Harry Potter and the Torrid Affair

Chapter 1: As If They Were Two Strangers

Being sixteen years old was a hell of a lot harder than most people realized. Harry Potter learned this the hard way. He learned that brewing adolescent hormones, unrequited love, and a large group of teenagers confined in a boarding school made for one foul potion indeed.

Sure, he was The Boy Who Lived, or The Chosen One, or whatever girls decided to call him in their diaries these days, but he was as clueless as Ron about girls—perhaps even more clueless now, what with he and Lavender locking lips alarmingly frequently. Yes, of course, there was Cho Chang from the year before, but that had been short-lived and still left bitterness whenever he thought about it.

The real problem stemmed from his lingering passions for his best friend's sister. Seeing Ginny dining in the Great Hall three meals a day never satiated his hunger for her. Watching her fly across the Quidditch Pitch during practice made him forget to seek the Snitch from time to time (though he never allowed his mind to wander at an actual game). And, if she somehow crawled into his thoughts during classes, he could swear his wand sent out sparks as flaming red as her hair. But what was he to do about it? She was his best friend's sister.

Harry was lucky, however. He had two great friends on which to rely. Obviously, divulging his passions to Ron was completely out of the question. Having lost his best friend for a spell two years previously, he never wanted to relive the painful experience. That only left Hermione, whom he trusted much more with such information, yet Harry sensed that her incredible intellect did not extend to such personal emotions.

It was very unfair of him to think so, and if he knew the extent to which Hermione was infatuated with Ron, he would have realized his own feelings paled in comparison. Of course, discussing such matters with Hermione was bound to be awkward. If it had been anyone but Ginny, Ron would have been a far more comforting friend on which he could rely.

The months lingered on, and November came, bringing with it the bitter cold that promised a heavy winter season. Harry had far more than his own emotions to worry about; he was also greatly occupied by his difficult coursework, Quidditch practice, and his private lessons with Professor Dumbledore. Hermione had twice the workload he had, but seemed to finish it all in half the time. Though Harry was envious of this, it meant that she was usually available to talk to when he was free himself.

This was too convenient an opportunity to pass up for long, and one cold night, he found himself alone with her in the Gryffindor Common Room. Ron had put off his ever increasing pile of work to take the night off and go to sleep, and Harry had just finished a grueling essay for Snape's Defense against the Dark Arts class. He set it aside and gazed at Hermione, who was knitting a hat by the fireside.

Something curious stirred inside Harry when he looked at her. Perhaps it was the uncharacteristic aura of calm Hermione was exuding, but she seemed radiant sitting by the fireside. Her hair, though unkempt, was striking in its chestnut color. Her skin was fair and soft, and there was something in her brown eyes that seemed almost alluring. Harry couldn't place what was squirming in his stomach while in Hermione's presence, which was unfortunate; it might have been a warning to stay away.

"Hermione," he said, "I really need to talk with you." The sentence had stumbled out awkwardly, which was strange, as Harry was usually far more comfortable talking to Hermione. Nevertheless, she set her knitting aside and gazed intently at Harry, which made him shudder.

"All right, then," she said, "what is it?"

Harry's throat suddenly went dry, and he found it difficult to speak. He finally conceded and uttered a single word: "Ginny."

"I thought so," she said, a bit condescendingly but with heartfelt sympathy. "Even Ron's started to notice how you act funny when you're around her."

"How do I act funny?" Harry demanded.

"Well, simply put, it's the same way you used to act around Cho."

"Oh," Harry said, and he felt his stomach plummet.

"It's not a bad thing, you know, Harry. It's perfectly normal how you're feeling."

"I wish it weren't."

"Believe me; I completely understand where you're coming from. I've been feeling the same way for a while, you know, abnormal."

Harry was surprised to hear this coming from bookworm Hermione Granger. "Really?" he asked, "No, don't tell me you're falling for him…"

"How did you guess?"

"Really? That bloke? You can do loads better than him, Hermione. I mean, I understand he's been all over you lately."

"In what universe? The one where Lavender Brown ceases to exist?"

Harry stopped, suddenly confused. "Who are you talking about?"

"Who are you talking about?"

"I was talking about Cormac McLaggen." At this, Hermione burst into laughter, and at the sight of such a joyous smile Harry's stomach began to squirm again.

"Not even if he were the last wizard on Earth!" she cried when she regained her composure. "I was talking about Ron!"

"Right, of course," Harry said before the weight of that statement hit him like a Bludger. "RON?"

"Keep your voice down!" Hermione hissed. Harry shook his head and pointed his wand at the two staircases leading to the dormitories, as well as the back of the portrait of the Fat Lady. He said "Muffliato" at each thing he pointed at.

"Sorry," he said, "I know you hate that spell."

"Don't worry about it," Hermione said, which made Harry question her sanity.

"Really?" he asked, "Ron? Ron Weasley, our best friend since God knows how long?"


"I'm at a loss for words."

"How do you think I feel?"

"It must be awful, seeing him with Lavender every day. Honestly, I think it's revolting, the way they hang all over each other."

"And the snogging," Hermione added with a grimace.

"Right, I can't forget the snogging."

"Oh, just thinking about those two infuriates me. Can we drop it?"

"Sure." The two sat in a bit of an awkward silence. They exchanged nervous glances once in a while, and then quickly looked away if they made eye contact. It was as if they were two strangers interested in each other but trying to hide it.

"Well," Harry said, "we have a lot more in common than I thought."

"What do you mean?"

"We're both in love with a Weasley."

"Yes, that is quite strange." Another long pause passed.

"I'll be honest," Harry said, "I'm really surprised."

"How so?"

"You always seemed to me like the type of girl who didn't have time to be in love. I guess I'm just naïve, or I don't know you as well as I thought."

"Believe me, Harry; my emotions were far more surprising to me than they are to you. For the longest time I tried to deny them."

"Longest time? How long?"

"Well, I think as long as I've known him. Hold on, let me clarify. I didn't really begin to notice until third year, and I didn't accept it until fifth, and now it's haunting me day and night." Hermione suddenly turned away, and Harry noticed her cheeks turning red.

"Wow," Harry said in awe, "I'm sorry."

"Don't be," she said shakily, "It's my fault." When she said that, she began to cry uncontrollably. Harry panicked for a moment, but realized that, of course, he needed to be a good friend. He sat down next to Hermione on the couch and gave her a hug, which she returned. She held Harry tightly while crying into his shoulder, and though Harry was alarmed, he felt better about comforting his friend.

"God," she finally said, "I'm a wreck. Do you have any tissues?"

"I can't say I do."

"Oh, never mind. Just give me that hat." Harry did, and Hermione took it and blew her nose into it. She cleared her sinuses and wiped her eyes before tossing it aside.

"Well," Harry said, "sadly, I think Dobby will still wear it." Hermione laughed, and Harry couldn't help but grin as well.

"Oh, Harry, I'm sorry. You must be sick of girls crying all over you by now."

"It's quite all right, Hermione. You don't have to apologize. Didn't you just tell me these feelings are normal?"

"I was telling you that in the hopes that I could convince myself. What's normal about being madly in love with your best friend?"

"Or his sister?" Hermione laughed again. Harry didn't think he was being particularly witty, but apparently Hermione did.

"Harry, you've no idea how much of a relief it is to tell somebody about this. I feel better than I've felt in a long time."

"Hey, I feel the same way. Thank you."

"No, thank you."

"Oh, I think I should be thanking you!" At the last word, Harry poked Hermione in the stomach.

"Don't do that, Harry. It tickles."

"What does? This?" Harry poked Hermione's stomach again.

"Yes, that!" Hermione poked Harry in the stomach. Harry let out a laugh.

"See? I told you," Hermione said with a devilish grin. Harry responded by poking her five successive times.

"Watch it, Harry. You poke me like that again and I'll sock you." Harry smiled, pretended to restrain himself, and then poked Hermione as gently as he could. Hermione, true to her word, punched him as hard as she could in the stomach. Harry groaned in pain as he keeled over.

"Jesus, Hermione, you've got an arm! Now I know how Malfoy felt third year when you hit him in the face."

"Well, I did warn you."

"Yeah, you did, but that really hurt."

"What, do you need to go to the Hospital Wing?"

"I don't know."

"Shut up. You're not serious, are you?"

"No, but I almost am."

"Good. Maybe you've learned your lesson then."

"What, about doing this?" Harry poked Hermione in the stomach again, but this time he jumped off of the couch before Hermione could punch him again.

"Damn you, Harry Potter!" she cried before launching a pillow at him. Harry caught it and threw it aside as Hermione chased him around the Common Room. She finally cornered him and tackled him to the floor, where they rolled around for a minute. Suddenly, they found themselves inches from each other's face, with Hermione lying on top of Harry. Her heavy breath was fogging his glasses.

"Maybe we should calm down a bit," Harry suggested.

"You're right, maybe we should," Hermione replied, "but where's the fun in that?" Suddenly, and completely unexpectedly, Hermione kissed Harry flat on the lips for a good five seconds, then pulled away. Harry stared at her in disbelief, but then he took her brown locks in his hand and pulled her in for a longer, more passionate kiss. After about a minute had passed, they stopped again. This time, they picked themselves up off of the wooden floor and straightened themselves up.

"Perhaps it's best to call it a night," Hermione said.

"Perhaps," Harry remarked, "but where's the fun in that?" For a second, Hermione was stirred, but she managed to shake it off.

"I'm serious, I'm very tired and I really think we should sleep this off."

"All right, then, I guess you have a point. Good night, Hermione."

"Good night, Harry." However, neither of them moved. Instead, they gazed into each other's eyes for a heart-stopping moment. Suddenly, they began to kiss again. Harry felt her soft skin against his, her lips pressed against his own, and soon he forgot all else. After another endless minute, they pulled away again.

"I mean it," Hermione said, "we should really go to bed. Good night!" Hermione deliberately marched up the stairs to her dormitory. Reluctantly, though he was very confused, Harry did the same.