Summary: Harry Potter doesn’t dance. Unfortunately, McGonagall doesn’t care about this detail, and so Harry turns to his best friend, Hermione, for assistance. But Harry has a secret, and it turns out that Hermione does too. Together, they waltz to the heart of the matter. A fluffy story about friendship and queer solidarity.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Harry Potter, I’m just a nerd who likes dreaming about the wizarding world. This ficlet starts with a small excerpt from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to set the tone.
A/N: This fic is a standalone oneshot, but also part of my A Trio of Tricksters series, and is currently the one that takes place earliest in the timeline, therefore making it a prequel to Celestial Messengers, and A Beautiful Friendship, which are both also oneshots and prequels to the main fic A Trio of Tricksters: Eclipse the Past, Usurp the Future. It’s also technically a sequel to The Original Trio of Tricksters, but that prequel deals with a completely different set of characters. Also, Merry Christmas! I know people celebrate other holidays — I myself am actually a pagan and only celebrate Christmas out of habit — but this is a Christmas themed fic, so that greeting seems the most appropriate. Thanks to Transreal_Clouden and cyborg-goddess for betaing!
Waltzing to the Heart of the Matter
‘Potter, the champions and their partners –’
‘What partners?’ said Harry.
Professor McGonagall looked suspiciously at him, as though she thought he was trying to be funny.
‘Your partners for the Yule Ball, Potter,’ she said coldly. ‘Your dance partners.’
Harry’s insides seemed to curl up and shrivel. ‘Dance partners?’
He felt himself going red. ‘I don’t dance,’ he said quickly.
‘Oh, yes, you do,’ said Professor McGonagall irritably. ‘That’s what I’m telling you. Traditionally, the champions and their partners open the ball.’
‘I’m not dancing,’ he said.
‘It is traditional,’ said Professor McGonagall firmly. ‘You are a Hogwarts champion, and you will do what is expected of you as a representative of the school. So make sure you get yourself a partner, Potter.’
‘But – I don’t –’
‘You heard me, Potter,’ said Professor McGonagall, in a very final sort of way.
Harry left McGonagall’s office in a daze. Suddenly, taking on a dragon seemed like a walk in the park. He was going to have to take a date to the ball and there seemed to be nothing he could do about it. Before he knew it, Harry was back in the Gryffindor common room, sitting in his preferred armchair by the fire.
“What did McGonagall want?” Ron asked as he played with the Rubik’s cube Hermione had gotten for her birthday earlier that term, and promptly regifted.
“I have to find a partner for the dance,” Harry replied faintly. Before Ron could reply, Harry suddenly found himself surrounded by the Weasley twins, who, in an identical motion, sat on either arm of Harry’s chair and crossed their legs toward him.
“You’re Harry Potter –”
“the boy-who-lived –”
“any witch –”
“or wizard –”
“in this castle would –”
“to accompany you.”
“Well what if I don’t want to accompany them?” Harry protested. The twins gasped in faux-shock.
“Too good –”
“for the Hogwarts –”
“are we, Potter?”
“Well, no, I just, I just don’t dance!” Harry continued to protest.
“I can teach you.” Hermione had not looked up once from the newly published 422nd edition of Hogwarts, A History, so Harry hadn’t even been aware that she was listening to their discourse until she spoke.
“Really? Thanks ‘Mione.”
“Don’t call me ‘Mione’, Harry James.”
Harry made a face and replied, “Thank you, Hermione Jean.”
“You’re very welcome. I’m doing all your future dance partners a service, really, there’s nothing worse than a bad lead.”
“You know how to dance?” Ron looked up from his nearly solved cube to look at Hermione quizzically.
“No need to look so surprised,” Hermione rolled her eyes and put a ribbon in the book to mark her page before setting it aside. “Yes, I know how to dance. I started ballet at age three, but stopped and switched to more ballroom style when I was about nine.”
“Do I have to learn anything fancy?” Harry scratched the back of his head, “how long is this going to take?”
“As long as it needs to.” Hermione had that glint in her eye that all around her knew to be wary of.
“it was nice –”
“knowing you –”
WttHotM WttHotM WttHotM
During their third dance lesson in the unused classroom across the hall from McGonagall’s, the same lesson where Hermione was finally able to remove the steel-toe charm from her dress shoes, she made a confession.
“Viktor Krum asked me to the Yule Ball.”
“I’m sure you’ll have a good time together, though Ron will be jealous.” Harry led Hermione into what wasn’t that bad of a spin.
“Of Viktor or me?”
“You, of course, he sleeps with that figurine under his pillow you know.”
They both laughed for a moment as the music ended, before going to get the bottles of water they had placed on nearby desks. Hermione hopped up to sit on one of the desks while Harry sat in the chair of another.
“I didn’t say yes,” Hermione twisted the cap off her water bottle.
“You rejected Viktor Krum?” Harry looked at her, utterly flabbergasted.
“I didn’t reject him!” Hermione’s voice got rather high. “I just, I said I needed time to think about it.”
“What’s there to think about? Did he do something? Am I going to need to start a fight? If so you’ll need to help, you know way more spells than I do.”
“No, it’s nothing like that, Viktor’s very sweet but … he’s not my type.”
“So, what is your type then?” Harry took a sip of water. Hermione mumbled, but he couldn’t quite make out what she said. “Come again?”
“Girls! I like girls, okay?” Hermione snapped. Harry blinked twice.
“You asked if it was okay if you liked girls, so I said okay,” Harry grinned at her and Hermione giggled despite herself.
“Yes, really. You think I would ditch my friend just because she wants to date girls? Women are gorgeous, I don’t blame you.”
“Thanks, Harry,” Hermione got off the desk and pulled him in to one of her legendary hugs. “What should I say to Viktor though?” Hermione asked as she pulled away.
“Tell him that you’re going to the ball with me.” Harry almost wished that he could take back the words, but then decided to push forward with them anyway.
“Wha – huh? Don’t you want to go with a real date?” Hermione was not used to being confused.
“I don’t want a date.” Harry pushed ahead. “Or to date, at all. I, uh, don’t like girls. Or boys. I mean, I like them, as people, well, maybe not Malfoy, but uh –”
Hermione covered his mouth. “You’re babbling now, but I think I understand. You want to go as friends?”
“Yeah, friends. I mean, you don’t want to go with a guy, and I don’t want to go with anyone who will get any ideas. It’ll be perfect.”
“Yeah, it works great,” Hermione smiled, then faltered, “are you prepared for the rumors though? You’re a champion, everyone’s going to care who you go with, are you sure you want to go with me?”
“I mean, everyone pays hyper attention to me, I’m Harry Potter. But you’re my best friend, there’s no one I’d rather go with. Are you sure you want to go with me? Like you said, I’m a champion and that’s a lot of gossip to contend with.”
Hermione rolled her eyes. “Aside from the fact that my other option is Viktor, who is also a champion and thus that line of reasoning is dubious at best, you’re also my best friend, Harry, and now that you’ve offered there’s no one I’d rather go with either. We’ve weathered plenty of storms together. And if you can face a dragon, you can take me to a ball.”
“Who knows, we might even have a good time. You’re much better company after all,” Harry paused. “At least as long as you’ve had an adequate amount of caffeine in the morning.”
Harry ducked as Hermione shot a tickling jinx at him, and the one he sent in return hit just as he failed to dodge her second, and the two friends fell to the floor in laughter.
They did, in fact, had a good time at the ball, dancing late into the night and exchanging partners frequently with Neville and Ginny, as well as Ron, who had taken Parvati. They overheard some worrying conversations when taking a breather by walking in the rose garden, but that’s a tale for another story. In the years to come, when reflecting on the war and Voldemort and everything that came after, the Yule Ball was seen as a time of friendship and fun before darker times came upon them.
Fic Recommendation: Yule Ball Panic by Philosophize on FFN. Very similar premise, complete opposite outcome. This is a fem!Harry, so Jasmine Potter is freaking out over getting a date to the Yule Ball, and finds a solution through her best friend, and in this case, love interest, Hermione Granger. It’s very cute and part of a series (there are 2 sequels) that gets pretty badass and awesome. I haven’t read it in a long time, but my partner Transreal_Clouden recently gave the entire run a re-read and has very good things to say about character development and plot progression, so I feel very comfortable giving it an enthusiastic recommendation.