Summary: Ginny makes an unexpected discovery about Harry and Hermione, but it's not what you may think. H/Hr
Disclaimer: Harry Potter, and everything related, certainly does belong to me.
A/N: This short one-shot takes place after DH. Harry, Hermione, and Ron have all come to complete their 7th year at Hogwarts, and the story takes place there. This has not been beta'd, so forgive all grammatical errors.
When you see it, on an uneventful Thursday night, she brushes it off as though it means nothing, as though it holds no particular significance.
You would not have noticed it if you had not been watching her at that particular moment—when she takes off her silver wristwatch, a gift from her two boys from last year. But when she unclasps the silver latch and rolls her wrist, cracking it, you notice the hint of gold and the fluttering flash of silver.
It intrigues you, the flash of color on her otherwise pale skin, and so you watch the spot closer, narrowing your eyes to bring it into focus. It takes only a moment for you to realize what it is, and when you do, you immediately drop your unfinished essay on the table and walk across the common room to where she sits, her feet propped up on the table in front of her.
You flop down on the couch next to her, wasting no time or words before grabbing her wrist, somewhat roughly, and examining the animated object inked into her skin.
"A snitch?" You ask incredulously, feeling a familiar panic well up within you.
She pulls away quickly, a slight blush tinting her face. "Oh, that silly thing. It was a joke, really."
You manage to distort your features into something resembling curiosity, hiding the unsettling feeling in your stomach, the sense of discomfort you feel. "When did you get it?"
She grabs a book from the table in front of her, the blush now gone. "During the Horcrux Hunt."
She says it the way Harry and Ron do; you can feel the capitalization they place on the words, displaying not only their significance, but also the mystery behind them.
You hate it; the reminder that you were absent, the reminder that you will never understand.
"Really?" You muster up a grin that you hope comes across displaying fascination and excitement at the prospect of learning more about your friend. "But when did you have the time?"
She looks away for a moment, a flicker of sadness passing across her face. "During the time that Ron left."
You nearly frown.
Though neither she nor Harry would ever explicitly state such a thing, you know Ron's abandonment, no matter what the circumstances behind it were, created a snag in the trio; an unspoken fracture—small and ignored. You know certain details of the Hunt, but of this particular part you know nothing; Harry and Hermione never speak of it and Ron never asks. This is the first time you have ever heard Hermione even acknowledge that Ron did, in fact, leave.
"It was absolutely foolish," Hermione states resolutely, but the hint of a smile tugs at her lips.
Surprised she is speaking without further prodding, you merely listen.
"It was Harry's idea," she continues, and your heart leaps that the confirmation that he was involved. "It was during one of the lower points of the Hunt; we were both feeling terrible and isolated, and he just…" She trails off, a smile now definitely playing on her face. "He just decided, out of nowhere, that we needed to do something; something spontaneous and out-of-character, but also something that would tie us down, tie us together, so we wouldn't fade away."
You don't understand, exactly, but her words, and the feeling behind them, still cause a hitch in your breath, a throb in your chest.
"He didn't tell me what we were going to do, only disguised the both of us and took me to a small tattoo parlor in a small wizarding town." She shakes her head. "I was furious, at first; I thought for sure we'd be caught and killed, or worse, but it worked out fine."
She glances up sharply, as though suddenly realizing that she had been talking aloud. "In the end, we both got one and went straight back to camp. I'd forgotten all about it really," she adds, averting her eyes back down to her book.
It's a lie, and you both know it.
"But why a snitch?" You hate to ask the question, afraid of her answer, but cannot help yourself.
She shrugs, making it seem inconsequential. "We designed each other's tattoos; we didn't even let each other see what was getting put on our skin until the tattoo artist finished. It added to the spontaneity of the entire thing, I suppose, and to the fact that…" She ends her sentence abruptly.
"What?" You ask, unable to prevent yourself from doing so.
She sighs. "It was just… at that moment, we need to, well, connect, and choosing each other's tattoos helped with that feeling." She looks uncomfortable, and hurries to add on to her last statement, "In a purely platonic way, of course. Ginny, I hope you don't…"
You wave her off, smiling, albeit bitterly. "I know, Hermione, I know."
When you saw the tattoo, on that uneventful Thursday night, she brushed it off as though it meant nothing, as though it held no particular significance.
But you know that it meant more than she is willing to admit; more than you wish it did.
When you ask him about it, he laughs it off, as though reminiscing about a fond, but ancient memory.
A day after the discovery, you loose your restraint and confront him.
You both sit in the library, side-by-side, researching on project for Transfiguration. It takes little effort for you to reach over to take his left wrist and unbuckle the thick leather band that displays the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes logo, a gift from Fred and George from long ago.
He watches you silently; a confused tilt to his lips, but his expression clears when you turn his wrist over to look at the tattoo branded there.
You let out a bark of a laugh when you see it; the golden letters on the cover of the shrunken representation of the book glimmering; Hogwarts, A History.
The tattoo is animated, like Hermione's snitch, and the book flutters open, as if an invisible breeze pushes the pages apart.
On the inside of the front cover, a block script is stamped on, reading, Property of HG.
You fleetingly wish the words only referred to the book, but push the thought away, finding it unbearable.
"I got it a while ago," he tells you before you ask. "Hermione and I were miserable and I wanted to do something fun; something normal teenagers do." He laughs. "I thought Hermione was going to kill me! She nearly started yelling at me right in the middle of the street. I calmed her down eventually, but I'm pretty sure she added the inscription as a form of payback."
Unlike Hermione, Harry does not try to hide the fact that he treasures the memory. He's jaded in many ways, but when it comes to girls and their feelings, his naivety still surprises you. He does not notice your discomfort with the story, nor the jealously it causes.
"It seems like ages ago," he says, leaning back in his seat. "I think Hermione and I grew closer after that, and it helped with things."
Even Harry notices something wrong with that particular statement, and adds to it with a grin, "Like siblings, I mean."
You wonder if he honestly believes the concrete label he uses so often, or if it is merely a way of placating all the people who question the nature of his and Hermione's relationship. Either way, you know it holds no truth; you have enough brothers to be able to tell the difference.
They have something that defies labels; more than friendship, less than romance, and different from everything in between.
He gives your hand a squeeze. "It doesn't bother you, does it? It was only a joke, really."
You wave him off, smiling, albeit bitterly, "I know, Harry, I know."
When you asked him about it, he laughed it off, as though reminiscing about a fond, but ancient memory.
But you know it means more than he is willing to admit; more than you wish it did.
When he ends it, a month later, you react calmly, as though unaffected, as though you too, think it is for the best.
He approaches you with an odd smile, a strange expression on his face, and you immediately know what he plans to do.
Perhaps you know because you have been dreading it for so long; unable to prevent yourself from noticing that the distance between you two is growing, noticing he no longer looks at you with the expression of wonderment and simple happiness that he wore in his 6th year when around you.
"Hey," he says simply, the odd smile in place. "Can we, erm, talk?"
You shrug and follow him out of the common room, mentally preparing yourself. He brings to you an empty classroom; you find it ironic, since normally, you would be happy to follow him into such a classic snogging spot.
He shoves his hands in his pockets and looks up at you, almost timidly. Sometimes, you're surprised how shy the savior of the wizarding world can act. You always expect him to exude a certain confidence, not cockiness, to be sure, because Harry never sought the limelight, but some sort of self-assurance in his actions. Most of the time, you see it, but occasionally, this introverted part of Harry appears and you're never quite sure what to make of it.
Hermione understands, you know, because you asked her about it once. She enjoys these moments; says they're like a glimpse into the real Harry, one who never had to deal with Voldemort. You've never understood her point; she says that Harry's actions in response to Voldemort just show aspects of Harry's character, instead of defining him, but you can't imagine a Harry that didn't save you from the Chamber of Secrets or defeat Voldemort at the Battle of Hogwarts. He's Harry Potter, the boy-who-lived, after all.
But now, as you watch Harry fidget, you think maybe Hermione has the right idea.
You remain silent for some time, a part of you wanting to make this difficult for him; a part of you hoping his courage will fail and the breakup will be delayed. Eventually though, the feeling dies, and you're left hoping you can remain aloof as you speak your next words.
"You want to break up with me."
He looks surprised, as if his intentions had been shrouded in mystery. "I—er— yes. You're—you're not upset with me?"
The smile you force onto your face feels plastic, frozen, and stiff. "Of course not, Harry. I think it's for the best." You flip your hair over your shoulder, a habit you picked up after you realized Harry was enraptured by the action in your 5th year.
He looks relieved, as you knew he would, though your false composure is for your benefit, not his; you hate the thought of appearing weak in front of any male; it comes from growing up with so many brothers.
"That's great, Ginny. I mean, you know I still care about you, it's just…" He trails off.
You finish his sentence, though it hurts, and sounds bitter to your ears. "We're not right for each other."
"Exactly." He grins, the lopsided, easy-going grin that formed over time after Voldemort's defeat. It only appears on his face when he feels completely at ease; you realize, quite suddenly, that you've never seen that particular grin directed at you until now.
You know this is the end, unlike your last 'breakup', and it feels like your entire world is shifting, like dreams unrealized.
But you smile.
When he ended it, you reacted calmly, as though unaffected, as though you too, thought it was for the best.
But you know that it meant more to you than you are willing to admit; more than you wish it did.
When they finally get together, they do so without any grand, revealing gesture; they keep it mainly to themselves, as though it is unworthy of notice, as though it is not worth mentioning.
It progresses slowly, as you knew it would. For all their other merits, Harry and Hermione can show astounding thickness when it comes to their own emotions. However, the naturalness of the progression matches its slowness, so no one notices as their touches become more frequent, their level of closeness reaches an all-time high. Their whisperings in the common room into the early hours are ignored; their morning walks around the lake brushed off as inconsequential.
You notice though; every brush of hands, every exchange of soft smiles, every playful nudge grabs your attention.
For this reason, when they come to you and Ron, wanting to talk, looking serious, but happy, you feel no surprise.
"You're what?" Ron asks incredulously when they share the news, his mouth full of a pasty taken from the Great Hall on his way out.
They both blush, a dark red covering their cheeks.
"Well, dating," Hermione responds, glancing quickly at Harry.
Even through his discomfort, you spot the fond look he reserves for her alone in his eyes.
Ron takes another bite of his pastry and chews on it thoughtfully. "Well, that's weird, but okay, whatever."
Harry breaks into a grin and Hermione laughs slightly.
"What?" Ron frowns. "You guys thought I'd be mad or something? No offense, Harry, but Hermione is kind of old news; been there, done that."
"Ron!" Hermione screeches indignantly.
Ron flushes. "Not done that, I mean, not in that way, but erm…you know…dated… sort of… erm…"
Harry laughs, and the shocked expression leaves Hermione's face.
You feel out of place, as you so often do around the trio. The bond the three share allows little room for a fourth person, so you speak up, if only to remind them you are, in fact, still there.
"Really, though," you start, "I don't have any problem with it either. I'm happy for the two of you."
Harry turns his grin to you, but Hermione eyes you pensively, trying to gauge your true reaction. You hope she can't see your disappointment or heartbreak, but you know she detects something off in your expression, because her face remains carefully blank throughout the rest of the gathering, and her hand never strays over to find Harry's, as it was normally apt to do.
"We just thought we should tell you," Harry explains, "before anything about it gets out for some reason."
Ron looks at them both closely. "But, well, are you sure? You guys haven't exactly… well, you know, shown 'couple potential'."
Harry and Hermione exchange looks; something meaningful passes between them, the exact significance known only to them.
"We're sure, Ron."
He shrugs. "Okay, then. As long as you're happy."
"We are," Hermione assures him.
Ron leaves shortly after, clapping Harry on the back and giving Hermione an exaggerated hug. You follow him out, offering customary congratulations to the new couple, but stop just outside the door, stepping into a dark nook of the hallway to compose yourself.
It takes more than a couple moments, because before you're ready to leave, Harry and Hermione step out of the room, walking closely together.
Before they can get far, Harry stops, placing a hand on Hermione's arm to turn her around. The look on his face is peculiar, something you've never quite seen before.
"I love you," he tells her softly, but emotively.
The feeling of shock wells up within you upon hearing the words; they never passed through his lips while you were dating, despite your attempts to draw them out. Hearing Harry say them now, so assuredly, without any hesitation or falter, causes something to catch in your throat, the sensation of loss flowing through you.
She smiles at him, as softly as his declaration of love, and brushes the tips of her fingers against his cheek. "I love you too."
In any other context, it may have seemed clichéd, but it's not just any two people; it's Harry and Hermione, and for that reason alone, it's unique and tender. You have to turn away and lean against the castle wall, feeling a strange emptiness.
When they finally got together, they did so without any grand, revealing gesture; they kept it mainly to themselves, as though it was unworthy of notice, as though it was not worth mentioning.
But you know that it meant more than they are willing to reveal; more than you wish it did.
A/N: I've always wanted to do a fic from Ginny's POV, and from 2nd person, so I decided to combine the two when I had the idea of Harry and Hermione getting tattoos during the war. This is a little more serious than what I usually write, but I couldn't help it!
Again, I'm sorry for the errors; I typed this up very quickly; I just had to get it out of my head!
Thanks for reading!