Joe's Note: Unlike the last chapter, this is in fact actually a new chapter. I had to look up a calendar for Goblet of Fire to find out... the Second Task actually occurs after Luna's birthday. By a whopping nine days, but it does in fact occur after. So contrary to what I mentioned last chapter, this chapter actually is in chronological order with the other eight. This chapter is going to explore one of the butterfly effect ripples of Hermione taking Luna to the Yule Ball instead of Viktor... which really works out well for her in terms of not being kidnapped, bespelled, and stuck at the bottom of a lake.
Dedications & Thanks: To Nicholas, Howard, Daniel, Alonsis2, Tibor, William, Koby, George, Chris, Ziryo, Marc, bloodylord, Riley, Jason, Joseph, Morgan, Fablesrogue, Odd Duck, Crygon20, Charles, Mikey, PbookR, Wil, Roofcrawler, Edward, Haematite, Adrien, Sam, Gerald, mpotato, TheTenthAncestor, Gavin, David, JJbelle, Haunz, D, Darrell, Zordmon, Bryan, Warren, Roman, Lookshy, and Hawken for sponsoring me on , and making it easier for me to spend more of my time writing.
"...that could have been me." Luna made a vaguely curious noise from where she was curled up under the same blanket as Hermione and the brunette nodded in the direction of the Black Lake. "They've told us who the hostages are at the beginning of the event. And while we're looking at a relatively small sample size, a full half of the hostages are their respective champions' Yule Ball dates. Given that Krum has Greengrass, it makes me think that I probably would have been picked if I'd gone to the Ball with him as he originally wanted. Which is vaguely concerning, if a single date to a dance makes her the thing he'd miss most in the entire world. Diggory and Chang, I can understand, but-"
Leaning over, Luna pressed her lips to Hermione's until her muffled words trailed off into nothingness. When Luna pulled away, there was a titter of laughter from Morag and Su next to them, making Hermione shoot a glare over at them. Luna reached out, cupping Hermione's chin and turning the brunette back to face her. "While I really do enjoy the sound of your voice, sometimes it takes you a hundred words to say what could have been done in ten." Hermione let out a harumph at that, and Luna pressed a kiss to her cheek. "To address your thoughts? I am also slightly concerned that the person that he'd miss the most is someone that he's known since November at the earliest but we know nothing about his life. Maybe he really is that socially isolated and lonely."
Su sniffed softly at that, and the two witches looked over to find her blushing as she dabbed at her eye. "That's so sad. Especially considering it's Daphne Greengrass. They barely speak the same language and she's an ice queen and I'm pretty sure that he's mostly interested in her for..." The Chinese witch brought her hands up to her chest, pantomiming Daphne's endowments. "If his life is genuinely so lonely that she's the one that he would honestly miss the most? I honestly feel really bad for him."
"Or maybe the Delacours were more willing to work with the Tournament officials than the Krums were and he has siblings he loves and parents that he gets along with and just none of them consented to being stuck at the bottom of a lake?" Generally the voice of reason, Morag chimed in with her thoughts from her spot at the end of their little group. "I mean, if I was the Hogwarts champion, I'd probably be fishing Su out of the lake because there's no way my parents or either of my little brothers would say 'being stuck at the bottom of a lake in February sounds like a jolly good time, count us in'."
Gasping, Su brought her hands up to her chest. "I'm the person that you'd miss the most? Really?"
Morag eyed her cautiously, clearly not quite sure how to read the dark-haired girl. "After my parents and my siblings? Probably."
"Aww, I love you too, Morag!" Leaning over, Su threw her arms around the exasperated brunette, Morag patting her on the back awkwardly as Su clung to her. Pulling away, Su straightened up and cleared her throat. "In a platonic way, of course. Not that there's anything wrong with liking girls in a romantic sense - Hermione and Luna, you're adorable together - but I just... don't."
Hermione raised her hands placatingly; clearly the lifestyle was working out well enough for her but obviously it wasn't for everyone. Especially since it was hardly a conscious choice or anything, who one was attracted to. After all, Parvati was clearly attracted enough to Ronald that they were still dating two months after the Yule Ball and... eww. Before she could respond, though, Luna piped up with her own two knuts worth. "Which is a shame. You two and Anthony Goldstein would make an excellent polycule."
That brought all three of the girls up short, Su and Morag turning to look at each other uncertainly while Hermione's attention remained firmly fixed on Luna. "Polyamory is a thing in the wizarding world? I would have thought the wizarding world was too... traditional... for that. One man and one woman, and all that rot."
"Well, polygamy is more accepted than proper polyamory, if one wants to get technical. Personally, seeing as how I'm already breaking the rules dating you, I was hoping to expand to a four person polycule with one partner in each house." Luna grinned excitedly at Hermione, clapping her hands. "Then we could eat breakfast wherever we want and visit all four common rooms. We'd be unstoppable!"
This was the first that she was hearing of her girlfriend's polyamorous ambitions and to be honest, Hermione wasn't entirely sure what to make of them. While on one hand, she had been raised with monogamy being the societally expected norm for her... she had also grown up to become a wand owning, spell casting, potion brewing witch. Who was now dating another girl. So she supposed that at the end of the day, it really boiled down to what she wanted for herself instead of what society expected of her.
So what did she want for herself? Hermione found herself thinking back to her crisis of sexuality around the time of the Yule Ball. Could she be polyamorous given that she still didn't really go out of her way to look at either boys or girls, and only found her one girlfriend attractive? Was she perhaps demisexual, and she just needed to form a bond with a partner to find them attractive? Would she find more girls - or perhaps even guys, she supposed - attractive if she got to know them in the same way that she got closer to Luna?
"Well, at least we're safe from her advances." Su appeared to have gotten over Luna's declaration that she and Morag would be a good pair, and was looking at Hermione and Luna with a relieved but also mildly amused expression on her face. "She wouldn't get any closer to accomplishing her goals if she dated one of us."
Luna just waved dismissively at Su's comment. "You'd be safe from me anyway. I'm already dating the girl with the best arse in your year. I'm setting my sights on the best breasts next. Collect the best of everything so that I'll be the envy of all the guys in the school. And a few of the girls, presumably."
Both of their companions glanced down at their respective chests at that, Su with a resigned expression on her face given that she was practically the smallest in their year while Morag seemed a bit less happy with her dismissal. "Not that I want you trying to date me or anything, but I'll have you know that my breasts are fucking amazing."
"They're above average. I would rank you maybe fourth in your year?" Luna turned away from the incensed Morag to cast her gaze out over the still surface of the Black Lake. "Do you think we could steal Greengrass from Viktor if we tried hard enough? Or should we wait for the inevitable breakup when he goes back to Bulgaria?"
While she was reasonably certain they were crossing into objectification territory, Hermione felt it was her duty as a good girlfriend to try and keep Luna from making a mistake. "Really? You would go after Greengrass? I would have expected Bones, to be honest."
Steepling her fingers under her chin, Luna regarded Hermione thoughtfully. "I honestly expected you to just blush and try to change the subject but if you're willing to have this discussion, who am I to complain? By all means, educate me on the virtues of Susan Bones as opposed to Daphne Greengrass."
That did in fact make Hermione blush and squirm in her seat a bit. She didn't necessarily have thoughts about the comparative attractiveness of the two girls, she just assumed that seeing as how Bones was better endowed than Greengrass, that Luna would want to hit on her. Was there something other than sheer size that determined whose breasts were objectively 'best'? Could such a thing even be objectively determined?
Before Hermione could dig herself into an even deeper hole - she could practically feel Su and Morag's judgmental gazes on her - there was a commotion in the center of the lake, the glass-like surface breaking as someone returned with their hostage. "We'll finish this discussion later. Alone. Somewhere warm."