A/N- Long time no post! My muses have gone on strike so I've been perusing my various works in progress or other stories in which my muses have abandoned me and I came across this little diamond in the rough. It was originally going to be longer but once I got to the final paragraph it just felt kind of...done.
This is an Untitled 4th Year Fic. Original title right? Anyway this is centered around asking a date to the Yule Ball.
Ron Weasley gazed around the common room. He had a problem. And for once Hermione couldn't solve it. He needed a date for the Triwizard Ball. He certainly wasn't about to ask his brainy friend. Not only was Hermione not pretty, she was too annoying. More than his sister. She was so interested in school and that was just weird. School was boring and a waste of time. She had no interest in quidditch or chess, which were his favorite things in the world. Plus she was off teaching Harry how to dance or something. They were off alone together all the time this school year and Ron found it hard to protest. Harry always turned to Hermione when he was in trouble. Plus he'd called Harry a liar and a cheater for over two months.
Picking someone for the ball was hard. Girls travelled in groups. Those that didn't, like Hermione, weren't desirable. It was really frustrating. He rubbed his face in his hands. How was he supposed to get a date?
Watching Hermione laugh as he spun her around the room lifted Harry's heart. "I think all these lessons have proved to make you a very good dancer Harry. Of course now you need a date."
"I know who I've wanted to ask. Been too nervous though. I mean, she's amazing and I'm…well I'm just me," Harry said.
Hermione smiled, "Harry you're pretty great. Any girl will be lucky to be your date."
That was all the encouragement he needed. He pulled her back into his arms, "Will you be my date to the Yule Ball Hermione?"
Her eyes widened in surprise, "H-Harry…why me?"
"Like I said, you're amazing Hermione. When everyone turned their back on me, you stood by my side. I love making you laugh and smile and you're…you're…" His face turned bright red, "You're really pretty."
Hermione blushed and glanced down, "Harry I'd love to go with you."
His heart sank at her tone, "But?"
"Viktor Krum asked me a few days ago," she said. Harry visibly deflated. Hermione bit her lip, "Harry I didn't think anyone would ask me and we'd got to talking in the library when he was researching for the first task…"
"Should have asked you sooner," Harry said, pulling away from her.
Never had she seen Harry look so…rejected. Not even when the whole school had turned on him. Hermione was not the smartest witch of her age for nothing. She pulled him to her and kissed him on the lips, "Let me explain the situation to Viktor. I'd much rather go with my boyfriend than another champion."
Her gambit paid off. Harry had a goofy grin on his face after the kiss, "Boyfriend? Really?"
"Yes Harry, really," she smiled. He kept on grinning as they resumed dancing together.
Ron was still trying to work out how to fix his problem when Harry went up to bed. "Hey Ron," Harry said, grabbing his pajamas out of his trunk.
Ron nodded at him. "Harry? Which girls are into quidditch?"
Harry blinked, caught off guard. "Well I guess the ones that play quidditch are into it."
Ron brightened, "Thanks mate," he said as Harry walked into the bathroom to prepare for bed. Quidditch players…Cho Chang played quidditch and she was pretty. He'd ask her. When Harry exited the bathroom he decided to ask, "Have you asked a girl to the ball yet?"
"Yeah," Harry nodded, "tonight."
"Who is it?"
"Well I didn't get an answer yet Ron," Harry said, "I'd rather not answer that question until she answers mine."
"Okay," Ron nodded, "was it Cho?"
Harry frowned, "Cho Chang? You want to ask Cho Chang to go to the Yule Ball?"
"We can talk about quidditch," he reasoned.
"Well yeah but…"
"You're just jealous you didn't think to ask her," Ron said, glaring at Harry and shutting his curtains.
Harry rolled his eyes. He was used to Ron's temper appearing at any given moment. He settled into his bed and pulled his curtains. Tomorrow Hermione was going to talk to Krum. Hopefully he was enough of a gentleman to accept her decision to go with her boyfriend (that word still brought a goofy grin to his lips) instead of him. If not…well Harry didn't want Hermione being drug through the mud on his account.
"I am glad he asked you," Viktor said, "though sad I am robbed of your company," he added.
Hermione bit her lip, "I think I could help you find a date. You want a girl who doesn't care about your fame or your quidditch abilities, right?" Viktor nodded, "Well there's one girl I often see in the library, Luna Lovegood. She gets teased alot by the Ravenclaws. They call her Loony because she's a bit odd. She's a year younger than me but since you're not looking for romance that should be okay, right?"
Viktor tilted his head in thought before nodding at Hermione's words. "She is nice?"
"I've only talked to her a few times but she seems very nice. She's very withdrawn and quiet. She often seems afraid of her own shadow. Maybe you can help her feel safer."
Viktor nodded at that, "You are good friend to her Hermy-own-knee."
"Thank you for being so understanding. I need to go assure a certain boyfriend that his tardiness is this time forgiven. Thank you again, Victor."
"My pleasure Hermione," he smiled. "I am glad you have your prince charming."
"Well hopefully you'll find your princess," she smiled at him and with a wave walked back toward her table where Harry was sitting impatiently. She beckoned him into the stacks and Harry nearly ran toward her, "Yes Harry, I'll be your date to the Yule Ball."
He grinned and lifted her into a hug, spinning them around but managing to keep his voice down, "Yes!"
She fought a giggle, "Harry put me down."
The spinning ceased and he leaned in to kiss her, "This will be the best Christmas ever."
"I agree," she slid her hands down his chest, "Now can we finish our homework? If we have it done soon then we have all of break to enjoy being a couple." Never had Harry been given better motivation to finish his homework early.
Ron held his head in his hands. "I'm going to guess she shot you down," Harry said, sitting down opposite Ron after helping Hermione sit down at the Gryffindor table for lunch.
"Who shot you down?" Hermione asked, looking between them in confusion.
"He decided last night he'd ask Cho Chang to the ball," Harry said.
"Oh," Hermione looked at Ron, "did you ask her?"
"Kind of," he mumbled.
"I don't want to talk about it," he said.
Fortunately Ginny sat down and supplied the explanation, "Ron walked up to her and rushed out, 'Willgoballme' all in one breath. Cho stared at him, confused, and he blushed and ran away."
"At least she didn't reject you," Hermione offered up to Ron, "after all, she couldn't even understand you."
"That's true," Harry nodded.
Ron just kept his head down. "I can save you some time Ron," Hermione said, "Cho's dating Cedric Diggory."
Harry looked at Hermione, "She is?"
"She was helping him study for the first task," Hermione said, "and attempting to study his tonsils as well."
"Gross," Ginny said, wrinkling her nose. Harry nodded in agreement. "There are other girls you can take, Ron."
"Girls travel in packs. It's hard to get one alone." He lifted his head, "Hey Hermione you have pretty roommates. Why not ask one of them for me?"
Ginny looked at Ron like he was mad. Harry tried to suppress a smirk as his girlfriend answered, "I'm not asking a girl out on a date for you Ron. Harry managed to ask someone on his own. You can too."
Ron put food on his plate before looking up at Harry, "Who did you ask then?"
Harry glanced at Hermione, who shrugged. He looked back at Ron, "I asked my girlfriend."
Ron's fork stopped halfway to his mouth. Ginny did not miss the smirk on Hermione's face, fleeting though it was, nor did she miss Harry's glance toward Hermione. Ginny felt a childhood dream and crush shatter. On the plus side, she felt better about going with Neville to the ball. She needed to set her sights elsewhere now. She didn't doubt that, though they were only teenagers, Harry and Hermione would be together for life. Since seeing them together the first time she was certain that Hermione was her strongest competition for Harry. And already the brunette had won, even if she didn't know she did.
Ginny wouldn't intrude. She was certain she had no chance of being a better match than Hermione for Harry. And in truth, there was no better match for Hermione than Harry. Ron finally spoke, "Since when do you have a girlfriend?"
Harry tilted his head in thought. "Since yesterday."
"You asked a girl to be your girlfriend," Ron said, incredulous.
"Well actually I think she asked me," Harry responded. Hermione bit back a laugh at Harry's answers to Ron's questions. Ginny found herself struggling to keep a straight face. Hermione had asked him to be her boyfriend. That certainly sounded like Hermione.
"Not how I remember it Harry but okay," Hermione said, a smirk on her lips. Ginny had to bite her tongue to stop herself from laughing or giving it away.
Ron turned to look at Hermione, "You saw him ask a girl to the ball?"
"Of course I did," Hermione said. "He asked me."
The redhead frowned, "But Harry said he asked his girlfriend."
Harry sighed and rubbed his brow in frustration. Ron could be so dense. Ginny decided to intervene, "Ron, Hermione is Harry's girlfriend." Ron's eyes widened at that but he didn't say anything else. Simply resumed eating his lunch.
After lunch Hermione and Harry left first to privately say goodbye before Hermione predictably was dragged off to be grilled by Ginny. Harry watched Hermione walk away with Ginny, smiling at his girlfriend's slowly vanishing form. Ron looked at Harry, "Why'd you give up so soon?"
Harry looked at Ron and frowned, "What do you mean give up?"
"Well, she's Hermione. She's not pretty and she's boring. She likes school and reading and doesn't even like quidditch. Plus she's annoying and insufferable. The only reason to ask her to the ball, let alone date her, is if you've given up," Ron said.
Harry stopped walking and took a deep breath to try and calm himself down. "You're wrong Ron. Hermione is really beautiful. Outside and inside, even if you don't see it. I've never found her boring. She has such an intense passion for those things and people she loves most; her love of learning has saved our lives on more than one occasion. Second year she even saved Ginny's life. But for the basilisk page and the word pipes your sister would be dead and Voldemort would have been resurrected. I know she doesn't like quidditch. But I also know that her family is full of academics. She has two aunts who are professors; one at Oxford and one at Cambridge. She has an uncle who is a high-profile surgeon and another one who does scientific research. That's just on her dad's side too. And her entire family might be full of smart people who love to read but all of them are huge footy fans. They go to matches on Boxing Day and New Year's Day every year. It's a tradition for them and it's one she fully expects to participate in the rest of her life. I've never found her annoying; if it weren't for her being a bit bossy on occasion I'd probably have much worse grades than I do because she knows how to keep me focused and motivated. Hermione is amazing and I am so glad she gave up her date with Krum for me, let alone saw me as worthy of being her boyfriend." Harry moved closer to Ron, "Hermione listens to me and never lets me mope or feel down without trying to make me smile or laugh. She's…she's wonderful. To hear you talk about her I wonder why you even hang out with her. The only thing I can think of is you're either eager to be close to me or you think you can make her do your homework. Either way, I'm not going to tolerate you insulting her or mocking her. Hermione is my girlfriend." Finished, Harry walked off leaving Ron behind, staring after him and wondering why on Earth Harry thought Hermione was beautiful.
After his last class of the day Harry went to the headmaster's office. "Ahh, Harry. Please come in."
"Thank you sir," Harry said, sitting down in the chair offered to him.
"What can I do for you today?"
"I know I have to go to the Yule Ball and I'm not trying to get out of that but Hermione's family has this tradition on New Year's Day. They go to a muggle football game. You see muggle footy is…"
Dumbledore's eyes twinkled, "Harry I'm well aware of the sport. It was once upon a time even played here at Hogwarts."
Harry's eyes widened in surprise, "Really?"
"Oh yes. After the first war with Grindelwald and of course World War II there was an influx of muggleborn students into the school. A few asked if games could be arranged and I was chosen as the only half-blood professor at the time to oversee the group. Admittedly I had much to learn but there's a certain beauty to football that is missing from Quidditch. I quite enjoyed the games and was sad to see them stop not long before your parents arrived at Hogwarts."
"Because of Voldemort?"
"Yes I daresay he was a major cause. Students felt unsafe showcasing their muggle heritage. Save your mother. She was never ashamed. Much like your Miss Granger, actually. Quite proud of her heritage though she was never close to her family after she entered Hogwarts. I've often seen that happen among muggleborn students, with or without a dark lord's presence. But I think we've been sidetracked. You had a request, I believe."
Harry nodded, "Hermione's family goes to games on Boxing Day and then on New Year's Day too. And I feel kind of guilty that Hermione can't go home for the holidays when I know she misses her family and I was hoping that I could surprise her by us leaving here after the ball to go to her parents' house so she can bring in the new year with her family. We would return at the end of winter break like everyone else. That way we'd have a couple weeks out of Hogwarts and she would still be able to go to the games."
The headmaster stroked his beard in thought before speaking, "I suppose I could see about someone escorting you to King's Cross via a form of transportation not the train. Then you'd simply return with the others. Although I am concerned about your safety…someone entered you in this tournament somehow and that is of great concern to me. I must think on this, Harry, so I'd say nothing to your Miss Granger yet. I will let you know in the next few days if a solution has been worked out to both ensure your safety and permit you a bit of a holiday."
"Thank you sir," Harry said, standing and walking to the door.
He had his hand on the doorknob when Dumbledore said his name. Harry turned to face him, "Harry your parents would both have approved of Hermione. And I'm certain they'd be proud of you and all you've done."
Harry's cheeks pinked, "Thank you sir." He left the office and the headmaster began writing a letter. Already he had a few ideas. He just needed to get the formalities out of the way.
Ron decided to spend his time trying to find a girl to take to the ball. Working out why Harry wanted to be Hermione's boyfriend was just too difficult for him. He had better things to do. If Harry wanted to give up on girls that meant there was less competition for Ron, after all. He still didn't know who to ask though.
Three days after Harry's visit to Dumbledore's office he received a letter detailing what would be happening for winter break. On Boxing Day morning Harry and Hermione would be traveling via portkey to King's Cross along with Remus Lupin and the house elf Dobby. Dobby would be an invisible bodyguard to Harry in the muggle world and Remus would be the one transporting the pair to the Grangers. Dumbledore was arranging for a car to be waiting for them. Since Hermione's family lived in London it would be easy enough.
The Grangers had made sure to have tickets for the two teens for both games they'd be attending and were happy to put Harry up in their home for the winter break. He also received several large packages. Inside was a note from Sirius about needing better clothing and that he'd sent muggle money to Hermione's mother through Dobby to get Harry new clothes. Harry had a very large wardrobe now. Four pairs of blue jeans, one pair of black jeans, three pairs of pants, brand new socks and underwear, pajamas, a pair of dress shoes, a pair of casual shoes, two pairs of trainers, eight undershirts, nine t-shirts, four button-downs, two hoodies, and three jumpers. A muggle suit was also included. Sirius also sent a new winter coat, a lighter jacket, and some winter boots, gloves, and hats too. To Harry's delight, everything fit him perfectly.
Madame Pomfrey wrote him a prescription for new glasses and Remus sent him two pairs not long after that as well as some contact lenses. Harry was feeling rather humbled at all that was being spent on him but he took great delight in the knowledge that he wouldn't be meeting Hermione's family wearing Dudley 'Beluga Whale' Dursley's hand-me-downs. He wanted to make a good first impression. Especially since he was her boyfriend.
Hermione watched Harry put on his new glasses in the room they used to train for the tournament, "Why all the packages and now new glasses?"
Harry smiled at her, "It's a surprise. For you," he added.
Hermione tilted her head, "Harry I don't care what your clothes look like or how much tape your glasses have on them."
"I know that," he sat next to her, "but I want to look my best when I meet your family on Boxing Day."
Hermione's head whipped to face him, "Boxing Day?"
He grinned, "We're leaving on Boxing Day to stay with your parents for the rest of winter break."
She nearly tackled him off the desk as she kissed him, "Thank you Harry!"
"You're welcome," he rested his forehead against hers, "I know how important your family is to you and I wanted to do what I could to let you spend time with them."
"They're going to love you," Hermione smiled, "it'd be impossible not to love you after doing this for me."
Harry nuzzled her neck, "I just want them to not hate me."
"Then don't mention that your girlfriend is warding classrooms to snog you," Hermione smiled, waving her wand to ward the classroom before she kissed him again. Harry returned the kiss, smiling. He was pretty good at this dating thing.
Ron rubbed his head. Who to ask had become who was available. The knowledge that Harry had asked Hermione had spurred other boys to action, if only because the girls who had hoped Harry would ask them suddenly had no one to go with. Ron hadn't managed to ask any girls before they were almost all paired up. The only ones left were the undesirables, which seriously frustrated Ron. Of all the undesirables, Hermione was the best option but he wasn't dumb enough to ask Harry to let him take Hermione.
So Ron sat brooding about his miserable luck while Harry and Hermione were off in the library doing more homework. Ron did not understand doing homework that wasn't due until after winter break. "You need a date Ron," Ginny said.
Ron suddenly looked up at her, "Hey, you're a girl…and you can't go unless you go with an older student so you can go with me."
"So kind of you to notice that I'm a girl. I already have a date Ron," Ginny said.
"Oh come on," Ron said, rolling his eyes, "like anyone would ask you."
Ginny glared at him, "For your information I was asked over a week ago! You're so useless Ron." She turned and stomped up the stairs to the girls' dorm.
"Whatever, she's lying," Ron muttered.
"No she's not," Hermione said. "She has a date."
Ron's head whipped to see Harry and Hermione approaching, "Who?"
"That's not your business," Hermione said. Ron just glared at her. Harry rolled his eyes and pulled Hermione to a couch so that they could just sit together quietly. Ron's desperation was making him particularly pigheaded lately and he didn't want to deal with that.
Hermione kissed his cheek, "You are a great boyfriend Harry."
He smiled at her and squeezed her hand, "I was scared of just how I'd do but it's not that hard if you're not a selfish git."
"Like Ron," Hermione mused, nudging Harry to watch as Ron was shot down by Parvati and Lavender.
"He doesn't get it, does he," Harry sighed.
"Ron is very obstinate," she said, shifting to lean against him. "And shallow, evidently."
"I think he needs his eyes checked," Harry mused, "you're gorgeous." She blushed and he kissed her cheek, "I don't know how you don't see it, Hermione. I definitely do."
"I'm starting to believe it," she smiled. Harry grinned.
He leaned close and asked, "Do you know who Krum is taking?"
Hermione leaned in to whisper, "Luna Lovegood. I suggested her."
Harry frowned, "Then he wasn't asking you for…romance?"
"He knew my eyes were on another boy," Hermione answered, her voice still low. "Plus he liked that I wasn't throwing myself at him like every other girl our age or older."
"So I was jealous for no reason?" Harry asked, surprised.
Hermione smiled and gently kissed him, "Harry your jealousy and sadness led to me making you my boyfriend."
"Oh yeah," he smiled. "It did, didn't it? Lucky me."
"Very lucky you," she said. "My parents will love you Harry."