Unofficial Portkey Archive

Always and Forever by Lorelover

Always and Forever


Year 4 Chapter 12



AN: I inadvertently left out a key fact that make things a little different than canon: The Ball (in my story) was on December twenty third, which was a Friday. A perfect day for a dance, and the next day was of course Saturday, a good day to travel on. So I don't see any reason to make everyone miss out on Christmas with their family, just so they could stay for the Ball. When I get time, I'll fix that and remove this note.



Hermione woke from one of the most pleasant dreams she'd had in a long time, maybe even the best. She had been dancing in the arms of her best friend... again, and then he leaned down and... oh... Merlin, Harry kissed me. The dreamy look on her face quickly changed to shock, then confusion, but as Hermione remembered the kiss, it slowly changed back to dreamy. It had been her first kiss, and even though she didn't have any experience, and nothing to compare it to, she was quite certain it was a great kiss. She had heard other girls talk about their first kiss, and she had read a little about it too of course. This kiss was nothing like those. There had been no bumping of noses or chipped teeth, no chapped lips or bad breath. It wasn't sloppy, crude, or clumsy, and it certainly wasn't boring. `How did Harry learn to kiss like that?' Hermione wondered. As far as she knew, Harry had never had a girlfriend before. `I guess he's just a natural,' she smiled at the thought.

"Well... I can't lie here all day, or I'll miss the train," Hermione said softly to herself. As she got out of bed and gathered her things for the shower, Hermione couldn't help but think, that for the first time, she might actually have preferred to stay at Hogwarts for Christmas.

Showered and packed Hermione was ready to head down to the common room and then on to breakfast. Just as she reached for the door, a jarring thought occurred to her. What about Harry? She had been so caught up remembering the kiss, and how great it was, she forgot it took two people to accomplish that feat. Suddenly, Hermione was terribly nervous. Did Harry have those kinds of feelings for her, or was he just being... Harry. Had he only kissed her, to make her feel better knowing how upset she had been at not getting kissed goodnight by Viktor? `How is he going to react when he sees me?' She wondered, did he regret it? It was really the last question that Hermione feared the most. The thought of a deeper relationship with Harry wasn't at all unpleasant. It was the thought of ruining her friendship with him that scare her. Unfortunately, she knew they wouldn't have time to talk about it today; she was leaving right after breakfast to go home. Perhaps it was best that she would be away for a while, it would give them both some time to think. Hermione only hoped that in the meantime, things wouldn't become awkward between them.

Gathering her Gryffindor courage, Hermione pulled the door open and started down the stairs. Halfway down, she spotted Harry sitting on the couch, her courage failed, and she hesitated. A moment later, almost as if he had sensed her arrival, Harry looked up. Any thoughts of awkwardness, or fear, were washed away when he gave her a brilliant smile.

Hermione continued down at a slightly faster pace than before. With a spring in her step, Hermione ventured, "Good morning Harry."

Still smiling, Harry stood and stared into her eyes for a couple of seconds before answering, "Morning Hermione." And in that short moment, she knew. They had reached an understanding; nothing was going to come between them. Their friendship was safe, and they would eventually work through what happened last night together, just like every thing else.

Harry had known from the moment he woke, that Hermione would need to analyze the events from last night, and that would take time. He also knew she'd eventually want to talk about it. Obviously, none of that would happen today, and it was a good thing, because Harry didn't have a clue as to what it all meant either. He hadn't planned it out, he had just acted on instinct. He had kissed her last night, because on some deeper level... he just knew she needed something like that. Only a split second before, Harry had remembered the kiss on the cheek she had given him at the end of third year. As far as kisses go, it really hadn't been that big a deal, but at the time, to Harry... it was huge. Funny, Harry thought, how something so simple, can mean so much. It was true for him back then, and he was fairly certain it had been true for her last night.

Harry had been as astonished by his actions, probably as much as she had been surprised by them. He was also probably as confused as she was about it. One thing for sure, he had no regrets, and it was most definitely a pleasant experience. Earlier, this morning while Harry had been getting ready, he kept going over the feelings he had felt last night. Seeing her so vulnerable, and looking so rejected. It had bothered him in no small way. Harry remembered feeling anger towards Viktor for treating her so poorly. Yet now, looking back he was kind of glad Viktor hadn't kissed her. She had been his first kiss as well. Knowing that it was something that could only happen once, and it had happened to them… It made him happier than he could explain. It was something they had shared together. Something he was sure he would never forget. And as far as Harry was concerned, he couldn't think of anyone else he would have rather have shared that with. Harry knew they would talk about what it all meant sometime soon, but not today.

Harry reached his hand out to her, "Ready for breakfast then?"

Hermione took his hand, "Famished," and together they left for the Great Hall. She was happy and grateful that for now at least, things would continue as before. Their friendship and whatever it would become, would be fine until she came back from holiday.


"Oy Harry, looks like it's going to be pretty much just Weasleys and a Potter in the Castle for the next couple weeks, eh?" Fred said, as he sat down across from him and Hermione.

"Yeah, looks that way. How is your mum by the way?"

"She's upset of course, not about the flu, but about us all not being together for Christmas," answered George, as he joined them.

"Poor thing," Hermione said, "the wizards flu is bad enough, but to have it over the holidays." Then turning a sharp eye on the twins, she added, "You lot had better send her something nice."

Fred involuntarily flinched back a bit. He had always liked how feisty Hermione could be, but had no doubt she could make him and his brothers regret not taking her seriously. Turning to George, he said, "Well brother, looks like we had better get on that." Hermione smirked, message received.

"Before I forget," Harry said, as he reached into his robes and pulled out a small parcel, "this is for you." As he handed it to Hermione he added, "When you get home tonight, open it up. There are two presents; one for you, and one for your mum and dad."

Hermione took the present with a wide grin and said, "Thank you Harry, that's sweet of you to remember them." Then she too reached into her robes for a present, "This is for you Harry, but you can't open it until tomorrow... okay?" Then turning to Ron and the twins, "Sorry guys, I didn't know you'd still be here. I sent all of yours to the Burrow."

"That's all right, we don't have anything for you here either," Fred said, "it's at home, never got around to picking it up, mum being sick and all."

Hermione smiled and nodded in understanding. "Well, I'd better get going before I miss the train. I'm sorry you guys are staying here, if I had my way, I'd bring you all home with me." Pivoting on the bench so she could stand, she paused and looked at Harry, "Don't forget to work on your egg." Then standing up, she continued, "I'll miss you guys... and do try to stay out of trouble." She gave Harry a long look and then opened her mouth to say something, then seemingly thought better of it and settled for a big smile before turning to leave.


There were only a handful of students staying over, but the house-elves still went all out for Christmas Eve dinner, and then put on repeat performance for breakfast the following day. Harry had woken early out of habit, and so was the first one down in the common room Christmas morning. Of the Gryffindors that stayed, it was only him, the four youngest Weasley's, another sixth-year student, a single first-year.

Harry walked over and brought the fire back to life, before settling down on the couch, content to just relax until the others were up. After sitting down, he noticed a mug of hot chocolate sitting on the side table next to a plate of Christmas biscuits. Harry smiled, and reached over to take a sip from the steaming mug. `The little guys are really working hard to make our stay as pleasant as possible,' Harry thought, and then decided now was a good time to give out his second present. "Dobby," he called.

A soft pop announced the arrival of Harry's smallest friend. "You called Dobby, Harry Potter sir," he asked while bouncing slightly with excitement.

After meeting the excitable little elf during second year, Harry had learned a bit about him. Having shared a similarly poor passed family life, he couldn't help but feel a unique kind of kinship towards him.

"Merry Christmas Dobby," Harry said with a gentle smile, while handing him a small brightly wrapped present.

Dobby slowly took the gift with trembling hands, and then a moment later looked up at Harry in awe, as tears began to slide down his face.

Knowing how emotional Dobby could be, Harry wasn't all that surprised by his reaction. "It's not much of a present Dobby, but I wanted to get you something. Go ahead... open it."

Dobby opened the present with the greatest of care, savoring the moment. Finally open, he held up two very brightly colored socks, that of course didn't match. Dobby stared at the socks with a look of wonder, as if they were the crown jewels, "They're beautiful. Dobby loves them." Holding them to his chest, he moved a little closer to Harry and looked him straight in the eye, "No one has ever given Dobby presents. You are being a great wizard Mister Harry Potter. Dobby thinks you are most special."

When Dobby started crying again, Harry asked, "What's wrong?"

"Dobby should have thought to make present for you," he whispered, while looking down.

"Dobby, look at me," and when the tiny elf finally looked up, Harry smiled, "you have. You do things for me all the time," Harry gestured to the hot chocolate and biscuits. "And you've already given me the greatest gift of all... your friendship."

Dobby managed to calm down a little. He was actually starting to believe that Harry truly considered him a real friend. He also promised himself, that next year he would make Harry a very special gift.

"Now one more thing Dobby, would you please tell all the other elves, thank you, and Merry Christmas for me?"

Dobby smiled, "Dobby will tell Sir." He turned to move away, then paused and turned back, "Merry Christmas Harry Potter," and a second later, he was gone.

Being one of only two girls in the tower, it was rather lonely in her dorm room, so as soon as Ginny woke she headed down to the common room to see if anyone else was up yet. At the top of the stairs, she heard Harry call for Dobby. Ginny couldn't help but smile as she watched the scene play out, quickly putting her in the Christmas spirit. As soon as Dobby had left, she continued down. "That was awfully sweet of you Harry."

Harry looked up, "Hey, Merry Christmas Ginny."

"Merry Christmas Harry, you're up early."

Harry shrugged his shoulders, "I'm always up early. Besides, I'm anxious to hand out presents."

Ginny's eyes grew wide, "You have presents to hand out?"

"Well, they're not much, but..."

"I'll be right back!" Ginny had been hoping to spend a little time alone with Harry, but it seemed the little girl in her won out when it came to Christmas and presents.

Harry watched amused as she turned and raced back up the stairs, but this time towards the boy's dorms. Sure enough, a moment later Harry had to laugh as Ginny did her best impression of her mother, to rouse the boys.

Ron was the first to come down, still yawning but waking quickly as he took in the room. In the corner stood a nice sized tree complete with decorations and a few of Harry's presents. The roaring fire added a warm and friendly feel to the room as well. The twins came down next, dragging along their dorm mate with them. They were closely followed by Ginny, who was pulling a very shy and reluctant first-year with her. As she neared the bottom of the stairs, Harry overheard Ginny say softly, "No one should be alone on Christmas." Harry thought he couldn't agree more.

With Molly being sick, there were no presents under the tree from her this year, only a short letter of apology and a promise to make it up later, when she was back on her feet. Harry waved it off saying she had more than made up for it over the years.

As soon as everyone was settled around the fire, Harry started to pass out his presents, "I know it's not much, but with the tournament and all... well here." Harry handed a small package to each of the Weasleys, and then a second one to Ginny. "For your birthday, remember," he answered her unasked question. He had bought them all a large box of chocolates from Honeydukes, plus one extra for itself, and now he was glad he did. Harry caught the eye of the other sixth-year boy and subtly held up the extra gift. Then while he was looking, Harry nodded slightly towards the little first-year girl who was sitting alone a bit off from the others. The boy caught on immediately, understanding Harry only had one box left, and with a smile he also nodded to the girl.

Harry got up, went over, and sat down right next to her. "Hi, I'm Harry, I don't think I know your name," Harry asked the startled girl.

"Hi...I…I'm Natalie, Natalie MacDonald," she said, barely above a whisper, while looking at her lap.

Harry didn't know if she was just really shy, or if it was because she was intimidated by him. He hoped she was just shy. "You know I just so happen to have one present left, and I'd like you to have it," Harry said, handing her the last of his gifts.

The little girl looked up with a shocked look on her face, "You're giving me, a Christmas present?" She asked, while carefully taking the present and setting it in her lap. "You don't even know me."

"Sure I do, you're Natalie," Harry said with a big smile, "besides, you don't have to know someone to give them a gift."

Natalie looked down at the gift, then back up at Harry. In her short stay at Hogwarts, she had heard many things about this boy, but she never expected him to be anything like this in real life, especially to someone like her. "Thank you Mr. Potter."

Harry laughed, "Natalie, please just call me Harry. We both know I'm not that old."

"No... but you're Harry..."

Harry held up a hand to stop her and gently said, "Just Harry... please." Hoping to keep her from thinking he was somehow different, and better than everyone else, he added, "I'm just like everyone else, nothing special."

Natalie certainly didn't agree, but wasn't about to argue. So after a second she nodded and smiled, "Okay... Harry."

Hoping to change the subject Harry asked, "So, how'd you get stuck here? If it's not too personal."

Her smile fell, as she answered, "I don't think you'd understand."

"Maybe not, but why don't you try me," Harry encouraged.

"Well... my parents are Muggles, and well... they don't really understand me... or magic. I don't think they like it. They'd rather I stay here."

Harry felt a pang, and a sudden need to comfort her. "Actually, I think I know exactly how you feel." At her skeptical look, Harry went on, "You may not know this, but I was raised by my aunt and uncle who are also both Muggles. They not only don't like magic, they hate it... and me."

Natalie nodded, and even though see was staring right at him, her eyes looked so empty. "Sometimes I wish I was never born," she whispered.

Her voice was so sad it broke his heart. How many times had he thought the very same thing when he was younger.

"Is that why we keep our magic a secret, so people won't hate us?" She asked.

"No… no I don't think so. I think it has more to do with fear. People tend to fear what they don't understand." Harry didn't want her to get the wrong impression about Muggles and Magic. "You know, not all Muggles are like that. My best friend Hermione, her parents are both Muggles and they don't have a problem with magic."

"They still like her?"

"Yeah they do, very much so. Tell you what, when she gets back, I'll introduce you to her, then maybe the two of you could talk about it."

"You think she would?" Natalie asked, a glimpse of a smile starting to return.

"I know she would, Hermione always helps her friends, we take care of each other."

"But I'm not one of your friends."

"You are now," Harry said smiling, then gesturing to the others, "come on, I'll introduce you."

As he was making the rounds introducing Natalie, Ginny jumped up, "Thank you Harry, these are wonderful, I always wanted a pair." While showing her new Quidditch gloves to Natalie she added laughing, "You can get me a late birthday present any time."


After participating in the largest snowball fight of his life, involving all the students who had stayed over and even a couple of the braver professors, Harry headed up to the Gryffindor tower. He was wet and cold, and badly in need of a warm shower. A week had passed since Christmas, and although he had plenty of free time, the professors didn't. They were all very busy grading work and preparing for the coming term. He had finally managed to make an appointment with his Head of House, and he didn't want to show up looking like a snowman.

"Ah, Mr. Potter, please have a seat," McGonagall said with a smile, from behind a tall stack of papers. "So tell me, what can I do for you?"

Harry glanced at the work on her desk, he really didn't want to be a bother, but he felt this was important enough to ask. "Well ma'am, it's about my course selection. I'm trying to take my work more seriously, and I have been working harder."

"Something that hasn't gone unnoticed either Mr. Potter. I think you'll like your midterm grades."

"Thank you ma'am. Along that same line of thought, I have been thinking quite seriously about divination. I do not feel like I'm learning anything. I guess my inner eye is blind," Harry said smiling, while McGonagall chuckled. "I'd like to know if I can drop that class, and pick up runes. I know I should have asked a lot sooner, but... well I just made the decision myself. Being midyear, I was also hoping I could just do self-study until next year. After talking with Hermione, I find the subject fascinating, and with her help, I'm sure I can be up to speed by next September, so as to join her, in her fifth-year class."

McGonagall sat back eyebrows raised, and blew out a breath, "That's a lot of work Mr. Potter, all of third and fourth year in one term?"

"And, all of summer ma'am," he added hopefully.

"And you've asked Miss Granger if she's willing to spend that much time working with you?"

"Not yet ma'am, but I'm sure she will. She likes teaching almost as much as learning I think."

McGonagall seemed to study him as she sat staring at him not saying a word. She had to admit, his schoolwork so far this year was excellent. Harry had gone from being an average student, to one well above average, in some cases even excellent. If he kept it up, he would eventually graduate in the top ten percent of his class.

"You have never shown this much interest before, why the sudden change Mr. Potter?"

Harry sighed, "People always say, `Your parents would be proud Harry,' but I'm not so sure. At the end of last year, I realized there was so much I didn't know. I still know practically nothing about my family, the government, or magical traditions and customs. I wasted so much time my first three years." Harry sat up and looked directly into McGonagall's eyes, "This tournament is a good example, without Hermione's help, I'd probably be dead by now. And the reason she's able to help is because she has always worked so hard. I guess... maybe I want to be a little more like her."

There was no doubt Harry was serious about this, she could see the determination in his eyes. "I'm sure you're right about Miss Granger's willingness to help, but if not, let me know so other arrangements can be made. I will check with Professor Bathsheba, and the Headmaster, but I don't think they will object. You'll probably have to take a few tests, one now, and one a little later, to evaluate your progress. Is that acceptable to you Mr. Potter?"

It was an ecstatic Harry, who practically jumped up to thank his Head of House, "That's fine Professor, anything, and Professor... thank you."


Right after Christmas, Harry started back into his regular routine of working out. He also spent a fair deal of time working on his homework, and managed to get it all done by the time he had talked to McGonagall. After that, he slowed down just a little, so he could relax a bit and enjoy what was left of Christmas break, but he still spent a couple of hours a day reading. He was trying to get as far ahead in ancient runes as he could, before school started back up. Harry was only partly through the third-year text, and already he had a list of questions for Hermione. Harry also finally managed to find time to take a bath with his egg. He made a mental note to thank Cedric for telling him about the prefect's bath, and his suggestion about the egg.

The train was due in at Hogsmeade in a few minutes and Harry was anxious to see his friends again, especially one witch in particular. Harry had decided to walk down to the main gates and wait for everyone there.

After the carriages came to a stop, Hermione and the others stepped out. She, along with Neville and Luna, and the rest of the students started for the castle. Hermione was pleasantly surprised to see Harry standing by the gates, even though he was knee-deep in snow. He would occasionally smile and say hi to someone as they passed by. As she grew closer, he caught sight of her. With a large smile on his face, he started moving towards her. Hermione was smiling too without even being aware of it. When she noticed he was wearing her Christmas present; a wand holster, it grew even bigger.

Unable to resist any longer, Hermione ran the last few feet and grabbed Harry in a tight embrace. "Harry, oh it's so good to see you, I can't believe how much I missed you these last two weeks. How have you been? I hope it wasn't too unbearable," Hermione said in a rush.

Harry laughed while he enjoyed the hug, then gave her a quick squeeze before letting her go so he could escort her inside away from the cold. "It's great to see you too Hermione. And, I've been fine, but I do have loads to tell you." After seeing her concerned look, he added, "Except for being on the losing side of the great snowball fight, it's all good Hermione, no need to worry."

Later, at the welcome back feast after everyone had settled down and were catching up on the events of the holidays, Dumbledore made the only announcement of the night. The next Hogsmeade visit would be on the last Saturday of the month. As the chatter died down Hermione got Harry's attention, "Harry first of all, thank you for the wonderful presents, mum and dad really loved the photo, you may have started a tradition. As for mine- how'd you know I always wanted to try `copy parchment'?"

Harry smiled, "I didn't, but I thought it would come in dead useful, considering how many times I've seen you copy a spell or whatnot from a book."

"Oh, I'm sure it will, but I hope you didn't spend too much. I know it's expensive, plus the new quills and ink, it's..."

"Hermione stop," Harry pleaded, "it wasn't too expensive, and anyway, you're worth it," Harry continued softly, with a sincere smile.

Hermione nodded with a small smile while looking down, trying to stop the blush rising from his words. "When did the Durmstrang and Beauxbaton students come back?" She asked, trying to change the subject.

"Oh, only a little while ago, umh, maybe an hour or two after lunch."

They were on their way back to the common room when Hermione finally asked, "Harry... are you ever going to tell me?"

Harry slowed down and turned to her, "Hun?"

"You said you had `loads to tell me.'"

"Merlin, I can't believe I forgot, guess I was a little excited about having everyone back."


"Right...ah, well I dropped divination," at Hermione's raised eyebrow Harry smirked, "and I... added...Runes."

Hermione grabbed him by the arm and pulled him to a stop, "Harry, how is that possible, you're a year and a half behind?"

"McGonagall is allowing me to study on my own for the rest of the year and on into summer. I need to be up to speed by September first, and then I'll join you in your class," Harry said quickly.

"Harry that's wonderful, but that's an awful lot to learn, and it's not an easy subject... what aren't you telling me?" Hermione asked with one hand on her hip.

"Well, McGonagall thought so too, sooo… I kind of said, that I thought you would help." Then quickly holding up his hands to prevent her from interrupting, he went on. "I know I should have asked you first, but it just kind of came to me during break. I'll work really hard Hermione, I promise. I'll read everything you tell me to, twice. I'll try and figure it out on my own, and only come to you when I'm totally lost." Harry paused to catch his breath, "What do you say? Think you can help me without hurting your own studies?"

Hermione gave Harry an appraising look. She liked this new Harry. He was taking his responsibilities much more seriously, and even with his involvement in the tournament, so far this year, he still found time to study harder for his classes. Personally, she thought it was a great idea, even though it would mean even more work for him. Watching Harry as he waited for an answer she could see how determined he was, and while it would mean a little extra work for her too, Hermione was certain she could handle it.

With matching determination and a stern voice Hermione asked, "You'll read everything I tell you to?"


"You'll try to figure out the homework on your own before coming to me?"


"You'll work hard even..."

"Yes... Hermione..."

"Well," she teased slowly, then laughed at the look he put on his face. "Oh Harry, stop with the puppy-dog eyes, of course I'll help."

Harry laughed too, "You had me worried there for a sec. Oh, you be happy to hear, I also figured out the clue, or I should say, the egg."

"Really? That's wonderful, what is it? How'd you do it?"

"Remember how Cedric told me I should take a bath with it? Well, I wasn't sure if he was having me on, even though I didn't think so. I really didn't know what I was supposed to do with it. Then, I saw Viktor swimming in the lake, and I thought, why on earth would he do that, especially considering how cold it was? Then, it hit me. Water, Viktor was jumping in the water. Cedric was telling me to take a bath... water. All three of us are champions." Harry smiled, "By the way, watch out for moaning Myrtle, she's a pervert. Harry smiled at the look on Hermione's face after his last remark. Anyway, once in the bath, Myrtle told me to listen to it under water. I had to listen to it several times to get it all, anyway, here is what it said;



Come seek us where our voices sound,

We cannot sing above the ground,

And while you're searching, ponder this:

We've taken what you'll sorely miss,

An hour-long you'll have to look,

Then make a choice about what we took,

But pass an hour-the prospects black,

Too late, it's gone, it won't come back.



After Hermione finished writing, she stood still for a moment in deep thought. Harry knew there'd be a long discussion about this in the near future. Finally, when she looked back up, Harry whispered, "And I had that dream again."

Hermione's eye's widened. She didn't like the fact that Harry had dreamt the same dream again about Voldemort, "Did you tell Dumbledore?"

"Yeah. He said it was probably nothing, just anxiety over the tournament."

Hermione didn't think so, but she also didn't want to worry Harry. "Well he's probably right. If it happens again, tell me, and we will see if there is anyone else we can talk to." She thought about suggesting Sirius, but he had been almost impossible to get in touch with lately, considering his situation, it wasn't all that surprising.

As they resume their walk towards the common room, Harry went on to tell her about everything else that had happened over Christmas break, including his heartbreaking talk with a little first-year. Hermione quickly agreed to meet her.


Sitting alone at the Ravenclaw table, eating her lunch, Luna watched as Ron approached. Judging by the slightly nervous look on his face, she had a pretty good idea of what he wanted. Growing up near the Burrow, Luna had known Ron, for as long as she could remember. She had always liked Ron, and in recent years, she had even begun to fancy him. Often last year, and most of last summer; she had daydreamed of being his girlfriend. Call it girl's intuitions, or a witch's vision; it didn't matter which; this year, Ron was different. Ever since she had met up with him and the rest of the Weasleys at the end of summer, she could tell… something in Ron had changed. And, ever since Harry's name came out of the goblet, and their friendship went down hill, Ron's changes took a turn for the worst. Maybe it was his new friends, or maybe it was just Ron. Luna wasn't even sure if Ron knew himself. Whatever the reason, Luna didn't think she cared for what Ron was slowly becoming. Luna's daydreams were now long forgotten.

"Hi Luna, mind if I sit with you for a moment?" Ron asked with a smile, confident that she would relish the company.

Luna put down her fork and gestured to the bench across from her, "No, I don't mind Ronald."

Ron sat down quickly, and after a quick glance around, asked, "So... how have you been?"

Luna leaned forward and pinned Ron with her gaze. "I've been fine Ronald," then after a second she tilted her head slightly and continued, "I think a better question is, how have, you been?"

"Hun… oh, I'm fine," Ron answered nonchalantly. "Listen, I was wondering if you would like to go out with me sometime? I think we could have a lot of fun together, and maybe you could even be my girlfriend."

As Luna sat there staring back at Ron, she thought, `How ironic, a few months ago I would have been ecstatic, now it just makes me sad.' She knew all about the reputation of the boys that Ron had started to hang around with. They were only interested in chasing girls. Only interested, in seeing how far they could go with them. Then when they were done using them, or they got bored, they'd dump them and move on. Luna didn't really think Ron was like that at heart, but as long as he stayed friends with Dean, and Michael, he would feel the need to act like them. No matter how strong a person's identity was, peer pressure could change it. As long as Ron was acting like that, Luna wanted nothing to do with him. She would wait and see if time changed him back. There was also Neville to think about. Although she had only known him for a few mouths, she had a good feeling about him, and found herself, thinking about him more and more. He was a quite gentlemen, and always treated her with kindness and respect. Either way, she would wait for the right person. All Luna wanted, was a real relationship.

"I'm sorry Ronald, but I don't think I'm the right girl for you."

"What, why not?" Ron asked defensively.

Luna gave him a sad smile. "I'm not what you're looking for Ronald. I can't give you what you want." Then after a moment of awkward silence she patted his hand, "I have to go. Goodbye Ronald."

Ron just sat there confused, and watched her go. `How the bloody hell does she know what I want?' He thought, `ruddy girls, nutters, all of them.' Ron looked around and sighed, "I'll just have to find someone else."

Two days later, Ron had a similar conversation with a different witch, and as far as he was concerned, better luck. Lavender Brown was Ron's new girlfriend.


The next Hogsmeade visit was coming up soon, and Ginny thought this would be a good opportunity to finally get closer to Harry. Her plan was simple, first, she would set up Hermione was some other boy, that would help stop any romantic thoughts Harry might be starting to have for her. Then she'd get Harry to ask her out, or if necessary, she would ask him. This time, she wasn't going to wait, like she did for the Yule Ball.

It took a while, but Ginny finally noticed a shy boy from Durmstrang eyeing Hermione. After a good deal of encouragement, she had convinced him to ask Hermione to Hogsmeade.


It had been over two weeks since she had returned from Christmas break, and two weeks since the announcement about the upcoming Hogsmeade visit. Hermione was beginning to think, that Harry wasn't going to ask her to go. After all, he had asked her to the Yule Ball right away, she reasoned. `Maybe he doesn't want to be too forward because of the kiss. I knew we should have talked about it as soon as I got back.' Hermione had not wanted to chance, breaking the good feelings her and Harry were sharing after her return, but now she realized putting it off, might not have been the smartest thing to do, as it looked like she'd be going to Hogsmeade alone.

"Excuse me Miss Granger, may I speak with you?"

Hermione broke from her thoughts and looked up. A boy about her age from Durmstrang as evident by his robes, stood nervously waiting a reply. "Hmm, oh sure," pointing to the seat across from her, she added, "please, have a seat."

He sat down quickly and stared at the table for a few seconds seemingly to gather his courage. "Has anyone asked you to Hogsmeade this weekend?"

Now it was Hermione's turn to stare, not at the table, but the boy across from her. Of all the things she had expected, that particular question certainly had never occurred to her. Before she could respond however, he quickly added, "Oh, please excuse my manners. I am Miroslav Demetrius," he said while extending his hand in greeting.

When Hermione's brain reengaged she reached out and shook his hand, "Pleased to meet you Mr. Demetrius, I'm Hermione Granger, but apparently, you already know that," she said smiling. After a moment of inpatient silence, Hermione decided it would be up to her to move things along. "So you wanted to know about my plans for Hogsmeade, yes?"

Miroslav nodded yes, happy not to have to talk until he could rein in his nervousness.

Looking pensive, Hermione turned her gaze to her hands. This was awkward to say the least, she figured he was going to ask her to go, and she didn't want to lie, but at the same time, she was hoping to go with Harry. In fact, Hermione had even considered asking him.

Looking back up she finally answered, "Well I do plan on going, one way or another... but no, no one has asked me yet."

Miroslav nodded again, then looked up at a point somewhere over her head at nothing in particular, deep in thought for a moment. Miroslav may have been painfully shy, but he was no idiot, far from it in fact. He had sensed her reluctance to answer, `Probably was hoping someone else would ask her,' he reasoned. He quickly changed his mind on how to proceed. Setting up a little straighter he turned his eyes back to her, "Miss Granger, I would be honored, if you'd allow me to escort you to Hogsmeade this weekend." Miroslav quickly went on before she could turn him down, "I realize you may have a boyfriend, or if not, would have rather have gone with someone else, but considering how close the weekend is..." After taking a breath he finished, "I have wanted to meet you every since I watch your potions demonstration, and well, I was hoping, maybe this weekend we could talk, get to know a little bit about each other... and maybe even become friends."

Hermione sighed, `Am I that transparent,' she thought. Then as she sat looking back at Miroslav, she realized he had interrupted her response as a prequel to a rejection. "Mr. Demetrius..."

"Miroslav, please," he smiled.

Hermione nodded, "Miroslav... I don't have a boyfriend, but there is someone who I'm very... fond of." Hermione paused and smiled softly at the thought before continuing. "So, if you would be content going as friends, then I would be happy to go with you."

Miroslav had expected to be disappointed, so it was a surprised boy who answered rather excitedly, "Oh, well excellent, I... I'll meet you after breakfast then, yes?"

Hermione chuckled, "That would be splendid, I'll see you then."


The following day at breakfast, right after Harry sat down next to Hermione, and practically before he could even say good morning, two Hufflepuff girls hurried over. Harry and Hermione both looked up curiously as Susan Bones, and Hannah Abbott stopped and stood in front of them.

"Harry," Susan started, "we were hoping to have a quick word with you?"

Harry glanced at Hermione, who only shrugged her shoulders. Apparently, she didn't have any idea what this was about either. Looking back up at the two worried faces he replied, "Sure, what's up?"

Susan and Hannah stared at each other for a moment as if trying to decide where to start. Finally, Susan ticked her head slightly at Harry as if to say, `I asked, now it's your turn!'

Hanna deflated a bit, and then turning to Harry, she decided to just get on with it. "Harry I've been, that is, we've both been thinking about you and the tournament lately, and well... well last night we had a long talk."

At this point, Susan jumped back in, "And we decided that there's no way you put your name in the goblet."

Neville had been sitting across from Harry, so his back was to the girls, but obviously, he could hear everything. He decided now was a good time, to remind Harry about his thoughts on the matter of what others thought of Harry's involvement. "See Harry, told you others would see the truth sooner or later."

"That's right. We may not know you as well as say Hermione here, but all one has to do is watch how you act."

"You certainly haven't acted like someone looking for attention," Susan said taking over. "In fact, you looked a little disappointed after a second task, like you were hoping it would end there for you."

Speaking a little slower and more softly, Hannah finished, "Harry, we're sorry for not supporting you from the beginning, but for what it's worth, we are now."

Harry stood up without speaking and reached out his hand to each girl in turn. "Thank you, it means a lot... to know they're some people who believe me... in fact, it's worth more than you know."

"So, we'll be cheering for you Harry."

Harry raised brow, "What about Cedric? He's the real Hogwarts Champion."

"We'll cheer for both of you, because you're a real champion too. Of course, we will probably cheer a little louder for Cedric, he is in our house after all."

"And oh so cute." Realizing what she just said, Susan immediately turned red and slipped behind Hannah to hide.

Hermione couldn't help the huge grin that broke out on her face because of Susan's slip, but mainly for their kind words to Harry. While smiling brightly at the two Hufflepuffs, Hermione mouth "Thank you" to the smiling pair, before they left, to return to their table.

More and more people were finally starting to see Harry Potter for what he was. They were starting to see him the way she saw him. A young man with integrity, and an unwavering moral sense of right and wrong, but most importantly, he was a young man whom Hermione was proud to call a friend.

Harry laughed as he returned to his seat after the girls left, "Well that was nice."

Hermione nodded her concurrence, "Yes, it was." Then turning to Neville, "Did you notice Susan?"

Surprised, Neville asked, "No, why?"

"She kept looking at you."

"Really, why?"

Hermione just shrugged, "I'm just saying."

Neville looked down with a shy smile, but said nothing else.

"Oh, by the way, I keep forgetting. Do you want to go to Hogsmeade together, er, ah… with me that is?" Harry asked suddenly.

Sitting further down the table, a young French student named Brigitte watched the exchange between Harry, Hermione, and the other two Hogwarts students with interest. She had of course heard of Harry Potter before coming to Hogwarts, but after hearing the rumors surrounding his entry into the tournament, she began to pay closer attention to him. As far as she was concerned, it didn't make much sense, that a mere fourth-year student would try to cheat their way into competing, unless they were an idiot, and Brigitte really didn't think Harry was that stupid. After watching him face the first three tasks, she thought she might like to try and make his acquaintance. However, seeing how close he and Hermione Granger were; a girl she knew to be quite intelligent after watching her, and talking to her friend Nicole, she figured the best she could hope for was maybe a distant friendship. However, as she continued to watch, she began to wonder if maybe that decision was a bit premature.

Hermione shook her head in disbelief, then while pinching the bridge of her nose said, "Ahhh, Harry Potter you have got to have the worst timing possible! Honestly Harry, why did you wait so long to ask?" She asked, clearly exasperated.

Harry's smile fell, this didn't look good. "I, I don't know," he answered weakly.

"Well is too late now," Hermione huffed, "it was getting so late, I didn't think you wanted to go, or at least not with me." Hermione saw the look of regret on his face and sighed, "I'm sorry Harry, but I already said yes to someone else yesterday."

Harry looked down, he was angry at first, why hadn't she waited, but after a moment his anger faded and turned to disappointment, not in Hermione but it himself. He realized he'd taken Hermione for granted. He had just assumed she would go with him, that she would wait until he finally got around to asking her. After all she had done for him lately he suddenly felt ashamed. It wasn't a life-or-death situation or even a major event, but he couldn't help but think of the phrase, `It's the thought that counts.'

When Harry looked back up, he took her small hands in his and said with a sad smile, "No Hermione, you have nothing to be sorry about." He gave her hands a little squeeze, "it's my own fault. I shouldn't have waited."

"No Harry, you shouldn't have," she returned in a firm, but soft voice. "Oh Harry, it's not the end of the world, I'll see you there, right? And we can still meet up for lunch or something okay?"

Harry nodded his head slightly, "Right," he answered just as softly.

Hermione of course was disappointed, but she could see he was just as upset over the situation as she was. Hoping to lift his spirits, she tried to let him know, that there would be other opportunities. "And Harry," Hermione waited until she had his full attention, "Next time..."

"It'll be the first thing I do, I promise," Harry cut her off with a sheepish smile.

Hermione relaxed and smiled back, "Good!"


Harry and Hermione both watched curiously as Brigitte sat down next to Neville across from them, and introduced herself. "Hello, I am Brigitte de Louvres, and you are Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, no?" She said with an air of certainty.

Harry and Hermione both nodded and said yes at the same time, causing the dark-haired French girl to smile. "Ah, well then I am pleased to meet you," she said, while sticking out her hand to shake.

Hermione went first and shook her hand, then Harry did the same, "Likewise, and this is our friend Neville, Neville Longbottom," Hermione added, as she nodded towards Neville.

Turning to Neville Brigitte smiled, "Pleasure to meet you Neville."

After a quick hello, Neville suddenly became very interested in his food.

"Nice to meet you," Harry said, after the short introduction to his friend, "was there something we could do for you?"

Brigitte seemed to fidget for a moment before answering, "Well, please forgive me, as I did not mean to listen to your conversation, but I couldn't help but hear." Then her expression turned more serious, "It seems you were hoping to go with Miss Granger to the Hogsmeade this weekend, no? But now you are alone." After a short pause she continued, "Perhaps you would consider going with me?"

Ginny's jaw nearly hit the table in surprise, her plan had worked perfectly... but for the wrong girl. Now all she could do was watch it derail, and turn into the biggest train wreck of the year for her.

Harry's brow rose to the edge of his hairline, "You want to go to Hogsmeade with me this weekend, like on a... date?"

Brigitte shrugged her shoulders, "Date or no, it does not matter, but yes I would like to go with you this weekend."

"Really... why?" Harry asked a genuine curiosity. "I mean, most people think I'm a cheat."

Brigitte sighed, and gesturing with her hands as if to say, `I understand,' then she explained, "I confess that I was very suspicious at first, however, after all that I have seen... well it now seems very unlikely, to me at least anyway." After a moment of silence Brigitte added, "You are a mystery to me Mr. Potter. You have got my attention, and I would like to know more about you." Then after another short pause she tilted her head slightly and went on, "That is why we are here, no?"

Hermione sat there listening to the whole conversation with rapt attention. This girl was both confident and intelligent, plus she was also very pretty. Hermione found herself feeling slightly jealous, and it surprised her, but she'd worried about that later, for now she wanted to help her best friend, so she spoke up, "She's right Harry, you should go."

Harry hadn't expected Hermione to say something like that, he turned and looked at her, studied her for a second, then after seeing she had no ulterior motive he slowly turned back to Brigitte. "All right. Who knows, maybe I'll learn some French."

"Oui, you never know Mr. Potter."

"Oh and please, just call me Harry."

"Very well... Harry, and please call me Brigitte... and..." turning to Hermione.

"Hermione," the girl in question said smiling.

Brigitte gave a bright smile, "Wonderful. Perhaps we," she gestured to the three of them, "could indeed have that lunch together."

Hermione smile grew, "I'd like that."


AN; The clue from the egg is mostly straight from JKR's book, but if you read it carefully you will have noticed that I did change one line.




Valid HTML 4.0! Document created with wvWare/wvWare version 1.2.7