Harry Potter and all characters, etc. belong to J.K. Rowling, not me.
More Important Than Any Broomstick – Chapter 1
Starts in …
…The Prisoner of Azkaban – Chapter 11 – The Firebolt
Harry sat there watching Professor McGonagall walking out the portrait hole carrying the greatest broom in the world – his Firebolt that he'd owned for a few short hours. He watched one of his best friends scream at the other, "What did you go running to McGonagall for?"
Harry knew that was a good question. Hermione had never turned him in for anything, even before they were friends. He knew she wasn't mad at him, so there had to be a reason. He just couldn't see it.
Hermione threw her book aside. She was pink in the face, but stood up and faced Ron defiantly. "Because I thought – and Professor McGonagall agrees with me – that that broom was probably sent to Harry by Sirius Black!"
"What?" exclaimed Harry, shocked, "How could he?"
"There's no way!" shouted Ron. "You're just jealous!"
"Jealous?" retorted Hermione, her face turning red with anger. "Why? I don't even like flying!"
"That someone would spend that much on Harry and not you!" Ron shouted back.
"I AM NOT…" shouted Hermione, now furious with Ron.
"STOP! Both of you!" shouted Harry, earning glares from both Ron and Hermione. He then calmly stated, "It's my broom, Ron. If anyone's gonna yell at Hermione about it, I will."
"Fine!" agreed Ron. "You're right! Go ahead and yell at her for running to…"
"Ron," interrupted Harry firmly, "Hermione has been our best friend for over two years. I think she deserves the right to explain herself. I don't think she'd turn in the broom out of jealousy." He then turned at Hermione, who appeared nervous but pleased that Harry was willing to listen. "Before I yell at you, Hermione," he said calmly, "I want to understand why you believe Sirius Black sent me that broom."
At this point Ron's face turned bright red as he shouted, "I can't believe you're listening to that traitor!" and stormed out of the room.
She appeared very nervous. "Well, Harry," she began while looking down, "Sirius Black is out to get you, and this would be the perfect way." She then began looking him in the eye. "If he's hexed the broom to throw you off the way Professor Quirrel did in first year, it'd look like an accident. You've already fallen off a broom once this year, and I for one don't want it to happen again." Tears began falling down her cheeks at this point, but she kept looking straight at him. "I'm sorry that I did it behind your back, and, er, if that means you're mad at me, I, er, guess that's how it is. Your life means more to me than your friendship."
At that moment she ran toward the stairs that led to the girls' dorm. Harry easily caught up with her before she reached them. He gently grabbed her shoulders and turned her around. They locked eyes for about ten seconds before he smiled at her and assured her, "You haven't lost my friendship, Hermione. I know you did what you did because you care about me." He then gave her a quick embrace, which caused a big smile to form on Hermione's face. He looked a little nervous as he released her. "That, er, means a lot to me."
"Thank you for understanding, Harry. What are we gonna do about Ron?"
"I don't know," Harry replied miserably. "He seems to bring out the worst in me."
"He just needs to grow up a little," Hermione giggled.
"What's so funny?" asked a confused Harry.
"I was just imagining how loud he'd scream at me if I told him to grow up. But then again, when isn't he yelling at me?"
"The only reason we don't argue is because I let him talk about quidditch all the time," Harry chuckled. "Don't get me wrong, I like quidditch, but really, there's a lot more to life than a game."
"Things like friendship and trust."
Hermione gave her friend an appraising look. "That seems awfully grown up, Harry."
He shrugged his shoulders. "Maybe facing Voldemort twice, having a killer after you, and nearly dying from a fall will get you to start thinking about things besides games." He sighed. "I've been thinking about what's important to me, and I know that you're a whole lot more important than any broomstick to me."
She smiled brightly at him. "I'm glad to hear it. You mean more than a broomstick to me, too."
He smiled back. "I know I mean more than a broomstick to you, but what about your books?"
She chuckled and asked, "Which books? My divination book, yes. Hogwarts, a History, maybe…"
"Want to take a walk?" Harry asked.
"All right. Maybe we can build a snow person."
They got their coats, hats, and gloves from their dorms, and met back downstairs within five minutes. Harry helped her through the portrait hole, and subconsciously took her hand. They walked hand in hand through the castle, out into the grounds, found a good spot, and built a snowman when Harry insisted he'd be too embarrassed to make it a woman.
They wound up hanging together a lot during the rest of the break since Ron was still mad at Hermione for turning the broom in and Harry for speaking to Hermione. Ron ended up being miserable for the holidays while Harry and Hermione were happy. Harry found himself thinking about Hermione often when they weren't together, and wondered if he was starting to 'like' her as more than a friend.
The holidays were ending as more students started arriving back at the school. Harry and Hermione decided to go for another walk, hand in hand, on the last day before term started. They were talking amiably until they heard a familiar sneering voice shout, "Hey Potter, holding hands with the mudblood? Surely a celebrity like you can do better than that!"
Harry released her hand, grabbed his wand, and stepped in front of Hermione. "It's none of your business, Malfoy, so get out of here!"
"Not very friendly, are you?" he shot back.
"Get out of here, Dracula, son of Lucifer!" yelled Hermione with a smile on her face.
"How dare you speak to me, you filthy mudblood!"
Hermione stepped around Harry to face Draco. "Can't you come up with anything to call me besides mudblood? I can come up with a lot of things to call you, such as foul, evil, lying devil. Son of a Death Eater. Arrogant, cocky git! Ridiculous self-important nothing! Stupid coward! Idiotic little boy who can't think for himself, who's been told by his daddy that he's important because of something he had no control over, even though he's never accomplished anything for himself except for getting mediocre grades! Losers like you brag about your parentage because you know you'll never accomplish anything yourself!"
While this was going on, Harry was watching her with admiration while his wand was pointed at Draco, just in case.
Draco, whose face was falling, looked like he was on the verge of tears, finally shouted, "I don't have to listen to you, mudblood!" and ran off.
Harry started laughing and turned to the girl beside him. Without thinking he hugged her and kissed her cheek saying, "That was bloody brilliant!" and looked in her eyes again as she blushed. When he realized what he'd done, he blushed too. "I'm, er, sorry."
"You're sorry that you kissed me?" asked Hermione with a smile, knowing she was embarrassing Harry. "I'm not."
"Y-You're not?" stuttered Harry. "W-What if I'd kissed your lips?"
Hermione was blushing even more than before. "I wouldn't have been sorry if you'd done that, either."
Harry took a deep breath. "I-I'm not sure what's been happening to me, lately. I've been wanting to do that for about a week. I-I've been starting to kinda like you, er, as a girl."
She replied quickly, "Well, I am a girl, and well, I've kind of started liking you as a boy."
They stood there and stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity. It was at least thirty seconds, until Hermione nervously broke the silence. "If you would like to kiss me, g-go ahead."
"I, well I've just never kissed…"
"I know. Me, neither."
They slowly moved their faces together, managing to bump their noses together three times until Harry suggested Hermione stay still. They'll never be able to describe the sensations they felt when their lips finally met, but they liked it. Hermione commented, "That was nice, but I think we should practice."
They were still 'practicing' when Ron, walking with Neville, came upon them. Ron shouted, "I don't believe it!" causing Harry and Hermione, who both started blushing, to break apart.
Neville said, "Excuse me," as he went bright red and got away from there as fast as he could.
Hermione glared at Ron. "What don't you believe, Ron?"
"Harry, how could you kiss, er, Hermione?" asked Ron, inserting his foot deeper into his mouth.
"Why shouldn't I kiss her?" asked Harry, getting annoyed.
"She's, she's Hermione. I mean, no one wants to kiss…"
"Ron," recommended Harry, "for your safety I would suggest you stop talking now."
"Why should I?" demanded Ron, getting angry. "I know why you're kissing her! You figure that since no one else wants her she'll let you take advantage…"
"SINCE NO ONE ELSE WANTS ME!?" shouted Hermione, causing Ron to take a step backwards, "TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ME!?"
At this point, Harry shrugged his shoulders and quickly remarked, "I tried to warn you," while he took a step away from them, pulling his wand out in case the fight got out of control.
Harry wasn't the only one pulling out their wand. Hermione shouted, "How dare you say no one wants me! I don't see any girls lining up to date you! I know I never will!"
Ron turned a shade of purple that reminded Harry of his Uncle Vernon before shouting back, "As if I'd want you to…"
"Petrificus Totalus!" shouted Hermione, causing Ron to fall face first in the snow as he experienced the full Body-Bind.
"Hermione, that's enough," insisted Harry. "Calm down."
She looked back at Harry, took a deep breath and agreed, "I know. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have lost my temper. It's just…" At that moment she started crying. "It's just I know part of what he said is true. I know I'm plain and my hair…"
"Stop talking about my girlfriend like that," Harry argued as he walked up to her. "I like you just the way you are, and I don't think you're plain. I, er, think you're pretty." He then pulled her into a tight embrace and held her close for about a minute. Then, he pushed them apart just enough so he could wipe away her tears with his left hand while his right hand was still on her back. He then kissed her on the lips once more. "I think you'd better release Ron before a teacher finds him."
After she performed the counter curse on Ron, he glared at the two of them. Harry explained, "Hermione and I are going out, and you're going to have to accept it if you want to hang out with us." Without saying a word, Ron turned around and walked away.
"I wonder if he'll ever speak to us again," commented Hermione.
"That, Hermione," replied Harry, taking her hands in his, "is up to him."