Disclaimer: I own nothing.

A/N: Beta 'd by Maria Binger! Thanks!

Warning: Girliness and fluff ahead. You've been warned.

Hestia's one hundred and ten magical plants and fungi by Hestia Langsley: A non canon book I made up for the story.

Wish me Luck

Chapter 8

The days after the Yule Ball passed in a blur; unlike the weeks leading to the holidays, which were filled with negativity and hostility between the houses, the rest of December passed in relative tranquillity, leading the way to a frosty January and the beginning of the new semester.

Of course not many students viewed this as a joyful occurrence; as per usual, the festive giddiness that had taken over the student population had turned to morose anticipation of homework and boring classes the first morning after New Year's.

Hermione, usually the studious type, wasn't as excited about school as she usually was the previous years; she still made sure she was ahead of her classes, but her diligence was more based on her desire to spend time with Viktor than her desire to excel in her classes.

They both knew their time was limited and was coming rapidly to an end.

More often than not, the young brunette witch could be found with Viktor; when she wasn't admonishing Harry for not giving the egg the proper attention. But her lectures lacked heat; Viktor's obvious affection for her had mellowed her somewhat, a fact Harry teased her about and made Ron turn red and stomp off angrily.

As per their silent agreement though, she avoided mention Viktor in from of her temperamental friend, and he wasn't a rude git.

Viktor had expressed his curiosity about Hogwarts, so they roamed the grounds when inside became too claustrophobic for them, with Hermione reciting historical facts from Hogwarts: A History. He always listened tentatively, asked thoughtful questions, and made smart comments; Hermione found his yearning for knowledge endearing.

Every other day, she'd visit him in the ship where he'd coach her next to the big hearth and tell her stories about his Durmstrang and his home country; Vladimir often joined them along with a few selected friends. The Quidditch star always made sure to cast strong privacy charms around them. He had told her he feared Karkaroff might eavesdrop on them, and he hated to think their time together was invaded by unwanted company.

Of course, they frequented their very own 'special place'; the library. Viktor was a voracious reader, but unlike Hermione, he particularly enjoyed historical fiction and absolutely detested non fiction stories when it wasn't required for emergencies -like the tournament- or school. They had had countless arguments about his preferences, Hermione trying to coax him into delving in what she called 'more meaningful read than that drivel', and she had enjoyed every single one of them.

Unfortunately for her more romantic notions, she was a girl after all!, their relationship hadn't progress into the next level.

Which was another reason on why she so religiously avoided her class mates whenever she was with her not-so-secret-friend-who-was-a-boy-but-not-yet-a-boyfriend. Her female class mates in particular would ask questions she had not the answer to. Yet.

Her relationship with the famous athlete was very special to both of them.

But Viktor still hadn't made a move to make it something more. Which was kind of frustrating, especially when she had caught him more than once staring transfixed at her lips, lips parted and cheeks rosy. When she had asked what was wrong, Viktor had sputtered, flushed more, and buried his head in his book, avoiding her eyes for hours afterwards.

She shyly broached the subject with Ginny a few days after the classed resumed.

The fourth year came to regret her decision though, when Ginny gasped, eyes wide, and then jumped to her feet and ran to the door. Throwing it open, she stuck her head out and shouted: "Parvati! Lavender! In here! NOW!"

Lavender and Parvati came barrelling in a minute later, looking worried as they looked around their dormitory with wide eyes. When they saw no immediate danger, they focused on them.

"Is something the matter?" Lavender asked breathlessly, while Parvati observed Hermione's hair with obvious disdain.

"NO!" Hermione violently shook her head, and tried to make Ginny shut up but the red head was unstoppable.

"Viktor wants to kiss her!" Ginny whisper-shouted, looking giddy. Her three female friends looked at her, and started doing what she feared they would.

Giggling. They were giggling!

Hermione moaned pitifully, and attempted to leave the room.

"Oh no, you won't!" Lavender exclaimed and pointed her wand to the door. "Colloportus!"

A soft click came from the door, locking her in the room with the three crazy hyenas.

"Nice," Parvati congratulated Lavender's spell work with an approving nod.

"Funny how your spell work is so much better when you want to torment me, than in class." Hermione moodily commented. Lavender and Parvati stared at each other contemplatively.

"You know..."

"You are right!"

"Can we focus on Viktor?" Ginny sighed melodramatically, ignoring her best friend's death glare.

"Oh yeah, sorry," the two girls nodded and made themselves comfortable on Lavender's bed. Their excited eyes zeroed on their squirming room mate.

"So Krum haven't kiss you yet?" Lavender bluntly asked.

"No!" Hermione snapped but it was half hearted. She knew this was a lost battle; they wouldn't let her leave until their curiosity was satisfied. But for principle's sake, she was determined to act mad.

"Hm..." Parvati rubbed her chin thoughtfully. "How long have you two been together?"

"What?" Hermione's cheeks flushed a deep red. "We are not together! We are just friends-"

"Yeah, yeah, how long?" Lavender waved an impatient hand.

"Two months. More or less. " She grumbled. Lavender and Parvati's eyes widened. They turned to Ginny looking offended.

"You knew this?" They asked in unison.

"Yes." Ginny answered smirking.

"And you didn't tell us! That's invaluable information!" They shrieked; Hermione had to cover her ears.

"She didn't want me to tell other people! It was her secret!" Ginny replied indignantly.

"But-"

"It's not important any more!" Parvati interrupted whatever Lavender was trying to say. "What's done is done and there really is no point in discussing it further. Let's talk about the matter at hand shall we?"

"You are right." Ginny nodded and settled herself more comfortably on Hermione's bed. Lavender, pouting, leaned back on her elbows, shrewdly watching the bushy haired witch.

"So you and Krum are friends," she made a spectacle of rolling her eyes, "for two months, you were his date to the Yule Ball and he still hasn't kissed you?"

Parvati summed up her problem really nicely.

"Pretty much." Hermione answered quietly.

"Has he said or done anything to indicate that he wants to kiss you but... something holds him back?" Lavender asked, not even trying to hide her excitement.

Truth be told she and Parvati had waited for years for their studious room mate to discover the joys of teenage life; AKA boys and relationships with said species. And not the friendship kind.

The Ball had been their opportunity to show the brilliant bookworm that she could have both brains and looks. Lavender had been thrilled when a stammering Hermione had inquired about make up and shyly asked for their help to get ready for the Ball.

And boy had she pull it off! Even now, weeks after the event, Hermione received appreciative looks, and more than once she had heard a few lads wondering if they'd stand a chance with her when the Bulgarian champion returned home.

Not that before Hermione looked horrid, but she did focus all her time and energy to school, so she had neglected to take care of her physical appearance.

Enter Lavender, Parvati and Ginny.

The three had succeeded in making the male population of Hogwarts take notice of Hermione's subtle beauty, and for the girl herself to admit that dedicating some time to her appearance was worthwhile.

When she felt like it, Hermione allowed Parvati to style her hair, and Lavender had taken it upon herself to pick Hermione's weekend outfits. So far, Hermione hadn't find something to complain about her choices.

"Well, I don't really know," she mumbled, embarrassed. "He keeps staring at me when he thinks I don't see him; sometimes he just looks at my lips but when I ask him what he's doing he gets all flushed and starts mumbling in Bulgarian. He... has kiss me on my cheek... several times."

"Yeah,малъкангел!" Ginny snickered and Hermione threw her a pillow.

"What was that?" Parvati asked, eyebrow raised.

"His nickname for Hermione. It means little angel in Bulgarian." Ginny answered, smiling affectionately at the older witch, who was sporting a blush worthy of their house colour.

"Really?" Lavender and Parvati's palpable excitement made her even more uncomfortable; if that was possible.

That little piece of information was pure gold! The looks on everyone's faces when they'd hear that Viktor Krum was so smitten with the Gryffindor Princess will be priceless. Both girls could barely keep still; they kept fidgeting, feeling anxious to start spreading the delicious gossip.

"Yeah." Hermione grumbled. When Ginny winked cheekily at her, she glared.

"Oh my god, Hermione!" Parvati squealed. "He so wants you!"

"Really?" Hermione asked quietly, not quite managing to conceal her hopefulness. The three harpies started giggling.

"YES!" Lavender shouted. "When a boy stares at your lips, it's a sure sign that he wants to kiss you! Now what's holding him back... It might be he feels insecure about how you perceive him. A friend or possibly something more? You are younger than him, and he might want to give you time to realise your feelings on your own. He's so sweet! Worrying about you like that!"

"I wish a boy would treat me like that." Parvati pouted adorably, while Hermione got redder and redder by the second.

"He wants you, he wants you, he wants you." Ginny started singing gleefully, grabbing one of Hermione's pillows and dancing around with it, pretending it was a partner.

"Oh, shut up!" Hermione couldn't take it; she burst out laughing and soon her friends followed.

Who would have known? Being a girl is not so bad after all! Hermione cheerfully thought.

88888

Cedric and his friends were sitting at their usual table in the library, groaning and muttering softly; they were furiously writing essays, Cedric trying to complete and proof read his potions' essay, due the day after tomorrow, at the same time. It wasn't going so well; he kept checking his reference books and scratching his head, looking miserable.

Snape is such a bastard, he concluded mentally, as he stroke a whole paragraph off, and went on rewriting it.

The infamous Bat of the Dungeons had assigned them a two feet roll of parchment on the Elixir of Life and its components. It was a highly dangerous potion to brew, not to mention it hadn't been brewed by anyone other than Nicholas Flamel in centuries, because its' key component was the Philosopher's Stone; an ingredient everyone knew was non-existent. Nicholas had destroyed the recipe for its creation, and when he died, it would die with him.

So having them research the potion, its effects and side effects, and do an extensive research on the Philosopher's Stone itself, was redundant. But of course Snape would hear none of it, and had gleefully informed them that he was considering having them brew a potion akin to the Elixir, using their knowledge of its structure and their experience in potions.

Again... What an utter bastard!

Cedric, usually mild tempered, couldn't help but glare at the smirking Percy.

The brown haired boy had spectacularly failed his potions' OWL; it hadn't been a surprise. According to Snape, Percy's potions' skills were worse than Longbottom's and that level of ineptitude was unprecedented.

Percy had taken his professor's snide words with a smile, and happily informed him that he didn't really give a crap about potions. His dream was to become a dragon tamer, so potion brewing was one of the skills he didn't really need. He ever went as far as to say that if it wasn't an obligatory subject, he'd have dropped it in his first year.

Percy had been a third year then, and something extraordinary had occurred after his short speech.

Snape had... He had not given the cheeky boy detention. He hadn't even taken points from Hufflepuff. No, the scowling man had looked at him with his black eyes and said nothing. Cedric swore he saw him smile when they all returned their attention to their cauldrons but no one believed him.

So Percy, the lucky bastard, was happily working on his Care of Magical Creatures assignment, not a care in the world. He had already established a commune with Charlie Weasley in Romania, hoping to start an apprenticeship right after graduation.

The Hufflepuff champion suspected Potions would be far more enjoyable if the professor didn't hate his students; or at least treated them equally, and not so unashamedly favouring his own house.

Cedric studied religiously, honed his skills back home when in vacation under his mother's watch, and had passed with flying colours his OWLs. Yet, even though he was an exemplary student and always thoroughly prepared for his classes, Snape still made sure to remind him in every class that being a champion may exempt him from this year's final exams, but next year he would be taking his NEWTs and he would be more than delighted to assure his failure if the young man ever thought himself above the rest of the students.

Such a lovely teacher! No wonder he was the most hateful person in Hogwarts.

Wyatt groaned for the tenth time.

"Ced, mate, do you know anything about the uses of asphodel in the Elixir? I thought it was a main ingredient of the Draught of Living Death!" He whined, looking desperately at his scowling friend.

"It is." Cedric murmured, still scribbling. "But that does not mean it can't be used for the Elixir of Life too. In Greek mythology, the asphodel meadows were a part of the Underworld. For centuries the asphodel plant has been associated with the world of the dead, and in some areas there are claims the plant was first created in the Underworld; that's why it was first used, and is one of the main ingredients of the Draught of Living Death. For the same reason it's used in the Elixir. Without accepting the role of death in our lives, we can never truly appreciate life. In its natural form, asphodel is not poisonous, but depending on the ingredients you mix it with, it can turn a potion very toxic and in some cases fatal. Additionally, it can straighten the potency of certain healing potions in small quantities. Check Hestia's one hundred and ten magical plants and fungi by Hestia Langsley. It has everything you need."

"Thanks mate." Wyatt muttered distractedly, and rose to go hunt for the book but paused mid-stand. His midnight eyes turned darker with sadness and his hands clenched. His sudden change in demeanour made his friends look at him curiously. He was looking at something a few rows behind their table.

"Bullocks." Percy muttered when he saw his friend's object of intense scrutiny.

Cedric and Scott, both facing Wyatt and Percy, unsubtly turned on their seats. Cedric felt like someone had just upturned a bucket of cold water over his head.

Hermione Granger was sitting in her normal table, books and parchments scattered in organised mess on the table, as she kept three thick tomes opened before her and scribbled on a fresh sheet of parchment, occasionally checking her books. Her bushy hair was pulled into a neat ponytail, a few tendrils falling to frame her pale face.

Her standard black robes were carelessly thrown on the back of an empty chair, and she was wearing the typical female Hogwarts uniform; a white Oxford shirt, neatly tucked in her pleated black skirt, a soft grey jumper and Gryffindor tie. Diverging from her rule abiding attire, she wore knee high Muggle boot, and black tights to fight off the chill.

With a start, Cedric noticed her skirt brushed the middle of her thighs; it was still long for Hogwarts' standards, but on the modest witch it was both shocking and provocative.

He doubted she had outgrew it or shorten it herself; his galleons were on one of her friends who sat with her doing it behind her back. Ginny Weasley, Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil, all of them exchanging meaningful glances over Hermione's head, looked inordinately pleased with themselves.

"How are things with you two?" Percy asked quietly. Wyatt sighed, pushing his hair away from his eyes and sat back on his chair.

"Okay, I guess," he replied, staring at her. "We... don't speak much. She... she spends most of her time with Potter and Weasley, or Krum." Jealously practically dripped from his tone when he spat the last name.

Cedric tore his gaze from the girl and turned to his childhood friend, making sure to conceal the hurt on his face. He had been avoiding her since their last moment together in that dark corridor during the Yule Ball, when she had kissed him on the cheek. He still had dreams about that, sadly. To his disappointment, he had been unable to stop thinking about her, and not for lack of trying on his part.

Every time he caught sight of her, he walked away, ignoring the painful tug in his heart and the pain that wrecked his body. Instead he focused all his attention on Cho Chang, who was his official girlfriend now.

After the Yule Ball he had asked her to be his girlfriend and she had readily agreed.

When they were together, he managed to fool himself into thinking he was happy. He actually managed to believe his feelings for Cho surpassed what he felt for Granger, only for his belief to crumble when someone mentioned her or she made an appearance herself.

Just the sound of her name was enough to shatter any illusions he fed himself about falling for Cho; only her name was enough to remind him Cho would never replace her. She was the one haunting his dreams, she was the one he wanted.

Not Cho.

On top of his own pain, Wyatt was slowly spiralling into depression. He was constantly sad, had trouble sleeping and pined after her helplessly. He underwent severe mood swings, going from happy to raging mad in a second, when she was brought up in conversation and Cedric worried his hurt would cause him to hate Krum for real.

The girl was unaware of her affect on him, and enjoyed her time spend with Krum, who everyone assumed was her boyfriend, although neither student had confirmed it.

Once, during a mock Quidditch match, Wyatt had crashed to another played when he saw her taking a rather romantic stroll near the lake, her hand intertwined with Krum's and laughing at something he had said.

"Have you talk to her about your feelings again?" Cedric calmly inquired.

He noticed Scott observing him closely, and he shifted in annoyance.

Since the Yule Ball, Scott seemed more alert to his obsession with Hermione and whenever she was in the vicinity the dark haired boy always watched Cedric carefully, most definitely waiting for him to make a mistake and prove his suspicions.

So far Cedric had been very careful to keep his secret a secret. He treated her -in the rare occasions he had to interact with her- with distant courtesy, fitting for two simple acquaintances; he made a point of ignoring her presence when Scott was with him, and never let it show how much it hurt him to see her with Krum, or Wyatt's lovestruck expression when he spoke of her.

His patience though was running thin, and Scott's constant hovering ticked his temper.

"You mean after she denied me during the ball?" Wyatt asked moodily. "There is no need. She knows how I feel; there's nothing to say, she isn't already aware of."

"I think I have an idea." Scott intervened, and turned to Cedric. "When is the next Hogsmeade trip?"

"Two days after St. Valentine's," he answered instantly; they all groaned simultaneously.

Valentine's Day was a royal pain in the arse!

Thanks to Gilderoy Lockhart, Valentine's Day had been turned into a love fest. They could all express their feelings for the object of their affection, without being judged or humiliated. The morning post was a spectacle, with hundreds of owls descending on unsuspecting victims, carrying singing cards, chocolates and letters proclaiming love. Armours were charmed to sing love songs all day long, ghosts took it upon themselves to tutor the young lads on the proper way to woo a woman, and giggling portraits offered their services in delivering love messages.

Cedric always received a ton of candies and love notes, and he was certain this year, what with being named Triwizard champion, he'd be receiving even more! Don't misunderstand him, the attention was flattering, but he found the whole affair ridiculous. The candies were worth some trouble, he did have a sweet tooth, but the letters, singing cards, stalking dwarves drawling love songs and badly written poems and the peering girls following him around, gave him a headache. Not to mention the embarrassment!

The twins still hadn't let him forget that one time a dwarf literally lunched himself on his broom so the little guy could deliver his message; a message from a bulky, seventh year Slytherin who was twice his size and two years his senior.

All in all it was hellish.

"I think..." Scott murmured. "That this year's Hell Day will be quite beneficial for you, my friend."

"Are you crazy?" Wyatt stammered. "I hate it! The only good thing is the truffles! And I never get truffles! For some reason, they all think I prefer cupcakes!"

"Listen to me, you idiots!" Scott snapped,when they stared at him like he had swallowed another dose of the Babbling Beverage. "You can send her a letter; invite her to Hogsmeade. Tell her your feelings. It will be romantic; no girl can resist romantic declarations of love."

"He's right." Percy mused, scratching his chin thoughtfully. "I asked out Amanda during Valentine's Day and she was all over me. Chicks love romance."

"Ced, what do you think?" Wyatt asked unsure.

Cedric remained silent. Honesty he found it a terrific idea. And that was why he hesitated to answer. It had the potential of giving Wyatt what he wanted more... Granger. If she was a romantic, and he had a feeling she was, she would be hard pressed to refuse Wyatt, who was a closet romantic.

There was a chance she'd yes... And they could eventually start dating... For real... And he was still bloody in love with her.

Bullocks.

"Yeah Cedric, what do you think?" Scott cut in disapprovingly, like he was reading his mind. Cedric raised his head and locked eyes with him. Disappointment lurked in Scott's green eyes, and Cedric felt a knot forming in his throat.

"I think it's a brilliant idea. You should go for it," he supplied monotonously.

Wyatt's answering smile was blinding. "I guess it's decided then. The only question now is..."

His face got serious, and his three friends looked at him expectantly.

"What to send her," he murmured to himself, ignoring their snorts.

"Why don't you get her a book? She'll love it." Percy snickered.

"Shut up, Perse! We are talking about Valentine's! You can't give a girl a book on Valentine's!" Scott said rolling his eyes. "What girls see in you, I wonder."

"At least I'm not some kind of seventeen year old pervert who wants a thirteen year old!" Percy hissed and Scott glared at him. At least Percy was smart enough not to broach the Katie subject; that was off limits, and they all knew it.

"Firstly I'm sixteen and won't be seventeen until May and you know it. Secondly I don't want her. I find her amusing, cute and I would like to get to know her better. I don't intent to pursue a relationship with her yet. And besides... Granger is three years younger than Wyatt! I don't hear you criticise him!"

"Two actually." Wyatt smiled, staring fondly at the girl. "She turned fifteen this September. Her birthday is on September 19th."

Cedric couldn't help himself; he discreetly stared at her from his periphery vision. He, again, noticed how appealing she looked without her voluminous robes on. Her body was maturing, and her soft curves were noticeable without her robes on. With a start, he realised a lot of boys were giving her the once over, and seemed to quite enjoy her figure as she bent over her homework.

The sixth year found himself feeling thankful for Krum; all the blokes seemed intimidated by him, so they stayed away from the pretty Gryffindor. He had an inkling they wouldn't keep their distances when Viktor was out of the picture.

Cedric mentally slapped himself. For weeks after the Yule Ball he had tried, desperately, to find a valid reason to dislike the foreign champion. Hermione's obvious infatuation with him was not enough.

He found none.

The guy was a saint! Always polite and cordial, he treated everyone equally and seemed to hate the attention. He didn't take advantage of his fame or talent, he preferred the company of his friends, and was quiet. And from their short encounters, Cedric could tell Viktor was smart, caring and overall, a very kind person. Not to mention that the girls seemed to love his hard features and lean built.

And although his English really needed practice, he was very eloquent when he wanted -AKA when he was conversing with Granger.

Bloody, perfect Bulgarian, he thought, and as if summoned by his thoughts, said Bulgarian walked in the library and went straight to Hermione.

Her friends seemed to find the situation amusing, and were giggling as he quietly spoke with Granger. On the other hand, his friends found it... not so amusing.

Granger nodded at something Krum said and stood up; the blonde, Lavender Brown if he was correct, waved her away when she tried to collect her things and she smiled appreciatively before walking out with him. The girls' eyes followed them out, and then they broke down in delighted giggles.

Cedric's own eyes were focused on Granger's slender back as she walked away, her hair swishing behind her.

God, I love her.

88888

Hermione stared at the luminescent lake with a thoughtful expression on her face. Viktor stood beside her, his gaze on the horizon but his expression much calmer.

He came in the library earlier, and asked her to join him for a walk and she had readily agreed, mentally awarding him courage points for approaching her when she was accompanied by three other girls; who all started giggling and blushing the moment he greeted them with his typical shy grin.

When Lavender shooed her away, promising to collect her things and bring them to their dorm, Viktor had apologised for the inconvenience and thanked them with a bow of his head and a genuine grin that left them breathless before leading her away.

All the way from the castle, she thought about Wyatt.

She knew he had been staring at her; Parvati had noticed him and informed her with a sneaky grin. But Hermione didn't feel fortunate to having, as her Indian friends put it, 'catch the eye of one of the hottest lads in school'.

No, she felt horrible.

His crestfallen expression when she rejected him heavily weighed on her mind, and she felt guilty whenever she saw him watching her, naked longing in his deep blue eyes. Knowing she wasn't at fault, she had make her feelings abundantly clear after all, and feeling it, was a completely different matter.

The Hufflepuff hadn't attempted to talk to her yet, but she tried to stay clear of his path as much as was possible, and had even recruited Ginny to keep an eye on her in case the third year needed to intervene and help her escape if Wyatt did decide to corner her.

She prayed he would find another girl, one who would return his affections, but so far, Wyatt hadn't stop staring at her from afar, with sad eyes.

Of course his reluctance to breach the topic with her, didn't mean his friends wouldn't do so on his behalf. Perseus Smith, a close friend of his, had accosted her on the way to the loo one afternoon before dinner, and pleaded with her to give his friend a chance. He also made her promise not to reveal he did so.

Another of his friends, Scott Grey, had bluntly asked her why she was so adamantly refusing him. Equally bluntly, she had told him the truth. Scott had listened, and nodded in understanding. As he said, he may understand her reasons, and they were indeed valid reasons, but he doubted Wyatt would listen to them and settle for just her friendship.

Agitated, she had waited for the last of Wyatt's close friends to corner her. But Diggory had kept his distance, and she had never felt more grateful for something. The tall champion helped her, that was true, but for some reason, she felt... weird around him. He always watched her with the strangest of expressions.

Sadness, pain, misery, and longing fought in his grey eyes, and it caused her heart to ache and tummy to clench. And it frightened her.

Because Cedric Diggory couldn't possibly long for her, could he?

Of course not! He's the golden boy of Hogwarts! He would never date someone like me! Especially with all that horrible history between us! And besides... He's dating Chang! She is the prettiest girl in school! Why would he look at me, anyone else to be honest, when he had Cho Chang?

Her internal monologue disrupted a soft cough. Startled, Hermione turned and sighed in relief when she saw Viktor looking at her worriedly. She had forgotten he was with her.

"I'm sorry. I interrupted your thinking," he apologized guiltily.

Hermione smiled at him.

"Not at all Viktor. I wasn't thinking about anything important. Just trivial, everyday things."

He watched her with curiosity obvious on his face. His lips quirk upwards after a moment and he took her hand.

"Vill you join me for dinner tonight, Mimi?" He asked hopefully, but his features turned serious when her face paled. "Vhat is it?"

"Viktor," she croaked out. He apparently hadn't noticed that the Slytherin house wasn't very welcoming towards people of her heritage. "I would love to have dinner with you but... Viktor... You are sitting in the Slytherin table. Surely you've noticed how the Slytherins are kind of... off (now that's the understatement of the century! she thought sarcastically) toward me?"

Viktor's thick eyebrows furrowed as he frowned deeply.

"I do not understand... They do not like you?" He asked confused. How could anyone not like his angel? She was so kind and loving and caring and smart and so breath taking beautiful that he didn't thought possible for someone to dislike her.

"Well... To be completely honest, they hate me," she mumbled and tried to turn away only to have his big callused hand firmly grab her chin, forcing her to look in his dark eyes.

"Vhy?" He demanded. She attempted to break free of his hold but he was just too strong.

"Because... because I'm Muggle born Viktor. They refer to me as Mudblood," she whispered, refusing to look in his eyes. When he didn't say anything, she peeked through her lashes to judge his reaction. She cringed.

His intense black eyes were on fire. His nostrils were flaring and his hand that wasn't holding her face was tightly clenched, the nails digging painfully in the flesh. He seemed furious and for the first time since their first meeting, she felt scared of him. Apparently he noticed her fear because his eyes softened and he brought his hand to caress her cheek with affection.

"I'm sorry for scaring you," he whispered in his hoarse voice. "I'm just so... mad at them! How could they think like that?"

"Don't all purebloods think muggleborns are inferior?" She asked hopefully. Not every pureblood in Hogwarts shared the Slytherins' opinion, but she wasn't sure for other old families. She knew the Krums were one of the oldest pureblooded families in Europe; Parkinson had deemed it her duty it to inform her -more like sneered at her- of this, and proceeded to tell her his family would never accept someone of lesser blood for their only son and heir, and Viktor would surely dump her after his parents refused to acknowledge and accept their relationship,

"No!" He vehemently said, his teeth clenched painfully. "In my country ve don't judge people by their blood or past but by vhat they have done vith their lives! If someone is capable enough, ve don't question his blood status!"

"But," Hermione interjected. "Isn't Durmstrang's policy not to allow muggleborns attend?"

"No, that's Karkaroff's rule!" Viktor spat his headmaster's name with such venom that rivalled Malfoy's when he spoke to her. "Until he became headmaster, our school vas very much like Hogvarts! All magical children could attend despite their parentage! But vhen Igor took charge, he only accepted haffbloods and purebloods in Durmstrang. He acts so superior, but he is a complete -how do you call them?- tosser."

"Oh," was all she said. She really couldn't believe it. "So you are not bothered by the fact my parents are muggles?"

He smiled a gentle smile and tugged on her chocolate locks.

"Not at all, Mimi," he answered sincerely. She blushed at the nickname. He sure love pet names. "And... vell... if you are... uh... vorried, neither... my parents... care about that..." He seemed rather uncomfortable all of a sudden, and she shared the feeling. Her cheeks felt suddenly very hot and she couldn't meet his eyes.

"You mentioned me to them, then?" She tried, she really did, to sound casual but by the squeaky tone of her voice, she doubted she succeeded. Viktor was avoiding her gaze as well.

"Yes," he answered, embarrassed. Much to his mortification, he felt the heat rising to his cheeks and cursed his luck; the sun was mid way through his daily journey, so he couldn't hide his blush in the dark.

"What did you tell them?" She asked the dreaded question. He felt like jumping in the lake. And considering what the second task was, he might want to start practice...

Tempting...

"Uh... I... See... They... I like you!" He blurted suddenly, turning to face her with embarrassed courage edging him on.

Hermione's shocked gaze snapped to his handsome features. Did he just...

"What?" Her eyes were huge, questions shining in their amber depths. His hands were shaking slightly when they reached to touch her face with adoration shining in his own onyx eyes.

"I..." He breathed deeply. "I like you Mimi," he repeated quietly. "I don't care what others think... I like you."

She seemed to have forgotten how to breathe properly. She felt both happy and terrified at the same time. Happy because finally the boy she liked admitted his feelings for her, and terrified because she had absolutely no idea how to respond or act now that his intentions were clear.

He didn't seem to share her fear though.

He gingerly placed his hand on her waist, gently pulling her to him, while his other hand caressed soothingly her cheek. He slowly leaned in, his eyes intensely focused on her face, trying to judge her willingness, obviously afraid that she didn't want this. She took a shaking breath, and boldly lifted her hands on his upper arms, grasping his biceps. She closed her eyes and after a few seconds that felt like hours, she felt the lightest touch of soft skin against her lips. He softly moved his surprisingly soft lips over hers, trying to coax a response from her, and relieve some of her nerves. Hermione, unsure, moved her lips in perfect synchronization with his.

It went on for a few seconds, but he didn't deepen it. He wanted their first kiss to be sweet.

Mimi was only fifteen after all!

He pulled away breathing a little harshly, and touched his forehead on hers. His little angel looked absolutely stunning; her big, doe eyes were wide, her creamy skin was flushed and her lips looked slightly swollen and red.

Absolutely magnificent, he thought dreamily.

"That was... wow!" She said, blushing madly and he chuckled, pulling her into a hug.

"You are vov, Mimi," he murmured, running his hand through her wild locks. She sighed contentedly.

The kiss was perfect, but there was one thing that made her want to dive head first in the ice cold water of the Black Lake.

While this gorgeous, kind, perfect man was kissing her, her mind had decided to replay Diggory's kiss throughout all of it.

And if she wanted to be honest, she didn't feel half the excitement Cedric's kiss had caused her, when Viktor kissed her.

She frowned, but remembering her mother once telling her that you never forget your first kiss, she didn't give it much thought.

Diggory had been her first kiss and that's why she saw it. It was normal to compare them, and completely normal to find Viktor's kiss lacking.

Yeah, she repeated mentally, it doesn't mean anything more. I'm so silly!