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That morning, Harry and Hermione woke up refreshed and rested. Before the confusion of how they ended up sleeping on a sofa in the Common Room set in, Harry broke the usurping silence with, "Good morning, Hermione." He looked at her and smiled. Her arm, which had been trapped willingly under his body for the entire night was now regretting it's placing the night before.

"Good morning." She replied sleepily, smiling up at him. He leant forward to kiss her on her forehead, but she wanted something more than that, she lifted her chin so he caught the top of her lip. They both laughed and returned their heads to their resting places. Harry lifted one of his hands into the air to stretch, sleeping on a sofa never resulted in the most comforting slumber a person could achieve. Hermione moved one of her hands up to meet his where they conjoined, and their fingers started to perform a dance to no music, the best sort of dance: a spontaneous one.

After some time watching their moving fingers, Harry slowly moved his body up the sofa, carefully picking Hermione up as he went. He turned so he was on his back, relaxing his head on one of the armrests. Hermione moved a bit so she was lying next to him. The sofa was too narrow for them to lay side-by-side so Hermione rested on her hip, looking at Harry whilst he wrapped his arm around her for support. She rested her head on his chest and closed her eyes, listening to the beat and rhythm of his heart.

As they lay peacefully together, time passed, Ron and Aengus walked downstairs. Ron took one look at Harry and Hermione and rolled his eyes. Aengus clocked this and concluded that Ron was just extremely jealous of the bond his two best friends had formed. "Oi, leave them alone." He whispered as Ron started to walk towards them.

"Why do they get to be happy?" He half-joked. "I just wish they had told me of their love when we set out last year. Do you know what it's like to feel like the third wheel?"

"Yes, very well. Now come on, Aoife said she would meet us at breakfast. She might already be down there!" Upon hearing Aoife's name, Ron cheered up and rushed towards the door. Aengus chuckled to himself and walked after him.

The opening and closing of the portrait were noise enough for Harry to wake up, he hadn't realised he had fallen asleep again but was greeted by the most beautiful sight: Hermione still sleeping. He smiled to himself and kissed her hair.

"You two, can I just bottle you up and get me some of that?" Aoife laughed as she walked down the stairs. Harry lifted his head slightly to get a better look of Aoife; Harry was still amazed at her beauty. She was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, why? Harry didn't know; it wasn't exactly warm in a castle.

"Morning, Aoife. Sleep well?" His voice was scratchy as he had just woken up.

"Morning. Yeah, I was waiting for Hermione though." She laughed, "has Ron and Aengus gone down to breakfast already?"

"I'm not sure, sorry. Someone left a minute ago, but I didn't see who it was."

"Oh." She scratched her arm.

"Do you want Hermione and me to come to breakfast with you? In case they're not down there." He laughed.

"Would you?" She asked rather innocently.

"Of course," Harry remembered that this was Aoife's first morning in Hogwarts and recalled how nervous he was. "Hermione?" He whispered whilst stroking her cheek softly.

"Hmm?"

"It's breakfast." He spoke gently.

"Can't we eat it in bed?" She croaked, "like usual?"

Harry could see Aoife smile at this, but he chose to ignore it. "Hermione, do you know where we are?" He moved her hair from her face as she moved her face towards his hand.

"Paris?"

"Hogwarts." Harry tried not to laugh. "We're at Hogwarts and Aoife is here, and it's breakfast."

"Really?" She said more alert than before.

"Hi, Hermione," Aoife said.

"Hey! Sorry about that, just a little disorientated." She explained. She started to get up and noticed what Aoife was wearing. She looked her up and down and then looked straight at Harry who, luckily, was gazing at Hermione. "Let me just get changed." She stood up, climbed over Harry and the back of the sofa and ran up to her dormitory.

Harry and Hermione had fallen asleep in their uniform so Harry said he was getting changed too and ran off to his dormitory.

"That was quick," Aoife exclaimed as Harry came back into the Common Room. Harry hadn't taken any notice to what he put on as he thought Hermione would be the same, she wasn't and took a lot longer than anyone expected. "Where do you suppose she is?" Aoife asked after several minutes of silence.

"Not a clue." Just as he said this, Hermione walked down the stairs looking mesmerising. She was wearing a dress and had tied up half of her hair. "You look beautiful." He spluttered as she made her way towards them.

"Thanks." She blushed. She took his hand and said, "ready for breakfast then?" All Harry could do was stare, whilst Aoife smiled at the two of them.

"You are just the cutest couple I've ever seen." She whispered, but they both heard her.


They walked down to breakfast together and saw Ron, Aengus, Luna, Aisling and Ardal all sitting together at the Gryffindor table. As Harry and Aoife started to walk towards them, Hermione pulled him back. "You are okay, right?"

"Can we talk after breakfast? In private?" He replied.

She nodded and smiled before guiding him over to the table. "Morning!" Everyone cheered as the got to the table. They sat next to each other with Aoife on the other side of Harry.

"Did you lot enjoy your first evening here? It's not always that formal." Hermione laughed. "McGonagall seems to be enjoying her new role."

"Tell me about it; she looked happy to be telling us off again." Ron joked.

"Again? Were you three troublemakers?" Aisling asked sweetly. Hermione looked at her and smiled at how much like her siblings she looked.

"You could say that," Harry muttered.

"Fe, why did you pick these three to be friends with?" The young girl asked her sister.

"I felt like we all fitted in." She laughed, looking and smirking at Ron.

Aisling whispered something to Ardal, and they both started giggling, switching their glances between Ron and Aoife.

"Can I apologise for what happened last year with my dad, he only did what he needed to do for survival," Luna muttered quietly.

"Don't apologise; it led us to find you and eventually the sword." Hermione smiled. "We all did things we wouldn't normally do for survival."

"Yeah, don't worry about it." Ron voiced.

The rest of the breakfast was spent with everyone talking and laughing together when their little party was interrupted by an unwanted guest. "Granger, McGonagall wants to speak to you in her office." Malfoy spat.

"What? Now?" Hermione asked.

"Why else would I come and talk to you if it wasn't now? I thought you were the clever one." He laughed. He looked lonely as he no longer had his cronies by his side, Harry had no doubt that he was scouting for replacements, though.

"Fine." She breathed, "Harry, we'll talk after, I promise."

"I'll walk with you." He bounced up and took her hand. They followed Malfoy, staying a relative distance behind him.

"You didn't have to walk with me," Hermione told him.

"Yes, I did. That's what boyfriends do." He grinned. "I'm going to walk you to your lessons too."

"Are you?" She laughed. "What if you need to be at the opposite end of the castle?"

"I'll run."

Hermione looked at him questioningly and shook her head, finding it hard to stop a small smile forming. He laughed and was about to protest when Malfoy turned to them. "Potter, you can leave now. She doesn't need you standing over her all the time."

"I'll go when Hermione wants me to go," Harry explained. He carried on walking with Hermione by his side.

"Harry, you don't have to be here. I know where the headmistress's office is. You don't need to look after me." She grinned, stood on her toes and kissed him lightly on his cheek.

"I said I'll walk with you, and that is what I will do." He said firmly. "Malfoy, if you don't like it, well, I don't care."

Malfoy grimaced but held his tongue.

So the three of them walked towards McGonagall's new office in silence. When they reached their destination, Malfoy turned to the other two, "well, we're here now so you can go, Potter."

"I'll wait."

"Harry, you don't have to. I'll meet you in the Common Room after. We'll talk then."

"No, I want to wait and take you somewhere more private." He whispered. His eyes had some urgency in them, so Hermione decided not to refute this suggestion.

"I won't be long." She promised Harry as Malfoy and her made their way up the spiral staircase.

Harry waited for over ten minutes when Hermione reappeared at the stairs, "Harry, this is going to take some time. I will meet you in the Common Room when I've finished." She smiled.

"Do you promise?"

She didn't speak; she stepped forward to kiss him, he held her. "I'll meet you in the Common Room." She repeated once she pulled away. Harry nodded and watched her disappear up the staircase once again. He waited there for a couple of minutes and then made his way towards the Common Room. It was empty as all the other students were either still eating, in the library or outside enjoying their last day off lessons. Harry sat on the sofa thinking about how long Hermione would be.

After several hours, Aoife walked in to get something from her trunk. She didn't notice Harry's motionless body on her way up, but as she ran back down, she saw him. "Harry? What are you doing? Where's Hermione?" She asked. He didn't respond; he just carried looking at the unlit fire. Aoife walked over and sat next to him, her leg gently stroking his as she sat. "Harry?" She asked again. He didn't speak. "Harry, you're scaring me. How long have you been here? Why didn't you come and find Ron and me?"

Harry's mouth moved slightly, but nothing was audible. She reached out and placed her hand on his shoulder. "Hermione?" He screamed, turning his head quickly to look at Aoife. "Hermione. She promised." Is all Aofie could catch from his hushed voice.

"She's not here; I'm not sure where she is, but I'm sure she'll be back soon."

"Want-Hermione."

"Okay, I'll go and find her."

She quickly got up and made her way to Ron in the courtyard outside. "Ron! Where is McGonagall's office?" She asked urgently.

"Why?"

"Where is McGonagall's office?" She repeated.

"I don't know whether she's moved to Dumbledore's old one. I suppose she has. I'll take you there." He added when Aoife looked at him with impatience.

"Great. Let's go. Quickly."

So they both rushed off to McGonagall's office. "I don't know the password." Ron quipped.

"Well, what would it be? Harry needs help!"

One of the words in Aoife's sentence triggered the lock, so they both hastily clambered into the staircase. "Mr Weasley, Miss Curran. What are you doing here?" Was the greeting that the two of them received when McGonagall saw them. They looked around the room, but Hermione was no longer there.

"Sorry for bothering you, Professor, but where is Hermione?" Aoife asked.

"Miss Granger and Mr Malfoy have gone into Hogsmeade for me." She informed. "They should be back this evening."

"This evening?" Aoife moaned under her breath.

"This evening," McGonagall confirmed. "Not a problem is it?"

"N-" Ron began to say when Aoife cut her off.

"Yes, Harry is in a bad way, he needs her. I got the impression from him that he would only talk to her." She explained. "See, headmistress, I have only known them for a short time, but I can tell that the events that have engulfed Harry his whole life have taken their toll on him. Sometimes he's okay; he's normal, and he laughs and chats happily. But other times, he seems like a completely different person. Quiet, vacant, distracted by the memories. The only person that appears to make him feel better is Hermione, and that is why it is a problem that she is in Hogsmeade and not here, with Harry!"

McGonagall looked at her in amazement, never in her whole career at Hogwarts had a student been so upfront and honest with her, Aoife had decided it was best not to hide the problem from her, and this was something she rarely experienced. "Right, I see. One of you stay with Harry; I think Aoife should do that while you, Ron, go to Hogsmeade with Hagrid and bring Hermione back here." She ordered.

They two students could only nod at their newly appointed headmistress, but already, Ron was likening her to Dumbledore - he was always caring, and she had a sense of knowing that he once possessed. They followed her orders and Aoife rushed off to the Common Room while Ron ran down to Hagrid's hut.

"'Ello Ron. To what do I owe this pleasu-" Ron cut him off.

"Sorry Hagrid but Professor McGonagall has given me permission to go down to Hogsmeade to get Hermione, but she said that you needed to come with me." Hagrid sensed the tone of urgency in Ron's voice so didn't question him, he just nodded and walked out of his home.

They walked in silence for several minutes, Hagrid too anxious to ask what was wrong. "Harry needs Hermione. He refuses to talk to anyone else." Ron exclaimed. Hagrid nodded and lengthened his pace so he sped up slightly. Ron had to jog to keep up with him. McGonagall hadn't told him what exactly Hermione was doing in Hogsmeade, so he didn't know where to look for her. "Let's just walk around for a bit?" He suggested.

They didn't have to look long, however, as they saw a bushy haired girl and a blond boy walk around the corner up ahead of them. "Hermione!" Ron called into the crowded street. "Hermione!"

She heard the second call and turned around puzzled, wondering who needed her so much. She spotted a tall bearded man next to a ginger one; she ran straight over to them, "Harry?" She asked. Before they could answer her, she ran off back to the castle.

She ran the whole way. She ran until she made it to the Gryffindor Common Room. "Harry!" She exclaimed as she walked into the room. Aoife instantly got up, and Hermione dropped down beside him. She cradled him and stroked his hair. "Harry, I'm here."

"Hermione, they're here."

"Who are?" She asked quietly.

"The Death Eaters, they're in the castle."

*

It took Hermione a while to calm Harry down; it took some convincing that Hogwarts was an entirely Death Eater free zone.

"Do you think he'll ever be alright?" Ron asked Aoife as they attempted to eat dinner.

"Do you want the truth?" She asked he nodded so she answered his question, "no, I don't think he'll ever be exactly the same as he was. The things that happened will affect his life and the way he lives. But he will get better, somewhat, at some point." Ron looked down at his full plate of food. He wanted his best friend back. The food made him remember the first night they spent here, where they were sorted and meet the house ghosts. He hadn't lost his appetite in that memory. "Ron, the same Harry is in there somewhere, he just has to battle to get out." She smiled weakly at him, hoping that these words would soothe his worrying mind somewhat.

"When we first got here, we weren't friends with Hermione. She was a bossy know it all; it was just Harry and me. But then we became friends with her. We became the 'Golden Trio', unstoppable. But slowly, very slowly, I faded away from that scene. She's still a know it all, but that means she knows what to do when Harry is like this. She knows him better than I do." His eyes were beginning to glisten with tears he wouldn't allow to be seen.

"Ron, you haven't faded away. If you had, why did they ask you to return this year? If they didn't need you, you wouldn't be here right now."

"I just wish that everything would go back to how it was. When we weren't aware of Voldemort's power, when the Wizarding World was an unexplored field for us. A new adventure."

"A new adventure has just begun - a life without fear, a life where we don't have to look behind our backs continually."

"A life where we have to live with all the deaths." He added. "Voldemort has gone but he destroyed many lives and families, the repercussions of his life remain."

"You can't think like that, Ron. It's over."

"I know. I know." He said, looking back at his plate.

*

"Harry, I promise that Death Eaters are not here."

"You said you would meet me in the Common Room after, what if they got you?" Harry stated in a monotone.

"I did meet you in the Common Room, Harry. That is where we are now, I'm safe, we all are."

"But you left me. You were vulnerable; I wasn't there to protect you from them."

"No, I didn't, not for long. I came back like I promised. Harry, listen to me, Death Eaters are not in the castle. I swear to you."

"I want Hermione." He wept.

"I'm here." She reassured. She took his hand and led him up to his dormitory. "You need sleep." She ordered.

"Stay with me." He called.

So she got into the bed with him and tried to fall asleep beside him.

*

"Are you okay, Hermione?" Aengus asked as they sat in the library the following day.

"Just a little tired, that's all," Hermione whispered.

"Harry?" Hermione glanced at Aengus for a fleeting moment before looking back at the book she was working from. "So that you know, you're not alone." He said before getting back to his work.

You're not alone - this played on Hermione's mind for the remainder of the day. In theory, she was not alone but why did it feel like she was? It felt as though Harry was dependable on her; this wasn't a bad thing, far from it, but sometimes she needed time alone.

"Hermione?" Ron asked.

"What?"

"Did you write down the potions homework?" He repeated for the second time.

"Oh, umm, no, I don't think I did, sorry." Hermione and Ron were sitting at one of the tables in the Gryffindor Common Room after dinner. The room was nearly empty, with only the two Currans reading books by the fire.

"Emergency! Hermione Granger didn't write down the homework!" Ron called out to the others. "The world is coming to an end!" Both Ron and Aoife laughed slightly at this, but Aengus didn't, his concerned face glued on Hermione.

"Leave it, Ron." He ordered.

"Just trying to have some fun."

"Well, don't. Have your 'fun' somewhere else! Or better yet, grow up." Hermione shouted before storming out of the Common Room.

"I'll go." Aengus offered before running out after her.


"Hermione? Are you sure you're okay?" He could see her lip tremor slightly: she was obviously trying to hold back her tears. He walked over to her in the deserted, dark corridor. "You don't have to be brave all the time." He whispered. She let one solitary tear free. "Oh, Hermione." He said before bringing her into a hug. She pressed her face on his shoulder and finally let the rest of her tears out. They stood, hugging, for some time, Hermione not being afraid to let it all out. He stroked her back. His manly figure a comfort to her, in his hold, she felt safe and happy.

The moonlight which was coming in from the windows made the corridor have a slight silver glint to it, the stars adding glistening light to the scene. "Thank you." She said, her cheek now resting on his shoulder as she looked out of the window.

"Don't mention it. Even the strongest of people need someone to lean on at times." He lifted her chin up and smiled, "keep your head up high, you'll both get through this." He kissed her forehead and suggested they went back to the warmth of the Common Room.

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