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Edited by: Ravensgryff


"True love cannot be found where it does not exist, nor can it be hidden when it truly does."



Hermione watched the Bulgarian Seeker, his red robes shining with blood from his nose. He gently rose into the air with his fist held high and a glint of gold in his hand. She was not much of a Quidditch fan, but that was an exciting match. She had thought Harry an excellent flyer, but this Bulgarian Seeker was something else entirely.

"Why did the idiot catch the Snitch?" Ron bellowed, even as he jumped up and down, applauding with his hands over his head. "He ended the game when Ireland was a hundred and sixty points ahead!"

"He knew they were never going to catch up!" Harry shouted back over all the noise, as he too applauded loudly. "He wanted to end it on his terms..."

"He was very brave, wasn't he?" Hermione said as she watched as a visually impaired Krum landed in the middle of the battling leprechauns and Veelas; the Seeker was knocked off his brrom yet he still held the snitch in his hand. A swarm of mediwizards blasted a path through the battling mascots to get to the injured Seeker. "He looks to be a terrible mess ..."

One by one, the Bulgarians filed between the rows of seats in the box. Ludo Bagman called out the name of each player as they shook hands with their own minister and Cornelius Fudge. Krum was the last in line, the snitch still clutched tightly in his hand. Two black eyes bloomed on his bloody face, yet he stood tall. When Viktor Krum's name was announced, the whole stadium gave him a resounding, earsplitting roar. Even those who had rooted for the Irish cheered for the Bulgarian Seeker.

Here was Viktor Krum, the Quidditch Superstar.

---


The doors to the Great Hall opened, Hermione took note of the fur that lined the blood red robes of this group of students. All wore no visible expression on their faces as they marched in. Hermione stared at one of the taller boys, he looked vaguely familiar.

I don't believe it!" Ron said, in a stunned voice, "It's Krum, Harry! Viktor Krum!" It took a great effort for Ron to stop himself from hopping up and down from his seat.

Hermione rolled her eyes in exasperation. "For heaven's sake, Ron, he's only a Quidditch player."

"Only a Quidditch player?" Ron looked at her as though he couldn't believe his ears, "Hermione, he's one of the best Seekers in the world!" Ron's eyes continued to follow Viktor Krum as Hermione shook her head.

---


They asked him for his autograph, followed him around, watched his every move. He was used to that. However, he came here to study; he looked around and found no empty table. Not that it really mattered, for someone would likely try to join him and would attempt to strike up a conversation; this usually happened.

His eyes landed on a table where she sat alone, nose buried in her book as always. From the way the other students seemed to avoid her table, Viktor was sure that he’d get some peaceful studying time there. He marched towards her table; she looked up, and their eyes met. He gestured towards the empty seat. She eyed him warily, glanced at the giggling girls and gawking guys behind the bookshelves; then she saw the books he carried and nodded. Relieved, he sat down and they both studied in silence.

She gritted her teeth as she read; Viktor wondered if she was having trouble with the subject matter that she read. “Vood you like some help?” Although Viktor normally wouldn’t bother to offer assistance to struggling students, her indifference to his presence intrigued him.

She closed her eyes and sighed. “No, I’m fine, but how do you stand that?”

“Vot do you mean?” Viktor frowned and started to regret opening his mouth in the first place, he had enjoyed the silence.

“Those,” she discreetly pointed towards a group behind the shelf, “and those,” she moved her finger towards the opposite direction to the two guys passing by their table.

“I’m used to it,” he mumbled and was about to go back to his book when he remembered that the polite thing to so was to introduce himself, silly though it was, “Viktor Krum.”

“Hermione Granger,” her polite tone matched his own.

The both of them then returned to their books.

---


Hermione arrived in the Gryffindor common room frustrated. She didn’t get any studying done because of Viktor Krum. Actually, he just quietly sat there and studied, but with his throngs of admirers lurking about, it was maddening.

“Hi, Hermione,” Ginny Weasley greeted her, “fruitful study session?”

“No, Viktor Krum was there again. Why can’t he do his readings on his stupid ship?”

Ginny raised an eyebrow. “What did he do?”

“Nothing really,” Hermione sighed, “It’s his fan club that’s distracting.”

“Well, he is Viktor Krum,” Ginny said with a shrug.

"He's not even good-looking!" Hermione muttered angrily. "They only like him because he's famous! They wouldn't look twice at him if he couldn't do that Wonky Faint thing …"

"Wronski Feint," Ginny corrected her.

---


Hermione concentration was disturbed at the sound of a chair being scraped in front of her; she stiffled a sigh as Viktor Krum once again took a seat at her table. He laid down his books and studied quietly as always. Normally she would have no complaints to having a person at her table, just as long as they stayed quiet. Viktor Krum was definitely the silent type, yet having all those people pretending to casually pass by, just so they could get a better glimpse of 'the Quidditch Star' was definitely irritating.

It only took an hour before Krum spoke, but he was speaking more to himself, “Vot did House Elves do in the Goblin Rebellion?” he frowned, “This is a trick question; they did nothing.”

“On the contrary,” Hermione answered, “In choosing not to join the Goblins' side, the House Elves gave a blow to the Goblins’ cause. The Goblins had believed that due to the treatment allotted to the House Elves, they’d quickly join their side, but the House Elves remained loyal. Wizards just don’t treat those loyal creatures with respect.”

He blinked and leaned closer to her, “Vot do you mean?”

“Wizards treat House Elves like dirt. I started S.P.E.W. to promote awareness to their plight and to work towards their freedom from such slavery.”

“Espee..vot?”

"Not Espeevot," said Hermione impatiently, "It's S.P.E.W. It stands for the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare.”

“I haff never heard of it. Vy vood you vant to free House Elves? Vood they even vant to be free? I know House Elves vood rather kill themselves than be free.”

“Then you haven’t met Dobby.”

“Dovy?”

---


Hermione was giddy with delight as she left the library; she didn’t notice Harry and Ron as they went inside to look for her. She entered the Gryffindor common room and the only familiar face she found was Ginny’s. Grabbing the younger girl by the arm, she dragged her upstairs, closed the door to her room and placed a Silencing Charm about the room.

“Alright,” Ginny sighed, “what’s up?”

“You will never guess who asked me to the Yule Ball!”
Ginny cocked her head to her right. “Neville?”

“Of course not. I wouldn’t be this excited about Neville.”

“Ron?” Ginny ventured another guess.

Hermione snorted. “The dolt’s still dreaming about Fleur Delacour.”

“Okay, I give up.”

“Viktor Krum!”

“The Viktor Krum?” Ginny gaped in disbelief.

“Yes. He’s not anything like I expected. He’s willing to listen to my ideas about S.P.E.W. Although, he doesn’t fully agree with me, at least he doesn’t think it’s stupid and wants to keep an open mind. Of course, he wants to meet Dobby and…”

“Oh my god! You’re going to the Yule Ball with Viktor Krum!”

"He's really nice, you know," Hermione mused. "He's not at all like you'd think, coming from Durmstrang. He likes it much better here, he told me."

---


The moon shone above the lake. It at least provided a bit of light in this ship’s dark façade. He walked in, absent was the usual surly expression that he wore.

“Had a good day, Viktor?”

He turned his attention to the thin and wiry man who stood by the shadows, “Yes I did, Headmaster.”

“Please, we are alone; you can call me Igor.”

He merely nodded and took a seat on one of the overstuffed velvet chairs.

“Now Viktor, I have this friend, who has done me and Durmstrang a great many favours. He has a daughter and asked that…”

“I already haff a date,” Krum answered crossly. His previous good mood slowly evaporated, for he knew what was to come next.

Igor Karkaroff stared at the Bulgarian Seeker in disbelief, “Viktor, you think I don’t know? Hermione Granger is a Mudblood, hardly worthy of…”

Viktor stood up and left the room.

---


Viktor entered the bunk that he shared with Luben Poliakoff; his friend didn’t even look up from the desk as he threw a friendly greeting, “Bad day, Krum?”

“It didn’t start out bad, Poliakoff.” Krum threw himself onto his bunk and glared at an empty space.

“Veil, they never do,” Luben Poliakoff answered knowingly and returned to his book.

Viktor Krum got up from his bed. “I haff asked a girl to the Yule Ball,” he paused for a while, “she doesn’t care to talk Quidditch vith me. She is very different from other girls I haff met, she actually thinks and tells me her mind.”

“Let me guess, Headmaster Karkaroff vos not approve?” Poliakoff raised his eyebrow knowingly.

Viktor scowled. “He does not like the idea that I vill go vith someone who is not a pure of blood.” He voiced slightly softer, “I do not see vhy blood makes a person less vorthy.”

Poliakoff sat up straighter, he interest piqued. “Does this girl haff a name?”

“Hermy-own.” Krum answered quietly. “I vood like to get to know her better.”

Luben merely raised an eyebrow. "You asked some strange new girl you met to the ball?"

Viktor shook his head. "I haff been going to the Library everyday to vatch her, but I haff only asked her now."

"You been sitting there vaiting for her to show up all this time, and you ask her to the dance only now? Vhy's that?" Luben asked, only the knowing twinkle in his eye betrayed his amusement.

Viktor glared at his friend, "Don't even start vit me."

"I vas not going to."

---


The lawn right in front of the castle had been transformed into a grotto full of fairy lights. Hermione could hardly believe that this was the same surly guy, whom she first met at the Library. She listened as he continued to describe Durmstrang to her in an animated manner.

"Ve have just four floors and the fires are lit only for magical purposes. But ve have grounds larger even than these - though in vinter, ve have very little daylight, so ve are not enjoying them. But in summer ve are flying every day, over the lakes and the mountains –”

Igor Karkaroff was obviously unhappy about the sudden change of his Champion’s demeanor. "Now, now, Viktor!" said Karkaroff with a laugh that didn't reach his cold eyes, "don't go giving away anything else, now, or your charming friend will know exactly where to find us!"

Viktor seemed to have sensed Hermione’s discomfort at his Headmaster’s words; he stood up and offered his hand, “Hermy-own, vood you like to dance?”

Hermione smiled as Viktor led her to the dance floor, she then scanned the room and found Harry and Ron, both sat by a corner and seemed a bit miserable; she suddenly felt guilty for having such a great time. She then remembered that Ron was a big fan of Viktor, Ron and Harry would surely want to join Viktor and herself at their table. However, right now, the more pressing matter was to get Viktor to at least pronounce her name properly; she was getting sick of being called: ‘Hermy-own’ all the time.

"Viktor?"

"Yes?"

"It's Her-my-oh-nee," Hermione pronounce her name slowly and deliberately.

He bit his lip and tried to repeat her name, "Herm-own-ninny."

She held back a laugh for no one's perfect and the way he struggled to pronounce her name was endearing in a way. "Close enough," she said with a smile as she rested her head on his shoulder.

---


He found her outside, her back was turned towards him, her shoulders shook. He wondered whether he ought to offer her one of the butterbeers that he held on his hand. "Herm-own-ninny?"

Her shoulders stiffened, she had wanted to be alone.

He must have realized the same. "I vill be inside if you..."

Hermione closed her eyes as she remembered Ron's words, "What makes a person a traitor?"

Viktor frowned. "Turning your back on your beliefs. Herm-Own-Ninny, believing differently does not make you one."

She smiled at his words. "I'm just wondering about all this rivalry?"

"House Elves and Wizards?" He scratched his head unable to understand where she was coming from.

She choked back her laughter. "No. I meant this tournament."

He was now thoroughly confused on the topic of their conversation, he slowly approached her and offered the butterbeer. "It is just a game," he mumbled.

"Is it?" She turned to face him.

He met her gaze equally, "Of course everyone vants to vin. That's the vay it has alvays been. Ve vill each try our best, and it vill be enough."

She looked up towards the night sky. "I wish it was that simple."

"Nothing that truly matters ever vas."

She continued to stare up the sky, "Why me? Why must ..."

He was now even more confused, for she seemed to jumped from one topic to the next; he tried to answer her, "Because you stand up to your beliefs and is not afraid for being different. I haff never met a girl who is not afraid of being herself vit me. Herm-Own-Ninny ... I..."

She smiled for everything was simple and uncomplicated when she was with Viktor. She did not know whether it was because of the music from the background, or if it was because he made her feel better, or even just because she simply liked him. Hermione Jane Granger gave her first kiss that night of the Yule Ball.

---


He helped her towards the platform and placed a blanket over her shoulder, he then pulled her away from the crowd. This experience made him realize that he would indeed miss her after this tournament and he would want to see her, when all this was over. “Herm-own-ninny, I vas vondering, do you have plans this summer?”

“I’m not sure yet,” was her distracted answer as she scanned the waters.

“Then vood you like to visit my home in Bulgaria this summer? It vood be colder there but I could show you the Rose Gardens, ve have the best there and…”

A bright smile lighted upon her face, and Viktor took this as a good sign. "Herm-own-ninny, I haff never felt this way about any other girl..." He then realized that cause for that smile was not his invitation.

“Ron’s up that means Harry got through fine,” she sighed with relief.

“Herm-own-ninny…”

She gave him a small smile, “I would love to see Bulgaria, Viktor. I’ll just make sure we have nothing planned.”

He smiled and opened his mouth, but she rushed towards the edge of the platform before he could add anything more.

“Harry! Thank goodness you’re all right. I was worried when you didn’t …”

Viktor frowned and followed her. His keen Seeker’s eyes noticed a strange beetle atop Hermione’s head, "You haff a vater beetle in your hair, Herm-own-ninny."

She merely brushed the beetle aside and continued to speak with Harry, "You're well outside the time limit, though, Harry…"

Viktor scowled towards Harry’s general direction as he once again tried to turn Hermione’s attention towards himself.

None of them took notice of the strange beetle as it quickly crawled away.

---


Viktor was surprised as Luben suddenly shoved a copy of the Daily Prophet towards him. “Have you read the article vritten by that Skeeter voman?”

“I don’t read trash,” Viktor shrugged and returned the newspaper to his roommate.

Poliakoff shrugged and began to read an excerpt loudly, “Miss Granger, a plain but ambitious girl, seems to have a taste for famous vizards that Harry alone cannot satisfy. Since the arrival at Hogwarts of Viktor Krum, Bulgarian Seeker and hero of the last Vorld Quidditch Cup, Miss Granger haff been toying vith both boys' affections. Krum, vas openly smitten vith the devious Miss Granger, haff already invited her to visit him in Bulgaria over the summer holidays, and insisted that he haff 'never felt this vay about any other girl.'"

Viktor Krum grabbed the paper and threw it aside. He glared at Poliakoff, “Vot is your point?”

“Veil, are you really serious about this girl?” he asked him, looking at his friend straight in the eye.

Viktor sighed and nodded. “She is unlike anyone I’ve met. I like talking to her. Ve connect.”

“Then you vood need to tell her.”

“I tried,” Viktor answered sullenly. Poliakoff was obviously of no help. He was about to storm off when Poliakoff once again thrust that hated article into his hand.

“You vood need to talk vith the rival. Settle this once and for all. Make her choose, it vood not be fair to both of you, if this carries on.”

Viktor could see the wisdom on Luben’s advise, “Vot if she chose him?”

“Then, you lose. However, ven Viktor Krum lose, he lose in his own terms. Right?”

Viktor nodded.

---


Viktor saw Harry with that Ministry Official, Ludo Bagman. He decided that now would be as good a time as any. He approached the pair and tapped Harry on the shoulder. "Harry, a vord?"

Harry looked slightly surprised at this request, nodded. "All right."

Viktor noticed Ludo Bagman hovering around, he definitely did not want to talk with the man listening in. "Valk vith me?"

"Okay," said Harry.

Ludo Bagman looked perturbed, "I'll wait for you. Harry, shall I?"

"No, it's okay, Mr. Bagman," said Harry, "I can find the castle on my own, thanks."

Viktor Krum led the younger boy away in silence, he chose not set a course for the Durmstrang ship. Instead, led them towards the forest.

"Why are we going this way?" Harry was obviously confused by Krum's secretive manner.

"Don't vont to be overheard," said Krum shortly.

When at last they had reached a stretch of ground a short distance from the Beauxbatons horses' paddock, Krum stopped and turned to face Harry. "I vant to know," he said, glowering, "vot there is between you and Hermy-own-ninny."

Harry blinked, he had expected something much more serious due to Krum's secretive demeanor, he stared up at the older boy his amazement, obvious. "Nothing."

Viktor, however, did not believe him and continued to glower at younger boy.

"We're just friends. She's not my girlfriend, it was just Rita Skeeter making things up."

There was a long pause as Krum continued to stare at Harry; Harry looked at the older boy in the eye, "There is nothing going on," he repeated.

Viktor's hard stance finally softened. "Hermy-own-ninny talks about you very often," Krum spoke uncertainly.

Harry stiffled a sigh and wondered how many times he needed to repeat himself to get through to Krum. "Because were friends."

Krun hesitated before he asked, "You haff never... you haff not..."

"No," said Harry stated very firmly.

Viktor Krum smiled.

---


Hermione gasped as Viktor was brought out of the maze. All this while, she had been worried about Harry, it never occurred to her that Viktor could have been hurt in there as well. It never occurred to her that he could have been hurt in all the previous tasks. She rushed down towards him. She was stopped by Madam Pomfrey, “Now dear, I sure you’re concerned about your friend. You may visit him later after I attended upon him and Fleur.”

“How is he?”

“He’ll be fine,” Madam Pomfrey assured her.

Hermione nodded and hoped that Harry would also come back in one piece; she needed not wait long. The crowd cheered as Harry and Cedric appeared, then there was silence, something was definitely wrong…

When Viktor opened his eyes she was staring down upon him, “Vot happened?”

“You were placed under an Imperius Curse and … and …Cedric …” There was tears in her eyes.

“Vot is wrong?”

She cried and Viktor Krum wrapped Hermione Granger in his arms.

---


Hermione sat beneath an oak tree; the sun was just about to rise. She sighed, for this was the only place where she could read her letter in peace. In her room, her roommates would try to read over her shoulders, and she was not in the mood to hear more of Ron’s anti-Viktor tirade. Her cheeks felt hot at the thought of Ron, but what about Viktor? She pushed those thoughts away and began to read his letter.

She leaned back, her head against the thick oak trunk, the opened letter in her hand, and she wondered what she ought to do about this. Viktor was such a dear friend; moreover, he made her feel good about herself. All logic said that Viktor was her ideal match, yet … something held her back. Hermione hated to admit it, but that something was some insensitive redheaded doofus – an adorably funny redheaded doofus…

“Good Morning, Hermione.”

Hermione’s head whipped to her right. “Ginny? What are you doing here?”

“Good Morning, Ginny. How are you this morning?” Ginny said with a laugh. “I’m just here for an early practice session.” She pointed to the broom in her right hand. “Try-outs for the Quidditch team are coming, you know.”

Hermione winced at the mention of Quidditch; the game was synonymous with both Viktor and Ron.

Ginny noticed this. “Hermione, is something the matter?” She then noticed the letter in the older girl’s hand. “Viktor?”

She nodded and suddenly, everything that she had been holding back for the past few months threatened to come out; tears welled up in her brown eyes.

“The bloke broke up with you in a letter? Hermione, he’s not worth it, I can’t believe that Ron was right about that bloody Durmstrang snake. Let’s show him how to pull that Wronski Feint without his damn broom…”

Hermione raised her hand to stop her friend’s rant. “No, Viktor’s the same sweet guy he has always been. He just wrote to say that he finally got an Animagus license and that he wants me to celebrate with him… invited me to meet him at Madam Puddifoot’s this weekend.”

Ginny suddenly smiled brightly, “That’s good isn’t it?”
Hermione sighed.

“Look, if you’re worried about Ron, he doesn’t have to know. This is between you and Viktor, it’s really none of his bloody business.”

“Remember that article by Rita Skeeter? Where she said I was toying with Viktor’s feelings?”

“That woman’s a bloody liar,” Ginny retorted.

Hermione continued as if Ginny hadn’t interrupted her with that outburst. “What if she’s right? What if I’ve been toying with his feelings all along, only I didn’t realise it until now.”

“Oh, Hermione…”

“I’m an awful person, aren’t I? Funny how everyone was worried that he’d end up hurting me, when in the end, I will be the one who…”

“Don’t. Just don’t,” Ginny sat down beside the other girl. “You can’t blame yourself for this.”

“Then, who is to be blamed?”

Ginny stroked the other girl’s hair and softly spoke. “You were swept you off your feet, the girl who no one noticed, invisible to the world; then he came along, the Durmstrang champion, Quidditch superstar. He liked you for who you were and actually listened to your ideas – even S.P.E.W. He had maturity, intelligence, fame, thoughtfulness, and most of all, he was a perfect gentleman - someone who could have had any girl he wanted, but he chose you. Who wouldn’t fall for that sort of fairytale prince?”

“Yet there comes a time when the fairytale ends, you grow up and find that you want something less ideal and more real,” Hermione plucked the grass by the oak’s root and sighed.

“Are you sure about this?”

Hermione nodded.

---


They had given him a secluded table as he had requested, although the owner of the establishment made sure that he’d be left alone, the room was abuzz with the news that Viktor Krum was here.

She appeared nervous as she walked towards him, he didn’t blame her. Hermione was not one who enjoyed the limelight so much, it was one of the reasons he found her endearing. Unfortunately, Madam Puddifoot’s was the best place to get a bit of privacy in this small Wizarding town. Well, as private as any public place could get for Viktor Krum.

His face brightened to a rare smile as he stood up and pulled out her chair. “Herm-own-ninny, I …”

“Viktor, we need to talk.”

He nodded and gestured for her to sit down.

“I mean someplace a bit more private.”

---


The garden was overgrown with weeds and the shrubs grew wildly about; the winds howled giving the area an eerie atmosphere. It was no wonder that most people believed the Shrieking Shack to be haunted. This, however, mattered little to a particular couple who were engaged in deep conversation. Her head was bowed down; he stared at her in shock.

“I’m so sorry, Viktor,” she turned to walk away, hating herself for hurting him this way but she knew she could no longer carry on with the charade.

His hand reached out and touched her shoulder, “Herm-own-ninny, vait.”

She turned to face him again.

“Ve vill vrite to each other, right? I like our letters.”

Hermione’s eyes widened in surprise. “You… you don’t … after what I …”

He closed his eyes and bowed his head, “You vill always be special for me, Herm-own-ninny.”

She threw her arms around him.

Hermione remembered the first time she saw him, at the end of that game; the whole stadium cheered for Viktor, regardless of the side that they had rooted for. That day, Viktor showed everyone that it was how one plays the game that was more important than winning. He did step out with all intention to win; the crowd had felt his passion and determination. In the end, he gave the crowd what they had wanted, a good game. They had loved him for that.

He was sincere; there was no doubt about that. It was true. Viktor Krum was a person who pursued things with a passion, yet he accepted loss gracefully; and when he lose, he lose on his own terms.

-end-


Note: Italicised words were taken from GOF. Some scene from this fic was also derived from scenes on GOF but was paraphrased / re-worded by the author (with a few added details). The purpose of which is to make this story blend well with what we had read on GOF:

1. Quidditch World Cup scene
2. Ron's awe at seeing Viktor in Hogwarts
3. The Yule Ball Scene
4. Harry's dialogue with Viktor

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