AN: I don't own anything relating to Harry Potter, it all belongs to the lovely J. K. Rowling. Please R/R! Thank you! :)
I was just sitting on the floor by the fire, playing chess with, or should I say losing chess to, Ron, when Hermione walked into the room. I couldn't help but notice that she gave me smile for hello and just stared at Ron. I found this peculiar considering the fact that Hermione and Ron have been going out for three months now.
But I don't like to talk about that. I try to avoid it whenever possible. You see, I kind of have a… well, let's just call a thing for Hermione. To be quite honest, I have no idea why Hermione agreed to go out with Ron in the first place, they are always fighting. But then again, I guess opposites really do attract. I don't think they will last much longer together. I think they make better friends than a couple, but it could just be my feelings for Hermione that are talking.
So anyway, back to where I was.
Ron, seeing Hermione enter the common room, stood up to give Hermione a kiss hello. I took this opportunity and switched three of my chess pieces while no one was looking. I grinned evilly to myself as Ron sat back down.
"You guys almost done? It's just about dinner time," Hermione said in her velvety smooth voice.
Man, I really have to quite thinking of her in that way! She's with Ron now.
"Yeah," I said off-handedly, trying to figure out if Ron knew what I did.
He didn't seem to notice as he moved his rook. I smiled as I moved my knight, checkmating him.
Ron sighed in defeat as he began to put his pieces away. I noticed that Hermione raised her eyebrows questioningly toward me. I gave her my best "who, me?" look and she just smiled.
On our way to dinner, we met up with Lavender and Parvati
"Hey," Hermione and I said in unison.
Parvati and Lavender started to laugh. Then they gave each other a look. I can't really explain what kind of a look it was, but it seemed to me like a knowing look, as if they knew something that we did not.
I shrugged it off as I continued to walk down the hallway. I noticed Lavender kept looking at Ron and vice versa. This seemed a little strange to me, but I chose to ignore it and I opened the door. I let Hermione go in front of me, but I walked in front of Ron. I don't know what made me do it, I just did.
I made it through dinner with only looking at Hermione a total of five times. I think that was a record for me, because I usually can't go a minute without peeking a glance in her direction.
Luckily, Ron didn't seem too notice, he never did. Actually, now that I think about it, Ron always seems preoccupied during the meal times. He never pays Hermione much attention then.
Back in the common room, after dinner, the five of us played
a few rounds of exploding snap. Ron had half of his left eyebrow singed off.
Parvati and Lavender then took him to the hospital wing, telling Hermione and I
"It wasn't that bad," I said, meaning the nonexistent eyebrow.
"I know, I could have fixed it," Hermione replied.
Then we looked at each other and burst out laughing. When my laughter had calmed down so that I could speak and have her understand me, I asked, "Why are you two going out? I mean, you guys always fight and stuff."
Hermione grew silent and didn't say anything at first. She studied her hands for a good two minutes before looking at me. Her chocolate brown eyes seemed full of something, but I couldn't tell if it was anger, hope, or sadness.
Just as I began wishing I hadn't said anything, Hermione opened her mouth and spoke, "It's complicated. I mean, I really care for Ron, I do. He is one of my best friends. But, I don't know, lately it seems like that is all we are, Ron doesn't notice me anymore. I think he would rather be out with his guy friends than me." Hermione lowered her head, but continued talking, "I think we are growing apart. I don't know if it's just my anxiety from our relationship, but I think Ron may like Lavender. What makes it worse, though, is that I don't think I even care. Is that terribly wrong? To not care if your boyfriend likes someone else?"
I wasn't sure if she meant it as rhetorical, or if she
wanted an answer. I decided to offer an answer, "Maybe you two are just growing
Hermione gave me a small smile and then I got up and hugged her.
"I think I know why," Hermione said when I sat back down.
"Why what?" I asked.
"Why I don't really care about Ron liking Lavender," she replied softly.
"You don't know for sure if he likes her," I responded.
"I know, but I just have a feeling he does. Can you keep a secret? I mean, not even tell Ron? Especially not Ron," Hermione said as she twirled her hair a bit.
"Of course I can, Hermione, I would never betray your trust," I said.
"I know. The reason I don't really care about Ron and Lavender is that I kind of have feelings for another guy," she said quietly.
My heart skipped several beats at that moment. My mind was full of a thousand thoughts: Who is it? How long has she liked him? Who is it? Does Ron know? Who is it?
I was quiet for a minute, and then Hermione touched my hand so that I would look at her, "Are you sure?" was all I could manage to say.
"Yes. I can't help it. He's in Gryffindor, so I see him all the time, and whenever I'm near him my mind goes numb and I have to wait a minute before my brain turns on again so that I can speak," she said quietly after a moment of silence.
"Do you think Ron has any idea?" I asked.
"I'm not sure. He might, but I'm not positive. It's not like it even really matters, though," she answered.
"Why doesn't it matter?" I inquired, quite curious.
"Because, I know that the guy I like will never like me back. I also know that Lavender likes Ron. I just don't know what to do." Hermione looked as if she was going to cry.
I gave her another hug. This time I could smell her hair. She must be using a vanilla scent shampoo. The scent ticked my nose and sent shivers down my spine. Ron's a lucky guy, he could spend forever smelling Hermione's hair. Why would he ruin something like that? And for Lavender? I mean, no offense to her, but what does she have that Hermione doesn't? A lower IQ is the only thing I can think of. He has to be crazy.
"He has to be crazy," I said aloud.
"Who?" Hermione said sadly.
"Well, two people really. Ron for starters, I don't know why he would cheat on you with Lavender; you're ten times the girl she could ever hope to become. And secondly, whoever it is that you like, if he really doesn't like you, I mean. He would have to be insane," I said.
"Oh, Harry!" Hermione exclaimed as she threw her arms around me.
Just then, Ron, Lavender, and Parvati came back into the common room.
Hermione said she had to go to her room, and she went upstairs.
Parvati and Lavender decided to go and talk to Professor Trelawney.
That left Ron and me alone.
"Hey, Harry, can I talk to you for a minute?" Ron asked as he sat on the couch next to me, where I had taken residence after I hugged Hermione.
"Sure," I said.
"It's about Hermione," he said slowly.
"Oh," I tried to sound casual, but I couldn't help but feel like hurting Ron for not realizing how lucky he is.
"Yeah, well, actually, I want to talk to you about two things, both involving Hermione," Ron replied.
"What are they?" I responded, not looking directly at him.
"Well, the first thing is, I don't know if you have noticed or not, but it seems like we, meaning Hermione and I, are drifting apart, and I have this feeling that she may like someone else. I don't know who, or even if she actually does, though. I was wondering if she had talked to you about it, or anything, because you are one of her best friends," he said, looking me in the eye.
I gulped. Does he really know that Hermione likes someone? I wonder if I should tell him. No, I can't. I promised her I wouldn't tell, and she trusts me.
"I don't know," I lied. I hated lying to Ron, he is one of my two best friends in the whole world, but I was protecting my other best friend.
Ron nodded his head, showing he believed me. I felt so guilty. Until I heard what he said next.
"I feel bad, because I almost wish she did like someone else. Harry, can you keep a secret? And not tell Hermione? I like Lavender. I know she likes me too. I feel just awful about it, because I want to be with Lavender, but I don't want Hermione to be mad at me. You can't tell her, though! Ron said quickly and quietly, however, his voice raised a pitch at the last sentence.
I didn't know what to do. My best friends, who are going out, each like someone else, but they don't want to hurt each other. Should I tell them to just call it quits and break up with each other, so Ron could be happy with Lavender, and Hermione could be happy with… with whoever it that she likes? Everyone would be happy, except me. I wouldn't get the person I want. Someone else would have Hermione, and I get stuck as the fifth, instead of third, wheel. Lucky me.
Could you sense the sarcasm?
"I won't tell her, you can trust me," I said wearily. What else could I have said?
Ron grinned and then went up to our dormitory. I stayed on the couch and thought about my dilemma some more.
What should I do? I can't break either of their trust and squeal to the other one. But then again, they are both miserable, well, not miserable, but you get the idea. I hate being in the middle. I sighed a frustrated sigh just as Ginny came into the common room.
"You alright, Harry?" she asked, sitting down in a nearby armchair.
"I suppose," I said.
"Convincing," she replied sarcastically.
I gave her a small smile and put my head in my hands, staring at the carpet. Someone left a wizard chess rook on the floor.
"Maybe I can help," Ginny said, getting out of the chair and sitting on the floor in front of me.
I looked up, "Maybe you can."
"What's the problem?" she asked curiously.
"Well, the thing is, I know two people who are going out. The guy likes another girl, and the girl, the first one, likes another guy. But I promised both of them that I wouldn't tell the other, because they don't want to hurt each other's feelings. I don't know what to do," I said after a moment, in which I figured out how to say it without giving away that it was Ron and Hermione.
A peculiar thing happened then. Ginny's eyes lit up in delight, and she started clapping.
"Oh, that's wonderful news! I had no idea Ron liked someone else!" she exclaimed with glee.
"Wha? How did you…?" I said, shocked at her response.
"Oh, come on, Harry. I knew right away you were talking about Ron and Hermione. And I know that she likes someone else. Oh, I can't wait to tell her Ron does like someone!" she clapped some more.
"Wait! I promised Ron I wouldn't say anything!" I said pleadingly.
"Well, yes, but I didn't!"
Then realization dawned on me. Ron and Hermione would be happy. So I didn't stop Ginny from running to Hermione's dorm room.
A few moments later, Hermione came down the stairs, trying to look calm, but failing miserably. I could tell she was ecstatic. I wordlessly pointed to the boys' dormitory, answering Hermione's unasked question.
A couple of minutes later, Hermione came back downstairs, but headed to her room. Ron followed a minute later, but went and sat on the couch next to me.
"Hey," I said, trying to appear indifferent.
"We broke up," Ron replied. But his face was a happy one. "Do you know where Lavender is?"
"Nope, sorry, mate," I replied. Then I started thinking some more. Why Is Ron happy they broke up? Sure, he likes Lavender more, but still, won't it make his friendship with Hermione different? But on the other hand, Hermione likes someone as well. The lucky guy. Why can't she like me? Why is it never me?
I sighed yet again, however, no one was in the room to notice. Ginny and Hermione were still in Hermione's room, and Ron had just walked out of the common room, no doubt in search of Lavender.
I decided to go to the kitchen and see how Dobby was.
I walked out of the common room and toward the picture of the fruit. I ticked the pear, and smiled to myself when it giggled. The moment I entered the room, Dobby ran and wrapped his arms around my left leg. I pried him off me and took in his new look. He was sporting one of Hermione's, er, lovely knitted hats, as well as two of her socks. Dobby also had on a kilt, with a matching sash going over his right shoulder. The oddest garment perhaps, was his tie. It was a horrible shade of yellow, but the worst part was the design. The tie had bright yellow ties on it. The two colors clashed terribly.
"That's a, er, quite interesting tie you go there, Dobby," I said.
He beamed with gratitude. Then he said, "Watch what it does, Mr. Harry Potter, sir!" He then pressed a hidden button at the bottom of the tie, and to Harry's great surprise, the tie started singing. He recognized the voice as Dobby's. The song went, "It's a sunshine day! Let me tie up the sun for you, so it stays a sunshine day!"
I didn't know what to say. I tried my hardest not to laugh,
"That was, ah, great, Dobby. Really great."
Dobby smiled so big that it took up his whole face, "I made it all by myself!"
I tried to smile encouragingly.
"Why did Harry Potter come down to the kitchens? To get a snack for himself?" Dobby asked eagerly.
"Well, actually, I came to see how you were doing, Dobby. But now that you mention it, I wouldn't mind some pumpkin pie or something," I replied, my stomach rumbled hungrily.
"Right away, Harry Potter, sir!" a house elf said quickly.
In seconds, he returned, carrying a large pumpkin pie, a plate, a knife, and a fork.
I took it and thanked the house elf.
"Did Harry Potter really come all the way down here just to talk to Dobby?" Dobby said, happy tears reaching his eyes.
"Yeah," I said, my mouth already full of pie.
We talked for a bit, then I left, heading toward the Gryffindor common room.
On my way there, I spotted Ginny and Dean talking close together in an empty classroom. I smiled to myself, because they make a cute couple, and I was relieved to see that she was, in fact, completely over me. If only Hermione wasn't. Although, I don't think she was ever not over me, I mean, she has never liked me… Oh, you know what I mean.
I continued on toward the portrait that covers the entrance to the Gryffindor common room.
I spotted Hermione sitting on the couch, by the fire as I walked in to the room.
"Don't tell me you're reading Hogwarts, A History again?" I mock groaned as I sat down next to her, peering at the book cover.
Sure enough, it was Hogwarts, A History. Hermione blushed a little at my comment. "For your information," she said, "It's a wonderfully intriguing book."
I gave her my best lopsided grin. She smiled in return, and it felt as if someone hexed the butterflies in my stomach with the jelly leg curse.
"So, I, er, heard you and Ron broke up?" I said like a question.
"Hmm? Oh, yeah. We did," she replied, still engrossed in the book.
"So… are you going to tell that guy you like that you, well, like him?" I asked, scared of the answer.
"Well, Ginny told me to go for it. But I'm still scared,
because I don't want to lose the great friendship we have," she said, closing
the book and looking directly at me.
"Yeah, but what if what you could have with this guy is so much better than what you already have?" What am I saying?! That will lead her straight into his arms. Plus, I should really be taking my own advice…
Hermione thought about that for a bit. Then she said, "But what if he doesn't feel the same?" Her lower lip trembled slightly; she looked as if she were going to cry.
"Hermione, I've told you before, he would have to be crazy not to like you," I said, gently wiping away the tear that escaped her eye.
She smiled at me. It was at that moment that I knew I had to know. "Who is it?" I whispered.
Her eyes widened. Then she took three deep breaths. Then she said his name.