Disclaimer: So not mine.


It all started when Harry forgot Ginny's birthday. Now, Hermione didn't really want to excuse him his forgetfulness – a boy must never, never forget his girlfriend's birthday, even if the girlfriend in question is only a sort-of-maybe-ex-girlfriend – but on the other hand, Harry was rather busy. Not too busy to send at least a letter, of course, but she, Ron, and Harry were scouring the countryside for the means to destroy Voldemort.

A thing like that has a way of shoving important news from one's mind. Not that Hermione or Ron forgot, because she wouldn't and Ron had experienced Ginny's wrath fairly often and didn't want to risk doing so again, but Harry had a lot more to worry about. After all, he was the one actually expected to kill Voldemort. As far as Hermione could see, she and Ron were pretty much kept around for moral support. They hadn't even really been much help finding the horcruxes - Harry had done that well enough on his own, and now he just had to figure out a way to destroy them and Nagini.

Though, she thought a little guiltily, as moral support, she probably should have reminded Harry about Ginny's birthday. If she only had, then maybe the current situation would never have arisen.

But arise it had, and Hermione saw no escape.

Ginny was giving Harry the Silent Treatment.

Hermione was reluctantly impressed. It was difficult to convey the Silent Treatment by letter, but Ginny was doing so spectacularly well. Letters from her came nearly every other day, but only for Hermione and her brother – not a single one for Harry.

The worst of it was, Harry didn't realize what he'd done wrong. And Ginny, in a fit of pique, had made Hermione and Ron swear not to tell.

This went on for two weeks before matters came to a head. Hermione had forced Ron to take her out to eat – she was heartily sick of hotel food and Harry was in one of his Moods again, even though they'd finally managed to destroy all the horcruxes except Nagini. And when Harry was in a Mood, it was best just to get out of the way until the storm clouds over his head disappeared and he stopped throwing things at the walls.

Dinner was pleasant enough, and they got back to their hotel room fairly late. Late, but just in time to see Harry send Hedwig out the window, a scowl on his face and ink staining his hands.

Hermione felt a sudden chill shiver its way down her spine. "Harry," she said cautiously, "who is that letter to?"

He glanced at her, his scowl getting deeper. "Ginny," he said shortly.

"What did you write?" Hermione demanded, feeling the chill in her spine spread throughout the rest of her body and freeze her veins and heart. If she knew Harry – and she did know Harry quite well – then his current expression and the length of the letter she'd seen Hedwig cart off boded very, very ill for the situation.

Harry remained stubbornly silent.

"This is bad, isn't it?" Ron muttered, showing an unusual perceptivity. Hermione nodded mutely.

"She just needs to get over whatever stupid snit she's in," Harry grumbled, and Hermione closed her eyes and prayed that Voldemort got to her best friend before Ginny did, because she had a feeling the Dark Lord would show more mercy.

00oo00oo00oo00oo00

Two days passed without a raging redheaded girl showing up to eviscerate her now-almost-certainly-fully-ex-boyfriend, but neither Hermione nor Ron started to relax. They'd had a long, intense conversation the first night about whose side they'd pick, before they decided that if Ginny did show up…

Well, Harry was going to be on his own. This was one battle they just couldn't fight with him.

And then Voldemort attacked.

If there was one thing Hermione never expected to live to see, it was Voldemort, Nagini, and half a dozen death eaters storming into a muggle hotel room, wands at the ready. There was something so patently absurd about all those muggle-haters staring around the room in poorly-disguised fascination, taking in the television with furrowed brows and the kitchenette appliances with utter confusion.

"Oh, hell," Ron groaned, and fished out his wand. Harry already had his at the ready, of course, because he was paranoid and faster than anyone who wasn't an Auror had a right to be.

Hermione gulped, fighting the urge to back away. Voldemort – he was here, just a few feet away –

And then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw a flash of white and red. She turned her head just enough to see Hedwig fly in the window, a scarlet envelope clutched in her talons.

Oh lord. This would not end well.

Hedwig dropped the letter into Harry's free hand. The room was oddly silent as she circled the room once and went straight back out the window, probably wanting to escape the destruction to come.

Voldemort hissed out an amused and overly-sibilant snicker. "Well, Harry, open it," he suggested, eyes glinting maliciously. "I wouldn't want to deprive you of one last love letter."

Harry glowered, but then Hermione saw a spark of – of something in his eyes that actually made her feel like she wasn't going to die in agony in a few seconds.

He crumpled the parchment and threw it straight at Nagini, who caught it in her mouth as if it were a toy or food and bit down once.

And then the letter burst into angry flames, taking the snake's head with it.

"HARRY JAMES POTTER, HOW DARE YOU SPEAK TO ME THAT WAY, YOU'RE THE ONE AT FAULT YOU STUPID, STUPID PEA-BRAINED MORON! YOU MISSED MY BIRTHDAY! MY BIRTHDAY, YOU IDIOT! THAT'S WHAT I'M 'IN A SNIT' OVER! I HATE YOU! YOUR HAIR IS MESSY AND YOUR EYES ARE FROGGY AND YOU'RE EVEN THICKER THAN RON, AND IF YOU EVER DO THIS AGAIN I'LL BEAT YOU WITH YOUR OWN BROOMSTICK!"

There was a long, shocked silence. The Death Eaters and Voldemort stared at the headless, burning snake. Hermione and Ron stared at Harry.

Harry grinned, said "I love you, Ginny," and then said, "Avada Kedavra!" And Voldemort, with the last of his horcruxes gone, hit the ground with a loud thump.

"Oh, and," the howler continued in a quieter, more reasonable tone, "do be careful, Harry. Voldemort's dangerous, never forget that. Come home as soon as you can."

As one, the Death Eaters fled.

"Well," Ron said into the echoing silence. "I didn't expect it all to go like that."

"We should clean up," Hermione added faintly. "We can't expect the maids to, to - "

"Get rid of roasted snake and a corpse?" Harry finished, staring at the corpse in question with utter disbelief.

"Perhaps the Order would be a better bet," Hermione said.

"Yeah," Ron agreed bemusedly.

"No one's going to believe this."

"Yeah."

"Let's go home."

Harry smiled. "Sounds good. But I need to stop somewhere and pick up a birthday present first."