A small ficlet that I just had to write, just to get it on paper. There's this downright beautiful video someone made on youtube, called, "101 Reasons to Ship Harry and Hermione." Watch it before or after you read this, and see if you can spot the reason that inspired this ficlet.

And let me know what you think, about the story, if it's worth continuing!

"You're a great wizard, Harry. You really are."—Hermione

"You really are the brightest witch of your age."—Sirius Black to Hermione Granger

"Potter, you don't have a choice." McGonagall said firmly. "You are a Hogwarts champion, and you will carry on the dance tradition. Find yourself a partner before the Ball, or I will find one for you. I don't care if dragons attack you again, you will not be going up there alone!" I nodded, muttering a weak promise that I'd find someone, and left the classroom. Everyone had already headed back to the Gryffindor common room. I climbed the shifting staircases and trudged up another flight of stairs, pausing only at the Fat Lady.

"Odysseus." I said. The entrance swung open, noise drifting out. .

"What'd McGonagall want?" Ron asked as soon as I sat down. Hermione looked up briefly from her an essay. I briefly considered taking out some of my homework, then decided against it.

"I'm officially a Hogwarts champion, so I have to open the dance." I said. "With a partner. So not only do I have to go, I have to dance."

"Shouldn't be difficult, to find a partner." Hermione remarked, looking over her work. "Everyone's going. And you won your name back, fighting that dragon."

"She's right, mate." Ron said encouragingly. "The girls will probably be lining up to go with you." I glanced at Hermione briefly. She was busy with her essay. An idea that had been in the back of my head was getting stronger, even as my heart started speeding up.

"Have you decided who you're asking?" I asked Ron carefully. I had to give him first chance, just to be fair. But that was it. After that, tough luck.

"Maybe one of the Beauxbatons." Ron said airily. "They don't make girls like that at Hogwarts." I almost snorted. I rather doubted he could work up the nerve to ask one of them. But I didn't have much right to make fun, considering how nervous I was feeling.

"Oh, so basically the prettiest girl who'll have you, even if you don't know her and probably won't understand half of what she says?" Hermione asked critically.

"Got that right." Ron nodded. She scowled and looked over her essay once more. I forced the words out of my mouth, wiping my now-sweaty hands on my robes.

"Hermione?" I asked.

"Mhm?" She said.

"Would you… would you be my partner?" The words slipped out on their own. Hermione froze for a moment, and looked at me. She was doing that smile when you're trying to look normal, but her eyes shone with excitement. Ron just looked stunned.

"What did you say, Harry?" She asked, though I'm was dead sure she heard me right the first time.

"Would you go to the Yule Ball with me, Hermione?" I managed to speak clearly, thank God. "Be my date?"

"I would love to, Harry." Hermione looked like I had told her something wonderful.

"That's great!" I said, maybe a little too loudly, and I might have been grinning a bit too widely. But she had said yes, that was all that mattered. I resisted the urge to do anything too drastic, like jump in the air, or shout. "I… I was worried someone might have asked you already!"

"What's great?" Fred Weasley suddenly asked, appearing out of nowhere.

"Harry just asked Hermione to the Ball." Ron said in disbelief.

"And what'd she say?" George inquired, appearing just as suddenly. We were in the common room, of course, but I had forgotten how full it was.

"I said yes, of course." Hermione replied, as though it should have been obvious.

"Congratulations," Fred said, chortling. I felt my face turning red, but Hermione couldn't have looked more pleased.

"Knew it would happen sooner or later." George chimed in.

"To think, I almost wasted two galleons slipping you both love potions." Fred shook his head. "Charitable cause, but gold is gold."

"Knock it off." Ron scowled.

"What's got your knickers in a twist?" The twins laughed in unison, just as the bell rang for dinner. Hermione quickly put her homework in her bag. I stood.

"Dinner?" I asked. She nodded, blushing a little.

"I'm not hungry." Ron said sourly. "You two go on."

"Okay." I said cheerfully, walking with Hermione to the portrait.

"Ron seems a little upset." I remarked cautiously, making sure that I didn't walk to fast. We both stopped, waiting for a staircase to come back around.

"He does, doesn't he?" Hermione said, sounding a little pleased. She suddenly did something she had never done before…

…and kissed me on the cheek.

"I'm really glad you asked me, Harry." She said brightly.

"Kind of exciting, isn't it?" I said, happily. My earlier dread had oddly vanished. "Going to ball?"

"It'll be brilliant."