Chapter 1: Check Mate
"Knight to H3," Ron commanded, gripping the neck of the stone chess piece. It moved slowly, almost painfully, towards the white queen. The continuous dragging sound of marble against marble was heard, but suddenly stopped once Ron got to his place. The marble to marble screech was heard again as the queen moved towards the knight, stopping directly beside it/
A loud CRASH vibrated against the marble walls, sending chills down Harry's spine. Hermione took a step forward but was stopped by the raven haired wizard.
"No! We're still playing!" Hermione froze, stepping back into her position. Harry turned his gaze towards the king, his face showing determination. He stepped forward, following Ron's plan to check the king. Before he knew it his feet froze, sticking to the board like glue. "Check mate," he stated, watching as the sword fell from the king's hands.
At this, Hermione ran from her spot. She crouched next to Ron and cradled his body in her arms. Harry slowly walked over to her, cautiously as to not startle her. She placed her hand on his chest as she checked for a heartbeat.
Harry heard her sigh a breath of relief. "He's still breathing but he needs help," she whispered, looking up at Harry with teary eyes. He nodded, crouching down next to her. He looked down at Ron, placing his hand on the pureblood's knee encouragingly.
Hermione turned her gaze to Harry, her look stern. "Ron's right, Harry. You're the one that has to go on. Not us." Harry nodded again, locking his green eyes with chocolate brown ones. "You're a great wizard, Harry. I hope you know that," Hermione mumbled, her cheeks turning a light pink.
Harry gulped, watching as Hermione turned to face Ron again. "I'm not as good as you," he argued, giving his friend a shy smile. Hermione turned back to him, her expression softer than before. "Wit and cleverness! There are more important things- friendship and bravery."
Harry's ears turned bright pink at the compliment, sending Hermione another shy smile. Hermione returned it graciously, laying a hand on his shoulder. "Thank you"
Harry raised an eyebrow. "Thank you? Why are you saying thank you?" Hermione's smile grew. "You saved me from that troll on Halloween." Harry shook his head, making Hermione's smile droop. "I didn't save you, Ron did. He's the one you should be thanking."
Hermione shook her head, grabbing Harry by the shoulders. "That might be so, but Ron wasn't the one who realized where I was. You were the one who came looking for me. Ron helped, yes, but without you he wouldn't have even been in that bathroom. Without you, Harry, I'd probably be dead."
Harry stared into the brown orbs, stiff as a statue. Hermione released his shoulders, wearily turning her gaze back to Ron. Harry swore he saw her cheeks turn red. "You should go," she said, her voice cracking a bit. "Stop Snape before he gets the stone. This is your mission, not mine." Harry tore his gaze away from the curly haired witch, having one last look at his red-haired friend.
He shakily stood up, using a broken chunk of a chess piece for stability. Hermione didn't even glance at him as he turned away, walking towards the exit.
"Harry," she called, her face turning to watch him once again. He turned around. "Yes Hermione?" He watched as Hermione gently set Ron down, before rushing over to him.
With a loud OOF, Harry was encapsulated into a bear hug by his best friend. He slowly wrapped his arms around her and they remained there for a couple of seconds. Finally, Hermione pulled away.
She gingerly placed her hand atop Harry's cheek. She looked up at him before placing a soft kiss on it. Sparks flew through Harry's body, his heart thumping out of his chest. His cheeks turned red and his mouth dry. Hermione pulled away, keeping her eyes glued to him.
"Oh Harry, do be safe," she pleaded, concern filling her voice. Harry gulped once again before nodding. "Will do," he answered before watching Hermione strode off towards Ron.