Foreword: This is just a short little story I'm using to test the waters… This is my first story (if it can be considered that…). Double Quotations denote speech, and single quotations denotes thought.
Disclaimer: I don't own the rights to any of this… And sadly, I don't own the rights to David Bowie either… I'm just having a bit of fun.
Harry glanced around the Common Room quickly, and warily. 'I've made it… I can finally get some peace and quiet…' He had been dodging as many people as was physically possible. News had gotten out that the Yule Ball was going to take place… something which Harry was quite content to avoid at all costs.
Unfortunately for him, it seemed as though everyone in his year, and even people not in his year wanted to go with him… He had even gotten a few strange requests from the male populace.
'But none of that matters now! I'm safe up here… Hopefully everybody believes I'm still at the Great Hall… It's not like I had much of an appetite tonight anyway…' Letting out a heaving sigh, Harry spread his arms over the back of one of the couches, and closed his eyes. For the longest time, he could only hear his own breathing, and the gentle crackle of the fire.
When his emerald eyes finally pierced through their skin cage, he was greeted by possibly one of the most disturbingly breathtaking sights ever. He stared, dumbfounded, at the sight of Albus Dumbledore grinning wildly, with an arm around a man that looked suspiciously familiar… "I-Is that David Bowie?!" Harry exclaimed, hopping to his feet.
The paper moved aside, and Hermione rolled her eyes at him. "Of course that's David Bowie… He was Professor Dumbledore's greatest prodigy… Haven't you read Hogwarts: A History yet?! That was in Chapter… Thirty-six? No, how silly of me. It was in Chapter Thirty-eight."
"Wh-When did you get here, Hermione?! I thought I was alone!"
Laughing lightly, she shook her head, "Honestly, Harry… I've been here the whole time. I saw you come in and proceed to toss yourself at that couch." With a grin she said, "A bit disturbing really… You seemed quite intent upon making a move on that couch."
He plopped back down, stretching his legs out. "It's just been a rough week…" Harry groaned, as he wearily eyed his friend. After a few moments of silence, realization struck him, as he said, "Wait a moment… David Bowie… As in, the musician, David Bowie… is a wizard?!"
"Of course he was, Harry…" She made it sound as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "You couldn't possibly think he looks as young as he does without magic, could you? He is already over one hundred years old." Hermione raised the Daily Prophet once more and continued what she had been doing earlier.
Glancing at his watch, Harry smiled. He still had approximately two hours of sol… well… mainly solitude. Hermione was still in the room, but he had nothing to worry about from her… She was content to simply continue reading, and leave him be. The bookworm had an uncanny knack for knowing what Harry wanted.
"I love this couch…" Harry said, lying across it with a grin. "After a day like this, I need to relax…"
Chuckling, Hermione spoke from behind her newspaper, saying, "Well, why don't you ask the couch to the Yule Ball? I'm sure it would be very responsive…"
"Ugh… Don't even remind me of the Yule Ball…" Grimacing, the young man said, "I can't seem to get even the tiniest amount of personal time… I have to actually hide from people for a little free time."
Disgusted, he mimicked the voice of a girl, with an annoyingly high pitched-grating sound, "Harry! Harry! Are you going to the Yule Ball with anybody? I haven't got a date yet, so why don't you take me?!"
"Oh, gee. I don't know. Maybe because I don't even plan on taking myself!" Harry was quite animated, upon that couch, holding his own conversation.
Miserably trying to stifle her laughter, Hermione put her newspaper aside and said, "You know something's wrong once you've started talking to yourself, Harry." She warmly smiled at him and said, "I've no doubt that you'll have an absolute blast at the Ball."
"Uh, Hermione, I do. In fact, I highly doubt it…"
Hermione got a bad vibe from her best friend, and moved to a chair much closer to the couch he was on. "Harry… What's wrong? It's… just a dance. It's nothing out of the ordinary."
"But it is! It is, Hermione! It's not just a dance… everyone will be judging me… everyone will be expecting something from me… It… It really makes me nervous." Harry sat up, and faced the girl. 'At least I can talk to her… Ron would just laugh at me, and tell me to pick a bloody girl.'
Taking a deep breath, he spoke more softly, "I just… I can't stand it… I'm not a good dancer whatsoever. With all that's been going on with the Triwizard Tournament, I just want time to relax… I don't want to feel like I've got another task added into the mix."
Glancing at him skeptically, Hermione said, "Harry, why do I doubt that your inability to dance has anything to do with it?"
Cradling his head between his hands, Harry mumbled, "I'm… not comfortable with it… The closeness and 'affection'… I just… I'm Harry Potter. Not The-Boy-Who-Lived! Everybody wants me to be that person… but… what's wrong with me just being me? I don't feel comfortable enough with anybody to dance that way…"
"I like you just fine the way you are, Harry…" Hermione patted his shoulder gently, before a snicker issued forth. "And like I said before, why not ask the couch? I'm sure it would have no objections."
"Brilliant idea, Hermione! Instead of stepping on somebody's toes, I'd be hitting them with a couch instead!" Harry scowled for a moment, attempting to cover up what humor he had seen in the joke. It wasn't like Hermione to kid around with him in such a way. 'I must look horrid if Hermione's cracking jokes…"
Smiling, the girl gently rubbed his shoulder. "It's not so bad, Harry… At least you'd have something to protect you from the rabid flock of girls trying to get a piece of you."
"That is true…" he admitted to himself. Hermione had let go of him. Strangely enough, he didn't feel uncomfortable when she did that. Had it been anybody else though, Harry would've been as uncomfortable as Professor Snape when faced with shampoo. "Hermione…" he said slowly, trying to convince himself of what he was really going to say.
"Hm? What is it, Harry?" She focused her deep, brown eyes on him with a genial look on her face.
"Well… I was thinking… y-you don't seem too worried about the Yule Ball… Do… you have a date?"
"Oh, heavens no, Harry." Hermione burst into a fit of laughter. Once she had calmed down, she said, "No, Harry… Nobody's asked me yet, and I'm fine with that. To be completely honest, I wasn't planning on going, even if I was asked. The Yule Ball's just not something I feel any compelling desire to attend." And it was the truth. Hermione Jane Granger would not attend the Yule Ball. It was as simple as that.
There was no ulterior motive behind Harry's question… He was just curious as to why his best friend wasn't stressed about the Ball, whereas everyone else, including himself was quite visibly shaken by it. "Well… If you don't mind me asking, what would you be doing while the Ball is happening?"
"Nothing, I would assume… I would probably just sit around and do some leisure reading." She shrugged her shoulders and retrieved her newspaper, once again resuming her reading.
"Hey, Hermione… well… I was, eh… I was wondering…"
She cut him off with a rather flat voice, "No, Harry." The girl sighed, as she closed her eyes, and placed her newspaper aside again. "I do not want to go to the Ball… I mean, I'm flattered that you would ask me of all people, but I just don't want to go."
She stared at Harry for a moment, trying to decipher the look on his face. It was a look of pleading and sorrow. But… once Hermione Jane Granger had made up her mind, it was not going to change. So instead, she looked away, and stared into the fire crackling gently in the fireplace.
Harry scooted a tiny bit closer to Hermione's chair and spoke softly, with a hint of shame in his voice. "I-I wasn't going to ask you that, Hermione… I'm sorry."
Raising an eyebrow, she cocked her head a bit, to glance at him from the corner of her eye. 'Intriguing… I could've sworn he'd ask me… Well, at least he won't be sore that I said no. I don't have a date, and I don't want one.'
"I was…" He swallowed, and nervously fidgeted with his hands. "I was wondering if… if maybe I could join you…"
Shock was clearly written across her face as the Brightest Witch of her Age was reduced to staring, dumbfounded, at her friend.
"I-I mean, I understand if you don't want me to, but… I really don't want to go, and… I figured that instead of being alone at the Ball…" Harry blushed a bit, realizing what he sounded like. "It's not like… I want to… you know… make a move on you… I'd just feel better if I knew I had a relaxed evening ahead of me, instead of going to the Yule Ball." After a moment of subdued silence, he said, "I-I won't bother you, I promise! I'd… I'd feel much more comfortable, without all those people judging me so critically…"
"Harry…" Hermione's tone was strange… somewhere between sympathy, pride, hope, and elation all at once. "Of course you can join me… I… I understand that you don't feel so comfortable with such open displays of affection. I'm not so fond of them myself… I'm much more comfortable with a calm evening by the fire."
Harry scooted closer to Hermione and tentatively put his arms around her. The hug made him feel ever so vulnerable, both to himself and to Hermione. "Thank you, Hermione… This means more to me than you can ever imagine." He quickly let go, feeling awkward, his face quite obviously red from blushing.
"No need to worry about it, Harry. I mean, I am your friend… It's not like I'm going to force you to do something that makes you feel so bad about yourself…" The girl grinned, a devious light coming into her eyes, "However… You could use the time to catch up on your assignments."
Harry blanched for a moment, before noticing that the girl was shaking with laughter. "Ha bloody ha, Hermione…" he said, scowling to hide his mirth.
The two entered into a fit of hysterical laughter, ringing throughout the Common Room.
Author's Notes: If you want, I could add another chapter. I already have an idea for it, but it's up to you guys. I don't believe it will become anything lengthy though… Maybe just another chapter. Two if I really milk it for all it's worth. Please leave me a review… I'd like that very much. Thanks in advance, if you got this far in the story!