Hermione didn’t like girls. She was straight. And in love with Ron. The red hair she saw in her dreams was most certainly his and not Ginny’s. The sick feeling she got in her stomach when she saw Ginny and Dean together was just everyday concern for her friend’s happiness.
All of this would have been perfectly fine…
…if a single part of it was true. But it wasn’t. And Hermione couldn’t stand lying to herself the way she did everyone else. So she accepted it as best she could and tried to move on. She was doing a wonderful job of it too–that is, until the Christmas Party invites went out. Between inciting dangerous thoughts about her closest female friend and forcing her to spend time with McLaggen, Slughorn’s social events would be the death of her.
Now, Hermione couldn’t stop fantasizing about the soft curve of Ginny’s waist in her hands as they danced–the way those glossy lips would curve into a mischievous smile just before darting in for a kiss. These fantasies also wouldn’t be a big deal. Except that Ron had just won them the Quidditch match ( with the help of Harry’s Felix Felicis, Hermione thought irritably) and she couldn’t care less, which did nothing to keep her cover.
Ron was currently snogging Lavender, so Hermione went out in search of Harry, hoping he would be a bit more conversational. She spotted him just as he ducked out of the portrait, following without a second thought.
The corridor was chilly at night, but there was a faint buzz of sound resonating from the Gryffindor common room. A few portraits were complaining about the noise, and a handful were missing their contents entirely. Hermione wondered if there was a special frame to serve as a refuge for dislodged portrait characters. There was nothing about one in Hogwarts, A History , but she’d learned over the years that the book was more of an overview. It would take a few thousand more pages to cover all the castle’s secrets.
Hermione shadowed Harry’s footsteps, rounding the corner just as they stopped. The spectacled Gryffindor sat on the steps, glassy-eyed and staring daggers at the wall. Hermione wrapped an arm around his shoulders in a tight embrace when she joined him.
“Harry, what’s wrong?”
“The Christmas Party is stupid.”
“That’s all you’re upset about?” Hermione let out a sigh of relief. “Harry, we’ve already talked about this. If you’d just ask whoever it is to go with you, I’m sure they’d happily oblige.”
“Hermione,” Harry sighed, “I know you’re trying to help, and I’m grateful, really, but it’s not working. So if you could just leave me alone for a while, that’d be great.”
Hermione didn’t take the hint. She just leaned her head on his shoulder and revelled in the idyllic moment. Only a few cheers here and there could be heard from the party down the hall, and pale moonlight streamed through the gothic windows.
“Whoever it is must be really special,” she said finally. It had to be Ginny, but part of her couldn’t admit out loud that she was in love with her best friend’s crush.
Harry swallowed, collecting his words. “They are.”
Hermione studied the stones of the wall for a long time before speaking. “Since neither of us can go with the people we want to go with, what if we went together? As friends?”
Harry looked at her in surprise. “That’s a great idea, Hermione. But Ron would totally go with you if you asked.”
Hermione looked at the ground, the truth threatening to burst out of her. Instead, she said, “Sure he would. As soon as he’s done snogging Lavender, I’m certain he’ll come after me.” A snort escaped her. “Honestly, she’s ghastly.”
Harry’s jaw clenched. “Tell me about it.”
Hermione didn’t understand his reaction, but her own emotions drew her attention away from the puzzle. Her heart raced in her chest as she added, “Anyways, I don’t want to go with Ron.” If asked, she knew she’d share her secret now. Her walls had already been broken down. There was no hiding anymore.
Harry glanced up in confusion. “But fourth year at the Yule Ball–”
“Harry, that was ages ago,” Hermione said, rolling her eyes. “I was naive and hadn’t accepted myself yet. You were into Cho, so Ron was just the only boy who was accessible.”
Harry fidgeted with his wand. “I wasn’t into Cho. I think–I think it’s a lot like you with Ron.”
“You kissed her,” Hermione reminded him.
Harry grinned. “I didn’t come back with the most resounding commentary, did I?”
Hermione laughed. “No, I suppose not.” Then, gathering her courage, she asked, “Is it all girls then? Or just Cho you didn’t like?”
Harry seemed surprised at the question. He opened his mouth as if to answer, but his response was a new question instead. “Hermione, who is it you want to take to the Christmas Party?”
Bile rose in her throat. “You first,” she whispered.
Harry took her hand in his, squeezing it tightly. “Both of us. On three.”
Hermione nodded, and trepidation built in her stomach.
She wondered if it would kill her to say the name out loud.
It probably would. Maybe it would be better that way.
“Ginny,” Hermione whispered at the same time Harry said, “Ron.”
They stared at each other, wide-eyed. Even the airborne dust particles seemed suspended in that moonlight for a few breathless seconds. And then the two Gryffindors burst into laughter.
“Sorry I didn’t see it earlier,” Hermione said after a while.
Harry snorted. “Not like I predicted your response either. I’ve spent months feeling guilty for liking Ron when I thought you did too.”
“I’ve felt the same about liking Ginny. Are you going to ask him?”
Harry considered. “I–I think so. I was terrified of losing both of you before, but keeping my feelings to myself now is just cowardice.”
“I think I’ll tell Ginny how I feel. She’s going to the Christmas Party with Dean, but maybe after all this nonsense is over.”
Harry nodded. “If Ron kills me when I ask him, you’re in charge of my funeral.”
Hermione grinned. “We are gathered here today to commemorate Harry Potter, a terrible dresser with hair like a disgruntled hedgehog. He had many flaws, but his true downfall was falling in love with the wrong Weasley.”
Harry cracked a grin. “See, this is why I put you in charge. I don’t want any of that sentimental rubbish. Tell it like it is.” He paused. “Is my hair really that bad?”
“Worse,” she laughed, knocking him to the side.
He pushed her right back before placing his arm around her shoulder. “I’m glad we’re in love with the wrong Weasley together.”
Hermione smiled, resting her head on his shoulder again. “Me too.”
They stayed like that, arms wrapped around each other, until the sounds of the party died down.
I think I’m still in shock. This really hit home for me when I found out. I always dread going through social media and seeing a random memorial type picture of a celebrity bc it usually means something awful happened. I was scrolling through this morning and as soon as I saw the first picture I swear I almost dropped my phone. Harry Potter is and always will be home for me and so many of you in the HP generation. Alan was a big part of this home and although I, like most us fans, never knew him I still feel a great loss. I shed quite a few tears today and just had to take a nap after bc it was a little overwhelming. Robin Williams was the first actor to pass that was a massive part of my childhood and that was a blow. Now a part of HP is gone and I never thought it would be this soon. RIP Alan Rickman. You will be so missed. Always