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An Alternate Yule Ball by Hermione_Crookshanks
Chapter 5 : Don't be Melodramatic/First Argument
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 32


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Okay everyone...I've updated! YAY! And...it's a much longer chapter, as a sort of apology for my slow updates. I really really really enjoyed writing this one, so I hope you like it as well.

As always, I do not own the Goblet of Fire plotline (Rowling's) and everything in bold is in the actual book. Please enjoy and kindly review so I can know how I can improve or what you like!


*****

“Harry? Harry!”

“Hmm, what?” Harry looked up from the ground. Ron, who had been yelling for his attention, frowned at him.

“Your niffler hasn’t found anything,” Ron commented as he sifted through the pile of gold his faithful niffler had delivered him.

They were in Care of Magical Creatures where Hagrid was letting them “slack the day off” through a treasure hunt to see whose niffler, a fluffy black creatures with long snouts and flat front paws that hunted for shiny things, was the most successful. So far, it appeared Ron had been lucky.

Harry normally would have been more enthusiastic about this type of lesson, but the continuous absence of Hermione was worrying him. Was she alright? Why was it taking Madam Pomfrey so long?

“Oh,” said Harry in a monotone. “I guess.”

Ron sighed. “Look, Harry, Hermione is fine. It was just some pus. She’ll be okay and you’ll see her in no time. Can’t you just try not to be melodramatic?”

“I’m not being melodramatic,” Harry said huffily as Ron’s niffler delivered more gold into his lap.

Ron rolled his eyes and said, “Forget it,” and Harry, who was not only too preoccupied with thoughts of Hermione, but also didn’t want to have another falling out with Ron, did.

Harry sat in the grass and stared at the castle, as if willing Hermione to walk out, when he felt a sudden tap on his shoulder. He looked up and saw Hagrid towering over him.

“Harry,” Hagrid said, with a raised eyebrow. “Where’s Hermione?”

“Hospital wing,” Harry said in a whisper so that only Hagrid could hear him (he had noticed a group of Slytherins, including Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson, straining their ears to hear more). “She got some awful letters from readers of Witch Weekly. You know…that article…”

Hagrid nodded. “Abou’ that article, is’t true?”

“Er, well…er…half of it,” Harry finally admitted, turning a light shade of red.

“Hermione’s goin’ out with Krum?” Hagrid asked surprised.

Harry’s face grew hotter. “Er, no…”

“Wait a minute,” Hagrid said, eyeing Harry suspiciously. “The two of you…yer not… You got together with Hermione?”

Harry couldn’t believe his face could be any redder, but he was pretty sure that he had beat the Weasley’s hair by a long shot. “Yeah,” he muttered.

“When did this happen?” Hagrid demanded.

“At the Yule Ball…” Harry said. “I guess you’ve been a little preoccupied with Madam Maxime, considering it’s been all over…”

“I have not been preoccupied with Madam Maxime,” Hagrid said scornfully. Harry overheard Hagrid as he muttered, “Not half-giant…shouldn’t be ‘shamed…”

Hagrid looked up and then said, “Yeh should’ve told me!”

“Sorry,” Harry apologized, “it’s just—”

But Ron cut off Harry with another shout of, “Harry!” Harry turned around and saw that Ron was pointing at the castle. Harry turned sharply and saw Hermione trudging down the grounds towards Hagrid’s cabin. Harry ran off, leaving Hagrid and Ron, to meet Hermione, who looked miserable as she held up two hands that were covered in bandages.

“Hermione,” Harry breathed. “Are you okay? I…I’ve been so worried…”

“I’m fine,” Hermione sighed. “I just have to wear these bandages for a few days.”

They walked back towards class, slowly and in silence.

“I’m so sorry!” Harry blurted out suddenly.

Hermione looked up surprised. “What are you sorry for? It’s that awful Skeeter woman who did this…oh…I will get her…I swear I will,” Hermione finished with a grimace at her hands.

“No, it is my fault,” Harry said, finally realizing one of the reasons why he had been so worried earlier on. “If I had just spoken with Krum…maybe…maybe this wouldn’t have happened.”

Hermione laughed. “Oh Harry, don’t be delusional. Skeeter would have just turned it into some kind of war with a headline, ‘The-Boy-Who-Lived and Famous Quidditch Player Fight for the Heart of Muggleborn.’ She would have found some way to play the truth.”

Harry realized Hermione was right. Skeeter would do anything to make their lives miserable.

Harry gave Hermione a fake frown and said in a hurt and teasing voice, “Maybe I want to be delusional.” Hermione laughed, stood up on her toes, and gave Harry a quick kiss on the lips. Harry, who realized they were standing right in front of the class now, quickly looked away from Hermione.

Hermione sighed and then whispered in Harry’s ear, “You really need to get over the embarrassment of being with a girl, or I’m afraid we’ll have to break this off.” Harry turned around quickly, his heart pounding, but with a look at the huge smile on her face, he knew she was joking.

As they were walking over to Ron Harry told her, “I’m sorry about that…I’m just not…well…”

“Not that good when it comes to dealing with me in front of crowds?” Hermione supplied for him.

“Well, you know me better than I know myself …” Harry said.

“I suppose I do,” Hermione teased, her smile growing wider.

The two met up with Ron, who was waiting for Harry with a frown pulling at his face.

“Oh, Ron!” Hermione said with one glance of his face. “I’m sorry we took so long, we were talking and…”

“That’s not it,” Ron said, still frowning. He turned abruptly to Harry. “I just won the prize for the niffler contest." Harry tried to say congratulations but Ron plunged on. "Goyle tried to steal some of my gold...Hagrid said it was no use...it would disappear. That it was leprachaun gold. Why didn’t you tell me the gold disappeared on the night of the Quidditch World Cup?”

“Uh oh,” Harry said quietly. Hermione glanced up at him nervously. “I…I guess I never noticed…I mean…what with my wand disappearing and the dark mark…it slipped my mind.”

They began walking towards the castle. Ron broke the silence that had ensued.

Must be nice. To have so much money you don’t notice if a pocketful of Galleons goes missing.

“Look,” Harry said impatiently as they entered the castle and walked towards the Great Hall. “I’m sorry, I really am…there was just so much going on!”

They walked into the Great Hall and sat down. Ron began dealing himself food as he said, “I didn’t know leprechaun gold vanished. I thought I was paying you back. You should’t’ve given me that Chudley Cannon hat for Christmas.

Harry groaned, feeling annoyed. “Just forget it, all right?

Ron slammed his fork towards his potato, but, in his anger, missed completely, causing his plate to break.

Hermione moaned, “Ron, careful!” then took out her wand and repaired the broken dish.

I hate being poor. It’s rubbish. I don’t blame Fred and George for trying to make some extra money. Wish I could. Wish I had a niffler.

Harry turned desperately to Hermione, knowing that anything he’d say would just make matter worse. “Help him,” he mouthed.

Hermione nodded and turned towards Ron cheerfully.

“We know what to buy you for Christmas then, don’t we?” Ron, however, continued to look despondent. “Look,” Hermione said, grimacing as she tried to maneuver her fork and knife to cut her food. “Matters could be much worse. Your fingers aren’t full of pus, are they?” Hermione was beginning to look frustrated and Harry, surprising both himself and Hermione, placed his hand on Hermione’s, took her knife and fork, and began cutting her food.

This seemed to cheer Ron up a little, who seemed to think they were acting like an old married couple. Hermione, however, was not amused. “I swear I will get that Skeeter woman for spreading those awful lies,” she whispered angrily. “If it’s the last thing I do!”

“Don’t Hermione,” Ron warned. “She’ll just bring you down further.”

“Well,” said Hermione, her eyes afire, “she’ll be coming down with me.”

Harry and Ron exchanged looks. They knew there was no stopping her. Hermione was almost as obsessed with Rita Skeeter as with elf rights.

*****

Hate mail arrived for Hermione during the week, and even though the trio tried to ignore the letters (Harry often threw them into the fire, smiling as the paper crackled and burned), many of the letters were, unfortunately, howlers, which screamed insults at Hermione in front of the entire school. Harry, who was slowly overcoming his fear of showing that he had a commitment with a girl in public, held Hermione and covered her ears, even though, after the first couple of times, Hermione insisted that she was all right and could handle insults from the people who were too immature to doubt Skeeter.

Harry had also slowly moved to the defensive side. Although Hermione had told him earlier that it wasn’t his fault that she continually got hate letters, he couldn’t help but feel guilty. It was because she was dating him…because he was the-boy-who-lived, a loved celebrity. People tended to get obsessed with celebrities and their happiness…one hint of a celebrity’s happiness being broken, and they went haywire. Because of this, Hermione was getting hurt, and Harry hated it.

Harry was, he admitted to himself, feeling like a jerk every time he jumped up when Malfoy came to their table with his cronies to ridicule Hermione. Especially when Hermione replied, calmly, “Quiet Malfoy, or I’ll have a word with Moody about you… You do make a better ferret then a human being, although that’s not saying much.”

Harry couldn’t help but grin, even though he was still embarrassed by how much he was overreacting, at Malfoy’s face whenever Hermione said something along these lines.

“Don’t know how you do it,” Harry told her over breakfast one day. Hermione smiled at him sadly.

“I’m getting a bit sick of those letters though,” she admitted, tossing a red envelope that had contained a howler aside. Harry picked it up, grinning to himself at the thought of adding it to the common room fire later on (it was, he decided, almost as good as burning the people who sent it, except this way there were no ashes and he didn’t end up in Azkaban).

It’ll die down,” Harry comforted Hermione. “If we just ignore it….

Hermione slammed her fist on the table suddenly (her hands had healed a few days before), surprising Harry and Ron, who had been reading a book (although Harry had a sneaking suspicious he wasn’t really reading and was just trying to give Harry and Hermione “alone time”). Ron looked up.

“Hermione, are you okay?” he asked hesitantly.

“No, I’m not okay!” Hermione said in indignation. “I want to know how she’s listening into private conversations! I thought Dumbledore banned her when she wrote that horrible article revealing that Hagrid was a half-giant?”

Harry sighed. “She was. She must be getting in somehow…”

Hermione’s face brightened up.

“What?” Ron asked, eyeing her suspiciously. “You haven’t devised a plan to burn her at the stake or something, did you?”

“Don’t be silly Ron,” Hermione said absent-mindedly. “Of course not. Anyway, she probably knows the spell to make it feel like a tickling sensation, the one we read about, or were supposed to read about, the summer of third year, what with all the people who hates her.”

“I didn’t want a lecture,” Ron sighed. “Er, sorry,” he said quickly at Hermione’s glare. “Go on. What was your idea?”

“Oh, I’m just going to have a word with Professor Moody after class…” she said.

“What?” Ron asked in surprise. “You’re going to get him to assassinate Malfoy for you?”

Hermione sighed. “Ron, quit being a git.”

“I wasn’t being a—”

Harry interrupted before things got out of control. “Let’s get to Defense Against the Dark Arts, alright? Maybe Moody will throw me off a tower as a demonstration.”

Ron laughed and Hermione looked at Harry, clearly worried. “You don’t think he would, do you?”

It was Harry’s turn to laugh and say, “Quiet being a git.” Hermione looked as if she was going to yell, but then her face broke into a smile.

“Oh, shove off,” she said light heartedly, and planted a kiss on his cheek.

*****

Although Harry was not forced off the astronomy power, he, along with the rest of the class, did have to undergo a harsh hex test. Everyone left immediately (some rushing off to the hospital room, and others simply tearing at their small wounds), except for Hermione, who stayed back, as promised, to have a word with Professor Moody.

Harry and Ron waited patiently for her, and she finally came out, looking disappointed.

“Well, she hasn’t been using an Invisibility Cloak,” she told the two while holding Harry’s arms firmly at his side so that he wouldn’t cover up his wiggling ears. They walked towards the Gryffindor common room. “Moody hasn’t seen her anywhere nearby.”

“Hermione,” Ron groaned, “would it be pointless to get on one knee, beg, and promise you anything if you’d just let this go before Rita spits out some article about how you’re dating Malfoy?”

Harry and Hermione wrinkled their noses, but then Hermione said, fiercely, “Don’t even try it, Ron. I’m going to find out how she overheard Krum and how she found out Hagrid was a half-giant!”

Harry thought back to the muggle shows he caught a glimpse of when he was cleaning that Dudley used to watch.

“Could she have Hogwarts bugged?”

“What’s bugged?” asked Ron, clearly confused. They had arrived at the portrait of the fat lady and Ron quickly gave the password. As they stepped into the common room, which was surprisingly empty, he continued, “You mean you think she’s putting mosquitoes on you?” The three sat down on the couch in front of the fire.

“No, no, no,” said Hermione impatiently, leaning into Harry as he placed his arm around her shoulder. Ron’s face twitched for a moment and he looked almost embarrassed by this, but he returned his face to normal as Hermione continued. “It’s this muggle device involving microphones and recording equipment…but it doesn’t matter. If you two would ever read Hogwarts, A History as I have asked you many times before, you would realize that those types of things, electronics, don’t work on Hogwarts. The magic interferes. Skeeter’s figured out some way to spy on us all, and she’s evading Dumbledore in the process. Ooh, I hope that it’s illegal…if I could just find out…she would rue the day…”

“Hermione,” Harry said tentatively, while Ron stared at her as if she had gone mental, “Maybe we should let this go…” Hermione glared at him and Harry quickly added, “For now. I mean…maybe after the third task…or over the summer…or next year…”

“I’ll do it on my own then,” she snapped, getting up quickly and heading out the portrait hole, in the direction of the library, leaving a surprised Ron. Ron’s face was nothing compared to Harry’s, which was of pure shock. He stared at the space where Hermione had been, his arm still up as if she had never left.

“Great,” he moaned.

“Are you okay?” Ron asked tentatively.

“Oh, I’m perfect,” Harry replied, trying to contain his sarcasm. “I’ve just had my first fight with Hermione as a couple…” Harry felt like pounding his head into the wall. “Just…swell.”

“Sorry about that mate,” Ron said consolingly. “But don’t worry, she’ll come around…” Ron, however, looked doubtful, and Harry raised an eyebrow at him. “Or maybe you should go apologize…”

“Probably should,” Harry sighed, and he ran out the portrait hole and straight to the library.

He found Hermione looking through many books (one was titled Magic and Electronics – Comparing Magical Methods to Muggle Inventions).

He walked over to her table and sat down next to her.

“Hermione?” he asked timidly.

Hermione didn’t look up but gave a little sniff.

“Hermione,” Harry repeated.

Hermione looked up from her book, obviously agitated. “Yes?” she asked coldly.

“Er…” said Harry, trying to find the right words. He really wasn’t good at this, was he? “I…I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that…I…”

“It’s alright, Harry,” Hermione replied. Harry breathed a sigh of relief. “I just wish that I could get a little more support from you for the things I feel so strongly for, like S.P.E.W. It’s nice to get encouragement from your boyfriend.”

Harry looked at her in surprise. “I’m your boyfriend?”

Hermione gave Harry a sharp look. “Of course you’re my boyfriend. What do you think we’ve been this whole time? Friends with benefits?”

Harry blanched. “Friends with benefits? As in friends who…”

Hermione blushed as she realized what she had said and replied, fiercely, “Harry James Potter, you know perfectly well that’s not what I meant! I didn't...I mean...you know what I meant!" she finished, clearly flustered. She calmed down a bit and continued, “We’ve been dating since Christmas. Sometimes you’re really thick, you know that?” saying the last part affectionately.

“Look,” Hermione said, “I have to do some more research…I know you and Ron are suffocating from your workload, so why don’t you go back to Gryffindor tower and start on it? I’ll be up in three or four hours and I can help you two if you really need it…”

Harry smiled at Hermione’s obsessive care about their grades. “Alright,” he said with an exaggerated sigh. He leaned over and gave Hermione a swift kiss on the lips, then headed back to the common room, leaving Hermione immersed in her new project.

*****

Hermione didn’t meet up with Ron and Harry, much to Harry’s disappointment, until 11:30 PM. By then, Ron and Harry, who had done 10 minutes of homework at a time with 30-minute breaks, were not in much of a mood to work. Hermione herself looked exhausted, and told the two, clearly upset, that she had found nothing that could help her with Skeeter.

Ron headed up to the boy’s dormitory, saying he was going to pass out from lack of sleep, leaving Harry and Hermione alone in the common room.

“I’ll go join him,” Harry said with a yawn. “It is getting late.” He stood up and stretched and then leaned down to give Hermione a goodnight kiss. However, Hermione grabbed Harry by the shirt and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him closer.

"Hermione!" Harry said in surprise as she pulled him to her and kissed him deeply. She broke the kiss, looking worried.

"Do you want to stop?" she asked him quietly. Harry smiled.

"No way." And he bent over to kiss her.

As they continued to kiss, Harry fell on top of her, and he snaked his arm around her back. Hermione felt safe. She knew Harry would never go any further than this, at least, not for a while, and that was perfectly okay with her. After all, being only a fourth year, she wasn't in any rush to go any further.

Finally, they stopped kissing, and Harry took his weight off Hermione and lay down next to her on the couch.

“Damn, you stopped,” a voice from the boy’s dormitory stairs said, making the couple look up. It was Ron, who was standing there in his pajamas. “And here I thought I was going to get a chance to see my best friends shag.”

Harry and Hermione turned beet red and Hermione reached over for a book from a pile she had brought from the library and proceeded to chuck it at Ron, who ducked, laughing.

"Stop it!" he called, still laughing, as Hermione threw another book at him, and then another. "Hey! I was just joking! You know that! Hermione!"

Hermione finally stopped as Harry had taken all the books and slyly scooted them out of her reach, and she was too comfortable to get up and grab them.

"You know I was joking, right?" Ron said, with pauses inbetween for laughter.

"Of course!" Hermione said, rather too quickly.

"Overreacted a bit for knowing that I was kidding, didn't you?" Ron said with a wink. “Night you two!” he called, running back up the staircase before Hermione threw something else at him.

Harry and Hermione looked at one another and then burst into laughter. They stopped when they remembered what Ron had said.

“You don’t think he really thought we were going to…” Harry said uncertainly as Hermione said, “I mean…really…we’re only 14…”

The two laughed nervously.

"He said it was a joke," Harry continued, as if reassuring himself that it was true. Hermione only nodded and the room was silent.

“Let’s just forget he ever said that,” Hermione said finally. Harry nodded in agreement as Hermione repositioned herself so that her head fell on Harry’s chest. Harry smiled.

The two stayed up discussing everything from the upcoming exams (Hermione brought the subject up, of course) to what the Third Task might include (Harry said jokingly that he bet was going to have to battle a Giant on the peak of a mountain), until, around 2 AM, the couple fell asleep. One of Harry’s arms was wrapped around Hermione's shoulders, and the other was around her waist. Hermione’s hands were placed lightly on Harry's chest, and her head lifted up and down with each breath Harry took.

*****

Sorry...just had to add the delusional in there...nice little joke about how we're proud to be delusional...

Also, I realize that Hermione would actually be 15, but I don't know...I kinda like them the same age. LOL. Anyway, it's AU AND I officially evoke my creative license, so yeah. LOL. So before anyone hounds on me, yes, I know Hermione is 15. LOL.

So...like...didn't like? Love to know how you feel!

Thanks again for reading and, if you do, reviewing!

~Hermione_Crookshanks


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