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Ch. 3 Shirley Mansion Hermione and Harry flagged down the Knight Bus. The new conductor, Julian, helped them load their things onto the bus. It was a real swap for Stan. Julian had a clear complexion and dark, sleek hair. He was also quite handsome. Hermione smiled sweetly at Julian, Harry scowled. Ron and Harry had become more and more like brothers to Hermione over the years. Ron had finally gotten over his crush, but was still very protective of Hermione. Julian seated them right behind the driver’s seat, eyeing Hermione like a hungry man eyes a steak. Harry made sure he was seated closer to Julian. “Where to?” he asked. Hermione read the address off a slip of paper. Boom!!, they were off. “There are quite a bit of stops before the Shirley Mansion, so it’ll pry be awhile.” Julian explained. He started to strike p a conversation with Hermione about the weather, but Harry faked coughed, cutting Julian off completely. Hermione was also looking Julian over. She took in he’s muscular arms and torso. This was one of the, soon to be many, times Hermione was annoyed by Harry. She took a stab at conversation with Julian. “Do you work out?” she asked him, still stuck on his huge muscels. Julian chuckled, “No, I expect it comes from carrying so many trunks on the bus.” Hermione kept Harry from ruining her chit-chat by kicking him every time he tried. Somehow their talk turned to Qudditch. Harry then started joining in on the talk. In no time at all, they were at the Shirley Mansion. “We should talk again sometime.” Julian said. He handed her a slip of paper. “See ya,” she said, and the next minute Julian and the Knight Bus where gone. Then she and Harry turned around to face a house almost as big as Hogwarts castle. “Wow….” Harry said in awe. Hermione just stared. She couldn’t believe that it was hers, and the place had to be full of stuff. It was all hers. “Wow…” Harry repeated. “Well.. Let’s go inside, shall we?” she said to him. Hermione pulled a rusty key from her bag. It was an unusually large key, about the size of a pop bottle. She placed it in the lock, turned it, and opened the door. It creaked as though it had not moved for years. Behind it was a large front room. A staircase was about six feet in front of the door and split at the top. The walls looked as though they had once been white, but had turned grayish-brown from the dust and grim. Harry and Hermione walked around the marble floor that was covered with inches of dirt. They admired the once glorious house. Hermione headed up the stairs. As she ran her hand up the rail, she uncovered the beautiful wood. “I wonder when the last time someone was in here.” Harry thought aloud. “Come on, Harry, let’s explore upstairs.” Hermione said from the top of the stairs to Harry who was still at the bottom. He seemed to jerk himself out of a daze. He rushed up the stairs to Hermione’s side. They looked through the rooms, amazed at all the fine antiques each one contained. Just before they were going to enter the last room Harry said “Are you hungry? It is past noon. Couldn’t we get something to eat?” “I guess, I’m pretty hungry too. Did you bring any food? I completely spaced it.” “No, I didn’t even think about that.” “There’s a small muggle village near by. I bet we could find a pub to eat at there.” “How far is it?” “It shouldn’t be too far. Let’s get going.” Walking past a small shed, Hermione tripped over her own feet and fell into the door to the little shed. Thus causing it to open. “Oww… wait. Look at what’s in here, Harry.” Hermione said, opening the door a bit wider. Harry helped her up and looked inside. There where two old fashioned bicycles. “Come on, let’s ride these to the village.” Hermione suggested. “Let’s not” Harry said objectively. “Why not? I think it would be fun.” “Because I can’t ride a bike.” “Oh? Why not?” “I was brought up by the Durslys. Would you expect them to teach me to ride a bike?” he said sarcastically. “I guess not. Do you want me to teach you?” Hermione said kindly. Harry thought for a few minutes. He didn’t want to make a fool of himself in front of Hermione, but he did want to take the opportunity to learn how to ride a bicycle. The memory of Dudley on brand new, red bike came back to him. Dudley was riding in circles around Harry. He remembered the bike shining in the sun, the giant smirk on Dudley’s pudgy face, and how much he wished to be on that bike. “I’ld like that.” he said nodding his head. “Okay.” Hermione said and smiled. They got out the bikes and Hermione started teaching her new pupil. Harry fell a couple of times at first, but soon got the hang of it and was riding around like he’d done it all his life. They then headed down the road towards a cluster of houses and shops. They reached the village in no time. After asking a local for a place to eat, they found a little pub know as ‘Bottoms Up’. “What’ll it be?” a cute little waitress who looked about their age asked them. She had blond hair that went past her shoulders, clear blue eyes, and a friendly grin. “Hmmm…”Harry said looking over his menu at the girl. “I’ll have fish n’ chips.” “And you?” she said turning to Hermione. “Just a salad and water, thanks.” she answered, giving the girl an encouraging smile. “My names Fiona, if you need anything, just give a shout.” she said and winked at Harry. Hermione could have sworn he had blushed. That got her mind thinking. “Harry? Why haven’t you got a girlfriend? I know tons of girls who would gladly go out with you.” Hermione said. “I bet half those girls would have only gone out with me because I’m the ‘Boy Who Lived’” he answered. “That’s true. But still, that leaves a handful of girls.” “I guess-“ “Here you go dears.” Fiona interrupted him. “Looks delicious.” Harry said to her smiling. “Thank-you, Fiona.” Hermione said. She was slightly upset that she hadn’t got to hear Harry’s answer. “Are you two new in town?” Fiona asked pulling up a chair. That was when Hermione notice the place was rather empty. “Actually,” Hermione started. She wasn’t sure how much to tell this muggle. “do you know that old mansion west of town?” “Oh yeah, that place? Right old dump I’ld say. Don’t think anyone’s ever set foot in it. Why do you ask?” she looked curiously at Hermione. “I bought it.” she answered. “Oh,” Fiona said. She looked a little surprised. Then she got up and went to the back room. “Great, now this whole place will think I’m some sort of freak for living there.” Hermione said with a sigh. Harry just sat there and smiled. They finished their lunch in a hurried fashion and headed back. On the way they got into a conversation about where Harry was going to live. “I still have no idea where to go. I never have been that good at thinking ahead.” “Well you could stay at my house until you find a house” Hermione said. “Really? That would be great!” Harry said as a giant smile grew on his face. (A/N: this ones is just fluff, but I was bored so started writing. hope you like it anyway.)

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