He couldn't have one quiet year at Hogwarts, could he?
Not even one normal school experience.
Of course not. That would be too easy.
The entire school lay motionless on the Great Hall floor because some madman wanted to finish off what Voldemort couldn't.
Man, he couldn't even have a normal day.
Barely three hours ago, he was wrapped up in one of Hermione's blankets down by the lake, listening to her read from her place beside him. She had nearly been swallowed by the black hoodie he had offered her.
It was a good thing, too; her cheeks had been terribly red.
One moment he was having a relaxing afternoon with his best friend.
The next moment, the entire castle is on lockdown.
The majority of Gryffindor House lay huddled in the bottom left corner of the Hall with the odd lion straying away from the pack to lay with friend groups, faint snores humming through their sleeping bags as they slept.
Harry found himself very much awake many hours after the professors had left the Hall to secure the school's remaining nooks and crannies.
In front of him lay his best mate Ron, whose snores were loud enough to scare any raging lunatic away. The boy shifted in his sleep, rolling over so the back of his furiously orange hair was facing him.
The green-eyed boy sighed; at least it couldn't get much worst, he thought.
The whole ordeal had passed too fast for Harry to process; the pair hadn't taken two steps toward the common room before Ginny had leapt before them, stating the fat lady had been attacked by the madman himself, Sirius Black.
From then on, it was a blur; he remembered Hermione's hand gripping his when the prisoner's name was mentioned — was she holding his hand the entire time? — and being dragged to the Great Hall by order of the Headmaster.
Raven hair brushed against the floor as Harry shifted his — Hermione's — blanket on his shoulder and sighed. Knowing he wasn't going to sleep for a while, he turned over to look out of the window, feeling the rough surface beneath him scrape against his skin despite the countless cushioning charms.
Suddenly, not even fully turned, the lanky boy let out a rather audible gasp, his eyes wide as they stared into the hazel ones before him.
Hermione was still awake, apparently.
Bringing a finger to her lips, she gestured for him to be quiet before revealing her wand and waving it gently; faint sparks surrounded the pair slowly. The witch paused, returning her wand and scooting closer to him, a smile on her lips. "Silencing charm." She whispered, "Wouldn't risk being any louder than this, though."
The young wizard nodded, still slightly alert after the minor scare.
Hermione seemed to be studying his face, her smile fading. "Are you alright?" Her voice was concerned.
He didn't like that.
"I'm fine." He responded dumbly, avoiding eye contact and instead diverting his gaze at what Hermione was wearing.
She's still wearing the hoodie, he thought, suppose it is relatively comfortable. He wondered if he would ever get it back.
He also wondered why his stomach did a strange flip at the thought of her keeping it.
"Harry." Hermione's voice snapped him out of his thoughts, forcing him to meet her eyes again. "You don't seem okay." She mumbled bluntly, her eyes sparkling sadly in the faint moonlight. "Honestly, I don't blame you. It's all terrifying..." Her tone seemed to change like she was holding back tears. "I... I'm scared for you, Harry..." The brunette sobbed Softly, "The thought of another person trying to hurt you, trying to... to..." Unable to finish her sentence, she lunged for him, seemingly trying to convey her feelings in a single embrace.
Harry was sure he had turned red all over.
What was this, the fifteenth hug today?
"Hermione!" He spluttered in a harsh whisper; he moved to wrap his right arm around her; his other trapped between them. "Hermione, I'm fine; he isn't going to get me. It's like you said, the safest place for me is here in the castle." Attempting to look at her, he moved his head back, but her arms were locked solidly around him, her face burrowed in the blanket he had wrapped around himself.
Harry sighed. He didn't have much experience with girls crying, but he had been in this situation with Hermione a few times, thanks to Ron.
Honestly, he hated the sound.
It would always run through him like physical pain.
"Listen, Hermione, as long as I'm with you, I'll be okay." He confessed quietly, trying to speak through the mop of hair beneath him. "You're the smartest person I know! It's like you're always there when I need you... yeah, it's scary knowing there's someone after me but... we'll get through it, you, me and Ron. We'll be okay."
The girl retreated slightly, looking somewhat embarrassed, but Harry could see the hope in her eyes. "I just don't want to lose you, Harry. You're my best friend—"
Yes, friend... there isn't a problem with that.
"—But if you say it'll be okay, I trust you." She had retreated slightly now, leaving only their hands joined between them.
Watching her struggle to wipe her tears with her free hand, Harry did something that completely surprised himself.
He reached out a tanned hand and wiped a tear from a wide-eyed Hermione with the pad of his thumb.
Her skin is soft. He acknowledged, curious.
Hermione looked like she had stopped breathing. Harry didn't understand why, weren't they okay now?
"Well," She choked, snapping her gaze away and focusing on the ceiling. "It is terribly late, and we must be dressed and ready before breakfast is served. Good night, Harry." The words spilt from her lips as quickly as she had closed her eyes, Harry blinked his emerald eyes in a baffled state.
"Oh... uh... g-goodnight then, Hermione." Mimicking his neighbour's actions, he lay on his back, scanning the map of the universe that was painted before them, the galaxies slowly twirling like the cogs in his mind that desperately attempted to explain the strange behaviour of the one and only Hermione Granger.
Maybe he needs to start talking to more girls.
Goodness, they were awfully strange.
As Harry drifted to sleep that night, he felt safe.
Not because of the large mass of students surrounding him.
Not because of the twinkle of protection charms that lined the castle walls.
It was the hand in his that gifted him the foreign feeling he rarely experienced,
A feeling similar to the sensation of Mrs Weasley embracing him or Ron clapping him on the back.
This, of course, felt different; this was Hermione.
Hermione always made him feel different.
And that was all that mattered.
Harry and Hermione,
Hermione and Harry.
Together, as always.
The ending quote is inspired by a story called Awakening, by SweetShireen, Illustrated by Arishatistic. It made my heart go all fuzzy; check it out!
Also, I got into uni! I qualified for a scholarship :')
I will be taking a gap year to finish studying A-Level art and then leave for uni in September 2021! It's all so exciting!
The whole situation was somewhat odd; my original grades were a B in Graphics Art and a Merit in Creative Media; I had gotten my results a day late, mind you, and that was that for a while. Not even two days later, one grade was changed to an A, then two weeks after they tell me my media was now a D*? Then they sent me two identical letters telling me what I already knew! It was ridiculous, haha.
Expect a new chapter of Convince me otherwise in the next few days!