Fantasies don't last very long. A few hours, at most, while we each dream of what we want to have but don't. The euphoria they create is real, but superficial; underneath it all, there is still that constant throb of pain, the constant beat of a fragile, frantic heart.
I didn't mean to break her heart. You absolutely have to understand that. I didn't want this to happen to her, to me.
There wasn't really an 'us'. Kisses in private, sex at midnight, hands on thighs beneath the cover of the table cloth. That's what we had. That's what we were.
We were a secret I wasn't willing to reveal, and she wanted so desperately to be announced.
I continued kissing Harry, holding his hand, though there was nothing there but an appearance to uphold. Mum loved that he was mine. My brothers threatened good-naturedly that he would die before he would hurt me. Harry laughed with them, albeit nervously.
Ron never did. Ron coughed uncomfortably whenever Harry and I were together, looking towards Hermione searchingly – for an answer, for a sign. And every time he did, the guilt stabbed me. But I never let go of Harry's hand.
Guilt mixed with doubt is a funny thing. It can cause immeasurable pain without action attached. There is plenty of cause but little effect. We were both parallel, but not together. Our secret created tears in our lives that I could never fix, and didn't have the will to.
It's not that I enjoyed hurting her. I just didn't know what else to do. Expectations cause people to do strange things, to continue a path of existence that they don't necessarily want, but because other people see them in that direction they expect them to continue. I'm the poster child of heterosexual relations. Harry is, presumably, The One – and not just to save the world.
But then what was she? What did she mean to me?
We never really talked about our predicament. Just continued making love in the dead of the night, when no one could hear us or come barging in.
I still hate the thought of being caught. I hate the thought of being discovered with her, naked and happy. Because the truth is, I'm happiest when I'm with her. I always have been. I just don't have the strength to tell her so; it would mean too much to her. The sentimentality would exponentially increase the guilt creaking around in my bones.
"Don't tell anyone," I whispered fiercely outside. "Promise me, you won't tell anyone at school."
She looked at me with hurt, incredulous eyes. "But – school's not for another month – what are you -"
"Just don't," I cut in. "Promise."
I saw the light flicker out in her eyes, watched her body droop like a wilting flower. I hate myself for this, but – it's all about survival, right? Parallel lines never cross.
"I promise," she said, staring at her hands. "No one will ever find out from me."
I kissed her hard and left her in the grass. Harry was waiting for me; we made out on a chair in the living room and got catcalled by my brothers.
But it always… it always came back to her. Night would come and we'd discard our clothing and move across each other like water over rocks, touching, biting, licking, understanding what it's like to be loved in ways no one could ever imagine. We cried when the overwhelming euphoria would take control of our emotions, comforted each other, laughed at how ridiculous it was – crying when we were happy, the happiest. But it always ended when the morning came. When I'd slip back into my shroud of infidelity and she would disappear like dandelion seeds in the wind.
School came like relief and a hard knot in my stomach. Now it would be easier to sneak around, but at what price? I started avoiding her outright. I stopped visiting her Head Girl dorm, though she gave me the password under the pretense that I was allowed whenever I wanted.
I was walking to class when I saw her and Ron speaking quietly together, Hermione leaning against the wall and Ron close to her ear. Jealousy flared first, then curiosity.
"I'm going to," I heard him say stubbornly. He squeezed a hand over his fist and started walking away.
"Ron, don't," she pleaded. Her eyes caught on me. I'm not sure who looked away first; she was gone when my eyes returned.
The common room was lit with bright voices whispering and excited, scandalous laughter. Hermione nor Harry where anywhere to be found; I shrugged off a few misplaced strange looks and sank like a ship into an arm chair by the fire, searching through my bag lazily.
"Really? Her and Hermione -?"
I glanced towards the direction of the voice, heart pounding double time. Is Hermione seeing someone else, or…?
"I wonder how Harry's going to take this…"
"I guess we'll find out, right?"
More laughter. Fists gripped my insides, bending my body over in shame. All the time, I thought, how could she do this? How could she do this?
I hastily packed up my things again while the hyperventilation started, clogging my lungs with sharp bursts of air. Their conversations just became louder in my head, mocking me, questioning me, if not directly. I saw them watching me as I began walking quickly out of the common room, determined to go anywhere but here.
But there he was. Like a dark angel, there he was. Green eyes, lighter than hers, misted over and hardened by misery.
I did this to him.
"Harry," I began pleadingly, but he cut me off.
"I can't talk to you right now," he said, and, watching the carpet, retreated into the depths of the boys' dormitory.
I gritted my teeth against the tears swelling behind my eyelids and despite all their eyes on me, I sprinted through them and ran to the only place I knew how to.
"Jellyfish eyes," I gasped out when I got to her door, hoping to find it occupied. I needed to know why she would do this to me. No matter what I did to her, she wasn't a bad person. She wouldn't do something like this.
The door swung open and there she was. Like a quiet angel of mercy, there she was. Green eyes, dark, clouded over and soft with sadness.
She looked up when she saw me in her doorway and nodded slightly to accept my entry, but she didn't say anything, nor did she move. I swallowed a sea of doubt down my throat and shut the door behind me.
"Why?" I blurted loudly. She looked at me incredulously. "Why did you tell people? I asked you not to. You promised me you wouldn't tell anyone."
"I didn't." Her quiet voice interrupts my madwoman rant. I stare at her unbelievingly. "Ron asked me about it one day. I told him. It's not my fault he told others."
I hate how matter-of-fact she is sometimes.
"Harry broke up with me," I mumble, slumping down on her bed. "He couldn't… He couldn't even look me in the eyes." She stays silent. "This was… my fault from the beginning. I never really wanted him, you know." Please, say something. "I've always wanted you. I was just scared. I am scared," I corrected. I looked over to her, her soft features, the sadness in her eyes – this was my fault, and I had to correct it. "Please, Hermione," I whispered, and kissed her.
Her hesitation turned into compliance quickly; her hands cupped my face, played with my hair, and my body melted into her. This was what I wanted, right? It was what she wanted, what she was telling me with her body and mouth: to keep going. Not just with this kiss, but with whatever we were. Whatever we wanted us to be.
I gently nudged her, supporting her as she laid down, me on top of her. I let my hands roam across her soft body and relished in the muffled moans from her mouth. I wanted this always, because this was the best I had ever had. She finally saw it. She finally understood.
I thought. I really believed. Damn her mind, her overactive cognitive processes. Our kiss was broken and we stared at each other – me in confusion, her in fear. But why would she be afraid of me?
"Gin – no," she said, her hands shaking as they connected with my shoulders, pushing me away. She sat up quickly and those same hands buried themselves in her hair.
"Hermione," I tried. My hand reached for her, but she brushed it away like it was nothing. I pulled it back, stung.
When she spoke, her voice was shaky and threatening tears. I could see them sparkling on her eyelashes, though her eyes were shut. "You're only doing this because everybody knows already," she whispered.
"No!" I began to protest. She cut me off.
"You're only doing this," she said, louder, "because Harry broke up with you."
"Hermione, please -"
"Ginny." She finally looked at me. Her face was close to crumbling. I bit my lip and repressed the urge to comfort her, knowing that that wasn't what she wanted from me. "I don't want to be your last resort. But that's what you're making me out to be. I can't do this with you."
Was that silence in ribcage the sound of my heart breaking?
I shook my head, reached for her again. "No, you're not," I said weakly.
She wasn't looking at me anymore. I watched the tears slip down her face like silent accusations. "Please, just go, Gin."
"Hermione…" How many times did I say her name like a prayer? How many times did I ask for her forgiveness?
"Just go." Her whisper was full of finality. Her heart had been thoroughly broken into, robbed, and left alone again.
I did this to her.
With slow, light movements, I pushed myself off the bed and walked to the door. When I turned to look at her one last time, she looked frozen in her pain; fragile. And though all I wanted to do was go back to her and kiss away her tears, I knew that that wasn't what she wanted.
The door shut behind me and that was the end of it. An anti-climatic closing to the best I've ever had.