Warning: Fluff-overload, OOC-ness, and… stuff?

Spoilers: Err… none? (And besides, if you haven't read all of the books, why are you here?)

Summary: Staring. That has been Harry and Hermione's game for the past week. All but one of the times they've played, she's won. How did Harry win the last?

Author's Notes: This is a response to a challenge called "Stare."

Disclaimer: I don't own anything. There, I said it! (Please, just let me sob while you read.)



Today was Thursday, day eight of our little "game." Everyday, nearly every time we'd see each other, our game would start. She'd always win, of course, but that was only because my eyes would get so watery that I'd have to blink. It was an unspoken agreement: we see each other, the game starts, and she wins. It was simple, and yet we enjoyed it immensely. (Or, at least, from her reactions, she enjoyed it. I enjoy anything that involves Hermione.)

I remember when it had all started.

Ron, Hermione, and I were walking to Potions class.

"So," Ron said, grinning like a maniac, "did you hear that Oliver went to a different team?"

I shook my head. "No. Why'd he do that? The team wasn't enough for him?" I asked in amusement.

"Nah, mate. The manager said that he was tiring the team out." He laughed, throwing his head back slightly. "They said that he'd been wearing them out. Too many practices, probably." He grinned. "Seriously, Oliver Wood had been tiring out a Professional Qudditch Team."

"Class is starting in a minute," Hermione intervened, her steps far more brisk than mine and Ron's.

Have her legs always been that long? I wondered. I blinked. Where did that come from? I blinked again, forcing the thought far, far from my mind.

"Hurry up!" she commanded, reaching for our elbows. Her nice, warm, hands latched on to my elbow. And Ron's.

"Blimey, Hermione!" chuckled Ron, nearly having to jog to catch up.( I was fine, just as long as Hermione kept her hand on my elbow.) "Slow down, Snape isn't going anywhere."

She rolled her eyes, let go of our elbows, and muttered, "Honestly," before entering the class room.

That is when it had all started.

I sat next to her, and Ron sat next to Dean. We weren't sure why, but it was a tradition for us. Me and Hermione, Ron and some other bloke in our house. We never discussed it; it was just the way it was.

"The directions are on the board," Snape said. "You have until the end of the period to finish." His gaze turned to me. "And if I see any misbehaving, I'll be forced to take off points."

Rolling my eyes (doesn't that git have anything else to do than waste his time on me? Not that talking about me is wasted), I turned towards Hermione. Hermione was taking out her cauldron (don't they stay in the classroom?) and her book was open to the page instructed on the board. (Sometimes I wonder if she even needs the instructions. A girl with her brains would, and probably does, have memorized all of the directions.)

After a few minutes, I finally realized I was staring.


She turned. Opening her mouth to say something (probably to inform me that I was staring—which I perfectly knew), but closed it at the last minute. She blushed, but didn't stop looking at me.

After a few moments of staring at each other, she smirked. (Have I ever seen her smirk? Hmm… I'll make a note to research—did I just think research?—that later.)

I took that as a challenge.

I stared, and she stared back.

After a few minutes, I finally gave up. I blinked.

She smirked again, and whispered, "I win."

After that Potions class, every chance we'd get, we'd have our little game. We'd always be seeking out for each others eyes, and sometimes we'd just do it for fun.

As the games past (we found ourselves playing it several times a day), I found myself thinking about my relationship with her.

We'd always been friends, the best, even, but I wondered what it'd be like to kiss her lips. Feel her skin against me. Wonder what it'd be like to wake up next to her every morning, our children sleeping soundly.

I'd never thought about these things before. Voldemort made sure of that. But now, since he was long gone (killed the slimy dirt ball a month after my Birthday), I started thinking about something I'd never even dreamed of.

And as the days passed, I slowly came to the realization that I was falling. I was falling hard for the girl sitting in front of me.

I think I'm in love.

I blinked.

"I win," she smirked (I swear, her smirk is almost as natural as Malfoy's—and that's saying something), then went back to her homework.

I sighed. "Okay, Hermione, I'm going to win."

She merely gave a faint, "Mmmhmm…"

"Hermione," I nearly pleaded, "look at me."

She looked up, absently marking her place with her finger. "Yes, Harry?" Her tone was gentle, something I could really get used to. Hell, I'm already used to it! I love it!

I love her!

"I propose something," I said, putting my elbows on the table. "I'm going to beat you, remember that, Hermione."

She raised an eyebrow. "Whatever you say, Harry. Whatever you say."

"Yes, 'whatever I say.' I'm going to win, you know I am. All you have to do is pick the date."

She smiled and reached over, patting my hand. I felt shivers go down my spine, and I very nearly turned my hand to catch hers before it left, back to her book. "Harry, I don't want you do get so cocky. Your ego might get even bigger than it already is," she teased.

I didn't laugh, mainly because I wanted to be as serious as I could.

"Okay, okay, Harry. I'll pick a date." She seemed to be in thought, before answering, "How about… my Birthday?"

Next week, I thought immediately. I had already gotten her present—a simple, yet elegant, golden necklace—so that was ruled out.

Then, I suddenly knew how to beat her.

I grinned to myself, forgetting about the girl in front of me, and returned to my homework, feeling like a little school girl.

"Odd, that one," Hermione mumbled.

My eyes flicked up for a moment, and I thought I saw a flicker smile.

I'm looking forward to next week.


Next week came much too late. I was very, very tempted to tell her right then and there, but I laid off.

We sat there, next to each other, staring intently at each other. She sat there, smirking (God, I think I lost count on how many times she's done that!), and staring at me, daring me to blink.

I wasn't going to fall for it this time.

Nope, not one bit.

Suppressing a grin, he smiled and took her hand, intertwining their fingers together.

Her eyes widened, but they didn't blink. (Good, that. Then I wouldn't be able to tell her.)

Leaning in close to her ear, I whispered, "I love you," and pulled back quickly, making sure that she'd blink.

And she did, twice.

I grinned and leaned in again. "Yes," I whispered, "I said I love you."

She squeezed my hand, and blinked again. "Yes, I heard you." She smiled and leaned her head to my ear. (I really did shiver this time.) "I love you, too." Pulling away, she smirked (she really needs to stop that) and blinked, slowly.

"I win." I finally got to say that!

"Yes, yes you did," she said, squeezing my hand. She leaned in close. "What would you like for your reward?"

Not bothering to speak, I showed it to her. Leaning further, I pressed my lips lightly to hers. After what seemed like hours, we pulled apart, grinning like maniacs.

"Happy Birthday," I whispered, giving her a feather like kiss.

"And Happy Victory," she smirked, pressing her lips more firmly to mine.

Oh, yes, Happy Victory indeed.


Author's Notes: Kay, so I wrote this in like fifteen minutes.

How was it?