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Harry grinned wickedly. He'd managed to catch her, though he hadn't expected it to work. The firewhisky bottle was held out to her. [b "Drink up, Granger. You got it wrong."]
He was extremely smug as he watched her take the drink, proud of himself for having gotten a point over her. Truth be told, he didn't care about winning the First Task - or any of them - at all, but the reason behind it was the lie. Sitting back against the wall, he leaned against her a bit more.
[b "You were right that the lie was me disappointed about not winning, but you got the reasoning wrong,"] he explained.
Harry's mind flashed back to all the late nights she'd spent with him practicing, going over and over the accio spell until he got it completely right. [b "The thing I was most afraid of during the First Task was disappointing you."]
He gave her a sheepish smile. [b "You'd worked so hard with me and lost so much sleep trying to teach me that bloody spell, I was terrified that I was going to screw it all up and disappoint you. I was afraid all your work was going to go to waste, and you'd be upset with me. Honestly, thinking you were going to be disappointed in me was far more upsetting than being chased by a bloodthirsty dragon."]
Her cheeks seemed to decide to fluch as he gently teased her over being able to figure her out. It was kind of true that he did pay attention. Apparently more than she herself has been aware of. Honestly she had thought it would take a little longer in his finguring out her lie. But at the same time she could say she was glad it hadn't.
The girl listened to him tick off his next round and gave a small smile. It wasn't like she didn't pay attention truly. But this one was a little bit harder. Just a bit. [b "I wouldn't know about Chriatmas our first year because I had gone home for the holiday...but given what you have said about your aunt and uncle they weren't keen to let you have anything nice or on holidays... So that one is the truth... And honestly what you had been most afraid of was dying during the first task... not coming in last because you didn't even want to be a part of the tournament..so there was your lie.."] The girl said quietly.
This was nice. She would have never expected telling her best friend she had feelings for him..or that they would actually kind of be on a date in the place they nearly died trying to get to their third year. But then she truly had to remember that NOTHING since they had been at Hogwarts was ordinary or played out to expectations. It was in itself some form of messed up story and they its characters. And at that thought, Hermione let out a soft laugh. She really was starting to get a little tipsy off the whiskey alread.
[b "So..do I have it right?"]
Harry pretended to bow, smiling proudly. [b "I like to think I've paid enough attention to you over the years to figure you out, Miss Granger,"] he teased.
It was a little harder to come up with a lie for the second round. She'd guessed his first one so quickly that he doubted he'd be able to fool her at all. [b "Alright. Round two,"] his nose scrunched in thought.
[b "My favourite drink is pumpkin juice,"] he counted off on his fingers. [b "My first Christmas present was a sweater that Mrs Weasley knitted me in first year. And the thing that scared me most during the First Task was coming in last place."]
Harry's cheeks were starting to flush under the influence of the firewhisky. His face felt warm and his body was cozy, pressing against hers. He'd never thought that the place they'd nearly died getting to in third year would make such a peaceful spot for a date. He was almost positive he had a dopey smile on his face. Everything about the afternoon so far had been perfect.
His hands fiddled with the bottle, gauging how much they had left. Madam Rosmerta hadn't given them her biggest bottle, but rather one slightly bigger than a mickey's worth. There was still half a bottle's worth, which was sure to keep them comfortable. [b "Guess away, Granger,"] he challenged.
Indirectly she had been telling him that her crush had been him longer than he knew. And when thinking about it, even longer than she herself did. But that was not something she was willing to fully admit to. Or at least she was not willing to admit to it at the moment. As soon as he joked about her crush being either Dean or Seamus, Hermione made a face and shook her head. [b "As fun as they can be, neither are my type. So no."] The girl said as she bumped his shoulder, watching him take another swig from the botle.
The girl listened to him playing process of elimination and nodded as he had gotten the lie. But she also flushed a bright pink at the compliment that he had given as he had been weeding out the lie. [b "I knew you would figure me out. And that was btilliantly done in figuring it."] And with those words, Hermione slipped the bottle from his hand and took another drink, for her it burning almost as much as the first time.
After she had, the girl offered a smile and gave him the bottle once more. [b "I believe it's your turn for another round."]
He grinned at her. [b "It hurts that you doubt nine year old Harry Potter's appeal to girls. My over-sized clothes and glasses were quite irresistible. But you're right, I was never kissed at age nine. Or any age. That being said, I'm pretty sure I have to drink now since you got it correct."]
The firewhisky didn't burn quite as much the second time around. He listened to her own statements, feeling his heart rate pick up at the mention of a crush. [b "You're not going to tell me you have a crush on Dean or Seamus, are you? Because that might make me a little jealous,"] he teased.
[b "Alright, let's see. You've always been pretty proud of your parents, so I don't think it's that one. Process of elimination, I'm going to say you don't actually want to go into magical law. Though I could see you eventually become Minister of Magic, and clean out all of the problems that place has. Kick Fudge out on his ass and restructure the entire Ministry. But magical law. That's the lie, and my final answer,"] he bumped her shoulder with his, holding out with slight hope that the crush she mentioned was a truth, and that it could potentially be him.
[b "The lie is your first kiss being at nine...I can easily see you having been good in school and even sneaking into a movie or two just to get away from your aunt and uncle."] The girl said with a small smile. She didn't exactly know why she would have thought the lie being the kiss though.
The girl leaned her head on his shoulder and was trying to think. What were truths and lies that she could actually use for this game? Because she wasn't exactly an open book or tried not to be. It was more out of habit and not the fact that she didn't trust him. So when he had suggested the game, Hermione had honestly seen it as a fun and easy way for them both to learn more about the other and to let their guards down.
[b "When finishing here at Hogwarts I want to go into some kind of magical law. I've always had a crush on someone very close and dear to me. And I love that my parents are dentists."] She finally decided on her first set. She was almost sure that her lie would be easy enough to tell and this was also her eay in admitting that Harry had been a crush of hers for longer than he realised.
Harry laughed at the mention of her cat. [b "I don't know if he's warmed up to me out of an actual desire to bond, or if he just really wants to spite Ron by making him the sole enemy. Your cat might be an evil genius hidden in a fuzzy little body."]
He was eager to learn new things about her. Things that she'd never shared with him and Ron before, whether it was from her life before them or personal information she hadn't yet disclosed to them. He'd never press her to share anything that she didn't want to, but maybe by playing a game would make her more willing to share stories with him. And by her smile, it seemed as though she was willing to trust him just as much as he trusted her.
Two truths and a lie it was. Harry's face scrunched as he tried to think of something to start off with. [b "Alright. Let's see. I was a straight-A student in muggle school; My first kiss was when I was nine ; And I've never been to a movie theatre."]
He did his best to keep his answers related to his muggle life before he'd met them all on the train to Hogwarts. Spending so much time with Hermione and Ron during the school year meant it was going to be hard coming up with a lie that she wouldn't see right through. Given how smart she was, Harry was sure she'd detect his lie immediately upon hearing it.
The Whomping Willow had literally almost killed Harry and Ron in their second year and in their third would have had Crookshanks not pressed the knot among the roots. So she couldn't help giving a faintly raised brow at Harry's teasing of the Willow being 'easy' to get passed. [b "Well if we want that hour of silence since we know how the Willow works then we will have to have Crookshanks with us. He has warmed up to you quite a bit."] The girl said, thoughtfully and giving the boy a gentle nudge.
If there hadn't been the alcohol slowly seeping into her bloodstream as it was, the girl would have scooted even closer to the boy to block out some of the cold. So she admittedly was silently thanking the artificial warmth and the feeling of becoming near numb to everthing around them. She couldn't remember a time feeling this relaxed and knew when it wore off she would miss the peace she and Harry now felt.
[b "Actually I've never played any of the games either. Up until now I never really thought I would. But with you...I feel like it would be okay and fun... So do you want to try for Two Truths and One Lie?"] The girl asked and gave a small pout as that did seem the easier of the two games.
It didn't take long for Harry to come to the same realization that she had; that they were completely alone with a bottle of alcohol in an abandoned house. Definitely not the most conventional first dates, but then again, they were far from conventional students. Harry took another drink from the bottle, settling his back against the creaky bed frame behind him.
[b "Is this what peace and quiet sounds like?"] he sighed dramatically. [b "Here I thought we'd never experience it in all of our years at Hogwarts. It's slightly tragic that we had to hide out in the Shrieking Shack, of all places, just to find it. But, at least now we know that all we have to do is get past the Whomping Willow in order to have an hour of silence. Easy peasy,"] he teased.
The effects of the firewhisky were quick to take hold. The September chill was kept back by a warm coating of alcohol in his bloodstream, making him feel more at ease and relaxed than he ever remembered being. He'd have to secure more to have for emergencies, in the event that they needed some way to unwind after an inevitable run-in with Umbridge.
Sitting so close to Hermione, Harry bumped her shoulder with his own. [b "I'm pretty sure this exact scenario means we're supposed to play one of those cheesy drinking games that the others are always going on about during parties,"] he grinned at her. [b "That being said, I've never actually played any of them. Should we try Never Have I Ever? Or maybe Two Truths and a Lie? What says you, Prefect Granger?"]
It amazed her how much the Shack had stayed the same where everything outside changed. But then she wondered what it was truly like to be frozen in time. Or her mind lingered there for a few moments as dark eyes looked around and fell upon the layering of dust and cobwebs that happened to "decorate" the place. Their classmates didn't know the truth of the old house and for that she was thankful as it kept them only glimpsing it from the fencing that surrounded the grounds.
[b "You know, the dust gives a first date character. Almost a Halloweenie sort of feel."] She said with a soft laugh as she was adding to what he had said. But truly she didn't mind doing anything with Harry. He was her best friend and any form of time they spent together and anything they did was special and even meaningful.
Lightly she sat upon the woolen quilt that had been brought and spread over the wooden floor and gently took the bottle from his hand. [b "I don't mind if you don't."] She said with a small smile, raising the bottle to him and taking a sip before she passed it back over to him.
God it burned, but it was a nice burn. This was nice..but also terrifying. They had no one watching but also there was no way to hide. All she was hoping was that she would not make a complete fool of herself.
[b "The Shrieking Shack it is!"] he grinned at her.
They didn't enter the house from the front door, where prying eyes were sure to see them. No matter how cowardly their fellow students were, the Shack was always a popular sightseeing location. Without fail, there would be small groups of students hanging around the fence line of the reportedly possessed property.
The inside was just as destroyed and dirty as Harry remembered. The floors creaked under their weight and cobwebs hung on almost every surface. Harry used his wand to light their way to the second floor, where they could see the entirety of Hogsmead. [b "Nothing says romance like an inch of dust on every surface,"] he teased, dragging a finger along the grime built up on the nearest table.
Reaching into the messenger bag he'd brought, Harry produced a woolen blanket that he stretched out on the floor. Next was the bottle of firewhisky. [b "I forgot to get glasses,"] he realized with a frown. [b "Don't suppose you're against sharing the bottle?"] he offered it to her first.
Being alone with her was both terrifying and a relief. No one was staring at them like a zoo exhibit, which lessened the pressure. But, they also had nothing to hide behind. They could be themselves.
Her cheeks reacted very much to her dismay and had become a bright pink when he had chosen to mock flattery as he has. But she had already spoken and it seemed there was no taking it back either. [b "You've always bested the Bulgarian Bon-Bon."] She almost said sheepishly before reminding him of the rest of their plans for the day.
It was when he said to wait outside was the girl on her feet and nodding. She didn't have much doubt of Harry managing to get the firewhiskey because she had seen him manage other feets over the years. And this wasn't nearly as difficult or dangerous. Besides it was just to have a little fun and to let them relax a bit.
So as she waited, the girl bounced a little nervously on the balls of her feet. She was truly praying others wouldn't stop to ask questions or even say that they heard the rumours. She was not at all ashamed of dating her best friend, but was just worried what rumours would spread. Or rather how they could be used against them.
[b "I think we were wanting the Shrieking Shack first so we could truly be alone first. Besides I think the shops will be crowded."] Hermione said with a small smile as her arm looped with his. Honestly she just wanted a little time for them to be alone and to enjoy without being stared at.
Harry pressed a hand to his heart, faking flattery. [b "You mean I, Harry James Potter, have bested the Bulgarian Bon-Bon in winning the affections of the brightest witch at Hogwarts?"]
The reminder of the next step to the date pulled him from his chair. He left a hefty tip for their waitress, along with enough to cover the bill. [b "Wait outside for me, I'll be right there,"] he whispered to her.
Madam Rosmerta was at her usual place behind the bar, wiping down whatever mess the drunken slobs had made. Harry sidled up towards the edge, putting on his most charming smile. [b "Afternoon, Madam,"] he greeted.
Being an expert at dealing with flattering men, Rosmerta settled a blank stare at him. [i "Why do I get the feeling you're not here for small talk, Mr Potter?"]
[b "I'm not here for anything free. I've got pure intentions, I promise,"] Harry put a small bag of Galleons on the bar-top. [b "Just a favour, just this once?"]
Rosmerta was no stranger to students requesting liquor. Most of the time, she had no problem telling them to piss off. Unfortunately, she also remembered being a teenager and getting into trouble. And when the saviour of the wizarding world requests a favour, it's extremely hard to say no without feeling guilty. [i "What do you want?"]
[b "Just a small bottle of firewhisky,"] he pleaded. [b "It's kind of a celebration today."]
She'd noticed the Granger girl with him earlier, and judging by the dopey expression on the boy's face, romance was in the air. Who was she to keep the Boy Who Lived from having fun on a date? Rosmerta swiped the baggy of coins from the counter and reached into the cabinet. [i "Not one word of this,"] she warned him.
Harry snuck the bottle into his jacket pocket. [b "You're the best!"] he called to her, hurrying for the door.
[b "Mission accomplished. Next stop?"] he offered Hermione his arm.
The girl stiffened as Rita Skeeter had been mentioned. The woman had been an absolute nightmare and had the whole school practically turned against her and even Harry. There were new lies and rumours every week it had seemed. Honestly she would have rathered to forget those articles but every now and again they popped back up in her mind. Probably they were the real reason she had been afraid to admit to Harry how she felt about him. And probably also in part how she had thought that there could be NO way he could even feel remotely the same.
A laugh slipped from her when it had come to the name Viktor had been called had been said. She had truly almost forgotten. Out of EVERYTHING that had been the only amusing part. [b "Oh...yeah he does still write. But it's simple things really. How the holiday had been and just classes. I think he is starting to understand that I can only see him as a friend and have my interest in someone else."] The girl said and gave Harry a small smile.
And soon, the girl was pushing the plate away and offered Harry a hand. [b "We still have the Shrieking Shack and bookstore to go to. And you still have fire whiskey to try and get us."] She teased, actually feeling better about their date and getting to where she could ignore the classmates who had come and gone and had also watched them.
Harry shot a glare towards the group of third years spying on them, who all quickly turned back to their own table to speak in hushed tones. [b "I'm not worried about them. There's not much they can say that Rita Skeeter probably didn't already gossip about last year,"] he assured her.
That pest of a woman had done nothing but poke at them all year, publishing rumors that turned them into the talk of the school. Poor Hermione was getting glares wherever she went in the school, an unfortunate side effect of being close to him. That being said, Rita's articles were one of the reasons that Harry's brain began realizing that he noticed Hermione as much more than a friend; not that he'd ever admit it to the journalist.
[b "They're probably wondering what you're doing here, slumming it with me when the - what was it they called him? - 'Bulgarian Bon-Bon' was sweet on you all last year,"] he teased her a bit, knowing how annoyed she'd been at Viktor Krum's incessant following her around the castle.
Harry had been more than a touch jealous over the much more rugged boy's charm and flirtatious behaviour towards his best friend. Even his attempts to make Ron behave towards the Bulgarian Quidditch star were halfhearted. It was hard to play nice when the girl he was crushing on was constantly shadowed by the athlete. [b "Does he still write to you?"] he asked, glancing at her over his drink.
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