Title: Envy and Covetousness

Author: Amethyst

Author E-mail: AmethystJackson@hotmail.com

Category: Romance, Drama

Rating: PG-13

Keywords: Harry Hermione Lavender envy covetousness

Spoilers: None

Summary: Hermione finds herself jealous when Harry makes a date with Lavender Brown.

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Author's Note: Damned plot bunnies…

***

Witch Weekly

Volume 984, No. 1

Week of March 23, 2003

It's time for an article from Amethyst again. Let me tell you, this article was Hades for our editor to deal with. Amethyst has been grumpy lately, always blathering on about evil plot bunnies. We'll be getting her treatment shortly, have no fear. For now, enjoy this week's story.

Envy and Covetousness

By Amethyst

"So, what do you say to Hogsmeade this weekend, just the three of us, like old times?" Ron suggested as they returned to the Gryffindor common room from their Friday afternoon Potions lesson. 'Like old times' was referring to the period between their 3rd and 5th year, before Ron had begun making his way through the female population of Hogwarts. For a time, Hermione had been his Hogsmeade date. That hadn't lasted long, however. It became apparent after a few weeks of dating that they had no real chemistry, and that the only thing between them was the clashing of their personalities. Since, Ron had had many girlfriends; none lasted long, and for the most part, the girl of the week was the one to end it. This saddened Hermione. Ron really did have a sweet nature; he was just a little insecure. She wanted to see him happy. This weekend, he seemed to be lacking a date, which Hermione was secretly happy about. The three very rarely spent time together anymore. The thought of spending a Saturday with both of her best friends lifted her spirits. Where Harry and Ron especially had begun to date, she had been overlooked. Hermione had a feeling that Ron had scared away a few desirable prospects wanting to ask her out, with Harry's aid. In truth, she was lonely, and she missed her best friends.

Of course, Hermione hadn't been alone entirely due to lack of options. She had been on a few dates, but something had always gotten in the way: Harry.

She would never admit it, not even to Ron, but Hermione had become completely enamored with her other best friend. There was something about him that had captivated many star-struck girls at Hogwarts. Harry had an aura about him that told you not to get on his bad side, but his otherwise friendly nature kept him from seeming intimidating. His grin was disarming, his eyes were magnetic, and he was completely irresistible.

Hermione saw all that, and deeper. Not only was he enchanting, but he was Harry. He was sweet, kind, generous, brave, noble, chivalrous, and entirely lovable. Granted, sometimes he was far too preoccupied with Quidditch, he didn't study like he should have, he was impossible to deal with when he started brooding, he was stubborn, and he was more selfless than was good for him…but still, he was charming.

"Actually," Harry said awkwardly, and Hermione's heart dropped into her stomach, "I kind of told Lavender that I would go with her… I figured you would both be busy, anyway."

The tears were coming. They usually waited until Harry was safely out of sight to stream down her cheeks once he had told her about his latest girl. They weren't as considerate this time. She walked ahead of them, reaching the portrait hole. "Bobotuber pods," Hermione muttered to the Fat Lady. She hurried in, Harry and Ron strolling behind.

"Lavender, eh?" Ron said, raising an eyebrow. "Doesn't seem like your type."

She isn't, Hermione thought sourly, looking back just long enough to see Harry shrug.

There was no way she could stand there and listen to it. She headed for the stairs briskly, surreptitiously wiping away the first tear as it fell.

"Where are you going?" Harry called after her as she reached the stairs.

"I-I don't feel so well," she half-lied, her voice strangled through the tears, and she ran the rest of the way up the stairs.

She went into the bathroom, not wanting to face Parvati, or, gods, Lavender. Throwing her bag down, she locked the door behind her.

Sitting against the wall, Hermione let the sobs take over. No, what she felt for Harry was not just infatuation. It was real, she loved him, and for the rest of her life, she would be overlooked by him.

Lavender! Good gods, what does he see in her? She's absolutely terrible, so shallow, not to mention lacking brain cells! Oh, yes, you can bet she wants a date with famous, wealthy Harry Potter, but what about me? I just want Harry… Isn't he always saying that he wants someone who will see past all that? Why doesn't he want me?

~

Harry watched her flee, brows furrowing in concern.

"I wonder what's wrong. She looked like she was crying," he said, glancing back at Ron. Ron merely shrugged.

"You'd better go find out. I'd go, but I always say the wrong thing."

It was true. Bad luck or lack of sense always seemed to lead to Ron making situations worse with Hermione, no matter how good his intentions were.

Harry nodded and, with a resigned sigh, prepared to face Hermione.

It wasn't that he minded so much. He wanted to be there for Hermione. He couldn't stand to see her cry, though, and he always felt quite useless. In fact, it seemed as though he generally only made her cry more.

He was about to knock on the door to the girls' dormitory when sounds of muffled sniffling to the right told him that Hermione had locked herself up in the bathroom.

He frowned. She only hid in the bathroom when she was avoiding Parvati or Lavender…

Lavender, she was fine until I mentioned Lavender. Damnit, this is going to be difficult. What does she have against Lavender?

He rapped on the door, leaning slightly against the doorframe. "Hermione…will you let me in?"

"No," came her reply, thick with tears.

"Open up, Hermione," he tried in the firmest voice he could manage. There was a large part of him that wanted to get down on the floor and beg her to stop crying. That probably would have been more effective; Hermione was too stubborn to take orders, but getting her to stop crying wouldn't solve her problem.

To his surprise, the door opened, and he straightened as a red-eyed Hermione stared out at him.

"Please, just go away, Harry," she said, and he could tell she was barely holding back another wave of tears.

Before he could react, the door was shut and locked again. Harry sighed wearily. Desperate times called for desperate measures. Harry pulled his wand out of his robe pocket and aimed for the door, uttering a quick, "Alohomora," before he charged into the bathroom.

Hermione was now sitting against the wall, glowering at him even as a few teardrops rolled down her cheeks. He considered running away for a moment. Even Gryffindors couldn't be expected to face a glare like that. He shook himself with the mental reminder that Hermione wouldn't murder him. He hoped.

"Come on, now, don't look at me like that. Voldemort's never given me such a dirty look."

Hermione only scowled. "I told you to leave me alone."

"Well, I would," Harry said, closing the door, "but it seems my best friend is crying in a toilet."

He sat down in front of her. "Are you going to tell me why, or do I have to go ask Snape for some Veritaserum? I really don't fancy facing him again today."

"It's just a score I got an exam… I didn't do well on it," she lied, wiping her eyes with her sleeve. She was a horrible liar; Harry wondered why she even bothered.

"I may not study, Hermione, but I'm not oblivious," he said as gently as he could. "What's going on between you and Lavender?"

"Nothing," Hermione said, though she sounded awfully sullen to Harry.

"You were fine until I mentioned going to Hogsmeade with Lavender. Tell me what upset you about it."

~

There was no getting out of it. She had to tell him something, and it couldn't be a lie because Harry could tell when she fibbed. The only thing to do was to take a truth and exaggerate it.

"I was just disappointed," she said, feeling sick to her stomach as she spoke the words. She wanted to tell him the full truth, but she couldn't, not that. It was too risky. "I wanted us all to spend the day together, just the three of us, like Ron said. You're both always doing something…I just miss…" She wanted to say 'you,' but she was about to cry again, and she couldn't have spoken. It was true; she did, and it killed her that he didn't miss her enough to spend his weekends with her.

"I miss it, too," Harry said, and she suddenly found herself in his embrace. She held onto him in hopes that it would keep him from letting go. He didn't understand what it did to her, being against him with her head on his shoulder. It was heaven and hell all at once, and she couldn't stop one last sob because of it.

"Shh, don't cry," he whispered, stroking her hair. Hermione thought he sounded rather desperate. "I'll just reschedule my plans with Lavender. I'd much rather have a chance to spend time with you and Ron, anyway."

Hermione smiled slightly, though her misery was barely alleviated. He would still not be hers, nor would he look at her any differently…but at least she would be near him tomorrow.

"That sounds nice," she said, and she pulled away as he released her. He gave her a broad smile, and she wanted to cry all over again. If only he knew what he did to her.

He stood up nimbly and reached down to help her up as well.

"I'm going to go tell Ron about the change of plans before he finds a date," Harry said with a chuckle once they were both on their feet. Hermione smiled again and nodded, and he left her alone again with her misery.

~

Later that evening…

She hated Lavender, she really did. Of course, she hadn't done anything wrong, but Hermione still hated her. Lavender was all wrong for Harry; Hermione wished she could make him see that.

Hermione had gone to bed early when Ron had started talking about her again. Harry had blushed and smiled sweetly, and she had hated it. She had feigned exhaustion and gone upstairs. It would be impossible to sleep, but it was better than being down there.

Sighing, she turned onto her side, back to the door. All she wanted was to stop wanting him, but her heart wasn't that kind. Hermione didn't believe in fate, but nevertheless, it was seeming awfully cruel.

Footsteps on the stairs told Hermione that either Parvati or Lavender was coming up, so she closed her eyes and pretended to sleep. She didn't want to speak to either of them. Whispered conversation told her that both of them were approaching.

"Leave it to Hermione to ruin my weekend," Lavender was half-hissing to Parvati. "Harry's too sweet to refuse her, so, of course, he cancels our plans to be with her. Honestly, when we do start dating, he's going to have to stop spending so much time with her. I am not spending our entire relationship having her take up all my time with Harry."

Hermione's stomach twisted with disgust and anger, and she hoped her face didn't betray it. Yes, Lavender would do something like that, thinking she was the best thing that could ever happen to a guy, even someone like Harry. Harry wouldn't throw away their friendship for Lavender, Hermione knew, but it didn't make Lavender any less awful.

"Lavender…they've been friends for six years. Do you really think he's going to give her up, just for you?" Parvati replied, and Hermione could imagine the look of skepticism on her face. Hermione fought a small smile, grateful that somebody realized that she was important to Harry, even if it wasn't in the way that Hermione preferred.

"Of course he will, Parvati, with the right incentive," Lavender replied, and Hermione could almost hear her smirking. Hermione struggled not to change her expression with the thought of what that 'incentive' might be.

"Whatever you say," Parvati muttered.

Hermione listened as the two moved about, getting ready for bed, which generally took the two an ungodly amount of time. Eventually, she heard one of them put out the lights, and she opened her eyes, no nearer to sleep than she had been an hour ago.

Would it always be like this? Would Harry continually see her as his friend, a sister? Would he go from girl to girl, ignoring her? Would they all be like Lavender, wanting her out of the picture, and would Harry eventually find a girl that he loved enough to do that for? He would certainly never love her…

Hermione pulled the blankets closer as a few tears slipped out onto her pillow.

~

Two weeks later…

Hermione had given up on sleeping that evening and had headed down to the common room. It was late, but Harry was still out with Lavender. Knowing Lavender, she was probably trying to seduce poor Harry. He wouldn't…would he? Maybe he was the Boy Who Lived, but he was still a teenager…a male teenager that didn't date much. Hermione closed her eyes and hugged her battered copy of Hogwarts, A History to her chest. She did not want to see him come through the portrait hole at three in the morning, mussed up from Lavender's 'incentives.'

As if summoned by her thoughts, the portrait hole opened, and Harry and Lavender stepped through. Lavender's lipstick was smeared, and her hair was considerably less tidy than it had been when they left. Harry wasn't much better; the solution to the mystery of Lavender's lipstick was all over Harry's mouth. Hermione didn't know why she felt so disappointed with him. She had expected that, hadn't she?

The two met her scrutinizing stare with surprise. Lavender's gaze quickly turned hostile. Hermione wondered briefly if Lavender had guessed her feelings for Harry.

"Good night, Harry," she said, somewhat bitterly, before she stalked up the stairs, leaving Hermione alone with Harry.

"How did the date go?" she asked, glancing down at her book. It would have been hard to speak past the lump in her throat, had she met his eyes. Mentally, she chided herself, as she had many times in the past two weeks. What's gotten into you, Hermione? One date and he's turned you into a bucket of tears! What are you going to do when he finds a girl he wants to stay with? Grow up and get over it.

"Not well," he said, and a moment later he sat down in the chair next to hers. Hermione shot him a glance out of the corner of her eye, not able to mask her resentment.

"All that lipstick on your face implies otherwise."

Harry blushed but shook his head. "It went well up until a certain point… We wouldn't have been out so late if we hadn't gotten into an argument." He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, making it stand up a little straighter than usual. "I won't bother you with the details."

"It was because of me, wasn't it?" Hermione asked miserably. "She didn't want you to spend time with me anymore, right?"

Harry's expression was enough to tell her that she was right. "Don't worry," she said, "I knew it was coming. I heard Lavender talking to Parvati about it." Hermione sighed. "Maybe it would be better if you did. This is only going to happen again. How are you ever going to keep a girlfriend with me around?"

Harry scowled at her. "Don't be thick, Hermione. You're the most important girl in my life, you know that."

Hermione blinked to stop the tears. Important, but not the way she wanted to be. "That will change someday. Your wife is not going to appreciate coming second."

"You could always be my wife," Harry said, smirking.

Careful, Potter. I might just hold you to that, and then what will you do?

"The look on Lavender's face would be priceless, but I'm afraid that won't work out too well when you find someone you really love…" Because we both know it won't be me.

"What if I already have?"

Hermione gawked at him. He was blushing. He couldn't mean…could he? No, of course he didn't…

"I'm in love with you, Hermione. I never expected you to feel the same way, so don't feel any pressure to… But you'll always be the most important person in my life, Hermione."

Hermione began to cry again, but for once it wasn't out of misery. He loved her. Her, his supposed best friend…and she wasn't meant to watch him fall for other girls as she got shoved to the side. He was hers, and she would be damned if she would ever give him up. Something told her she wouldn't have to. It was Harry; who could possibly take his place? Who could she ever love as much as she loved him?

"I'm sorry," Harry mumbled, getting up. "I didn't mean…I shouldn't have…"

He started for the stairs, and Hermione watched him like a stranded man in the desert, watching his last drop of water evaporate. He thought she was crying because she hadn't wanted him to say that…if only he knew…

"Wait!" she called after him, rushing to his side. She couldn't let him go, not without knowing how she felt.

"Harry…I love you," she told him, taking his hand.

"But just as a friend," he whispered, staring at their hands. "It's okay, I understand."

"No, you don't," Hermione countered. "I'm in love with you."

He laughed slightly, a laugh full of disbelief and hope and joy that was mimicked by his eyes. "Really?"

"Yes, really," she said, and Harry grinned as he pulled her into one of the most enthusiastic hugs she would ever receive. Hermione hugged him back, losing herself in his presence.

"This is too good to be true," Harry murmured, pulling back and holding her at arm's length, his hands resting on her hips. Hermione blushed.

Harry moved closer again. He's going to kiss me, Hermione realized, panicking. He's going to kiss me, and…oh, no.

Harry's lips were coming closer, and she wanted to kiss him, had for the longest time, but…

"Harry," she said, breaking the moment. He jerked back, eyes wide with surprise and concern. She went on, hoping he would understand. "I, er…well, you still have Lavender's lipstick all over your mouth."

His eyes widened comically as his face blushed toward the colour of a tomato. "I'm sorry, Hermione, I… Wait here, okay?" he stammered, and Hermione nodded, trying hard not to chuckle. Harry headed quickly up the stairs to the boys' dormitories, leaving Hermione with her thoughts.

I hope he wasn't offended…he didn't look like he was. But he can't really expect me to kiss him with her lipstick all over his face. Why did he bother with her, anyway, if he really is in love with me? Don't be stupid, Hermione, of course he's really in love with you. But still…

Her thoughts were interrupted as Harry came bounding back down the stairs, face freshly scrubbed and free of any of Lavender's scarlet and, Hermione thought, rather tasteless lipstick. He smiled at her and took her hand as he reached the bottom of the stairs.

"Can we talk?" she asked quietly. He nodded and lead her over to an armchair in the common room that was just big enough for two people. Harry put his arm around her, and it was the most natural thing in the world for Hermione to let her head rest on his shoulder.

"Why did you go out with her if you -"

"If I was in love with you?" he finished for her. Hermione nodded. "Because," he continued, "I had already made the date with her when I realized. It didn't seem fair to break it; it wasn't anything she did, after all, and…well, I never thought you'd feel the same way. I figured I might as well give her a chance. It wasn't long before I knew I wouldn't be getting over you anytime soon."

"Mmm, and yet you had a nice snogging session with her anyway?" she said, though she was having a very hard time being annoyed with him.

"I know that looked bad, but Lavender can do all that with a couple of kisses. Hermione, I never would have done anything with her if I had thought it would hurt you."

"I know," she whispered, and she truly did. "When did you know, Harry?"

"That day in the bathroom. I realized when I decided I'd do anything to get you to stop crying."

Hermione smiled, "I was really crying because I was jealous, you know."

She felt Harry's lips press against her forehead. "I'll try not to make you cry again."

They sat in silence for a few moments, Hermione listening to Harry's heartbeat. The slow, even rhythm almost lulled her to sleep. Had Harry not spoken, she probably would have dozed off.

"I never got to kiss you," he said softly. Hermione looked up at him, quite happy with the way things were working out. As far as she was concerned, there wasn't a thing wrong with the world, and with Lavender's lipstick out of the way, she was dying to give him that kiss.

Hermione tilted her head and leaned toward him, tentatively pressing her lips against his. It didn't remain tentative for long. His tongue darted out across her lip forcefully, and she had no choice but to open herself to him. By the time they pulled apart, Hermione had forgotten where she was, it was that intense.

She smiled somewhat dreamily at him, receiving much the same look. Everything really was perfect.

"Lavender's going to be so jealous when she finds out," Hermione murmured, snuggling closer to him. She didn't mention how much satisfaction she got out of the fact.

~ fin