Disclaimers: I do not own Harry Potter or anything in the books or movie. Harry Potter is owned by JK Rowlings and Scholastic books.

Note from the author: This is technically my second Harry Potter 'fic, even though it's my first to be put up on the web. I'm still working on my real first "HP and the gauntlet of Cronus", but I finished this first, and thought I should put it up.

Confused about the title? Well, all I'll say is that I got the idea for this from an episode of Star Trek Deep Space 9. I can't say which episode (I don't even remember the name anyway), or I'll give it away. But it'll probably be obvious really soon, at least for people who've seen it.

Timeline: This happens somewhat early into the fifth year.

The one reason

By Lucas Harrell

Harry went through the portrait hole to find Ron and Hermione whispering in the Gryffindor common room. "Hey, guys," he said, grinning. "What's going on?"

Hermione held out a letter. "I just got a letter from Viktor," she said excitedly.

Harry's face fell. It had been so long since Viktor Krum had sent a letter to her, he had almost forgotten about the young Bulgarian Quidditch star. "So, what does he say?" he asked, hiding his momentary lapse with a slightly grim smile.

"He's visiting Hogwarts, and wants to talk to Hermione about something important," Ron answered for Hermione.

"Ooh, I'm so excited," Hermione squealed, "It's been so long since I've seen him. I can't wait until he gets here."

'I can,' Harry thought dismally, as he took a seat with the two. He had a long standing crush on Hermione from the moment he had laid eyes on her coming to Hogwarts that first year. A little infatuation with Cho Chang had diverted it somewhat, but something had happened over the summer that brought it back, with full force.

Hermione had always complained of being a late bloomer. "It runs in both sides of the family," she told Harry and Ron, "My mom and both of my grandmothers all stayed short and flat into their mid-teens. It's a curse, I guess you could say. I call it that, anyway. I just wish the puberty changes would kick in."

Over the summer, Hermione got her wish with a vengeance. She grew a good five inches, and her form started really filling out to accommodate. As a result, she had to go and get new sets of robes, as well as several new wardrobes. She had gone from a really cute girl to a extremely pretty young woman with a gorgeous body to boot.

"Any ideas on what Viktor wants to talk to you about?" Ron asked, cutting into Harry's thoughts.

Hermione shook her head. "Not exactly," she said.

"When does he come in?" Ron questioned.

"Just before dinner time," Hermione answered, "He has Quidditch practice and can't get away until then. Since this years World Cup just started, and his team needs him to get in as much practice as possible. He got Professor Dumbledore's permission to use Floo Powder to come straight to the Gryffindor common room."

Suddenly, Hermione stood up and hurried towards the stairs to the dorms. "Where are you going?" Ron called after her.

"I just realized that I have to get ready," Hermione called back, "My mom gave me some make up to try on, and I have to..." The rest of her words drowned out, as she headed up the stairs to the girls dorm.

Ron sighed and looked at Harry, who had been quiet throughout the exchange between the two, and saw him glancing after Hermione with a downtrodden look on his face. "You've got it bad, man," he told him.

Harry snapped his eyes back to Ron, turning red. "I don't know what you mean," he muttered, looking away.

"Sure you don't," Ron teased, "You've only had a crush on Hermione since you laid eyes on her. I've seen how you look at her sometimes. I'm your best friends, or at least one of them, remember? I can read you like a book, and can therefore tell that you're now in love with her."

Harry opened his mouth to deny it, but decided to tell the truth for once. "So what if I am?" he challenged, "She's so in love with Viktor..."

"Love is too strong a word for what she 'feels' for Victor," Ron cut in, "But, if you don't take the chance to tell her how you feel, you might lose her forever."

"What do you mean?" Harry asked.

"I've got a bad feeling I know what Viktor is coming to talk to Hermione about," Ron answered, "He's going to ask her to get permission to go to his school instead of Hogwarts. You know Dumbledore. If her parents say yes, he won't stand in her way. And she'll go with him, and probably won't ever come back."

"That's utter nonsense," Harry said dismissively, "She wouldn't just pack up and leave for Bulgaria, or any other place, for anybody."

"Do you really believe that?" Ron asked, "I think you know I'm telling the truth, that Hermione will, in fact, move to Bulgaria. Unless, that is, you talk to her and tell her how you feel. It's the only way she might change her mind."

"What if I do?" Harry demanded, "What if she just laughs in my face and goes to Bulgaria anyway?"

"You'll never know unless you try," Ron said, "But don't wait too much longer, or I have a feeling that you'll lose the chance forever." He stood up. "I'll leave you alone for a while to think. I've got to get ready for dinner. Think about what I said, all right?"

"All right," Harry agreed, albeit reluctantly. Patting him on the shoulder as he passed, Ron headed towards the stairs and up to the boys dorm. 'It just isn't that easy,' Harry thought, 'I do like Hermione a lot, but I'm not sure I'm actually in love her.' He relaxed into the chair as he fought the war between his mind and his heart.

***

It didn't take Viktor long to appear in the Gryffindor common room. Hermione rushed right to him and gave him a hug, but Harry noticed that neither even came close to initiating a kiss. The two didn't get the chance to talk about whatever he came to, because they all went to dinner shortly.

Harry and Ron usually sat on either side of Hermione, and the twins and Ginny usually sat across from them. But Viktor sat to the right of Hermione. Harry, not wanting to see them do anything lovey dovey, sat on the other side of Ron to Hermione's left.

After dinner, Viktor took Hermione somewhere they could speak in private. When they were done, she came back without him, with an excited look on her face. "Viktor just asked me to move to Bulgaria," she announced as soon as she stepped through the portrait hole.

The other Gryffindors, or at least the girls, rushed forward to congratulate Hermione, but Harry held back. "And just where is Viktor?" Ron asked.

"He had to get back ASAP," Hermione said, "He had a class to get to. I told him I'd think about it, and owl him my answer."

"Oh, Hermione, you're so lucky," Lavender Brown said, "Viktor Krum is just so dreamy."

"Yeah, you just have to go with him," Ginny said.

'NO!' Harry screamed mentally. With that, he ran up the stairs, tears in his eyes. Nobody noticed his departure except Ron, who went after him. He found his best friend by the window, but he wasn't looking out. He was crying.

Harry turned at Ron's footsteps. "Oh, why didn't I tell her?" He murmured through his tears. "Now, it's too late."

"No, it's not," Ron said, "You heard Hermione. She wanted time to think about it. Tell her now, before you lose the chance."

"I can't," Harry said, trying desperately to dry up his tears. "Every time I try to work up the nerve, I look at her beautiful face, and I... I just can't tell her. She'll laugh in my face, I just know it."

"Hermione's not like that and you know it, Harry," Ron said, "If she let you down, she'd think of an easy way to do it. She knows how you can get. She wouldn't do anything like that to you."

"'If' she were?" Harry said, his eyes narrowing at the seemingly slip of the tongue. "Do you know something I don't?"

Ron just smiled. "Maybe, maybe not," he said enigmatically, "All I can tell you is that you have to give it a shot. If you don't, she'll be gone forever, and you'll hate yourself until the day you die."

"You're right," Harry said, "But what if it's already too late?"

"As I said before, you'll never know until you try," Ron said, "Well, come on. Let's play our thousandth game of Wizard's chest, shall we?"

Harry sighed. "Why not?" he muttered. They headed over to Ron's bed and took his old chess set from his trunk, and started playing.

***

Hermione and Harry were walking to class a few days later. It was a Hogsmeade weekend. Ron had gone because he had to pick something up there, but they had decided to stay behind. "Have you decided what to tell Viktor yet?" Harry asked.

"I've been torn, actually," Hermione said, "I want to stay here, but I also want to go be with Viktor. I just wish something would come along and give me a good reason to stay or go, so I can get it over with. Can you think of a good reason?"

"I..." Suddenly, Harry got cold feet. He wanted to tell Hermione how he felt so bad, but couldn't spit out the words. "I don't know," he finally muttered.

"I mean, I've got so many friends here," Hermione said, "I just need one good reason to stay, and I will. On the other hand, I have the blossoming romance with Viktor waiting for me in Bulgaria. What do you think I should do, Harry?"

"I... I..." Harry began.

"You don't know, do you?" Hermione murmured aloud, tears running down her face. "Well, if you happen to think of a reason, then you know where you can find me." With that, she whirled on her heel and walked away.

Harry simultaneously smacked himself on the forehead and mentally kicked himself for missing the chance to tell Hermione how he felt. 'I'm just too much of a chicken,' he chided himself, 'A chicken who probably just missed the chance to admit his feelings to his love, probably forever like Ron said.'

Harry ran all the way back to the Gryffindor tower, going straight for the boys dorm. He flung himself on his bed and started crying uncontrollably.

***

When Ron came back from Hogsmeade for supper that night, he was surprised to see Harry sitting a few seats away from Hermione, instead of right beside her like he always sat. They both looked like they had been crying, and his heart went out to the both of them.

After dinner, Ron went to the Gryffindor common room and found Hermione sitting in a chair with a distant look on her face. "What happened between you and Harry while I was gone?" he asked her bluntly.

"We walked around a little and talked," Hermione said, "I told him that I was looking for a reason to stay here and asked him to give me one. All he said was 'I don't know'." Tears ran down her face. "I got mad and walked off in a huff. He doesn't seem to want me to stay."

"Pardon my French, but that's bullshit, Hermione," Ron said, "I wasn't going to say anything and leave it up to him, but I feel that I have to say something now. He's in love with you. He just wants to see you happy, even if it's not with him. Would you honestly be happy with Viktor in Bulgaria?"

Hermione paused, thinking about her reply. After several minutes, she finally murmured, "I've been thinking I would be, but now, I... I don't know."

"How do you feel about Harry?" Ron pressed.

Hermione paused again. She hated to say it twice in as many minutes, since she had nearly bitten Harry's head off for doing it earlier, but she realized that, just by having to think about it meant something.

"I honestly don't know," Hermione replied, "I developed a crush on him during our first year, but it seemed to fade. Then he started becoming infatuated with Cho, I felt a little... jealous, I guess."

"It's been about the same with Harry towards you," Ron admitted, "Except he developed a crush on you from the moment you opened the door into the compartment he and I were sharing on that first Hogwarts Express ride here. He would never admit it, but he felt jealous when he saw you and Viktor together.

"Your sudden changes over the summer brought back his crush, and blossomed it into real love," Ron continued. Hermione was quiet at this, contemplating his words. Suddenly, he yawned. "I'm getting tired, so I think I'll go to bed. Think about what I said, and talk to Harry tomorrow, will you? Figure out together where to go from there."

"All right," Hermione agreed. Ron got up. Patting her shoulder while he passed, he headed up the staircase to the boys dorm. She turned back to the fire and began thinking about what he told her, and her own feelings about Harry.

***

Harry felt someone shaking him and opened his eyes. "Who is it?" he murmured sleepily, squinting his eyes to try and see who it was.

"Sh," the person said softly.

"Hermione?" Harry said softly, fumbling for his glasses. He got them on and saw that it was indeed Hermione that had awakened him. He sat up quickly. "Wh-what are you doing here?"

"Searching for a reason," was Hermione's reply. Before Harry could say anything, she leaned forward and kissed him on the lips. He responded, and she climbed up onto the bed. The kiss deepened, they slid down to the bed, and she moved to where she was straddling his stomach.

Their clothes were quick to be removed and words gave way to passion. They made love for hours. When they finally wore themselves out, Hermione was spooned against Harry, facing Hedwig's cage and the window. His right hand was draped over her and the fingers of it were clasped to those of her left hand.

***

Harry woke the next morning to find Hermione gone. Quickly sliding on his clothes, he went downstairs and found her sitting on the couch front of the fire. A smile played across his lips, as he made his way over to her. "Good morning," he said.

Hermione looked up at Harry and gave him a sleepy kind of smile. "Good morning to you too," she murmured.

"I'm not too fond of waking up to an empty bed," Harry said.

"Sorry about that, but I had to spend some time alone to think," Hermione replied.

"About what?" Harry asked. He was suddenly afraid that she was going to go to Bulgaria anyway. 'She wouldn't, not after last night,' he thought.

"Isn't it obvious?" Hermione said, "I've been thinking about exactly how to tell Viktor that I'm not going." Harry gave out an audible sigh of relief before bending down slightly and gave her a kiss.

Hermione scooted forward so Harry could slide in behind her. When he was comfortable, he wrapped his arms around her and she snuggled back against his chest. "I'm glad you found a reason to stay," he said.

"I didn't just find a reason to stay," Hermione corrected, "I found the best reason." She turned and looked deep into Harry's green eyes. "I love you."

"I love you too," Harry replied. They kissed again.

The end (maybe)

Note from the author: So, what did you think? Not too shabby, eh? I hope to have my "HP and the gauntlet of Cronus" story up before too long, but no promises. And I may do a sequel to this, but I'm not sure.