They flew till nightfall. When Ron could no longer keep his eyelids from drooping over his overworn eyes, he suggested a break.
"I think we should stop a while," Ron said, throwing a dirty look at Hermione, who was shaking her head, "After all, I think everyone's pretty tired..." Ron looked hopefully around. Everyone else seemed quite cheerful and energetic.
"ACK! C'mon you guys! I'm tired, okay? I need a break!"
Harry grinned at Ron's outburst. How like of Ron to say others were tired when he himself was ready to topple. Harry nodded in agreement, "Why not? We really should rest somewhere for the night. My legs are pretty worn anyway."
"But Harry- shouldn't we make use of our time while it's dark? After all, it's easier to fly without Muggles seeing us at nighttime..." Hermione put in.
Ron piped up, "Hermione, look at me. LOOK. AT. ME. See my eyes? They are going to collapse if I don't stop within five minutes. And ever heard of giving up? That's what my legs are about to do."
Hermione pouted. "Alright, Ron, we'll take a break if your poor legs mean that much to you. Don't get all sarcastic."
They found a beautiful spot near a lake and gently landed. Su bustled around collecting berries and food while Harry, Ron, and Hermione did their best to transfigure a rock into a tent.
"RON," Hermione said in exasperation, "you're doing it WRONG. It's Transopium Wibpisa, not transop-pi-o-i-, whatever you just said."
"You're so smart, you do it," Ron shot back.
"I can't do it alone! This spell needs three people! Why do you think I need you and Harry?!? Okay, let's do it again! Ready go!"
"Wait, wait! I still don't know it! What is it again?"
Harry chuckled lightly at Ron and Hermione, who were both quite red in the face from arguing. Finally, the three of them managed to produce a rather lopsided tent. Su came back with the food and Ron immediately ran toward her.
"Ron!," Harry laughed, "Don't strangle the girl!"
Eventually, all had been eaten, and the four of them snuggled around the fire.
Harry spoke, "Why are we here? Am I the only one who thinks we're heading for Durmstrang for reasons other than to find Dumbledore? I know we would never have left school if it were because we wanted to find the headmaster to tell on Snape."
"You're right, Harry," Hermione smiled at him,"I would never have agreed to come this far if it were only to rescue Dumbledore. But there's something about this trip that really pulls me to it...I think we're about to discover something big. I know I don't take Divination, but I can feel something about this trip...I still can't believe I came."
Ron rolled his eyes, "Stop pondering, you gits. We came because we all love adventure and frightening ourselves until our eyeballs pop out. Harry came because he wants to save Dumbledore, find out about other schools, and discover something new. I came because I wanted to choke Krum and check out the school, and Hermione came because she does whatever Harry says. Alright!" Ron sat up, clapping his hands, "It's late! I'm going to bed...'night!"
Harry stood up too. "Whatever we came for, it's more than Dumbledore. I guess something in our instinct is telling us to come. Anyway, Ron's right. We have to fly all day tomorrow. We better get some sleep. Hermione and Su, that tent over there is yours, this one's ours. See you in the morning."
Harry tossed and turned. The conversation before he had come to bed was not at all satisfying. Why WAS he here? Harry sighed. There was nothing indicating to him he had a reason to come except to save Dumbledore. And yet, a tingling inside him shook. Suddenly, in his mind, a picture of his parents appeared. Harry bolted upright. That was it. This was something about his parents.
Harry quietly slipped from the tent and outside. As he couldn't sleep, he decided to take a walk. He strolled along the lake and stared into the crystal blue waters that reflected the moon's shining figure. Suddenly, ahead of him, Harry saw a figure. It was a person, standing quite still, also looking into the water. It was Hermione.
Harry came up to her. "Hermione?" he said softly. She looked up, surprised.
"Harry! What are you doing here?"
"I couldn't sleep. What are YOU doing here?"
"I couldn't sleep either. Besides, I wanted some fresh air...I couldn't breathe in that tent. I think we did something wrong when we transfigured it...I think it's not just waterproof now...it's oxygen proof," Hermione giggled.
"Haha, very funny. I worked hard on that, you know!" Harry mocked a wounded look. On impulse, he took Hermione's hand. C'mon, let's walk before I freeze and arrive at Durmstrang as a block of ice."
Hermione jumped slightly as Harry touched her hand. He's warm...and he looks pretty cute under the moonlight...Hermione mentally knocked herself on the head with a hammer. What are you thinking, you foolish girl! This is Harry Potter, your best friend since your first year at Hogwarts!
"Hermione? Hermione? Are you alright?"
Hermione shook herself out of her reveries. "Hmm?? Oh, yes, I'm okay, I might be a bit cold, I think my left toe is suffering from frostbite, and I'm about to freeze, but really, other than that, I'm fine."
Harry laughed and wrapped his cloak around her, his hand resting on her shoulder. "You can go back if you want...but I think I'll stay a bit longer."
Hermione shook her head and whispered, "Nah, I want to stay here with you."
The next morning, Harry awoke at dawn. Next to him, Ron was still snoring away, oblivious of everything. Harry's mind wandered back to the night before. Nothing eventful had happened, and he and Hermione had both retreated back to their tents quite soon. However, Harry's mind stood on something else. "I want to stay here with you..." Hermione had said. It could have meant anything. It could have meant she didn't want to go back to the suffocating tent. It could have meant she wasn't tired. But Harry didn't care. To him, those simple words had meant everything.