Added Disclaimer: Star Trek does not belong to me. It belongs to other people. Probably Paramount and the Roddenberry estate. That's not me.
Author's Note: I have so many people to thank for helping me with this story I don't know where to start. Okay, let's see—Nacey, my beta, you are awesome beyond words. You helped me, encouraged me and humored me in my attempts at writing. Thanks for being a friend. Babygrrl, msscribe, your help and encouragement were invaluable. Thank you for the writing guidance. Everyone who posted on my LJ about this story—thank you. Every little comment about how much you were enjoying the story or how you couldn't wait for the next one cheered me up so much. To those who were kind enough to review this story—no matter what you said, thank you. Reviews are fun to get and they can help an author grow when they include constructive criticism, so I appreciate everyone who took time out to drop a line or two.
On to the story! Hope everyone enjoys it. It's been a blast to write.
Harry was tired. The past few weeks…well, there weren't any words to describe the past few weeks. He whumped down on the couch in the common room and sighed heavily. He needed a vacation. Another body whumped down next to him, careful to keep a certain distance.
"Tired?" Hermione asked him.
Harry rubbed his eyes. "Like you wouldn't believe. Actually, no, you probably could."
"I have some information that might perk you up," Hermione offered.
"Really? What's that? Voldemort's location? Death Eater headquarters? Fashion trends for the summer?"
"I had no idea you were interested in fashion, Harry. No, I found out why all these strange things have been happening to us."
Harry shifted uncomfortably. "Don't keep me waiting."
Hermione took a deep breath. "Ron. He cast the spells. Apparently he had some grand plan to affect our senses and found a spell for each one. When one didn't work, he'd move on to the next one."
Harry had no words. His mouth moved for several moments before the words finally came. "Why, in the name of all that is good and right, would he want to put us under those sorts of spells?"
Hermione looked slightly embarrassed. "Well, I think that Ron was trying to get us together."
Harry looked up, startled. "Get us together?"
Hermione definitely looked embarrassed now. "Yes, you know, as a couple."
Harry blinked, trying to process this new information. "I should kill him," he said, thinking of all the trouble those cursed spells caused. He tried not to notice that he was blushing slightly at the idea of dating Hermione. He shook his head clear of such wild thoughts and contemplated what Hermione had told him. "Wait, you're saying Ron was a matchmaker?" He pondered on this a moment and then slowly began to chuckle. "Can you imagine Ron skulking behind corners, following us, trying to set up odd situations so that we would fall madly in love?"
Hermione still looked embarrassed, but Harry's laughter was infectious and she began to laugh as well. "Mistletoe over the doorways."
"Singing leprechauns roaming the halls again," Harry offered, snickering.
"Locking us in broom closets," Hermione managed in between spurts of laughter.
They continued in this way for some time, each coming up with wilder and more outrageous plans that Ron could have implemented (unbeknownst to them, several of these plans had actually been considered but then rejected due to a lack of "style." A matchmaker must have a certain panache and flair above all other things).
Eventually they settled down and they spoke of Quidditch and arithmancy, Divination (although Hermione ranted more than anything), and Ron's curious attention to Lavender. They decided that his interest spoke well of him as Lavender was hardly the flighty girl she had been six years ago and, more importantly, could deal, and argue effectively, with Ron, without being reduced to an apoplectic rage, unlike certain other girls they both knew. And as they talked, a strange thing happened. Harry's pleasant baritone wrapped around Hermione as he spoke and laughed. It warmed her to hear him so happy and carefree. It had been so long since he had been this pleased. Hermione's clear, careful voice shot through Harry. He had heard her laughter far too little and hearing the joyous tone in her voice cheered him like nothing else.
They managed to control themselves eventually and fell into soft tones, speaking to each other about their day. The crackling fire gave the room a warm luster. The light bounced off the heavy red curtains and fabric in the room, darkened by age and use. The burnished gold in the room gave off a luminous glow. The shining yellow light washed over the occupants of the room, playing over their faces and clothing. The overall effect was one of flickering shadows and candlelight, softening lines and luminous skin.
Harry's messy hair had a dark sheen to it and Hermione was sure it had never looked so soft. She looked mostly at his profile as they spoke, the light playing off his familiar yet alien appearance. The basic features were of the boy she met seven years ago. The glasses had finally been replaced (and subjected to numerous charms by Hermione to prevent breakage) and the eyes held a little more sadness and pain, but they were still the same brilliant green they had always been and Hermione wondered how they could be so bright in such a dark room. The nose was the same, a 'fine, aristocratic nose,' as Austen might put it, Hermione thought, but the jaw had squared and sharpened. When he would turn to her, a smile would appear, lighting up his whole face. Hermione realized with a start that Harry the boy had been replaced by Harry the man. How could she have missed it? She hadn't missed these changes in Ron, but this new Harry was a complete surprise to her. She looked on in wonder as he continued to speak of Quidditch practice and Ron's antics.
Harry was sneaking glances at Hermione, curious about the same thing. Her hair, still a bushy mass, nonetheless shone in the firelight and Harry had to restrain himself form snaking a hand out and capturing a lone curl. Her eyes had a radiant deep brown glow. Age had changed her face; it was no longer the sweet face of a child, but that of a woman with a fierce intelligence, deep compassion and surprising sense of humor. Her skin was translucent and shimmering in the low light. His eyes appreciated her slender form that held the soft curves of hips and breasts. She gestured and he was drawn to her hands, long and slender, lightly calloused from gripping quills too tight and writing for too long. Hermione was lovely, he realized with a sudden clarity. He had always thought she was attractive, but this…this was beauty in a way he had never experienced before.
As the night wore on and they grew more sleepy, more relaxed, they began to slump towards each other. Eventually, they found themselves with Hermione's head on Harry's shoulder and his head resting atop hers. They had been in this position countless times before when Harry needed to talk to Hermione and Ron about his troubles or simply needed to reassure himself that they were there and safe. Harry would share the couch with Hermione and Ron would lie on the floor or sit a chair. They took on their familiar roles then, with Ron cheering him up immensely and offering the odd strategic insight and Hermione alternately comforting him and either solving or offering to research every problem he threw out there. This was a comfortable position, a familiar position, but now it was edged with an unfamiliar tension.
Hermione could sense the fresh scent of Harry's jumper and if she moved her head just a bit, her face would be buried in the rather delicious crook between Harry's neck and shoulder. Which she wouldn't do, of course, because that was just silly. But maybe if she just stretched out a bit…a light, spicy odor hit her and she flushed when she realized it was Harry's skin. She had been in this position so many times before, but it had never been like this. Even on that odd day that had ended in the broom closet (a problem which she still hadn't been able to figure out exactly, much to her annoyance), she hadn't been as intensely aware of Harry.
Harry, as one might guess, was in much the same predicament. For an arrangement of bodies and limbs that he had experienced before, he was having an inordinately difficult time concentrating on any thing other than the smell of Hermione's hair. It was an extremely pleasant fragrance, a mixture of floral shampoo, fresh air and books. An odd combination, to be sure, but an enjoyable one. It was just…why was he focusing on it now? What was different tonight? .
"You need a haircut," Hermione mumbled sleepily.
Harry leaned back and looked at her in amusement. "Perhaps we haven't met. I'm Harry Potter. My hair grows back magically."
She huffed a small breath of annoyance. "It grows back if it's shaved off by your aunt. I'm hardly suggesting anything so drastic. A trim is all I ask. Unless you want hair like Lucius Malfoy. He does have beautiful hair."
Harry's face was a curious mixture of distaste, annoyance, surprise and a hint of jealousy. "Lucius Malfoy is one of the most vile, evil men to walk this earth. He's the most sadistic of the Death Eaters, no easy feat, I assure you. He is second only to Voldemort for the title of the biggest bastard on the planet."
"And he has lovely hair," Hermione said placidly.
Harry shook his head. "It's like I don't even know you."
Hermione craned her head around. "I do have the occasional girl thought, you know. And appreciating the aesthetics of long, shiny blonde hair is quite different from appreciating the man it's attached to."
Harry looked at her surprise, a possibility suddenly occurring to him. "You don't want blonde hair, do you? To change your look all around?"
Hermione shook her head vehemently. "My goodness, no."
Harry sighed in relief. "Thank goodness. I can't imagine you as some blonde."
Hermione furrowed her brow. "You can't? Why not?"
He shrugged. "It's just not you. It's too common. Besides, your hair is perfect the way it is." At this, Hermione gave him a warm smile that trembled just a bit. Harry gave into the desire that had been plaguing him for most of the night and reached out, wrapped a curl around his finger and tugged lightly. "I think it suits you."
She smiled at him again then turned back and shifted against him slightly so that she was leaning back on him. This proved to be uncomfortable for Harry, so he shifted so that he was leaning up alongside the arm of the couch, Hermione's back pressing against his chest. He fumbled for where to put his arms and hands for a bit, but eventually settled them around Hermione, his fingertips lightly touching her hands.
They continued to converse into the night, talking about schoolmates, holiday plans and deep meta-philosophic concepts that only make sense very early in the morning. The warmth of the fire seeped into their bodies. The air grew heavy and their movements and speech became slow, languorous. Harry's hand started to run up and down Hermione's bared arm in a long, lazy pattern. To an outside observer, it appeared to be the old, comfortable touch of a familiar lover, but to Hermione it was anything but. Harry's fingers seemed to trail fire behind them, and goose bumps came up every time he made another pass. The truly maddening thing from Hermione's perspective was that Harry appeared completely unaware of what he was doing and the effect he was having on her--the shaggy haired, soft, delicious hands having, unbearably sweet and wonderful bastard. She grumpily grabbed his other hand and started to trace over his long, elegant fingers, distracted by dark thoughts about how bloody unfair this all was and why was she all of the sudden so in tune with Harry's light arm stroking? She sighed. What beautiful hands he had.
Harry was startled when Hermione grabbed his hand and started rubbing his fingers, but it was such a lovely feeling that he thought it best to stay quiet. Her fingers grazed over his as they spoke, running up and down the length of each one before engaging in a random pattern across the back of his hand that would spill over into his palm. Her touch was feather light and barely there in some places, but would increase in pressure around his knuckles, circling them, slowly massaging the tension out. It was a delicious sensation, relaxing and stimulating at the same time, and Harry tilted his head back onto the arm of the couch, almost purring in pleasure. His mind drifted back to earlier in the night, he and Hermione sitting and laughing…laughing over the thought of Ron playing matchmaker to the both of them. No, he thought, correcting himself, laughing over the thought of he and Hermione being together.
"Why is it a bad idea?" Harry asked abruptly. "We laughed about it. Why is it such a bad idea?"
Hermione paused in her massage, wondering how to answer. She knew what he was asking about and had thought about it herself, but all her reasons didn't seem to be so reasonable now. She resumed her stroking, trying to put her thoughts in some sort of order.
"And you can't say that it's because we're best friends," Harry warned. "We both know that isn't a proper reason."
"I think it's a very good reason," Hermione retorted. "We know where we stand and this relationship works. Why would we ruin that?"
"Who says it would be ruined? Why do we assume that? That's why we laughed—'oh, us as a couple? Of course not, we're best friends. We'd burn out in three months, tops. We just can't see each other as anything but friends.' Why? When did we decide that I'm not allowed to see you as more than that?" he asked, anger in his voice.
This time Hermione stopped moving completely. "You would see me as more than a friend?"
Harry let out an incredulous laugh. "Of course I could, Hermione. What do you think that business on the pitch was all about?"
She sucked in a disbelieving breath. "I thought that was the spell. I didn't…I didn't think that it was real."
Harry shook his head. "Now you're being deliberately obtuse."
Obtuse, Hermione thought. Lacking quickness or intelligence. An odd thing to accuse her of deliberately being. So why did he say it? Go through the problem logically—start with the spells. Magic is not truly 'magic'. It has to obey the laws of science; magic is just another force that can be manipulated. Conservation of mass and energy apply in the wizarding world. Nothing is truly spontaneously created out of nothing, it all starts from somewhere—leprechaun "gold" disappears after a set amount of time, food at Hogwarts is prepared ahead of time, and then transported by Dumbledore--Hermione gave a small gasp as her thoughts ground to a halt.
How could she have been so obtuse?
She twisted her body around to face him, astonishment etched on her face. "Those spells, they could only affect us that way if they were working on something that was already there. They'd be useless otherwise."
Harry just watched her, his face blank.
Hermione shook her head. "No, wait. They could build on the friendship we have, turning those feelings into something they weren't. You might believe that you were in love, having all these so called 'symptoms', but then when the spell ended, the artificially inflated feelings would end and everything would go back to normal."
"They haven't gone back to normal, Hermione," Harry said quietly, turning to look at the fire. "And I'm pretty sure they weren't really 'normal' before this whole thing started."
She stared at him, all her thoughts during the night coming to her, her memories of her behavior towards Harry before this strange matchmaking attempt flooding her mind, memories of him swirling around as well. Everything spun about in her brain, until she was able to find the pattern, find the common thread like any good student should be able to do and then she wondered how she could never see it before. She knew the answer, but how could she say anything? "Oh my," she whispered. "Oh my."
When Harry looked back at her, he saw the emotion burning in her eyes and knew that the same emotion was plain on his face. He opened his mouth to say something, anything, but no words came. He settled on lifting up a hand to brush her hair back from her face. Somehow, instead of dropping back down, his hand stayed near her face and stroked her temple. She leaned slightly into the contact, looking at him with wide, disbelieving, wanting eyes. His fingers lightly skimmed her cheek before cupping her jaw. His thumb traced the outline of her lips.
"I remember being here before," she whispered, leaning forward, eyes locking with his.
Harry shook his head. "Not this part," he murmured before closing the gap between them.
Harry didn't believe in perfect moments, but he supposed he would have to start. Something snapped into place and that was the beginning. A gentle touch of meeting lips, softly moving over each other, his other hand moving up to cradle her face. A delicate scent moved through the air, a mixture of them, sharp and sweet, ink and fresh air. Heads tilting one way, then the other, then back again, trying to find that perfect angle, trying to reach every part of her mouth. His mouth tugged at her full bottom lip, before crashing back down again. She was sweetness and kindness and intelligence and Harry wondered how someone could taste intelligent, but that didn't matter anymore, all he could see, all he could hear, all he could feel was Hermione; he was drowning in her and he didn't care because he could stay here forever.
Hermione was on fire. Her hands were moving, smoothing over his skin and hair, but he still wasn't close enough. She fisted one hand in his hair; the other gripped the back of his neck. She raised herself to her knees and ran her tongue along his lips. His mouth fell open beneath her and suddenly this was her perfect moment. He was spicy and warm and cool and delicious. He was Harry and he couldn't be anything but a perfect match and everything she wanted and needed. Her world shifted, pieces sliding into place and she understood now, she understood everything, how could she not? She wrenched herself away and simply looked at him, breathing hard.
"I love you," she whispered, wonder tipping her voice. "It's been there all along. That's why the effects of the spells were so magnified. I loved you before this whole silly matchmaking scheme. How could I not see it?"
Harry gazed back at her and gave her a small smile. "Don't feel bad, I only figured out that I loved you approximately thirty seconds before you did."
"Who said I feel bad?" Hermione shot back, annoyed. "Looks like we were both deep in the throes of denial."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "Did you even notice what I just said?"
"What? That you love me? Of course I did. I figured that out at the same time I discovered I loved you," she said, waving a hand dismissively.
Harry graced her with a full grin. "How lucky I am to love someone so smart. She can figure out everyone's feelings and then act completely indifferent to declarations of love and adoration."
Hermione huffed with impatience and exasperation, shaking her head, then looked at him a little shyly. "Do you really love me?"
He nodded. "So much I can't see straight," he murmured. "And not because Ron's hexed me again," he added hastily.
"You never really said that you adored me," she pointed out.
"Fishing for compliments already? Very well. I adore you."
"I was not fishing for compliments, you enormous git. How lucky I am to love someone who willfully misunderstands me. I should just date Ron and save myself the trouble."
Harry grabbed her and dragged her across his lap. "You'd better not. I won't be held responsible for my actions." He grinned goofily at her and then got a thoughtful look on his face. "So what do we do now?"
She looked at him in surprise. "What do you mean?"
"Well, we've figured out that we're madly in love with each other, declared said love and accepted the whole thing rather well, I think. We didn't have any crying or hair pulling or pronouncements that we can never be or we're just good friends. Honestly, when I discovered that I loved you, I planned on that sort of thing taking up a couple of weeks. Now you're sitting on my lap and I'm at a loss for what do."
"I could always storm off in a fit of tears, if you like," Hermione suggested.
"Hmm, I rather like you sitting on my lap, though."
She gave him an arch look. "Yes, I know you do."
Harry cleared his throat and shifted Hermione on his lap slightly. She shifted right back. "Yes, well. That is an option for a later date, I think. But that still doesn't solve the problem of what to do now."
"Let me guess, you planned on a passionate reunion, where we both tearfully proclaimed that yes, we do love each other and cannot live without the other, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera?" At Harry's nod, she continued, "Well, as we've eliminated that portion, we can move on to the next phase. What's the next part?"
Harry blushed. "Er, a snog, actually."
Hermione clapped her hands and grinned. "Delightful. I knew it was a good idea to love you. Alright, snogging it is."
Harry looked a little surprised. "What, now?"
"You were planning on some other time?" Hermione asked, confused. "I thought that's where we were in your grand scheme of love, loss and love."
"What's all this about a grand scheme?" Ron called from the landing overlooking the common room. Harry and Hermione looked up and watched in amazement and horror as what looked like (and, in fact, was) the entire population of Gryffindor Tower either shuffle down the stairs or take up position on the balcony to get a view of what was going on. "What about this grand scheme?" Ron repeated when got downstairs. "Please don't tell me you have a plan," he said, shooting Hermione an accusing glare.
"Why is everyone here?" Harry demanded, looking around, eyes wide in astonishment. "Were they here the entire time?"
"Of course they weren't," Seamus huffed. "Only we were," he explained, pointing to the Team. "We whispered reports back to everyone else."
Hermione's face got very red. Everyone took a step back. Harry wasn't sure Hermione sitting on his lap was such a great idea now. "What?" she hissed.
"Hermione, he was joking," Lavender said gently, mollifying Hermione a bit. "Well, sort of. Anyway," she went on hurriedly seeing Hermione get red again, "we heard the important parts and we're sorry about eavesdropping, but this was so very important to us and it just seemed like common sense for you two to be together and we just wanted you to be happy ("And to stop contemplating getting extra Potions homework," Seamus muttered) and now you both are and you're in love and it's just all too wonderful, really," she finished with a gasp. "We were all so emotionally involved, you see."
"Uh, thanks?" Harry offered, confused. An idea started to trickle through his brain. The more he thought about it, the more it made sense. "Just so I have this straight…you were all helping Ron?" To his surprise, the entire room nodded. "Oh," he said weakly. "We were a House project. How nice."
"I'm going to kill them," Hermione muttered. "All of them, right in their sleep. Zap! Gone."
Harry gave her an admonishing look. "They did help get us together, you know."
Ginny nodded. "Yes we did, and it was damn near impossible, I'll have you know. All that work for those spells and potions and nothing ever seemed to come from it."
Hermione shrugged. "Something came of it, just not how you expected. Really, what did you expect? What you did wasn't some delicate matchmaking operation; it was an assault. And honestly, how could you do that? All those spells and potions were probably incredibly dangerous and very likely illegal! I don't suppose you ever thought about what could happen to us if something went wrong," she said irritably.
"Hermione, all we've done is think about what could happen to you two," Seamus said dryly. "I've never done as much research in my life as I have in the last few weeks. We had to check everything about those spells and we did. Well, except for that potion for your sense of smell. I don't know what happened there," he said wryly, shooting a look at Neville and Ron.
"Hey, I told Ron we couldn't just mix plants together and hope for the best!" Neville exclaimed. "I tried my best on that potion and it almost worked! I couldn't very well ask Hermione for help on it, could I? And besides, it's not as if they died or anything," he said, sulking a bit.
Hermione's compassion got the better of her and she found herself in the odd position of comforting a person who had knowingly played havoc with her life. "It was a good potion for what it was supposed to do," she soothed. "Just don't do it again. Ever."
Neville nodded in relief, glad that Hermione wasn't going to do something unbearably painful to him.
Harry noticed that Parvati was looking at them as if she had something to ask, but seemed to be hesitating over say it, or even if to say it. "Just ask, Parvati," Harry sighed. "Might as well get this all out."
Parvati smiled gratefully at him. "I was just wondering when you discovered something was different between you two. Er, we already know when you found out that you loved each other," she said, shooting an apologetic look at Hermione, "but I want to know if all those spells really worked."
"Why? Thinking about opening up a matchmaking business with Ron? Or just interested in getting all the details? " Dean snickered.
Parvati shot him a dirty glare. "I'm curious about how effective those spells really were. And if I recall correctly, you called them, and I quote, "the bloody couple of the millennium," and carried on quite a bit when they didn't kiss, so don't you dare get all high and mighty with me!"
Harry gave Hermione a little sideways glance and hid a grin at their arguing. "Sometime after that spell for our skin faded, I suppose. The jolt didn't go away for me. Couldn't figure it out." Hermione gave him a tender smile and rested her forehead against his.
Ron's eyes bugged out of his head. "What? You knew then that you loved her and you didn't say anything?"
"I didn't exactly know how to go about it, you know! I wasn't even sure I really did love her!" Harry defended, looking back at him. "What was I supposed to tell her—'Hey Hermione, every time I touch you I get a nice little zap and I think I love you, but I'm not all that sure, so do you think I can grope ("HA!" Dean said triumphantly. "Groping!") you a little more and we can just see what happens?' Did you want me to get killed?"
"Why didn't you just ask for someone's help then?" Ron shouted in exasperation.
"Well, what was I supposed to say?"
"Oh, I don't know," Ron snapped, "perhaps something along the lines of 'Help, I need somebody!'"
Harry stared at him a long moment. "Help, not just anybody," he mumbled.
A small smile flitted across Hermione's face. "I am the walrus."
Harry glanced over at her and grinned. "Paul is dead."
Ron glared at them. "What are you talking about? You two sound completely bonkers."
Harry waved a hand dismissively. "Nothing. Just some old Muggle musicians."
"Oh, they even think alike," Lavender breathed. "Isn't that lovely?"
"It would be a little more interesting if they didn't," Ron grumbled. "Where are the grand fights, the moaning over whether or not they should be together? I'm ecstatic that they're together, but it's all rather boring, isn't it?"
"We decided not to go into all that," Harry explained, hiding a smile, knowing what kind of reaction this would get from Ron. "No need for us to fight or worry about that."
Ron was incredulous. "Decided not to? Is this what that grand scheme of yours was?"
Hermione gave him a small, smug smile, thoroughly enjoying her moment to tweak him. "Well, it doesn't make much sense to moan about the past, does it? What's done is done. Wishing for a bunch of hysterical scenes is a bit childish, don't you think? I'd much rather just move on and focus on what we have together now."
Ron's face got very red. "What do you mean--?"
"Isn't that wonderful?" Lavender gushed, interrupting him. "They aren't going to worry about their time apart."
"That is so adorable!" Parvati agreed with a sweet expression on her face. "They're concentrating on their future together." She and Lavender heaved identical wistful sighs.
A faintly disgusted look crossed Ron's face. "I suppose that now they'll be feeding each other and calling each other pet names. I can't believe that this is what I worked for. It was bloody hard enough to get them here; a little drama at this point isn't too much to ask for, I think."
"Not everyone thinks that Klingon mating rituals are the pinnacle of human dating behavior, Ron," Dean remarked.
Ron merely looked confused. "Klingons? Who the bloody hell are they?"
Hermione's head snapped around at the mention of the famous aliens. "Klingons? You like Star Trek, Dean? Which series?"
Dean looked slightly embarrassed but happy to see someone who recognized the reference. "Yeah, I do. The original series is cool, but Next Generation has more involving plotlines."
Hermione nodded enthusiastically. "Yes, exactly! TOS has a certain charm, but TNG is so much engrossing. They deal with the ramifications of their actions."
Harry was looking at Hermione with a certain amount of wonder and surprise. "You're a Trekkie, Hermione?"
Hermione turned back to him and grinned. "You think I wouldn't be interested in a television series about exploring space, meeting new civilizations and learning new things? I loved the show. Besides, Spock and Captain Picard were pretty attractive. I always catch up with the series when I'm home for the summer."
Harry shook his head. "I never knew."
She nodded again. "I even have a replica of one of those uniforms the women wore on the original series."
A blush bloomed on Harry's cheeks when he remembered what those uniforms looked like, but a small, pleased smile crept across his lips. "Really?"
Hermione raised an eyebrow at him and then gave him a saucy grin. She leaned close to him. "I even have the boots, oh, captain, my captain," she whispered in his ear.
Harry's blush immediately spread to the rest of his face, but he was too engrossed in the fantasy of the Brave Captain and Naughty Ensign to care.
"You know, you still haven't told me what those Klingots are," Ron reminded Dean.
"Klingons," Dean said absently. "And I think you're missing the point here."
"Really?" Ron asked crossly. "What would that be? That nobody tells me anything?"
Ginny pointed to Hermione and Harry, who were now laughing softly on the couch. "The couple for the ages is together for approximately three minutes and they're already planning kinky games."
"What do you know about kinky games?" Ron asked sharply, brotherly instincts on full alert. Any possibilities of drama in Harry and Hermione's life paled in comparison to the possible corruption of his little sister.
"Probably saw all these males coming from their bedrooms, half dressed, sleepy eyes…it's enough to make any girl start thinking about all the fun that could be had," Seamus said with an amazingly straight face.
Ginny rolled her eyes. "Yes, Seamus, I was overcome with lust at the sight of your body in dancing leprechaun pajamas coming from your dorm."
Seamus drew back. "I hate it when people objectify me like that. Just because I'm devilishly handsome doesn't mean that I'm easy." All the Gryffindor boys coughed rather suddenly.
Meanwhile, Ron, upon hearing his sister's voice utter the words "Seamus," "lust," "body," and "bedroom," came out of his haze. "Stay away from my sister," he snapped.
"Oh, Merlin," Ginny said, exasperated.
Seamus looked at Ron in surprise. "I didn't do anything!"
"You're looking at her and you're half dressed!"
"I have one button undone on this shirt!"
"Shameful!" Ron howled.
"Why is Ron worried about Seamus?" Neville wondered innocently. "I would have thought that he would have cared about that rumor of Draco and Ginny snogging in the dungeons."
Dead silence. Even Harry and Hermione stopped their planning and looked up at that little bombshell.
"What?" Ron hissed, turning a shade of red that didn't look at all to be good for his health. "Malfoy? Dungeon? Snogging?" he shrieked.
Ginny covered her eyes with a hand. "Oh, no," she moaned. The rest of Gryffindor looked on in interest.
"Did you really kiss Malfoy?" Harry asked, wondering if he really wanted to know the answer.
Ginny sighed, hand still over her eyes. "It was just one kiss," she muttered. "It just happened. I can't explain it."
"I will kill him!" Ron roared. "I'll rip his limbs from his body, I'll--"
"You will do nothing of the sort!" Ginny yelled. "It was just one time, it was an accident and for the sake of all that is good and right, I am 16 years old!" she bellowed, achieving a remarkable volume. The Gryffindor children looked impressed at all that sound coming from the youngest and smallest Weasley. "I can deal with this without your interference! It is not the end of the world!" With that, she stomped out of the room in a terrific temper.
"It's pretty bloody close," he shouted after her. "A Weasley and a Malfoy. What is the world coming to?"
"Well, he is sort of attractive," Lavender said hesitatingly. "In a Slytherin-y, possibly evil sort of way."
Ron looked sourly at her. "I'll kill him," he informed her.
"Well," Harry said brightly, startling everyone as he got up off the couch, "all in all, I'd say that this has been a fascinating day. However, I'm getting a bit tired, so I think I'm going to head up to bed. Hermione?"
Hermione's face was just a bit pink as she answered. "Oh, yes, of course. Very tired. Need some sleep. Have classes to be ready for."
Ron's mouth twitched in spite of himself. "Tomorrow's Saturday, Hermione. We don't have classes."
Hermione pursed her lips and appeared to be thinking furiously for another reason. "It's important to keep your sleeping patterns the same so you don't mess up your rhythms." Harry nodded earnestly in agreement.
"Sleeping patterns? You were up studying every night last year," Lavender pointed out. "You never went to bed this early."
"My rhythms will be off!" Hermione insisted.
"I think your 'rhythm' will be just fine," Dean said, rolling his eyes. "Go report for duty, captain." A twitter ran through the room.
Harry just sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "I think they've discovered our nefarious plot, Hermione."
Hermione's spine stiffened. "I am planning on getting some sleep," she said, for some reason determined to keep up the charade.
Harry gave her a predatory smile. "I'm not," he said softly.
Hermione raised one eyebrow. "I guess I'm off to bed then." She turned and gave a half-wave to everyone. "Goodnight." They headed off for the stairs.
Harry paused in front of Ron. "Thank you," he said quietly.
Ron blushed, smiled and punched Harry in the shoulder. "What else could I do for my two best friends?"
"You mean besides the weeks of intense physical, emotional and mental discomfort?" Hermione asked. She shook her head and gave him a radiant smile. "Thank you," she whispered and rose up on tiptoe to give him a kiss on the cheek. Ron blushed furiously as Harry and Hermione moved towards the staircase.
"Oh, and Ron?" Harry said, stopping and turning towards him again.
"Hmmm?" Ron inquired.
Hermione gave him a somewhat terrifying smile. "Watch your back." Ron chuckled nervously and waved them onwards.
The whole of Gryffindor watched in complete silence as Harry escorted Hermione up the stairs. When they lost sight of the couple, a second year darted forward and ran silently up the stairs, following them. The quiet continued until the second year came back down, a giant grin on her face.
"He went into her room."
Havoc. Chaos. Bedlam. Catcalls and whooping. Ribald jokes and bawdy one lines flowed through the crowd like water. Bets were placed. Lavender and Parvati were squeeing in such a high pitch, some bat-like creatures in the Forbidden Forest temporarily lost their way. Seamus and Dean were dramatizing some possible permutations going on inside that room, with extremely humorous results.
Ron was weeping.
Neville wondered when everyone had lost their mind.
After some time, the rest of Gryffindor slowly made their way up the stairs, still buzzing happily about the union of two of wondrous Trio and that fascinating revelation about Draco and Ginny. Lavender collapsed onto the couch and Parvati fell into an overstuffed chair.
"You know, you still haven't explained the mating habits of those Klingon people," Ron reminded Dean.
Dean grinned. "You would like them, Ron. The female throws heavy objects at the male."
"And what does the male do?" Lavender asked, interested in these strange new people.
"He reads poetry. And ducks."
"They sound bonkers to me," Ron grumbled.
"Infinite diversity in infinite combinations, Ron," Dean remarked placidly. "Don't knock it until you've tried it."
"Oh, is this where you amaze us with your experience with females throwing things at you?" Parvati asked acidly. "Somehow, I think that practice is entirely familiar to you."
"Well, I could tell you about the time when I licked a girl's--"
"Pervert!" Parvati shrieked and hurled a pillow at him.
Dean dodged it and grinned. "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate--"
"Oh, stuff it," Parvati snapped and marched upstairs.
Seamus shook his head. "Nice try, mate." He clapped Dean on the shoulder and then turned to Ron and Lavender and grinned. "Don't stay up too late." He trotted quickly up the stairs.
Dean shrugged. "Well, I suppose there's always tomorrow." He gave a knowing smirk to Ron. "Have fun." Then he made a dash up the stairs, leaving Ron and Lavender alone in the common room.
"Er, what were they talking about?" Ron said, looking at Lavender curiously.
Lavender just smiled and patted the spot on the couch next to her. "Come sit and enjoy the moment."
Ron's eyebrows rose. Harry and Hermione were up in her room, presumably doing very naughty things to each other and enjoying it immensely. They had admitted their love for one another, sparing each other much pain and woe and sparing the rest of Gryffindor their sanity. Personally, his corneas, eardrums and liver were saved from a tremendous amount of abuse and he was quite grateful for that. And now Lavender was eyeing him with the most interesting look on her face. Ron gave her a charming grin and walked towards the couch.
He was a genius.