A/N: This is my first Harry/Hermione fanfic. I've been reading them a lot lately and decide to make one, just for the heck of it. It might be slowly OCC, but I'm going to make them as real as I can, not just go overboard. Harry will be more independent, more powerful but not super, a handworker, somewhat confident, less shy, and a less reckless Gryffindor Harry. Hermione will be less of know-it-all, arrogant bookworm who think she knows best, well she will but just toned down. I mean, Hermione wouldn't be Hermione without it. She will however a more open-minded, less tightly-wound, and more like-able. A bit of some Weasley bashing, and a good human Dumbledore, and a grey Snape. This takes place during GOF; right after Professor McGonagall tells Harry there is a dance. This is going to be manly Harry and Hermione's point of view.

Disclaimer: I do not in any form of fashion own anything Harry Potter. I make no money off it this and do this purely for entertainment purposes. I did however think of this plot, and probably an NCC *Non-Cannon Character*. Harry Potter belongs to JKR, and all is her copyright. This goes for the whole story, not just this chapter.

This was Beta'd by Marla1. She is a great writer, truly. Most are Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, and one-shots. But they truly touched my heart… Go check her out… after you read my story first…R&R

Chapter 1: The Dance

A young man with messy black hair and bright green eyes turned to his teacher. She was a strict-looking, thin, grey haired witch, looking at the boy with pursed lips

"As you probably heard, Mister Potter, there is a dance coming up for all fourth year and up, unless a third year is asked. It is namely for the competitors, meaning you. It's called the Yule ball, Potter, and as a Hogwarts Champion, you are expected to bring a date. I will assume you don't know how to dance. Therefore I have planned private lessons for you with my best dancer in Gryffindor. She will be meeting you in the classroom down the hall tomorrow at 2 pm sharp. Her name is Arena Cadawn. She's a 5th year, and has instructed a lot of kids here. Apparently in the muggle world she took classes, and helps teachers younger kids during the summer. I managed to talk her in to fitting you in her schedule, so that you won't make a fool out of us. Now, Mister Potter, Saturday is in two days, you have the day to go to go bank, get money, and buy decent robes, and for the love of Melin, Mister Potter, do not try anything funny," She said sternly, her words covered with a thick Scottish accent. He nodded.

"Okay, thank you. I need to go see about something," He said. She eyed him before nodding. He sighed and walked out the classroom. He went straight to the library. Ever since his name came out the Goblet, Harry had been basically living in the library trying to learn all he could. It was only fair as everyone else was older. He had passed the first task with pure luck. He summoned his broom, hopped on, and summoned the golden egg. The dragon had not been happy but Harry managed to fly away and land right in front of the judges without any injuries. He received a 10 from everyone expect Igor Karkaroff, who had given the young man a 8, placing him in first place, with Victor Krum right behind him.

Harry walked in the library and went to the History section. There he picked up a book on the previous Twi-Wizard Tournament. Looking it up, Harry felt a bit sick. There had not been one tournament when someone had not died. The Goblet of Fire didn't pick who was the most powerful, but who would put on the best show. Who better than the only half-veela, a famous Quidditch player, a determined Hufflepuff, and the Boy-Who-Lived? There had always been only three tasks: the first was based on bravery, almost always a dangerous creature you had to go up against; the second one was one focused intelligence and resourcefulness; and the last was purely on thinking on your feet, and magical ability. Harry let out a harsh breath, as he read through some of the past task: fighting Dementors, people getting taken, and no-rules duels. Nearly everything that was dangerous was used, and Harry felt like he might have drowned.

He sighed and closed the book before getting up off the floor. He put the book back before leaving. He walked around thinking about what he was going to do about everything that was going on. He needed a date for the ball, he had to figure out what sound the bloody egg was making, and find a way to make it through the competition alive. So far, it wasn't looking so good.

He walked to the Great Hall, and noticed it was people scattered about. He looked around the girls, thinking about which one he should gather up the Gryffindor courage to ask. There were a few girls that caught his eyes: Susan Bones, a redhead Hufflepuff who was very beautiful with pretty eyes; Padma Patil, the Indian Ravenclaw who was tanned, long hair, and prettier than her Gryffindor twin sister was; Katie Bell, a pretty brunette on the Gryffindor quidditch team; and Cho Chang, a pretty Chinese girl with long black hair in Ravenclaw.

He decided to cut down the list to the ones he shouldn't ask. Cho was rumored to be dating Cedric, his opponent in Hufflepuff. He felt he shouldn't ask her on that note and not wanting to get rejected. Katie Bell was heard to be last dating Harry's old Quidditch caption Oliver Wood. Though they always argued a lot, it turned out they really liked each other. Susan Bones was in Hufflepuff, and was one of the people who felt Harry took the spot light away from her house. Hermione told him that Susan believed he didn't put his name in the fire or ask for but still felt it was unfair that her house would still be looked over. Harry understood that, and knew she was crossed out. That left the beautiful, smart girl, Padma Patil.

Harry looked around noticing that while he was deep in thought she had left the Great Hall. Harry cursed himself, before standing up and leaving as well. He walked back to the Gryffindor's common room. He stood in front of the Fat Lady's portrait. She looked down at him with an indifferent look on her face. She pursed her lips.

"Password?" She demanded. Harry grimaced, after being attacked by Sirius the Fat Lady acted differently. If you didn't know the password, she wasn't going to let in you, unless you figured it out, or someone let you. At first, she used to talk, and wait for you, while giving hints but Sirius left her scared, and in turn, she reacted this way.

"Courage," He spoke clearly. She nodded and the painting sprung open. He stepped inside and went upstairs to his room. He closed the door and shuffled over to his bed. He saw his roommates downstairs playing around, so he knew he would have the room to himself for a while. He flopped on his stomach when someone knocked on the door. Harry turned on his back and sat up.

"Who is it?" he asked. The door opened hesitantly, and bushy brown hair peeked through the door. Harry smiled tiredly.

"Come on in, Mione," He whispered. She walked in, and smiled at him, closing the door behind her. She walked over and sat on the bed with him.

"How are you? You didn't eat when you went to the Great Hall…I was worried about you. Ron said that you were all right. But the boy is obviously thick and was eating food at the time. So I decided to come and check," She said. Harry nodded and rolled his eyes. He figured that much. He let himself fall back on the bed and closed his eyes.

"I'm doing fine. I talked to McGonagall earlier, she held me after class to tell me that there was going to be a ball. It the Yule ball and it's coming up in three weeks. I don't know what to do. She's making me do dance lessons, so I don't embarrass anybody. Tomorrow, I'm going to go get some money, and find me some robes for the dance. I also don't know who I'm going to ask, well, I do have someone in mind," He rambled.

Hermione smiled, and bit her lip. She thought Harry had meant her. She had been sending Harry hints for a while now, but Merlin! He made Ron look observant and that was almost a bad thing. She knew Harry didn't have much knowledge or anything with girls. But sheesh, the least he could do is catch on. When she was wearing her uniform and robes, she was wearing muggles clothes. Ones that fit snuggly, and clung to her. Hermione tried to hide the smile in her voice when she asked "Who?"

Harry, not paying attention to his best friend, shrugged. "I don't know, I was thinking about Padma Patil…. She's pretty, smart, and quiet. She's the opposite of her sister, and is one girl I know who believed me about not putting my name in the Goblet. She had told me a few days before the first task. I mean, I was thinking it wouldn't be so bad asking her," He said. If he'd opened his eyes he would've saw the saddened and hurt look cross her face as he spoke.

Hermione cleared her throat. "Oh, that's good, I guess. Um, I have to go and…finish some homework I forgot," She rushed out. She stood up and ran out the room, trying not to cry.

Harry sat up and the sudden departure, with questioning eyes. What had just happen, he thought. He wanted to rush after her, and see what was wrong. But he also knew she would want some time alone so he forced himself to stay away from her, at least for the remainder of the night. The door opened again but to Harry's disappointment it was just Ron. He walked in, and glared at Harry before stomping over to his side of the room.

Ron's appearance made Harry roll his eyes. Ron had not forgiven Harry for being in the tournament, even after the Headmaster told everyone that Harry didn't enter. Ron was convinced that Harry did enter, and was hurt, angry, and jealous that he wasn't in it and that Harry didn't tell him how to put his name in. Harry had truly given up on Ron. He was tired of dealing with the redhead's jealous and temper when things didn't go his way, or when something big happened. First year, it was about being the Boy-Who-Lived; second year it was Ron thinking Harry was a dark wizard; third year was about everyone worrying about Harry since Sirius had escaped including Ron's own parents; and now this. Harry figured that once Ron had come around, he would tell him that he didn't want to be friends anymore for the simple fact that Harry was done putting up with Ron's shit. It was not fair to Harry or Hermione who was always on the receiving end of Ron's anger.

Harry lay back in bed, ignoring his ex-friend, and tried to take a quick nap, his wand tightly wrapped in his hand, just in case.

The week went by in blink, and it was finally time to go to Diagon Alley. Harry didn't know what to do. He ended up not asking Padma since he was too busy being worrying about Hermione. She had barely talked to him, even when they bumped into each other and she rushed away after their lessons. That combined with the training he started, and his dancing lessons, he didn't have time.

He sighed and figured to try to talk to her at least one more time before leaving. He walked to the library, where he knew she would be, looking for her.

Harry saw her sitting at a table, hunched over a book, he rolled his eyes. That was so Hermione, he thought. He moved over quickly and sat down next to her. She didn't appear to notice, so Harry just stared at her for a while. It was a moment before Harry realized that she was a girl. He always knew that, but when he was looking at her, he noticed so much more. She had a pretty smile, and he loved her bushy hair, it that added so much character to her. It was untamable, just like his hair. He bit his lip before letting it out.

"Um, Mione? I was wondering…Do you want…to um, go to the Yule Ball with me?" He asked hesitantly. Hermione's head snapped towards him and starred. She was a bit shocked to see Harry blushing a bit, but overall he was staring at her in the eyes. She could see he really want to go with her. She blushed a bit a nodded before asking:

"What about Padma? I thought you were going to ask her? What happened, did she say no?" She questioned. He just shook his head, and shrugged his shoulders.

"I was going to ask her, but I was too busy worried about you that I didn't even think about her at all till today when I realized I still didn't have a date. So, I never got the chance to ask her, or anybody," He said simply. Hermione blinked back when she realized she was a late minute date, and probably his only option so far.

"So, you asked me because?" She demanded. He pursed his lips before sighing.

"Well. I thought you were pretty, and you are my best friend, who better to go with?" He said. Hermione felt her heart break a little when he said best friend. Is that all he sees me as, She asked herself. She decided that she would go, even if Harry didn't want her like that, they still were good friends.

"Okay, I'll go. I need to get a dress," She muttered. She had already had one, but it wasn't what she needed to grab Harry's attention, it was just a plain regular dress. She got up and started heading to go write a letter to her parents.

Hermione knew that her mother always wanted a girly-girl. She knew her mother loved her, but she recalled seeing the disappointed looks that flashed her mother's face when she told her she didn't want to have a tea party, or she didn't like the little pink dresses. It hurt to know her mother wanted a better daughter. Of course, her mother would never say it or mention at all to Hermione that she was even a bit disappointed on how she turned out. Asking her mother for help on a date, and to a ball, it was going to be her mother's dream comes true that her little girl was acting very much like a girl.

She walked to her room and pulled out her muggle notebook. It was very easier to write on it and for her parents to read, than it was with the bloody quills. She sighed and took out a pencil.

Dear Mom,

Everything's is going great so far. Well, that's a bit of a lie. Ron is still acting like a git, and I can honestly say, I am quite done with our friendship. We never had anything in common besides Harry, anyway.

Speaking of Harry. You will never believe what just happened, He asked me to the Yule Ball. He's even taking dancing lessons. Um, okay, Professor McGonagall practically told him he was going to take the lessons or else, but he's taking it very seriously. Anyway, I can't believe he finally asked me. I had been waiting for a while, but he admitted to thinking about taking another girl, so for a moment I thought it wasn't going to happen. However, he asked me today. I thought it was a last minute date, but he said that I was pretty, his best friend, and nobody was better to ask. So, unfortunately, he still sees me as his best friend, but Harry's quite thick when it comes to feelings.

Um, I was wondering if you could come buy Diagon Alley tomorrow. So we could go pick out a dress, and shoes. The dance is in a week, and I think everyone but myself has something to wear. It doesn't have to be robes either; it could be a muggle dress. I know I already told you I brought one, but it was very plain, and I didn't plan on going with anybody at the time. I'll talk to you later.

Love you,

Hermione

Hermione read of the letter and nodded. She stood up and walked out her room, down to the common room. Harry was sitting on the couch. She walked over to him.

"Are you okay?" She asked. His head snapped up and he nodded. His eyes drawn to the letter in her hand.

"For you parents?" He said. It was a question nor a statement, sort of a mix in between. Hermione nodded. He stood up and grabbed the letter.

"Come on, Hedwig will take it. She's been bored out her mind, and the other owls still won't stop bothering her. Besides, I haven't had anything for her to take in a while. She'll want the exercise," Harry said.

"Are you sure?" She asked as they walked out the common room. Harry said nothing in reply, but they walked in silence to the Owlrey. Hermione didn't have a problem with it, neither did Harry. It was a great part of their relationship. They truly were great together, if only Harry could see it.

A/N: I tried to grasp the Characters like in Cannon but without being Cannon, if that makes senses. I would Picture Hermione as insecure, because everyone is, even if they don't admit it to themselves. Harry is a bit more mature, but I wanted it like that, to make it seem like he had to grow up early. Moreover, I think that's the way it showed been in the book.

Being neglected, and abused even if the book didn't directly say it, with having to deal with all these problems in every book, would force anyone to grow up, and I would think if I put myself in Harry's shoes, I would act a bit of the same.

Hermione is a tad bit girly, but that's because the boy she had a crush on, just asked to a dance. I would act the same, hands down. Okay, so I do act the same a bit. Ron is going to be a bit bashed, but you can't help it, he is a brat, and there no other way to explain his feelings. I'm not doing it purposely, but really, you can't help but to bash Ron in the books, with the way he acted. Ps. Dumbledore is not going to be bashed; I tried to make him more human and less God-Like, as he was in the book almost.

-SlytherinWitch16