Too Many Dates

With the Yule Ball only a few weeks away, Harry was already getting desperate to find himself and Ron a date.

With really his only choice, Cho, going with the Cedric, he just wasn't sure who else to ask.

He confessed this to Hermione one day in the library.

"I'm just worried I'll be able to find a date in time. After finding out that Cho is going with Cedric I just don't really know who I want to go with. It's just so scary to actually go and ask a girl to the ball, you know," He told her.

"Actually I don't know Harry, since I'm a girl. We usually don't do the actual asking," Hermione pointed out.

"I've been asked by several girls by now actually, yet every time Ron was there to say no for me, figuring that I could do so much better. Now I feel rather guilty for doing that, since I imagine the courage they must have had to actually ask me."

"Well Ron has never been good when it comes to women," Hermione answered, sounding somewhat annoyed even as she said it.

"Isn't that the truth?" Harry replied, admitting even to her that this was true.

"I'm not sure that I can help you with Ron, but I can try and see if I can help you with your own problem of finding a date," Hermione told him.

He was about to thank her, when suddenly the Weasley twins came by.

"We couldn't help but overhear," George began.

"That our little Harrikins doesn't have a date," Fred finished for his brother.

"It's alright guys, we're working on it," Hermione informed them.

"We can't just have Harrikins dateless. He's on the Gryffindor quidditch team, and quidditch players always have their pick of girls," George pointed out.

"That's completely ridiculous," Hermione tried to argue.

"Actually she's got a point there George. Need I remind you that you don't actually have a date?" Fred reminded his brother.

"I still haven't decided whether I want to go with either Angelina or Katie," George defended.

"Well Angelina has bigger boobs, but Katie has a better bum," Fred said.

"That's my problem, I can't decide which I like more," George said.

"That's why I asked Alicia, since she's got the total package," Fred argued.

Hermione, now sounding very annoyed at how she felt they were objectifying women said, "I really don't think we need comments from either one of you."

"We were merely trying to help," Fred argued, trying to sound innocent.

"Harry doesn't need that kind of help," Hermione countered.

Fred and George put up their hands as if she had won and George told her, "All right, I guess you've won since you know so much more than us."

Since they appeared to be mocking her, rather than giving her an actual compliment, she tossed a wad of paper at them, missing horribly.

"We can see when we're not wanted, we'll go," Fred said, before the two of them left.

"Sorry I just got rather annoyed there for a second," Hermione apologized, "anyway, you shouldn't need their help, I'm sure you'll find a date."

"Thanks Hermione," Harry answered gratefully before getting up to leave, "well I think I'll try and go find Ron, he's probably still moping around in our dorm room."

Heading off, he still pondered on just what to do to be able to find dates for both him and Ron.

As he looked at the girls that he passed, some actually staring back at him, he wondered just who to ask.

He decided that come what may, he might as well just choose someone.

As he looked down the hallway, he spotted who appeared to at first be Parvati Patil coming from the opposite direction.

Parvati would work. At least he knew her, and she had definitely been dropping hints that she wanted to go with him even as soon as this morning, so she probably didn't have a date yet.

Yet as he got closer, he realized that it was actually her sister Padma, the only way he could tell was because Padma never wore earrings and Parvati always would.

He just took a huge leap and pulled her aside when he got close to her.

"Hey Padma, sorry to bother you, but I was wondering if I could ask you something?" Harry asked.

"Oh you're not bothering me at all Harry," Padma replied, blushing at him.

"Would you happen to know where I can find your sister?" He asked.

She immediately frowned, now seeming suddenly very unhappy, and even he wasn't dense enough to realize why: she had been hoping that he would ask her to the Yule Ball.

In that brief moment, however, he realized that while he had been intending to ask Parvati, he supposed Padma would be just as good, if not better. Unlike her sister, she was less giggly and seemed smarter as well.

He decided to correct the situation and save himself before it was too late.

"What I meant was, I'm trying to find a date for Ron and was wondering if Parvati might be available for him to ask her?" He told her.

She seemed to brighten somewhat and said, "Oh, well in that case I think Parvati is back in the library, and yes she still doesn't have a date. I should probably warn you though that I'm not sure if she'll accept, I don't think she really likes Ron."

"Oh okay," Harry answered, that idea now nixed. At any rate, it looked like he could still accomplish his other objective however.

"Well then, I was wondering if you wanted to at least go to the ball with me?" He asked.

She smiled as wide as a canyon, suddenly looking incredibly happy as she said ecstatically: "I would love to Harry!"

He supposed either her smile was contagious, or even he was very happy that she had said yes, because he smiled wide himself and said, "Great!"

After a moment as they simply stared at one another for a second before he looked down at his feet, feeling a bit awkward as to what to say next, he suddenly realized that he didn't really know how to dance.

"I should probably confess that I don't really know how to dance, and I was wondering if you might be willing to teach me," He told her.

She actually smiled even brighter if it were possible, and said, "I would be more than happy to teach you Harry."

Now he felt like he had hit the jackpot, since Padma was going to teach him, he wouldn't have to feel as awkward for the actual dance.

"How about tomorrow night we meet up in the History classroom, like around 7?" Padma suggested.

"Sure, that would be fine," He answered, giving his consent, "I suppose it's a date then."

He really hadn't been meaning to say date, it had just popped out, but Padma seemed to rather like the word he had used and confirmed it: "It's a date."

After leaving Padma, he headed back to the common room, to try and find Ron, and see if he could coax him into asking some other girl now that he knew that Parvati was unlikely to want to go with him.

When he arrived, he found Ron moping on his bed.

"I can't do this Harry, I can't just simply ask the girl I want to go with to the Yule Ball," He confessed.

"Of course you can," Harry answered, trying to be supportive.

"What if she says no or even just simply stares at me with disgust? I just don't think I could take that kind of rejection," Ron replied.

"You just have to get some courage and go for it," Harry said.

He was about to tell Ron about just getting a date with Padma, but Ron cut him off:

"Will you do it and ask Fleur for me?" Ron begged.

"Fleur might be a bit difficult to get a date with," Harry tried to say gently in order to spare Ron's feelings.

In truth, he would have to say that Fleur was just simply way out of his league, probably the most beautiful girl that would be going to the ball at least according to most of the male wizard population, and he just didn't see why Fleur would ever agree to go with Ron when she could literally choose anyone she wanted.

He chose not to tell Ron this however.

"Please Harry, do it for your best mate, I'll owe you forever if you do this for me. I'll even do your homework for a week," Ron told him.

Personally he felt he would be better off simply doing the homework himself since Ron usually was rather lazy when it came to homework, but he could tell that Ron was rather desperate.

He figured that if he at least asked Fleur first, and she said no or already had a date as he expected her to, perhaps he could then convince him to ask some other girl who might be easier to get a date with.

"All right," He finally agreed.

"Thank you Harry, you're the best!" Ron answered happily, throwing his arms tightly around him.

After finally managing to pry Ron off of him, he went all the way over to the Beauxbatons Carriage to try and talk to Fleur.

It turned out he didn't even need to get all the way over there because he found her over by the lake, appearing to be trying to go for a swim.

Two things went through his mind. First of all, the realization that Fleur was dressed in nothing but a bikini, and second that it was freezing outside and hardly the time for a swim.

Fortunately the second such thought was what caused him to act.

"Do you realize just how cold that water is?" He asked her.

She looked at him and said, "I'm not doing it because I actually enjoy swimming, and I have a warming charm on to protect against the cold. Besides, you might find someday that you'll need to be in water this cold yourself."

He was rather confused by this remark.

"What do you mean?" He asked.

"You'll find out," She answered mysteriously.

Deciding not to pry further if she wasn't willing to tell him, he decided to ask her about what he had originally been planning to.

"I was actually wondering if I could ask you something else. You see the Yule Ball is coming up and..." He began.

"I would be happy to go with you Harry," Fleur interjected.

He was so shocked by such a quick reply, he nearly fell over.

Had this happened a couple of hours ago before he asked Padma, this would have no doubt delighted him if he had actually been asking for himself, but now it was a lot more complicated than that, since he already had a date, and he had already been planning to ask for Ron.

She however, mistook his shock for just being surprised she had said yes to him, and answered with: "It's all right Harry, I know that you're a bit surprised that I said yes, but I'm just happy that you actually asked me. I was actually starting to wonder if anyone actually would and I would have to ask someone myself."

"Why would anyone not want to ask you?" He asked in amazement.

"They are all too scared I suppose, figuring that I already have a date or that they simply aren't good enough. It happens a lot to veela or even just beautiful girls for events like this," Fleur confessed, "the worst is when you get people who ask me because they are under my allure and start screaming or doing something stupid such as hitting their girlfriend because they think somehow that will impress me."

"Somebody actually did that?" He asked.

"Poor girl," Fleur confessed before saying, "Well at least you managed to talk to me in a civilized manner and since it is actually a long standing tradition of the tournament for two champions to go with one another I figured I'd just say yes."

Still cognizant of the fact that he already had a date, he wasn't entirely sure just how to explain this to Fleur.

"I'm certainly grateful that you said yes, Fleur...," He began trying to explain.

She cut him off again however and said, "No problem, I suppose I'll see you later then."

Taking a huge breath, she dove underwater while he waited for her to come back up.

When she didn't after a minute however, he started to grow worried until he spotted her again 50 yards away closer to the center of the lake as she came up briefly before going down again.

Since it didn't appear he could talk to her further, he left, trying to come up with how he was going to deal with having two dates, or explain to Ron about what had happened either.

He decided to get some advice from Hermione on just how to handle the situation.

When his efforts to find her still in the library failed however, he decided to try and locate her in the great hall since by then it was starting to get close to dinner time.

As he began to enter however, Lee Jordan pulled him aside.

"I've got great news for you Harry," Lee said ecstatically, "the twins just mentioned that you don't have a date to the Yule Ball. Fortunately I just found one for you."

Lee stared at him expecting to see a huge smile on his face, but instead saw the shocked expression he no doubt had.

"Too stunned even to speak," Lee surmised sounding pleased, "well I made sure you got a good one. Fred said to find one with big knockers, so I got you the biggest I could find. Susan Bones just agreed to go with you."

While Lee was right about Susan having huge boobs, he would never have actually asked her simply because of that. In truth Susan was a rather nice girl, and while he had never taken the time to really get to know her, he would still feel bad having to tell her as well that he already had a date.

"Lee I've already got a date," He informed him.

"The twins told me that you didn't have one though," Lee asked, sounding confused.

"I didn't when they heard, but I already have one now," Harry answered.

"Well she can't be any better or bigger than Susan," Lee countered, sounding unperturbed, "just dump the other girl."

Lee had always done things that rubbed people the wrong way, his most noteworthy being his rather biased commentating of the quidditch matches where he always got into arguments with Professor McGonagall.

While usually a pretty cool guy, he could sometimes take his biased opinions to rather extreme levels and make people angry.

This was no different, since he was extremely annoyed at his answer. He would never dump a girl simply for that reason even if someone like Lee might.

"I'd really appreciate it if you would be more considerate of how you speak about people," Harry said, somehow managing to keep his cool.

Lee simply shrugged and said, "Well suit yourself and simply choose one of them, but I know who I would choose."

Now with Lee having put him in the position of having to tell two girls there had been a mistake and he couldn't go with them, he went inside the great hall to look for Hermione, now even more desperate for some advice.

As he got up to the table however, he didn't find Hermione, but the twins hailed him over and had him sit by them.

"Well Harry I just want you to know that I finally decided to go with Katie. I just asked her, which means that leaves Angelina free for you," George admitted.

Before he could say anything else, George threw a baby carrot at Angelina from somewhat down the table.

She looked up to see who had thrown it at her.

"Oi, Angelina, will you go to the Yule Ball with Harry?" George asked.

She then turned her gaze from George to him, then smiled and said, "Sure."

Angelina then turned back to to talking with her friends, no discussing the date she had just gotten and George then turned to him and said smuggly, "no need to thank me."

Since he had just gotten him into yet another awkward future conversation with a girl, he would never have thanked him.

"I already have a date guys," He informed them.

Their grins faded only slightly as Fred said, "What gives Harry? I thought we agreed the quidditch team would be going together."

"When did we agree to that?" Harry asked.

"Just 10 minutes ago," George admitted.

"I suppose you weren't here for that," Fred pointed out.

Cursing the fact that the twins had to joke around at a time like this, he asked, "Well what do you think I should do since you obviously don't seem to think this is a problem."

"I would hardly consider it a problem assuming that you can get both girls to go with you," George answered.

"Angelina won't mind, we were actually considering sharing either her or Alicia ourselves," Fred stated.

"I'm going with Padma Patil," He answered, already having chosen to go with her.

She was the first one asked and the only one he had actually asked himself so he figured that it was the most fair option.

"That's perfect!" George said ecstatically, "she's a twin and twins are always up for sharing!"

"Trust me we know as twins ourselves," Fred admitted with a smile on his face as if remembering a treasured experience.

Deciding to disregard this confession, he said, "I'm not sure if Padma will feel the same way."

"Well there's only one way to find out," George replied, "personally we wouldn't mind at all being asked that question."

Since it appeared that the only help that the twins would give that he try and convince both Padma and Angelina to engage in a threesome, he decided to leave after grabbing some food to take with him.

He headed back to the common room and see if he could finally find Hermione there and if not, go talk to Ron.

When he got there, Hermione was indeed in the common room sitting reading a book.

"I've been looking all over for you," He answered.

"So was I actually before I finally decided to just wait for you to show up," Hermione confessed, "I've got great news."

"Let me guess, you found me a date to the Yule Ball," Harry answered.

"How did you know?" She asked.

"Lucky guess," He answered, deciding to at least find out who it was first before he said just how he had guessed.

"Well I actually got you a date with Hannah Abbott," Hermione told him.

Hermione mistook his look of annoyance at having to tell Hannah he couldn't go with her for something else.

"Don't look at me like that Harry," Hermione cautioned, "I thought you would be better than that. I know that Hannah is a bit overweight, I figured that you would be able to look past that. She really is a great girl, she's just a bit more of a great girl than most guys would prefer."

Hermione was correct in her statement. Hannah was a rather great girl, but unfortunately due to her weight she had earned the nickname Hefty Hannah. Most guys never gave her much attention on account of it.

"I'm sure she is a great girl and I would love to be able to take her to the ball but I can't since I already have a date," He confessed.

"What?" Hermione asked in shock, "how?"

"It's kind of a long story, and I'm not being entirely accurate when I use the word date," He replied.

"Tell me everything," she urged.

So he did.

He told her everything, holding nothing back in explaining his now very difficult situation.

She was certainly surprised and by the time he finished, even Hermione seemed to be rendered speechless.

"So what do you think I should do?" He asked.

"To be honest Harry, I really just don't know since you are going to be causing a lot of hurt feelings," Hermione told him as she thought about what exactly he should do.

Finally however she said, "Well I suppose I should look at it based on how I would feel. If you had actually asked me, and not last minute or out of desperation, I would feel rather flattered, and I certainly would feel disappointed when you told me you couldn't for whatever reason."

"You would?" Harry asked.

"Of course Harry. You're my friend and if you ever asked me out, I would at least want to see how the date went and give you a sporting chance," Hermione admitted, "at any rate I would imagine that no matter how you told the other girls they would be at the very least disappointed. Since I know that several of them currently have crushes on you, it will be even worse."

"Wait a minute, who has a crush on me?" Harry asked.

"Well just about every girl in the school," Hermione admitted blushing, "and not just because you're the boy-who-lived, you're a pretty good looking guy who's got a hero image, and everyone loves a hero."

"Great, I find that out after all this," Harry answered grimly.

"It's probably really flattering and exciting to go with you to most of them," Hermione replied, "I know that Hannah was super excited when I asked her if she would like to go with you."

"I'm sure that Susan and Hannah already know by now that I'm supposedly going with both of them," Harry responded.

"We can't really help that, I'm sure they will be understanding at least once we explain it to them however," Hermione informed him, "now then let's see what we can do. First of all, I want to know if you are sure that Padma is the one that you want to go with?"

"Well I honestly wouldn't mind going with any of them, but since Padma was the first one asked, I think it's only fair," Harry told her.

"All right, well then I suppose what we could do is I could help you by telling the rest of them the truth," Hermione offered.

"I really think it would be best if I did it personally," Harry stated.

Hermione nodded, seeming to approve.

They discussed what he would do and say at length and he was just starting to feel more confident that he could actually resolve the issue when suddenly they heard a commotion as Ron barged in through the portrait hole.

"YOU!" Ron yelled angrily as he pointed an accusing finger at him, "you scum sucking filth. Here I am thinking that my best friend is so great, going to ask Fleur for me to go to the Yule Ball with and instead I find out that you just wanted her all to yourself. How could you do that to me?"

"Ron let me explain," Harry tried to say.

"Explain this," Ron said, punching him right in the jaw.

He hadn't been expecting Ron of all people to actually punch him and so he failed to actually dodge the blow.

The blow itself wasn't as bad as something that even Dudley used to do to him, but nevertheless it still was painful.

Ron stepped in to deliver yet another punch, but this time he was restrained by several other students including his own brothers Fred and George who had just gotten back from dinner.

"Just what was that for Ron?" Fred asked even as Ron struggled to break free.

"He stole my girl!" Ron yelled.

"I wasn't aware you even had a girl Ron," George pointed out.

"If you did, we certainly would have known about it and teased you," Fred answered.

"Look if this is about Hermione, don't worry, I'm pretty sure they aren't going with one another," George replied.

"I'm not talking about that bushy haired freak of nature!" Ron continued to shout.

Harry totally understood Ron being angry at him, but he drew the line at insulting Hermione as well.

"It was an accident Ron, one I plan to rectify. I promise it isn't what you think. You are right to be angry but leave Hermione out of this," Harry cautioned.

"You son of a mudblood, I don't want to hear anything you have to say," Ron countered as he spat at him.

Before he could saying anything else however, Professor McGonagall came in, being followed by a first year girl.

"I'm told that someone was evidently trying to start a fight," McGonagall said.

Several people pointed at Ron, and she turned to him and asked:

"Mr. Weasley, what is the meaning of this? Physical violence or violence of any kind is strictly prohibited which I'm sure you know," McGonagall informed him harshly.

"Harry deserved it," Ron spat.

"What would cause you to hit Mr. Potter? Last time I checked you were once again friends," McGonagall pointed out.

Fred and George must have been holding Ron too loosely at that moment because Ron made another run at Harry and this time managed to escape until he got right in front of him again.

Before he could get another punch in, Fred grabbed his leg and Ron tried to shake him off even as he tried to hit Harry.

Unfortunately he had also gotten rather close to Professor McGonagall, and in his wild punches, he actually clipped her right in the gut.

With a cry of pain, McGonagall got the wind knocked out of her for a second before immediately using her wand to stun Ron, who went down.

"That will be quite enough," McGonagall answered as she managed to regain her composure, "it appears that Mr. Weasley is a danger to his fellow classmates and even to me as well. I will be taking him and keeping him locked up while I decide on his punishment."

She levitated his still unconscious body and took him away, followed by the Weasley twins who insisted on accompanying her.

When the crowd that had by now gathered began to ask what happened, Hermione suggested they go up to his room.

He followed her up to find that the room was now currently vacant other than the two of them.

As they sat down on his bed, she checked his jaw.

"Are you sure you don't want to go to the hospital wing?" She asked.

"It's fine," He answered.

She nevertheless put her hand gently on his jaw to test it herself.

It still stung but it wasn't that bad. He had felt much worse.

She gazed right at him, concern across her face as he gazed back.

Then suddenly, without warning, she leaned in and kissed him.

It was totally unexpected and brief enough that he was still processing just what she had done long before he realized that the kiss actually felt good.

She seemed just as surprised as he did, and said, "I'm so sorry Harry, I don't even know what I was thinking."

"It's okay," He mumbled.

"I guess I was just caught up in the moment or something, I didn't mean to do anything," Hermione told him anxiously.

"Don't worry about it," He said, despite the fact that he was still thinking about him having had his first kiss and it had been with Hermione.

He had always thought of Hermione as one of his best friends, but looking at her he suddenly realized that she was rather pretty and perhaps if he wasn't already starting to date Padma or who knew who else, he might have said to her, but as it was, he was force to simply let the matter be.

As yet another reason, Hermione tried to change the subject by saying, "Well I suppose you should know that I'm going to the Yule Ball with Viktor Krum."

Simply adding to his list of surprises for the day, he was able to recover quickly from this, and exclaimed, "Wow Krum? Really? Well then I'm very happy for you Hermione, Krum is a lucky man."

She smiled, apparently quite pleased at his reaction, although in truth had he found this out this morning, he likely would have reacted quite differently.

"Thank you Harry, Padma is a lucky girl to have you as well," Hermione said.

He sighed and said, "Well I'm not really sure if Padma will take me once she finds out I've got all these other dates."

"I'm sure she'll understand and the other girls too," Hermione comforted, "after seeing Ron's reaction though, I wouldn't put it off. I'd go talk to all of the girls right now. It will be better than them finding out themselves or worse each other."

"Okay," He said, wincing his pain as she touched his cheek again.

"On second thought, why don't I go get help and gather them together so you can handle it one fell swoop while you go to the hospital wing," Hermione recommended.

"I'm fine Hermione," He tried to say, "I've had much worse."

"I'm sure, but it doesn't mean you didn't need medical attention then too," Hermione pointed out.

Since Hermione had already made such a generous offer gathering the girls together, he made no further objections and went to the hospital wing.

As Madame Pomfrey fixed him up, asking no questions beyond the answer that he gave her, simply that some guy had gotten mad and hit him, she said, "Mr. Potter, I do believe you are the 2nd most accident prone student I have ever had."

"Really? Who managed to beat me?" He asked.

"Me," a girl's voice responded.

As he looked over at her, he noticed a girl with blonde hair and a rather dreamy expression currently on her face sitting a couple of beds down with an ice pack on her chin.

She appeared to be around his age and she looked somewhat familiar, but he couldn't for the life of him remember her name, if he had ever even heard it.

"I'm Luna Lovegood," She responded in answer to his unasked question.

"Nice to meet you," He greeted.

Madame Pomfrey finished fixing his jaw with her wand and he no longer felt pain.

She turned to work on Luna who was also quickly fixed up.

"Aren't you going to ask me to the Yule Ball?" Luna asked unexpectedly.

He nearly choked. Wow was this girl rather brave.

Even still, he seriously did not need any more dates.

"I'm sorry Luna, no offense or anything, but I've already got a date," He admitted.

"Oh I know, quite a few I understand," She told him.

He figured that news apparently traveled fast around Hogwarts.

"So aren't you going to ask me anyway?" Luna asked again.

"If you already know I have more than one date why are you trying to get me to go with you?" He asked.

"Since I know you'll end up going with me," She stated, as if this was fact.

"I really don't think I can handle that, I've already got to tell all those other girls I can't go with them," Harry said.

"Why is that?" Luna asked.

"I can't go with all of them," He informed her.

"Why not?" Luna asked, undeterred.

He was rather put off by this girl and wasn't entirely sure how to respond but finally said, "Since that would be rather ridiculous."

"It doesn't sound very ridiculous to me. I think it will be a lot of fun when we all go," Luna replied.

"You seem rather confident about this," Harry surmised.

"I'm as confident about it as I'm sure that crumple horned snorkacks are real," Luna told him.

"What are those?" He asked.

Luna smiled and said, "Don't worry, you'll help me find one one day, and you'll know exactly what they are then even if you don't believe me now."

He was once again unsure how to answer, and Luna decided to break the silence.

"So once all the girls say yes, you can come find me again and I'll go with you to the ball," Luna told him as she got up and left.

Shaking his head, he mentally prepared himself to face a room of upset witches.