Disclaimer: I do not own any Harry Potter characters. All of them rightfully belong to Joanne Kathleen Rowling (J.K. Rowling). However, there are characters you may not recognize like Nichole, who belong to me.

Summary: Hermione told her cousin, Nichole, that she had a boyfrined, just to prove that she was as capable of getting men like her, when she really didn't. However, the problem comes when Hermione's parents want to meet her 'boyfriend'. Who will pose for her?

Pretending At First ... Not So Sure Now

Chapter One: Help Me!

It was Christmas Holidays, five days before Christmas to be exact, and Hermione Granger was stuffing her clothes angrily in her bag. She decided that she should just bring a bag instead of a trunk because she didn't plan on bringing too much things. Hermione had always loved going home for Christmas, but this year was different.

'Why?' she thought with anger, 'Why did she have to come now?!'

Hermione was a Charms teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She had been hired by the Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, when the former professor, Professor Flitwick, had retired claiming that he needed to spend more time with his family. Teachers didn't normally go home, but when her mother wrote to Professor Dumbledore, he gave her his permission.

After Voldemort's downfall a year after they had graduated, her friends, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, each took jobs away from anything that had to do with the Dark Arts. They both played Professional Quidditch and were now two of the best players of the Chudley Cannons; Ron was a Keeper and Harry played as their Seeker. Despite their jobs, the Trio was still close, perhaps closer than they were before.

Hermione knew that her best friends were happy with the current situation of their lives. Ron was steadily dating Luna Lovegood for the past two years. Harry, she could tell, was glad that he was finally doing something he loved. Despite, the fame that had, once again, come with his job, he was now living a life away from fear for his loved ones and Voldemort. However, he didn't get much luck with girls. The women he had been with before turned out to be using him for money and fame, which caused Harry to stop dating with girls he didn't know too well.

Hermione paced the room angrily, her chocolate colored eyes bright with fury and her brown locks flying everywhere. Her mother had mentioned in one of her owls that her cousin from France, Nichole Desrosiers, and her family will be staying over her house for the whole Christmas break. Hermione had told her repeatedly that she and her cousin were always at odds, but her mother had brushed them off saying that they just needed to know more about each other and that this was the perfect opportunity to do so. When he mother didn't change her mind after numerous reasons, like having a lot of papers to grade over the next two weeks, her mother didn't hear any of it, saying that she could just bring them home with her.

Hermione looked around her room, looking for anything that she might need over her stay. When she made sure there was nothing, she walked out calling Crookshanks to follow her and then closed the door behind her. She walked towards the Great Hall to say good bye to her colleagues and the few students staying over the Holidays. When she entered, the sight that greeted her brought a reluctant smile to her face. Only one table was out and the walls of the Hall were decorated. The students and professors were dining together. She laughed when she saw Professor Grant, the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, playing a game of Wizard's Chess with his student, Clarence. She walked towards the table and said her goodbyes.

Half an hour later, she was sitting in one of the compartments of the Hogwarts Express. She was the only one on board, except for the three wizards and two witches she didn't know. She took one last look at the snow-covered castle and smiled. It looked like a picture from one of her old fairytale books. She settled reading her favorite book: Hogwarts: A History while Crrokshanks curled up on the seat in front of her. The movement of the train slowly brought her to sleep for the rest of the ride.

Hermione was woken up a few hours later by the sound of the train's whistle. She heard the announcer's voice saying that they would be in King's Cross in five minutes. With that said, she started to gathered her things and get ready. She changed from her teacher's robe to a blue tank top and bell-bottom jeans as they were going to a muggle part of town. She put a red jacket over her shoulders to block out the chilly wind and keep her warm against the cold temperature.

When they reached King's Cross, she rushed to her parents, who were waiting for her arrival.

"Mom!" she shouted happily, hugging her mother. "Dad!"

"We missed you too, Sweetheart," her father told her, returning the hug.

"You're cousin, your aunt and your uncle are at home," her mother, Anabelle, told her as her father picked up her bag.

They walked towards their car, with Crookshanks perched on Hermione's arm. During the ride home, Anabelle filled up Hermione on what she had missed. The ride home seemed longer than usual for her or maybe it was just that her mother wouldn't stop talking about her cousin, Nichole.

When they got home, the Grangers and Crookshanks were met in the living room by the Desrosiers. Her aunt and uncle were the first to greet her while her cousin was out of sight. This did not disappoint Hermione, in fact she was happier that she did not have to deal with Nichole yet.

"Uncle Allan! Aunt Dory!" Hermione cried as she gave both of them hugs.

"Hermione! Look at you!" her aunt smiled, "you're all grown up! The last time I saw you, you were about fifteen!"

As they walked towards the kitchen, Hermione saw her cousin playing with Crookshanks. Her smile immediately disappeared. She liked her aunt and uncle, but Nichole? That's a different story.

'What is she doing?!' Hermione's mind screamed. 'She's trying to win Crookshanks over!'

She glared at Nichole, who smiled at her innocently as she picked up Crookshanks. Crookshanks gave a soft 'Meow' of contentment as Nichole scratched him behind his ears. Nichole's dark eyes were looking at her, amused at her temper. As she walked towards Hermione, her long sleek hair swayed behind her.

"Hello, Cousin," Nichole greeted Hermione.

Hermione didn't answer. She was staring at Nichole in disgust. She looked over at her mother, who sent a look that said 'Be nice'. Hermione put a fake smile on her face.

"Hello, Nichole," Hermione replied with flase sweetness. She picked up the bag her dad had dropped on the floor and made her way up the stairs to her room. When she reached her room, she went in and shut it behind her. She leaned against the door and looked around her in darkness. Her eyes adjusted quickly and she was relieved to find all her belongings in the same place she left them four months ago. Hermione walked to her bed and sat down on it.

"I hate you," she whispered into the darkness. "I hate you, Nichole."

She put on the light and took out a book, trying to calm the anger she was feeling. When she heard a knock on the door, she told them to go in. She was angered, however, when it was Nichole that walked in.

"What do you want?" Hermione asked as she put hr book down.

Nichole smiled sweetly. "My dear cousin," she said, "I just want to catch up on things."

Hermione snorted. ' Yeah, right,' she thought.

"Anyway," Nichole continued as though she didn't hear anything, "anyone special in your life?"

"Why?" Hermione asked her.

At twenty-four, people were mostly dating, but for Hermione, that wasn't the case. The truth was, despite the number of people asking her out, she had turned most of them down. This was because she was scared that what happened to Harry will happen to her too. She was scared to get hurt. She was afraid to love someone only to find out that she was being used. Her past boyfriends did this to her. Being best friends with the famous Quidditch Stars and one of the people that helped bring down the Dark Lord, the men used her.

"Because I just wanted to know what was going on in your life," Nichole answered.

"You don't care what's going on in my life!" Hermione told her twenty- five year old cousin. "I bet you wouldn't care if I get killed!"

"Of course I wouldn't," Nichole said sarcastically. "Honey, what ever we do, we're still cousins," she said as she stood up.

Hermione stayed silent.

"You'll meet him on Christmas," Nichole said.

"Him? Who's 'Him'?" Hermione asked, now on her feet. "You have a new boyfriend again? You don't have a fiancée do you?!"

Hermione had found out some of her cousin's social life from her mother, who heard it from her brother and sister in-law. From what she heard, Nichole was not one of those types of people to settle down.

"Wouldn't you like to know?" Nichole said, a few moments later with a smirk on her face. "You see, unlike you, I am capable of getting a man!"

"You probably just met him in some bar or something!" Hermione shouted. "And to your question, yes! I do have a boyfriend and we've been dating for the past two years!"

Nichole's smirk suddenly turned into a grin "Of course you have," she said sofly. "About 'Him', his name is David. And just to let you know, he's different from others. I love him." With that said, she left.

Hermione sighed with relief that her cousin had now left and kept reading . . . . .

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That night at dinner, Hermione was eating peacefully until a subject she never paid attention to was brought up.

"So, Hermione," Anabelle started, "do you have a boyfriend."

"Why?" Hermione asked nervously. She glared at Nichole, who was smiling back sweetly.

"Hermione, we're your parents," her father, John, asked. "Don't you think that we should be informed when our daughter has already started dating."

"O-of course," Hermione stammered, 'I-I think y-you should be."

"So, is it true, what Nichole said, about you dating?" her aunt asked curiously.

"Yes," Hermione lied. She felt guilty when her mother and her aunt let out noises of happiness.

"WHAT?!?!?! Why didn't you tell us?!" her father shrieked.

"So, how long have you been dating?" Allan asked curiously, ignoring his brother in-law's outburst.

Hermione gulped. If she changed her story into a different one, Nichole would surely tell her parents. On the other hand, she couldn't say that she had already been dating for the past two years when her father had said that she should have told them. Hermione knew that they were expecting her to tell them that they had only started a few days before, but on the look on Nichole's face, she knew she had to tell the same story.

"We – uh – erm," she looked uneasily around her. All eyes were laid on her. "We've been dating for the past two years," she finished in a voice barely above a whisper.

"WHAT?!?!" her father shouted. "Why didn't you tell us?" he repeated.

Hermione sank down her seat. She hated lying to her parents. She was about to back out and tell them the truth when she saw Nichole throw her a look of triumph from across the table. She narrowed her eyes at her and sat up straighter and her voice was now stronger.

"I didn't tell you," Hermione began in an as-a-matter-of-fact voice, " because I knew you would react as badly as you did now."

"B-B-but .. b-but," her father stammered turning purple.

Anabelle, Hermione's mother, and her Aunt Dory stood up and hugged her.

"We understand, Sweetheart," Anabelle said softly.

"Thanks, Mum," Hermione said, tears in her eyes. 'I'm sorry,' she thought, 'I'm sorry for lying to you just to get back at Nichole. Just so I wouldn't get embarassed.'

After the chaos had finished and her father was now back to his original color, they sat down to finish their dinner.

"When will we meet this-" John started, but paused trying to find the right word, "man?"

"I don't really think that that is necess-"Hermione began, but was interrupted by her cousin from across the table.

"Why don't we meet him on Christmas too," Nichole said throwing Hermione a look that said 'Why not?'. "You know, along with my fiancée.

"Yes," Allan said thoughtfully, "tell him to come over for Christmas dinner."

"But - " Hermione started, only to be interrupted by her mother.

"Tell him we want to meet him," Anabelle said cheerfully.

Hermione knew that once her mother's mind was set on something, you can't change it no matter how hard you try.

"Okay," Hermione said thinking of a way to get her out of trouble.

"What is this man's name?" Nichole asked putting her hand on her chair's arm.

"Ummmm." Hermione was panicking - a lot. "It'll be a surprise," she decided, "It will be more exciting that way."

The people around the table nodded, except for Nichole. Nichole sneered at Hermione and tossed her head back in triumph, making her dark hair fall around her face like a curtain.

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When Hermione was dressed for bed, she sat down on her windowsill and sighed.

"What have I gotten myself into now?" she asked the silent night.

'Who can pose for me?' she wondered. 'Who would be willing to help me?'

Just then, she saw a speck of white soaring through the sky. She squinted he eyes and, to her amazement, it was Hedwig. Hedwig dropped the letter she was carrying on the bed while Hermione gave her water.

Hi Herimione!

How are you? I haven't seen you in quit a long time!

Hermione snorted when she read this. They had just been together with Ron and Luna in the Three Broomsticks two days ago.

Anyway, I just wanted o know if you're all right and if you need any help, I'm always here.


That's when it clicked. Harry! Harry can help her. She grabbed a piece of parchment from one of the drawers of her study table and pulled out her ink bottle and quill.

Dear Harry,

I'm fine, I just need to ask you a favor. If you would meet me at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning in The Three Broomsticks, I would really appreciate it. Please try to come alone.

With lots of love,

After finishing her letter, Hermione tied it to Hedwig's leg and watched as she took of into the starry night. She went to bed and slept peacefully.

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Hermione woke up the next morning with Hedwig, carrying a note, flying over her head. When she saw that Hermione had woken up, she landed beside her and stuck out her leg. Hermione brushed her feathers and took the letter. After Hedwig took off, she opened the letter only to find three words written in it.

Of course

Hermione smiled as she looked over at the watch on her bedside table. However, when she saw the time, she almost fell over. It was already 9: 45. Hermione rushed to her closet and pulled out a green haltertop and blue jeans. She quickly pulled her hair into a messy pony tail and ran downstairs to tell her parents where she was going.

"Mom! Dad!" she called as she ran down the stairs.

As she entered the kitchen, she saw her dad look up from the newspaper she was reading. Anabelle was in the living room talking to her brother and her sister in-law while Nichole, Hermione guessed, was still sleeping.

"Yes, Hermione?" he asked as Hermione pecked his cheek. "Did you already eat breakfast?"

"I can't," Hermione said as she pulled her robe on, "I'm going to meet someone at the Three Broomsticks in about two minutes."

"Is it Him?" John asked looking at his daughter.

Hermione smiled at her protective father. "Maybe," she said smiling.

John sighed. "Just be careful," he told her, "I don't want you to get hurt again. Are you sure you can trust him?"

"Yes, Dad," Hermione assured him as she walked out the back door to Apparate. "Just tell Mom I said bye!"

Her Aunt and Uncle didn't know she was a witch. She didn't tell too many of her Muggle friends and relatives that she could do magic. The reason behind this was because she was scared most of them would turn away just as one person had. Her parents were overjoyed when they had found out but Nichole, Nichole reacted in the way Hermione feared.

She and her cousins had once been very close. But when Hermione thought that it was time to tell her one of the few secrets she had kept from her, that bond immediately broke. Nichole never went near her in fear unless it was completely necessary. However, as years went by, that fear turned into hate. Nichole never passed an opportunity to get Hermione in trouble and that was when Hermione started avoiding her. Hermione was grateful when she found out that Nichole had never told anyone her secret, not even her own parents.

"I will, Sweetheart," John told her.

Hermione waved as she checked around the lot if there were any people around the area. When she was sure that there was no one there, she Disapparated with a loud 'Pop!' What she didn't know was that at one of the two guest rooms, there was someone looking out of the windows.

"Oh, Hermione," Nichole said sadly as a tear rolled down her cheek, "I'm sorry for what I've done," she said staring at the spot where Hermione had been moments before.

Hermione entered the Three Broomsticks and scanned the place for Harry. She found him waving at her and laughed as she came over. There were two empty Butterbeer bottles on the table and he looked very bored and irritated.

"Hermione!" Harry greeted her.

"Hey, Harry," Hermione replied. "What happened?" she asked as she leaned forwards to brush the hair that had fallen over his eyes.

"I came thirty minutes early," he told her with a smile, "I thought that since you always come that early, you would be today too."

"Oh, Harry!" she laughed, "I over slept!"

"That wasn't the worst part!" Harry informed her. "There were these girls sitting over on that table," he said nodding his head towards an empty table, "and they kept looking over and kept giggling at me! Then there was this girl who had the guts to come over and ask for an autograph!"

At this Hermione had tears of laughter in her eyes.

"It's not funny!" Harry huffed, though his green eyes were bright with laughter. "Now, what was that you wanted to meet me for?"

Hermione suddenly stopped laughing and put her head in her hands. This action worried Harry because he only saw Hermione like this once. And that was when he found out that her cousin had started to avoid.

"Hermione?" Harry said softly, "What do you need help in?"

"Harry," Hermione said looking up. "I need you to do a favor for me."

"I know," Harry said, "that part was in you letter. What do you need," he repeated.

Hermione stared at Harry. This was the only time she had really noticed how much Harry changed over the years. His once small and fragile looking frame was now muscular from what he does in Quidditch. He had emerald green eyes, which were framed with silver glasses, that always sparkled. His messy jet black hair now fit his face perfectly.

"Hermione?" Harry asked waving a hand in front of her face, "Hermione?"

Hermione shook her head and said, "What was that?"

"You were staring at me all weird and I thought you were gonna faint!" Harry said. "You weren't blinking or anything!"

Hermione turned a very dark shade of red, but Harry, apparently, didn't notice.

"Will you tell me now what you need me to do?" Harry questioned.

Hermione took a deep breath and said, "I need you to pose for me."

Harry stood up and crossed his arms. "There," he said trying to be funny, "I'm posing for you."

"You know what I mean Harry," Hermione said sternly.

At the looked on Hermione's face, Harry immediately sat down and whispered very quietly that Hermione had to strain her ears to hear what he said.

"You don't want me to – um – you know – strip for you or something?" Harry whispered.

"No!" Hermione said amused at the idea that had crossed his mind. "But I wouldn't mind," she joked.

"Then what do you mean by 'pose'?" Harry asked turning red.

Hermione sighed, she thought Harry had knew what she meant. However, the thought that crossed through his mind was rather funny. She glanced at Harry and, at the blank look on his face, told him the story of how she had gotten into the mess. After she had recited the whole story, Harry laughed.

"So what you're trying to tell me is that you want me to pose as your 'boyfriend' to show your cousin that you're 'as capable of getting a man' as her?" Harry said laughing heartily.

Hermione nodded, a little nervous. Seeing this, Harry laughed harder.

"Come on, Hermione, tell me what you want already!" Harry wheezed between laughs.

"I just did!" Hermione said starting to get mad.

Harry, seeing the look on Hermione's face, knew that she was serious and immediately stopped laughing.

"Seriously, Herm?" he asked. "You do know that you're capable."

"Harry, please," Hermione begged. When Harry didn't answer, she looked down, depressed. "Thanks anyway," she said as she stood up.

"Hey!" Harry protested standing up as well. "I didn't tell you my answer yet!"

Harry smiled and Hermione threw her arms around him in joy.

"Thank you!" she whispered. "You do know what this could do right?" Hermione asked pulling away slightly. "You know about the publicity? No matter how much we try to hide it, I'm sure it will leak out."

"I'm willing to go through that to help my best friend," Harry told her softly. "Come to think about it, I got the lower part of the bargain. You were with me through our seven years at Hogwarts when you could have easily just left me and not be involved with Voldemort."

"Harry, you're my best friend, you're like a brother to me!" Hermione said. "It will take more than Voldemort to stop me!"

"You don't know how much this means to me, Herm. No matter how tough I am, I wouldn't have lasted this long without you"

"Believe me Harry, once you meet my father, we'll see how tough you are," Hermione joked.

"So all I need to do is meet your parents?" Harry asked letting go of Hermione and ignoring her comment.

"Yeah, but it won't be easy once you're there in front of them" Hermione replied sitting back down.

"How will we break it off though?" Harry questioned. "You know, were dating for two years and suddenly break it off."

"Oh, about that," Hermione smiled. "We'll just say that things weren't like the way they used to be and we just settled to being back to friends."

"You already thought about this, haven't you?" Harry said disbelieved.

"So what if I have?" Hermione challenged him with a smile.

The two friends laughed. Unknown to them, a journalist by the name of Rita Skeeter was close by. She was out of earshot and couldn't hear what they were saying but by the way the two friends were acting, she already had a front page story for the next day or two.

Author's Note: Please keep in mind that this is my first story. Please review and tell me if I should continue. If you have any suggestions, feel free to include them in your reviews.