"Chambers with the quaffle… and ooooh a nice tip over to Bradley! Flint flanking, attempting a steal— damn! Hit hard in the face by a bludger, nice one Ellis! Hope that hurts— oh, sorry Professor McGonagall. Only joking. Chang in a dive! Is that the Snitch?"
The Quidditch pitch was absolutely electric. Every student— Ravenclaw, Slytherin, or otherwise— were on their feet as they watched the game. It was Ravenclaw versus Slytherin and they were the two teams currently leading with a tie for the House Cup. This match would settle the leader until the next game between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff.
Everyone, regardless of the colour they wore, was watching the match intensely. Even though these two teams were leading, the point differences between the four houses weren't very far apart at all. Everyone had a stake here, and the Gryffindors and Hufflepuff had also picked their sides.
Lee Jordan's voice rang loud and clear throughout the stadium as Madam Hooch zoomed across the air like a falcon seeking its prey. "Foul! That's a foul! Crabbe had his hand in Chang's broomtails. We have a blagging, everyone!"
There was thunderous applause and cheers from the Ravenclaw and Gryffindor spectators while boos echoed loudly from the Slytherins. The Hufflepuffs clapped gently. They all watched from the large magical screens as Madam Hooch beckoned for Vincent Crabbe to dismount from his broom for a quick chat as it was his fifth foul. The boy refused (or perhaps he didn't know how to dismount, piped Lee) and all of Hogwarts saw Madam Hooch's eyes narrow into slits before she raised a red card from within her pockets.
"What's this? Crabbe is out of the game! I repeat: Crabbe. Is out. Of. The game! Slytherin in need of a substitute beater!" Lee's voice rang jovially throughout the air. "Who happens to currently be residing in the hospital wing due to a broken leg!"
It was pandemonium. There were screams and cheers and boos and clapping. The screen even showed Professor Snape walking out from the opening at the base of the professors' stand, black cape billowing behind him and a scowl on his face as per usual, no doubt to talk to the referee. All Quidditch players were frozen in mid-air until Madam Hooch blew her whistle twice and gestured for all of them to descend.
"That's a time-out! Slytherins need to sort their shi— er, I mean, priorities out! Either they heed the referee's call or they forfeit! Stay tuned, everyone."
Up in the north-facing Quidditch stands, Hermione sat down on the bench with a wild smile on her face. There were Gryffindors and Ravenclaws all around her and everyone was in a celebratory mood. This match, which started out neck and neck with one goal after the other shared between the two teams, was finally looking to be in Ravenclaw's favour.
"It looks like you're enjoying this game much more than Gryffindor's," she heard from above. She looked up to see Harry gazing down at her with a grin on his face. She laughed and grabbed onto his arm to drag him down to sit on the bench next to her.
"How would you know?" She inquired with a raised eyebrow. "You're always out there, flying."
He playfully hummed and nudged her shoulder. "I hear things from Ron, Ginny, and the others. Apparently, you're always worried!"
"I'm only worried you'll get hurt," Hermione replied as she returned his nudge. "Don't forget that every year since you started playing, you almost always do," she added with a pointed glare.
Harry could only chuckle. "Your heart must be weak with worry then. You never miss any of Gryffindor's matches."
"And my heart will continue to grow weak since I would never miss any of your matches," she quipped.
It was a subtle difference, but it was there. She didn't say that she would never miss Gryffindor's matches. No, she said she would never miss any of his.
Harry couldn't understand why his heart did a summersault inside his chest. He felt inexplicably happy and a wide grin stretched across his face.
"It really does look like you're having a lot of fun though," he commented.
Hermione beamed at him and he saw the afternoon sun catch the golden specks of her eyes making them twinkle brightly. He felt more flipflops inside his chest as she nodded her head enthusiastically. "It's an exciting game and I like having you commentate next to me, though Lee's doing a fantastic job of that too. Also," she paused, and gestured with her eyes to the pair sitting two rows in front of them. "I'm finding it very entertaining seeing Ron trying to deflect Luna's advances."
Harry threw his head back and laughed. It was true what his best friend said. All throughout the start of the match, Luna Lovegood had been inching closer and closer to where his other best friend was sitting. From behind them, Harry and Hermione could see her talking to Ron while he could only nod in return. Now, they watched the visible relief on Ron's face as Ginny came to talk to her brother with Neville in tow.
"I wonder when the match will commence," Hermione mused. The wide screen across from their seats still showed Madam Hooch and Professor Snape talking animatedly with one another. There was no audio available, but based on their frowns and hand gestures, everyone knew it must not be a very pleasant conversation. There was a slight murmur as the screens showed the Headmaster and Professor McGonagall walking towards the pair to join the discussion.
Suddenly, the camera shifted and the screens showed a smiling Lee Jordan on the commentator's box with Fred and George Weasley at his sides. The twins were grinning mischievously at the camera and one of them was holding onto the microphone Lee would typically use.
"Ahem ahem, this is Gred and Forge Weasley at your service to deliver some professor-approved entertainment during this particularly dull lull of the Ravenclaw vs Slytherin Quidditch match," one of the redheads said into the microphone.
The Quidditch pitch quieted considerably as the spectators waited for what they had to say. Harry and Hermione looked at each other in anticipation. They didn't know what antics the twins had planned and, from the look of Ron's and Ginny's confused faces, their siblings didn't know either.
The microphones switched hands and the other twin took hold. He grinned roguishly into the camera, his dimples deep and pronounced in his cheeks. "As you all know, today is February 14th or what you would call Valentine's Day in most places around the world. It is the day of lovers or the day of crippling awareness that you're single and alone. Regardless of where you stand, this should ensure that you experience at least a little bit of love today… as long as you're lucky enough to fall in front of its lenses. Gred and Forge are proud to present our newest invention, and a muggle sporting tradition... the kiss cam!"
It was quiet around the Quidditch pitch before trickles of laughter flitted through the air. The muggle-borns all around the stadium were laughing incredulously at the twins' announcement while the rest of the student body who had never heard of a kiss cam before stood in confusion.
The microphone switched hands again. "Allow me to explain since it's very simple. The kiss cam will search for a pair sitting in the stands. Once the camera stops and you see yourself on the screen, you must kiss the person also pictured with you or you both will face a penalty! Forge, why don't we just demonstrate…"
At his words, the camera moved away from the commentator's box and dashed around the Quidditch pitch. There was a collective breath as everyone watched the zoomed-in shot showing the spectator's faces. The camera's movements slowed down before it landed on a flock of Slytherin students. Those pictured could be seen eyeing the camera warily as it zoomed even closer to show only two heads on the screen. It moved from one pair to the next until it finally stopped.
Pansky Parkinson's and Adrian Pucey's horrified faces appeared on the viewing screens. The pitch erupted in laughter as they heard a distinctive "Kiss!" coming from the speakers. When neither moved an inch towards each other (in fact, it looked as though they were slowly inching apart), a shot of the commentator's box briefly flashed on the screen with one of the twins warning them about the penalty. When still neither moved in for a kiss after another thirty seconds, everyone watched as Pansy's hair turned a bright shade of green and Adrian's nose extended two inches forward.
There were howls of laughter and applause all around the Hogwarts Quidditch pitch as the camera moved on to find its next targets. It landed on an unexpected pair of Hufflepuffs and they all watched as the boy shyly leaned towards the girl and kissed her on the cheek. Small pink and red hearts erupted from their picture on the screen as the stadium let out a collective "aw".
Everyone knew what the kiss cam was intended to do now and the crowd ate it all up. The camera ensnared a pair of professors (Professor Flitwick did not look keen but Professor Trelawney managed to sneak a kiss to his cheek at the last second), some of the Quidditch players waiting at the side of the field (Cho was unfortunately caught in the midst of an argument with Marcus Flint so she gave him a quick peck on the cheek followed by a very noticeable grimace), and even a number of students who were already dating who gladly showed Hogwarts that they did not shy away from public displays of affection. The kiss cam proved to be an entertainment indeed and the pitch was alive with sounds of applause and laughter.
Harry turned to Hermione and remarked incredulously, "I cannot believe Fred and George managed to get this past Professor McGonagall."
Hermione looked at the screen as it swivelled to capture its newest targets. It stopped on their subject of conversation. "She might have been alright with it before, but I doubt she'd be okay now."
Professor McGonagall looked positively appalled when she saw herself on the screens around the Quidditch pitch with Professor Snape's head beside her. They, too, were in deep conversation when the camera caught them in its lenses. She showed zero movements towards the Potions professor though and only stared the camera down with her stern, cat-like eyes. After thirty seconds, the camera quietly moved away with not a penalty given.
Harry snorted. "At least they've built in some safety mechanisms."
Hermione nodded as a tide of students' faces rolled in front of the camera once again. There was a lively hum of conversation all around them as the students discussed this new Weasley invention and wondered who would be the next targets.
She saw the camera stop at a group of students and she distinctly took note of the red and blue scarves they wore over their black cloaks. Her eyes widened when she realized that the screen was now showing their section of the stands. She glanced at Harry and saw him watching the screen with fearful recognition on his face.
She noticed how quiet it was around them as her seatmates waited with bated breath. The camera drifted past the first row, and then the next, before it stopped to show a couple sitting two rows in front of them.
Her mouth dropped and from the corner of her eyes she saw Harry's do the same. On the screen was a zoomed-in shot of Ron Weasley and Luna Lovegood. Luna wore a Ravenclaw scarf around her neck, though she wore a bright red and orange knit hat with what looked to be a knitted lion's head atop her long blonde hair. She was smiling serenely with not a care to the world that all of Hogwarts was watching her. Ron sat dumbstruck next to her like a deer caught in headlights.
"Kiss!" Someone shouted from behind.
Hermione bit her bottom lip and turned towards Harry. She couldn't stop the giggle from escaping when she saw Ron's shocked face on the viewing screen. Harry looked like he was trying to stop his laughter as well. Both of them watched when Luna turned inquisitively towards their best friend while Ron did the same. The redhead was visibly sweating and did not make any indication of moving his head closer to Luna's. The Ravenclaw smiled softly and leaned towards the Gryffindor.
All of Hogwarts saw Luna Lovegood give Ron Weasley a sweet kiss on the lips. After she was done, she leaned back and beamed at the camera while Ron sat numbed with shock, his red face clearly visible. Large pink and red hearts, the largest they've seen so far, framed their shot on the screen.
Everyone around them erupted in cheers. Harry and Hermione clapped and hollered with wide smiles on their faces. For a minute, everyone stood from their seats and gave the Ravenclaw a standing ovation for delivering the first kiss on the lips between a couple who wasn't dating (as far as the rest of Hogwarts was aware).
The crowd quieted down when the kiss cam started its hunt once again. Fred (or George) was heard over the speaker saying that this would be the last couple chosen since the Slytherin Quidditch team had made a decision.
The kiss cam seemed to be teasing its spectators. It would zoom in on a section, slow down, and then completely move to the other end of the Quidditch pitch. It stopped for a few seconds to show Ginny and Neville on the screen before moving its lenses elsewhere.
Everyone watched the viewing screens with anticipation. The students eyed their seatmates apprehensively and wondered what would happen if they were caught in the lenses with the person sitting next to them. Some remained steadfast on their seats while many inched away from the person they would not want to kiss.
The camera slowed. It scanned through a sea of Ravenclaw faces before focusing on a pair of Gryffindors.
Hermione watched as she saw herself appear on the screen beside Harry. The camera showed them sitting next to each other with their shoulders and knees touching, almost as if they were huddled together for warmth to avoid the chilly February air. Her arm was casually looped around his and was even resting on his thigh. The camera zoomed even closer before stopping altogether.
The kiss cam had found its last two victims.
Hermione hardly registered the complete silence around them. Her heart was beating so fast in her chest as she stared at the screen showing her and Harry. She didn't know how long she simply stared at it before she heard his whisper.
"Hermione," Harry said softly. On the screen, she saw his head turn towards her. She pried her eyes away from the picture and faced him.
It was quite jarring seeing him from this perspective after watching themselves on the big screen. She was suddenly aware of all of the details she did not see before. For one, their faces were awfully close to each other. If she leaned forward a little bit her forehead would hit his chin. This close proximity allowed her to see his eyes closely as well. They were a deep emerald with warm shades of brown and gold at the edges. Long eyelashes framed them and they delicately brushed his cheeks as he blinked. Her eyes trailed down the bridge of his nose, past his Cupid's bow, and finally to his lips. She watched them move to say her name.
"Hermione," Harry whispered again as his eyes scanned her face. "We have to… I mean, we don't have to but… the camera... I think I would like to… if that's okay? If not, that's totally fine—"
His lips were far too mesmerizing as he stumbled over his words. Hermione knew she probably should have said it first, but actions speak louder than words.
Yes, it was okay. And yes, she would like to as well.
She leaned forward and she kissed him. Her eyes closed as she cut off his ramblings with her lips. Faintly, she could hear the gasps all around them, though she didn't care. Harry's lips were so soft and so warm. They were sweet and slightly tasted of the Valentine's Day chocolates she had given him that morning and which they shared whilst watching the match.
She felt a hand on her cheek and her heart thumped in her chest. She felt Harry brush his thumb across her skin as he kissed her deeper. He was gentle but his kiss was heated.
At the back of her mind, Hermione knew that this single instance would change everything. They had been best friends for five years now and had faced more trials and tribulations together than anyone else would care to have in a single lifetime. She knew from when they went back in time to save Sirius and Buckbeak that they would be bonded for life. An adventure like that changes a person, and she and Harry, as well as their relationship, were transformed.
Back then, she thought that their bond could only be platonic. However now, she could feel another shift happening.
His lips moved away from hers though his hand stayed on her cheek. Her eyes slowly fluttered open to be met with the brightest emeralds she had ever seen.
They spoke multitudes. She could see the apprehension and the hesitation in his stare. She could see the uncertainty within those deep, green eyes. However, these were outshone by the hope which she also saw. Of the happiness.
She saw a bashful grin light up his face and she felt her own lips curve upwards into a smile. There was understanding there, too.
As the whole Quidditch pitch erupted in cheers, Harry and Hermione smiled. Their pictures were shown clearly on the big screens as heart bubbles and fireworks burst around the frame. They saw none of that though, for they only had eyes for each other.
On the other side of the Quidditch pitch and up on the commentator's box, Fred and George grinned triumphantly. They traded high fives as Lee stood beside them clapping and yelling as loudly as everyone else. It seemed like all of Hogwarts, students and professors alike, had been waiting for this moment.
"Brother, I think we can consider this new invention a success."
"Why yes, brother. I must say that I agree."