The next night everyone, with the exception of Luna, was hanging out in the Gryffindor common room. Hermione was on the couch studying with Harry sitting on the floor just beside her, Lee, Fred and George were halfheartedly playing a game of exploding snaps and Ron was killing Neville at wizard's chess. For her part Ginny busied herself by working (or doodling) on her Arithmacy homework as discreetly sneaking looks at the couple as they waited. As she looked over at Harry and Hermione she noticed that, they seemed to be sitting extremely close to one another, Hermione's leg was moving back and forth, periodically brushing up against Harry's back. For his part, Harry remained sitting very close to his friend and even though she kept bumping him he never said a word or moved. Even though there was a perfectly good seat on the other side of the couch and in the empty armchair next to the coffee table.
Ginny looked back down at her parchment giving a small smile; last night after the meeting the twins had gotten Ron to grudgingly agree to get a piece of Harry's hair and this morning he gave it to Ginny so she could recast her spell. However this time instead of a knife, since Hermione was on a limited eating regimen due to the whole S.P.E.W. thing, Ginny had decided place it in the one thing she knew that the older girl couldn't resist... a book.
The book in question was one of many, in the pile on the table in front of the dark haired witch. As they played their respective games they also all waited anxiously for her to finally pick up the text and end their suffering. After about an hour of reading the same book, and slowly torturing her friends, Hermione finally nudged Harry who was in the process of grabbing his potions book.
"Harry could you get me the book 'Famous Wizards and Their Inventions' off the table for me." Everyone froze, waiting with baited breath as Harry grabbed the book. Barely sparing the text a glance he grabbed it off the top of the pile and handed it to Hermione, who then sat it on her lap opening it to find the proper chapter.
Ginny looked on; disappointment marring her face as nothing happened when Hermione picked up the text, flipping through it. She turned and looked at George who gave a sad smile and shrugged, Fred shook his head and while Lee and Neville seemed to be avoiding looking at her or Hermione. She felt so guilty, she had just announced Hermione's feelings about Harry to all of their friends and he didn't even feel the same way. What had she done?
Everyone looked uncomfortable, sad that they couldn't help their friends make a love connection, and that they were all privy to Hermione's feelings without her knowledge… well, almost everyone looked sad.
Ron, who had been sulking earlier, now looked to be in a great mood and had even begun to whistle as he considered his next chess move. Feeling her gaze he looked up, noting Ginny's glare, he gave a shrug and then mouthed the words 'It's not my fault,' before resuming his game. A moment later Hermione spoke again, completely oblivious to the pity that she was receiving from several of her closest friends, and the happiness she had caused one.
"I cannot find anyth..." she sighed, rolling her eyes. "Harry, you handed me the wrong book, this is 'Famous Wizards and Their History', not their inventions."
Harry looked over his shoulder at her; taking the book back and then reading the title he flushed.
"Sorry," he said with a sheepish smile "I guess I was a little tied up with this potions essay from Snape." He said as he rummaged through the massive pile of books "Ah, here it is."
He pulled the heavy text out, handing it over to Hermione and completely oblivious to the fact that all activity and conversation in the room had stopped and all eyes were fixated them and the book.
"That's ok," she said taking it from his hands, her fingers lightly brushing his. "Thanks for grabbing it for me," she offered a small smile.
A moment later the book began to glow a soft gold, then getting brighter by the second, the book suddenly flew open; the pages ruffling as a strong wind came and whipped Hermione's hair into her face.
"What the?!" she exclaimed, throwing the book away from her; as it hit the floor the wind died down.
Her and Harry exchanged bewildered looks, while everyone else exchanged conspiratory smiles, well... almost everyone.
Two nights later was when they all got together in the room of requirements, to implement Ginny's brand new plan. Fred and George had talked Harry into coming with them, since Ron absolutely refused to help, and Ginny and Luna brought Hermione. Lee and Neville's jobs were to help with the brain power, while Ron had just come because he had nothing better to do and because he was silently hoping it would all blow up in their faces.
The plan was to trap Harry and Hermione in the room and get them to admit their feelings or each other. The way Ginny figured it, is that it didn't matter how much Hermione or Harry wanted to get out of the room as long as the six of them wanted the door to remained locked it would, after all, with their combined brain power the room would defiantly listen to their requirements first. So therefore Harry and Hermione, who had a large amount of trust in their friends, had just unsuspectingly walked right into a trap.
"I'm bored," Ginny said after a few minutes, in a repeat of last time they were in the room together, she then looked over at Luna who was busy flipping through an issue of the Quibbler.
"Uumm, uumm," she said clearing her throat; still not receiving the other girls attention, Ginny gave a quick look at Hermione and after noticing that she was still wrapped in her book she then gave Luna a discreet but hard kick in the shin.
"I said, I'm bored," she tried again, looking the blond girl pointedly in the eye.
Luna grabbed her injured shin, a confused and offended expression of her face before her mouth formed a small 'o'. She then looked at the still oblivious Hermione, and mouthing 'sorry' to Ginny she said her line.
"Well, gee Ginny what do you supposed that we could do?" Ginny rolled her eyes at how horribly rehearsed the other girl sounded; giving her a glare she said her part.
"I don't know, I'm out of ideas..." trailing off and tapping her finger against her chin she turned to face the boys who were sitting on the floor, playing a game of fantasy Quidditch.
"Fred, George you guys are always up for a good time; we're bored, do you know what we can do to liven things up in here?"
The twins looked at her, then giving extremely indiscreet winks they looked at each other.
"Well," said George, "we know a game we can try."
"Yeah," said Fred "everyone can play too."
Ron rolled his eyes.
"I don't want to play," he said, and then looking at Harry he continued "what about you mate, are you up for another game of wizard's chess instead of what ever possibly deadly game my brothers have cooked up?"
Before Harry could answer, Ginny threw her shoe across the room, hitting Ron soundly on the side of the head.
"No, he's not, geez Ron do you ever do anything besides wizard's chess," she glaring daggers at him. "You know if you spent half as much time working on your charm as you do on those stupid bloody chess pieces, you might have a girlfriend by now."
Ron glared back at her "Yeah, well if you spent half as much time on your studding as you do on your matc,"
He was cut off as George gave him a hard slap on the back of the head.
"Hey, little brother why don't you leave our darling sister alone," he said through gritted teeth.
"Yeah," added Fred with a mincing smile. "unless you want to become the new test dummy for Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes."
Harry looked between the Weasley siblings with a suspicious look, they were up to something and when the Weasley's were up to something, it usually wasn't good. He decided that maybe it was safer to go with Ron's suggestion.
"I don't know, maybe I will play some wizards' chess," he said giving his best friend a small smile.
Ron smiled back, but it slowly disappeared from his face as Ginny, Fred, George, Lee, Neville and Luna all glowered at him for trying to ruin the plan. Feeling more than a bit intimidated he did something that he really didn't want to do.
Releasing a sigh he gave Harry a sympathetic look. "Sorry mate, but I've decided to try Fred and George's stupid game," he grumbled unenthusiastically.
Harry gave him a puzzled look, then seeing no way out, he decided to go along for the ride (what ever it was).
Giving a shrug he turned to Fred, "Well I guess I'm in too, since everyone's done with the fantasy Quidditch league."
"Great," Fred said giving Harry a clap on the back "trust me it'll be fun."
"All right everyone gather around, we're going to play a nice, friendly, fun game," George yelled. "Come on, gather into a circle."
They all vacated their previous positions around the room forming a circle in the area Fred, George, Harry and Ron were in. Just as she was about to take her seat in the ring Ginny froze; rolling her eyes she went back over to the oversized arm chair.
"Hermione, come on," she said grabbing the older girl's arm.
"I'm busy," she said without looking up from her text. "This is the most startling chapter on magical ointments and ancient healing techniques."
"Good," replied Ginny snatching the book away and putting it on the table. "Now you know where to find it if one of us needing healing, now come on."
She grabbed Hermione's wrist giving it a long tug in an attempt to pull her away from the chair; Hermione in turn, grabbed the arm in a death grip.
"No," she said frowning "I'm not playing."
"This is ridiculous," Hermione said snatching her wrist away from the younger girl. "I should know weather or not I'm playing."
"Come on, stop being such a spoil sport and join us, everyone else is playing."
Hermione gave her a disapproving look. "Well, if everyone else were jumping off their broomstick would you jump too?"
"If they were jumping into a lake, sure," Ginny replied cheekily
"Figures," was the sarcastic response.
"Just give it up!" Ron yelled from his spot in the circle. "Hermione doesn't have fun, she just reads about it."
Ginny turned her head and glared at her brother for interrupting, but before she could retort she saw a flash of brown as Hermione walked away from the chair, past Ginny and straight to the circle; not breaking eye contact with Ron once.
Taking her seat she looked at Fred. "Well, what are we playing?" she asked in her normal business like tone, Ginny noticed Harry give a small smile.
Fred waited until Ginny had taken her seat next to the other girl before responding.
"Oh that's easy, we're playing magical truth or dare," he grinned.
Hermione immediately tried to stand but before she could get all the way up Ginny and Luna's hands simultaneously grabbed her and they pulled, forcing her to sit again.
"Don't worry it'll be fun," Luna said with a soft smile.
"Uh, guys," Harry interrupted, apprehensively "what's magical truth or dare?"
"Well it's simple," Ginny said grinning "once the game starts a spell will be placed over everyone playing, not a huge spell just a tiny one. See what it does is, make it so that if you pick truth then you have to answer truthfully... wither you want to or not."
She noticed the change in Harry's expression as he processed this information, his eyes flicked quickly to Hermione before he focused on the floor. After a minute he looked back up at Ginny, his troubled expression safely hidden.
"Well what happens if you pick dare?"
She shrugged. "Nothing, we'll know if you did the dare or not, it's the truth that's always tricky."
Harry gave a small nod, sitting back on his hunches. Out of the corner of her eye Ginny noticed Hermione looking at the ground, her brows knitted together as she fidgeted with her sleeve. She knew that her friends mind was working furiously on a way to get out of this situation.
"Ok," said Lee "let's get this started, I'll go first... George, Truth or Dare?"
George looked thoughtful for a minute "Truth," he said with a smile.
"Who was the star of your kinkiest dream?" Lee asked with an evil grin.
Before he could prevent it, the spell kicked in causing George to blurt out his answer.
"McGonagall," he said, slapping his hand over his mouth as soon as the name was out.
Everyone stared at him as though he were daft.
"McGonagall?" Fred said, giving an incredulous expression. "Really?"
"What was it about?" his twin asked leaning forward, completely unable to resist.
"Trust me you don't want to know," George said with a wince "lets just say it involved detention, house points, a hair net and a ruler."
The twins looked at each other, then at Lee, after a moment the three of them shuddered.
"Oooook, moving on," said Ginny still giving her brother a strange look. "Your turn Lockhart," she said with a smirk.
George rolled his eyes before going. "Truth or Dare... Lee?"
Lee thought on it for a second before picking dare and after eating two boxes of every flavor beans (including every flavor in the box) he was done. They continued to play for around twenty minutes just as planned, Ginny was forced to list all of the boys she had snogged, Neville was forced to change into a dress and sing 'I'm a little tea pot'. Hermione was force, via dare not to read any books for the next twenty four hours; while Harry had to tell Cho Chang how annoying she was at breakfast the next morning (Ginny's dare). Everything was going exactly as she mapped out; the longer they played the more Harry and Hermione relaxed... and then it was Ron's turn.
They had all tried their best to keep him out of the game, worried he might sabotage it, but there was no way to tell Harry or Hermione not to pick him without telling their plan. So after completing the disgusting dare Harry had given him; tasting one of his boogies along with the Bertie Botts' boogie flavored bean to see if they taste the same (they do), it was now his turn.
"Truth or dare Ginny," he said, silently daring her to pick truth.
Though she knew it was against her better judgment to do so, it was also against her pride not to take him up on it. After all, every last one of her brother's knew that Ginny Weasley could not turn down a dare, silent or otherwise.
"Truth," she said impulsively, causing Fred, George and Lee all to groan in unison.
Ron smirked "Are you up to something?"
"Yes," immediately popped out of her mouth, but she fought the urge to cover her mouth or be cowed, instead she did her best to cover the damage. "I'm up to my head in homework." she finished, returning his smirk.
Everyone laughed aloud at her quip, except Ron who was more than a little peeved at being outsmarted by his little sister.
"Truth or Dare..." Ginny trailed off, it was now or never, if they waited too long things could get ruined by Ron. "Hermione?"
She held her breath; she knew that either way Hermione was getting a truth question, even if she had to dare her to answer it truthfully. But, she also knew it would be easier and a lot less suspicious if the other girl would just pick truth from the start.
"Truth," Hermione said after a moment, with less hesitation than she did the first time she picked it and Luna had asked for her childhood nickname.
Ginny gave a small sigh of relief at her good fortune, before pretending to try to think of a question.
"Ok, I've got one... who are you in love with?"
Hermione immediately slapped her hand over her mouth, her eyes wide. Looking around desperately she tried to locate a pillow to say her answer into. However, expecting this Ginny had made sure to require a comfortable, pillow-less room before entering.
"Come on Hermione just tell us," urged Fred.
"Yeah," added Neville "I'm sure you don't have anything to worry about."
Hermione shook her head furiously continuing to hold her hand to her mouth.
"It's ok Hermione," Luna said softly patting the girl on her back. "We understand."
Hermione gave her a perplexed look, but her hand stayed firmly in place.
"It'll make it easier if you get if off your chest," said George.
"Yeah, and easier to breath," Fred finished, causing Hermione to glare at him.
Harry gave a forced smile. "Come on, it can't be that bad Hermione, don't worry we won't tell him."
Hermione closed her eyes, her face turning a dangerous mix of red and purple. Harry tilted his head leaning in a bit closer to her from the opposite side of the circle.
"It really can't be that bad, can it?" he then paused, making a face of mock horror "Oh Merlin, Hermione, it isn't Snape is it?"
More than a little irritated with his joking at her expense, Hermione dropped her hands to give him a piece of her mind, realizing what she had done just a bit too late.
"Harry." she blurted out, her eyes instantly going wide.
"Hey, I was just kidding.." he said holding his hands up in surrender. "Now doesn't that feel better, now you ca... wait..." his dark brows furrowed . "I thought you could only answer the quest..." he trailed off staring wide eyed at her.
Hermione's face flushed a deep red as Harry continued to gape at her with what seemed to her to be a disgusted look on his handsome face. Her eyes quickly filled with tears as she averted her gaze; hopping up from the circle she rushed to the door. Pulling it several times she almost cried out in frustration when she realized that it was locked and she was trapped.
Harry remained in the circle looking thoroughly confused; he stared at the floor for a second before looking up at Ginny. She took note of the silent question in his eyes and nodded in response, as he looked slowly at everyone else in the circle his heart began to beat faster as they each provided him with the same answer.
"Let me out of here!" Hermione yelled angrily from her place by the door.
Harry noticed that her voice seemed to crack as she said it, and she hadn't turned back around. He ran his hand through his hair unsure of what to do next, where to start. As he was running the possible scenarios through his mind he received a hard nudge, looking over her noticed Ron glaring at him.
Guilt rushed through him, Hermione was supposed to be Ron's girl, he had confided his feelings about her to Harry almost a year ago, he had liked her first... Harry felt desperation clutch at her heart. He just didn't know what to do... until the answer came to him, and from a very unexpected place.
"Go to her," Ron said punching him in the arm.
"Go to her," he said again his face solemn "she wants you... she lo...loves you Harry. You should go to her, the longer you stay here the more you hurt her." He sighed averting his gaze. "Harry, I know how you feel... about...her, and it, its ok."
He looked guilty at his best friend. "Ron, I'm sor.."
"It's ok." He said again looking back into Harry's eyes, and then giving him a light punch in the arm he motioned towards the door using his head.
Harry gave a nod; standing up he slowly made his way to the door, coming to a halt just behind Hermione. She seemed to have given up on leaving and had settled for resting her head against the door, her shoulders slumped. He hesitantly reached his hand out, placing it lightly on her shoulder; he felt her stiffen under his touch.
"Hermione, look at me."
Deciding to take matters into his own hands, he grabbed her arm, forcing her to turn and face him. Using his fingers he then forced her chin up so that he could see her face, watery brown eyes stared back at him. They were filled with misery and self hate, Harry frowned, he did like that look at all.
"Hermione," he said in no more than a whisper "I'm sorry..."
He placed both hands on either side of her face when she tried to turn her head. Her eyes instantly closed, dark lashes brushed her cheeks as crystalline teardrops escaped from beneath them. Harry wiped the tears away with his thumbs, leaning forward he then proceeded to place a kiss on each path that had been taken by her tears. As his lips lightly brushed the second cheek, he heard her exhale and pulling away he looked at her again.
"I'm sorry that I didn't react fast enough, I was... I was just surprised you know?" she still didn't respond and her cocoa colored eyes remained closed to him. "I was just shocked, shocked that it was my name you said... shocked that, that you feel the same way about me as I feel about you..."
That got her attention as her eyes snapped open; she stared at him in wide-eyed surprise for a moment before they narrowed into angry slits. Hermione pulled back roughly, slapping Harry's hand from her face.
"I don't need your pity," she spat, taking a step back.
"It isn't pity Hermione, its true!" he exclaimed desperately
Her glare intensified. "Whatever Harry, sure... what is this make fun of the loser day!" she finished her voice rising with each word; she then began to look between Harry and everyone else.
"Oh I get it," she said with a bitter laugh "It's a joke, and you're all in on it, that's why I can't open this bloody door. You all decided to get me in here to make fun of me, huh? Play a nice game of let's get ugly, bushy haired, bookwormy Hermione in the room of requirements and then make her admit who she...has feelings for! Then you could all make fun of her and have a good laugh! After all who would want her? Who would pick her... especially not "the chosen one" the boy in Hogwarts who can have any girl he wants. He can do better than some mangy, know it all, mudblo.."
"STOP IT!" Harry yelled looking furious. "Don't you ever say those things about yourself, do you hear me?!" he grabbed her arm and pulled her back towards the circle. "You doubt my feelings for you? You think I'd lie, you think I'd be the type of person to hurt you like that?!"
Hermione looked down feeling a bit chastised but still unable to believe that Harry would want her.
"I'm sorry," she said softly, the fight knocked out of her to be replaced by extreme weariness. "I know that you were just trying to be nice, with what you said... I didn't mean to turn it into something ugly." She gave him a watery smile. "Thanks for trying to make me feel better, don't worry I won't hold you to anything."
Harry gave her an incredulous expression. "I can't believe you... ok, you want to be stubborn Hermione Granger, well I can be stubborn too."
He turned to face their extremely quiet friends, who were still in the circle and doing their hardest to pretend they weren't listening by looking everywhere but at them.
"Ginny," he said, causing the girl to jump before giving him a hesitant look.
"Yeah, Harry?" she asked quietly.
"Truth or Dare me."
He turned and looked, his steely gaze fixed upon her in an unnerving type of way.
"Truth or Dare me, now." he said giving her a pointed look.
"Ohhh, truth or dare you..." she said slowly, finally catching on. "Harry, Truth or Dare."
"Truth," he said, facing Hermione again and not breaking eye contact.
"Who are you in love with?" She asked smiling.
Without hesitation the name 'Hermione' fell from his lips. The dark haired girl's eyes widened in shock, her mouth opened to a perfectly shaped 'o'.
"But, but the game was over," she said still trying to reason out what was happening, after all there was no way Harry had just said he was in love with her... was there?
"Really," he said with a smirk "Well since it's over you won't mind answering this. Truth or dare?"
She wavered for a moment, unsure if she really wanted to know. "Truth," she finally responded after a moment.
He smiled "Have you ever dreamed of me?"
"Constantly," the word came before she could stop it, immediately flushing red she stared at Harry in wonder. "Truth or Dare?" The question came out in no more than a breathy whisper.
She licked her lips, hesitating for a moment before asking. "Do you dream about me?"
"Always... Truth or Dare?"
"Truth." she answered, more confident this time.
"Do you dream of kissing me?"
"Yes... Truth or Dare?"
Her eyes opened in shock, but before she could even think of a dare Harry closed the distance between them. Catching her lips in a gentle but insistent kiss, his lips artfully caressed hers in a way that made her legs turn to putty. Just as they gave out, Harry wrapped his arm tightly around her waist and tangled his other hand in her hair pulling her roughly against him. Both of her hands snaked around Harry's shoulders, staying there for only a moment before she impaled them into his soft locks, pulling him forward and deepening the kiss.
The couple was so wrapped up in each other that they didn't notice as their friends all smiled and congratulated each other. They also failed to notice when Luna gave Ron a kiss on the cheek for helping out, at which time he turned a lovely shade of red and mumbled 'it was nothing'.. They remained sweetly oblivious when everyone quietly snuck out of the room of requirements, and of the fact that they had no difficulty at all opening the door. Nope, the couple didn't see this at all... they didn't see anything, but each other.
A.N. Well that's it for my short story, please don't worry if you are a reader of my other stories I am still writing them. I was just thinking that they're all so long that you guys deserved something that was finished. PLEASE REVIEW it's the only form of payment us lowly authors get and I'd love to know what you think. If I have an idea for another short story should I give it a try, or stop at this... let me know. Thanks!!