by Erin Griffin
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: PG-13 because Hermione has a little bit of a potty mouth.
Summary: When Hermione loses the love letter she had written to Ginny, she knows her life as she knows it is over.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Harry Potter characters. I believe that JKR and Scholastic and Warner Brothers do.
Author's Note: Here's my general rule for stories: If you don't recognise the plotline, character or whatever, it means it is slightly AU. Otherwise, I try to stick to the character/plot the best I can. This takes place in the fifth year, but it doesn't really go into it except to mention Umbridge.
Chances are, you will never receive this letter, though it holds every emotion I've felt inside the last few months. It has all the words I wish I had the courage to speak out loud, yet can't. It's too hard. Some say it isn't right, but I know that if I ever had the miracle of holding you, kissing you, nothing would be right afterwards. I hope you look at yourself in the mirror and see the beauty that I see when I sneak a glance at you from where I sit. I've always had an attraction to red hair. Never knew exactly why until I saw you, it seemed, for the first time last year. It was a confusing time last year, yet I knew for sure one thing: I would die happy if I could run my fingers through your hair, if I could gaze into your emerald eyes. I've become flustered at the thought, and for that I am relieved you won't get this letter.
Maybe someday you would know how I feel, or maybe the moon will shine a purple glow and Muggle borns like your eternally will be accepted with open arms in Nocturn Alley. You have flooded my dreams as of late, my school work being the last thing on my mind as I often find myself daydreaming of kissing each and every freckle on your face. My heart has never felt so much joy or pain at the sight of you. I should finish this before I make a greater fool of myself. The only thing left to say is that I love you and wish you only the best.
With All of my soul,
Hermione L. Granger
Hermione reread the letter she'd just finished as she shook her right hand to get rid of the cramping in her fingers. She really didn't know what possessed her to actually start writing the letter, but she found it relieved the tension she carried within her. She regretted it before the ink on her signature dried. At least now, she could work on studying for her owls without being completely distracted, she hoped. Yawning, she looked at the clock on the wall of the library where she had spent the last half hour. It read, 'Breakfast Time'. The arrow was only a few millimeters away from the 'Morning Lessons' mark on its face. Hermione hurriedly put her ink and quill in her bag and walked to the Charms classroom, where she waited for class to begin. 'I should hide this away. No one must know that I'm in love with my friend's sister, or anybody's sister for that matter,' she thought as she took out her wand and made a quick swishing motion over it. She watched as both her name and her crush's name disappeared from the parchment, then decided to keep it to put in her diary later after dinner. Hermione looked up and as soon as she saw Professor Flitwick, she practically shoved the parchment in her bag. She didn't hear it later on when it had fallen to the floor after her bag had been jostled.
At lunch, Hermione half listened to Harry and Ron as they spoke about Sirius in code while she ate her chicken pie and drank her lemonade. Then she took out her inks to work on her notes from Charms class. "Oh no," she moaned softly, looking time and again for the parchment with the love letter on it. The voice to her right made her jump halfway out of her seat.
"What are you looking for?" Hermione jumped again when Ginny placed a hand on her shoulder to still the fifth year's movements momentarily. "My, you're jumpy."
"Uh- well, my lucky quill. Not really lucky, but it for some reason gives me confidence when I use it," Hermione lied. Ginny's face scrunched into a thoughtful expression.
"I didn't know you were superstitious, being against Trelawny's class, but I'll do what I can to help you find it." Ginny looked around the table, and on the floors murmuring as she did so, "Though, I doubt you of all people need a quill or any such item for a confidence boost for school. You always do great." Both girls continued to look for the imaginary quill until Hermione, still digging into her bag as she looked on the floor, gave up. "Maybe I left it in my last class. I'll go back after lunch to get it."
"In that case, you better go pretty much now. I think that first bell is going to sound soon."
"Thanks for helping me look, Ginny," Hermione said as she got up from the table.
"Good luck, though I doubt you need it," she repeated, giving an encouraging smile that made Hermione's stomach dance around the food she'd just eaten. She quickly waved to her friends and hurried off, cursing when, as Ginny had said, the bell sounded, signaling the end of lunch. There was no way she would be able to get her love letter and hurry to the other side of the castle before her next class started. Hermione uttered another curse word, one that would have taken at least twenty points from Gryffindor house if any Prefect, Professor or house ghost heard her. A painting or two had and looked at her disapprovingly.
"Sorry," she said to them, and they appeared to forgive her. During the next class, Hermione appeared to be studious, writing down the minimum notes as Professor McGonagall spoke, but her heart was hammering in her chest. What if, she worried, someone found her love letter and knew the charm to counter the one she'd used to erase the names? What if they confront her or (worse) Ginny about it? What would Ginny say or do once she found out how Hermione had felt for her, even after she'd tried to date Viktor Krum to prove otherwise? Once or twice, Professor McGonagall had glanced at what her prize student had been writing, and Hermione knew the teacher knew something was off. Still, she was taking accurate notes, even if they weren't over the top like usual. The professor figured that Hermione just needed a bit of a break, which she felt was more than deserved, but she hoped that her academics wouldn't completely slip. Then the Professor of Transfiguration would have gotten worried. Hermione, however, continued to fret over the outcome of her signature being discovered after the reader found it addressed to another girl. She couldn't even think of what would happen if it was a Slytherin who ended up finding it, like Pansy Parkinson or the rat faced Draco 'but I'm a Death Eater' Malfoy. If he found it or even found out, her life, she knew, would be over. She could only try to think of the good what if's to even begin to ease her nerves. What if Ginny never found out? Unlikely, she knew, but still? What if Professor Flitwick found it and knowing Hermione's handwriting well, knew it was hers even without the signature and returned it to her in the next class? What if whoever found it never knew or forgot the charm? What it if was a first year, and the charm she'd used to erase the names was too complex for them? The last thought made Hermione feel slightly better and was able to concentrate a little better for the rest of the class.
Feeling not quite so sick with worry, Hermione joined the rest of the house for dinner, noticing right away that a lot of the girls were circled around Ginny, who was whispering over something that Hermione couldn't see. She went to sit next to Harry, who had saved a seat for her. "You okay? You looked pretty wiggy at lunch," Ron said.
"Yeah, I'm good... Thanks. So, what's going on over there?" She made a slight movement with her head in the direction of the giggling and whispering girls. Harry shrugged as he responded.
"Ginny found a love letter in class today. It isn't signed, and there isn't any heading to say who it is to, but she is convinced it's to her." Had Hermione been eating anything yet, she would have choked on it.
"How... How does she figure its for her?" Ron, who was studying his turkey leg before he took a big bite, started to speak before Hermione interrupted. "After you've swallowed, Ron. I'd prefer it if I didn't have to take two baths today. Besides, is that any way for a Prefect to act at a dinner table- and don't roll your eyes at me like that."
"Hey, calm down you two. Ginny thinks- or knows its for her because it mentions red hair, green eyes and freckles."
"That could be one of four Weasleys."
"Yeah, but I don't see anyone wanting to write them a love letter." Harry said, making a face towards Ron and the twins.
"Hey!" Hermione nodded as Harry grinned at his best friend and shrugged.
"Sorry Ronny boy, I just can't see anyone writing a love letter to you with great detail about your freckles." Hermione looked over at Ginny again. She looked so happy with a dreamy look on her face, though Hermione also saw a look of great curiosity there as well after a moment. As if to sense her stare, Ginny Weasley looked in her direction with a huge grin. She motioned Hermione over so she can show her the love letter, and the older girl gave her a 'just one moment' gesture before looking back at Harry.
"So... Did you write it?" she asked him.
"Y'know, I kinda wish I had the way she's going on about it. She's been all giddy and girly ever since class let out."
Hermione nodded again and then told Harry to watch her stuff while she went to investigate. She made her way over to Ginny and the other girls, and Ginny pushed at Lavender's thigh.
"Move over so Hermione can see." Lavender obeyed, going to sit at the empty spot Seamus had vacated out of his manly disgust for the topic, while Pavarti flanked the Weasley daughter on the left. "Read this! Isn't it romantic?" Hermione didn't need to read the letter, being the one who wrote it, but she pretended to anyway. "Wow, how sweet."
"I know!" Ginny was practically squealing. "Oh Hermione, I know he put a spell on the parchment to hide his name, and because you're the smartest witch I will ever know, I'm begging you. Please help me figure it out. I've been trying to uncover it with every reveal charm I know, but it just won't work." Hermione looked down at the parchment in her hands and pretended to think of other revealing charms to counter the one on it. She then took out her wand and slowly swished twice with a flick, but nothing happened, as she knew nothing would. She tried again, then did a different spell.
"Um... Okay." She moved her wand in a partial circle and said, "Scriptonos!" Nothing happened. Fake spells rarely work. "Bugger," she muttered, and Ginny's eyes widened.
"Hermione! Since when do you swear?" Hermione went a little pink, but didn't exactly answer the question. The truth was, she had found her tongue slipping more than it should've, and she was cursing more in that school year than she had all the other years combined.
"I'm sorry. That was my most advanced spell, and it didn't even attempt to work. Maybe- er, 'he' didn't even sign his name like you thought. Maybe he didn't name names because he knew the object of his affection- you would know the spell to counter it and really didn't want you to find out he loves you."
"But why would he put 'Dear' and 'With all my soul' if he didn't plan to sign it?"
"Maybe he started to, but thought better of it."
"Even in the beginning at 'Dear'?" Hermione nodded.
"Maybe he wanted to at first, but then thought- you know- that you would come to me. Whoever watches you would know we're friends, and I have somewhat a reputation around here, so he'd knows that you'd come to me for help and decided to just leave it as it is in case this really does end up in hands other than his own." When Ginny seemed to take this as an acceptable answer, Hermione mentally sighed with relief. "What I can do," Hermione continued, though she didn't know why exactly, "is look at the handwriting as well as what he said to get clues to sort of narrow it down. You already know its for you because of the redhead comment. Looking at the handwriting, I'd say he's a pretty feminine guy. Where did you find this letter?" Ginny thought it over, then lit up.
"Oh, I found it in Charms, which means it could been left behind by some guy in the class before us! That was the Gryffindor and Slytherin class, though... I don't know what year it was."
Hermione felt a little bit relieved that she hadn't known, but she also saw a little bit of hope in Ginny's eyes because she was thinking that maybe it was Harry who had wrote the letter to her. The fifth year knew that Harry wasn't all that feminine, and Hermione had checked his homework enough to know what his handwriting looked like. She wasted no time in telling Ginny this, and didn't feel the slightest bit guilty for bursting that particular bubble. Call her a bitch.
"The only guy that I know of who is feminine in those two houses are Neville and Draco. But I don't know anyone else in other years."
"But-but it can't be either of them!" Taken aback by this slight outburst, Hermione moved back a little bit and Ginny calmed down slightly to explain. "Look, it says he'd have the courage to tell me how he felt if the moon turned purple and he'd be accepted by the people in Nocturn Alley. Now, it sounds like Neville from being afraid and whatnot, but Neville is wizardborn, and he doesn't seem to write that well. Since this person called himself a Muggle, it can't be Draco either because he probably has a second home in Nocturn Alley and hates Muggles. Sorry, Hermione."
"The feeling's mutual, trust me, but you're absolutely right. Like I said though, it could be someone else."
"I'll ask around to see what class had Charms before me, and then we can figure it out better."
"And what if it turns out it was the fifth years?" Hermione asked.
"I will have to investigate every guy in both houses to see who it was. Maybe there are a few guys that you haven't tried to get to know in Slytherin. Ooh! I just thought of something!"
"What if it really is someone we already guessed, but they had changed the handwriting with a spell?"
"You can try, but don't you think it would have caved under the revealing charms we put on it?"
"Yes, it would have. Shoot."
"I will do what I can to counter the spell after homework tonight. I know it is in my notes somewhere. I'll take the letter and do what I can to analyze it," Hermione said. She had hoped that she could keep the original, make a copy and switch them to give the copy to Ginny the next day or later that night. No matter how either would try, they'd in the end have to give up and say he never even wrote down the names, and that they were lost unless he stepped up and said he liked Ginny whenever he found the courage to do so.
"Actually, if you don't mind, I think I have a couple of ideas I would like to try, but I will make you a copy of the letter, and you can do more of that handwriting analysis you were talking about. Okay?" Ginny asked. Hermione swallowed, hoping it didn't sound.
"Of course. I mean, it's your love letter. Let me know if you find out anything before you get a chance to copy it. I am curious to know wh-what you find. I better go get some dinner before there's no time."
"Are you okay?"
"Me? Yeah, I'm just starving is all."
"Oh... Hey, did you ever find your quill?"
"No, but I did fine in class as you said."
"I knew you would. Anyway, I will get you a copy in the common room later."
"Sure." All she could think was 'Bloody friggin' hell!' A thousand times. At the top of her mental voice. She couldn't cover up the fact that she'd written the stupid letter if Ginny were to find the reverse charm, and there were a couple she could use to reveal the writer of the letter and or who the handwriting belonged to, they were just advanced for anyone who knew where to look. Though Ginny's younger than she was by a little under a year, she's definitely no fool. She's been around Hermione long enough to know exactly where to look. And when she looked, she'd get the spell, and when she got the spell, she'd reverse the charm, and when she reversed the charm, she'd know who wrote that letter, who loved her but shouldn't. Hermione couldn't breathe. She had to get out of there and she didn't even bother to tell the boys why she was suddenly leaving, and though Ron could be thick (and even Harry had his more than his share of moments) they weren't complete idiots like Crabbe and Goyle. They'd ask her later, but at that moment, Hermione didn't care.
When Ginny didn't see Hermione for the rest of the night like she had hoped, she gave the almost exact replica of the letter, copied by a spell, to Lavender as she announced that she was completely knackered and that she was off to bed. Then she looked at the light coming from the windows. There was still time to check out the one book she wanted to get a hold of if she hurried, and if she dodged Peeves, she could get there and back with enough time to play a game of exploding snap with Ron if he didn't turn in before she could offer it. She got her Gryffindor robe on over her vest and tie, then hurried out of the wall to get to the library. "Hello, young Weasley. Wherever it is you're off to at this time, make it quick, as it is almost curfew."
"Hullo Nick," she greeted pleasantly, as she liked the ghost, "I know he won't listen to you, but if you could distract Peeves if he comes this way, he won't slow me down with his pranks, and I will make it back on time."
"If I see him, I will do what I can. I'll be seeing you."
"Yes. Thanks Nick." With that, Ginny hurried to the library, knowing exactly which book she wanted to check out and exactly where it was. It wasn't a reference book she wanted. It was a romance novel with moving illustrations on the cover. Ginny had read it out of boredom in her second year right before all that that scariness with Sirius Black, and despite its cheesiness, Ginny found herself liking the book. It was a simple, cliche'd plot about a witch who wrote her wizard friend a love letter, used a really tough charm to disguise her handwriting, and signed it anonymously. The wizard sought help to uncover who wrote it, as it was a lovely note, and it made him wonder who would notice him. During his search, he ends up falling in love with his witch friend anyway, and by the time he got the owl saying who it was, they were practically already shacked up anyway.
The reason Ginny needed this book was because she knew that there was a spell to show how to uncover the handwriting, the one used by the wizard's helper in the story. From what Lavender said, it is a real spell, but she hadn't remembered it from when she had read it, which was why Ginny was hurrying to get it before she went to bed. She couldn't wait much longer for the answer to the mystery. Less than twenty minutes later and just as the bell for curfew sounded, Ginny scurried back into the Common Room to find only Neville, who was frantically looking for Trevor, again. Seriously, Ginny was sure that frog all in itself must've been filled with magic for all the times he'd been lost, found, almost stepped on, Transfigured incorrectly and so on. Still, she pointed at the floor under the bulletin board, where Trevor seemed to be resting, and then she bid the boy a good night. Ginny liked Neville, she really did. He was sweet and considerate and brave in his own right (otherwise he wouldn't have been sorted into Gryffindor), but the redhead knew that he couldn't have been the one to write the words that made her heart feel three sizes too big for her small frame. It just didn't seem to fit. After she'd gotten her pajamas on and tucked herself into bed, Ginny reread the love letter, then looked through the romance novel for the spell, which would have been near the end.
When she saw it, along with a small picture of the man demonstrating the wand movements, she looked around the room and seemed to be the only one left awake. Then she swished her wand in a crescent moon shape: semi- circle clockwise, then semi-circle counter clockwise, then a roll of the wrist, palm up, as the wand pointed at the parchment as she murmured, "Lecante Luminous!" She hoped she'd gotten the pronunciation right, but when she looked down she knew she had. On the parchment, her name slowly appeared in the same feminine handwriting, almost as if the writer were actually writing it down just then. Eagerly, Ginny looked down at the parchment past the 'With all my soul', and saw the name begin to form. 'H-E-R-' Before the first name was completely revealed, Ginny had many thoughts running through her head. She thought through all of the pieces of the puzzle as they slid into place. Why Hermione was so edgy earlier that day, the 'quill' being so important to her when before, Hermione never had any sort of booster item to help her in life. It was apparent that the lucky quill was actually Hermione looking for the love letter, and when she couldn't get to it in time, Ginny found it. She was also thinking that after the whole feminine issue between Neville and Draco, it should have occurred to her that a girl must have written the love letter. After all, it wasn't the first time in Hogwarts history to have lesbian couples and gay couples. They just aren't out to everyone about it.
Looking at Hermione's name, she wondered what the L stood for, and thought to ask some other time. The fact that the writer of the love letter was a girl didn't freak her out, which surprised Ginny. It was a new idea to her, yes, that two women could be together, but she didn't actually know of anyone like that, as again, it wasn't completely known to everyone if they are. The thought of Hermione kissing her freckles or holding her didn't repulse her at all. It seemed nice. So now that Ginny knew who her love letter was written by, she could get some sleep and wondered what sort of dream her mind would come up with now that her romantic prince had become her romantic female best friend.
Hermione didn't sleep, or if she had caught a few moments in the land of Morpheus, her trips weren't pleasant. It was only a matter of time before Ginny refused to talk to her. As she had suspected, Harry and Ron had caught up with her in the Common Room the night before and asked what her deal was. She had only a split second to tell them yet another lie-something about being unprepared for a test- and hurried to her room where she tried so hard not to cry. She was in love with Ginny, yes, but every person who'd ever loved someone would rather stand beside them as a friend than not have them in their lives at all, and Hermione didn't want to lose what close friends she had. When she'd gotten out of bed the next morning, her mind and body felt as if they had been on automatic. She forced herself to go the dining hall or she knew she'd regret it later, especially since she wasn't lying about the test being for that day. She was prepared for it, if her nerves about other things didn't get to her in the middle of it. Still, if Ginny had found out who wrote that letter the night before, Hermione wasn't sure how she was going to face her. But then, there was always the possibility of Ginny not finding out yet. She could still play along and pretend to not have found its counter charm and continue to analyze the parchment and its contents. At that rate, though, Ginny would put all of the clues together and find out that yes, it was her. Hermione continued to ready herself for the day and whatever it may have brought her.
"So, I've been thinking about that love letter all night, right?" Ginny sat down quite heavily next to Hermione as if to announce her presence without saying 'I'm here, now what?', and reached out and stole a slice of the older girl's bacon. Hermione nodded, acknowledging her presence as well as responding to her to get her to continue her thought process.
"So, I've been thinking about the love note all night and all this morning,
and you're right, there aren't that many feminine guys. At least not enough to
write like that, and if they are that feminine, chances are they'd be writing
Ron a love note, not me, if you get my drift." Again, Hermione nodded. "So, what
if it was a girl?" Hermione remained quiet and Ginny kept going on as if not to
notice, but she had with a silent victory. "I mean, it would make more sense!
Most girls I know are way smarter than most boys. Plus, girls dream of receiving
love letters like this all the time, so of course they'd know how to write one."
Hermione thought about this for
"So, do you still think you're the true recipient of the letter?" she asked. It was a valid question, and the brown haired girl was curious to know Ginny's answer and reasoning. The redhead nodded her head.
"Yes, I still think it is for me and not for any of my brothers because I don't think a girl could write 'I hope you look at your reflection in the mirror and see the beauty that I see whenever I sneak a glance at you' to a guy. And they- she- mentioned a confusion last year. Maybe confusion about sexuality? Then there's the part that starts out 'Some say it isn't right...'. You see? So much evidence says that the writer is a girl. Now... Who?"
"Wait a second. Sure it might be a girl, and yes it is for you, but who's to say that this letter isn't a prank?" Ginny stopped moving.
"Oh, I hadn't thought of that. I hope to everything it isn't. It is too beautiful a letter not to be real, Hermione."
"So, you'd consider dating the writer of the letter even if it was a girl?" Hermione tried to seem nonchalant about the whole thing, but Ginny knew what Hermione was really trying to ask her, and she tried not to grin. Hermione wanted to know if Ginny was 'inclined that way' and if Hermione had a chance with her, but the redhead wasn't going to tell her that until the older girl confessed to writing the letter.
Ginny shrugged as if she didn't care one way or the other. "I don't know, I mean, if their words on parchment could make my heart react the way it has been, who's to say how my heart would react if she spoke them to me? Who's to say I'd be able to resist her?" Ginny noticed the anxious look on Hermione, but if she hadn't known her secret or known her for the last four years, she almost wouldn't have. "Last night, after I thought about the possibility of my admirer being a girl, I had a dream about it. Nothing graphic or racy or weird. Well, a little weird, but nice... I was looking down at the parchment in the Common Room. I was alone, and the parchment was on a desk, and I was just staring at it as if the answers might appear out of nowhere. I just stared, and then I asked, 'Where are you?' Not 'Who are you?', but 'Where?', and then slowly a hand- smaller and soft- reached out from the middle of the parchment where the signature should have been, and touched me on the cheek as if to say 'I'm always here loving you'."
Hermione's heart began to pound in her chest, for that was exactly what her touch would say if only she had the courage to reach out, like the hand in Ginny's dream had, and trace her cheek and jaw like she longed to do. Ginny, however, refused to let herself think on the rest of the dream, the part she would never tell anyone about where the hand had turned into an arm, then a shoulder, and so on until half of Hermione's body emerged. She looked so deeply into Ginny's eyes, and the redhead knew even in her dream state that it wasn't some elaborate prank. Hermione wasn't cruel, and the twins would never come up with something that good. When Hermione, in her dream, leaned in to kiss her, she was awakened by Jordana Morgan, who strived to be everyone's living alarm clock. 'Maybe it was better that the dream didn't continue. Who knows how I would've reacted towards Hermione today if it had.' Ginny thought, going a little red. "So what do you think? Who do you think it is?" Hermione shrugged absently, and Ginny went on listing off first the fifth year girls she suspected, not caring if they were in the Charms class or not, then the sixth years as she went on to list her reasons why.
"Let's see... You know, if I were to be with a girl, she'd have to be able to speak as well as she writes. No Slytherin, though maybe a Hufflepuff. Definitely a Gryffindor despite maybe being afraid, but I'd handle a Ravenclaw. No goody two shoes, but someone who doesn't completely disregard the rules, either. They have to know when to bend them, you know? Kind... funny...or at least able to understand the Weasley sense of humor well enough to not take the twins seriously- or Ron. I'm thinking brown hair would be cute on her. Someone who isn't conceited and spends hours in front of the mirror. I think I would like that natural beauty.... Yeah, I hope the letter writer is someone like that." Hermione began to fidget. "I hope so, too," she almost squeaked, grabbing her cup and drinking the rest of her orange juice. Ginny grinned trying to put on a dreamy face. She found that it actually wasn't hard to do once she thought of her dream again. She looked down at the letter once more though she knew by heart what it said.
"Gryffindor, definitely. A Gryffindor wrote that letter for sure." Hermione
almost choked. "Are you alright?" Hermione only
"Look, uh...I've got to go to class. Good luck on finding your prince-er-cess." Hermione said over her shoulder in a way that no on else heard her as she hurried away. Ginny grinned after her, but was disappointed that she hadn't gotten Hermione to confess to writing the letter. She'd pretty much spelled it out for the fifth year, but she still didn't say anything to confirm it. She'd have to go with another plan of action.
Hermione paced the length of the bathroom Moaning Myrtle haunted and tried to control her breathing. There was no way Ginny didn't know who wrote the letter. She had practically spelled it out with her description. Both were well aware that she was the only Muggle born witch who fit the description, so what was Ginny playing at? She just... she had to know! If, on the very, VERY small possibility she didn't know, what the heck was up with the description of her? Either way, she was trying to tell her something, and Hermione didn't want to think on what, exactly. If Ginny knew about Hermione writing the letter, was she waiting for Hermione to go to her and tell her that she had written it? She'd be waiting a very long time. If she didn't know, and Hermione stressed in her mind that it was near impossible that she didn't (she wasn't that daft), then what was with her describing her 'perfect girl' after her? Did Hermione really have a chance? Was Ginny serious when she said that she'd consider dating a girl depending on who it was who wrote the letter? Hermione couldn't believe it. Ginny wasn't the type to play games with people's minds and hearts. Maybe she was telling the truth. That was more believable than Ginny using that as a ruse to get Hermione to speak up. Still, she wasn't lying when she'd written that it was too hard to find the courage to say those three words to Ginny.
"If you die down here, I'm not sharing my beautiful bathroom with you. Just thought you should know." Hermione jumped, then sighed when she saw the ghost.
"Myrtle," she said when she calmed down some, "I promise you that if I die in here, I'll immediately start haunting the Astronomy Tower." She looked at her reflection, not seeing the reflection of the other girl.
"But first you'll go tell that creepy guy to take care of your carcass. It's the least you could do for brewing that awful potion that left my bathroom smelling fowl for over two weeks after that redhead and Harry took it... But you make a pretty kitty," she added in afterthought, "even though it was funny, that horrified look on your face."
"Thanks Myrtle... I think. I'll tell Filch right away, right before I move into the Astronomy Tower to clean up my dead body, should I die down here, heaven forbid."
"You better." With that, Moaning Myrtle jumped up onto her favorite toilet rim, saluted Hermione, then did a swan dive into the toilet. She made no splash this time, but Hermione heard a faint gurgle, which sounded almost like she'd said, "I give that a ten! What about our other judges?!" Hermione blinked after her. That was the perkiest she had ever seen the ghost, especially since she'd saluted and complimented Hermione, and she was pretty sure Myrtle didn't like much of anyone except for her short crush on Harry. Hermione shook her head quickly, then hurried to her class. 'This is so far turning out to be a mad day,' she thought.
Ginny thought about Hermione all through double Potions, which was the biggest mistake she could ever make. No one daydreams in Snape's class. No one. And to be daydreaming about Hermione while cutting and grinding ingredients into a potion she's not even sure about... What was the assignment again? She nicked herself twice, got called upon to answer a question, which she didn't even hear, let alone know the answer to. She was even pretty sure that Snape had threatened to give her some sort of truth serum to see what had her mind on something other than Potions, why she just couldn't seem to pay attention, which whipped her in shape. She didn't need to hear the truth right now, let alone have the rest of the class hear it too. She was sure her wrong answers and 'Er- what?'s had cost her at least thirty points, but no one seemed mad at her. At least no one said anything or gave her the evil eye. 'What is wrong with me?' she wondered as she forced herself to pay attention, if only for a few minutes.
After class, she saw Hermione in the corridors and hurried to her side. "How was your test?" Ginny asked as she fell in step with her. Hermione shrugged.
"I think I passed." Ginny couldn't help it. She laughed.
"You THINK you passed?" Hermione smiled.
"Alright. We both know I did, but there was a question on there about faeries and I went blank for a split second. I'm still unsure if I got the question right. How was Snape today?" Ginny looked around for any Slytherin ears or even a portrait who might overhear and dock off more points.
"Foul as always," she said. She saw that they were nearing the abandoned girls' bathroom and asked, "Can I talk to you for a moment?"
"Sure," Hermione replied, but Ginny turned right before getting her answer and Hermione followed after her, feeling nervous. As Ginny checked the stalls, the fifth year tried to calm herself down. "So, um... what did you need to speak to me about?"
"Well," Ginny said, coming back to stand in front of Hermione and staring her in the eye. "I found out who wrote the letter. I knew last night, but I wanted to make sure."
"Wh-Who?" Ginny gave Hermione a look as if to say 'oh come on!', but she started to list off the writer's clues instead, just to make Hermione sweat.
"Muggle born, Gryffindor, smart... Very smart, female," she reached out and touched Hermione's hair. "Brown hair, definitely speaks as well as she writes..." Ginny trailed off, letting her hand run through Hermione's hair and down to her cheek, much in the same way her dream self had been touched by the vision of the girl in front of her the night before in her sleep. She leaned in to kiss Hermione, who backed away. "I know it was you, Hermione. I found the revealing charm I was looking for, and it worked."
"Yes, okay it was me. I'm a freak, I know." Hermione tried not to cry, and did a good job holding back her tears. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean for you to find it. I- I was just going to put it in my diary."
"I know. Hermione, did you think I'd hate you for writing that letter?"
"Yes." Was she serious? Of course she thought that!
"I don't hate you." Ginny's lips touched Hermione's and the younger girl refused to back down until her kiss was returned. It was, much to her relief, but not for long as Hermione backed up, fumbling for the door, and grasped the handle.
"You can't. You're- You can't." She left after that, and Ginny called after her, not expecting her calls to be answered, and they weren't. She sighed and put her fingers into her lips. She wasn't expecting it to feel like that.
"Are you sure she's a Gryffindor? She's such a scaredy cat." Ginny jumped.
"Myrtle- Did you-"
"Of course I did. Not much happens in my bathroom that I don't know about. Oh don't worry Red. You're not the first pair of girls sharing Quidditch victory snogging. I can keep a secret." She seemed to look as if she was applying lipstick, but being transparent, Ginny didn't know what the shade seemed to be. "Who's the lucky guy?" Myrtle beamed and Ginny couldn't believe her eyes.
"Sir Nick and I are going to float around the grounds together. It's our second date. Yesterday we tag teamed Peeves and got him back for all the mean things he did to me when I was alive... and in the time I've been dead." Myrtle looked momentarily upset, but shook it off mentally as she continued to fix herself up, determined that the day would be a good one.
"You two would make such a cute couple. I hope you have a really good time," Ginny said sincerely, which was apparently the right thing to say, because Myrtle beamed again.
"You and the kitty would be cute together, too if you could convince her that its safe to come out from under the bed now that the storm's gone." Myrtle seemed satisfied with herself for the first time in her afterlife and turned from the mirror. "Wish me luck."
"Good luck, M-" But the ghost was gone with a salute and swan dive. Ginny sighed again and hurried to the Common Room.
Hermione couldn't face Ginny, not after they kissed in the bathroom. Harry had another detention with Umbridge, and Ron, bless him, just figured Hermione was upset about the test and offered to help study, which she asked for a rain check on. When Pavarti came into the fifth year rooms, she told Hermione that Ginny was looking for her and that it seemed important. Hermione pretended to be asleep, even though Pavarti didn't buy it. Hermione couldn't stop thinking about the kiss. It wasn't her first kiss, but it was the first kiss that made her react. She tried to get some sleep and after more girls started to come in, she took some of a left over sleeping drought from a couple of weeks ago, then fell into a fitful sleep. The next morning, Hermione went out to the Quidditch fields, where she knew no one would think to find her, especially Ginny. Sure, Ginny didn't hate her, but she couldn't have been serious about wanting to date her. She didn't know what she would've been getting herself into. Hermione knew, and she expected it if or when the time came, but she refused to drag Ginny down. No one who claimed to love her would do that to her. The problem was, Hermione felt more for the redhead girl than she had before, and she didn't think that was a possibility. She never knew the feeling like the one she felt then, but she knew it enough to identify it. 'Maybe that could be enough,' she thought to herself. Maybe that was all she needed to claim she knew what it felt like to be in love. She could live with that, could she?
Her thoughts were interrupted by the bumpy landing of a small ball of feathers. "Pig!" Tied to his leg was a letter almost his size, but he huffed and puffed with pride as he hop/flew closer to her. She stroked his head as she took the letter, not having any treats on her to reward him with, and he seemed happy with himself all the same. "Thank you, you big strong boy," Hermione praised. Pig hop/flew onto her shoulder and nestled in her hair as she unrolled the parchment. Hermione was afraid of what Ginny had to say.
Chances are, Pig got this to you in record time. I'm hoping he does, as it holds every emotion I've felt inside the last twenty-four hours or so. It has all the words I wish I could say if only you hadn't gone into hiding. I want to be with you Hermione. There. It is on the table. I know I've never entertained the thought of being with other girl before, but what your letter made me feel, I don't want to lose that. I want to give it a try. Some say it isn't right, but they can sod off. Kissing you yesterday felt so right, and I understand now what you meant about nothing else feeling right to me afterwards. You may see beauty in me, but do you ignore your own reflection? The woman you see there deserves as much love as anyone else, yet you're going to deny her that. Its sad. I know you've had confusion over Viktor Krum, over me, but I feel no such question marks above my head. Maybe I'm just weird that way, but I don't care. My stomach aches right now, you know? The fear of you rejecting me is the one thing that might hold me back from sending this letter, but it is important for you to get this.
You need to know. My lips want to feel you, touch you. I know how you feel, and you know what? Maybe its about time the moon shone purple, and I'll beat the knickers off of anyone who won't treat you with respect in Nocturn Alley. You've flooded my daydreams, you've taken over my night mind. I love it, though Snape hates it. I find myself wishing you'd kiss every freckle on my face, right before our kisses deepen and our hearts beat together. Not seeing you has made me feel so lost, did you know? You said you wish me the best, but I can't see myself being with anyone better than you. You're probably asking in your mind about Harry, but I don't care about Harry. I mean, yeah I do, but its time to get over it because he doesn't care about me. It's time to spend my heart loving somebody who loves me, and it is no longer a secret that you do. So what say you?
With all of my soul,
When Hermione looked up she saw the letter writer standing before her. She wasn't startled by it like she thought she would be. "So, you gonna let me love you?" Hermione didn't say anything. She was still getting over the shock of what Ginny had written. She'd never gotten a love note before, even if it answered and mostly paralleled her own.
"I let Pig fly and followed him. He was weighed down, so it wasn't hard to do." Ginny put her hand on Hermione's shoulder and allowed Pig to walk on her hand. She gave the small owl a kiss on the head. "Good boy, Pig. Off to the Owlry with you." Hermione never saw a happier bird. He looped over the girls' heads before Ginny called, "Show off!" They watched Pig disappeared as the silence grew between them.
"Well, class-" Ginny grabbed Hermione's arm before she could move.
"No. You're not running away from me again, and I'm not going to waste my time chasing after you if you do. I'm through with that. Hermione please, look at me." As she made her plea, Ginny moved her hand from Hermione's arm down to her hand, and the fifth year made a huge effort to glance up into Ginny's eyes as their fingers linked. "I knew this is scary. Hell, I should probably be more afraid than you are, but I'm not. Yes it'll get hard, but I believe that it would whether you're a girl or not. People might talk, or it might just be the Slytherins who have an issue with it, and we've had a few years of practice in ignoring them. I wasn't lying when I wrote that I want to be with you and that I want to give it a shot. I'm willing if you're willing." Hermione nervously ran her unused hand through her hair, and Ginny cupped the space where Hermione's neck and left shoulder connected. "Don't doom us before we can even try. What if, after a few months and people have gotten used to the idea, it really is going to be alright?" Ginny's fingers seemed to spider crawl to the back of Hermione's neck and slowly the older girl leaned in for a kiss. Her brain was on, and Ginny knew it was trying to decide something that wasn't, in her opinion, its decision to make. Not when that decision belonged to her heart.
When the kiss parted, Hermione took in a deep breath before gasping out, "I'm willing." She leaned her forehead against Ginny's and whispered again, "I'm willing." Both women heard clapping to their right, and they both gasped as they looked around for the clapping. They hoped that it wasn't someone like Malfoy about to unleash some verbal attack against them when they hadn't even had a chance to label what they were to each other. To their relief they were the only living souls in sight, though the clapping came from Myrtle. Myrtle had Nick's arm, and the ghosts smiled in approval.
Then they both floated on by, Myrtle's smile becoming a knowing grin. "Storm's over," she said to the fifth year, then, "Let's go Nicky." Though Hermione knew full well that the storm wasn't over, she wasn't afraid of it now, as Ginny held on to her hand, and she felt a little bit safer about facing it.