Chapter 1 : An Alternate Yule Ball
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All writing in bold is by JK Rowling. Do not accuse me of plagiarizing. THOSE SEGMENTS ARE JK ROWLING'S WORK, SO PLEASE ACKNOWLEDGE THAT. I do not own Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire or the Harry Potter characters - all JK Rowling's.
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As Harry and Ron battled with two toy wands that Fred and George had made, Professor McGonagall’s voice rang out.
“Potter! Weasley! Will you pay attention?” she asked them severely, eyeing them angrilly.
Harry and Ron gave each other looks and sighed. They put away their wands, which were now a tin parrot and a rubber haddock and listened, unwillingly, to McGonagall.
Hermione, who was eyeing the two out of the corner of her eye, rolled them and gave a little sigh. Sometimes they were so hopeless.
McGonagall continued. “Now that Potter and Weasley have been kind enough to act their age, I have something to say to you all.
“The Yule Ball is approaching – a traditional part of the Triwizard Tournament and an opportunity for us to socialize with our foreign guests. Now, the ball will be open only to fourth years and above – although you may invite a younger student if you wish —”
Harry groaned as Lavender, giggling, and Parvati, turned to stare at him. Why were they looking at him?
“Dress robes will be worn,” Ron gave a small groan himself at this, “and the ball will start at eight o’clock on Christmas Day, finishing at midnight in the Great Hall. Now then— The Yule Ball is of course a chance for us all to – er—let our hair down…” More giggles came from Lavender’s mouth. Harry could see Hermione rolling her eyes yet again. McGonagall went on to explain, much to Harry and Ron’s disliking, that school rules would still be enforced, and that if any Gryffindor student misbehaved, they would be in trouble. The bell then rang, and Harry tried to race out of the door to be free from a lecture about his misconduct and to go to lunch with Ron (Hermione was going back to the library). McGonagall had other plans.
“Potter – a word, if you please.” Harry sighed and turned around, facing her. “Potter, the champions and their partners —”
“What partners?” said Harry.
“Your partners for the Yule Ball, Potter,” she said coldly. “Your dance partners.”
“Dance partners? I don’t dance,” he said quickly.
“Oh yes, you do,” said Professor McGonagall irritably. “That’s what I’m telling you. Traditionally, the champions and their partners open the ball.”
“I’m not dancing,” Harry said stubbornly, crossing his arms. No way. He was not going to make a fool of himself in front of the entire school, and two others. And God knows who else. Rita Skeeter had already caused enough trouble. He did not need a headline, “Potter Survives Dragon, but Kills Himself While Dancing,” in the Daily Prophet.
“It is traditional,” said Professor McGonagall firmly. “You are a Hogwarts champion, and you will do what is expected of you as a representative of the school. So make sure you get yourself a partner, Potter.”
“But – I don’t –”
“You heard me, Potter,” said Professor McGonagall in a very final sort of way.
Harry left the Transfiguration room, and, sighing, decided to walk around the building to think this through. It was obvious whom he wanted as his date – Cho. He had a crush on her since third year. But would Cho say yes? For one, she was one of the most popular girl in school. For two, she was a year older than he.
Harry sighed yet again, staring at the ground, and then looked up as he saw a lock of black hair. It was Cho, surrounded by girls. She was whispering excitedly to them, and showing them a note. Harry decided it was now or never.
Wishing that girls could just travel alone, or at least shut up once in a while, he interrupted their conversation, and said, turning red, “Er…Cho?”
Cho looked startled. “Yes?” she said politely, looking at him.
“Could I have a word with you? Alone?” The girls around her giggled, but Cho said, “Sure,” and walked over with him to a corner in the hallway.
Harry swallowed, and then mumbled something about going to the ball.
“What’s that?” Cho asked, looking highly confused, and still clutching the note in her hand that she had shown to her friends.
“Do you…” Harry took a deep breath. “Do you want to go to the Yule Ball with me?” Cho’s face fell.
“Oh, Harry, I’m really sorry, but Cedric Diggory already asked me earlier today…I really am sorry, Harry,” she said, and looking it.
“It’s okay,” said Harry, trying to put on a smile, but failing miserably. “Er…goodbye then.”
“Bye,” said Cho, quickly turning around, as if embarrassed at what had happened.
Harry didn’t know where to go now. He was hungry, but Ron would ask what was up, and then everyone at the table would know, and surely make fun of him. Harry knew he’d make fun of someone if they were in his position. So Harry went to the only place that made sense – the library. Hermione wouldn’t really care about what happened anyway.
He entered the library, spotted Hermione working hard on what looked to be her SPEW list, and sat next to her, groaning.
“What’s up?” Hermione asked in surprise, looking up from her work. “Shouldn’t you be at lunch?”
“I just asked Cho to the Ball,” said Harry, looking depressed, and feeling like a jerk. Why had he asked her out? Why?
“Oh,” said Hermione quietly, as if guessing what had happened. “So…she said no, then?”
Harry nodded glumly. “She’s going with Diggory.”
A noise from behind them made the two turned around, and they noticed that Viktor Krum was at the library yet again, with his fan club close behind. Hermione rolled her eyes, and then turned her attention back to their conversation as Harry began speaking again.
“And the worse part is, I have to get a partner!” he exclaimed, slamming his fist lightly on the table in mild frustration.
“Because the champions traditionally open the Ball?” Hermione asked, clearly clued into what Harry had learned from McGonagall. This did not come as a shock to Harry. She probably read it in a book…in fact, he was sure she did. He just nodded as a response.
“Now I have no one!” he sighed, not noticing Hermione’s little sniff and frown at this comment.
“I’m sorry,” she said rather coldly. Harry didn’t hear the tone in her voice, and simply replied, “Thanks.” Hermione rolled her eyes at the stupidity of boys and their inability to recognize emotions, and went back to her work.
Harry laid his head on the table, listening to the scratching sounds coming from Hermione’s quill. He traced circles on the table as he thought. Who was he going to ask?
Then it hit him, and he couldn’t believe how stupid he had been. Hermione! She was a girl! How could he have forgotten? But then again, she was such a close friend; it was hard to think of her like that.
Harry looked up quickly and tapped Hermione on the shoulder. “Yes?” she asked, placing her quill down on her parchment clearly annoyed at the interruption.
“Hermione, would you be my partner?” Hermione looked at him in surprise.
“Well, you’re one of my best friends, and you’re a girl…I just thought it’d be appropriate.”
“Took you long enough,” said Hermione with a snort.
“Took me what long enough?” Harry asked, confused. What was she talking about?
“That you could bring me. How could you forget I was a girl?” she demanded, looking quite a bit insulted.
Harry should have known this might happen. “I’m sorry, Hermione,” he pleaded with her. “It’s just, since we’re such good friends, it’s hard to think of you in that way… Please say that you will go with me? It will be a lot of fun!” Harry lied, thinking grimly about the dancing and how he’d probably end up in a pool of his own blood from some accident.
Hermione hesitated, and then smiled. “Sure. I’d love to.”
Harry felt the immense block of pressure release from his chest – he had a date. Well, not a date, as Hermione was just his friend…but he wouldn’t look like a fool now, and that was the point. And it would be fun, going with Hermione.
“But one thing,” Hermione said quietly. “Please don’t tell anyone.”
“What?” said Harry in shock. “Why?”
“Because,” Hermione sighed. “A lot of the girls want to go with you – I don’t want to be ridiculed or cursed because you chose me.”
Harry laughed. “Why would anyone make fun of you because of that?”
“Because people think I’m fairly ugly,” Hermione said simply. “That, and the whole Rita Skeeter thing…”
“You’re not ugly,” said Harry, confused. “And we’ll deal with the Rita Skeeter git when the time comes… I might just have to threaten to place her in front of a dragon.”
Hermione laughed. “Thanks Harry,” she said.
“Thanks to you, too!” Harry exclaimed, as he rushed out of the room and to lunch, as there was no reason not to go now.
“No problem,” Hermione called quietly after him, returning to her work.
As Harry left, he noticed that Viktor Krum eyeing him angrily. Shrugging it off, Harry raced off to lunch.
Ron looked as Harry sat down next to him.
“Where were you?” he asked.
“Er…the library,” said Harry. “Checking up on something.”
“Right,” said Ron, looking at him suspiciously. He sighed as he drank his pumpkin juice. “So, who are you going to ask?” he asked Harry. “To the Yule Ball, I mean.”
“I already asked someone,” Harry said, happy that he could say this.
“You did?” Ron said. He almost spat out his pumpkin juice. “So soon? Who? And how?”
“I asked them,” Harry laughed. “That’s how.”
“But who?” Ron insisted.
“Can’t tell you,” Harry replied simply.
“What?” Ron exclaimed. “Why?”
“Because,” said Harry. “They asked me not to. For their own protection,” he laughed. “Anyway, I tried Cho, but she already was going with Diggory, so I asked this other girl, and she said yes.”
“Lucky,” Ron moaned. “Who am I going to ask?”
“No idea,” said Harry, happily refilling his cup.
A few weeks, and many requests to go to the ball with Harry (and no’s on Harry’s part), later, it was the day of the Yule Ball. Hermione had just told everyone that she was not going, and Harry had respected this lie. Let Hermione be Hermione and make her own decisions. Anyway, she had covered up for him so many times, he owed her this at the very least. Ron had managed to get a date with Padma Patil of Ravenclaw, and was rather pleased about it.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione went outside, as it was Christmas and nothing else to do now that presents were opened. Hermione watched as Harry, Ron, Fred, and George competed in a snowball fight. Harry was taken by surprise when Hermione left at five o’clock, saying that she was tired.
When the others had their backs turned, she mouthed at Harry, “Going to get ready.”
Three hours before the ball started? What was she going to do, go shopping in Italy? Harry shook off this thought, and finished the snowball fight with the Weasleys until seven o’clock, when they headed to their dormitories to get ready.
Harry put on his green dress robes and tried to comb back his hair, and failed. It was just too resistant. Ron plucked gloomily at the loose threads from his robes, which had come about after he tried to sever off the cuffs. He had succeeded, but not that well.
They walked out into the common room. There was no sign of Hermione, and still none at five of eight, so Harry figured she’d just meet him at the doors.
They left the room, and Harry sifted through the crowd to try to join the other champions. There was Fleur, with Roger Davies, captain of the Ravenclaw Quidditch Team, practically drooling on her arm. Cedric and Cho were talking to each other happily, and Viktor Krum was with some girl from Durmstrang that Harry did not now.
One minute before the doors would open, Harry felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned around, and saw a girl he didn’t know. She was extremely pretty, with sleek and shiny hair, twisted up into an elegant knot at the back of her head. She was wearing robes made of floaty, periwinkle-blue material.
“Yes?” he asked the girl, confused. She smiled at him, her brown eyes lighting up, and then it hit him. Harry’s jaw dropped. That girl was Hermione.
But, it didn’t look like her at all! Her hair…her clothes…she was even holding herself differently.
“Her-Hermione?” Harry gasped. Hermione smiled at him
“Hi,” she said, looking pleased with herself.
“You look…” Harry tried to find the words. “You look…breathtaking,” he finished. Hermione flashed him a huge smile.
“Thanks,” she said quietly. The doors opened, and the partners got into a line, Hermione holding on to Harry’s arm.
The group followed McGonagall, and everyone in the Great Hall applauded as they entered and started walking up toward a large round table at the top of the Hall, where the judges were sitting.
The walls of the Hall had all been covered in sparkling silver frost, with hundreds of garlands of mistletoe and ivy crossing the starry black ceiling. The House tables had vanished; instead, there were about a hundred smaller, lantern-lit ones, each sitting about a dozen people.
Harry noticed as he and Hermione walked by Ron and Padma that Ron was watching the two of them through narrowed eyes. What was going on?
When Harry and Hermione reached the table where the judges were seated (and, to his astonishment, Crouch was not there, but Percy Weasley), they sat down.
Harry quickly began talking to Hermione, “Did you notice that Crouch is gone?”
“Yeah,” said Hermione, furrowing her eyebrows. “But we’ll worry about it later, all right?”
Harry was taken by surprise, but shrugged and answered, “Sure.” They struck up a conversation about how much work must have gone into the decoration. Harry nodded to whatever Hermione said as he saw that there were menus in front of them, and wondered how to order. He glanced over at Dumbledore, who said to his place, “Pork Chops,” and the item appeared.
Harry glanced back to Hermione, and said, hesitantly, to his plate, “Pork Chops,” as well. He wondered if Hermione would get upset about this difficult way of sending food (which was certainly more work for the house-elves), but she didn’t seem bothered by it – she was happily continuing to talk with him. Harry decided to just continue the conversation.
After dinner, the tables and chairs disappeared, leaving a clear room. Harry knew what was next: the opening dance.
He gulped, but however was comforted that he was dancing with Hermione. After all, she’d stand by him, even if he did happen to injure her greatly while dancing with her.
Hermione gently pulled Harry up, smiling, and they walked to the center of the dance floor with the other champions. Harry noticed both Viktor and Ron were glaring at him, and he just wish he knew why.
The Weird Sisters, who were playing, struck up a tune. Hermione, still smiling, pulled Harry’s hand, as if telling him what to do, and placed it her waist, putting his other hand in hers.
He looked at her, and gulped again. Not because they were dancing. Oh no, all thoughts of that were blown from his mind. It just hit him how pretty Hermione really was. True, Hermione had done a lot of work for it tonight, but he wasn’t just thinking about tonight. He was thinking about all the other times. She really was pretty…and charming…and smart…and she was always there for him. She was perfect…perfect for him. He suddenly became aware that his hand was around her waist.
Why was she affecting him like that? He just thought about her as a friend. Right?
Hermione began leading Harry around the dance floor. She seemed to float, while Harry was struck by how clumsy and big his feet felt. He tripped over them and stepped on Hermione’s toe.
“Sorry,” he muttered.
Hermione grinned at him. “No problem,” she said in a whisper. He could feel her breath on his neck, and he thanked God that he didn’t break out into goose bumps. That would be a dead giveaway about what he was feeling and thinking.
As the dance ended, Harry wished very much that it wouldn’t, as he had been having so much fun, gazing into Hermione’s eyes. She had kept her eyes on him, as well, and he wondered why. He was doing a lot of wondering today, wasn’t he?
Hermione brought them over to the table where Ron and Padma sat, saying she needed to get a drink. As Hermione went off to get pumpkin juices for both of them, Harry sat next to Ron.
Ron glared at him.
“Er,” said Harry, not sure what to do. Finally, he decided on just asking, “What’s going on?”
“What do you mean?” Ron asked, still glowering at him.
“I mean that you’ve been frowning at Hermione and myself for the past hour,” Harry said in an exasperated tone.
“No I haven’t,” said Ron.
“Yes, you have,” insisted Harry.
“No,” said Ron, now looking angrier.
“Fine,” said Harry, annoyed. But Hermione came back with the drinks and sat next to him, and he felt better. That is, until Ron began bickering with her.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were going?” he demanded. “And with Harry?”
Hermione looked taken aback. “I didn’t want anyone to know,” she said, “what with the article and everything…”
“You couldn’t even tell me?” Ron hissed.
“I…” Hermione stared at him. “What’s really going on, Ron?” she asked, frustrated.
“If you don’t know, then I’m not going to tell you,” replied Ron, rather childishly Harry thought.
“Fine!” Hermione cried bitterly. She grabbed Harry’s arm. “Let’s go dance…outside…away from him,” she said, glancing at Ron. Harry nodded, not wanting to hang around Ron when he was being such a prat, and followed Hermione.
They walked out the door and into the courtyard, where they found an open space. Harry was surprised by Hermione’s actions, as this was a rather romantic place to be, but decided to go with it. He quite liked it, actually.
The band had begun a rather slow and, Harry thought, romantic song. Hermione didn’t seem to care, as she did what she had done earlier – wrapped Harry’s hand around her waist. Except this time, she placed his other hand on her shoulder.
They began revolving around the spot, slowly moving to the beat. Harry could feel Hermione’s body heat, and was relieved that it was dark outside, so that he wouldn’t see that he was blushing. Harry looked around them, and saw that the stars were unusually bright. There was a fountain behind them, lit up by fairy lights.
Harry felt Hermione move slowly towards the entrance of the Great Hall, and he danced with her, not wanting to trip, or let go of her. She paused under the doorway, and Harry looked up and saw mistletoe. He gave Hermione a small tap on the shoulder, and looked up with his eyes. Hermione followed them, and Harry was sure she would have frowned. Instead, she smiled, and looked back at him.
“Well?” she said, her eyes glinting, a small smile playing at her lips.
“Well what?” Harry said nervously.
“Well, are you going to kiss me?” she asked. She stared straight into his eyes, and Harry felt himself slowly lean into her. Hermione leaned in as well, and stood on her toes to meet him. After what felt like an eternity, their lips met.
Harry felt a passion that he had never experienced before – not even when he thought of Cho. He felt alive, and felt as if nothing could go wrong. He felt as if the world had disappeared, and no one existed but the two of them. He deepened the kiss with Hermione, and she let go of his waist and shoulder. He thought that she was going to push them apart, but instead flung her arms around his neck. Harry moved his arms to behind her back and pushed them closer.
They finally broke apart, and looked at one another, breathing heavily. It was then that Harry realized that the music was no longer playing, and the room had gone silent. Harry and Hermione looked in to find that everyone was staring at them. Then, quite suddenly, the hall erupted into cheers (except most of the Slytherins and Ron, who was still scowling).
Harry turned away from the room and smiled at Hermione. “Well, I guess the article’s true now,” he told her.
“Hmm?” Hermione asked. “What article?” She looked rather dazed.
“It seems,” Harry said, “That Mr. Potter has finally found a girlfriend in Miss Hermione Granger.”
Hermione’s smile widened. “Skeeter is going to go insane when she hears about this,” she said with a laugh.
“We’ll deal with her later,” said Harry. He slipped his fingers through Hermione’s. “For now, let’s go for a little walk.”
“Will there be dancing and possibly kissing involved?” Hermione asked, fluttering her eyelashes jokingly and laughing.
“Most definitely,” Harry said with a grin. And, hand in hand, the couple walked into the moonlight.
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