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Artistic Tendencies by Hasane

Format: One-shot
Chapters: 1
Word Count: 7,890

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Sensitive topic/issue/theme

Genres: Fluff, Romance, Young Adult
Characters: Harry, Hermione, James, Lily, Luna
Pairings: Harry/Hermione, James/Lily

First Published: 06/22/2017
Last Chapter: 08/09/2017
Last Updated: 08/09/2017

(c) heartfelt @tda

Hermione doesn't like art, but Harry does. They meet, and things change for them. 

Or: an H/Hr Art AU. 

Chapter 1: { artistic tendencies }
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Another boring day in art it seems, Hermione sighed.

Hermione was in her ninth year of secondary school now, a bit past halfway through. 

Her classes are hard enough, with her being in the higher up math and science classes. She’s confident that she can handle them well and she is, if not more so than any other student. Her teachers didn't seem to think so, and that's mainly the reason why she's here taking an art class when she could be taking a more beneficial one. 

Art is a subjective class, easily making it one of her least favorite classes. She thinks the subjectivity only makes it rather difficult class to pass. However creative she may be with logical problems and such, she just cannot draw creatively. She's tried over and over and she has never been able to get it, and any scarce idea she does get, she finds she doesn’t have the talent for it. Don't get her wrong, she can appreciate works of art but they’re nothing she dwells on too much.

She was just assigned to draw ‘what yellow is to you.’ Yellow just looks like yellow to her, it doesn't really mean anything to her.

Hermione put her head in her hands trying to think of something, anything. She'll go crazy if she doesn’t. 

Okay, okay, think Hermione. What does yellow mean to you? Umm... Sunshine, lemons, lollys, what else? 

…Nothing. No more. Brain dead. 

Hermione threw her hands up in frustration and banged her head on the table, which she regretted immediately. 

Someone, seeming to have noticed her trouble, approached her and asked shyly, "Hello, do you need any help?" 

Hermione looked up and saw a boy standing in front of her. The boy in question looked to be about fourteen, had a fair and unblemished face with messy black hair (did it get into a fight with a leaf blower?). It’s the kind that's been brushed through with his hands a lot. He also had brilliant green eyes and Hermione was mesmerized by them, thinking it was as if emeralds had been embedded into his eyes. He's wearing circular glasses. She knows him, recognizes him from the back of her mind, but what was his name?

He waved a hand in front of her face, confused by her analytical stare. 

Hermione snapped out of her reverie and blushed. "Oh! I'm sorry! I'm Hermione Granger. And you are?" 

He laughed (it sounded like ringing bells) and said, "I'm Harry Potter, it's nice to finally meet you! I’m in most of your classes, if you’ve ever recognized me." He put his hand out to shake. 

"Nice to finally meet you too as well," Hermione replied back. She couldn't believe she had never noticed him except from the corner of her eye. Why?

He sat down next to her, moving her stuff aside. "Anyways, introductions aside, help? You kind of looked frustrated," Harry laughed.

"Thank you," Hermione said. “Art isn’t my best subject so a simple assignment like this is difficult.” She hung her head a little, expecting him to laugh. But to her pleasant surprise he smiled instead. 

"Nonsense! Everything is an art and everybody is good at something. I think you just need someone to bounce ideas off of," he replied. "Tell me what you thought of."

"Well, um, sunshine, lemons, lollys," Hermione muttered, once again embarrassed.

"Okay, it's a start," Harry said encouragingly. "You're thinking of tangible objects, so try thinking of it on an emotional level. What makes you feel yellow?" 

With Harry’s coaxing, Hermione eventually got something passable to turn in. 

The time passed and suddenly it was time to go. As everybody started to leave, Hermione said to Harry, "Goodbye, I'll see you tomorrow.”

"Goodbye," Harry replied happily, whilst smiling and waving his hand.

Days passed, with the two of them getting along well. In these days, she learned that Harry is immersed in art. No, really, he loves to the point where it surrounds him, breathes it, and speaks like it. 

Hermione observes people often and she found that she loves to study Harry. Harry, she quickly found out, doodles everywhere. His homework, notebooks, sketch pads, desks, and sometimes even on her hands and forearms. It was fascinating to watch him, how his brows scrunch up when he finds something particularly hard, or the absolute joy that twinkles in his eyes when he gets something right. 

He is surprisingly easy to talk to and Hermione has told him more things than he needs to know. He listens intently, never once dividing his attention. Harry is also shy; he admits that she is the first person he’s talked to in school. His other friends don’t attend his school, so he finds it hard to open up to people, which explains why she knows next to nothing about him. Harry is a quiet person that doesn’t like the attention and spot light on him. How he acquired so much of it is strange. 

Hermione is sitting at her usual table in art. The teacher is explaining something about how colors are used and how they can enhance one’s painting. She already knows this and took the liberty to close her tired eyes. She was up all night studying for a test she wasn't even going to have. She fell asleep in no time.

"... ‘Mione, wake up," a soft voice said. It distinctly reminded her of a lullaby her mother used to sing to her. 

And then again, louder this time, "Hermione, wake up!" 

She sat up quickly, now fully aware of her surroundings. Hermione started panicking; she fell asleep! What would the consequences hold? Detention? Or worse, expulsion?

"Don't worry, the teacher let this slide, she understands you are a busy girl," said the voice again.

She looked up to see Harry's face, marred by her drowsiness. She relaxed instantly and said, "Oh, thank goodness. Thank you, Harry."

"Are you okay? You're never usually this tired," Harry asked, walking with Hermione to lunch.

"Yes, I'm fine. I stayed up too late studying. Turns out we weren't taking it," Hermione said, bitterness bleeding into her voice. 

"Don't stay up too late studying, it will take a toll on you soon. I'll see you another time." Harry walked in the other direction, to his usual spot on the tables. 

Harry always sits alone at lunch. Hermione usually sat with other girls but truthfully she doesn't like them very much. They gossip about useless things and Hermione tunes them out and reads a book. But today it seems they were intent on talking to her.

"So, so, tell me about the cute boy you've been hanging out with," said the blonde haired one says excitedly. Her name is Lavender... She thinks. She doesn't remember. 

"You can tell us," says another, the black haired one this time. 

Hermione decided to play clueless. "What cute boy?" 

"Oh, don't play stupid! The black haired one!" 

"Oh, him. There's nothing much to say about him." That’s the understatement of the century. There's much to talk about him and she really likes him, but hell if she's going to admit that to them. The whole school doesn't need to know her life.

They relented after a while, when she would not say a word about him. 

Its self-portraits now, it looked like. They took pictures of each other and now the task was to draw it as realistically as possible. 

She drew one line there, and another here and her hair was a mess. It looks more like a circle with a big cloud living on top of it. If she looked at from far away maybe... Nope, still looks the same. She tried and tried again and each time it actually got worse. Hermione grew frustrated and just scribbled all over it. She stares at it again, and now it actually looks better. She wonders what that says about her art skills. 

She hears a quiet laugh from Harry.

Hermione snaps, "What's your problem now? Laughing at my horrid skills?"

Harry immediately sobers. "No, no, I mean..."

Hermione sighed. "No, its okay, I understand."

"I'm sorry... But don't give up so easily. What you have now—sorry, before—is a start. You could build off of it. Start simple, then slowly start adding details," Harry said consolingly. 

He went back to drawing, occasionally glancing at her. Now he was staring at her shamelessly. 

Hermione smiled at him. "What are you doing now? Finished your self-portrait?"

"Huh? Oh, yes! You'll see," was his vague reply. 

Hermione rolled her eyes and went back to drawing. She tried his advice and it worked. Somewhat. At least it resembled her. 

"Done," Harry exclaimed happily, holding his drawing up, and looking at it proudly. 

"May I see?" Hermione looked at him hopefully.

Harry slid his sketchbook across the table and saw... Herself. It was beautiful. The details were amazing, they captured every strand on her head and the look she had when she was drawing her own portrait.

But it doesn't seem to look like her in essence.

"It's amazing, Harry, but you make it seem I'm more beautiful than I actually am," Hermione said truthfully. 

"On the contrary, I drew only what I saw. I'd go as far to say it's my best drawing, since it's of someone so beautiful. I like your hair a lot, it was fun to draw,” Harry said honestly, but not without mischievous twinkle in his eyes. 

Hermione looked at him faux innocently and smiled knowingly. She said, "Thank you, now I can tell you I like your eyes! They're like emeralds."

Harry blushed heavily at the compliment and looked away. 

Hermione smiled happily down at her drawing. She could try again later. 

Hermione was at lunch again, sitting with the girls. She saw Harry again, sitting outside again, alone. He's looking intently down on his sketchbook, his food forgotten. The girls were talking their boring drivel again, so she gathered up her courage and left, telling them she's going to sit with someone else. 

She walked over to Harry and sat quietly. “Hello,” she said just as quietly. 

“Hi,” Harry replied, smiling serenely at her.

He seemed fine with the quiet around them, so Hermione decided not to disturb it. Sometimes it unnerves her—the quiet she means—because it means something other than peace to her. Harry loves the quiet, Hermione does not. 

To distract herself, she watches Harry draw. He draws lines and lines, and right now, that’s all they are to her. But they are forming something now, a forest, with roaming animals. It’s the quiet, she thinks. 

The forest is the epitome of calm and peace. She can almost hear the rustling branches, the animals scurrying off, the crunching leaves, and footsteps as they walk through this forest. For once, she does not fear the quiet, she wants it. For now, it means what it does to most: peace. 

She closes her eyes sleepily and in the back of her mind she wonders how Harry can make her forget her fears just like that. 

"Hello, Hermione," Harry chirped happily. 

"'Lo Harry," Hermione said tiredly. 

"Tired again?" Harry looked at her, shaking his head exasperatedly. 

"Yeah, got home late from somewhere," Hermione replied. 

"It's only art class, I think you'll be fine." Harry took his seat and started on the assignment (to draw abstract geometry).

"Ha! Never thought you'd say that once in your life," Hermione said amusedly.  

"Yeah, well..." Harry hesitated. 

"What? What is it?" Hermione sat up straight, immediately interested and a little too eager. Harry had never faltered in telling her something (granted it wasn't personal or too important for that matter). 

Harry studied her and relented. "Truthfully, I've never had that much of an interest in art when I was younger. You already know that I was a painfully shy boy when I was little. My parents took it into their own hands to get rid of it and made me take outside art classes. I hated it at first because I hated being around people. I found it to be really relaxing and I found that I really liked it. But I don’t think it did my parents any good because from then on I spent more time drawing and painting than I did socializing. To say they regret it is an understatement but I’ve placated them by showing what talent I have in the area.” 

“I never would have guessed,” Hermione said, surprised. “I just assumed that you just started drawing from a really young age and from there you just…”

“No, it’s alright, most people think it and I let them,” Harry said absentmindedly. 

This. This was a revelation to Hermione. Never liked art? Harry, who spoke of it like it is his passion? Harry, who drew so well people would pay for his drawings? 

Well, not everybody is born with an extreme love for their passion, Hermione reasoned. Harry’s no exception. 

“So, would you take up an interest in art?” Harry asked. 

“Huh? Well, no, probably not. I think it’s only meant for me to appreciate, not actually do. It’s too subjective for me,” Hermione said looking down at her work. 

Harry looked surprised, rightfully so. “Why do you take this class then?” 

“Out of necessity and because my teachers thought I couldn’t handle so many difficult classes,” Hermione said unashamedly. 

“That’s too bad, you would have made a good one. An artist I mean,” Harry said, thinking that was the end of their conversation. 

“I’m not interested, true, but nobody ever said that they couldn’t make me like it,” Hermione said, ending it on a strange note. 

The next few weeks were spent the same as always, with Harry and Hermione talking idly. Hermione thought it was going to be the same routine as always, but when she arrived to art class, she saw a dirty blonde haired girl sitting next to Harry. 

Hermione frowned. What is she doing there with my Harry? Wait. MY Harry? He was never mine in the first place. Anybody is free to talk and befriend him. This… This is good for him, he doesn’t have many friends, other than me. 

Hermione approached her usual table, taking her seat in front of Harry and shifted her attention to the girl. She scrutinized the girl. She had light silver eyes that were protuberant and had a dreamy look. She was wearing a light pink cardigan, a plain white sailor top beneath it (or at least that’s what she thought it was), a slightly poufy lavender skirt that came just above her knees and black flats with ankle socks with frill at the top. She adorned what seemed to be radish earrings and a cork necklace. A pencil was tucked behind her ear. 

Hermione couldn’t help but silently scoff at her appearance but she could admit she looked cute. 

Harry noticed her presence and said excitedly, “Hermione! You’re here!”

“Yes, I am,” Hermione chuckled. “So, who is she?”

“Oh, this is Luna Lovegood! She’s my really good friend. She’s been home schooled and has just decided to start going to school, and it’s my job to convince her that this is a good school. I think it’s worked. Luna?” Harry said. 

“Oh, well, I’d say so. But you didn’t have to, because I would have come anyway because you’re here,” Luna said dreamily, as if what she just said wasn’t sweet but rather a statement of a fact. 

“Oh, well…” Harry averted his eyes and blushed, laughing it off fairly easily. 

Hermione wasn’t blind to the effect Luna had on Harry. Immediately, she squashed the feelings of jealousy and continued as usual.

Luna, on the other hand, was just as strange as the way she dressed. She spoke of nargles and wrackspurts and blibbering humdingers and she just seemed… Well, there’s no other way to put it: an airhead who lives in the clouds. She, according to Hermione, came off as a little less on the bright side too.

Hermione hadn’t spoken a word throughout this whole ordeal, intent on not shoving her foot in her mouth. She wanted to stay on good terms with Harry, since it was obvious that Harry regarded Luna as a close friend and possibly sister. 

But then Luna said, “Hermione, are you okay? Your head is positively buzzing with wrackspurts.”

Finally, Hermione couldn’t hold in her emotions and snapped, “Yes, I am fine. But quite frankly I don’t understand a thing you are saying because most of what you are saying aren't real! I don’t know why you insist on talking about creatures that you and I both know don’t exist! I think it’s annoying and that you should just stop!

Harry looked like Hermione just slapped him. Luna looked a little hurt but it was gone just as quick as it came. Her look sharpened. 

"I understand that you are a good friend of Harry's as he has spoken many a time about you; all of them good things. I, however, did not think you to be so narrow minded. It does not matter to me if they are not real, everything deserves to be believed in," Luna finished. She then added, "Even you. Harry, I will see you over the summer. Ninth year is almost ending, only two weeks left. Good luck."

She got up and left, her skirt bouncing behind her. 

Hermione at least had the decency to look ashamed.  

Harry looked at her, his face clearly showing his hurt. He started, his voice a little strangled, "I thought better of you too. I agree with Luna, how could you be so narrow minded? I can't... I don't..." He couldn't finish his sentence and instead just muttered "whatever" and left. 

Hermione couldn't believe herself. She lost someone who is an amazing and awfully sweet friend and someone who actually liked her. 

She looks down blankly at the table. She mechanically put everything in her bag. She didn't sit with Harry at lunch that day.

Days without Harry, Hermione easily found out, were dreary days. When he was here, she could have never known how much she wanted his presence. He talked about the most trivial things but he also put so much perspective into things she never thought much of or never even heard of. He's everything that she wants, in a way. Someone who challenged her and was just as intelligent (if not more) as her. Time actually passed slowly as usual. He may have been there, but without the usual chatter, life went on for eternities. His smile did wonders for her; days that once were bright now just seem... Dull. Lifeless, would be another way to describe it too. It was glaringly obvious how much she missed him. 

It was rather pathetic how much she leaned on him, when he is only just one person. 

Harry sat with her, if only out of obligation. He didn't speak much except for the occasional "can you pass that to me?" 

Hermione didn't even think to comprehend how his absence would affect her. Her grades lowered. Actually lowered! She was so caught up in her self-pity that she lost most of her concentration. She'd gotten a B previously (mind you she always, always gets A's). 

Hermione shook her head and glared at her work. She was in math, learning something about conic transformations. 

I wasn't wrong. I simply just said what I was thinking. I'm not wrong... Right? But I was running high on annoyances that day. I lost control. Harry was ticked. Of course I'm in the wrong. I don't even know where Luna is let alone lives! How do I apologize to her? Write a note? No, that's just cowardly. First just say sorry to Harry, then figure things out. 

Hermione was more cowardly than she thought. She thinks she's got this but then she doesn't. It's a never ending cycle. 

Multiple times on occasion she's felt like banging her head on the table. How could she have been so stupid (Ha! That's new.)? 

Come on Granger! Just walk up there and say it! It's easy. You can do this! 

Hermione took a deep breath and walked towards her art class. She set her things down and sat down. She twiddled her thumbs trying to find her voice, which took its sweet time coming back. It looked like she was making an imitation of a fish. This cycle until a voice she thought she would never hear speak, although a little quiet. 

"Are you okay?" 

Hermione looked up sharply. Harry raised a brow. 

Hermione started, "Um, well, yes, just fine." Her mouth ran off, spilling everything festering from the last few days. "Look, I just wanted to say I'm am sincerely sorry for what I said to Luna a few weeks back. I was having a really horrible day but that was no reason to take anything out on her. I understand that Luna is close friend of yours and I made a faux pas. I don’t quite like being without you." She stared at a spot on his face, not quite his eyes but not far from them.
Harry studied her closely, for any sign that she is lying or an act but found none. He sighed. "I accept your apology. I'll admit that these past few weeks haven't been the happiest either. Your presence will make it better now, at least." 

"I don't mean anything rude or mean by this but you won't force me to become friends with Luna? I can take my time?" Hermione looked down at her shoes, afraid of Harry's reaction. 

Harry frowned. "No, but I will expect you to be civil to her at the very least. She is a little out there, I will admit, but she's been a helping hand and a listening ear throughout most of my life when nobody else would." 

Hermione smiled nervously. "Thank you. She'll just take me a little time to get used to. Put aside all of her strange quirks, I'm sure she is a compassionate and kind person, if how you treat each other is any hint," she intoned quietly. 

The class was uncharacteristically silent that day, but without the uncomfortable air that had been around for too long. 

For Hermione, it was long needed breath of fresh air.

These last few days were busy, with exams and all. The school is students panicking and rushing to study and absent of twelfth formers as they'd already graduated and done with their exams. 

Hermione would like to think she went along breezily and getting her sleep, not having to study because she has it down perfectly—but she would be blatantly lying to herself. She's actually freaking out because she's a ninth former now and everything matters and she just can't deal with it. 

But now, now she can get ready for a lonely summer because all she does is online classes and read books for them too and occasionally some light reading. As much as she likes school she hates the too quiet house and the mundaneness of it all.

"So, Hermione, excited for the summer?" Harry asks. 

Well, she already knows this one. "No, not really," Hermione says sullenly.

"Why? Missing school already?" Harry teased with a small grin. 

Hermione smiles and lightly slaps him on the arm. 

"No. Well, actually, yes. My summers aren't exactly the epitome of fun you know," Hermione explains. "I usually read up on the classes I’ll taking the coming year and practicing for testing. The house is pretty quiet because my parents have day jobs and come home at night. And as for friends coming over, I don’t have many, except you. Well, unless you count Ronald Weasley. We’re kind of an on and off friendship. I don't have many hobbies. School just gives me something to do." 

Harry nods thoughtfully and says, "Well, we're on the same boat. I'm not looking too forward to it either, my parents are going to be home all summer. I might follow your lead and read up on some subjects. It’s better than nothing to do."

Hermione listened and backtracked "Wait, you don't like spending time with your parents?" 

Harry smiled a smile telling her 'maybe some other time.'

Hermione frowned. What’s wrong with his parents? Are they abusive? Do they neglect him? Or are they just plain unpleasant? Hmm… 

“We could meet up too, you know. It doesn’t have to be so boring,” Harry suggested.

Meeting with Harry? I’ve never done it outside of school, but it could be fun. I wonder what we would do though, we’re always busy with something while conversing. We’ll just figure it out when we get there. 

“Sounds fun! We’ll do that, but as manners implore me to do, I’ll have to ask my parents. Where do you think we should meet? A café? A library? Well, no, not a library, they prefer the quiet. A park?” Hermione rattled off, saying everything coming to her head. 

Harry laughed. “No, no, I have a few in mind. How about Espresso Patronum? It’s a place I go to often, to, um, you know, observe people and the like.” 

Hermione let out a light laugh at the name, it sounded like a parody of a spell that would come from a wizarding school named after pigs and face blemishes. 

Hermione soon replied, “That’s okay, you know. To observe people. I do it a lot too and I did it to you. My first thought was that your hair looked like it got into a fight with a leaf blower.”

Harry mock scowled and playfully bumped her. “Well, that’s one way to put it. I get the unruly hair from my dad. Now, his hair looks something akin to a rat’s or bird’s nest.
Hermione giggled. “Well, Harry, surely you’ve seen mine?” 

Harry smiled. 

Espresso Patronum, as it seemed, was a nice little corner shop with decorations that lightly adorned it. There were tiny cartoon versions of snakes, badgers, eagles, and lions. The food was… strange, to say the least. There things such as cauldron cakes, chocolate frogs, pumpkin pasties, butterbeers (it’s just a kind of creamy, flavored soda, it tastes quite good), and firewhiskey (not actually whiskey but rumored to have a ‘fiery’ aftertaste). It was colorful as well, using a palette of pastel and dark colors like blue and bronze, green and silver, black and yellow, and, red and gold. The first thing Hermione thought was that it had a subdued magical feel about it. It somehow, in a weird and unthinkable way, suited for Harry to come here often. 

Hermione and Harry often sat in the abandoned (but not old) corner table, away from the attention of the come and go visitors.

It is actually quite awkward in the first few moments they meet. Both Harry and Hermione first make small talk like, ‘how is the weather ’and ‘how was your day’. And then they ease into it, once they grasp a hold onto a familiar topic. 

They've talked about the anything and everything, like about school, the strange things people do (Harry once caught somebody tango dancing with a stranger), why Harry is so famous at the school (they still haven't figured out whether it's because he is an artist or because he is cute. Hermione thinks it's both). They were lighthearted and calming. 

Hermione took to going to the cafe with Harry every other week but it had become a common occurrence every other day. Not that Hermione minded, his presence was much wanted in her life, and he made her quiet and parentless summers a little more tolerable. 

Although, sometimes Harry did show up, looking a little lost if not forlorn. On those days, it was hard to talk to him and sometimes Hermione settled for silence because she figured it was what he needed. She couldn't make promises she couldn't keep. She did really want to help him, but it was difficult when your friend frequently likes to keep his emotions hidden. Hermione may not have many friends but she is somewhat practiced in the art of people, meaning she's good with emotions. That much she can pride herself in. 

Today was one of those days again, with Harry. They've been happening much more often. 

Harry had arrived, his eyes telling much more than his forced smile. 

Hermione gave him a smile, if only to ease him. Oh, if only Harry could open up to her; but she knew better than to push. 

"So, how are your classes?" Hermione asked, grasping on to spider webs. 

"Good," Harry replied shortly. He looked down, deep in thought. He seemed to struggling with something. 

"Harry," Hermione said quietly, "you know you can talk to me, right? It's okay if you don't want to do it now." 

Harry nodded and steeled himself. "It's uh... Um... I suppose I owe you some answers? I know you've noticed my foul moods." 

"Yes, I've noticed but no, you don't owe me anything. If you want to talk, you can talk," Hermione said, concerned for him. She put her hand on top of his. 

"Thanks," Harry said. He sighed. "I hate staying home."

Hermione stared at him and raised a brow, asking for an explanation. 

"My parents. They fight a lot and I hate it. The loud noises make me nervous," Harry said flatly. "I don't understand why they stay together if they can't even stay calm in each other's presence for even five minutes. I'm scared to talk to them sometimes. They fight so much that they don't pay attention to me, so they haven't noticed I'm barely home. I'm usually at the library or the park." 

Hermione moved to sit closer next him. She squeezed his hand and leaned in onto his shoulder. She figured that those were only the basics. She could see him as somebody who bottles his feelings up. 

"It's—why can't they understand that—" Harry screwed his eyes shut, to stop from tearing up. He put a hand to his eyes to hide the tears. "They have a child! It’s so frustrating! They fight so much and it’s tiring to listen to them. It hurts to see their marriage falling apart like that. They’re good people, just not good enough for each other." 

Hermione forcefully turned him around hugged him tightly. He froze, but eventually hugged back, if a little hesitant. He buried his head into her. She felt something wet on her neck sliding down but didn't move, instead letting him stay there. She didn't know how long they had stayed there like that. She closed her eyes. 

How can I help? Let him stay over my house? Give him books? Meet him here more often? 

"Hermione?" Harry said. 

"Yeah?" she murmured quietly. 

"Promise you won't ever leave me," Harry said, his voice still trembling a little and involuntarily hiccupping.

Hermione's heart broke for him. Only from what he'd said, she could see that he'd never had a steady presence in his life, not even Luna. She might have listened and cared but she couldn't tend to him every day because she had a life. Hermione did too, but she'd be damned if she wasn't there for Harry when he need it the most. "You're asking for a lot, Harry," Hermione said quietly. "But I'll be there when I can if I can help it." She could feel the smile on her neck. 

Harry lifted his head up from her neck and continued. "I love my parents, but it gets harder and harder every day to love them. They've started to neglect me. And... And I don't know how to confront them about this..."

"I can't do much for you, Harry, except offer you a place to stay. I would tell you that you need to talk to them but you already know that. So I will tell you this: one day, you’ll gather your courage and be able to fix your situation," Hermione said firmly, leaving no space for doubt.
Harry smiled gratefully and added, "Thanks."

The encounter with Harry had Hermione thinking about a lot of things. 

It was impossible to think that Hermione could be there for Harry every minute of her life. She wants to do a lot of things; go to college, travel, be a mother... But then why does she feel like she can't do these things without Harry? 

Does she like Harry? No, liking somebody only entails thinking about them, wanting to be around them, touching them... Oh. 

She does want to do all of that. She could talk about it with Harry. There's really no point in delaying it. She has these feelings now; why not let them be told? Who knows what could happen to them after time passes? 

Hermione's heard of this quote; it said if you feel that you love someone you should tell them in the moment. Just because.

She met up with Harry the next day. He still looked like his parents are still fighting. His eyes were weary but his lips still formed a small smile at the sight of her. 

"Hey, Hermione," Harry greeted. 

"Hello, Harry," Hermione greeted back. She stayed quiet for a moment, mulling over what to say. "So, Harry. I have a question, and you need to answer honestly."

Harry looked at her and tilted his head, confused. "Of course, Hermione."

"Hypothetically, if someone felt the need to be with someone every day, what would you call it?" Hermione looked at Harry seriously.

Harry thought about it, trying to come up with a good answer. "Liking someone? Why? Have you felt like that with someone?"

Hermione opened her mouth and closed it, contemplating her answer. "I... um... Yes. Actually, it's—" No going back! "—you."

Harry stared at her blankly before it registered. He blushed profusely and averted his eyes. "Is this your way of confessing to me?"

Hermione struggled to keep a blush down. "Well, I already said it... So yes. It is."

"If we're really going to confess things, I guess I should say I like you too," Harry said, his voice going up an octave in embarrassment. "I'm sorry, I don't really talk about what I feel often. While we're on the topic of this, don't you think it's unrealistic to be able to spend every minute with someone?"

Hermione’s shoulders sagged in relief. He felt the same way; in both cases. 

"Yeah, it is. Maybe it's not that, I kind of just want to wrap you in a blanket," Hermione admitted shamelessly. 

Harry laughed. "I can take care of myself—we both can—but the sentiment is nice. I think we can both agree that we don't want to hold each other back. I want to be an animator and you want to be... I actually don't know, you've never told me. Besides, really, physical closeness isn't really needed to keep a friendship going. It's up to the people to keep contact with the other person and keep the flame going, you know?"

Hermione nodded. It is irrefutable logic. "You have to reach out. A lot of people complain about losing people, but really, have you been keeping touch? Of course, sometimes people do drift apart, not because they haven’t been talking, but because they’ve changed as people, or just fell out of place, I guess."

"So... Where are we now? In terms of our relationship?" Harry asked, struggling to get out the word 'relationship.'

"Oh. I suppose we can try to be... Boyfriend and girlfriend," Hermione said, tasting the words on her tongue as if they were new to her. Calling Harry her boyfriend (if he agrees) put some inexplicable feeling in her; like she was curling up inside a blanket in her room on a rainy day, reading a new book. Or finding a secluded corner in a bookstore, surrounded by books with no one disturb her. It was being at a comfortable place, and knowing you’re safe. 

Harry's eyes lit up. "I've never tried anything like that, but it wouldn't hurt to try new things. Besides, I already know you, and it's much more awkward when you date someone you barely know."

Hermione beamed at him, kissing him on the cheek and hugging him. "Thank you so much!"

She walked out of the shop that day feeling as if she was on air. 

The summer went by fast. As in, so fast she doesn't even know what she did in the time. Mostly, it's just a blur of classes, cafes, and Harry.

Harry had made improvement. He showed up at their little meetings slowly looking better each time, his emerald eyes getting their trademark shine back to them. 

He confessed that he gathered up the courage bit by bit and confronted his parents. 

They listened to his advice (which he told he practically yelled) and decided to go to marriage counseling. Their fighting lessened, Hermione could assume, from Harry's rising moods. 

Hermione started that school year happy to see Harry much more frequently. It turned out they're sharing the same art class again. Hermione wasn't disappointed, it was exactly what she wanted. She took art again because she likes art a little bit now. She could count on drawing lines and shapes to calm her down (as she took to doing when she needed it). 

Both Harry and Hermione were joined by Luna, as she decided to go to this school. The three of them talked about the strangest things and Hermione was able to get along amicably with Luna. She found that, although strange, Luna was quite insightful and had answers to questions that she’d never even thought about. 

The year practically flew by with her work occupying her time and meeting up with Harry and Luna (yes, really, Luna) on odd days. 

Then came a day where Harry had asked her over to his house for some odd reason or another. 

Hermione furrowed her eyebrows. “Your house? Why?” 

Harry smiled and answered, “My parents. After I talked to them about their fighting, we started to mend our relationship. I was comfortable enough to tell them about you so they asked to meet you.” 

“Oh. Yeah, okay, sure. They won’t try to scare me off will they?” Hermione questioned curiously. 

Harry laughed. “No, of course not.” He paused here. “Well, only if you were a player, which I’m pretty sure you’re not.”

“Or am I?” Hermione joked, giving Harry a cheeky grin. 

He laughed, throwing his head back. “You make my day, you know that? So? What do you say?”

“I’ll come,” Hermione replied. “I’ll find the time.” 

And so she did. 

It was on a sunny and cloudless day on the weekend. Hermione took to finishing her homework the day before so she wouldn’t have anything else to stress about afterwards; she suspected it would take a while anyways. 

She dressed nice for the occasion, but not formal wear. Harry had come over to her house to walk with her, as the distance between her house and his was not much. 

This was surprising to Hermione, as she’d always assumed he lived in some obscure neighborhood. At least, that would have explained why Harry never came over to her house. Of course, it could be because that neither house was suitable for conversation: Hermione’s house was too empty and too many shadows hid there, while Harry’s house had his parents living in it, with a now currently resolved situation that Hermione at one point did not know about. 

The walk came to a stop as Harry saw his house come into view. It was a modest two-story house, and one that fit in quite well with the other houses even if there were the odd little things that came into Hermione’s view every now and then. 

The two entered the house, where it was in a comfortable silence. 

Harry called out unabashedly into the silence, “Mum? Dad?” 

A couple walked into the living room, and upon seeing their son, and his supposed girlfriend, they lit up, warm and welcoming smiles taking over their faces. 

The mother came up to Hermione first, holding her hand out in greeting. “Hello, sweetheart. I’m Lily. And you must be Hermione? Harry’s told us a lot about you after…” 

Hermione’s smile froze in place, knowing exactly what she meant. But she did not want to sour the pleasant mood so quickly into the occasion, so she said, “Harry’s told you a lot about me.” She turned her head to Harry and grinned at him and said to him in a teasing tone, “So, you’ve told them a lot about me, eh? That’s so sweet you! Glad to know I mean so much to you.” 

Harry blushed profusely, not expecting his Mum to tell her that he talked about her. Nor did he know in the first place that he’d talked about Hermione so much. 

“This isn’t about me,” Harry waved off, flustered, hasty to change the topic. “We’re here to meet Hermione aren’t we?” 

“Yes, we are,” Harry’s dad said amusedly. He turned his head to Hermione. “So you’re the famed Hermione. It’s a pleasure to meet you, I’m James.” 

Upon getting a chance to take a closer look at the couple, she noticed they looked rather young. At the most, they could only be thirty four. They must have gotten married into their early twenties, Hermione noted to herself. 

Lily, as she now had gotten to know, had shoulder length dark red hair and the green eyes that Hermione had come to adore on Harry. She seemed to be a vibrant, bright, and intelligent personality. 

James on the other hand, seemed to be polar opposite of Lily, in terms of looks. He had Harry’s signature messy black hair, and hazel eyes, that looked to have a permanent mischievous glint. Hermione assumed him to be more of the jokester, but that certainly didn’t mean that he was any less intelligent.

Contrary to the ideas Hermione conjured upon learning of Harry’s home situation, they were kind and courteous. 

The two parents and Hermione had thoughtful conversations, and Harry occasionally added a comment or two. 

After a sufficient amount of time had passed, Lily stood up, and directed to Hermione, “Well, it has been wonderful talking to you, but unfortunately I have to make dinner. Will you be staying?” 

Hermione shared a glance with Harry, and at his minuscule shrug, she said, “I suppose so. There’s nothing waiting for me at home.” 

Lily lit up. “Wonderful. Well, it will be a bit, so I suppose Harry can show you his room. If he wants.” 

“Thank you,” Hermione said gratefully. “We’ll do that.” 

Hermione quite boldly took Harry’s hand and told him, “Well, take me, Harry.” 

Harry blushed, and Hermione wondered why. Nothing she said was too—oh.

Upon realizing the implications of her previous statement, Hermione flushed, although not as beet red as Harry. 

Harry’s parents definitely caught the unintended meaning and laughed loudly, and his dad even took care to say, “Leave your door open, Harry.” 

Harry flushed even redder, if that was possible. He quickly pulled Hermione into his room, and doing as they said, all while repeatedly muttering to himself, “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god…” 

Hermione had to giggle to herself. The ridiculousness of the whole situation had gotten to her. 

After Harry had calmed himself down, he finally was able to show his room to her. 

Hermione had to admit that it was the essence of him. It had posters up on the wall, although not ones of his favorite bands or quotes from his favorite books. They were prints of art that he had accumulated over the years, and the most prominent one in the room was a print of an animated movie called My Neighbor Totoro. 

It had a fantastical and adventurous feel to it, not to mention a sort of childish wonder about it too. Somehow, Hermione could imagine Harry being a small, but curious little child in his younger days, as the poster seemed to convey to her.

“That one’s really cool,” Hermione said to Harry, pointing to the Totoro poster.

Harry glanced to where she was pointing to, and replied, “That’s my favorite poster. I don’t know. My parents got it for me when I was ten, and I hadn’t even known what it was. Studio Ghibli’s one of my favorite animation companies nowadays.”

“Really?” Hermione asked interestedly. “Do you want to work with them?”

Harry laughed. “No. I mean, I’d love to, but they’re based in Japan. I’m sure Japan is a beautiful place and all, but I don’t think I could be away from my family that long, since that’s exactly how long it would take. I’m not really sure. I had always liked the idea of being a free-lance artist, but I don’t think it’s sustainable enough.”

“That’s okay,” Hermione reassured, “you have time. Don’t stress yourself.”

“How about you? I don’t think you’ve ever told me.”

“Just like you I’m not sure,” Hermione said. After a beat, she added, “Anymore. Before you, I was so sure that I was going to follow in the footsteps of my parents and become a surgeon, but now I’m not so sure. Everything’s changed right in front of my eyes, and I didn’t notice how far off the path I veered off,” Hermione admitted.

Harry gave her a guilty look. He didn’t notice either how many ripples exactly he had caused in her life.

“Oh, don’t look like that Harry,” Hermione attempted to comfort. “A lot has changed, but I don’t regret being friends with you. I would never regret it.”

Harry brightened. “Thank you.”

“I just didn’t think we would move this fast. The future is so… so… fickle. Any little thing could change it. I didn’t think I would meet your parents so soon into the relationship either,” Hermione told him. “I thought you would delay it, or something, until we were farther in.”

Harry took this in and thought it over. “That would only be if I thought you wouldn’t be in my life for a long time.”

Hermione let out a breathy laugh. “I suppose so. The future is ever changing, but I’m glad to have you with me.”

Harry smiled a radiant smile at her. He leaned forward and pressed a chaste kiss on her cheek.

Hermione blushed. “I didn’t think you’d be so forward.”

He laughed. “With anybody else I wouldn’t be. But it’s you. I’m glad to have you with me too."

This was the first ever thing I had attempted to write that I took seriously. I worked on it on and off between other projects, and eventually put it down because I could see no foreseeable end to it. But eventually,  I did pick it back up again, and I'm really happy with this particular one-shot, mostly because I had so many chances to edit it and cut out things I wasn't happy with. I don't know why I chose Harry and Hermione as the couple, but I think for this scenario, it works. I was also able to be rather flexible with this too, considering the setting I had chosen.

My Neighbor Totoro does not belong to me, it belongs to Studio Ghibli. I don't own Studio Ghibli either.