Disclaimer: I own nothing!
A/N: So…I'm going to try my hand at a Harry/Hermione fic. Let's see how this goes…Probably won't be more than a two-chapter story. We'll see! I'm trying not to make it too sappy and generic. Tear into me if I do…
"What do you mean you're not ready? Hermione, we've been dating nine bloody months! If it's not time for me to 'meet the parents,' then I don't know when it'll ever be the time!" Andrew Stone was beyond frustrated, and Hermione Granger, said girlfriend of "nine bloody months," could easily see why. However, she wasn't easily swayed.
"Andrew, my God! Why do you want to meet my parents so terribly?! It's not like we have to have their blessing on our relationship or anything! Besides, the flight to Australia's sold out; there's no way to get you a plane ticket."
"You didn't even think to ask me to go?"
Hermione blew an errant curl away from her face. Thank God she'd finally cut the "bushiness," leaving a more adult-looking Hermione after the scissors had finished their job. "Not really, love. It's just a trip I take every year, and—" But that thought was cut off by a knock at the door.
Harry Potter poked his head in, comfortable enough at Hermione's flat to know when her wards were lowered and he was able to enter safely. "You ready, Hermione?" he asked innocently. However, he didn't know what he had just stepped into.
"YOU INVITED BLOODY POTTER?! He can go, but I can't? What the hell, Mia?" Andrew was livid. It was bad enough that his girlfriend was going to Australia without him, but to invite this other man, her so-called "best friend," instead of him…
"Whoa, mate. Calm down! You don't need to talk to Hermione like that; what's the problem?" Harry looked from his best friend to her boyfriend, a guy that he genuinely liked. Then it hit him. "You didn't tell him I was going, Hermione?"
The girl…no…dammit, Hermione was twenty-four years old. She was a woman who could make her own decisions! However, she did look a bit ashamed when she shook her head. "No, I didn't." She looked at Andrew. "I knew you'd act like this, like something inappropriate would be going on while we were gone. Andrew, Harry and I have taken this trip every year since the summer after our last year at school. We fly to Australia, visit with my parents a few weeks, and then fly back. That's it; I swear."
Her boyfriend still wasn't placated. "Mia…" He then looked at Harry. "Harry, could we…?" Harry's eyebrows lifted in understanding as he shifted his gaze to Hermione, as if checking to see if she was okay with him stepping out. When she nodded, he smiled a bit and mumbled something about checking the gas in the car.
Andrew waited for the door to close before continuing. "Mia, I thought we had something special over the last year; I thought I was important to you."
"You are important to me, Andrew…"
He shook his head, interrupting her. "Maybe so, but not important enough to take home, right? You couldn't have traded Harry out for me this one time? Made room for your boyfriend instead of your friend who just happens to be a boy? Mia…"
"Huh?" Andrew looked confused.
"My name is Hermione. You're always chopping it down to Mia, Mione, Herms, or something of the like. I like my name; my parents gave it to me for a reason. They never called me by anything other than Hermione. I ask that you do the same. It's only four syllables; try it with me: Her-my…"
"Okay, I get it! I know how to say your bloody name! That's beside the point though!"
"Fine! So, what you're wanting me to do is go out there and ask my best friend to back out of the trip that we have taken the last seven years together just so you can say you've met my parents?" Hermione couldn't believe her ears.
Andrew looked sad for a moment. "No, Hermione; I want…I want you to choose me for once."
Hermione looked shocked. "What?" This sounded too familiar to another time, another set of boys, one of them also being Harry Potter.
"Choose me. Think back, Hermione. Our first date, you were late because Harry was sick with the flu. Valentine's Day, you spent most of the day planning for his date with his girlfriend and almost missed our own date. Three months ago, you ditched me because Harry had broken up with…what's her name...oh yeah, Ginny. You wanted to make sure he was okay. Love, if we're going to make this work, I can't always come after the all-powerful Mr. Potter. You have to make room in your heart for me as well."
Harry sat outside in the car that he and Hermione were going to take to the airport. Even though they both had their own muggle ways of transportation, they had mutually decided on a rental today because they didn't feel comfortable leaving their cars at the airport for two weeks.
He thought about the conversation happening just a hundred feet away in Hermione's living room. Is it right that I'm going to her parents and Andrew isn't? Harry leaned his head back and reflected before realizing that he had automatically climbed into the driver's seat. Without thinking about it, Harry climbed out and switched to the passenger seat, knowing Hermione's tendency to be a horrible "backseat driver." Settling in once again, Harry's thoughts reverted back to her argument with Andrew.
Harry and Hermione had gone together a month after defeating Voldemort to reverse the memory spells she had placed on her parents before the horcrux hunt. Ron had chosen to stay with his family, to Hermione's relief. Tensions had run high between the two friends after their passionate kiss in the middle of the battle, but they had talked about it, and they realized that Hermione had just become overwhelmed at Ron's…well, un-Ron-like behavior. They saw that this did not a relationship make, so they hugged as friends, and Ron sent Harry and Hermione on their way.
Ever since that summer, the two took two weeks out of their busy lives to just get away from the magic world. They flew to Australia on a plane, spent two weeks living completely magic-free, enjoyed being pampered by Barbara and Patrick Granger, and flew back home, completely refreshed.
Harry was jerked back to the present by a closing door and turned his attention to the couple leaving Hermione's apartment. His best friend reached up and kissed Andrew on his cheek, and he gave her a parting hug. With a wave to Harry, Andrew headed to his car and pulled out of the parking lot as Hermione climbed into the driver's seat.
"You could have driven." Harry gave the girl a look of disbelief before shaking his head and turning on the radio and air conditioner, taking note of Hermione's red eyes and nose.
"Yeah, right. I do still want to be friends by the time we reach the airport, love. Besides, I had to drive all the way from the rental company, all the way to my house, then all the way here. I've driven enough today."
"Did you leave your car at the rental company?"
Harry shook his head as he took a sip of his coffee. "Nope. Took a cab. I don't trust any of our friends behind the wheel, Hermione. None except you, and I knew you were busy this morning." He gave her a pointed look, opening the door for discussion.
She didn't take the bait. "I did leave most of my packing until the last minute, which is odd for me. Shacklebolt didn't complain about having a new team leader take two weeks off, did he?"
"Not a bit. I felt a bit insulted when he tried to push me out the door, actually. Said something about not ever taking any time off except for these two weeks every year, so he's happy to give them to me."
The two made it to the airport in plenty of time. They leisurely made their way to their gate, checked in their luggage, gave their tickets to the attendant, then sat down to wait to board. Knowing this was his chance, Harry reached over and grabbed Hermione's hand.
"Hermione, what happened with you and Andrew? Don't bottle it up; it's just me."
Just him? It's never 'just Harry'…
She raised her eyes to meet emerald green. The concern she found there almost broke her, bringing what Andrew had told her back to the forefront of her mind. "Harry, he…" She squeezed her chocolate-brown eyes shut and took a shuddering breath. "He broke up with me," she finished simply, opening her eyes.
The concern she had seen earlier dimmed, replaced by something else, something that frightened her somewhat. "He what?"
"He…ah…he broke up with me?" she replied, unsure on how to answer her best friend, not knowing how he would respond.
"Why the hell did he do that? Just because you didn't beg him to come on the trip with you?"
She took another breath and shook her head, opening her mouth to answer him, but their flight was called at that moment. They gathered their carry-ons and made their way to their seats on the plane.
Once they were settled into their first class seats (Harry always insisted) and listened to the flight attendant's instructions, Harry turned to his best friend.
"Now, what were you about to say?"
"What else is there to say, Harry? The son-of-a-bitch broke up with me!" Hermione was angry now. She was angry with Andrew for breaking it off for something so seemingly stupid, angry with Harry for pushing her, and angry with herself for feeling helpless.
Harry's eyebrows shot up at her crude language, but he said nothing about it. Instead, he just grabbed her hand again and whispered, "Okay, Hermione. We don't have to say anything else. I'm sorry for pushing." His eyes slanted across the aisle, alerting her to two children who looked to be about five. The little boy was playing a video game, but the little girl was looking curiously over at Harry and Hermione. Hermione felt her face heat up, ashamed at her reaction and hoping the little girl hadn't heard what she had said.
Her voice lowered as she buried her face in Harry's shoulder. "I'm so sorry, Harry. I didn't mean to snap like that." She shot a shy grin to the little girl across the aisle, who returned the smile just as shyly. Because both Hermione and the little girl were both in aisle seats (Harry sat by the window due to slight claustrophobia issues), Hermione could see that the little girl's name, which was sewn into the bag by her feet, was Bianca. She made note of it and turned back to her best friend.
Harry wrapped his arm around Hermione. "Hermione, I swear I took no offense to your outburst; however, I didn't think the kids across the aisle needed to learn those words right now."
"You're right. It's just that Andrew truly frustrated me, Harry."
"What was the break-up over, Hermione? If you don't mind telling me, that is…" Harry looked at her dubiously, as if waiting for another explosion.
Hermione thought about what truly ended the relationship, and in the end, there was no question. "Well, he wasn't happy about not being invited. That was obvious. There were a few small things that we've been arguing over for a while…you know, things like his calling me 'Mia' and 'Mione' and all." She looked at Harry, thinking about whether she should telling him the real reason behind the breakup. She took a deep breath.
Harry sat back in his seat, nodding. He could see where that would get on Hermione's nerves, but not enough to—
"He asked me to pick him."
Harry turned to look at his best friend again. "What was that?"
Hermione took another deep breath. "Andrew asked me to pick him, to put him first in my life for once."
Harry laughed and glanced out the window at the clouds. "Well, that's stupid. He should know that your parents will always…"
"He wasn't talking about my parents, Harry."
He looked back at his friend, meeting chocolate depths that held more knowledge in them than his whole body could hope to contain. "Then who…?"
"Andrew said that as long as you were around, he'd never have a chance of being first in my life. He said that in the nine months we've been dating, I've blown him off at least three times that he can count just because you've needed me more."
Her brown eyes darkened. "Harry, I can count more."
Harry swallowed, thinking about what she had said. It was true that the two were close, closer especially in the last few years than even Harry and Ron. Since Ron had begun working for the Department of Magical Games and Sports and dating one Luna Lovegood, the two had seen much less of the redhead.
"So, I'm the reason you two broke up?" He turned to the window again, not able to meet Hermione in the eye.
"Harry, no…well, yes, in a way, I suppose. I guess it was just the straw that broke the camel's back. He's never really mentioned having a problem with our closeness, but I can see now that it's bothered him more than he's let on. I don't…He's always seemed to get on with you just fine."
Harry nodded. "I thought so too. We've been to the pub many times together. I thought we were reasonably close mates, especially after only knowing each other for a few months."
The two sat together in silence for a while, then, "Harry, Ginny didn't break up with you just to go play Quidditch, did she?"
The green-eyed young man stared out the window for a while more before quietly answering, "No."
"Hermione, she's as insecure as Ron has always been when it comes to relationships. Not to sound full of myself, but she's always been insecure about me. We had an okay relationship, but since the war ended, it just wasn't the same. She expected me to be at every home game, which I was anyway, but when she realized how close you and I were, she soon began wanting me to travel with her when I could get away from work. She finally sat me down and, even though she wasn't cruel, basically told me to decide what I wanted out of life. Needless to say, that was it for us. We both knew we weren't happy anymore."
Hermione gave a little laugh. "It's funny. It seems as if our significant others were equally insecure, eh?" She sighed. "Come on, Harry. No more serious conversation! We're on holiday! Let's have a great time!"
The rest of the flight was filled with laughter and an exchange of stories about experiences at the Auror department and Hogwarts, where Hermione had taken now-Headmistress McGonagall's position as Transfiguration professor. Of course, for the sake of their fellow passengers, they actually talked about their jobs as policeman and high school English teacher.
Later in the afternoon, Harry took a brief nap, and Hermione opened her book, Gulliver's Travels, a favorite of hers. She had been reading for about a half-hour when she heard a small voice ask, "Whatcha reading?"
She looked down to see a bright pair of blue eyes looking back at her. Bianca was staring innocently at the older woman, waiting patiently for an answer.
"This book is called Gulliver's Travels. Do you like to read?"
The girl nodded vigorously, then frowned. "I didn't think and packed all my books in my trunk, which is with all our other luggage. My stupid brother brought his video game, and I don't like any of the movies. Mum and Dad are reading or watching the movie, so I'm bored."
Hermione smiled slightly at the little girl's plight before putting on a determined face. "Well then, we'll have to see about this! My name's Hermione; what's yours?" she asked, pretending not to know.
"Bianca. Her-my…oh-knee? Is that right?" The little girl was unsure of herself.
"Perfect! You know, Bianca, we have something in common."
The little girl's eye's opened widely. "What's that?"
"Both of our names come from Shakespeare plays. Mine is from A Winter's Tale, and yours is from Taming of the Shrew." The two girls got into a literary discussion, and when Harry opened his eyes about an hour later, he rolled his eyes and smiled.
The plane landed in Melbourne, Australia, and Hermione said goodbye to her new friend. As they were departing, Bianca yelled out, "Bye, Hermione's brother!"
The two looked at each other and laughed. Hermione wrapped an arm around Harry as they walked out into the terminal. "Come on, brother; let's go see Mum and Dad!"