A/N: This is my
first fanfiction of this sort… and definitely my first in a long
while, so be nice to me, I beg you! Constructive criticism is,
however, always appreciated. But I hope you enjoy, whether or
not you have any valuable advice to offer me. ;)
. . .
. . .
There was a certain edge in the air that night. The aroma wafted through one room and led to the next. It seemed to seek someone, calling out for help. Something was terribly, terribly wrong. Its pungency was spreading throughout the house, frantically now, circling around a woman sitting comfortably in the corner of a couch. She was reading her newest book.
There was a gasp.
"No!" Quite suddenly, the book was turned over on her lap. An
objecting groan resounds. "No… I don't want him to DIE!
He doesn't die. Does he die?" The girl reluctantly flips the
book over again. She has to find out at some point.
But it's irate now and growing stronger—the acidic odor finally hits her as she takes a deep calming breath. She blinks in surprise and looks up. Noticing the thick cloud of smoke in the room, she slams her book down on the floor and shouts to her friend as she races to the kitchen.
"Gin? Ginny! Something's burning! What are you—"
But, evidently, Ginny Weasley already knows that something is burning. The redheaded girl is practically running in circles, trying wildly to get dinner under control. She's turned the fan on, turned the oven off, has removed the black chicken from the stove and is in the process of opening the window above the sink so that she can stick the smoking pan out into the cool night air.
"For heaven's sake Ginny, I don't understand why you refuse to use magic!"
"It tastes better the muggle way!" The Weasley girl proclaims. "Besides, how you cook intrigues me."
Laughing loudly, Hermione Granger forgets her book entirely and proceeds to help her old friend open the window. "It most certainly does not taste better when the muggle way ends up looking like this!"
"It's not funny!" Ginny is irritated, "I was trying really hard! I just can't cook. I can't!"
Hermione smothers her laughter and smiles instead. "Yes you can. You just… aren't good with the stove. Yet, that is. You'll learn!" She encourages.
The other girl doesn't seem to find much comfort in this as she pulls the chicken in through the window. Wrinkling her nose as she scratches them out of the burnt pan, they fall onto a plate with a hard clunk. "Well!" She begins, "Since that was a disaster… how do you feel about ice-cream?"
Since Hermione wasn't all that hungry to begin with (and since ice-cream sounded particularly good that moment) she agreed without any complaint.
The two girls have been friends for over ten years and have been roommates for just under six. They had grown up together, in a sense. Hermione was easily a part of Ginny's family and both girls shared the same friends. Throughout the twists and turns that life had thrown at them, they had grown together in many ways. The girls were the best of friends… and neither used the term lightly.
"Have you heard from Harry?" Hermione asks casually. She was sitting on the couch again, but this time she's eating a bowl of mint ice-cream.
Ginny is across the room on a large cushioned chair. She looks suspicious but smiles. "Yeah. He came over yesterday…" Hermione doesn't bother to hide her grin, and Ginny sighs happily. "He wants to hang out with us this weekend."
A thoughtful but comfortable silence lapses while the girls enjoy their ice-cream. It didn't seem like that long ago that a young Ginny woke up to find Harry Potter sitting in her kitchen. Merlin, she remembered it well, I was in my pajamas! Harry was, of course, famous and well known… and she'd always had a bit of a crush on him. Being as he was one of Hermione's closest friends, the stories of those days had always thoroughly amused the frizzy haired witch. Glancing at her roommate, Hermione smiled softly. Of course, Ginny had never really gotten over that crush. She grew up, yes, and with her maturing her confidence grew right along with his interest.
Ginny and Harry definitely liked each other—that much was more than obvious. There was a long stretch of time when they had been a bit young for such a serious relationship, and neither of them had been willing to have anything but a serious relationship given the circumstances. They were close and they didn't want to ruin it. This all went unspoken, of course, which made things awkward at times. Hermione had encouraged her friends to talk to each other about it… but Ginny felt too awkward to do so and Harry didn't want to push her.
"Just don't rush into anything, okay?" Hermione said, ever the logical one and always worried about her friends.
Ginny shook her head. "I certainly don't plan on it." She laughed, "But, then again, it's been a long time coming! I just hope it doesn't get awkward…."
Hermione wondered absentmindedly how her life would change when her friend got married. Many thought Hermione to be more career oriented then Ginny, who desperately wanted a family. But in truth, Hermione wanted her own family just as badly. In fact, she pondered, I may just want it more... Both girls had always figured they would be married by twenty-three or so… and yet, here they were… Hermione at twenty-four and Ginny at twenty-three and it had not yet happened for them. Well, whatever the outcome, it would be weird loosing her roommate after spending such a long time with her.
"Do you remember," The frizzy haired witch began with an amused smile, "When we fought over Seamus?"
"Do I ever." Ginny groaned in acknowledgment. But then she laughed. "Eleven years and he is still the topic of conversation amongst us! What brought this on? We haven't had problems with him in years!"
Hermione shook her head. "I can't believe I didn't tell you before now…"
Ginny's eyes widened in anticipation. "Oh, Merlin's beard… what happened now?"
"I was shopping for that chicken of yours—" Amusement tickled at her lips. "When, low and behold, I bump into an all-too familiar Irishman! Seamus recognized me immediately and went into how good it is to see me and such. Oh, you should see him, Ginny! I'm so glad neither of us ended up with him."
Seamus had been a spectacular friend and, as such, had appealed to both girls for a short amount of time. Unfortunately, they had each played into his hands—simultaneously—and he ended up using them both. Oh, Hermione didn't blame him completely… but he had certainly caused a fair share of drama that year of Hogwarts.
Ginny looked sick with the mere thought. "Well, he better not think he's welcome into our lives again. If he disrupts this four year record of peace more than he already has, I'll murder him once and for all."
Hermione nodded in whole-hearted agreement but said nothing more, busying herself with scraping at the bottom of her ice-cream bowl. It was only the light tinkering of spoons clinking against bowls that broke up the silence for a while more. Finally, Ginny broke the silence with a question that had obviously been haunting her for a while.
"Do you think I should date him?"
Hermione couldn't help screeching in mock-horror, "Seamus?!"
"Ugh, no!" Ginny quickly hurled the pillow next to her across the room at her friend. "No… Harry, I meant. Harry. Do you think we'd be good together?"
Smiling, Hermione shrugged. "Well, are you serious about him?
The redhead grabbed her hair in a brief surge of emotion and let out a frustrated groan. "I am. Of course, I am! I mean, I think I am. It seems so weird, but—I don't know, I just… I've always liked him. I've always thought he was a good guy, and wondered if it would work for us. I'm afraid that it's just a childhood crush that I can't get over, though. How do I know I sincerely like him?"
Hermione laughed softly. "By looking in your heart… I know it sounds cheesy, but really. Reach inside of yourself and tell me… do you like him?"
There was a small moment of silence while Hermione observed her friend. Ginny's light pink lips twitched. Her eyes twinkled and a small smile bloomed across her face. Hermione laughed again, happy for her friend, but also sad for herself.
"Oh, what's that?" She joked, "Is that wedding bells I hear?"
Both girls dissolved
into fits of girlish giggles and spent the rest of the night talking
about their man-friends when they were only boys.
. . .
. . .
As a matter of fact, it was wedding bells that Hermione had heard that night. Within two months Ginny had gotten herself romantically entangled in a relationship with Harry. Four months of dating and the two were seriously discussing marriage. Another two months in and Harry was asking Hermione to help him pick out a ring. Hermione happily agreed, of course, and within another month Ginny was engaged to be Mrs. Harry Potter. Happy as she was for the two, Hermione couldn't help but feel negative about the upcoming changes in her life. She'd expected it, really… but not for another year, at least! It came so fast… and so did the wedding.
It was the night of the rehearsal dinner. It wasn't going to be a particularly dressy occasion, but both girls did their hair and makeup as if it was. Hermione pulled on her nicest jeans and, still buttoning them, went to find her friend. Ginny was so jumpy with excitement that Hermione couldn't help but laugh. The redheaded bride-to-be had been practicing walking around the house in heels for the last three days, and after much tripping, stumbling, and even more complaining… she had improved quite a bit!
Ginny grabbed hold of Hermione's shoulders. "This is it!" The whisper was dramatic, and Hermione laughed again.
"No, my friend, tomorrow is it! Now—if you're ready—let us leave to rehearse the 'it' that will be happening tomorrow!" She wrinkled her nose. "Never mind, leave the 'it' for the privacy of your honeymoon suite, please. We'll just rehearse the wedding ceremony."
Ginny shoved her friend playfully before biting her lip and slapping her hands over her cheeks. "Oh, I'm so nervous!"
Pulling her toward the door, Hermione grinned. "You should be! You're marrying Harry!In front of your brothers! You guys might not make it to your honeymoon suite!"
"Oh, don't even joke like that. Harry has always been part of the family! You know my brothers love him!"
"And so do you, so cheer up!"
"Who said I wasn't cheery?"
"…Nobody. Me? I don't know. Can we go?"
Ginny snorted. "How come you seem more excited for this rehearsal than I do?"
"Because you know you're walking to your doom, while I know I look hot and might meet a few cute guys!"
Ginny shook her fists in a mock threat. "Watch it missy! Keep your hands off my guy!"
"Harry is all yours, Gin, so don't worry about a thing."
"Oh. Well, then what are we waiting for? Let's go!"
Hermione blinked as her friend sashayed through the front door and apparated on the spot. Despite the sudden disappearance, she followed without much hesitation. "We've been waiting on you, you crazy witch!"
Ginny was happier than she'd ever been, that much Hermione was sure of. As soon as the ring was on her finger, she had immediately appointed Hermione her maid of honor.
"I hope the groomsmen got all their stuff to Harry's place…" Hermione, it seemed, had apparated in on Ginny's random mutterings. "They're supposed to be staying there after dinner tonight. Oh, goodness! I can't believe we have to be ready for the photographer by eleven! What am I going to do with my hair? I haven't even decided yet!"
The muggle-born only rolled her eyes with a smile. She had been involved in enough weddings to know that this was quite normal. Ginny's, however, was the first that she had been so intimately involved with. She'd put forth just as much of her blood and sweat as everyone else had tears! And, she thought, that's a lot! Suddenly, a thought occurred to her. "Hey! You never told me who the groomsmen are!" She was even more astonished that she never thought to ask. "I don't even know who I'm being forced to walk down the isle with! He isn't ugly is he?"
Though she was joking, Ginny still threw her a disapproving look. It melted quickly enough and, her mind temporarily relieved of its stress, she chuckled. "Sirius is the best man…" She paused a moment, as if weighing her friend's reaction. "Ron, Fred, and George are the groomsmen."
Hermione arched an eyebrow, her thoughts reeling. "Sirius?"
Ginny smiled mischievously. "Hermione Jane Black has a certain ring, doesn't it?"
Jaw dropping, Hermione gasped. "No! I mean, that's not what I was—I mean to say, I wasn't… but do you really think so?"
"I really, really do."
"…I thought for sure Ron would be the best man! I can't believe I never even… considered Sirius being here! And of course he'd be here, he's Harry's Godfather!"
Ginny laughed. "I didn't completely expect it either, but I wasn't exactly surprised. Sirius means a lot to him, and it means a lot that Sirius is supporting him and by his side through this whole thing."
Hermione had nothing to say. Her thoughts were still reeling.
But nothing needed to be spoken. Ginny understood. Somehow, though she wasn't sure exactly how, this seemed to change things. Much like Harry to Ginny, but in a completely different way, Sirius Black had stolen Hermione Granger's heart. He was a friend and a confident through some of the hardest times in her life. But he had also managed to become one of the only sources of cheer—other than Fred and George—through his (sometimes forced) light-hearted mischievous nature. Even when he had lost more than any of us, perhaps all of us…and so she had fallen in love with him. In love. But he never knew.
There were moments when Ginny, and even Hermione, would have sworn that the feelings were mutual. Hermione smiled a small smile, one that barely tickled the edges of her mouth. I still get butterflies when I think of him. She'd always thought something more might have formed between them, but he was quite a few years older. Yes, quite a few… and he was Harry's godfather. Besides, it had always been absolutely impossible to hang out more than just once every few months after everyone got accustomed to the freedom that came with the end of the war. Eventually they'd drifted apart. She didn't see him but for the occasional dinner at the Weasley's. Her heart skipped a few beats in momentary excitement. It would be so amazing to see him again!
"Now, Hermione… don't rush into anything," Ginny's voice teased her gently.
"Oh, hush. I wouldn't do anything of the sort! Unlike you," Hermione interjected with a grin. "Practically married within a year…!"
Ginny waved her off. "You're just jealous."
In a way, Hermione admitted, she was. Never had she wanted anything more than she wanted a husband and, eventually, a family. She had always expected to be married before her friend and, here she was, taking part in her best friend's wedding… but still unmarried, herself.
"You know, we're here."
Hermione glanced around in mock surprise. "Oh, really…? I hadn't realized!"
Ginny only laughed. "What I mean is, we're here, why are we just standing in this ridiculous room? Come on, silly girl! I have a wedding to rehearse!"
By the time Hermione took a step toward the doorway, Ginny was halfway down the hall (which led to the entrance hall) and frolicking the rest of the way. Hermione yelled to her friend laughingly, "What are you doing? We're twenty minutes early!"
Ginny turned, "So?" She gestured to hurry up. "Harry is here, at least… and so is Sirius! Come on!"
Sighing dramatically, Hermione ran to catch up with her friend. "Fine," She huffed. "We'll ruin what would have been the grand entrance later so you can spend time with the guy you'll be married to tomorrow!"
"Are you sure you don't just want to see Sirius?" The future Mrs. Potter teased, leaning on the door.
Hermione gasped, placing a hand to her chest. "Me? Sirius?" She pushed through the door at the end of the hall and, suddenly aware that the boys were all standing on the other side, she grinned. "Of course! He's the cutest one here, after all!" She winked in their general direction as Ginny followed her, laughing.
Harry met the girls halfway saying, "Are you guys talking about me again?"
"You would think so, wouldn't you?" Hermione laughed, hugging him briefly.
He ignored her jab and instead turned to his bride-to-be. "How are you doing, sweetheart?"
Ginny smiled, giving him a quick kiss as he wrapped her in a hug. "Fantastic, now that I'm with you again."
With a smile, Hermione left the two alone and turned toward the other men in the room. Immediately she locked eyes with Sirius. He looked the same as she remembered him from their last meeting, though his dark hair had grown out a bit. And, she thought with a smile, he might have a bit more muscle…
She gave a small wave and grinned at him, "It's been a while…!"
He returned her grin and, much to her surprise, immediately took a step forward and wrapped her in a hug. "No kidding! You look so different, 'Mione!"
She laughed, fingering her dark blond hair, meticulously curled especially for the occasion. She'd spent the last year masquerading as a blond, but she was almost ready to return to her natural color. "I suppose the hair was still brown the last time you saw me."
Sirius nodded, pulling back and tugging gently on a curl. "It was shorter, too."
George interrupted their conversation. "Hermione, darling, you do remember me and my dearest brother Fred, do you not? However could you ignore us so?"
"Oh, of course, and quite the misfortune, I must say!" She laughed and took a moment to give each twin a hug. "How could I forget blokes with such a phenomenal talent for getting into trouble? How are you doing, anyway?"
"Truth be told, my brainy little witch…" A dramatic pause, and then Fred finished with a surprisingly sheepish smile. "I'll be much better when we get to eat."
Despite the nerves from most everyone involved in the wedding, the evening went well. The family of the bride and groom (for everyone knows that Harry Potter has long since a part of the Weasley's household) were more anxious and worked up over the following day then Ginny and Harry! Hermione scoffed at the notion. These people had no reason to be fretting! She was the one who had to make the speech, after all. She was the one who had to adjust the bride's dress in front of a crowd without tripping in her heels or making a scene! She was the one who had been asked to sing at the ridiculous reception! She was the one who had to spend a considerable amount of time with Sirius Black—he was just so good looking—without letting herself get attached to him!
Yes, Hermione sighed,
it was quite certain that she had more reason to be fretting than
even the bride herself.
. . .
. . .
A/N: Many thanks for reading! Let me know what you think.