Harry sat alone on the couch. Since he had finished work he hadn’t said a word, his mind busy working on overdrive. Not even the sound of the TV managed to get his attention. At the moment the only thought he possessed was a simple name.
“It can’t be the same Hermione, can it?” he asked.
Hedwig merely stared at him from across the room.
“I mean it a very common name, isn’t? There must be hundreds here in London.”
Hedwig continued to stare.
“Okay, you’re right. Sot it’s not very common. Perhaps even rare, but there’s bound to be a few, right?”
In a desperate act to preserve his sanity he rushed to be bookshelf, grabbed the phone book and began to look through names. “Hermione, Hermione, Hermione… wait, this won’t work. Hey, stop looking at me like I’m crazy Hedwig!”
If it was possible for an owl to look nervous, then Hedwig was certainly fitting the description.
Finally, realizing that he had been talking to his owl, and raving like a madman, Harry shut up and sat back down to continue thinking. Even in the small chance it was the girl he hoped it wasn’t, it wouldn’t matter much, would it?
He could picture the two of them sitting together, laughing at the crazy idea her father had come up with. The way her smile showed so clearly in her eyes as they though about the most incredible odds the whole situation involved. The way her body shook gently as she struggled to regain her composure. The way she…
“Please just let this be a misunderstanding.”
Just then the phone rang, breaking Harry out of the chain of thought his adolescent mind was so set upon. After searching frantically for the source of the ringing , he found it lodged behind the pillows on the couch. “Hello?”
“HELLO? HARRY? CAN YOU HEAR ME? IT’S ME, RON!”
Grabbing his hands over his ears Harry dropped the phone and looked at it in disbelief. Cautiously he leaned back down and brought the receiver back to his ear.
“Ron, I thought we had explained this whole phone thing to you. You don’t have to yell, remember?”
“Yeah, of course I remembered. Fred and George just thought it would be funny to give you a little fright.”
In the background Harry could hear the three Weasley boys laughing hysterically.
“Riiight. Remind me to express my appreciation next time I see them.”
“I look forward to it. Now, for the reason I called. We were talking earlier today and she thought it would be nice for us to go to one of those Muggle things, I cinnamon I think she called it.”
“That’s cinema, and who’s she?”
Harry felt the lump catch in his throat. Trying his best to calm down he prayed silently that Ron wouldn’t notice anything, the Weasley’s would tease him mercilessly.
“Um..sure… Where and what time?” There, that wasn’t so hard.
“Good question. I just heard her say cinnamon and sort of got distracted. Maybe I should have written it down.”
“How about we say London and I’ll meet you there?”
”All right, that sounds..HEY! Not funny Harry!”
“ I think your brothers would disagree with you there.” Harry could hear Ron cursing at his two brothers as they began to laugh at Ron’s gullibility.
“Okay, but seriously, do you have any idea what she said?”
“Well no. Like I said, my stomach kind of distracted me so I wasn’t listening after that. I know she said tonight. I know, I’ll call her again and then call you right back, all right?”
“Sure, just lower the decibels when you call her, okay?”
“Hey! Excellent idea Harry! Hey Fred, George, Harry just had the best…” *click*
Uh oh. If they were going to do what he thought they were going to do then there was going to be one angry Hermione tonight. Meeting Hermione, tonight.
‘Well,’ he thought to himself, ‘at least I can clear up this whole mess tonight. As if I could actually try and hide it, Hermione would read me like… well, a book.’
The phone started ringing again. A smile crept onto Harry’s face as an idea came to him. Taking a deep breathe Harry answered the phone and yelled as loud as he could.
“HELLO? HARRY HERE, THAT YOU RON?”
After a gasp and a short pause, an equally loud and pissed off voice yelled back.
“WHY IS EVERYBODY YELLING TONIGHT?! IT’S A BLASTED PHONE!” screamed a fuming Hermione.
Never before had a smile left Harry’s face so quickly. “She’s gonna kill me,” he whispered to Hedwig.
“Oh God! I’m really sorry Mione, I thought you might have been Ron! You know how Ron had trouble with the phone earlier, and then Fred and George…”
“Harry, you’re rambling. Anyways forget about it, no harm done just a slight ringing in the ears.”
Feeling relieved Harry let out the breathe he’d been holding and relaxed. “So? You talked to Ron?”
“Well yes and no, we were talking earlier. He called me just now and started yelling into the phone so I hung up. Honestly, you boys”
“I tried to tell him that was a bad idea. He did say something about a movie tonight. What’s the plan?”
“Well I just thought that since I couldn’t come with you guys last night that we could meet tonight. Are you busy around 8?”
“Hmm… I was planning on having Fleur over around then. Then of course there’s Alicia and Angelina.”
The two continued to chat for awhile. Although Hermione had asked how his day was Harry decided he wanted to tell her in person, just in case.
“Well as much as I’d like to keep talking Harry, I have to go and finish getting dressed. I’ll see you soon.”
“You mean you’re not dressed? I want details! A towel? A robe? Maybe a set of sexy…”
“Bye Harry” *click*
Shaking her head Hermione felt a smile spread across her face. It had been weeks since she’d actually seen Harry or Ron so she was really looking forward to tonight. Since they usually spent every waking moment together it was a form of torture to be apart for so long during the summer. She was sure the other two felt the same, well maybe not Ron but definitely Harry. After all, to Harry they weren’t only friends but also the only real family he had.
Hermione frowned a little at this. Family? Hermione wasn’t really sure Harry and herself fit into that category exactly. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to be thought of like that by Harry. Shaking her head in confusion she finished applying a light layer of make-up and checked her appearance on last time.
“Not bad at all Miss Granger,” being pleased with what she saw. With that she grabbed her purse and headed downstairs. Even though she still had plenty of time to meet the others, she still needed a way to the movies.
Walking into the kitchen she saw her parents sitting at the table sipping cups of coffee. She knew all about her dad’s strange obsession with coffee, she really hoped some of it was decaf.
“Mom, Dad? I need a lift to the movies, can either of you drive me?”
Glancing up at her daughter Mrs.Granger could see the obvious effort she had put into her appearance tonight.
“You’re going out? Tell me dear, you wouldn’t happen to have a secret date you haven’t told us about, would you?”
“I want to meet him. You’re not dating any boy until I have a thorough interrogation, err… introduction with him,” said her father obviously finding a sudden interest in where his daughter was going tonight.
“Honestly! If you must know, I’m meeting some friends from school. Harry and Ron, just friends I might add!”
Clarke’s brow furrowed. ‘Why do those names sound familiar? Harry, that’s the name of guy at the café,’ he thought. ‘No, it couldn’t be the same one, that’s just crazy.’
“I’ll drive you,” he said. “Besides there was something I wanted to talk to you about.”
“What is it?”
“I’ll tell you in the car. You ready to go now?”
“Yup, I’ll just get my coat.”
The two had been driving for a while now and neither had said a word. Hermione was too busy worrying if her dad still thought she was on a date, and Clarke was busy actually worrying she was on a date.
“Your mother and I were talking,” said Clarke, finally deciding to break the silence. “We know that since you spend so much of the year at school that you don’t get to know many people her at home.”
‘Hmm…where is this leading,’ thought Hermione.
“You know we’re very proud of you. Even though we don’t understand this whole magic concept, we can tell you do very well. We receive many letters from your teachers complementing you on your achievements.”
“Umm, is this what you wanted to talk to me about?” she asked as she blushed furiously under her father’s praise.
Clarke was getting nervous but he knew he had to tell her before she left the car.
“Well actually it’s about what I said before about you being away so often and not know many of the locals. You see, even though my over-protective father act isn’t always an act, your mother and I don’t want you to miss out on the things are girl your age should experience.”
“If you only you knew some of the things I’ve experienced,” said Hermione, thinking of all the adventures the trio had already been on.
Clarke looked strangely at his daughter. “Right, well, you see… I have a friend in London. He’s actually about your age and he said that he’d like to meet you.”
Hermione suddenly looked just as nervous as her father.
“He’s a really good guy, and very trustworthy, how could I say no? You don’t have to think of it as a date, but would you at least agree to meet him?”
If Hermione wasn’t so shocked she would have laughed outright at her father’s attempting to play matchmaker. However aside from her nervousness another part of Hermione was at work, her curiosity. She had to admit that in order to get not only her father’s approval but also his respect, he must be quite a guy. Besides, like he said, it couldn’t hurt. It wouldn’t be a real date.
“All right,” she said, almost seeming shocked at her own answer.
“You will?! No questions? No shouting about me meddling in your life?” asked Clarke, obviously equally surprised and yet relieved at the same time.
“Well you are right about me not knowing people outside of school and as for meddling, I think you and mom have a right to make up for lost time.”
Clarke simply stared at his daughter. There was something awfully familiar about the grin she was giving him. Shortly afterwards they arrived at the movie theatre. Hermione knew she was still early but told her dad she’d be alright and could wait by herself.
“If you need a way home just give us a call and we’ll pick you up,” he told her as she got out of the car. “I don’t suppose you know how your friends will be getting here?”
“Probably by fireplace.” Hermione smiled at the puzzled look her father gave her.
‘Very familiar,’ thought Clarke to himself. “Yes, well of course. How else? Anyhow, have fun and I’ll see if I can get Harry to choose a time for the two of you to meet.” With that he rolled up his window and drove off.
“Did he say Harry?”
Meanwhile, Harry and Ron were making their way down the streets of London.
“Are we there yet?”
“Are we there yet?
“NO and if you ask me again you’re going to bed with no dinner.”
Satisfied that he’d driven Harry mad, Ron finally shut up, temporarily.
“Are you sure you know where you’re going?” Ron asked as he looked up at all the tall buildings. “You know all these buildings look the same to me.”
“For the last time, yes I know where we are. Look, it’s just down this street here… I think..”
Harry was glad when they finally stood outside the theatre. Even after taking the bus, an experience Ron absolutely adored, it had still been a long walk. It would have been much easier to fly, in Harry’s opinion.
“So, where’s Hermione? Merlin knows she’s never late.”
”I don’t see her out here. Come on Ron, she’s probably already waiting for us inside.”
As the two entered the building they quickly saw that it wasn’t going to be easy picking Hermione out of this crowd.
“It doesn’t smell like cinnamon to me.”
Harry looked at his best friend, not really sure how to respond. “I thought we’d already… never mind.”
“Well you find Hermione, I’m heading to buy some snacks. How much do Chocolate Frogs cost in Muggle money?”
Now Harry of course loved Ron like a brother but sometimes he had to wonder if Ron was really on the same planet as everyone else. “You’ll have to ask. I’ve never been here before.”
Harry was proud of himself, he hadn’t even cracked a smile.
After Ron walked off to try and satisfy the bottomless pit he called a stomach, Harry started looking around. About five minutes later Harry was getting frustrated. Not only was it almost impossible to push through the crowd. He had yet to catch a glimpse of Hermione.
For a brief moment He wondered if picturing her as the snitch would help any, he had no trouble finding that. Just as he was about to give up and get Ron, Harry was absolutely positive he saw a familiar face just through the crowd.
Hermione was not enjoying her wait. Not only was it loud and crowded but it seemed that a group of local boys had insisted that they wait with her.
“For the last time, really, I’ll be fine. My two friends will be here any minute.” Hermione looked at her three ‘protectors,’ she wasn’t that naive and she could tell that ‘protecting’ was not on their list of things to do.
One of the boys brought his attention back up to her face. “Well what kind of gentlemen would we be if we let a young woman like yourself wait all alone?”
“A rather striking young woman at that,” one of the other boys added.
“Can’t be very good friends to leave you waiting here by yourself. How ‘bout you come and hang out with us instead?” asked the first boy, casually swinging his arm over Hermione’s shoulder.
“Yeah. I’m sure you’ll have much more fun with us. We’ll see to it,” said the third, his hand reaching much lower. That is, until another hand grabbed it firmly by the wrist.
Hermione slipped out from under the boys arm and looked up. There stood Harry, holding one of the boy’s arms. At the moment he looked every bit the powerful wizard she knew he was destined to be.
“I don’t believe the lady would appreciate that,” he said, looking straight into the boy’s eyes. “I’ll ask you not to try it again.” Harry certainly left no room for discussion.
“Oh there you are Harry! Is Ron with you? We should go, the movie starts soon.” It looked as though Hermione had forgotten the other boys were even there.
Harry released the boy’s wrist and motioned for Hermione. “Shall we?” Just as the two turned Harry felt a hand on his shoulder.
“Just a second there pal. We were here first and the ‘lady’ wants to come with us. Isn’t that right guys?”
Looking over his shoulder Harry calmly took hold of the boy’s hand and glanced at Hermione. Just looking at her and the way she looked back gave him all the answer he needed. He turned back to the boy, releasing his hand.
Hermione glared at the boys, looking equally intimidating as Harry. “I’m a big girl now, I’ll choose where I’m going.” A small smile showed on her face as she took Harry’s arm in her own. “You boys play nicely now.”
As they walked away they could hear the boys grumbling to themselves. “What does HE have that we don’t?”
Harry grinned and leant down next to Hermione. “You.” Even if she tried, Hermione couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across her now scarlet face.
After leaving the crowd they spotted Ron. Amazingly enough he was standing at the entrance to the right movie, with three tickets in his hand.
“Thanks for your help Harry. Of course we both know you were saving them just as much as you were saving me.”
Harry blushed a little. “Yeah… well, I don’t think those guys were ready to experience an angry Hermione. Might not make it out of here alive.”
Hermione smacked him lightly in the arm. “Regular hero, aren’t you?”
“What can I say, it’s in the job description.”
“You should have that on your resume.”
“Oh, I do. It’s right under winner of Witch Weekly’s Most Charming Grin Award.”
“Yeah, that too.”
“So… what movie are we seeing? So far I’ve been left in the dark.”
“Something called ‘Wiz Kids.’”
“How appropriate. Ready there Ron?”
“Took you two long enough. What happened? Decided to sneak away for some private time?” he asked, raising his eyebrows suggestively.
The two looked away, slightly embarrassed. “Something like that,” answered Hermione mischievously. “Either way, it’s great to see you too again!”
“Likewise of course. I mean with Ginny away studying dragons with Charlie, I’m stuck all alone with the twins. They tried another invention on me yesterday. ‘Chocolate chip-your-tooth cookies.’ Found it bloody hilarious they did. Anyways, anything new?”
“We’ll have time to talk later,” said Hermione, pushing the two into the theatre. “Just wait until I tell you about this crazy idea my matchmaker of a father just had.”