Harry trudged along the corridor towards the Gryffindor Tower. He had just endured one of his most difficult Quidditch practices ever; he’d really managed to smash himself up good tonight. Fred and George were walking along side him, leaning up against each other for support. Alicia, as soon as she had been made captain, had turned into a female version of Oliver Wood, working them from dawn till dusk. The twins had taken quite a beating from the bludgers tonight, as Alicia had found ways to enchant them to fly directly at the twins constantly. She claimed that it made them stronger so when they hit them away in the game, they’d go farther. Harry wasn’t too sure about her tactics. As these thoughts passed through his head he watched in silent amusement as Fred stopped dead in the corridor and fell onto the ground, George tumbling in a heap on top of him. Harry prodded Fred with his foot.
“Come on guys, we’re almost to the common room. You can find a sofa to fall onto there.”
“Sofa? Did someone say sofa?” George cried from the floor. Fred took this opportunity to roll George off of him.
“Geroff me!” he howled. Harry said nothing more to them but told the Fat Lady the password and held open the portrait so they could stumble through. Ron immediately caught sight of his two brothers and let out a loud snigger. It was rare that anyone got to see Fred and George in a dampened mood, especially Ron, so he got quite a kick out of this. Harry was too tired to even crack another smile. Tripping over his own feet, Harry finally managed to drag himself over to a couch by the fire. Dropping his broomstick and Quidditch gear on the floor, he sank onto the soft cushions. Unfortunately for him, someone was already sitting there.
“Eek!” a voice said as Harry flopped over. He nearly jumped out of his skin when he looked behind him and saw the one person that could easily make his heart leap in bounds and flush his face to the deepest shades of crimson. The person that had been there for him for the past 5 years, one of his most trusted friends and companions. Hermione Granger. The girl who, just in one sweet move at the end of last year had kissed his cheek, and had, in that one moment, captured his heart. He had thought about her all that lonely summer, Dumbledore had not wanted him to leave the Dursleys’ until the new year at Hogwarts started again, and he had not been able to communicate with either she or Ron. When he passed the barrier on September 1st, he had seen her almost straightaway and a fluttery, warm feeling had entered his stomach. Now as he realized he was almost lying on top of her, a large lump entered his throat and he felt his face turn that familiar shade of red as it always did when he embarrassed himself around her, which since the beginning of the year, had been quite often. Ron had caught on right away and almost never missed the opportunity to tease him about it. Harry had sworn him to secrecy, and had also threatened to tell Lavender about the poems Ron had written for her and had hidden under his mattress.
“Uh…sorry Hermione.” Harry now managed to mumble and sat on the other end of the couch.
“Rough practice huh?” she said sympathetically. Harry nodded in agreement.
“Sometimes I think Alicia’s worse than Wood. He was a fanatic but never this bad.” Harry said, scratching the area over his eyebrow. When he brought his fingers away they had blood on them.
“Harry! You’re bleeding!” she said with concern apparent in her voice. He shrugged, not wanting her to think he was in pain.
“It’s just a scratch.”
“Here…” she said, leaning over to him. Harry felt his breath catch in his throat as she reached one slender hand in her robe and took out a tissue. She held it out to him as he looked at it quizzically.
“What?” he said, looking at the tissue. It was all crumpled in a ball. “That looks like it’s been used!”
“Harry James Potter! Do you REALLY think I’d give you a used tissue?” Hermione said and snapped it to straighten it out. She folded it over a few times, then leaned over even further and gently pressed it on the cut on his forehead.
Harry felt the lump in his throat grow even larger. He hadn’t been this close to her in awhile. He tried not to be too obvious as he stared into her eyes; luckily she was too focused on taking care of him that she didn’t notice as his emerald greens slid down from her eyes, to her lips, then down her slim neck to the creamy colored skin that was exposed by her sweater. Hermione shifted even closer to him, her chest was now at his eye level, she had her knee in between his legs (he gulped hard) and he felt gentle pressure as she continued to tend to his wound. Suddenly, he knew what was going to happen if he didn’t push Hermione back; it sure wouldn’t be his wand that she would see if she happened to look down. He pushed her back and sat up quickly.
“What’s the matter Harry?” she asked, looking a little put out at the way he had shoved her away.
“Um…sorry…” Harry stammered. “I uh… I think it’s okay now.” He managed to say, as he touched the wound.
“Are you sure you’re all right? You look a little flushed.” She said, her own face turning a slight shade of pink.
“No I’m fine.” Harry said, perhaps a little too quickly. “I think I need to take a shower…I must stink to high heaven.” He said, grinning a little.
“No, you don’t smell…not too bad.” Hermione said, now pinker. They both just sat there for a few moments just looking at each other.
“Well. I’ll just be…right back then.” Harry said. He got up and almost ran to the boys’ dormitory. He needed a cold shower, and fast.
Hermione watched him go. ‘What just happened here?’ she thought to herself. She hadn’t allowed Harry to see it, but she had caught him looking at her while she had been cleaning him up. As she thought about it more, she realized he had been acting funny since the beginning of the year. ‘Could he like me?’ she thought, then instantly tried to banish it from her head. They had been best friends for so long now, that it was difficult to think of each other in any way. Or was it?
Hermione debated these thoughts in her head for the next fifteen minutes until Harry reappeared in the common room. He saw her still sitting in the same spot, and started heading in her direction. She saw Ron stop him and talk to him for a few moments, and she took that time to take a good look at Harry. He had put on one of his sweaters that Mrs. Weasley had made for him; this one was the exact shade of his eyes, with the Hungarian Horntail on the front. He had swapped his clunky black frames for some wire-rimmed glasses, and had some jeans and sneakers on. She also noticed he had his invisibility cloak and Marauder’s Map in his hands, which obviously meant he was planning on sneaking out somewhere. She felt a small note of disappointment in her chest for some odd reason. She wasn’t sure why, but she was hoping he would come back and sit with her by the fire. Sighing, she turned back around and faced the fire. At that moment she noticed a flash of green to her right and she turned and saw Harry at her side.
“Do you want to come to the kitchens with me?” Harry asked. “Quidditch practice made me really hungry. I want to see if they have any leftover pie.”
A slight smile spread over Hermione’s face as she snapped her books shut and hopped off the couch. “Sure.” She said easily. She fell in step next to him as they left the portrait hole together (Ron was sniggering at the two of them as they walked by) and Harry threw the cloak over both their heads. Since they had both grown taller in the past summer, they had to huddle closer together to make sure the cloak covered both of them. Hermione breathed in the woodsy scent of Harry as they walked, their shoulders and hands touching occasionally. Neither one of them spoke; Harry kept his concentration on the Marauder’s Map so that he wouldn’t have to pay attention to the raspberry smell coming off Hermione. They reached the portrait of the fruit quickly. Harry reached up and tickled the pear. Hermione smiled as the pear giggled, to her that had always been the funniest thing. They entered the hallway that lead into the kitchens and Harry pulled the cloak off. Dobby of course raced forward to greet them.
“Harry Potter sir!” Dobby shrieked, throwing himself exuberantly at Harry’s legs. Harry stifled a laugh as he was propelled backwards and Hermione couldn’t help but snicker.
“Hi Dobby.” Harry said when Dobby finally disentangled himself. His eyes widened as he took in Hermione.
“Harry Potter brings his girlfriend now!” Dobby said. Harry immediately flushed red and Hermione did the same, but neither one of them bothered to correct Dobby.
“Actually Dobby,” Harry said after a moment of almost unbearable silence, “We came down to see if you guys had any leftover pie from dinner tonight?”
Dobby raced towards the inner part of the kitchens immediately and came back with a large pumpkin pie.
“Will this do Harry Potter sir?” Dobby asked him.
“Ahhh, excellent Dobby! Pumpkin pie is my favorite!” Harry said. Hermione looked at him in surprise.
“It is? I always thought you liked apple best.” She remarked.
“No, pumpkin’s always been my favorite.” Harry smirked. “Perhaps that’s because Dudley always eats cherry, apple, mince…anything but pumpkin. I had it once when I was a kid at Mrs. Figg’s house and thought it was the best thing I’ve ever tasted.” He said. ‘Except I’d be willing to bet you taste better.’ He added silently to himself. He carried the pie tin over to the small table and Dobby raced over with two plates and two forks. Harry and Hermione settled into the chairs and stabbed their forks directly into the pie.
“Harry Potter sir?” came a quieter voice. Winky appeared at their side, holding a can of whip cream. “Would you like this for your pie?”
“Thanks Winky!” Harry smiled kindly at her and took the cream. Winky beamed at him and scampered back off towards the stove. He shook the can and held it out to Hermione.
“Want some?” he asked.
“Sure.” She replied. He sprayed some of the whip cream directly onto the pie (neither one bothered with the plates) and she took her index finger and swabbed some of it. Harry watched as she raised the finger to her lips and licked it off slowly. It took all his self-constraint not to jump over the table and start kissing her right then and there. Hermione looked up at him with amusement, she had noticed him fidgeting.
“Something wrong Harry?” she asked with a hint of a smile on her face.
“No.” Harry choked out, wishing his face would stop burning. “Why do you ask?”
“No reason. You just look really…hot…all of a sudden.” Hermione said slyly, widening her eyes a little for effect. Harry stared at her for a second with his mouth open, and then the realization hit him. She was teasing him. Harry then knew just exactly what he wanted to do. He raised the can of whip cream and before Hermione knew what was happening, he had aimed and fired. Hermione screamed as her face was covered with white cream.
“HARRY JAMES POTTER!” Hermione screeched for the second time that evening. Harry sat back and laughed as Hermione frantically wiped whip cream off her face. She glared at him angrily and that made him laugh harder. In fact, he was now laughing so hard, he fell off his chair, the can of cream falling from his hand and rolling across the floor. Hermione saw her chance and snatched it up before Harry could get to it. She pointed it at him and grinned widely.
“My turn!” she sang happily and opened fire. Whip cream went everywhere, including all over the floor and Harry. He tried to roll out of the way but Hermione just came in closer and continued her attack. She was the one laughing now as Harry’s silky raven black hair turned sticky white and his glasses were smudged. Finally, Hermione had to stop because the can was empty. She set it back on the table delicately and regarded Harry (plastered onto the floor) with a satisfied expression.
“That’ll teach you to do that to me Potter!” she said. Harry grinned and held out his hand.
“Help me up.” He said. Hermione grasped his hand to pull him to his feet but Harry had other ideas. He pulled Hermione down next to him and brought his other hand from behind his back and plastered more cream on her. ‘If she thought this was over she had another thing coming.’ Harry thought to himself. Hermione of course tried to retaliate, but Harry knew exactly where her weak points were, and began tickling her.
“Harry!” she screamed between fits of laughter. “Not fair!” When Harry finally stopped tickling her, Hermione had to pause for a moment to catch her breath. Reaching up for her wand on the table, she summoned a rag. She wiped her face and robe off and handed it to Harry. He pulled his glasses off and tried to clean them but only smeared them up further.
“Bugger.” He said ruefully. “I’ll have to clean these up when we get back.”
“Here.” Hermione said. “Let me take a look.” She muttered a cleaning spell and returned them to Harry.
“Thanks.” He said gratefully. She looked at him for a moment and started giggling again.
“What?” he said.
“You still have cream on your face.” Hermione replied. She took the rag from him and wiped his face gently. He stood quietly, his gaze serious and burning. She grew flustered from having him stand so close and didn’t realize she had cleaned his face off but kept wiping.
“I think you’ve got it all.” Harry said. She nodded and dropped the cloth on the table.
“You’ve missed a spot.” Harry said. Hermione looked back at him and furrowed her brow.
“I did? I don’t see anything on your face anymore.” She replied.
“No, on yours.” He said, a smile playing on the corner of his lips.
“I did?” she said, pressing her hands to her face as she tried to find any remnants of whip cream.
“I’ve got it.” Harry said. He brought his finger to her bottom lip and brushed it across. His green eyes met her brown ones, and they held their gaze for what seemed like hours.
“Harry.” Hermione said desperately. “Just kiss me.”
Harry obliged without another thought. His lips came crashing down onto hers, kissing her with all the fervor he’d had since her lips had brushed his cheek last summer. He felt her lips part under his, and her tongue intertwined with his. They had fallen back on the table without even noticing. Hermione’s hands grasped Harry’s sweater and his hands were ensnared in her long hair, caressing the side of her face, exploring anywhere he dared to in this, their first kiss. After several more minutes in which they did not even part for air, Hermione finally pulled back.
“Harry!” she gasped.
“What?” he asked, trying to kiss her again. She pushed him back however, and sat up. She turned around and started to laugh. Harry, when he had laid her on the table, had laid her right onto their unfinished pumpkin pie. Harry looked at her for a moment with his wide green eyes as if he expected her to throw a fit.
“Oh well.” Hermione said. She grabbed the front of Harry’s sweater and pulled him into another kiss.