Yes, it's like I've come back from the dead. More like fluttered away and had life vomit all over me.
Vanilla and Chocolate: prologue
They were like vanilla and chocolate; though who was what was up for debate. Sometimes she was dark, sensual and bittersweet. But sometimes she was bright, smooth, easy-going. And sometimes everything was messed up, and all they could tell was that they were together, co-existing in the same plane, somewhere off from everyone else.
Either way, it was confusing. The transitions from summer to school and back again were hard, simply because it was always changing. She was always changing her mind.
Like waiting up, sullen and sulking, in the bed until Hermione came from a midnight stroll with Harry and Ron. Her auburn hair would be hanging in front of her face, until Hermione would gently push it away – and even then, she would hide again, unwilling to face up to her own ambivalence.
"I missed you," Ginny would say in these moments, cupping Hermione's face with her hands. Hermione was always scared to blink; Ginny would stare into her eyes until everything else faded away, but never let the moment hang. She wasn't one for seriousness. And when they would drift off to sleep, Hermione would wonder if Ginny even knew what love was.
Summers were for Hermione, when she could be a little bit of vanilla. She read for pleasure and caved into the peer pressure of perpetual procrastination, most of the time spending her evenings with everyone gathered, watching the stars come out and talking quietly about things that didn't quite matter. The small creek just across the field and hidden by a small patch of trees held nights of getting high under the stars, Fred and George packing pipes like pros and entertaining them all with stories of their altered states. But Ginny would always get bored.
"Come on," she would whisper, tugging on Hermione's shirt gently. "Let's go."
Going would stop just through the trees; jelly legs would bring them down in a heap of sweat-sticky skin. Ginny would reposition their bodies until she was laying half-on Hermione, half-off, hovering over her face, sometimes too close.
"Ginny?" Hermione would mumble, stroking her cheek. "Do you like me?"
She would feel the grin first under her fingers, and the nod of her head. "I really like you, Hermione," Ginny would reply. Start bending her neck; hesitate; and then her lips would graze across Hermione's cheek in a sensual, innocent press. No matter how chaste, it lit fires in Hermione's body.
Fires that would disappear once they returned to the group. Ginny would loosen her grip on Hermione's arm and fall into Harry's arms, who was so stoned he could barely catch her. They'd flirt shamelessly: or, rather, Ginny would flirt shamelessly, and Harry would obliviously volley compliments and friendly affection. And so Hermione would be chocolate again – high-strung, bittersweet, dark with jealousy.
School was for everyone else. She went through boys like Halloween candy, spoiling her dinner, ignoring the sweet smells of cherry-and-almond. She liked to think that she was the right thing for Ginny, that maybe somehow, she could show her what love is and they could be happy together – fairytale ending. It was just unfortunate that Hermione was so unsure of what, exactly, they were – friends didn't snog, but lovers didn't date other people (without permission); but then that didn't make them either, and that sent her deeper into a depression that wouldn't break until Ginny approached her with bright eyes and a big grin, demanding that they share an armchair and read together, Ginny's head snuggled against Hermione's chest. (How didn't she hear the fast beating?)
How didn't she notice?