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The next morning in the Potter house was very awkward. Rafe was surprisingly giddy, Hermione and Sirius were avoiding each other, Lily was strung out on the Christmas spirit and Harry…well Harry was his miserable old self. No different from any other day. As Christmas was only a week away, Hermione intended on possibly starting her shopping. It wasn’t like her to be so late. Last year she had her shopping done by Halloween. The whole lot of them were sitting around the breakfast table, while Harry and his sisters ate in the other room.

“Hermione, is there anywhere you have to be today?” Lily asked, with her bright green eyes beaming at her.

“Well, yeah actually there is. I need to er, start my shopping.” She said, feeling ashamed to be a tardy holiday shopper.

“Well that’s perfect, since Harry was just saying that he hasn’t bought anything for his sisters or Mother yet.” Lily started, emphasizing the word ‘Mother”, which made Hermione believe that maybe this isn’t the first time Harry has “forgotten” Lily at Christmas. “You can go together, yeah?”

Hermione’s eyes widened and she distinctly heard a groan from Harry, who was sitting in the living room.

“It’s fine, I can go by myself.” Hermione said, acting like she didn’t hear him.

“I’ll go with you.” Rafe suggested, with a grin.

“Nope!” Sirius cut in, louder then what was called for.

The whole table went quiet and everyone looked at Sirius, including Rafe who looked mildly embarrassed.

“What he means to say,” Remus cut in to save Sirius’ behind, “is that Rafe and I are doing our Father-son shopping spree to shop for Mum.” Remus finished, with a smile that took pride in his spontaneity.

“Huh? Father-son shopping spree? You make it sound like we’ve done this before.” Rafe said, eyeing his Father curiously.

“Well, it’s a new tradition, son. So go with it!” Remus said, standing up to finish the conversation. “Now, go get ready.”

Rafe stood up and rolled his eyes before leaving the room. Sirius meant to stand up but Lily put a hand on his shoulder to stop him from moving.

“You wouldn’t mind driving them, would you? You can use that car we keep in the garage.”

Hermione couldn’t help but stifle a laugh.

“Drive…a car? You?” She giggled, covering her mouth so she wouldn’t shower them with Choco-Frog Flakes.

For the first time since they’ve been reunited, Sirius smiled back. But not that fake smile that she’s been seeing, but that smile that she remembered from his youth.

“Yeah, I’ll drive.” He laughed. “I mean, how hard can it be, right?”

Hermione rolled her eyes as he stood up to leave the room. Before he was out of sight, Lily called out to him.

“And Sirius…be good.”

Hermione, brought her bowl to the sink, while contemplating Lily’s words. “Be good” could have meant so many things, but now was not the time to think about it, because she didn’t want to ruin another day thinking about him.

*

An hour later, Hermione was applying her lip gloss as her last step in getting ready. She wore a turquoise cable-knit sweater with a long sleeve button down pinstripe shirt underneath. She picked out a pair of her most wrinkle-free jeans and threw on a brown belt with a turquoise buckle. After convincing herself that she didn’t look like a turquoise Easter egg, and rather somewhat stylish, she scurried down the stairs to see Harry waiting on couch. He looked like he just sniffed a pile of garbage, judging by his sour look on his face.

“Ready for a ride?” Sirius said, walking into the room.

“Excuse me?”

“Oh, er, I meant in the car…Anyway…Let’s go.” Sirius said, before stopping to look at Harry. “C’mon smiley, you can’t scowl at the wall all day.”

The car ride there was the most nerve wrecking thing Hermione has ever experienced. Sirius was all over the road and apparently traffic lights or street signs weren’t an issue in his little world. He explained on the way there that Lily wanted to raise her kids to be able to survive in both the Wizarding world and the Muggle world, hence the reason for the car. Sirius just got a kick out of something steering something that wasn’t a broom.

When they reached the furthest Muggle location, Sirius stopped the car abruptly, almost causing Hermione to be sent through the windshield.

“We’re here kids.” Sirius said in his most fatherly tone.

“Thanks for the ride.” Hermione said, smiling at him and jumped out of the car just in case it started moving again.

Hermione walked over to the sidewalk and saw Sirius say something to Harry before he climbed out of the car. Sirius drove off on the wrong side of the road and left Hermione and Harry to make their way into the Wizarding community alone.

They were only there for about five minutes when Harry looked bored to death. He was walking about four paces in front of her and occasionally made glances back in her direction to see if she was remotely in sight. Hermione ran up to him and grabbed him by the shoulder to stop him.

“Okay listen, I know you don’t want to be here right now with me, so how about we meet back here in a couple of hours?”

Harry contemplated the idea for a second but he spoke, although not changing his expression.

“No, let’s get this over with then. Just no girly stores.”

“You sure? I don’t mind shopping alone.”

“I need help buying something for my Mum.” He said so quickly that she wasn’t sure she heard him right.

Hermione almost let out a laugh and Harry noticed and the strangest look came across his face. It was almost a …smile? Hermione didn’t want to ruin the moment by pointing out that his frown turned upside down so she casually kept walking.

“What sort of things do you want to get her?” Hermione said, from up ahead.

Harry caught up and walked beside her and spoke quietly, as if trying his hardest to come off as least interested as possible.

“I don’t know really. I’ve never really gotten her anything. How about a broom polishing kit?”

“Er, does she use a broom often?”

“No, but I do. So she’ll just give it to me.”

She wasn’t really quite sure if this was intending on being a joke so she kept talking.

“What about perfume? Jewellry?—“

“—Exploding Snap?”

“Clothes—“

“—Chocolate Frogs?”

“Okay Harry, you’re impossible.” Hermione said, hitting him in the arm playfully.

She completely lost all idea of the time and place and the fact that Harry didn’t like her. Their old ways when they joked around like friends couldn’t happen anymore. Hermione prepared herself to get whacked over the head or verbal thrashing. But he only laughed under his breath. She sighed in relief and kept walking.

After a long day of shopping and steady conversations, they were heading back to entrance of the town. Harry had successfully bought Lily a silver necklace with a small heart dangling from the bottom. Through a steady hand and much use of magic, they engraved the word “Mum” on the front of the heart. Harry almost gagged when Hermione had to “aww” at the selection. He had gotten James a Quidditch book and some socks, quite random but somewhat practical. He bought some clothes for the twins that were picked out by Hermione, DADA books for Remus and a two-way mirror for Sirius while Harry would keep the other.

They still had an hour to kill before Sirius was bound to show up. They walked past a small candy shop, which caught their eye. Harry looked at Hermione before veering off to the left to enter the store. They entered to see a large room, much bigger then it appeared, with colourful candy filling their eyes. The smell of chocolate and hot sugar almost gave them a cavity alone. Hermione walked around by herself, admiring the large displays and occasionally grabbing a piece of candy and popping it into her mouth. Just after she place a toffee in her mouth, she felt a body standing right behind her.

“Are you going to pay for that?” Said a voice, whispering in her ear.

The little hairs on the back of her neck were standing on end and goose bumps overwhelmed her body. She wanted to run, but instead she turned slowly, looking down at the ground, but stopped when she recognized those black shoes. Her eyes made her way up until she was met by vivid green eyes. He was smiling in pure satisfaction, knowing that he made her jump.

“Oh jeeze Harry. You scared the daylights out of me.”

“Yeah, that was the point.” Harry answered, coolly.

“Potter, what are you doing here?” Sneered a voice from behind him.

Harry shifted his weight, and Draco Malfoy came into view. Draco ignored Hermione completely and walked up behind Harry and whispered into his ear.

“Meeting…tonight.” He said, before leaving the both of them.

Hermione looked at Harry in disbelief and walked out of the candy shop.

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