Nobody ever asked my birthday

A lot of books

The library looked, well, quite a lot like other libraries Harry had been in.

It had books. and tables. and a few scattered computers, and a card catalog.

Hermione seemed to know her way around, and delighted in grabbing Harry by the hand and hauling him about. She'd stop at a point, and tell him all about a certain book (which Harry would feel compelled to take, moved more by her sheer enthusiasm than any particular plot point).

Harry really wasn't a fan of books.

But anything could be fun if he put his mind to it? Right?

and Hermione certainly seemed to like them...

It wasn't like they were histories or biographies, or something boring, anyway.

Of course, once Hermione had tired of giggling over old friends with drawn covers, she'd moved onto getting her own books. Harry didn't know how many books you were allowed to check out, but he reckoned it wasn't more than a dozen or so.

"Hermione, are you allowed to check this many out?" Harry asked quietly.

She chuckled, "Of course not!" She sobered slightly, still smiling, "I want to read the first few pages, see which ones look really good."

"Of course," Harry smiled at the irrepressible curiosity that seemed to make up the core of Hermione's being. Some people might think it was her ideas on Justice, but ... no, it wasn't really that. That was her expression of "You don't have any reason why, do you? Why not change it?" Hermione was enough like a battering ram that she tended to plough right over people when she thought she was right, anyway.

They'd just sat down at a long, wide table when a ruckus of girls entered the library.

"Oh, I just can't decide what book to use for my book report!" One shrieked, in a voice that reminded Harry suddenly of Lavender Brown.

"I know! It's such a drag..." Said another girl. Harry didn't need to look up to know that they'd be dressed like Pretty Little Princesses. He'd known the type before. Parkinson pretended to be one, when it suited her - but she was as different from these as a wily mountain pony was from a sleek racehorse. These were girls who'd never had to work for a damn thing.

"I'm going to find the shortest one on the list," one purred disinterestedly.

"You always-" The voice cut off. "Isn't that swotty little Granger over there?"

"Is that her kid brother?" One of the girls giggled, with a nasty edge to her voice.

Hermione had a hand just lying on the table, so Harry put his on top of it, gently grasping hers.

Hermione looked up at him, and exchanged a quite conspiratorial grin.

The girls arrayed themselves around Harry and Hermione. "Who's forcing you to spend time with her?" one asked cattily.

"No one," Harry said firmly, restraining himself from commenting on their friendship. Hermione might want to imply more than friendship, from the way she was dressing. However, as Harry hadn't been let in on the plot, he planned, very firmly, to let Hermione decide how far she wanted to take this ruse.

[a/n: Harry has spotted A Plot! Harry rolls will save to Not Interfere! Harry Succeeds!

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