A/N: This is different than anything I've ever written before. I'd love some feedback!
You've never met them, but you would recognize them anywhere.
The dark-haired boy is taller than you thought he would be, based on the newspaper clipping you keep in the secret compartment of your wallet. You suppose that's because he's always standing next to his redheaded friend, who is even taller than your brother. The redhead also has nice eyes, you think, and you blush. Your mum would admonish you if she knew; she still thinks you are far too young to notice boys.
The girl, perhaps, looks most different than you've imagined. She is prettier than she looks in your moving photograph, although that could just be because the girl in front of you in smiling. There is no doubt in your mind it is her, however; you can tell by her hair and the scar on her neck that your brother says she got when she helped save the world.
You know you're staring and you know that's rude, but you can't help yourself. Until this moment, you have scarcely believed the teenagers in front of you were real people. They were like the stuff of fairytales: characters in stories your brother brought back from a far off castle that your mother doesn't like you to speak of in public.
Speaking of your mother- she has turned down the next aisle, but you do your best to stall so that you could maybe get close enough to hear what the two boys and the girl are talking about.
"Honestly, Ron," the girl says with a laugh, "it's just a supermarket. There's nothing to get so excited about."
"Leave him alone, Hermione," replies the shorter boy. "You know how much he likes our excursions into Muggle London."
"Harry!" she admonishes. "Keep your voice down!" The boys roll their eyes at her, and they continue on to the next aisle as well. You walk as quickly as you can without drawing attention to yourself to catch up to your mother.
"Oh, relax," the boy replies, not bothering to lower his voice at all. "No one is paying attention to us- that's why we come to this place, remember?"
"I still think you ought to be more cautious, Auror Potter," she says. she whispers the last two words, but you hear them and you are proud because you know what they mean. The redheaded boy stays quiet during most of the conversation. He is too busy reading the names of all the tins he can find and watching the girl bend down to reach the lower shelves. The other boy notices this too, and pretends to be disgusted by it, but you can tell he is kidding.
You can't help but laugh, and turn around quickly before they see you hovering toward the end of the aisle. Your face flushes, and you hope you haven't been caught. By the time you turn back around they are gone, and you hurry to the next aisle in hopes of catching them again.
You hurry so fast that you bump right into the boy with the black hair as you turn the corner.
"I'm sorry," you squeak, staring down at the floor. You can't bring yourself to look him in the eye.
"It's no trouble," he says, and the trio moves past you effortlessly.
"Wait!" you yell out, suddenly, spinning on your heel. Your heart pounds in your chest as they turn to face you, and you think of your brother and how brave he is and you push yourself to be brave too.
"I just wanted to thank you," you say, and you lower your voice because you know they're trying not to draw attention to themselves. "My brother says you saved his life."
You can feel their eyes on you, but you are too embarrassed to look up at them. The redheaded boy named Ron speaks first. "You're one of Dean's sisters," he says, and your head snaps up in time to see a smile growing on his freckled face. You beam, unable to believe that he knows who you are.
"Danielle," you say, and you hope your blush isn't showing on your dark cheeks.
"He kept a picture of his sisters in his pocket," he explains to his friends. "Showed it to me one night at Bill and Fleur's. I'm Ron, and this is Harry and Hermione." You nod, embarrassed to admit that you know already their names.
"You don't have to thank us," Harry insists, and you can't help but think he is even more of a hero than Dean said he was.
"How is Dean?" Hermione asks, smiling at you.
"He's well," you say. "He's at a football game with Seamus today. He says Seamus still can't understand the rules, though."
"Me neither," Ron admits, and the other two laugh at him. Hermione mumbles something about quidditch, and you smile proudly at yet another part of their world that you recognize.
"Can you give Dean a message for us?" Harry asks, and you shake slightly under his gaze. His eyes are bright but terribly serious. You can see why Dean respects him so.
"Of course," you say, thrilled at the prospect of relaying this conversation to your big brother.
"Tell him to come to The Leaky tomorrow at 7:00. We'll be there, and so will Ginny, and Neville, and George, and some of the other D.A. members. Tell him to let Seamus and anyone else know too."
"The Leaky, tomorrow at 7:00," you repeat. "To see Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville, George, and some of the other D.A. members." Ron laughs as you finish your list.
"Hermione, her memory is as good as yours!" They share a smile. Harry rolls his eyes and pretends to gag, sharing a conspiratorial grin with you. Your heart speeds up at the thought of sharing an inside joke with the great Harry Potter.
"I'll tell him," you promise Harry, the other two still lost in their own little world.
"Thanks. It was nice to meet you, Danielle," he replies, holding out his hand. You shake it as firmly as you can, hoping your palm isn't shaky or sweaty. Ron and Hermione notice the exchange, and offer you their hands as well. You shake their hands too, and you watch as they continue on down the aisle.
You are glad they have already walked away by the time your mother finds you.
"Were you talking to those people?" your mum asks, sharply. "What did I tell you about talking to strangers?"
"I didn't talk to any strangers, Mum," you insist. She doesn't look like she believes you, but you don't care; you were telling the truth.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione are not strangers, you think, placing a hand over your pocket where your wallet lies. You think of the faded moving photograph in the hidden compartment, the look in Ron's eyes when he recognized you, Hermione's smile and concern for your brother, and Harry's warm hand shaking your own.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione are not strangers. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are your brother's friends, and you think they might be your friends too.