Out of Breath
A/N: This one-shot was written for a challenge in the Portkey forums. It was called 'Short of Breath' but I changed the story title. I expect it to be very humorous and fluffy but since you're the judge, I don't really know.
All I can say is...ENJOY!!
"No way!" Ron exclaimed, holding a parchment in his hands and looking at it as if it was picture of Malfoy handing out candy to children. Classes just let out and like everyone on Friday afternoon, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were glad to head to lunch.
"Shut up, Ronald," Hermione muttered darkly as she swung her legs over the bench and sat down dejectedly.
"Ron, you don't need to act like that. It's just one test," said Harry as he sat down next to Hermione but in a better mood.
"Uh no, Harry. It's the test! You, Harry Potter, actually beat Hermione Granger in your Herbology test! And she's the smartest witch of our age!"
"It was only because I helped him study," Hermione said to Ron. As she piled her plate with a meat sandwich, she turned her glare on Harry. "I am never going to help you study again."
Harry smiled, not even scared of her glare of doom. He was too used to it. "Oh come on, Hermione. Ron's the one who is making a big deal out of it. I'm actually thankful to have you as a best friend. I would've never aced it, let alone passed it if it weren't for you, Hermione."
Hermione didn't look at him but continued to pile on more sandwiches that both Harry and she knew she would never eat.
Harry sighed and covered her hand that was on the bench with his. She looked up at the touch and into his astonishing, emerald eyes. They were sincerely apologetic.
"I'm sorry. I never wanted to upset you," he said softly.
Hermione turned her hand so that it was on its back and laced her fingers through his.
"Harry, I'm not upset that you beat me. You just--you know me, Harry! I'm not used to anyone beating me...and it doesn't help that the annoying Neanderthal over there is rubbing it in!" Hermione drew a dirty glance at her ex-boyfriend.
Ron was unperturbed by her insult and said, "You know you love me, Hermy."
"I despise you. And don't call me Hermy."
"Hermione is too hard to pronounce."
"Yeah, for you."
"What I thought was sexual tension after all these years, I find out it was nothing more than petty bickering..." muttered Harry as he shook his head. He smiled to show that he was just joking.
Hermione and Ron had dated at the beginning of seventh year after Harry had defeated Voldemort. Unfortunately (or fortunately--depending on who you ask), the two broke up after a short period of time, deciding that they were better as friends.
"I wish I found out sooner...I would have found another girl but no, I was stuck with her," Ron jabbed his thumb in Hermione's direction, "for two days."
He shook his head as if trying to get something out. "Horrid, horrid memories, mate."
Harry laughed out loud, tears threatening to spill. Ron was nursing his head where a bruise will likely appear tomorrow. Hermione, the cause, innocently slipped her Hogwarts, A History back into her bag and picked up her fork again.
Their hands were still together but neither noticed. Nothing unnatural was happening, the two of them thought. It wasn't until...
"Why are you holding Harry's hand, Hermione?"
Hermione instantly let go and blushed. Harry never seen her so red. His friend seemed to regain her dignity and she looked up at where the voice came from.
Ginny Weasley, girlfriend of Harry, was standing with her arms crossed and glaring at Hermione and her boyfriend.
"I was congratulating Harry. He," Hermione struggled with the word, "beat me in a test."
Harry grinned at how difficult it was for Hermione to say the word 'beat'. He knew Hermione never had to say it often.
Ginny saw the way Harry was grinning at someone other than her and decided to step in. Abruptly, she sat herself down between Harry and Hermione, turning her back on the latter. Ron, who witnessed this, shrugged when Hermione shot him a confused look.
"Well...I'm so proud of my Harry. He has the looks and the brains!" She giggled, planting a kiss on Harry's nose. He appeared to dislike his "reward" from his girlfriend and wiped away the kiss. He discreetly shifted in his seat to the right.
"Ginny, it wasn't just me. I couldn't have done it without Hermione's help." He shot his best friend a smile again.
"Well," Ginny gave Hermione a look of distaste that only she could see. "Thank you, Hermione." She latched an arm through Harry's and leaned her head on his shoulder in a possessive manner.
Hermione frowned at the younger girl and nodded. She watched as Ginny slid Harry's plate over to her and stacked four cheese sandwiches and fries layered with salt. Hermione knew Harry hated cheese with anything and preferred his fries with ketchup. Her friend grimaced at the sight. Wordlessly, Hermione divided her meat sandwich and put some fries with ketchup on a separate plate. She sneaked it behind Ginny's back, earning her a grateful smile from Harry. Of course, his girlfriend had noticed and accidentally nudged an elbow into Hermione's side.
Ron could only watch in amusement.
The four ate together in awkward silence. Ron, Hermione, and Harry never knew what to talk about in front of the younger girl. Suddenly, the silence was broken.
They turned around and saw Shelly Bomgardener. She was in the same year as Ginny but in Ravenclaw. She was fortuned with shining black hair that fell just above the middle of her back and a tanned, blemish-free face. Her body was in shape as well because of her participation in Quidditch. Today, the young girl was dressed in a skirt that was certainly not allowed to be worn on a school day and a shirt that Shelly had seemed to forgotten to button entirely.
Ginny glowered at her competitor.
"That was a good game you played yesterday, Harry. I bet our Seeker would have never seen the Snitch."
"Er thanks..." Harry said, not sure how to respond to this girl who he barely knew.
"Well," she shot him a dazzling, flirtatious smile, "Bye, Harry!"
Hermione knew she shouldn't be jealous. She wasn't Ginny. She was only Harry's best friend. But Hermione knew she could never ignore her feelings for him. She tried once, but the effort failed so Hermione thought it was useless to deny it. As long as Harry never finds out about her secret love for him, it was fine with her.
Just tables away, a Hufflepuff glowered in silence, eyes pinned on a dark haired wizard and a girl who was waving goodbye at him. Sitting next to the Hufflepuff was a girl who was nervously eyeing the utensil that her friend was gripping tightly in his hand.
"Zack, are you trying to break your spoon?" Isabella Martinez asked, violently stealing the spoon away from Zacharias Smith.
Said boy turned back to his best friend and sighed in a frustrated manner. "Sorry, Bella but Shelly..."
"Why can't you just forget about that crush? Shelly's nothing if she doesn't see you, Zack. Can't you find another girl who would date you?"
"See that's the problem. No one seems to like me. Say that I'm annoying..."
Bella almost laughed. Annoying, yes, her friend Zacharias could be sometimes. But she's known him since first year and that annoyance towards the boy gradually turned to fondness. She found him adorable. And she loved how Zacharias spoke his mind. Yes, sometimes it caused trouble, but it was brave. People didn't know that Zacharias was very nice too--once they get to know him. He was extremely funny as well.
The fact that he never noticed her as anything but a best friend caused an ache in Bella's heart.
"...so pretty and smart. I hate Potter!" Bella was surprised out of her thoughts and saw her best friend glaring over at the Gryffindor table again.
"Harry doesn't even like Shelley! He likes Hermione."
"No, Shelley. Ginny. Harry's dating Ginny."
"Sorry. I always get confused as to who is really Harry's girlfriend. Anyways, he doesn't want to take Shelley away from you...even though she isn't yours," Bella added.
"Still, Potter makes me so...URG, mad! He has to know that other blokes are not as lucky...he has to know that he's stealing all the pretty girls away from us...I have to teach him that," Zacharias muttered darkly.
Bella suddenly looked worried.
"What are you going to do?"
"Smith...are you sure?"
Zacharias paused in turning another page of the Spellbook. He looked up at his friend and saw her looking at him with half-worry and half-annoyance. He sighed.
"Maybe you're right, Bella. I shouldn't cast the spell on him. I can't blame the guy for being so...hey Shelly!" He saw his crush as she walked by his table, eyes strictly focused on something ahead. She took no notice of the 6th year Hufflepuff and continued on her way, strutting her hips in a seductive manner.
Zacharias let his hand fall when he noticed that Shelly had failed to return his greeting. He was curious as to why she didn't notice so he let his eyes drift to the right. Suddenly, he knew.
Suppressing a lion-like growl, the boy swiftly turned on his heels and strode to where the spell book was still perched. He jabbed his finger onto the page, hurriedly skipping the title and instructions until it came to the incantation.
"Why is it that Potter has a girlfriend, in yet every girl is still in love with the great bloody Harry Potter!"
He fumbled with his robes as he withdrew his wand. He made his way to a bookshelf that faced Harry's direction and impatiently pushed aside the line of books. Zacharias was able to see Harry seated in the back of the room, smiling politely at Shelly. She was leaning against the table, laughing at whatever he said and twirling a strand of hair with her fingers. Smith swore again and then pointed his wand through the opening.
"Res a libido!"
An almost invisible stray of light was produced from the end of his wand and collided with Harry. The seventh year suddenly jerked from his chair, head swiveling around as if something had hit him.
Smith smirked triumphantly.
"Why isn't it working?"
He rolled his eyes. "Bella, it said it'll take a day to take effect!"
Bella rolled her eyes in return, silently fuming that her crush would go to such lengths for a girl like Shelly.
"Now I think we should just go back and do our homework...then I'm gonna get some sleep so that tomorrow, oh tomorrow...Harry will notice that no one, even his girlfriend, will want him..."
Zacharias grabbed his stuff and left with his best friend in toll.
If he had only stopped to re-evaluate what was written on the parchment, Zacharias Smith would have noticed that a errant draft had gently flipped the page onto another spell while he was looking after Shelly.
The next day for Harry Potter started off normally. He greeted a few of his dorm mates as he walked past them with his towel and to the loo. He brushed his teeth, took a shower, and even tried to flatten his perpetual untidy hair, though it was unsuccessful. Anticipating a Saturday to spend time with his best friends Hermione and Ron, he quickly dressed and headed down the dormitory stairs
He knew that something was wrong the moment he came down. The room was suddenly silent but when Harry paused in his steps and listened closer, he heard an odd sort of sound. Almost as if a dog was panting...
He looked to his right and saw a huddle of girls, staring at Harry as if he was something delicious. They didn't say anything when they saw he was looking at them; it seemed as if they were incapable of speaking.
Ginny came down the stairs and saw girls crowding around her boyfriend, not caring that his girlfriend was standing right behind them. With temper finally reaching its peak, the red-head pushed aside the petty girls with her elbows, fully ignoring their cries of protest.
"Harry, why are--" The witch suddenly stopped in her sentence, mouth hanging wide open when her boyfriend turned around. Harry immediately saw her gaping expression and felt a sense of doom overtaking his whole body.
"Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Huh...huh," she answered, confusing Harry even more. Ginny's mouth had gone dry, words incapable of being formed. He stepped backwards away from the crowd, aiming to escape to his dormitory. He felt someone near him and quickly whirled in that direction.
"Harry?" Her greeting came out as a question. Her friend looked absolutely horrified but it wasn't towards her. Harry latched onto her arm, pulling her with him up the stairs. "W-What's wrong?"
"Thank Merlin! You're normal," gasped Harry.
"Excuse me?" Hermione asked in a slightly offended tone.
"No, no...it's just those girls and even Ginny...they're, well, panting at me!"
"Are you serious?"
"Yes, panting. Mouths open and dried out, breath gone, incapable of even speaking! What's going on?"
"How should I know!" she exclaimed.
"Well, you're the only one who seems to have a brain...so why aren't you affected?"
"You're asking me questions that I can't answer. What I do know is that we have to get out of here..." Hermione poked her head around the corner, checking and measuring the distances that they could sprint. "Okay, we have to run."
"Why is this suddenly reminding me of Resident Evil where everyone is out to get the good looking guy..." Harry mumbled miserably before running across the Common Room with Hermione pulling him.
When he arrived in the Great Hall room, every one of the girls' reactions to Harry's presence was the same. One girl gulped down a full glass of water when Harry passed but she still ended up short of breath. That was reason enough for him to immediately turn on his heels and drag Hermione out with him.
A few feet away, Zacharias watched the girls' reactions, anticipating their immediate disgust towards Harry. Instead, he saw them staring vividly at him and...were they panting? He heard one by his side and with a shock, he realized it was Isabella.
He nudged her painfully in the ribs and the girl shook her head as if being wakened from a trance. "What?" she asked rudely.
"Why are you--why are they looking at Harry like that? Oh shite...the spell's not working!"
"Where is it...where is it...oi, there it is," Zacharias called over his shoulder. The two Hufflepuffs had sprinted to the library when they realized the spell did not work as they thought it would. Luckily, the Spellbook was located in the exact place as before and all they had to do was search for the one that was used.
Bella hurriedly made her way to her friend's side and looked at the incantation her best friend was pointing at.
Then she smacked him in the head.
"You idiot! This isn't the spell. It's the Lust spell. Can't you read?"
Zacharias read the title again and couldn't tear his eyes away. "You didn't make Harry unattractive...you made him ultra attractive!"
"No, but I...I--"
"Res a Libido, wasn't it?" asked Bella impatiently. Realization dawned on the boy.
"You are so stupid--doing this for a girl who would never go out with you purely based on that fact that you are so mindless and stricken with idiocy!" Bella shouted at him. Zacharias jerked away in shock of the sudden outburst.
"You never knew...never knew you didn't have to cast that stupid spell on Harry to get a girl to like you..."
She grabbed him by his collar and pushed him against the bookshelf. Zacharias' eyes widened even more.
"You idiot," she muttered before forcefully pressing her lips against his.
They stood in a standstill in the quiet library, lips seemingly glued together. The boy was in such shock that he didn't even think to use his arms. This kiss was determined and Bella was trying to make it last.
Unfortunately, they possessed lungs and needed oxygen. Bella pulled away but couldn't leave completely because Zacharias' arms suddenly shot up by its own will and grabbed onto hers.
They looked at each other in silence. Zacharias noticed the blush that was on his best friend--his female best friend's--cheeks and suddenly he saw her differently.
He never knew. Never, never, never, never.
Wordlessly, Zacharias released her and Bella stumbled back a foot. He stuck out a hand, looking straight in her black eyes and a confused Isabella Martinez slowly gave him hers. He gripped it tightly and led her out of the library.
Harry groaned when he and Hermione came upon a corridor occupied by girls. The panting had gotten worse when they came out of Common Room because there were more girls in the other Houses.
However, he noticed two girls sitting on a stone bench and pointed them out.
"Why aren't they affected?"
"Oh...Margaret and Janice? Harry, they're lesbians." Hermione whispered in Harry's ear.
Harry's mouth made an "o" and smiled nervously when he saw Margaret looking at him. The girl raised an eyebrow when she noticed the other girls around him, except Hermione, panting. He shrugged and pulled Hermione away.
"Okay now I understand about Margaret and Janice. But Hermione," he stepped closer to her and leaned down to whisper in her ear, "what the bloody hell is wrong with Finnegan?"
Hermione stood on her tiptoes to look over Harry's shoulder and saw Seamus Finnegan, who was standing in front of all the girls, smiling a goofy smile and dreamily gazing at Harry.
"Oh dear," she gasped. "I guess he's...well, he's gay."
At her last word, Harry grabbed Hermione's arm, opened the nearest broomstick closet, and intended to pull her in with him.
Unfortunately some people were currently occupying the closet.
Zacharias Smith and Isabella Martinez pulled apart from their passionate embrace and looked up to see Harry Potter glowering at them.
"Leave, please," Harry ordered them in a rough voice once he saw the girl beginning to stare and heard her starting to pant. He still had Hermione by the arm.
Silently, the two sixth years-the boy leading the girl out by her arm-crept out of the secluded space, avoiding to even touch Harry. When he thought that the pair would leave, he found he was wrong. Smith changed his mind and turned around.
"You know...I think it's a spell that's causing this...at least I think. I don't really know because why would I know, you know? So yeah, a spell, maybe..."
Harry stared after the strange, strange boy as he escaped with his girl and then hurriedly pulled Hermione in and shut the closest door behind him.
Hermione's back collided painfully against the shelves, causing a few Cleansweeps to fall around her. Harry looked absolutely insane as he leaned against the door, hands pulling his hair.
"This is a dream, a nightmare. I can't have all the girls acting like...dogs around me! It's annoying. Ginny's acting the same way and Hermione, she's already annoying enough for me," said Harry in a desperate tone. Somewhere along his rambling, he had reached both arms and grabbed a hold of Hermione's shoulders and pulled her close so that she and Harry were touching noses.
"Harry," Hermione said in a soothing voice as she rubbed his arms up and down, "it's okay. Calm down. I'll find an answer to this. It's just a spell or something and it'll wear off soon enough."
She was trying to ignore the feeling of being so close to Harry. It felt good, she had to admit. As if they were about to kiss...
"Okay...okay," He muttered, forehead pressed against hers. He was breathing lightly against her face, tickling her nose. Hermione felt her knees going weak at the contact.
Instead, she smiled. "You think your girlfriend annoying?"
Harry chuckled, sending another shiver through Hermione's body. "Amazingly. Ginny's different now...hangs around me like a puppy. And don't think I haven't seen the way she treats you."
Hermione frowned, remember the younger girl from the previous day.
He sighed. "I think I should tell her what I truly feel about her."
"Good," was all his best friend said. Harry looked at her in shock. "What? She is annoying."
Harry laughed again and hugged her, unaware of the content smile on Hermione's face. On impulse, he kissed her cheek.
She pulled away and gazed up at Harry in a daze. "What was that for?"
All he did was shrug and said simply, "Thank you." He was grateful for her being by his side. She always helped him before and she was helping him now--even though the zombified females were after him.
Hermione smiled widely at him and grabbed his hand. "C'mon. Let's go to the library."
"Zacharias did it. I know he did," muttered Harry darkly after the two of them had quickly escaped the girls and ran into the library for refuge. Hermione hurriedly scanned the bookshelves for spells that matched Harry's condition.
"Kill him later, Harry. We have to--" The bushy-haired witch easily spotted a large, ancient textbook perched on a wooden stand in a corner. "Merlin, we found it." She pointed to the page where the book was opened and her eyes widened. "The Lust Spell,"
Harry rushed to her side. "Res a Libido. When cast on a person, said person will receive the undivided attention of his/her other peers. Following this incantation may cause shortness of breath, dry or parched mouths and the need to drink lots of water...exactly! Now what's the counter spell?"
When his friend didn't answer, he followed to wear her eyes were pinned on and whispered aloud. "The only means to stopping the Lust Spell is for his/her true love, or the person who does not show the above symptoms, to kiss him/her in front of the affected crowd."
Now Harry knew why Hermione didn't say anything. She had her back towards him, afraid to even look at him in the eyes. Lightly touching her shoulder, Harry made her turn to face him.
"Hermione...you l-love me?"
Hermione sighed, thinking that she should tell the truth now since it was obvious. "Always, Harry. Even though you were with Ginny..."
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Harry, I know I should have told you about my feelings," Hermione whispered, holding his head with her hands on both side. "I was scared for our friendship and besides you were with Ginny..."
"She doesn't love me, Hermione. I don't love her. Never did. Never will," he mumbled, closing his eyes at Hermione's touch and suddenly feeling lightheaded. Did her touch always have this effect on him? He guessed it did but he never really noticed it.
Hermione realized that he was leaning forward and so, she did the same. She felt a hand on her hip and one behind her neck. She encircled her arms around his neck and smiled contently.
At that exact moment, the entire female population of Hogwarts barged into the library. Greedy and lustful eyes combed the aisles for signs of Harry Potter and when they sought him out, they realized with sinking stomachs that he wasn't alone.
The moment their lips touched they felt a spark throughout their whole bodies. There were fireworks, passion and happiness all combined in one. It was like they were the only ones left in the world; the only thing that mattered was the two of them. But as they knew, all great things have to end...but just not yet.
Harry didn't listen to the annoying screams of Ginny, didn't listen to the disappointed sighs of girls around him, didn't listen to Ron whooping for joy. He was immune to all the insignificant noises.
No, what he was listening to was the sound of his heartbeat in his ears beating as fast as the wings of a mockingbird.
The kiss felt right, so so right. Feeling Hermione's smile as she kissed his lips with passion made his heart explode with fondness and love. Her lips were soft and warm against his and he embraced her with his arms, pulling her closer and deepening the kiss.
Hermione kissed back, all her passion and love in her kiss. Harry continued to kiss her, running his fingers through her hair. Hermione moaned softly, enjoying all the different feelings that were running through her veins and at that moment, their souls were connected. Harry felt better than he had ever felt in his life. He felt as if the hole in his heart was suddenly filling up. The realization that there was someone in this world who cared about him so much made him complete. He knew it from her kiss. She poured all her love into her kiss, just as he had.
They pulled apart, though not completely. Harry still had his arms around her waist and Hermione's arms around his neck.
He looked into her eyes, immediately smiling when seeing pure love that was only given to him.
He never knew Hermione kissed so well.
Then again, he never knew someone could hate him so much that they'd to cast a spell on him (well--besides Voldemort).
He never knew that he could beat Hermione on a test.
He never knew he could ever fall in love with his best friend.
That realization left him out of thoughts, out of words, and out of breath.
So, what d'ya think?