Harry and Ron tightened their grip on the rope that was secured to the top of the girl's dormitory staircase. They had remembered that it would turn into a slide before they got halfway up the stairs and had thought of a plan to get them up the stone slide. It wasn't one of their more practical ideas, nor was it one of the stealthiest but they didn't really worry about that seeing how most of the girls, including Hermione had left for their homes and for Christmas break.
After many failed attempts to hoist themselves up to the flat landing they did succeed and infiltrated the girl's dorm. Crookshanks, Hermione's ginger cat was lying lazily on her bed as if protecting it, though he wasn't doing a very good job of it.
"Okay Ron," said Harry in an unnecessarily quiet voice. "Look around the bed; I'll see what she left in her trunk."
Ron nodded and shoved Crookshanks off of the bed as he started to pull the covers off in search of Hermione's illusive journal.
It had been a plan of theirs since the fourth year to find out what Hermione felt about both of them. It had been a rumor that she had been chatting with the other Gryffindor girls and that their names had been mentioned several times. Ron immediately concocted the plan to find the journal and dragged Harry into the fray.
"Success!" shouted Harry after fifteen minutes; he held the leather bound book in his hand. The area around Hermione's bed was nothing less than a disaster area but they had found the journal. They moved toward the door, Ron turned and booted Crookshanks back to his spot beside Hermione's bed and slid down the slide after Harry. Both of them congratulating themselves on a job well done even though Harry had been the one doing most of the work. Ron has been distracted by something in Hermione's top drawer in the nightstand.
"Tonight my dear friend," said Ron as he snatched the book from Harry and jumped onto his bed, "we finally find out what makes Hermione's warped little mind tick and find out for sure who she likes better. I'm sure it's me," he said puffing out his chest as Harry shook his head.
"I don't know Ron," he said taking a drink of water from the gargoyle head pitcher by the window, "you know if she finds out we did this that we'll probably be in deep trouble."
"Oh what's the worse she can do?" said Ron as he started to pick at the small silver lock holding the strap in place.
"Let's just say," replied hair darkly, "that I don't think you would make a good soprano."
Ron flinched slightly, his legs crossing in response. After a moment he shrugged it off and tripped the lock and flipped the journal open. "We'll live."
"We?" said Harry, lying on his back his arms under his head as Ron started to flip through the pages. "You're the one actually reading the thing. I'm just… helping. I can always just blame you and feign innocence."
Ron ignored him as he stopped on a page and laughed looking at Harry. "Listen to this…" he put on his infamous imitation of her voice and began to read from the neat cursive handwriting on the page.
"Dear Journal. I have a secret I must desperately tell to someone, or to something I know I can trust. I know that if I tried to confide in Harry or Ron the consequences would be disastrous!"
"Oh that's nice," said Ron looking at Harry, "she doesn't trust us!"
"Would you?" Harry said looking at an old issue of Witch Weekly that had an article about the Quidditch World Cup in it.
"Good point. Moving on," said Ron, reverting back to his high pitched voice.
"I am in love! Truly, deeply, and madly in love! I do admit that I claimed
to have deep feelings for Victor last year, but at the time I didn't know what true love was. Victor was nothing more than a crush, a silly boy who didn't know how to make me feel like a real and fully grown woman."
"I knew it!" shouted Ron pumping a fist in the air. Harry simply shook his head as Ron continued.
"The man is, in a word or two, absolutely amazing. Though most people despite him, I know for a fact that beneath his sinister and rough exterior that there is a loving and passionate man waiting to be given a chance!"
"Who do you think she's talking about?" said Harry looking at a fold out of one of the up and coming stars of the Quidditch world. "She said a man, I bet she's not talking about you mate."
"Shove off Harry," he said as he scanned through the last page of that entry and turned to the next dated one. It was written a week after the first. "Listen to this:
"Dear Journal, I've been thinking so much about the future. If things with You-know-who don't end I know that it will be too late for me to express my true feelings. I have to say that the thrill of danger, I suppose the "forbidden fruit" aspect of my one sided relationship is what makes me want to tell him more and more everyday.
"I've written a letter explaining everything I feel in the most logical and delicate way that I could manage. I only hope that my letter does not find its way into the wrong hands. If Professor Dumbledore or McGonagall find out not only will I be in trouble but he will certainly be out of a job. I don't want that to happen."
Ron stopped and looked at Harry. "A teacher?"
Harry nodded and threw the magazine into the rubbish bin on the other side of the room. "Sounds that way, or at least someone who works at the school. Maybe she's in love with Filch."
Ron gagged at the aspect while Harry snickered. "Oh Filch! My love! Come to me in my dreams!"
The two boys had themselves a good laugh and mock at the expense of their custodian. It was common knowledge that Hermione detested Filch, as did all the students at Hogwarts.
Ron, "Well that ones for certain, she's not madly in love with Filch." He picked up the journal where he had left off.
"I've foolishly given the letter to him today during class. He looked at me oddly as I handed it to him but there was something in his eye. His fingers brushed mine for a moment. I felt the most amazing feeling of happiness with the brief contact of flesh with flesh. I think he felt it too because he blushed, ever so slightly as he shooed me out of his room. I hope I've made the right decision. I now have to wait for the response. I've never felt so cliché in my entire life but now, now I know how the women in those foolish romance novels feel. It's amazing!"
"Can someone say 'porn'?" said Harry as he snatched the book out of Ron's hands and started to reread what he had just heard. "Next entry's really interested to. Sounds like Hermione's got a bit of freak in her. Hey if she and Mr. Secret don't work out sounds like she'll keep your relationship…"
Ron punched him in the stomach and grabbed the book back turning it to the next entry, his ears a bright red. Harry smirked and sat back down on his bed.
"Dear Journal, I can barely write this, my hand is trembling so badly. He cornered me earlier to tell me that he felt the same for me. He was shocked, and really so was I, he said to find out about my feelings was something that he could not believe. I'm supposed to meet him tonight in the south tower. I'm afraid that this all is a terrible mistake or that he's making a cruel mockery out of the whole situation. My heart however is telling me that my dream will come true, which is what, I hope, will happen."
Ron let the journal fall from his hand and leaned over the side of the bed as if vomiting. "Oh God, I just want to know who the bloody hell it is before she gives any more of the details about it."
"Shouldn't be too much longer," said Harry as he jerked the journal back from him and thumbing through the last few pages without reading. "There can't be more than four or five pages left which means we should find out who the secret lover is."
"Unless she has another journal hidden around here somewhere," said Ron with disgust at the thought she was hiding something else from them.
"Anyway, lets just finish this up so we can find out who it is… then you can go and exact your revenge on the cur for stealing your lady fair," said Harry as he turned the pages towards the end of the journal.
"Dear Journal, I just returned from my meeting with Professor Snape!"
Harry froze and re-read the sentence over again for about five minuets as Ron sat there staring at the wall, muttering to himself. "Snape…. Bloody Hell!"
Harry shook his head and looked over at his friend who sat like a statue. "Should I continue?"
"Might as well," said Ron weakly as he leaned back against one of the posts. "Find out what she's doing with the sicko… maybe we can figure some way to send Snape to Azkaban for being a pedophile or something…"
Harry turned and looked at Ron with all seriousness in his eyes, "Ron, Snapes a Bloody former Death Eater, you really think they're going to send him to jail for dating a fifteen year old girl?"
"I can dream can't I?" he said hatefully as Harry picked up the journal and continued reading.
"… It was one of the most memorable moments of my life. He looked at me, I looked at him and just like in those old movies we just seemed to be pulled together into an embrace. I think he said something but I can't remember, all I do know is that when his lips touched mine and he brought me in close for one of the most passionate kisses in my life I knew that he was defiantly the one for me. I mean, it was foot popping good!"
"What the hell does that mean?" said Harry looking at Ron. However, Ron was passed out cold on the bed, his head hanging off of the side of the bed, his freckles popping out sharply on his pale face. Harry snorted slightly and continued reading.
"Of course, you would think that anyone SNOOPING in my room and finding this diary would know me better than to actually believe that I would stoop so low to fall in love with Snape. Of course, I guess I can't account for the people I consider my friends… HARRY!"
With the last sentence the journal started to smoke, Harry took it and threw it at the rubbish bin on the other side of the room just as it started to burst into flames. It landed in the middle of the floor as a pile of ashes. He looked at it for a moment and started to laugh. Ron remained unconscious as Harry started to clean up the pile of ashes where the book had been a moment earlier, deciding it would be a good idea just to tell Ron that it had all been a dream.
Hermione chuckled as she watched the book burst into flame from the small "wizards security camera" she had temporarily placed in Ron and Harry's dorm room to keep an eye on them.
"What's so funny love?" said a smooth voice as Snape put his arm around Hermione's waist to draw her closer to him as they reclined on the couch.
"Nothing," she smiled looking up at Snape with a grin. "Just doing some house cleaning."