Hello again folks, yet another party fic. This time it's Ron and Hermione at Slughorn's (minus Lavender Brown and Cormac McClaggen – although I might throw them in somewhere for good measure!)

Slughorn's Christmas Party

Chapter One - Worst Suspicions Confirmed

Hermione could sense Ron watching her; she could feel his gaze on her back as they packed away the equipment.

She wasn't at all surprised, especially considering what had just happened about half an hour ago. That is, she had asked him to Slughorn's Christmas party and he had accepted, though it hadn't been that simple. There had of course been an argument, something murderous and Harry Potter present at the time which seemed to be the default setting for any situation they got themselves into.

'Ugh, just for once can't we work with something that isn't going to scar us for life?' He asked the room in general as they took off their protective overalls.

'It's on the curriculum Ron, you can't expect them to teach us about it without having to get our hands dirty once in a while,' she retorted.

'Yeah well I'd just appreciate keeping my hands attached to my body, that's all I'm saying.'

Harry was paying no attention to them. Whether this was deliberate Hermione wasn't sure, he could lose his temper faster than Ron these days.

'Harry who are you taking to the party?'


Ron started sniggering, 'She'll probably arrive dressed as a Crumple Horned Snorkack, you know what she's like.'

'She wouldn't would she?' Harry asked, frowning.

'No, she wouldn't,' Hermione affirmed, throwing a glare at Ron though she wasn't convinced, 'I'm sure she'll look lovely.'

'What are you wearing anyway?' Asked Ron, suddenly.

'I'm coming as a Crumple Horned Snorkack,' Hermione looked derisively at him, 'You'll just have to wait and see. I haven't decided yet, I have a couple of nice dresses.'

'Are you doing that thing with your hair again?' He gestured to his own head, with a sort of twirl.

'You mean the Sleakeazy potion? Well... I suppose I could, it can sometimes be a bit unmanageable,' she said, self consciously patting her hair.

'Nah don't bother. It always looks alright to me,' He mumbled with a pink tinge on his cheeks.

Hermione stared at him; coming from Ron 'alright' was positively a compliment.

Harry cleared his throat loudly and they were just about to exit the greenhouse when Ron stopped.

'Harry mate, can you give us two minutes?'

Harry shrugged his shoulders and stalked off somewhat sullenly, reminding Ron of a much shorter, bespectacled Krum.

'Listen,' Ron said quietly, 'I just wanted to say... well... thanks for asking me to the party Hermione. I know you could have asked McClaggen if you wanted to go with somebody a bit more...'

'McClaggen? Why on Earth would I want to go with him, we've never even passed the time of day!'

'Well I didn't know you were taking the bloke you'd had the most words with did I? I can see why you're taking me then. I suppose you've spoken to me more than anyone else in school other than Harry, but most of those conversations involved the words sod off...'

'No they didn't! We're just a little high spirited with one another that's all!'

'Hermione we're always at each other's throats!'

'And why is that Ron Weasley?' Hermione demanded daring him to answer the question they both knew the answer to.

'Because... because... well it's not as though I don't like you, it's just that we have this tendency to get on each other's nerves a bit...'

'A bit?' Hermione threw her head back in contempt, 'a lot Ron. A lot.'

As she said this she came closer to him. He automatically took a step back. Again, she moved closer and he began to blush and moved again.

'Don't you see why we have to keep arguing?' She said quietly, 'Because when we stop, we have to think about other things...'

Ron's eyes widened as Hermione suddenly became pink in the face herself and hoisted her bag a bit further up her shoulder.

'Let's go, we need to get some dinner.'

With that, they followed Harry's retreating figure back up to the castle, Ron lagging behind a little with a look on his face that suggested his worst suspicions had been confirmed.

To be continued!