Harry He smiled at her, wondering why he had never seen her in this light before. So much wasted time. Then again, much of his life seemed to slip away too fast. His head was beginning to hurt again, like it had been ever since… well, since last year. Harry quickly grabbed a handkerchief from his robes, placing it against his face, awaiting the inevitable nosebleed. "Marvelous timing…" he stated dryly, pinching the bridge of his nose.

Hermione She smiled, though it quickly faded to a look of concern as he pulled out a handkerchief, seemingly anticipating a nosebleed. Hermione bit her lip, unsure of what she ought to do for Harry. She didn't know of any spells that would stop nosebleeds. Eyes still trained on Harry's face, she rested a hand on his shoulder, deciding that perhaps it would be of some comfort. "Are you all right?" she asked, doing what one did in these situations, even though she knew he obviously wasn't.

Harry He smiled, even as the first trickle touched the handkerchief, "It's nothing. I've had nosebleeds for a little while now, I'm fine." Harry didn't really want to discuss this right now, but already assumed Hermione's curiosity and concern would overwhelm that desire. If nothing else, it was nice to know someone truly cared about him. He wondered how long it would take to get used to thinking of Hermione in more… romantic terms, or if he ever would grow accustomed to it.

Hermione She smiled slightly, deciding it wasn't the best time to question him. She looked away but left her hand on his shoulder, enjoyed the warmth it left on her palm. A great feeling of relief just wouldn't leave her, finally having something she had wanted for so long. The tension had finally snapped, but left behind was something heavy, a new burden, though she couldn't identify it, and part of her wanted nothing more than to curl up and cry until the feeling left. Her tears had to wait for later, however.

Harry Slowly the bleeding stopped, and he tried to put the handkerchief away before she could see how soaked it had become. The episodes were slowly getting worse, but not so much that he was willing to see Madame Pomfrey just yet. It would drag up too many questions that he didn't want to answer. "Well, I think we should try to head back now. I haven't heard Malfoy screaming in the last ten minutes, so I think the coast is clear," a smile tugged at his lips as thoughts of an irate Draco filled his mind.

Hermione She caught a brief glimpse of Harry's handkerchief before he hid it from view. She bit her lip. There had been quite a lot of blood on it, too much for her comfort. The heavy feeling in her stomach grew somewhat. Ignoring Harry's suggestion, she prepared to question him, which would be difficult. Harry had a way of avoiding the questions he didn't want to answer. "Harry, how long have you been having these, Harry? Have you seen Madame Pomfrey about them?"

Harry He sighed and began a slow pace around the room. "I haven't seen Madame Pomfrey about this yet. It started last year… after the tournament," Harry spit out the last few words, as though trying to get the taste of bile out of his mouth. Memories threatened to flood back in, drowning him with their intensity. With great effort, Harry pushed the waking nightmares back into the furthest recesses of his mind.

Hermione She immediately regretted speaking. Harry didn't need another reminder of last year; he probably thought about it constantly as it was. Harry was the brooding type, Hermione knew, and the more he was reminded of something, the more it would torture him. Wanting to comfort him in some way, and not having the words to do so, she went to Harry and put her arms around him, hoping the physical comfort would help in some way. "I know you don't want to talk about this," Hermione whispered, feeling as though her voice was too loud for the moment, "but you should see Madame Pomfrey - if these get any worse…" she trailed off, not wanted to cross any boundaries.

Harry He smiled at her, knowing she was right. Not exactly an unusual position, Hermione had a habit of being right on a great many subjects. "I'll go see her at the end of the week, that'll give me enough time to get ready for the inevitable interrogation," he answered softly, gently tracing along her cheek with his hand. Funny, how such a gesture would not have been considered yesterday, but seemed so natural now.

Hermione Hermione sighed internally with relief, though it was the same, sickening kind of relief she had felt earlier. She smiled up at him, however, hiding her feelings that she was determined not to let anyone see. It was funny how she now had to look up to see his face now. For the longest time, he had been the shortest of the trio. For lack of any other topic of conversation, she commented, "You're taller than me now. When did that happen?"

Harry He laughed, wrapping his arms tightly around her, "I don't know. It's nothing I had even thought about until now." A playful smirk twisted his lips, "It looks as though you will have to work harder to look down your nose at me and deliver those disapproving expressions when I'm up to no good." Knowing he would get a sound slap on the shoulder, but pushing on regardless, Harry added, "Shall I get a box for you to stand upon when your righteous mood ignites? Perhaps one formerly used for packaging soap?"

Hermione Hermione automatically scowled, putting on her best, "What's gotten into you?" expression, even though she found it hard to get mad at him. It was merely playful teasing, after all. Raising an eyebrow at him, she replied, "Don't give me a reason to chastise you, mister, and I won't need a soapbox." She smirked at him slightly, "Of course, you're a habitual trouble-maker, so I probably will need that soapbox."

Harry Harry's smile grew until dimples were etched upon his cheeks, "Me? A habitual troublemaker? Surely you must have the wrong person! I'm a perfect angel." His composure broke into chuckles after a few seconds, no longer able to keep with such a charade. "Alright, perhaps I have… conveniently forgotten a few rules in my stay at Hogwarts. Just a few…"

Snape A deep voice carried throughout the room, even though it was spoken in barely a whisper, "Just a few? Mr. Potter, I think your ability to understate is only surpassed by your ability to find new ways to blatantly disregard the rules." From the shadowed doorway emerged Professor Snape's form, his features twisted into their usual scowl.

HermioneShe quickly backed away from Harry, realizing what a compromising situation they had been caught it, and also realizing it was far too late to pretend they hadn't been doing anything. The question of why Snape was there flitted swiftly through her mind. She stayed silent, knowing Snape would be able to take any word she said and use it against her and Harry.

Harry He glared at Professor Snape, annoyed at being interrupted, "Well sir, I suppose Hermione and I will be on our way- assuming we haven't broken any rules by talking with one another in this room?"

Snape Professor Snape glowered at the boy, irritated by his rude and arrogant demeanor, "Twenty points from Gryffindor for wasting my time," Severus turned quickly and walked a few paces outside of the room, waiting for the two Gryffindors to leave the room so the door could be shut.

Hermione She glanced at Harry, grinning quickly at him, and hurried out of the room, knowing it wouldn't do to say anything until they were out of Snape's earshot.

Harry He quickly made his way back to Gryffindor Tower with Hermione in tow, grateful to have evaded a confrontation with Malfoy. Once safely within the familiar common room, Harry looked to her, "Good thing we didn't come across Ferret-boy on our way here. I doubt he would have had anything nice to say." He slumped onto the plush scarlet couch, and patted the spot beside him, hoping she would want to enjoy the crackling fireplace and relax a bit.

Hermione She followed Harry to the Tower, sharing his relief that they hadn't bumped into Malfoy. Smiling, she plopped down on the couch beside him, enjoyed the warmth of the fireplace. She felt much calmer in this atmosphere than she had in the empty room downstairs, and sleepy in addition to that. Barely audible, she murmured to Harry, "It's been quite a day, hasn't it?"

Harry As the warmth of the fireplace moved over them, Harry wrapped his arms around Hermione, "Yes… quite a day…" Any further comments were stifled by a yawn as he moved closer to her and settled in for a long night. He wondered if they could simply fall asleep like this, all snuggled up with firelight dancing across the room. Before his mind could ponder further, sleep swept him away with dreams of his new love.