Disclaimer - I do not own Harry Potter or any of the affiliated characters or locations. This disclaimer stands for all following chapters in this work.

Chapter 1

"So yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing…"

"Ron, I need your help," said Harry, as he ran up to his friend in the corridor.

"Sure, mate. What with?" Ron looked a bit skeptical, knowing that if Harry had needed help with homework, that he would have done what he was wont to do in those situations - go straight to Hermione.

"I need help w-with…" He trailed off, blushing. Ron noticed this, and smirked before Harry shot a glare at him. "All right, don't laugh, but I need help finding a Christmas present for Hermione."

"Isn't it obvious, Harry? Get her a book; she'll never have enough of those."

Harry balked. "Ron, you don't understand. I need something to thank her with for helping me through the first task, and for believing that I didn't stick my name in the Goblet." He looked at Ron, who was looking remarkably uncomfortable. "Ron, I already forgave you for that, forget it. Anyway, a book doesn't exactly do that. I need something a little more personal."

Ron looked around. "I have no idea, Harry. She's liked everything you've got her since first year! What are you worrying about?"

Harry felt his cheeks warm. "Nothing," he riposted quickly. "I just thought I'd get her something different this year, for a change. You know, so I don't get boring." He gave a small laugh.

Ron looked thoroughly confused. "So, Harry, what's this about anyway? You don't usually ask me for advice about Christmas presents - not that I'm complaining," he added quickly. "Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the fact that you're asking me instead of Hermione, but I can't really help you. I have absolutely no idea what to get for girls, you know me." He laughed.

"Thanks for the help, mate." Harry's voice was dripping with sarcasm as he walked off towards the Quidditch pitch, where he planned to go for a short flight to calm his increasingly jangled nerves.