Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or anything else therein. All rights belong to J. K. Rowling, the Warner Brothers, and anyone else they might concern.

Author's Note: The idea for this one-shot came to me in the mental image of Harry getting slapped by Ginny after he kisses her in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Don't ask me how I got that notion but it was humorous to say the least and makes for a good plot-point as any to bring Harry closer towards a certain Gryffindor. But enough said or I'll spoil the story before it even begins. So without anything more to say and without any further ado, I present you with "The Slap!"

THE SLAP

(A/N: Part of the following text is an excerpt from the Half-Blood Prince. No copyright infringement is intended!)

Harry Potter had never felt more relieved in his entire life than when he was through having detention with Snape. If there was anything he hated in the world, it was being alone in a room with that slimy, greasy git!

Taking a deep breath of cool, fresh air, he hesitated outside the crowded Great Hall, then ran up the marble staircase; whether Gryffindor had won or lost, the team usually celebrated or commiserated in their own common room.

"Quid agis?" he said tentatively to the Fat Lady, wondering what he would find inside.

Her expression was unreadable as she replied, "You'll see."

And she swung forward.

A roar of celebration erupted from the hole behind her. Harry gaped as people began to scream at the sight of him; several hands pulled him into the room.

"We won!" yelled Ron, bounding into sight and brandishing the silver Cup at Harry. "We won! Four hundred and fifty to a hundred and forty! We won!"

Harry looked around; there was Ginny running toward him; she had a hard, blazing look in her face as she threw her arms around him. And without thinking, without planning it, without worrying about the fact that fifty people were watching, Harry kissed her.

Time seemed to slow.

Then...

...SLAAAAAAAP!

Harry winced as the unexpected sound cracked out across the room like a wet whip on a man's bare back. But what hurt more was the blow itself or, rather, who it had come from: Ginny Weasley!

After several long moments — or it might have been half an hour — or possibly several sunlit days — Harry glanced around the room, his mind reeling as his ears rang with the sound.

The room had gone very quiet.

Then several people snickered and there was an outbreak of nervous giggling.

Harry looked over the top of Ginny's head to see Dean Thomas shocked but grinning like a mad thing.

And Romilda Vane looking as though she had just had her birthday a year early.

Hermione was shocked, but Harry's eyes sought Ron. At last he found him, still clutching the Cup and wearing an expression appropriate to having been clubbed over the head.

For a fraction of a second they looked at each other, then the Gryffindor common room exploded into a deafening pandemonium.

"Harry James Potter!" Ginny was shrieking, shaking her finger in his face as the Weasley twins, Fred and George, struggled to hold her down. "Don't you dare think that I'm a whore just because Ron says so! How dare you think you can snog me like some depraved beast! How dare..."

The rest of the room was already in an uproar and several people had their wands yanked out, clenched in shaking fists. Harry was shouting his head off too and being held back by a struggling Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger.

Gryffindor was divided.

Crazed fangirls and other people who were friends of Harry's like Neville Longbottom were putting up a fight as all the fangirls, enraged at rejecting Ginny and eager to become his 'one and only' now that she was out of the way, surged towards the cursing red-head.

Meanwhile, Harry's rivals in Gryffindor were cussing up a storm that Harry had dared to defile Ginny's virtue. Funny thing was, Ginny had already had two boyfriends not to mention having just dumped one now.

Truth be told, they were only taking Ginny's side because they had a thing against Harry for some reason.

Time passed in a senseless blur and soon things were starting to look lethal as the first hex exploded with a loud snapping pop. There was silence as none other than Neville Longbottom was hexed and began laughing maniacally on the floor, tears streaming from his eyes.

Then the screaming began as civil war broke out amongst the students. Much to Harry's frustration, he was dragged away by a panting Ron and Hermione. He had no idea how they escaped unscathed, minus a bruise or two, but in the mass chaos that ensued it was a fairly easy task for someone with their brains still attached to their heads.

No sooner had they departed a good ways away from the room and ducked into a side hallway, Harry broke free of their grasp and rounded on his friends.

"How dare you take me away from her, that stupid little prat!" He exclaimed, searching for his wand. "I'll kill her!"

"Now, hold your horses, mate!" Ron snapped. "That's my sister you're talking about."

Harry sucked in a sharp breath to unleash another torrent of anger but bit into his cheek when he saw the red-haired Weasley holding both Harry's wand and his own. Hermione too had her wand pointed at him although her hand was white and clenched as if strained.

She was shaking and her eyes flashed something fierce but whether it was from fear or anger, Harry couldn't tell. He was too blinded by his sudden rush to claw Ginny's eyes out. He had fallen for the git and thought she was leading him on!

"Harry," Hermione whispered and Harry could not resist turning towards her when she spoke in that soft and soothing voice.

Chills raced down his spine when she placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"Harry," Hermione repeated although a little more firmly than last time. "You were given a love potion a while back."

"Wha?" Ron gawked, whirling around on her. "How could you..."

"Hush, Ronald!" Hermione said in a manner sounding most like Mrs. Weasley, leaving Ron looking very abashed to say the least. "Remember when I told you about those girls in the bathroom?"

Harry nodded vaguely.

"Well I came across their plot a while before that," Hermione said, her eyes misting over. "I was half asleep at the time though, as I had stepped out of the dormitory for a bathroom break. That was when I chanced upon two of the girls in the hallway. It was dark so they didn't notice me but I saw them, barely. I think it was Romilda Vane and Lavender Brown but I had no proof.

(Ron's ears went a little pink at that point) "So I decided to keep it under my top hat until I had solid evidence of trickery. Looks like I was a little too late as they must have slipped something in your drink anyhow. I am terribly sorry for keeping you in the dark but considering the circumstances, you wouldn't have been troubled anyway. I know that I did wrong and should have informed you before it got out of hand, so I am ready if it means the end of our friendship.

"Do with me as you will."

Hermione had said the last sentence in the ghost of a whisper and Harry had to strain his ears to hear her. But now, after her long speech, he had calmed down some and his senses were beginning to clear.

It was like stepping into a warm and golden light after being shrouded in darkness for an eternity and Harry knew he could never be mad at his bushy-haired friend, friend. Harry heaved a sigh and glanced over at Ron who was looking somewhat uncomfortable, as he squirmed and shuffled about studying his toes.

"I think I should call Madam Pomfrey if she has not already been alerted," He said lamely.

Harry gave a brisk jerk of his head as if to say – if you must – and Ron practically bolted out of the way, but not before casting one last glance at them over his shoulder. Harry stared. Was that a smirk he had seen on his face?

Running a hand through his messy black hair, Harry sighed and shook his head.

Girls! He thought blithely. Just when you think you begin to understand them.

His train of thought was interrupted, however, when Hermione squeezed his shoulder. Oddly enough, her touch send a thrill of excitement through him.

"Um, Harry?" She asked tentatively.

"Oh, yeah, right," Harry said, giving himself a mental shake and returning to the present.

"What happens now?" Hermione asked, her face drooping.

"How do you mean?" Harry queried, and before he could stop himself he lifted Hermione's chin up gently with her hand so that she stared him right in the eye.

"I mean," Hermione began in a shaky voice. "I meant about...us... Will what happened tonight jeopardize our...err...relationship?"

Hermione blushed prettily and Harry felt a swooping sensation in the pit of his stomach. Suddenly, he realised what a fool he had been as a strange series of emotions rushed throughout his entire being.

Relationship.

Hermione Granger.

Friends.

More?

Love?

Slowly but surely, he began to put the pieces together. During his entire stay at Hogwarts, Hermione had changed drastically and had proved to be his friend through thick and thin regardless of the circumstances. She even proved this by sticking with him in the Triwizard Tournament.

With a sinking feeling of dread, Harry realised he was not in love with Ginny Weasley but with Hermione Granger!

He had just been too dull and distracted to realise it. Why else would she kiss him twice at the train station and not Ron?

Why else would she stand by him when nobody else had?

Even during the incidents with the Basilisk and other times throughout his sorry excuse for a life, Harry realised that Hermione was a truer friend than anyone could ask for.

No.

She was more!

Was she?

Harry didn't know and he wanted nothing more than to find out. At the same time, he was plagued with guilt and anguish at the thought of ruining their friendship like Ginny.

"Harry?" Hermione asked, stepping forward cautiously and brushing his hair out of his face.

Her finger trailed down the length of his scar with such care and love that Harry knew nothing would ever separate them.

Ever.

Taking a deep breath, he spoke. "No Hermione, I could never hurt you!"

"Oh, Harry," Hermione said and without another word, she flung her arms around him, burying her face in his shoulder.

Smiling weakly, Harry kissed her forehead and grinned as Hermione whimpered.

"Oh!" She stuttered and immediately pulled away from him.

Harry looked at her, confused and frightened. Had he done the wrong thing? Had he just shattered any hope of having a friend in Hermione and possibly something more?

A wave of relief washed over him when he saw the light in Hermione's eyes. Any and all hint of fear and doubt were removed seconds later when she, Hermione Granger, kissed him – Harry Potter.

It was far better than his kiss with Ginny had been or with Cho Chang for that matter. It was more passionate, more gentle, and Harry felt his brain melt in his head. His legs trembled and he thought he would dissolve into grains of sand as Hermione's hands ran all over his shoulders, his neck, his back.

But he didn't, he couldn't, for Harry knew now that nothing else in the world mattered any more. All thoughts and worries about a future tainted by Voldermort washed away and he knew, yes —

—Harry Potter knew that he was, at long last, complete.

THE END

A/N: Well there you have it! Another one-shot. This was rather longer than most and I might write more of them if you want to. Like it? Love it? Hate it? Let me know in a review so that I can make this better yet!

~ Elf Knight ~