A Change of Plans

Dear Mum and Dad,

I know that I have not updated you recently on what’s happened with the Tournament and all, and for that I apologize. I have just been so busy helping Harry with the task, dealing with my personal life, and just plain unnatural things, that I didn’t have much free time. I’ll update you on the task first.

The last time I updated you was during Harry’s first victory during the First Task. The Second Task may be harder this time. Yesterday, we figured out the egg and we were not pleased by the riddle’s implications. This is the riddle.

Come seek us where our voices sound,
We cannot sing above the ground,
And while you’re searching, ponder this:
We’ve taken what you’ll sorely miss,
An hour long you’ll have to look,
And to recover what we took,
But past an hour- the prospect’s black,
Too late, it’s gone, it won’t come back.

Apparently they are going to take something of value from Harry and he must rescue it. He will have to go underwater for about an hour to save it or he will never be able to recover it again. We are still wondering how Harry could breathe underwater for a full hour, but when we asked Neville (he helped us figure out the clue), he suggested that we use Gillyweed. It’s a plant that you swallow, allowing you to breathe under water. It’s our best choice right now. What puzzled us was how the Headmaster – or anyone else, for that matter – could find out what the most important item to Harry is. We then realized that the Yule Ball was before the Second Task. Harry had pointed out that the song/poem said absolutely nothing about an item. He believes that the champion’s date would surely become a hostage for the second task. Personally, I don’t want to believe that he is right. The first task was nothing but a worthless and rusty silver egg. I don’t want to believe that they could just skip to a person. But I think that it is possible. Suffice to say, I’m a little scared of what might happen, but Harry has assured me that Dumbledore will not let anything dangerous happen to me.

Which brings me to the topic of my personal life. I suggest that at this moment that Dad please stop reading this letter. This section is for Mum only. If you do choose to read this, Dad, I would hope that you keep reading to the end and not stomp off in mid-sentence. As you know, I have two friends that are males. As you also know, I like one of them. Well, two weeks ago, A Yule Ball was announced, traditional for the Tri-Wizard Tournament. On the same day the Ball was announced, he asked me to go to the ball with him. Of course I said yes. If Dad is still reading, then I hope you realize that I will never talk to you again if you give him so much as a scrape. I told you both in the past years that he is a really sweet guy and he’s the only person who has ever stood up for me. I really like him, and he told me that he really liked me too. Harry has never lied to me before, and has never spoken out about any feelings before, so I believe him.

Unfortunately, my other best friend – although I don’t think I can even call him a friend anymore, if he ever was – Ron, did not like the fact that Harry and I are together. He seemed mad. He hadn’t talked to me since Harry and I told him, which was a few hours after Harry asked me to the ball. I initially thought it was because he would feel left out because Harry and I would spend more time around each other. Harry told me something that I thought was preposterous, but still made me nervous and more than a little worried. He said that Ron fancied me. I said that it couldn’t be, seeing as we had always argued in the past and the only reason he even talks to me is because I am one of Harry’s best friends. I chalked it up to hormones, and I’m positive about it. He doesn’t go anywhere near us anymore. He sits on the other side of the classroom from us. Harry says when he goes to his dorm to go to bed, Ron’s either already sleeping or not there yet. I have caught him a few times glaring at Harry and me. We believe that his sister, Ginny, is on his side. I told you, Mum, that Ginny has a large crush on Harry. Actually, she has a crush on the Boy Who Lived. I hadn’t seen her in a while, and when I do see her, she makes an excuse and leave before I can catch her. We believe that they’re planning to split us up. I don’t know how they’re going to do that, and I doubt it would happen now that we are on alert, but I think they’re planning something.

I have more news for you, but I want to see what your reactions would be to this bit of news. I will tell you when I get back this summer. There’s something else I have to tell you – I won’t be returning this Christmas, because the Yule Ball is on Christmas Day. I’m terribly sorry, but I really want to go to the ball with Harry. I promise I’ll be with you next Christmas.

Mum, I have a personal favor to ask of you. I know that you bought me a Ball dress, but I want to wear something more special. This is, after all, my first dance, and I think I need something that doesn’t flare out waist down. Harry is slowly learning how to dance, so I don’t think it would be wise to dance with something that is large and droops to the floor. I would like to have something a little loose like a formal dress and able to see my feet. It would be awkward and discomforting any other way. Could you please send me the money with Hedwig? (that beautiful white owl that handed you the letter. It’s Harry’s owl.) Harry offered to pay for my dress, but I didn’t want him to, so we agreed that if you send muggle money, Harry would keep it and hand me the galleons. I don’t know the pound-to-galleon ratio, but I suspect Harry knows. Knowing him, if I gave him twenty pounds, he would give me a hundred galleons. (Did I mention that Harry inherited a fortune and almost never uses it? That answers one of your questions, Dad.)

I found out that you could come to the second and third tasks, so if you don’t have any appointments, I would love for you to come. At the moment, Harry only has me and Neville to support him. I told you that the whole school decided to cheer for Harry again after first task, but most of them are still a bit wary. There is also the possibility of me being at the bottom of a lake. But I’m pretty sure you figured that out by now.

Hope to see you soon and I love you,

Hermione

P.S.—Yes, mum, I may have told Harry what I said earlier. He told me something very similar, also.


The Grangers were having mixed emotions.

“Dan?”

“Yeah?”

“You’re not going to kill him.”

“He’s getting a dentist appointment soon.”

“You are not going to do anything to his teeth.”

“She didn’t say I could,” he said with a grim smile.

Emma looked at the letter again. “She did.”

“Where?”

Emma showed him the parchment. “Apparently, if you give him so much as a scrape – including a tooth scrape, Dan – she will never talk to you again.”

Dan contemplated these options. On the one hand, the boy would be dead from excessive laughing gas and choking on a drill while swishing too much toothpaste. On the other, his daughter wouldn’t talk to him anymore. This was certainly a conundrum. Just another reason to hate this Potter kid that he had known for over three years.

“Stop trying to think of reasons of why you hate Harry,” Emma chastised her husband. She knew him all too well.

“Hermione said I can’t do anything to him…she said nothing about you…”

“That’s because I encouraged her to get Harry. I’m glad he made the first move, or she never would’ve gotten him.”

“You’re okay with this?”

“I practically forced her to do it,” Emma replied with a pleased smile. “Almost every single one of her letters are about Harry. She doesn’t even talk about her classes anymore. She hadn’t recommended a book for me to read this whole year.”

“But—”

“She loves him, Dan. So we love him.”

“Okay, now you’re going a bit too far. How do you know that? She’s too young to be in love!”

“I hope you noticed that our little girl is more mature than she is. I think she would know the definition of love verbatim. I think she would know it when she sees it.”

“But she never said it.”

“Firstly, a mother knows. And secondly, she did tell us. It’s in the letter.”

“I would know if it said it in the letter,” Dan said, and scanned the paper again, looking for another reason to buy that new drill he saw at that convention.

Emma shook her head at her husband. Harry was rich, sweet, and – from Hermione’s description – quite handsome, and he still wasn’t good enough for Dan’s specifications. She wondered what it would take for him to accept it – sparkling teeth? An acceptance into Oxford? Masters in Dentistry?

She shook her head once again before she walked to her room for some paper and two hundred pounds for her daughter’s new dress. She had known that Hermione’s dress was skirting out because she didn’t want anyone to dance close to her, who ever that person may be. Not to mention the fact that Hermione first asked her, while they were shopping for a dress during the summer, if she could have a dress with straps. Now she seemed to be pulling out all the stops. Emma knew that she had nothing to worry about, as she knew that Harry was a complete gentleman. She was more worried about Hermione, although not much.

As she found her pen, she chuckled when she realized that Dan would probably never find out the hidden message in Hermione’s letter. Too much protectiveness over your daughter tends to blind the smartest of men.


Hope to see you soon and I love you,

Hermione

P.S.—Yes, mum, I may have told Harry what I said earlier. He told me something very similar, also.


Alastor Moody was in quite a predicament.

Well, actually, he was in a trunk.

However, Barty Crouch Jr., an exceptional Mad-Eye imitator, was in an actual predicament. He had to make sure that Harry Potter was trained enough to go through the second tasks. His sources (in the form of Cedric Diggory) informed him that Potter had, amazingly, figured out the clue, the riddle, and the task. But he didn’t know if Potter had thought of a way to breathe underwater. Not to mention that he had to train the boy for the third – and most challenging, he figured – task.

But how, exactly, was he going to do that if he wasn’t allowed to speak to Harry about the damn tasks. He was going to kill Minerva when the Dark Lord rises again – if he rises again.


Alicia didn’t know what to do.

How was she going to tell their leader this bit of news? Katie would be pissed, she knew. Angelina would be mad, too. Harry Potter is slipping away from them, and they still had no idea. She had thought about dismissing Daphne (or at least spanking her) but couldn’t, because she had recruited a lot of Gryffindors in the past week and she was very useful at the moment. Not to mention that Daphne had quite the temper and was a decent dueler. Well, better than herself.

“You called me, Alicia?”

Alicia flinched at the concerned voice behind her and turned around to see the founder of what they hoped to be Harry Potter’s heart. “Hello, Katie. I just wanted you to know something. It’s urgent.”

Katie knew that she was nervous. It really must’ve been something very bad. “What?” she asked her. “Did someone find out about us?”

Alicia nodded.

“Well, who is it, and why aren’t they Obliviated?”

“Because we can’t.”

“What do you mean, ‘we can’t’?”

“We’re not allowed to obliviate him.”

“We can’t obli— wait, ‘him’? You mean he’s a teacher?”

“I…no, he’s not.”

“Oh, sweet Merlin…”

“You’re handling it better than I did.”


“Erm… Halo.”

“Um… Hello, Mr. Krum.”

“Call me Viktor.”

“Oh. Hello Viktor. Oh, sorry, you’re sitting in my boyfriend’s chair.”

He didn’t move. Hermione realized at that moment that she had a problem.

“Could you please get up? He should be coming any minute.”

“I just vanted to ask you eef you vanted to go to ze baal weeth me.

Hermione pretended to look confusedly at him. “I did tell you that I have a boyfriend, right?”

“Ves.” Viktor seemed unperturbed. That disturbed Hermione a little bit more.

“Then doesn’t it mean that he is usually the one to take me to the Ball?”

“Did he aask you? You shood nevu assoom.”

“Yes, he did. Now could you please get out of his chair?”

“Vould he be jalos?”

“If you mean ‘jealous’, then no. Harry trusts me, and frankly, he already knows that you have this bad and disturbing habit of staring at me.”

“I… vell, voo see…”

“In the muggle world, that’s known as stalking, and you could face serious charges if I told a professor.”

Viktor narrowed his eyes at the girl before him. Was that a threat? Did he say something wrong? Did she translate something in his speech? It had to be something to make her feel dislike towards him. He had never felt that before, except girls on the opposite Quidditch team. Even then, he could swear that their brooms gave off a humming sound when he was close enough to hear (which was fairly close). But did he really have to spell it out to her?

“I…like…you.”

“Okay…” there was a time to be nice and to let people down easy, “…and I can barely tolerate you at this moment, and I will not ask you again to get out of that seat.” There was also a time where want to ram your favorite quill in their f**king eyes.

Hermione laughed on the inside. She even watched her language in her mind. She could’ve sworn she heard a bleep in her head.

Once again, Krum did not move. “Vy don’t you jost geeve me a chonce?”

“Because, not only do I have a loyal and loving boyfriend – which I’ve said repeatedly, by the way – but you are getting on my last nerve. Haven’t you even heard the rumors of talking to me while I’m reading?”

“I…I hav not. Vat is your name?” He would have to learn the name of the girl who rejected him to report to the headmaster. After all, he’s a Death Eater. He could enter an agreement with her.

“I don’t think you need to know,” Hermione replied primly as she gathered her books. “The only reason I’m still here is because Harry hasn’t shown up yet, but I’m sure he’ll understand. Good day, and I appreciate that you would stop harassing me.” She stood up, her (favorite) quill in hand, and was about to leave, until Viktor grabbed her arm as she passed by him.

Several things followed at precisely the same time.

Harry, who was watching the entire scene with a frown on his face, snapped at this moment. He already had his wand out, but he forgot it was in his hand. After all, he was only feet away from Viktor’s back, under an invisibility cloak. He balled his fist and aimed it straight at Krum’s ear, letting it land with a resounding ‘SMACK‘. Dudley had taught him a few tricks on how to fight, such as how to hurt as much as possible without knocking them unconscious, to drag out the pain until you couldn’t feel any pain for a few hours. He was actually thinking about cutting off the arm that had actually believed it was worthy enough to touch Hermione, but as he saw blood fly a little from Krum’s nose and mouth, he figured that he should do that after his muggle side tired out.

Hermione was about to attack Viktor with her quill until he let go of her quickly, sending her a few feet away into a bookcase. She distantly noticed that the bookcase was softer than usual as she watched in fascination as her truly loving and loyal boyfriend, whose cloak slowly slipped off, pummeled the crap out of her assaulter. God, she loved that man.


Katie, after being briefed in by Daphne, was walking to Hermione’s customary table (Bookworm’s Bench, as most people liked to call it) when she saw Hermione arguing with Viktor Krum. It didn’t take long to figure out the conversation, and she was less than amused by it. When she saw Hermione get up after speaking of how much loyalty she had for Harry, she realized that almost a quarter of the whole school merged into one group had some very serious competition, and they were certainly on the loosing side. But, as she saw Viktor grab Hermione by the arm, she immediately pulled out her wand. As she was aiming, she didn’t know why Viktor suddenly started jerking his head, and after about three times of swift head moving, he let go of Hermione, who was softly tugging on her arm. At that moment, Katie realized what Harry really needed. He didn’t need a Harem. Well, not yet, anyways. He didn’t need girls bothering him on a daily basis (once again, not yet). And he certainly didn’t need stalkers. For him or his girlfriend.

He needed bodyguards.

How come she hadn’t thought of it before? It was obvious, really! Every year, Harry was threatened to death, and every year, it just got worse and worse. He never had anyone to protect him except Hermione. In fact, he seems to be protecting everyone. The Headmaster had not done a good job. Well, that had to change. She had to make sure of that. The Harem would be back in a few years or whenever Harry wanted it back. After all, why would anyone want to please a dead man walking? She would make sure that the harem would protect him with their lives. If they didn’t, then they didn’t deserve Harry at all.

Setting her resolve, she first aimed a cushioning spell at the bookcase that Hermione was about to hit. She turned her attention back to Viktor and softly gasped as she saw the cloak fall off the invisible madman. She was staring, motionless at the man that was honestly pummeling the crap out of Hermione’s assaulter with a look of cold fury and no regret that sent shivers and tingles down her spine. Merlin, she loved that man. Shaking her head, she wondered what she was going to do now. Harry seemed to be winning this fight, as Viktor hadn’t even found out who was hitting him. Before she could watch any more, a buzzing sound disturbed her viewing of the show. Too enamoured in the fight before her to look away, she absently swatted her hand towards the source that was next to her. As her hand smacked the bookcase, she made a mental note to scourgify her hands later.


When Harry was finally tired, he looked towards Hermione, who was still staring at him in shock.

“You…okay…love?”

Hermione appeared to not hear, as she was looking at the bruises on Viktor. She was sure that both eyes were blackening. She did not know that Harry had that much strength. She knew that he had plenty of magical strength, but enough physical strength to take out a professional Quidditch player!

“Hermione?” Harry asked warily. Was she in shock? Krum was going to miss both of his arms in a second.

Hermione looked back at Harry and gave a soft smile “I’m okay, love.”

Before he could even blush at this term of endearment, not even realizing that he said it himself, the devil himself showed in a stuffy and angry woman’s costume in the name of ‘Madame Pince’. “Just what is going on—?”

Her question is interrupted by her answer of Viktor falling out of his chair with a groan.

“What is the meaning of this?” She shrilled at Harry, who was walking over to Hermione. Before she had the chance to yell at someone she never thought she would yell at, someone relieved her of the burden…

…By pointing a wand at her temple and whispering, “Obliviate!”

Hermione shrieked when she heard the incantation, and seeing the librarian’s eyes become unfocused and dreamy made her almost want to sob. “Why did you do that?” She whispered to Katie with a forceful voice, not realizing that there was no more reason to talk softly in the library if someone was just assaulted, another was beaten up, and the librarian was temporarily indisposed.

Katie paid no mind while she confunded Pince. “Confundo! You will go back to your desk,” she commanded, “and you have heard nothing. There was no noise around this area. Do you understand?”

“Yes.” And with that, Madame Pince walked out of the area. Katie smiled at her work before she turned back to the two dumbstruck students and the now unconscious foreign student. Wearing an amused grin, she walked towards them and keeled over the unconscious body. After a few seconds of observing the roughed up face, she spoke.

“And now you know why we made a harem.”

That seemed to break a little of the tension. Hermione decided to speak.

“Harry, when did you get here?”

Harry, who was now rubbing the arm that Viktor grabbed, spoke softly into her ear, but loud enough for Katie to hear. “Around the time he asked you to the ball. Are you okay?”

“Didn’t you ask me that already?”

“Could you say it again? It calms my nerves.”

“I think I should be asking you that question, then.”

While they were conversing for a few more seconds, Katie walked around the perimeter, checking around for anything suspicious. There was a portrait, but it was empty at the moment, and she was sure that it wasn’t there before the incident began, either. She breathed a sigh of relief. Harry and Hermione turned their attention to her.

“Don’t let me interrupt your moment,” she said, apologizing to them.

“Could you please explain to me why you just did that?” Hermione asked, now more calmly.

“I obliviated her and confunded her,” she explained to her. When she realized that it wasn’t explanation enough, she continued. “There was no other way. Even if Krum got kicked out, so are you. You know how she is. I’ll be damned if you’re going to get assaulted and kicked out of the library on my watch.”

“Wait a minute – what do you mean by that?” Hermione asked her.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you. We’ve…well, I’ve dropped the Harem temporarily. Think of it as a small hiatus. Instead, we figured that you could use some bodyguards.”

“Wait. Are you telling me that the entire harem is going to turn into an organization to keep Harry safe?”

“Basically, yes. Temporarily, at least.”

This is something I would definitely like,” Hermione said, after giving it some thought. After all, with the Tournament and what just happened now, she was easily convinced.

Harry, who had enough on his plate, just stared at the unconscious form of Viktor. Those marks on his battered face just didn’t look permanent enough. The only thing that was stopping Harry from doing any worse is the fact that the previous beating was only in self-defense. If this guy, or anyone else for that matter, touch his Hermione again without her permission, he would make sure that they would have a hard time breathing from then on, if they breathed at all.

Looking around he figured that they should leave the library in case someone else shows up.

Hermione, as if reading his mind, asked Katie if they could walk and talk. As they walked out of the library, Harry asked the girls if Viktor would tell on them.

“I don’t think he would,” Katie said with a small grin. “After all, he’s an eighteen-year-old professional Quidditch player. If word gets out that he’s…” she searched for a word, “…well, gotten the shit beaten out of him by a fourteen-year-old – no matter who he is – because he was warned multiple times, he would be the laughing stock of the Wizarding World.”

“Do you think I should’ve just challenged him to a Wizard’s duel?” Harry asked.

“Harry, you’re not advanced enough in spells to duel him!” She cautioned.

Harry just shrugged. “I might get in a few Reducto‘s.”

“Harry, you should be taking these unnecessary risks for me.”

“She’s right,” Katie agreed, “that’s what we’re here for.”

“Come again?” Harry asked the girl, confusion showing.

After being briefed in on what Katie was doing and planning, Harry agreed immediately, keeping in mind of what almost happened to Hermione.

Later that day, Hermione received a reply from her mum, with two hundred pounds in an envelope. She blushed when she read that her mother had indeed figured out the hidden message, and her dad was still trying to find it. She smiled when her mother wrote that she is behind her one hundred percent, and after threatening her to not let Harry go, she promised that they weren’t mad at her for coming home this Christmas, as she had a really good excuse. As she traded the galleons with Harry, she received five hundred galleons. She looked at him with a disbelieving look, before he smirked at her and said, “Keep it; so I won’t have to worry about a month anniversary present.”

She just kissed him and mentally reminded herself that tomorrow was indeed their one month anniversary. Thank goodness it was a Hogsmeade weekend.

As she walked around the bustling streets of Hogsmeade, arm-in-arm with her boyfriend, the first thing Hermione realized was the stares that they were both receiving.

She could easily spot the different crowds of stares. She could see the harem-turned-temporary bodyguards staring at her and Harry, making sure no known enemies are anywhere near them. She could see the girls – who weren’t in the harem – glaring at the girl who seemed to have stolen their date. She could even spot out a few boys glaring at Harry for what he explained to Hermione as ‘taking the smartest and most beautiful girl from them’, which only confused Hermione. The only reason she wasn’t going to say that the boys were glaring at her for the same reason as the girls (which honestly freaked her out), was that they were all Ravenclaws, a house that prized knowledge (and knowledgeable girls, of course). It was official; Everyone knew that Harry Potter and Hermione Granger are officially together. They would’ve found out anyway in a week.

After she had found the perfect dress (which she refused to show to Harry) she decided to buy something for her faithful date (which he had reminded her; this was their first official date). She figured that she should buy him a broom cleaning/polishing kit. After thinking it over, she bought him a wand cleaning kit instead, figuring that since he probably won’t use his broom for the rest of the year, but he would definitely be exercising his wand over the year. She smirked to herself at the double entendre, but she wasn’t taking it back.

After Harry thanked her for his present with a toe-curling kiss, they took a carriage back to the Castle, accompanying two members of the The Bodyguard, Parvati and Susan. After a little bit of small talk, and a promise from Harry that he’ll save both of them a dance, They left towards the castle.

When Harry reached his dorm, he looked in his rucksack for a certain parchment. After activating it, he looked around the map and saw that Rita was in the library. Before Harry could leave the room he assumed was empty, a voice stopped him.

“Harry!” An excited voice yelled.

“Myrtle?”