The Harry Potter universe and all the characters in it belong to J. K. Rowling. I get nothing out of this except enjoyment.
This story had a rather unusual origin. It's been a while since one of my stories had a sex scene in it (nudity yes, sex, no), and I decided I felt like writing one. Not necessarily anything graphic or explicit, just something where they go all the way. My problem, since I like to be true to canon up to the start of my stories, was finding a plausible setting. The most obvious time in the books for Harry and Hermione to hook up in such a manner is when they are alone in the tent, but 2 of my last 3 stories began there, so I wanted someplace else. It finally occurred to me that the most common place a teenaged boy has sex is in his dreams! That helped with the plausibility problem, and I ultimately decided to set this fantasy in the prefects' bath during Book 4. Thus, the scene which begins this story.
So, the original story was going to be just the first scene that follows. But then the story took on a life of its own, demanding that I continue it through to the end of the tournament. At that point I decided to reorganize the theme, changing from a single scene of a sexual encounter to a story set around four visits to the prefects' bath.
Everything clear now?
Adventures In the Prefects' Bath
Harry relaxed a bit as Moaning Myrtle finally left him alone in the prefects' bathroom. He leaned back in the warm water, closing his eyes, and pondered the clue in the egg once more. 'We've taken what you'll sorely miss.'
A noise that sounded like footsteps interrupted his musings. First thinking that Myrtle had come back, he quickly realized that ghosts don't make noise when they move. His eyes shot open, and to his surprise his best friend, Hermione, was walking up to the edge of the tub, wearing a dressing gown.
"Hermione?" he choked out. "What are you doing here?"
"I came to help you with your egg, of course." She smiled and loosened the ties on her dressing gown and let it drop to the floor. Harry's jaw dropped.
Under the robe she was naked!
Harry's mouth moved but no sound came out. He could only stare as his very female best friend stepped into the tub. He noted with fascination the two perfect spheres that were her breasts – not overly large, but by no means small, rather, he concluded, they were just the right size. He managed to tear his gaze away from her torso and it ran down her body, past her nicely curved waist, to her shapely hips, catching sight of a small bushy triangle just as it disappeared into the water.
Overcoming the urge to stare at her chest again, he managed to return his attention to her face, noting to his relief that she was still smiling. "Well," she inquired. What do we need to do with it?"
He finally found his voice, but to his embarrassment it came out in a squeak. "Erm, we need to listen to it underwater." Hermione shrugged (which caused a motion in a certain part of her anatomy that diverted his attention again) and lowered herself further into the water, then ducked her head under. Once she disappeared Harry shook himself out of his stupor and submerged his head as well and opened his egg.
Presented once again with a full view of his nude friend, this time underwater, Harry didn't hear a word of the mermaid song. In fact it was all he could do to keep from inhaling a mouthful of water when she swam right up to him and stared intently at the egg, which he happened to be holding against his chest, as he became aware of a growing pressure somewhat lower down between his legs.
Harry only realized that the song had ended when Hermione looked up at him and frowned, then kicked off the bottom and floated back up to the surface. Harry couldn't resist taking one last glance as her body stretched out before him before he swam up and rejoined her.
"That was interesting," she commented, raising her hands to push the wet hair out of her face, incidentally arching her back and presenting him with yet another attractive sight.
"Do … do you want to talk it over?" he stammered, barely able to form a coherent thought.
Hermione bit her lower lip and gave him a shy smile, then glanced down into the water at an angle that revealed that she had observed more than just the egg while she was submerged.
"There's something else I'd rather do first," she purred, advancing toward him.
Harry found himself backed against the wall of the bath, and then a ledge appeared that he hadn't noticed before, and he found himself sitting on it. He lost the power of speech again when she straddled his lap and pressed herself up against him. He next lost the ability to breathe when she began lowering herself onto his now throbbing erection.
"Hermione!" he exhaled loudly as he felt her make contact. He could not believe that this was happening!
Then she backed away slightly and shot him a look of concern. "What's wrong?" she asked. To his utter confusion she now had her hands on his shoulders and was shaking him gently. "Harry, are you all right?"
Harry blinked and the scene blurred. The voice inquired again, still sounding concerned, and the girl it belonged to was leaning over him and shaking him. But they didn't seem to be in the prefects' bath any longer. They weren't even wet. And …
"Hermione, you're dressed … we're both dressed," Harry noted groggily as she came into focus. He rubbed his eyes as he regained his wits and promptly shut his mouth, realizing what he'd just said. He looked up sheepishly to see Hermione staring at him wide-eyed. "Guess I fell asleep," he muttered.
"You … you were dreaming about me?" she demanded, her cheeks turning pink. Harry nodded hesitantly. "And I wasn't dressed – neither of us were?" she continued, reddening further.
"Hermione, I'm sorry!" he blurted out. "It was wrong, I know … completely inappropriate … please don't hex me! I didn't mean to do it."
Hermione shifted so she was no longer facing him and settled back beside him on the sofa. Looking away, she took a breath to calm herself. "What exactly were we doing?" she inquired in a low voice.
Harry internally debated whether she would be angrier if he refused to answer or if he told the truth. Reluctantly, he decided to proceed. "I was in the prefects' bath listening to the egg," he began. She nodded for him to go on. "Suddenly you joined me."
"After removing all of my clothing first," she prompted.
"Well, yeah, that's what I'd done," he reasoned. "It is a bath after all."
"I see," she responded. That detail had not occurred to her when he'd told her about the clue in the egg. "Then what happened?"
"Well … erm … we … you know … but you woke me up just as … er … before …" He trailed off, blushing furiously, not daring to look her in the eye.
Hermione, her own cheeks aflame, felt a tingle between her legs at the thought of what he was trying to avoid saying, and couldn't bring herself to press any further. She could not believe she was having a conversation like this with a boy, much less her best friend! On the other hand, now that they'd broached the subject she didn't want to let it drop. After a brief, uncomfortable silence she changed the direction of her interrogation. "Has this ever happened before? Dreaming about me, I mean."
Harry shrugged, still looking down. "Sometimes, but never one this good," he muttered before hastening to add, "I mean, where we … you know …" He finally turned to face her and pleaded, "Please don't kill me."
The corners of her mouth turned up in a slight smile. While she supposed that she ought to be angry, she found that she didn't mind that much. It was actually rather flattering. That thought made her blush again. "How … how long have you … has this been happening?"
Vastly relieved that she was apparently taking it so well, Harry replied, "Since the Yule Ball."
"Yeah, I mean you looked so … wow. I never, I mean before that I didn't really think of you that way, but that night … Merlin, this is embarrassing! I'm really sorry. It's not something I have a lot of control over."
Hermione felt her heart rate speed up. "You mean that since then you have been thinking of me that way?"
Harry didn't answer for a moment. Something that had been troubling him in the back of his mind while they'd been talking suddenly clicked. The clue – We've taken what you'll sorely miss.
"Hermione, are you serious about Krum?" he asked suddenly.
She shot him a sharp glance. "No, we just went to the ball as friends. Why?"
"Because I think I just figured out what I have to retrieve from the lake," he informed her, in a bit of wonder at the revelation he'd just experienced.
At this shouted response, heads all over the common room turned in their direction. Hermione, suddenly aware that they had an audience, jumped to her feet, grabbed his hand, and dragged him out the portal, down the hall, and into an empty classroom.
"What?" she hissed, a bit more in control this time.
"It said I'd have to rescue something I'd sorely miss," he explained. "We decided it would be something very dear to me. Nothing, and no one, is more important to me than you are." Harry held his breath while he waited for her response to this declaration. Hermione frowned and gnawed on her lower lip, and he could almost see the wheels turning in her head as she processed this information. Once finished, she glanced up shyly.
"Are you sure this isn't some really obtuse way for you to ask me out?"
Harry stared at her. That hadn't been what he'd meant, but … "Erm, maybe?"
Her expression reflected her puzzlement at the unexpected response. "What's that supposed to mean?" she demanded.
"It depends on what you think of the idea," he mumbled, dropping his gaze and hoping desperately that he hadn't just alienated his closest friend.
Hermione smiled and stepped up close. Taking his head in her hands she lifted it until they locked eyes. "I think that's a simply splendid idea, Mr. Potter." She then proceeded to confirm her decision with an enthusiastic kiss.
The new couple decided to keep their relationship mostly to themselves, having already been burned by Rita Skeeter on this very subject. They did let Ron know about it – he wasn't happy but after his very public disclaimer on the night of the Yule Ball when he'd denied any interest in dating Hermione he was in no position to object.
With less than a month remaining before the second task they threw themselves into figuring out a way for Harry to breathe underwater. It didn't take Hermione long to find the Bubblehead charm in an upper year spell book, but unsurprisingly Harry was unable to get the hang of it. It was, after all, a NEWT level spell and he had struggled to master the Summoning charm, which was only a fourth year spell.
Likewise, human transfiguration was beyond his capabilities. It was becoming depressingly clear that there was a reason for the tournament's age restriction. Over the next few weeks Harry gradually grew more frantic. In his mind this was even worse than the first task – in that one he might have died, but this time it was Hermione whose life was at stake. He even considered sneaking out and buying or stealing scuba equipment, then summoning it when the task began like he did in the first task with his broom.
With a week to go before the task Harry stopped attending classes. Hermione objected, but Harry grimly pointed out the alternative. The situation was so humorless that he didn't even feel like teasing her about whether being killed was worse than being expelled.
In desperation he sought out Cedric and asked his fellow Hogwarts champion if he'd be willing to rescue Hermione in addition to his own hostage if Harry wasn't able to reach her. The older Hufflepuff thought a moment, then replied that he'd do what he could, but he also pointed out that the task might be set up to prevent such a thing. Finally, overwhelmed by the hopelessness of the task, Harry decided to go see Dumbledore.
"Come in, Harry, what can I do for you today?" the aged wizard inquired pleasantly as Harry reached the top of the circular stairs.
Harry took a deep breath. "Headmaster, please, can you take my Firebolt instead?" he pleaded. Dumbledore's brow furrowed in confusion. "My Firebolt, or my invisibility cloak, or my vault key," the distraught young wizard continued. "Heck, take all three of them, or anything else I have that's of any value. Use them for the task instead. Just … please don't take Hermione!" he begged, now nearly in tears.
Years of experience enabled Dumbledore to maintain a calm expression as he considered how to finesse the situation and avoid giving his frantic student any information about the task (or correct his faulty assumption). Unfortunately his choice of words did nothing to relieve the young champion's anxiety.
"I'm afraid that the decisions on the details of the second task have already been made, and it's beyond my power to alter them," he began. "But …"
"Then I quit," Harry interrupted as he slumped resignedly in his chair. "I'll forfeit the task and withdraw from the tournament. That way there won't be any need to put my hostage into the lake."
This declaration startled the aged headmaster. "Harry, think what you're staying!" he pointed out with concern. "Remember that this is a binding magical contract. This action could cause you to lose your magic, or possibly your life!"
"I don't care," Harry responded bitterly. "Better me than Hermione."
Faced with this prospect, and seeing the determination on his charge's face, Dumbledore finally relented and assured the despondent young Gryffindor that Miss Granger would be perfectly safe during the second task.
"How can that be?" Harry demanded. "The clue specifically states that after an hour she'll be lost – it'll be too late and she won't come back."
Dumbledore removed his glasses and pinched his nose in thought. "The wording of the clue, I confess, takes a certain, shall we say, literary license," he admitted. "The intention was to enhance the dramatic tension of the task. But I assure you, that precautions will be taken to avoid any lasting harm to any of the participants in the event."
Harry stared at his headmaster for a few seconds as he processed this revelation, then collapsed into his chair in relief. Dumbledore regarded him for nearly a minute before he commented in a somewhat offhanded manner that there were other subjects taught at Hogwarts besides Charms and Transfiguration.
His frustration mounting as his emotions seesawed during course of this conversation, Harry began to feel that he was being played like a puppet. With a terse expression of his thanks for the headmaster's time, he got up and stalked from the office.
Harry managed to keep his emotions in check until he made it through the portrait hole into the Gryffindor common room. There, he found Hermione who had been wondering where he was.
"Harry, there you are. Where …" Hermione was cut off when Harry suddenly embraced her and buried his head into her shoulder. Alarmed at the way he was shaking, she guided them over to a private corner. "What is it? What's happened?" she asked with concern.
Embarrassed at the way he'd broken down in front of her, and feeling foolish now that his fears had been proven groundless, Harry haltingly related his conversation with the headmaster. To his relief, Hermione was nothing but supportive, reassuring him that he had every right to feel the way he did. The two of them remained that way, wrapped in a hug of mutual support and shared comfort for some time.
"Harry?" Hermione began, once they'd both calmed down. "Why don't the two of us go to the prefects' bath and listen to the clue together? Maybe that will help … what?" She broke off her suggestion at the sight of his face. His jaw had dropped and he had turned an alarming shade of red. Realizing what he was thinking, she blushed as well and hastened to add, "We'll wear swimsuits, of course!"
At this clarification, Harry began to breathe normally again. "Actually, I don't own a swimsuit," he noted sheepishly.
"Well, what did you intend wearing during the task?" Hermione chided. "Were you just going to wade into the lake in your robes?"
Harry shrugged. "I guess I hadn't thought about that," he admitted.
Hermione rolled her eyes and declared with a huff that she'd send Hedwig to her mum, who would buy him a suit and send it back. Next she asked him his size, but he could only give her a blank look. He'd never actually owned any clothing that was his size. At that point she shook her head in exasperation and groaned, replying that she'd figure something out.
While the two Gryffindors were much relieved by the revelation that the hostages' lives would not actually be at risk during the task, they still had to figure out how Harry could breathe underwater. Harry now informed Hermione of the hint that Dumbledore gave him about considering other subjects. At first the bushy haired witch frowned at this information, annoyed at the way that the headmaster seemed to be toying with him. Indeed, following this episode neither of the two students would have the same level of trust and confidence in the ancient wizard that they had felt previously. But she agreed that it was suggesting that they seek an alternative solution to the problem.
Harry thought that Dumbledore meant that there was a potion he could use. Hermione conceded that this was a likely explanation, but to be certain she verbally ran through every class offered at Hogwarts. When she reached Herbology, the two of them decided that a magical plant might be another possibility. Accordingly, they sought out Neville's input.
Their housemate was thrilled to be able to be of assistance, and eagerly informed them that he'd been reading a book called Magical Water Plants of the Mediterranean, which contained a description of something that sounded just like what Harry needed – Gillyweed.
By the day before the second task, Harry was feeling much better about the whole thing. While he wasn't thrilled about Hermione being in a potentially dangerous situation, he at least had a method for accomplishing what needed to be done. But he was still plenty nervous about what might go wrong. When he only picked at his dinner, Hermione decided that some action was required. When they returned to the common room, she suggested that they visit the prefects' bath (with swimsuits), claiming that it would help him relax.
When the two of them entered the lavishly appointed room, Hermione's jaw dropped. "Harry!" she exclaimed. "You didn't tell it me was like this!" She dropped her robe and immediately hurried across the marble floor to the array of golden taps and began trying them out, filling the pool sized tub with different varieties of foamy water. When this was accomplished she grinned back at Harry and walked over to the diving board.
Meanwhile, Harry was temporarily frozen into immobility. Hermione was attired in a dark red one-piece suit that clung tightly to her torso. It had a scooped neck and a very low cut back, nearly down to her bum. All in all, it revealed every inch of her figure, not only what had been exposed by her Yule Ball gown, but also what had previously only been a product of his imagination.
He couldn't get over the great looking pair of legs that were now uncovered before him, not to mention a very attractive posterior. He gazed in near worshipful silence as she climbed the short ladder and stepped into a simple dive, gracefully plunging into the pool.
He shook his head, somewhat chagrinned at his reaction, and took off his dressing gown, revealing his own form-fitting swimsuit. He had initially objected to the tight pair of dark blue swimming trunks that arrived with Hedwig the day before, but his girlfriend had airily informed him that this style had much less drag than the sort of long, baggy suit he would have preferred, and would help him speed through the water to her rescue. When she put it that way, he could hardly disagree, although the sparkle in her eyes had betrayed a possible ulterior motivation.
Harry stepped into the bath just as Hermione swam up to the edge, and the two exchanged a long, sensuous kiss. Hermione then laughingly pushed him away and told him to practice with his gillyweed while she swam for a bit. Harry obliged her and sank to the bottom of the pool, where he discovered that he could swim much faster under the surface than she could above it, with his newly webbed hands and feet. He also took the opportunity to enjoy the underwater view of her nicely toned figure passing by overhead.
Once the gillyweed wore off, Harry surfaced right beneath Hermione and pulled her back into his arms as she shrieked in surprise. "You look fantastic in this suit," he blurted out.
A blush crossed her face as she instinctively crossed an arm over her chest where the suit was tightest. "It's a bit too small for me though," she noted shyly. This only drew Harry's attention more closely to the area, where the overly snug fit compressed her breasts enough to cause a fair amount of cleavage (more than she was comfortable with) to emerge from the top of her suit. "I got it for our trip to France before third year, and I've … erm, grown somewhat since then."
Harry nodded, managing to refrain from any comments that would embarrass her further, but wholeheartedly agreed in his mind that she had indeed developed some attractive curves in the past year and a half. With a smile he pulled her arm away and moved closer, enjoying the feel of her body against his own.
The two of them moved to shallower water where Hermione proceeded with her plan to take his mind off the next day's task by kissing him senseless. While neither of them had any intentions of recreating Harry's dream, they did discover that even wearing swimsuits, a tub is an excellent place for snogging, and there was plenty of bare skin for wandering hands to explore.
When they finally returned to the common room an hour later, Fred was waiting for them to inform Hermione that she was wanted in McGonagall's office. Hermione furrowed her brow uncertainly for a moment before the realization struck her. Deciding that she might as well leave her swimsuit on, she ran up to her room to put on some different robes. When she returned Harry was in an agitated state once again.
"Don't worry, I'll be fine," she reassured him as she gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "Why don't you go up to bed now and get a good night's sleep? "I'll see you tomorrow at the end of the task." She gave him a knowing smile and stepped away. Fred raised an eyebrow at the kiss but refrained from teasing Harry about it for the moment, and led her out the portrait hole.
Deciding to take his girlfriend's advice, Harry headed up to his dorm and climbed into bed. Sleep did not come easily, but he remained behind his closed hangings until, hours later, he finally dozed off. Thus, he never noticed that Ron didn't come up to bed that night, and didn't learn until the next day that George had similarly escorted his younger brother to McGonagall's office that evening.
Harry determinedly kept his mind calm the next morning as he went about his business, trying to keep focused on his task and not paying much attention to anything else. He had no idea of what he'd eaten for breakfast, or who he'd sat with or talked to. Before he knew it he was standing at the edge of the lake with the other three champions, staring at the forbidding dark water.
Spotting Cedric standing next to him looking similarly grim-faced, Harry moved closer, and in a low voice suggested that the two of them work together. He informed the older boy that he didn't care if he won, he just wanted to get Hermione out safely. He'd gladly let the Hufflepuff finish first. Cedric stared at him for a moment, then nodded.
At Bagman's signal the four champions dropped their robes. Like Harry, Krum and Cedric were wearing tight fitting swim trunks, which drew a murmur of approval from the females in the audience. Fleur was attired in a snug, silvery one-piece suit, with a V-neck and crisscross straps in the back that generated a number of cheers and whistles from the male contingent. Harry quickly reminded himself not to be distracted by the beautiful part Veela and her amazing figure as he strapped his wand to one leg and a diving knife that Hermione had obtained for him to the other.
Once in the water he swallowed a portion of his gillyweed while Cedric cast a Bubblehead charm, and the two of them proceeded to function as a team. Harry, being faster, would swim ahead to scout, while Cedric took care of driving off the Grindylows that lay in ambush for the smaller boy. Both of them kept an eye out for the giant squid, but evidently the fearsome creature was giving them a pass, possibly out of familiarity. Harry mused that perhaps he was reaping the benefits of all those walks around the lake and food scraps tossed to the eager tentacles.
Accordingly, the pair of them reached the mermaid village first, to find a group of fierce looking mermen armed with sharp tridents guarding the hostages they needed to rescue. Presumably they were required to battle past these warriors as the final part of the challenge. Beyond them, tied to a statue, they could see Cho and Hermione, as well as a little girl who resembled Fleur. But the fourth hostage was … Ron? Before Harry could draw the obvious conclusion, Cedric caught his attention. Motioning with his wand that Harry should work his way around behind their opponents, the Hufflepuff champion began a direct assault. Kicking hard to begin his flanking maneuver, Harry drew his own wand, wondering how well a spell cast underwater would work.
To his amazement, Cedric cast a series of stunning spells without mouthing an incantation. He vaguely recalled Hermione mentioning that they would learn nonverbal spells in their NEWT studies, but he wasn't prepared for such a dramatic illustration of the skill. Once again feeling the disadvantage of his youth and inexperience, he tried shouting out an Expelliarmus. Although the words were muffled by the water, he was relieved to see that the spell worked, as one of the mermen's tridents promptly flew away into the murky depths.
Caught in the two pronged attack from the magic users, the guards were quickly defeated. Moving with haste before any reinforcements could arrive, Harry cut Hermione loose from her bonds while Cedric freed Cho. Then Harry moved to release Ron.
But while he was doing this a creature with the head of a shark and the body of a man brushed past him and grabbed Hermione. Incensed, and acting purely on instinct, Harry pointed his wand and thought, 'No! Stop!', with an intense desire to knock the creature unconscious. Incredibly, a bright red beam shot out and connected! Only after the man-shark slumped motionless against the statue did Harry realize that it was Krum, and that he had just successfully cast his own nonverbal spell.
Cedric stared wide-eyed at his Gryffindor schoolmate. He had just attacked a fellow champion! Harry fought off the panicky feeling 'Oh crap, there's going to be so much trouble over this!' and looked about desperately, trying to decide what they should do next. They couldn't just leave Krum there, and certainly not Hermione. With a few hand signals he communicated with Cedric and the two of them gathered up the four comatose figures, Cedric wrapping his wand arm around Cho and taking hold of Krum's arm with his other hand, while Harry did the same with Hermione and Ron. Then he paused and motioned questioningly at the remaining hostage.
Cedric glanced around, and Harry followed suit, scanning the murky water for any sign of the French champion. When the search proved fruitless, the older boy gestured to his watch. The hour was nearly up. Harry nodded, and signaled that he was going to free the young girl as well. He also took another bite of the gillyweed he had tucked in a pocket, not wanting its effects to run out before he reached the surface.
Together the two champions with the five bodies in tow gradually ascended, still alert for any more possible obstacles. Once they reached the surface Harry motioned for Cedric to get out first, then pointed to the blonde girl, then to the surface. Cedric nodded and emerged from the water to the cheers of the onlookers, and was declared the winner of the challenge. Then he turned to Fleur, who was frantic with worry, and told her to jump back into the water. The French witch was puzzled, but dropped her robe and followed his instruction.
Back beneath the surface she found Harry waiting for her, and her eyes went wide when she saw that he had her sister with him. She wrapped her arms around his neck and gave him a searing, heartfelt kiss, causing his face to heat up dramatically. It did not escape his notice that her silvery swimsuit was somewhat transparent when wet! Nor did he miss the quite apparent physical indication that she was cold!
Tightening his arm around Hermione to force his mind back to his task, he pulled away and motioned for her to take her hostage and get out of the water. Fleur, to her credit, frowned and indicated that he should go first. Harry shook his head, pointing to his gills to show that he needed to stay underwater until they went away, but she was adamant. Finally he motioned that she should take her sister and Krum, and he would take Ron and Hermione and they would all break the surface together.
There were several hands waiting to pull them out by this time, but Harry merely pushed his two friends forward and ducked his head back underwater. Five minutes later his gills disappeared and he climbed out, only to be engulfed in hugs from both Hermione and Fleur.
"Harry!" Hermione shouted. "What happened? Cedric said …" She was interrupted by the grateful French witch who quickly kissed the overwhelmed Gryffindor on both cheeks while gasping, "Merci! Merci! You saved 'er!" This earned a quick glare from Hermione, but she relaxed as she realized that Fleur was only expressing her gratitude. She did, however, curl her arm around her boyfriend and pull him closer to herself.
Harry wrapped his own arm around Hermione reassuringly, as he began to take in the rest of the scene on the dock. Krum was glaring at him, for more reasons than one, Harry decided, and he really couldn't blame him. By contrast, Cedric was grinning at him, and stepped forward to offer a handshake. Harry grinned back, and noticed that Cedric's other arm was holding Cho, who was pressed tightly against his side. She offered Harry a smile as well, while Ron appeared behind him and patted him on the back.
"Way to stick it to him, mate," the redhead muttered into his ear. Evidently the word had spread about Harry's underwater encounter with the Bulgarian. "That'll show him to mess with your girl." Harry's grin broadened, then grew even larger when he heard Hermione huff on his other side.
"Oh honestly, Ron," she hissed, and Harry just knew she was rolling her eyes without even turning to look. His best mate had brought up an important issue, though, and he turned back to Hermione with a questioning look.
While the judges were conferring about how the points should be awarded, the young couple held a brief discussion of their own about the mix-up at the bottom of the lake. Both of them were upset that Hermione had been chosen as Krum's hostage, but eventually they concluded that it was partly their fault for hiding their relationship. Accordingly, after Harry apologized to Krum for accidentally stunning him, Hermione explained to the Durmstrang champion that she was with Harry now. He was not happy with this revelation, and moved away with a scowl.
Harry, seeing from the slump of her shoulders that his girlfriend was disappointed at the likely loss of a friendship, moved behind her and wrapped his arms around her as she leaned back into him and sighed. "Sorry," he murmured into her hair. She responded by simply pulling his arms tighter against herself.
"Oops, you have a bug in your hair," he noted before she could reply, and he deftly fished it out of her bushy curls. He tossed it onto the dock and tried to step on it, but it scurried into a crack between two boards, barely avoiding getting squashed flat. Hermione frowned thinking that it was odd for an insect to be active during the winter, but put the thought aside.
The judges huddled for a long time, working through the various irregularities that had occurred during the task, occasionally breaking into loud disagreement. Finally, they had an announcement. It was decided that there was nothing in the rules directly prohibiting either cooperation between two contestants or interference with another contestant. However, these actions would be specifically forbidden in the remaining task.
As to the results of this task, Cedric was the clear winner. Fleur finished second, but had received assistance. Krum had finished third, but had been hindered, and incapacitated. Harry was the last to emerge from the lake, but was the second to reach the surface. Accordingly, the votes varied widely.
Cedric was awarded an 8 (from Karkaroff), two 9's (Percy and Bagman), and two 10's (Dumbledore and Maxime) for a total of 46 points.
Fleur received a 4 (Karkaroff), two 5's (Percy and Bagman), a 6 (Dumbledore), and an 8 (Maxime) totaling 28 points.
Krum got a 4 (Maxime), two 6's, (Bagman and Dumbledore), a 7 (Percy) and a 9 (Karkaroff) totaling 32 points.
Harry earned a 2 (Karkaroff, accompanied by a resounding chorus of boos), a 7 (Percy) an 8 (Maxime) a 9 (Dumbledore) and a 10 (Bagman) for a total of 36 points.
"Hey mate, you're in second place," Ron congratulated him with a slap on the back as they began walking back toward the castle. "You'd be close to first if that evil git Karkaroff had given you a fair score."
Harry shrugged as Hermione snuggled into his other side. "I'm just glad everyone came out of it safely. I don't care if I win this, so I'm happy that Cedric's in the lead." Ahead of him the Hufflepuff turned and gave him an appreciative nod while Ron shook his head uncomprehendingly. Harry didn't care. His overwhelming emotion was simply relief that it was over.
The dynamic among the champions changed from that point on. Fleur was much friendlier toward Harry, and Hermione became more able to tolerate her presence as she got to know the Beauxbatons witch better, eventually beginning to actually like the haughty French beauty. Harry and Cedric also grew closer, and frequently exchanged tips and suggestions as they prepared for the final task. Only Krum remained aloof from the rest of them, still blaming Harry for his poor score in the underwater challenge. Hermione did manage to stay on friendly terms with her Yule Ball date, although he glared and walked away whenever Harry appeared at her side.
As expected, Rita Skeeter gleefully broke the news that Harry and Hermione were officially a couple. They were somewhat surprised, not to mention relieved, that it was somewhat more restrained than they'd expected. For whatever reason, the acid-tongued reporter seemed to have backed off a bit.
It came as no surprise to anyone that the new couple was the hot topic of conversation in the castle. The reactions of the Hogwarts students fell neatly into two varieties – those who'd never imagined that Potter and Granger could be any more than friends, and those who'd expected that they would get together sooner or later. The latter seemed to be concentrated in Gryffindor and Hufflepuff, the former in Ravenclaw and Slytherin.
To all outward appearances, and to the disappointment of those looking for juicy gossip, they didn't act that much differently in public. They'd been nearly inseparable for quite some time now, after all. The only noticeable change was that they now held hands as they walked the corridors, occasionally exchanging a quick kiss when they parted to attend different classes. After all, they had an invisibility cloak available for more serious exchanges of affection, which they made good use of.
Once again, as the third task approached, Harry's stress level began to rise. Even though he planned to play it safe in the task, he couldn't help the nagging feeling that something would go wrong again. After all, someone had put his name into the goblet, presumably intending to do him harm, and they had no more idea who that might be now than they'd had back in October. By the night before the task, the tension in his face and shoulders was evident. And Hermione had just the solution for it.
Taking him aside after supper she coyly suggested that another visit to the prefects' bath was in order. After all, she smiled slyly, it was now a 'pre-task' tradition. Harry managed a grin for the first time in a week. He flagged down Cedric to get the latest password, and his fellow Hogwarts champion brightened up as well, declaring that it was a great idea. With a grin he informed Harry that he and Cho would take a turn of their own after the pair of Gryffindors were finished.
This time Hermione pulled Harry into her arms as soon as they entered the pool. After a nice, satisfying snog she took him to a shallow section, sat in front of him, and suggested that he give her a back rub. As he began working his fingers into the soft skin of her back she surprised him when she pulled the straps of her swimsuit off her shoulders. This effectively bared her entire back, while she held the front of the suit to her chest to keep it from slipping down. Harry caught his breath and then redoubled his efforts, while she ducked her head and moaned contentedly at the marvelous sensations he was generating with his magic fingers.
After several minutes of bliss she informed him that it was his turn, and instructed him to switch positions. Taking a deep breath and gathering her courage, she refrained from returning the straps to her shoulders and slid the top of her suit down to her waist, then began his massage. Unaware of her state of undress behind him, Harry closed his eyes and enjoyed her ministrations, groaning with pleasure as her hands kneaded the muscles of his neck and upper back.
Those emerald eyes shot wide open when, once she managed to work up her nerve, Hermione pressed herself to his back and hugged him. Harry found it difficult to breathe as the feel of her bare breasts against his shoulder blades took away his ability to inhale and exhale.
"Hermione!" he gasped. "Please tell me this isn't a dream!"
Emboldened by the exuberance of his response, Hermione laughed and assured him that it was most definitely not a dream. To prove it, she turned him around and climbed onto his lap, continuing the hug, and began to kiss him again. Responding in kind, Harry begun to run his hands up and down her back before she took one and moved it to her breast.
It was many, many more minutes before Harry managed to completely convince himself that he really was not dreaming. But one thing was certain: his girlfriend had most assuredly taken his mind off the next day's task.
Harry was still somewhat in a daze the following morning, repeatedly exchanging 'did-that-really-happen?' glances with Hermione at breakfast. When the meal concluded, the champions were informed that their families had arrived to spend the day with them, and introductions were made all around. Krum borrowed Hermione for a few minutes to meet his parents, whom she greeted politely. Cedric knew the Weasleys quite well, and Harry had met Mr. Diggory at the Quidditch World Cup, but Fleur took the opportunity to introduce Harry and Cedric to her family.
When her parents thanked the two boys for rescuing Gabrielle, the young girl blushed and hid her face in her mother's robes. After all, Cedric was quite good looking, and Harry was … Harry Potter! Harry reciprocated by introducing Fleur to the Weasleys. The beautiful part Veela eyed Bill with interest, which the handsome curse breaker returned.
Finally evening came, and as they headed out to the maze, Harry pulled Cedric aside. In a low voice he confided that he hoped the older boy would win. As for himself, he merely wanted to get out of the maze in one piece. When the whistle blew signaling his turn to enter the dark, forbidding rows of hedges, Harry found what looked like a quiet corner and sat down to wait out the task in safety. Unfortunately, fate had other plans for him that night.
When Fleur came into the maze and ran past him, she stopped and gave him a curious look. Harry merely grinned and waved. "Good luck," he called out. "I'm just going to watch from here."
The French witch shook her head and resumed her quest. Harry didn't let his guard down, however, concentrating on listening to what was happening in the rest of the maze, in addition to scanning the area around him for threats. Then an awful scream split the night. He knew at once that it was Fleur, and that she was in great agony. No red sparks appeared – was she in so much trouble, or possibly even unconscious, that she hadn't been able to send the distress signal? He waited, listening intently for any other sounds.
Harry climbed reluctantly to his feet. He had to investigate. If something happened to his new friend and she ended up seriously injured, or even dead, and he'd passed up the opportunity to help her… He began moving cautiously in the direction he'd heard the scream.
Suddenly he heard another voice, coming from the hedgerow next to his. But it was male, not female. And the word it spoke was all too familiar – Crucio!
The voice was Krum's but the resulting screams of anguish were Cedric's not Fleur's. Harry frantically searched for an opening in the impenetrable hedge, and finding none, cast several Reductor curses, followed by cutting hexes. When he had a hole big enough he poked his head through, and spotted the Bulgarian standing over his schoolmate with a vacant expression on his face. Harry took careful aim from his prone position in the hedge. "Stupefy!" Krum dropped to the ground unconscious.
Harry managed to pull himself the rest of the way through the barrier and helped Cedric to his feet. "What was that for?!" the Hufflepuff shouted in disbelief, gesturing angrily toward Krum. "He can't be that desperate to win!"
Harry quickly explained his suspicion that the quidditch star was acting under the Imperius curse. It seemed more certain than ever that someone was interfering with the tournament. Accordingly, the two Hogwarts students decided to stick together from there on. The rules were evidently out the window now.
"Did you hear Fleur scream?" Harry asked as the two of them glanced around nervously.
"Yeah, I think she was over this way," Cedric confirmed. "In the direction Krum was coming from when I ran into him."
Fortunately, it was only two turns later that they found her. She was unconscious and tied up, and a giant Blast Ended Skrewt was approaching. Quickly Harry levitated the French champion and reversed course before the vicious creature could close to within range, while Cedric covered them. After running for a few minutes and making a half dozen turns, they stopped to revive and free their fellow competitor.
As soon as she regained consciousness, she snarled out a burst of invective that was a mix of English and French. Harry could definitely make out the words 'bastard' and 'Krum' among others. When he and Cedric got her calmed down enough to explain the situation, she agreed to join them – they would face the remaining challenges together.
They made quite an effective team. The next Skrewt they ran into disintegrated under the combined power of their blasting hexes, and the vines that attempted to ensnare their feet were shredded by several volleys of cutting hexes. Even an Acromantula was no match for their united assault. Fleur shot a steady stream of curses at its vulnerable eyes, while Harry and Cedric blasted away at its legs, immobilizing it before finally finishing it off.
At last, they encountered a sphinx, which required each of them to answer a riddle. Cedric and Harry helped each other reason theirs out, but Fleur's was in French. The two boys quickly discovered that puns don't translate well, so she was on her own; fortunately, she was up to the task. When the beautiful but deadly creature stepped aside to let them pass, they could see their final objective in the distance. The Triwizard Cup, sitting up on a pedestal, gleaming with reflected moonlight.
Fleur initially hung back, telling Cedric and Harry to take the cup, since they had clearly performed better than she had throughout the competition. She pointed out that she would not even have finished two of the tasks without their assistance. For his part, Harry insisted that Cedric was the real champion, and that he would not have had any chance of doing either of the first two tasks without outside help. Cedric argued that all of the champions had been given hints about the challenges they would face, and that Harry's solution to those tasks had been superior to everyone else's. Plus, without him, both Cedric and Fleur would be lying unconscious back in the middle of the maze right now. They were clearly at an impasse.
"A tie, then," Cedric finally suggested. "All three of us. You both saw how much better we handled things when we worked together." Harry and Fleur looked at each other, then back at Cedric and nodded.
"Togezzer," Fleur agreed.
"Together," Harry confirmed. Linking arms, the three champions approached the pedestal where the cup sat, beckoning. In seeming unison all of them took a deep breath.
"Tous pour un, un pour tous," Fleur declared firmly. The trio joined their right hands, then reached with their lefts to grasp the handles of the cup. Without warning, with a jerk and a flash of swirling color, they all vanished, each realizing in the same instant – the cup was a portkey.
The three champions slammed into the ground. Harry rolled and scrambled to his feet warily. Beside him Cedric groaned and Fleur let loose a string of French that Harry suspected her mother wouldn't approve of. As soon as the other two noticed the grim expression on Harry's face, they stood, recalling Harry's belief that someone was manipulating the tournament in order to do him harm. Right now that seemed a pretty compelling explanation for what had just happened to them. Cautiously, they all drew their wands and looked around, noticing that they were in the middle of a deserted graveyard.
"Any idea where we are?" Cedric muttered. Fleur shook her head but Harry paused. Something did seem familiar about this place, but he knew he had never been anywhere remotely like it.
"Zis ees not part of ze task, I do not zink," Fleur commented in a low voice. Cedric and Harry shook their heads in agreement. Seconds later, they spotted a hooded figure approaching through the tombstones. Instinctively they spread out, adopting the fighting configuration they had used to battle their way through the obstacles in the maze, with Fleur and Cedric flanking Harry. As the figure drew nearer, they could see that it was carrying something – possibly a small creature of some sort.
Suddenly Harry dropped to his knees, temporarily incapacitated by a bolt of searing agony that ripped through his scar. Simultaneously a high, cold voice intoned, "Kill the others!"
From nowhere a wand snapped into the hand of the hooded figure, who aimed at Cedric and snarled "Avada Kedavra!"
But Fleur, having already been hit with one Unforgivable that night, was taking no chances. She'd already launched her own curse before their assailant could finish the incantation, forcing him to duck and throwing off his aim. The streak of deadly green light flashed harmlessly into the night sky. Cedric wasted no time with his reprieve from an instant death, stunning the small man before he could regain his balance and cast again. Fleur was right behind him with a petrifying jinx, and they followed up by similarly stunning and petrifying the small creature that had dropped to the ground and was attempting to crawl away.
Abruptly the blinding pain in his scar ended, and Harry shook his head to clear it, then looked around as his two companions helped him up. In short order he recognized the wizard who'd attacked them and the small creature from his dreams the preceding summer, as well as their location – the house where the old man had been killed. He identified them for the others – Peter Pettigrew and the disgusting thing that was the current form of the most feared wizard in the world, Lord Voldemort.
Harry interrupted their gasps of shock and horror. "Keep your eyes open for a giant snake," he cautioned. Quickly he explained the things he knew and had 'seen' through his scar connection and visions. When the snake did attack a few minutes later they dealt with it calmly and efficiently. After all, it was little challenge compared to an Acromantula or a Blast Ended Skrewt.
"Let's get out of here before something or someone else attacks us," Cedric suggested tersely.
"How?" Harry wondered. "Do you think we can use the Cup again? Will it take us back?"
"Non," Fleur objected. "Zat would be too dangerous. Eet might take us somewhere else eenstead."
"She's right," Cedric declared. "There could be more Death Eaters waiting for us at the next stop. We've been pretty lucky so far. Let's apparate."
"Don't forget, you can't apparate into Hogwarts," Harry pointed out, smiling inwardly despite everything, as he thought of how often Hermione had reminded him of that fact. Cedric agreed and they decided to apparate outside the gates. Fleur conjured a container to put the Cup into, so no one would accidentally touch it, while Cedric and Harry bound their still unconscious prisoners. Harry smiled again at the thought that this night's events would certainly clear Sirius's name. Not to mention seriously shaking things up at the Ministry of Magic!
Fleur took Harry and the cup while Cedric side-alonged Pettigrew and the Voldemort creature. Seconds later they were back in Hogsmeade, just outside the Hogwarts gates. "Come on, let's hurry," Cedric urged. "Everyone's probably going crazy back there."
"We need to be en garde," Fleur reminded them. "Ze person zat arranged zis will not be 'appy when 'e sees 'Arry alive."
Harry caught Cedric's eye. "Constant Vigilance!" they shouted together. Fleur looked at them oddly, and they explained about their paranoid Defense instructor. Harry added that his prime suspect was Karkaroff, who he'd learned had been a Death Eater.
Once they were past the winged boars guarding the massive gates, Cedric stopped. "Let's speed this up and fly the rest of the way," he suggested. "And it'll make an impressive entrance." As Harry and Fleur turned questioning looks his way he shrugged. "We can summon our brooms. I've wanted to try that ever since the first task. That was one impressive bit of magic you pulled off."
Seconds later Harry's Firebolt and Cedric's Cleansweep arrived. Fleur climbed on behind Harry while Cedric transfigured a sling to haul their captives under his broom. Shortly thereafter, pandemonium struck the quidditch stadium as the missing champions reappeared, with their eye-popping baggage.
Almost before they could dismount Harry and Cedric were nearly bowled over by two frantic witches. Hermione and Cho had been together throughout the evening, alternately encouraging, consoling, comforting, and reassuring each other through the drama of the task and subsequent disappearance of the champions from the maze. Now they latched onto their boyfriends with the tenacity of a permanent sticking charm.
Dumbledore was the first person to realize the enormous significance of the additional, uninvited guests, and after quickly determining that Harry and the other two were safe and uninjured, turned his attention to securing the prisoners. With sighs of relief, the champions gladly relinquished custody.
More and more people swarmed around them, filling the air with questions and demands, and the three champions were gradually swept apart. Madame Maxime dominated the group hovering around Fleur, but Karkaroff was nowhere to be found. Harry found himself scanning the crowd for any sight of the Durmstrang headmaster, while trying to explain what had happened to the relieved young witch under his arm. For their part, Cedric and Fleur were trying to keep track of the youngest champion and cover his back, while dealing with their own concerned friends and families.
Out of nowhere Mad-Eye Moody appeared, to take charge of the clamoring throng encircling Harry, ordering them to clear a space. With an insistent tug he slowly maneuvered the young Gryffindor toward the castle, insisting they needed some privacy to get a statement from him. While most of the crowd complied, it would have taken the magical equivalent of a crowbar to separate Hermione from the boy who held her heart and soul.
"Step away now, missy," Moody growled. "Let the adults handle this."
"No," Hermione shot back. "I'm not leaving him. Where he goes, I go." Moody stared at her, his magical eye examining her thoroughly, but she stood her ground and refused to be intimidated.
"Suit yourself, then," he snapped. "Just stay out of the way." He yanked Harry's hand and stomped off again, surreptitiously readying his wand.
But before they'd gone a dozen paces two streaks of red light flashed through the night, the twin stunning spells felling the grizzled old Auror. A bewildered silence fell over the scene as the other two champions strode forward to rejoin their comrade, the crowd melting away at the fury in their faces. Upon reaching the speechless couple Cedric glared down at the motionless figure at their feet and snarled, "Constant vigilance, old man."
It was past midnight by the time the weary champions were finally excused from the last round of questioning. Fudge's bluster and protests about the impossibility of a plot to resurrect You Know Who had eventually faded in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The Death Eater who'd been impersonating Moody, Barty Crouch, Jr., along with Pettigrew, both of whom had been presumed dead by the wizarding world, had been hauled off by a group of DMLE Hit Wizards led by a tall, imposing black Auror named Shacklebolt. The real Mad-Eye Moody, severely malnourished and looking much the worse for wear, had been found locked in his trunk and given over to the care of Madame Pomfrey in the infirmary. The pathetic creature that was the current, not so threatening, incarnation of the once feared dark lord had been removed to the Department of Mysteries by a team of Unspeakables. The Weasleys, Diggorys, and Delacours had eventually left the castle after being reassured that their respective students were going to be all right.
Throughout the ordeal, Harry, Cedric, and Fleur had presented a united front, supporting and drawing strength from each other. The link between them was palpable – they had been through a life-changing experience together, which had created an unshakeable bond that would last the rest of their lives. And it was understood by all that despite being the youngest, Harry was the center, the focal point, the linchpin of this new trio, just as he had been in the original.
But unnoticed by everyone except Harry, Hermione also stood behind him the whole time, her hands clasped tightly to his arm, her head resting against his shoulder. And despite the strength of the new connection he'd formed with his fellow champions, he was very glad and appreciative for the comfort and familiarity she represented.
As they were escorted from the headmaster's office by Madame Maxime and their respective heads of houses, they all knew that, tired as they were, they were still too keyed up to call it a night, and weren't ready to part just yet. When it came time to split up to go their separate ways, Cedric leaned over to Harry.
"Prefects' bath, one hour," he murmured. He nodded toward Hermione so that Harry knew that she was also invited, before moving closer to Fleur and repeating the message.
Despite the late hour, many Gryffindors were still waiting up to congratulate Harry. He good-naturedly accepted their acclamation for a while, then pleaded exhaustion and the party soon broke up. He'd already clued in Hermione, so an hour later they quietly exited the tower under his invisibility cloak.
Hermione's automatic first question had been what were they expected to wear to this clandestine rendezvous. Harry had merely shrugged, and they had quickly decided to put on swimsuits under dressing gowns.
A swirl of emotions filled their thoughts as they carefully stole down to the prefects' bath – anticipation, apprehension, determination, excitement among them. For her part, Hermione was well aware of the extent of the life-changing nature of not only this night's events, but the entire term as well.
Harry was now part of another trio, one forged even more dramatically than the one with her and Ron. Facing and defeating the most powerful dark lord of their generation easily trumped the victory over the troll. Neither she nor Ron had accompanied him to his final confrontation with Voldemort during his first or second years, both dropping out just short of the final stage, while he, Cedric, and Fleur had met this year's challenge together. More importantly, Harry had been forced to mature greatly this year, and Ron had not. Ron would still be the buddy that Harry relaxed with, playing chess or talking quidditch, but otherwise Harry had moved on. But Hermione was determined not to be left behind.
Hermione had always been the mature one of the three of them, so she had no worries on that score, but she had changed in other ways as well this term. Besides the obvious – she and Harry becoming a couple – she had made two important new friends, first Fleur and now Cho. The events of this night had also been a bonding experience for her and the Chinese Ravenclaw.
She had never had close female friends before, but in the time she'd spent with the two other girls she'd come to appreciate their intellect, competitive spirit, loyalty, and the overall strength of their character – qualities she most admired and strove to attain for herself. In the past, the fact that these two were also considered to be among the most physically desirable women in the castle would have intimidated her into despairing that she could never compete with them for Harry's attention, but she'd managed to move past that. If nothing else, her romantic relationship with Harry had made her confident that he found her very attractive. Whatever happened next, she was ready, even eager, to proceed.
The two Gryffindors met Cedric and Cho outside the bath. While Cedric gave the password, Hermione huddled briefly with her Ravenclaw counterpart before returning to her boyfriend's side.
"She's wearing a swimsuit, at least to start with," Hermione whispered to him. Together the four of them entered the bath, hung up their robes, and climbed into the pool, Cho attired in a black two-piece suit. They all relaxed, letting the tension begin to work its way out of their bodies, the two girls each curling up under their guy's arm.
A short time later Fleur appeared, wearing a dressing gown, and took a look around while they all greeted her. The French witch then disappeared into the dressing area and emerged in a white one-piece suit that was considerably thinner than the one she'd worn into the lake for the second task. It was clear to Harry and the others that she'd not been wearing anything under the robe initially, that this suit had most likely been transfigured on the spot, and that they would be able to see right through it when it got wet.
As Fleur entered the water Hermione and Cho exchanged a brief glance. Things were about to get very interesting. For a Veela was, at her very essence, a sexual being. Any close relationship with one must necessarily have a sensual component – for her it was as natural as breathing. Like it or not, she was now an intimate part of Harry and Cedric's lives. Any other woman involved with either of them could try to resist it, and make everyone miserable, eventually tearing their relationship apart, or they could accept it, make the most of it, perhaps even enjoy it. Cho and Hermione had both decided on the latter.
Fleur first went to Cedric, drawing him into a crushing embrace as Cho (with an understandable touch of trepidation) moved aside. Next, with a blazing look in her eyes, she kissed him with a passion so all-consuming it took even Harry and Hermione's breaths away. It was a kiss not of love or tenderness but of pure, unadulterated need, a release for the pent up emotion of the evening. Eventually they broke apart and she leaned in and spoke a few words to the handsome Hufflepuff, motioning toward Harry, and he nodded in agreement. Then she turned and whispered something in Cho's ear. The anxious expression on the younger girl's face promptly turned into lustful one, accompanied by a furious blush.
Then the French witch turned her attention to Harry. Despite her earlier resolve, Hermione instinctively tightened her arm around her boyfriend possessively. Fleur paused, and she and Hermione shared a look, communicating their respective intentions. For Fleur, this was all about tonight; she had no long term designs on his heart. Hermione relaxed and the beautiful part-Veela settled in next to Harry on his other side.
For his part Harry was once again questioning the reality of his situation. Fleur's suit, as he'd expected, now left nothing to the imagination, and before him was revealed the figure of the woman who had occupied the fantasies of every male in the castle since October. Hermione leaned close and whispered that this night would certainly provide him with good dreams for years to come. He sighed happily and closed his eyes, wrapping an arm around each girl while they snuggled against him. He mentally updated the image from his dream – the one that had initiated the chain of events that had brought them here – adding Fleur alongside Hermione, and the picture dissolved into a swirl of breasts and legs.
Movement under his arms caused him to open his eyes. Cedric and Cho had moved to the other side of the pool; she was now on his lap. The top of her swimsuit had been discarded and the rest of it would soon follow, if it hadn't already. Harry recalled how obsessed he'd been with the pretty Ravenclaw, and her slender figure and cute little bum that had once attracted him so much, making his stomach do flip flops. But he felt no jealousy toward Cedric. How could he, given his current position? On one side of him was the most beautiful woman he'd ever met, and on his other side … Hermione. Hermione, who, he'd come to realize, was a nearly perfect fit for his image of the ideal female companion.
He was now aware that she had once more lowered the top of her suit, sliding it down to her waist, with Fleur mimicking the action on his other side. Any thoughts of Cho and Cedric promptly evaporated. Hermione leaned in, pressing her breasts against him, and kissed him. Then it was Fleur's turn.
As his fantasy became reality, Harry was easily able to distinguish Hermione's lips from Fleurs; they each had their own unique taste. And without much effort he could tell whose breasts he was fondling at any given moment; Fleur's were fuller, although Hermione's fit in his hand very nicely. But he couldn't recall exactly when and how his swimsuit disappeared, and had no idea whose hand was stroking him. And within the blissful haze of ecstasy enveloping him, another thought now began to nag at his mind, as he began to worry about just how he was going to be able to satisfy both of them.
But as things developed, he discovered that his concerns were unfounded. Fleur turned out to be amazingly creative with positioning and Hermione proved to be a remarkably quick learner. By the time the long night drew to a close and dawn began to approach, everyone was thoroughly satiated and blissfully content, rejuvenated and ready to face the new challenges in their lives, together.
Harry did indeed dream about that night for the rest of his life.
When he and Hermione became Gryffindor prefects the following year they made full use of their unrestricted access to the prefects' bath. And later, when they married and moved into a house of their own, the first thing they did was install an indoor pool with an enormous built-in hot tub/jacuzzi. Which they frequently enjoyed with their lifelong friends, Cedric and Cho Diggory, and Fleur and Bill Weasley.
A/N 1 The (admittedly far-fetched) final sex scene aside, a serious point to consider is why the change in Harry and Hermione's relationship would have such a dramatic effect on the outcome of the story. Obviously, the cooperation among the three champions was critical to their success in the graveyard. But why couldn't Harry have decided on a more cooperative approach to the second and third tasks in the book? It would seem much more reasonable, given his protestations about not wanting to be in the tournament in the first place, to not care whether he won or not, and take a more relaxed attitude in the maze of the third task. Why did he try so hard to win, risking serious injury or death to reach the cup first?
The reason: Cho. Go back and check Goblet of Fire. He was so hung up on her that he was driven to beat Cedric, and in so doing 'win' her affections. Yeah, pretty pathetic, but true. Even at the end, he was thinking of 'Cho's face shining with admiration' while he was debating with Cedric over who should take the cup. So dating Hermione instead of mooning over Cho removed that incentive, and allowed him to take a more level-headed approach to the task, with a much more successful result.
A/N 2 Fleur's declaration at the cup, 'Tous pour un, un pour tous,' (All for one, one for all) was the motto of the Three Musketeers, the title characters in the famous French story of comrades in arms in 19th century France.
A/N 3 I seem to be reading a lot of rewrites of the graveyard scene recently, including, for example, An Inconvenient Truth by my buddy Old Crow. Another of these stories, The Little Veela that Could, also has three champions taking the portkey, only there it's Cedric, Fleur, and Viktor that battle Pettigrew and the snake. They don't come out nearly as well as my three, though. Just to be clear, I wrote my version long before that chapter was posted.