What we're made of
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Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Hermione Granger/Viktor Krum, Hermione Granger & Viktor Krum
Hermione Granger, Viktor Krum
Additional Tags:
Coming Out, Trans Viktor Krum, Trans Male Character, Friendship/Love, Yule Ball (Harry Potter), First Kiss, Explicit Consent
Trans Wizard Tournament 2020
Published: 2020-07-31 Words: 2,860 Chapters: 1/1

What we're made of


Viktor Krum had never expected to come out to Hermione. If anyone had told him, just a few hours ago, that this was what he was going to do, he’d have scoffed and stared at the person until they went away. He hadn’t expected to come out to anyone at Hogwarts. And yet it felt like the natural thing to do.


Here's to all trans people who love(d) Harry Potter. 

This story contains a possibly unrequited romantic love, but it's not sad or angsty. The lines between friendship and romance are very blurry in this one.

27. July 2022, Edited to add: I condemn JK Rowling’s transphobic, inaccurate, and dangerous statements on sex and gender identity. If you agree with her views, please do not comment on or kudo this fanfic. I support the rights of transgender people to be called by their chosen pronouns, respected in their expression of gender, and treated fairly and equally in all things.

What we're made of

The two glasses of butterbeer felt heavy in Viktor’s hands as he left the table and went looking for Hermione. Her friend – Ron … Weasley? – really didn’t seem to like him. He didn’t want his and Harry Potter’s friendship, he didn’t seek their approval, per se, but getting along with Hermione as well as he did, he had hoped that at least he could be on speaking terms with her friends.

Viktor Krum didn’t have friends in Durmstrang. He had admirers – far more admirers than an eighteen year old man should have, in his opinion. And he had enemies – far too many of them either. Being in the position he had assumed some three years ago, friends really weren’t an option. Quidditch practice didn’t leave time for friends, especially not if you were on the national team. Viktor wasn’t even sure he wanted them.

How could he, when half of the people in Durmstrang knew his secret, but admired his skills on a broomstick and the fact that at eighteen, he was Bulgaria’s star seeker, and the other half knew his secret and despised that he was successful in spite of it. They only reason they didn’t go and tell it the whole world was that to Karkaroff, the possible benefits of supporting a quidditch star weighted higher than the possible embarassment of supporting a man like Viktor. They hated it, but if they wanted to stay in Karkaroff’s good books, they couldn’t out Viktor. At least in Hogwarts, truly nobody knew his secret and he wanted to keep it that way, even if that meant he couldn’t befriend anyone.

His position – as a quidditch player in Bulgaria’s national team, and as the man he was – meant that he couldn’t have a girlfriend, either. But oh, he wanted.

Viktor was neither a good dancer nor a good talker, but both were easy with Hermione. Where was she? It was difficult to maneuvre through the hall. There were too many of the little tables and the two glasses in his hands didn’t make it any easier.

She couldn’t have gone far. When they had stopped for a breather, she had just wanted to check in with her friends. He had offered to bring them something to drink and now he couldn’t find her. At least he knew that she hadn’t bolted with her friends.

Viktor knew that his face wasn’t inviting. When he stared at people, they usually went away pretty soon. It was a fair trade-off. People thought they had the right to stare at him, so he stared back. That usually made them back off. At first, years ago, he had thought the staring happened because they tried to parse him and he wasn’t passing. But as the years went on, he had learned that they did that either way. He was famous, even more so now than then, so he had to expect it. Expecting it didn’t mean tolerating it, so he stared back.

By now, he had almost forgotten how it was to just be ignored. Not that he got to enjoy that in Hogwarts either, at least not for long stretches of time. The staring was worse here, but at least he definitely knew that it didn’t have anything to do with his appearance. The only hostility he received was because of his status as another school’s Triwizarding Champion. Being asked for autographs wasn’t too bad, either, really.

Maybe Hermione had gone to the restroom. He didn’t know where it was and he didn’t want to go there anyway. The impropriety of it aside, he had spent too much time in girls’ restrooms to ever set foot in one. The thought crossed his mind that Hermione might be in distress. His face wasn’t inviting, and he was used to some hostility, even expected it, but the way Ronald Weasley’s words had sounded didn’t seem proportionate. Maybe Hermione had fought with her friends, and now needed him. But unless she came to him, there was barely anything he could do. She knew the castle much, much better than he could.

“Did you see Hermione Granger?”, he asked a student. He pronounced her name right. Her-my-oh-nee, as he had learned just this evening. Хърмаяни, not Хърми-оун. It was embarrassing to think that he had pronounced her name wrong the entire time. That was – the few hours of today’s evening before she had corrected him. After she had accepted his invitation to the ball, they hadn’t really had the opportunity to talk further.

Hogwarts was different from Durmstrang in that there were people who simply ignored him. But they weren’t many. Hermione was an exception. He didn’t know how many autographs he had given, how many pictures signed. The hordes following him whereever he went had prevented him talking to Hermione Granger again, until today, when she had the chance to correct his pronounciation.

But the student only shook his head, and so Viktor was on his way. He asked a few more people on his way to the doors, and some said they had seen her leave the hall.

Indeed, he found her just outside the Great Hall. She stood there, back against the wall, eyes closed.

“Is everything alright, Hermione?” Viktor asked her.

“Viktor,” she said and opened her eyes. “Yes. Sorry. I didn’t mean to run off.”

“It is good. Do you want this?” He handed her the glass. “You had fight?”

Hermione took the butterbeer, took a sip, shook her head, then nodded. “It’s just … I feel like I’m never enough, no matter what I do. Not enough of a witch in any way. Not enough of a friend.”

It broke Viktor’s heart to see that this talented, intelligent, beautiful girl didn’t think she was enough. “I don’t know enough about your friendships for me to determine your qualities as friend,” he said, “but I do know that you are enough witch. In every way.”

Her eyes glittered in the candle light of the entrance hall.

“You are witch,” he said. “You would not be here otherwise. It is not necessary to prove it.”

Was she in a similar situation as he was? He doubted it, but then he didn’t show any signs either, so he couldn’t know. If she meant a condition similar to his, he could only admire her courage. He couldn’t imagine coming out to anybody.

Still. “If you want to tell me, what do you want to say with ‘not enough of a witch’?” he asked.

“I’m muggle-born,” she said. “I didn’t know I was a witch until I was eleven. In my second year, people called me a mudblood.”

Rage burned through Viktor. “Who did this! I will …”

“Don’t,” Hermione said and for a moment laid a hand on his forearm. “I can fight my own battles.” It was fascinating – Hermione looked small, until she didn’t. He didn’t see the change happening in her. Just like that in one moment she stood more upright, prouder than before, chin forward and a fierce look in her eyes. Then she smiled sadly. “It’s just … I didn’t expect to fight them with my friends.”

“What is their problem?”

“What is my problem, you mean. They act as if they just yesterday noticed that I’m a girl and are now sulking that I’m at the ball with you instead of them.”

She sounded sad, and Viktor did not like it. It was hard to force out his next words, but he had to do it: “Do you wish to spend the evening with them? I will not keep you, if you prefer to not spend it with me.”

But her answer was definite. “No. I like spending the evening with you.” Her smile looked sheepish, almost guilty, and there was a slight blush on her face. She didn’t look him in the eyes. “There was a time when … well, I would like to have been asked by,” she muttered the next word, and it didn’t sound like ‘Harry’, so Viktor supposed it must have been ‘Ron’, “but he didn’t and you did.” She paused for a moment, then looked him in the eye. “Oh, God, I just made it sound like I … I do enjoy this evening with you. Dancing was fun. I haven’t had this much fun in … forever. And talking to you is very interesting, I didn’t expect that, to be honest. Sorry, I really should shut up.”

That hurt. “I am sorry that I cannot be that who you want me to be,” Viktor said with a bitter taste in his mouth. Sure, she hadn’t made any promises, nor any hints that she saw more in him that just someone she could take to the Yule ball. Still. A man could hope. And now it wasn’t even his manliness that was the problem, but the fact that he wasn’t someone else.

“Viktor,” Hermione said. “I like you. You are interesting, no matter if your groupies made me believe otherwise.”

But she didn’t find him attractive. “And I like you too,” he said. She seemed honest. He owed her his own honesty. “I asked you to the ball because I was intrigued by the pretty girl who seemed to live in the library. Do you know that I tried to talk to you for weeks? Every time I came into the library to talk to you, I lost my courage in the last second. Every time I thought that this was my time, an other girl came and asked my autograph, and my resolve broke. But I am glad I managed to find it, Hermione. You are very interesting. And very attractive.”
The confession burned and Viktor wanted to avert his gaze, wanted to hide, now that he had shown her his vulnerabilty. There he was, Triwizarding Champion of Europe’s roughest school, and yet he confessed to being so insecure that he barely dared to speak to the girl he liked.

But Hermione didn’t laugh. Instead, a small smile blossomed on her now blushing face and she looked down.

Her answer took so long that he almost thought there was none forthcoming. He didn’t have any experience with girls. Well, he supposed he did, from years before, when they still thought he was one of them. But even then, he had never really fit in. And now, he wasn’t trying to talk to Hermione like girls talked with each other. He was trying to talk with her like a boy talked with a girl. Did that feel natural for his classmates? They didn’t seem to have any difficulties chatting up the girls they liked. It was only Viktor who hadn’t been issued with that script they all seemed to follow.

“Hermione?” he asked carefully.

She chuckled. “I was annoyed”, she said. “Not by you, Viktor.” She pronounced his name ‘Victor’, as if it was English. A short i, the o as a short a, almost like ъ, and the r in that strange way English people pronounced their r, with bared front teeth. “But by your fans.”

“Oh, Hermione,” he said. “I am sorry! I did not want for them to interrupt your studies or disturb you. I should have been more considerate.” But she was here with him, wasn’t she? He couldn’t have done too terribly.

“I’m glad you asked me to the ball”, Hermione said in a soft voice, eyes still down, but when she looked up and met his gaze, the fierce, intriguing, smart girl now almost seemed as shy as he himself felt.

He smiled. “Me too. Very much.”

They both were at loss as to what to say, it seemed. Viktor took a sip of his long forgotten butterbeer. “It is miracle that nobody else asked you before me,” he said after a while. “With certainty I thought that I was going to be too late.”

Once again it took her so long to answer that Viktor was sure he had said something wrong. Broken some unspoken rule nobody had bothered to tell him, or with his words somehow offended her deadly. Her answer, once it came, surprised him.

“I’m not exactly popular,” she said. “Most people think I’m an annoying know-it-all.”

“Because you like to learn?”

Hermione nodded. “Because I’m bookish and tell them do to their homework. Because I’m not part Veela.” She sounded bitter. Viktor very much did not want her to feel bitter, or sad.

“I like that you are bookish. And dedicated. And I like how you look.” Viktor smiled. “Not only today. I mean,” he added, “on other days too. You look beautiful, Hermione.”

The blush that had in the meantime receded returned once more. Viktor’s heart ached for her. Was there really nobody who at least once in a while told her this truth? He wanted to reach out, draw her into his arms, unpracticality – they were both still holding their glasses – aside. He wanted to pull her close and kiss her. But she had made clear that her intentions towards him were different.

When her question reached him, he almost thought he’d misheard. “May I kiss you?” she asked.

Oh, how he wanted. But he had to make one thing clear. “You do not have to prove yourself to me, Hermione,” Viktor said.

“I know.” The way she looked at him, the smile she gave him, the gratitude and appreciation in her eyes … “May I?”

Viktor shook his head, and then remembered that consenting, in other cultures, was conveyed by a differend movement. He usually spent the majority of the year in Durmstrang, an international environment, had lived in Hogwarts those past two months, and yet he had just made that mistake as if coming straight from Bulgaria. This whole situation shook his balance, if he had to guess the reasons. He nodded deliberately, then carefully took the butterbeer out of her hands and place both their glasses on the floor, then he stood up to face her again. He held out his hand, palm up, and waited for her to take it. His heart throbbed in his throat.

Hermione took his hand and took a step towards him.

“Wait,” he said.

Viktor Krum had never expected to come out to Hermione. If anyone had told him, just a few hours ago, that this was what he was going to do, he’d have scoffed and stared at the person until they went away. He hadn’t expected to come out to anyone at Hogwarts. And yet it felt like the natural thing to do.

“I am not exactly popular, either,” he said. “Many people admire Viktor Krum, Bulgarian star seeker. Some people support Viktor Krum, Bulgarian star seeker. But most people, if they know him, scorn Viktor Krum. I am not who they want me to be.” The carpet on the wall behind her was finely woven. He forced his eyes back to Hermione. “You talked about constantly having to prove yourself as witch.”

Viktor felt his throat constricting. He wanted to say those words. It felt right to tell her. Yet it was hard to say them out loud. He had never done it before.

“Yes?” she asked.

He cleared his throat. “I constantly have to prove myself as man.” He waited for the understanding on her face to dawn, and when it didn’t, he added: “I did not know that I am boy until I was eleven.” The age of revelations, it seemed, altough he had known before that something was different. “Until my third year, I had different first name. Different surname even, in some way. Kruma.” His now buried last name, the last name of his sister and mother and aunt, made him wince. But now that he had started, the words seemed to tumble out of his mouth. “So, Hermione, I tell you. Those who know only about Bulgarian star seeker admire me. Those who know the truth of Viktor Krum scorn me.”

Hermione nodded slowly. “I understand,” she said.

“Do you?”

“I did not admire Bulgaria’s star seeker. You know that. I found him of no interest and his fans annoying.” She smiled sheepishly, eyes drifting, and then lifted her head to look him in the eyes. “You, on the other hand,” she said, “are an interesting, and yes, attractive man. You don’t have to prove yourself to me.” She took his other hand. “So I ask you again. May I kiss you?”

His stomach did a Wronski Feint and he laughed in relief. “Yes, Hermione, yes!”

Viktor Krum didn’t have friends in Durmstrang, and until now, he hadn't missed it. He certainly didn’t have a girlfriend in Durmstrang. He didn’t know if Hermione would want to be his girlfriend. Maybe, maybe not. She might initially have wanted to go to the ball with another, but she did want to kiss him now, just as he wanted to kiss her. Only time would tell and Viktor was lucky that he could spend it with her. He would love for her to be his girlfriend.

They kissed, and it was wonderfull.

But he knew for certain that either way, he had just made a real friend.


End Notes

Linguistic funsies time!
I wrote Viktor without an accent because in his own head, he doesn’t have one. He wouldn’t notice if his w sounds like a v.  

As for his syntax, I avoided indefinite articles in direct speech because Bulgarian doesn’t have those. It has definite articles, so unlike a Russian native speaker, he would probably employ them in the right fashion.

In his thoughts, I used normal English because I think at his level of proficiency, his thoughts would probably be in Bulgarian which means when I convey them in English, they can't have a Bulgarian accent.

I also tried to convey possible grammatical and lexical mistakes he would make in direct speech. Since I'm not a native speaker of either language, I'd be happy if people who know from experience the most obvious grammatical errors by Bulgarian native speakers in English could help me out.

Title from the song "Count on me" because I think it fits.

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