Disclaimer: I bought a bottle of orange cola with the prize of rights to Harry Potter and all its subdiary characters. Eagerly I opened and looked under the cap. It said I won a ballpen. No!

A/N: Thanks again to frustratedstudent, MyDearProfessorMcGonagall and thosedarndursleys for the beta read.

This is my 10th round entry to season 3 QLFC for the Caerphilly Catapults against the Chudley Cannons. I am using the following prompts:

(style) letter-fic

(quote) 'Out of the millions and millions of people that inhabit this planet, he is one of the tiny few I can never have.' - Tabitha Suzuma, Forbidden

(word) euphoria

Word Count: 2,999. I can verify this if the judge needs a copy of this file.

Without further ado, off to the story


Black Cranes and Lotus

Hermione comes into the library after the announcement of the first task. To her consternation, she sees the groupies from the three schools hovering around Viktor and his entourage.

"How do they expect anyone to study with those harpies hovering around and nattering like a bunch of chipmunks?" Hermione ponders to herself, taking Professor McGonnagall's copy of Transfiguration Today out of her bag. 'Finally, some light reading.'

As she reads the introductory article on exceptions of Trans-Species Transfiguration, she notices a small black object gliding towards her.

Upon closer investigation, she notices that it is an origami crane that just lands beside her. A moment later, it becomes the shape of a black lotus flower and unfurls into a neatly pressed parchment with the Drumstrang crest on the upper left side.

Thinking it is some kind of prank or insult, she looks at Viktor Krum's table. Everyone else is preoccupied with either flirting or schoolwork, but not the Bulgarian Seeker. His dark eyes focus intently on Hermione's brown. She notices that he is holding Advanced Curses and Jinxes by Barristan Burns.

A soft smile plays on his lips for a moment, before he motions his head toward the letter and goes back to his book.

Hermione shakes her head at the exchange and decides to open the letter. It reads,

December 1st, 1994

Hello Hermione Granger,

Please excuse the sudden creation of this correspondence. My name is Viktor Krum and I suppose you realize why I cannot introduce myself as formally as I would like to, given my accomplishments, or lack thereof, in the World Cup Final.

I believe that I can safely say that I can write and read in English, but still am having problems pronouncing the words. However, I find your language necessary nonetheless for convenience sake.

For the sake of the spirit of 'International Cooperation', I'd like to know your take on Mr. Burns' work with the book I'm holding. I find him bland compared to the biased works from Drumstrang, but informative.

I've gotten to know your name from the group of Hogwarts ladies in the table nearer to the door, if you are wondering. They've also told me about your prowess with theoretical magics.

Hopefully, you could write your reply and thoughts down on the extra space below. I also hope to hear from you soon. These fans are rather annoying because they offer little intellectual insight.

Sincerely,

Viktor Krum

Hermione takes a moment to contemplates, then picks up her ballpoint pen for quick writing.

Viktor,

I would say that Barristan Burns is rather bland and academic. I suggest Arafat Mustafa's Offensive Spells for Dueling fifth Edition. He gives examples on how to use it effectively in daily situations.

It's on the Defense Section, first aisle, and third shelf to your right.

Yes, I have found this a surprise, but a welcome one at least. Do you read for fun besides all the Quidditch practice?

Also, could I bother you to teach me the spell on this parchment? I know the Ministry documents turn to paper planes, but I actually read that the Japanese Ministry does this for their files.

Regards,

Hermione Granger

The Gryffindor taps her wand at the dot below the parchment and it folds back into a crane and flies away to the Drumstrang table.

'That was unexpected.' Hermione tells herself, while feeling a certain euphoria run through her veins.

Viktor receives the missive and gives her a discreet thumbs up for her help, before getting the recommended book.

Another paper crane comes towards her, containing a short note.

Hermione,

As unlikely as it seems, I do read for fun. Besides Quidditch reports and statistics, which I'm quite fond of, I also read a few of Viktor Hugo's works, most especially Les Míserables. It's my father's influence on me because, just like you, he's a muggleborn with a love for reading. It's our bonding time in the lull times from the Quidditch season.

Yours,

Viktor

Hermione looks up from the letter to turn her attention to Viktor and she gives him a soft smile with a nod to let him know she likes Viktor Hugo's works as well.

x-x-x-x-x

After the first task and their steady stream of library correspondences through the black crane, she finds another one, but this time it contains an instruction.

December 26th, 1994

Hermione,

Would you mind fetching Viktor Hugo's Les Míserables from the mundane section? I'll meet you there to get it from you.

Viktor

Hermione smiles at the note and decides to get the book and meet Viktor there, but a stray thought follows her journey into the bookshelves. 'Out of the millions and millions of people that inhabit this planet, he is one of the tiny few I can never have. He's a world class Seeker. I'm only a fourth year muggleborn from Hogwarts. I don't understand what sets me apart from everyone else in his eyes.'

Viktor appears beside her as she pulls the book out of the shelf. "Hermy-own, open at vere the note is."

Hermione notices a slip of a bookmark on the book and opens it to reveal the black lotus origami she is familiar with. Marked on the book is chapter four from the fourth volume and fifth book, "A heart beneath a stone."

The origami unfolds and a short note written on the side.

Hermione,

You look at a star for two reasons: because it is luminous and because it is impenetrable. I have beside me a sweeter radiance and a greater mystery, which is a woman, or so Viktor Hugo goes. I have enjoyed the days knowing a smart and wonderful woman in the midst of this castle, a star that outshines the sun in your passion and brilliance.

I'd like to take a moment to humbly ask a star named Hermione to the Yule Ball with me?

Viktor

Hermione composes herself for a moment, in shock that Viktor would ask her of all the pretty witches from Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Drumstrang.

"Vill you go to the Yule ball vith me, Hermy-own?" Krum asks once more, his eyes gazing at Hermione.

A silent moment passes, but the Bulgarian is calm and resolved to hear the answer nonetheless.

"Yes Viktor, I will go to the ball with you." Hermione replies with a shy smile, her cheeks blushing in embarrassment.

Viktor holds her left hand and gently pecks her knuckles before bringing her to the tables for a read. They both draw the eyes of the Bulgarian's groupies and his friends from Drumstrang.

His group from Drumstrang give a moment more in their glance before going back to their business.

Hermione worries a bit, knowing what her companion's school is known for. She fidgets and nibbles her lower lips, her insecurity rearing its ugly head once more.

Viktor gives her a meaningful glance, urging her not to worry, while he carries the books Les Míserables, The Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame for their enjoyment before the Yule Ball.

x-x-x-x-x

The Yule Ball is a blur for Hermione, from the ups and downs from that beautiful night. Of course, Ron ruins her night by pointing out and planting the seeds of doubt in her mind. The next morning comes breakfast with a note from Viktor arriving on her table.

Hermione,

Thank you for gracing me with your presence last night. I hope you enjoyed your time with me. You did tell me about that red head friend of yours, Ron, being a fan of mine. He was unfortunately in a foul mood when I asked him where you were, but I won't press. Let's meet at the library later on your free time?

Yours,

Viktor

Hermione takes a moment to herself, debating whether or not it's a good idea to involve Viktor about Ron's tantrum. Her slight hesitation, born out of years of friendship and life-threatening circumstances, decides the matter and composes this reply instead.

Viktor,

It was a pleasure to be with you at the ball last night. Today is a light snow day. Perhaps a walk by the lake is in order?

See you around 10 A.M.

Your friend,

Hermione

She spots Krum by the lake side, admiring the snow-capped mountains and trees. Once she stands beside him, he surprises her by conjuring a bouquet of flowers from his wand and holds her gloved right hand with his left. "Pretty flowers for the beautiful company I have this morning."

Hermione smiles at his flattery and in a moment of Gryffindor bravery or foolishness, decides to ask him, "What do you want us to be Viktor?"

Viktor looks into her eyes softly and replies, "I'd like to court you and be part of your life."

Hermione blushes, the voices of doubt in her mind fading away into the abyss. 'Carpe Diem, Jean.'

"Yes Viktor, I'd like that very much." She stops herself from ranting or saying more, because what could top giving the handsome guy she likes a chance after school.

"Thank you, Her-my-oh-nee." Victor responds, placing Hermione's black hood back first before his own blood-red hood. 'The best of Drumstrang and Hogwarts, Merlin, have mercy on their feeble minds when we start shaking the world.'

x-x-x-x-x

The end of Hermione's fourth year is a shock and a blur, even to her sharp-mind. Between the resurrection of Lord Voldemort and the Ministry's vehement denial, even with the corpse of one Barty Crouch Jr., who would believe any of that without seeing proof?

Just before the Drumstrang Ship leaves, Viktor gives her a letter, which he asks her to open once she is with her parents on her way home. His kiss still lingers on her right cheek, just around the corner of her lips.

Her parents meet her at King's Cross station and once she's safely inside their 1994 BMW 316I, her father drives them home. Everything is comfortable, yet Hermione longs of her friendly companionship with Viktor. She knows that if he was here, he would have already introduced himself to her parents. She opens Viktor's note and it reads,

Jean,

If your parents will allow, I would like to extend my invitation to welcome you and your family to my humble house in Bulgaria for the summer. My mother and father are excited to meet you.

Regardless of your answer, I will accept it with an open mind and heart, just as you know of me.

Yours,

Viktor

"Mum, do you remember the guy I told you about? He's inviting us to Bulgaria for the summer."

Lewis and Mary pause for a moment in the car, then Mary replies, "Yes, the guy named Viktor Krum, the Quidditch star from Bulgaria."

Lewis feels a chill creep up his spine at the thought of his only child and daughter being courted already, and he feels he should say something. He adds, "Maybe after two years, poppet. I'm not rejecting him outright because based on what you've told us about him, he strikes me as a decent chap with his sincerity, so I don't doubt his intentions. But I feel you're too young for anything serious with your OWLs and NEWTs to consider. If he's genuine in his interest, I hope he can wait for two more years in your case."

Hermione whispers, "Thank you."

Within her mind, she is thankful for her dad's stance on her relationship with Viktor. 'Yes, he's a handsome and kind-hearted person, but when it comes down to it, he's already finished with his studies. I still have two years to go. Dad's right, if he's serious about me, he'll wait.'

Once they arrive home, she writes back with a reply.

Viktor,

I apologize, but my parents and I feel that it's too early for something like that, especially with Voldemort on the rise here. I hope you understand. You've been wonderful all year.

Keep in touch and hope I have not ruined our camaraderie.

Yours,

Jean

Hermione remembers Krum's pet falcon Svetkavitsa, or Lightning as she calls it, as it flies just in time to pick up her letter. 'At least Viktor is precise, just as I instructed.' She ties her note and it flies off.

A few hours later, Lightning returns with three vials of clear, fragrant liquid and a note.

Jean,

I understand completely. Forgive my forwardness. The Quidditch season is coming up, but I will try my best to write back as often as I can.

Also, my father wanted to give you three vials of our finest rose oil as a gift; in his words, "An offering of goodwill from one muggleborn to another."

I hope you and your parents like it. Keep in touch always.

Yours,

Viktor

x-x-x-x-x

As Kingsley's Patronus disappears, Death Eaters rush into Bill and Fleur's wedding. Viktor spots Hermione, takes a black origami crane from his pocket and tosses it at her. She sees it quickly and grabs it in mid-air as she runs towards Ron and Barny Weasley to escape.

The French veela guests transform into their avian forms and bombard the attackers with fireballs while the spells from the visitors overwhelm their opponents.

Viktor blasts his way out of the falling tent and sees this scene, then remembers something from his seventh year in Drumstrang, during his times hanging out with Hermione, reading Les Míserables.

Everyone is a soldier to combat you

If they fall, our young heroes,

The earth will produce new ones,

Ready to fight against you!

Krum casts one of the darker variants of the Shield Charm against an impaling hex heading towards Hermione. As it connects, a torrent of blue lightning zaps and catches the unlucky caster unaware. 'Good luck to you Hermione.' He prays for his friend, deciding to fight when he launches spells from his darker repertoire at the Death Eaters.

As the trio settle down from the escape, Hermione takes time to peek at the same black crane from Viktor and realizes that it is the same one they used to communicate with each other back in fourth year. It opens once more into a black lotus flower and then becomes a hastily written letter for her.

Jean,

When I arrived here, I had hoped beyond all hope that I would not be too late. The man you had told me about is in love with you and you are with him. Alas, I have failed.

I hope you are safe wherever you are going, but never forget that I am always willing to help you whenever you ask of it.

Truly Yours,

Viktor

Hermione forces back the tears threatening to leave her eyes from Viktor's letter. 'No matter how great of a guy he is, we're worlds apart. I can't put his life in danger of Voldemort and his agents on the continent. I'm sorry Viktor, but I can't be with you.'

She tucks the black crane in her jeans' pocket and focuses at the mission in hand to defeat Voldemort.

x-x-x-x-x

A day passes by since the 2014 World Cup Finals with Bulgaria's Victory. Hermione, Ron, Rose and Hugo are packing up their tent for their trip back home from Argentina.

Rose notices a black origami crane fly towards their tent and calls everyone in amazement.

Upon seeing it, Hermione smiles softly, remembering the letters from her good friend, Viktor Krum.

The crane lands and becomes a black lotus, then unfurls into a letter which Hermione takes, leaving the small box with it unopened.

July 12th, 2014

Hermione,

At last, I can finally quit Quidditch for good. I haven't announced that shocker yet, so keep it quiet for now. I suppose that surprises you that a guy like me saying 'I quit Quidditch', which is like saying Twilight and Toadstool Tales are the works of literary geniuses. I'd have to digress from all the irony, however.

My fiancé and I finally figured out how to send items with the origami note through your Charms dissertation on magical containment variations. After she did her Arithmancy, we realized that your premise and actual spell theory is compatible with the Japanese origami charm.

So I decided to send this as a gift for you, for not taking sides during the finals. I am sure that Ron, Rose and Hugo are Brazil fans and I am hoping that I will not insult them with my gift to you, no matter how satisfying that win is at 38.

Lastly, I'm getting married tomorrow. Without you and Ronald, I would never have met someone as remarkable and brilliant as Ingrid. Remember her back in our chance meeting in Tunisia? Ron introduced me to his new Charms researcher for Weasley Wizarding Wheezes. I proposed two months ago and told her that I will win this for her and our wedding day. With that and plenty more things you've helped me with through the letters, I thank you.

Your friend in trust,

Viktor Krum.

Hermione folds the letter and takes the box. A pinch in her heart makes itself known as she looks at Hugo for a moment. 'Viktor, Hugo. Ironic that I named my son after someone intertwined with books that I have grown fond off up to this day.'

She opens it to reveal a golden snitch with small bronze letterings in the label. It says, "Quidditch 2014 Finals Snitch catch – Viktor Krum."

"Bloody hell, it's the actual Snitch!" Ron says in shock and awe at the friendly gesture from their long time friend, Viktor Krum. "That's pretty nice of him." Ron adds, with a hint of uncertainty.

'I better ease his worries. I did choose him after all.' Hermione tells herself, knowing the minor insecurities of the man she married and loves wholeheartedly.

"It really is nice of him, love. He's getting married tomorrow as well." Hermione remarks, as she smiles and wraps her arms around Hugo. Ron scratches his head, while beaming at Hermione, then they continue their packing back home.