Chapter 1: Cold Fantasies.

I see Ron shirtless all the time.

I suppose I see Harry too, and sometimes some of the other boys in our house. Sunbathing in summer, swimming I the lake, or when things get a little out of hand at those post-Quidditch game celebration parties..

I think they know I look a little extra sometimes. Naked skin rather intrigues me, to be perfectly honest. People are always so obsessed with it – nudity I mean – and I've never understood why something so normal and commonplace holds such a fascination with people. It's just skin, everyone has it. Then again, maybe that is exactly why people are obsessed? If you don't make anything interesting for yourself, everything is boring. Obsessed with obsession, sort of thing.

And it's not like you're not allowed to look at people. Everyone does it! Sometimes boys even look at me – I always feel a little jolt in my stomach when I notice, and then I feel a little silly. Do they forget that I'm bookish, insufferable know-it-all Hermione when I'm wearing a bikini? Merlin knows no one looks when I'm in normal clothes.

Except Ron, maybe.

Of course he HAS to look at me; He, Harry and I are together all the time. But sometimes I imagine that he has a particular intensity in his eyes when he looks at me. And I am pretty sure that his gaze lingers on me a little longer than normal sometimes.

Honestly? I have always had a slight suspicion he likes me, but is too shy to act on it. "Looking at me intensely" doesn't really count. Does it?

I like to pretend though.

Having someone interested in me would be quite fascinating. You can't read experiences like that from a book (I've tried). And if the books can't teach you, isn't it your responsibility to find out for yourself?

Sometimes I immerse myself in it a little. Maybe I'll hold his gaze a couple of seconds longer, brush his hair out of his face for him, let my hand brush against his when we're sitting next to each other...always small things. And if he reacts, looks at me with that strange look he sometimes has when he thinks I'm not paying attention - well, it makes me feel great!

Not everyone likes me, you see.

And Ron.. Well, sure, he might not be the manliest man around. And maybe he can't quite keep up with me in school, or keep that kind of philosophical conversation I always imagined I'd have with my boyfriend… And maybe he doesn't care enough about S.P.E.W, or cares too much about that stupid Quidditch team of his, or..!

Sweet guy, though, of course. Nice too, definitely a nice person.

And the other day I heard some Ravenclaws gossip about how he's grown attractive over the summer.

They were going on about how tall he is, and his pale skin and red hair. He's let his hair grow now – it reaches almost all the way down to his shoulders. I like it, I do. It makes him look….nice. And why shouldn't I get some attention too? The other girls are always talking about boys, about all the stuff they've done or want to do, and I never quite know what to say.

I admit it might have been getting a little out of hand lately, though. I guess his newfound attractiveness must be getting to me, like Lavender said about that 7th-year and herself the other day.

I've taken to pushing myself up against him when I have the chance, like if we're pushed together by a mass filing into a classroom. Or just if we're sitting close. A couple of times, when I've kept it up for some time, his eyes mist over a little, he reddens and his voice gets all gruff.

It's amazing, isn't it? Having the power to induce that just by being close, making someone react like that…

Lately I find myself pushing it further.

I've thought about it at night sometimes. I imagine running my hands through his long hair, and I can almost feel the red locks brushing against my fingers. I envision his face, close to my own. His eyes darken with lust, staring at me. His lips swollen. The skin would be warm, and redden.

I've imagined kissing him - lightly at first, barely touching his lips, just brushing against them with my own. Then we'd carefully move on, and I'd slip the tip of my tongue inside his mouth. It'd be warm and wet. His tongue would feel strange against mine, but good.

Then I'd deepen the kiss. Nibble at his lower lip, carefully caressing it with my teeth. Maybe playfully bite. His hands would be eager, nervous at first but growing bolder, searching over my body like I'm sure he's been aching to for six years now. The way he looks at me. His skin would burn for me, just for me and me alone and I'm so beautiful and lovely and marvelous and everyone's wishing its them I'm kissing…

I wonder what it's like to have a boyfriend?

Hermione Granger – she's not like we thought she was. Nice, sweet, dreamy, girly, fun to be around, cute, pretty, funny, adorable, sexy…

I'm usually alone, me. I've never had a boyfriend, I haven't been on any dates, I've never kissed a boy, I've never even held hands.

Maybe I should give Ron a chance. There's nothing wrong with wanting to feel alive, is there?