Harry, over the last several months, had been engaging in his favourite past-time: girl watching. Oh,
he wasn’t perverted, staring at anything female with a pulse that happened to amble by. No, it was all over
one specific girl.
He’d taken to hiding in places where he’d be able to watch, and she wouldn’t be able to see him. He
was aware that his behaviour bordered on ‘stalker’, but for a chance to see her smile, it was worth the label.
Harry wasn’t dumb, like most people thought. In fact, his IQ was only 6 points below Hermione’s, the
smartest witch of her generation. He’d been conditioned by the Dursleys early in life to not show his true
intelligence. If he out-scored ‘precious ickle Duddi-kins’, he’d get beaten, and thrown into his cupboard. So,
he quickly learned to do the minimum required to pass.
It was a habit he’d been trying to break, however. It was difficult, especially since the Dursleys had
beaten it into him for ten years.
It was her bloody fault. She was so eager to be the best, and it had rubbed off on him. He wanted to
be better. Not because it was expected of him by his teachers. Or his family. Or even his friends. Because of
her. She made him want to improve himself. She didn’t expect it. It wasn’t a requirement of her friendship or
Damn her, anyway.
It all came to a head in the common room on Thursday night. Harry had been sitting, sneaking
glances in at her for a good hour while pretending to do his Charms homework. Of course, she was happily
reading her Arithmancy book. Something long and complicated was all Harry could discern.
After a moment, she felt Harry’s scrutiny, and looked up. “Everything all right, Harry?” She asked
Harry flushed, mumbled something vaguely coherent, and went back to his Charms work, managing
to write almost four complete words before he glanced back up. Hermione had gone back to her book, a tiny
smile making the edge of her lips curl up.
He felt an urge to tell her. Right then and there. “Hermione?” He whispered.
She looked up, her eyes bright and expressive. “Yes, Harry?” She whispered back huskily.
.. I just wanted to ask you-”
“Harry!” A new voice screeched. A voice that Harry recognised instantly, and had started to hate with
a fiery passion.
“Bollocks.” He muttered, before looking up to see Ginny stalking towards him, blotchy anger on his