"True Happiness is Found"
So it continues
"Albus Dumbledore!" Professor McGonagall thundered, barging into his office. She strode over to his desk, ignoring the man in the chair beside her. "Will you explain to me why you neglected to mention the real reason for Hermione Granger's depression?"
"Calm down, Minerva," Dumbledore said, but she was having none of it.
"Do you know what that girl's just told me?" she asked. She barrelled on before he could reply. "She just told me that Peeves – the poltergeist of Hogwarts! – tricked her into helping him become human!"
"I know that," he said. "Then she…"
"I don't want any excuses! Did you know that she fell in love with him?" Dumbledore nodded unnecessarily. "That she may be pregnant by him?"
She looked about ready to explode. "She isn't supposed to be pregnant by anyone! She is the Head Girl of Hogwarts, and – until now – the best student we have had in decades. Now the stupid poltergeist has gone and broken her heart, broken her spirit, and may have ruined her reputation in the most complete way." She missed the choked noise from the chair next to her. "He has been utterly remorseless."
"Now, Minerva, you don't know the whole story…"
"I don't need to know! She went as far as making copies of his gifts to burn them." His blue eyes shot open. "Do you want to know why she made copies?"
"Very much so," he said, leaning forward. His gaze darted to the man sitting opposite, but Minerva ignored the action yet again.
"Because the poor girl is still in love with him," she said. "She even said that she would suffer the same pain again as long as she felt the happiness again, too."
"She said that?" a voice asked.
McGonagall finally gave her attention to the young man slowly lowering his feet to the floor.
"Yes," she replied. "She did."
"Minerva," Dumbledore said, "please allow me to introduce to you… Peeves."
She opened and closed her mouth several times, speechless. Peeves slowly looked away, smiling.
"She loves me," he whispered. He grinned at Dumbledore and leapt to his feet. "She loves me!" He punched the air and ran for the door. As soon as it was shut behind him McGonagall sank down into the newly-vacated chair.
"Albus," she said, her voice weak, "that was really Peeves?"
"Yes, Minerva," he said.
They jumped in their seats as Peeves ran back into the room.
"May I use your fireplace, headmaster? Thank you!"
Without waiting for an answer he doused the flames, stepped into the fireplace and shot through the Hogwarts intra-floo network. McGonagall turned back to the headmaster.
"What was that about?" she asked.
"I told you that you didn't know the whole story," he said.
"Well, why don't you tell me?"
"First of all, I must say this: he loves her desperately."
"He loves Hermione?"
"Of course. Otherwise the magic never would have worked."
"Minerva, you know as well as I do that Hermione is intelligent," Dumbledore said. "However, she only gets things right because she does them the correct way. Defence Against the Dark Arts requires the most real power, yet she is not as proficient in that class. Why do you think that is? It is because she is not actually powerful. She is merely… accurate." He continued. "Now, when I say 'powerful' I mean magically. Her real power is in love; and it is love that brought him to life. He even fell for her before he had a real body. Does that not speak of love of the most powerful nature?"
McGonagall nodded slowly. "It does."
"Now, let me tell you all that I know of the story…"
Peeves hopped out of the fireplace into the Head Boy and Girl common room. Hermione was reading from a book that was lying open on the coffee table.
With a powerful burst of magic he sent the table – and everything on it – to the other side of the room. Her head jerked up, eyes wide with fear and hand moving towards her wand. When she saw who it was she tensed further. Not one muscle moved as he stalked towards her.
Without a word of warning Peeves pulled her into his arms and took her lips in a furious kiss. He crushed her body to his, hoping to melt her rigidity.
Come on, damn you, he thought. She still didn't respond. Slowly, he pulled back. Her eyes had remained open, watching him in… what was it? Fear? Disbelief? Horror?
She doesn't want me.
He stepped back and relinquished her hands.
"Hermione, I owe you a thousand apologies," he said quietly. "More than that. One for every crime against you, every second wasted because of my deception, every moment of regret you have and will suffer because… because of me." He couldn't draw his eyes away from her. "Somewhere along the way, I forgot what I was doing. I no longer mattered; it wasn't about me becoming human."
"What was it about?" she asked, her voice husky. She cleared her throat. "What… what was it about?"
He closed his eyes briefly. "I love you." He opened them again and got lost in the watery brown depths of her own. "Only you, Hermione. I would give you the world… gods, that's cliché." He shook his head, seemingly breaking some sort of spell. "There are no original words for what I want to say. Just that… that I'm so very sorry that I've ruined your life like this. Please know that," he coughed to dislodge the lump in his throat, "you at least made me happy – very happy – for one night. I'll remember the way you made me feel until my last day upon this earth."
He turned to leave; but as soon as he saw the fireplace he remembered why he had found the courage to come.
"Wait," she whispered.
"What am I doing?" he muttered. He turned around, only to get the shock of his life when he saw her standing so close. "Hermione…"
"You've made your declaration," she said. "Now let me make mine."
"You…" He paused, thinking quickly. "All right." I'd much rather hear it from her, he thought, fighting a grin. She fidgeted where she stood. Any amusement he felt, however, dissipated as soon as she took his hands in hers.
"Can we sit down?" she asked. He nodded and allowed himself to be led over to the couch. Both sat with one foot on the floor, the other leg curled up beside them. Peeves watched Hermione carefully as she continued to hold his hands, even stroking the skin.
"What is it you wished to say, Hermione?" he said. She bit her lip as she looked up at him.
"Say it again," she said.
"My name. Please say it again."
"Hermione." He put as much feeling as he could into it, leaning down slightly. He could see that her lips were still red from his earlier assault. If she really did love him, then why…?
"I've been scared," she said, interrupting his thoughts. "I've never had a real boyfriend; Viktor was the closest thing to that, and we really only studied together and went to the Yule Ball. He was the first boy ever to see me as a girl. But then, as I got older, I wanted to be seen as… as a woman." She blushed. "I didn't really know – well, I did, but I didn't want to acknowledge it in the face of my studies…"
"Calm down," he said. "You're babbling."
"Thanks." She looked away, but quickly returned her attention to him. "I wanted romance; I wanted someone who could discuss something that wasn't Quidditch; I wanted someone who could make me forget that I'm not as pretty as the other girls…"
"Hermione, you're beautiful!" he said, freeing one of his hands and raising it to caress her cheek. "You put them to shame."
"No, I don't…"
"Have you really been this insecure about your body all this time?" She nodded. "Oh, Hermione." He pulled her close enough to kiss her forehead. He stroked her hair. "Don't think that. Don't you ever dare think that. You're perfect."
"Um…" He swiftly let her go. "Let's just… not discuss it, okay?"
"If you insist."
"I do. I…" She got caught up in his gaze. The words were having difficult in coming out. "I love you, Peeves. You're everything I want. You're everything I need, and I'll always be y…"
He didn't let her finish. Before she could draw breath he yanked her into his lap for a kiss, a kiss that lasted several heart-stopping seconds. They had to break for air, panting and gazing at each other. Hermione got lost in his eyes.
"I should have considered your feelings," he said, rubbing her back as he kept her pressed close. "In my defence, a poltergeist generally has an emotional range smaller than Ronald Weasley's."
Hermione laughed and hugged him tightly. "I should have thought of that," she said. "I was so busy trying to solve the mystery and get my work done that I completely overlooked what should have been obvious."
"I'm affronted at the thought that I wasn't being subtle." His eyes sparkled as he looked up at her, though, and she knew that everything would be all right.
Well, maybe not everything.
"Peeves," she said softly, "what if I'm pregnant? I-I never planned it, but… but at the time I wanted it, desperately. I felt as though I'd die if…"
"You're the only one I could ever picture fathering my children." She blushed further. "So what do I do if it turns out that…?"
He kissed her gently, cupping her cheek. As soon as they separated he smiled at her.
"I'll be so proud to help you in any way that I can," he said. "We will marry as soon as possible, and I'll find some way to support our family. Then we'll all live happily ever after, just like in those Muggle fairytales I've heard about." He laughed, shaking his head. "I thought that I'd be spending Christmas alone."
"You won't be," she said, tears sliding down her cheeks again. She let them. "But are you going to ask me properly? No, no!" she exclaimed, clutching onto him as he began to move. "I was only joking. I'd love to marry you, and have the happily ever after, and as many children as we can handle." She tilted her head. "There's just one thing I want to ask."
"Mmm-hmm?" He nuzzled her neck, making her thoughts a bit hazy. But one managed to swim to the surface.
"Uh… what name are you going to use?"
I apologise for any repetitiveness, especially in the last few chapters. But it's so difficult to decide: to show, not tell or not to show, not tell. Uh… or something like that.
You see, if I just wrote that 'Professor McGonagall then relayed the conversation to Dumbledore' then that's telling, not showing, which – according to our creative writing teachers – is wrong. I tried to vary phrases as much as possible. Hmm.
*Smacks self on hands*
Please review! And let me know if you want any more unusual pairings, either with Hermione or without. And I refuse to write any Draco/someone else fics, because I dislike him intensely… as you know.
You can decide for yourselves whether or not Hermione is pregnant. And if you want a sequel please let me know, and whether she should be pregnant in the sequel (at least pregnant from their one time in this story.) Ooh, and name suggestions for the male lead are fine, but we have to keep the name 'Peeves' in some way. Just sayin'.