It Happens

F/F - HG/GW - Some artistic license taken with characters that do not belong to me. But you already knew that. Enjoy.

I'm in the library tonight. I don't think I need to explain why I like it here. It's solitary and it's excusable to be quiet. It's relaxing not having any expectations for conversation. Things are just too complicated right now for more expectations. But there are some other things I love about the library, like the smell of books. It's not really that grimy in here, even if it is a castle. It's understood how important the texts, the scrolls, all the documents are, so everything's kept pretty dry. The only real smell is the books and the dust on the books.

I sneeze suddenly and my quill goes skidding across my parchment. The dust is winning tonight. I'm just about to crumple my ruined paper when I hear a quiet voice say, "God bless you."

Did I mention things are sort of complicated right now?

"Oh, hey, yeah, thanks Ginny. What're you doing here?"

She holds up the books she had under her arm and wiggles them a little in answer, smiling at me. She looks sheepish then and tilts her head a fraction to the side putting her eyes down, "I was hoping maybe you could help me on one of my assignments." I look down at my own stack of papers and repress a sigh. "Yeah, of course, sit down. Let me just clean up my mess here."

I don't mean to whine about it, but social awkwardness just isn't my forte. There are no spells for it, no logical schemes, nothing. And that's what makes this so hard: Harry likes me. It's obvious but it's never talked about. It's been a few years now, but it's still an unspoken understanding that Ginny likes Harry. And no matter even if Ginny isn't around Ron is, and Ron, being the nincompoop that he is, would probably blurt something out around Ginny. We're all older, but I'm afraid Ginny is still sort of babied. It's not intentional, really, it's just hard after what's happened to her.

I remember myself quickly and sort my papers out and move my chair at an angle so that I can better see what she's working on. She's twiddling with the tip of her quill to the point I'm afraid she might cut herself on it. She's obviously thinking about something important. She gets this look when she is thinking like that. It's cute really, the way her brow furrows and her mouth scrunches up on one side so it's lopsided. Somehow I stay wrapped up in that thought long enough that I don't react when she looks up and asks if I'm okay.

I shake myself off and shuffle my papers again and pick up the text we need scanning the pages aimlessly. I mutter that I'm fine. I don't like Harry. I don't know why, either. Ginny's still watching me. I wish Harry didn't like me, so that he and Ginny could. Well, I don't think they'd do together, but at least I wouldn't feel like such a jerk. I finally manage to thrust myself out of my self-involvement long enough to ask Ginny what is confusing her and she stops my hand on a page.

*

By the time we're done and parted and going up to bed I'm feeling sort of strange. Although she was being her usual friendly self, I mean, we are practically best friends, Ginny definitely had something on her mind. After awhile I can always buckle down even if I'm distracted but when Ginny is distracted she can't concentrate for days at a time. I'm starting to worry if maybe Harry's feelings for me are obvious.

I really don't want to hurt Ginny. I need advice. I need an objective voice of reason to confirm my suspicions, to support my decisions, to help me with their compassionate, accommodating, and patient wisdom. But I'm going to have to settle for Ron.

*

The next day at breakfast things are a little better. I'm the last one to sit down at the table and when I get there Ginny and Harry are already having an animated argument about quidditch strategy. Ron is just giggling intermittently and he's the first to notice me sitting down suddenly looking worried, "Uhm Hermione," he starts.

I scowl playfully, "No, you may not copy it." I glance down at his plate, "Are you going to eat that last sausage?" He looks as if he's going to try and strike a deal for it when I throw my hands up in surrender and just concentrate on my own breakfast. Harry and Ginny both noticed me at the same time when I came in. Harry gave me an affectionate happy smile and Ginny saw it and looked sort of sadly over at me. God, I just can't stand seeing her frown like that. It was just a microsecond before she went back to yelling at Harry with a forced grin, but still. This is so unfair.

Watching Harry and Ginny I start to feel sort of jealous. I wish I had someone like that, even if he didn't like me it'd still be nice to feel something for somebody. I guess I'm pretty lonely, but that's just part of my character now. I work so often I don't have the chance to be anything else. Ron finally pushes his plate away and sighs grumbling over his homework. I steal his sausage with a smile and when he shouts to give it back. Harry and Ginny start laughing as well.

"Serves you right!" Ginny says smiling over at me, and bonking Ron gently on the head. He struggles with his mussed hair for a second and lets out a melodramatic sigh. Harry is stealing a glance over at me while he laughs. I laugh back, but abruptly I feel sick and can't finish the entire sausage. Why is it bothering me so much? It's not as if Harry is jumping all over me right in front of Ginny or anything.

Hopefully this will all be sorted out before we go on break. The Weasley's have invited us all to stay at the burrow.

*

I think Hermione likes Harry, but doesn't want me to know. Maybe she knows about my feelings, too? We've been friends such a long time but I didn't think she had that much insight. I mean I didn't think I was that obvious, then again I can't possibly be obvious. She probably thinks I'm still all schoolgirl giddy over Harry. She probably thinks I'm jealous.

Well, I guess I am jealous. But I'm not jealous of her, I'm jealous of Harry.

I keep trying to get a chance to tell her about it, but I can never work up the courage. I start to say something and then my ears go pink and I bite my lip and I get flustered. At a certain point of every night I vow to say something I just give up.

I remember how it started. I used to have dreams about the Boy Who Lived when I was young. Hermione was just around when Harry was. I was jealous of her, in a way, because of that. But I also really admired her - she was so smart, so close to her friends, and didn't let being a mudblood ever get her down. I guess I had a lot of respect for that.

Usually Harry took the full spotlight in my dreams. They were never entirely romantic, exactly, though. I mean I think we kissed in a few of them, but mostly it was just him saying nice things to me like I were as incredible as he is; and then one day the dreams started to shift. It was very gradual at first, and I didn't think much of it because it was around the time Hermione and I started becoming good friends. So it made sense that the more we were around each other the more I dreamed about her, and soon it wasn't Harry saying those things to me anymore-it was Hermione.

I just dismissed it at first. I mean, I was 12 and she was 13 and it made sense that now I was identifying with a girl to be my mentor, more my source of inspiration than Harry, right? I just kept figuring it was because I could relate more to her because she was a girl. But then it changed very, very quickly. The dreams used to just be surreal scenarios about me saving the day with Harry, and then eventually with Hermione, and that was fine.

But then it happened. We had just saved the day, like we always did, when Hermione did the strangest thing: she kissed me. It wasn't like the little chaste pecks Harry gave me, either. It was a real kiss, and then a bunch of happy smiles afterward and then I woke up. I know it sounds really innocent, and it was, but it was nothing short of a dragon-sized anxiety pill to me. I'd never been kissed like that. I'd never really even thought about that kind of kiss.

Over the next couple years I tried my best to ignore it as the dreams became more and more romantic and less and less adventurous.in the traditional sense, at least. The sort of graphic detail they got into eventually though, I guess, was its own sort of adventure. Day after day I'd wake up in a cold sweat remember what I'd done the night before in my dreams. But the more I understood the truth of my feelings the more I had to lie, and now no one has any reason to doubt I still like Harry- especially Hermione.

*

It was a week before I could talk to Ron about Ginny and Harry. We were all really taken up with our studying and Snape was giving us an unusually rough time, even for Snape. But before long it was time for a quidditch game, which I knew Ginny and Harry'd be in, so I was left with Ron.

The first few minutes of the game I tried to feign interest, but Ron quickly saw through it, "Hermione is there something wrong?" He was trying to shout over the crowd noise. I nodded, and decided it was way too loud out here to talk to him at all. I gestured towards the exit and he frowned anxiously and started to get up. We made our way through the crowded bleachers and then finally outside. Sitting down I let out a sigh.

"So what's wrong, Hermione? I don't want to stay out here too long I mean I really wanna see today's match but." He trailed off noticing my expression. He sat down next to me after pacing a little in silence.

"Harry likes me." I say simply. Ron turns a bit pink. It's quite the typical Weasley reaction, but it doesn't look as cute on him as it does on Ginny's ears. Ron nods shallowly taken in thought. "Do you like him?"

I feel my eyes starting to water for no reason and choke it back with a degree of frustration. "No. no I don't think that I do."

Ron made his patented "oh no" face. "This is definitely not good."

"Does Ginny still like him?" I ask quietly. This problem dawns on his face and his "oh no" becomes pure white dread. "I'm not sure," he finally squeaks out, "she hasn't said anything about it in a long time."

I'm surprised. "She hasn't?"

Ron becomes a little defensive, but his tone is also worried, "Well she's not a swooning little kid anymore, you know," he adds, "she is fifteen now, you know." Then his face changes again to befuddlement and he attempts to start a question several times. Finally he says very gently, and very low, "Do you like someone else, then?"

"I-no. I mean. I don't know exactly." I stutter. His eyes widen. "Are you sure you don't like Harry?" I reach up unconsciously to rub my eyes, "Yeah, I'm sure. I'm sure."

There is a long, uncomfortable silence.

His smile pulls up on one side of his face, like his sister's does when she's worried, and then he says, "We should get back to the game."

And so we do.

*

"Where were Ron and Hermione during the game?" I ask Harry, brushing my sweaty hair out of my face as we leave the pitch. His face falls, "they weren't out there?" I suppress a blush. There's nothing wrong with you noticing that, Ginny, Ron is your brother. "Yeah," I reply lamely.

Harry makes a "hmm" thinking noise and shrugs dismissively. "Well," he starts, "Hermione has been trying to talk to him and get his attention all week. Ever since that day at breakfast where they were flirting over that stupid sausage."

"Flirting?" I try not to sound too shocked. Get a hold of yourself, Virginia, I say to myself.

Harry grumbles and says, "Yeah, I don't know." He sighs, and tugs his robe up a little, fanning it so he's not so warm, "I'll see you later, don't forget to pack for break," he says trying to put on a better smile. I nod, "Yeah, I won't, later."