Harry and Hermione Start their Sixth Year


Story Summary:
What happens when two close friends discover they are in love in a time of attacks? Covers late July to early September. H/Hr R/OC G/L DT/CC R/T

Chapter 11

Author's Note:
The first week, part ii; the first DADA class

Chapter XI

Tuesday was another early day for Harry and Hermione. They and their friends ran, showered, and had a quick breakfast. To both their surprise, Transfiguration was another large class, with twenty-three students. Besides Harry and Hermione, Neville, Parvati, and Lavender had managed to get into the class. At the beginning of class, McGonagall even told the class that they were the largest N.E.W.T. group she had ever had.

Draco sat in the back, next to Zach Smith, and behaved himself.

The class would be spending the term learning the various Disillusionment spells. Hermione and Harry smiled at each other, having mastered the spells on others already, although they still had some troubles disillusioning themselves.

The Basic Medicine Class was also larger than they had expected, with twelve students (Neville was the only other Gryffindor). This term, they would be learning physiology. This time, only Hermione could smirk, although she refrained from doing so. She was fairly well-acquainted with human anatomy. Harry had managed to memorize the major organs (and their functions) and the bones over August, but that of course was just the beginning.

For Hermione, being so close to Harry was exquisite. The previous year, she had been worried they might be drifting apart. Harry had been so angry; understandably so to some degree, but still disturbing. And yet, despite the clumsy dance she and Ron were involved in at the time, it seemed at times only she could get through to Harry. 'No,' Hermione thought, as she leaned gently against Harry as they ate lunch, 'Ginny and Luna could get through to him, just not as often.' She had so wanted to date Ron the previous year, and yet the image she had seen before her the entire spring term was Harry opening the bedroom door at Grimmauld Place, that horrible evening right before Christmas. But in her dreams and daydream reenactments, she had embraced Harry as she had wanted to do so much.

Now she could embrace Harry almost anytime she wanted. Perhaps not in the intimate ways she wanted to embrace him, but any time. Hermione hadn't missed the jealous looks Cho and her band had been giving her. Even Pansy had stared at her ring with open envy during Charms, and Millicent had had a difficult tearing her eyes away from it. She still wasn't totally sure of Ginny and Luna's motivations in holding her hand so much the previous Sunday (if they liked staring at the ring that much, or just liked holding her hand -- she rather suspected both.) Lavender and Parvati were treating her slightly differently as well, as if they finally respected her as a woman instead of just as a brilliant student.

She decided she liked the attention, although it all paled almost into nothing compared to Harry's.

While Hermione's young life had been no where near as horrible as Harry's, she was also a fairly lonely child. She had never had a real friend until Ron and Harry. Now she had Ginny, Luna, Dean, and Colin as more intimate friends than she could ever have imagined. Ron was still a good friend, and Harry . . . wonderful, caring, awkward, confused, damaged, heroic, handsome, well-built (especially in one anatomical aspect that she had quickly grown very fond of) Harry -- Harry was her love and lover.

Hermione was content.

For Harry, being so close to Hermione was exquisite torture. Even though Ron and Hermione had been his close friends for five years, he had never opened up to anyone until Luna had opened that slight crack at the end of the last term. He had been abused, used, and ignored for some ten years. For the next five years, he had mostly held himself aloof, and had still been used.

And in that time, who really had taken the interest in knowing Harry? Luna seemed to know him by instinct, but only Hermione had taken the time to really know him. True, she did that with everyone, but not to the degree she did him. She had always taken care of him, and looked after him. At times, during parts of their Third and Fourth years especially, she had tended to smother him with her concern. She had backed off slightly the previous year, and hadn't done so since they'd come together.

Harry hadn't consciously realized something that Luna had guessed at and Hermione now was realizing -- he was at his core a very loving, tactile person. He longed to touch and be touched. His attempts of affection and intimacy with Cho had scared him so much the previous two years in part because he hadn't experienced it since he had been just over a year old, and in part because somewhere deep inside he had known that he would fall deeply in love so easily that if he picked the wrong person, he would be wounded even deeper than he already was.

And now, he could barely touch the young woman he loved and adored. Now that they had been intimate, his thoughts kept straying to those erotic and tender evenings at the cabin. Harry decided he would have to cast a silencing charm over his bed that night.

Hermione was leaning against Harry, making him sit in a very uncomfortable position. Hermione pulled him towards her, and whispered in his ear, "I hope you've found us someplace. If you've been a good boy and haven't spent anything, maybe I can have you for an appetizer before lunch on Friday."

Harry nearly choked on the stew he was eating. Ron managed to get him breathing again. Harry could never tell Ginny or Ron what had made him choke, because he knew no one would ever believe straight-laced Hermione could EVER make that lewd a comment.

Harry bowed low to the venerable Mistress Merry. At 201, she was the oldest known witch in Britain. "So, boy, who's this young gel?"

"This is Hermione Granger, Mistress."

"A pretty name for a pretty young thing, but who is she, boy?"

Harry smiled. Mistress Merry always made him think he was in a Victorian novel. "She is my heart and advisor, Mistress." Hermione looked shy at hearing that.

Mistress Merry smiled. "That is good. Your heart needed someone inside it. You, gel, what is Harry to you?"

"He is my heart and my courage," Hermione answered proudly.

The elderly witch walked slowly over to Hermione and took her right hand in both of hers. She examined Hermione's palm. "I do not believe one can truly see the future in a palm, but one can see something of the personality. You are a Virgo, yes? You match Harry fairly well, although Leos and Virgos often clash. You are a little lacking in humor; and while Harry hides his emotions because of the scars given him by life, you hide yours for fear of losing yourself in your emotions. Few will ever know how passionate you both are. You both must never hide from the other. If you are both able to do that, you will have a happy life together."

Hermione smiled bravely.

"Now, wandless magic is difficult," she told Hermione, dropping her hand and moving away. "You have spent five years learning how to focus magic through a wand. The easiest wandless magic to do is, therefore, summonsing the wand. Let us see if young Harry can still do so."

Harry sat his wand down and walked across the room. He concentrated, and after a few seconds it flew across the room into his hand.

"If you are separated from your wand, you are likely to be in trouble. It would be best not to have to shout a spell. Why don't you work on that, while I work with Harry."

Hermione was reminded of her first broom lesson.

Mistress Merry came over a short time later. "Come now, dear; this should be no more difficult for you now as learning the original summonsing spell was with the wand."

Hermione tried again, and it just rolled a little for her.

"See, dear; it would not move at all if you had no talent for this."

"I'm trying," Hermione told herself more than the elderly woman.

"There is no try, only do," Harry teased. "Use the Force, Leia."

"Very funny, Harry."

"Is that a Muggle literary reference?"

"Sorry, Mistress," Harry answered. "It's from a Muggle film."

"I have not moved in Muggle society since King Edward's funeral," she mused. She waved the thought away. "The wand is part of you, my dear. Pull it towards you as if it were merely an extension of your hand."

The wand flew into Hermione's hand.

"Very good. Is there some other spell you know by instinct, which would be useful?"

Hermione thought.

Harry gave her a teasing hint. "Hermione? Are you a witch or aren't you?"

Hermione frowned, and then smiled. She placed her wand in her belt and thought a moment. Then she cupped her hands, and a bluebell flame appeared over her palms. It was not very bright, and it was just hot enough to be slightly uncomfortable, but not burn. Hermione smiled even wider.

Mistress Merry waved her hand, and the flames disappeared. "Well done, my dear." She patted Hermione's cheek. "You have the prettiest smile, my dear, although your front teeth are a tiny bit small." Hermione gawked a bit.

"You have indeed chosen well, Harry Potter. I will teach you both." She turned to Hermione. "I do not know any Grangers. When did your family emerge from the Muggles?"

Hermione squared her shoulders. "I am the first."

Her eyes went wide. "I taught Charms at a small private school in Wales for over a hundred years. I was an Examiner until fifteen years ago. I have never seen a Muggle-born with your power, my dear. Not even Harry's mother was a strong as you, and she was by far the most powerful Muggle-born before you that I have ever heard of in Western Europe! And you are supposed to be one of the most intelligent students at Hogwarts this century." She considered. "For many women, especially in past times, their powers were subordinated to men, or else they did not seek the company of men. Let your heart rule you more, my child. Bring out the power of your own heart, and that will not only be good for you but good for your lover here. Trigger the full power of his love, and he will not only defeat the evil Dark Wizard, but you will feel more joy than most women and any men have ever felt."

She smiled at them. "I shall watch you learn Thursday." She nodded to Hermione. "Guide me to the Headmaster's office. Young Harry is to find his friend Lupin. You may catch up with him there."

As Hermione walked slowly with the elderly witch, they went most of the way in silence. Just before they arrived, however, she turned to Hermione. "When will you move that lovely ring from your right hand to the correct hand?"

Hermione thought about it. "Not until Harry really meets my parents. I mean, they've met, but they don't really know each other. And the way things are, I don't know when I'll see my parents again, let alone when Harry will be able to see them."

"You remind me much of myself at your age, or at least how I remember myself." She again patted Hermione's cheek. "I shall see if I can help." She turned to the Guardian. "Kit kat."

Hermione watched until the old witch was gone, then went off to the small office Remus used.

Hermione found a happy Harry, with three new pairs of glasses, and the wrap-around sports goggles. With Quidditch trials coming up that Saturday, Harry would now be ready.

They walked back towards Gryffindor side by side. Hermione took a deep breath, and took Harry's hand.

Harry's arm jerked a little. He turned and looked at Hermione, a genuine smile on his face. Hermione smiled back.

"How much homework do we have to do, other than the anatomy?" Harry asked.

"That's all, so far," Hermione said, struggling to keep the conversation normal when she was mentally licking Harry all over. "Have you or Ron named your puffskein yet?" Neville had already named his Trevor, which had made everyone shake their heads in confusion.

"You mean you can't guess Ron's?" Harry was playing the same game, with very similar thoughts.

"Yellow?" she asked. All the puffskeins were rather yellowish for the most part.

"Puffy," Harry said in a disbelieving voice."

"That sounds about right for Ron. And yours?"

"Goldie," Harry said with dignity.

Hermione snorted. "Well," she finally said, "at least it's better than Puffy."

"And what's yours? Aurora?"

Hermione stopped and looked at Harry. "How did you know?"

Harry shrugged. "It had a sort of rose and pink tinge." He looked at Hermione and abandoned his lewd thoughts for a moment. "What? I like to read, just not text books. I've been stuck in Dudley's junk room since I was moved out from under the stairs." Hermione's jaw set. She'd seen the cupboard under the stairs. If Harry didn't go back and hex his relatives, she might.

"Anyway," Harry went on, "that's where Dudley stores all the stuff he's broken that they like to pretend they'll fix or the things he doesn't like."

"Like books," Hermione said with a sigh.

"Like books," Harry agreed. "So I've read all the classics he's been given, including all the literature assigned for the Muggle Studies through seventh year. I've taught myself Latin, French, and Italian, and even though my accents are horrible, I can read them. I've only managed a little German, Welsh, and classical Greek. I started teaching myself Fortran and C, but they threw the spare computer out when they saw what I was doing."

Hermione stared at him in horror.

"What?" Harry asked. Hermione merely hugged him, a few tears running down her cheek.


The two broke apart, and were confronted by Professor Snape. "If you do not wish to be docked points, I suggest you refrain from such embraces in public corridors," he snarled. "Well? Begone!"

Harry and Hermione fled hand-in-hand. They didn't stop until they had passed the Fat Lady. They kept going down and around the corner. There was nothing in that direction except stairs leading down to the corridor connecting them to the Ravenclaw Tower. They sat on the top step and caught their breath.

"Snape was almost pleasant," Harry commented.

"Well, we weren't doing anything wrong!" Hermione stated. Harry rolled his eyes. "True," Hermione agreed, "that never did stop him before."

"What do we have tomorrow?" Harry asked. "Just Muggle Studies and Defense for me, and just Defense for you, right?"

"Right. I have prefect duty from Ten until Eleven tonight."

Harry looked puzzled. "I know, I know," he finally said, "I never pay attention. What do you have to do for prefect duty?"

"I have to make a patrol, starting from the Great Hall. It goes to the Library and hits most of the more obvious snogging places."

"But no points are taken or detentions given out before Eleven," Harry pointed out.

"I know. It's sort of a last warning."

"When does Filch sleep?" Harry asked.

"Where did that come from?"

Harry shrugged. "I always wondered. I thought maybe you'd found out."

"I don't know; I'd guess between Four in the morning and lunch." She eyed Harry. "Are you planning something?"

"Something," Harry agreed. "I'll show you Friday. Do you want to scare some boys?"

"What boys?" Hermione asked.

"Colin told me there was a place where, well, where some of the boys went to have sex. The only rules are, it's consensual and non-violent, and -- I suppose you know what they mean by 'top' and bottom'?"

Hermione flushed slightly. "I do."

"Well, the other rule is the worst ratio of top to bottom is three to two, that way no one can get away with using the others too much."

"And where is this?"

"The lavatory north of the exit to the greenhouses. There used to be an exit there for the outdoor dueling patch, when that was active."

"I never knew where the outdoor dueling patch was! How did you find it?"

Harry shrugged. "It's marked on the Map."

Hermione thought about it, but finally shook her head. "It would just make them angry at me." She looked at Harry. "Why don't you bring Goldie down to the Common Room tomorrow at Nine thirty. I'll bring Aurora. We can groom them and then study anatomy. There should be some of the younger students around, and they can play with them."

"Good idea. Shall we get ready for dinner?"

Wednesday, September 4, 1996

"Another large class," Harry observed. "Twenty!"

"Complete with ferret and the pug-dog," Ron added.

"At least it shouldn't be as bad as last year," Hermione observed.

Professor Law's earlier classes had judged him as knowledgeable but not terribly interesting. He had not had anything above a Fourth year class, however.

Law came in and surveyed the class. "My, my. This must be a recent record for a N.E.W.T. Defense class." He took out a parchment and called the roll. When he was finished, he looked around the class. "Who here thinks they are an excellent fighter?"

Half the class looked at Harry, but Harry just looked straight ahead. Law looked back at him. He opened his mouth, and it took all of Harry's Occlumency training not to flinch. "Mister . . . Malfoy. Whom would you judge to be the best fighter in this class?"

Harry glanced at Malfoy, who was grimacing. "Well, Mister Malfoy?"

"It's supposed to be Potter," he spat, adding an almost polite "sir."

"Do you agree with that assessment, Mister Malfoy?"

"well, sir, he's certainly the luckiest."

"Luck is not to be despised. Whom would you judge as better?"

Malfoy hesitated. It was obvious he wanted to claim the top spot, but was worried what that might entail. "I don't know, sir."

"I see. Mister Potter, would you say you're the best fighter in this class?"

"Probably, Professor, but that doesn't mean I'm that good."

"Very good, Mister Potter. I have been looking over all your scores. Nearly all of you did well on your practicals. Most of you need some work on some of your dark creature knowledge. Therefore, next week you will have a test on what you should have learned in your first three years. You seem weakest on the information from the first two years. Professor Lupin and I will present you with a series of creatures. You will identify them, and give the proper information on how to combat them. You will all sit here during this test every week until you all score a hundred. This test will take some forty minutes. The rest of the class, you will be dueling. We will start with blocking charms. We will be dividing into two groups of ten."

Law suddenly smiled; it was a very cold smile. "Actually, I think it would be best if we NOT make you all wait to duel full-time until EVERYONE makes a hundred. We'll just do it by group."

Harry just barely heard Malfoy say, "Hope I don't have to work with Longbottom."

Law heard him. "Keep your remarks until after class, Mister Malfoy. One point from Slytherin. Now, group one is: Susan Bones; Lavender Brown; Seamus Finnigan; Hermione Granger; Neville Longbottom; Parvati Patil; Harry Potter; Dean Thomas; Ron Weasley; and Blaise Zabini. The other is therefore Hannah Abbott, Terry Boot, Millicent Bulstrode, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Anthony Goldstein, Draco Malfoy, Ernie Macmillan, Charlie Moon, Zacharias Smith, and Lisa Turpin."

Law smiled again. "I would also like a parchment on the nine basic blocking spelling. Never mind inches; one thousand to twelve hundred words. One point off for every word under or over. Due by noon Monday. See you all next Wednesday." His smile now looked positively frightening.

The room emptied quickly, but Harry was furthest from the door.

"Well, Mister Potter, why don't you stay? Let's see how good you really are."