DISCLAIMER: I do not own Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling does.

A/N: My plan for this is a series of one shot stories where Harry and Hermione end up together. Sometimes I will take missed opportunities from the books and use them. Sometimes I will change a few things to get them together. And sometimes I will end up re-writing a good portion of canon events to make it happen.

I would also like to thank Epeefencer, who's story 'Harry loves Ginny and Ginny loves Harry' was the inspiration for me to write these series of one shot stories. If you haven't read them yet, you should check them out. They're really good.

Anyways, as they say, on with the show.

GoF: The Yule Ball

As Harry made his way from the Transfiguration classroom, he was grumbling about his rotten luck. It had been bad enough that this year he had been forced to complete in the Tri-Wizard Tournament after someone had put his name into the Goblet of Fire and so face had to face one of the most fearsome dragons ever. Now he had just been informed by his head of house, Professor McGonagall, that he had to attend the Yule Ball. Not only that, but he had to have a date and dance with her in the opening dance after dinner had been served.

Professor McGonagall, who like many others, had assumed Harry had a crush on Cho Chang, hinted that he should hurry and asked the Ravenclaw Seeker before someone else asked her. The problem with that was that Harry really didn't like her in that way. Yes, she was nice, and even pretty. But aside from both playing the same spot on their house teams, he really didn't know what they had in common. Anyways, the rumors of his crush on her had all been the fault of a pair of red headed twins when they jokingly made a comment during the previous year during Quidditch practice. Their then team captain, Oliver Wood had told Harry to do whatever was necessary to catch the Snitch, even if it meant knocking Cho off her broom. Harry, of course, would never do such a thing on the grounds that not only was it not fair, but it was something Slytherin would do. The twins, seeing Harry's reluctance, said that Harry probably wouldn't do it because he loved Cho. At the time it seemed funny, but now… Well, it didn't matter. There was only one witch in the entire school that he had feelings for anyways.

Eventually, Harry had made his way to the library, where he was supposed to meet up with Hermione. Madam Pince fixed him with a stern gaze the moment he entered, like she did to all students who dared to come and put their hands all over her precious books. Looking around, Harry found Hermione sitting at her usual table towards the back and quickly joined her.

"You're not going to believe what Professor McGonagall just told me," Harry said as he sat down and opened his bag to pull out his ink, quill, and some parchment. When Hermione didn't say anything, he looked up, expecting to see her lost in some text, only to find her sitting there with a shocked look on her face.

"Hermione, you okay?" Harry asked. "Did Seamus come running through here naked again?"

The bushy haired witch shook her head no, unable to speak.

"Alright," said Harry. "Um… Anyways, McGonagall told me that not only do I have to go to the Yule Ball, I have to have a date and dance. Can you believe that? It's not like I wanted to be apart of this whole tournament in the first place. So, I was thinking that…"

"," Hermione suddenly blurted out.

Harry stared at her blankly for a moment as he tried to decipher what she had just said.

"Once again," said Harry. "In English this time."

"Viktor Krum just asked me to the Yule Ball," Hermione said, this time at a much more normal pace.

"Oh," said Harry, trying not to seem like it was a big deal. "And what did you say?"

"Well, I sort of said yes," said Hermione, blushing a little bit.

Harry felt a like a pit had opened up inside of him, wincing a little at the sudden pain.

"Really?" he asked, his voice cracking slightly. Though, Hermione didn't notice do to her still being surprised by the whole thing.

"Yes," she said. "He made a very good point as to why he wanted to go with me. I couldn't exactly say no, now could I?"

"I… I, um… I guess not," said Harry.

"Anyways, enough about that," said Hermione, shaking her head to regain her focus. "What about you? Who are you going to take?"

"I don't know," said Harry as he struggled to keep the emotion out of his voice.

"Well, don't wait too long," said Hermione. "Otherwise everyone will be taken. And you, as a champion, are supposed to open the dance."

"Yeah… I know," said Harry. Though at that moment, he could care less about finding a date to the dance.

OoOoOoOoOoO

As the days went by and the time to the Yule Ball grew closer and closer, Harry had yet to find a date. The fact that he purposefully waited to ask any girl once he was sure that they had already had a date might have had something to do with it. In his mind, he didn't see the point in going as the one person he wanted to go with was going with someone else.

"What about Cho?" asked Hermione as they sat on the couch in the Gryffindor common room.

"Going with Cedric," said Harry.

"Lavender?" she asked.

"Seamus," he said.

"Parvati?"

"Ron."

"Well, how about her sister Padma?" asked Hermione.

"She's going home for the Holidays," said Harry as he leaned back and closed his eyes. "Something about not feeling well."

"Oh," she said, and went back to thinking about possible dates for her best friend. Then an idea hit her. "You know, you could ask a third year. There's no rule that says you can't."

"Like who?" asked Harry. "Aside from Ginny, I don't know any third years, and I don't feel like going with someone who just looks at me as some kind of trophy that she can show off to her friends and brag how she went with the bloody Boy-Who-Lived."

"Language," said Hermione. "So ask Ginny."

"She's going with Neville," he said.

"Since when?" asked Hermione.

"Four days ago," said Harry. "Kind of funny actually. He's been practicing his dancing in front of the mirror in the dorm room."

She tried to suppress it, but Hermione ended up giggling.

"So," Hermione said after a moment of silence. "What are you going to do?"

"Well, I've been thinking about it," said Harry. "And I've come to a decision."

"Which is?" she asked.

"I'm not going," said Harry, who then stood up and exited out through the portrait hole and leaving a very shocked Hermione sitting there alone.

OoOoOoOoOoO

Over the next few days, Hermione had spent all of her time trying to convince Harry to attend the Yule Ball. From everything from promising that he would have a good time to the fact that it was his duty as one of the champions to attend. Each time that last one was brought up, Harry reminded her that he never wanted to be in the tournament in the first place and that he was being forced to participate or lose his magic. All he had wanted was a normal, quiet year.

On the morning of the Yule Ball, which was also Christmas, Harry, Hermione, and the four Weasley kids all sat around and opened presents before heading down to the Great Hall for breakfast. Once they had all eaten the fill, Ron even going beyond that, they all went outside to enjoy the fresh snowfall. That quickly turned into all of them throwing snow balls at each other.

"Look et them," said Fleur as she walked by with a group of fellow Beauxbatons students. "Acting like such cheeldren."

While Ron just stood there, drooling like an idiot, and Hermione scowling at the French witch, Harry, Ginny, and the twins charmed a pile of snow into one giant snowball even larger than Hagrid, which then chased the French witches as they ran for the safety of the school.

After a lunch of hot soup and hearty stew to warm everyone up due to the cold, Hermione excused herself from the group.

"Where you going?" asked Ron.

"I have to get ready for the ball," said Hermione.

"Why? You have loads of time," said Ron.

"Because unlike you little brother, it takes the fairer sex time to make themselves look good," said Fred.

"See?" said George, as he pointed out the various female students that were leaving in groups to get ready for that night.

"Whatever," said Ron. "I don't see what the big deal is. A quick cleaning charm and I'm good to go."

Both twins shook their heads, as their younger brother just didn't seem to get it.

Hermione turned to Harry and said, "Last chance before I go. Please come to the ball tonight?"

"I'm sorry Hermione," said Harry. "But… I just can't. I won't."

Sadly, she nodded her head, finally accepting that there would be no chance of getting him to attend, outside of informing Professor McGonagall about it, and left the Great Hall to start getting ready for that night.

Feeling warm and too full of soup and stew, the boys decided it was best to just stay inside and returned to their common room for games of chess and exploding snap.

Finally, as time drew nearer to the ball, everyone who was going headed up to get ready. Except for Ron that is, who still didn't see the big deal and was sticking to his plan to use a cleaning charm on himself before getting changed.

Seeing the time, Harry ran up to his room, where he grabbed his broom with plans on flying around the Quidditch field while everyone else was at the ball.

"Where you going?" asked Ron.

"You don't think I'm going to spend the night cooped up in here, do you?" asked Harry. "It's a beautiful night out, and I'd like to go flying once this year without a murderous dragon chasing after me."

"But it's supposed to drop below zero out there," said Colin Creevey, who was sitting near the fireplace as he looked through his disturbingly large collection of photos of Harry. "You'll freeze to death before you make it back."

"Then I'll see you in hell," Harry said as he opened the window, hopped on his broom and flew out into the cold night air.

Harry cried out in joy as he dove strait down, all of his cares and worries leaving him as he flew.

For the next two hours, Harry dived, rolled, and looped his way around the Quidditch field before he decided to fly by the castle and peek through the windows of the Great Hall and see what was going on. But more importantly, he wanted to see Hermione and how beautiful she was surely to look.

Soon, he found himself floating in the air not far from the large windows as he watched everyone having a good time. Well, almost everyone. He noticed Ron sitting by himself, looking quite angry about something. The red head also appeared to be glaring at someone, and when he followed where he was looking, he saw her.

Hermione looking gorgeous dressed in a very light blue colored dress robe and her hair done up, which he noticed didn't have any of the usual bushiness. His heart then sank when he saw her laughing and having a good time as she danced with Viktor Krum.

Not being able to stand watching anymore, he quickly turned his broom upwards and zoomed towards the sky, not realizing that someone had seen him.

Harry leaned forward on his broom, gaining more speed as he rose higher and higher. He flew above the clouds and continued to rise until the air around him started to get thin, making it hard to breath. And just like that, he turned around and started to fly as fast as he could, strait down.

He very quickly picked up speed as he went down, going faster than he went up thanks to the aid of gravity. As he passed through the layers of clouds and saw the ground fast approaching, Harry couldn't help but start laughing.

Then, just seconds before he impacted against the ground, which would turn him into a pile of goo in a deep hole at the speed he was going, he quickly pulled out of his dive and corkscrewed his way up before leveling out and circling the field once.

"MR. POTTER!"

Harry came to a stop and gulped, recognizing the voice. He knew when he decided not to go to the Yule Ball that this would happen. That knowledge still didn't make the fact that he had to face her any less daunting.

Turning around, he saw Professor McGonagall standing on one of the lower seat around the stadium and flew down towards her, noticing that she looked even more strict than usual.

"Yes Professor?" Harry asked in what he hoped was his most innocent voice.

"Just what do you think you are doing out here?" she asked.

"Flying," said Harry.

"I can see that," Professor McGonagall said. "The question I am asking is why, when you very well know I told you that you had to attend the ball tonight as it was your responsibility as a champion."

Harry shrugged his shoulders as he landed next to her and sat down. "I don't know," he said. "I couldn't find a date, so I didn't see the point. I mean, I can't exactly open up some dance without someone to dance with."

"Poppycock," Professor McGonagall said. Her many years of teaching and dealing with various students, his father and friends included, and telling her that he wasn't being honest. "I know for a fact that there was a very large number of young witches that would have cursed anyone else for the chance to attend the ball with you."

"Yeah, just what I want," said Harry. "To spend my night being fawned over as the bloody Boy-Who-Lived."

Professor McGonagall was about to chastise him for his language when she spotted something in his eyes as he spoke. Something she had seen once before in a face very much like his own. In the face of his father.

It had been during James' sixth year when it happened. In that year, James' had started to become practically vicious in some of his pranks to the point where Severus had nearly been killed. It was only a last minute bought of his conscience getting to him that made him save the future potions teachers' life. When she finally pulled him into her office and demanded to know what was wrong, she eventually found out that he had been in love with Lily Evens and that when he asked her out, she said she would rather date a troll than go out with him. Of course, that all changed the following year when he stopped acting so much like a miscreant and grew up. She had seen a different side of him that year and finally agreed to go out with him, and by the end of the year, they had fallen in love and were soon to be married. The proof of their love for each other was now sitting in front of her, shivering slightly due to the cold night air.

Discreetly, she cast a warming charm on Harry as she sat down next to him, her features softening a bit as she knew this wasn't a time to be stern.

With a sigh, she said, "I should have known this would happen."

Seeing the confused look on Harry's face, she continued. "Your father… He was the same way when he had fallen in love with your mother. Though, he was a few years older and he rebelled as well in his own way."

"Pranking?" asked Harry.

Professor McGonagall nodded and said, "Quite viciously too. It is why Professor Snape dislikes your father so much. He and his friends pulled some bad ones on him. But your father also saved him from one that would have ended up killing him, which I believe makes the man hate your father, and unfortunately, you as well, even more. However, we're getting off topic right now… I guess I should ask you who the young witch is that has obviously stolen your heart so much."

"You don't think it's Cho?" asked Harry.

"Hah," she laughed. "Please… I am not that out of touch with what is going on in this school that I did not hear of the Weasley twins joke. And despite rumors to the contrary, I do not have a stick up my butt that prevents me from being humorous as well. However, if you say anything to anyone about this, I will see you in detention from now till you finish your seventh year."

Harry gulped and nodded.

"Good," said Professor McGonagall. "Now… If I had to guess, I would say that your feelings revolve around Miss Granger."

Harry looked at her in surprise. He had no idea he had been so transparent about his feelings.

Seeing the look on his face, she nodded briefly.

"I suspected as much," she said.

"How?" asked Harry.

"A few things," she said. "First is while you do not have the cruel pranking streak your father did, you are very much like him. And that includes an attraction to the smartest witch that you know. The fact that both your mother and Miss Granger are both Muggleborn is just a coincidence… Second was during your second year. All those times you stayed by her side while she had been petrified. Madam Pomfrey told me that on a few occasions she had to forcibly remove you because you refused to leave. I do not know about you, but to me that says that you care for her more than just a friend. Then last year when she informed me about the broom you had received. The look on your face when you found out Hermione came and told me… It was more than just a look of simple betrayal. You were heartbroken over it."

Harry nodded quietly. He had felt heartbroken when she had gone behind his back and told Professor McGonagall about the broom. In hindsight, he understood why she did it. She wanted to keep him safe because at the time they believed that Sirius was trying to kill him. But at the time, it felt like she had turned against him.

"The question I am wondering is why you did not ask her?" asked Professor McGonagall.

"I was going to," Harry said. "In fact, right after you told me I had to go to the Yule Ball, I knew right away that this was my chance to ask Hermione out and then tell her how I felt. I went right to the library, since I knew she would be there, and planned on asking her right away. Problem was… I was too late. Krum had already asked her and she said yes… That's why I didn't come to the ball tonight. I know I could have gotten a date easily. But I purposefully waited to ask someone once I knew they already had a date so…"

He trailed off, not sure if he should say his reason for not going because it would make him sound jealous.

"So you wouldn't have to see her with someone else?" asked Professor McGonagall, easily drawing a conclusion to his reason. And when Harry nodded, she sighed heavily. It was hard to be in love and see the person of your desires with someone else. Being young and in love was a bitch like that.

The two of them sat in silence for a while before she spoke.

"Well… I thin for this one time, I shall forego any punishment for disregarding an order from a professor," she said. "Mostly because I doubt any punishment could be worse than how you are feeling."

Harry nodded as he looked down at his feet.

"However," she continued. "I must insist that you return to Gryffindor tower. Regular curfew is about to pass, and since you are not attending the ball, you will have to abide by that rule."

"Okay," Harry said as he stood up and collected his broom. He started to walk away, when he stopped and said, "Professor?"

Professor McGonagall turned to look at the young wizard.

"Thanks," he said. "For talking to me. It… It helped a bit to get it out in the open."

"Anytime you need to talk Mr. Potter, that is what I am your Head of House for," she said and watched as he continued to walk away.

OoOoOoOoOoO

With nothing much else to do, once Harry returned to Gryffindor tower, he went up to the forth year boys' dorm and stared at his egg, trying to figure out what the clue was. He knew it had something to do with the sound it made, which to him, sounded like an owl being raped by a hippogriff. Though, he doubted that had anything to do with it.

He became so focused on trying to figure out the egg and keep his mind off of Hermione that he didn't realize what time it was until he heard shouting coming from down in the common room.

Seeing that it was just after midnight, and headed down to see what the yelling was about.

Harry came down the stairs just in time to see Hermione turn and run up the stairs to the girls' dorms, crying, while everyone else was looking at Ron, who stood alone in the middle of the room.

"Harry, there you are," the red head said when he spotted him. "Can you believe her? Going to the ball with Krum. Fraternizing with the enemy like that."

It didn't take much for Harry to piece together what had happened. The look he saw on Ron's face when he had peeked in on the ball. The things he just said. The way Hermione had run off crying. It was just like first year all over again.

He remembered how happy Hermione had looked during the ball while she had been dancing, and a white, hot rage started to build inside him. And before he knew what he was doing, he had pulled back his fist and punched Ron as hard as he could, breaking his nose and causing blood to run down onto his hideous robes as he stumbled back and fell hard on the floor.

"WHAT THE BLOODY HELL WAS THAT FOR?" exclaimed Ron.

"You ruined her night you fucking asshole," growled Harry, who was now being held back by both Dean and Seamus. "She was happy, and you couldn't except that, could you? You never could accept anything about her. Always insulting her and putting her down. Ever since first year. And even after you almost got her killed because you made her feel so bad she spent the day in the loo and was attacked by that troll, you still have to try and make yourself feel better by making her feel bad… I fucking tired of it."

"What are you saying?" asked Ron as he used his dress robes to try and stop the bleeding.

"I'm saying we're through," said Harry.

Harry then broke free from Dean and Seamus and started to turn to head up the stairs to their dorm room.

"You're picking that know-it-all muggleborn over me?" asked Ron.

The room became so quiet, you could hear a pin drop as no one even dared to breath. While what Ron said wasn't as bad as the things Malfoy would say, it was bad enough, and they all knew that they youngest Weasley male had just crossed a very serious line.

Harry turned and marched right up to Ron, the two of them nose to bloody nose, and stared at him with cold eyes.

"She has been a better friend than you ever have," Harry said in a quiet whisper that made Ron want to wet himself. "Unlike you, she has never turned her back on me when I needed my friends the most. You, Ronald Bilbus Weasley, while not as out right cruel, are still almost as bad as Malfoy. You think the world owes you everything while you sit on your ass and do nothing but continually insult others. It hurts me to do this, because you were my first friend. But I'll be damned if I'll stand here and listen to you bad mouth Hermione anymore. So let this be a warning. If I hear you say anything, and I mean anything negative to or about Hermione, your mother will have one less sweater to knit come Christmas time. Understand?"

Ron nodded his head so fast, a few students were afraid it might snap off.

Harry nodded his head once before turning around and heading up to the forth year boys' dorm.

"Alright you lot, nothing to see here," said Fred.

"Move along now, shows over," said George.

OoOoOoOoOoO

Hermione was curled up on her bed with the curtains pulled shut. She was wearing her nightgown and bathrobe. Her dress robes discarded and tossed near the trashcan, as she didn't want to keep it and be reminded how badly the night had ended.

She stopped herself from crying when she heard the door open and Lavender and Parvati walk in.

"I still can't believe it," Lavender whispered, thinking Hermione was probably asleep.

"I can," said Parvati, who had been in a bad mood due to Ron ignoring her the entire night. "Can't say he didn't deserve it either."

"Well, obviously," said Lavender as the two of them started to change for bed. "But still… They've been friends since first year. Thick as thieves, the two of them, if the rumors are true about the things that have happened over the years."

"Except for when he turned his back on him," pointed out Parvati. "Why Harry even forgave him is beyond me."

"Because they're friends," said Lavender.

"We're friends," said Parvati. "Past tense."

Hermione had to stifle a gasp upon hearing that. Something had happened between Harry and Ron, ending their friendship again.

"You have to admit, it is kind of romantic in a way," said Lavender.

"Do you think she knows?" asked Parvati as she gestured towards Hermione's bed.

"No idea," said Lavender. "But still… After the way he acted and what he said… It's obvious that Harry is in love with her."

Hermione once again had to stifle a gasp. Harry was in love with her? Since when? Not that she wasn't pleased with the idea of it being true. She had been in love with him for a while now.

It had started on the night he saved her from that troll. Seeing him risk is life and jumping on its back had her thinking of a brave knight coming to her rescue. Though, back then it had been a simple crush. It didn't become more until after she had been unpetrified and found out that Harry had spent all of his free time sitting by her side. Unfortunately, so many years of rejection from so many people before her friendship with Harry prevented her from acting on her feelings and telling him the truth. She never guessed he had feelings for her in that way, and didn't want to risk ruining their friendship by telling him. She would rather have suffered as a friend and seeing him with someone else than to lose him completely.

But now to find out he might actually feel the same way… It made her think over the last year. About all the time he had preferred to be with her instead of Ron before the red headed arse turned his back on him. On the way Harry always seemed to sit close to her, usually saying he was just curious as to what she was reading. The day in the library when Viktor has asked her to the Yule Ball.

"Oh no," Hermione whispered. She had been so shocked by what had happened, that she had missed the look on Harry's face when she had told him. He had been hurt. Maybe even heart broken. She realized that he was going to ask her before she told him about Viktor. Then his inability to find a date. It wasn't that he couldn't find someone to go with. He wouldn't go with anyone else. She then figured the reason he didn't go to the ball at all was because he wouldn't have been able to stand seeing her with Krum.

Getting up, she threw back the bed curtains and rushed out of the room, ignoring the looks she got from her dorm mates. She needed to talk to Harry. To explain to him about what happened. He needed to know the truth.

As she passed through the common room, she ignored the fact that an unconscious Ron was hanging upside down by his ankles from the ceiling, bound with ropes, a rubber chicken stuffed in his mouth, and wearing a sign that said 'Number One Git'.

She raced up the stairs and threw open the door to the forth year boys' dorm.

"Oi, we're changing here!" shouted Seamus, who quickly covered his half naked form.

Hermione ignored him as well as she went over to Harry's bed, which had the curtains drawn shut.

"Harry?" she called out.

"He can't hear you," Neville said. "He put a sticking charm to keep the hangings closed and silenced it so no one can talk to him."

"We'll see about that," Hermione said as she pulled out her wand. "Finite."

She then reached out and pulled the curtains open a little before climbing onto the bed and closing them again.

"Hermione, what the hell?" asked a surprised Harry.

Hermione quickly recast the spells Harry had placed around his bed before turning to look at him.

"I needed to talk to you," she said.

"If this is about what happened between me and Ron…" Harry started to say.

"Forget Ron. He's an arse," said Hermione, surprising Harry at her use of language.

The two of them sat there on Harry's bed in silence for a few minutes. On her way there, Hermione had been so sure of what she wanted to say to Harry. But now, face to face with him, her old insecurities were coming back.

Finally, when she noticed Harry was about to say something, she blurted out, "Viktor's married."

"That's nice," Harry said. "Wait, what?"

"Viktor Krum is married," repeated Hermione.

"No he isn't," said Harry.

"Actually, he is," said Hermione. "He married his girlfriend right after the World Cup. But they're keeping it a secret for now because his manager says it would hurt some of his endorsement deals because all those girls that fawn over him would be heart broken."

"Okay," said Harry.

"That's why he asked me to the ball," said Hermione.

"I don't get it," he said.

"He asked me because I wasn't some fan girl following him around all the time," she said. "He knew I had no interest in him in that way, and so he told me about his wife and how he couldn't take her, but needed someone to go with him."

"And you obviously said yes," Harry said, sounding a little upset by it.

"I did," Hermione said sadly. "I honestly didn't think anyone else would have asked me."

"I was going to," Harry said in just barely above a whisper, thought loud enough that Hermione heard him.

"Harry, I need to ask you something, and I want you to be honest with me," said Hermione.

"Always," said Harry.

"Do you love me?" she asked.

Harry looked away, unable to meet her eyes.

"Harry?" she asked quietly, worried that what Lavender and Parvati said was wrong and that her heart was about to be broken.

"What do you want me to say?" asked Harry.

"The truth," said Hermione.

"Yes," he said. "Yes, I love you. I've been in love with you since last year."

"Last year?" asked Hermione, feeling as though she was floating amongst the clouds.

"Yeah," said Harry as he leaned back against the headboard of his bed. Hermione moved up next to him and cuddled into his side. Without even thinking, Harry wrapped an arm around her, holding her close. "It was when we went back in time to save Sirius. Right after we freed Buckbeak and were sitting on that hill on the edge of the Forbidden Forest, watching the Whomping Willow for when our past selves came back from the Shrieking Shack. The moon had just started to rise and turned to look at you and I… I… I just knew that I was in love with you… In that moment, I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you."

Hermione sniffed as she fought back the happy tears that threatened to fall.

"Harry?" she said.

"Yes Hermione?" he said, looking at her.

"I love you too," she whispered to him before gently kissing him on the lips.

The End