A/N: Okay so... my first Harry Potter fic for a while... I hope I've not lost my touch. The first chapter of this is set in the Summer before the trio head off for their search of Horcruxes. It's also in italics intentionally because this is a flasback chapter. Other chapters will be after the wedding and they've set off on their mission. it's a H/Hr fic, Ginny is all grown up and has accepted he was never hers. There will also be no Ron bashing. enjoy :D
"Harry Potter! Are you a Gryffindor or a Hufflepuff?!"
The raven-haired, green eyed, bespectacled teenaged in question was jolted from his thoughts as he heard the shrill, female tone, looking straight into the honey-toned eyes of Ginny Weasley.
"Uh…" he stammered, his brain trying to catch up with what she was annoyed with.
"Are you going to stare at Hermione all afternoon or are you going to ask her out." Came the response from the red-head.
"What…?" Harry gaped, looking to her. Had he really been that obvious? He had never acted on his feelings for fear of upsetting Ginny and ruining his friendship with Ron, it was quite obvious his friend had held the same affections for their female best friend.
"You heard me." Ginny retorted, sitting opposite him. "We broke up because we wanted different things. I thought I loved you. I'll admit, I was a child, with a childish crush, and I guess I sort of… hero-worshipped you."
Harry listened as she spoke. They were still friends, their presence around each other wasn't one of awkwardness, which harry was glad of. She spoke of her assumed feelings with such maturity and assurance that he knew it no longer embarrassed her the way she'd acted not weeks previous, and of all the times before then. Ashamed, yes, but she wasn't embarrassed anymore. "What about Ron?"
"Ron'll get over it." Ginny nodded. "Look… Hermione's liked you, for quite a while, and what's more is she's liked you for all the right reasons. It's always been the three of you, but it's always you she's been more talkative around, always you she lights up around."
"Ron doesn't take notice till our lives are in danger." Harry pointed out. He loved his best friends dearly, but Ron also irritated him sometimes. His lack of willingness to use the brain he has. His quick temper and quick-to-judge attitude.
"Yeah and needs a sharp kick up the backside." Ginny pointed out. "Hermione talked to me once… after Slughorn's party and she'd sent a flock of canaries after Ronald." She broke off to giggle at the memory and the vision her mind had created.
"What did she say?" Harry asked.
"That both her friends were idiots. She loved you both, but didn't know where her heart lay. So we talked it through, logically. In the only way she knows how. Ron's an insensitive git most of the time. It's always been you she looks to for comfort. She's always on the same wavelength as you. And if I'm honest... it's been you two all along."
Harry thought for a moment before looking to her again. "You mean she…?" he trailed off, but Ginny know what he was asking.
"Yes, she does. Harry Potter you can be very dense sometimes, I feel like I'm talking to my brother." Ginny smiled and stood up. "Tell her, Harry. Before it's too late and Voldemort decides to screw up your life and everyone else's with his need to take over everything."
Harry sighed, shaking his head as Ginny left him with his thoughts. He looked up again and saw Hermione looking straight over at him, giving him a small smile before returning to her book in one hand, and absentmindedly scratching behind Crookshanks's ear with the other.
Hermione looked so small curled up on the chair in the Weasley's sitting room in front of the fireplace, the fire not needing to be lit due to the warmth of the Summer. Harry plucked up his courage and stood from the kitchen table and made his way across the small space and leaned on the arm of the chair so he was facing her. "What's that?"
"I'm just catching up on some Defence Against the Dark Arts material before Mrs Weasley ropes us all in to help with the wedding preparations." Hermione smiled happily, glancing down as the ginger ball of fur curled in the curve of her stomach and hips stretched out his paws and flexed his claws into her soft, flawless skin beneath her jeans. Hermione shrugged, knowing Crookshanks was only making himself more comfortable, the action barely hurt her.
Harry nodded. Of course. Only she would read on school work in the Summer holidays. "You are aware in the holidays you're meant to relax?" he grinned, stressing the emphasis on the word 'relax' and watched as she had the grace to blush.
"Well… I had nothing else to read to hand." She admitted sheepishly. She would explain why later, she'd packed all her possessions in a small bag, charmed with an extendable charm, she could fit every possible item she would need as a precautionary measure. Everything from books to potions, clothes to a tent.
Harry rolled his eyes, smiling. He was about to say something when he heard Mrs Weasley calling for him and Ron. It sounded like she was in the back garden. "Please don't tell me she wants us to de-gnome the garden…" he groaned, bowing his head.
His suspicions were confirmed when he saw Ron enter with the gloves, ready for the task in hand. "C'mon mate…" Ron smiled a little, neither of them wanted to but if they didn't they would sure incur the wrath of Molly Weasley.
Hermione just laughed and gave a mock wave, and replaced her hand back into her cat's fur when he mewed in annoyance at the loss of contact. "Good luck boys!" she grinned as Harry and Ron retreated outside.