This story is a submission to The Original Horcrux's contest, The Sound of Music Quotes Competition. My character is Hermione Granger and my quote is "Why do you stare at me that way?"
Disclaimer: I do not own Hermione Granger, nor do I own any part of the wonderful world of Harry Potter. Everything belongs to JKR.
Hermione Granger minds her own business when she goes to the library. She isn't one of those people who goes with large groups, nor is she one to go on a "study date." She doesn't eavesdrop on other people's conversations, preferring to get her work done. Library time is not gossip time. She is rarely subject to Madam Pince's admonishes. She helps people who can't find books occasionally, but she is at the library to learn and do homework, not to socialize.
She sits at the same table almost every time she goes to the library. In fact, she sits at this table so often that, over the four years she's been at Hogwarts, the other students have stopped sitting there. They refer to it as "Granger's Table." The table has four chairs – this way, Harry and Ron have seats if they come with her – but usually only one is occupied.
Hermione is sitting at her table when she hears a small giggling coming from down the aisle. She peeks up to find that Viktor Krum has taken a seat at a table nearby, and that his stalkers have not passed on the opportunity to come with him. There is a group of giggling girls positioned at spots all around his table. And the girls are not doing a very good job at pretending they have come to the library for legitimate reasons.
None of this is particularly shocking to Hermione. Yes, the fact that internationally beloved Quidditch player Viktor Krum has come to the library in the first place is a little surprising, but Hermione does not particularly care.
The only shocking thing about the situation is that when Hermione looks up, she finds Viktor Krum's dark eyes looking back at her.
He looks away quickly, but Hermione gets the sense that he had been looking at her for a while. Had he been looking at her for a while? Why would he have been looking at her?
Hermione frowns and pulls out more homework, but as she flips through a Potions textbook, she is hyperaware of Viktor Krum's presence in the library.
Hermione Granger is a bit anxious as she walks to the library. She is desperate to find a place where she can finish her Transfiguration essay. The Common Room is too noisy, especially today. It's raining and most of the Gryffindors have retreated to the Common Room. Hermione's dormitory has been taken over by Lavender Brown, who is trying to decide what she should wear on her date next week. All of the other girls in the dorm are helping her, as they are apparently unworried about the Transfiguration homework.
But Hermione has intended to avoid the library for the rest of the week.
Viktor Krum has been in the library almost every time that she's gone the past few weeks. And he was always in her aisle. Always. This would not have been strange if he'd stayed at one table, but every few days, he moved a table closer to Hermione, until yesterday when Hermione had arrived at the library to find him at the table right next to hers.
Hermione is not sure why but this worries her. Why is he moving closer to her? Does he want something from her? What if he wants to talk to her about Harry? After all, Harry is one of Viktor's rivals in the Triwizard Tournament.
Hermione reaches the library, takes a deep breath, and walks over to her table.
Viktor Krum is sitting at her table.
Hermione should brush this off and find another table, as she normally does when another student is sitting there, but she finds that she is already standing in front of the table, staring at him, and turning away now would be rude.
Especially since Viktor is looking up at her curiously.
"Hello," Hermione says softly. "Er, is anyone sitting here?"
Hermione nods and sits down. "I'm Hermione Granger."
"Viktor Krum," he responds.
"I know," she says with a small smile.
She takes out her Transfiguration book and a fresh piece of parchment and begins to write her essay. She writes a paragraph and then looks up.
Viktor is staring at her again.
"Why do you stare at me that way?" Hermione blurts out.
Viktor looks down, avoiding her eyes. "You are very pretty," he mumbles.
Both of their cheeks redden.
He stands abruptly, awkwardly. It's strange that he is so awkward on his feet when he's so graceful on a broomstick. Viktor grabs his books and disappears.
Hermione is in the library, three weeks later, when Viktor Krum approaches her again. The First Task has just passed, and the bustle of the Yule Ball is starting.
Hermione looks up, shocked. "Oh, hello, Viktor."
Viktor sits down. "You are good?"
Hermione smiles. "I am good," she confirms. "How are you? You did a good job in the first task."
"Your friend vas much better. I did not think of flying. That vas smart." Viktor pauses. "He is good flyer, too."
"He's a Seeker for one of the school teams," Hermione says. She is rather proud of Harry, even if he did get help from Professor Moody.
Viktor doesn't respond to this, so Hermione returns to her work for a moment. She thinks that maybe Viktor is done talking for now. He doesn't seem to be very talkative. Perhaps she should keep talking to him, to get him to warm up to her, but she has a lot of work left to do.
Hermione laughs. "Hermione," she corrects softly.
"Herm-yi-nee… I vas vundering if you vould go to the ball vith me?"
Hermione is very surprised by this question. She has not been expecting to be asked to the dance by anyone. Her mind flies to Ron, and she wonders if he will have a date and who it will be and if he would want to go with her, but she pushes the idea from her mind. Ron has not asked her. Viktor did.
"I would love to."
Viktor smiles. He looks at her for a long moment, the same way that he used to from across the library, and then his smile widens again and he stands up. "Goodbye, Herm-yi-nee," he says.
Hermione chuckles quietly as he fumbles on her name once again, and says, "Goodbye, Viktor."
"Your friend vith the red hair vas not happy last night," Viktor says. He stands in front of Hermione's table, looking down at her. He looks very perplexed.
Hermione is exhausted. Everything last night was too much, just too much. The Yule Ball should have been fun. It was fun for everyone else. And Hermione should have had a good time with Viktor. He'd been nice, charming, pleasant, and he'd made her laugh. But Ron had gone and messed everything up by being rude and misbehaved.
And Hermione's hair has already returned to her usual puffiness.
"He wasn't," Hermione says slowly.
"Vat vas his reason?" Viktor asks.
She sighs. "I-I don't know what his problem is. He was just being a particular git last night."
"I'm sorry that I got upset."
"That's okay," Viktor says and he sits down. "I had fun time."
"I did, too."
"And your dress vas very beautiful, Hermione."
She looks up at him. "You said my name correctly."
Viktor smiles at her. "I vas practicing all night."
A strange, tingling feeling spreads through Hermione's body. He practiced saying her name all night? He is too sweet.
Hermione is hiding in the library. She's too overwhelmed to deal with anyone at the moment. Harry is upset – she's not up to comforting him. Ron is pretending he's not upset – she can't deal with him at all. Viktor is leaving – she can't say goodbye.
Hermione sighs. Men.
"Hermione, vat are you here for?"
He found her, of course. Hermione reflects that she should have known that he would find her. He knows that she's always here.
"You should be saying goodbye."
"I… I am not feeling very well today," she says softly.
Viktor sits down beside her. "I don't think anyone is feeling vell today."
"I know. I'm being selfish."
Hermione feels tears welling in her eyes, but she holds them back.
"Hermione, I'm going to miss you much."
"I'm going to miss you, too, Viktor."
He looks at her. "You're not coming to visit, are you?"
"I… I'm not sure I can. With everything that's going on… I think I'll have to stay in London this summer."
"I hope to see you some day."
"Hermione, can I… can I kiss you?"
Hermione looks up at him through teary eyes and gives a slight nod.
And Viktor Krum leans in and kisses her.
Sure, they weren't meant for each other. Viktor was athletic, reserved, and kind. Hermione was bookish, enthusiastic, and stubborn, and she needed someone who would make her laugh. They were both meant to be with different people.
But that doesn't matter. What matters is that, at a time when everyone else looked at Hermione and thought "ugly", Viktor looked at her and thought "beautiful."
Thank you so much for reading, and thank you to The Original Horcrux for running this competition.