Chapter 8 : So Contagious
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A/N: I'm glad you are all enjoying this story so far. believe me, I'm having fun writing it. stay tuned for a jelous Harry. he's always fun lol. please if you enjoy the chapter or story, let it be heard. read and review =)
Could this be out of line? (Could this be out of line?)
To say you're the only one breaking me down like this
You're the only one I would take a shot on
Keep me hanging on so contagiously
- "So Contagious"- Acceptance
It was Viktor Krum in his full Bulgarian glory.
"Viktor!" said Hermione, feeling her face burning. "What a pleasant surprise!"
Harry watched in horror as Viktor went in for a peck at Hermione's cheek.
"It's been too long Hermy-own-ninny" he said gruffly.
"Yeah, I had no idea you were coming. Why didn't you mention it in one of your letters?" said Hermione coyly.
'Letters? They still write to each other?' Harry exclaimed in his head.
"I vanted it to be a surprise." said Viktor smiling.
Harry shook his head in disbelief. Did he just see Viktor smiling?
"Hem hem." said Harry in his best Umbridge impression. He only did it because it seemed Hermione had completely forgotten he was there.
"Oh, how rude am I." said Hermione apologetically. "Viktor, I'm sure you remember Harry."
"Yes." said Viktor, surveying Harry harshly.
"Well I'd love to chat but the ceremony is about to start." said Harry with a forced smile. He looked down at the seating chart in search for Viktor's name. "Okay…since you're an invite from the bride's side, your seat is over there on the right side."
"Oh okay…I'll see you later than Hermy-own-ninny." said Viktor taking Hermione's hand and kissing it before he went to his seat.
Harry looked at Hermione who seemed excessively flustered for his taste.
"You sure you don't want to go sit with your pen pal?" Harry bitterly.
Hermione seemed to have gotten Harry's tone. She looked at him suspiciously.
"Why would I?"
"Oh I don't know. Just wondering." Harry shrugged, putting his best efforts into sounding uninterested.
"Kids, go find your seats, the ceremony is going to start." said Mrs. Weasley looking frazzled as she sped over to Fred and George who were unabashedly flirting with the Veela cousins.
Without any further persuasion, Harry and Hermione set off to find their seats on the groom side of the aisle.
The ceremony went on without a hitch. Fleur was now a Weasley and there was not a girl in the ceremony without teary eyes. During the entire 'I-do's' Hermione had clutched Harry's arm painfully hard. It made him feel foolish about how he had felt only moments before. So what if Viktor Krum was a famous Quidditch star and former Triwizard champion? He had been Hermione's friend for much longer than they had been pen pals. He had no need to feel threatened of Hermione having another male friend outside of the trio.
'Yeah, too bad that isn't the only reason you're threatened' his mind told him tauntingly.
Harry followed the party out onto the dance floor, which was still empty as everyone went around the buffet table looking for food. He was surprised when Hermione informed him she would be sitting with Viktor and not him, as they wanted to catch up. He was amazed at how well he was able to mask his mixture of disappointment and outrage as he saw her sit across the dance floor. He grudgingly trotted over to the table where Ron and Luna were, making sure to take the seat facing the opposite side of the dance floor to keep an eye on Krum.
Ron and Luna were too busy laughing and talking to pay any mind to the fuming Harry in front of them. Harry bit off his meat with gritted teeth as he tried to control this new bizarre feeling. He continued watching and absentmindedly eating. His eyes seldom straying off of Krum. Krum. He was talking animatedly to Hermione who seemed quite enthralled in what he was saying. It had never bothered him that Viktor Krum had always been "friendly" when it came to Hermione. It was the only with her that his usually surly face broke into a smile. However tonight he felt like punching him in the face for the way he was looking at Hermione. His Hermione.
'My Hermione? what's wrong with me?' Harry asked himself.
Harry was so focused on watching Viktor, that he was unable to see that he and Ron had been left alone at the table and that Ron had been surveying him closely.
"Welcome to my world." said Ron patting him on the shoulder.
Harry looked at him bemusedly.
"What are you talking about?"
"Oh Harry." said Ron imitating Hermione. "And here I thought I was thick. Apparently you haven't been reading the book I gave you."
Harry was genuinely confused.
"Harry, it doesn't take a genius to spot that you fancy Hermione." said Ron.
"What? I don't-"
"Save your breath Harry." said Ron grinning. "No point in denying it. Hell, I'd be questioning your sexuality if you didn't. She's grown into a very beautiful girl."
"But, why aren't you-
"Mad?" Ron interrupted. "Well, we broke up mutually. We just weren't the same people we were when we had a crush on each other, we tried it out it didn't work, so we're okay."
Harry felt distressed. He knew Ron could tell that had in fact been right about him fancying Hermione. It still felt odd admitting it to his best friend who was also Hermione's ex-boyfriend.
"Look mate you don't have any worries with me. If I was fine with you dating my sister, I'm fine with you dating Hermione."
"Dating? What makes you so sure she'd want to date me?" Harry asked.
"You're her best friend. You two go back a long way. It's easy to move on from there." Ron said. "Besides you know how to keep your cool and avoid any horrible rows and that's a plus in any relationship."
Harry looked back at Hermione who had just laughed at something Viktor had said. He saw how Viktor's hands inched closer to hers at the table they were sitting at. Hermione was smiling broadly and pushing back a strand of sleek hair behind her ear. Harry was fuming at the sight of it all. Pushing hair back? That was such an un-Hermione move.
"Well? don't just sit there, go ask her to dance." said Ron assertively.
"What? You know I don't dance." Harry muttered.
"You rather Vicky do you the favour?" Ron asked teasingly.
"No." Harry replied at once.
"Well then go on Chosen One, if you can face you-know-who, you can dance just once." Ron said encouragingly. He gave Harry a firm push to get him going.
Harry reluctantly walked forward to the table Hermione and Viktor were sitting at. As he stood there, completely ignored by the pair, he figured clearing his throat would be the perfect way to announce his sudden appearance.
"Hello…uhm Viktor." said Harry uncertainly.
"Hello Potter." said Viktor, visibly annoyed at Harry's presence.
Hermione looked on anxiously between them.
"So…er…you still play Quidditch?" Harry asked.
"Ven I can." said Viktor. "but vith this var going on…there's not much time or interest in Quidditch is there?"
"No I guess not." said Harry rationalizing.
Hermione tapped on the table nervously with her fingers. The small talk seemed rather awkward to her on both ends.
"I'm goving to go congratulate Fleur" said Viktor in his gruff voice. "Excuse me."
Harry watched as he went off into the crowd.
Hermione smiled up at him.
"He's not much of a talker." she said reassuringly.
"Yeah, seems he only really talks with you, Hermy-own-ninny." said Harry amusedly.
"He never really did get the hang of how to pronounce my name."
"Yeah….hey I was wondering, do you maybe want to dance?" Harry asked. The words had slipped out of his mouth much faster than he had wanted.
Hermione looked up at him bemusedly. Had she heard him correctly?
"You want to dance?" she asked incredulously.
"Why not, it's one of the last few chances I have to do something normal."
"I'll dance with you in the condition you won't stay stuff like that for the rest of the night." said Hermione offering Harry her hand.
"Deal." said Harry taking Hermione's hand.
Together they walked to the crowd; a loud upbeat song was playing as they found a comfortable spot on the dance floor.
"And now a slow song for all you love owls out there." said the lead singer of the band that had been hired.
"We could wait for the next song if you want." said Harry nervously.
"No, you're not backing out now." said Hermione unsympathetically.
She took one of his hands and wrapped it and the arm around her waist, and took the other free hand in hers. Harry gulped. He had never been this close to Hermione in a situation without having either of their lives in danger. Never before had he experienced this many butterflies in his stomach.
"You're not that bad." said Hermione with an air of surprise as they swayed around in time with the music.
"Really?" Harry asked, unable to hide his sock.
"Yeah, I mean you could be worse. Look at Ron, he's terrible... poor Luna." said Hermione tilting her head to Ron's direction.
Harry looked over to where Ron was dancing. He was dancing with Luna, a little too up-tempo for the pace of the song. Harry could tell Ron's anxiety was causing it and from he could tell from the quivering of Ron's lips that he was trying to count unsuccessfully. Luna winced as he repeatedly stepped on her toes, which were exposed due to the style of the shoes.
"Is this the first time you've danced since you were forced to during the Yule Ball?" Hermione asked him as they paced slowly on the spot.
"What made you want to dance now?" Hermione asked curiously.
"Nothing in particular." said Harry.
"You sure you're not doing it to make Ginny jealous? She seems pretty at ease with Viktor." said Hermione.
Viktor and Ginny were dancing close to where they were. He hadn't even noticed Ginny was with Viktor. He had been too enthralled with the moment he was spending with Hermione.
"No." said Harry. "Do I need a reason to dance with my best friend?"
"Well," Hermione replied. "It's just a little strange. You were always so opposed to dancing."
"Yeah well a lot has happened between fourth year and now." said Harry.
"I guess that's true."
He wasn't even sure when it happened, but Harry's butterflies had disappeared. He noticed that he was also leading; something he hadn't even known he was capable of doing. It all felt so natural, the swaying around with Hermione in his arms. He then noticed what had been causing a slight pressure on his right shoulder, Hermione was resting her chin there. This new position brought them even closer than they had been only a few seconds ago. Harrys gripped her waist firmer as they continued to sway. Then all to suddenly, Harry heard the song fading and it was soon replaced by a fast paced one. Harry stopped moving, but Hermione still stayed in place.
"Uhm…Hermione? The song is over." Harry told her sheepishly.
Hermione immediately lifted her chin off of his shoulders and stepped back as if she had been electrified.
"Oh…uhm. Sorry. Guess I got really caught up in the song." Hermione laughed awkwardly.
"Yeah, it was nice." said Harry gawkily.
"Well…I'll be back; I just have to go powder my nose…"
Harry watched her go with a heavy heart. He knew he couldn't be the only one feeling awkward. He just wished there was a way to talk about it. Yet, it was something that was almost impossible without giving away what he felt. And he wasn't sure he felt ready enough to change things with his best friend forever. Besides, why go through any trouble and jeopardize such a beautiful friendship when he wasn't even sure if he was going to be alive for much longer?
Harry spent the rest of the night to himself. Ron was usually with Luna and Hermione had mysteriously disappeared. He was only at ease about her absence because at least he knew that she was not with Krum, who was heatedly arguing with Luna's father over the necklace he was wearing. Harry looked around in search for Hermione discretely. He did not want to be accused of looking for her. An hour later he was starting to feel antsy that she wasn't anywhere to be seen. Discretely he set off to look for her. It wasn't until he searched all the obvious places, that he thought of the perfect place where she could be found.
Hermione was sitting on a large rock, staring out into the big pond. She was sitting straight with her hands in her lap. She looked like she was deep in thought, Harry just continued to look at her silently, contemplating what he was about to say. Once he had gathered up all his courage, he cleared his throat loudly to acknowledge his presence.
"Oh hi Harry." said Hermione submissively.
"What are you doing here all alone?" Harry asked leaning against a nearby tree.
"Oh nothing, I just wanted to be alone for a while." said Hermione.
"This doesn't have anything to do with the fact Ron was dancing with Luna the entire time does it?" Harry asked curiously.
Hermione looked up at him, a reluctant smile spreading on her face, as she did not want to smile with the serious thoughts roaming in her mind.
"Are we going to do this all night?"
"Do what?" Harry asked bemusedly.
"Ask if we're okay with our exes moving on and such. We've both cleared the air with our respective partners; I think we both would know if either of us were regretting our choice."
Harry was stumped. She was right.
"I guess…So why are you really so pensive then?" Harry inquired.
"Well…I know I told you I didn't want to hear you moping about the war anymore." said Hermione thoughtfully. "but I'm afraid I'm about to."
"I guess it' just that this may really well be the last piece of normalcy we'll have in a long time. You're definitely right about that." Hermione told him sadly.
Harry came and sat next to her.
"I'm sorry that I prevent normalcy from happening." he said sorrowfully.
Hermione covered Harry's hand with hers.
"Don't be." she said. "If it weren't for you two, I'd have spent all my years at Hogwarts at the library with my nose buried in a book."
"But you would've been safer than you are now." said Harry seriously.
"I think I'd rather have an exciting, reckless life with you two than a safe and dull one." said Hermione grasping his hand reassuringly. "I hope you don't try to talk me out of going with you because you know it's futile."
"Yes I know."
"It's such a lovely night tonight." She said, looking up at the dark sky."It even seems as if all the evil in the world has taken a break for just tonight." said Hermione optimistically.
"I hardly doubt that." said Harry cynically.
"It's worth a shot to believe it for just a little while." said Hermione.
The stars were twinkling and the purple clouds revolved above them. Hermione tilted her head and rested it on Harry's shoulder. An act that caught him by surprise. It felt good having her so close. He had taken it for granted so many times before.
"Thank you Hermione." said Harry softly, looking up at the night sky.
"For what?" Hermione asked looking up at him from her place at his shoulders.
"Just about everything. For being with me every step of the way."
Hermione smiled, still looking up at him.
"You know it's no problem. I know that if I were in your place you would've done the same for me."
"Of course" Harry answered.
He looked down as Hermione took his hand in hers once again as she scooted closer to him. She looked beautiful tonight. Her sleek straight strands cascaded down his shoulders as her head rested upon them. Before he knew what he was doing, his free hand was going through her brown hair. Hermione remained still, unperturbed by the sudden motion his hand was doing. He looked down at her and she was now staring serenely at the pond ahead of them. Her supple pink lips were curved in a smile. Why was he taken by surprise he was noticing this? Why wouldn't he for once realize he was falling for her?
Just as if he had lost control of every movement his body did, he felt his head tilted downwards-
"There you two are!" said a frantic voice.
It was Ron, with his inadequate timing. Harry regained his previous position, only now his shoulder no longer held Hermione's head.
"Now's our chance."
"For what?" Harry asked confusedly.
"Oh Harry, I can't believe I forgot to mention this to you…" said Hermione who had somehow managed to shift away from him in a matter of seconds.
"Well I told Ron that if everything worked in our favour, tonight would be the perfect time to leave."
"Now?" Harry asked taken aback "Right now?"
"I asked Fred and George to help. Mind you it took a lot of convincing as they were quite keen to know exactly why we're leaving." said Ron.
"But why now?"
"Weren't you the one who wanted to leave as soon as possible?" Ron asked incredulously.
"We're all set Harry, everything's packed…if we wait any longer, Mrs. Weasley might not let us out of her sight what with the wedding out of the way." Hermione explained. "Now's our chance!"
"Come on mate, the diversion can only last so long." Ron added.
Behind Ron, the thick bushes parted magically and revealed Fred, George, Ginny, and Luna walking towards them.
"You've got a few more minutes." Fred informed them.
"You sure you won't feel at ease telling your mates where you're heading?" George inquired.
"Yeah, we're all ears…well most of us anyway." said Fred jabbing his elbow jokily into George.
"We've already been over this." said Ron pompously. "It's completely confidential."
"Look at this git, getting all Percy on us just cause he's finally in on a mission." Fred joked.
"Come on now guys" Ginny interceded. "we don't have time to waste!"
"Well then I guess we should just wish you a safe trip." said Luna dreamily. "I really hope you don't die."
"Erm…thanks Luna." said Ron chuckling.
Luna walked forward and hugged him tightly.
"Be safe." She said almost normally. She handed him what appeared to be cat litter. "For luck."
Ron smiled at Luna's good luck charm.
Everyone exchanged emotion-filled goodbyes. Despite at how optimistic everyone wanted to make each other feel, the hugs couldn't help but feel depressing, as if hugging for the last time.
"All right…"said Hermione outstretching both her arms on either side of her as everyone got a turn at goodbyes. . "We'll let you know when we've made it safe to our destination."
Harry grabbed on to Hermione's right hand, the one clutching her small beaded bag, while Ron took hold of her left one. Without preparation, Harry felt the familiar unpleasant feeling of being squeezed through a tube with nothing but swirling lights visible, and the solidly present hand of Hermione's for comfort.
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