Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

Foreword: This little story isn't much. It was just something I wrote in my journal when my friend asked if she could see a short and pleasant one-shot.


By the Fireside

by Romantic Silence

Ever since he had sided with Ron over the Firebolt issue, Harry regretted it.

Rationally, he understood why Hermione went behind their backs and turned in the broomstick to Professor McGonagall. Despite her pleas, Harry refused to listen to Hermione over the strangeness of receiving such a convenient present. His judgment had been clouded by the desirability of being able to fly in the air again, relieving him of the stress he accumulated of having a fugitive wanting him dead.

Hermione only intended to help him. It was either risk having him a jinxed broom and plummeting to his death or risk having him greatly angry at her but was completely safe, Harry knew she would choose the latter. She worried over him so often that it he felt smothered by her constant attention. Unfortunately, now that they haven't spoken in about a week, Harry missed her lectures of thinking more rationally or performing better in his studies. He missed having her close by as a source of comfort. Had he completely forgotten what it had been like to have lived in a loveless home that he would cast away the only friend that truly cared for him?

He felt ungrateful. Ron meant well, and he knew he would always have his back, but he was the type of friend that would get both of them into trouble. Harry would never forget how Ron convinced him to steal their father's flying car and drive all the way up to Hogwarts. That was a stupid idea then, and it was a still a stupid idea now. Hindsight was 20/20, after all. As guilty as he might have felt for thinking it, Harry didn't consider Ron to be his best friend amongst he and Hermione. Hermione rightly earned that position.

Yet, when it came down to it, he picked Ron didn't he? Why was that? Was it because he had been the first friend he had ever made? That was probably it. Harry felt loyal to the lad and loved the embrace of his family welcoming him as one of their own. It felt wonderful being able to belong to a family. Weasleys stick to their own! Oh, there was also that. Harry had felt compelled to side with Ron over the entire debacle. Still, he had made his bed and he would have to lie in it. Potentially, it meant he would lose Hermione, but...

Harry entered the common room to find it mostly empty, void of the usually chattering students of the house of the brave. Curiously though, he spotted a prone form on top of the sofa closest to the fireplace. To his surprise, Harry found Hermione asleep on her back, an open book on top of her slightly exposed stomach. Seeing a hint of her flesh, Harry lightly blushed and turned away. He noticed how prettier Hermione became this year and it was sometimes hard to look at her the same way. She was a girl, a very pretty girl.

He gently lifted the book from her stomach and closed it, placing it on the table in front of the sofa. Harry went to the closet that held the blankets that was typically reserved when it was winter and removed one of the warmer blankets from it. He returned to Hermione's side, placing the blanket over her slim frame. Hermione shifted in her sleep, unconsciously bringing the blanket more over her body. Harry chuckled humorously at her sleep-filled actions. Tired himself, Harry slipped onto the floor and leaned his back against the couch.

"Hermione." Harry whispered delicately. His eyes never left the flickering flames of the fireplace, calming him and giving him the strength to continue. "I'm sorry. I realized that Ron and I were wrong to shun you like that. Maybe Ron may not understand, but I know that you were only looking out for me. You weren't jealous like he had accused, just concerned."

"It's okay, Harry." Hermione's soft voice said. "It was wrong of me to do it behind your back, anyway."

Harry's eyes shot up and craned his neck to see her. Hermione was curled up around the blanket, staring into the fire the same way Harry had done. He asked her, "How long have you been awake?"

"Not long." Hermione answered him. "I'm a light sleeper. I woke up when you placed the blanket over me."

"Oh." Harry blushed. "Sorry for waking you up."

Hermione shook her head and smiled. "It's fine, Harry. I was chilly anyway. Thanks."

Harry felt relieved, smiling back at her. Remembering what he had been talking about before, Harry's expression was quickly replaced with a frown. "Hermione, shouldn't you be more angry with us for disbelieving you?"

"I'm still angry with Ron." Hermione admitted. "But you said you were sorry, so all is forgiven."

"That's it?" Harry blinked, surprised. "But..."

"Harry, you're my best friend. It hurt me that you didn't believe me, but you already apologized. What is there left to be angry about?"

"You're my best friend too."

"I know, Harry."

"Hermione?"

"Yeah?"

Harry turned around until he faced her. With his pinky outstretched from his hand, he offered it towards Hermione.

"I pinky swear that you and I will be best friends forever. Even if we fight, I promise that I will apologize and also look at your side of things as well."

Hermione giggled. "Harry, we're not five."

"Come on, Hermione. I never did this before."

At Harry's pouting look, Hermione sighed. "Fine. I promise that we'll be best friends forever too. Even if we fight, I promise that I will apologize and also look through your point of view and I also promise not to go behind your back just because I think I'm right. We'll talk first."

With that promise, the two of them interlaced pinkies and shook it.

"Harry?"

"Yeah?"

"Get in."

"What?"

"Get in the blanket."

"Why?"

"It's warmer that way."

Harry stared quizzically at Hermione before complying. Hermione lifted up the blanket and scooted in deeper into the couch, allowing Harry room to enter. He took the edge of the blanket and wrapped it around him and Hermione. Immediately, he was assaulted with the realization of the close proximity he was having with Hermione and felt his heart race. It was further worsened when Hermione enveloped her arms around his waist and embraced him.

"I missed you, Harry. It was dreadful without you to talk to."

"I'm sorry."

"Enough apologies. Just relax."

Strangely, at her words, Harry's conscientious feelings of their closeness dissipated. Instead, he eased himself into the warm hug that Hermione initiated. It was oddly comforting. Why was it that Hermione was able to bring out so many confusing feelings that he never felt before? For now, he would save that question for another time. It was simply better to just forget everything. Tomorrow, he was going to force Ron to apologize publicly to Hermione alongside him.

Harry then decided that from then on, he would choose Hermione.


Afterword: I am always fascinated with the friendship Harry and Hermione have. I simply just wanted to write something with the two of them without no blatant hints of romance between the two.