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Harry was hurt and tired, that Dragons tail hitting him really hurt but he knew he would be back to normal the next day or so, Poppy always made sure of that, well that is unless she ever caught him calling her Poppy. Harry was waiting, he was sure Hermione was coming to check on him. He was sure she was worried for him. That hug she gave him before the task felt good and this time he was gonna man up and hug her first. He knew he shouldn't tense when she hugged him she'd never hurt him but thanks to the Dursleys he couldn't seem to help it, but this time he was gonna hug her first to show her how he felt, maybe even kiss her that would show her.
He had expected her long before but Harry finally saw her enter the medical tent, "Harry!" he only had eyes for her and he gave her his hug before she could do the same. He could feel her tense this time, but that was to be expected, he'd never done that before. She felt good in his arms, as she relaxed slightly maybe she liked it too. He held tight and pulled back slowly intent on giving her a kiss, he could play it off if she didn't like it, one kiss wouldn't hurt their friendship he was sure.
Harry was hugging her, had actually started the hug and was now holding it, she relaxed in to it but then felt him pulled away, luckily only slightly. She saw his eyes and there was caring there she was sure of it, and fear. What was he afraid of she thought before he surprised her but starting to lean forward, what was he doing was the question on her mind just before Harry tensed again, this time more than ever.
"Hey mate I think someone's trying to kill you!"
Harry stepped back completely and looked between the two. Hermione had brought Ron with her, he hadn't even noticed, but that's why she hadn't gotten there earlier. He then noticed how close the two were standing and took another step back. He hadn't expected that but maybe he should have, Hermione had been trying to get them to talk since his name had come out of that blasted cup, and before today he wanted to talk to him too but now seeing them together he no longer did. It all made sense now, Hermione must like Ron and Harry knew Ron liked her back, maybe not for the same reasons but he did. Harry sighed and looked down for a moment making a decision he thought he'd never had to make but it was obvious what he needed to do. Harry looked up into Hermione's eyes to do it.
"Thank you for everything you've done for me Hermione I couldn't have done any of this without you." He heard the sadness and finality in his own voice and from the shocked even confused look that was forming on hers' so did Hermione but he knew this needed to be done, he couldn't do this with the feelings he was now starting to have for her if she already had those same feelings for Ron and that much was certain, everything now made sense, how she sat with him in the infirmary after Padfoot's bite the year previous year, there were so many other little things that he had missed over the last year. Same as he missed his own feelings for the bushy hair girl, he was stupid on so many levels and now he was paying for it. This wouldn't be so hard if he had seen it before but he hadn't and now it was too late to stop those feelings. Maybe it was a good thing the Dursleys took anything they thought he could possibly love from him, it now made this easier if even just a little.
Harry looked between the two of them one last time, Ron looked lost, but that really was normal and Hermione looked to be trying to figure something out but was confused. Harry passed by them and Pavarti who was right behind them, her eyes were wide as saucers and she was looking between the three of them.
Harry's hug felt great to Hermione and then it seemed like he was going to kiss her, but then Harry stopped and said he did not want to be friends anymore, DID HE REALLY SAY THAT? It sounded a lot like that, but he sounded like he really did not want it to, but he did, what did she do? Hermione brain froze but by the time her thinking processes started again Harry was gone and Ron was looking at her just as confused as she felt but he was used to that, she certainly wasn't.
Harry left the tent alone heading towards the castle when Pavarti passed him heading towards the empting stands, he didn't care who she told he needed to be alone, he needed to get used to that again. He didn't know what he was going to do for the rest of the tournament, he was telling Hermione the truth, he only survived this far because of her and now he was going to have to do it alone. Luckily she had taught him a little about researching so he should be ok he would just have to focus more.
Hermione left the tent slowly her head bent in thought. What did she do? Was he mad at her, if so why? Hermione made it to the front doors of the castle when she was stopped from behind by Padma. "What happened?"
Hermione stopped and looked at her confused so Padma explained. "With Harry, why would he say something like that?" Hermione felt the tears before she could stop them.
"I don't know what I did wrong." She whispered and found herself in a hug by the Ravenclaw. That was a shock in of its self, they had a few classes together and got along fine but getting a hug from the witch was new.
Hermione found herself in an empty classroom with the door locked. "Work through it for me, what happened?" Padma asked as they sat beside each other on a bench, her arm around the still crying witch, she didn't care that her neck and shoulder was getting wet with tears she liked Hermione. They were a lot alike but so different at the same time. Pavarti said their likenesses were one of the things that turned her off from the bushy hair witch but Padma had found comfort in those things and had always hoped to get closer to the witch and maybe have the closeness she had missed with her sister. She both liked and hated being in different houses from her sister, she did need a little space from her sister but now they were growing farther apart. It was always bound to happen she knew but still she didn't have to like it.
When Hermione finally started to speak her voice was muffled being still buried in her shoulder but Padma could still understand. "I went to see him before the task and gave him a hug, I knew he was so scared so was I, but that Rita ruined everything when she interrupted snapping a picture of us. We jumped apart. Then later I was so worried watching him trying to get that egg that I raced to see him in the tent. He hugged me, he actually hugged me and then he pulled back slowly to look me in the eye. That's when Harry tensed, even more than normal."
"Why would he do that? What happened to make him tense?"
"It doesn't take anything he always tenses when I hug him."
Padma sighed Hermione was missing something and so started again. "Ok, he normally tenses up but he didn't start that way this time, what changed to make him tense this time?"
"Ron said he reckoned someone was trying to kill him." Hermione shrugged it was the only thing that happened but that wouldn't make Harry tense.
"Wait, wait, wait! When did Ron get there? I thought they were fighting?" Padma asked to clarify.
"He was right beside me; he wanted to apologize to Harry?" Hermione asked confused.
"So you brought him?" Padma asked frowning as she rubbed Hermione back. Hermione still had her head buried and she pulled back but Padma kept her arms around the girls' shoulder and waist.
"Well yes, Ron caught me just outside the tent and said he needed to tell Harry he was sorry."
Hermione watched as the wheels turned in Padma's head her eyes darting side to side slightly as she put pieces together that only she could see, and Hermione wondered if she looked like that when she did the same thing. Finally Padma looked at Hermione as if a light came on. "Are you dating Ron?"
"What, NO. Why would you ask that?"
"You said Harry hugged you first, but he didn't tense until he noticed Ron was there. They were fighting, and you brought Ron there to make up. What if Harry didn't want to make up with Ron, what if he liked it to be just the two of you, if he liked you but thought you were interested in Ron what would Harry do?" Hermione's tears started to fall again when she realized Harry would exactly what he had, separated himself from her.
"What do I do?" Hermione wailed as she buried her head back into Padma's shoulder.
"I don't know Hermione, but I guess the first thing to change is how you hug him." Hermione pulled back wiping her tears way so she could see clearly. "I've seen the way you hug him Hermione and I'm not surprised he tenses at times, you're very aggressive. Slow down to let him know he's getting a hug, I think he might not tense so much, everything you do should be done slow, get under his defenses so to speak. Let him get used to the feeling without realizing it."
"You really think that will work?" Hermione asked skeptically.
Padma pulled back and removed her hand from where she had slowly over the last few moments moved it from Hermione's waist to lightly cupping her breast without Hermione even being aware of it happening. Hermione gasped and looked in shock at Padma's thin smirk, what Padma had done surprised Hermione. Padma had been so slow Hermione had not even felt her do move her hand to her breast but Hermione was intrigued so she would let it slide, if it works with Harry that is. Hermione nodded for Padma to continue so she did, still with a smirk. "Yes I do, but I don't think its right that he tenses that much especially with you, everyone knows you two belong together, and probably would have been long ago if it wasn't for that Ron. I've heard a lot about him from Pavarti, I'm sorry but I don't know why either of you are friends with him."
"He's Harry's first friend and he saved my life."
Padma thought for a moment. "Did he?" She asked skeptically. "From what I've heard that doesn't sound like him, maybe you ought to reexamine that day also, you might find your missing something again." Hermione nodded but she was too deep in thought to give any more of an answer.
Hermione stepped into the common to pandemonium; Fred and George must have started a party for Harry, a big one. She looked around dodging the partiers to find Harry, figuring if he was there he'd be in a dark corner but he didn't seem to be, but after finding Neville in one she went to him to ask. "Neville where's Harry?"
"Um upstairs Hermione, he said he was tired, I don't blame him but he looked really down." Hormone nodded at this.
"Yeah I'm sure he is, could you go and make sure he is alone, I really need to talk to him, but he may not want to talk to me."
Neville looked at the sadness in her eyes and nodded his acceptance.
"Hey Harry, you OK?"
"Yeah Neville, just tired." Harry said never looking from the canopy above his bed.
"Yeah I bet I'll just leave you alone then." Harry then heard Neville talking to Seamus.
"Man Neville I don't want to go down there, I'm fine right here with my magazine and my Butterbeer."
Harry heard a scuffle before the door opened again but didn't look over as Seamus complained again. "Oh come on Neville I said I…Oh…um Ok." Harry heard the door close and almost chuckled and would have if he was in even half a mood to do so but at the moment he wasn't, he'd have to thank Neville later, that is until he looked over and found Hermione biting her lip looking down at him.
Harry looked over to Ron's bed but it was empty and he didn't see him behind her. "Um Hermione this is the boys dorm?" He was laying there with just his boxers and a t-shirt, she'd already seem him like that before but now he was starting to get self-conscious. "Um where's Ron?" Harry was becoming even more self-conscious; she hadn't said a thing she was just staring at him until finally she whispered.
"We need to talk."
"Um Ok what do you want to talk about?" Harry asked but still she just watched him. Harry was about to ask again when finally she did something he never expected. She moved onto his bed and laid her head on his shoulder and moved her arm across his chest. He tensed not knowing what she was doing but after a few minutes he relaxed only then did she reach over to pull his other arm to lie along hers.
Hermione for her part could not believe what she was doing. It seemed Padma may have been right and once he relaxed again if he does not kiss her she would take the chance and kiss him but she would wait for that a little while longer.
Finally she couldn't take it anymore and she looked up and kissed the edge of his lips, just as far as she could without him looking down at her. The kiss had the desired effect and he looked down surprised by the kiss and she kissed lightly this time on her intended target. Then she surprised herself by her question. "Did you like it?" she asked in a quiet and worried voice.
Harry found he couldn't speak so he nodded. Hermione smiled and asked another. "So why don't you kiss me back?"
Harry was taken aback but he recovered quickly with a glance to the bed beside his and question of his own. "But…?"
Hermione didn't answer but continued look expectantly up at him. She wasn't going to push him he needed to make this decision on his own but all too soon she was getting worried it was taking several minutes and still he just watched her until she finally laid her head back on his chest to give him time but it was only there a second when Harry kissed the top of her head. Hermione looked up, hoping to get more and got what she wanted.
Harry couldn't believe Hermione wanted him to kiss her, and he was still undecided and worried about what could happen if he did until she turned from him putting her head back on his chest. Hoping for the best he kissed her forehead and when she looked up he kissed again but this time on her lips. She didn't pull away and neither did he for several long seconds and when he did she was smiling giving him heart to kiss again and when that kiss ended he kissed her again. Each kiss was getting longer and longer. Until Hermione laid her head back down against his chest with a smile. "So you like kissing me?"
"Yes I do."
"Me or just girl's in general?"
"I've never kissed another girl Hermione."
"So if Ginny had done what I just did?"
Harry didn't know where this was heading but he answered truthfully. "Ron's sister, no."
"Not my type."
"Um Pavarti, she's beautiful."
"So are you, but no, she's too much like Lavender. Hermione?" Harry was getting worried.
"Yes she is, but I know next to nothing about her, are you trying to set me up?" Harry chocked out the last.
Hermione snuggled up against him and giggled. "No Harry, you already have a girlfriend and apparently we've been together since almost day one and I'm not letting you go now, once I've finally realized it. That is if you want me?"
Harry thought for a moment and Hermione was the one getting worried until Harry pulled her up and kissed her hard, and being far more adventurous then before he started to use his tongue, which she accepted happily. Several minutes later Hermione rolled out of the bed panting heavily. "Ok Harry, slowly, I'm not used to this kind of thing." Seeing Harry almost deflate she added. "Yet Harry yet but I should go before we do more than either of us are ready for." But as she got to the door she was spun around and Harry's lips found hers. The need she felt from him made her knees weak but she pulled back and smiled. "I'll see you in the morning." Just before the door shut Harry heard her say. "I really need to thank Padma."
Harry had slept great with dreams of Hermione dancing through his head but he entered the common room worriedly but the kiss from her chased those worries away and they walked to the Great Hall hand in hand but when they entered instead of heading to the Gryffindors table Hermione led him towards the Ravenclaws and Padma in particular. When Padma looked up and saw their hands she smiled brightly. "All worked out then?"
Hermione set Harry on one side of Padma while she took the other. "Yes thanks to you."
Padma blushed beside him and Harry looked to Hermione to clarify, but she just smiled and started to whisper into Padma's ear, whose eyes widened at whatever Hermione was saying. Finally Hermione was finished and Padma leaned to Harry and he bent his head closer to her giving him a good view of her breakfast. He had noticed there wasn't much meat. "I told her to go slow I didn't tell her to climb into bed with you." She whispered making sure no one else could hear.
"It wasn't like that!" Harry whispered back making sure Padma didn't get the wrong idea about Hermione.
With his head still down he watched her hand slowly take his before she spoke. "I know Harry, just having you on, I'm glad it worked I just wouldn't have done it that way."
Harry looked to Hermione worriedly but she was smiling so he smiled. "Well whatever you said I thank you." he thanked her before starting on his breakfast.
Harry almost choked when Hermione spoke a few minutes later.
"Padma are you interested in joining us, we'd both love you too?" Padma apparently misunderstood too because she dropped her fork as she spun to face Hermione. "With the tournament Padma, are you interested in helping us study for the tournament." She added with a smile, she knew exactly how her question had sounded and was playing with them.
Padma glared at Hermione for a moment and Harry thought she was on his side but then she laughed. "Of course Hermione, you'll need all the help you can with Harry." Harry's head dropped to an open spot on the table with a thud.
"Two beautiful smart-aleck's, I'm so dead." Both girls' beams at the praise not that Harry saw it he was too busy thumping his head on the tabletop again.
Over the next two weeks Harry found having two very smart girls on your side was great. They worked together researching and teaching him spells even if they were learning them at the same time. He had even gotten used to getting hugs from Padma and kisses from Hermione often. He even hugged Padma when she figured out the egg. Having spent many summers back home near the ocean she had heard many animals both above and below the water and had figured out the need to listen to it under water within the first hour after hearing it screeching. It didn't matter to either Harry or Hermione that it was only a guess and Harry hugged Padma until he realized what he done and backed off looking down expecting to be reprimanded but none came. He looked up and both girls were smiling and it became a three-way hug. Her later solution of using gilly-weed earned her even more hugs from both and a kiss on the cheek from Hermione and the look giving Harry permission to do the same which he did made Padmas' day.
Then the ball was announced and on the same day Harry was held back after class and told he would need to open the ball with his partner. Having a partner wasn't the problem he had a girlfriend for that but opening the ball was, he couldn't just hide in the background like he preferred and that wasn't even the worst part, he needed to dance with his partner and he didn't know how to dance. That night at dinner, as he sat between Hermione and Padma, which had somehow become normal no matter if they were at the Gryffindors or Ravenclaws table, Hermione solved the dancing issue. "Well I know a few dances and I'm sure Padma knows a few others," she looked across him and Padma nodded. ", We'll just incorporate dancing into your normal tournament training." It sounded simple but was it really?
It wasn't, dancing with Hermione wasn't so bad, for Harry that is, but for Hermione's feet not so much. The problems arose when it was Padma's turn to take over. At first Harry didn't know where to place his hands, he thought he couldn't put his hands in the same places as he had with Hermione but he was wrong. Padma finally had to place his hands on her hips but Harry still wouldn't keep them there. Padma knew it wasn't her that was the problem, it was the intimacy issues Harry still had. He only hugged her for the first time not too long before and it took awhile to get him to do that. Padma knew nothing would ever happen between Harry and her but if Hermione was willing to allow that kind of contact she wasn't going to complain, they had talked at length about it and Hermione was adamant that Harry needed the contact with another female friend and she trusted Padma to be that friend to Harry. So Padma pushed through her own intimacy issues, she'd never had much contact with boys; Pavarti was the outgoing one, 'the tease' as Padma liked to call her. But sadly Pavarti wasn't teasing anyone at the moment. Who knew that the simple suggestion of Ron asking Lavender out, purely for selfish reasons of course, would have had such an adverse effect on Pavarti? With her best friend having a boyfriend Pavarti was alone and down, it was too bad Padma herself had taken the second best guy in school away practically giving him to Luna but Luna was far better for Neville then her sister but then again Pavarti had calmed down a lot without Lavenders influence.
Padma had to stop that line of thinking too focus on Harry. "Harry is something wrong with me?" she asked as she placed his hands back where they belonged.
"No Padma but…" Harry stammered.
"Good then keep your hands where they belong and for this dance they belong here." She emphasized their placement by placing her hands on top of his. Harry was so nervous after that that Padma had to limp away after only three attempts at a new dance.
"Padma I'm so sorry, what can I do?" Harry pleaded, he'd stepped on Hermione's feet a few times but this was way too much. Harry was expecting a blood trail.
"You could rub my feet." Padma stated before she realized what she was saying but before she could take it back Hermione jumped on it surprising Padma and Harry alike.
"That's a great idea! Please Harry?" Padma may have been surprised but she liked the idea so when Harry turned to her she smiled and nodded. "And Padma's first." Padma turned to Hermione but the smile on her face proved she meant it, so she sat and started on removing her shoes for Harry.
Harry was a quick learner as Padma told him where and how to rub her sore red feet and once he was done he turned to his girlfriend to start on hers.
"Thank you Harry," Hermione started as he started on her sore feet. ", Now that Padma has trained you correctly." She smirked knowingly at Padma who frowned but it was all in good fun and when Hermione said she was good he went back to Padma feet for a few extra minutes and it was Padma's turn to smirk making Hermione laugh which ended up being contagious.
The days leading up to the ball found Harry's dancing acceptable to both Hermione and Padma and as they were cleaning up their practice room Harry just had to ask. "Padma who is your date for the ball?" he hadn't seen her with anyone, he hadn't had many classes in fact only one with her but between classes she spent all her time with Hermione and him so he had no idea who she was going with and her answer stunned and infuriated him.
"I don't have a date."
"Why, is it because you spend so much time with us, because if it is, this tournament isn't as…"
"Stop right there. This tournament is so much more important than this stupid ball!" Padma said emphatically.
"Your right Padma it isn't, but you…"
"No Harry, this tournament is important because you are more important," Tears were now streaming down her face. Harry turned to Hermione for help and found her in the same state. ", I can't...herm… Hermione can't…"
Hermione come up from behind Padma and wrapped her arm around her waist placing her head on her shoulder. "WE…We can't loss you Harry!" Padma bent her head towards Hermione in comfort.
Harry stepped closer and wrapped both girls in a hug he needed comfort too. He did not even notice how close Padma was to him.
The day before the Ball Padma was ecstatic she'd been asked to the ball, he was a sixth year and so she knew next to nothing about him, other than he was good at Charms much like her, and apparently he wasn't bad looking either, but Harry just couldn't see it.
The night of the Ball Harry was stunned, Hermione came down in an emerald green dress, and it showed off all her curves, her hair was off to one side and magnificent and her smile could light up a dark room.
After the first dance with the most gorgeous girl there, Harry found himself keeping track of the second most gorgeous, he caught Hermione's smile when she caught him doing it. "You should dance with her; she gave you most of these moves." She said with a smile.
"Don't you Hermione me, Harry you know you want too and I want you too, she is our friend."
Hermione danced them closer to Padma and her tall blond date before twirling out Harry's arms only to seamlessly slip between Padma and her date taking over Padma's spot. They'd practiced that move and it went off without a hitch as Padma slipped in to Harry's arm with a surprised look. Padma hadn't expected to use that move once she had her own date but here she was in Harry's arms, and finding herself wanting to be there more than anything.
As the dance, progressed Harry found himself dancing closer to Padma then he ever had before, it felt natural almost as natural as dancing with Hermione, but the dance ended and they separated to rejoin with their dates.
Harry continued to keep an eye on Padma, Hermione smiled each time he looked her way. "I'm watching too, Harry I'm watching too."
On their next training day, Harry thought they were going to train but when he entered, he found the record player back and Hermione waiting patiently. Padma stopped abruptly as she entered behind him also, not expecting this set up either. Seeing the question on their faces, Hermione answered. "Padma you did not get the benefit of all your hard work helping Harry learn to dance so I thought we should dance some more. It's only fare."
Harry and Padma danced almost exclusively while Hermione played slower and more intimate music with each new song. Harry and Padma were soon dancing very close and it was getting very hot. Harry looked into Padma's eyes and lost himself as Padma did the same to his. As the song ended, they got closer and their lips were just moments away from touching until they did. Both were in heaven Harry almost slid his tongue across her lips begging for entrance when they both realized what they had done and sprang apart. Harry searched for the third person in the room, Hermione his girlfriend, possibly ex-girlfriend after that kiss as Padma attempted to bolt from the room finding Hermione leaning against the door with a smile.
"Oh Hermione I'm so sorry I didn't mean to kiss him." Padma cried while Harry stood staring blankly at his girlfriend, his mind frozen.
Padma dropped to her knee's crying, and Harry was confused as his mind started working again. 'Why was Hermione smiling and how worried should he be?'
Hermione stepped forward and pulled Padma up and into a hug and more confusion. Hermione opened her arm for Harry to join in the hug. "I've been trying to get you two to kiss for so long, you are both so infuriation sometimes you know that?" Hermione laughed after the two 'Whats?' That nearly popped her eardrums. Hermione sadly shook her head, 'they can be so dunce sometimes it's going to be a long conversation but maybe some kissing will help'.
It was three goofy grinned teens, which entered the great hall for dinner that night. They sat across from Luna and Neville, who both looked the teens over. "Finally figured it out Harry, Padma?" Luna finally asked with a smile.
Hermione's eyes widened in realization, that Luna had known about her plan. "Luna I could have used some help, these two have just been…Uggg." Hermione finally said dejected she was at a loss of words at her own frustration at trying to get her boyfriend and girlfriend together.
"Um Luna you don't mind the idea?" Padma asked. A wizard having two girl friends was out of the norm in Brittan that is.
"Oh no I'd like the idea." Luna said taking a quick look at Neville who was at a loss as to what was being said but somehow knew it involved him.
Padma then smiled. "Oh then might I suggest my sister?" Padma was still miffed she ruined Pavarti's chances with Neville but if Luna was willing, she knew Pavarti would be. They would just have to convince Neville. Padma looked at her sister a few places down, she knew Pavarti had very good hearing and she was not disappointed. Pavarti's face lit up at the thought, even if she did not know Luna very well, if at all but she was willing to try if Luna was. Pavarti looked at Luna and saw the smile she was hoping for and squealed before moving to Neville's other side.
Neville was shy but not stupid, being scrunched tightly between two witches and seeing Harry with two apparent girlfriends, he put two and two together and came to the correct conclusion as to what Luna and Padma were talking about. Neville wide eyed turned to his girlfriend questioningly who nodded with a smile. Neville grinned and gave his girlfriend a quick kiss before turning to Pavarti on his other side and very lightly and quickly kissed her before returning to his plate beet red while the two girls smiled at each other and set to their own meals as Hermione huffed.
"What's wrong?" Harry asked worriedly.
"I worked so hard and…and Padma just…" Hermione motioned to the new threesome in front of her.
Padma smiled and looked across Harry. "Hermione dear, you took my advice to the extreme but there is such a thing as being too sneaky; it can work against you sometimes." She finished with a smirk.