Chapter 1: The Break Up
Hermione threw her head against her headboard, a loud groan escaping her as she re-read the letter in her hands. The owl had arrived over an hour ago, but Hermione found herself still planted to this spot, her position unmoving, and the words remaining unreadable through the growing tears clouding her eyes.
This is probably a bad way to go about this. Harry told me to just floo over, that McGonagall wouldn't mind, but I just couldn't. I hope you'll forgive me for this, at least some day, but I'm breaking up with you. Between auror training, and you being back at Hogwarts, it just won't work. I don't want to spend all my weekends trying to plan time in Hogsmeade, and waiting for you to finish your year is just too unbearable. I think it's for the best anyway. We never really worked together, maybe it was the war or even Harry that kept us together. I don't really know. Anyway, I hope you're alright. Sorry, 'Mione.
P.S. I think it be best if you didn't spend Christmas at the Burrow, it'll be too hard for Mum."
Hermione stared at the letter, willing its contents to make sense to her. How could Ron do this? They had spent years together, they were best friends, and for him to end their relationship through a letter was heart wrenching. It was so short. So... detached. She knew the long distance was difficult, she had struggled to convince Ron to come out to Hogsmeade most weekends, he was usually so exhausted from training that she forgave him for the lack of communication. But she wrote to him three times a week, and willed herself not to get upset when she received a response only every other week.
She knew that he and Harry were drowning. But Hermione still received letters from Harry twice a week, especially after he and Ginny had broken up, and she just struggled to understand why her own boyfriend couldn't be bothered to write her as well.
She had always kept her expectations of Ron low, but she loved him, and she believed he loved her, so when the letter arrived, it took her by surprise, ripping her heart in half before she finally became eerily indifferent.
And that's how Ginny found her, sitting on her bed, staring at the letter in her hands, with a blank expression on her face.
"Hermione?" Ginny asked from the doorway, her knuckles white as she gripped the door.
Hermione lifted her eyes from the letter, and turned toward the witch, her eyes glossy as she peered at her friend. Hermione lifted waved the letter in her hand, directing Ginny's attention to the parchment.
Ginny moved from the door, closing it quietly before crossing the room toward Hermione's bed. She sat down across from her, and grabbed the letter from her hand. Hermione watched as Ginny skimmed the short letter, her eyes flashing at her, a fierce look in the redhead's eyes.
"That git! I'm sorry, Hermione. My brother's an absolute arse, and completely idiotic," she said, her eyes furiously rereading the letter.
Hermione winced at the reminder of Ron, her heart squeezing as she recalled the letter.
"It's fine, Ginny, he's right, we don't work," Hermione said quietly, and she tried to will the tears to remain down as she spoke.
"He is not right. You spent so much time and effort into that idiot, and for what? For him to break up with you! You're too good for him, you always have been."
"Thanks, Ginny," Hermione said, a small smile crossing her lips at the kind words of her friend. "I just- I don't know who I am without Ron and Harry. It's always been the three of us, what do I do now that it's not?"
Hermione's greatest fear finally surfacing. She was the Golden Girl of the Golden Trio, who was she without them? They had been her only friends for her first few years at Hogwarts, Harry had become like a brother to her, and with the loss of her paren't memory during the war, she had grown to become a member of the Weasley family, letting them fill the void of her parents.
"Leviosa," Ginny aimed at the letter, and the girls watched as it levitated next to the bed for a few moments. Ginny let out a soft sigh, "C'mon Hermione," she finally said, nodding her head towards the letter.
Hermione stared at the letter before her, the letter that represented the entirety of her relationship with Ron.
"Incendio," she mumbled quietly, and the girls watched as the letter burst into flames, pieces of ash and burning parchment falling to the ground next to them.
Hermione felt the bed shift, and a warm arm wrap around her shoulders. Ginny gently tugged her toward her chest, letting her other arm pull Hermione into a hug. As the arms tightened around her, Hermione felt the pain in her chest crack, and the tears finally fell. She nuzzled her face into Ginny's hair, the tears coming harder as Ginny rubbed Hermione's back, small circles as the sobs wrecked her body.
"It'll be okay Hermione, you've always been the strongest witch I know," she whispered against the curly hair.
"I don't know if I can be strong anymore, I'm afraid to be alone, I'm afraid that I'm nothing without the boys," Hermione whispered back, clutching to Ginny like a lifeline.
"I'll spend however long it takes making sure you know your worth. You're worth the world," Ginny said kindly, and Hermione felt a gentle kiss against the top of her head, her stomach leaping in response.
Unsure of where the reaction came from, she pulled away from Ginny, and anxiously glanced at her friend. Ginny had a nervous smile on her face, but reached up and brushed a tear from Hermione's face, catching it on her finger tip before bringing it to her mouth. Hermione watched as Ginny slipped the tip of her finger into her mouth, the sadness disappearing within.
A pool of warmth flooded Hermione's chest, and she couldn't decide where the tension had come from. She reached for Ginny's hand and held it within her own, letting her thumb draw small circles on the back of it.
"Put your money where your mouth is. I have a feeling it'll be a long time before I feel worthy of anything."
"Maybe not now, but you will," Ginny whispered back before leaning her head against Hermione's shoulder closing the gap between the two.
Chapter 2: The Snake Pit
"Oh, so you told her then, yeah?" Blaise asked her, and Ginny looked to see the boy staring at her, his finger absentmindedly twirling a lock of his girlfriend's pale blonde hair while the two sat on the deep green sofa across from her.
"Ginny didn't tell her, I can still see the nargles floating around her head," Luna responded in a flowery voice, directing a knowing look to her boyfriend.
"Of course, lovely, I should have noticed them."
Ginny watched the two, still so unsure how this relationship could possibly work as well as it does. She let out a long sigh, and rubbed her hands against her jeans, hoping the fire would soon warm her fingers. Of course, she hadn't told Hermione. It's not as if she were still hung up on her brother; Ginny was surprised at how quickly she seemed to get over it, once they had a couple bottles of fairy wine, of course.
"Luna's right, I definitely did not tell her, it would ruin everything, and she definitely does not need anything ruined," Ginny said to Blaise letting her head hit the side of the armchair she was sitting against.
"Better get on with it, Weasley. She's right fit, you know, I'm close to asking her out myself," said Theo and Ginny moved away to send a nasty look at the boy, who was sitting in the chair she was using as a backrest.
Ginny reached for her wand, prepared to send a bat boogey hex to the Slytherin when she heard the footsteps on the stone steps, signaling the arrival of more. The four of them simultaneously quieted, all wise enough to wait until the mystery student went to their room, not even Slytherin’s trusted each other.
“Who’s right fit?” the mystery voice asked, and Ginny tried not to externally groan at the arrival of Pansy Parkinson. It was never good when Pansy had information, let alone secrets.
“Granger, I suspect,” Malfoy responded, following his girlfriend as the two moved to join the growing group.
“Luna, why do I keep coming here with you?” Ginny mumbled, annoyed at the amount of people suddenly involved in this conversation.
“And here I thought we were friends,” Blaise directed at the redhead with a smirk, and Ginny let her head fall against the side of the velvet chair with a thud.
“Granger? Why the sudden interest in Granger?” Pansy asked, an air of shock laced her regal voice, and Ginny was surprised not to hear any disdain mixed in as well.
“She’s smart, and obviously a powerful witch,” Draco responded, and he dropped himself into the armchair opposite Theo, before straightening his leg and allowing Pansy to perch herself on his thigh.
“Plus, her arse. Mmmm and that hair, could you imagine gripping it while you bury yo-” Theo added, unable to continue as Ginny reached up and managed to pinch his nipple through his sweater, squeezing tightly until he stopped. Theo recoiled into himself and pushed her arm back with as much strength as he could, hoping she wouldn’t rip the skin clear off.
“Honestly, she’d probably be a popular betrothal prospect if she weren’t a mu-” Ginny had her wand out of her jeans, aimed at Malfoy before he could continue his sentence.
“Watch it, Ferret,” she snarled at him, her patience growing very very thin with the group.
“Ooh, touchy, Weaslette. I was going to say muggleborn,” he cooed, a smirk gracing his face as he stared back at her.
Ginny narrowed her eyes and placed the wand next to her, she seemed to need it readily available in the Snake Pit tonight. Her eyes moved away from Malfoy when she noticed Pansy squinting at her as well. She turned her gaze towards Luna, a questioning look as she silently begged her best friend to supply an answer to Pansy’s bizarre shift in body language.
Luna returned the look with an oblivious smile, no longer following the conversation it appeared.
“Give it a second,” Blaise said to Ginny instead as Luna placed her head against his shoulder.
Ginny turned back to Pansy, apparently waiting for whatever was meant to come.
Blaise was right, it didn’t take long.
Pansy’s eyes grew wide, and a knowing smile crossed her painted red lips.
“Delicious. I didn’t realize you played that way,” Pansy said with a calculated tone, her eyes roaming Ginny, studying her as if she were prey.
“I’m pansexual, Parkinson. I don't play any specific way. And anyone would be a right git to not notice Hermione Granger,” Ginny replied, rolling her eyes at the girl. Merlin, even her boyfriend had a crush on the witch in his 4th year!
“No judgements, just observations…”
“Miserable snakes,” Ginny groaned again, cursing herself for the third time tonight that she hung out Slytherins since returning to school. She moved away from the chair, and laid flat on her back, letting her hands run over the plush rug beneath her, and closed her eyes, letting herself imagine the rug was the black sweater Hermione wore yesterday.
“So, you still haven’t made a move yet then, not since you’re moping around here instead of snogging, Granger,” Draco supplied after a moment.
"Obviously not, you pale swot."
“I’ve got an idea,” Theo exclaimed, and Ginny saw him bring his forefinger to his mouth, chewing on the nail as he thought.
“Great, mate. We need to get all the bad ideas out of the way first,” Blaise responded, and Ginny couldn’t help the tug at the corner of her lips at his comment.
“It’s a solid idea! Just hear me out!” Theo begged the group, though no one was likely to listen to him when his last idea ended so chaotically.
“Theo, just last week you convinced us to break into Snape’s old potion storeroom because you were convinced it led to a sex chamber,” Ginny snorted, letting her arm drape across her eyes as she recalled the event.
“And when Filch caught us in just a potions storeroom, you knocked the nearest row of jars down to avoid getting caught,” Draco continued.
“We didn’t get caught! Though I’m still not sure the room didn't double as a sex chamber, you all saw the chains!” Theo proclaimed, and Ginny wasn’t sure Theo knew what sex looked like, nor a potions storeroom apparently.
“You didn’t get caught, mate. Ginny, Draco, and I spent three lovely days in detention, scrubbing every stone in the Entrance and Great Halls,” Blaise told the boy, ensuring Theo remembered the story correctly.
“Yes, the rest of us just caught mumblemumps from whatever potions he destroyed!” Pansy exclaimed, pointing a manicured finger at Theo, “your fault!”
“Oh I didn’t mind so much, the mumbling was really interesting, it helped clear my aura. It had been getting really fuzz you know,” Luna replied thoughtfully, and Ginny watched as she turned to her boyfriend waiting for him to agree on her unusual aura.
Blaise nodded fondly at the girl, apparently he knew all about her fuzzy aura.
“See! Luna appreciates my ideas!” Theo said to the group, apparently taking Luna’s words as agreement. Ginny snorted again, oh sweet delusional Theo.
Blaise and Draco sported matching looks of disbelief, apparently 18 years of friendship didn’t do much to curb their surprise.
Always a proper heir, Draco managed to compose himself first, his face returning to its masked state before asking, “fine, what’s your plan for Weaslette?”
Ginny crept back to Gryffindor tower around midnight, why they fought in a war but still had a curfew was beyond her.
She had long lost Luna and Blaise as he walked his girlfriend back to Ravenclaw, but Ginny suspected they stopped to snog somewhere, and she wasn’t going to hang around with Filch doing rounds.
She was closer now to Gryffindor, maybe 3 minutes away, if that, so she picked up her pace certain she had heard Ms. Norris near by.
As she turned the corner, she ran face first into another wall, and felt her body fall backwards rebounding off the solid fixture.
“Ommphf,” Ginny grumbled, rubbing the elbow that broke her fall as she went to stand back up.
“Ginny?” a voice whispered in the dark back at her.
“Hermione? I didn’t know you had the invisibility cloak,” Ginny replied, suddenly noticing the gentle waves of iridescent magic that cloaked its wearer, it was extremely hard to notice, even if you weren’t looking for it.
“Harry lent it to me when he visited on the last Hogsmeade weekend, doesn’t have much use for it right now. Now come on before Filch sees you,” Hermione responded, and Ginny saw her lithe hand reach out from under the cloak and drag Ginny toward it.
Ginny felt her stomach flip upon Hermione’s touch, but the excitement was cut short when Filch’s raspy voice was echoed through the halls.
“Who’s out past curfew?” he groveled, and Hermione let out a squeak before pushing Ginny toward the nearest wall, body flush against hers. The invisibility cloak covered Hermione’s back and was held against the wall over Ginny’s head, ensuring the two were hidden.
“Tell me when he’s coming,” Hermione whispered to Ginny, unable to properly watch for Filch with her back exposed and her front to Ginny.
Ginny could feel the lump in her throat grow as the warmth from Hermione radiated across her chest. She had never been this close to her before, well, never like this. They had hugged on occasion, for goodbyes or whatever, but this felt different...
Especially when Ginny thought back to last week in Hermione’s dorm, when she pressed her lips to her hair and swallowed her sadness. She hadn’t seen Hermione since then, she was avoiding the Golden Girl, too embarrassed to acknowledge the unusual night that transpired between them.
But now, now she was closer to Hermione than she had ever been. Now she was drowning in her scent of ink and cinnamon. Hermione smelled comforting and warm; and Ginny was utterly hopeless in this position.
“Ginny, is he close?” Hermione asked again, and Ginny realized how oblivious she had been for those few moments.
As the question erupted from Hermione’s mouth, Ginny spotted Ms. Norris rounding the corner, and where she was, Filch followed.
Ginny lifted her hand up to cover Hermione’s mouth and tried to ignore the soft lips touching her palm.
Filch turned the corner shortly after, and Ginny watched as Ms. Norris rubbed her long tail against the wall opposite them. Ginny prayed that Filch pass quickly, she was growing nervous and was sure her palm was sweaty now.
“Okay, he’s gone,” Ginny whispered to Hermione once Filch passed, finally bringing her attention to the girl.
Ginny knew they were close, obviously, but she hadn’t considered just how close Hermione’s face was until she looked up to see her big brown eyes staring back at her. Her eyes were prettier up close than Ginny had imagined, there were flecks of gold surrounding her pupil, and her eyelashes were long, framing her round eyes beautifully.
“Yes, right,” Hermione mumbled softly as she looked back at Ginny, “gone.”
Ginny looked back at Hermione, not wanting to end whatever was passing between them. She took the time to study her face, a pink flush laid across her cheeks and nose, and Ginny took her time observing the soft lines of Hermione’s face.
“s’pretty,” Ginny heard Hermione whisper, and Ginny was sure her heart was going to pound out of her chest any moment now.
“What?” She muttered back, suddenly wondering if what she heard was right.
“Your eyes. The brown is brighter than I thought, and the firelight makes them glow.”
Ginny suddenly felt herself growing brave at Hermione’s declaration and placed a delicate hand on her waist, wondering if she should risk a kiss. Ginny’s eyes moved to Hermione’s mouth on their own accord, and could feel the heat growing in her stomach as Hermione's tongue traced her bottom lip.
She could kiss her, she could, and she might kiss her back.
That might held Ginny back, made her remember that the woman against her was her brother’s ex. Her ex’s sister. And one of her longest friends.
This was horrible, lust and fear simultaneously coursed through Ginny’s brain as she struggled to make a decision.
Hermione made it for her. She let out a light cough as she cleared her throat, and let her hands fall from above Ginny’s head on their place on the wall. The invisibility cloak no longer providing them the quite privacy of their secret moment.
Hermione moved away from Ginny and laid the cloak in the crook of her elbow, casting one more curious glance at Ginny before saying, “let's go, before Filch comes back.”
Chapter 3: Hogsmeade
“And then I called her pretty, like a loon! I could have crawled into myself and died, I was so embarrassed,” Hermione said into her butterbeer desperately.
“Well, she is pretty,” Neville responded sagely, his butterbeer very nearly full compared to the massive gulps Hermione had been taking of her own.
“Obviously she’s very pretty. But I shouldn’t have said it! It was completely out of line; I think I’m just sort of off-kilter after that night in my dorm.”
“Do you think so?” Neville asked curiously, and Hermione watched him consider that possibility.
“Of course. That must be it. I’m probably still odd from my breakup with Ron, and just… seeking attention. I just need a release probably. That’s typical of a breakup, right?”
“Hmmm, maybe. But I’ve only ever broken up with Luna and we’re still friends, so I’m probably not good advice. Have you spoken to her?”
“Merlin no. I think she’s avoiding me, which is fantastic because it makes avoiding her easier,” Hermione said matter of factly, quickly scanning the Three Broomsticks for Rosmerta, the conversation quickly calling for firewhiskey.
“How have you managed that when we have classes together?”
“My nose to a book at all moments, obviously,” she responded, now spotting Rosmerta taking drink orders from some 4th year Ravenclaws.
“Merlin, Hermione! Ron broke up with you almost 2 months ago! And the hallway incident was nearing a month after that! You’ll run out of books at this rate.”
“What hallway incident?” a confused voice asked from behind her, causing Hermione’s stomach to drop.
She knew that voice well. It was a voice she had spent years listening to worry about Voldemort, endless nights whispering to each other in a crowded tent, a voice that provided her the only constant love since she lost her parents.
Hermione’s eyes widened at Neville, silently begging him to keep quiet about Harry’s ex-girlfriend, and her current situation regarding the very same witch.
“Harry!” Hermione forced; the squeak obvious as it caught in her throat.
“Hey Hermione. Neville, was hoping to run into you two here.”
“Oh?” Hermione asked as Harry took an empty seat at their table, and she turned to see Rosmerta finishing up with the other students.
Hermione shot her hand in the air, waving it fiercely to draw the older witches attention. That firewhiskey was desperately needed now.
“Yeah, just grabbed lunch with Ginny and thought I’d spend the rest of the afternoon with my best friend. Don’t have to be back to London til the morning,” Harry responded as he dragged Hermione’s nearly empty mug towards himself and stole a drink, finishing off her butterbeer.
“Ginny? Are you two back together?” Neville asked Harry, and Hermione was thankful for that, knowing she’d never be able to ask without another crack in her voice.
Once Rosmerta reached the table, Hermione ordered them all a round of firewhiskey, bouncing her leg as she waited for the amber drink.
“No, definitely not. We just meet occasionally, we’re still friends. No hard feelings and all that,” Harry continued.
Hermione knew this, of course, she wrote to Harry multiple times a week. But for some reason the shock still hit her, and she felt a twinge in her stomach as she thought of the two of them alone together.
“How’s the cloak treating you? Finding any use for it?” Harry asked her as Rosmerta placed the drinks down on the table.
“Actually yes,” Hermione responded, grateful for a change in conversation. “I’m writing a book you see, an updated Hogwarts: A History. There’s so much that’s occurred since its initial publishing! And it’s my favorite book, you know? So, I’ve been using the cloak while I gather material to write about, I’m usually out late after lessons doing it… it helps me avoid Filch tremendously.”
“I didn’t know you were working on a book, Hermione!” Neville exclaimed; his mouth slightly agape as he looked at the girl.
“Me neither,” Harry joined, a small furrow in his brow as he said this, and Hermione knew he wondered why he was kept in the dark.
“Yes, well, the only one who knows is Minerva… I needed her advice on how to start this whole thing, I’m rather nervous it’ll be a failure” Hermione told the boys.
“Well, it’s a brilliant idea. If anyone can do it, it’s you.”
“Thanks Harry,” Hermione said feebly, a timid smile as she looked to her brother.
Harry mattered to her more than anything, they had become the only family the other had. He had even started setting a room for her at Grimmauld Place once she graduated. She could never knowingly hurt Harry. She was sure of it.
Hermione turned back to her short glass of firewhiskey and brought the amber liquid to her lips, cherishing the burn as it went down. The Ginny situation was terrible, she decided, and entirely made up. She was just reaching, really. Looking for a distraction from her own insecurities.
“I’ve decided to start dating again,” she said after a moment, her eyes widening urgently as Neville choked on his drink. He needed to keep it together.
“R’lly?” He coughed out; disbelief plastered on his face as he flashed a glance at Harry.
“Great idea, Hermione. It’s about time you found someone your own speed anyway!” Harry said to her, raising his glass in a silent toast. “Ron would have never lasted.”
“Thanks Harry. Just casually anyway. Maybe Theo Nott? Or Cedric?”
“Hmmm, I could talk to Ced when I go back to the office on Monday. You could take him to the Remembrance Ball next month? He works in the department for International Magical Cooperation, did I ever tell you that? Felt like it was a good place for him after the fiasco that was the Triwizard Tournament,” Harry told them, and Hermione observed as he absentmindedly rubbed his scar.
“Wow, that’s wonderful for him. How’d you know about the ball? Tell him he can owl me if he’d like to be my date.”
“Ginny mentioned it over lunch, think we might go together,” Harry said, taking a swig of his own drink.
“Oh… that’ll be lovely. I’m sure the press will eat it up too. Oh, and Molly, you two will never live that down.”
“Right, might have to tell Ginny to warn her” he mumbled and brought his hand to the nape of his neck before rubbing it awkwardly. “Well, erm, should we go back to the castle? It’ll be getting dark here soon.”
Hermione glanced at the windows behind her and was shocked to see how quickly time had passed.
“Yes, we can hang out in the Common Room. I’m sure Dean and Seamus would be thrilled to see you,” Neville responded.
The group quickly swallowed down the rest of their drinks and dropped some sickles on the table before facing the cold night as they trekked back to the castle.
Ginny had come back to the castle a few hours earlier; she knew Blaise had gone to Hogsmeade with the other snakes and didn’t want Luna to be alone all day.
So, after a quiet lunch with Harry, she stomped back to the castle and searched for her best friend. And finally, after trying the library, Ravenclaw tower, and the Room of Requirement, she found the girl by Hagrid’s hut, feeding Thestrals with the half giant.
Ginny helped for a few hours, knowing Luna wanted to stay, and knowing Hagrid loved the company. But the night was growing colder and colder, and Ginny’s fingers were quickly turning purple.
“Luna… can we go back now? I’ve been bitten twice by this Blast-Ended Skrewt, and I’m freezing, even Hagrid’s gone back to his hut.” Ginny whined to the back of Luna’s head.
She watched as Luna turned back toward her and glanced around the small clearing, now noticing that it was just the two of them again.
“Oh, alright then. Where would you like to go now?” Luna asked, her voice light as a feather as the air carried it around Ginny.
“Don’t care, want a jumper first though,” Ginny mumbled as she rubbed her hands together ferociously, hoping to get the blood flowing through them again.
The girls walked toward Gryffindor tower, and Ginny listened absentmindedly while Luna began explaining a recent article her father had written for the Quibbler.
Ginny let her thoughts drift back to her lunch with Harry. The two were still friends; things hadn’t been awkward in months. Though she was sure many thought them hanging out still was weird.
But their breakup was amicable. There was no love lost.
After the battle, and Harry’s close encounter with death, they snuck off to a corridor, falling into each other’s bodies as the celebrated all they had fought so hard for.
It was their first time. And while they had both acknowledged they loved each other unconditionally, the love they felt wasn’t romantic, and while the sex was enjoyable, it wasn’t earth shattering and felt wrong. They tried to ignore the feelings their first (and only) time had brought, staying together for two weeks after that. But eventually, they agreed it was no use holding on to the relationship.
They had saved the world, saved their families, and saved each other. That was good enough.
Mum had cried for a month after that, and Harry said she still wrote to him about “taking Ginevra back,” but they were happier as friends.
While their relationship was still strong, Ginny knew there was still a line she couldn’t cross, a line in the shape of a rather intimidating witch.
So, when Harry asked for the third time who her mystery crush was, Ginny threatened to tell Pansy about Harry’s wet dream about her. She knew it was a low blow, but she was becoming desperate, and Harry was relentless in his lines of questioning, damn Auror training.
How would Harry react if he knew she liked Hermione? If he knew she had always liked Hermione? The thought was making her ill, and she didn’t even want to consider her git brother right now.
“Hello Harry,” Luna said in her whimsical voice, pulling Ginny from her thoughts.
“Luna! Lovely to see you! Ginny, fancy seeing you again,” the wizard replied back, and Ginny could hear the smirk in his voice.
“Yes, yes, Harry, enchanted, now hurry up before I lose a finger,” Ginny called back to the boy, still gripping her fingers as she continued her pace toward the tower.
She slowed her own pace a bit to allow the boy to catch up to her and Luna, but otherwise continued to her common room. Scottish winters were brutal.
“Merlin Ginny! You’re walking as if you’re taller than 5 feet!” A deep voice called from behind her, alerting her to Neville’s presence as well.
“Because I’m 5’5, you giant tree-man!” Ginny responded, now turning to face the straggling group.
She straightened her shoulders, exuding overly false confidence as she turned to Neville, pretending that her height wasn’t a disadvantage. But as she was fully turned, she finally noticed the tiny witch tucked behind the two boys.
Ginny’s chest dropped to her stomach, and she suddenly felt nauseous. She hadn’t seen the witch in 27 days. Not that she was counting.
Okay, she was definitely counting.
And she had obviously seen her during those 27 days, but not this close. And never her face as she burrowed it in texts. But Ginny had stolen glances at her during class still, growing very familiar with the various shades of brown that made up her wild curls.
“Oh, erm, hello Hermione, I almost missed you,” Ginny said timidly, her ears growing hot as she realized double meaning behind her words.
“Yes, between Harry’s large head and the giant tree man I am quite easy to overlook,” she supplied with a gentle smile, and for a moment Ginny felt like everything was normal.
“Oh I’d never say you’re easy to overlook, Hermione.”
Ginny watched as a pretty blush rose to the tops of her cheeks, and her eyes turned toward the floor.
Neville cleared his throat and Ginny quickly remembered they weren’t alone, and regretfully look away from Hermione.
“So, where are you guys off to?” she asked Neville.
“Same as you it seems. Come on, we’ll walk faster. Wouldn’t want you to lose some fingers to hypothermia, I think they’d be missed,” Neville said dryly, and Ginny might have ignored the comment if it weren’t for the discreet wink that made her swallow down his inuendo with a choke.
Chapter 4: Veritaserum
“Oh no, no no no no,” Hermione stammered as Seamus walked into the common room from the 8th year corridor. “I would rather swallow a flobberworm than play Veritaserum or Vanish! Scratch that, I would rather swallow ten flobberworms!”
“Oh, Mione, come on! It’ll be fun!" Harry whined. "We never got to play in school, you know, with me fighting death everyday….trying to save the world… I just never got to enjoy being a teenager... but it’s totally fine if you don’t want to, you’ve always been more mature, wiser…” Harry sighed, his head staring at the floor as he spoke.
Hermione was being played, she knew it. But she could never deny Harry anything, especially when she owed him so much, he knew that.
“Fine, Harry. But you have to stay the night! Or ask McGonnegal to let you floo, I will not allow you to apparate after drinking,” she growled in response, and a smile appeared instantly on his annoying face.
“Fantastic! How do we play?” Harry asked the group as he plopped down on the carpet near the fire.
Hermione sat next to him, and could feel herself subconsciously wringing her hands as everyone formed a small circle. It was nearly 11, all of the younger students had gone to bed, something they usually did when Harry Potter arrived anyway.
They had all fought in a war, she knew that, but she was still nervous what secrets she might disclose. The fears she kept hidden in her nightmares. The fears she kept even from Harry.
“Well, when you have the bottle you get to pick a person. You ask any question you want. They can take a drink and answer truthfully, or lose an article of clothing. Oh and the Veritaserum is mixed with firewhiskey, so if it’s not the potion, it’s the alcohol that’ll get you talking,” Dean responded to Harry with a wink.
Hermione wanted to vomit. She looked around the small group which consisted of Luna, Neville, Harry, Dean, Ginny, Seamus, and herself. They were all her friends, she was safe. She just needed to remind herself that no one here would hurt her, just embarrass her. Or get her naked. That was all. Very normal night.
“Harry, who was your first kiss?” Seamus asked, as he was first with the bottle.
“Ginny,” he responded immediately, not even bothering to take a drink, just taking the bottle instead. Everyone knew it was Ginny, there was no reason to question it.
“Luna, what’s the weirdest thing Neville did in bed?,” Harry asked before casting a side glance to the tall wizard next to her.
“Mmm nothing weird I suppose. I don’t like to kink shame, though he did let me put some fingers up him once. That may have been weird for him I suppose,” she replied in her fairy-like voice, and Hermione was surprised the she didn’t cough as she took a giant swig from the bottle prior to her response.
Hermione let out an awkward laugh, both confused and surprised at Luna’s forwardness. The rest of the group laughed as well, besides Neville, who was sporting a pink shade to his face. But Ginny’s was the loudest and Hermione silently wondered what else she knew about the former couple’s sex life.
Luna took the bottle from Harry before turning to Neville.
“Neville, did you like when I put my fingers in your bum?”
Hermione could feel her eyes nearly leave her head, and was shocked when Neville chose to discard his shoe instead of answer the question. Interesting… she’d have to circle back on that with him later.
Hermione wondered if Ginny knew and shot a glance at the redhead, who seemed equally shocked and impressed by his lack of response.
Neville took the bottle from Luna and examined the group, and Hermione grew nervous. Harry knew her deepest fears, but Neville knew her secrets.
“Hermione….” He said with a smug drawl. “Who do you like? Like like?”
“Merlin, Neville, what are we twelve?” Hermione asked, but her stomach tightened at what her brain might say. She didn’t like Ginny, or she didn’t think she did? But she had been so confused lately, and there was no telling what the potion would make her say.
She cast a glance to the witch in question, sitting cross legged with an oversized jumper swallowing her whole. Hermione wasn't certain if what she felt for Ginny was romantic, but she was certain it wasn't completely platonic.
She shot a dirty glare at Neville before discarding her shoe as well, half tempted to throw it at him. If the game kept like this, she'd be naked in no time.
Hermione grabbed the bottle from him and glanced around the room deciding on her next victim.
The game continued on until everyone was in various stages of undress and intoxication.
Luna was absolutely smashed, but still completely dressed. The girl had no problem answering any question asked of her, and though unsurprised, Ginny was still impressed at her lack of humility.
Dean and Seamus were both down to their underwear.
Neville bore only his briefs and T-shirt, while Harry sat fully clothed in his shirt, jeans, and underwear.
Ginny had hardly looked at Hermione, it felt indecent. Wrong when she felt how she did, and even worse when she knew Hermione would probably be uncomfortable if she did. But she knew the witch sat in her knickers, tank top, and bra, having lost her jumper, jeans, and both socks.
Ginny herself was getting dangerously close to nude, and would have to start answering questions lest she want everyone to see her completely bare.
“Harry, why did you and Ginny break up?” she heard Hermione ask her ex. Both had said it was mutual, something they just realized needed to happen, but neither went into detail, instead glossing over the weeks that surrounded it whenever anyone would ask. It was private, and Merlin knows the couple never had much privacy.
Ginny watched in slight surprise as Harry took the bottle, took a long pull, and answered “the sex.”
She couldn’t help the laugh that left her lips, and couldn’t contain the tears as the group glanced between the two in surprise. The reactions were mixed throughout, which wasn’t surprising in the least.
“The sex?!” Seamus asked immediately, as if disbelieving sex could make anything bad.
“Nu-uh, not your turn, mate,” Harry replied slowly to Seamus, the alcohol clearly affecting him now. “Buutttt, have you and Dean kissed?”
Seamus glanced down at his state of undress and flushed a deep purple as he took a drink of the potion, and a very timid ‘yes’ leaving his lips.
Harry cheered at the declaration and slapped his palm to Dean’s back. Of course everyone speculated the two were a thing, and the kiss could have not lead to anything, but it could mean something. And was wholly interesting nonetheless.
“Ginny, how could the sex make you break up!” Seamus shouted more than asked when it was finally his turn. And Ginny, in only her bra and knickers knew she had to answer, but the truth was already nearly out, what was the harm in explaining now?
“We did it after the battle, and it was… fine, truly Harry, it was. But it wasn’t mind blowing? And it made me realize I loved Harry platonically, not romantically,” she replied and her chest burned from the firewhiskey and embarrassment as she relived the memory of their after sex affairs, staring at each other as they realized the fire between them had finally burned out.
She couldn’t help but hope she hadn’t embarrassed Harry in the process, they had maintained a solid friendship, and she wanted it to stay that way. But a quick glance to the wizard showed no bad blood was there; her answer was seemingly good by his standards.
She looked around the group before settling on Neville. “Name one professor you’ve had a crush on.”
Neville took a pull from the bottle before instantly responding, “Snape.”
Ginny let out a startled giggle, and saw the mortification creep across Neville’s face, clearly he thought his brain would provide a different response.
“Neville! He was your boggart!” Hermione exclaimed, astonishment clear in her tone.
“Well, yes, but not because he scared me! It’s just… he scared me!”
“Mate... do you like blokes?” Dean mumbled in a drunken state.
The Veritaserum clearly hadn’t worn off because Neville was trying to stop the words from leaving his mouth but was unable.
Ginny was… shocked to say the least. She hadn’t realized how many people weren’t straight, maybe it was a Gryffindor thing? To be brave enough to admit it to yourself? And especially others.
“Neville, he was so mean to you!” She heard Hermione continue, and was thankful the witch hadn’t asked him another question, she had no idea what he would answer at this point. But it was Luna who responded instead.
“Yes but Nev has a bit of a degradation kink,” she said earnestly looking around with meaningful eyes.
“Ooookayy, that’s enough for Neville!“ Harry exclaimed, and Ginny was truly grateful he stepped in before the poor guy was further subjected to embarrassment.
Neville was still an unnatural shade while he examined the group, and Ginny was nervous after placing all that attention on him. She hadn’t expected it to go poorly, not that poorly. She expected him to say Sprout or maybe Pomfrey, but definitely not Snape.
It seemed her nerves were right to fear the Wizard’s choice.
“Ginny. Who do you fancy?” he asked innocently, but Ginny knew better. Ginny especially knew better after his little comment in the corridor earlier.
She narrowed her eyes at him, and wanted nothing more than to bat-bogey hex him where he sat. Instead, Ginny reached around to the clasps on her bra and unhooked them, keeping her eyes trained on him as she took her time placing it on the floor.
She could feel her chest growing red as the embarrassment set in. Harry had seen her naked, well mostly naked in a very dark room. And though she wasn’t particularly shameful, the idea that Hermione could see her was terrifying.
What would she think of her?
Ginny couldn’t look at her, she was terrified at what the witch might be thinking. Ginny decided she could never look to her again, actually.
It’s not like it mattered anyway. Hermione and her were just friends. She had seen tons of breasts by sharing a dorm for 6 years. And tons of girls had seen her breasts because of quidditch.
But it was different. She knew it was different with Hermione. Because she wanted it to be different. Needed it to be.
Ginny eventually realized she had been holding onto the bottle for a few minutes, causing a stall in the game, and prolonging the awkward silence post bra removal.
“Luna. Tell us the most embarrassing fact you have about Nev, please,” Ginny said with a smile to her best friend, silently praying this would be worth it.
Luna thought long and hard, and Ginny could feel her heart racing with anticipation. Please, Luna, please.
“Neville had a wet dream about Harry once,” she replied eventually.
Ginny felt triumphant for a moment, a giggle escaping her, but a full laugh followed when she saw Harry blush at that revelation.
“Luna!!” Neville groaned, his head falling into his palm. “It was during 7th year when they were hunting horcruxes, everyone was having wet dreams about the Chosen One! Oh, sod off Seamus!!” he continued as the boy was now doubled over in hysterics.
Ginny let out another laugh, it was a fair point, if she was getting her rocks off at the idea of Harry saving the world, it was no surprise others would too. She turned to look at Hermione, hoping to see what kind of reaction she was having to this strange admittance.
But as Ginny looked across the circle to Hermione, she noticed she already had the witch’s full attention.
Because there sat Hermione, long hair framing her face as it fell into cascades against her black bra, bottom lip pulled into her teeth, focused on no one but Ginny.
The look wasn't one of embarrassment, or awkwardness. But almost hopeful? And her eyes were pleading as she continued to gaze at Ginny.
Ginny felt her chest burn brighter now, but suddenly courageous by her deep brown eyes.
The want swelled deeper and deeper as she watched Hermione examine her. Ginny was topless.
Ginny was topless.
Ginny was topless and Hermione was staring.
"It's Hermione. I fancy Hermione."
Chapter 5: Remembrance Ball
“Ginny! You should have told me!” Harry exclaimed as he paced Ginny’s empty dorm room; there was only one other 7th year girl who had returned, but she spent most nights sneaking into Hufflepuff to stay the night with her boyfriend. Most nights Ginny spent alone.
“Harry, why would I POSSIBLY tell you this? Hermione is your family, and she dated my brother!! This is absolutely the worst possible scenario to be in!”
“Forget about Ron for a minute! I thought we were friends, I can’t believe you didn’t trust me with this,” Harry said as he plopped down onto Ginny’s bed, his glasses now laid beside him, and his hair sprawled out in a messy heap. He needed a haircut desperately.
“Oh, don’t even, Harry James Potter. You like blokes! And you didn’t tell me either!”
“I never said I like blokes!!”
“Then what was all the blushing when Neville said he got hard for you?!”
“It was flattering! And besides, there are way worse wizards than Neville to fancy! And stop turning this on me!”
“Fine!" Ginny exclaimed dramatically. "I didn’t tell you because it’s none of your business! If I’m asking permission it should be from Ron, my brother, but he’s a git. Plus, she doesn’t even fancy me back! You saw her run out of the room!”
“Merlin, Gin. Everything scares Hermione, especially the unknown," Harry said with a palpable awkwardness. "She’s terrifying when she needs to be, but her bravery has always been for the sake of others. Merlin, she let us walk all over her for years, but the second anyone had anything to say about us and she was at our sides, you don't need anyone's permission when it comes to her.”
“Yeah, Hermione is utterly terrifying,” Ginny muttered, replaying the doe eyed look she gave Ginny before grabbing her clothes and running from the common room.
“Just, give her time. Even if she doesn’t feel the same, she’ll tell you eventually. Her heart is too big to let that guilt sit.”
Ginny let out a deep sigh before sitting on her bed next to Harry, crossing her legs while she ran her fingers through her hair. “You’re right. I just… ugh I freaked out tonight. I wish I hadn’t even said anything!”
“Well why did you?” Harry asked, turning to Ginny with a look of genuine curiosity.
“She’s just… beautiful. And I got overwhelmed with her half naked. And then she was looking at me! We haven’t spoken in weeks before tonight, and she bloody looks at me and I become a mess!” Ginny responded, growing breathless as she continued her explanation before laying down next to Harry.
“You haven’t spoken in weeks? She didn’t mention that...”
“It was just… ugh, probably another situation I screwed up.”
“Well, what’d you do then to make her avoid you?”
“I ran into her after leaving the dungeons one night…”
“You hang out with Slytherins?” Harry interrupted suddenly.
“Yes, Harry. Luna is dating Blaise. We hang out with his friends,” Ginny sighed as she waited to get back to her story.
“You hang out with Malfoy?! Death Eater Malfoy!” Harry exclaimed, his face turning red as he spoke.
“Oh, sod off, Harry, he was 16. You spoke at his trial to dismiss the charges!!”
“Well, that doesn’t mean I expected you to be friends with him,” he grumbled in response. "Just that he didn't deserve Azkaban.."
Ginny let out a snort, “I’d hardly say I’m friends with Malfoy. Now can I continue?”
“So, I was coming back from the dungeons and heard Filch coming… Hermione was coming back from the library under your cloak, and we hid until he passed.”
“How did the both of you fit under the cloak? It was getting difficult for us in third year…”
“She sort of, erm… pushed me against the wall and used the cloak to block us?” Ginny said, observing an impressed look on Harry’s face as he considered how Hermione had managed to cover them both.
“Did you get caught?”
“No… she… she said my eyes were pretty. And I thought about kissing her. I wanted to. But she must have realized how bad the situation was, because she moved away as if nothing happened. And then didn’t speak to me for weeks… well, until tonight.”
“So, she stopped talking to you because you were going to kiss her?”
“No, she didn’t know I wanted to kiss her.”
“Okay... I don’t understand what happened?”
“Harry! Girls don’t just say other girls’ eyes are pretty! And then stare at each other!”
“Merlin. You’re useless.”
“Probably. Never could tell when someone was interested… anyway, can I stay here? Don’t think Hermione will let me crash with her now. And this conversation is weirdly personal.”
Ginny let out a deep sigh and enlarged her bed with her wand before setting it down and getting under the covers.
“Oh, and Ginny?”
“What, Harry?” Ginny said again, growing agitated despite the nerves from her open secret dissipating some tension.
“I, um… I told Hermione I’d ask Cedric to be her date to the Remembrance Ball.”
Hermione had been avoiding Ginny. Again.
But she couldn’t help it. She was utterly confused and caught off guard last month. Hermione hadn’t even said goodbye to Harry, she just opened and closed her mouth like a bass before running to the 8th Year corridor half naked.
She had to give Ginny credit though, because the girl was not avoiding Hermione. It had been easy to avoid Ginny last time, because the she wanted to avoid Hermione as well. But her admission must have given her just a little more Gryffindor courage. And Hermione was finding it difficult not to have an actual conversation with Ginny when the witch was refilling her tea at meals or handing her harder to reach potions ingredients in class.
Somehow, Ginny had managed to toe the line between being pushy and being sweet. Hermione surmised she might have felt the girl to be overbearing if it were anyone else, but found herself enjoying the attentions from someone who truly fancied her.
Maybe she did like Ginny? Or maybe she could?
She had run round and round this with Neville, he’d present an example of how it could work, and Hermione would offer five why it wouldn’t. Hermione had just never thought she might be gay was all. She thought girls were pretty, some were even fit. And she had kissed Cho once in 6th year for a dare. And it definitely wasn’t a bad kiss, but she was in love with Ron at that point and completely heartbroken at the unreciprocated feelings, so it didn’t seem fair to say it was good when it was possibly to make him jealous. And she had gotten a weird feeling in her stomach when she’d visit Ginny in the locker room after a Quidditch match, but she’d always assumed it was just because she knew she shouldn’t be there.
Neville tried to convince Hermione she liked witches, maybe even a little. She could just be bisexual, that was what he had called it. And Hermione wasn’t against it, she was used to being a little different, it just… was a change. And something she didn’t know much about, and she hated it.
She hated being unsure. Hated not knowing everything.
So, she ran. And keeps running whenever Ginny opens her mouth to say something. The proximity she’s gotten over, but the talking? No. The talking she wasn’t ready for.
Harry had tried to talk to Hermione about it before he left, but she couldn’t face him. No way.
Ginny was his first love! And he was like her brother!
Just the thought of that awkward conversation was enough to make her hide under her covers the next morning as he knocked at her door.
Harry had written her over the course of the month since that night. She skimmed the letters and never responded. She didn’t know what to say to him. He mostly was checking in on her, asking if she wanted to talk. But with her ignoring the letters, he must have decided to go all in, asking her directly on her feelings for Ginny, on what she wanted to do.
Hermione knew she was just… ill-informed on the topic of her sexuality, maybe even sexuality in general. She’d get all the facts first. Learn whatever she could before trying to discuss it with others.
So, like every other problem she encountered, she first went to the library.
What a piss poor idea that had been.
A library had never failed her. Never. But the wizarding world was still a little backwards, still set in their traditional ways. So, when she searched the library for any sort of information regarding sexuality, the most she found was a small section of books regarding sex rituals.
She read them anyway, despite quickly realizing they were not what she needed.
The books were interesting, but Hermione knew the Hogwarts library was a bust. She realized she’d have to go to a muggle bookstore and try her luck there, which probably should have been the first place she looked if she were being completely honest. But she thought she maybe didn't want to be honest with herself, about anything right now. After a day of internal conflict regarding research, Hermione eventually conceded to try muggle literature.
Hermione would apparate to Edinburgh during a Hogsmeade weekend to find some books and a gown for the Remembrance Ball. Despite the absolutely abysmal night, Harry kept his word and spoke to Cedric. They had written each other a few letters, mostly catching up since the end of the war and reminiscing on their time in school.
Cedric was kind, and as attractive as ever, but Hermione found him to be rather… plain, and far too similar to Harry, leaving her uncomfortable. But she gave him a chance all the same and hoped that maybe this feeling was just a rebound, it would be easier if it were.
So, Hermione found a gown, and a small stack of books, and continued reading whatever she could, and writing to Cedric when able. The ball was only a couple weeks away, and the more she learned, the worse she felt.
After that night, Ginny had been determined to make things as normal as possible for Hermione. Or as normal as possible for someone who was desperately in love with their female friend who was definitely, probably not, into girls.
Hermione still wasn’t talking to her, but she wasn’t running from the area whenever Ginny was nearby either. That could be considered a win, right?
So, instead of talking to each other like normal people, Ginny found herself showing Hermione that things were okay, that they would be.
When Hermione’s tea was empty, Ginny was there to refill it, when Hermione was the last one to the potions cabinet, Ginny made sure she had adequate ingredients. And when Hermione spilled her ink pot, she was always quick to clean it before her parchment stained.
Ginny knew the situation was weird for Hermione, but they had been friends forever, and she was determined to ensure that relationship was okay above anything else.
And though Ginny felt like she was being overbearing, she knew there was a fine line between being kind and being… obsessive. So, she decided to give a little extra distance leading up to the Remembrance Ball, leaving her entirely nervous when the event finally arrived. Ginny had tried to take her time getting ready tonight. She spent some time straightening her hair, a few extra moments doing her makeup, but still found herself completely ready with an hour to spare.
She had thought about sitting in the common room and waiting for Harry to arrive, but then remembered that Hermione would probably finish getting ready early too, and the thought of running into her made her stomach heave. So, Ginny ran to the dungeons where she knew Luna would be, and hoped a younger student would let her in. After waiting outside the entrance for a few moments, she eventually conceded to knocking and telling a second year to grab one of the 8th years. Draco eventually let her in, and now she sat with he and Theo near the fire waiting for the rest to finish changing.
“I haven’t spoken to her since that night, just gotten her tea and cleaned ink and such, it’s not that weird,” Ginny said to the two Slytherins.
“How’d she look naked?” Theo asked with a waggle of his eyebrows, making Ginny roll her eyes in disbelief. Bloody boys.
“She’s Hermione Granger, she was bloody fit, what do you think?” Ginny snapped at him.
“Granger would manage to ensure perfection in all aspects, unsurprising,” Draco said, his back to the group as he conjured some glasses.
“Well, the tea thing is definitely weird. Maybe creepy. Even I wouldn’t do that for a witch,” Theo responded, before shooting a look to Draco as if seeking confirmation.
“That’s one of many reasons why no witch’s family will agree to let their daughter marry you,” Draco said with a soft laugh before pouring three shots of firewhiskey. “I think you’ll be fine, Weaslette. Granger will tell you to back off, that witch is a lot of things, but spineless isn’t one of them.”
Ginny took one of the glasses from Draco and quickly drank the spirit, feeling it warm her chest almost immediately. She pushed the glass back towards Draco, shaking it slightly as she signaled a refill. He flashed a quick smile and topped off their glasses once again before taking a seat in the velvet green chair, sitting slowly to ensure his dress robes remained wrinkle free.
“So, what’s your plan for tonight then?” he asked after taking a drink from his glass.
“There is no plan, she’s bringing Cedric as her date, and I’m going with Harry.”
“You and Potter back together then?” Theo questioned, an inquisitive look on his face as he studied her, obviously running through the last 30 minutes of conversation.
“Not even a little. I think the original plan was to treat it as a sort of double date… if it was a group situation then it wouldn’t be so awkward if things between her and Cedric didn’t go well.”
“Some plan that turned out to be,” Draco said with another laugh.
“Bloody right… Harry said they’re arriving about an hour late though, his Auror training runs long today. Mind if I crash your group until then? I can’t imagine standing around in silence with Hermione until they get here,” Ginny asked the wizards desperately.
“Well you’re already here, Weaslette. I wasn’t planning on escorting you back to your tower,” Draco said sarcastically.
“Why would Ginny go back to Gryffindor?” Ginny heard in an unmistakably airy voice.
“I’m not going back to Gryffindor, Luna. I just asked if they minded me crashing your party while I waited for Harry.”
“Ah, well I don’t mind. Neither does Blaise. But I think Hermione may get lonely.”
Ginny let out a sigh, many believed Luna to be a bit air-headed, but Ginny knew she knew what she was doing. Luna was Ravenclaw after all.
“Luna. You know I can’t see Hermione. Not after that night.”
“Yes, but what’s one more weird night with Hermione. I think it might be your thing.”
“I don’t want weird encounters to be our thing,” Ginny said and rubbed her temples to ward off the growing headache.
“Wrap up the pity party, I’m not fixing your makeup,” Pansy said as she left the 8th year corridor, “now get up, we’re already late.”
Hermione had spent approximately 52 minutes standing in her room, staring at the door, before Neville begged her to join him. She had been ready for hours of course, but was waiting for Harry and Cedric to arrive, she felt it might be rude to go to the dance before her date.
But after another 13 minutes of begging, Hermione decided to go with Neville to the Great Hall and wait for her date there. Her weeks of research on sexuality explained all kinds of sexuality and what they all meant, but nothing really helped Hermione find an answer that felt right to herself. There wasn’t a phrase that was easy to define what she felt, and that unknown scared her. How could she understand what she felt if she couldn’t even understand herself? Where did that leave her? Where did that leave Ginny?
Hermione realized the irony in that first night when Ron broke up with her, the crying to Ginny over not knowing who she was, the even more confusion that followed for months later. She knew she liked being around Ginny.
It was easy.
She had spent weeks at the Burrow. The two could spend hours talking, or even fall into a comfortable silence after a long day. Ginny’s personality meshed well with Hermione’s. She was strong, willing to stand up for herself, but still managed to compromise when necessary. She was agreeable but fierce.
But most importantly, after years of fighting to be what Ron wanted, what he needed, and still falling short; Ginny managed to make Hermione feel like she was enough, like she had always been enough.
Ginny made her feel whole, safe, and secure. And Hermione found herself seeking the comforts only Ginny had provided, sought the burning in her chest when Ginny looked at her.
And try as she might, Hermione knew that she had never seen anyone as beautiful as Ginny. Hermione first noticed in the hallway under the invisibility cloak, but felt it with her entire being the night in the Common Room. Ginny was beautiful, and Hermione wanted to study her like a painting, observing the intricate details that made her entirely unique.
She knew that what she felt for Ginny must be more than platonic, but she didn’t know how to address it. And she didn’t know if she had blown her chance entirely by running from her again. So, for nearly two weeks Hermione had been allowing herself to build the courage to act like a proper adult once and for all. To finally try to be mature and honest about what she might be feeling. And she was going to do what she said she was, she was going to actually date.
So, Hermione had decided to give Cedric a fair chance, he was a great pen pal, and was thoroughly educated in a plethora of fields, Hermione couldn’t help but admit he was fascinating. And tomorrow, Hermione would talk to Ginny for the first time in ages and ask her to the next Hogsmeade weekend. She would have to muster up all the Gryffindor courage she could and be completely honest with them both, admitting she wanted to casually date.
It was already something she had told Cedric, and he was completely understanding, it would be hard to be serious when she was at school for another term anyway. But she knew how Ginny felt, and she wasn’t sure how Ginny would feel when all was said and done.
But she needed to be honest, and needed to give herself the opportunities she deserved.
So, when she entered the hall with Neville and spotted the lithe redhead in a long satin black gown, her stomach seized in on itself, and she knew if she didn’t talk to her now, she might never.
Hermione walked over to Ginny before her brain could catch up to say what a poor idea it was. Ginny was grabbing some bottles of butterbeer but immediately stopped following Hermione’s arrival.
“Hello, Hermione,” she said in a slightly surprised tone, her pupils dilating as she studied Hermione’s figure wrapped in red, long sleeves to cover her scars.
“Ginny,” Hermione responded bravely, “will you dance with me?”
Hermione watched as Ginny’s eyes widened before placing the drinks back down on the table. She grabbed the girls hand and could feel her throat constrict as she tried to remember how to breathe. Hermione forced herself to remember she was a Gryffindor, she had fought in a war, she had looked death in the face, she was brave. She could dance with a girl she liked.
That pep talk worked for all of 45 seconds until she found a clearing on the dance floor and faced Ginny.
How did she dance with a girl? Where did her arms go? Where did her arms go?
Ginny looked at Hermione with a timid smile and reached out to grab her hands. Hermione watched Ginny as she moved to place Hermione’s arms on Ginny’s shoulders and felt the weight of Ginny’s own around her waist.
Hermione felt her throat open and the unease in her stomach loosen. She felt better, grounded.
She began to sway with the girl, a Weird Sisters song blaring in the background. Ginny was wearing heels, and Hermione was slightly amazed at the difference it made in height.
“How are you?” Ginny asked her, eyelashes covering most of her eyes as she did her best to not look too directly at her.
“I’ve been good. Thinking.”
“Well, that’s not surprising,” Ginny responded with a gentle smile. “Anything specifically?”
“Yes... I don’t want to run away from you anymore, Ginny. I like the way I feel with you. But… I’m confused, and I don’t understand it, or us.” Hermione said in a whisper, glancing up to the witch and watching the understanding cross her features.
“I understand, Hermione. This won’t change how we are; we can still be friends; I don’t want this to be weird. But thanks for letting me know,” and Ginny forced another smile.
“Ginny. I want to try. I don’t know what I’m doing, or even who I am. I’m not saying it’ll be anything serious, or that it’ll be easy. But do you want to go to Hogsmeade with me?”
“Umm, yes? Yes. I’d like that,” Ginny said, and Hermione could feel the tension leave her shoulders immediately.
“Fantastic,” Hermione responded earnestly.
The two continued to dance, and Hermione felt comfortable despite the growing awareness of what she was doing with Ginny. She could feel Neville’s eyes boring into her back and did her best to ignore the warmth threatening to flood her cheeks. But all those worries slipped away when she looked up to see Ginny staring back at her, always as if the rest of the world didn’t exist, as if nothing mattered but Hermione.
A cough behind them broke her concentration, and Hermione pulled away from Ginny to see Harry glancing back.
“Hello, you two. Didn’t realize you had stolen my date,” Harry said to Hermione with a wink. She felt her face redden at his words and tried to put more distance between her and Ginny, especially once she saw Cedric standing behind Harry.
“Oh hello, Cedric! Glad you both could come! Right Ginny?” Hermione asked with a squeak to her voice, and she heard both Harry and Ginny let out a small laugh at her expense.
“Right, wouldn’t miss it!” Cedric said to Hermione, and she felt him pull her in for a hug. The hug was warm, and he smelled like bergamot. Her face was growing red again, she knew it, and she was once again very aware of the awkwardness of causal dating. How did people do this?
“Umm, should we get drinks then?” She asked the group and moved toward the refreshments. Hermione knew there wouldn’t be anything alcoholic, but she also knew Harry or Seamus was sure to have something for her punch if she asked. She quickly handed out drinks to the group and without even asking, Harry pulled a bronze flask from his dress robes and poured a splash in their cups before announcing a subtle, “cheers!”
Hermione swallowed the drink quickly, ready for the spirit to help ease the growing tension of the night.
The group had a relatively fun night, with little to no awkwardness, just dancing and laughs. Hermione was engulfed by Cedric’s stories about his time at the Ministry, and the new regulations he was helping to enact. His ideas were solid and were sure to make a difference to the wizarding world. But after a few hours of standing in her heels, the cushioning charm was beginning to wear off and she was growing tired.
“I think I’m going to call it a night, but this was fun! Hopefully you two can plan another trip here soon?” she asked the wizards as she made to stand and leave for the night.
“Right! Let me walk you?” Cedric asked Hermione as he stood as well, casting a nod to Harry and Ginny.
“No, no, we’ll join you. I need to get off anyway, got to see Sirius in the morning,” Harry said, and he offered a hand to Ginny, pulling her from her seat.
The group walked back to Gryffindor tower, though Hermione was sure it took twice as long as she dragged her sore feet across the castle. Once they finally arrived at the Fat Lady’s portrait, Hermione thought she may have lost a toe, and was ready to lay in bed for the remainder of the weekend, maybe even the week.
“Commemini,” she said to the Fat Lady and watched as the door swung open, “Well... this was lovely, but I desperately need to get out of these heels,” she said to Cedric with a small smile. “Goodnight, Harry, I’ll write you soon.”
“Goodnight, Hermione, thank you for letting me escort you tonight,” Cedric said before placing a chaste kiss to her lips. Hermione was momentarily stunned, she hadn’t expected him to kiss her, though she supposed it was daft to assume otherwise.
The kiss was warm, but slightly wet, and overall average. Maybe better than kissing Ron, but not by much.
But it was the look on Ginny’s face that made the situation truly leave an impact. Her eyebrows were scrunched in distaste, but a trying smile was on her lips as though she may convince herself she was happy.
“Yes, umm, goodnight,” Hermione said as she nearly threw herself through the portrait, letting it close behind her, unsure if Ginny had even managed to get through. It didn’t matter, she needed a minute. A few minutes.
Hermione kicked her heels off and scooped them from the floor before nearly sprinting to her room. Once she found the familiar wooden door, she pushed it open, removing the now constricting dress from her body, it felt suffocating as she thought about the kiss, about the look on Ginny’s face as it happened.
It wouldn’t have been a bad kiss she supposed, if the situation weren’t the way it was. Cedric was a gentleman, and was well read and interesting, but he was unexciting, and the kiss was… bland. She wanted a fire in her core, she wanted need and desperation for more.
She wanted that.
She deserved that.
But would she get that?
The portrait closed abruptly as Hermione escaped from the hall, and Ginny felt a bile rise in her throat at the thought of Hermione kissing Cedric. She said a quick goodbye without looking at the two wizards and walked back to her room as if on autopilot.
What had gone wrong? Hermione had asked her to Hogsmeade, and she knew that she still had Cedric as a date, but she thought that maybe it was as friends? As her and Harry had gone? Why else would she ask her?
But the kiss caught her off guard, it wasn’t how things were supposed to go, not when Hermione was willing to give it a chance.
Hermione wasn’t one to go back on what she said, but it felt hard all the same. Ginny fancied Hermione. She had for years, but knowing Hermione had been almost hers but now was gone made it hard. How had it all gone wrong so fast?
Once at her room, Ginny took the satin dress off, placed it on a hanger and put on a large Holyhead Harpies t-shirt and a pair of plain cotton knickers. She was ready for bed, to just soak and mope in the heartbreak she was beginning to feel.
This was worse than when Hermione wasn’t talking to her, worse than when they had avoided each other for weeks. Because she couldn’t blame Hermione now, she had been honest about what was to happen, Ginny just got her hopes up.
She laid in bed and stared at the ceiling while her roommate changed, throwing clothes into a bag to take to her boyfriend’s room. Ginny felt jealous suddenly. She was completely alone tonight; the darkness was there to remind her of that. The room was quiet after a while, and Ginny’s thoughts cleared as she realized the witch had left, though she wasn’t sure how long it had been. Ginny tried to consider how she could face Hermione without her feelings betraying her, should Ginny see other people as well? Would that make things less awkward; would it help her move on from the intense feelings she got whenever Hermione was around?
A knock broke her thoughts once again, and she threw her feet to the ground, slowly dragging them across the cold floor.
Once she opened the door, the light from the hall blurred her vision as she adapted to the sharp contrast in lighting.
“Ginny!” she heard a voice say breathlessly, Hermione. She’d know the voice anywhere, and her chest cleaved again at the silent reminder at what she felt.
But Ginny was pushed backwards into her room again, the door closing hard when warm hands were placed on her cheeks.
The kiss was sudden. Earth shattering and all encompassing. It was warm.
And lit Ginny on fire.
This kiss was everything she had waited for. Hermione was all she had wanted. And the growing need was unquenchable.
Ginny wrapped an arm around Hermione’s waist, pulling her close, their bodies molding against each other as Hermione’s tongue began to seek entrance. Ginny opened immediately to her and allowed her tongue to work in tandem with Hermione’s, as her hand moved to the messy curls, fingers wrapping into a fist at the girl’s scalp.
This kiss would be the death of her, because now that she had a taste of Hermione Granger, Ginny knew she would never been the same.
Chapter 6: Almost All the Way
Ginny woke up to light gently flooding her room when she realized she hadn’t closed her beds curtains the night before. She moved to close the curtains, hopeful to get a few more hours of uninterrupted sleep when she finally noticed the small figure clutching her body.
The events of last night flooded Ginny’s mind instantly, and she was grateful to remember that nothing past some light kissing had occurred. Soothed by this, she opted to wandlessly close the curtains instead, hoping not to wake Hermione. But the abrupt change in lighting must have woken the witch, because her relaxed hold on Ginny stiffened in the now dark confines of her postered bed.
“Ginny….” Hermione said slowly, as if willing reality to be different.
“Umm good morning, Hermione,” Ginny responded cautiously as she sat up in her bed.
“No, we didn’t. Last I remember it was…um, the kiss, and then… well this?”
“Okay, right. Right….”
“Are you okay, Hermione?” Ginny asked nervously, a pinch in her chest reminding her this was real, and suddenly not as happy a moment as she thought. Hermione considered this question for ages it felt, and Ginny wanted nothing more than to vomit on the floor beside her.
“Yes. I’m okay. I’m- I’m sorry I kissed you. I didn’t ask, though I realize I should have... God, this is a mess.”
“Hermione, it’s okay, honestly. It was a good kiss, great even, please don’t worry about me!” Ginny begged, last night had been all she could have hoped for, she didn't want the memory spoiled by Hermione's unnecessary guilt.
“Ginny, it’s not you… it’s everything. We didn’t think about this at all! What will Harry think? And Ron? And your mother?”
“Harry has known that I’ve liked you for weeks, he’s okay. Harry is always okay. As far as Ron and my Mum… well, I don’t really care? You just wanted to try and date remember? Let us try, please?”
Ginny sat in the dark listening to Hermione’s labored breathing as she seemed to try to talk herself down from the cliff she had climbed.
“Why did you kiss me?” Ginny asked after a moment, the safety of the darkness hiding her fear. Did Hermione not want this anymore? Ginny was drowning after last night, she couldn’t accept this might be over before it even began. She wouldn’t accept it.
“When Cedric kissed me… before… before I thought I might want to try dating in general. I wanted to just, date. I never got the chance to try dating before Ron, all I had ever known was Ron. And that night with Filch, it made me confused. God, I’ve been so confused. So I thought I might just need to try dating, you know? Maybe that’s why I had been so out of sorts around you. So I asked Harry to set Cedric and I up, and he’s fine, honestly. But then that night with the Veritaserum… I saw you. I had gotten a glimpse that night with Filch. You just looked… so beautiful. And then in the common room, you were so confident and unapologetic, and I SAW you. And I wanted to see all of you, every part of you, who you are. And it scared me. I was terrified. I had never considered I could… like girls? Maybe I should have realized it in hindsight…. Anyway, after the ball, when Cedric kissed me, it felt… dull. And I wanted more. I didn’t want to settle. I wanted something that made me come alive, I had to know how it would feel with you. I had to know if it was all in my head,” she said sagely, and Ginny could faintly see the girl pulling her bottom lip between her teeth, on edge as she poured out these revelations.
“Was it all in your head?” Ginny whispered, unsure if she wanted to know the answer at all.
Something inside Ginny broke, all the nerves and fears and uncertainty she had felt over the last few months was gone. It didn’t matter anymore, none of it mattered except Hermione.
Ginny pushed herself off the bed and towards the outline of Hermione, pulling the girl into her. Ginny’s lips found Hermione’s, warm and soft and inviting, and she ran her tongue against her bottom lip desperate to feel Hermione return the kiss. Hermione, never one to be outdone, kissed Ginny with fervor, and Ginny could feel her head swimming.
Kissing Ginny was like taking her first breathe of air. Ginny was warm and sweet, and Hermione was on fire. She had never had a kiss like this, she wanted more, she demanded more. Hermione brought her hand up to Ginny’s neck, noticing the wild pulse point before dragging her fingers through the girl’s hair.
Ginny’s tongue danced against Hermione’s before she pulled away. Hermione was acting on instinct, intoxicated on all that was Ginny Weasley, she’d worry about all the complications later.
Ginny let out a soft whimper when Hermione’s mouth left hers, but a deep moan came as Hermione’s mouth latched on to that erratic pulse. She ran her tongue over the spot, eliciting another moan from Ginny as she gently pulled the skin between her teeth. Hermione was a woman starved after hearing Ginny’s moan fill the air.
She hadn’t been sure she was doing this right; she never did much beyond kissing with Ron, and his hands never strayed further than her back. Was Ginny enjoying herself?
Hermione felt a hand tentatively on her stomach, the warmth seeping through the thin cotton of her tank top. The warmth moved lower, and she could feel the pulse between her legs. With all the Gryffindor courage she could muster, she continued to press her mouth against Ginny’s neck, letting her breathe guide her movements. Hermione continued to suck at her neck, before moving upward, nipping Ginny’s ear delicately. Hermione decided she was done holding back with Ginny, done holding back at all, she wasn’t going to be unsure, she was going to do what felt right.
She squeezed her hand that was still in Ginny’s hair into a fist at the base of her skull, and gently pulled her head backwards, exposing even more delicious skin. Her other hand explored whatever skin she could find, her arms, her legs, everything.
But the insatiable desire Hermione was feeling kept growing as she fell deeper into Ginny. She pulled her lips from the girl’s neck and kissed her mouth once again. Their tongues danced against each other, and Hermione let out a groan of approval as Ginny pulled her lower lip between her teeth, making her delirious.
Her hand found a soft spot on Ginny’s thigh, her thumb rubbing small circles into the skin there while she savored the kiss. Ginny’s hand left her stomach and moved up Hermione’s arm and back down, leaving a trail of goosebumps in her wake.
“More,” she breathed into Ginny’s mouth, a plea she desperately wanted answered.
Ginny couldn’t believe this was real. She prayed this wasn’t a cruel joke from her brain. She had thought about this moment so many times, fantasized about it, but this was better than she had ever expected.
She was forcing herself to hold back from overwhelming Hermione with all that she wanted. But she was losing control very quickly. Hermione’s hands were dancing across her skin, and the temptation was too great. And the airy “more,” Hermione breathed against her broke all her willpower.
Ginny pushed Hermione down against the bed, not letting her mouth leave hers once. Ginny was straddling Hermione’s lower stomach now and was fully aware of how wet her knickers were in this position. She was burning up, and she wanted nothing more than to force the pleasure from Hermione’s body, to hear just how loud she could make the witch.
She pulled away from Hermione, prepared to show her in kind just how wild she made Ginny feel. Ginny pushed her hands under Hermione’s tank top, the soft skin begging her to explore every inch.
Ginny moved her hands up, closer and closer to the soft peaks that were pressed against Ginny’s own breasts.
Her fingers grazed the underside of Hermione’s breast, and Ginny had to fight the moan when she realized she wasn’t wearing a bra.
Hermione whimpered underneath her, and nearly cried out when Ginny began to pepper her collarbone with kisses, licking and nipping at every inch of her exposed skin.
“Ginny,” Hermione groaned as she pushed her hips up, and Ginny sucked onto Hermione’s neck hard as the friction teased her throbbing core.
Ginny let her hands explore further now, and she rubber her thumb over Hermione’s nipple, before pinching it softly. Hermione’s breathing grew harder and Ginny wanted desperately to taste the witches breast, to pull the taut peak between her lips. But as Ginny moved to tease Hermione again, her fingers delicately moving across the hardened peak, her breath caught in her throat as she felt a hand move between her legs.
Ginny was shell shocked.
Hermione’s hand pressed against the outside of Ginny’s knickers nervously, and Ginny was grateful she hadn’t worn any pants the night before, just the oversized shirt.
“So wet, want… you” Hermione breathed as she moved her palm over the damp cotton and Ginny was moaning again, begging for sweet release.
“Hermione, wanted this… for so long.”
Ginny began to grind herself into Hermione’s hand still outside her knickers, her breathing hitched every time her hand neared her clit. Ginny was nearing orgasm now, her head was swimming, but as Hermione moved to finally place her hand inside the fabric, to finally make contact with the wet folds, Ginny snapped out of the trance she was in.
“Mione, Mione, we should stop,” she said forcefully, her breathing labored and hard.
“You want to stop?” Hermione asked in a dazed voice, just as surprised as Ginny had been.
“I don’t want to, but we should. I don’t want to rush into anything. I- I want to take you on a date. I want to do this right.”
“Oh,” Hermione responded, and Ginny could still hear the confusion that laced her tone.
“I’m sorry. I should have said something earlier. I just, don’t want to mess this up. I want to do this properly, and I don’t want you to have any regrets.”
“Regrets. Right…” Hermione said as her breathing was finally evening out. “Um, so, are we still on for Hogsmeade then? What does this make us?”
“I’m not going to make a decision for you.. but I’m yours. I’m all in with you.”
“This will be a big deal you know?” Hermione asked her. "It'll be awkward to back out once we've started, I don't want to ruin our friendship."
“This won't ruin us. Sure it may be awkward if it doesn't work out... but we can manage. You're Hermione Granger, you can conquer anything. How we act moving forward; it’s entirely up to you.”
“Right… um, what if we just… don’t hide it from anyone in the castle? If anyone asks we can tell them we’re seeing each other, but we don't need to make some sort of announcement, you know? …I’m nervous, honestly. But I’m not scared.”
“We can do that, whatever you want. We’ll just… see what happens?”
“Yes… I just- I don’t know if I’m ready for Ron to know, or your Mum. Is that alright?” she asked nervously.
“Of course it's alright! Ron can be a right git, and after the Triwizard Tournament I don’t really blame you for being nervous about Mum… it’ll be alright. We’ll figure it out.”
“It’ll be okay, Mione. I’ve waited forever for you, I’m going to make sure everything is perfect. I’m ready do to anything for this,” Ginny declared before placing a tender kiss against Hermione's temple.
She had never been more certain of anything, all Ginny knew was that she'd find anyway to be with the witch, not even her brother or mother could stand in her way.
Chapter 7: Feelings
sorry for the long wait on the chapter, there's only one more after this, so I was trying to figure out how I wanted to break them up. :)
Hermione and Ginny had been dating casually for about a month. And to say it was going well was an understatement. Hermione had never expected the two of them to be so easy, to be so right. And despite all the anxiety she felt previously, they somehow… worked.
They had gone to Hogsmeade a few times, and nothing was nearly as weird as she had expected. When her and Ron started dated there were always some awkward and quiet moments, times when they stared at either each other unsure what to say, or stared at their drinks unsure how to act.
But her and Ginny spent hours talking without even noticing how much time had passed. They discussed things Hermione would have never expected, and Hermione was surprised at how engaging Ginny was. She was great conversation, and the girls complimented each other well. Hermione supposed it was something she hadn't noticed as all her time had been spent with the boys. But she was loving her uninterrupted days with Ginny, their time alone was as natural as it could be.
And more surprisingly, Hermione was beginning to find that maybe she didn’t hate quidditch after all.
How bad could the sport truly be when she got to watch a certain red haired witch fly around in a fitted long sleeve top?
She had always hated watching Harry and Ron play, they were so dangerous and impulsive. But watching Ginny was like watching an artist work.
Ginny was so calculating when she flew, she could see it in her eyes, in the way she watched the field, spotting things before even Hermione could. It was amazing. She had come to watch her practices on a few occasions, sitting the stands while the captain directed the newer players to plays Ginny had created herself. Oliver Wood would be proud.
But she had been surprised when Ginny didn’t invite her to her match, though Ginny promised it was because she just assumed Hermione wouldn’t be interested. Hermione decided she would have none of that, this wasn't a match where Harry was trying to kill Draco Malfoy. Or one where Ron was trying to convince the school he was a halfway decent player.
Instead Hermione found herself wrapping a long scarf around her neck and following Dean, Neville, and Seamus to the stands for a cold winter match in one of Harry's old jerseys.
“Hermione’s got it bad,” Dean said as the witch used Neville's body to block the chilly wind from her face.
“I don’t know what’s more surprising, Hermione attending a quidditch game or her missing half an astronomy lesson because she couldn’t stop staring at Ginny,” Neville added with a laugh, and Hermione scowled at the boys as she remembered last weeks lecture.
“Like Granger couldn’t teach the class if she wanted to,” a voice chuckled from afar and Hermione turned to see Blaise Zabini guiding Luna to the seats directly behind them, Draco, Pansy, and Theo all in tow.
“Hello Hermione,” Luna said in a light voice before greeting the other boys, “Neville, Seamus, Dean.”
“Hullo Luna, hello Snakes,” Hermione said to the rest of the group with a curt nod before turning back to the field.
“Snakes? Weaslette would be so ashamed to hear her girlfriend is being mean to her friends,” Draco Malfoy drawled in response, a slight lilt to his voice.
“Ginny is not my girlfriend, and she’s the one that calls you snakes,” Hermione cooed back to Draco sarcastically.
“Awwww, she talks about us?” Theo said to Hermione with a dramatic swoon, a hand on his heart as he spoke.
“You wouldn’t say the witch you flirt and fuck is your girlfriend?” Pansy added with a bit of indignation, and Hermione could feel her judgment.
Hermione’s eyes widened at the brazen statement Pansy made, surprised to hear her use such vulgar language, and trying best to ignore the jab.
“Oh they don’t fuck,” Blaise said, his head propped on top Luna’s as he looked at Hermione.
“And how do you figure that?” Hermione questioned. They most definitely had not had sex, not that she didn't want to... a lot. But she didn’t think it was obvious. It just… hadn’t happened.
“Well you’re willingly at a quidditch match, seems like a good a try as any to get in her knickers,” Neville said to Dean and Seamus quietly, though not as quietly as intended as it caused surprised laughs from the Slytherins.
“Oh sod off, Neville,” Hermione mumbled before turning back to the field, she couldn’t continue to listen to the Slytherin’s about her and Ginny, especially when she felt their relationship was still so new, she didn't need their comments to make her second guess things.
She had finally discussed Ginny with Harry, and their friendship was still as strong as ever. Hermione was so grateful that nothing bad had happened to that relationship, Harry was the only family she’d had left. Especially after realizing she was unable to recover her parents memories, it had been a long couple of months after the war, and even longer nights on the horcrux hunt trying to research ways to fix the obliviate she had cast. She had spent some time with the Weasley’s, and they had adopted her as a second daughter, though she found the most support from Charlie and the twins after her and Ron broke up.
Hermione wasn’t sure if any of them knew her and Ginny were seeing each other, though she supposed probably not, she would have most likely heard from Ron by now if he knew, and Ron wasn’t one to shut his mouth. But after her breakup with Ron, her letters from Molly had become nearly nonexistent.
She just hoped they all cared about Ginny enough to not completely blow up if they ever become official.
“Stop staring, Granger, her ass doesn’t look that great,” Blaise quipped from behind her, breaking her from her thoughts.
Hermione hadn’t even realize the match started, and she surely didn’t know how long it had been going on. Once she was caught up on the score and generally what had been going on, Hermione did her best to actually watch Ginny play.
She spent the rest of the match taking quips from the Slytherins about her and Ginny and tried desperately to refrain from hexing the group.
“Oh, you were fantastic!” Hermione exclaimed to Ginny as the girl headed to the showers, wrapping her arms around the captain’s torso.
“Oh, don’t! I’m all sweaty,” Ginny replied as she pressed a kiss to Hermione’s temple, causing a soft sigh to escape her lips.
Hermione reluctantly let go of Ginny at her insistence, moving back to observe the loose tendrils that framed Ginny’s face beautifully, her face glowing from the sheen of sweat.
Hermione was always sort of transfixed when she noticed Ginny’s beauty in moments she thought she shouldn’t, she had always been completely disgusted when Ron and Harry would hug her after matches, shoving them off quickly as they laughed at her discomfort.
“I’m going to go shower and address the team about the match, but want to hang out? I was thinking a picnic near the lake?” Ginny said to Hermione with a look of pure adoration, causing Hermione’s heart to leap in response.
“Yes, okay. I’ll go get something put together?”
“No need, just go to my room and grab the basket near my trunk then meet me in the common room in…. an hour?” Ginny asked.
“An hour is perfect,” Hermione said with a nervous smile before giving the witch a kiss goodbye.
Hermione began the trek back to Gryffindor, the grounds now quiet as many had already gone back after the match.
She allowed herself to once again get lost in her thoughts regarding their relationship, fears of Ron and Molly running rampant at the forefront of her brain.
Hermione quietly scolded herself, the two weren’t even a couple yet. Even though she desperately wanted to be. There may be no need to worry about the what ifs right now, though she admitted to herself that was all Hermione knew how to do.
Ginny had been patient and kind when they started dating openly, always being the first to grab her hand as they walked through the hallways, sitting next to her at meals, and even telling their friends before Hermione could, completely erasing any sort of nerves Hermione was feeling.
She felt bad about the excessive worrying she had done prior, especially now that she knew how wonderful their relationship was. Hermione was all in with Ginny, something she hadn’t felt… ever. Even though Ron was her best friend, she had always had small reservations about whether they would last, whether Harry or the war was what kept them together.
In hindsight, the fears turned out to be true. However, once she kissed Ginny, a switch flipped, and Hermione felt no worries regarding what would happen. Because she knew, that even if they did break up, the love she carried for Ginny would stay and their friendship would still be intact. But Hermione knew, if they didn't end up together, the heartbreak would eat her alive.
Ginny walked Hermione down to the lake, the wicker basket in her left hand, while she held Hermione’s with her right. The relationship had been great, mostly. But she couldn’t help and confess to Luna how terrifying it all was.
Now that Ginny knew Hermione cared for her the same way, she was completely afraid that she would mess it up. They had gone on dates and were able to comfortably interact alone and with others. But Ginny had hurdles she was afraid to jump, boundaries too afraid to cross.
“Granger is definitely a virgin, stop freaking out,” Blaise said to her near the fire one night.
Ginny had run throughout the castle in a blind panic trying to find Luna, near a panic attack after an evening with Hermione in the library while she poured through notes for her 'Hogwarts: A History' rewrite.
She finally managed to find the white-haired girl through Theo, who explained he hadn’t seen Blaise since lunch. Ginny knew the Snakes would know if Luna were in the dungeons, so she ran to Ravenclaw as if she were trying to beat her mile time.
“How would you know she’s a virgin? She dated both Krum and my brother. Plus she seemed to know perfectly well what she was doing after the ball,” Ginny said through narrowed eyes to the boy.
“I think Blaise means her aura,” Luna said to Ginny. “Her aura feels innocent, don’t you think?”
“Yes, sweetheart. It’s definitely white in nature,” Blaise said to Luna, though Ginny knew he was just appeasing her.
“Oh? Should we consult Trelawney while we’re at it?” Ginny grumbled to them from the blue suede couch next to them. “Maybe she can tell me when the stars will align for Venus and affect her rising sun?”
“Oh no, Trelawney’s aura is green when she has visions. I think she's jealous of those who have true visions,” Luna said thoughtfully, causing an unexpected laugh from Blaise and easing Ginny’s mood slightly.
“See, Ginny? Innocent aura. Even Luna agrees. So stop worrying about popping Granger’s cherry,” Blaise said to Ginny, the cool smile still across his face.
“It’s not the sex, Zabini,” Ginny exclaimed, laying back on the couch dramatically, her legs dangling off the side over the armrest.
“Oh no, Ginny is in love,” Luna said wistfully, and Ginny, who hadn’t admitted as much out loud, was completely fucked when she realized Luna had known.
“Is it so obvious?” Ginny asked Luna desperately.
“No, I don’t think so,” she said with a finger to her chin as she thought. “But your nargles move much more organized now, it’s a pretty pattern really, almost like waves.”
“And Granger’s nargles?” Blaise asked his girlfriend curiously.
“Hermione’s nargles have been gone for weeks,” Luna said with a proud grin. “I think between the cork necklace and Ginny her infestation may be gone.”
Ginny rose from her position curiously at this. After years of friendship with Luna, she still wasn’t completely sure what nargles were, but she knew Luna’s opinions on them, and she trusted Luna with her life.
“And how many weeks have they been gone now?” Ginny asked.
“Hmmmm, I suppose since after the Remembrance Ball,” Luna said after careful consideration.
“Merlin. Jesus. Bloody Christ balls,” Ginny stammered as she bounced her head against the couch cushion again.
“Pardon?” Blaise asked.
“Muggle terms I’ve heard Hermione curse during studying,” she exclaimed with a dismissing wave to him. “Her nargles are gone? All because of me? What if I’m rubbish and the nargles come back?”
“Well, the nargles could be gone because of the cork necklace,” Luna said with a smile.
“Right, sorry, yeah.” Ginny mumbled as she stared at the ceiling.
“So, what’s the problem, Ginny? You finally got Granger after whining like a first year, so what? What could be wrong?” Blaise asked her firmly, and Ginny felt her face warm as he saw through all her bullshit. "And if it's not the sex, then what is it?"
“I don’t know how to like… move us forward? I guess?” Ginny admitted to Blaise and Luna with a desperation for sound advice.
“But you love her?” he asked.
“Well yes, kinda…”
“You don’t kind of love someone,” Luna said firmly.
“Fine. I love Hermione,” Ginny winced out, the words causing her face to heat.
“So then why don’t you tell her?” Blaise asked after Ginny’s face returned to its normal shade.
“Because of Ron and my Mum, they’ll be miserable to deal with. I don’t want to scare Hermione away!”
“You really think they’ll be upset? Aren’t Weasley’s supposed to be the role model purebloods?” Blaise asked with unrestrained judgment.
“Yes well, we’re still purebloods, so unfortunately we aren’t perfect,” Ginny snapped at him.
“I think you should tell Hermione you love her. And then you two can tell your family together? She is going home with you for Christmas, right?” Luna asked with a delicate smile.
And so that’s how Ginny ended up taking Hermione on a picnic the week before Christmas.
She had this planned out for a few days now, trying to decide the best approach to progressing their relationship, and hoping that Hermione wouldn’t run for the hills after it was all said and done.
It was okay if Hermione didn’t love her back, truly. But Ginny had adored Hermione since third year and she was ready to admit her feelings were more, if only to make herself feel better.
As they neared a large tree against the shore of the lake, Ginny cast a quick glance at Hermione who was running her hands across her arms rapidly.
“Cold?” Ginny asked.
“A little,” the witch admitted. “But I’ll cast a warming charm once we get everything set up.”
Once they were at the tree, Ginny set the basket down and pulled out a large quilt before laying it on the ground. Hermione took to casting a warming charm around the edge of the blanket while Ginny unpacked the snacks she had brought, some bread, cheese, and fruit. It was a simple picnic, but it was perfect.
“It’ll be dark soon, maybe we should have done this tomorrow?” Hermione asked as she nibbled her bottom lip nervously.
“It’ll be fine, Mione, there’s only a week until break, none of the professors care anyway. Live a little,” she teased back.
Ginny watched as Hermione furrowed her eyebrows before finally conceding with a timid smile. “Fine, but if we get caught, I’m blaming you!”
“And I will gladly take the blame,” Ginny responded with her own smile.
The girls sat and stared at the lake, talking about the quidditch match and the upcoming week between snacks. The sky was getting darker now, and though Ginny thought Hermione would be anxious to get back to avoid punishment, she seemed completely relaxed now.
Ginny picked at her nails as she grew nervous, realizing she’d eventually have to talk about what she came out here for. She decided to rip the bandaid off and took a deep breathe before interrupting the silence between them.
“Are you coming to the Burrow for Christmas?”
“Erm, no, I don’t think that’d be a great idea.”
“Will you come, please?” Ginny asked her, knowing that truly communicating was the only thing that could help them. No need for half truths and lazy admissions.
“I love going to the Burrow, you know I do. I just...I don’t want to have to explain whatever we are to everyone. I don’t want to ruin your holiday is all,” Hermione said nervously.
“We won’t have to explain anything. I want to bring you to the Burrow... as my girlfriend.” Ginny said through the tightness in her chest.
“As… your girlfriend? You want to be my girlfriend?” Hermione asked after a moment, and though Ginny couldn’t see her face as clearly in the night sky, she could tell Hermione was once again chewing her lip.
“Of course, I want to be your girlfriend, Hermione! I love you.” Ginny said as she reached for Hermione’s hand, squeezing it gently before realizing what she admitted. “You don’t have to say it back, you don’t! I didn’t even mean to say that! I’ve just… fancied you for so long, and it seemed like the right thing to say. Oh Merlin…”
“I want to be your girlfriend, Gin, I do,” Hermione interrupted. “I don’t know if I’m at ‘love’ yet… but I- this has all been so lovely and I didn’t realize how perfect it could be. I’m sure I’ll be there soon, just, not now?”
“You do?” Ginny questioned with a smile. She had been so nervous. She didn’t think Hermione would turn her down, but she thought she still might not be ready. And that would be okay! But Ginny didn’t know if she was ready for the denial.
Ginny just… didn’t know.
Being with Ginny felt a lot like flying to Hermione, and Hermione was terrible at flying. The adrenaline of deciding to get on the broom was how she felt when she decided to try give her heart a chance. The freedom as she successfully navigated the broom herself was a lot like how Ginny made her feel always, light and carefree. But sometimes, Hermione remembered she might fail, she could fall at any time, and those thoughts are what kept her from giving herself over to Ginny completely.
Hermione had decided she’d be all in, and she was. But when Ginny asked if she’d go to the Burrow, she felt herself falter for the first time at the thought of Ron and Molly and Arthur and Percy and whoever else looking at her differently. Looking at Ginny differently.
The Weasley’s and Harry were all she had left after she had lost her parents, and she couldn’t bear to lose them as well. But that worry quickly dissipated when Ginny asked her to be her girlfriend. Hermione suddenly felt… whole. Like this was what she had been waiting for to make all the nerves vanish. Of course, it may not fix everything right away, but for now it felt good, right.
Hermione couldn’t possibly turn her girlfriend down about Christmas, though she really wanted to.
“I suppose I’ll come to the Burrow for Christmas…” Hermione said after a moment.
“Truly?” Ginny asked with a nervous grin, and Hermione felt her insides warm at the pale pink lips and the small glimpse of teeth she saw in Ginny’s smile.
“Truly,” she responded with a squeeze of Ginny’s hand before resting her head against the girl’s shoulder. “Are you ready for it?”
“I’ve been ready for years. Plus if it’s doesn't great, I’ve still got you, right?”
“Yes, you’ll still have me… though, if it is awful, can we agree to hide at Grimmauld with Harry for the reminder of the holiday?”
“Deal,” Ginny said with a laugh. “Fred and George already know… they’re happy for me. And Charlie and Bill too, so maybe it can’t be completely awful.”
“Oh, I hadn’t realized you told them…” Hermione said anxiously. How long had they known? Maybe they were just pretending to be happy for Ginny? For them?
“Well, they don’t know we’re…. official obviously... But I told Fred when you agreed to start dating… he and George had been picking on me for years. Fred was the first person I told that I might like girls.”
“Huh, I didn’t know that, how did he take it?”
“Well, he’s Fred, so rather well, naturally. And of course, you can’t tell Fred something without George finding out as well…”
“Naturally,” Hermione added with a grin. She knew the twins were Ginny’s favorite, and she was there’s as well. She was glad to hear they accepted her, she imagined she probably wouldn’t be here now if they didn’t….
Hermione felt the weight of Ginny’s head lean against her own, and closed her eyes, savoring the sense of security she felt. She was lucky to have ended up where she was, in a relationship where she felt nothing but support and adoration.
She just hoped she provided the same for Ginny.
“I meant it, you know.” Ginny whispered.
“I love you,” Ginny said again, even quieter than before. “And I’m not saying that so you think you have to say it back, but I don’t want you to think I said it just so you’d come to the Burrow either.”
“I know you didn’t,” Hermione said meekly before nuzzling her head against Ginny’s shoulder, the scent of musk and cinnamon filling her head as she drank in Ginny’s scent.
Ginny placed a delicate kiss on Hermione’s temple in turn, making Hermione’s heart race as it did anytime Ginny touched her.
She craved the redhead in ways she had never wanted anyone before. And maybe Hermione wasn’t ready to tell Ginny she loved her yet.
But she was ready to show her.
Chapter 8: Secrets
Hermione’s lips were warm and tasted like the grapes she had eaten earlier. The kiss has surprised Ginny, she wasn’t really expecting it.
But when Hermione lifted her head from Ginny’s shoulder and placed her fingers gingerly against her jaw, she fell into the kiss immediately.
Ginny breathed in the intoxicating taste of Hermione’s lips, her brain now void of any true thought.
The wind was warm due to the charm cast around them, and she found her thumb rubbing circles against Hermione’s arm, a trail of goosebumps left in her wake.
She gently bit Hermione’s lower lip, savoring the gentle moan escaping her. Ginny let Hermione’s lip go and in turn, she returned deep kisses.
Hermione’s tongue ran against the seam of her lips and Ginny’s mouth opened eagerly, enjoying the moment with her girlfriend.
When Hermione’s mouth left her own, she let out a little groan, sad at the departure.
Luckily the lack of affections didn’t last long as Hermione moved her kisses to Ginny’s jaw and neck, peppering her cool skin with warm imprints.
“I want you,” Hermione breathed between kisses.
“I- okay,” Ginny said breathlessly, lost in Hermione’s love.
“No, I’m ready. I want you. Please?”
Ginny felt her brain go blank as her arms automatically pushed Hermione away from her, unable to comprehend the words that had just been said.
“Are you sure?” Ginny asked as she searched Hermione’s face for any sort of apprehension. “I want you to be sure.”
“Ginny, I’m certain, but if you’re not ready that’s okay. I just… you need to know how I feel.”
Ginny looked into Hermione’s brown eyes, the longing evident on her face as she stared back. She could feel her chest pounding nervously as she let her brain catch up to what was happening.
She wanted Hermione, she had always wanted Hermione, but she couldn’t help the nerves that flooded her. It wasn't that Ginny didn't want to, it's that she was nervous. Hermione was different than Harry, their relationship was different, and she wanted it to be right; to be perfect.
Hermione must have seen the thoughts written across Ginny’s features.
“Gin,” she said quietly, her hands cupping her face gently, “I’m going to kiss you, okay?”
Ginny nodded gingerly before feeling Hermione’s lips connect with her own.
The kiss was groundbreaking, it was full of passion and need, and love.
Hermione was gentle and slow and deliberate in her actions. She kissed Ginny with purpose, her hand had found its way to the nape of her neck as their tongues danced against each other.
Ginny did her best to settle her nerves, but it was Hermione’s touch that was soothing her more than anything, her heart rate slowing to a bearable pace.
When Ginny finally had control of herself, she did her best to put Hermione’s needs ahead of her own, to make this as perfect as possible.
As Hermione’s fingers played with Ginny’s hair, Ginny gently pushed Hermione backward against the ground until she was placed delicately on the blanket.
The girls continued to kiss as if it was their first.
She continued to move her hands along Hermione’s body, attempting to feel every inch of skin she was able. Hermione took this action eagerly as she began to explore Ginny’s own body as well, her hands eventually ending on the soft curve of her ass, forcing a content sigh from Ginny’s lips.
Ginny pulled herself from Hermione’s eager kisses before moving herself slightly lower, first letting her nose and lips trail a path across her neck and jaw. The little breathes from Hermione were lovely, but Ginny wanted more. She began to suck on her pulse point, which elicited slightly deeper breathes. But when Ginny moved to bite the skin across Hermione’s collarbone, a moan escaped Hermione’s lips and she could feel the girl’s grip on her hair grow tighter and she pushed herself further into Ginny.
Ginny continued alternating between kissing, bites, and sucking across Hermione’s neck. Unable to access anymore, Ginny moved her hands to the buttons on Hermione’s jumper and began to slowly unclothe her girlfriend, desperate to finally see all she was.
Hermione moved her own attention to Ginny as she grabbed the bottom of her quidditch jumper and pulled it off the girl, her own jumper now tossed against the tree stump. She heard Ginny cast a quiet concealment change around them to avoid any prying eyes, before she brought her lips back to her.
Ginny once again kissed Hermione with all the love she could muster, and it was nearly 5 years’ worth of it.
Hermione finally let her grip leave Ginny’s hair, and began exploring the rest of her body, the other hand once again resting on her ass.
Ginny moved to finally give attention to Hermione’s chest, the nipples becoming erect as she blew air across them before finally allowing her mouth to make contact with the right, as her fingers pulled and tugged at the left.
Hermione further pushed herself into Ginny causing to moan eagerly at Hermione’s want for her. As Ginny continued to kiss and suck Hermione’s breasts, ensuring to alternate sides occasionally, she soon felt Hermione’s roaming hands leave her ass, rubbing closer and closer to her core. Ginny could feel herself growing wetter as she imagined Hermione’s hands touching her there delicately, finally ending her unfulfilled desires.
Hermione’s fingers moved to the button of Ginny’s pants and swiftly began removing the foul things. Ginny continued her attentions to Hermione, their kisses now frantic as the anticipation continued to grow. Ginny kissed Hermione as if she might explode, and she was soon struggling to breathe when Hermione’s fingers began rubbing against her wet cotton knickers teasing her relentlessly.
Ginny could feel herself subconsciously pushing herself into Hermione’s hand, desperate for more friction. She was so caught up in the feel of Hermione’s hands that she was caught off guard when her warm fingers found their way under the cotton barrier, now rubbing up and down Ginny’s folds, spreading the wet heat all over her pussy before lightly pinching her clit.
Ginny bit down on Hermione’s neck, in an attempt to stop from screaming out.
The concealment charm would cover them from anyone’s view, but the lack of a silencing spell was a risky game they were playing.
Hermione used her free hand to pull Ginny’s head back, as she slowly began to pump her fingers in and out, her thumb rubbing circles over her clit. The buildup was slow but desperate, and Ginny was unable to stop the panting that began as Hermione picked up the pace, setting her ablaze.
As Ginny closed her eyes, riding the waves of pleasure being forced from her body, Hermione let her lips latch on to Ginny’s neck and sucked at her pulse point, eventually forcing the orgasm from Ginny’s mouth with a quick convulsion and a final moan.
Ginny looked down to Hermione, the witch had a smile that tugged at Ginny’s heart as she looked happily at her girlfriend.
“What?” Ginny asked as she returned the grin.
“Was it good for you? It seemed like it was okay, but I wanted to be sure..”
“Hermione, it was absolutely amazing. You are absolutely amazing.”
“Truly. Now put me out of my misery. I’m dying to taste you,” Ginny responded with a wicked grin as she pulled herself off a blushing Hermione, deciding to take her pants off in the process as they were pulled half down anyway after being fingered.
After discarding her pants and placing them on top the growing pile of clothes near the tree trunk, Ginny grabbed the waistband of Hermione’s jeans and shimmied them off her with the help of the witch.
“I’ve never done this before,” Hermione said her face flushed red.
“Do you want me to?” Ginny asked, willing to do whatever Hermione asked of her, even if it meant stopping.
Hermione nodded quickly, “I just don’t know if I’ll be any good.”
“Just relax, let me do this for you?”
Hermione nodded once again, a bit slower this time, more certain, before resting her head against the blanket, her arms crossed over her chest.
Ginny stared at glistening slit in front of her, begging desperately to be touched. Ginny let her fingers play with Hermione’s folds, covering her fingers in slick warmth while she kissed the girl’s inner thigh.
She could tell Hermione was still a bit nervous, so she took her time moving her mouth closer and closer to her core. Hermione’s hand once again found Ginny’s hair, and she pushed her fingers through the silky hair as if to release the anxiety she was feeling.
Ginny covered her right thigh in concise kisses, before moving to the left side and incorporating little lick as she made her way up. She took her time getting closer and closer, but always starting over when she moved a little further than last time.
But as Ginny placed a kiss in the crevice between her thigh and outer folds, Hermione’s hand tightened against Ginny’s hair, a desperate ‘please’ escaping her lips.
After what felt like hours of teasing Hermione to the brink of pleading, she finally placed a tender kiss on the outside of the pink folds. She ran her tongue along the slit, the taste of Hermione was making her head spin.
Eager to please Hermione, Ginny wrapped her lips around her clit before letting her tongue draw tight circles around it. Her fingers pushed inside Hermione’s sex, the warm muscle clenching around them immediately, as she began to rub the spongy tissue deep in her girlfriend.
Hermione began to moan loudly as Ginny continued to pump her fingers in and out and devouring her as if a woman starved. Ginny could feel herself getting wet again as Hermione started to breathlessly chant her name like a prayer, getting faster and faster as she continued to pulse around Ginny. And when Hermione came with an abrupt cry, Ginny found herself craving release once again.
She pulled the cotton knickers off her entirely, down only to her bra while Hermione laid on the ground completely naked, her breathe still frantic. Ginny kissed Hermione once again, letting the girl taste her juices.
Ginny placed herself directly on top of Hermione’s still wet folds and pulled her knee upward as she straddled it. When Ginny began to rub herself against Hermione, the witch let out another groan as Ginny rode her ceremoniously. She looked down to Hermione, her wild hair spread around her like a halo as the moon shone across her skin otherworldly. Ginny was in love.
Hermione pulled her hands off the ground next to her and began to play with her nipples as Ginny ground her clit against her, the vision driving her mad with desire.
As Hermione pinched a nipple between her fingers another moan escaped her lips, and Ginny found herself once again reaching the high as Hermione played with herself. Ginny picked up the pace as she placed her hand along Hermione’s jaw, her thumb drawing lines in her skin as she chased their ensuing orgasm.
She pushed her thumb into Hermione’s mouth, which the girl eagerly began to suck as she ground back against Ginny. Ginny could tell Hermione was close as she turned her head to try and dull the sounds of her pleasure.
“Come for me, Hermione. I want to hear you,” she whispered huskily at the girl, her thighs now burning as she continued to ride her into oblivion.
As if waiting for permission, Hermione fell into bliss with loud moans and cries, surely heard from even the castle. Ginny finished shortly after her and collapsed on the ground as her head exploded with the intensity of her orgasm.
She laid next to her girlfriend as the two panted, the sky now dark as the time had passed. It had been better than she could have imagined, but as Hermione’s hand moved to hold hers, Ginny knew this was all she ever wanted.
“I’m scared,” Hermione whispered as they stood outside the Burrow, though they apparated almost 5 minutes ago, she wasn’t sure she was ready to go in yet.
“Me too,” she heard Ginny admit quietly.
Hermione squeezed her girlfriend’s hand quickly as she took a deep breathe. Harry had arrived nearly an hour ago; he even brought Neville as a date to hopefully take some attention away from the two of them.
She just had to get past Molly and Ron, she could do that, right? They had known her for years, loved her as family, that had to count for something.
Hermione decided it was best to rip the band aid off as she pulled Ginny to the front door, not letting them break contact as she grasped the doorknob and pushing the old door open.
It was now or never.
When the entered the living area, the room was as loud as always, with Fleur, Bill, and Charlie sitting closest to them on the couch discussing what appeared to be the breeding habits of dragons.
“Ginny! Hermione!” Fleur exclaimed as the two walked toward them, quickly glancing at their entwined hands, “Ah yes, Bill has told me as much, I am happy for you two.”
Hermione smiled nervously before returning the kiss to Fleur’s cheek.
Bill and Charlie both stood and gave each girl a quick hug before sitting down. Charlie patted the place next to him and gestured for Hermione to sit down and join their group.
“Gin, I think it's best if you handle Mum, she’s still playing Mama Bear to Ron as usual, think it’s best if Hermione sit this one out,” Charlie explained to them in a hushed tone.
Ginny scrunched her face for a second before placing a timid kiss to Hermione’s temple, “wish me luck.”
“What are you wishing her luck for?” a deep voice called from the doorway where a very tall very uncomfortable looking Ron stood awkwardly.
“Never mind, good luck to you,” Ginny said through gritted teeth before pushing past her brother on her way to the kitchen.
“Erm, hello Ron,” Hermione said with a false smile, and she was sure the pitch of her voice was entirely unconvincing as anything remotely normal.
“Sit! Sit!” Fleur gestured to Ron to her now empty spot as she forced herself to the door, “Bill, Charlie?”
And Hermione tried to remain impassive as she watched Bill scrub at the back of his neck, while Charlie flashed her a sincere look as the two brothers followed Fleur from the sitting room.
“That was… weird,” Ron said as he narrowed his eyes, studying Hermione as he spoke, clearly noticing they were the cause of the interaction.
“That? No, not weird,” she squeaked in return before silently cussing herself.
Ron looked at Hermione skeptically before turning his attention to the yellow jumper he wore, and Hermione couldn’t help but critic his choice of color when getting dressed this morning. She watched as he picked at the pilling, avoiding her for as long as possible it seemed before speaking once again.
“It’s been a while,” he said quietly.
“Yeah,” she returned, equally as dumbfounded as he it seemed.
“How have you been?”
“Good… I’m writing a book, this year’s lessons are going great-“
“I heard you went out with Diggory,” he interrupted quickly, and Hermione observed the red splotches form across his cheeks as he spoke.
“Yes… it didn’t end up being anything though…”
“Really?” he asked, and Hermione’s heart clenched as she heard the faint hint of excitement at hearing this declaration.
“Well, there’s someone else,” she supplied, hoping this mini revelation could make him back off while she waited for Ginny, which she now noticed was eerily quiet from the kitchen.
“Who?” he asked eagerly, pushing himself closer to the edge of the couch, closer to Hermione. She was struggling to find words now, her mind desperately trying to think of anything to say, anything but the truth. She couldn’t do this alone. She needed Ginny.
“C’mon, you can tell me!”
“No, I can’t, it’ll be weird, Ron.”
“Mione, it’s you and me, it’s never weird.”
“Hermione, please. It can work now, I promise,” he pleaded, and that final declaration was what forced the decision for Hermione, forced her secret out.
“It’s Ginny. I’m seeing Ginny,” she responded bravely, forcing her shoulders back to feel more confident than she knew she was. Hermione watched as Ron’s face twisted in confusion before the hint of realization struck as he recalled walking in on Ginny kissing her head.
“GINNY!!” he roared, forcing himself to his feet, now towering over Hermione as she sat wide eyed and shocked.
“Ron…” she started, hoping to explain the how, the why, but was soon bombarded with identical redheads joining the crowded room.
“Now Ronniekins, let’s not be rash,” Fred teased his brother as he took the spot next to Hermione, his arm slinging around her shoulder as her pulled her close.
“Come on, Ron, sit down,” George asked as he took the spot next to Ron, pulling him back down to the couch.
Hermione watched as Ron took shallow breathes, his chest moving rapidly as George eyed him nervously.
“So, Hermione, how’s it been since you stopped seeing this wanker?” Fred said with a smirk, his elbow digging into her side carefully as he teased her.
“She still ended up with a Weasley, reckon it can’t be much better,” George added with a wink, forcing a small laugh from Hermione as she let the two try to ease the situation as only they knew how.
“How?” Ron croaked from his spot on the couch, and Hermione noticed the pained expression immediately. She couldn’t help but feel guilty for being the cause of his pain, despite it being him that caused her and Ginny to come together after all.
“You had just written me… to break up. I sat in my room all night reading the letter, my brain just couldn’t understand what happened, where we went wrong. Ginny found me later that night after dinner, and she just… sat with me. She let me cry, and just made me feel better I suppose,” Hermione recalled, thinking back to that first night when Ginny kissed her head. She thought it was comforting, to be a good friend, she knew better now of course, knew that kiss meant more to Ginny.
“You started dating my sister the night we broke up!”
“Ron, no!! Not at all!”
“I don’t know… it’s a lot I suppose? I was so broken after you, so lost. And with you and Harry gone, I didn’t know who I was without you two. I was just… floating around, trying to figure out who I was. Ginny helped me figure it out,” she answered with a smile as an image of the redhead flashed in her thoughts.
“Bloody hell,” Ron groaned into his palm, his hand rubbing furiously against his face. “That’s the why, I want to know how. You’re all I’ve thought about these past few months, Mione. I’ve been going mad since I wrote that letter to you, please,” he begged again.
“I-,” she began, swallowing the lump in her throat as she looked to Fred and George, silently hoping one of them would save her. When she was faced with wicked grins and waggled eyebrows, she let out a sigh before speaking once again. “I kissed Ginny after the Remembrance Ball.”
Ron’s jaw went slack as he stared at his best friend of years, were they even still friends? Could they still be friends?
“You- YOU kissed Ginny?! How dare you? My own sister! That’s low, even for you,” he spat at her, and Hermione clenched her teeth as she forced herself to remain calm.
She hadn’t expected this to go well, but she never thought it would resort to this. She loved Ron for years, in more ways than one, and felt betrayed by his words, even if she knew he may not mean them.
“You never were good at sharing,” Fred teased his brother, lifting an eyebrow at him before rubbing Hermione’s arm in support.
She heard George sigh before rubbing his temples unceremoniously, “Merlin Fred, why did I even bring you?”
Ron glared at his older brother with disdain before turning the hostility back to Hermione.
“Why? Why couldn’t you have waited for me? You just jumped to the first person to pay you attention, you didn’t even think of me!”
“Ronald!” Hermione exclaimed, offended at his blatant blame and disregard for her and her feelings.
“Now Ron, let’s think for a moment, eh?” Fred said sincerely, and Hermione had to suppress her groan as she considered how completely terrible Fred could make this situation. “Do you love our dear Hermione?”
“Well, yeah, obviously. We’ve been best mates for years!”
“Great, now would you marry Hermione? Give her a whole gaggle of little Weasley’s?” he added.
Hermione watched as Ron’s face blanched for a moment as he pictured some curly haired spawns running around the Burrow.
“I’d say no, considering your face and how you left our poor dear through a letter,” Fred added with a wag of his finger.
“Fine, Fred. Probably not. But, ugh… Hermione. Why Ginny? Of all the people at Hogwarts, why my sister?” he pleaded, the discomfort still obvious.
Hermione smiled for the first time in nearly an hour and thought back to the sugar quills Ginny brought her on study dates, to the afternoons near the lake, the late nights laughing over elf wine and bad music. The redheaded witch who had snuck into her heart and planted herself so deeply that Hermione knew she’d break without her presence. Ginny made Hermione happy. She made her see the light and love and joy of the world post-War, helped her through the sadness of her father’s birthday. Hermione didn’t know when Ginny had become so important to her. And despite the importance Ginny played in Hermione’s life, Ginny made Hermione whole. She made her realize that Hermione was more than the Golden Girl, was more than Harry’s best friend, more than Ron’s girlfriend. Ginny made Hermione love Hermione. And so, she admitted the words she finally acknowledged she felt, the truth to why Ginny.
“Because I love her.”