DISCLAIMER: The only things I own are this plot, a laptop, and a account to post stories on.
The Gryffindor common room was nearly empty. The only two students that were still up were sixth years, Hermione Granger and Harry Potter. Their other friend, Ron Weasley, had decided to go to bed about an hour ago. Hermione was still working diligently on her Charms assignment while Harry remained awake simply because he didn't feel like going up to his bed just yet. He sat on the couch, quietly watching the dying fire in the fireplace. Hermione was sitting on the floor, bent closely over her work as she wrote.
It was well past midnight when the curly-haired girl finally came up for air, wincing at the pain in her neck and back. She stretched, taking the time to look around the lowly lit room. When she saw that everyone else was gone, she turned to look at Harry in surprise. He was slouching in his seat, his arms crossed and eyes unwaveringly focused on the flames, which she could see flickering in the reflection of his glasses. He looked as if he were deep in thought, and what he was thinking about obviously wasn't pleasant.
"What time is it?" Hermione asked, her voice uneven from not having used it in some time. Harry gave a small start, blinked, then looked at his watch.
"It's 1:15," he replied, his voice also scratchy from staying silent for so long. Though he didn't seem to be fazed by the late hour, Hermione on the other hand was shocked. Apparently, time really flew when she was hard at work.
"Wow..." she whispered, looking back to the table she had been sitting at. It was stacked with volumes and tomes that hadn't been put away once she was done using them. Parchment and quills were scattered all over the place as well. "We should probably go to bed, shouldn't we?"
Despite the fact that he knew she wouldn't see it, the dark-haired boy only shrugged halfheartedly. It's not like I would get to sleep at all, he thought bitterly. The nightmares that plagued him made sure he never got a moment of rest. Sometimes, he couldn't even fall asleep until five in the morning, only to be awoken a couple hours later. Harry didn't mention this to his friends though; he didn't want to cause anyone to worry. Especially Hermione, since she already worries about him enough as it is.
The brunette girl packed up her things, neatly placing her assignments and textbooks in her bag and her library books in a stake beside it - there just wasn't enough room for it all in one bag. When she finished, she looked back to find that her friend hadn't moved an inch. Even the bleak expression he wore was still in place. Frowning herself, she moved to sit beside Harry, her upper body turned toward him.
"Are you okay?" she asked. When he didn't answer, she placed a hand on his forearm and squeezed it, gently demanding his attention.
Harry finally looked at his friend and when he saw the obvious concern she had for him, he felt his throat constrict. She was already troubled and he didn't have to say a word. He didn't want to lay anything else on her heart, so he tried to think of something else that might have him this upset. Something more trivial than his nightmares or the Prophesy. His thoughts landed on something that had him feeling depressed earlier. It has been a fleeting thought, but Hermione's presence reminded him.
"Do you really believe I'm an okay kisser?" he inquired quietly, a small smile finally appearing on his face. It took Hermione a moment to realize what he was talking about. When he had come back from the Room of Requirement and told his two best friends about his unfortunate first kiss last year, Hermione said that Harry's kissing had been fine. Every time he thinks of what she had said, he always wondered how she knew. Of course, she couldn't possibly know for sure since the two had never kissed before. It was a comment that he could never forget.
Once her confusion disappeared, she grinned softly and said, "Are you lying to me? Is that really what's bothering you right now?"
Harry nodded, his eyes never moving from her. She laughed and looked away, toward the barely-there fire, blushing. "I'm sure you're an excellent kisser, Harry," she replied, sounding embarrassed and shy. "Cho was just having a bad day, that's all."
Harry quietly hummed his agreement, also looking toward the fire. He didn't want the conversation to end there though - he still felt insecure. Turning his whole body toward Hermione so abruptly that she jumped from surprised fright, he continued, "But what if I'm also just...bad at it? Maybe that's what caused her to start crying. Like...it was so awful, it made her think of other awful things as well. And then..."
As he spoke, his voice grew quieter and sadder, causing him to look away from Hermione once he finished. The sympathetic - or worse, pitying - look his friend was probably pinning him with would only make his already low confidence plummet that much more. Harry was never one who enjoyed being pitied. When he finally got the courage to look back at her, he was bewildered to see that she wasn't looking at him with sympathy or pity. In fact, she was looking at him as if he had just proclaimed that two plus two was twenty-two.
"Harry," she said, sounding bemused. "Seriously? That's stupid."
The raven-haired boy went from confused to defensive quickly. "How so?"
Hermione laughed, then looked away, shrugging. "I just don't think your kissing is that awful." She looked back at him, daring him to contradict her. "Is that a crime?"
"Well, no," he responded. "But why don't you think I'm bad at it? It's not like you would really know."
Hermione didn't respond, blushing furiously and turned her head away from him. Her thick, curly hair was enough to cover her face, but Harry could imagine the expression she was wearing and he tried not to laugh. When she decided she was composed enough to look back at him, she pushed her hair back and gave her friend a glance from the corner of her eyes. By this time, he had calmed himself as well, but only just; his lips still occasionally quirked as he held back his amusement.
"Well," she began to explain, sounding flustered. "You don't look like you would be a bad kisser."
This statement hung in the air for a moment. Harry stared at her in silence, seeming stunned by her reasoning, then he guffawed and repeated for confirmation, "I don't look like a bad kisser?"
Hermione's curls bounced as she shook her head, her expression earnest. He continued to give his friend a long look, seeing if she was just trying to joke with him. When she still looked at him with such sincerity, he knew that it was the truth.
"Wow, that's so scientific and complex. You know how absurd that sounds, right?" he asked, teasing her. She glared, and slapped his leg when he began laughing.
"Yes, it is a bit silly, but that's what I think," she exclaimed, scowling when his chortling didn't stop. "If you're going to be that way... Want to know the truth?"
Harry could only nod in response, unable to speak due to lack of air.
"I actually think you would be a bit of an awkward kisser."
Now, her friend's amused expression changed into confusion. "I thought you said I'd be okay?"
The brunette girl shrugged. "Yeah and I meant it."
She sighed. "Well, while your actual kissing may be fine, you seem like you would be shy and awkward with the other things that come with snogging someone."
When perplexed look deepened, she continued on, grinning. "When you were kissing her, where did you put your hands?"
Harry took a moment to remember, scrunching up his nose in discomfort of the unpleasant memory. It was something he didn't like to think about, and could barely remember the actual act of kissing Cho at all. "Um, I think I just kept them at my side."
Hermione snorted, causing Harry to look back at her. Standing from her seat, she exclaimed, "See? That's exactly what I mean. That's awkward! Who keeps their hands down by their sides when they're kissing someone?" She pinned her arms stiffly by her sides as she said this, her eyes twinkling from the fun she was having at Harry's expense.
"I didn't know what to do with them," he responded, defensively. Hermione brought her hand up, gesturing at him as if that proved her point. Which it did. Harry sighed and stood up as well, facing his female friend.
"So you're the queen of kissing, huh?" he said, crossing his arms.
"I at least know where to put my hands."
"Then prove it."
Hermione scoffed, her tone becoming sarcastic. "Yeah, okay. How?"
"Show me, of course."
The playfulness in the air suddenly disappeared. Hermione's eyes widened, shocked at her friend's brash statement. Is he being serious? she wondered to herself.
He had been very serious about his challenge, but now he realized the gravity of what he had said. He had just asked his best friend, Hermione Granger, to kiss him. Their teasing back and forth on the subject had caused him to be reckless, with the need to say the next shocking thing that could cause her to become flustered. Well, I've certainly made sure of that part. Now she'll never be the same around me again, he thought as a flush came over him, his face warm with embarrassment.
"Sorry," he mumbled. "That was inappropriate."
The dark-haired boy turned to leave and managed to get a good few steps away before he heard quickly-falling footsteps and felt a hand grab his wrist, pulling him to a stop. Closing his eyes, Harry turned around unwillingly.
"Look, I didn't-" He was cut off when Hermione grab his face with both of her hands and kissed him. Surprised by her boldness, his eyes opened to find that she was looking at him too. Her eyes are such a pretty shade of brown...
Then the brown irises disappeared when her eyelids closed as she leaned into him, her hands moving from his face to his hair. Despite the rush of panic that she had felt before when he challenged her to kiss him, when he had turned away, she realized that she didn't want him to go. It had taken all of her Gryffindor courage to go after him though, and now that she had succeeded, she felt very proud of herself indeed. She showed this sudden sense of pride in the very way she slowly and deliberately moved her lips and held him close.
His response to her came in slow steps. He closed his eyes first. Then he began to kiss her back, just as sweetly and slowly as she was kissing him. And then, eventually, he placed his hands on her waist.
By the way, I DID intentionally ended it like that. If you get why, then I'll love you forever.
Anyway, yay, story that wasn't influenced by a song! I'm becoming more of an original thinker! Snaps for me, haha.
Review, because it makes me smile. (: