I know I said this chapter would be up shortly after the last one, but then my boyfriend of over 2.5 years broke up with me for no apparent reason, so I've been kind of distracted lately, and not feeling like writing. And that is my excuse. But on with the story…
"I was helping Neville with his Potions homework," Ron answered, looking from Harry to Hermione to Ginny and placing his teacup back on the table.
Harry looked at Hermione, then turned back to Ron and said, "Are you sure, Ron?"
"Yes. Ask Neville if you want," Ron said simply.
Harry and Hermione left Hagrid's in search of Neville, while Ginny stayed to talk up Lynne.
"If he really was with Neville, then what is going on?" Hermione asked as they made their way back up to the castle.
"I have no idea, but I'm really confused," Harry replied, taking her hand in his.
They silently walked up the castle and into Gryffindor Tower, where they found Neville, crouching under an armchair calling Trevor's name.
"Oh, hi, guys," Neville said as he finally emerged victorious, only to have Trevor hop out of his grasp once again.
Hermione scooped the toad up and handed it back to Neville. "Was Ron helping you earlier with Potions?" she asked innocently.
"Yes. It took ages, too. We were in here for almost two whole hours working on it," Neville answered, "why?"
"Just wondering. Thanks, Neville," Hermione replied as she and Harry walked back out into the hallway.
"Now what?" Hermione asked, disheartened.
"I don't know. Who even knew that we were going out?" Harry asked.
"Only Ginny. But she couldn't have done it, could she?" Hermione asked nervously.
"She seemed genuinely concerned when I told her what happened," Harry replied.
"True. She also seemed really upset when I told her how you broke up with me…" Hermione responded slowly. "Wait. It couldn't have been her. She came into the library seconds after 'you' left. There was no time."
"Then I wonder who it could have been. No one else knew we were going out. I wonder if Ginny told someone." Harry said.
"She promised me she wouldn't. I don't think she would break her word," Hermione sighed.
"At this point, I think it's worth asking," Harry said as he ran his fingers through his hair, trying to rack his brain for a reasonable explanation.
As luck would have it, Ginny and Ron then entered the hallway in which Harry and Hermione were walking.
"Ginny, can I talk to you for a moment?" Hermione asked, grabbing her arm.
"Sure, what is it?" Ginny asked as they walked into their common room.
"Did you tell anyone about Harry and me?" she asked tentatively.
"No," Ginny replied.
"Are you sure?" Hermione asked.
"Maybe someone overheard us sometime?" Harry asked, turning to look at Hermione.
Ron came in after Harry, "What's going on?"
Hermione looked at Harry, who shrugged slightly.
"Ron… would you hate us terribly if we said that we both like each other?" Harry finally said after a moment of tense silence, taking Hermione's hand in his.
Ron looked from Harry to Hermione and back again. "I sort of saw this coming," he said quietly.
"Ron, I'm really sorry. We didn't plan on this happening, you know," Harry said quickly.
Hermione let go of Harry's hand and gave Ron a hug. She whispered into his ear, "I'm really, really sorry, Ron."
Ron stared at the ground for a couple of minutes without saying anything.
"Ron, don't be stupid! You shouldn't let this ruin your friendships!" Ginny said sternly.
Ron looked up, and noticed Ginny standing there for the first time.
"You knew all along, didn't you?" he asked simply.
Ginny quietly replied, "Yes."
"But only because she confronted me. She figured I liked Harry, and wanted to know for sure," Hermione quickly said, hoping to avoid another fight.
"We've just been trying to find a way to let you know without hurting your feelings, mate. We don't want to lose your friendship over this," Harry continued.
Ron looked at Harry and said softly, "Its okay. I can't very well blame you for liking Hermione, now can I? Plus, I kind of figured Hermione liked you, too. I'll be okay with it, just please don't go snogging in front of me, please," Ron half joked.
Hermione sighed in relief and gave Ron another hug. "Thank you for understanding, Ron," she said.
"What are friends for?" Ron said quietly.
"Did you really ask someone out?" Hermione asked.
"Oh. Yeah. I asked Lynne out. She has been flirting with me for ages, so I decided to give it a try," Ron replied, going slightly red in the face.
"Congratulations, mate," Harry said, patting Ron on the back.
"But that still leaves us the problem of who was pretending to be Harry!" Hermione explained a minute later.
"What are you talking about?" Ron asked.
"Someone took Polyjuice Potion and turned into Harry and broke up with me earlier," Hermione explained.
"Oh. And you thought it was me?" Ron asked.
"Well… we didn't want to believe it, but you were the only one we could think of that would want to do it… we're sorry," Harry tried to explain.
"It's okay. I forgive you," Ron said, thinking it over.
"So then who could it have been?" Ginny asked.
"I can't believe they haven't figured out it was me, yet. I would have thought it was obvious, once she realized it wasn't actually Potter. Apparently she isn't as smart as everyone gives her credit for," a certain Hogwarts student laughed to himself as he watched them enter Gryffindor Tower.
The next day, neither Hermione nor Harry had any other ideas on who it could be.
Hermione met Ron and Harry in the common room for breakfast. Since it was a Saturday, they took their time eating and discussing who the fake Harry was.
"Well, was anyone ever near the two of you when you were talking about… it?" Ron asked, feeling awkward.
"That's just it. I can't think of anyone!" Hermione exclaimed after swallowing her pumpkin juice.
Just then, Ginny came running up to the three of them. She was panting rather heavily. "Guys!" she managed to say between deep breaths. She then stood there for a minute, trying to slow her breathing.
"What is it?" Hermione asked.
After another moment of silence, Ginny responded. "I just ran all the way from the sixth floor. You'll never guess what I saw!"
"Then just tell us," Ron replied, rolling his eyes.
"I saw Goyle coming out of the bathroom, the girls' bathroom! So, I went in after he left, to see what he was doing. As soon as I walked in, I could smell Polyjuice Potion!"
"How do you know what Polyjuice Potion smells like?" Ron asked suspiciously.
"Because we were shown it in potions class, just like you, genius!" Ginny retorted back.
Hermione then responded, "Does that mean you think Goyle, or maybe Draco, impersonated Harry?"
"Absolutely," Ginny answered.
"That does make some degree of sense. Draco does hate the both of us. If he had found out about us, then he would probably want to try to ruin it somehow," Hermione mused softly.
"I'll bet anything it was Draco!" Harry said sternly, rising from his seat. He spotted Draco in an instant at the Slytherin table.
As Harry marched over to Draco, Draco caught sight of him and sneered. "What do you want, Potter?" he spat out venomously.
"What do I want? I want to know why you used Polyjuice Potion to pretend you were me and break up with Hermione," Harry replied calmly, as if he were discussing the weather.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Draco answered innocently.
"You know exactly what I'm talking about, Malfoy," Harry said evenly.
"Except that I don't," Draco retorted.
At this comment, Goyle wriggled in his seat uncomfortably. Unfortunately, Harry caught it in the corner of his eye. His head turned to Goyle. "Was it you?" he asked.
Goyle did not answer.
"It was, wasn't it? Why would you do it?" Harry asked curiously.
Goyle still did not answer. Finally, after a moment or two of utter silence, Crabbe butted in with "He's in love with her, can't you tell?"
Draco and Harry replied, in complete unison, "What?!"
Goyle dropped his head so he was staring into his lap. However, Crabbe was much more helpful. He continued, "Goyle has been talking about Hermione nonstop for three months. I'm sorry, Goyle, but I've gotten sick of it. It's about time you just admit it."
Goyle turned red around the face and neck.
Harry and Draco just stared at him, dumbfounded.
Then Ron came over, to see what was going on.
"What's happening, Harry?" he asked inquiringly.
"Apparently, Goyle has taken a fancy to Hermione as well," Harry said, doing his best not to start laughing.
Ron raised his eyebrows, "Really?"
"I'm going to
murder you, Goyle, how could your standards have gotten so low?"
Draco said, standing over Goyle.
Goyle then took one look at Draco and ran out of the room and into the hallway.
Draco and Crabbe followed.
Harry and Ron quietly walked over to Hermione, who was waiting to her what happened.
"What happened with Goyle? How come he ran off like that?" Hermione asked as the two boys took their seats at the table.
Ron could not contain it any longer and simply started laughing. Harry, however, told Hermione the entire conversation.
"Oh…. Oh," was all Hermione could manage.