Hey guys, so sorry for the formatting error yesterday! If you're reading this properly it means it should all be fixed now :)
IN THE MEANTIME: Moments after Ron had left the changing room…
"Er," said Harry into the sudden silence; he had not expected his plan to backfire like this, "shall … shall we go up to the party, then?"
"You go!" said Hermione, blinking back tears. "I'm sick of Ron at the moment, I don't know what I'm supposed to have done …"
Harry stood frozen in awe not knowing how to react to Hermione bursting out in tears. She had taken a seat on one of the benches in the changing room and Harry sat himself beside her, putting his arm around Hermione carefully.
"Well …" he hesitatingly said. "The other day, Ron caught Ginny and Dean snogging…and well, he — er … Went a little off on her … and Ginny fired back. Ron was all moody and angry after. And it hasn't stopped since." Harry paused. Hermione, who was still sobbing, sniffed back some snot that had gathered because of her crying, and looked up at Harry with a tear-streaked and angry face. "What did Ginny tell him that made him mad at me?"
I just don't know what I could have done to hurt him, I would never, I- I thought me and him were going to Slughorn's party. I was really looking forward to it…it was gonna be around Christmas time and maybe, just maybe… I would have caught Ron underneath a mistletoe… but no. He's mad at me and I don't even know why.
"Ginny was naming people who had snogged with each other to make him mad… because…well…you see, Ron hasn't snogged anyone yet." Harry, said, cringing at himself for having this conversation with one of his best friends. He paused again and looked at Hermione. Hermione's brow furrowed as she stared at Harry with confusion. Harry took note of her brow and continued.
"Well … Ginny dropped names … Krum's and yours to be exact…" Hermione's heart dropped out of shock and a few more tears strode down her face, she took a shaky breath and her voice was shaking.
"At the Yule Ball…V-Victor was getting close to m-me … a-and Ron went on about the whole 'fraternizing with the enemy.' And later, V-Viktor was b-being really nice and sweet and V-Viktor k-kissed me g-goodnight. It was once!" said Hermione, covering her face with both her hands and sobbing violently now.
"Af-after the ball and the f-fight w-with Ron, I told Viktor that I-I just wanted to be friends b-because I liked someone else. I t-told Ginny a-about the kiss in confidence the day after," said Hermione, her sobs filling the silence after her pause.
Harry now realized why Viktor Krum had pulled him aside in the Forbidden Forest - before they'd found Barty Crouch there. When Hermione had told Viktor that she liked someone else, and when Rita Skeeter had written all of that stuff about him, Hermione and Viktor, he - Viktor - must've put two and two together and figured Harry was the one Hermione was talking about.
Harry's train of thought was interrupted as Hermione was hit by another burst of tears and she covered her face with her cloak entirely. "I told Victor off after … because-" said Hermione, who abruptly stopped speaking and let out a silent, muffled cry. Harry was rubbing his hand on her back trying the best to comfort her.
"Why?" said Harry calmly, putting on his best impression of Albus Dumbledore. Hermione took a moment, but she replied. "B—because I-I like R—someone" She cut off again and sobbed slightly louder now.
"Is…is it...?" asked Harry cautiously. Hermione sobbed and nodded in agreement.
But Harry understood. Harry's head was zapping with information and he connected all the dots. The Yule Ball and the row afterwards, the day he arrived at the Burrow where Ron was trying to scrub toothpaste off of Hermione's face, when Hermione was describing the love potion and cut off Harry broke the silence. "So … what do you wanna do? I mean … you should probably tell Ron the truth…regardless…I mean…I now know about what really happened with Krum, why shouldn't he either?"
Hermione began sobering up. She gave him an insecure nod and said, "I reckon he's gonna be surrounded by loads of people, and if I say something he'll just ignore me. I'm gonna tell him what really happened with Krum."
Harry gave her a supporting nod, but a stomach twisting thought popped into his had.
"Hermione…since you er— think Ron can save Quaffles on his own, why don't you er— ever encourage him…I mean…as much as me?", Harry said calmly.
"What? Oh Harry my head is honestly too fuzzy for this right now," said Hermione dozily, rubbing her temples.
"I'm just saying…" said Harry. "You do sometimes give Ron a harder time than he deserves…I mean…he's brilliant, don't you think?"
"What?" said Hermione, suddenly flushing up once more, but for an entirely different reason. "Of—of course Ron is brilliant, w—w" she stammered. She the pursed her lips. "Oh Harry…let's just head back to the castle so I can find Ron."
Ron had never confessed his crush on Hermione to Harry, but Harry had a hunch that Ron might feel something for her. But Harry wasn't going to make any wonky predictions about whom Ron liked. He wasn't Trelawney. He was Ron's best friend. But so was Hermione. He didn't want to get her hopes up in case Ron wasn't interested in anything more than friendship.
Harry's instincts were usually right, but when it came to the relationship between his two best friends, he could not work out a definitive answer, although Harry felt Hermione had dropped a quaffle-sized hint with her proposal of taking Ron to Slughorn's Party.
A harder time than he deserved? What on earth was Harry talking about? She— Oh dear…oh no, oh no, oh no you IDIOT. You daft idiot…
I called Harry fanciable…right in front of Ron…Ron couldn't possibly think…he couldn't possibly think that I fancy Harry… Oh god…