As usual, I don't own the Harry Potter characters or series… well I do own copies of the books and films, but I don't own the copyright to them, so all credit to J. K. Rowling, Bloomsbury, Warner Brothers etc. etc. etc.
Note: With over 550,000 stories on this site alone, there is a chance that someone has done something like this before, but then there's also the chance that it'll be done another hundred times as well, so I'm not going to worry.
With a weary sigh, Hermione Granger dumped her heavy, book filled school bag on to her bed and then began to massage her shoulder to ease the aching that had built up there on the trip back from Defence Against the Dark Arts. A nice long soak in the Prefects' Bath sounded like heaven right about now. She had a three foot essay on how to spot and defend against Inferi to complete for Professor Snape, but for once she felt like procrastinating. It had been a long week, and due to several other Prefects having flu, she'd had to do double the number of nightly patrols in the past few days, so damn it she had earned a night off!
Before she could contemplate the idea further, however, the door to the dormitory opened to admit Lavender Brown, the girl dating Ronald Weasley, the boy that Hermione wanted for her own.
"Hermione," Lavender began "could I talk… I mean, can we have a talk?" she sounded nervous.
"Okay." Hermione answered, sitting down on the edge of her bed. Lavender might not have been her most favourite person in the world, but she saw no reason to deny her a talk.
Lavender moved across to her own bed, which was located next to Hermione's, and she sat down.
After a few moments of silence, during which Lavender seemed to be gathering her thoughts together, she spoke.
"Why are you treating me as though I'm carrying a contagious disease?"
Hermione was startled by the question, but immediately protested against it "I am not!"
"Yes you are." replied Lavender "Everyone can see it. I know we've never been the best of friends, but you've never actively avoided me, yet now whenever I see you, you do your best to avoid me. It's as though you think I have Dragonpox or something. And it's been like this ever since I got together with Ron. Do you not approve of our relationship?"
Hermione winced. Her usually ditzy dorm-mate had hit the nail right on the head and it must have shown on her face.
"Why?" demanded Lavender.
"Why what?" asked Hermione, hoping, and yet failing, to feign ignorance.
"Why do you not approve of me being with Ron?"
"Um… I…" Hermione stammered nervously.
"Do you think that I'm not good enough for him?"
"No." Hermione protested.
"Do you think that I'm just stringing him on or something?"
"Are you jealous?"
Hermione balked at that one.
Lavender's eyebrows rose in surprise "Really?"
Slowly, very slowly, Hermione gave a single nod.
"Oh." Lavender exclaimed in surprise "Oh, wow. I can't believe how badly I read the situation."
"What?" asked Hermione, shocked.
Lavender bit her lip. Apparently it was her turn to be nervous.
"Um… look, Hermione… the thing is, there's a reason that I'm dating Ron, and it's not because I fancy him."
Hermione frowned "Oh?" she asked, a dangerous tone to her voice "Been stringing him on, have you?"
"Yeah, but I kind of thought that I was doing you a favour." protested Lavender.
"How so?" questioned Hermione, her eyebrows now furrowed in confusion.
Lavender sat silent for a few moments, clearly trying to decide how to proceed.
She shifted in her seat a little before saying "Okay, how to explain this…? Okay, well, see the thing is, just about everyone in the school thinks that you and Harry have feelings for each other, but are too afraid to act on them because of how Ron would react. You know how jealous and petty he can be, especially when it comes to things concerning Harry. I thought that by pretending to be his girlfriend, I could distract him, and you'd be free to make a move on Harry without the third wheel hanging around, so to speak."
Hermione sat there stunned. If you thought about it, it was a very nice, though rather misguided thing that Lavender had tried to do for her.
"Well…" she finally managed to bring herself to speak "Thanks for trying, I suppose. Sorry I ruined your idea by fancying Ron instead of Harry."
Lavender smiled "That's alright. Listen, I'll break up with Ron when he gets back from Quidditch practice later, you give it three weeks to a month, just to seem decent, and then make your move on him, okay? Trust me, you'll have to make the move, he's as in tune with a woman's intentions as a clump of clay."
"I prefer to call it "having the emotional range of a teaspoon" but thanks." replied Hermione, with an unsure smile.
"Nervous about telling him how you feel?" asked Lavender.
Rubbing her left arm with her right hand, Hermione nodded nervously.
Lavender gave a friendly laugh "If it helps, I could talk Parvati into taking up some of Harry's time. I'm sure she'd be happy to provide him with a distraction."
Hermione smiled, but shook her head "That won't be necessary thanks. Anyway, he's more interested in Ginny."
Lavender waved her hand dismissively "An infatuation that won't last." she proclaimed.
Hermione gave her a curious look, but Lavender did not embellish upon that statement. Instead she asked "Can I ask you something though?"
"Are you sure that it's Ron you fancy? I mean, you and Harry seem to fit so well together. When you were in the Hospital Wing at the end of last year, Parvati and I came by to check on you, and Harry was there, sitting next to your bed, holding your hand and looking so worried. I've seen that look on your face too, when he's been hurt."
"We're just friends." replied Hermione.
Lavender sat, staring at Hermione for a few moments before shaking her head "I don't get you Hermione. You've got Harry Potter, the Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, The Chosen One, eating out of the palm of your hand, and you're not going to go for it. Do you realise how many women around the world would kill to be in your position?"
"Harry does not "eat out of the palm of my hand!"" protested Hermione.
"No?" asked Lavender "Well then answer me this: who is the person he trusts most?"
Hermione opened her mouth to reply that it was Dumbledore, but stopped. Was it really Dumbledore? Did Harry trust Dumbledore most? The past seventeen or so months had delivered one hammer blow after another to Harry's respect of authority figures, and there was no denying that Dumbledore was included in that.
Lavender pressed on "Who does he go to most for advice? Teachers, his family or you?"
Hermione was now doing an impression of a goldfish, opening her mouth to answer, but closing it again when words failed before doing it again.
"It's well known that Harry did not want to start and teach the D.A." stated Lavender "Who convinced him to do it?"
Hermione wanted to point out that it had been a joint effort on the part of her and Ron, but then the thought occurred to her: who put the most effort into persuading Harry to do it?
"And think about this," continued Lavender "You have been in the Hospital Wing with serious injuries twice: once in second year when you were petrified, and at the end of last year, after you were injured at the Ministry. Both times when you woke up, who did you think of first, Harry or Ron? Whose wellbeing were you most concerned about?"
Hermione could think of no argument to that one. The answer was obvious: Harry.
"I know he rarely tells people his thoughts and feelings, but when he does it is usually to you." added Lavender.
There was no denying that statement either.
Lavender smiled sympathetically, and patted Hermione on the knee "Look, do us all a favour: when you work it out, make sure you tell Harry. The "will they, won't they" thing has gone on quite long enough."
With that she got up and left, leaving a stunned Hermione behind. She lay back on her bed, many thoughts rushing through her mind. Overall, they all led to one point: she loved Harry.
An hour later she came down the stairs to the Common Room and sat Lavender sitting in a corner, gossiping with Parvati. She made her way over to the pair and in a low voice asked "You've not dumped Ron, have you?"
"No. They're not back yet." replied Lavender.
"Good, because I'm going for it."
The squeals of delight emitted by Lavender and Parvati as they excitedly pulled Hermione into a group hug drew every eye in the Common Room, and it was to this sight that the Gryffindor Quidditch team arrived. Ron, the keeper, Jimmy and Ritchie, the beaters, Vicky and Ginny, the chasers, the latter of whom was holding hands with Dean, the temporary chaser to replace Katie Bell whilst she was in Hospital, and lastly, bringing up the rear, Harry, the seeker and captain. All wet and muddy, all looking tired.
Lavender made a special show of getting up and hurrying over to greet her "Won-Won" as Hermione casually made her way over to Harry. He was soaking wet, spattered with mud, looked very weary, but he also had enormous smile on his face. Hermione thought he had never looked better.
"Hey, Hermione." he greeted her cheerily as she drew close. Not daring to waste a second in case she chickened out, Hermione moved in and place a gentle, welcoming kiss on his lips. To her joy, he kissed her back.
Most of the Common Room broke out into loud cheers and wolf-whistles at this.
Ron's ears went pink with rage and he looked ready to launch into a verbal diatribe at the pair when Lavender remembered her job and successfully stopped the angry eruption of Mt. Ronald quite effectively by shoving his face into her admittedly quite ample cleavage.
Hermione broke off the kiss and looked up into Harry's emerald green eyes with a smouldering gaze and returned his earlier verbal greeting "Hey yourself."
"Nice one Harry!" called Dean with a grin "It's about time." he failed to notice that his girlfriend looked as though she had just been forced to eat Hippogriff shit.
"Where's this some from?" asked Harry in a whisper "Not that I didn't enjoy it."
Hermione smirked "Let's just say Lavender gave me a push in the right direction."
"Lavender? But you hate Lavender."
"All is forgiven." she replied, before moving in for another kiss. Harry happily complied.
"You are all muddy." she stated when they broke off.
"Yeah, well, hazard of practicing in the rain." answered Harry, looking down at himself "I'll go get a shower then meet you back down here in a bit, shall I?"
Hermione thought it over for a moment, but then shook her head "No, I've got a better idea. Come on."
Once again, the Prefects' Bath beckoned.
A/N: There we go all done. What did you think?