Chapter 1: January Yr 4
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter One)
I enter the transfiguration room. I'm quite early, but that suits me fine. I can see her already preparing for the next class. My class. She won't notice me, though. She's far too busy.
Hogwarts is my home. I shouldn't feel so uncomfortable in my own home. Though, to be honest, it's not really her fault I feel uncomfortable. I don't know why I feel this way. Ever since Christmas break, though. I've been entertaining strange thoughts in my head. I know none of my fantasies will happen. But they are rather fun to have in my head.
I always want to be near her. I don't understand. I have friends I can talk to about this…. But I doubt they would understand. How could they? They wouldn't, no couldn't, understand.
Just seeing her… Being there while she talks and laughs… I cherish these moments. I can't stand being away from Professor McGonagall for a long period of time. I try to steal moments away that I can visit her, but I know she's busy. She works here. She doesn't come here to talk to me or any of her other students. But still, I feel a deep connection with her. Like I can tell her anything. Can I though? Will this be too much for her? With this cross the student-teacher line? Which admission do I start with? Can I really expect her to understand and accept this when I have not yet reached that point?
Have I known her that long? No. But I still feel that there is something about me that no one could understand but her. She's gone through this, hasn't she? Thinking she might be gay? Knowing in her heart of hearts that she was a lesbian? She must have. She is all but married to Madam Hooch. That means she clearly came out at one point.
She looks up at me and smiles a hello. My heart soars. She appears to be talking. I look around. I'm the only one in the room.
"Hermione?" The way she said my name makes me think she's said a few times already. I must look aware again as she continues speaking. "You're here early." Professor McGonagall tells me, "Is anything wrong?"
"I'm fine professor. Really. I just have something important to tell you. It's just…" I began. Flustered for words. How do I begin? Do I merely say "I'm in love with you,"? Do I tell her "I think I'm a lesbian,"? Should I tell her? Wouldn't it only complicate things? Do I really care at this point? I have to tell someone.
"What is it? Are you okay? Is anything wrong?" she repeats. "You can tell me. I'm listening."
"That's part of the problem," I think to myself. "I'm not…" I manage to choke out before the remainder of the class filters in. "… in my seat and class is about to start." I tried to tell her, didn't I? Would I have told her if the class hadn't entered? She looked at me as if she knew what I had planned on saying. I prayed she didn't. I went and took my seat between Harry and Ron with the rest of the Gryffindors. She smiles a knowing smile at me and begins to teach.
I know I should be paying attention, but I can't help feeling distracted. Today could be the day I tell Professor McGonagall I love her, or that I'm a lesbian at the very least. I'll feel better once I tell someone, won't I?
I can't believe I hadn't noticed before what an amazing woman she is. Beautiful, talented, funny… Simply amazing. I noticed myself noticing small things about her I find to be quirky and adorable. For instance, the way she tightens her bun when she's upset, the way her mouth curves when she's about to smile, the dimples she gets in her cheeks while laughing her adorable laugh, the…
"Okay everyone, good class today! See you all tomorrow!" Did I really not pay attention during all of class? I hope Ron or Harry took good notes. Assuming I'll be ready to focus on anything once I tell her. I'm sure panic attacks will abound.
"You coming Hermione?" Ron and Harry ask me from the door. I wave them away.
"I'll meet you at flying." I tell them. They nod and walk off. Flying… My stomach drops when I think of Madam Hooch. I have to see her next. Ordinarily, she's fine. One of my three favorite teachers, second only to McGonagall herself. Professor McGonagall looks up at me and my heart leaps into my throat.
"I thought there was more you had to say to me." she informs me, "I'm assuming you are going to tell me this time?" She grins and my heart skips a beat. I made her smile… "What is it Hermione?"
"I… I'm… not… straight." I tell her, looking down at my hands. They were shaking, badly. I'm sure she noticed. She started speaking in gentler tones.
"Okay…"She sits down, sensing that I am going to want to elaborate.
"I've known for a while, but I didn't admit it out loud until…" I cannot make myself tell her the truth. That I could not admit it aloud until I met her. I say nothing further yet.
"Is there someone inspiring these feelings?" she asks me.
I manage to squeeze out the truth. "Yes. There is someone."
"Do I know them?" She asks me. Do I answer truthfully? She'll know if I'm lying. She knows almost every one of her students and has a personal relationship with each one. I must try to answer without lying. She can tell when I lie. She sees right through me.
"Yes." I answer again. I know by this point I will not tell her that it is she who is inspiring these feelings. I realize I may never work up the courage. I begin to feel heat in my cheeks. I know I'm blushing. "I… need to go…" I mutter, standing while picking up my bag and slinging it over my shoulder. "I have flying…" I begin to walk out.
"Wait. I'll talk to her. Stay here, sit." She commands before gliding out purposefully.
What do I do when she gets back? What is she going to ask me? Should I try to answer with a lie if I can't take the pressure of her knowing? I know she would know if I lied, but wouldn't that be preferable to her knowing?
Several minutes pass and I hear footsteps in the corridors. Hers. I'm sure of it. My heart begins to race and I stop breathing for several seconds as I know she is returning. My hands begin shaking again. Or had they never stopped? What am I doing here? What have I done? I can't stop the chain reaction now. Professor McGonagall enters once again. I feel my face grow hot again. That's all the proof she needs to know that it's her.
She doesn't seem to have noticed, though. Instead, she sits down upon her stool and looks at me as if prompting me to continue where I left off. I stare back at her. Had her eyes always been so deep and inviting? I felt as though I could get lost I them. They seemed safe. No pressure or doubt. I longed to allow myself to lose myself in them, but I knew she was paying very much attention to me at the moment so I fought to focus. "You are the only one I've told, so far. I'm just not sure how Harry and Ron would react."
"Are you nervous about telling your parents?" She waited before answering herself.
"I hadn't even thought of that! I was raised in a Muggle society where we were taught it's wrong. That's one of the reasons I haven't told anyone yet!" I was still staring at my hands which I now noticed were becoming blotchy and rather clammy. I tucked them into my robe pockets so that she would hopefully notice less. "I really need to go now." I insisted again. Once again I rose from the stool opposite hers. She did not stop me this time. She clearly sensed I was getting too nervous to continue speaking about it.
"Well, Madam Hooch does not expect you for class today so if you like, you may return to your dormitory to rest. Or calm down at any rate."
She stood as I left and I knew she was planning to go speak with Madam Hooch abut what I just told her. She was merely waiting until I was out of sight. I walked briskly toward the Gryffindor common room entrance tower. She could talk about me all she liked. I was feeling far too sick to care. My brisk walk turned into a run once I heard her heels beginning to click down the corridor. I needed to get as far away from that room as possible.
I reached the common room and raced up to my dormitory before crashing down on my four poster bed to sleep away my sickness. Flying and divination be damned. I was sleeping through supper and quite possibly straight through until breakfast the next morning. I laid there quite a while before the exhaustion of the days events overtook my senses and allowed me to drift into a sleep that was anything but dreamless.
Chapter 2: January Yr 4
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Two)
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Two)
I sit in the Great Hall, surrounded like by my friends, eating. Thinking. As always, my thoughts predictably head towards Professor McGonagall. My eyes whip around, searching. They finally rest on McGonagall. She is sitting between Headmaster Dumbledore and… Madam Hooch. Seeing her reminds me of my omission several days ago. Like an unspoken pact, neither one has mentioned it to me. But I can't help thinking…
It's been almost a week since I told Professor McGonagall that I'm "not straight". Almost a week since the hysteria and uncertainty set in. Almost a week since I spent every waking moment worried that she or Hooch would figure out it was McGonagall inspiring these feelings.
I'm sure they both know. It's only a matter of time before I hear "Hermione, I think we need to talk," from McGonagall while Madam Hooch stands behind her nodding in agreement. Just nodding. I doubt she would say anything as I'm not close to her. But she would stand there and nod. I can see it so clearly.
I keep asking myself why I didn't just tell her everything. I knew she would be supportive. Well, as supportive as she could be while still making it perfectly clear that my first life changing crush would always be someone I could only love and admire from afar. But Holy Merlin! If she sent another message! My heart would explode!
Would I want her to send another message? Part of me screams yes while the other knows I just want her to be happy. I know she's happy with Madam Hooch. That's part of what kills me. The part being killed screeches "No! I could make you just as happy!" while cursing the recent year I was born. The other part is content to sit in the background and watch as her life happily unfolds thinking myself blessed to have her as a teacher. I know which side I should listen to, but it's so hard. It's hard to sit back and not want to be a bigger part of her life.
I smile when she looks over at me. She smiles back. I instantly feel the heat return to my face. "Not now!" I think to myself. I put my head down and for once in my life I'm grateful for my bushy locks. I know they completely cover anything my face could give away. Unfortunately, my hands are not covered by my bushy mane and I can see them beginning to blotch and shake.
I remember my talk with Professor McGonagall moments before.
"I know who you like." She teased. I knew this was not true but my stomach began sinking anyway.
"Oh really?" I challenged. "Who?"
"Lavender." She answered smugly.
My heart rose. "Nope. I said confidently. Then I noticed she was shuffling through papers. "What are you doing?" I asked.
"Consulting my class lists." She began guessing names. Once she had filtered through almost all of her class lists, she had left Slytherin out, she shook her head and looked up. "That means Xiomara was right…" She seemed troubled for an instant. Then she brightened again. "I know who you like," she repeated. This time, my stomach sank again. I feared she was right.
I knew I had begun to show nervousness then. I knew that I was going to give it away. I simply could not control my nerves. My blotchiness had only increased, as did my shaking.
"Hermione, you okay?" Ron asked me, noticing instantly that I was shaking quite a bit.
"I'm fine, Ron, really." I noticed that Harry was now also looking at me. "I'm fine, really!"
"Well, here's news that will boost your spirits," Harry told me, "We have Transfiguration after breakfast!" I tried to grin at them to make them think their pep-talk of sorts had helped. After a few moments of looking at me, they were satisfied and they looked away. This left me to the memory of McGonagall smiling back at me, the shaking of my hands, and the sinking pit in my stomach left after the thought of Transfiguration.
While Transfiguration did mean seeing my beloved McGonagall, I know that I won't focus in her class. I haven't for days. Not since I told her. In any class, really. I have read the whole textbook through for each class, so I suppose I'm not really missing much. But I know that magic is something that one must actively learn. It's just so hard to concentrate when I'm petrified that McGonagall is going to figure it out. Or when I'm thinking of anything she has said or done.
"Hermione," Harry said, jerking me out of my imagined state yet again. He was getting up meaning it was time to go to class. He looked at me. "Are you sure you are okay?"
I rolled my eyes, which is something I never did, to show I was fine. "Harry, I'm fine. It's just… Crush drama. Don't tell Ron, okay?" Harry stared at me.
"Who do you like?" Harry asked me, wide-eyed. It looked as though he didn't know I could get crushes. I swear, if I'm not telling Harry and Ron at that moment, they have no idea I'm a girl!
"Harry," I scolded, "I'm clearly not going to tell you. So stop. We have class now. Transfiguration. Come on." I began dragging him while hiding my blushing face with my hair. It's ridiculous that I begin blushing with the mere mention of her class.
"Hermione… Tell me!" Harry pleaded from behind me.
I shook my head as I spoke. "No, Harry."
"Can we play Twenty Questions?" Harry asked.
"I suppose," I sighed. Why had I just agreed to that? Because I knew that he wouldn't guess? Yes, that was why. Just like McGonagall trying to guess. She was guessing students from her class lists. There was no way she would guess herself. Now that I thought about it, McGonagall had taken a strange interest in my love life since I told her.
"Light hair?" Harry asked from behind me.
"No." I answered without looking up. We were almost out of the Great Hall by the time he had begun his next question.
"Dark, then?" He questioned, staring at me.
I stopped in my tracks and my eyes automatically flickered to the staff table. They rested on McGonagall. She was rising from her seat to prepare to leave. She leaned over to Madam Hooch and whispered something in her ear. They both laughed. I visibly shook to remind myself to keep walking. "Yes, dark hair."
"Third year?" Harry continued.
I sighed. "No, Harry." I looked back. He had begun to write down my answers on a piece of parchment. "Harry! Tear that up!"
Harry continued to ask me questions and write my answers down. We finally reached McGonagall's classroom. I hoped he would stop asking questions soon. So far, he had hair color and length, eye color, height, and he knew that my crush was older than me. With that information, McGonagall could very well learn that it was her inspiring the feelings. I turned to Harry, "You must promise me that you will show no one the list." Harry avoided my gaze. "Harry…"
"I promise." He sighed.
"Good. But… Just in case. Accio Parchment." I managed to steal the parchment and I threw it in fireplace. "Incendio." The parchment caught fire and Harry scowled at me.
"Fine," He said while removing another piece of parchment from his bag. "I remember the important stuff." He began writing again.
"No!" I cried. "Accio Par…" Harry quickly stopped writing, folded the parchment, and clung for dear life.
"Hermione…" He warned.
"Fine." I breathed. At that moment, Professor McGonagall strode in.
"What are you both doing here so early?" she asked. Eyeing Harry's relaxed grip and the parchment which Harry had so conveniently titled Hermione's Crush, she took out her wand. We were both confused as to why she had done this. Then she uttered those fateful words that I, myself, had uttered not minutes before. "Accio Parchment." She unfolded it as my eyes grew wide in terror. "Brunette, blue eyes, taller than Hermione, older than Hermione…" She began laughing as she spoke.
My stomach felt as though the bottom had dropped out. She read the list perfectly describing herself and while she did so, she laughed. I slumped to the floor and started beating my hands on the floor.
Harry looked at me in surprise. He had no idea what he had just done.
Chapter 3: Mid January Yr 4
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Three)
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Three)
I looked up from my spot on the floor. Harry, who was sitting next to me by this point, tried to calm me down. Professor McGonagall was smiling.
I knew that she knew by this point. I could tell she was trying hard not to laugh. I turned on Harry. "How could you? You PROMISED not to show her. I mean… ANYONE!" I began to rock back and forth and I put my head to my knees.
"I didn't mean to!" claimed Harry. He tried to soothe me by petting my head and pushing down my massive curls the way both he and Ron always do.
"No!" I screeched at him. I scooted away. Only, I was watching Harry so much and shooting him darting glances full of contempt, I scooted right into McGonagall where she stood, holding the list proving that it was her I was madly in love with. I leaned my head all the way back and glanced up at her. Once I had bumped into her, she looked down at me.
She was still smiling. "Hermione?" she said.
I flinched, fearing what she was going to say. "Yes Professor McGonagall?"
"You're on my foot." she said.
I quickly moved. I could tell by the way she was smiling at me that she knew. She knew everything. I began rocking back and forth again. "Oh my goodness, oh my goodness." I began muttering. "I want to go home." I half sobbed into my knees.
"Why?" she asked me. She smiled knowingly. She walked to her chair and sat down. Then she stared at me.
"Why?" I repeated. My jaw was wide open and I stared back at her. "Why?"
"Yes. That is what I asked you. Neither Harry nor myself understand your sudden mood change. Why is it that you want to go home?"
"Why?" I repeated again. I put my forehead on the floor. It was still winter so the castle's floors were quite cool. I tried to concentrate on the feeling of coolness radiating from the floor. I sighed. "Because, "I began as calmly as possible, "you know who I like meaning that the person I like will soon know."
Harry shook his head. "You can trust Professor McGonagall." He told me. "If that's all you're upset about, you can calm down. Your secret is totally safe." I glared at him so he stopped his speech of her qualities.
"He is absolutely right!" Professor McGonagall exclaimed. My head shot up. I had hope in my heart again. If she is vowing not to tell the person, she must not know it is her. Then, she wrecked my hope by turning her back to Harry and winking before saying "I won't tell your crush that you like him." I sank to the floor again.
Professor McGonagall rose from her chair and walked to the fireplace. She then took a handful of floo powder and threw it into the fire. The flames flashed to green as they licked the cobblestone entrance to the fireplace. "I'll just be a second. This is very important." She then proceeded to stick her head in the fire. "Xiomara! Xiomara darling!" She yelled. She then sighed when there was no response. "HOOCH!" She screeched.
There was a pause, where one would assume Madame Hooch finally answered. My head shot up as someone squealed. Seeing as Harry looked just as surprised, I concluded that it had been McGonagall. "You'll never guess! Do you recall the Hermione crush situation… You're kidding… You NEED a remembrall! … Yes, darling I will buy you one. … We are getting off track. Hermione's crush. Do you remember? … Well, we were right! …"
I shrank back to the floor. The 'important conversation' was about me. They were discussing how Hooch had known all along who I liked. How could Professor McGonagall do this to me. They were treating it like a game! I tried to get angry, to summon up every ounce of anything resembling anger or hatred… But I couldn't I just could not get angry at her.
"Okay, YOU were right. I need to go now, sweetie… Okay, I'll talk to you at dinner." She pulled her head from the fireplace and the flames returned to their normal color. She then calmly walked over to her desk and began reading something, intently.
At this point, I didn't care. I openly gaped. I mean, this was a wide-eyed, open-mouthed stare. Harry looked at me surprised and started laughing. He still didn't know who I liked, but he knew that Professor McGonagall knew. I turned and glared again. This normally makes him or Ron cower and stop whatever it is that they are dong that causes me to glare, not this time. Harry laughed harder.
"I'm sorry, Hermione, but you have to admit, if it's not you, it's really funny!" Harry laughed, "I do wish I knew who it was though!"
At that moment, McGonagall looked up again with a smile on her face. "Since we all know that I know, would you care to guess? I can give hints!" The color drained from my face.
I didn't know if she was kidding or not, but I was plenty scared. If it were a normal crush, it wouldn't have been a problem. This was different, though! I was certain that this wasn't just a puppy love thing. I knew this was real. Furthermore, it is the most amount of feelings I have ever felt for a woman, or anyone, really. Once Harry found out, it wouldn't just be like people knew who I liked. It would be far more serious. It would make it real. It wouldn't be something I was thinking about or something I had told in secret. It would be known and real. Plus, it would be like she had betrayed me. After all, I hadn't told anyone else that I was remotely interested in girls at this point.
"I would love to know!" Harry exclaimed. He got up and sat at a desk close to hers. I remained in my spot on the floor.
"Well," McGonagall began, before looking at me and seeing my horrified face, "You see this person every day. In class."
"NOOOOO!" I screeched. I finally stood up and moved between them in an effort to stop the hints and secrets. "Shut up! That's not fair! Shut UP!" I covered my ears and moved toward Harry. I was nearly halfway there before I sank to the floor again. "Shut UP! I HATE you!"
Professor McGonagall smiled, wickedly. "I don't think you do."
I turned and glared at her, making her laugh. Normally, I would be happy. I love her laugh and therefore, I love making her laugh. This time, though, I was on a short ledge, ready to jump. I didn't need her sick humor. "That is not fair. Your are HORRID! I HATE YOU! SHUT UP!"
She stood, unsmiling, and I began to feel bad about saying those awful things to her. Then she opened her mouth to talk. Before she said a word, though, she closed her mouth and smiled. I knew in an instant that an evil, torturing thought had entered her head. "Well, to make sure I know exactly who you like, let's play… Twenty Questions."
My eyes widened and I shrieked. "NOOOOOOO!"
"Is this person… Older than you?" She asked, laughing.
I got up and ran out of the room. From behind me, I heard her answer her own question. That word burned in my mind as I raced back to my dormitory, yet again, after an encounter with her.
It taunted me.
It haunted me.
Chapter 4: Worst Nightmare Yr 4
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Four)
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Four)
I walked up to Professor McGonagall's desk to hand in my test, looking practically anywhere but at her. "Here, professor." I mumbled. Then I turned around preparing to sit in my seat.
"Hermione?" I turned around to see Professor McGonagall starring at me expectantly. Then she beckoned me forward with her finger. My stomach dropped and I walked back up to her desk.
"Yes, professor? Have I forgotten something?" I asked her, my voice wavered.
"I think we need to talk." Her voice seemed to grow with every word. With every word, I shrank a little in confidence. Surely, she wasn't going to bring up anything I had told her in private while the classroom was full! "It's about you. And your secret. You cannot have a crush on me." My heart dropped. She couldn't really be saying this. "You simply cannot. I won't allow it. If you cannot erase your feelings for me, I am afraid I will have to do something you won't like." I blinked back tears.
"But professor… You don't understand!" I began, trying to keep my tears from coming out. "I don't want to have these feelings! But please! I can't talk to anyone else! No one else understands!"
"No! I'm afraid I cannot speak to you about this again. You will have to find another place for counseling." Her face was stern as she spoke. But as I looked at her, in disbelief, her features began changing. Her hair shortened and her eyes became yellow and hawk-like.
"Professor…?" I stared intently. Her features continued to change. Half of her face had changed and she stood up at her desk.
"Oh. It appears the Polyjuice Potion is wearing off." She looked at her hand and shrugged. She smiled viciously. "Irregardless. I must ask you to leave my Minerva alone." She continued to change. I blinked and shook my head, hoping against hope it wasn't real. This couldn't really be happening, right? Wrong. In Hogwarts, anything was possible. Madam Hooch leapt over the desk, sending papers flying. "Or else," She began advancing on me, wand raised. I stepped back, wanting to leave but not wanting to take my eyes off her for fear of what she might do. "I will have to make you leave her alone."
I tripped over my too full schoolbag I had left on the floor. I nodded from my position on the floor. Yet, I continued to crawl backward while lying on the floor, leaning on my elbows.
"You know, I don't believe you." Madam Hooch aimed her wand and opened her mouth, about to speak. I stopped. A cat came and sat on my chest where Hooch had aimed.
Hooch sighed but didn't lower her wand. "Minerva, move." The cat glared before transforming into McGonagall. She sat straddling me, her arms crossed.
I loved her dearly, but she was quite heavy and was hurting my chest.
"Xiomara! What are you doing?" McGonagall screeched. She then stood and walked the few feet toward Madam Hooch. She took Madam Hooch's wand and put it into her robes.
"I was going to take care of this problem," Hooch jerked her head in my direction, "once and for all." Hooch informed her. They were facing each other now.
"Sweetie, no. You can't go killing off students just like that." McGonagall laughed. "Besides, she is my problem. Not yours. You handle things much to harshly."
"What's yours is mine and what's mine is yours. I want to help." Madam Hooch told her. She took McGonagall's hand and stepped closer to her.
"I know, sweetie. And, you can." McGonagall took out her own wand and pointed at my chest, just as Madam Hooch had done before. She never took her eyes off Madam Hooch's, though.
Hooch smiled. "I thought we can't just go around killing off students, though."
McGonagall smiled as well. "Maybe just this once." My jaw dropped and I began scrambling to get away. I looked behind the lovers to see my best friends. They were merely completing their tests. I stopped my scrambling.
"Harry! Ron!" I tried to get their attention. "Help!" I raised my wand to call something over to help me. "Accio…"
McGonagall twisted her head quickly. "Expelliarmus!" My wand shot out of my hand and across the room. I whimpered and began scrambling again. I looked into my teacher's eyes. She looked back at me and saw that my eyes shone with tears. She dropped her arm to her side from where it had aimed.
"Please, professor…" I pleaded, tears began falling. Each tear left a path down my face. Her face softened for a moment. Madam Hooch then squeezed McGonagall's hand and the softness left her eyes. She turned to face Madam Hooch again.
Madam Hooch stepped closer, again, to McGonagall. "Do you need help, dear?"
McGonagall nodded. She had begun crying as well. "Yes."
Madam Hooch took a closing step toward McGonagall and pulled her into a passionate kiss. She took Professor McGonagall's wand hand in her own and pointed at me, all while kissing McGonagall. McGonagall regained her grip on the wand and also helped to aim.
As they kissed, a red beam shot from the wand directly toward my chest. At first I didn't feel a thing. Then, as they both raised McGonagall's wand arm, I raised in that direction as well. Then I finally hit the ceiling. Once I was there, their kiss intensified. It was as if the kiss' energy was being drawn from my life force.
The air sucked out of my chest and bright white lights shone in my eyes…
Chapter 5: Just a Dream Yr 4
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Five)
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Five)
"She's been like that for at least five minutes, professor." I heard Ginny say. I felt someone shake me.
"She was casting in her sleep again, too." I heard Lavender tell a professor. Again, I was shaken.
"Is that," Professor McGonagall began, "why her cat is sitting on her chest?" She shook me a third time.
"Yes." Parvati told McGonagall.
"Get it off of her, you silly girls! It will suffocate her!" McGonagall exclaimed. They scrambled toward me. She continued to shine something in my eyes as I felt the large cat being lifted off my chest.
I heard Ginny croon to it. "Yes. That's right, kitty. Your mommy will be just fine. Professor McGonagall will help her." There was a pleading tone to her voice as if she was trying to convince herself as well. Once Crookshanks had been removed from my chest, I took a large gulping breath and blinked open my eyes to find Professor McGonagall hovered over me with her wand shining lights in my eyes, looking, one would assume, for a reaction. I shrank back into my pillow and cringed. Terror struck my heart, but I couldn't think of why.
No one else had noticed, but Ginny had. She fixed me with a weird and confused glare.
"Nox." McGonagall said once I had opened my eyes. The light went out and she took a step back. "It seems that you gave your roommates…"
Ginny cleared her throat.
McGonagall laughed. "And young Miss Weasley, here, quire the scare. Are we to assume that you are okay now?"
I coughed and reached into my mouth and extracted several ginger colored hairs and laughed. "Yes, I'm fine professor." McGonagall nodded that she understood and swept out of the room.
"Bloody hell!" Ginny exclaimed, sounding quite a lot like her brother. "What had happened? You were casting in your sleep!" I laughed. "What did you dream?" I ceased my laughter.
"Hmmm…" I thought. "What had I dreamt?" I remembered I had been terrified of McGonagall. "Why would I be scared of her?" I asked myself. "I don't really remember." I told them all honestly.
"Well," Lavender interjected, "You called your cat to yourself and then we woke up and Parvati grabbed her want to light the room, but you disarmed her!" she pointed to the wall, where Parvati's wand laid, untouched and forgotten once all the excitement had started. Reviewing the spells they told me I used, I recalled my dream. A shiver went down my spine, no one noticed, though.
Parvati walked over and retrieved it as Ginny sat on the edge of my bed and placed Crookshanks down. "We were really scared." Parvati told me. "Lavender called for Ginny and Ginny called McGonagall. When she saw you thrashing on your bed and gasping for air, she paled. I don't know if I have ever seen McGonagall that scared before." I whitened but Parvait either didn't notice or didn't care. "She rushed to your bed and began shining the light in your eyes until you woke up all the while trying to get Crookshanks off your chest, shaking you, and questioning us to get answers. The cat wouldn't let go, though."
"Well," I began, "I'm okay now. You guys can go back to sleep. Thank you." They nodded and returned to their beds. Ginny, however, didn't move. She only glared.
"Come. Now." she told me, before getting up and leading me out of the dormitory. I followed her to the common room where she sat down. "Explain." I sat as well.
"Well," I started, "what do you want me to explain?" I asked innocently.
Ginny glared again. "Your dream! You were freaking out!"
"Well, it was…" I shivered again. "A bad dream."
"What happened in it? When you woke up and saw McGonagall, you paled and shrank back. That is not the customary response to seeing your favorite teacher or being saved by her!"
"Well… In the dream… I know it wouldn't happen in real life… But it was so real, and…" I began sobbing. I realized then just how much the dream had affected me. I looked at my hands and saw how badly they were shaking. My body wracked with a sob again.
"It's okay…" Ginny told me. "Just, get it all out. It will help. I swear it will." She put my head on her shoulder and rocked me back in forth until I stopped sobbing.
I lifted my head. "Thank you." I sniffled. "Well… In the dream, she tried to… to… I don't even know what she was doing, but my heart felt as though it had been ripped out and discarded and my stomach felt as if it had dropped twenty feet. I don't know if I had ever felt that scared." Tears streamed down my face again. "And… it was just horrid! Harry and Ron sat there as she and Hooch killed me."
"Aww… Well, you know that wouldn't really happen! Any of it! Harry and Ron are your best friends! They wouldn't just stand idle while something was hurting you! And McGonagall wouldn't let anything harm you either! She and Hooch certainly wouldn't be the ones doing the harming!" Ginny told me. They were all very good points, but… it had felt so real.
"I know… But, Ginny, you don't understand!" I didn't know how to explain it without giving away my secret. It hardly mattered. Once I had spoken, Ginny fixed me with a hard glare reminding me of her mother this time.
"No. No buts. None of it was true. It was a bad dream, and that's it. You have a better chance of You-Know-Who coming into Hogwarts for tea with Dumbledore!" Ginny laughed, "You are safe. Now, I am marching you straight to bed. Then, you are going to sleep soundly and when you wake up, you will forget all of this nonsense!"
Ginny pulled me up from the couch and marched me to my dormitory as promised. But, as we walked, I realized that this was not the first time I had that particular dream. I began remembering many of my recent dreams.
"That was it." I told myself. "Tomorrow, you are waking up early and checking your divination book. The whole theory maybe codswallop, but any indication will help. And, if you must, you will ask Trelawney. She may be a crazy old bat, but she should know. That is the subject she teaches. She should be a master." I climbed into bed as Ginny had instructed and she stayed until I fell asleep. My last thought that ran through my mind as I drifted into an uneasy sleep was that the dream probably held no significance.
Chapter 6: Thanks to Ginny Yr 4
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Six)
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Six)
I woke up early the next morning, glad to see that Ginny had retreated to her dorm and gotten some sleep. I walked to my bag and dug through it for my Divination book. "Hmmm…" I thought to myself, "I could ask Parvati or Lavender for help. They practically worship the ground Trelawney refuses to walk on." I laughed to myself while storing the idea away, in case I didn't want to talk to the crazy old bat.
I retrieved the book and placed on my bed before choosing my clothes to wear under my robes. I then walked to the bathroom, all the while, trying to recall the dream in as much detail as possible. Ginny had been right when she had said that I wouldn't remember. I groaned to myself.
I finished in the bathroom and walked to my room. My book was open. I looked around the room and saw that both Parvati and Lavender were both asleep. I looked at the page the book was open to. "Prophetic Dreams" I read. I looked around the room again. Surely this was someone's idea of a joke? I rubbed my eyes, though from tiredness or confusion, I didn't know. I read through the page only to realize that I had almost bought into all this divination crap. I closed the book and put it back into my bag before I strode over to my roommates' beds to look at them both. I crouched down.
"Parvati? Lavender? Are you two awake?" I whispered. I sighed. I knew they were both awake, they were both waiting for me to ask for help. I stood and, in a monotone voice, I continued, "I need help." Their eyes flew open but they stayed in their warm beds, unmoving. I groaned, "With divination." They both shot up.
"Did you hear that?" Parvati asked Lavender.
"She needs help…" Lavender informed her.
"With divination!" they both screeched together. Parvati then rushed to find her books. It seems that, on the last trip to Hogsmeade, they both went shopping. For books on divination.
I sat on Lavender's bed. "So," I began, "think you can help me?"
They both looked at each other and the smiles faded slightly. "Divination is unpredictable, Hermione. If you don't believe in it, we cannot help you at all." Lavender told me, slightly dejected.
I turned my head and rolled my eyes. "Right," I thought to myself, "it can't possibly have anything to do with the act that it is the least dependable and real magic we have ever learned." I sighed.
"First," Parvati began, "you'll need to tell us what you want us to do. What did you want help with?"
"My dream…" I started, more than a little nervous. In fact, I could see my hands begin to shake, just remembering it. "I wanted to know if there was a meaning behind it." I told them.
"Well," Lavender began, "we'll need to know what happened." I shuddered.
"I'd really rather not recount the dream. It was quite frightening." I told them, closing off further attempts of theirs with a mere look.
"We can't help you if we don't have information." Parvati stated huffily, slamming the book shut. "I don't know what you expect us to do." She began grabbing at all her books while glaring at me.
I sighed, getting upset. "Then divination clearly doesn't tell you anything, or else you would already know! It's a very unreliable magic anyway. Bullocks if you ask me!" They both gasped in response and asked me as politely as possible to please keep my opinions to myself. I continued with my rage, though. "And, Professor Trelawney is a mad old bat who doesn't know anything. If she knew anything worth her salts then she'd be able to make good predictions, not bloody ridiculous ones! Harry die? HA!" I strode out of the room, mumbling to myself. They were right, though. I just couldn't imagine telling them, though. "I'll consult Ron and Harry." I told myself grudgingly, realizing that they couldn't help me if I refused to let them in.
I wandered down to the common room and sat by the fire. I sat there five minutes, maybe, before Ron and Harry rushed down the stairs. Harry had apologized to me for letting McGonagall see the parchment by now and I had forgiven him. They both came over to me and sat on the arms of chairs nearby.
"Ready to go to breakfast?" Ron asked me. I nodded in reply and we all rose from our seats and began walking toward the portrait hole. Ginny rushed down from the girl's dormitories screeching at us to stop and wait for her. Ron looked at us, begging with his eyes that we walk faster. Harry didn't care one way or another and so he looked to me. I planted my feet and waited. After the talk the night before, I felt as though waiting as the least I could do. Ron rolled his eyes and also waited, while Harry merely laughed quietly in response as Ginny reached us.
"feeling better, Hermione?" she asked me. I smiled and nodded which only made Harry and Ron widen their eyes in confusion.
"I had a…" I stopped. I didn't know what to call it. Nightmare didn't seem strong enough.
"Girl problem!" Ginny whispered harshly to save me from answering. I nodded in agreement and both the boys widened their eyes more before turning sharply and walking ahead.
"Meet you at breakfast!" They called while hurrying away. Ginny and I laughed and began walking slowly behind them, careful to walk far enough behind to ensure they wouldn't be able to hear.
"Thank you." Ginny nodded in a way that simply stated "No problem."
"Anyway, I see that you are awake and well. What did you say to Lavender and Parvati? I asked them where you were and they got all huffy and told me to please go away."
I laughed. "I said some pretty harsh things about divination, all of them I still believe to be true. I wanted help trying to interpret my dream but I hadn't wanted to tell them anything about it."
Ginny stopped walking and grabbed my arm, turning me toward her, "You can't possibly still think it's going to happen, do you?" I averted her gaze.
Of course I didn't. But… Something in my gut told me to be afraid. Since I refuse to be afraid, I want to block out any possibility with logic that it could happen. "Of course I don't." I smiled to reassure her. "Come on," I began walking again. "the boys will be waiting for us." She looked at me, as if trying to decide if I was telling the truth or not before following me.
"Good. It wouldn't ever happen. Ever." Ginny then smiled and began asking about what I had said about divination to anger Parvati and Lavender.
Chapter 7: Late January Yr 4
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Seven)
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Seven)
My senses slowly came back to me and my eyes flickered open. I hadn't dreamed the night before. After my nightmare several evenings before, I had started making a potion for a dreamless sleep. My mind was already at work.
People were beginning to come close to guessing my secret. "I'm done hiding any part of my personality," I told myself, "I want my friends to hear it from me. Not guess or be told by someone else."
"Best friends first," I thought. That meant Ron and then Harry and then I would continue through the list. "Wait, Ron's still mad at me." I sighed. I would have to tell him first anyway. He was my best friend, after all. Harry was a close second, of course, but I owed it to Ron. Knowledge of a secret kept that long plus the added knowledge that I hadn't told him first would cut deeply. I couldn't take telling McGonagall, though, so Ron would just have to settle with being told second.
"When to tell him?" I asked myself. "Well, I want to begin telling all of my friends this week, before I lose my nerve." An omission such as this weighed heavily and I hoped my friends wouldn't care.
I slid out of bed and hurried to the lavatories to wash up for the morning. I entered my room feeling very good about telling people. I was humming again, which was just proof.
"What are you doing?" I heard someone ask sleepily from the other side of the dorm.
"It's only five in the morning!" I heard another voice say.
"Sorry, girls. I'm just… Really happy this morning,"
"Well, be quiet about it. Some people want to sleep in on Saturdays!"
"Okay, Lavendar!" I said, cheerfully as I left the room.
I walked down to the common room to wait for the first sign of Ron.
Since it had been a full two hours before anyone else even set foot on either of the staircases, I was thankful I had thought to bring a book.
"Hermione?" I heard a sleepy voice ask, causing me to look. "You know it's only seven in the morning, right?" Harry asked me, yawning. Harry was still in his pajamas and I wondered why he had been coming to the common room.
"Don't be silly, Harry. Of course I know," I told him. I was suddenly struck with an idea. "Harry, can you get Ron down here? I have to talk to him about something important and if I ask him to come down, he'll refuse."
Harry yawned again and turned to begin ascending the stairs to retrieve Ron.
"What are you doing?" I flinched as I heard Ron yell.
It occurred to me that Harry was clearly too much asleep to be thinking as I saw him dragging Ron down the stairs by his pajama sleeves. I stood up in shock. "Here's Ron," Harry said, pushing Ron into me as nonchalantly as if he had just handed me a piece of gum.
Harry nodded and then walked to the fireplace to pick up a picture album.
"Harry must have dreamed about his parents again! " I realized. He always looked at his photo album the moment he woke up when he had those dreams. That's why he was awake so early and not alert.
Ron stood next to me with his arms crossed and glared at me. "What? Make it quick."
"Right. Well, you're my best friend. So, if I'm going to tell people, I'm going to tell you first," I began.
"What?" Ron asked impatiently. I immediately began to lose my nerve.
I gulped in air. "Brace yourself, Ronald… I'm a lesbian. I know that you're not talking to me, but I knew that I had to tell you before I told anyone else."
"… So?" Ron said, uncaringly.
I stared back at him. "Do you promise not to tell anyone, at the very least?" I asked. I had hoped he would show enough emotion to prove he was still my friend, even if he was angry.
"Ron? Promise me," I demanded.
"Fine. I promise. Can I go back to bed now?" Ron asked me, staring.
My eyes widened and I felt my jaw drop. I snapped my jaw close. "Yes. I'm sorry to have disturbed you."
Ron rolled his eyes and stomped back up the stairs.
I plopped back into the armchair by the fire, ready to cry. It wasn't that I had expected Ron to forgive me just because I came out, but I had wanted him to show more than his customary emotion capacity of a teaspoon.
It was another hour before I had composed myself enough to go down to the Great Hall for breakfast.
I sat down in my usual set and had several pieces of toast while trying to decide who to tell next. "I'll tell Harry," I thought.
I scanned the room to see if Harry had come down yet. Instead, I saw McGonagall exiting the Great Hall.
I got followed her out of the hall.
"Professor!" I hollered when I had exited the confines of the Great Hall. She turned around.
"Oh," she raised a hand to clutch her heart. "I thought something was wrong for a moment, you called with such urgency."
I looked down to the floor. I heard McGonagall sigh.
"Something is wrong, then?"
"Alright, I have time. We can talk in my office."
I followed her up the main staircase, down a corridor, and into her office.
"Sit," she prompted.
"Do you remember how Ron was angry with me, Professor?" I asked. She nodded. "Well, this morning I woke up with the resolve to tell my friends about my little 'secret' so I knew I had to tell him first since he is my best friend. So I told him. And then he walked off still angry with me. Now I'm a little conflicted as to telling anyone else."
"You told Ron while he was angry with you? Was that really wise?" McGonagall asked me, skeptically.
"Ronald's my best friend. I would trust him with my life. Even he's angry, he wouldn't ever betray me!"
"Okay, then. What's the problem?" McGonagall asked me.
"I don't know if I want to tell anyone else now. I'm nervous. Ron's reaction wasn't favorable, but he wasn't happy with me. So, I don't know if I'm just using this as an excuse.
"Hermione, I really don't know what you want me to say. I can't force you to come out if you're not ready."
I breathed in deeply and nodded. "I think I am ready."
Harry walked in.
"Harry!" McGonagall exclaimed. "What a great time for you to have entered! Hermione's just decided to tell you something, but, let's have some fun with it first. Care to keep guessing who Hermione's crush is?"
I blushed and shook my head instinctively.
Harry looked at me and shrugged. "Sure."
I shook my head. "Here's a hint. You've seen this person within the last twenty-four hours."
Harry appeared to be thinking hard, then he gasped and I thought for a second that he really knew. "Oh my! It isn't Draco, is it? Tell me it's not!"
"That is so far from correct!" McGonagall laughed.
"Harry, come here." I pulled Harry just outside of McGonagall's office. "The person I like… Is a girl. I'm a lesbian."
"Oh. Okay! Wait… Is it… Lavendar?" Harry guessed.
I shook my head. "It's… Professor McGonagall."
"Oh… OOOOHHH!" Harry's eyes widened and he screamed in surprise.
Chapter 8: January End X Mid February Yr 4
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Eight)
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Eight)
"Got that out of your system?" I asked Harry after his response to my omission.
Harry nodded, still rather stunned. "It's just… A little surprising. I mean, you tell me you're a lesbian, and then you tell me you like ol'…" I glare at him. "I mean, that you like Professor McGonagall."
"Well, now you know why I didn't want you to let McGonagall see the list." I explained.
"Bloody Hell, Hermione! I'm really sorry! I never even thought of that! I'm really sorry. I didn't know at the time."
I nodded, "I know, Harry. That's why I forgave you. You had no idea the implications of your actions." Harry stared at me. I sighed, "You didn't know what you were doing, Harry."
"I didn't know," Harry repeated.
"Done? Can we go back in?" I asked Harry.
"Let's get our stuff. Then, we can go talk," Harry told me.
"I told him Professor," I said, as I scooped up my belongings. I didn't see her. "Where is she?" I wondered aloud. "You can't apparate while on the grounds. I read it.."
"I know! Hogwarts, A History!" Harry told me, clearly tired of my quoting the tome.
I sighed, "I was just saying."
McGonagall popped out of the fireplace as the fires burned green. "Sorry. I was just speaking with Xiomara. I mean, Madam Hooch. We had to discuss… Well, there's no point in lying anymore. You told him, didn't you, Hermione?"
I glared. "Yes, but if I hadn't then I would have had to now."
She nodded. "Point taken. Anyway, we were discussing you, Hermione. I tutor someone in transfiguration that we think is… A bit of a swinger. We were thinking of setting you up. We need to talk to her, though. You can't just ask, after all."
"Right. Anyway, Harry and I have to go, Professor." I turned to leave and I could feel my cheeks growing hot. Wasn't it obvious that I didn't want to be set up? I wanted to dream about her, not have someone else thrust upon me. I knew nothing would happen with McGonagall, but I didn't want to think of anyone else at the moment. "Coming, Harry?"
I turned to see Harry. He was laughing.
"Sorry, it's just funny!" Harry explained.
I strode out, shaking my head. I heard footsteps behind me, proving that Harry was following. Harry caught up with me.
"Sorry, Hermione. I didn't mean to laugh," Harry told me, sympathetically.
"It's fine, Harry. Does it bother you, that I am? Are you going to act weird at all?" I asked, nervousness evident in my voice.
"Of course it doesn't bother me, Hermione. You're my friend." Harry smiled.
"Harry, do you mean it?"
I smiled and began to cry because of my happiness and gratefulness. My friends are really the very best friends, ever.
"What's wrong?" Harry asked me, suddenly concerned.
"I'm just so… Happy! The only thing that could make this better is if Ron forgave me!"
"Give him time. Did you tell him yet?" Harry asked me.
"I had to. That's what I was talking to him about this morning. He didn't really react. I almost didn't tell you today because that made me nervous." I confided.
"Hermione, your friends won't care. Ron is just angry. He won't care once he isn't mad at you anymore," Harry told me.
Oliver Wood ran up to the two of us. "Harry, we have practice! Didn't you remember?"
"Right. I'm coming. Sorry, Hermione. We'll talk later." Then Harry was dragged away by Oliver Wood.
"Who else do I have to tell?" I wondered aloud.
"Hermione? Are you talking to yourself?" Ginny asked me, laughing.
"Ginny!" She's as good as any to tell next. "Ginny, I actually have to tell you something."
Ginny was suddenly concerned. "Did you have another dream?"
I laughed. "No. But it is connected to that, in a way."
We began to walk up the stairs.
"Have you heard about the whole crush fiasco?" I asked her.
Ginny shook her head. "No. Ron tells me nothing." she laughed.
"Well. I have a crush on, please don't laugh, Professor McGonagall."
Ginny stared at me. "Why would I laugh? I can understand that. She's a great person. Caring, funny, intelligent, talented. She's really wonderful."
"You're not laughing? Or making fun of me? You're not shocked in the least?"
"Well, it's nothing to be ashamed of. Of all the people to have a crush on, it's not bad that it's her."
Ginny was being so accepting. I wished I had confided in her earlier. My train of thought came to an abrupt stop. "Wait, Ginny, are you…. Do you like her, too?"
"No. But I can understand why you would. And yes. I am bi. That's one of the big reasons why I like to make girls laugh. I love hearing girls laugh, so I love making them laugh. Actually, if you promise you won't laugh, I'll tell you who I did like," Ginny told me.
I was elated. She felt this way, too! I was immediately curious. "Who?"
I could my eyes grow wide. "No! Are you kidding?"
"No, I'm not kidding. She's not bad to look at and she's nice when she's not predicting someone's death."
"I guess I can see that." I wanted to agree with her since she had been so understanding. I had just never gotten along with Trelawney, though.
Ginny explained that she had homework. She ran up the staircase after I nodded that I understood.
I spent the rest of the day in a trance, telling my friends when I saw them and continuing on my way.
I woke Monday morning thinking that Ron still hadn't forgiven me. I prepared for my classes later, walked to the common room and was surprised to find Ron waiting for me in an armchair.
"I suppose I can forgive you. Harry told me, while telling me that he was completely neutral, how upset you were. He also refused to tell me who you like. So, now that we're not fighting, tell me." Ron looked at me and I could tell that my day was going to be instantly better.
"Promise not to laugh?" I asked. I intended to wait for an answer, but Ron made a face clearly saying that he was in no mood to play games. "I actually have a crush on Professor McGonagall."
Ron's eyes grew very wide and I could tell he was in shock. "No. Are you kidding?" I assumed he was waiting for an answer, but he spoke before I could answer. "She's old, Hermione."
I glared. "She's not that old, Ronald. Besides, she's very caring."
"Okay, Hermione. I still think it's mad to like her." I glared again. "I'll lay off! Let's go to breakfast. Harry's already down there. Then we get to go to transfiguration. Your favorite class." Ron said, teasingly. I glared again and elbowed him in the ribs.
Since I had been walking with Ron and Harry, I didn't reach the transfiguration room until just before class started. This meant, or so I assumed, I wouldn't get teased today.
I was very wrong.
"Now class, to receive full marks, you must transfigure these mice into tall, thin goblets, slightly aged. If Hermione likes the, you will receive extra credit."
I heard Ron and Harry attempt to stifle their laughter. I glared at the before noticing that McGonagall had seen this and was now cracking a smile in an attempt to cover her own laughter. I felt my face grow hot and I noticed my hands had begun shaking.
"That's really not fair!" I whispered harshly to my two best friends.
"But it's funny!" Ron managed to say before bursting into laughter. The rest of the class looked at us all.
Professor McGonagall strode to the desk that Harry, Ron, and I shared after noticing Ron's outburst. "Getting blotchy, Hermione?" she whispered, laughing again.
"That's not fair!" I whispered again, this time it was directed toward her.
"But it's funny!" This time Harry was the one who said it before laughing.
I bit back my response. What good would it really do? Anything I said would only spur them on more. I pulled my cloak tighter around my neck to hide the blotchiness that was slowly creeping up my neck.
Class came to a close and Ron wasted as much time as possible while the class filed out.
Professor noticed his slothfulness and walked over to speak with us. I pulled my cloak tighter again to hide the blotches that I knew were still there.
Harry and Ron were still laughing at her comment from earlier.
"Look, they make shapes!" McGonagall laughed, pointed at me. "It's a squirrel with a nut, how ironic!"
Harry and Ron doubled over in laughter. I scowled and covered my chest and neck with my cloak.
It was like a train wreck. I didn't want to stay and be made fun of, but I couldn't drag myself away.
Classes continued this way for the remainder of January and much of February. All during this time, I had begin to rely more and more on Professor McGonagall. I had begun writing her letters which I always vowed I would not give her, and then I always found myself giving them to her.
They were always ridiculously sappy letters that I wrote to her. Letters about how much I loved her and what I was always thinking. I always wrote about how I thought she was acting differently and that something had changed and she always claimed she wasn't.
The mood swings I had were atrocious as well. I would be so happy and whatnot, then I would suddenly get an attitude with her and be so rude. I would always remember later and feel incredibly bad. She didn't deserve any of that, but I just assume that I hoped that maybe if I was mean to hr, she would distance herself. If she did this, maybe I would finally be able to get angry with her and get over her.
It never worked, I just felt worse for being so mean. I began to hate myself very frequently and McGonagall was so scared for me.
That was probably one of the big things that kept me from trying to hurt myself. I had so often thought of hurting myself in some way, just to end all the pain. The fact that she worried was the only thing keeping me from doing anything drastic.
Ron sat me down by the fire late one Friday night to talk to me about my never-ending crush on McGonagall.
"Hermione, this crush is no good for you. It was funny at first, still is actually, but look what it's doing to you. Why do you like her so much? Do you even know?" Ron asked me.
"I don't know. I just… I think I love her. It's weird, but I do. No matter how much she makes fun of me, I think 'At least she knows I'm alive.'"
"She's no good for you. Have any of your other crushes lasted this long? Why is this one sticking?"
I paused to think. "None of my crushes have ever lasted longer than a few weeks. I don't know why this one is so long."
"Do you think you have a chance with her? Is that why?" Ron questioned me.
"No!" I answered immediately. "She's with Hooch for, like, the rest of her life. I wouldn't change that even if I could. It would be rather weird. I love her and I love that she's with Madam Hooch. Do you think Maybe I like her because I know that she is unattainable?" I asked as an explanation.
"No. I think you like her because you think, somewhere, deep in the back of your mind, you think she is attainable because she is a lesbian," Ron answered.
"That makes sense, in a way… But I don't think that's it." I shook my head. "I don't think she's attainable, at all. I know she's not."
"I think that, once you figure it out, you'll be over her," Ron told me. "Think about it, if you really think you could end up with her, it would explain why your subconscious mind won't let go of this crush."
When did Ron gain so much insight? I gasped and my eyes widened with sudden understanding. "I think you're right! All of my other crushes were on straight females. I went through the crush in a week or two. The first crush I get on a lesbian, and my mind won't let go! It all makes sense!"
"Now, the healing can begin," Ron said, getting out of his chair.
Could I really face her, now though? This would be the real test. Seeing her for the first time on Monday and seeing if my process of moving on would take.
"How ironic," I thought to myself, "that I my finally being over McGonagall will be tested on Valentine's Day!"
Chapter 9: February 14 Yr 4
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Nine)
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Nine)
"Good morning!" I was cheery, and rightly so. After that talk with Ron last night, I was certain I was over Professor McGonagall.
This was the test. I was seeing her for the first time since that talk with Ron. If I didn't feel any romantic feelings, that would be that. Everything would be normal again and I could move on with my life.
Honestly? I was nervous. Sure, if I felt nothing, everything was fine. But, what if my talk with Ron accomplished nothing? What if I still liked Professor McGonagall?
It's easy to think everything is fine as long as I don't have to undergo the true test now. I've always tested well, but this is a slightly different kind of test. One in which studying, it pains me to say, will get me nowhere.
But, onwards and upwards. I must have a normal conversation with Professor McGonagall and that should determine everything.
"Hermione, I have something to talk to you about. Wait, right here. It'll take me… Just, wait." McGonagall said, by way of a greeting. Then she glided off, parchment in hand.
My stomach dropped. What could she want to talk to me about? "Buggers," I mumbled to myself. I realized my stomach had dropped. Other than that, though, everything is going well. No rush of romantic feelings seemed to be coming. I sat down on the chair opposite hers to wait, almost calmly.
Moments later she rushed in. "I have good news!" she began. I merely stared at her. I knew by now that our opinions of "good news" weren't always equal. She waited for an answer and when none came after a while, she continued. "I have two girls I want you to meet. They're both gay, dating each other, actually. Anyway, it will give you someone else to talk to about anything you may be feeling. Anything."
I thought for a moment or two. This was good news. "Anyway, their names are Cho Chang and Katie Bell. And you can talk to them about anything." McGonagall continued, writing their names on a spare parchment.
I had the distinct feeling that anything I did talk about with either of them would be repeated, but what are you going to do? I did need more people who understood what I was going through, and it would help if I wasn't in love, or whatever it was I felt for McGonagall, with them. "Umm… Thank you. I'll… Talk to them. Thank you." I managed to stutter out, making my way toward the door.
With this new information, I had completely forgotten to tell Professor McGonagall my good news, which, as it turns out, was better. After all, I knew, however much I had suppressed during our conversation, I had thought her excitement completely adorable. "See you in class, Professor."
"Hermione?" I turned around to face her. "Contact those girls." McGonagall said seriously. I nodded and she turned back to her work. I then left the room without being further stopped.
"What are you thinking?" I mentally berated myself as I made my way to the Great Hall, "Do you not KNOW how much older she is than you? What is wrong with you? She's old, and SO not right for you. Stop thinking about her. Now. Stop it." I continued this mental reprimand all the way to the Great Hall and continued as I sat down next to Harry. By this time, my mental reprimand had slowly become an out-loud whisper, so as to enforce it. I had been hoping that hearing it aloud would force me to see the oddness of it all.
"Didn't go the way you planned, then?" Harry asked me, waking me from my trance.
I shrugged. "Not quite. I was going to have a normal conversation. Unfortunately, she now has people she wants me to talk to. Students, I think. They're both gay, so she thinks I should talk to them. This way I'll have someone who knows what I am going through." I told him.
"I don't understand the problem." Harry told me. He was clearly telling the truth. He looked quite confused.
"Well, in that, there isn't one. The problem comes in during that. See, she was excited, and happy… And she was so cute!" I told him, he began nodding. He seemed to understand.
"I found the problem." he kidded. I glared.
"This is not the times for jokes." I informed him. He appeared cowed and nodded that he would stop.
My glare quickly ceased, though, as Professor McGonagall and Madame Hooch entered the Great Hall, talking animatedly. I grabbed a piece of toast and picked up my bag. Harry noticed this and gave me a look that clearly said "Where are you going?" I merely motioned for him to follow, all the while watching them.
Harry followed my gaze and realized what I was doing. He grabbed Ron, who had been eating and hadn't realized what was going on, by the arm and pulled him up from his seat. He then waited for me to lead the way to the lake where we could talk more freely. I nodded my thanks for his understanding and began to lead out of the Great Hall.
Ron, meanwhile, was throwing a fit. As he had not been listening, he didn't understand what we were talking about that we needed to leave. He began claiming that he still wanted more food and he was growing rather loud.
I shook my head and realized that he was going to cause a scene and then the stealthy exit would be pointless and unattainable. I quickly spun on my heels and pointed my wand at him. "Silencio." I muttered. This quickly shut him up. He did, however, clutch at his throat and glare at me. I shrugged and motioned that we should begin moving again.
Harry merely laughed. He found this all very entertaining. Ron managed to pull out of Harry's grasp and mouthed that he could walk.
Once outside, I sat down next to the lake and began thinking. Harry sat down as well. Though he thought it silly, he always respected my wishes to leave the Great Hall if I wanted to talk about something McGonagall related. He tells me all the time that she cannot hear me from where she is seating. I, however, choose to take no chances.
"Anyway," I began picking up right where I left off, "the girls she wants me to tal…" Ron kicked me. I looked up at him and he had his arms crossed and was glaring. "Ouch, Ronald." I glared back, not understanding why he had kicked me. "Anyway, their na…" Ron kicked me again. "Ronald! Fine! If you want to go finish your food, go. Harry and I aren't stopping you." I turned back to Harry, who I found to be smiling and attempting to hold back a laugh. I looked at him questioningly before I was once again kicked by Ron. "What, Ronald? What do you want? Why are you kicking me?" I stood up and tried to look him in the eye, but he had grown again over summer break and I wasn't quite tall enough. I glared at him anyway.
"I think," Harry said from his seat on the ground, "that he wants you to remove the silencing charm." Harry then laughed.
"Oh." I covered my mouth with my hand to suppress a laugh. "Right." I began to jab my wand to remove the charm. I was sidetracked, though, when both McGonagall and Hooch exited the castle and were walking this way. I gasped and turned.
"Up!" I cried, pulling Harry by his robes, "Get up!" He did and looked at me questioningly. He saw past me to what had made me react this way. Then, he too gasped. I grabbed Ron and my bag and began pulling him toward Hagrid's. We knew it would be safe there since Hagrid would still be at breakfast. Ron tried to protest silently by not moving but gave in once Harry, too, began pushing him.
We, miraculously, managed to get into Hagrid's hut without being seen. I sat down, exhausted from the anxiety of running around in the attempt to have a conversation without being overheard by the woman that I wasn't really sure about my feelings for and her girlfriend. I put my head back and breathed deeply.
Harry, who was standing watch at the window, reported that they were sitting down near the lake at the spot we had just vacated. Ron had taken to standing before me tapping his foot. I looked up at him and snorted a laugh. I jabbed my wand to remove the charm. Ron, pleased then, strode over to where Hagrid kept food so that he could finish his breakfast. After finding a scone, Ron sat down opposite of me and motioned for me to continue. Harry to walked over and sat down.
I breathed deeply and then I began to continue. "Ron, since you weren't paying attention, I'll give you a short overview of what I've already told Harry." I relayed all the information, once more, and once more got to the names. "Their names are Cho Chang and Katie Bell." Harry and Ron both gasped. "What?" I was confused. Why did the names make them react this way?
Harry spoke first. "Wow. I never knew."
Ron, ever the tactless one, spoke this time. "That Cho and Katie are dykes!"
I smacked him cleanly round the head. Then I shook my head.
"I know Katie. She's on the quidditch team. Gryffindor." Harry told me. "Come to think of it, I think Cho is on the team, too. Ravenclaw, seeker."
Ron leaned forward, still rubbing his head where I smacked him. "Harry fancies Cho." he whispered.
Harry glared. "Do not." Color had wormed its way into Harry's cheeks, clearly stating the opposite. I let it go, though. Harry had, after all, been very supportive. Harry must have realized this, though, as he walked over to the window again. "I'm going to take up watch again." he said gruffly, turning to face the outside world and pulling aside the curtain.
"Hang on." Ron said, suddenly. I looked at him. It was clear that he had just realized something.
"Wha…?" I began.
"You still like her, don't you?" Ron demanded.
"I… It's… It's not that simple." I stuttered.
"I can't believe you. Do you not realize what this is doing to you? You are becoming more and more paranoid and restless." Ron declared, standing.
"I am not!" I said angrily, also standing.
"Oh, really? Want to give me a better reason that we just ran about the grounds if you're not on edge and paranoid?" he asked, sarcasm dripping from each word.
"I… I…" I sank down in my chair, defeated.
"Hermione, I want to help you. Please. I only say this for your health. Try to get over her!"
I put my head on my arms and began crying. "I am trying!" I sobbed. "I don't know why I like her! I don't want to! I just…"
I didn't know how to finish my statement. I just what?
No. That I would not admit, true or not. I composed myself and stood straight. I am a Granger. Grangers do not cry. At least not in front of others. I turned away from Ron and his pleading face. I know he wants to help me. He is my very best friend. This was something I needed to do on my own, and if I was crying, Ron and Harry wouldn't consent to let me do that. Instead, I faced Harry, who also had turned to watch the spectacle, the blush completely gone from his face. Worry, instead, was shown there. "Is the way clear? Can we return to the castle? I have Ancient Runes and Muggle Studies this morning." Harry nodded so I opened the door and strode out, my tear streaked face clearing up from the sun's heat.
From behind me I could hear Ron and Harry. "I just don't understand why she takes Muggle Studies! She was raised by muggles. She is muggle born! She knows it all!" Ron was saying to Harry. I could just picture Harry shaking his head and I heard him laugh slightly.
"At least she's her again." he pointed out.
I shook my head and held back a laugh. That Ron was always good for a laugh. Now, I just needed to decide if and when I would contact Cho and Katie.
Chapter 10: Coming Out of the Broom Closet March X Early April Yr 4
I awoke with a start. Hogsmeade trip today! This means that I'm actually meeting Cho and Katie today. I checked the time: ten in the morning! I was late!
I was scheduled to meet them in The Three Broomsticks at ten thirty. This would allow for enough time to socialize before going to lunch since the deadline to return to Hogwarts was around one.
Professor McGonagall and Madam Hooch would also be attending. After all, I didn't really know these girls and I didn't want to just sit with any random pair of girls. This was a good thing but I worried that it would make me more dependent on Professor McGonagall.
"Deep breaths," I told myself. I'm sure that they will both be just as nice in person as they were when I wrote to them.
"Time to pick out clothes!" I said to myself. It wasn't that it was crucial that they thought I looked nice, it was that I didn't want to look like trash just because I couldn't find a robe that didn't have ink on it.
I rummaged through my trunk. "Too much ink and no time to remove it magically," I thought, taking out one of my favorite sweaters that Crookshanks had knocked a bottle of ink onto. "How did that get in there?" I wondered aloud as I took out one of my church dresses. A note fell out.
Meet a nice boy and wear this when you go out for Valentine's Day!
Love, Mum and Dad
"Typical," I thought. I looked at the dress more closely and shook my head as I added it to the pile of clothes I would not wear today. "Too dressy."
"This will do," I thought as I took out a pair of jeans and a red sweater. I rushed to the bathroom to get changed before running back to my room to attempt to tame my hair.
"Why must you fluff out when I get stressed?" I whined. It hardly seemed fair. It seemed that every emotion color of the rainbow was accompanied by my hair frizzing out: I laughed, it frizzed; I cried, it frizzed; I got nervous, it frizzed and I got blotchy.
Finally, I pulled it back in a half ponytail and rushed to the common room after grabbing my wand.
My stomach lurched as I walked down the stairs and saw Ginny. "Not now," I whispered to myself.
Ginny smiled her hello to me and the butterflies in my stomach took flight again.
"Morning, Ginny!" I called happily. Damn my crushes. It wasn't that I always had a crush, though it certainly seemed that way, it was just that when I had one I fully gave my heart. Then, when my feelings are not returned (and I've never bestowed them upon a person that could or would return them), it makes for a crushing blow.
"You really need to control your bloody emotions more!" I whispered to myself.
"Meeting Cho and Katie today?" Ginny asked me, smiling.
I smiled weakly in response. I love you! I wanted to scream.
I knew this would not be wise, though, since I often misconstrued feelings of friendship and whatnot with those of actual love. Besides, there was an extremely slim chance that Ginny would return the feelings if they were real. She definitely thought of me as more of a sister.
I rushed down to the Hogsmeade entrance as I looked at my watch. "Please don't let me be late," I silently prayed as I entered The Three Broomsticks.
Looking around, I saw McGonagall's distinctive bun just above the crowd. She was sitting with Madam Hooch and an Asian girl that looked vaguely familiar.
I tried to collect myself and walk over to the table confidently. I don't think it worked, though.
"Hello everyone!" I said, sitting down next to the Asian girl.
"Hello," they each answered.
"Hermione, this is Cho. Cho, Hermione." Professor McGonagall said.
I turned to Cho and shook her hand, "Nice to meet you."
She smiled warmly. "Katie couldn't make it today. Wood scheduled an emergency practice."
"Oh! I do remember Harry being called down for that," I said, nodding.
"Okay," Professor McGonagall said, "now you tow have met. We're going to go."
I felt my stomach lurch. Surely she was kidding?
Professor McGonagall, Madam Hooch, and Cho all began laughing.
"Calm down!" McGonagall said. "She looks so scared! Get a little blotchy there, Hermione?"
I laughed weakly. Why does she do this stuff to me? "That's really not fair. You know how nervous I already am. You're going to tease me, too?"
She nodded. "Really, though, your eyes got really wide and I can see the hints of blotchiness."
I glared at her. This was really not funny to me.
"Now that we're all here, I have things I need to get. So, you two can come if you want." Professor McGonagall told us as she stood up.
Quickly, I stood as well. Nothing against this Cho girl, but I don't really know her well enough to hold a conversation with no help from mediators of sorts.
We all left The Three Broomsticks and began to head towards Scrivenshaft's Quill Shop.
"Make conversation!" McGonagall told Cho and I. Madam Hooch also walked along, not talking. Professor McGonagall turned and shifted her stare between Hooch and Cho. "Holy Merlin! Quidditch-Os really have no social skills!" McGonagall exclaimed. To no one's surprise, she led most of the conversations as we walked through Hogsmeade.
I was surprised, though. Cho, this girl that I had really only talked with through owl, was very easy to talk to and very easy to like. I hadn't thought that I wouldn't like her, I just hadn't expected for the quick bond over friendship through owl to carry though so easily.
When we parted upon reaching the castle, I walked away with a funny feeling. Sure, I had been made fun of, but I also knew deep in my heart I had one more person to talk to. This was good. Very good.
As my crush on Ginny subsided in the weeks following, I realized that I was getting a new crush. Well, not really a new crush. I was starting to get a crush on Professor McGonagall again! It took me a surprisingly long time to connect my blotchiness to her, though. I hadn't ever gotten blotchy before I developed my crush on her. Now that I have a crush on her, and a rather debilitating one at that, I was always blotchy. It mostly happened when she teased me.
I always feel so foolish around her and I can't understand why! I feel so embarrassed, though. I sit in her class and feel nervous and jittery. It is paranoia coming back to rear its ugly head or is it subconsciously linked to something else. I had no idea.
I always seemed to being doing something embarrassing in front of her, as well. She would always tune into a conversation that Harry, Ron, and I were having at exactly the worst time. She would tune in when whatever we were saying made me sound bloody ridiculous!
My brain flashed back to this morning when I had been sitting in her office waiting to talk to her. I had begun to carry a bottle of water from the muggle world with me at all times. I found that drinking water calmed me down.
A student I didn't really know said something that struck me as hilarious just after I had taken a sip of my water.
I tried to cover my mouth, but I wasn't quick enough. I spit water all over her desk! I was absolutely mortified. I felt my eyes widen and I just froze. I had no idea what to do.
"Yeah… You're going to have to clean that up," Professor McGonagall said, laughing.
Quickly, I ran for a towel from the lavatory and began sopping up the water.
"That was really gross," McGonagall said, her laughter dying down. "Ew! You missed a spot."
I hurried to clean that, too, up.
Ron and Harry walked into her office knowing that I would be there.
"What's going on?" Harry asked.
"Hermione just spewed!" Professor McGonagall screeched, her laughter quickly picking up.
I felt heat rise to my cheeks and I knew my hands and neck were growing blotchy. "I didn't spew! That implies vomiting and I didn't vomit. I laughed really hard and spit water."
Professor McGonagall stared at me, still laughing. She turned back to my friends who were also laughing, at this point. "Hermione spewed!" she repeated.
I snapped back to the resent, realizing that my cheeks were growing hot and I was getting blotchy just thinking about it.
I laid down on my bed for the night pondering on two intriguing questions:
Why does she do this stuff to me?
More importantly, why do I let her get to me?
Chapter 11: November Yr 5
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Eleven)
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Eleven)
It's barely mid-November of a brand new school year and, already, I'm romantically screwed! Sure, it's not Professor McGonagall I think I'm in love with, like last year (Thank Merlin!). It's Ginny! I sighed bitterly thinking that if Ginny would just forget about her parents, we could be happy. My mind drifted back to the night before when I told her.
"This morning, I woke up with this feeling I didn't know how to deal with and so I just decided to myself, I'd hide it to myself and wouldn't talk about it. I wouldn't go and shout it when you walk into the room… 'I think I love you!' I think I love you, so what am I so afraid of? I'm afraid that I'm not sure of a love there is no cure for. I think I love you, isn't that what life is made of? Though it worries me to say, I've never felt this way." I sang to her.
"Hey! I know that song!" Ginny had exclaimed.
I rolled my eyes. Surely she wasn't this thick? "Yes, I know you know the song, Ginny. Think about it. I'm trying to tell you something." I prayed she would understand quickly. I hadn't wanted to tell her, but both Hannah and Susan had pressured me to tell her because they could clearly see my feelings for her. I had been so afraid that she would react badly and I hadn't wanted to destroy our friendship.
The time she spent thinking was antagonizing.
"I still don't get it. I'm confused," Ginny told me. I saw in her face that she really was.
I sighed. "What is the title of the song, Ginny? What are the words?" I prompted her. I saw her mouth the words to the song.
"Oh!" she said suddenly. Her facial expression changed dramatically. She looked at me solemnly.
"Thank goodness!" I laughed, trying to cover up my pain that her reaction had been less than favorable. "I was beginning to worry that you would never figure it out!"
"You know that, even if I did like you like that, there're wouldn't be a chance, right? I wouldn't be able to talk to you or hang out with you often; I wouldn't be able to give you everything you would need. It wouldn't be fair, to either of us," she told me.
Something in me began to argue despite my knowing it was futile. "You could say I was tutoring you in a subject. And, you could use an owl that wasn't Errol, so you're parents wouldn't know. And we could go out in a group."
"Why would I want to go out on group dates with my girlfriend?" Ginny asked rhetorically.
"But…" I struggled for something to save my losing argument. "You pride yourself on being sneaky. You could be sneaky and everything would be fine."
"No. Hermione, please don't feel that I'm blowing you off. The truth is…" Ginny breathed deeply. "I like you. Although, I probably shouldn't have told you that. It really only makes the situation worse."
My heart soared. Maybe there was a chance! "It doesn't make it worse," I told her. "It makes it better, in a way. At least I know the problem isn't with me, it's with the situation." I sighed while I tried to decide if I should try another technique. If she liked me, shouldn't that overcome the biggest obstacle? I didn't want to pressure her, but I couldn't give up. Not yet. "Couldn't we invent a reason? Tutoring?"
"I told you, no. Mum wouldn't go for that. I'm not bad in classes, I'm just unorganized," Ginny explained.
"Well, what if you were teaching me quidditch? Explaining it or whatever. So that I understood more at quidditch games?" I asked her in half pleading tone. Come one, Gin… Don't give up on the possibility of us so easily! I prayed silently.
"No! Hermione, don't get me wrong, I like you, but I'm not risking it! I can't live with being a disgrace to my parents! I may not like them all the time, but I'm not willing to be disowned!" Ginny told me, fighting to keep control. "I have to go. I have homework."
Why did I tell her? I asked myself, entering the common room as I came out of my memory. Seeing Ginny by the fireplace, I mentally scolded myself. Bloody blotchies! I'm such a train wreck! A bloody train wreck!
Bugger this! I turned around and left the same way I had come.
I need guidance! I thought, walking to Professor McGonagall's office.
I rolled my eyes. I suppose this was supposed to show me how annoying it was to have someone continually repeat your name when you were already paying attention. Now was not the time. "I need help!" I complained, collapsing into the seat opposite hers.
She stared back at me, waiting for an elaboration.
"Do you recall the whole Ginny thing? How Hannah and Susan kept telling me to tell her how I really felt?"
"Do you recall," she began as a grin spread across her face, "my telling you I knew you liked Ginny and your denying it? When are you going to learn that I know everything that happens in this school? I digress. Yes, I know. You told her, then? What happened?"
I rolled my eyes again. For someone who knew everything, she was certainly asking questions! I sighed and told her everything.
"I knew it. I knew you liked her. I'll bet you never stopped liking her from last year, did you? I can see you two together," she said, nodding.
"You're not listening! She said we can't date because she's afraid of her parents finding out and disowning her!"
"I don't know, Hermione. I think that's a little weird. If she likes you, what's the problem?"
"I don't know! It's not me. I can only try so much. I can't make her decisions. Professor, I really am upset, though! Like, I really think I might love her!"
Professor McGonagall's eyes went wide. "Oh my!"
"That's not helping!" I covered my face with my hands, both of which were being covered in new blotchies. Clearly, this was a situation that she could not help me with, advice only helps so much.
"You really think you love her?"
"I don't know!"
"You're getting a little blotchy, there, Hermione!"
I sighed. She was doing that not being helpful thing again. "I can't even tell my best friends if it is love! Ronald would die. I think he might hate me if I told him!"
"Yeah, that's weird. He's very possessive. You two fight like a married couple, you know that?"
"Professor, not now, please. I think the current situation is more pressing."
"He likes you."
"Professor! I'd really rather not think about it!" I shrieked, flustered.
She laughed, "That's because you know it's true. Ron like you, Hermione. And you know it."
Sweet Merlin, this is so not helping!
"Professor! That's it, I have to go. I'll talk to you later."
"Bye, Hermione! Good luck!"
I walked back to the common room, stopping to talk to no one. I can only hope, I thought, that another night of sleep will bring clarity!
Chapter 12: Late November Yr 5
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Twelve)
Coming Out of the Broom Closet (Chapter Twelve)
I wonder how long I can avoid Ginny, I thought to myself as I walked to Professor McGonagall's office.
Don't get me wrong, I know in my head that advice can only do so much and I know that she can't, and won't make my decisions for me, but I still felt like I needed to talk to someone. I mean, conversations with one's self only help so much. After a while, you need the input of others.
"Professor!" I whined, sounding like a lost, pathetic first year. I sat down in my "usual" seat across from her.
"Hermione!" Professor McGonagall responded in a mock whine, not even having to look up from her work as she sat at her desk.
I wasn't really surprised that she didn't look up. I mean, how many other students really come bother her before breakfast?
Exactly. But I digress.
"I still don't know what to do," I complained. "I mean, I really think I love her! But I can't deal with this! I can't!"
"Remind me, Hermione," Professor McGonagall began, half looking up from her work, "why aren't you two dating if she likes you back?"
"I don't know! I mean, she, like, prides herself on being sneaky, right? But then she won't sneak! I just feel like she doesn't want to sneak for me. I…" I trailed off and practically growled in frustration causing McGonagall to look up fully, alarmed. "I just don't know! I mean, we're in the same house, so how long can I really avoid her?"
"Do you want me to talk to her?" Professor McGonagall asked compassionately. "I will if you want me to."
"No," I said, shaking my head. "No, I'll deal with it."
I secretly hoped that she would talk to her but I knew she wouldn't do that until I gave her the go ahead. But, even if she did talk to her, there was no guarantee that I would be told everything. I mean, that confidentiality thing works both ways.
"What are you going to do?" she asked.
I laughed to myself. "Avoid her as long as I can," I answered honestly.
"Hermione…" McGonagall said, a concerned and warning tone seeping into her voice.
Her tone clearly told me that she would talk to her if she thought I wasn't going to make any attempt. Even though that would be easier, it would be the coward's way out.
I sighed, "Fine! I'll try and talk to her again."
"Good. When?" she asked, clearly making sure I was forming a plan and not just trying to get her not to meddle.
I sighed again. "Now? Or when she wakes up, rather." I stood up.
She nodded. "Very good." She started to turn back to her work but stopped and just stared, wide eyed, at the door. "Sit down!" she hissed.
I sat down immediately. "What?" I asked.
I looked around confused. Turning to face behind me, I saw none other than Argus Filch. I smiled evilly, enjoying this moment.
"Professor!" I whispered, barely containing my laughter. "It's your bf!"
"Shut up!" she hissed.
I watched her eyes follow him out of the room and I barely managed to fight back the laughter until he left.
"Sweet Merlin!" I said, gasping with laughter.
"It's not funny!" she said, scolding me. "It's creepy! He's always there! And he talks to me! All the time! It's weird!"
"Doesn't he know about Madam Hooch?" I asked, calming slightly after my outburst.
"I don't think so. Oh, stop it!" she said upon seeing that I was still shaking with laughter. "I told you, it's not funny! He, like, tries to walk me to my room every night!"
I laughed harder, shaking my head. I finally got up and waved goodbye as I mentally began to prepare myself for my talk with Ginny. Really, how I'm in Gryffindor is a complete mystery to me I'm really a coward!
I turned around, halfway to the door already.
"Are you sure you don't want me to talk to her?"
I took a deep breath, debating. "Yes, I'm sure," I nodded. "But thank you."
"Alright, if you're sure."
I walked back to the common room and sat down in a large armchair that afforded me a great view of Ginny's door.
"Ginny!" I exclaimed, standing up, as she walked out of her dorm room.
It being a full hour after my morning chat with McGonagall, I had prepared what I was going to say.
"Yes, Hermione?" Ginny asked, seeming somewhat surprised.
I took a deep breath. "I… I want to talk to you. Do you have a minute?"
Ginny shrugged and walked towards me.
With every step she took towards me, I could feel my nerve and conviction fleeting away.
"What's up?" she asked, sitting down.
I sat down as well, forming an intelligent plan. I need to talk to you about us. You like me, right? And I like you. I don't see the problem. We can totally pull this off. I nodded. Yes, that would sound lovely.
…Unfortunately, when I opened my mouth to speak, all that came out was a pathetic whine of "Why?"
"What?" Ginny asked, seeming both confused and agitated due to waking up and being accosted right away.
I breathed out in a huff and attempted to compose myself, despite of my hightened awareness of the forming blotchies and the feeling of nausea in the pit of my stomach. "Why?" I repeated. "Why can't we make you an I work?"
In the brief silence that passed after, I felt like I was going to puke. Sweet Merlin! Why doesn't she just answer? Any answer has got to be better than this silence! I thought as the seconds crept by unbearably slow.
Ginny finally sighed angrily and shook her head as she stood up. "I told you, Hermione. I can't. I can't do that to my family. I won't. I'm not going through this with you again." She walked back to her dorm room and I heard her slam the door behind her.
I stood up and gathered my things with shaky hands and walked to the portrait hole, silently berating myself for not sticking to my original plan of avoidance.
Okay, I thought to myself as I made my way back to Professor McGonagall's office, twice in one morning… It could be worse!
Without saying a word, I plopped myself into a chair opposite hers.
"Yes, Hermione?" she asked, finishing with a paper she was reading.
I blinked back the tears that had formed after my conversation with Ginny and waited for Professor McGonagall to look up.
She finished with the paper and looked up at me. Her eyes widened slightly. "What's wrong?" she asked immediately.
"I talked to Ginny again," I told her, unaware of which emotion would show though as I spoke: Anger or depression.
"And?" she asked even though we both knew what Ginny's response had been.
"She basically just said 'No,'" I informed her, swinging my feet back and forth as I looked down at them. I knew the blotchies were worse and already I feared I would cry.
My head snapped up. "What 'hmm'? Why 'hmm'? 'Hmm' what?" I asked.
The "Hmm"s, like the faces she likes to make, always mean something.
"Well…" she sighed. "I just find it odd that she won't date you. I mean, if she likes you, what's the problem? I just think it is her way of using you. " She paused and looked at me, seeming to be debating as to whether or not she really wanted to drive this point home. "I think she is leading you on, Hermione. Again."
I sighed. As much as I love Ginny, or think I love Ginny, maybe Professor McGonagall is right. I mean, why tell me at all if she's not going to date me? I don't want to believe it, but maybe that's what it is. Maybe that's what's happening. Maybe…
I shook my head. "No. I can't believe that," I told her firmly, despite my own fear of that very possibility. I had to fight my urge, that pull in my gut, that it was true. It an't be true. "She wouldn't do that, Professor. Not to me."
She looked incredulous. "Are you sure? I mean, that is what it seems like. If you ask me, she's just leading you on. I don't want to see you get hurt, Hermione," she told me gently.
"That's not what it is," I repeated with more conviction echoing in my voice than I really felt in my heart. "She wouldn't do that. She's my friend. She's… She wouldn't do that to me."
The incredulous look remained plastered to her face. "If you're sure… I mean, fine. Maybe you're right. Maybe she's just confused and scared," she said, disbelief coating her voice.
I rose from my seat and stormed out. I wasn't angry, not with Professor McGongall at any rate. I was… Upset. I was angry because Ifeared that McGongall was right about Ginny. I was afraid that Ginny was just using me. To do what, I had no idea, but I was very afraid that she was just playing with my heart.
Only one way to find out, I thought to myself as I stomped back to the common room to talk to her again.
Chapter 13: December Yr 5
Okay, I breathed, this is it! I'm going to ask! I walked into the common room and saw Ginny's tell-tale flaming red hair. I can't! I turned around but stopped myself. No! Pull yourself together, you coward!
Okay, I breathed, this is it! I'm going to ask! I walked into the common room and saw Ginny's tell-tale flaming red hair. I can't! I turned around but stopped myself. No! Pull yourself together, you coward!
I walked up to Ginny, the words of Professor McGonagall echoing in my mind…
"Hermione, I think she's playing you, I really do. I think she is just using you. I mean, think about it: Why won't she at least give you and her a try? You need to find out what is really going on with her. Just… Get a backbone! Ask her!"
… Hannah and Susan had said the same thing as McGonagall.
I breathed out in a long sigh, "Ginny?" She turned around in her armchair to face me. I took a deep breath, feeling the blotchies creep up my chest. "Ginny," I sighed, losing nerve.
Ginny expectantly smiled at me, obviously confused. Her smile! Sweet Merlin! How could someone so amazing play with the heart of one of her friends? It couldn't happen! I told myself. See, I'll ask so that I have proof. Ginny wouldn't hurt me, and when I have my answer, I'll have the proof for McGonagall, Hanna, and Susan. Then I can feel better about this whole damn thing!
"Ginny, I need to talk to you. I… I need to ask you something. I mean, you know how much I talk to Professor McGonagall, right?" She nodded. "Well, she, and Hanna and Susan, all think… Well, they think you're playing me. I mean, I told them no, that you weren't, but I… I needed to hear the words come from you."
"Hermione," she said, getting up and closing the gap, "surely you don't think that, do you?" I shook my head. "I would never play you! I would never want to hurt you! They don't understand the situation the way we do. Make them understand!"
I took a deep breath to keep myself from saying something I would regret later but the thought escaped anyway." Why can't we at least try?" I knew I had already asked this question many times, but no answer seemed good enough.
"Hermione, we've been though this! My parents would kill me!"
A thought that had been eating away at my conscienceness finally got the better of me. "But what about one of those boyfriends you had? The one who cheated on you? And lied to you? The one who played you! You snuck around for him! Why not me?" Tears stung my eyes bur I bit back my tears as my anger rose. I wanted to ask "Why aren't I good enough for you?" But I knew any answer would just devastate me.
"I can't, Hermione," she answered. "I can't love you. I can't be with you. I mean, my mother found out you're a lesbian," Because you have a big mouth and told her, Ginny! "and it scares her that I am such close friends with you! I bloody well cannot do that to her! Imagine how she would react if it were me! I don't want to be a disgrace to my parents! I don't know what to say to make you understand, Hermione." She paused. "And I don't care anymore."
She turned around left me standing in the common room, feeling alone and rejected. For a second time.
I sniffed back more tears and ran as quickly as I could in a dignified manner to the lavatory to wash away all signs of crying before I made my way though the familiar halls, hardly aware.
"Professor! That's it! I give up! I'm done with Ginny!" I exclaimed as I entered her office.
Professor McGonagall snorted a laugh, "Okay."
"No, you don't understand. I mean, I still love her, but I'm giving up. I'm really done."
"What happened?" she asked, her smile deflating.
As always, I explained everything, pausing briefly for her many "Hmm"s, "Oh dear!"s, and "Oh my!"s, as well as the occasional "Sweet Merlin!"
"I don't know what to tell you, Hermione. I think she's playing you, but I do think she likes you. It's complicated," she sighed.
"I know it is. That's why I'm un-complicating it. I'm giving up. Everything. All hope of anything ever happening with her."
"No, I am! I am done!"
"Listen, Hermione, I think you're looking too hard. I mean, you need to just take a step back and stop looking. Really. I mean, I know you want a gf, but you're trying to hard. Stop looking," Professor McGonagall told me seriously.
I sighed. I knew she was right about this, just like I knew she was right to be skeptical. I wasn't really ready to give up on Ginny, even though I desperately wanted to. I nodded that I understood as I got up from my chair.
The following morning, Harry, Hannah, and I were waiting in Transfiguration as I told them both all about how I was done with Ginny.
"That's good," Hannah said, almost laughing. "You've been hung up on her for a while."
I nodded and turned to Harry, whose jaw dropped as he stared behind me.
"Hermione!" Harry whispered, gesturing to the back of the classroom and never breaking his stare back there. "Look!"
I turned around and my plastered on smile faded.
Professor McGonagall and Ginny were deep in conversation.
"What do suppose they're talking about?" I asked, forcing a smile.
Both McGonagall and Ginny looked at me briefly before turning back on one another. My stomach lurched and I could feel my face heat up, the first sign of blotchies.
"You," Harry and Hannah chorused.
I breathed out in a huff and shook my head. "It doesn't matter. I'm done with Ginny, remember?"
Hannah nodded tentatively before changing the subject and soon we were all laughing again.
Periodically, I checked back on the pair. Whatever it was that McGonagall and Ginny were talking about, it held their interest for quite a while. Honestly, the seeming intensity of their conversation made me slightly queasy. It didn't help that I knew McGonagall wouldn't tell me what was said, what with her and her strict codes of honor and loyalty.
I went to the quidditch game the following day and feigned interest in some random girl on the Ravenclaw team. I was basically dragged to the game, as it was. What's worse is I had no desire to show spirit. I mean, Gryffindor wasn't even playing. So, basically, Harry dragged me out into the cold stands in the snow. I figured the least I could do was make him thik that I really was over Ginny and that he helped.
"Harry!" I exclaimed, "Girl with ass! Did you see her?" I kept repeating myself, loudly, knowing that Ginny was in the stands around us. I knew, h however, to keep quiet when Professor McGonagall was around. She had, after all, just gone into a speech a few days before about looking too hard.
"Bloody hell, Hermione!" Harry finally said, laughing. "You need to take a cold shower and go to bed!"
"But, Harry!" I whined loudly, turning in my seat as I spotted Ginny. "Girl with ass! I want her!"
Harry laughed again, "I'll see if I can get her for your birthday present."
"But, that's almost a year away!"
Harry nodded, "Yes. Yes, it is."
We laughed again as I feigned being in agony and fidgeting.
"What's wrong with you now, Hermione?" Professor McGonagall asked, as she walked through the stands on her way to scold one of the Weasley twins for something or other.
I immediately stopped my fidgeting and looked at Harry, wide eyed. "Nothing."
Luckily for me, Lee Jordan and his commentary distracted her and she had to run off and stop him.
Harry and I soon broke out into laughter.
"Cold shower!" Harry scolded as he walked to the locker room to get ready for the practice that the Gryffindors had scheduled for right after the game.
I nodded with fake seriousness before laughing again and heading back to the castle.
At this point, I fully recognized how bad the situation was. Not only was I on the edge of denial about being in love with Ginny, I had now entered a new phase where I longed to make her jealous. After all my claims of being done with her, I really just wanted her to get over her fear of her parents so we could be happy.
What is wrong with me?
Chapter 14: June Yr 5
"Who are you dressing up for?" Professor McGonagall asked me again.
"Who are you dressing up for?" Professor McGonagall asked me again.
"No one!" I answered, exasperated. "Why do you assume I'm dressing up for anyone?" It is my theory that she hopes to catch me off guard and have me answer truthfully in surprise before I fully realize what she asked.
I shook my head. If I was really honest and would allow myself to admit it, I would tell her I was dressing up for Parvati.
"Fine," she sighed.
I returned to my work of helping her with organizing her desk and packing it up to prepare for the summer break.
"Who?" she asked again, suddenly.
"Professor!" I said, half scolding her as I laughed. I paused in my work to look up at her and shake my head.
"You know I'm going to figure it out eventually! Just tell me!"
"Professor, there isn't anyone! I've just been in a dressy mood is all. That's it. Promise."
"Hmm." She paused. "It's not Ginny again, is it? Or still? Tell me it's not still."
"No one!" I shook my head again and returned to my work. I could feel the start of the blotchies and I could see my hands beginning to shake. Sweet Merlin! I thought, afraid she would notice and stick with her theory of there being someone, or that it was Ginny. I took a deep breath to steel myself, wondering if admitting that there was someone would make the situation better or worse. "Fine," I sighed. "There is someone. But it's not important, okay? Let's just drop it." I tried to control my shaking hands as I organized papers from her desk.
"Is it Parvati?" she asked suddenly.
My eyes grew wide, "I did not say that!"
"Oh my Merlin! It is!"
"No, no!" I said, shaking my head in an attempt to stall. I was fully aware of the blotchies steadily becoming full-blown.
"It is!" she repeated. "I mean, I always saw this happening, I just thought that she liked you. I didn't see it as much from this angle."
"No! It's not her!" I argued in a lat-ditch effort before I would finally give in and tell her all about what I've been feeling an thinking and withholding because of the nature of it all.
She nodded again, showing that she really knew and would not allow this charade to continue.
I finally nodded. "I mean, I didn't even want to admit it to myself. I just… I keep thinking of her differently ad it's so not intentional! Like, you know how you often say that she likes me? Well, first of all, you've gotten me into such a stage of paranoia! Like, I'm so on edge all of the time and basically fear that every time she talks to me about 'something important,' she's going to tell me she loves me or randomly kiss me. But then I keep asking myself, 'Would that be so bad?'"
"Not helping!" I said, the blotchies worsening.
"Oh my!" Then she started laughing. "You have Pangea on your chest, Hermione!"
"Now is not the time, Professor!" I said, huffily. She asked, so now I'm telling her. So, the "not helping" needs to stop. "Professor!" I whined. "Do you remember a while back? When she wasn't speaking to me because of something or other? I thought she wouldn't ever forgive me. With the thought of our friendship really being over, I felt so free. Free from her possessiveness. But… I had such an ache in my heart. It physically hurt. The thought of not having her in my life physically hurt me. I've really known since then, I just wouldn't admit it out loud. But I can't keep from thinking, 'Why would it be so bad to be in love with one of my best friends? Why would it be so bad to have someone that I love, love me back? Someone who can make me feel better, regardless of how sick and depressed beforehand, just by her being there? Someone who can make me laugh regardless of how angry I am at anything?' I mean, is that so wrong? So bad? I know our friendship is… Odd, but why would it be so bad to be in a relationship with her? I mean, we're friends, so even before my feelings for her started changing, I enjoyed spending time with her and felt that I could trust her. And even though I know nothing will ever happen, I can't help but see it. I can see me and her together, happy. But then I think, 'No, she's weirdly possessive as just friends. If we cross that line, she may try to control me even more than she does now!'" I said, my voice shaking almost as much as my hands.
"She likes you," McGonagall said simply. "You need to tell her."
My eyes went wide. "I can't do that! I mean, what if she doesn't like me? What if she freaks out? What if she never wants to speak to me again?"
"That won't happen."
"But what if it does?" I shuddered inwardly at that. After all of the years, I couldn't even picture my life without Parvati. "I mean, it could happen, you know. You know how weird she gets, how often she gets mad at me for no reason at all and refuses to talk to me for an undefined period of time. This could freak her out! I mean, you say you weren't freaked out when I 'told' you that I liked you, but Parvati's not like that. At all. She's quick to anger!"
"Do you want me to ta-"
"No! Don't do that! Never do that!" I took a deep breath. At some point, the blotchies had reached a new level of badness and I was having difficulty catching my breath. It was like the blotchies had decided they needed to suck all of the oxygen out of my system so that they could be an angrier red. Almost as bad as that, my hands were now shaking so badly that I couldn't even pick anything up.
"Do you need a paper bag to breathe into, Hermione?" McGonagall asked, clearly torn between concern and amusement.
"No," I practically growled at her. I was baring my soul after she had asked all those times and she's not giving helpful advice because she's too damn busy attempting not to piss herself with laughter!
"You should tell her," she repeated.
I kept silent for a minute before shaking my head. "I can't. I mean, she would never forgive me!"
"Then remove yourself from the equation," she said simply.
"Don't make it about you. Ask her why she treats you so differently from the rest of her friends. Why she seems to get so jealous. Ask her why she does that and why she feels she has the right to be angry with you for liking people. And why she acts like she owns you. And that if she wants to 'own' you, that's something you two need to talk about, but it can be arranged," she finished with a smile.
"I am not saying that! She is not allowed to own me!" I said before I nodded, "You have a point. She does seem to get jealous. Like, she was so angry when I told her about my crush on Ginny. And when I was dating Lavender. She didn't even like you as a teacher until after my crush on you had subsided!"
"Hmm," she said quietly, making a face.
I almost smiled. "I like this plan." Now I remember why I tell her things. She gives me such helpful advice!
"Well, you need to figure it out in some way. Otherwise, both your hormones and hers are going to take over one day and you'll kiss and then you won't be able to turn back from that or pretend it didn't happen."
And the helpfulness is gone.
"They will not!" I argued.
"That's what I see happening."
"It's not funny!"
"I'm not trying to be funny! I'm trying to warn you."
Lavender knocked on the door. I turned and looked around, shocked and wondering how much she had heard. My blotchies continued to reign supreme.
"Professor? I came by to visit!"
"Lavender!" I said, getting up and hugging her, glad to have some sort of distraction. My hugging her was rewarded with another face from McGonagall. "Oh, stop!" I told her. "We're friends!"
McGonagall made another face before also hugging Lavender. "Hi, Lavender."
Lavender briefly went over what classes she had after she had dropped Transfiguration. "So," she asked, "what have I missed?"
"Well, Hermione likes someone. Look at how dressed up she is!" Professor McGonagall said, her laughter returning as she smiled wickedly.
"Shut up! I hate you!" I screeched. "Your telling people is never part of the unspoken agreement we have for my telling you things. I tell you whatever it is and you're allowed to tell Madam Hooch. Maybe Katie and Cho, that's it! No one else!"
She smiled again as lavender perked, eager to play this game.
"No one!" I barked, glaring daggers at McGonagall, who dutifully held her tongue.
"No!" McGonagall answered as if it were obvious that it could never be her. "She's in your year."
"Professor!" I screeched in shock.
"No," McGonagall answered, shaking her head.
"Professor!" I repeated.
McGonagall opened her mouth to answer but never got the chance to speak. I had thrown an ink stopper from her desk at her to prevent her from answering.
"What?" she asked, almost snapping. "I didn't tell her who it was."
"By saying no about others, you narrow it down!"
She sighed, disappointed that I had ruined her game.
"Parvati?" Lavender asked, repeating herself.
"No," I answered, struggling to keep up appearances.
Lavender looked to McGonagall who dutifully shook her head, confirming my lie.
"Why won't you tell me? Who would I tell?" she asked me.
"It's…" I couldn't form the words. I opened my mouth and tried to force myself o answer because Lavender was right and she is one of my trusted friends. I opened my mouth again, but no sound came out. I finally sighed, "I can't."
If I can't tell Lavender, how am I ever going to tell Parvati? I thought to myself.
After a while, Lavender said her goodbyes and excused herself saying she needed to finish packing.
"I really did try," I sighed.
"I know you did," McGonagall nodded sympathetically.
"I really wanted to tell her."
"I could tell."
"It's nice that you two still talk," McGonagall said after a brief silence.
I nodded. "All the time."
I wasn't sure if she was surprised that still talked because of our conflicting schedules or because she had broken up with me in our third year after I had come out. We had "dated," if you could call it that, for two days before she decided she was "relationship claustrophobic." Whatever that means. Anyway, after we had broken up, I had tried to get back together with her, but she ended up dating some boy several years above us, Oliver Wood. Quite honestly, I had always thought he was gay. Mind you, the two of them have long since broken up, but whatever: I wash my hands of it.
I sighed and buried my face in my hands, "What am I going to do?"
"Tell her," McGonagall repeated in a singsong voice.
"I can't! What if it destroys our friendship? We're friends!"
"So? Katie and Cho? Friends first. Xiomara and me? Friends first." I glared at her. "Well, if you do tell her, I see it going one of two ways. One is very, very bad."
I swallowed in a vain hope of repressing the fit of nausea that had just overtaken me.
I waited for an explanation, but I never got one. Finally, I just got up. "I suppose I'll try taking me out of the equation."
I sighed, wanting to be able to tell Parvati everything, wanting to get my happy ending.
Chapter 15: Still June Yr 5
I bit my lip in nervousness despite my apparent happiness and laughter with Parvati. I felt a wave of nausea pass over me as I realized I "had" to tell her. But, at the same time, I knew how much it would change the lightness of our conversation. And her mood.
I bit my lip in nervousness despite my apparent happiness and laughter with Parvati. I felt a wave of nausea pass over me as I realized I "had" to tell her. But, at the same time, I knew how much it would change the lightness of our conversation. And her mood.
For the worse, I feared.
"Parvati," I began, my laughter slowly dying as I realized I was really about to make the attempt.
"What?" she asked, still laughing.
Completely oblivious to what I was about to say, to how I feel about her.
My voice caught in my throat and I had to conscientiously remind myself to breathe. "Why is our friendship so weird?" I half-laughed, trying to keep the mood light.
She laughed, "We're both crazy?"
I laughed as well, knowing, though, that nervous laughter wouldn't fix the situation. "No, but… I just mean…." I took a deep breath. "Or friendship," I repeated. "It's so weird. Like, not the same as your friendships with Harry or Ron or Ginny. Why is ours? Why me?"
Her laughter stopped abruptly. "Well," she said, her anger shining through, "I don't treat everyone the same. All my friends aren't the same person, okay? I treat them the way they ask to be treated."
"So, I asked to be treated like you own me?" I asked rhetorically before I could stop myself. I saw her scowl more. Bloody hell, I thought, now she's on the defensive! "No," I began again, choosing my words carefully as I attempted to smooth things over. "I know that we're not all the same person. I just meant the way you treat me. I'm not saying I mind, I just..." I trailed off, not knowing what to say.
Professor's McGonagall's words coursed through my mind and I found myself saying, "I deserve to know why you treat me so differently, is all."
Parvati glared., "Where do you get this psycho-babble bullshit? You sound like McGonagall. She's always saying that stuff. Did I tell you what she actually said to me before?"
I shook my head. "Hey! Don't change the subject!" I laughed.
Parvati's glare returned and she stood and walked to the bathroom.
I followed her and was surprised to find that she locked the door to enter the Gryffindor girl's lavatory. I sighed and stood outside the door and continued to speak.
"I mean, you treat me like you own me," I said, raising my voice so that it would carry through. "I'm not your possession and… And if you want me to be, we need to talk about that," I said though the door.
"Well, I continued when she didn't answer," not your possession, per se. You wouldn't own me. But I'd still be yours. In a way. I mean, you couldn't tell me who I'd be allowed to hang out with or what I'd be allowed to do, but I'd be yours in the other sense of the word."
At this point, I was rambling and I knew it. It's just that… This wasn't at all the way I had planned it! I mean, wishful thinking or not, I still had rather hoped, despite every fiber of by being knowing that it would end in a fight, that she would still tell me she loves me or something along those lines.
I had just hoped that everything would turn out okay. I mean, I had known it would end badly, but I suppose I just hoped it wouldn't. I suppose that being friends with Katie and Cho and McGonagall and Hooch has spoiled my idea of love and the fairy tale ending. It was like their friendships turned relationships has brainwashed me. I fully believed that not finding your true love in your best friend and relatively early in life was weird.
Mentally, I knew it wasn't weird, that they were just lucky and having that luck is rather rare, but I couldn't help but feel that something was wrong with me. Katie and Cho had found each other before their fourth year and I was at the close of my fifth year. I felt like I was damaged and I often found myself wondering what was so wrong with me that I hadn't found my true love.
Yet at the same time, I knew why I had resisted my feelings for Parvati: this, right here, right now.
I was leaning next to the door as I rambled on about how I wouldn't be hers because you can't own a person and whatnot when she opened the door. I stood straight up, searching her face for a signal, any sign of a reaction to what I had said.
"Oh," she said, almost surprised. "You're still talking?"
"You weren't listening?" I asked, my voice a strangle cry.
"I was going to the bathroom. I told you that. Sweet Merlin! Why don't you listen to me when I talk to you? What's wrong with you?" she shook her head and began to walk away.
"Where are you going?" I asked as she reached the portrait hole.
"I have things to do," she said, climbing though and slamming the portrait behind her.
I blinked away tears and went up to my bed, feeling sick.
"Why does she treat me this way?" I sobbed into my pillow. I let myself cry out all of the pain and frustration of the last few days.
It isn't fair! Coming out is difficult enough! Shouldn't finding "the one" be easier to compensate for the pain it took to get to this point?
I cried myself to sleep, knowing I had finals the next day that I hadn't studied for and not caring. I just didn't know if Parvati was angry or not and that I ared about deeply, even though I wished that I didn't.
The next morning, I went straight to McGonagall.
"Well," I began, plopping myself down opposite her, "Parvati is angry with me."
Her eyes widened in disbelief. "You told her "
"Kinda. 'Member your idea to remove me from the equation? I did that, but she got really angry."
"Did you make it seem like an accusation?" she asked rationally.
I bit my lip, "No," I lied. I took a deep breath. "Maybe a little."
Professor McGonagall made a face that clearly said, "Well, that was stupid."
I relayed the events of the day before, skipping the part where I cried myself to sleep and the part where she, Hooch, Katie, and Cho had spoiled my idea of romance.
"She just left?" McGonagall repeated.
I nodded. "She just left. She is so angry! I don't know how long it will take for her to forgive me!"
"She likes you, though," McGonagall told me.
"How do you know?" I asked.
"Well, she makes a face," she said as though that clearly answered everything.
She nodded. "I probably shouldn't have told you that, though."
Why? I shook my head, knowing I would get no better explanation, but desperately wanting one.
No. Want is not the right word. I desperately needed a better explanation.
I stood and waved goodbye, having to study for finals since I had neglected to do so the night before.
As my friends and I finished taking the Transfiguration final, we gathered in a circle and began talking amongst ourselves. I suppose it's in our nature as fifteen year olds.
"Susan, it's not that I don't want to tell you," I whispered, trying to be discreet. "I really can't! It's, like, a physical impossibility!"
"Who?" she asked again.
"Who what?" Hannah asked, joining our conversation.
McGonagall glared in our direction as we continued our conversation and our expansion of our group. Her look clearly said, "Shut up." We ducked our heads closer together.
"Hermione won't tell me who she likes," Susan complained to Hannah, "but she told McGonagall."
Harry sat down on my other side. "So you do like someone? I thought you said you didn't!"
"Tell us!" Hannah hissed.
McGonagall smiled as snippets of our conversation floated to her and she began catching on as to what our little pow-wow concerned.
Susan stood and walked up to McGonagall's deck closely followed by Hannah, Harry, and Lisa Turpin.
"Who does Hermione like?" Susan asked, clearly tired of games.
McGonagall looked at me smiling evilly but kept her silence. "I'm not supposed to say."
"Come on!" Hannah said.
"It's Parvati," Lisa guessed assertively.
McGonagall's expression changed only momentarily, but they each caught the change.
"It is!" Lisa said, turning to me.
McGonagall didn't quite manage to suppress her laughter at this little game.
My eyes grew wide as I fully realized that my secret was out. I turned and ran from the room and to the nearest lavatory.
I could hear footsteps following me but I ignored them as I locked myself in the room, using my body as a barricade.
"Hermione!" Susan said, reaching the bathroom only seconds after I had locked the door. She knocked on the door of my stall. "Hermione!"
"Hermione do you want to talk? I think we should talk about this," Harry said, logically.
"No!" I said, my voice a strangled cry. "I don't want to talk to any of you or anyone else!"
"Oh my God!" I heard Hannah exclaim, still clearly reeling from the shock.
Please, make it stop, I prayed. This can't be happening!
"Hermione, is it Parvati?" Susan asked.
"Of course it is. She ran out of the room. That's a pretty big tell," Lisa said.
Bloody hell! What have I done? This is such a bloody train wreck! Bugger!
"Shush, Lisa!" Harry said. "Not now!"
I checked my watch, knowing the time for my next final was approaching.
I sighed to myself, attempting to pull myself together.
Come on, Granger. You're stronger than this! You've got to be! You're going to walk out of this stall, head held high, and go directly to your Ancient Runes final exam.
I stood up and opened the door and left the bathroom in almost a dead run so that I could escape without being noticed or stopped. I ignored their calls and shouts for me to come back and I chose, instead, the quiet of the back hallways and, finally, the Runes classroom.
I could barely focus on the test. My mind kept replaying the events that had just occurred. The horrible humiliation I had inflicted upon myself by running out in a moment of weakness.
When I had finished my test, I went directly to McGonagall's office, planning to yell at her and blame her.
However, b the time I had arrived outside of her office, my anger had disappated.
"she's no angry," McGonagall said, walking up to me.
"What?" I looked up. If she was talking about Parvati, then she had talked to her!
I groaned, "What? You said you wouldn't!" I buried my face in my hands. "This can't be happening!"
"She's not mad. She was going to talk to me about it, but she had another final to take, then she has to pack. But she's not mad," she told me. "I really think she likes you. She's just as scared as you are."
Tomorrow. I will tell her tomorrow, I told myself. I sighed, realizing that it really was the end of the school year. I won't have the luxury of asking McGonagall for help with this whole situation! I realized.
"It'll work out," Professor McGonagall told me, as if she had read my mind. "It will."
How does she know? How can she be so certain?
Sometimes I wish I had seen the bloody basilisk head on instead of through the mirror. Things would be so much easier! I wouldn't have to cope with any of this! As a ghost, or just dead, how much do you really have to cope with?
I swear, McGonagall must be my guardian angel. I can't even imagine going through any of this or coping with any of this without her help.
I sighed and stood, knowing I had to pack.
And mentally prepare myself for the following day.
Chapter 16: September Yr 6
AN: So... This is the.. long overdue update. It's... a fairly large jump. But.. I will try to... fix that in future chapters. This.. Ends what I had written out already, though. So... future updates may not happen at all, though I will try.
AN: So... This is the.. long overdue update. It's... a fairly large jump. But.. I will try to... fix that in future chapters. This.. Ends what I had written out already, though. So... future updates may not happen at all, though I will try.
I could feel my heart breaking. My poor Ginny! I hated to see her like this! .. Her mother and her pressures... Poor Ginny!
And everyone was watching! Ginny was literally having a breakdown and Daphne and two of their friends were watching. Like it was a bloody freakshow!
Though, I suppose it wasn't really fair to judge. I didn't know what to say any more then they did. No one seemed to.
Except McGonagall, who lept into action as Ginny collapsed into a crying heap on the floor.
McGonagall puled herself to the floor in front of Ginny, "You're not a failure," she told her sternly, repeating herself as Ginny started sobbing and telling us all what her wretched mother had spouted in anger.
I got up and sat behind Ginny, rubber her back in what I hoped were soothing circles, all the while chiming in with how amazing and talented Ginny was.
McGonagall sighed, looking around, "Out."
I began to stand as the others filtered out... I didn't really want to leave. I mean, Ginny! My poor, poor Ginny—though, I guess she wasn't really mine... And I was dating Daphne.. I wanted to make her feel better, though. But... McGonagall wanted privacy. And whatever she was going to say would be more comforting than my circles. McGonagall knew what she was doing. I had to trust that. She always did. She... Everything would be okay. She would make everything okay.
"You can stay," McGonagall peered up at me. I plopped myself back down and continued rubbing soothing circles. She sighed, looking uncharacteristically nervous. "If either one of you repeat this," she began, watching the last person shut it and leave the three of us alone, "I'll kill you."
I had to laugh a little at that, not knowing what could possibly be next. What? She was going to admit that she was actually fond of us? … We sorta knew that. It was pretty common knowledge that she wasn't as hard-hearted as she pretended to be.
"I found out I have skin cancer," she admitted, not really looking at either of us.
My hand dropped from Ginny's back and my breath caught in my throat, my eyes going wide. I-I wanted to keep trying to soothe Ginny but...
My mind buzzed with a thousand questions and thoughts—none of them good—but it kept settling on that one word: Cancer.
I knew people who had died from cancer. Had gotten diagnosed. And died.
And she had cancer.
It had to be the single most terrible thing—worst word—in all of creation. Worse than He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Worse then...
I blinked, forcing myself to focus as I heard McGonagall's voice.
"That's why I've been so much nicer," she continued. "If I'm not here in a year or six months or tomorrow, how do I want to be remembered?"
I could hear Ginny crying again but all I could do was focus on what McGonagall had just said... McGonagall, my first love... My-my only real love. I-
I could feel tears forming, prickling behind my eyes, but we couldn't the all of us—because McGonagall had started crying now, too—be crying so I blinked them away.
A year? Six months? Tomorrow?
I couldn't focus. I didn't even know if I was breathing anymore.
I saw of the, begin to get up so I followed suit, watching McGonagall open her office door—by that time, the others that had been loitering were gone, which was fine with me cause I didn't expressly want to talk to Daphne right then anyway. Ginny thanked Professor McGonagall—thanked her—and left.
I couldn't... Focus. Couldn't breathe. I forced a quick goodbye, explaining that I had to go to Harry and Ron's quidditch practice, before stumbling out of her office. I walked through the school, her words ringing in my head.
"If I'm not here in a year or six months or tomorrow..."
That's not possible. She can't leave. She can't die. She-she just couldn't.
I felt tears rolling down my cheeks as I sat in the stands, not entirely watching the practice as I said I would. But it hardly mattered. I wiped hastily at the tears, still unable to figure it out.
Why her? All she does is help her students. She's... Kind, loving, warm, caring...
Why not Snape? Or... Bellatrix. Or.. Malfoy.
Why McGonagall? And why cancer?
I mean, yes,s he had said something about her type being the kind that was most often survived. But still. What if she didn't make it? What if she didn't survive?
It's not fair! I thought angrily, slamming my books on the bleachers beside me. This isn't supposed to happen! Not to her!
I grabbed my things and waved an absent goodbye to the boys, unable to just sit there any longer. I ran through the castle and to the common room. I went directly to my four-poster, burying my face in my pillow and letting out the tears that were sporadically escaping anyway.
"Not to her!" I repeated bitterly, crying into my pillow as her words continued echoing in my mind.
"If I'm not here in a year or six months or tomorrow..."
I cried myself into a fitful sleep, worried and distraught.
Unsurprisingly, I awoke earlier than usual the next morning, not having gotten much sleep anyway.
Yawning, I scratched at my forehead and felt... A zit. I sighed, hating being a teenager and the acne it brought with it. (Cause life wasn't hard enough being gay and growing up with a dark lord that was constantly trying to get power.)
I shook my head bitterly, rolling out of bed and grabbing my toothbrush from my bedside table before catching sight of myself in the mirror.
"Bloody hell," my eyes went wide.
The "zit" I'd found had brought friends. A lot of them. And they were all itchy.
"What the-" I scratched at the large, red bump I had found to begin with. I ran a comb through my hair, letting it bush out so that it hid my face almost entirely—one of the rare times I was grateful for my unruly mane—before brushing my teeth and throwing my uniform on.
I rushed to McGonagall's office, the early hour meaning I met very few people on the way.
"Good morning, Hermione. How are you?" she smiled cheerfully, her mood drastically different from the day before.
I flipped my hair back as my answer, not quite able to repress a flinch as her wide eyes competed her look of shock and concern.
It was the "Oh my!" face.
Great. What a lovely sign.
"What happened?" she asked bluntly. .. Like it was a hex I hadn't realized I was hit with.
"I woke up with them. I don't know what it is. They're itchy though. Peeves said they might be-"
"Hives," she interrupted, finishing for me. "Are you allergic to anything?"
"No! And this is the first time I've ever gotten them," I answered, my eyes pleading. She had to be able to fix this. She had to have answers... She.. Knew things.
"Did you use anything different? Shampoo? Soap?"
I shook my head that I hadn't.
"I think you need to o to the hospital wing."
"No! I-I can't! I can't miss classes today!" Truth was, I didn't want to be alone with my thoughts. I wanted any distraction. Anything to keep my mind off the day before.
She shook her head, rolling her eyes.
The usual crew entered, person after person gasping at my hives and then telling me what was wrong—all of this making me feel like a freak. Everyone thought they had the answer. Like they were all geniuses. Soap, shampoo, facial cleanser...
"Stop scratching!" McGonagall barked, again. All morning. Over and over. Either "stop scratching" or "go see Madam Pomfrey."
"I'm not scratching!" I lied lamely, finally sitting on my hands to keep from scratching. "I'm fine!" My face itched terribly and she had told me that hives could stay for up to six weeks and that hot water sometimes made them flair up again. Great.
By the time I got to my first class, I was dying for relief and decided to listen to McGonagall. I'd just go to Madam Pomfrey and get medication to stop the itching.
Things are never that easy, though. No. I couldn't just have medication and be on my way. Madam Pomfrey banned me from classes for the rest of the day, sending me to my dormitory to take medication and rest.
So, instead of having the lovely distraction of classes, I was sentenced to spend the day in my four-poster, alone; recounting the events of the previous afternoon as I drifted in and out of consciousness.
"Missing classes," I huffed angrily, trying to get McGonagall's voice out of my head as it repeated itself over and over.
"If I'm not here in a year or six months or tomorrow."