A/N: I'm back, and um…I know this has been overdone quite a bit, but…eh, I just felt like taking a crack at it.
This is a one-shot.
Just as Friends
December 18, 1994
Viktor Krum glanced over the top of the book that he wasn't reading to look at the pretty female specimen known as Hermione Granger (He had learned her name from one of his annoying fangirls). Viktor summoned up his courage, and just as he was about to stand up, Hermione sighed, slammed her book shut, and left. Viktor sighed too, then sank back into his chair.
Hermione walked briskly towards the Gryffindor common room, a woman on a mission. She couldn't take it anymore, she was going to do it right now and make Harry pull his head out of his…well, you know.
She literally bumped into the raven-haired wizard that she was looking for as she turned a corner. "Oh, sorry, Harry."
Harry smiled at her and her knees went weak. "No problem."
Hermione took a deep breath, then said, "I was looking for you, Harry. I want to ask you something." Harry nodded. "Well…do you want to go to the ball with me?"
A cute pink tinge crept up Harry's cheeks. "Like…as friends?"
Hermione inwardly groaned, then said flatly, "Of course, Harry. Because that's what we are." She forced a smile on her face.
"Well, this is perfect timing. I just got rejected by Cho—she's going with Cedric." Thanks for pouring the salt in my wounds, Harry, thought Hermione.
"Great," she said with mock enthusiasm and worked harder to keep smiling. "So that's a yes?"
"Of course. That sounds great." Harry's eyes were full of concern as he asked, "Are you all right, Hermione? You look like you're in pain."
Hermione sighed and stopped smiling. "I'm fine, Harry. Absolutely fine. Just…a lot of work to do."
Harry grinned at her, and her knees went weak again. "Don't work too hard, Hermione. It's Christmas holiday, so you have two weeks. And you better have a good painkilling charm for your feet—I'm a horrible dancer."
Hermione rolled her eyes at him and a real smile lifted the corners of her mouth. "I'll keep that in mind—thanks for the heads up.
"You're taking who?" asked Ron incredulously.
"Hermione. Why's that such a big deal?" asked Harry.
"Harry, you're Harry Potter. You can score just about any bird in the whole school! Why go with Hermione?" asked a bewildered Ron.
"Well, she's been my friend for 3 years, so I know she's not in it for the fame. And secondly, Cho's taken. Why not?" Harry paused, then his eyes widened. Ron…you don't…like Hermione, do you?"
Ron's jaw dropped, then he let out a roar of laughter. "You're barking, mate! Hermione's the exact opposite of my type. Plus, we're always fighting. And…well…you know…she's not exactly a looker, is she?"
"I dunno, Ron," said Harry thoughtfully. "I don't really think Hermione's that bad, to be honest."
Ron started laughing again. "You have a thing for Hermione!"
"I do not!" snapped back Harry, whose quickly reddening face told Ron a slightly different story. When Hermione had first asked him to the ball, he thought through the prospect of doing something like that with Hermione. Well, she is smart, funny, and pretty, mused Harry. Wait, pretty? Did I just say pretty? In all actuality, he had hoped Hermione would say no when he asked her if they were going as friends.
He sighed as Ron choked out, "You…like…Hermione!" through his tears of mirth.
"You're going with who?" asked Lavender, who was sitting on her bed. Ginny was on the floor, and Parvati was sitting on her bed.
Hermione was sitting on her bed, and sighed with a dreamy smile on her face, "Harry." Then she scowled. "As friends." She said the word 'friend' as if it were a curse.
The other girls looked at each other and grinned, and Ginny said, "You like him, don't you, Hermione?"
"No," she said defensively (and quite unconvincingly). Ginny arched an eyebrow at her, and she sighed as she said, "Fine. But I don't just like him—I think I'm in love with him!"
The other three grinned at each other again, and Parvati said, "Don't worry, Hermione. We'll help. Harry won't even know what hit him."
December 25, 1994
Hermione tentatively stepped around the corner to the entrance hall, and Ginny grinned as Harry's eyes widened.
Hermione had on a periwinkle blue dress, and Ginny and the girls had done her make-up. Hermione had on Ginny's favorite strawberry-flavored lip gloss, just a tad bit of blush, and mascara that matched her dress. It had taken quite a bit of Sleakeazy's Hair Potion, but Ginny, Parvati, and Lavender had finally managed to tame Hermione's hair and put it in an elegant knot.
"Um…Ginny?" asked her date, Neville. "Maybe we should go inside now."
Ginny frowned—she wanted to see if Harry would kiss Hermione right on the spot—but followed Neville into the Great Hall.
Harry's mouth was bone-dry and there was an uncomfortable lump in his throat as Hermione walked up to him. He had been dead wrong in his earlier assessment of Hermione's looks. She wasn't pretty, she was beautiful.
"H-hi, Hermione," Harry stuttered lamely. He realized what he said had been stupid, and summoned up his Gryffindor courage and said, "You look beautiful."
Hermione smiled and blushed, and said, "Thanks. You're not so bad yourself."
The awkwardness melted when Harry laughed and said, "Gee, thanks, Hermione."
Hermione laughed, and they congregated with the other champions and their partners. Roger Davies looked like he was trying to catch flies as he stared open-mouthed at Fleur, Viktor Krum was openly scowling at Harry with Parvati Patil as his partner, and Cho was looking delighted to be holding hands with Cedric.
Harry was glad that Cho wasn't his partner—Hermione looked way better. Professor McGonagall came out and led the champions and their partners into the Great Hall, where the students were already sitting.
They were lead up to the table where the teachers usually sat, and Harry grinned at Ron, who was sitting next to an odd third year that had asked him and that he found very entertaining—Luna Lovegood, who was staring at her palm dreamily.
Harry pretended not to see Percy beckoning him over and sat next to Cedric, with Hermione on his other side. Everyone was looking quizzically at their menus until Dumbledore picked his up and clearly said, "Pork chops," which immediately appeared on his plate. Everyone else spoke to their plates and their food appeared.
Harry looked at the beautiful young woman sitting to his left and asked, "How did you get your hair like that?"
"It was a team effort, really," said Hermione. "It took Ginny, Parvati, Lavender, and quite a bit of Sleakeazy's Hair Potion to get it like this. They did my make-up, too." She looked at him nervously. "It's not too much, is it?"
"Not at all," said Harry hastily. "You look amazing!"
Hermione blushed and smiled at him. Just as Harry was about to do something brave and stupid—namely, kiss Hermione—the Weird Sisters walked up to their instruments to deafening cheers.
The sound brought Harry to his senses, and he blushed as he realized how close he had been to kissing his best friend. "Er…dance?" he asked elegantly.
They walked onto the dance floor with the other champions and their partners, and Harry smiled at Hermione as he put his hand on her waist and took her soft, warm hand in his other. She put her other hand on his shoulder, and the music started.
Almost immediately, Harry trod on Hermione's foot, and he blushed and muttered, "Sorry." He kept doing it, and Hermione was soon giggling uncontrollably.
They went and got drinks when the song was over, and Hermione laughed and said, "I'm glad you warned me about your dancing beforehand, Harry. I think that you should stick with flying."
Harry laughed. There was a rock song playing, and Harry scanned the crows and found Ron, who was dancing crazily alongside Luna. "Looks like Ron's having fun."
Hermione looked, then laughed harder than she did before. "He's worse than you!"
Harry mock-pouted at her, then they joined the jam-packed crowd and danced to the music. Harry was surprised at the abandonment Hermione showed. She wasn't straight-laced-bookworm-Hermione on the dance floor, she was fun-carefree-Hermione, which even Harry didn't get to see often.
When it got too hot for both of them, they took a step outside. They were walking along a fairy-lit path, and Harry saw Hermione repeatedly glance at him a little longingly. Harry saw her eyes flick to his hand, and he didn't think twice about slipping his hand into hers and giving it a soft squeeze. They smiled a tad shyly at each other and continued walking in a comfortable silence, happy to be in each other's company.
They were just strolling past a reindeer sculpture when they heard Hagrid say, "Eh? No, don' go! I've—I've never met another one before!"
"Anuzzer what, precisely?" asked a cold voice that could've only been Madam Maxime's.
Hermione's eyes widened, and she dragged Harry in front of the two impossibly huge people. "Hello, Hagrid! And nice to meet you, Madam Maxime!" she said with extra cheeriness. "I'm Hermione Granger, and this is Harry Potter. We're both great friends of Hagrid's!"
Madam Maxime smiled at the two and said, "'Agrid has told me all about you two!"
Harry had finally caught on to what Hermione was doing, and asked, "Has he told you about the first time we met?"
"Well," said Hagrid, smiling, "the firs' time we met you was jus' a baby, Harry. But when he was eleven, I—" Hagrid went off on the story of their first encounter, and Harry and Hermione slipped away unnoticed.
"Nice save, Hermione," said Harry.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Honestly, males have no tact whatsoever." She grinned at Harry.
Harry gave her a look of mock outrage. "I hope you aren't including me in that statement!"
Hermione snorted. "You're one of the worst!"
"You wound me," Harry joked.
When they got back in the Great Hall, a slow song was playing. Harry asked, "Er…do you want to dance?"
Hermione smiled at him and nodded, and Harry led her out onto the dance floor, where they just slowly revolved on the spot. As Harry looked down at a smiling Hermione, a powerful emotion hit him and an insane urge to kiss her pouty lips assaulted him.
It was like his brain was reminding him that he was dancing with the most intelligent, funny, loyal, brave, and beautiful witch he knew. But it was deeper than that. She had always been there for him, and he realized that he wanted to always be there for her. Holy Merlin, I'm in love with Hermione!
He focused on the beautiful young woman that he was in love with, and saw her gazing up at him with longing in her eyes and repeatedly wetting her lips. Harry didn't know why she was doing that—all he did know was that he was about two seconds from kissing her.
Just then the clock struck midnight, signaling the end of the ball. Hermione's face fell.
As they walked back up to Gryffindor Tower, Harry said, "That was fun. Thanks, Hermione."
She studied Harry as she unenthusiastically replied, "I had fun too, Harry."
They walked in silence for the rest of the trip up to the tower with Harry fidgeting uncomfortably under Hermione's scrutiny.
They got into the common room and stood there, Harry thinking furiously with Hermione still studying him. Should I kiss her? What if she doesn't like me like that and I ruin our friendship? But what if she feels the same? What if—
"Honestly, Harry!" Hermione burst out. "Will you just kiss me already! You obviously want to, and I want you to, too! Be a man for Merlin's sa—mmph! Mmmm."
Hermione's lips were soft, warm, and delicious against Harry's. When they parted for air, they were both dizzy.
"Wow," said Harry.
"Um…yeah," said Hermione, dazed. "So…what happens now?"
Still under the intoxicating effects of the kiss, Harry stupidly blurted, "I love you, Hermione." Oh crap, I thought you were trying to not ruin your friendship, screamed his brain. Way to go, idiot! "Um…I…" he was blushing like crazy and didn't know what to say to salvage the situation, especially with Hermione staring at him all wide-eyed like that.
"I love you too, Harry," she finally said breathlessly.
Harry grinned at her, then gathered her up in his arms and kissed for all he was worth. She melted into the kiss, and Harry held her closer to him, marveling at how well her body fit against his.
They finally broke the kiss for some much-needed oxygen, and Harry said, "So…are you my girlfriend now?"
"Only if you want me to be," Hermione teased.
Harry smiled at the young woman in his arms. "Then it's settled. And I'm quite glad, because now I'll be able to do this whenever I want.
Harry kissed her again, and Hermione said, "That is quite a nice perk."
They just smiled at each other for a while before Hermione sighed, "We should probably get up to bed."
Harry softly kissed her. "Good night, Hermione."
Hermione smiled at him. "Good night, Harry."
They both headed up to their beds. They didn't fall asleep for a while, though, because they were too busy grinning like fools in the dark.
A/N: So there it is! Look for another one-shot, soon: probably…Wednesday.
Please leave me a review on the way out! I love hearing what you all think!