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It was a cold, dark Saturday morning. The first game of Quidditch was due to take place today between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff. It was still early, nobody in the castle was awake, nobody but Aengus Curran. He was sat up in his bed, his wand softly lit, looking at a photo of a happy family. The photo had two adults, the woman holding a small child and three identical older children standing in front. They were all beaming at the camera, the three children were all wearing '10 TODAY' badges on their chest. The sun was shining and they were surrounded by lush greenery. "I miss you, mum." He whispered, tears in his eyes. "You'd be so proud of me, Ron and I took down a murderer. Don't worry, we were safe." He joked, "you always did worry about me. Ron is great, mum. You don't have to worry about Aoife, she's found a nice one in him. I hope you're doing well, wherever you are. I love you." He whispered before his wand darkened. He shuffled down in his bed and held the picture close to his chest.

Across the country, Harry was laying in his bed wide awake. He was thinking about the face he was going back to Hogwarts in a few hours time. Edgar Furman had done wonders for him, but he still felt like there was more to explore. Edgar and Hermione had suggested popping in to see him whenever the time was right for both of them, he also told Harry that he was always a letter away. Harry also had a photograph of several figures. One was him and the other two were his very best friends. It was taken just after Harry's first Quidditch match, he was holding the Snitch and was simpering at the camera. He always had this photo on him; he knew that whatever happened, the memories of Ron and Hermione were secure in his mind, it also reminded him that normality was something he had experienced in his life.

*

"Hermione? I don't mean to sound insensitive but, is Harry going to be back in time for the Quidditch match or am I going to need to find a replacement Seeker?" Ginny asked at breakfast, she approached her carefully, not wanting to upset Hermione.

"I don't know, Gin. I assume he won't play today, I don't know when he's being discharged yet." Hermione answered, "do you have a replacement in mind?"

"No, not really. When everyone heard that Harry was trying out for Seeker, no one else turned up."

"I'll do it," Aengus said casually.

"Are you any good?" Ginny asked, it almost sounded so panicked that the answer didn't matter.

"I don't think you can be picky about that. I have caught it a couple of times at home, I'm familiar on a broom and you're a man down. Just try and score as many points as possible." Aengus ordered.

"So you're saying we can win, with you as Seeker, if we have 150 over Hufflepuff?" Ginny moaned.

"Hey, at least I know the rules of Quidditch." He joked, "I'll try my best."

"I guess you're my only option. Don't get too cosy in that position, as soon as Harry is fit enough to play, you'll be out."

"I'd never take something of Harry's away from him, that's not the kind of man I am." He said, looking strangely at Hermione as he said it. Hermione eyed him suspiciously but didn't say anything.

"Right, well, be there at 10," Ginny ordered before marching off.

"What happened to you not wanting to play Quidditch?" Hermione asked.

"My dad said I could. We had a long chat yesterday and we sorted everything out." He smiled.

"Everything?"

"Well, not Calum. What? I can't tell him all about Calum, that's up to Aoife." He argued as Hermione had begun to question why.

"I guess so, but I don't think it's fair that he blames you for all that. Has he seen the scars on your body?"

"No..." he trailed off as he looked towards the door of the Great Hall. "Curly, you'll never believe it!" He gasped.

"What?" Hermione asked, voice full of confusion. She followed his gaze and nearly cried when she was Harry walking towards them. She stood up and ran over to him. When she reached him, he picked her up and spun her round.

"Nice to see you." He smiled as he put her back on the floor.

"You too." She giggled. She stood on her tiptoes and gave him a quick peck, the first and second years around them all 'oohed' and laughed. "Have you eaten?" She asked, still in a close embrace with him.

"Yeah, but I could always eat some more." He smiled. He wrapped his arm around her waist and walked back to where she was sitting.

"Welcome back, mate. It hasn't been the same without you." Aengus grinned.

"Cheers. I hear that you have been looking after Hermione," Harry paused, "thanks, I really appreciate it." He said as he sat down next to Hermione.

"No problem, it was my pleasure. Got any tips on catching a Snitch?"

"You're Seeker today?" Harry said, trying not to laugh. "Well, have you ever caught a Snitch before?"

"Yeah, once or twice-" he trailed off.

"Well, just float around above everyone else, that way you have a view of the whole pitch. Also, remember the Snitch could be anywhere, so don't just look around in the borders of the pitch, look out of them. You'll be fine."

"You two are coming to watch, right?"

"Yeah, we'll be there to catch you if you fall." Harry joked. He leaned over and ate the piece of sausage that was on Hermione's fork. "Thanks for that." He grinned.

Hermione playfully hit his arm, "get your own sausage." She laughed.

Aengus looked away from the couple before making his excuses and leaving. "Do you really want to watch the Quidditch?" Harry asked.

"I thought just said you wanted to, Ron's playing."

"I know, but the Common Room will be empty, I just thought we could spend some time together." His eyes glistened mischievously.

*

"Harry! Why weren't you watching the Quidditch? Aengus played amazingly. He caught the Snitch within seconds, Madam Hooch hadn't even blown the whistle, he had to release it and start again." Ron exclaimed as he entered the Common Room with Aoife close behind.

"Ron was amazing too, he didn't let in a single goal." Aoife boasted.

"So we won?" Harry asked.

"Yep, 200 to nothing. Brilliant start."

"Ginny really has got you into shape." Harry joked, "I may give Aengus my position as Seeker."

"What? Why? I thought you loved playing?" Ron whined, "I thought we were going to be on the team together, like last time."

"I do love playing, but Aengus sounds really good. If I play, he won't be able to."

"Yes he will, I've just been out with him now, he's a brilliant Chaser, Keeper and Beater. " Ginny informed, Harry hadn't realised she had come in, "Luke Harvey was knocked off his broom in the match, he doesn't want to play anymore. That means we're a Chaser down. I was going to offer Aengus the position."

"So all three you can be on the team!" Aoife cheered, "Harry, where's Hermione?"

"Oh, she's in your dorm. She was really tired." Harry said. "Is Luke okay?" He turned back to Ron and Ginny.

"I'm going to go and see her, see you later." She said before running off.

"Yeah, he's with Madam Pomfrey, he will be alright."


"Hermione? Can I talk to you?" Aoife's voice was quiet and timid. Hermione was laying on her bed but sat up when she heard someone open the door.

"Sure, is everything alright?" Hermione's caring characteristic was shining through even now. She sat cross-legged on her bed and invite Aoife to do the same.

"Okay, well, Ron's asked me out. Tonight, he wants us to go to Hogsmeade-" she trailed off.

"Right, so what's the problem?"

"I've never been on a date before."

"It'll be fine. You've nothing to be scared of, you've spent plenty of time alone with him already." Hermione argued, "you know he likes you, it'll be fun." She smiled.

"We've spent time alone, yeah, but it's never been in a romantic setting. I always imagine some big sweeping gesture from him which leads into something...special. But it never happens. It's as though he's too scared to touch me." Her voice sounded deflated. "What if he's just using me for a distraction from everything?"

"Ron would never use you. He's too nice for that. He'll be just as nervous as you and probably be a complete gentleman. Have you told him about Calum?"

"A bit, not anything in detail. Why?"

"Maybe that's why he's scared, he doesn't want to push you into anything you don't want to do. He's taking it slow."

"Yeah, too slow. I excepted him to copy the way Harry is with you, sweep me off my feet." She sighed, "I want the big fairy tale love story like you."

Hermione tried not to laugh, "fairy tale? You haven't heard how Harry and I got together, have you?" Aoife shook her head, "well, it all started in our fourth year. Harry had been entered into the Triwizard Tournament, there was an age restriction so nobody under the age of 17 could take part so it was a big shock to everyone. Anyway, on the night when the champions were named, Harry was one of them. He and Ron had a massive argument and Ron stopped talking to him, he was upset because he thought Harry had somehow thought of a way to evade the age restriction without telling him. So, before the tournament started, Rita Skeeter wrote a piece on all of the champions, she would wonder around the school writing up any gossip she heard. Right before the first task, I snuck in to wish Harry good luck and she took a picture of us together, writing an article about the two of us, stating we were in love. That must have sent the same thought through both of our minds and slowly, very slowly we did begin to fall in love. But that didn't stop Harry dating someone else in our fifth year, that was hard for me, but it just made me realise how I felt about him."

"What happened next?" Aoife asked: she loved Hermione's stories from the past.

"I tried to push it out of my mind, we had just set up Dumbledore's Army and Harry was going through a lot with Voldemort. So his relationship with Cho faded away. Then he was single again and I couldn't get the idea of us out of my mind, we had our OWLs to focus on so at least I had that. Then in our sixth year, Harry and Dumbledore started closing in on Horcruxes so Ron and I didn't see him as much as previous years and on top of that, Harry had fallen well and truly for Ginny. Then we went on the run, looking for the Horcruxes and I guess things just fell into place. Ron left us for a while so we spent time alone and the rest is history. So it wasn't plain sailing for us and it definitely wasn't a fairy tale."

"Ginny? Ginny Weasley?" Aoife gasped.

"Yeah. Harry broke up with her at Dumbledore's funeral, he wanted to protect her. So that gave us a free path."

"Who made the first move?"

"Harry. We both had reservations, we didn't want to throw away our friendship."

"Fair enough. Sorry for what I said about you and Aengus. I didn't mean it, I think I was just jealous."

"Jealous of-?"

"You. You are everything I want to be. You're clever, gorgeous and have the perfect boyfriend."

Hermione blushed slightly, "so are you, Aoife, I promise you. Plus, Ron will be just as perfect as Harry. Don't put yourself down."

"Do you think Ron really does like me?" She asked, her voice shaky and mild.

"Yes, he hasn't acted like this with anyone." Aoife beamed at this, it was as though all she needed was some reassurance. "Do you know what you're going to wear?"

"I haven't even thought about that...will he dress up?" She asked frantically. "I don't have anything nice to wear."

"Well, where are you going?"

"The Three Broomsticks."

"Right, well I would go casual. Still dress up nicely but, it isn't a formal place."

"I didn't think it would be this hard to decide, what do I wear?"

"You're nervous, I would suggest something comfy and familiar. What sort of things do you have?"

Hermione and Aoife spent the next half an hour trying to figure out what she should wear. She must have tried on over a dozen outfits when Hermione suggested one of her own dresses, "I know it isn't familiar, but we're about the same size." The dress was black and had white hearts dotted around with a collar of the same pattern and long sleeves. It fell just above the knee and the skirt was pleated.

She quickly pulled the dress on and looked at herself in the long mirror on the closed door. "I love it." She looked at the dress from all angles, turning to the side, "I love it!" She repeated.

"You look amazing, absolutely stunning."

She ran over to Hermione and pulled her into a tight hug, "thank you!" She squealed. She finally let her go and went back to looking in the mirror.

"Do you have a jumper?" Hermione pondered. "Ginny has the perfect one, I'm sure she won't mind if you borrow it." She walked over to Ginny's trunk and pulled out a burgundy cable knit jumper, "here it is!" She chucked it over to Aoife and she put it on. "You look great."

"What should I do with my hair?" She said, turning back to Hermione.

"Leave it down, maybe tie the top part up. Here, let me."

Hermione tied half of her hair up before she stepped away and smiled. Aoife turned around and nearly cried, "I know it's simple, but it makes an impact, thank you so much, Hermione. I've never looked this nice before."

"Don't be silly, you always look amazing."

"Hermione, I'm starving, can we go to dinner now?" Harry moaned as he walked up the stairs, "blimey, Aoife, you look amazing. Ron's just getting ready." He shot her a smile before looking back at Hermione, "I am about to eat my own hand, please can we go?"

"What did I say, not a fairy tale." Hermione laughed, looking at Aoife, "I hope you two have a great time, you'll have to tell me all about it when you get back."

"What do you mean, not a fairy tale? I'm practically Prince Charming." Harry joked, bowing like a prince and taking Hermione's hand.

"Get up," Hermione laughed, "see you later, Aoife."


Aoife took several deep breaths before she went down to the Common Room. She was shaking, but she didn't get why, it wasn't as though she had never spent time with Ron before. She straightened her collar and made sure her dress was flat before she left. "Bloody hell," Ron exclaimed when she turned the corner into the Common Room, "bloody hell... Yo-you lo-look beautiful."

Aoife felt her face becoming hot and probably turning scarlet, "you don't look too bad yourself." She smiled. He was wearing a grey shirt, a casual blazer and jeans.

"Will I do?" He grinned.

"Oh, you'll do." She laughed.

He held out his hand and she curled her fingers around his. "Ready to go?"

She took another deep breath and nodded, "ready."

*

"Do you know what I was thinking?" Harry asked Hermione at dinner.

"How would I know that?" Hermione joked, "what were you thinking?"

"That Ginny and Aengus would be good together."

Hermione nearly choked on her mash potato, "Ginny and Aengus?" She repeated, coughing and hitting her chest to dislodge the mash, "they have never spent time together, how do you know?"

"Ron told me that he caught Ginny doodling his name. Apparently, that's the reason Ginny kept him behind after Quidditch. Don't you think it's a good idea?"

"I don't think you can push them together," Hermione said before going back to eat her mash. What was wrong with her? Why didn't she what Ginny to follow her heart?

"Is everything okay?" Harry asked.

Hermione didn't want to lie to Harry, but she also didn't know what to say to him. It wasn't as though she had grown feelings for Aengus since Harry was away, but something made her feel uncontrollably jealous when they spoke about this sort of thing. She loved Harry to bits and was sure she always would do, but that didn't help matters much. "I don't know what's wrong with me." She whispered, leaning across the table so she was closer to him, "I don't want to talk about it here, can we go somewhere more private?" She asked. Harry looked confused and worried, so he nodded and stood up. They walked to the Room of Requirement as they knew they wouldn't be disturbed in there.

Harry sat down on a huge sofa that was there and signalled for Hermione to do the same. "What's wrong?" His voice was calm and soothing, the confusion on his face wasn't carried through in his voice.

"I don't know how to start, I don't want you to worry."

She looked into his eyes and saw them flooded with worry, "what's happened?"

"N-nothings happened," she stuttered quietly, "since we've come back to Hogwarts, Aengus and I have gotten closer."

"Yeah, I know. I don't want you to think that you can't talk to other people." Harry said.

"No, I know. That's not what I'm trying to say. We have become close, I thought it was just as friends. Then Aoife said something to me, she said I shouldn't lead him on - which I'm not. So I spoke to him about this and he's been acting weirdly ever since." Her voice was still quiet and she spoke rather fast, she just wanted to get the facts across.

"Hermione, slow down." Harry tried to calm her down.

"Harry, you need to know that nothing has happened between us and nothing ever will. I love you." She took his hand in both of hers, "please, you need to understand that." Her eyes were getting misty, but she continued to look into his.

"Hermione, stop." He commanded. "It's okay."

"Please, nothing has happe- what?" She had spoken over him.

"It's okay. I know you're just friends, I know nothing would happen between you two." He smiled at her, his eyes no longer full of worry.

"There's something else. I don't know why, but I don't want to think about him and Ginny. Or he and anyone." She admitted.

"What about him and you?" He asked, half terrified of the answer.

"Yes, but I didn't like it, it was when you pushed me over and I ran outside; he came to check on me and he reminded me so much of you. Then you were taken and he was the only one who believed that you needed help." Hermione dropped her head.

Harry looked at her for a few seconds before pushing her chin up so she looked at him. He placed one hand on each of her cheeks and stroked the lobes of her ears, "it's okay," he whispered, "it's okay. I understand, I wasn't feeling myself and he was there for you like I should have been. But, I'm here now."

"D-do you really mean that?" A single tear dropped from her eyes and Harry whipped it away with his thumb.

"Yes. You told me the truth and you didn't hide it from me." He pulled her closer and gently kissed her.
*

Ron and Aoife had finally sat down at one of the more secluded tables in the Three Broomsticks. They had ordered a Butterbeer for Aoife and Ron had gone for a Firewhisky to try and calm his nerves. The pub was relatively empty, students weren't allowed to go to Hogsmeade at night, but Ron and Aoife had managed to sneak out, with the help of Harry's invisibility cloak. "It's been a crazy few days." Aoife joked, trying to break the tension.

"You haven't seen crazy at Hogwarts." Ron laughed, "in our first year, a teacher let a mountain troll in and Hermione was trapped with it. Honestly, I was looking forward to a normal year here."

"Normal, Mr Weasley? Why, normal is boring." Aoife smiled and giggled. They both sipped their drinks again.

"Tell me about Ireland." Ron grinned.

"What do you want to know about Ireland? It rains a lot, there's so many shades of green and beautiful scenes. We lived in a remote village called Inistioge."

"Is it by the sea?"

"No, but there's a river nearby which we used to swim in, with mum. We never really went to the beach, we didn't really venture out of County Kilkenny." She began fiddling with her sleeves. She had mentioned her mum, which always made her upset. Ron knew exactly how she felt, he hated talking about Fred; he didn't want to forget his existence, he sometimes spoke to George about him but tried to avoid conversations surrounding him. "Sorry, I've never really spoken about mum...not since..."

"Not even with Aengus or Ardal?"

"No, Ardal deals with things differently; he just disappeared for days and days, nobody knows where he went. Aengus bottles everything up, I don't think I have once heard him talk about anything that's bothering him."

"What about your dad?"

"He's not exactly a talker. He's very much a believer of actions are louder than words. It's okay, I don't need to talk about her." Her eyes were full of tears, she looked away from Ron to try and hide them from him.

Ron took a deep breath, "when Fred died, it was like my world grew cold. He was the life and soul of everything, him and George, and it felt like I would never be able to feel happiness again. But slowly, very slowly, the pain has become a dull ache. It wasn't that long ago, but I know that he was fighting for a better future, and despite the fact he will never be able to live in it, we all carry him with us. I know it's not the same, I know your mum didn't die fighting Voldemort, but you need to know that I understand the pain, and if you ever want to talk, I'm here."

"Thank you," Aoife whispered. They sat in silence for some time, just enjoying the company. "What do you think you're going to do after school?" She finally said, catching Ron off guard.

"No idea, I was thinking travelling. I want to go to Romania to see Charlie, but I want to do normal things; go on holiday with friends and not worry about what's around the corner or behind my shoulder. Be carefree for a while."

"That sounds great." Aoife smiled.

"Do you want to come with me? I don't know what Harry and Hermione will be doing, I'll ask them if they want to come."

"I'd love to!"

"Great. Invite Aengus and Ardal if you want, it would be nice for all of us to be together."

The rest of the evening was filled with munching on delicious food, laughing at silly jokes and Ron telling Aoife all about Hogwarts when he first started. By 11 o'clock, they decided that they should probably be getting back, they slipped under the cloak and made their way back to the castle.


Aoife stumbled into the dormitory at 12. She looked around; four beds were empty, like usual Amanda and Sophie's beds were empty but so was Hermione's. Aoife concluded that she was with Harry; it upset her slightly, she wanted to have a relationship like theirs, but she also wanted to talk to Hermione about Ron. She took of Ginny's jumper and quickly cleaned it was a spell, she folded it nicely and placed it on top of her trunk. She changed into her pyjamas and cleaned Hermione's dress with the same spell and put it away. She sat up in her bed, her wand softly lit, looking at a photo of a happy family. The photo had two adults, the woman holding a small child and three identical older children standing in front. They were all beaming at the camera, the three children were all wearing '10 TODAY' badges on their chest. The sun was shining and they were surrounded by lush greenery. "I miss you, mum." She whispered before closing her eyes and falling asleep.

*

Aoife skipped down to breakfast the next morning, she scanned the room and saw Harry, Hermione and Aisling all sitting together. Aisling was sitting next to Hermione and they were both poring over a book. Harry looked up and waved Aoife over, "morning." He sang as she sat down next to him.

"Morning," she smiled, "how are you?"

"Good thanks and you? How was last night?"

"Good. Yeah, it was nice. Ron drank a bit too much firewhisky but it was good fun." She joked.

"Eww, did you kiss?" Aisling asked, she had become distracted by their conversation, alongside her teacher.

"Don't be so noisy, Bee. But, no." She added for Harry and Hermione's benefit.

"But you did both have a good time?" Hermione asked, closing the Potions book that lay open in front of her.

"Yeah, it was really nice. It wasn't awkward like I thought it would be." She smiled. She reached to grab some toast when Aengus and Ardal walked over towards them.

"Already studying?" Aengus joked, "hey, Bee. How are you?"

"Good, thank you." Aisling smiled, "I might go back to the Ravenclaw table now. Thank you for helping me, Hermione." She beamed before running off to her friends.

"Ron said something about travelling? What's that about?" Aengus asked when they had all sat down.

"Did he? When?" Aoife asked, rather surprised that the idea had spread this quickly.

"Last night, when he came back. He woke us all up when he stomped in." Hermione sighed, "he couldn't wait to tell us all about his plans to see the world. I, for one, think it's a great idea!" She exclaimed.

"Me too," Aengus and Harry said at the same time.

"I think Luna and I are planning a trip ourselves, maybe we could meet up or something?" Ardal asked.

"That would be great," Harry said, "where would we go?"

"Anywhere, everywhere," Aoife informed, "Ron wants to go to Romania."

"I wouldn't mind going to Bulgaria," Harry said.

"Oh and Italy." Aoife, "Greece would be fascinating too."

"I'd love to go to Greece, all the ancient sorcery that must have gone on there," Hermione said. "Romania, Bulgaria and Greece are pretty much all next to each other so it would be quite easy to travel around there."

"You should also come and visit Ireland," Ardal added, "it doesn't have the nice weather, but it does have the scenery."

"Ohhh, I'm so excited now." Aoife giggled, "at least it's something to look forward to."

"Yeah, exams can't come quick enough." Aengus joked.

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