It's time for the next chapter!
Oh, one more thing, Realization is on a break, since, if possible, I want to get this one at least a chapter ahead of it, since I believe it will be longer.
Brace yourselves for a few more new characters, and a psychotic muggle born stalker!
Since I have nothing more to say, please proceed to reading – and please review!
To Like Harry
Chapter 4: Confessions and a Muggle Born Psycho
Small rays of early light peaked through the long maroon curtains, the sky still a dark blue, the sun slowly beginning to rise for the day.
A tired, and early risen, Harry was on the couch, bathed and fully dressed, still asleep.
He shifted; his head drooping lazily back on the maroon couch, with his zip-up Gryffindor sweatshirt drooped over him. His shaggy head lolled back and forth, his glasses shifting positions every now and then. He let a tired emerald eye open a little, and then he turned his body, and continued on with his morning nap.
His Firebolt was mounted on the coffee table before the dim, flickering fireplace, beside a small box containing a snitch he'd bought for practices.
A smack crossed his forehead, and he stirred, looking up at the cause of the pain.
"Her- Wait- wha- What the hell?" Harry asked sleepily, rubbing his eyes under his tilted glasses.
"C'mon! Don't want to be late for breakfast," a fully awake Ron Weasley exclaimed.
Harry stood to stretch his stiffened up muscles, and nodded when his hands fell to his sides.
Ron could see the dark circles under the glint of the boy's glasses, getting him a little concerned. Before the redhead could ask about anything, Harry spoke.
"I thought we were practicing today? Big game on Wednesday. Don't want to lose to Slytherin. Remember?" Harry said, his eyes finally opening fully, as he made hand motions.
Anyone that was in a conversation with the boy could tell that he was very out of it, using incomplete sentences and all.
"I can't play on an empty stomach!" Ron retorted, picking up his broom.
Harry sighed and shook his head, rubbing his temples.
"Look, let's just eat outside in the stands okay? I'd much rather get some more rest after practice." Harry said, his body wavering, eyes drooping.
Ron looked at him unsurely, and then nodded. He didn't want to ask about why Harry was so out of it until they were in the air. That way, Harry's reputation for grumpiness wouldn't come in a hard hitting Quaffle.
"You know, we don't have to practice…" said Ron.
Harry glared at him through his glasses, their glint making him look sinister.
"I woke up at seven o' clock. On a Sunday. We are going to practice," Harry finished, a sure finality in his voice.
"Okay, yeah, sure," Ron replied, a small hint of fear in is voice. He made his way to the Portrait hole, the fine ends of his broom following behind him.
Harry, being extremely tired, placed a hand on his Firebolt, and mounted it, flying out of the portrait hole, surprising many others in the common room.
"Hey, hey, wait up! You can't fly in school! We'll get points taken away!" Ron said, running down the stairs to catch up with Harry, who was gathering many early birds' attention.
Harry slowed down, until Ron was next to him, his very dead expression having a little more life to it. His green eyes danced with softness, and splotches of playfulness, as if he were remembering something very important, like one of his happy memories. A small smile also crossed his face.
"Since when did Ron Weasley follow school rules? You're beginning to become like Hermione… maybe you'll be worse… probably turned into a bookworm Ronald McDonald," Harry teased.
Ron's face was mixed with confusion, and he looked as if he were deeply insulted.
"I'm not turning into another Hermione! And what on earth is a Ronald McDonald?" he asked, as Harry's pace picked up more.
Harry shook his head in a, 'never mind' way.
"It's our last year here Ron, so you should be breaking the rules just as we all used to. Even Hermione's more daring than you! Plus, every witch and wizard in this building owes their lives to us," Harry urged, using his fame and glory as a weapon.
He turned his head to see Ron flying at height with him, smiling back.
"Yeah…. Yeah you're right. We could tell half the people in here to screw themselves, and they'd clap! Well, you could. I'd probably just get some food thrown at me," Ron said, nodding.
A small yelp was heard, as they zoomed by through the corridor exposed to the Quidditch Pitch. Both turned back around, looking at where the noise came from.
A well built boy stood in the hallway, wearing a Ravenclaw sweatshirt, his hands over his head, as if shielding himself from something.
"Hey, are you okay?" Harry asked, lowering himself, hovering two inches above the ground.
The boy looked back up with his dark blue eyes, and shaggy head of dirty blonde hair. He had big eyes that added as a plus feature to his looks, and a not flat, and not pointy nose, that also gave him a good-looking-boy look. He almost had a baby face, though his thick eyebrows aged him, and his hard dark blue eyes doing just the same. His lips curled into a small smile, his brows furrowing, giving him an air of too much confidence, almost like Malfoy, only a less 'evil' kind of confidence.
He stuck out a hand toward Harry, nodding at him.
"Harry Potter, right? It's an honor to meet you. I must thank you for everything you've done –for everybody," he said, paying no notice to Ron.
"Er… well, you're welcome," he replied, shaking the hand. Harry felt strange just then, when their hands met. It felt almost electric- not the good kind. The kind he felt when he first shook Draco Malfoy's hand.
The boy pulled his hand back, nodding.
"I'm sorry- how rude of me, my name is Robert. Robert Stems- new at this school, just have a few siblings along with me. My parents sent me to a school closer to where I lived – Hornsdale Academy-", Ron sniggered at this, "- till I discovered Hogwarts was here," he said proudly.
Ron cocked an eyebrow at the boy.
"Hogwarts is kinda hard to miss… it's a pretty big school really – it's been all over the news too…" he said, though he meant to mutter it.
Robert, just noticing Ron extended a hand out to him too.
"Oh, yeah, you're that Ron Weasley person! Helped out Harry and all... An honor to meet you too," he said, nodding.
By the looks on his face, Harry could tell Ron was feeling what he'd felt, even though he seemed very happy, and forgot about the whole 'not knowing Hogwarts thing'.
"Yeah, well, you know, hero's life, a tough life," Ron said, smiling and nodding happily.
"Hmm, yeah. Well, I've heard of the famous trio, so, where's Hermione Granger?" Robert asked.
"We're not sure- probably slept in, but we've got to go. It was nice talking to you. See you later," Harry rushed turning his back, hovering away, Ron on his tail.
"What was that all about?" Ron asked, at Harry's side.
"Dunno. He's probably just another adoring fan," Harry joked, stopping and getting off his broom. Not wishing to cause anymore problems for himself and others, he shook off the negative feeling he got from that Robert kid.
Harry then shrunk his broom, and placed it into a jean pocket, ready to get into the Great Hall, as Ron did the same.
"Yeah, we've got a lot of those now, don't we?" Ron nudged at Harry's ribs, smiling.
The hall was filled with happy students, and more were to come, seeing as it was early. Many girls were clumped around specific parts of the long tables, chattering away, and waiting for the food to appear. Sure enough, the food did appear, and many began eating.
"Especially the women," Ron continued, "we can have any of these girls here! The wonders of saving the world from the darkest wizard n earth are great!"
Harry returned the comment with a small grin.
"Oh, pancakes! Gotta get some of the elves to pack me some of that," said Ron, licking his lips, rushing off.
As Ron furthered, Harry's smile faded a little.
'Yeah. Any of these girls… but I only want one… and you took her away, AND wasted her… git-face…'
'Wait, what the-? No I don't… I don't want any girls right now… and Ron is not a git face… even if he did waste her…'
The mention of elves and the little dream he'd had that night made him think of the one girl he wanted to be with -of which he wasn't so sure of just yet –well, one part of him wasn't so sure yet.
Robert smiled at himself, his brow furrowing deeper. His younger brother caught up to him, a sixth year Slytherin, panting at his side.
"So, what's it gonna take for that bucket of Chocolate Frogs?" his brother asked.
Robert rolled his eyes, handing him a key.
"See this key? I'm sure you know where the Quidditch equipment is. You go and get it. See that Harry Potter?"
"Yeah, 'course I do! Don't get why Slytherin hates him so much…" the young blonde replied.
"Shut up, John! I don't need you to talk, I just need you to go and set a bludger on him, got it?" he finished, giving something anyone who saw it would call a Malfoy smirk.
John's big and dark blue eyes that looked identical to his brother's widened a little, guilt already showing.
"I don't know… I mean, Harry Potter's really only done good… I don't wanna hurt him for no reason… and he's not even going out with that girl you like! So what's the point?"
Robert sneered at him.
"You're not a real Slytherin, are you?"
"No, I'm not, and that's only because of you, you obsessive prick! I'm supposed to be the Ravenclaw! And, you made us come to this wretched school just for that stupid girl! You gave our parents a bloody good excuse, 'because of the education and all that rubbish!' And I don't understand what's so special about her either!" John exclaimed.
Robert's face was flushed, but only from his fury, and short-fused temper. He grabbed the neck of his younger brother's T-shirt, and pushed him to the wall, digging the key into the top of his neck.
"First of all, Hermione doesn't like Slytherins, that's why you're there instead. Second of all, she's not stupid! She's the smartest witch in this school, and the only reason that that blasted Potter defeated Voldemort. And, I've liked her since Kindergarten… and I don't understand why she didn't go to Hornsdale…" Robert breathed out, softening.
It was true. Their family was muggle born, and he had attended the same elementary school as Hermione
John looked at him angrily, and annoyed, a look that would've earned him a ticket into Gryffindor, due to his undoubting bravery.
"That's the most stupid excuse I've ever heard. You screwed up our lives just to come here for this bushy haired thing! I had friends their Rob! I liked it at Hornsdale better!" finished John.
Robert looked at him with a moment of sympathy in his eyes. That quickly changed.
"Just do it! Worse things can happen to Potter you know, that's what he gets for being with MY girl anyways. This should be the first sign… to get him to step away from her… because she's mine…" Robert said, reassuring himself.
John grabbed the key from his brother's hand and shoved him back.
"Keep your chocolate frogs, you dirty bastard. You honestly need to go to St. Mungos," he said, scowling.
"Watch it or something bad just might happen to that pretty Ginny Weasley of yours," he retorted, watching his brother give him the finger, then walk away at a quick pace.
'Not far from now… not long 'till she's mine… and not that damned Harry Potter's…'
Yes, indeed, this boy needed to go to St. Mungos, all joking and insults aside.
Beginning to fly out to the pitch, Ron, with two large 'Hogwarts Kitchen' trademarked bags hanging at the end of his broom, flying up to a Gryffindor stand, Harry, lagging behind purposely.
"Blimey Harry, your Firebolt isn't going upwards very fast today, is it?" Ron smirked, showing off his Nimbus 2004's speed- which was meant to be slower than the Firebolt.
Ron had received the broom as a birthday gift from his now wealthy brothers.
"Yeah, the model hasn't even been released yet-"
"Though it's slightly slower than Harry's Firebolt-"
"It's the top from the brand of the Nimbus' company-"
"We had lots of connections-"
"Which will remain confidential," Fred finished for his brother.
"Wow… this is strangely nice of you guys… you didn't have to get me a Nimbus 2004 for my birthday!" Ron exclaimed, running his hands up and down the varnished, cherry wood of the new model.
"Well, we thought our baby brother deserved a nice treat after helping the Chosen One defeat You-Know-Wh- Voldemort. But, okay-"
"-We'll just take it back then-"
"NO! No, it's okay. I'm completely fine with it…" said Ron, smiling yearningly at the broom. He hugged it to his chest, making his brothers move backwards a little.
"It was actually very 'up' this morning- I mean- what?" Harry asked, hoping Ron didn't hear the first part of his answer, thus avoiding the cause of an unwanted discussion.
"What was that?" Ron said absentmindedly, chewing on a hash brown, standing on the edge of the Gryffindor stand.
"Nothing- I said nothing," Harry replied in relief.
He finally reached the red and gold covered stand, taking a seat at the front-most bench. He watched Ron jump off the ledge, and onto the floor of the stand. He took a seat next to Harry, grabbing the bags of food the kitchen elves had put together for them.
"Fo. Why gig you wahn ko eag ougsige?" Ron tired to say, his mouth stuffed with food.
Harry took a cut half piece of a ham sandwich and began to work on it, biting very slowly, looking at Ron in bewilderment.
"What?" he asked, conjuring up a cup of steaming water, and placing the given tea bag in it.
Ron forced the food down his throat with one big gulp, coughing a little, conjuring up a glass of water for himself. He let out a small sigh of relief and continued.
"Why did you want to eat outside?" he asked, stuffing his face more, shoving bacon into his mouth from one of the Hogwarts-To-Go: Breakfast containers in the bag.
"So we can get right into practicing. After we're done eating," he finished, looking troubled.
"Mmmph," Ron replied, taking another large gulp of water.
"So, did you hear?" the redhead asked after taking another few breaths. Harry took the other half of the sandwich, and began to slowly nibble at it.
"You know! Ravenclaw's got a new Seeker. He's supposed to be a deadly one."
"Oh, right, right. Yeah him," Harry said unsurely, having no clue about this new Seeker.
"Yeah, well, when we face Ravenclaw on Friday, be on your guard- though I know we'll beat them. I mean, what's one game of Quidditch compared to defeat You-Know-Wh- Voldemort," Ron exclaimed happily, burping right after.
"Yeah. Can I ask you a question?" Harry asked, completely ignoring all the junk about Quidditch Ron had said first.
The bells from the clock tower tolled, signaling the hour classes began, or owl post deliveries came and time for breakfast for those non early birds.
"Okay, sure. Wait- can you ask while we're flying? That why I can fly the other way if I don't know that answer," said Ron.
"Er, yeah, sure," Harry replied, downing the rest of the now-cold tea.
Both mounted their brooms and began to circle the pitch slowly.
"Okay, well, what I want to know is, why did you and Hermione break up?" Harry asked, a small sparkle of hope in his eyes.
'She told me she broke it off. I just need that clarified…'
Ron swerved the other way, and Harry caught up with him.
"Oh, come on. Just answer it," he urged, hopeful.
"I don't want to down my man confidence, which really can't happen… but, she dumped me," Ron said reflectively.
"I dunno. I suppose because it was always argued and all. At first, I thought that was what put us together… that whole bit of a love-hate relationship, you know? But, I guess she didn't see it that way… and, I think it was because she saw me flirting with someone else –and I wouldn't call what I was doing flirting at all! That's a rather harsh way to put… what I did," Ron finished, anxiously.
'Who would ever flirt against Hermione? I mean, with, I can understand, but against… just not picturing it…'
'Whoa –where'd that come from?'
"Why would you flirt against Hermione?" Harry blurted out.
"I didn't! Well not really –well, why do you care?" Ron asked suspiciously, his sky blue eyes narrowing.
"I don't! Well, I do, but-"
A large clank was heard.
"Harry, are you saying you fancy Hermione?"
The rustling of chains followed.
"What? No! I'm not saying anything, I was just curious-"
A large thud was heard, going unnoticed by the two now not moving, but hovering in the air.
"Right. Well, if you must know, I am now a happy single man, have gotten over Hermione dumping me, and am free to flirt with whom I wish."
The sound of swish was heard, like when you release and arrow from it's bow, and it slices through the air, making that speedy sound.
"Yeah, well, I was just saying that you shouldn't insinuate anything about my liking Hermione, since she is my best friend!"
It sounded like the murmuring of an impish… thing, coming near.
"She was mine too, and I dated her!"
"So? I'm not you!"
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"The very point that I'm not you! I'd've held on to Hermione if I were you, you know! It's very heard to find girls like her, both beautiful, and incredulously smart!" Harry poured out, getting caught in the moment.
Ron gaped at him, his eyes wide open, his jaw almost reaching the green grass of the Quidditch pitch.
He smirked, his brows furrowing, while Harry's lips stayed pursed together so tight that they made a taut line.
"Well mate, that settles it," Ron began. "You-"
"-I honestly don't, she was your-"
"-Seriously, I really don't think I do-"
Harry finally exploded.
"And would it be so bad if I did!"
The Bludger, that'd been released during the two's little chat about Hermione, had hit Harry's head full on, reassuring the fact of a cracked skull.
The raven-haired-wonder fell from his broom, his back to the field, falling too fast for Ron to catch.
"HARRY!" Ron cried, zooming in after the 'bludgered' hero.
Madam Hooch, who happened upon her Quidditch equipment lying at the side of the pitch, ran to it.
"Who used this equipment without my consent – holy snitch!" she exclaimed, as she watched Harry pummel into the ground.
Ron reached the ground and ran towards Harry, kneeling beside him, a puddle of blood beginning to form around his head.
He looked up and saw a head of platinum blonde, and a body of black and green peak out behind a stone column.
When Madam Hooch apparated both she and Harry to the hospital wing, the familiar looking Slytherin broke into a fast run, Ron at his heels.
Leaving her food, Ginny stood from her seat at the table, running to Hermione, who was walking unevenly.
She slowed down, and watched the brunette look both ways at the corridor, then turn left, towards the Hospital Wing.
Finally, the redhead caught up with her.
"I knew it! You don't have any menstrual cramps! You're going to see Harry!" Ginny said, her grin stretching from ear to ear.
Hermione's face lit up, and grew pink a little.
"I – well, yes, yes I am. He's one of my best friends, so yes, I do have a right," Hermione said nodding.
"Alright, whatever. You know, I think I'm gonna go back and eat some more. I'll just check on Harry later – you know, give you two some private time…" Ginny joked, her eyebrows rising up and down repetitively.
Hermione stopped as Ginny turned to the doors of the Great Hall.
"He – he doesn't even like me back," Hermione said, practically confessing, while staring at her feet.
Ginny turned slowly, the same smile remaining on her face.
Instead of a deluge of jokes form the redhead, she got a pat on the back.
"Cheer up. I'm sure he does. Well, you can figure that out later – you should probably go see him – might've bled to death by now," the Weasley joked.
Hermione gave her a small smile.
"Hey, one last question – how did it – how was it to –"
"To snog him? Grope him?"
"No!" Hermione exclaimed flushed. "To like him - fancy him -like that…" she finished, a little embarrassed.
Ginny smiled again, looking thoughtful.
"I reckon you'll find out soon enough." And with that, she turned to the Great Hall.
Hermione made her way to the Hospital Wing, slowly.
"Gone and done himself in again. He's in the hospital wing, since Malfoy set a bludger on him…" Hermione remembered.
'A bludger! What if he is bleeding to death!' Hermione thought worriedly, quickening up her pace as she jogged down the hall, all thoughts about the rumors forgotten, only Harry on her mind.
To be continued….
Thanks for reading, and please review if you can.