Okay, so I really can't resist songfics. Music totally is my life; I've been a choir kid since fourth grade, and I'm graduating from high school this year. I sing and listen to music constantly. I'm also a poet and a writer, therefore allowing me to appreciate the lyrical quality of a song. Put the two together, and you get a sucker for songfics.

And I totally just added "songfic" to my MSWord dictionary.

Anyway, enjoy the fic.

DISCLAIMER: AMT does not equal JKR. Remember that.

WARNINGS: Hermione with green eyes, songfic, Ginny is short for Virginia, Ginny with blue eyes, Harry is gay.

Like Parchment

I see her falling before she even knows she has left solid ground. Her fleeting looks in my direction make my heart ache infinitely, yet there seems to be nothing to squash the pain I see within her. I don't understand it, why she keeps staring at me, longingly, as if there is something I could offer her.

Everyone knows that my heart is made of dry parchment. Viktor Krum, Reigning King of Quidditch, tried hard to change it into gold and silk, but his hands were too clumsy to fondle my heartstrings. His kisses were tasteless and uninteresting; I told him, politely, never to do it again. I was relieved the day I received an Owl from him explaining he had met a Bulgarian girl, five years his senior, whom he had fallen head over heels with.

Today is gonna be the day
That they're gonna throw it back to you

Ronald Weasley has kissed me, too. We were arguing alone in the common room, about what I don't remember, and suddenly he touched his lips to mine. I was too surprised to react; when he pulled away, his face was a bright shade of red. My disappointment at feeling nothing, again, changed to anger. I slapped him across the face and stomped back to my room. He never brought it up, nor did he try to do it again.

No; I can't feel anything, for anyone. I constantly hound Ron for being insensitive, but it's only because I've learned how to hide my own insensitivity. How could I express to him, to Harry, that my heart is gone? That it's nothing but an old book, unreadable and delicate?

Which is why I'm not sure what to do about her. I'm not sure how I can offer something I don't have, something that she wants so desperately. I can feel all of her longing in the way she touches my hand, the way she talks to me. It makes me want to cry, scream, ask her what, exactly, she expects me to do. But I don't, and she doesn't tell me. Simply watches me out of the corner of her eye.

By now you should've somehow
Realized what you gotta do

She sits next to me, parchment and quill out and ready to go. She smiles briefly, eyes trailing over my cheekbone, and I can feel the blush blossoming there. It makes me nervous when people look at me too much, when it seems like they're trying to memorize my features. There's nothing beautiful about me – skin the color of new parchment, hair frizzy and dark brown, and eyes such a dark green many people just assume they're brown. It's easy to not look too closely at me, because there's nothing there for anyone to see. Just a plain girl full of intellect, but lacking heart.

"So, let's see," I mumble, looking over the beginnings of a History of Magic essay. "No, the destruction of London's magical underground occurred two years previously than what you have – the year you put is the start of the reconstruction period." I move my own quill over the page, making corrections to her facts, explaining to her what I'm writing quietly. She listens, barely speaking, barely moving except to nod or frown thoughtfully.

"Thanks, Hermione," she says once I finish my look-over, smiling gratefully. "Will you look it over again once I've finished these corrections?"

I nod, returning her smile softly. She slips away, taking away her parchment and her quill and her golden light. I combat the empty feeling that appears suddenly in my body with my own studying.

She returns an hour later, yawning; most of the other occupants have retired to their dormitories. I finish up the paragraph I was reading in my book and take the parchment from her.

"You look tired," I say, meeting her eyes for a second until I become too afraid of what I might see, and bring my gaze just past her. "If you want, I can just look it over and set it on your trunk upstairs."

"That would be wonderful," she replies, rubbing her eyes. "You're absolutely lovely." She meanders sleepily up the winding dormitory stairs, leaving me with a funny feeling in my heart. Me, lovely?

History of Magic, I tell myself firmly, and begin reading again. Her essay is near flawless now; I can tell she looked everything up, instead of just taking my word for it. I don't add anything as I rescan the page, and come to the bottom with a satisfied smile on my face.

"This, and the reasons stated above, is why the British Magical community retreated from Muggle affairs except in the direst of conditions."

"Very good," I mumble, and then my eyes catch on something scrawled hurriedly at the bottom.

"I don't believe that anybody feels the way I do about you now."

I breathe in sharply; glance around to see if anyone noticed. But I'm one of the last in the common room, the other three students caught up in their own affairs. I can't keep my eyes off of the words, and they churn over and over again in my head, trying so hard to be translated into something that makes sense.

I can't and won't think about it, not now. I tear it off from the bottom carefully and magic the edges smooth on her essay. I fold the scrap carefully and slip it into my book before collecting my things to return to the dormitory. As I set her essay gently on her trunk, I listen for her steady breathing, but I can't hear it. If she's still awake, it means she was waiting for me.

"Good night, Ginny," I whisper through the curtains, and go to my own bed.

Backbeat, the word is on the street
That the fire in your heart is out

Virginia Weasley haunts my dreams at night. There she is, standing with her scarlet hair billowing in a directionless breeze, hand outstretched to me. There she is, with that pleading look, a vacant look to her lovely blue eyes.

"I don't believe that anybody feels the way I do about you now," she tells me. I wake up in confusion and with a quickened pulse.

I go down to breakfast before a majority of my dorm mates are awake. I didn't bother to do anything with my hair; it can stay an unruly mess for all I care. Saturday means I will be outside, anyway – first studying, then the Quidditch match at two: Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw.

The tables are littered with early risers. Harry is sitting with a few of his senior players, obviously talking of the upcoming match, but he excuses himself when he sees me, and we take a seat away from everyone else.

"Can I talk to you?" he asks, a little anxiously.

I start serving myself food and nod, glancing at him to let him know I'm listening.

"There's something going on with Ginny," he tells me, cutting right to the point. "And I'm fairly certain it has something to do with you."

"What do you mean?" I ask carefully.

Harry frowns; he knows that I know what he means. Out of everyone else, he's the only one who can read me like a book. "She's lacking," he says frankly. "She's lost some of her spirit. On the field, she plays fine, but that's about it. We haven't seen any spectacular throws for a couple of practices."

I frown, my eyebrows knitting together. I study him carefully – his messy black hair, about as unruly as mine; his sparkling green eyes the color of freshly cut emeralds; the stubborn curve of his jawbone. He looks truly anxious, truly worried – not just about the game, but about a girl he considers a friend.

"What do you expect me to do?" I ask quietly.

Harry sighs. "Just talk to her," he tells me. "I don't know what's going on – my homosexual powers only reach so far." We both smile. "But that doesn't mean that there isn't – and you can't deny it, either."

I shake my head. "Not at all. You can read me like a book."

"No, not really," he replies, surprising me. "I've only managed to read the synopsis in the back a few times. You've still managed to maintain your mysterious nature, Miss Granger."

I quirk my lips up on one side. "Hey, anything to get the boys," I joke.

He playfully slaps my arm. "Just leave some for me, okay?" He checks his watch, then smiles roguishly at me. "Got some stuff to take care of before the match – see you there?"

"Of course," I say, returning his smile threefold. "Wouldn't miss it."

He stands and starts walking away. "Don't forget to talk to Ginny," he calls over his shoulder.

I'm sure you've heard it all before
But you never really had a doubt

"Talk to me about what?"

My head whips around to see the corporeal form of Virginia Weasley. She looks at me expectantly, one eyebrow raised. I feel blood rush to my cheeks and quickly reach for my pumpkin juice.

"Talk to me about what?" she persists for my answer, taking a seat across from me.

"Harry's just worried about you, is all," I tell her meekly. I remember my dream, and the note she left at the bottom of the parchment. It's in the pocket of my jeans, still folded carefully, like a secret.

She snorts gently. "Why's that?" She starts piling food onto her plate to prepare her body for the upcoming match.

I gain some courage, now that it's not my own reasoning. "He's worried because you're not quite playing as well as you have in the past. He says he thinks you're lacking some of your fire."

She tilts her head to the side, regarding me with a curious expression. My palms become sweaty, folded in my lap; I wipe them off on my napkin, wondering when I started feeling so nervous.

"And what do you think, Hermione?" She says this with a lilt to her voice, an almost seductive demeanor.

It takes me a while to catch breath with my lungs. When I do, my voice is soft. "I think so, too. There's something missing in you, Ginny." I pause, frowning slightly. "What's going on with you?"

There's silence on her part. She simply continues studying me, taking small bites from her fork as she does so. I can't stand the silence when there shouldn't be, but I know the Weasley Disposition: if I press her, she'll only close up even more.

Finally, she smiles mysteriously and shakes her head. "It's nothing, Hermione," she replies. "It's nothing for you to worry about. I'll see you at the match." With that, she stands, leaving me alone to contemplate the words in my pocket.

And all the roads we have to walk are winding
And all the lights that lead us there are blinding

My heart is just like old parchment. I keep telling myself that as I walk out to the Quidditch pitch, a Gryffindor scarf around my neck. It's not exactly cold, but March still brings chilly breezes. The sunlight is a dull, glowing yellow orb hidden behind clouds. It'll be easy to play, I suppose, without the sun in their faces. The parchment under my breast curls at the thought of seeing Ginny, but I smooth it out again and find a seat on the Gryffindor side of things.

I don't know what I'm so afraid of. No, I do – love is so intangible. Books, parchment, quills, wands, I can handle it all. I was even very calm when I found out I was a witch, because though I had been terrified of the random occurrences previous to finding out, the thought of being able to control something made everything better. Magic is just will and thought.

But love, falling in love, being in love, feeling love – how can one measure it? How can one trust to the heart? It's just a muscle that pumps blood to the rest of the body. Does that mean that love is a necessity?

I can't think about this; it isn't as simple as figuring out the translation to a jumble of runes. This is emotion, and they don't have classes on it in any world there is. If there were, then Ronald Weasley would have a wider emotional range, and I would be able to comprehend the pesky beast that is love.

Then maybe I could give Ginny what she wants.

The common room is like an explosion of carnival delight. Ron is hoisted up onto peoples' shoulders for his brilliant saves, much to his ego's delight, and Harry is asked to recount the capture of the Snitch a million times and counting.

I enjoy the festivities, but I don't include myself. I curl up in my favorite armchair and take out the piece of parchment, running my fingers over her spindly letters. They're very narrow and sharp, almost like a boy's, but there's a feminine quality to them as well. Just like her; she's a lot like her brothers, sharp-witted and stubborn, but her body is curved just tantalizingly so. While Hogwarts robes conceal, her own clothing doesn't.

There are many things that I would
Like to say to you
But I don't know how

Unconsciously, my eyes rise from the paper and start looking for her around the room. There are only two redheads in Gryffindor Tower since Fred and George have left school, so it's easy to spot her telltale hair in the swarm. She's with the rest of the team, face overcome with laughter. Her eyes get a certain light to them when she laughs, like two shining stars. I watch her for awhile, wondering vaguely about the sense of contentedness I feel by doing so; is this what it would feel like? Does the fact that just seeing her makes me feel lightheaded mean what I think it might mean?

Thinking about it makes my head feel irrational. I want her to walk over here and ask me what it is that I want, what it is that's keeping me back. I want her to come over and stop playing mind games and just tell me what she thinks of me. I need some sort of reassurance, suddenly, that she does want me, that I'm translating the runes of her eyes correctly when she looks at me.

But I avert my eyes quickly when I feel hers flickering in my direction. I hear her excuse herself over the cacophony of voices and I find it hard to breathe. Scenarios rush through my head at super fast-forward before I can organize them concisely, and then she's standing in front of me.

"Anyone sitting here?" she asks pleasantly, pointing to the chair next to mine. I shake my head. She smiles in satisfaction and takes it, nuzzling into the worn leather comfortably. "How come you're not celebrating?"

I shrug slightly. "I'm not one to be in the midst of things," I explain. "Though I'm happy for your win. You played brilliantly this afternoon."

"Oh, I know," she replies, with a grin to show she's not entirely serious about her arrogance. "I just needed a good wake up call, is all."

"What do you mean?" I ask curiously, leaning in closer to her to give her my full attention.

"Just about what you said this morning," she says, looking thoughtfully into the fire for a few moments. "About how I've lost some of my usual spirit. I'm surprised you noticed, though. It doesn't seem like you would pay much attention…" She trails off, then brings her eyes back up to mine, waiting.

Because maybe
You're gonna be the one that saves me

I don't blink, but I don't flinch my gaze away either. I don't know what's come over me – I wanted her to be here, but I don't know how to speak. The fact that I don't know what I'm doing scares me, as does the feeling of my heart unfurling to show its colors to her, like some glorious peacock. "I'm an avid observer," I tell her. "Of course I noticed. And you're my friend," I add as an afterthought.

Her lips twitch at my word choice, and I feel the same awkwardness in regards to the term. Somehow, without me knowing, that boundary was breached – but to what extent? What did it even mean? I find myself constantly questioning myself around her, and I'm not used to this.

"I think," she says slowly, making sure our eyes are completely locked. I don't know why she's trying so hard; I don't think I could look away if I tried, "that things may have changed a little."

I lick my lips and try to swallow, finding my mouth suddenly dry. "Changed," I repeat hollowly.

"What's that in your hand?" she asks me softly, surprising me. She reaches for the parchment and plucks it from my fingers before I can react. She reads it over, lips moving silently over the words. When did they become so soft, so full? Why does any of this matter now?

And after all
You're my wonderwall

"Ginny," I start, but she shakes her head. I fall silent and wait for her to speak.

"Hermione, I think it's pretty obvious how I feel about you," she says gently, almost afraid of my reaction. "I think you're beautiful, talented, intelligent, funny, and a million other desirable qualities that, out of all the other girls in this world, make me want you." I try to swallow again. Nothing happens. "I know that you're scared, I can tell every time we're close to each other. But I'm hoping that you're afraid because you want me, too, not because the way I feel makes you feel dirty or anything."

I should be able to move, one way or the other, but I can't seem to unfreeze myself. My mind wants me to shake my head, smile slightly, do something that demonstrates what I'm thinking, as my mouth can't seem to betray the words. I want her to just be able to open my pages and find her way to the right one, where all of this is written down in permanent ink.

She moves, catching my attention. She's stooping over me, out of her chair, putting her hand on mine. Her skin on mine closes up my throat; her fingers tickle my palm before laying the parchment, refolded, in the middle of my hand. I look down at it, a curious feeling in my heart – some sort of ache? – and look up to her again, to find her lips waiting for me.

This kiss is nothing like I've ever experienced. Granted, I've only kissed two people, but what those kisses were lacking, this kiss makes up for a hundredfold. Her lips are soft on mine, coaxing me voicelessly to open up to her so she can pour herself into me. I feel something like yearning in my heart, that book of parchment being wrapped in silk, a fire being kindled lower in my abdomen. Most evident of all, I find myself kissing her back, craving more of her, letting her tongue slip past my lips to explore, to tease.

It lasts forever and is over in a second. She pulls away slowly, lips still parted slightly and eyes heavy-lidded. She smiles a satisfied smirk and I know immediately that my face reflects hers, my cheeks hot. More than before, I can't seem to speak, but this time, it doesn't seem necessary to.

"I mean this," she whispers, fingering the parchment again. "And I mean this." The same hand moves to my lips, the gentle touch sending electricity through my veins. "I won't give up until you give me the word." She leaves me, frozen and confused and curiously yearning in my armchair, to retreat back to the festivities.

Today was gonna be the day
But they'll never throw it back to you

The kiss is not mentioned, but she continues coming to me for help with her studies when she needs it. My heartbeat quickens every time she's close by, and I secretly wish she would do it again in an attempt to open me. But our relations stay tame and without incident.

Still, I can see that smoldering flame behind her eyes, I can feel it on my skin when she trails them across me, I can feel it, but I can't open my mouth. The words that she wants to hear stay locked away, written on parchment so heavily guarded I'm not even sure what it says. This idea of wanting another person is foreign to me; I'm trying to fight it and accept it at the same time, finding it to be an impossible battle to win. Every time I close my eyes, I can feel her lips brushing against mine again, emotions wrapping me up in warmth and longing.

But I can't translate this into words, not to her. I try to explain with my eyes as she's walking away, but I know she needs it to be verbal and real. Harry comes to take her place after another failed attempt, nearly a week after our kiss, a concerned frown on his face.

"So, I take it I was right about you and her," he says at my defeated expression. I nod glumly. "How come nothing's happened, then?" I don't say anything. If I can't explain it to her or myself, how could I to him? But he knows me better than I thought he does; he nods knowingly, taking my hand in his comfortingly. "Look, I know how you are, but you really need to work on opening up. This is a lot more important than anything else you've ever done." I open my mouth to contradict him, but his smirk silences me. "No, it is. If you can't open up to her and tell her how you feel, how do you ever expect to do it at all, with anyone?"

I shrug and sigh a little, rubbing my eyes. "It's difficult to find the right words," I say. "I know what they are, but to make them actually come out… I can't manage to work my voice around her. I don't know how to explain who I am, what I want, and everything else that goes along with that."

He processes this for a moment, cupping his chin with his hand. "So, basically, you can't figure out how to say you want her and this is the first time you've ever felt like this for anyone?" he clarifies. I nod my approval. He grins. "I just gave you the words."

I look at him, confused. "What?"

"Just say it exactly like that: 'Ginny, I've never felt like this about anyone. I want to be with you.' What's hard about that?"

"You're crazy," I say incredulously, shaking my head.

"You don't have to make it any more complicated than that," he explains. "It doesn't have to be difficult. You're just afraid of it."

I smile slightly. "You're right about that."

He pats my arm. "I never pegged you for a girl-chaser, but you picked a good one in Ginny to go after," he says. "She won't break your heart – and if she does, it'll be the last thing she does."

I chuckle lightly and say goodnight to him as he departs. I see Ginny across the room, laughing with a few friends from her own year, but I can't find the courage to do it just yet. These words need to be timed and calculated; I'll figure it out soon. I resign myself to this and go upstairs to bed, to fall into dreams of a pretty redhead with blue eyes.

By now you should've somehow
Realized what you're not to do

I wake up and resolve to make my long overdue confession after lessons end, in the common room. I plan it all out in my head; asking her with a particular lilt to my voice if I can talk to her, privately, and leading her away from her friends; putting my hands on her waist and feeling her breath on my cheek when I pull her closer, whispering to her, finally, what's been in my heart.

I worry about it all day, chewing on the ends of my quills, tapping my fingertips across the surface of the desks. What if she's changed her mind? What if she's lost interest? What if I've been dreaming this whole time? Inconspicuously, I pinch my skin under the table. When the scene stays the same, I sigh a little in relief before my previous anxiety about even going through with it sets in again.

She's not at lunch. My breath is baited and I barely eat, wondering if maybe she's sick, if I should put it off for another day. But then, wouldn't hearing that I do want her make her feel better?

I sigh and push my plate of food away. I don't even say goodbye to Harry and Ron before walking swiftly away, muttering to myself to calm down – an old habit, I must admit, leading all the way back to Muggle primary school. If Hogwarts thinks I'm odd, that should be a good indication of what the Muggles thought of me.

But that's no longer important now, I remind myself, and pick up my pace. I want to make it back to the common room in order to exchange my morning books for the afternoon batch before class begins again. I ignore the voice in my head that wants to check on Ginny, make sure she's okay, brushing it off as just another bout of nervousness.

I mumble the password offhandedly and step into the empty common room, breathing in the familiar scent of butterbeer and cinnamon. It's nice to come in here without the bustle of the rest of my House; I muse to myself that I might start coming here after lunch regularly, simply to enjoy the peace and quiet. But my watch tells me I have five minutes to get my books and resume classes; I take the steps up to the girl's dormitory two at a time, avoiding the veer-off to the girl's dorm for the time being to get my things. As I head back down the steps, however, I can hear voices coming from the sixth years' rooms.

Who's here, with classes starting so soon? I question silently, pushing the door open carefully to get a better view.

Ginny and Hannah Abbott are kissing on Ginny's bed, eyes closed and hands roaming. Their robes have been discarded and they're down to their pleated skirts and white shirts, ties lost somewhere in the mix. I see Ginny's hand reaching up Hannah's thigh, hear the blonde girl moan deep in her throat, start moving her hips…

The parchment in my chest snaps closed and catches on fire, burning my blood, making my eyes scald. My hands start shaking on the doorknob and tears start blurring my vision and the scene before me – but it doesn't make it hurt any less.

Through my red-and-tear blurred vision, I see Ginny's eyes open slowly. She sees me, I know she does, and they widen with dawning comprehension, with undeniable fear.

"Hermione," she chokes out. Hannah whips around with a half-shocked, half-lustful expression. I never expected from her - They both begin to move, readjust themselves, but I refuse to listen to an explanation, refuse to let them – let her – see me fall apart. I push myself away from the door and run blind, down the steps, out of the common room, and out of sight.

I don't believe that anybody
Feels the way I do
About you now

I don't go to classes for the afternoon. Somehow, I find myself crying too hard to even move from the abandoned girl's lavatory. Moaning Myrtle doesn't come close to me, but watches me with a vague interest as to why I'm crying – it's a rare occurrence, as far as she's concerned. She's not wrong, really. I haven't cried since my first year here, and I've never cried like this.

I did what Harry said. I opened myself up to her, though she didn't know. I let my inhibitions go and finally felt what it was like to fall in love. She's never noticed how I watched her out of the corner of my eye, breath caught in my throat because she simply took my breath away. She's never known how I sit by myself in my private dorm, reading the note she left me over and over again, repeating it in my head until I fall asleep. She's never known that I dream about her at night.

I was going to offer my heart to her this evening. The thought burns my throat and makes me sob harder into the sleeves of my robes. My big plan failed, killed swiftly by her lips touching someone else's. Has it all been a lie, or has she given up on me? Of course she wouldn't know I was planning on giving myself to her tonight. Nobody does, besides me.

"You're going to be late for dinner," Myrtle says matter-of-factly, from her perch on the high windows.

"I'm not hungry," I reply hoarsely. She hmphs, but doesn't say anything else. "You know, Myrtle, you're really quite lucky to be dead. You don't have a heart that can break."

I expect her to be insulted, shriek something about the insensitivity of humans, and plunge herself into a toilet. But she doesn't. Instead, she frowns and floats down closer to me, arms crossed. "You're so stupid," she says, in the same matter-of-fact tone, her high-pitched voice breaking every so often out of irritation. "Everyday, I wish I could feel anything – even pain. You think a heart is just another muscle, but it's not. If you can still feel something, it's worth it. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and actually do something for once."

I watch her, dumbfounded, float away again, curving her body around the U-bend of a toilet, humming some morbid tune to herself. The tears are still falling down my face, but I can't feel them anymore. Maybe my body automatically numbs itself if I don't know how to react. Maybe that's why I was so convinced I didn't feel anything for Ginny. Maybe that's why I fell so hard, and that's why it's hurt so bad to find that it was all for nothing tangible. Just knowing that I could do it in the first place.

If that's the case, then I should be able to get over this. Yes – I stand up straight, wiping my tears away, and shoulder my bag. I will get over this. I've learned the lesson; now I'll remember the next time what this feels like, to fall for someone so beautiful that she can break your heart without even trying.

And all the roads that lead you there are winding
And all the lights that light the way are blinding

Silence falls on one side of the common room – the side that Harry, Ron, and Ginny are on. Others look curiously in my direction, and I know that they're wondering why I skipped my afternoon classes, skipped dinner, to return in such a state of disarray. I don't cry pretty; I know my face is red and blotchy, my hair much messier than usual, but I've finally managed to push down the irrational part of my brain that was making me cry. So Ginny Weasley hurt me – I'm not the first girl to get her heart broken in the world, and I won't be the last.

"Hello, Harry, Ron," I greet them both with a smile. "Gi-Ginny." My voice quakes when I say her name, and I quickly pull my eyes away from her before the tears can start falling again. Where did my grip go? I ask myself internally, feeling irrationality regaining ground, parchment quivering inside me.

"Um, Ron, weren't you going to show me something upstairs?" Harry asks the redheaded boy pointedly.

Ronald looks from Harry to me to Ginny and back to Harry; before giving an incredulous nod. "Sure, mate, yeah," he replies loudly. "Something upstairs." The two boys stand, Harry giving me a look of sympathy and warning. My heart flashes with anger for a second – why give me the warning look, when I've done nothing wrong?

There are many things that I would like to say to you
But I don't know how

"Hermione, please sit down." Ginny's voice is so small and delicate. I want so badly to slap her and hug her at the same time. When did I become so emotional? "We really have to talk."

I keep my mouth in a thin line as I sit, curling my legs under me. I want to feel as protected as possible; somehow, despite my resolution to get over this, seeing her again simply brings back the image of her and Hannah frame by frame, and all the emotional attachment involved.

"What were you doing with Han – th-that girl?" I blurt in a fierce whisper. I wasn't even supposed to speak; I was going to let her talk, try to rectify her actions, and let it be. I wasn't going to make a scene – that would be messy and draw too much attention to the fact that there's something going on.

"Hermione, let me explain," Ginny begins, reaching out to touch my hand – probably to comfort me, but I automatically flinch away; even my skin feels betrayed. She sighs and nods glumly to herself in understanding. "Please… What you saw today wasn't what it looked liked." I make a disbelieving noise; she rolls her eyes. "Okay, it's exactly what it looked like; but the motives behind it aren't what you think."

"You mean that I was just a game and when you got bored you just decided to go after someone else?" I ask harshly. She winces; some little part of me enjoys that I'm making her uncomfortable. The rest of me is horrified at my behavior, but it's as if I'm no longer in control. My emotions, after seventeen years of being ignored, are finally ruling me.

"Actually, you're completely wrong," she tells me calmly. "Though I was starting to lose hope in you…" She trails off, breathing in deeply. Calming her nerves to break the bad news? I brace myself against the outbreak. "No, Hannah… We hooked up during the D.A. meetings. I was still kind of questioning myself, as far as sexuality went, and she was… quite the willing teacher." Ginny sighs, rubbing her temples as if remembering any of this hurts.

"Were you…?" I ask impatiently.

She shakes her head, strained half-smile on her face. "Dating? No. It's more along the lines that we had an arrangement. She'd help me 'figure things out' for myself."

"You mean, as long as you got her off once or twice a week?" I say harshly, jealousy and anger bubbling under my skin. I can't help but be angry that she resorted to such measures, just to understand herself. Was being used by anyone a good enough justification for anything?

She sighs and nods a little, avoiding my gaze. "I'm not proud of any of this, I hope you know that," Ginny says quietly.

I bite my lip, giving her an odd look. I still don't see where she's going. "I don't understand… Why would you…?"

"Because I couldn't have you," Ginny stresses to me in a strained voice. "How can you not understand? I needed something to get rid of that ache every time you looked at Ron a certain way. And when you stopped, I thought, maybe… I could have a chance."

"I've never done anything like this before, Ginny," I whisper to her, heart beating fast; my first confession. She let herself be used because my "lack of interest" was hurting her… But if I had known sooner of her feelings for me, would I have reacted?

I don't know, I don't know… Probably the same way I've reacted now. How could I have been so stupid? I should've opened up so much sooner; after all those summers, sleeping next to her, feeling something stirring, some unknown breeze fluttering my heartstrings, ink writing down everything I felt in the confines of my parchment-heart, how could I have not realized any of this until just now, when everything is so complicated?

"I know." She sighs deeply, running her hands through her hair. Her face is covered with tiny shadows, hiding a few freckles across her nose and the gleam in one eye. She looks mysterious and beautiful; my heart aches pleasantly at the sight of her. "But Hermione… Do you even want me?"

Oh, the question; it freezes my lungs in anticipation. My hands are shaking in my lap. My lips are prepared, poised with my answer, and yet my brain still isn't sure what it is. I've always valued the mind to have the answers to everything, and yet… Isn't that also nothing except a muscle in my body?

I always thought that things had to be a certain way. I always believed I would marry Ron and have his children. When that dream was destroyed, I didn't feel any pain – just insulted at my lack of insight. But here, I know that if I screw this up, my heart will be bleeding forever. There's always the chance that I'll fall in love again, but she… She'll always have her place.

I said maybe
You're gonna be the one that saves me

"Hermione, please," Ginny begs, eyes filled with emotions I don't recognize. I'm going to have to learn sometime, right? "If you don't, then just say so… But don't you dare give me false hope if there is none. Then I'll stop everything, and I'll leave quietly… I'll stop expecting to see something for me in your eyes." She smiles a little sadly, looking up at me. "Your eyes are green. I've always noticed that. Everybody else thinks they're brown. And when you're sleeping, you curl your hand under your chin and part your lips a little to breathe. When you're studying, you curl your hair around one finger and scrunch your nose up. I told Ron that once, and he told me he'd never really paid any attention to what you did or how you looked. Isn't that pathetic?" Her voice rises a little in pitch, and I can see the beginnings of tears on her eyelashes. I have to make this stop… "The boy who's supposed to be the one in love with you doesn't even realize how beautiful you are. And I do, and I don't even know if--"

"Ginny," I say, stopping her. My voice is shaking. She looks at me with wide eyes, a little hint of fear in the way she holds herself. I'm so scared, and yet… "Ginny…" I smile, and such relief floods into me I want to laugh as well. "If you've noticed all those other things, how could you have missed that I'm in love with you?"

And after all
You're my wonderwall

The redhead in the chair next to me blinks a few times, not speaking. I can tell I've surprised her; I've surprised myself. So much, I can feel the start of hyperventilation in my lungs. I have to get out of here – and that panic-stricken thought gets me moving. I smile at her pleasantly and stand, hoping to make a dignified exit. I bolt up the stairs to my private dorm before I realize what I'm doing.

I slam the door shut and sink onto my bed, eyes wide with shock. My hands are shaking again and my mind is going a mile a minute, rationality taking control again. Since when did I have such a split personality?

"Shit," I say aloud, and quickly clamp my hands over my mouth. I hardly ever swear unless I mean it. "Shit, shit, shit…" God, can't I say anything else!

I'm so angry with myself for allowing my emotions to rule my life for even the briefest of seconds and for letting Virginia Weasley get to me. I mean, I was perfectly fine before I fell for her, living my life with just my books, Harry and Ron, and me. I have friends and knowledge and this is all I need.

That's how it was before I latched onto the idea of her there, too. That kiss, why does that stupid kiss have to come into my mind all the time? I kick at the carpeting, swearing again, over and over again… I can't make any of this stop, and I'm the one who started it, so how does that make sense? Everything should be controllable, but I've been falling so slowly I didn't even notice. Nothing to clutch, nothing to stop it… How did this happen to me?

There's a knock at the door. Oh, god, there's a knock at the door – it's her, I know it is. I start panicking all over again – what if she wants me to say it again? What if she wants me to clarify how it got me to this point? I'm not even sure how I got to this point – now that I've stopped to think about it, it all seems very unclear and messy. I'm not used to this! I want to scream and cry and try to take back everything just so I can regain some sense of rationality. But oh, it's far too late for that.

I said maybe
You're gonna be the one that saves me

"It's okay, Hermione," I say to myself quietly. "You'll just let her in and you're not going to kiss her or touch her and you're going to figure things out like rational human beings. Okay? Now open the door." I walk resolutely to the door and turn the knob, confident that I have things under control. She's standing in front of me, body slightly hovering over mine; she's bracing her arms against the door frame, hair hanging in front of her face. My breath catches. She's so gorgeous, I realize for the billionth time in a week, waiting so expectantly for me…

I lose control. I can feel the flush overtake my face and the butterflies in my stomach begin to stir as I incline my head upwards, making sure our eyes are locked until the moment my lips touch hers, soft and gentle, and I let my eyes flutter closed to enjoy the feeling.

She puts her hands on my shoulders and nudges me gently into the room, closing it behind us with her foot. We've separated slightly, my heart beating so fast I'm afraid I'm going to hyperventilate or faint or something dramatic, and her eyes are husky with passion and want and need and all these other things that I still haven't been able to find words for. I can tell that my mind wants to take over again, but I don't let it. I realized the moment I saw her at the door that sometimes, you have to leave your thinking up to other things.

"Ginny," I whisper, putting my hand on her waist and pulling her close again. "I love you."

Ginny grins, blushing madly. I grin back in delight at her expression. "Yeah, I hope so," she replies nervously. "Otherwise that would've been a really awkward greeting."

I laugh, feeling giddy and out of control, and pull her down for another kiss, pouring everything I know – in my heart – into her. She's grabbing at my hair, my hips, rubbing my back and daring, even, to run her hand over my bum – something, I imagine, I'll definitely begin to enjoy. I'm clutching at her like I'm going to fall if she doesn't, and I know it's true. If she lets go now, in any sense of the word, I'm going to fall.

But it's okay, because I know this is right. And now that we have each other, we're never going to let go.

You're gonna be the one that saves me

Fin.

Hm… That was supposed to be just a random side-project, along the same vein as "Stars" or "Taste of Cherries," except this side-project ended up being a little over fourteen pages and took a long time to get out. Still, I hope you enjoyed it for what it was and don't hate me too much for not updating "Leather & Cigarettes" – expect chapter six of that story at the start of 2006. Right now, I'm enjoying my break by hanging out with my close friends and not worrying too much of anything – though I totally should, 'cause of colleges and the like – but whatever. I'll get to it all, I know I will. I'm just enjoying the time off while I have it.

Happy New Year,

Zelz Saihitei