Harry stood out there for a moment, but the tension got to him quickly. “Forgive me, Prof. Dumbledore, I have to know.” Harry said as he pulled out his invisible cloak from his bag. Harry slowly made his way into the dinning hall, being extra careful not to be spotted by Dumbledore, who was the only one Harry knew who could see through the invisible cloak. Harry finally found a good spot beside a pillar where he could plainly see the whole room.
“Now, Students.” Dumbledore announce, “Let us begin the voting.” He then looked around the room and took a deep breath, “All those in favor of Harry Potter being dismissed permanently from Hogwarts School of Wizards and Witchcraft, please stand up.”
Hermione looked around the room, and was not surprised for an instant when Draco jumped to his feet first followed by the entire Slytherin table. She was expecting all of them to vote for Harry’s dismissal, but she really didn’t expect anyone else to vote against him.
“Wha?” She gasped when Cho Change stood up from the Ravenclaw table followed by everyone seated at her table. “No… oh Harry…” Hermione gasped when the Hufflepuff table slowly all stood up. “This can’t be happening…” Hermione sighed and saw Dumbledore had a similar expression on his face.
When she thought it couldn’t get any worse, the completely unthinkable happened. First Lavender Brown stood to her feet. Then reluctantly Dennis and Colin Creevey stood up sadly. Then Ginny, Ron’s little sister, then Parvati Patil and Neville Longbottom all the way to the only ones in the room seated were the Professors and Ron and Hermione. Then if Hermione thought it couldn’t get worse, it did.
“Ron how can everyone betray Harry like…Ron?” Hermione started but her jaw dropped as she watched Ron seemingly proudly stand to his feet, “Ron…how … how could you…”
“It’s for his own good,” Ron whispered sadly, “everyone else sees it, why don’t you? Stand up, ‘Mione.”
“I’ll never do that to him, Ron, never,” Hermione forcefully said crossing her arms and setting firmly in her seat.
Dumbledore looked around the room, at the staring students and was at a loss for words. “A great betrayal will take place.” He muttered sadly. Yet another part of Trelawney’s prophecy has come true. “Ok…you may be seated,” Dumbledore said, trying futilely to hide his disappointment. “Ok, those in favor of Harry staying at Hogwarts, please stand up, please.”
After everyone set down, Hermione proudly stood up and scowled at everyone around her. “What’s wrong with you, Mudblood?” Draco laughed, “A muggle doesn’t belong here.”
“Shut up, Malfoy!” Hermione screamed, her face contorting in rage and hurt, “All of you! How could you, after everything Harry’s done, how many of you wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for Harry Potter?” Hermione asked angrily looking around the room, “Collin, Dennis, you looked up to him as a hero, was it Harry you worshiped or was it just his name, his power?” She asked causing the Creeveys to drop their heads in shame, she then looked at all the members of Gryffindor’s Quidditch team, “And you, if this is any way a team is supposed to work together I don’t want anything to do with a ‘team’.” She then spun around at Ron who was trying to calm her and make her set back down, “Ron, you…. you’re supposed to be Harry’s best friend! Harry loves you like a brother, how could you do this to him? How could you?”
“Save it, Hermione,” Harry’s hurt and sad voice said from the shadows before he removed his cloak, “I know where I’m not wanted.” He said giving Ron a stern glare before walking out the door.
“Harry! Wait!” Hermione yelled and started to follow him.
Ron stood up and grabbed her wrist. “Herm, no, let him go. It’s for the best.”
Hermione came around and in one fluid motion brought her hand across Ron’s face in a smack that echoed through out almost the entire school. Ron stumbled back and on to the floor. He looked back up holding his sore cheek and his shocked eyes locked with Hermione’s contempt-filled eyes. She then spun around and shot out the door Harry exited through.
Hermione made a beeline for the Gryffindor boys’ dormitory, cursed the moving stair cases for slowing her down, when she finally got there, Hagrid was holding Harry’s trunk and Hedwig’s cage while Harry continued to pack his suitcase. Harry looked up at her for a moment then tossed her the invisible cloak, “here, you can have this.” Harry said a slight tremble in his voice.
“Don’t go,” Hermione said barely above a whisper.
“Why should I stay?” Harry asked anger in his voice. “You’re the only one who seems to want me here. So what’s the point in the matter?”
“Don’t go,” She repeated just a little louder, “I don’t want you to go.”
“Something I learned the hard way, Hermione,” Harry said slamming his suitcase, “We don’t always get what we want.”
“Harry…I…I haven’t read about this happening before, but I’ll keep reading and studying, I’m bound to find a way to help you sooner or later, so please don’t go.” Hermione begged tears rimming her eyes.
“No one else seems to care,” Harry said emotionlessly walking up beside Hagrid with his back still to her, “why do you care?”
“Why do I care?” Hermione asked almost sounding angry, “Why do I CARE? Do you want to know why I care about you? I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU, HARRY POTTER! T-That’s why, that’s why I care.” She half yelled half sobbed causing Harry to drop his suitcase and stand still as a statue.
“Ah should ne herd dat.” Hagrid said turning his back his face turning blood red.
“W-What?” Harry asked slowly turning around with a look of utter shock on his face.
“Ah tink ah’ll leave ya two ‘lone.” Hagrid said taking Harry’s trunk and Hedwig with him.
“I love you, Harry. I’m not sure when I fell for you, maybe I’ve always had these feelings.” Hermione whispered walking up to the stunned Harry, “But I noticed it fourth year, when you disappeared during your last task, I started thinking about what would happen if you didn’t come back, and … and I couldn’t imagine life without you. Whenever you’re with me, even if You-Know-Who was staring me in the face, if you were with me, I’d feel safe. No one makes me feel that way, no one. I should have told you earlier but I was so scared you’d freak out, and break all contact with me; I’d rather have your friendship then nothing at all. But now you’re talking about leaving, and I see no reason not to tell you how much I truly, honestly love you.”
“Hermione … I …” Harry stuttered, he really didn’t know what to say to her words. What Hermione did next made it unnecessary.
She stood up on her toes and kissed him. Not a kiss on the cheek. Not a gentle peck kiss on the lips. With her very soul: all her emotions, all her passion, with all her being, she kissed him.
After a moment, when the initial shock wore off, Harry returned the kiss with the same if not more passion and love. “Hermione,” Harry whispered breaking the kiss, “Mione, I feel the same …” Harry confessed softly, “But … but you know I haven’t any options.”
“You … you can have me … if it’ll make you stay … if you want … I’m yours …” Hermione whispered shyly, surprised at her words, but the desperation to make him stay surpassed any logic and shame. And it was true; she’d do anything to make him stay with her.
“No, Hermione,” Harry said as if he was arguing with himself mentally, “you don’t mean that, and I wouldn’t want it like that,” he then traced her jaw line, “I … I’m sure you’ll make a wizard extremely happy someday, Hermione. You deserve better then a muggle. The greatest witch in the world deserves the greatest wizard.”
“Harry … if … if you have to go, I’ll come with you. I’m a muggle-born anyway, so I’ll just go with you,” Hermione reasoned as a tear slid down her cheek, “Yes, we’ll go and stay with my parents, that way you won’t have to put up with those horrid Dursleys!”
“No Hermione,” Harry said forcefully, gripping her shoulders gently, “Hermione, you’re the best, the absolute greatest witch Hogwarts has ever seen, and ever will see. I won’t drag you down with me, no bloody way. I’m going to go and … and I’ll figure something out. Never know, maybe our paths will cross again someday …”
“Harry …” Hermione whimpered, mentally kicking herself for being a cry baby.
“Listen, Mione, I read a letter, Sirius gave it to me last summer,” Harry said looking away for a moment, “but it was from my mum, some how she must have known she wouldn’t be here to see me grow up, anyway she told me something in the letter … and it applies to our situation.”
Hermione nodded brokenheartedly, not saying a word.
“Hermione, will you ever forget me?” Harry asked causing her head to snap up, almost angrily.
“Harry, honestly,” Hermione gasped, “how … how do you think I could possibly forget you?”
Harry simply nodded and gave her a forced smile, “then as long as you remember … I’ll always be with you. No matter what, I’ll only be a thought away.”
“I … I’ll never ever forget you, Harry,” Hermione said not able to look him in the eye any longer without breaking down in sobs, “promise you’ll never forget me.”
“I promise, Mione,” Harry croaked out, mentally scolding his weakness, “goodbye …” he then turned and slowly (atleast to Hermione) walked out of the room with his suitcase closing the door behind him.
Hermione stood there, staring at the door letting everything sink in. once it finally did her legs quickly grew weak and she collapsed to her hands and knees in violent sobs.
Harry walked up beside the still blushing Hagrid. The half-giant looked down at the teen sadly, “Ready to go home, ‘arry?”
Harry let out a faint yet sad chuckle causing Hagrid to look at him confused, “Funny. I thought I was home, Hagrid. I guess I was wrong.”
Hagrid took Harry back to the Dursley’s and placed his trunk in the small cupboard under the stairs. Hagrid started to hand Harry Hedwig’s cage when Harry pushed it back. Both Hedwig and Hagrid looked at Harry confusedly “Give her to Hermione, tell her I want her to have her.” Harry then opened the door and rubbed Hedwig’s head making the snow owl chirp sadly, “Listen, Hedwig, I want you to keep an eye on Hermione for me, ok?”
Hedwig then chirped sadly as if to say ok and gently nibbled on Harry’s fingers one last time before Harry shut the door. “I’ll miss you too, Hedwig. Take care of yourself.”
“Well… ah guess tis is good be, ‘arry, ah’ll miss ye.” Hagrid said fighting back tears.
“I’ll miss you too.” Harry said hugging the giant, “Maybe we’ll meet again some time down the road.” Harry reassured his friend.
“Do ne worry, ‘arry.” Hagrid said with a smile and a wink, “Ah’ll look after ya gir’ friend.”
Harry blushed for a moment before shaking it off, “You better go before Uncle Vernon catches you here.” Harry said as Hagrid placed a hand on his shoulder, “It was ne right what they did to ye, and ah’ll make ser they know me feelins.”
“Thanks,” Harry said as the half giant turned to leave, “Goodbye, Hagrid.”
Harry watched his friend leave, then turned and headed toward the kitchen to make himself some tea. It was late and apparently the Dursleys were all asleep. He finished preparing his tea and went back to his little room under the stairs, seeing as the Dursleys used his bedroom as a storage room while he was away, it was physically impossible to make the room livable even if he still had the gift of magic, so he decided to stay in the old cupboard at least till morning. He set down on the way too small bed and a photograph caught his eye. It was from his fifth year, of Ron, Himself, and Hermione standing in between them. The magical picture showed them giggling and laughing and occasionally Hermione would kiss one of the two boys on the cheek.
Harry adjusted his bandage over his head, climbed into bed and fell asleep faster then he expected, with Hermione’s words and the feel of her lips on his fresh on his mind.
The next morning he walked into the kitchen and received shocked looks and gasps from the Dursleys.
“Boy, what are you doing here?” Uncle Vernon growled eyeing him suspiciously.
“He probably got in trouble and got kicked out.” Dudley chuckled, “Maybe even freaks think you’re a freak!”
“What happened?” Aunt Petunia asked in a near growl pointing toward his bandage around his forehead.
Harry then told them exactly what happened, and tried very hard not to cry in front of them of all people. Harry looked at Dudley and Uncle Vernon’s smirking faces then heard the one thing he didn’t expect.
“Oh my dear boy, I am so sorry.” Aunt Petunia said kindly, “Oh you must be hungry, here, eat up!” she said as she took Vernon and Dudley’s plates and combined them and placed it in front of Harry. “If you would like more, do let me know!”
Harry blinked a few times then looked at his aunt like she had grown a second head. “Dudley, Vernon, you go and clean out Harry’s room,” Petunia ordered.
“But…” Vernon and Dudley whimpered.
“I know you two are butts, that’s beside the bloody point, go now!” she ordered firmly.
They both glared at Harry, but got up and went to work.
“Uh…thanks…” Harry stuttered to his aunt who was smiling sweetly at him.
“Come along, son, I’ll draw you a hot bath.” Petunia said happily pulling Harry to his feet and dragging him toward the bathroom.
Harry watched in total shock as his aunt prepared him a bubble bath. “There you go, Harry, Sweetheart, I’ll leave you to it, and go and make sure your uncle and cousin are doing their job right, bloody fools, wish he didn’t say yes when I proposed marriage.” She sighed giving the shocked teenager a friendly wave.
Harry watched her leave then turned to the mirror on the wall. He slowly removed his bandage to avoid touching the sore cut on his forehead and gasped when he saw where he was cut. His forehead had a two and a half inch scar going right through the middle of his lightening bolt scar Voldemort gave him when he was a year old.
“Funny…” Harry said tracing it with his finger, “It…it looks like an ‘X’ now…”