had never pictured her putting on makeup or spending time brushing her hair.
He also had never seen her so relaxed. Doing homework at home was such a simple, yet telling task for her. Harry had never seen her do so outside of the library, or sitting at a desk, but now she was lounging laying on her stomach while reading and taking notes.
Hermione would frown when she looked at Harry's work, but didn't comment on it, not wanting to get into that argument again. Harry had insisted that his work was, and always would be, nothing but subpar. And Hermione would have agreed, except for the fact that some of Harry's subtle mistakes were far too obvious. He had good answers mixed in with his bad ones, annoying her as it always seemed to balance out to just a passing grade.
Finally the week of endless homework was over, and the night before Harry was told to be ready at 8 sharp. Having woken up uncharacteristically late while at the Grangers, he woke up at 7 the morning of to get ready. He was surprised, however, to see that Hermione and Jean were already bustling about the house for the big day.
Harry was still bewildered by their apparent fascination with having him try on clothes, but decided for the time being to just ignore his uneasiness. He hated being in the limelight, even with those he was close to, but was welcome to it when he saw the excitement in Hermione's eyes.
For Hermione and Jean, it was a chance to let out a side of themselves that was rarely shown. Jean never really had the chance to become the mother who smothered, or had been involved in someone's life.
Of course she took care of Hermione as best she could, but at a young age Hermione had grown independent enough to do many things on her own. Choosing her own wardrobe, picking her own food, reading her own bedtime stories. Jean had missed those, but was forced to realize that she would support her daughter's independence, if only for the strength it would give her later on in life.
Now, however, she had a chance at being intimately involved with another, putting her hands inside and tinkering away.
Jean had at first thought it was just her desire for Hermione to keep her friend. Then she had thought it may have been her desire for Harry to become a willing candidate in courting her daughter. But that week had flown by, and just left a sense of closeness that didn't seem to be either of the two.
She had finally realized, when Dan had mentioned again about "too young for a son-in-law" that Jean did see Harry as a child she never had. She did want to mother Hermione, worry over her and protect her from harm. But she never got that opportunity.
Seeing Harry, who obviously had never had that mother figure in his life as well, spurned her to act on his behalf. It made her want to see him become better, become more than he currently was. It made her yearn to fix his problems, ease his fears, and teach him the nuances of life.
She was lost in her own thoughts as she drove the group to the mall. Hermione was sitting in front, chattering away to Harry who had sat in back, Harry looking overwhelmed at all the stores they were planning on going to.
The day was a whirlwind for him, from one store to another, trying on clothes and then taking them off, and then trying on more. The Granger women seemed to have a particular look in mind, but every now and then one of them would have him try on something outlandish, almost for the fun of it.
Harry's appreciation of their time and effort was the only thing that kept him sane as he waited. It wasn't that Harry didn't desire a new wardrobe, but more along the lines of being bored out of his mind waiting. There was also the fact he didn't particularly care for a certain look, which was frustrating for the women until Jean finally said if he didn't choose they would.
Dress shirts, dinner jackets, jeans, everything was being sized on him, matched for him, and then ultimately decided for him. Harry was a mannequin, and couldn't help but be amused by the amount of women who approached Hermione and Jean, giving their input throughout the day.
He even saw the same ladies come by later, appraising him and commenting. Jean seemed to be taking their help in stride, but Hermione looked irked the more and more they deviated from the plan.
"He is not wearing that" she finally declared, when Jean had suggested an orange dress shirt. She quickly covered her mouth, never having talked back to her mother, but Jean smiled slyly.
"Yes I don't think this will do either" Jean said out loud, an elderly lady behind them tutting at their decision.
"Are we done yet?" Harry moaned from the side, his first of the day that Hermione had heard. She took pity on him, and glanced at her watch.
"Lunch?" she asked her mother, and Jean frowned noticing they had been at it longer than she had thought. She rubbed Harry's shoulder, and looked at their large shopping carts full of clothing.
"Let's put these away first" she suggested, and all three began to push their individual carts. She had seen the looks of adoration that Hermione had shot at Harry as he was trying on clothes, and Jean hoped she could help return the favor. They did have some more to do, although she didn't tell Harry because he seemed happy to get out of there.
Jean watched the two as she ate, not really minding what they were doing. How come Dan couldn't just help her get the two together? She knew that if her husband was to get his hands on the situation, everything would work out just like she hoped.
Jean noticed one of Hermione's old playmates looking at her queerly from across the food court, and Jean could only do a mental happy dance. Guess her daughter wasn't so creepy now, was she? Although, the more that she looked, the more Jean was startled to see that it was Harry that the girl was staring at.
A little disgruntled at the attention, she hoped it was just natural curiosity, especially the way Harry had kept pulling out his wallet and pulling a seeming infinite supply of money from it. Eventually, to keep people from talking, Hermione had suggested using Jean's credit card and having Harry pay them back later, which he agreed to.
As the lunch wore on, and Hermione and Harry kept talking, Jean couldn't help her eyes continue to slide over to Hermione's old playmate. Tiffany, she thought, that was the name right? The predatory look on her face seemed enamored with Harry's own, a look Jean knew quite well after fighting off the other women who had been interested in her husband.
And then Jean heard one of the most melodic sounds that had ever reached her ears, and turned her head accordingly. Harry seemed to be lost in his conversation with Hermione, heaving his head back to laugh at something she had said. Hermione wore a stunned expression, which immediately melted into one of pleasure.
She hadn't heard Harry laugh, for the whole time he had been at the house he had only shared small smiles or even wide grins, but never a laugh. It sounded amazingly genuine, and Jean felt blessed that she could share in the experience with Hermione.
Looking over at Hermione's expression, Jean felt another surge of happiness. She had never seen her daughter this genuinely happy before, and was glad that she could help make it happen. Although now that she knew Hermione must have some romantic feeling for Harry, it was time to start her plan. Grinning evilly she reached over her hand to rub Harry's arm.
When Harry looked up, startled, Jean tried to adopt the most loving and lust filled expression that she could muster. Harry was immediately put off guard and confused, something which she found adorable.
"Oh Harry, if only I was young enough..." she said with a dramatic sigh, Harry was still frowning in confusion, while Hermione gave a moan of annoyance.
"MMMUUUUUUMMM" she dragged out, Harry smiling at Hermione's antics. At his still confused expression, she leaned over into his ear. Hermione looked on with a fearful expression, hoping beyond hope that Jean wouldn't embarrass her or even scare Harry off.
"Well I was just thinking...how great of a boyfriend you'd be" she said, speaking loud enough for Hermione to blush at the words. Harry was also blushing now, not having expected to hear that. He had absolutely no experience with women, and the qualities that would lead him to being a "great boyfriend" was lost on him.
"You see that girl over there?" she said, nodding her head. Hermione immediately whipped her head, Harry being a little more subtle, and looked over in the direction that Jean had nodded.
"Tiffany?" Jean didn't know, but nodded as the girl lowered her head, caught staring at Harry.
"Well Tiffany's been eyeing you all lunch Harry" she said, Hermione seemed affronted, but Harry didn't seem to mind and shrugged his shoulders as if to say "so what".
"I just thought you should know" she said with a smile.
Jean's intended goal, however, worked as Jean just merely urged them to go back to shopping, watching Hermione grab onto Harry's arm across her chest. Harry seemed to blush as his arm nested between Hermione's breasts, and missed the look of triumph Hermione shot towards Tiffany.
The rest of the day comprised mostly of finding Harry accessories. Harry honestly had no clue that there were so many things that he could put on his body, but declined pretty much everything that Jean and Hermione offered to get him. He did decide to buy a rather nice looking watch, not for regular use since he had a watch from Sirius, but rather for the evenings out the Grangers seemed to partake in.
Harry also bought both Granger ladies bracelets, just to show his appreciation. Hermione immediately tried to decline the gift, but Jean was quick to pick one out and wear it immediately out of the store. Seeing her mum's reaction, Harry only had to raise an eyebrow at Hermione for her to agree as well.
Harry smiled at the happiness both women shared, but as they moved to leave the mall and head back to the Granger house, Harry saw Jean stop them abruptly.
"Oh I'd forgotten this place existed" she said dramatically. Hermione narrowed her eyes, looking at her mother suspiciously. Jean could only look at her daughter with a sly smile.
"Harry, you need a bathing suit, right?" she asked, and Harry nodded. He had never gone swimming before, but the Grangers did have a pool out back. Hermione didn't go into it often, having outgrown the pool and not caring to be by herself in it.
Dan had suggested they actually get some use from the thing, so he did indeed need the required swimwear.
"You too, right Hermione?" she asked, and Hermione's glare turned into a blush. She also needed a bathing suit, having outgrown the last one she had owned at around twelve. She finally nodded, knowing that her mother already knew the answer.
"That's great, that way we can help both of you at the same time" Hermione moaned as if in pain.
She knew that Harry was just her friend, and that he would probably remain so no matter what she looked like. She realized that it was just harmless help between friends, getting opinions on clothes. She rationalized all of this.
But her irrational side was not ready for Harry to see her half naked, showing off in front of him. She looked over at Harry, who didn't seem at all concerned with being naked in front of her.
"Can't we do it some other time?" she pleaded "Harry's looking knackered" Jean scrutinized Harry, acknowledging that the boy did indeed look tired. She however had the ace of rationality on her side.
"Well I'm sure he doesn't want to return tomorrow to finish does he?" Jean asked, and after looking at Harry, began to walk into the store.
"Let's find something for you first Harry" she said, and the trio went down the aisles looking for something that would look nice on him. Harry didn't particularly care, so grabbed the first black set that was in his size before joining the girls. Jean had carried with her a speedo, absentmindedly twirling them around her finger, while Hermione carried a white swimming suit for him to try.
Harry immediately disregarded Jean's choice, knowing she wouldn't be offended by the slight smirk on her face, as he went to try on the other two. He was still blushing at the thought of wearing one of those, his modesty not quite up to par and his bravery in that department suspect.
It was odd, because he truly didn't care about clothing, or how he appeared in it. Harry realized that it was more to do with his embarrassment with regards to showing off so much skin to the Grangers, the elder of which had made a crack at him being "boyfriend material".
He was so distracted that Harry couldn't recall showing off the two for Hermione and Jean. He decided to get both, just in case, and finally relaxed on the provided bench as the two went off to find Hermione something.
He had assumed that he would just be sitting there until they had chosen one, but Jean had quickly come back with a large bundle of two-piece bathing suits in hand. Harry only raised an eyebrow at the large amount, shrugging as Hermione followed behind with an annoyed expression.
"Mum I don't need to try on that many" she had said, and Harry noticed that she hadn't even bothered to carry any back herself. Jean waved off the protest as she handed the first suit to Hermione, ushering her into the stall.
She came out minutes later, and Jean took one glance at her daughter, then at Harry's gobsmacked impression, a large smile forming.
"Turn around dear" she said, twirling her arm in a circular motion. Hermione did, giving Harry a view of her whole body in the small suit, having to avert his eyes when he caught himself staring at Hermione's flesh.
Harry had never been this close to a near naked girl before, and it was quite a surprising experience how much it was affecting him. He knew that it was natural for a teenage boy to be feeling something, but the way his heart was pounding and the blood rushing to his head was a foreign experience to him.
Jean frowned, this was obviously not the one. Handing the next set to Hermione they continued the process over and over again. Each time Harry getting more and more bold, staring longer and longer, as Jean and Hermione didn't berate him for being what he thought was rather creepy.
Finally Hermione walked out in a small powdered blue two-piece, one that while revealing, also kept the subtlety that she found perfect for her style. As she walked out, she couldn't help notice Harry's appreciative glance again going over her form. She had assumed he would have been used to gazing at her flesh over the past seven or so outfits, but to see him still enamored made her blush.
Jean, too, seemed to notice, taking perverse pleasure in watching another man look at her daughter as a woman. Harry would probably be mad for being manipulated to play her games, but Jean knew it would do both youngsters good to experience this. Hermione, who had little confidence in her body, and Harry who was so inexperienced in the art of sex, needed to become comfortable with themselves.
It also didn't help Harry that Jean desperately wanted someone to acknowledge her daughters beauty, at least only to superficially acknowledge that Jean hadn't failed her in the genetic department. She continued to watch Harry as she gestured for Hermione to spin, and could only grin wider as Harry swallowed hard, averting his eyes.
"Yes that'll do!" She said, noticing the agreeing tone in both of the teenagers eyes.
"Yes I thought so too" Hermione said, walking back into the dressing room. As Hermione went to get dressed, Jean leaned over into Harry's ears.
"She's got quite the nice body, doesn't she" Harry spluttered at how upfront Jean was being. No mother that he had ever known had talked about her daughter like that. Harry looked at her with stunned eyes, making Jean second guess herself.
She didn't want Harry to distrust her, but she also desperately wanted Harry to start looking at her daughter like a man would a woman. If the two only saw each other as friends then it could very easily lead to them being just friends for life. She didn't want that, no she couldn't have that.
Jean was now actively avoiding Dan's warning, not caring for the consequences of her efforts. Why couldn't he see, why couldn't they see, that she only wanted best? Jean had heard from other mothers how easy it was to just stay out of their daughters lives, not being active but supportive.
She had thought that she might have been able to do so, at one point. But now, seeing her daughter look happy at showing off in front of Harry, Jean couldn't help but feel that need to be involved.
Harry's stunned expression, however, told Jean she had crossed a line. So looking to salvage the situation, she quickly blushed and omitted her statement.
"I mean, Hermione is rather pretty, isn't she?" she waited hesitantly for Harry's nod of agreement, heaving a sigh of relief that he hadn't noticed her rather obvious efforts.
"Do you like Hermione?" Jean immediately mentally slapped herself in the face. Why couldn't she stop herself! The question had just slipped out of her mouth without warning, as if cupid was somehow controlling her to mess with the teenage love lives.
"Of course I do." Harry said resolutely, a little confused at the request. "I mean she's brilliant. The best friend I could ever ask for". Jean frowned at this. There was not even a little hesitancy at the question, nor a blush at the real meaning of her words, or even the hint of something more. She did, however, decided to keep her mouth firmly shut for the rest of the evening.
"You know it's customary to give friend's hugs for their help" she said, after about ten seconds of silence. Jean was beyond any sort of mental block she tried to put on herself. Dan would probably scold her properly when she told him about the day before they went to sleep.
While Jean was mentally berating herself for her inability to shut her mouth, Harry was pondering her words.
"Sometimes...sometimes I worry I'm not a good friend. You know?" Harry said, not waiting for an answer as he went over to hug Hermione as she exited the changing room. Hermione seemed stunned again at Harry's overt display of affection, but hugged him back fiercely with as much strength she could muster.
Jean was in a daze, not hearing the "you're welcome" Hermione had said, nor the fact that she blindly handed over her credit card. She wasn't paying attention on the way home, nor when she helped Harry unload all of his bought goods.
No, it wasn't until she was cutting up the vegetables for dinner stew that she realized Harry had confided something in her, and followed through on her advice as well. He had laughed, smiled and acted as close to a real teenager, Hermione as well.
Jean couldn't help but begin humming. Her plan was working! She began to let out her best evil laugh, but soon stopped when Hermione poked her head through the door and asked if anything was wrong.
A/n: Hope you enjoyed. let me know if you find any errors. Also I thought it was fun to write Jean as slightly overbearing, and Dan as the "cool" aloof one. Harry's still a bit naive, but hes working his way to becoming capable of understanding his feelings! Will probably be a while again, I'm just really busy with school and finding an internship