TITLE: Red Hair, Pale Skin
AUTHOR: Jos Mous
DISCLAIMER: I don’t own any of these characters and am not making a profit.
RATING: G to PG
NOTE: “Clara Ivanova” was taken from the “Quidditch World Cup” videogame, so -even though the Bulgarian team really does have a Chaser called “Ivanova”- her appearance and even gender aren’t entirely canonical. As if that ever bothered anyone.
Ginny couldn’t sleep. She stared upwards without seeing and listened to the deafening silence of lots of people making absolutely no sound as they slept, which was dampened by the canvas of the tent. Not too far away from her lay Hermione, presumably sleeping as well.
Ah yes. Hermione.
She was turning into a bit of a problem, more or less. Ginny liked being around her and she really enjoyed sharing a room with her at the Burrow and here a tent at the Quidditch World Cup. But whenever they were in a single room together, Ginny desperately wanted to be alone so she could touch herself without Hermione noticing it. But then again, if Hermione wasn’t there she didn’t really feel the urge to touch herself in the first place.
To make matters worse, Hermione really liked her too. They were fast becoming the best of friends, which was nice in an agonizingly painful way.
In the silence the whisper was louder than a thunderclap.
“Yes?” Ginny whispered.
“Can’t sleep either, huh?” said Hermione.
“No, not really,” said Ginny, staring fixedly at the canvas above her.
“I suppose it’s because of all the excitement.”
“Oh yes,” said Ginny truthfully.
“So who do you think will win tomorrow?”
“Don’t know,” said Ginny. “Bulgaria’s got the better Seeker, but Ireland’s got the better everything else. I guess it depends on how fast Krum will catch the Snitch.”
“I guess you’re right,” said Hermione.
The silence returned, thick and choking. Ginny took a deep breath and steeled herself.
“I’m rooting for Bulgaria,” Hermione said suddenly.
Ginny let out her breath and felt her courage sink again, silently cursing the missed moment. “Oh? Why?”
“Because of Ivanova, really. I like her.”
“She’s… one of the Chasers, isn’t she?” Ginny said, trying to form a mental picture.
“That’s right,” said Hermione.
“Why do you like her? I mean, she’s not very high-profile as far as players go.”
“Because…” The silence stretched out again and Ginny started thinking Hermione had fallen asleep mid-sentence. She was surprised when Hermione’s whisper came back. “Because I really… like… young women with pale skin and red hair.”
Ginny was at a loss for words. She had dreamed, no fantasised, Hermione would say something like that. And now that she had, she didn’t know what to say.
“Ginny?” Hermione’s voice suddenly sounded very small and fragile.
“I… I don’t…”
“Forget it,” said Hermione. “Let’s try to get back to sleep.”
“No, forget it.”
Ginny still didn’t know what to say, which was stupid. She’d wanted this moment for ages, or at least weeks. And now it was here, it was slipping away and turning bad. It just wasn’t fair. She had to do… something. Right now!
“Hermione…?” she tried again.
Ginny struggled out of her makeshift bed and walked over to Hermione’s, the canvas icy beneath her bare feet. Hermione sensed Ginny was close by and turned to look at her. Ginny couldn’t see much in the dark, but she did see fear.
Hermione shook her head. “Please,” she whimpered.
Ginny looked at her, speechless. Then she leaned down and kissed Hermione on the lips. It was a quick little kiss, clumsy and inexperienced, barely more than a peck. But it did say a lot.
“We’ll… talk about this in the morning, all right?” said Ginny.
Hermione didn’t respond, but Ginny thought she could see her smile.
Dawn arrived, more or less. The sun wasn’t up yet, but it was already bright. Ginny woke up and found herself remarkably refreshed. She soon noticed Hermione was already up and fully clothed.
“Hey,” said Ginny weakly.
“Good morning,” said Hermione. “Let’s go for a walk, shall we?”
Ginny got up and got changed. Lately she had always felt embarrassed about changing in front of Hermione, and now it was even worse. She was sure she was blushing all over. Mercifully, Hermione didn’t make any comment either way.
Silence still dominated the camping grounds and the low fog gave the place a surreal look.
“So…” said Hermione.
“So…” said Ginny.
“About last night…”
The girls walked on, not saying a word. Ginny didn’t know what to say and right now she didn’t know what to do either. She wanted to take her hand, but… could she do that? What if Hermione flinched? What if she didn’t?
“Looks like we’re not the only ones who’re up early,” said Ginny, more to break the silence than anything else.
“Oh… yes…” said Hermione, glancing at the wholly unremarkable young woman apparently taking an early morning stroll. Then she took a second glance. And then a look.
Ginny was surprised by sudden the change in direction. Suddenly, they weren’t wandering around aimlessly any more. Or at least, Hermione wasn’t. They soon reached the other early riser and Ginny instantly wondered why she hadn’t recognised the woman sooner.
“You’re… Clara Ivanova, right?” Hermione asked.
The woman gave her a bemused look. “Da, that is right,” she said, her voice thick with what was probably a Bulgarian accent.
“I’m… kind of a fan,” Hermione said lamely.
The Bulgarian Chaser looked at Ginny and then back at Hermione. “I see,” she said smiling. “I suppose you want an autograph?”
“Well…” said Hermione.
Ivanova produced a photograph from somewhere. “No ink, so I fear we’ll do it the easy way,” she said, taking her wand. “Your names?”
Ivanova deftly waved her wand, tapped the photograph once and handed it over to a slightly trembling Hermione.
“Say, aren’t you afraid that if you walk around here you’ll be swamped with people wanting your autograph?” Ginny asked.
“It’s early,” Ivanova answered. “And besides, I cast a spell that makes me not noticed easily on myself. Only people who would really like to see me will see me. And I often have time for people like that.” She nodded. “Have a nice day, girls.”
“Bye,” Hermione said.
“Come on, let me see that,” said Ginny.
Hermione held the picture out for her. It showed Ivanova posing with her broomstick and balancing a Quaffle on the tip of her finger. In the top left of the corner, in neat curly handwriting, it said “To Hermione and Ginny,” and in the bottom right corner was Ivanova’s autograph. Ginny took the picture and now the centre filled itself with writing as well, saying “Two girls who find each other far more attractive than me.”
Hermione and Ginny gaped at each other and when Hermione let go of the picture, the words quickly faded again, showing nothing but a smiling Ivanova who winked at them.
“How… how could she…?” Ginny stammered.
The girls looked up at the figure getting further and further away. Without looking back, Ivanova raised her hand and waved briefly before the fog swallowed her.
“Well…” said Ginny.
“I think we’ve wandered around long enough,” said Hermione. “We ought to be back at the tents before everybody else wakes up.”
“Probably,” said Ginny
The girls turned around and as they started walking Ginny could feel Hermione’s hand slipping into her own. Despite the swirling mass of emotions, Ginny smiled.
“Strange morning, huh?” said Ginny.
“Fits the rather strange night,” said Hermione.
“I guess,” said Ginny. She looked at the autographed photo. “You think she’s… you know…”
“No idea,” said Hermione. “Still, it’s a nice memento. Something to look back on when we’re old and everything.”
Hermione took the photo as well and the words in the middle appeared again on cue.
“I wonder how long this spell will last,” said Ginny.
“Not nearly as long as us.”
“You really think so?”
“Give me one reason why not,” said Hermione.
Ginny tried, but couldn’t think of anything.
And this time, that little fact made her very happy.
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