The Lady Slipper

Title: The Lady Slipper
Author: ExcentrykeMuse
Pairing: Harry/Hermione
Summary: Harry had always wanted Hermione.  Now he had the chance.

Warnings: prejudice, Ron bashing

Harry had almost hexed Ron when he had called “dibs!” on Hermione Granger.  It was over chess, during fifth year, and Harry had no idea that Ron could be so pig-headed.  He wasn’t courting Hermione.  He wasn’t planning on courting Hermione.

To be honest, it was the only reason why Harry allowed Cho to kiss him.  He was a little shocked over it all.  Cho was, as far as he knew, a half-blood and should know better than to kiss a boy.  The rules of society forbade it. 

Mother Magic wept over the loss of virtue, however slight.  In fact, Harry could hear her crying that very night because he had let Cho snog him.

Hermione Granger was not like other children from Muggle families.  She followed the ways of Mother Magic and worshiped the old gods.  She also followed proper pureblood protocol in the limited capacity that she could at Hogwarts.

It was obvious the day that Hermione had found out about newbloods—the true blooded from Muggles—and Mudbloods who spat in the face of wizarding tradition.  Malfoy (well, outside of Hogwarts he was Heir Draco Malfoy) had called her a Mudblood and she had instantly looked it up.

Then she looked up newbloods and decided that nothing was going to stop her from becoming one.  She threw out all her old jeans, wore her hair up at all times, and was only ever alone with Ron and Harry if someone else were present.

She’d then gone on to educate Harry on proper procedure and they learned how to pray together in secret so that no one would know Harry’s ignorance.  Harry now knew how to properly ask Parvati Patil to the Yule Ball without it being a courtship offer.  He knew to press his robes and tie every morning using a handy little charm Hermione had found.  He knew that as the only Potter left he was now Lord Potter and he must marry accordingly.

James Potter had married a newblood.  There’s no reason why Harry couldn’t contemplate courting one.

However, Ron put a stop to all that.  So Harry stopped and he waited.  The year went by and Hermione was almost killed by Dolohov, but still Ron hadn’t made his move.  Harry, knowing that purebloods married young, resigned himself to finding someone other than Hermione, a friend who was dearer to him even than Ron.

Then it happened.

Harry knew why Ron did it.  Ginny Weasley had shown she was without honor by snogging a Mudblood.  Just because Dean was a Mudblood didn’t mean that she had to act like one.  So, Ron, naturally, went and snogged Lavender Brown.  A half-blood.  What was everyone thinking?

He found Hermione crying in a classroom and he held her against his shoulder.  It was technically against the rules of propriety but his friend needed him.  Hermione needed him.

Now was his time to act. 

That very night he went out to the Forbidden Forest and picked a lady slipper in the light of the moon.  She would know what this meant.  Hermione had studied it often enough.

She gasped when she saw it in his hand the next morning as he came down for breakfast.  “Harry,” she whispered.  “Who are you planning on courting?”  Her brown eyes met him, still full of the sadness Ron had left there, and Harry carefully held the flower out to her. 

“Miss Hermione Granger,” he began formally.  “I offer you this token of my affection.”

The Common Room wasn’t crowded.  In fact, as always, Ron had failed to turn up until the last possible moment when he could still catch breakfast, so he was fortunately up in the boys’ dormitory.

Still, there was a collective gasp.  No one knew, apart from Hermione, that Harry followed the old ways or worshiped Mother Magic.  But now, here, in this moment with Hermione, he was showing exactly how knowledgeable he was.

Mudbloods didn’t have a title except at Hogwarts.  They were simply Eloise Midgen, for example.  A newblood gained the lowest of titles on the pureblood scale—Mr. or Miss.  Still, it was something.  Also, to court a newblood there were specific rituals, rituals that Harry intended to follow to the letter.

Hermione looked at him hard before saying quietly, “Lord Potter, you don’t want me.”

“Why wouldn’t I want you?” Harry all but demanded.  “I’ve been waiting for over a year for you.”

She looked at him with sad eyes.  He saw a glimmer of hope in them and realized that he had won.

“Will you put it in my hair, Lord Potter?” she asked formally, turning from him to show the twist she usually wore.

Harry looked at her hair deliberately before finding a spot where the lady slipper would not be dislodged.  He wanted to announce to all the world that Hermione was good enough for him.  She would always be good enough for him.

Ron, of course, didn’t notice at breakfast.  He was too busy shoveling food into his own mouth.  He always did.  About halfway through the day, though, he asked, “Hermione, why are you wearing a flower?”

Harry snorted into the back of his hand.

“It’s not just any flower, Ron,” Hermione said primly.  “It’s a lady slipper.”

“That’s still a flower.”

She sighed.  “I’m being courted.”

“By who?” Ron asked angrily.  “If some pureblood git has swooped in, you should just kick him to the curb.  You’re too good for any of that Mother Magic crap.”

“Crap?” Harry answered.  “Both Hermione and I tend to follow that ‘crap,’ so I would keep that opinion to yourself.”

They had started to draw quite a crowd, including Malfoy who was looking on in unveiled interest.

“But it’s all a lot of mumbo-jumbo!” Ron raved, waving his hands around for emphasis.  “You don’t need it to be a wizard.”

“We should thank Magic for everything she’s given us,” Hermione insisted, rather hotly.  “She could just as equally take it away and make us all Squibs.”

“You can’t make a Squib!  They’re just born!”

“Really, then how do you explain Marius Black?  His mother probably didn’t pray to the Old Gods for a healthy, magical child so they didn’t give her one?”

Malfoy suddenly started clapping.  Then, all the purebloods in the crowd joined him.

Hermione blushed.

“Who is it?” Ron demanded.

“You don’t need to know that,” Harry put in finally, cutting off his best mate.  “A courtship is private so let’s give Hermione her privacy.  If she wants to tell us, then she’ll tell us.  Don’t try to beat it out of her.”

People started talking behind their backs.  While most purebloods wouldn’t touch a newblood because of family dictates and traditions, it wasn’t unheard of.  Speculation ran amok as to who the mystery pureblood could be.  One Gryffindor, a Romilda Vane, whispered loudly, “I saw Lord Potter give it to her this morning.”

“What?” Ron yelled and before Harry could say something, he was punched soundly in the jaw.  Harry staggered back a little, holding his jaw, and Hermione was instantly there to see if he was all right. 

“You—you bastard,” Ron exclaimed.  “You knew I wanted her to be Mrs. Ronald Weasley.”

“Then why did you go snog Lavender the other night in front of everyone?” Harry retorted.  “I’m sorry, but all bets were off when you did that publicly.”

Ron’s face blanched.  “I’m not—I’m not talking to either of you.”

“Be my guest,” Harry answered.  “Go snog Lavender instead.”

Surprisingly, it was a wan looking Draco Malfoy who offered him a hand up from the floor.  Harry grudgingly took it and the two stared at one another.

“You follow the Old Ways?” Malfoy asked, a little surprised.

“Since the end of Second Year.”

Malfoy hummed in thought.  “Well, welcome to the club, Lord Potter,” he said by way of parting.

Harry and Hermione just watched him go.

“Did that really just happen?” Hermione asked in confusion.

“Which part?”

“The part where Ron said he wanted to marry me and the bit with Malfoy.”

Harry rubbed his jaw.  “Yeah, that happened.”

She looked steadily at the emptying corridor.  “I’m not sure I’d like to be Mrs. Ron Weasley if he thinks that badly of the Old Ways.  It’s just not—natural.”

Harry let out a hysterical laugh.  “No, I suppose it isn’t.”

The End.

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