Taking That Walk
Series: Driven to Distraction
Spoilers: PS, CoS, PoA, GoF
Summary: Harry and Hermione go for that walk.
DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and
owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to
Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros.,
Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is
Author notes: You guys are bastards, do you know that? I said "No
sequel." You said, "Oh please!?" And then, just to really get to me, you
all write really pretty yummy reviews! Well, me being the kinda girl I am,
I feel bad about leaving you all hanging there like that, don't I? So here
it is. The sequel that was never meant to be. Thank you to Amelia
(akscully) for looking over this baby for me. You rock my world, love.
And may I just say, this story was hellishly hard to write. Do not ask me
Harry Potter was holding her hand. He was holding *her* hand as they were
heading out towards the Entrance Hall, and no number of eyes upon them, or
quiet giggles or whispers could distract her from the one buzzing thought
that went around and around in her poor tortured mind.
He was holding her hand and it was all unmitigated madness.
This was so for a variety of reasons. First of all, despite their
ridiculously close bond that had been unerring for the nigh on seven years
they had known one another, never had it strayed into this sort of thing
before, this sort of - silliness. With the hands being held and the
smiling at one another so that her cheeks burnt up and her insides with
them. Second of all, she had never even *looked* at Harry in that way
until a - rather embarrassing conversation a few days ago. It really was
such a stupid matter of certain people burrowing their noses into matters
in which they had no business. Why, her cheeks burnt an even deeper red at
the memory of it.
Everything in her world was perfectly ordered, perfectly sane. At least
until that horrid discussion after a late-night studying session that
combined sleep deprivation, sleep-avoiding potions, too much caffeine and
one too many treacle-toffees.
Lavender looked up from her text and frowned. "I need a break. My brain
is turning into one of Neville's disasters in Potions."
Neville glanced up at her and frowned. "Gee, thanks!"
Lavender gave him a wide but blatantly false grin. "No problem,
Parvati sighed, pushing her book away. "I can't stand this any longer. I
need a break too. Even if it is five minutes." She looked about to Harry.
"Do you have any more of those lovely treacle-toffees?"
Hermione lifted a brow at her. "Are you sure you want to venture
swallowing any more of those? Your teeth will be glued together for hours."
She stopped for a moment and smirked at the beautiful Indian girl across
the table from her. "Harry, do give her another."
Parvati narrowed her eyes at Hermione, who sniggered and by doing so, broke
Parvati's scowl. They both chuckled at each other. Harry shrugged and
passed Parvati his bag of lollies.
"Let's all take a break!" Lavender said, leaning over and closing Ron's
book. Ron blinked, and although looking puzzled, didn't seem to mind the
intrusion to his study.
"It can't be too long," said Hermione, eyes glued to her book, waving her
quill about as she spoke. "The NEWTs are far too close for lazing about."
"Oh, I don't mean for hours," said Lavender, rolling her eyes. "Just for
fifteen minutes. You know what they say - every hour or so you should take
a break." She slapped shut Hermione's book. "So break already."
Hermione sat up, sighing and crossing her arms. "You could have let me
finish my sentence."
Harry sighed, throwing his book shut and leaning back on the couch he sat
on with Hermione. He patted her knee and smiled. "Don't worry. Finish it
now before you forget what you meant to write."
She leant forward, frowning at her parchment, bottom lip under her teeth.
Grabbing her quill she scribbled at it for a minute, then sighed with
relief, leaning back on the couch with Harry. "That's better."
Lavender shook her head. "You know she'll never quit the habit of
compulsive studying if you keep encouraging her like that."
Harry looked affronted and put an arm around Hermione, squeezing his hand
on her shoulder protectively, a glint of humour in his eyes. "What, and
sabotage the brains of my operations?"
Hermione tutted. "Heaven forbid you have to research for your own mischief-
making and adventuring."
Dean and Seamus sniggered.
"You kidding? Mr. Hero here do the dirty work?" smirked Ron. "Forget it!"
Harry stiffened indignantly. "I'm not the hero."
"No, anyone can just take out a sixty foot basilisk, easy!" Dean quipped.
Harry now squirmed, looking like he would rather disappear up his own colon
that to continue the current conversation. "Can we please talk about
Hermione eyed Harry and nodded. "Yes, perhaps we should change the
"All right," said Lavender, looking like the cat that ate the canary. She
cracked her knuckles and grinned. "Let's talk about. the Graduation Ball!"
Everyone at the table except Parvati groaned, and there wasn't a lot she
could articulate with her jaw glued shut with treacle.
"I'll take that as a 'Yes please, let's talk about that!' Hmm - I've
already picked my dress, it's so lovely! Have you, Hermione?"
Hermione gave a grumpy sniff and looked away. "I haven't even thought
about it yet. I'm too busy trying to pass my NEWTs."
Lavender's mouth went into a round 'o' and she gasped. "You're joking!!
But it's only a month away!"
Hermione lifted a brow. "You've obviously mistaken me for someone who
gives a stuff."
Parvati took the moment to prise her own jaw open and she grabbed at
Hermione's hand. "Dear girl, it's the single-most important social event
in the entire seven years of going to this school! Next you're going to
tell us you haven't got a date yet!"
Hermione lifted the other brow. "Erm."
Lavender let out a terrified yelp, and all the boys in the room jumped a
clear foot in the air. "My God!" She flapped her hands and looked to
Parvati. "I don't know if I can handle this."
"Oh, for goodness sakes!" sighed Hermione. "There are things in this world
more important than Balls!"
Everyone surrounding Hermione stared at her a split second, eyes growing
glassy, before breaking up into howling laughter. Hermione was now red as
a beetroot and a sniggering Harry was consoling her with a fond shoulder-
rubbing. It took the group some minutes to calm down, even a giggling
"Oh, that one *has* to go into the school yearbook!"
"Oh, God!" Hermione gasped. "Please no!"
"It's at least an in-joke to last till the end of time," giggled Parvati.
Lavender looked to be having trouble wiping the grin off her face.
"Seriously though, this is important. You need a date for the Ball!"
"And I'll get one," said Hermione, gripping her own knees with a glint of
murder in her eyes. "But right now I'm-"
"Blindly obsessed with the NEWTs," supplied Lavender.
"Who would you take?" asked Parvati, leaning on a hand, eyes misty with
that sickening look of romanticism.
Hermione opened her mouth, closed it, and blushed deeply, folding her arms.
"I don't believe I want to talk about that."
Thing was - who *was* she going to take? She quite simply hadn't thought
of it yet. She glanced about at the boys around her - well, she *said*
boys but they looked more like men now, which was a little terrifying in
the current situation. She felt herself burning up on the inside as she
saw both Seamus and Dean shift nervously under her gaze. She glanced to
Ron, and he gaped like a suffocating fish. Her eyes flew to her own lap
and she decided that she didn't want to think about this anymore. She
didn't even want to *dare* to look at Harry. She simply couldn't imagine
that look of horror in his green eyes. It would have killed her.
"There's only a few boys left too," cooed Lavender.
"Listen," Hermione said sharply, "I simply do not want to think about such
- unnecessary nonsense! Unlike *some* people in this room, I'm thinking
about my future!" She grabbed the books closest to her, stuffing her
scrolls inside them and nabbing her quill and ink from the table, the
result of which looked like a cross between a tree and a library on legs.
She glanced at everyone about her, and in her vexed state forgot that she
didn't want to look at Harry and looked dead at him.
Much to her horror, the whole world just dropped. Or was it just her
stomach? She couldn't tell. All that she knew was that she suddenly felt
rather dizzy and hideously embarrassed all at once. Her heart began to
race and every hair on her body prickled like someone had blown the little
hairs on the back of her neck, and her insides yawned so wide she felt like
she was going to be sick. That was it. She was going to be sick.
He was looking up at her, thick dark brows tilted up, eyes gleaming with
something Hermione could only interpret as sympathy. Hermione knew she was
no Parvati Patil, no Cho Chang, and no Fleur Delacour. She was a thorough
plain-Jane, Harry's ever present Girl Friday, and the last thing she had
ever wanted to do was to become attracted to the bastard. Which is exactly
How could it not? With all the talk of balls and dates and the caffeine
and the sugar and Harry wrapping his arm around her and patting her *knee*.
Oh bloody Hell, Hermione thought, closing her eyes. This is a nightmare.
This is not happening.
No, it was. It was happening. The word 'date' had fallen from Lavender's
mouth and every boy in the room stopped being the boys she'd known since
age eleven and became the men she'd totally ignored growing up around her.
And damn it all to hell, Harry had to grow up so cute!
Not just cute. Handsome. The wild shaggy hair that he never seemed to be
able to control now just complemented his sharper, older features, the
square jaw, the long nose and chiselled lips. And his large emotive green
eyes just *had* to be framed in his spectacles so that they couldn't be
ignored even if one tried. Of course, that was just the face, no need to
even think about how tall he was or the shoulders he'd grown or the lean
muscled Quidditch figure.
It was at that point Hermione felt like breaking something - or dying. She
would decide upon which later. Seven years. She'd nearly made the seven
years without developing a crush on *anyone* in school. A crush that would
have distracted her from her important work. Right in the last month,
right with the finish-line within her grasp she was felled by the LAST
person she wanted to be taken with.
Her best friend. Her best friend! How bloody *corny* was that?! The only
way it could have been any more clichéd was if she was called Sally! No,
wait, there was one way it could have been worse. It could have been Ron
she was falling for, and that gave her a wave of horror totally new and
different to the one she was feeling for Harry.
She had to stop this insanity. She shot a sigh and stomped a foot on the
"I'm finishing these notes in my room! Good night!"
With that she strode off determinately, not listening to any whisperings or
mutterings the rest of her friends might have shared with one another.
She flew straight to her room, wondering how she got into the ridiculous
situation she found herself in. She was hysterical, that was it. It was
the stress of the NEWTs getting to her, making her think that she had some
feelings for her best friend. That was it.
There was a knock at the dorm door. She felt herself blushing hotly again,
and with a scowl she stormed over to the door and swung it open.
Ron was in the doorway, looking rather pale. "I was just checkin' on you,
to make sure you're okay." He gulped. "Harry and I were worried."
She narrowed her eyes with an angry thin smile. "Don't worry. *Desperate*
Hermione is just fine! *Desperate* Hermione will finish her notes like a
sad little grade A student and be the laughing stock of the entire seventh
"Not the entire year!" Ron replied. He shifted then. "Just with Lav and
Hermione's eyes widened and her lips thinned even more. She looked scarily
like an incensed Minerva McGonagall.
"Not that they matter!" cried Ron suddenly. "I mean, who cares about them
Letting out a long breath, calming herself some, Hermione nodded. "I
suppose you're right."
"Right," Ron nodded. "Besides, if you can't find a date, you can always go
with Harry or me, right?"
She glared at Ron, anger flaring up anew, and her knuckles went white as
she gripped the door. "Well, *thank* you for your charity!"
Ron gaped. "Now wait-"
"Good NIGHT Ron!"
With that she slammed the door closed. That, that - proposition! - was the
last thing she wanted. Going to the ball with Ron or . no it was worse -
going to the ball with Harry because she was too bloody pathetic to get her
own date. Forget it!
She half expected Harry to come up and check on her too, completing her
humiliation. She sat on her bed, beginning to scribble again at her
parchment. She grew more agitated as the time went on and Harry did not
come up to the room. Eventually Lavender and Parvati ascended the stairs
and with their noisy chatter got changed and climbed into their beds.
Harry still did not come to check on her.
She got changed herself and went to bed, hugging her single stuffed animal
that she would never admit to having and feeling utterly miserable. Her
neatly planned life had turned utterly upside-down in a matter of minutes
and there was nothing she could bloody well do about it.
Of course, that was five days ago. That was before the most embarrassing
turn of events in the library, where she couldn't even *study* with the boy
in the room without becoming thoroughly distracted. Before that she'd
avoided Harry (and therefore Ron) entirely, and convinced herself after
hours of such isolation that she did not, indeed, have any romantic
feelings for Harry. She felt a tenuous calm again, and could even have
lunch with Harry without as much as a heart-flutter, or a blush. Then the
bloody jerk *sighed* in front of her and her house of cards came crashing
Her poor brain couldn't handle it. Her poor brain couldn't even make sense
of the fact that the boy she shouldn't have been crushing on was happily
holding her hand and taking her outside to spend time with her.
"This is a pity walk, isn't it?" she said. "You pity me."
Harry gave a short laugh. "Absolutely not."
She frowned, looking down at her feet, speaking more to herself than
anyone. "I just can't figure this out."
Harry now smiled at her with humour, completely ignoring all the stares
they were getting from their student fellows. "What's to figure out?
We're going for a walk."
"Holding hands," Hermione said.
"Holding hands," nodded Harry.
"Doesn't that strike you as odd?" she asked him.
They stepped out of the front door into the courtyard out the front of the
school, walking next to Hogwarts' high parapet topped walls. It was this
way that went to laneway that in turn lead to the portcullis and then the
larger grounds that sprawled all the way to the lake. It was out here,
near the lake, that Hermione's favourite oak tree grew. There one could
gaze up at the castle that looked to be basking in the soft golden Scottish
sunlight, and then look over at the lake, glittering and rippling steadily.
Of course, Hermione was thinking of none of this. She was trying to talk
Harry into reason.
"Not particularly, no," Harry said. "It's quite nice, actually."
She blushed. "But Harry, this is *me* here! Hermione Granger, girl voted
to be most likely to read her way through Flourish & Blotts in one sitting!
The one person that needs five bottles of Sleekeazy's just to get her hair
to bloody well behave itself!" She'd become frantic now. "The same
Hermione that Ron took three years to realise that she was a member of the
opposite sex! Hermione! Plain, bookish, boring Hermione!"
Harry looked over his shoulder and smiled warmly at her. "I know."
She huffed. "Well! After Cho Chang and that odd girl from Beauxbatons
that was here on exchange-"
Harry glanced at her, looking thoroughly shocked. "How did you find out
She blinked, trying to keep her mind on her argument. She was rather
annoyed she'd been interrupted. "Harry, it didn't take a genius. When you
like a girl you get this funny look on your face when they're around. You
know, like they walked off with your brain and left the rest behind. Any
idiot could tell."
He lifted his brows slowly. "Really?"
A smirk grew on his features. "How fascinating."
Hermione frowned, stomping behind Harry as he led her to the oak. "My
point being, Mr. Potter-" An odd smile fluttered on Harry's face and she
fought to continue. "My point being that I am clearly not in the sort of
girl you are interested in. In fact!" She pointed triumphantly at him.
"I'm sure Lavender or Parvati would say I'm hardly in your league!"
Harry turned around as they reached the tree, cocking a brow. "First of
all, if you look at the girls I've been fond of in the past, all of them
were beautiful and incredibly smart, traits that you have in abundance."
Hermione felt herself blushing right to her toes. "Secondly, Lavender and
Parvati have been sitting in Trelawny's Tower far too long for their own
good. I think some of those funny smelling incenses melted their brains
out their ears long ago."
"If they ever had any to start with," muttered Hermione, folding her arms
with a dark scowl.
"Exactly," said Harry. He sat down, crossing his legs, pulling Hermione
down next to him and holding her hand, enclosing his other hand around it
idly. "And that league talk - it's utter nonsense. I didn't think I'd ever
hear it from you."
Hermione felt ashamed for a moment. She forgot that it probably made Harry
feel uncomfortable. "I'm sorry, it's just - when we first met you were
made a deal of, sure, but you were always just Harry to me. The same old
Harry I'd always known, sweet, quiet, loveable Harry. But - but then you
went and had to be bloody brilliant at Quidditch, and good looking, and all
heroic-" She stopped, blushing. "Well, you know what I mean." She drifted
off as Harry brought her hand to his lips and kissed the back of it softly.
"What are you doing?"
He just smiled at her. "What does it look like?"
She gulped. "Testing my skin for external poisons?"
His smile turned crooked in amusement. She thought she was going to swoon
any moment, but she forced herself not to. "Harry, are you listening to a
word I'm saying?"
"Of course I am," he said, "For some reason you've convinced yourself
you're not good enough for me, which is a load of codswallop."
"Yes!" she said. "It is codswallop!" She fell silent. "I don't know how
it even got to that subject!"
Harry looked up to the canopy of the oak above them, a thoughtfulness
fluttering across his features. "I think you were stating reasons why this
"It is madness," Hermione said.
Harry frowned. "You want it to stop?"
She glanced to him, bleating a terrified, "No!" before she could stop to
Harry sighed with relief. "Good. I'm still not entirely sure what the
"Harry," she said, taking a hold of his hands around hers. "It's not that
I'm not good enough for you, it's that I'm me! I'm Hermione! I'm your
"Exactly," said Harry, smiling softly at her. "It's why it all makes
She took a deep breath in to argue, but all thoughts left her. She just
sighed. "Yes." She frowned. "That's not what I was going to say."
Harry gave a cheeky smile. "What were you going to say?"
"I was going to say. I was going to ask you why you haven't ever really - I
mean you never liked me like this, why are you starting now?"
Harry's eyes glinted with mischief. "How do you know that I've never liked
you like that?"
She blinked, looking to him like it was obvious. "I told you, Harry, I can
He cocked a brow. "Well, I'm hardly going to advertise the fact to you, am
She frowned. "Why not?"
"Miss 'I dated Victor Krum, the World's Greatest Quidditch Player'?" he
said. "The girl that's my best friend? The girl that could hex me into
next week without batting an eyelash, who gave Ron merry hell for even
bringing up the concept of her going to the ball with them in fourth year-"
"I was a last resort, Harry," she said with a firm glare.
"Not this time," Harry said. "Not to me."
Hermione ducked her head down, her cheeks burning again. "Harry."
Harry shifted then, licking his lips nervously, twitching a little in that
young energetic way he was wont to do. He ducked his head down a little
too, trying to meet her eyes. "Would you like to go with me, Hermione? As
a date, as a proper date?" He looked away, blushing and rambling suddenly.
"I understand if you don't, I mean things have been rather-"
"Of course I do," she said, clutching his hands and looking up at him. "I
mean, yes. Yes."
"Good," he said, looking rather sheepish, "Cause I was really terrified
you'd say no."
"Don't be daft," she sighed, swatting his shoulder playfully. It wasn't
body or gangly anymore like it used to be, it was solid and wide, and quite
frankly, it made her heart skip more than a few beats. Harry glanced up to
her from watching their hands, fingers intertwined, a touch of fear and
uncertainty in his eyes that were green and vivid in the daylight.
"Hermione," he said, "I just. I have to tell you, or maybe warn you would
be a better word-" He frowned at himself. "Probably. Erm-"
Hermione frowned in confusion and concern. "What is it Harry?"
He looked up at her then, gulping and looking dizzy, and perhaps a little
ill. "I just have this feeling that I'm really going to enjoy being with
you at the Ball. Heck, I'm enjoying just sitting with you! The thing is,
something will happen."
He nodded. "Yes. I'll look at you. You might be in your Ball dress or
you might be just - studying or something. Just being you, I suppose, and
I'll notice something about you I never did before. And that'll be it."
Hermione gulped, feeling a little ill herself. "Oh?"
He nodded. "I'll be in love with you."
It was as if the ground disappeared and dropped her in a tank of hot water.
A hand shot to her mouth and she felt herself breathing so fast, her
heart thumping so madly that she couldn't even bring herself to speak.
Harry ducked his head down, looking almost ashamed.
"Worst thing is I don't know if I'll ever be able to crawl out of it, and I
don't know if I want to. So I - I just thought I'd let you know." He
looked up, gulping, nodding. "Sorry."
Her vision blurred as tears welled in her eyes, and she gulped herself,
disbelief stunning her. She clambered for breath, trying to calm her
"Sorry?" she said, "Sorry? My God, Harry, that was the single-most
romantic thing anyone's ever said to me!" She felt a sob developing in her
throat, but it wasn't one of sadness. "Sorry!" She huffed a harried laugh.
"You *are* a silly sod!"
Harry blushed and looked rather relieved, and he brought her knuckles to
his lips and dropped a soft kiss on them. Hermione tilted her head,
looking frustrated and overwhelmed all at once.
"You can kiss me, you know."
Harry glanced up at her, and the desire and disbelief in his good fortune
was clear in his features. A little dent grew between his brows as he
looked to her lips, licking his own and seeming thoughtful. He brought his
hands up, the both of them shaking as they ever so carefully cradled her
jaw, and with great care and tenderness, came forward and brought his lips
down upon hers.
A long deep sigh left Hermione as he pressed his lips against hers, and she
clutched his shoulders, everything around her growing distant as the
sensations at her mouth made her dizzy beyond reckoning. His lips fit so
wonderfully against hers, and she was sure there was nothing in the world
that felt so beautiful and right as this did. It was as if there was
chaos, and someone had tilted her perspective ever so slightly to make it
reason. It was the jigsaw puzzle that fell into place to give the picture
sense, the final clue that told the whole story.
They pulled away ever so slowly, never wanting the touch to end, and as
Hermione opened her eyes she saw Harry's expression and she was sure she'd
never seen him so lovely. His eyes were closed, a dent of deep
concentration in his forehead, brows tilted up, and he rolled his lips,
licking them slightly, showing such savour as if he'd sampled an expensive
delicacy. He nodded then, swallowing and sighing.
"I think that was it," he said, and finally opening his eyes he met hers.
"I'm sorry to be so premature."
She just shook her head at him, the tears that had welled up spilling down
her face. "Stop apologizing and kiss me again, you git."
Harry grinned, sliding his hands up her neck and sinking his fingers into
her hair. "Nothing on God's green earth would give me more pleasure."