The rest of Harry's lessons were, to say the least, uneventful. Besides the parting words Professor Lupin gave him, there was nothing much he could think about. His professor was right. He had to act soon or else someone else would before Harry even had the chance to. Although Hermione didn't have a wild crowd of boys swarming her, she had become quite a women. Not to mention the fact that a Hogsmeade weekend was coming up, someone only needed 5 seconds to ask her out on a date.
With that thought in mind, Harry made his way to the Great Hall. He hoped he could form a way of telling Hermione his true feelings while he ate.
As he made his way to his seat across from Ron, he thought whether he should ask Ron for more advice. Even though he was starting to have doubts about Ron's suspicions of Hermione fancying him, it didn't hurt to ask for help. So once he sat down and filled his plate with food, he asked Ron how he should go about telling Hermione his feelings.
"Harry," Ron began with his cheeks bloated with food, "here's what you gotta do. You take her to a closet and give her a long, good, ol' snog.. Simple as that, mate! What's there to worry about!" He finally swallowed his food, allowing Harry to better understand what he was saying. "I did it with Lavender. And although it didn't go as planned," Ron rubbed his right cheek where, up until this point, Harry hadn't noticed a reddish hue where he most likely got slapped, "it was worth a shot. All I'm saying is, make your move already!"
"Yeah...it's not like I haven't heard that already." Harry was once again reminded of the words made by his Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. "What if I make a fool of myself?!" Harry was too concentrated on the conversation wit Ron across the table that he hadn't noticed Hermione walk into the Great Hall, making her way to Harry's side.
"Whatever it is you're going to do, Harry, you won't make a fool of yourself," Hermione assured her raven-haired friend as she sat down to his right. This caused Harry to jump in his seat, surprised he hadn't noticed her walk in and surprised that she heard their conversation. He just hoped she hadn't been near them for too long.
"Hermione! We were- Ron was just saying..." Harry turned to look at his companion, only to see him running out of the Great Hall at breakneck speed. "Umm..." He gulped. "Just Quidditch talk... Same old Quidditch." Harry wasn't sure why he was feeling so nervous around Hermione. It was just like any other day. Talking to Hermione. It's not like he was going to confess his feelings to her.
The bushy haired Gryffindor simply had a puzzled expression. "I can't imagine any way you'd make a fool of yourself in Quidditch. Unless you found another strange way of catching the Snitch... In that case, you shouldn't do it." Her face quickly changed to one of admonishment, most likely since there would be a risk of injuring himself. First a broken arm, then more than a taste of the Golden Snitch, and in third year, almost being kissed to death by the Dementors, not to mention almost falling to his death… If it hadn’t been for Dumbledore…Hermione quickly ridded her mind of that outcome.
"Don't worry, it's nothing like that. And besides I'm not in the team, remember? Anyway, I wan-"
"You're not on the team?! Why not? It's our la-," but whatever was said after that was muffled by Harry's hand over Hermione's mouth. Little did they know that both liked the skin to skin contact. Hermione soon stopped talking and resorted to giving him narrowed eyes.
Assuming it was save to remove his hand, Harry did so and explained his reasoning on not joining the team. "I thought I'd told you. You know more than anyone that after everything that happened I need a decent rest from everything. All I really want to focus on right now is my studies and what I'll do once school is over. And then, maybe I'll think about joining a professional Quidditch team, or an Auror, or whatever I feel like doing once I get out of Hogwarts." There was no doubt that Harry loved Quidditch. Ever since he rode a broom for the first time and when he found out that his father also used to play, he couldn't stop going on about the sport. But even he needed a break from it.
Hermione had the decency to look abashed at her small verbal assault. "Sorry, you're right. I wasn't really thinking clearly. But I'm proud of you for concentrating more on your classes." She gave him a sheepish grin along with her compliment.
Harry repeated her action and was about to ask her of her abrupt departure, but she beat him to it. "I also want to apologize for leaving you like that...in Professor Lupin's class, but I just wanted to get to my next lesson." Although the apology was honest and heartfelt, she was filling her plate as she spoke.
"It's alright." Harry assured her as he tried catching her eye. He was starting to feel it was more than just her class. He also supposed now was a good time as any to make his move and ask her to Hogsmeade. "I've been meaning to tell you something... Recently I started…you're more than...." Harry was having trouble putting this into words. It seemed somewhat easy in his mind. But now, face to face, it was almost impossible. He reckoned he was put into Gryffindor for a reason and summed up all his courage. "Lately, I've been feeling different. Not just for me, but for you... I feel different for you." Harry sighed, having difficulty with his predicament.
"I have different feelings for you, Hermione. As in more than friendly feelings. And I wanted to ask you if you wanted to go to Hogsmeade with me on the weekend." Harry steadied himself for Hermione's answer. His part was done, now he just needed to know if this was all for nothing or he actually had a chance.
In the first few sentences Harry had spoken, Hermione had finally turned her head to look at him, surprised at his request. "Harry, there's someone else!" She stated this as if it was obvious, but Harry didn't care how she had said it. Only what she had said.
"So... is that why you were always in such a rush?" He should have known he was too late. Someone already made the move for him. While he was too busy wondering whether he should have told her or not, someone had already been a step ahead of him. "Who is it?" Harry couldn't keep the sorrow out of his tone.
This time, Hermione was perplexed. "What? Who i- how should I know? You're the one two timing her!" Now Harry was completely dumbfounded.
"Wait, what? Me? Who are you talking about?” Now Harry was dumbfounded.
"That girl you were going on about with Ron. Even Seamus heard you talking about her. I overheard him mentioning her to you yesterday." As realization dawned in Harry, he began to laugh. "What are you laughing about?!" Hermione was sort of bothered at how clueless she seemed.
Once Harry's laughter died down, he managed to tell his oblivious friend the misunderstanding. "Hermione, you are the girl I was talking about with Ron. And you were the girl you heard Seamus mention." He stared at Hermione, waiting for her mind to do the work.
Hermione's face was filled with understanding after a few seconds. "Me?" She squeaked out the word, still in disbelief.
"Yes, you. It was always you. There was never anyone else. Ron helped me out...somewhat." Harry looked towards the entrance of the Great Hall, remembering how his ‘wing man’ had dashed out of the hall. "Though I wasn't su-," but his words were cut off by the fierce hug Hermione gave him, knocking the wind out of him. "I can barely breathe, Hermione." He had one hand holding the bench for balance and the other hugging the girl suffocating him.
"Sorry!" She held him at arms length with tears in her eyes. "You don't know how long I've waited for this. I wasn't sure whether to slap you or hug you." She let out a laugh at this. "In the end, I decided to hurt you with a hug." Hermione had a radiant smile on her face. Just her cheerfulness made Harry smile. He was pleased that he was the source of Hermione's happiness.
"Well, how 'bout it then? Are you up for a Hogsmeade weekend with me?" With bated breath, Harry waited for Hermione's response. Their food already forgotten, Hermione answered him with a resounding yes, giving him another one of her comforting hugs that he’d never get tired of.
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