Unofficial Portkey Archive

built in the cold by ayumi-nb

built in the cold


A short little oneshot that came up out of nowhere, but wouldn't leave me alone so I had to write it down.

This is an AU to GOF, in which Harry isn't as forgiving with Ron and doesn't accepts his feeble apology and starts to hang out with Neville. Hermione tries to be mediator but fails and, obviously, chooses to stay with Harry, thus prompting to them to develop feeling for each other (as it happens in the books-wait, it doesn't? Huh, could've fooled me).


"built in the cold"

(gof au // In which Harry is unreasonably jealous, Neville tries to help, and Hermione is her usual logical and comforting self.)


"Are you sure, Harry?"

One Harry James Potter looks at the shores of the Black Lake, then down at his half-nude self, and finally at Neville standing a few meters behind him, clad in his winter robes. He considers the Scion of Longbottom for a long time, his mind actually wondering if he had finally gone barking mad as there is no other explanation for him to want to jump-actually JUMP into the frigid waters of the Black Lake in the middle of January.

But then he remembers Viktor Krum jumping into the lake from his fancy ship and his blood boils. Not because he could, no, but because Hermione had looked suitably impressed when they stumbled upon the sight last week, and then she'd gone and said how admirable it was that Viktor practiced so hard for the Tournament.

Well, what the bloody hell does she think he's been doing? Playing Wizard Chess?

"Ye-yeah, Neville. Pretty sure."

The cold breeze passes by and he does everything in his goddamn power not to shiver, of course the fact that he's only wearing swimming trunks is purposely ignored in his mind. He's ready to jump, because if Viktor bloody Krum can do it, then so can he.

"Okay… but, Harry, are you positive that you don't want me to cast the Warming Charm on you? I mean, I'm sure even Krum uses one when-"

"No. I'm sure," says, Harry, a little more forcefully than he intends. "Now, Neville, just take the Omniculars and make sure I don't drown."

Neville takes the Omniculars and follows him to the edge of the shore, sighing dejectedly. "Oh, believe me, Harry, with this cold, drowning is the least of your worries."

Harry ignores him, and starts walking into the water, chanting in his head "I can do it, it's for Hermione" over and over. Once he's completely submerged, Harry cast the Bubblehead Charm on himself.

It's amazing the things one can do when properly motivated. Just last month, he had no clue of what to do for the Second Task, now, and thanks to Hermione (although she doesn't know it yet) and the "Viktor Krum incident", as Neville had dubbed it, he can hold the Bubblehead Charm for just over thirty minutes and could recast it almost immediately.

However, the problem is not recasting or holding the Charm, he can do that just fine-under warm, foamy water, like the one in the Prefects' Bath. Harry doesn't know if he'll be able to do the Charm under the Lake, hence why he's been coming here, clad in his newly acquired swimming trunks, for the past three day with Neville to practice. And with Neville only. He refuses to tell Hermione his accomplishment until he can cast the spell under the Black Lake's icy water.

Because, you know, he discovered the first day that Warming Charms were not an option for him while trying to hold the Bubblehead.

Underwater, he swims further and further from the shore, testing his endurance and the strength of his spell. While the spell seems to endure well enough, Harry soon finds himself struggling to focus: his limbs start to feel numb, his muscles cramp and the cold seeps into his bones; he knows, with astounding clarity that if he doesn't surfaces now, he'll lose focus and the spell will break.

And then he'll drown.

But I can do this.

A few more seconds and he can't feel his legs, a minute later he can't feel his arms, and his mind starts to get foggy.

I can do this.

He doesn't even realize when the Bubble head burst, but he sure notices when, instead of air, he's breathing water.

Oh… shite…


There's water surging up his throat, and he's coughing. And coughing and coughing and coughing.

Someone's patting his back, but he's too weak to move and his sight is too blurry to see anything beyond his nose-oh, wait, he doesn't have his glasses.


He coughs some more, but eventually manages to talk. "H-Hermione?"


As soon as his name is uttered, he feels someone engulfing him in a tight embrace; needless to say, it is Hermione the one hugging him. Harry feels himself being lift into a sitting position, his glasses are placed where they belong, and now he can see Hermione's tear stained face.

"What the bloody hell were you thinking?! Going into the lake just like that!? Do you know what could've happened to you if I hadn't decided to follow you today!?!"

Oh, she's mad at him; he hates it when that happens, but what can he say? I'm sorry but I was trying to be more impressive than Viktor Krum? I wanted to show you that I, too, can take a casual dip into the Black Lake? I don't know what I'm feeling, Hermione, but please tell me you don't fancy Viktor bloody Krum.

Yeah, like that would do the trick. At least she's still hugging him.

"You-you seemed… impressed w-when Krum did-it."

Hermione seems shocked by his response and, regrettably, pulls back from him. Silently, she conjures up a blanket and wraps him in it, before looking right into his eyes. "Harry, I wasn't impressed by Viktor jumping into the water."


Well, dammit, now she tells him. Now that's he's sitting here, going into hypothermia, after nearly drowning.

"No. What I found impressive, if not a little disturbing, was the half transfiguration he did on himself once he was in the water. Did you not see it?"

Trust Hermione to find a way to make him feel foolish. "No, I… wasn't exactly paying attention to… him."

"Then where did you get the idea of jumping into the Black Lake as if it were the middle of summer?"

"Uh…" Harry fidgets under her intent gaze, feeling his face heat up, and while that is a relief, now he knows hypothermia is far away, it's also a dead give-away to what going through his head. He's sure; Hermione will pick up his train of thought in any moment.

"Harry… this… wasn't because of me, right?"

Ah, there she goes.


Oh, now he wishes for the cold of the water, he doesn't think his face has ever been so red.

"Harry. You don't need to do anything to impress me," she says, smiling gently at him.

"But, why? I'm not-"

"You are impressive, Harry, just by being yourself. And I'm not talking about Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived; I'm talking about Harry, just Harry."

Well, he certainly did not expect that. Harry feels foolish again for staring at Hermione like an idiot, but… he doesn't know how to respond to that! Or, he does, but that would certainly be pushing his luck too much!

Granted, his mouth isn't agreeing to his reason right now. "Can I kiss you?"

And it's Hermione's turn to blush now, leaving Harry with a sense of accomplishment. She doesn't say anything for a long time, and when Harry's starting to feel uncomfortable, she talks.

"Why-why do you want to kiss me?"

He blinks, tilting his head to the side. Why, she asks. Isn't it obvious? Everything he's been doing as of late… hasn't she picked up the clues?

What clues though? If not even I know what I feel, how can she suss it out?

Still, he thinks he's been pretty obvious nonetheless, and she's the brilliant one, she ought to figure it out. Nevertheless, he will tell her why, even if… even if he ends up looking like a fool.

"I, well… that's because I… I really, really… want to…"

Hermione's blush intensifies, but she looks happy and that's fine with him. She leans forward, and Harry has to put every ounce of strength to move as well, finally cursing the cold for leaving him so weak. Their lips are close, almost touching, they can feel their breaths mingling-but then someone's coughing purposely and they freeze before snapping back.

Standing next to them is a very amused Professor McGonagall and a nervous looking Neville.

The Scion of Longbottom talks first. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to… er, interrupt, but Hermione said it was urgent that I go get Professor McGonagall, so…"

"It's okay, Neville," says Hermione, standing up and helping Harry along the way.

Professor McGonagall arches her eyebrow at them. "Is the danger of the Tournament not to your liking, Mr Potter, that you must go find some more by yourself? Or did you feel the Giant Squid was too lonely and decided to keep him company?"

Harry shifts uncomfortably under the Scottish Professor's gaze, but Hermione places a hand on his arm and he feels the calm washing over him. Still, he doesn't know what to say.

"Or, perhaps, you were hoping to re-enact that Muggle Fairy Tale, what is its name… Sleeping Beauty? But as I understand it, the Princess is only under an enchanted sleep, not dead by drowning."

The amused glint behind the Professor eyes is the only thing telling them she's actually joking, as her demeanour is as stern as always. Neville seems to be struggling, the poor boy doesn't know if he should laughs or not, but decides not to. Hermione looks suitably shocked that her favourite Professor would be so… out of character, and yet not. And Harry…

Harry wants to jump into the lake again.

In the end, Neville, who's succumbed to the humour of it all, answers for him. "Actually, Professor, I think he was trying to… build some character."

And he'd failed in rather epic proportions.




There…. Tell me what you think?

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