Author Notes: Many thanks to Clarice for betaing! Any messups or misused Irish phrases are entirely my fault.

Disclaimer: The characters and Harry Potter universe in the following story belong to JK Rowling. I am not making any money from the publishing or writing of this story.


In the split-second of her Apparition, Hermione Granger felt an odd, sudden tug, yanking her off course from her intended destination, and she abruptly realized that something had gone wrong.


She fell a few short feet before landing hard on top of someone, who let out a loud "oof!" and dropped an ice cream cone. Her heart fluttering madly from her moment of panic, Hermione tentatively opened her eyes to assess the damage.

A good-looking man with light green eyes was looking back at her, one eyebrow raised, giving her a quizzical expression.

Hermione let out a small "eep!" and scrambled off of his lap.

"I'm so sorry!" she exclaimed, dusting off her robes. "I've no idea what went wrong- I've Apparated loads of times. I've no idea how-"

The good-looking man laughed, offering her a lazy smile.

"No harm, no foul," he said, a dancing Irish lilt to his tone. "After all, it's not e'ry day a pretty bird like you lands in me lap."

Hermione blushed slightly and looked the man over, curious.

He was still sitting in his chair, a handsome smile playing about his lips, and he didn't seem any worse for wear past the loss of his ice cream. He had a nicely angular face and short reddish-blond hair that curled slightly. His green eyes were light and amused, and he looked very fit.

He looked somehow familiar, though Hermione wasn't quite sure how.

"I'm sorry, have we met?" she asked.

"I daresay we haven't – I'd 'ave remembered a bird like you," he said, grinning.

"Hermione Granger," Hermione said promptly, extending her hand for him to shake.

"Pleased to meetcha. Aidan Lynch."

His hand was warm and calloused against hers. Hermione offered him a tentative smile.

"I hope I haven't hurt you," she said. "I don't know how far up I fell, but-"

"Maybe two feet, nothin' more," Aidan said, shrugging. "I'm mo' curious how you came to Apparate right on top o' me."

Hermione flushed. "I've no idea," she said. "I was aiming for Gringotts – I work there, as a vault charmer – but in the middle I felt something pull me, and the next thing I knew I'd landed in your lap."

"Maybe your magic knew you really wanted to be on the ockie," he said, grinning. "Can't think of a better place than Florean's for tha'."

Hermione blinked. "On the ockie?"

"On the hop. Skipping work." His smile grew wider. "Want to take the weight off yo' legs an' have a 99 with me?"

"Ah, I'd love to, but I really must be getting to work," Hermione said, mentally making a note to find a book on Irish slang. "Maybe another time?" she offered, backing away.

"Next time you Apparate onto me lap," Aidan said, grinning.

Hermione turned to shoot a smile back at him.

"It'll be a date."

Three days later, it happened again.


"I am so sorry! I've no idea what-"

Hermione's babbling apologies trailed off as she recognized the reddish-blond curls of the man whose back she had landed on, knocking him to the ground.



Hermione flushed.

"I do apologize. I seem to have Apparated right onto you once more."

Aidan laughed, his body quivering against the ground.

"If you get off me back, mayhap I can see you too."

"Oh! Right!"

Embarrassed, Hermione quickly rolled off and stood, watching as Aidan turned over and got up as well. He stretched, cracking his back, before giving her an amused look.

"Hermione, right? This isn't becoming a habit, is it?"

"This one might be a coincidence," Hermione said, offering him a smile. "This is Flourish and Blott's, isn't it?"

"You were aiming for here?" Aidan laughed. "The Apparition point's two shelves over, so I suppose that's not that bad."

Hermione frowned. "I've been able to Apparate flawlessly for years, though. There's no reason I should muck it up now."

"You might just be a bit stressed or summat," Aidan said. "I wouldn't worry about it none too much."

He smiled at her, and Hermione felt her insides twist pleasantly.

"I hope that's all it is," she said, smiling back. "I'd hate to keep landing on you."

"A pretty bird like you? It's the highlight o' me day," Aidan said, grinning. "Now, how about a 99? You did promise one the next time you landed on me."

Hermione was surprised he'd remembered his teasing jest from the last time. After a moment's thought, she nodded, offering him a smile.

"I'd love to," she said, "though you'll have to explain to me what a 99 is."

Aidan laughed, but he looked pleased.

"Not a problem," he said grandly, taking her arm to escort her out of the book shop. "A 99's an ice cream cone with a chocolate flake. It's brilliant. Though, I do love a wafer now and again, too-"

His arm was warm against hers, and Hermione's stomach did another flip. Mentally pushing down on the sensation, Hermione smiled as they walked across the street for ice cream.

A week later, it happened again. Normally, Hermione would have been secretly pleased to see Aidan again, but she'd landed on his lap some 100 feet up, and she was too busy screaming to appreciate the feel of his hard body pressing against her.

"-Hermione? Wha' on earth? Is that you?"

Hermione shrieked again as his broom bobbed, clutching his robes tightly, her eyes wrenched shut.

"Hush, love, it'll be okay. Just let me touch down. It'll be fine, I promise..."

He murmured sweet nothings to her as they descended gradually, slowly helping Hermione to calm down. There was a bump, and Hermione nearly dived off the broom in her hurry to get off of it.

"Not a fan of flying, then?"

Hermione took several shaking breaths, trying to steady herself, before looking back up to meet his eyes.

"Terrified of it, actually," she said, her voice uneven. "Ever since school."

"That'll be a problem, then, if this keeps happening to ya'," Aidan said, his eyes flickering with concern.

Hermione blinked. "Why?"

Aidan smirked. "Well, I fly a lot, y'know."

Hermione looked at him blankly. Aidan's smirk spread.

"I can tell you've got no idea what just happened," he said, his Irish brogue coming in thicker in his amusement. "Take a look around, lass."

Puzzled, Hermione spun in place.

Everything around her was green. The grass was lush and thick, still damp with dew, and there were tall thick trees surrounding the clearing she was in. Far above the clearing, though, she could see several people floating around on brooms, clad in emerald green robes, and at the far ends of the clearing, there were large, tall hoops standing up, glinting gold in the sun.

Understanding snapped into place, and Hermione whirled around.

"You're on the Irish National Quidditch team!" she exclaimed. "That's how I recognized you – I saw you up close, in the Top Box at the World Cup seven years ago!"

Aidan winced. "That World Cup wasn't my best flying," he said. "I'm surprised you recognized me through all o' the blood and gore."

Hermione laughed. "I thought you were brilliant," she said, smiling at him radiantly.

Aidan looked startled, then he flushed slightly, as though embarrassed. Hermione smiled at him before looking around.

"So this is your team?" she asked, curious. "Why are you practicing in Britain?"

Aidan raised an eyebrow.

"We aren't."

Hermione's eyes widened.

"I Apparated to Ireland?"

Amusement dancing in his eyes, Aidan nodded.

"How is that even possible?" Hermione demanded, throwing her hands up in exasperation. "This is getting completely ridiculous. I was aiming for Hogsmede, you know."

Aiden laughed. "I guess it's just lucky for me, then," he said, smiling. "I was wondering when I'd get to see you again."

Hermione blushed, and Aidan's smile widened.

"We've been practicing all morning already. Let me see if Ryan'll let me take off early – I'd love to show you around the isle."

An objection was on the top of her tongue – she really needed to get going, she was meeting a friend for lunch – until she caught sight of his hopeful expression.

Her middle fluttered with butterflies.

"That'd be lovely."

With a wide grin, he took off towards one of the players, and Hermione watched him fly up, idly wondering if her cheeks were as red and as warm as they felt.

"You did what?"

"I went on an impromptu date with Aidan Lynch," Hermione said again, and Ginny squealed.

"How did you manage that? Oh, Lynch is hot, Hermione! I don't mind you missing lunch for this! Tell me everything!"

Hermione poured the tea as she explained, while Ginny waited with baited breath.

"I keep Apparating onto him, for some reason," she said, frowning slightly. "Yesterday was the third time in two weeks. I fell onto him in the middle of Quidditch practice, and he invited me out to show me around Wizarding Ireland. It was quite nice, actually."

Ginny goggled at her, and Hermione got the distinct impression that Ginny didn't know which part of this to start in on first.

"Okay, first – what d'you mean, you keep Apparating onto him?" Ginny asked. "You haven't splinched, have you?"

"No, no, nothing like that." Hermione explained how had she fallen and landed on him at odd times, before explaining how she'd mistakenly Apparated all the way to Ireland.

"I've never heard of such a thing," Ginny said wonderingly. "Not that it matters, though, if you've managed to hook a man like Aidan Lynch from it!"

Hermione laughed. "I'm not quite sure it's like that, Ginny," she said, smiling. "I'm sure he's just being nice. After all, if I can't figure out why I keep apparating into him, it's bound to keep happening, and it'd be nice if it happened to a friend."

Ginny made a dismissive noise.

"Yeah, but you fancy him, don't you?" she said, her eyes dancing. "Lynch is handsome, Hermione, and single. He's smart, too – I think he was Headboy at Hogwarts the year after Bill. Witch Weekly's had him as the most eligible bachelor twice now, I think. Everyone loves him!"

Hermione's smile dimmed somewhat. "I'm sure he's just being nice. I'm not exactly the caliber of witch famous Quidditch players date seriously."

"Well, regardless, what a friend to make!" Ginny giggled. "See if he'll give you tickets to their next game against Belgium, will you? Ooh, or the one against Turkey, if you don't see him before then."

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Ginny, when would I have time to see a Quidditch match? You know how busy I am helping the goblins-"

Ginny waved off her concerns. "They're held on weekends, Hermione. It'd be fine. Plus, you know you'd love to see Aidan again. Even if he doesn't fancy you back, he's still lovely to look at. And to watch him fly-"

Ginny went into a long, detailed description of Ireland's last match against Spain, gesturing animatedly as she explained how Aidan Lynch had captured the snitch while dodging both bludgers at the base of a goal, and Hermione nodded mindlessly, tuning her out. Ginny was a Quidditch fiend, though still a good friend.

Idly, she wondered if her accidental misdirection issue would somehow sort itself out or if she'd accidentally Apparate into Aidan again.

She wondered if quietly, some part of her hoped she would.

"We've got to stop meeting like this, Hermione. People are starting to talk."

Hermione extracted herself from Aidan's lap, blushing.

"It seems to be getting closer together. These incidents, I mean," Hermione said, ignoring the fluttery, dancing sensation in her stomach. "I only ran into you two days ago."

Aidan grinned. "Least it wasn't above ground this time, eh?"

Hermione smiled up at him stupidly for a minute, before abruptly realizing where she was.

"I'm missing my meeting with the goblins!" She swore, yanking out her wand. She paused to look at Aidan. "-where am I this time?"

Aidan grinned. "Scotland."

Hermione huffed. "Better than Canada like last time. At least I'm not all that far off."

She turned on the spot and disappeared with a small "pop!".

Aidan cast a lingering look at the spot she'd vanished from, his eyes almost hopeful. When it became clear she'd Apparated properly this time and wouldn't be coming back, he turned back to the table. His mother was raising an eyebrow at him from across the table, and Aidan shifted uneasily, recognizing the gleam in her eyes.

"Aidan, my boy," she said gallantly, pouring his tea. "Just who was that girl?"


"Not now!" Aidan swore.

He was flying, and badly at that. It was pouring rain, and Belgium's team didn't seem to be as hampered by the wet as they were. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the Belgian seeker dive, and with a curse, Aidan took off after.

"I know you're scared o' flying, Hermione, but hang on- I can't lose this match-"

Abruptly, the snitch vanished, leaving both seekers spiraling around in confusion, and Aidan pulled back to see Hermione looking at him quizzically. He abruptly became aware of her legs wrapped around his middle, firmly locking her against him, and he swore again, this time, praying Hermione wasn't paying much attention to what was going on inside his robes.

"How can you see with this much rain?" Hermione demanded. Aidan blinked at her.

"It usually isn't bucketin' down quite this much when we play in the rain," he told her honestly. "Now hang on, I'll have the captain call a time out..."

Hermione tapped him smartly on the nose with her wand.


His vision swam for a moment, before clarifying, and suddenly, he could see through the rain.

He could see the entire pitch, clear as could be, as if the rain had abruptly stopped. He could still see the rain if he tried, but it was a hazy sort of sight that hung about, and he could ignore easily enough.

He looked around and caught a glimpse of gold near the ground by the eastern stand, and he hesitated, torn. The Belgian Seeker hadn't seen it – probably couldn't see it, through all this rain – so it'd be safe to call a time-out, but the snitch could vanish-


He turned to look at Hermione, whose face was pale.

"Go on, catch it," she urged. "I'll be alright. Go."

Taking her at her word, Aidan dove.

He couldn't move fast enough, though – he couldn't lean down against his broom to be streamlined with her in the way – he angled himself to the side, trying-

"Hang on."

Suddenly, Hermione was out of the way, magically, and Aidan was against the handle of the broom, diving sharply, and the snitch was getting closer-

He angled even more sharply, picking up speed, and Hermione screamed as the ground sped towards them. He reached out, stretching his arm, chasing-

As if his arm wasn't a part of his body, he felt his hand close around the tiny ball, and a whistle blew. A cheer went up from the crowd, and Aidan rolled his broom around, landing on the ground with a gentle approach.

He swung his leg off and stood, before staring at the broom in astonishment.

Hermione hadn't flipped around and been on the broom behind him, as he'd thought. She'd flipped herself to hold the broom from underneath. She was still clutching the broom tightly, her eyes cemented shut.


She peeked open an eye, glanced down at the ground, let out a small "eep!" and abruptly let go and fell.

Aidan moved forward quickly to help her, but she'd gotten to her feet in a hurry, though her robes were covered in mud.

"I am so sorry," she moaned. "You could have died because of me. I didn't mean-"

"Lynch! What the hell was that!"

Rustafa, the referee, was striding towards him angrily, broom in hand, and the rest of the team was trailing after him, looking happy but stunned. Lynch opened his mouth to explain, but Hermione stepped forward.

"I'm so sorry, sir. It was me. I misapparated, and I landed on his lap."

Rustafa stared at her.

"You misapparated?"

"It's been a real problem recently," Hermione said apologetically. "I think I've landed on him a dozen times in the past fortnight. I can't seem to figure out why."

From behind the referee, Troy and Mullet started snickering, and Aidan shot them both a dark look.

"Well, you're lucky you didn't die out there, appearing out of nowhere so high up," the referee said crossly. "Maybe next time, look up the Quidditch before Apparating, if you're in danger of this happening again."

Rustafa turned to Lynch, and his expression changed to one of reverence.

"That was brilliant flying," he said, his tone awed. "You flew that well with a passenger, and managed to catch the snitch with her in this weather – this'll be a match they'll talk about for weeks–"

Aidan caught Hermione's frown. "You mean he didn't lose?" she asked.

The referee shook his head.

"Ireland caught the snitch, fair and square," he said, nodding at the tiny ball still clasped in Aidan's hand. "If Belgium had caught it while you were still on the field, that'd be grounds for a rematch, for an unexpected outside handicap on Ireland's side. They won, though, even with you appearing outta nowhere – that's some mighty fine flying, it is-"

Hermione looked incredibly relieved, and Aidan began to laugh.

"That's not so bad, then, is it, Hermione?" he said, impulsively slinging an arm around her and pulling her close for a hug. "We won!"

Hermione looked stunned for a moment, before a shy smile spread across her face.

"You did," she said, her eyes sparkling, "though I nearly had a heart attack in the process. Congratulations."

With a triumphant whoop, Aidan launched himself at his teammates, who were all cheering and clapping him on the back, the excitement catching. Quigley pounded his back hard, yelling in his ear, and Moran threw her arms around him, kissing him full on the mouth in her joy. Troy was laughing and shaking his hand, and Aidan couldn't believe it, that they'd managed to pull off such a spectacular win

"I don't know how you pulled it off," Mullet said, mussing his hair. "I couldn't see the Quaffle in my hand in this rain, let alone a snitch a mile away."

"Hermione did it," Aidan said, his tone reverent. "She did some spell, and suddenly I could see- Hermione, what spell did you-"

He trailed off. Hermione had gone, leaving only her shoe prints behind in the mud. He turned back to his team, confused and hurt.

She usually stuck around for a while, after Apparating into him, unless she was running late for something or other. He'd wanted to invite her out to the after party – it was because of her they'd won, after all, and he could thank her properly, wearing something nice, not just his sopping Quidditch robes-

There was a laugh from his right, and Aidan turned to see Rustafa snickering at him.

"You've got it bad for her, don'tcha?" he said, smirking. "That's an unusual one, an Irish lad like you hooking up with a bird like her – usually it's the Bulgarians that get magical ones like her, you know-"

"What, exactly," Aidan said pointedly, "are you talking about?"

Rustafa's eyes widened, and he cackled.

"Oh, you don't even know!" he crowed. "That's a riot. Oh no. I'm not telling you everything. You're going to have to figure this one out on your own."

Still laughing, he trailed off the Quidditch pitch toward the Belgian team, who looked drowned and decidedly put-out. Aidan stared after him for a long moment, before turning back to his team, who were avidly discussing the match amongst themselves, apparently ignorant to the rain. Aidan joined in, listening and chipping in where he could, though his mind was elsewhere.

What had Rustafa meant, the Bulgarians usually got ones like her? Did the Bulgarian players often have problems with women suddenly appearing in their laps?

Mentally storing away everything that the referee had said, Aidan promised himself he'd figure it all out later.

"He kissed her full on the lips," Hermione said, moodily kicking the table leg. "I mean, I know we were just friends, but he had to know I fancied him, and he did it anyway-"

"Maybe he was just caught up in the thrill of the victory," Ginny said. "Adrenaline's pumping, everyone's overexcited, and things happen, you know. Like when Harry kissed me after that win your 6th year."

"Harry liked you, that's why he kissed you," Hermione said, scowling down at her tea. "If Aidan liked me, he would've kissed me, not that stupid bag Moran-"

"Hermione, if he'd hooked up with Moran, it would've been all over the papers," Ginny said consolingly. "Believe me, I'd know. Maybe Moran just kisses people when she's excited. I think I've seen her kissing Troy and Mullet before-"

"Thanks, Ginny, but I'll be okay." Hermione stood up, leaving her tea on the table, untouched. "Thanks for letting me stop by."

"Anytime, Hermione," Ginny said. She watched as Hermione put her coat on, preparing to go, when the door suddenly opened, and Harry and Ron clambered in.

"Hermione! Hi!"

Harry and Ron were surprised to see her, but happy, and there were hugs all around, and then there was nothing to it but for Hermione to take her coat off and join them all for a cup of tea. Ginny stifled a snicker as Hermione fell into her same spot, the same cooling cup of tea on her saucer.

"So, Hermione, what brings you by?" said Harry cheerfully, taking a long sip of tea.

Hermione froze.

"She's been having some trouble Apparating, and she stopped by to chat about it," Ginny said quickly, figuring Hermione wouldn't fancy chatting about her boy troubles to Harry and Ron. "She keeps missing her destination."

"Oh?" Harry said, his eyes widening. "Is everything okay, 'Mione?"

Hermione scowled at Ginny, and Ginny suppressed a smirk. Hermione didn't like anyone knowing she was struggling with something magical.

"I'm fine, Harry," Hermione sighed, finally taking a sip of her tea. "It's insane, honestly. I'm not stressed, and two-thirds of the time, I can apparate perfectly to my destination, no trouble at all. The other third, I keep getting yanked mid-Apparition to fall onto someone, and it's really getting quite annoying-"

"Wait, you keep Apparating on top of someone?" Ron said, his ears perking up.

"I keep landing in his lap," Hermione said, frowning. "It was amusing the first couple times, and explainable, but earlier today, I ended up Apparating all the way to the continent, and I've not the first notion why."

"That sounds like that thing Malfoy had," Harry pointed out. "He kept Apparating and landing right next to Cho. Lasted months, I heard. I think it stopped after a while, before they got married, though. Maybe you have the same thing, though?"

"Draco kept misapparating?" Hermione asked, skeptical. "Why hadn't I heard about this?"

"Well, he was trying to keep the whole thing hushed up, you see? I only know because he filed a complaint at the Ministry, thinking someone had cursed him," Harry explained. "It was right embarrassing for him, to keep landing in front of Cho Chang when he was trying to see Pansy. I think he kept falling, too, or something, because I saw him at it once, and he was sprawled all over the ground. Whatever it was, though, he got it all sorted out."

"Yeah, but Malfoy's issue turned out to be a Veela thing, didn't it?" Ron said. "So it couldn't be that."

Hermione blinked. "Draco Malfoy's a Veela?"

Ron sniggered. "Apparently. Part Veela, anyway. Remember 7th year when he kept hitting on you, claiming that he would die if you didn't sleep with him because you were his chosen mate? Turns out a small part of that was true – he does have Veela blood, and he did have a mate, but he certainly wouldn't die if he never slept with her."

"I think Cho explained that he kept Apparating into her because his magic was all tied up with his Veela powers, and his Veela-ness kept pulling him to the person his magic wanted him to be with," Harry said, remembering. "Something like that, anyway. After they were dating exclusively, I'm pretty sure it stopped."

"Did Cho fancy him back?" Hermione asked, curious.

"Nah, she right hated him at first. I mean, Malfoy's a first-class git," Harry said. "But Malfoy kept at her, and eventually he got her to change her mind."

"Girls think he's easy on the eyes," Ron said, swallowing a biscuit in two bites. "Being heir to the Malfoy fortune probably didn't hurt either. But it can't be that, Hermione. There's no way you could be a Veela."

Ginny winced and Harry looked away. Hermione's lips tightened.

"And why would that be, Ron?"

It was Harry's turn to wince and look away. He'd seen enough of Ron and Hermione's fights to know when one was starting.

"Well, Veela are known for being gorgeous girls, aren't they?" Ron said, pointing emphatically with another biscuit. "They're really pretty girls that every guy wants to get with. They're tall and thin and have long blond hair. You're not tall, and you're not thin either, and your hair – well –"

Hermione was quaking with rage, and Ron hurriedly backpedaled.

"I mean, Malfoy's only an eighth Veela, or something like it, and he still has blonde hair and is good-looking-"

Hermione stood up with a clatter, and Ginny exchanged an apprehensive look with Harry.

"I," she announced, "am leaving. Ginny, thank you for the tea. Harry, thank you for your insight. Ron-"

She paused, and the room collectively held its breath.

"-I hope you find someone as horribly shallow and as rude as you are."

She disapparated with a crack, and Ginny turned to glare at her brother.


"What?!" Ron objected, his words garbled around the biscuit in his mouth. "I was just saying – I mean, Hermione couldn't be a Veela, really-"

"That doesn't mean you have to call her ugly!" Ginny snapped. "She was already feeling sad when she got here, seeing the guy she fancied snogging another girl, and then you go and spout off about how she's ugly-"

"I didn't say that!" Ron looked alarmed. "I just said that she's – well – she's nothing special, looks-wise, and-"

"You," Ginny informed him, "are a git."

She stormed off into the living room, leaving Harry alone with Ron in the kitchen. Harry gave Ron a long look and sighed.

"What?" Ron said defensively, hiding himself in his tea cup. He scowled down at his reflection. "You know I'm right, Harry. Hermione's rather plain-looking. She's nothing special."

Harry sighed again and helped himself to another cup of tea.

"She's so special, Troy. You've got no idea. She's got these brilliant chocolate brown eyes, and this caramel-colored hair that has these waves, and her tits- her tits, man, they're bloody wonderful."

Aidan Lynch was drunk. Having been upset after Hermione had left, he'd started drinking a little early at the after party, and before long, he'd wound up completely sloshed.

"Mate, maybe you should slow down a little-"

"Wish she'd show up here," Aidan said moodily, kicking the bar. "Then I could kiss her, tell her I fancy her and not let her go-"

Troy rolled his eyes.

"Look, Mullet has the latest Daily Prophet," Troy said. "Let's go see the account of the game, Lynch. Right? Okay? Lynch?"

Aidan had turned back to his beer and was describing Hermione's attributes to his pint. With an exasperated look, Troy got up to join the others.

"She's brilliant, she is. I'd chance my arm with her, tell her I fancy her, that I'm not coddin' 'er... she works for Gringotts, didcha know? Charms vaults with anti-theft spells she invents or summat. Wish I were that smart – she prob'ly thinks I'm not the full shillin'-"


Aidan turned around to see a tall, dark man looking down at him. Aidan screwed up his face, trying to recall how he knew this person, before finally remembering who it was.

"Krum! How the hell are ya? Have a seat!"

Viktor Krum, Bulgarian seeker, sat down next to him and ordered a firewhiskey. Aidan took the chance to order another pint of Guinness, though the bar tender looked like he was ready to cut him off.

After he had his pint in hand, Aidan took a long draught of it before turning back to Krum, his head swimming.

"So. Krum," he said, his speech slurring. "What brings you o'er to Ireland?"

Krum gave him a dark look.

"Rustafa," he said shortly. "He said you vould need help vith something?"

Aidan clapped him soundly on the back.

"I'm fine, lad, I'm just fine!" he said loudly, his head swaying back and forth. "On'y problem I've got is a girl problem, and we've all got those!"

Krum's eyes narrowed.

"Vhat girl?"

"This girl I fancy," Aidan explained, leaning heavily on the bar. "'er name's Hermione Granger, and she's bloody brilliant, an' I fancy her, but she won't let me date her. I'd court her right properly, too, marriage-minded and all, if she'd give me half a chance-"

"You like Hermione?" Krum looked shocked. "How did-"

"She Apparated right onto me! Like an angel fallin' out o' the sky!" Aidan illustrated widely with his hands, sending one careening into the other from above the bar. "It keeps happening, too! An' I asked her out, and we went out a coupla' times, an' today when she appeared durin' the match, she even helped me win, she's so bloody brilliant, an' I wanted ta take her to the after party and ask her to, y'know, on'y see me, but she just went and vanished!"

Krum looked uncomfortable, but Aidan carried on.

"An' y'know, I thought she fancied me back! I mean, she certainly seemed to, flushin' and blushin' e'ry time she come near, but then she just ran off for no reason, and I've no idea why this Apparatin' keeps happenin'-"

"She is a Veela."

Aidan turned from his beer to look at Krum, his face wrenched up in confusion.

"A wha'?"

"A Veela." Krum shifted uneasily. "You vill remember them from the Vorld Cup. They vere our mascots."

Aidan blinked.

"Hermione's not blond, tho'," he said. "She's much prettier, with this awesome caramel-colored hair-"

"It doesn't matter," Krum cut him off. "Her hair has the same thickness and wave to it off a Veela's, and vhen she is angry, fire sparks dance in her hair. I think she could throw balls off fire, if she tried-"

Krum stopped, looked at Aidan, and scowled.

"She is special," he told him darkly. "I knew vhen I first met her that she was, and I hoped that she vould vant to be vith me, that I vould be her mate, but I vas not. If she is Apparating into you, she vill love you, and you haff better-"

There was a sudden crack, and abruptly, Hermione fell into Aidan's lap.

The bar stool was too small to hold them both, though, and Hermione fell off the side, toppling onto the floor with a yelp. Krum hurried to help her up, and she took his hand gratefully, wincing and holding her head.

"Oh, not again," she moaned. "I swear, I'll kill whoever's responsible for this, I really will, whoever thinks it's okay to play this nasty trick-"

"You vould kill yourself?" Krum said, raising an eyebrow.

Hermione blinked stopped her self-mutterings to really look at the man who had helped her up, and she suddenly broke into a wide smile.


She hugged him, and Aidan scowled at the picture they made together.

"O', thass' alright, go ahead and steal me girl, Krum," Aidan said nastily, glaring at them. "I jus' got done pouring me heart out, an' you go an' steal her jus' as soon as she comes-"

Hermione pulled back from Krum to look at Aidan in confusion.

"Aidan? Are you okay?" She looked back at Krum, who shrugged.

"I came to help him vith a problem Quidditch referee said he had," Krum said. "He vas drunk vhen I arrived."

"So what if I'm off me face on the piss?" Aidan objected. "I ha' a broken heart! It's practically expected, it is!"

He took another long drink from his beer, and he scowled as Hermione looked at Krum in confusion.

"Viktor," she said slowly. "Do you know what's going on?"

Krum sighed.

"You, Hermione," he said, "are a Veela. Lynch is your mate. Be nice to him, ja?"

Hermione blinked. "From the constant Apparating mistakes, you mean?" she asked. "Harry and Ron just said the same thing. But I'm not blond like the Veela, and I'm certainly not pretty and thin-"

"You're not pretty, you're beautiful," Aidan interrupted, toppling off of his bar stool to grab onto her. "You've got the prettiest eyes ever, and you're nice an' curvy, with amazin' tits, really brilliant breasts, and your hair is so– I 'unno, had a word for it, a good word, I know, but I forgot it now – an' you're brilliant an' smart an' funny an' pretty an'– an'–"

He trailed off, nuzzling her shoulder, and Hermione looked up at Krum, embarrassed.

"He fancies you," he said, shifting. "He says you left him after the match, and he vas upset. Vhy he drank, I think."

"I left because he hurt my feelings!" Hermione said defensively. "Snogging his teammate like that at the end of the match... I didn't want to see that, so I left!"

"Moran?" Krum raised an eyebrow. "She snogs everyone, if she vins. She snogged me, after the vorld cup, though I vas not on her team."

"She's got a French mum," Aidan said helpfully. "She doesn't fancy me. Were you jealous, Hermione? Were you jealous of me?"

Hermione's face pinkened, and Aidan grinned.

"You were!" he crowed. "Oh, I'm so glad, if you fancy me back, it's all okay, y'see? And we can go out and date an' I'll get to kiss you an' well go to bed an' live happily ever after-"

Krum smirked, and Hermione's face darkened even further. She cast a last look up at Krum, dark eyes searching.

"How can I have Veela blood, though, with Muggle parents?" she asked. "And why doesn't it make me blond?"

Krum shrugged.

"Vhy is Potter's hair black instead of red, like his mother's?" Krum asked. "Blood is a veird, magical thing, Hermione. Not all traits show up the same in everyone."

Hermione smiled at this, before looking back at Aidan and groaning.

"I've never seen a person so drunk," she said, sighing. "Do you suppose he'll mind if I took him to sleep it off at my apartment? I'd like to talk to him in the morning, and I suppose I should make sure he doesn't aspirate on his vomit during the night-"

"I would love to crash at your pad," Aidan said, smiling up at her soppily. "I would love that. I would love to be with you in general, actually. I could sleep outside your door like a dog, an' I would be happy-"

With an exasperated smile, Hermione put his arm around her and Apparated away.

"How are you feeling?"

Aidan groaned.

"I've a throat on me that you wouldn't believe," he said, his voice raspy. "Me head's alright, though."

"That'd be the painkiller spell I did on you. Let me grab a glass."

A moment later, he had a glass of water, which he downed gratefully.

Shaking his head to clear out the last fuzzies, Aidan looked up to see Hermione smiling softly at him, almost tentative. He felt his heart lurch, and he smiled back at her.

"So," Hermione said, looking at him sideways. "You fancy me?"

Aidan turned scarlet, a credit of his Irish coloring, but nodded.

"I really rate you," he said. "Even without the Veela thing, I'd want to get to know you, y'know? I mean, I kept asking you out an' all-"

"I thought you were just being friendly," Hermione said, and it was her turn to duck her head and blush. "I couldn't imagine you being interested in me-"

"Why not? 'Cause you're not blond and built like a stick?"

Aidan pulled Hermione down to join him on the sofa, and she landed softly in his lap.

"You're beautiful. An' brilliant. An' not shallow and stupid, like the Quidditch groupies that usually try to date me." He paused. "We are dating now, right?"

Hermione stifled a smile, but nodded.

"Good," Aidan said heartily. "That's good. Right. You're amazing and interesting. I'm right glad that this Apparating thing happened, actually. Otherwise I might not have met you, an' where would I be then?"

Hermione turned scarlet.

"About the Apparating..." she said.

Aidan raised an eyebrow.

"To make me stop Apparating into you – you know, to stop Apparating onto my – err – 'mate', we've got to, err-"

Aidan grinned widely.

"Mate?" he said hopefully.

Hermione's face was a rich vermillion, but she nodded, and Aidan laughed.

"As much as I'd love to take you to bed right now, Hermione," he said, tickling her sides, "I get the feeling you'd like to wait a bit. I wouldn't mind you Apparating into me for a while longer, if you don't mind. I wouldn't want you to feel rushed or anything, you know."

Hermione looked at him with wonder.

"Really?" she said. "You wouldn't mind? I mean, I know I'm a dreadful nuisance, just Apparating into you all the time, but-"

"Nah, it'll be fun," Aidan said, smiling, winding a lock of her hair around his finger. "It just means I get to see you all the time, and why would I mind that? Besides," he added, his eyes turning mischievous, "it means whenever I see you, I get to do this..."

He captured her lips with his and felt her sigh in contentment against his mouth. When he finally pulled away, her face was quite flushed, and she was squirming in his lap.

"Maybe we won't wait all that long if we don't have to," she said, coloring. "I mean, if you don't mind not waiting-"

With a laugh, Aidan pulled her down for another kiss.