Author: Katie A.
Author E-mail: email@example.com
Category: Romance, Humor
Keywords: Harry Hermione Ron Pansy Draco Ginny Mistletoe
Spoilers: For all four books
Summary: It seems Dumbledore has finally lost his last marble when he puts mistletoe above the doors to the great hall.
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 intended.
Author's Note: This was written for the Witch Weekly Christmas Challenge, in which the following items and phrases were required:
1. A paperback book containing awful, awful smut (title possibly containing the word "throbbing")
2. A quilt
3. "And you're looking down there because…?"
4. A leather trenchcoat
5. The feather of a male duck
6. "The horses keep her up at night."
7. Orange vinyl pants
8. A pink cat
9. "My favorite letter is 'h'."
10. Purple frilly bathrobe
11. Yellow polka-dotted socks, of the wet variety
12. "You can't ride a bent broom!"
I will not swoon, I will not swoon, I will absolutely not swoon,Hermione chanted to herself, reaching their appointed meeting place.
She didn't know why Harry wanted to talk in private, though she had her guesses. Perhaps he had noticed and wanted to talk it over. Then again, that didn't seem like the kind of thing Harry would do. He never sat down and talked with Ginny, but then again, it wasn't set in stone that he and Ginny had to remain friends. Ginny wasn't his best friend and sidekick. Ginny was just a girl with a crush, something he could ignore.
Nevertheless, she smiled as she opened the door and walked in. She didn't have to make her pain obvious.
Harry stood, grinning from ear to ear. He had something up his sleeve, something she wasn't sure she wanted to know about.
Before she had time to even say 'hello', she was grabbed roughly by the upper arms and pressed up against the know closed door.
"Harry," she gasped, shocked - pleasantly, that is.
He silenced any inquiries she might have made with a rather enthusiastic kiss. A few moments later, Hermione woke up.
With a muffled groan, she rolled over in her bed in the dark dormitory, pulling her handmade quilt closer. She desperately wished the dreams would stop. While they were awfully nice when she was asleep, they had a slight tendency to make her miserable the next day.
She shivered, realizing just how cold her room had become. The window had frosted over, she noticed, and she crept out of bed and hurried across the room to peer outside. The floor was terribly cold, numbing her feet. Rubbing a circle on the glass, she realized with a large smile that it had begun to snow.
She took a seat in her chair by the window, summoning her quilt over to keep her warm. As she stared out, her thoughts began to wander. Was Harry sleeping? Was he sprawled out under his covers, peaceful? Highly unlikely. Harry was plagued with nightmares, she knew. Perhaps he was lying awake, or even sitting by his window, just as she was. She let her forehead rest against the glass. Perhaps, even, he was thinking about her. Hermione shook away the thought quickly. It just wasn't sensible to fantasize and hope like that. She knew it was more than likely that he didn't feel anything but friendship for her, and she would just have to live with it, no matter how hard that was.
A knock on her door interrupted her thoughts, and, shivering, she went to answer it. Warily, she opened it a crack, peering into the hallway, only to find a pair of bright green eyes awaiting her.
"I thought you might be awake," he said, coming in without waiting to be invited.
"What would make you think that?" she asked curiously.
"I don't know," he replied with a trace of discomfort. "Maybe I have the Eye."
She smiled slightly and gestured for him to sit down, knowing something must have possessed him to think -- or perhaps hope -- that she was awake, and miserable or not, she was eager to find out what it was.
"It's snowing," he stated, lips curving faintly at some unspoken comment. Hermione wondered what it was that he was thinking.
Hermione nodded, sat back, and waited. He didn't need to be questioned, she knew. Harry would speak when he was ready to.
"I had a nightmare," he confessed, staring out the unfrosted circle of the window. "I mean, not just any nightmare. This one was different. It really got to me."
Hermione watched him sympathetically. Her arms ached to just embrace him, wash away his pain somehow.
"Want to tell me about it?" she ventured, knowing a disturbing nightmare might be forbidden territory, as far as conversation topics went.
"No," he replied, sounding very strained. "I'd rather not think about it again."
Hermione hesitated. "Is there anything I can do?"
"Can you just sit here with me for awhile? I don't want to keep you up, though…"
"Don't worry about it. I would have been up for awhile anyway." She changed the subject, hoping that a little chatter would turn Harry's thoughts elsewhere. "Have you noticed the way Ron's been looking at Hannah Abbot lately? I swear, you can see stars in his eyes."
Harry's expression lightened considerably as his mouth curled upward. "Poor Hannah."
Hermione laughed. "Indeed! Remember what happened with Susan Bones?"
Harry's mouth quivered. Hermione thought it was a funny trait of his. He spent considerable effort trying not to laugh before he actually did, and his lips would always twitch beforehand.
"How long did it take before she got her voice back?" he asked, finally breaking into a quick laugh.
"A week," Hermione said, snickering. "I told Ron not to try that spell. I mean, really, Fred and George gave it to him."
Harry smirked. "Well, at least he'll know better this time."
"If Hannah will trust him long enough for there to be a 'this time,'" Hermione said with a chuckle.
Harry smiled, though it seemed this particular topic of conversation had run itself dry. Hermione shivered slightly. The room seemed to be getting increasingly colder. Harry seemed to notice this, because he stood.
"I should probably go, so you can get back to bed," he said, heading for the door.
Hermione watched him, inner conflict brewing. She wanted him to stay, even though she knew she couldn't possibly ask him to.
"Will you be able to sleep?" she asked, following him.
Harry shrugged. "Probably not. Might as well try."
To Hermione's surprise, she found herself suddenly embraced by Harry. Her arms wound their way around him, leaning against him. It was very rare, to receive a hug from Harry. There was a certain amount of awkwardness about hugging, especially between seventeen-year-olds, and so they were generally avoided. Hermione savored it, knowing it might be awhile before she and Harry had this much physical contact again. She closed her eyes briefly, breathing in. The scent of cinnamon filled her senses. She would have to find the soap he used the next time she was in the Prefects' bathroom.
All too soon, the hug ended. Harry pulled away; Hermione hoped she hadn't been clinging too long.
"Thank you," he said. "I'm sorry I interrupted your sleep."
"I already told you that you didn't." She reached out and gave his hand a squeeze. She bit her lip. "You're sure you'll be all right?"
"I'm sure," he insisted, tightening his grip on her hand momentarily before dropping it.
"Well, then," Hermione said, stifling a yawn, "I suppose I should go back to bed. I need all the beauty sleep I can get."
Harry grinned boyishly. "Not as much as you think."
He was out the door before her jaw dropped fully.
Dumbledore stood, something which went largely unnoticed, as Dumbledore never made announcements at breakfast. Nonetheless, Harry Potter noticed, as did Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger.
He cleared his throat ineffectively, and then decided just to bellow at the students.
"If I could have your attention, please!"
"Mistletoe has been hung in the entryway to the Great Hall. To preserve this tradition, charms have been placed to keep any couples from leaving the entryway without kissing. If you do not wish to be kissed, walk through in single file."
He sat back down, to a burst of conversation.
The boys were happy about this, and had begun to scheme. The girls were giggling stupidly, with the exception of Hermione, who claimed it was a frivolous tradition and just a chance for boys to invade girls' privacy.
Harry had begun to smirk during this particular speech, much to Hermione's dismay.
"What is it, Harry, that is so funny about what I'm saying?"
Harry froze, and it was Ron's turn to smirk. Harry recovered quickly, however.
"Well, really, Hermione, it sounds to me like you're just upset because you think you won't get a kiss out of it."
Hermione scowled. "That's the point. I don't want to be kissed."
Harry wasn't fooled. "I bet you do. And you're just embarrassed about who you want to be kissed by."
"I -- I am not!"
"Yes, you are. Who is it? Neville? Colin? Crabbe?"
Hermione winced. "Harry! Really!"
"Oh, so it's me!"
Hermione paled. "You know that's not what I said."
"So you wouldn't kiss me?" Harry said, feigning hurt.
During this exchange, Ron could only snicker.
Hermione glared, exasperated. "Stop twisting my words."
"Fine, fine," he said, dramatically, "I understand. You don't want to hurt my feelings, so you're not answering."
"I think you just want to kiss me, Potter," Hermione managed coolly, smugly taking a bite of her toast.
Harry stared for a moment, shook himself, and went back to his breakfast, and Hermione went back to hers.
It was then that Ron wanted very much to get them under the mistletoe together.
Despite the heavy snowfall of the previous night, none of their outdoor classes had been canceled, and the Gryffindors were trudging their way out to Hagrid's hut.
Harry was bundled up against the cold, walking close to Hermione, who was shivering noticeably. As the reached the hut, he sneakily performed a mild Warming Charm on her cloak, sufficient to stop her from shivering, but still likely to go unnoticed.
Hagrid was nowhere to be found, and the class was left waiting, many grumbling about tardy professors. Hermione was wearing a rather amusing grimace.
"You know what this means, don't you? The creatures are far away. And you know what that means? They're dangerous," she grumbled. "Honestly, why couldn't we study something tame? Watch Hagrid have his giant spider today, or a bloody Chimera."
Harry chuckled, "I wouldn't put it past him."
Ron groaned. "Not the spider. If he ever brings that thing to class, I'll take up Muggle Studies."
"Well, you could use a little more knowledge of the Muggle world," Hermione said, threatening to go off on another of her tirades.
Luckily, Hagrid appeared at that moment, distracting everyone from their conversations. Today, he was wearing what was quite possibly the biggest leather trenchcoat ever made, arousing a few giggles from the seventh year students.
"Follow me," he said, heading off in the direction he came from. The seventh years followed silently, exchanging wary glances.
Eventually, they reached a large, fenced in area, which happened to contain --
"Flyin' horses!" Hagrid said loudly, beaming at them. His face fell a bit. "They're the tamest sort, very gentle and the like."
"But Hagrid," Hermione questioned, "If they're tame, why are they all the way over here?"
Hagrid blushed considerably. "Well, you see, Madame Maxime is visitin', and the horses keep her up at night."
Harry exchanged knowing glances with Hermione and Ron.
"Now. Today, you'll learn how to talk to 'em, so that they stay calm, and then you'll be able to ride 'em. You'll have to pair up, boy-girl, 'cause there aren't enough for everyone."
Hermione quickly grabbed Harry's arm. "If we've got to fly, I'm riding with you," she declared, looking at the horses with a certain amount of anxiety. Harry gave her the most comforting look he could muster.
"It'll be fine," he said, even though he knew words like that did not help any to console a person who had a particular dislike of flying.
The class was considerably smaller that year, with only five Gryffindors and three Slytherins, so by the time Seamus and Lavender paired off, and Draco and Blaise, it was quite apparent that Ron and Pansy were the only two left.
Ron groaned. Muttering things like, "cruel and unusual punishment," Ron joined Pansy, the other Gryffindors torn between sympathy and the urge to snicker.
"All right, now, if yer all paired, we can get to the horses. Harry and Hermione, go to the first horse, Ron and Pansy, to the second, Seamus and Lavender, to the third, and Draco and Blaise to the fourth."
They stepped into the fenced area, Hermione with no small amount of nervousness, and stood a few feet away from their assigned horses, waiting for instruction.
"Now," Hagrid said, "If you've ever taken care of a Muggle horse, they're pretty much the same in nature. You talk to them real soft to put them at ease, and they likes it if you give 'em somethin' sweet as well."
To Harry's surprise, Hermione stepped up to their horse, muttering in a foreign language. There wasn't much else to do but stare in disbelief as Hermione repeated whatever it was she had said and the horse nuzzled at her hand.
"What was that?" Harry asked, stepping closer.
"Gaelic," Hermione responded. "Something my mother used to say when I was little."
"What does it mean?"
Hermione shook her head, signaling that she didn't wish to talk about it further, and so he didn't pursue the subject. He knew better than to push her.
"All right," Hagrid boomed, silencing them. "Once you've got yer horses good and calm, you ask 'em if you can ride 'em. They'll either stare at you, or they'll bend down to let you get on. If they don't want you ridin' 'em, you'll just have to get out o' the paddock, 'cause they probably won't want to be ridden if you ask a second time."
Hermione shot Harry a hesitant glance before gently asking the horse, "May we ride you?"
The horse whinnied, in what sounded like agreement, and slowly bent its legs. Harry smiled at Hermione, who was looking a bit less enthusiastic than the rest of the class, but Harry gave her a little push.
"Go on," he said. "I won't let you fall."
Hermione smiled and mounted the horse tentatively, Harry following behind her. The horse stood abruptly, effectively squashing Hermione and Harry together -- a precarious situation for Harry. His arm wrapped around her waist, hoping it would calm Hermione and at the same time not make matters worse for him.
And then, their horse started running, as if it planned to gallop them right into the sky. Then it spread its wings, doing precisely that, leaving Hermione to clutch Harry's hand.
Only one other pair had managed to get on their horse, Ron and Pansy. Pansy was currently swatting at Ron, apparently angry because he tried to put his arm around her to hold on to the horse's mane.
Harry chuckled over this, and Hermione opened her previously tightly shut eyes. "What's funny?" she asked.
"Ron and Pansy," Harry replied, a strand of her hair nearly getting caught in his mouth. He smiled slightly, noticing that his chin rested perfectly on the top of her head.
Hermione smiled as well, glancing over at Ron and Pansy. "Not getting along very well, are they?"
Harry snickered. "No one gets along very well with Pansy."
"Or Ron, for that matter," Hermione added, finally distracted from the horse, that was making its way back toward the ground.
"Perhaps they're a perfect match?"
Hermione laughed, a very pleasant sound, Harry thought. "Can you just imagine, her trying to live with Ron. It would take her ages to figure out how to make a bed in the morning."
Harry snickered as the horse's feet touched the ground, painting a surprised expression on Hermione's face.
"That was quick," she said while the horse lowered to let them off.
"Very," he agreed, carefully stepped off the horse and offering a hand to Hermione. A little too quick, he thought, missing her warm weight against him.
Ron and Pansy landed a moment later, both glaring daggers. They quickly headed to their respective housemates, Pansy to Draco and Blaise (who would probably be less than thrilled to see her, from the looks of it), and Ron to Harry and Hermione.
"Honestly," he hissed, "She's pure evil."
Harry and Hermione shared a look, smirking. Ron, as usual, was oblivious.
There are certain things that make one paralyzed with terror, things that you'd rather die than see, things that no boggart could manage, and Ginny Weasley was currently facing one of those things.
Yes, I know you're thinking it, too. Draco Malfoy. Shirtless. Wearing orange vinyl pants. Holding a large, pink cat. Saying, "Grr, baby, come and get it."
What was worse was the fact that Ginny was having a nightmare in which she had no control. And at 'grr' she started walking to him. She reached him altogether too soon, the cat ran off, and Ginny found that her mouth was suddenly attached to Draco's.
And so, at precisely 2:43 in the morning, Ginny Weasley sat up rigidly in bed, breath shaking, eyes wide, coated in a cold sweat.
Quite disturbed, Ginny flopped onto her stomach, tightly clutching a pillow to her chest. It was all right, she told herself. That nightmare would never in a thousand years come true. She closed her eyes tightly and somehow fell asleep.
Ron headed toward the Great Hall, anticipating another normal day. Harry and Hermione would continue not to notice the way they stared at each other. Seamus would get the crap beaten out of him for advancing on his incredibly young and innocent sister.
He walked through the doors to the Great Hall, forgetting the fateful plant above his head. At the same moment, Pansy Parkinson went rushing out, also having forgotten.
Then, suddenly, they couldn't walk away.
"Oh no," Pansy grumbled, glaring at Ron.
He matched her glare. "This is no picnic for me, either."
Pansy crossed her arms. "I refuse to kiss you."
"Too bad. It's the only way we're moving."
"I absolutely will not -" but she was interrupted by Ron quickly pressing his lips to her mouth. He had walked off, enthusiastically spitting and wiping off his mouth, before Pansy recovered from the shock.
All of the Gryffindors were grumbling quite enthusiastically.
"My socks are wet," Harry said flatly, holding up his pant leg to reveal a very wet, very yellow sock, covered in purple polka dots.
"Did Dobby make those?" Hermione inquired, looking at his foot with amusement.
"Last Christmas, I think," Harry replied. He had a whole drawer full of Dobby-socks by now.
"Leave it to Snape," Ron was saying to Seamus, "to have us go outside three days before Christmas to look for ducks on the lake, even though there have never been ducks on the lake, so that we can find feathers, of male ducks only, for a potion."
"Watch 'im fail us all fer not findin' any," Seamus said.
A feathered something came running down the hall at that moment, wings flapping, while squawking. Presumably, it was a male duck.
The duck headed straight for Hermione's legs, causing her to fall into Harry, who succeeded in catching her, but not her bag, which went flying to the floor.
Harry steadied her, chuckling. "Always something going on at Hogwarts."
Simultaneously, they bent down to pick up what had spilled from the bag. It took a bit to get all of Hermione's books back into her bag. When all was said and done, Hermione was holding up two duck feathers, looking triumphant. "We can make that potion after all!"
Harry, however, had a book in his hands, one eyebrow firmly raised at Hermione.
"You've got to be kidding me. 'Throbbing Hearts: A Magical Romance'?"
Hermione turned bright red. "It's - well, it's -"
Harry snickered. "You actually read these things?" He flipped to a page in the middle.
"Everyone does. Even Ginny," Hermione said defensively.
"Well, let's never tell Ron. Otherwise, he'll have to deal with his sister knowing more about sex than he does."
Hermione gaped and looked over his shoulder. "What are you talking about?"
"Well, there's this whole graphic scene right here…quite and odd position they're in…haven't gotten that far, have you, now?"
At this point, Harry decided to spare Hermione, whose face was nearing the shade of a ripe apple, and dropped the book into her bag.
"Come on. Let's go work on that potion," Harry said. The novel wasn't mentioned again until much later that night, much to Ron's horror.
It was Christmas Eve dinner in the Great Hall. Snatches of chatter could be heard from all tables, all years.
"Goyle, it's a metaphor! Let's try this again. You can't ride a bent broom! What might resemble a broom?" Draco Malfoy was saying to Goyle, who, as usual, was staring rather blankly.
Trelawny had come down to dinner in a purple frilly bathrobe, and equally purple fuzzy bunny slippers. She was currently speaking to Snape about a certain flu potion while Snape stared quite pointedly at her slippers.
"And you're looking down there because…?" She looked down, coughed slightly, and said, "Oh. Well, anyway, about that potion…"
All of these things went unnoticed by Hermione, who was sitting by the Distracting Boy Who Lived.
"Harry," Ron asked through a mouthful of food, "What's your favorite letter?"
Hermione rolled her eyes. "You can't have a favorite letter, Ron! It's not as if one has better qualities than another."
"Oh, I don't know about that," Harry argued. "I like 'h' better than the other twenty-five."
Hermione frowned. 'H'? As in, 'Harry'? "Quite the little narcissist, aren't you?" she teased.
"I never said it stood for my name. Your name starts with 'h' as well, you know," Harry said, his neck and ears going slightly red.
"Oh, really," Ron said impatiently, "Why don't you just go stand under the mistletoe? It'll give you both an excuse."
Harry and Hermione blushed quite a bit, and ignored the comment, though Hermione knew by the look they exchanged that they might just take advantage of it.
"You could always do the same with Pansy," Harry suggested innocently.
Ron scowled. "That is not funny."
Eventually, people began to file out of the Great Hall - single file, to be precise, though every once in awhile a couple would pause to take advantage of the mistletoe. Harry and Hermione found themselves at the back of the line headed out of the Great Hall, Ron walking in front of them.
Ron was just walking out of the Great Hall when fate decided to intervene. For a second time, just as he was walking out of the Great Hall, Pansy came along.
"Not again!" Pansy exclaimed, a comical look of panic on her face.
Hermione glanced at Harry. He raised an eyebrow at her, and she had to stifle a snicker.
Ron was scowling at Pansy. "It's not like I have a contagious disease."
"You might as well, Weasley," she said, her nose going up farther than usual.
"Oh, for the love of Merlin," Ron snapped. He leaned forward and kissed her rather forcefully.
Pansy stared at him for a moment. "I really wish you would stop doing that."
She nearly ran off, Ron watching her.
Harry smirked. "You like her."
Ron frowned. "Nobody likes her."
He stalked out of the Great Hall. "He does like her," Hermione said, smiling. "Certainly not Hannah Abbot, is she?"
"No, she's really not," Harry replied, glancing behind them, Hermione following his gaze. The Great Hall was empty now. They had been the last of the students, and all of the Professors seemed to have taken the back exit.
Hermione looked back. Harry was standing in the doorway, watching her.
"Are you coming or not?" he asked, smiling that smile, and Hermione couldn't help but smile back as she went to him.
Hermione bit her lip, meeting Harry's eyes. She couldn't explain it, but she was nervous. It wasn't if she hadn't kissed anybody before…and she had wanted to kiss Harry for what seemed like ages. But she was nervous. And from the look on Harry's face, he was too. Well, someone had to break the ice.
"You didn't drag me over here for nothing, did you?" she questioned, raising an eyebrow expectantly.
Harry chuckled, and he embraced her. "Seems silly, doesn't it? I mean, Ron has an easier time kissing Pansy Parkinson."
Hermione grinned. "Don't you think we should fix that?"
"I imagine you're right as usual."
"Just kiss me before this gets really cheesy."
For once, he did what he was told. The kiss was a little sloppy, and it certainly wouldn't be their best, but Hermione enjoyed it just the same.
When they pulled apart, Harry took her hand, and they walked back to the common room in silence. No more words were needed.
Later on that evening, Hermione awoke to a knock at her door. Just as she had a week ago, she found Harry standing outside her door.
"Nightmare again?" she questioned, stepping aside so that he could enter.
"Yes. The same one."
Hermione embraced him, glad she could finally offer him physical comfort. "Do you want to stay here tonight?"
A moment later, they were under the covers, and Hermione found herself pressed against Harry, his arms around her. She also found that the bed was much warmer this way.
"Harry?" she asked softly. "What's in the nightmares? That bothers you more than the others?"
Harry sighed and buried his face between her neck and her shoulder, obviously uncomfortable, but Hermione knew that the only way she could really help him was by knowing, as always.
"I see you dying," he confessed.
Hermione grimaced. If he felt anything for her like she felt for him, she could understand. "Are you worried they're prophetic?"
"Well, yes. So many of them really happen…"
"Harry, those dreams happen while the actually event is happening."
"Maybe they are prophetic…but not all prophecies come true. There's no such thing as fate, because it can be avoided."
Harry looked up and smiled slightly. "You've always been right so far."
"I promise I am this time as well," she said. And she knew she was. Because if his happiness depended upon her being alive, she would stay alive.
She shifted slightly and pressed her lips to Harry's.
"Thank you," he whispered.
"You're always welcome," she replied.
They spoke no more after that. Hermione thought Harry had fallen asleep as her mind wandered, until she heard Harry mumble, "Merry Christmas." She glanced at the clock. It was midnight.
"Merry Christmas," she replied.
And it was a merry Christmas indeed.