Sooo, yeah. Happy Valentine's Day!! Hope you all have spent it with your loved one, I did, and enjoyed yourselves.
Okay, that being said. I haven't posted anything since forever, and this came up while I was thinking how different would the Harry/Cho kiss be if there had been some mutual interest between Harry and Hermione. You know, non-platonic interest. How would Hermione react to it, and how would Harry react to her reaction and to the fact that she's writing letter to another boy. And this came up.
So, I guess, I tried to pin-point the exact moment for when they can become interested (even if I believe Hermione was always interested), to give the story more of a plot, and thought of the kiss at the end of GoF.
This is a oneshot, a short one at that, so there's not much explained, but I hope it makes enough sense to be enjoyable. Also, everyone stays likable in this!
Well, as likable as they could possibly be considering their personalities and usual reaction to certain situations.
(ootp au // He certainly was clueless when it came to girls, but Harry knew he was well-versed in everything related to Hermione. At least, he hoped so.)
As a 15 years old teenage male, he honestly believed that girls were created for the sole purpose of punishing unsuspecting males with their confusing and bewildering personalities; leaving them to ponder what they did wrong even when they said or did nothing at all.
Take Cho Chang, for example. She seemed pretty enamoured with Cedric last year, even when she expressed regret at having to refuse his invite to the Yule Ball, it wasn't the kind of regret that showed she wanted to go with him but wouldn't because of already giving her word to go with another boy. She had looked pretty happy in Cedric's arms all through that night, he ought to know, he watched them; and then the rest of the year, rumours of their relationship abounded the Castle.
This year, however, granted if it hadn't been pointed out at him he'd never had noticed, she seemed pretty much interested in him and-well, Harry just didn't know! If she had shown this interest last year, then yeah, he would've been all for it, but… but…
But there was Hermione to consider now.
His best friend Hermione, that until the Yule Ball was kind of asexual and then turned into a very pretty girl that was his very best friend and he tried very hard not to think un-platonic thoughts about her. His very pretty, very female best friend that sent all his resolutions of keeping her in the OFF LIMITS section of his brain to Hell when she kissed his cheek at the end of Fourth Year; not a earth-shattering thing, but the kiss definitely lasted at least three seconds too much than what was considered appropriate between friends. He was sure. He counted.
Harry would think that the isolation during the summer would kill the tentative thoughts that began to creep into his mind, the kind of thoughts about Hermione that were more-than-friendly. And it did. Kind of. For a while.
But the memory of her kiss was definitely the one bright spot in his depressed, isolated summer.
And when he arrived at Grimmauld Place, Sirius had been quick to grab him and advise him to ask his friends about the letters they sent over the month apart. Which, feeling really confused, he did, and was pleasantly surprised when Hermione dashed to her room and returned seconds later with a stack of envelopes-letters from her that weren't sent, and gave them to him along with a brief explanation of why she hadn't sent them.
She'd looked so hesitant and scared that Harry couldn't help but smile a little and forgive her on the spot, which was great because he was rewarded with another of her enthusiastic hugs. He'd forgiven Ron, too, simply because he really hadn't expected his red-haired friend to go against his mother's, and Dumbledore's, orders.
If his anger at Dumbledore had been fleeting, it certainly wasn't when he wasn't awarded the Prefects position. Not that he had expected it, but-really, Ron? Not to belittle his friend or anything but, honestly. His inner reaction was echoed when Hermione had, maybe unthinkingly, but rather loudly, proclaimed Harry deserved the position, that it was the obvious choice. And it was echoed again by Ron's brothers, the twins. Ginny didn't say anything, but it was obvious she agreed with the general opinion, though preferred to remain silent.
Hermione's support after that, fuelled no doubt by her worry at the obvious slight on his behalf, was not helpful to his resolve of keeping her as just-a-friend in his mind. Nope. She went right out of that place to an unknown, Hermione-only place in his head, where non-platonic thoughts were more than okay, if his hormone-fuelled fantasies were anything to go by. (The fact, that she suggested that he used his Cloak to accompany her on her Prefect rounds, will remain a secret he would take to the grave and beyond; not only because she suggested something that blatantly broke the rules, but also because the name of their mutual friend did not come up with she issued this unofficial invite.)
You see, all this little acts of support from her and his subsequent acts of gratitude made them grow closer during summer. To the delight of some, and not so much of others. And when the year started, catastrophically so, he couldn't really deny her hugs and comforting kisses on the cheek, he'd needed them because, hey, the Ministry had sent someone specifically to make his life a living hell! Torture included! Ron was not exactly happy about it, but kept unusually quiet (and later, Hermione would tell him why, that she'd had a talk with him that explained a few facts of life, and some truths their friend didn't want to admit to).
So, obviously, Harry started to see Hermione in a different, more interesting light. Thus, obviously, after the DA was formed, and he came into contact with Cho again, things turned bloody well confusing.
Mainly because Hermione pointed out that the pretty Chinese Ravenclaw seemed interested in him, when he'd been sure she was also interested in him.
And things remained confusing until a few days before Christmas break. Then all became very, very clear.
Harry thought, as he watched their little study group prepare to leave, that maybe he should simply renounce girls. But then, he remembered all those lovely bits that girls had and that boys didn't have, and how very cute they were when happy and how much he liked to be hugged by a happy girl who unwittingly pressed all those aforementioned lovely bits into him and-well. His idea of renouncing them kind of dwindled and died then.
Of course, the fact that, so far, Hermione was the only one pressing her lovely bits into him was great giving that, well, he fancied her now, kind of. And even when he was pretty sure he didn't want other girls pressing her bits into him, when Cho's interest was pointed out to him, he remembered all those feelings he got last year when in her presence and how nervous and panicky he felt, and the thought that she wanted, you know, hug him now, maybe more, left him slightly dizzy and anxious.
It was all so confusing, because he knew he fancied Cho the year before, and those feeling were the ones he associated with, well, fancying girls and all, but he didn't feel like that with Hermione. Sort of. Maybe. Okay, yeah, he felt slightly dizzy when she smiled at him, or hugged him, or kissed his cheek (and boy, she'd been kissing his cheek a lot lately); there was also this tingly feeling coursing through his body and something like a buzz in the back of his head. Nothing panic-inducing like when Cho got too close. But still.
He'd tried to talk to Ron about it, but his friend was still kind of miffed with him, for all the attention he was getting from pretty girls, even though he didn't ask for it (though, he suspects it has to do more with Hermione than any other girl), and he really wasn't much help when eventually tried to give some advice. Being as clueless about females as he was.
Sirius, though, had been helpful. But his reply to his desperate letter left him just as, if not more, confused.
Because according to his Godfather, feeling what he felt around Cho was normal, every boy felt like that when close to a girl he fancied, and assured him it would eventually go away as he got to know Cho and spend time with her if they ever started dating. Now, his explanation to what he felt around Hermione was less than helpful. Sirius claimed it was also normal when a boy was close to the girl he fancied, and that, if the relationship grew into something more, those feeling would never really go away, but he'd get used to them, he would grow to like them.
See? Much too confusing for an unsuspecting boy such as Harry, who had had no real education in the way of social interaction other than what he'd seen while growing up. And certainly no instruction on how to handle girls without making an arse out of himself.
He needed to talk to someone who could really help him, and usually Hermione was that someone. But now it wasn't possible, even worse, she was sending him all these… these mixed signals-it was driving him absolutely mental. Sometimes he'd be so sure she returned his feeling what with all the hugging and kissing-on-the-cheek and smiling, only for her to do a complete one-eighty and say or do something that clearly showed there were not returning of feelings on her part and that she only saw him as a friend.
Take the issue with Cho, as proof of that. They'd been planning the next lesson for the DA, and somehow they had ended up sitting really close to each other, so close they were one step away from openly cuddling, when she'd gone and said how Cho seemed to be interested in him with this smug smile as if she had been expecting it.
Shaking his head to clear it of the constant confusion that followed him everywhere now, Harry looked up to see most of the member of the DA had gone back to their Common Rooms. The only ones left where Cho and some of her friends and Hermione and the Weasleys. He walked to the board they'd been using as a sort of memento-holder, where pictures of the former Order members and Cedric and victims of this new War were tapped to it.
He watched Cedric for a moment, feeling the guilt crawling into his mind, before quickly turning to the smiling faces of the Order. His parents, Sirius and Remus all smiling and waving at him.
So focused on the picture, Harry didn't heard her approach him until she tapped his shoulder. Spinning around, he came face to face with Cho, and couldn't really help the blush that assaulted his cheeks, nor the anxious and panicky feeling that engulfed him. The only thing preventing him from stuttering like a fool was the knowledge that his reaction to the pretty Ravenclaw was normal.
Over her shoulder, he caught sight of her giggling friends before they left. The twins left after them, grinning at him and giving him a double thumbs-up. Ron didn't spare a glance his way, obviously miffed by something, and Ginny followed her brother looking much the same as him. Hermione stopped at the door, facing away from him.
He was about to call out to her, but then heard Cho talking, and thought it would be rude to dismiss her just like that. He spared a glance at the girl in front of him, but Cho was looking at Cedric's picture, and the startling thought that the pretty Chinese girl only wanted to get close to him for Cedric came unbidden. It made sense, though. Of course, why else would she be interested in him, if not to somehow feel closer to her dead boyfriend?
Cho looked at him, still talking, wondering, but not outright asking him, if Cedric mentioned her before he died. Harry gave her a little smile, not really wanting to talk about that night, about Cedric, so he made a noncommittal sound and looked past her shoulder again.
And found Hermione looking at him over her shoulder, frowning… oddly. He felt a light touch on his chin but his focus was elsewhere, so he paid it no mind. There was a flash of sadness in her eyes before she turned and left but before he could so much as move, Cho obscured his view of the closing door and pressed her lips against his.
He froze up. A second later, he jumped away from her, literally, and stared at her with what was surely a bewildered expression.
He felt the panic set in, his anxiousness rocketing up alarmingly and he'd be damn sure to write a note to Sirius telling him he was wrong. There was nothing normal in feeling like this. Like he might throw up due to overwhelmed nerves, like he was hyperventilating-like he just committed the ultimate betrayal.
Nauseous, he was physically nauseous.
The kiss, brief as it was, was nothing of what everyone bragged about. It didn't felt pleasant, or even fine. It felt wrong, it felt awkward. It felt wet. And belatedly, as Cho called his name again, he realized why.
She was crying.
And, he wished she was Hermione.
Risking the wrath of a girl was not something he ever wanted to do. But given the current circumstances, it was his only choice.
Faster than he'd ever been in his life, he grabbed his bag and outer robes and dashed out of the RoR, hoping to avoid Umbridge and cohorts and any other unwanted individual as he ran towards Gryffindor Tower. Luck seemed to be on his side all the way there, until he crossed the portrait hole.
And stumbled upon his arguing friends.
They both turned to him at once, Hermione showing a blank expression while Ron could barely hide his glee.
The youngest Weasley boy broke the tense silence. "So, did you kiss?"
Harry blinked, and blanched, and although he was pretty sure all the colour drained from his face, his cheeks felt impossibly hot. That gave him away.
But Hermione deadpanned the obvious answer, before going back to her writing. "You did."
Something in her tone made him desperate to deny such statement. "I didn't!"
She tensed, but didn't turn around. Ron raised his eyebrows before frowning deeply.
Weakly, he muttered the rest of his defence. "She kissed me."
Hermione's shoulders dropped in defeat, but she said nothing and kept writing. Probably letters for Krum, thought Harry darkly, because there were no books in sight.
Ron's laughter didn't help him one bit. "Same thing, mate! You still kissed, so good for you! Now, tell me, how was it?"
He ignored him, walking around the couch were Ron was sitting to kneel next to Hermione on the floor. He tried to catch her eye, but she refused, turning to face the fireplace when he got close. "I didn't kiss her back, Hermione. It was barely a kiss, I pulled away!"
"It's okay, Harry. I don't need you to explain anything. It's… it's not like I… fancy you or…"
Somehow, that made him inexplicably angry. And it showed pretty damn fast.
"No, it's not like you do, do you?"
That made her look at him, not the words but certainly the cold tone of his voice. Even Ron, Harry could see, was shocked by it.
He could stop, but a quick glance at the sheets of paper showed she was writing to Krum. That, and all the confusion he'd felt around her lately reared its ugly head in that moment.
"Never mind how affectionate you've been this year, yeah? I mean, obviously, that was just a show of friendship, right? I was just the lucky friend that just happened to be on the receiving end of all the hugs and kissed and smiles. Why the bloody hell would I think you might feel more than-ugh!" He stood up and stalked away, trying to calm down because he really didn't want to fall into Ron's category when arguing with Hermione. He didn't want to hurt her. "God, just-I obviously misunderstood all the bloody signals!"
"Signals!" Hermione, he noticed, had not been far behind him, and was now invading his personal space while trying to keep from backing down. "You're one to talk! What with all those sweet compliments and encouraging words and acceptance! You never complained when I hugged you or kissed your cheek and don't you dare deny it, Harry James Potter, because you were enjoying it! You kept being all cute and-and adorable and-"
"I didn't send any signals!"
"That's the bloody point! You stand there, accusing me of confusing you, when you're doing the same!"
Harry blushed, in anger or at being caught sniffing around her skirt, he didn't know, but feeling he had to defend himself. "I've done no such thing! It's you and your… your… and-you pushed me into Cho!"
"I did not!"
"Yes, you did! If you haven't pointed out she was interested I would have gone on being blissfully ignorant!" And probably would have focused more on you, he added mentally, wishing he could find the words to end this pointless argument because all he wanted to do was hug her and wipe that pained look on her face.
Hermione bit her trembling lips, probably gathering her wits before replying to his accusation. "Well, I'm sorry, okay? I was only trying to-never mind! I don't even know why you care so much if I fancy you or not, because it's not like you-"
She never got to finish her sentence. Because Harry, grabbing the back of her neck and pulling her into him, effectively cut her rant by pressing their lips together.
He didn't close his eyes. He watched as Hermione stopped thinking for a brief second before her eyes widened, as if just catching up on his actions. She frowned in confusion and the closed her eyes tightly while her hand pressed into his shoulder. Harry thought she was going to push him away, but her hands fisted on his jumper and she pulled him closer, banishing what little distance remained between them. Sliding his other hand around her waist, not wanting to risk her to reconsider and pull away, Harry secured his hold on her and gently, softened the pressure of his lips on her.
Her response was delightful.
Hermione released all of her tension in a deep sigh, her whole demeanour softening as her body moulded perfectly into his and her lips parted slightly, pliant, ready for him. And he answered in kind, his eyes fluttered once, catching sigh of her blushed cheeks and happily relaxed expression, before he lost the battle against his desire to properly kiss her. Parting his own lips, he tentatively brushed them against her own, and the resulting sigh was everything he could ask for.
The hand grasping her neck trailed down her back to join its twin around her waist, securing his possessive hold of her. In response, she moved her hands around his shoulders, and parted her lips further in obvious invitation.
Before, however, he could even think to go for it, a piercing screech cut through the hormonal haze that surrounded them. Neither was inclined to break the embrace, and Harry finally understood what Sirius meant when he said he'd grow used to feeling dizzy and tingly and buzzy. He became aware of all of it, but rather liked it when Hermione was pressing all of her lovely bits into him.
One glance at her, and he knew she felt the same, if not pretty close to what he was currently feeling.
Their attention was drawn to all the ruckus near the stairs, they tuned to watch as the Weasley twins were dragging a fuming Ron up to the dorms. The boys grinned at them when they caught their eyes.
"Sorry about that-"
"-but we were trying to give you some privacy-"
"-and our brother dearest looked on the verge of exploding-"
"-and would have most likely interrupted you in a much too rude manner-"
"-so we thought to avoid that-"
"-by dragging him away silently-"
"-but he had to be his obnoxious self-"
"-and still ruin the moment."
Harry blinked and nodded his thanks as the twins kept true to their words and dragged their brother up to the dorms. His attention was swiftly pulled back to the girl in his arms when she leaned forward and placed a kiss to his chin, and then made a slow trail until she reached his lips.
They kissed, again. And again. And again. Softly, tenderly. Every caress ignited something inside the green-eyed boy, but he didn't feel the urge to deepen the kisses. Not now anyway, he was enjoying it all the same.
When they finally stopped, Harry pressed his forehead against hers. Hermione looked into his eyes for several seconds before breaking the silence.
"You really didn't kissed her back?" She whispered quietly. "It was barely a kiss?"
"Yeah," said Harry. "It… it wasn't even that pleasant. Just… it felt… off. Like-like I was doing something wrong. Betraying someone."
Hermione smiled weakly, but clearly relieved that he hadn't enjoyed his brief encounter with Cho. "Oh? That bad?"
He had nothing to hide, really, he now knew what he wanted, who he wanted, for real. "She was crying and…"
"She wasn't you."
He smiled as she averted her eyes, a blush covering her face. After lapsing into a confortable silence, Hermione gathered enough courage to look into his eyes.
"So, you… do you…?"
"Yeah," said Harry, grinning happily. "And you?"
Hermione returned his grin and leaned closer, nuzzling his cheek. "Of course, Harry."
The black-haired boy lifted her up a little, enough to move around with her in his arms, and walked the few steps to the couch quickly, spinning around and letting himself fall back. Hermione let out a soft squeal before giggling. Something that delighted Harry because this was the first time Hermione let herself go enough to actually giggle.
Later, he would find the time to ask all those questions that'd been plaguing his mind since summer break. All those things that proved that there were still aspect of Hermione that he knew nothing about, even he had been pretty sure he knew her better than anyone. Later, he would inquire about the letter to Krum (and get an earful from his lovely best-friend-turned-girlfriend about unnecessary jealousy and how there was never anyone else for her). Later, he would have to explain his behaviour and they both will come to realize that certain things had been overlooked out of confusion and fear (his and hers).
Because now, Harry was content to cuddle, at last, and revel in the knowledge that this lovely girl would be his for many years to come.
If you find any typos, please let me know. I try to check my fics before posting them, but something always gets past me.Document created with wvWare/wvWare version 1.2.7