Disclaimer, see Chapter 1. JKR owns all, and I'm only playing with these characters! Enjoy!

Chapter 26

Hermione, Harry, and Ron were making their way down to Hagrid's hut. They knew he was probably mad at them all, but they had to try and fix it. And honestly, Hermione missed the half-giant.

Moving forward, she knocked on the door. "Hagrid!" she called.


"Hagrid, open up!" Hermione shouted again, knocking once more.

Still nothing.

"Maybe he's not home," Ron suggested.

Hermione frowned. "But there is smoke coming from his chimney."

"Hagrid?" Harry called out.

Hermione pressed her ear to the door and listened. There was nothing, no movement. "I think Ron's right… he isn't here. I mean, I don't even hear Fang barking."

"Maybe he's in the Forest?" Harry asked, his eyes moving towards the trees.

"Maybe," Hermione said sadly. "Well, I suppose we should head back to the castle."

"Let's talk a walk," Harry suggested instead.

"We really shouldn't…"

"Come on Mione, we'll just go sit on the hill over there," Ron pointed towards somewhere in the distance.

"Fine," she said, feeling defeated. The three of them started walking towards the top of the hill.

"I'm sorry Hermione, I know you really wanted to see Hagrid," Harry said, giving her a sympathetic look.

"It's all right," she responded. "He's probably just been busy." She sighed. "I wonder how Grawp is doing."

Ron laughed. "Oh, I'm sure he's doing just fine."

"Don't be jealous Ron," Hermione said, putting her hands on her hips.

Ron scoffed. "I'm not jealous of some giant."

"Yeah you are, because he likes Hermione."

Hermione froze. What did Harry mean by that? Ron sent Harry a mutinous glare, which she noticed. "Actually, guys, I want to go inside the castle. I have some homework to do."

"But Hermione, we were going to-"

"No, Ron. Harry, just take me inside."

Harry noticed that Hermione was shaking. "Yeah, we'll go in." Ron stood behind them, fury on his face. "Come on Ron," Harry said.

The redhead didn't move.

Hermione ignored him, quickly moving forward. Harry gave Ron one last look before hurrying after Hermione.

"Hermione!" he called, chasing after her. The two of them were now in the courtyard.

She turned to face him, tears pouring down her face. "What!" she cried.

Harry's eyes widened. Grabbing her hand, he led her to a small bench. The two of them sat down. "Hermione, why are you crying? Is it because of Ron?"

"Of course it is!" she cried before burying her face into her hands.

Harry cringed, running his hand through his messy black hair. "Hermione, I'm sure he's-"

"No," she said softly. Reaching up, she wiped her tears away. "It's just; Ron's being making me feel uncomfortable Harry."

"I'm sure he doesn't mean to Hermione."

"He likes me Harry, I'm not stupid. And it's just awkward because I don't like him like that at all. He's my best friend, not some guy I'd like to snog."

Harry chuckled. "Yeah, I sort of knew that you didn't like him back, and I keep trying to dissuade him, but it obviously isn't working."

"I just feel weird. I did like Ron, but that was two years ago. Now, I don't feel anything for him, apart from wanting to be his friend. But he's too hot headed to even realize that, and I'm much too afraid to tell him."

Harry nodded. Biting his lip, he observed her. "Hermione, is this because of what happened with Darius, or is there someone else?"

Hermione froze.

"There is, isn't there?" Harry asked. For some reason, the thought made him happy that Hermione fancied someone other than Ron.

"Harry, I'm not answering that."

He smiled. "It's okay, you already did. And I know you won't divulge any information, so I won't bother asking… but I hope whoever he is, he's treating you right."

Hermione smiled, thinking of her broom closet adventure. "Yeah, he does treat me right."

"Well good," Harry reached over and gave her hand a squeeze. "And I'll talk to Ron; tell him to stop being so awkward."

"Yes please, because the last thing I need is jealous Lavender on our hands."

Harry cringed at that mental image. "Oh Merlin, yeah, I never thought of that."

Hermione laughed. "Don't steal my WonWon!" she imitated in Lavender's high pitched voice.

Harry burst out laughed. "Hermione, that was so good!"

Before she knew what was happening, the two of them were cracking up. Hermione was clutching her stomach because it hurt from laughing so hard.

"She's literally crazy!"

Hermione laughed, nodding in agreement. "I don't know what they see in each other."

He chuckled. "Something that I don't want to know."

"Ewww, Harry, don't even mention that!" Hermione cringed, her body still aching from laughing.

He shrugged. "They snog all the time, so I'm sure they're off doing it like rabbits, right now even!"

"Harry, that's so gross! Stop it!" she said, making a sour face.

The two of them laughed for a few more minutes, trying to get it all out of their system.

"Come on," she said standing, holding her hand out to him. "It's time for dinner."

The two of them linked arms and made their way to the Great Hall.

"Thanks for being my best friend," Hermione whispered into his ear before they stepped inside.

"Hermione, you are my best friend. Hell, you're my sister."

She smiled, throwing her arms around him. She hugged him tightly. "Now let's go, I'm hungry."

Walking inside, they took their familiar seats between Ginny and Neville.

Ron walked in moments later, Lavender draped on his arm.

"Sorry about earlier," Ron said, looking at Hermione.

"It's fine," she replied.

"WonWon, can you pass me the butter?" Lavender's high pitched voice said.

Hermione and Harry both ducked their faces, trying to hide their laughs.

"So, when will we be having the D.A. meeting?"

"Tuesday," Harry suggested. That was in three days.

"That works, I'll cast the protean charm later tonight," Hermione said with a smile.

"Perfect," Harry said with a grin.

They'd be prepared this time. And they wouldn't go down without a fight.