Time Away

Universe: Harry Potter, early in fourth year

Rating: T

...ooo000ooo...

"Say, Hermione, there's something I've been meaning to ask you."

"Yes, Harry?"

"Er, I don't want to pry, but why did you spend the whole summer with the Weasleys? I can understand the last week or so, so you could go to the Quidditch World Cup and then catch the Express with the rest of us, but why the whole summer? Don't you miss your parents? Don't they miss you?"

Totally at odds with the question, Hermione immediately blushed a fiery red. Harry wondered what that was about but she answered before he could ask.

"Yes, I'm sure they miss me. And I miss seeing them. At least, I miss spending time with them. I don't need to see any more of them than I already have."

"Huh?"

Hermione's blush returned. "They've, they've gotten used to having the house to themselves. With the blinds drawn."

"Ohhh…" Harry could imagine what she'd seen: naked parents. Then he thought about Vernon and Petunia having the house to themselves during the school year. "Ewww…"

"Yes, 'Ohhh'. And it gets worse. As if it weren't bad enough for me to see my father's backside heading through a doorway, I saw my mother cooking one morning, wearing nothing but an apron."

"Ewww…"

"Yes, it quite put me off my breakfast. And that's not the worst of it!" Hermione's voice rose into the rant he'd heard so often. "Not the worst by far! Do you know what I caught them doing in the living room when I came home unexpectedly early one afternoon? Can you guess?!"

"Oh, no!"

"Yes! I came in the front door and saw them rutting away like a pair of hormonal teenagers! I never want to sit on that couch again."

"Oh, poor Hermione."

"Honestly! It's like they're fifteen years old and just figured out what goes where! Even after I shamed them into at least wearing clothing in the house, they never stopped! Every night from the day I came home it was bang-bang-bang of their bed against the wall! They kept it up for hours! Every night! I simply couldn't take it any longer. After two weeks I made my mother take me to London so I could send an owl to the Weasleys, asking them – no, begging them – to come rescue me from the sex fiends."

"Poor Hermione. I wish there was something I could do."

"Oh, you can. I'll send a letter to my parents in a month or so, asking if you can stay with us over the winter holidays. At night, I'll lock my door and then rhythmically slam my bed's headboard into the wall, and the next morning sleep late and come out of my room smiling."

"Er, Hermione? Wouldn't that make your father want to kill me?"

"I imagine the thought would cross his mind, but I'm sure he won't actually attempt it."

"If you say so. But if your parents check either your room or the guest bedroom, they'll see that you were fooling them and the trick won't work anymore."

"Yes, you're right, of course. I suppose…" she blushed again and looked away, then turned back to Harry, looking at him under her eyelashes. "I suppose you'd have to spend the nights in my room."

This was a perfect place to not say anything. Just smile and nod and don't say anything and take what life offers you.

Sure, Cho was pretty and she'd smiled at him a few times, but Hermione was his friend and she was talking about bedroom stuff and she was blushing but she wasn't looking away. Bird in the hand…