Disclaimer: It all belongs to JK Rowling. I'm just playing a little. The title credit goes to Disney from the movie Enchanted -and to my three year old Goddaughter who insisted on listening to the song over and over and over and over again. Enjoy!
"You need a date."
"No I don't."
"It's a ball Hermione. You have to have a date to go to the ball."
"No I don't."
"You can't show up alone. You are the one who introduced me to all those muggle fairy tales. A princess never goes to the ball alone."
"For one thing, I'm not a princess. For another, Cinderella went to the ball by herself. She didn't have a date."
"Cinderella met her prince at the ball. She at least had someone to dance with."
"Ginny, I know you mean well but you are making me feel worse. Are you saying that if I don't have a date, nobody will even dance with me?"
"No! Of course not. That wasn't what I meant. Plenty of guys will dance with you. I'm sure my brothers and Harry will all dance with you but don't you want your own Prince Charming?"
"No, not really. I wouldn't even be going to this thing if I weren't in charge. I am going to make an appearance, give my speech, and leave."
"Well, it's a month away. We'll find you a date by then."
"I don't want a date!"
"Right, you keep telling yourself that. I've got to run. Bye!"
Hermione watched Ginny practically dance out of the café. They had spent the morning shopping in muggle London for dresses to the ball. Hermione was unfortunately required to go as the co-chairperson of the war orphan relief organization. She and Harry had started the organization after the defeat of Voldemort and had raised quite a bit of money to help families who lost loved ones in the war. It had now expanded to provide assistance to families of imprisoned Death Eaters and victimized muggles. She was proud of their success but wasn't thrilled with the introduction of the charity ball. The ticket sales had been phenomenal though and she couldn't turn her back on the money they were raising.
She sighed as she stood up at the table and gathered her packages. She had found an amazing dress. Ginny had excellent taste and was correct when she suggested the silvery-blue color would compliment her skin tone. She actually looked forward to wearing the dress, but would have rather worn it in the comfort of her own home while watching a movie and eating ice cream. Having to dress up was low on her list of enjoyable activities. Of course she was also aware that even though she protested the idea of having a date, she secretly didn't want to go alone. The problem was there was only one person that she really wanted to go with, her secret crush. It was a well-kept secret that nobody but Crookshanks knew about. Fortunately he was good at keeping secrets. She was too old for crushes anyway. The fact that this crush had been going on for fifteen years meant nothing other than she was a foolish idiot. He was off limits anyway and already had a date. He was so off limits that she was sure he would make that date permanent and propose very soon.
Hermione quickly went into an empty alleyway and apparated back to her flat. Her dress needed to be hung up and she needed to get a little work done around her home. Spending the morning shopping with Ginny was always fun but Saturdays were for cleaning as well.
She finished in the late afternoon and looked around her spotless flat with pride. She enjoyed the manual labor even though she knew she could flick her wand and be done with her chores in an instant. Having no plans for the evening, she pulled out a frozen pizza, did a quick heating spell and sat down in front of the telly for the evening. It wasn't that pathetic staying home on a Saturday night. It wasn't as if all her friends were out having fun. She was sure that all of them were home as well, doing nothing important.
Hermione's female friends were in fact out at a nightclub that had opened in Hogsmeade. Ginny was slightly drunk and giggling loudly with Luna, Lavender, Parvati, Angelina, Katie, Alicia, Padma, Fleur and Pansy. Normally Hermione would have been with them, or at least invited, but Ginny called the girls together to discuss Hermione's love life and that was better handled with her absent.
"So girls I did have a purpose for us getting together." Ginny slurred. She should have started this conversation before she started drinking but she was having too much fun catching up with the girls.
"You mean besides getting shit faced drunk?" Lavender giggled. "I think my face is on fire. Is my face on fire?"
"Have you seen any portmucks? They can make your face burn up." Luna responded.
"Is my face burning up?" Lavender shrieked. "I might have seen one of those things. What do they look like?" Lavender was almost in tears.
"Calm down Lav. Your face is fine, you are just drunk." Padma was the only one sensible since she wasn't drinking. She was six months pregnant and grumpy about being sober. It was now her responsibility to make sure everyone got home safe.
"As I was saying. . . " Ginny started again. "I asked you all to come so we could discuss something important."
"Quidditch?" Angelina asked.
"No, although I do want to talk to you about that later. We need to talk about Hermione's love life." At that, all the girls burst out laughing.
"You mean her lack of one." Parvati giggled.
"Right. She needs a date to the ball. I could get a dozen guys to ask her but I want it to be special. She needs to find her true love. She deserves to be happy."
"Look Ginny, we all love Hermione and you are right, she does deserve to be happy but I think you are dreaming of the impossible. She is too particular about her dates to ever accept anyone as her true love. Besides that's a fairytale dream." Alicia said.
"If living in the wizarding world has taught you anything, it's that fairy tales can come true. I believe in true love." Ginny said with a firm voice.
"I think Ginny's right. I believe in soul mates -or true love if that's what you want to call it. Look at Neville and I, we are madly in love." Padma insisted.
"She's right." Parvati broke in. "Padma and Neville are soul mates, even if I did find it disgusting at first. I would love to help you Ginny but like Alicia said, Hermione is picky. Unless you pull her dream guy out of thin air, there's no way we could help. All the men we know are her friends too and if she hasn't made a move on them yet, I don't think she's interested."
"Let's just throw out some guys we know. We can brainstorm." Katie threw in.
"Great idea. Ok, well Harry's out because he's mine." Ginny said with a smirk.
"He's not yours yet. There's no ring on your finger." Pansy pointed out.
"Not yet but there will be soon. Anyway, who else?"
"Ron?" Luna said.
"He's your boyfriend Luna, why would you bring him up?"
"Well she had a past with him."
"I think we can count him out because of that past. How about George?" Katie asked.
"We are sort of back together." Angelina said shyly.
"Good for you! How about Dean?"
"He's too tall."
"Not a chance."
"She hates him."
"Isn't one of them dead?"
"I always forget that."
"Possibly, if he'll give up his dragons."
"Not Bill. He ees married."
"Leave my man out of this." Pansy insisted.
"There's no ring on your finger either." Lavender pointed out.
"Ok, girls. This is getting us nowhere. We could go on for hours. I thought it would be easier than this." Ginny felt defeated and exhausted. The affects of the alcohol were dulling and reality was crashing down on her.
"I do have one idea." Pansy spoke up. "It's probably a really bad idea but it is an idea."
"I'll take anything at this point. What is it?"
"There's a potion. It's not a common one, in fact it's very rare. I inherited a book of rare potions from my grandmother and there is one that is supposed to assist in finding true love. It was apparently brewed as a trick for one of the girls in my grandmother's year at Hogwarts. It forced the girl to kiss any eligible guy that she had ever been attracted to. The biggest problem was that it was widely known that she had a crush on one of the professors and she was forced to kiss him. Apparently they hated this girl."
"Rotten thing to do!"
"I would have had to kiss Professor Snape if someone did that to me!"
"Oh! Me too!"
The girls all fell into laughter at that point as they all owned up to having a crush on Snape at one time or another. Only Fleur denied it, having never had classes with him.
"How fast can the potion brew?" Ginny asked.
"I'll have to look at the instructions again but I think it depends on how long you want it to last. If my memory is correct, it's one full day per one week of potency."
"So this means that if we want it to last a month, we'll have brew for 4 days. Can you owl me the instructions?" Ginny was excited now. This seemed to be the perfect plan.
"You can't be serious Ginny. Hermione would kill you." Angelina protested.
"She's right." Katie said. "That potion was for a girl they didn't like, we all love Hermione."
"We will be doing it out of love. If we all do this together, she won't know who to be the angriest at. She'll get over it." Ginny said
"Pansy, what exactly do you mean by being forced to kiss someone." Lavender asked.
"Well according to my grandmother's notes, she would be strongly drawn to kiss any available guy that she had ever or is currently attracted to. She wouldn't be able to get him out of her mind until she kissed him and when she kissed the right guy -her true love- she'd know it."
"How would she know it?" Luna questioned.
"The desire to kiss him wouldn't go away, it would only get stronger. Basically, she'd have the best kiss of her life and she wouldn't want to kiss anyone else."
"Wow. I want to have the best kiss of my life." Sighed Parvati.
"What happened to the girl they played the trick on?" Katie asked.
"She married her professor after finishing her seventh year!" Pansy laughed. "Gran said that the trick was on them, because everything worked in her favor."
"Why don't you all come over for brunch in the morning. We can work on the potion and suffer our hangovers together."
"I would love to but we 'ave plans." Fleur told the group.
"Can everyone else make it?" Ginny asked. All of the girls nodded but she could tell that a few were going to be a little more difficult to convince. She just knew she was doing the right thing. She wanted her best friend to be happy and if she had her happy ending it would all be worth it. "Ok ladies, I know some of you aren't sure about this. Take tonight to try to come up with anything better. If you do then we'll scrap this plan and try something else. Agreed?" As they all nodded, Ginny ordered another round of drinks and conversation moved on.
Hermione flicked off the TV and sighed. She was tempted to go grab that gallon of ice cream that was calling to her from the freezer but now that she had her dress, she wanted to be able to fit into it. She wasn't sure why she was so down on herself tonight. She figured it was just Ginny bringing up her lack of dating possibilities that depressed her. Ginny hadn't been single since her fourth year at Hogwarts. She went from Michael to Dean to Harry with little time in between. Even after Harry broke up with her, she didn't consider herself single and rightly so. She and Harry had been together on and off since Voldemort was defeated. In their "off" periods, she usually found someone to date. They were currently "on" and Ginny was expecting an engagement ring. It all made Hermione want to vomit.
Her love life had gone from bad to worse. Her relationship with Ron was bad but her history after him was worse. She had been on more first dates than she thought possible. Nobody ever measured up to what she was looking for. Of course she knew what she was looking for and knew who that was. She had not even been on a date with him, and never would. She banged her head against the wall behind her in frustration and was surprised when the wall banged back. Coming to her senses she realized that it was her front door and it wasn't so much banging but knocking. Her wards only allowed a few people to get to her door so she waved her wand in an ultimate show of laziness and opened the door.
"Hey." Harry said as he stepped into the room and closed the door behind him. He took one look at her old grey sweats, hair in a messy knot and the empty pizza box on the floor and realized she was having a bad night. "How's my girl?"
"Oh, just fine. What are you doing here? Why aren't you out on the town with Ginny?"
"She went out with some friends. I'm surprised you aren't with them."
"I wasn't invited. That's ok though, I had lots to do."
"Like eating frozen pizza and watching the telly?"
"Oh don't you start in about my social life, or lack thereof. I don't need to hear it from you. For your information, I could have gone out with any number of people tonight but I chose to stay in. It's been a busy week and I was tired."
"I'm just teasing Hermione. I'm sorry." He sat down on the couch next to her and sighed.
"What's wrong with you?"
"I don't know. I just feel restless I suppose."
"You want another dark wizard to try and kill you?"
"Yeah, that would spice things up. Maybe I'll become a dark wizard myself. Want to be my second in command?"
"Sure. I just need to get a new wardrobe. I don't own enough black."
"Well, maybe another day, I'm not in the mood to go shopping."
"What's really bothering you Harry?"
"Oh, it's hard to put into words. I love my job but I find myself getting bored. With everything. I feel like something needs to change, I'm just not sure what. Plus I don't like change so it terrifies me."
"I know what you mean. We spent all those years working off of adrenalin and fear and then once the war was over it seemed that the euphoria only lasted a few years. Now that so much time has passed it's like we are just waiting around for the next adventure."
"Exactly! I knew you'd understand. Nobody else gets it. We need an adventure. I just want something to happen. Something wonderful and new and exciting."
"What about Ginny?"
"What about her?"
"You could propose, get married, start a family. That would be an adventure."
"Yes, that would be an adventure but I'm just not ready. Whenever I think about committing to her for life, I get a little nauseated. I want a family more than anything but I can't imagine it right now."
"Don't you love her?"
"Of course I do. I mean, we've been together for so long. She's basically the only girl I've been with so of course I love her. I just. . . I don't know."
"You'll know when you are ready Harry. Your heart will know." Hermione leaned her head against his shoulder as he adjusted to put his arm around her.
"Thank you. I truly don't know what I'd do without you."
"You'll never have to find out Harry. I'm always here." The two sat in silence for a long time, each lost in their own thoughts. Hermione was thinking of the only man she'd ever loved and how if he were to love her, it would be a wonderful adventure. Harry was thinking about how to break away from everything and start a new life. They both wanted changes but didn't know how to go about making them.