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            "The beginning of a plot is the prompting of desire."
                                   -- Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
He looked confused. Then again, why wouldn’t he be? His best friend just shoved him into a broom cupboard. Well . . . his best friend who had been purposely been avoiding him lately. I inwardly rolled my eyes at myself. Maybe this was a bad idea.

“What?” His voice broke my thoughts. 

“I need your help.” I repeated to him. 

“Yeah, I got that.” He said and I blushed a bit, thankful that I didn’t provide any light yet. “But with what?” I just remained silent, all of my courage seeming slipping away. It all sounded so good in my head, but now that it was time to say it aloud, it sounded even more crazy than anticipated. “Well?”

“I . . . uhh . . . had this idea to get back at Terry and I was hoping that you could help me.” I stuttered. Oh, great, that was always a sign of nervousness, and the last thing I wanted him to think of me was that I was nervous after pushing him into a cupboard. Wait, since when did I care? Since forever, my mind answered. Not true!–You sure about that?
“Alright, shoot.” He agreed. Oh God, he agreed even though I didn’t tell him my plan yet. Then tell him your plan–But he’s sure to say no–You never know until you try. I took a deep breath and spoke.

“Well, you know how I told you about that– that girl with the purple eyes. Well, while we were in Hogsmeade I saw him looking at me funny and then I put two and two together and–”

“He’s trying to make you jealous.” He finished for me. Wow, he was better than I thought.

“Well, yeah. And I thought I could fight fire with fire since it seemed as though he thought I was the one trying to make him jealous.” I spoke. Please don’t hate it, please don’t hate it.

“That’s brilliant, ‘Mione!” he said. He thought it was brilliant! But he didn’t a– “So who’s the lucky bloke?” And there it was. My queue to tell him my plan, the plan that he was going to think was crazy, deny any participation because he thought I should be sent to St. Mungo’s with Lockhart. Suck it up, Granger!  My mind shouted, just tell him already before he figure out you’re talking and answering to yourself!
I was right, “W-well . . . I was sorta hoping you might help . . .” He was silent. Oh god, he did think I was crazy! I knew it, I just knew it! Hurry up and think of a cover! “I mean, you don’t have to if you don’t want to. I just assumed you might wanna help, since you’re the one who offered to kill him when this whole thing started. I know It’s a big thing to ask for– pretending to date your best friend– and–”

“’Mione.” He said, interrupting my rambling by placing a finger on my lips. When I took a sharp intake of breath, he removed it, leaving a strange tingling sensation in its wake. “You shouldn’t second guess yourself. Of course I’ll help you.” 

My chest tightened. “You will?”

“Yeah. I’ve wanted to hurt that slimy bastard ever since Ron dragged you into the common room that day, and if this is the way to do it . . . I’m in.” I smiled– grinned, really– but he couldn’t see that for lack of lighting. Before I could stop myself, I threw my arms around him and squeezed.

“Thank you so much, Harry! You won’t regret this!” I felt his arms tighten around me and I breathed out in relief. Maybe I wasn’t so crazy after all. With a friend like Harry, nothing I did ever felt crazy. Well, after I asked him. 

“You might, though.” He said, releasing his grip on me. My brow furrowed as I looked in (what I thought to be) his eyes.

“Why?”

“We’re gonna be late for Charms.” He explained through a chuckle.

“Bloody hell!” I shouted, getting up and bumping my head on the low ceiling. I ignored the sharp sting of pain and made to open the door of the small cupboard, stumbling outward. I heard Harry chuckle a bit and I turned around and glared at him. He seemed to have an easier time getting out. The wanker. 

“And what are you laughing at?” I asked in annoyance. 

“Other than the fact that you just bumped you head on the ceiling of a broom cupboard, stumbled out of it, and are now in the habit of swearing . . . I don’t think we’re going to have much of a hassle telling people we’re dating now.” 

“What are you talking about?” I asked in confusion, now thoroughly rubbing my head and disheveling my already out-of-control mane. He just pointed behind me in response to my question. I turned in the direction of his finger and my eyes bulged. Two second years seemed to be staring at the two of us with open mouths. When they comprehended that we were both looking at them as they were us, they scurried off. Most likely to tell the rest of their class of what they just discovered.

“The entire population of Hogwarts–staff included–will find out about us by dinnertime.” He explained as I turned back around to face him. His grin widened, “It also helps that your hair is a complete mess and my shirt looking as though roughly tugged in earnest.” He then began to straighten his shirt and I laughed. 

“Well that’s good; I thought convincing you was the hard part. Now that the hardest part is covered, all we have to do is act like a couple.” I resisted the urge to cover my mouth. He wasn’t supposed to know that! 

“That should be easy enough, seeing as though most of the school already thinks we’re secretly dating.”

“What?” The school already thought we were dating? When did this happen?! As far as I knew, we haven’t been doing anything couple-like lately . . . have we?

“Never mind; come on, we have a class to get too.” He extended his hand to me and I took it without hesitation. He intertwined our fingers as we began our walk towards the Charms classroom. The halls were completely deserted as we walked, confirming Harry’s allegation that we were, indeed, going to be late for class. “I think we ought to run for it, don’t you?” he asked as he began to pick up his pace.

“I’m not much of a r–” He began to sprint, still holding my hand. I groaned as I tried to keep up with him. We were climbing stairs and passing hallways all in a blur and I felt a stitch begin to form in my side. “Harry!” I called out to him, “Not all–of us–are–Quidditch players!”

“Relax.” He said, not even a trace out of breath. “We’re there.” I looked up, clutching my side with my free hand to discover that we were there. “You can thank me when we’re actually in the classroom.” He said, tugging on my hand and guiding my limp form into the filled classroom. I saw Ron wave at us from our usual place, smiling. His smile faded, however, when he saw our interlocked hands. My stomach clenched as I looked up at Harry. He showed a look of understanding. “We’ll talk about it later.” I nodded as we found our seats next to Ron.

The bell rang as soon as we sat down and I smiled, “Thank you.” I whispered, but flinched as the pain in my side returned. He smiled in response. Professor Flitwick entered the classroom then and the lesson began

~*~

Before I knew it, it was dinnertime. And, just as Harry predicted, there were eyes on us from the moment we entered the Great Hall. Our hands were once again intertwined all the way up until we took our seats across from Ron, who was giving us a very noticeable glare. I looked up at Harry, “Later.” He said. I nodded as I began to eat. I was actually enjoying my peaceful dinner until I heard a voice.

“So it is true?!” It was the local gossip, Lavender Brown along with her trusty companion, Parvari Patil. The two of them had identical beaming looks as they looked between Harry and I. “I heard from Dean, who heard from Seamus, who was told by Trevor of Ravenclaw, who overheard some second years, that they caught you two coming out off a broom cupboard after class!”

I tried to put on a false smile and come up with a clever reply, but my mouth was dry. I hadn’t thought of the confrontations. Come to think of it, I didn’t even think of anything past to point of Harry agreeing –which I had no idea that he would do– so I was definitely screwed. Thankfully, Harry spoke up for me.

“Yep, Hermione and I are happily together.” I felt him tug on my hand from underneath the table as he held it up for the two of them to see. They both shrieked and congratulated us and were off, most likely to spread the newest piece of gossip to eager listeners.

Harry let go of my hand and I mouthed my thanks to him. He just smiled and continued to eat his chicken leg. I felt a pair of eyes boring into me and looked up into Ron’s stony gaze. I gulped and bit my lip, knowing he’d want an explanation now that we had confirmed it to the school’s gossip mills.

“Ron–” I began, only to be interrupted, again, by Harry. 

“We’ll talk about it after dinner in the common room, alright?” He was looking pointedly at Ron and I saw Ron nod mechanically. At least he was giving us a chance to explain, that was always a good sign.

The three of us continued to eat silently and I tried to ignore the glances of our housemates. It wasn’t an easy feat, mind you. I was very close to shouting out “WHAT THE BLOODY HELL IS SO INTERESTING?!” but restrained myself. I didn’t want the whole school to think I was nutters. Alright, so they may already think I am . . . but I didn’t want to prove them right. 

I looked over at Harry to see that he was nearly done with his dinner. I let out a steady breath and hurriedly finished mine as well. “Come on, love.” I heard him call to me as I took my last bite of my dinner. Love, I thought, that’s a new one. 

I took his extended hand and was distantly aware of all the whispers that followed us all the way out of the hall. As we passed the Ravenclaw table I couldn’t resist the urge to look over at where I knew Terry would be and found him looking at me with an indescribable look on his face. I smirked as I turned back sound, it was a start. 

We reached the common room to find it empty of any students. I let go of Harry’s hand and found it feeling oddly empty. Before I could think about it, I heard movement from behind us and saw a red-faced Ron behind us. I had almost forgotten we owed him an explanation. 

“Would either of you care to tell me what the bloody hell is going on?!” he yelled. I flinched as guilt overwhelmed me. I couldn’t very well lie to him. I looked over at Harry as he made a motion for me to speak. Oh great, I thought, the one time I actually want him to talk!
I took a deep breath and spoke with a slight stutter to my voice, “Maybe we should sit down.”

The two boys obeyed my shaky order and sat down; Harry, next to me on the couch, and Ron on the chair opposite of us. They both looked at me with eager looks on their faces. Now or never, Granger, “Well you know how Terry has been hanging around that girl lately?”

“Yeah, Deanna Jenkins.” Ron replied.

Deanna Jenkins, I thought, even her name is mysterious. Dumb bimbo. “Yeah . . . her; well I noticed that when Harry and I were in Hogsmeade that one day that he looked at me funny, and the next day he was hanging around good ‘ol purple eyes–”

“Purple eyes?” Ron asked in confusion.

“Code name for Deanna.” Harry explained, a comprehending look washing over his features. “Go on, ‘Mi–”

“She has purple eyes?! I never noticed that before. That’s bloody brilliant! I’ve never heard of someone with purple eyes before!” Ron exclaimed. I felt annoyance take over me as I took a large intake of breath.

“Yes, Ron. Now can I please continue?” I asked through clenched teeth.

“Oh yeah, of course, sorry.” He said, smiled meekly.

“Anyways, he started hanging around Deanna and–”

“You know, I like ‘Purple Eyes’ better.” Ron interrupted, “make it sound more–”

“Cool?” Harry added.

“Yeah, like one of those–”

RON!” I screamed at him. “Please!

“Sorry. Jeeze, don’t have to get so testy over it . . .” He trailed off, seeing the fiery look I was giving him. Good, he should be scared.
“He started hanging around Deanna and–” I looked at Ron and Harry for any sign of interruption. When I saw none, I continued, “I added them both up and figured he was trying to make me jealous. So I asked Harry to help me get back at him by pretending to date.” I looked at Ron expectantly; he looked as though he was concentrating hard on something. He sat there for a good few minutes until he picked up his head. I found myself holding my breath, waiting for his response.

“So it’s all pretend?” he asked, looking between Harry and I.

“Yeah.” Harry spoke up, “It’s just gonna be until Terry realizes he wants Hermione back, then we’ll break up and they can live happily ever after.” I thought the last bit of his statement sounded a little strained, but chose to ignore it. “Right Hermione?” he asked me.

“Oh yeah, right.” I said. At least now I knew I had a goal. I wasn’t planning to win him back at all, really, just make him suffer. But that ‘happily ever after’ ending did sound very appealing. But that did make me feel guilty . . . it was like I was using Harry for my own benefit. What did he get for this? The satisfaction of one of his best friends being happy, perhaps?– But that doesn’t sound very benificial– Harry seemed happy to do it– After a tense silence in which he was probably thinking what a selfish witch you are– Oh come off it, Harry would never do that!– You’re right, but that doesn’t make me feel any better– You should just be happy that he’s helping you at all– Yeah, you’re right– I know.
“Hermione?” I heard a voice call to me.

“Huh, what?” I asked, blushing. I must have been out of it. As long as they don’t suspect you of thinking to yourself. 

“Having a nice conversation with the voices in your head?” Harry asked with a smirk. Crap!

“N-no, don’t be silly.” I covered up lamely. Of course Harry would find me out eventually. But he still doesn’t know what–or should I say who–I was thinking about. As long as he doesn’t find that out, I’m okay. 

“Alright, whatever you say, ‘Mione.” He said skeptically.

“So what was up with the broom cupboard rumor, then?” Ron said, saving me from a very embarrassing confrontation. I should remind myself to thank Ron later. 

“Well that was when ‘Mione here told me about her elaborate plan. When I told her were going to be late for class she swore, hit her head on the ceiling and stumbled out of the closet. Not to mention she literally dragged me there, too, so the two of us looked a right site.” Harry said, containing his laughter. Ron, however, wasn’t so talented. He burst out laughing after Harry emphasized the word ‘swore’. Honestly, who doesn’t swear in a stressful situation?

“Honestly, it wasn’t that funny!” I exclaimed. 

“Yeah it was.” Harry said, finally giving in and joining Ron in his laughter. I just rolled my eyes and folded my arms around me, annoyed. “Oh come on, honey.” I fought back a smile. “Sweetie pie.” A twitch escaped, but I just looked away towards the fire and pushed it back. I thought I had escaped his attempts, until I saw his face come into my vision, blocking my view of the fire. He had a smirk on his face, a sure sign of defeat for me. “Hermy-bear.”

I didn’t even fight it; I doubled over in laughter and smacked Harry in the shoulder. “Oh come on, that’s not fair!” I protested through giggles.

“All’s fair in love and war, baby.” I started laughing again and started sliding off the sofa. If he wanted war, he’d get it.

“Oh, but of course, Harry-poo.” I heard Ron let out a bark of laughter from his place on the floor next to us. I saw Harry’s lip quivering as he tried to suppress joining us. “Pumpkin.” I saw tears in his eyes. “Love Muffin.” Hook, line, and sinker. He banged his head on the floor as he laughed so hard, I thought he’d explode.

It was then I noticed the crowd of people who had just come back from dinner looking down at us. This only caused us to laugh harder. I heard mutters of interesting comments, but I was too giggly to care. We continued our charade despite their gazes and whispered comments.

“Sugar Daddy!”

“Love Monkey!”

“Lamb Chop!”


It continued like that until we were well out of pet names and breath. The three of us were all red-faced and ready for bed by the time we mustered the strength to sit back upright. Harry was the one who suggested that we all head up to bed. After a few more minutes, we all ended up complying. Apparently laughing takes up a lot of energy. Who knew?

When I was in my bed I couldn’t help but think that this whole pretend-to-date plot might not actually be that bad, especially since I’ve gained the knowledge of at least fifty new pet names to call Harry while we were in public. It’s safe to say that I was definitely looking forward to the next few weeks.

~*~

A/N: Hello all. You like, you love, you hate? Please comment and tell me!! It went from 20 reviews for the first chapter, to the single-digits for the newest ones. Come on, where's you're enthusiasm?! Help a poor girl out! *ahem* Anyways, I keep on telling you guys to visit my website! It feels as though I'm talking to myself every time I update! Go on and visit it, the link is on my Author's Page : ) The link to my 'Meet the Author' topis is there too, if you wanna check that one out as well, *wink*. Well that's all for now. Please R/R and I'll see ya'll next chapter : )

-Shar

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