***February of sixth year***
"Red hair is lovely." Harry sighed.
"Yes it is. I could stare at freckles for hours." Hermione added.
"Me too. Tans are highly overrated. Pale as cream is far more attractive."
"Agreed, tall is a good thing."
"Up to a point, just not any taller than right now." Harry huffed slightly.
"Again I concur." she responded with a grin.
"Lively and a bit mischievous."
"But not as mischievous as the twins."
"No definitely not."
"A bit daring but not an adrenaline junky."
"In the right place like the quidditch pitch."
Both sighed at the same time. Harry and Hermione were sitting in the Great Hall watching the students and teachers go about their lives. Sixth year had not gone well for either of them, romantically speaking.
"Dumbledore is heading out the front doors." Hermione pointed out.
"Must be going to the Three Broomsticks or Hogshead. He likes to go when it's not a Hogsmeade weekend."
"Umm.. less crowded."
Both frowned slightly when two couples walked in the door and sat at different places at the Gryffindor table.
"Some people don't have a brain in their head. How that attracts attention is beyond me." Hermione grumbled.
"I don't like curly hair." Harry was trying to keep his glare hidden.
"Public displays of affection should be banned under certain circumstances." Hermione added hotly.
"I concur. Just what do they see in them anyway. I mean they just don't fit together well."
"Those two fit together like suction cups." she pointed at Ron and Lavender kissing at the table farther down.
"Loud annoying suction cups. Hopefully they won't last much longer. He was pretty aggravated at Christmas." he shrugged as he was still glaring at Dean and Ginny.
"Could have fooled me. Ginny was telling me last night that everything he does annoys her."
"So if they break up are you going to tell him?" Harry asked hopefully.
"Are you going to tell her?" she raised an eyebrow at the boy across from her.
"Can't it's different for me."
"You mean your snake infestation with your death on his mind?" She asked, when he nodded she shook her head, "Well we all have that problem. If he gets you the rest of us aren't far behind, no pressure though."
"Right. No pressure." was his heavily sarcastic reply, "Are we pathetic?"
"Yes. No. Sometimes." she nodded her head then shook it. She finally settled on a shrug.
"Nothing confusing in that answer." another sarcastic remark was thrown in.
"Course not I'm always right and make perfect sense." she flipped her hair over her shoulder and stuck her nose in the air.
"Always." he agreed with a grin as they laughed.
"So then why don't you listen?"
"I'm a teenager. I don't listen to anyone. You know I got to be a rebel."
"Ha! Funny." Hermione lost her grin, "Sometimes he's pretty funny, I miss his sense of humor."
"Lucky you, I get to hear it every night. Of course I don't think he's trying to be funny when he goes on and on but it's all I can do not to laugh sometimes. He starts out complementary and ends up complaining."
"She's the same. Do you think they'll ever get a clue of who they should be with?"
"Yes. Definitely. Well more than likely. Maybe." he first nodded but it ended in a shrug.
"Nothing confusing in that answer."
"I wonder who will figure it out first?" he tried to ignore her sarcasm.
"Ginny already knows, has for years, but she doesn't realize you feel the way you do." Hermione looked him in the eye, "You should just tell her."
"I think Ron knows too. I mean why else would he be so jealous about Vicky."
"Don't even mention him." she grumbled.
"Mad at him too?" Harry questioned with a raised eyebrow.
"Far too pushy. He's trying to get me to change my mind and go visit him in Bulgaria. I keep telling him I only want to be friends but he keeps trying to change my mind." Hermione said in a huff, "I'll be glad when I can get with… if I get with him, Victor would probably lay off then."
"Why not just quit writing to him?" Harry suggested.
"That would be rude on my part." she sighed in frustration, "But I'll keep it in mind if this one doesn't hurry up and get a clue."
Both broke out in a fit of laughter. It lasted until the two couples got up to leave the room. Ron looked like he was trying to get away from Lavender while Ginny was stomping away from Dean.
"That looks promising." she eyed the situation.
"She could just be running to the loo." Harry sounded a bit defeated.
"You're a pessimist."
"Do you blame me?"
"Well no not really." she grinned just a little.
"Don't look but he's standing by the door staring."
"Yours." he said, "But I said don't look."
"Oh, any idea why?"
"Don't know but they're moving on now. Bet I get to play twenty questions tonight."
"What will you tell him?" she asked.
"I won't tell him we spent the afternoon talking about the two of them." he paused as two large boys entered the hall alone, "Hummm I wonder where Malfoy is?"
"Good question. You don't often see his matching set of bookends on their own." she grumbled, "They might forget to breathe without him there to order them to do it. Quite an accomplishment for them to be on their own this long."
Harry nearly fell off the bench laughing. When he regained control he said, "Never thought I'd hear you say something like that."
"I'm not feeling very charitable today."
"Shut it why don't you." she chucked a waded paper at him.
"Is it getting close to curfew yet?"
"About two hours yet. You need a new watch."
***One year and several months later***
"Do you remember sitting here about a year ago?"
"I've sat here lots of times Hermione." Harry commented, "Which time are we talking about?"
"We sat contemplating who we wanted for our significant other."
"I remember." he laughed, "Funny how it all turned out ok."
"Funny how yours got figured out first despite your snake problem." she grinned.
"Yes, but getting together early didn't do me any favors with her. I had to really work to get back into her good graces during this last month."
"Please, one kiss and she was done for." Hermione scoffed at him.
"Could have fooled me. I've been walking on egg shells." Harry shook his head.
"You should be for that stunt you pulled."
"And just what should I have done?" he asked affronted, " If we would have stayed together snake face would have hurt her."
"You don't know that." she mumbled.
"Look at my track record."
"I'll grant you that, but still you don't know for sure."
"And you don't know for sure she would have been safe." he argued, "Better safe than sorry in this case."
"Fine I do see your point." she gave in.
"What are you two all huddled up talking about? We don't have another adventure on the way do we?" Ron asked feigning worry as he took the seat next to Hermione.
"No we were just discussing Harry's aptitude for exaggerating the danger in situations." Hermione said sarcastically.
"I do not."
"Sorry Mione, but I have to agree with Harry on this one."
"Ronald I was being sarcastic."
"Oh right." Ron laughed.
"Where's Ginny?" Harry looked around for her.
"Trying to keep Neville from passing out." Ron snickered.
"Why, what's wrong?"
"Nothing's wrong." he replied, "He asked Hannah Abbot out and she said yes."
"Cool, way to go Nev." Harry grinned.
"Maybe you should go help her out."
"What? Are you saying you want some alone time with your girl?" Harry smirked.
"Yes so why don't you steal some with your own while I'm not around to gripe about it." Ron replied with his own smirk.
"Good idea. See you later." Harry ran off without another look in his friends direction.
A few minutes later Harry found Ginny, Neville and Hannah by the front doors talking, "Hey all."
"Hi Harry." they answered together.
"What's going on?"
"Neville and Hannah are going to go on a date and they're trying to figure out when and where." Ginny said.
"How about a picnic lunch by the lake?"
"Wow Harry that was quick." Neville said.
"Not as quick as you would think." Harry laughed, "I was just on my way to find Ginny to see if she wanted to have a picnic by the lake with me."
"That's a lovely idea Harry I'd love to."
"Great then why don't you girls meet us back here in about ten minutes. Nev and I need to do some preparation."
"Ok." Hannah agreed.
As they left the girls Neville asked, "A picnic Harry? Are you sure it's a good idea?"
"Picnics are always a good idea." he assured his friend, "Even if it's raining you can have an indoor picnic. All you need is a spot of ground or floor, a blanket and some food then bam you have a picnic."
"What are we going to do on this picnic?" Neville asked with concern.
"Talking, kissing, eating, you know regular date stuff."
"Ok, not sure about kissing just yet but what kind of food?"
"Finger food. Anything you can eat with your hands that's not too messy." Harry informed him, "Sandwiches, fruit, pastries and a few bottles of butterbeer."
"Ok so where are you getting a blanket from?"
"I'll just conjure it on the spot."
"Harry I'm going to be nervous enough as it is." Neville pointed out, "I don't think trying to do any magic is going to help me right now."
"Ok we'll do that part in the kitchen while we're waiting for the baskets. Here we are." Harry reached up and tickled the pear and the door opened.
Inside Harry asked Kreacher to fix the basket for him. Neville listed to Harry's request and asked another house elf to make one for him then the two boys set out to conjure blankets. Once all was ready they left the kitchen and went back to the front doors to meet with the girls. The quartet swept out the front doors and walked down to the lake.
"Ok you two go off that way and find a spot. Ginny and I will be going this way, have fun."
"Ok, thanks for your help Harry."
As they got out of hearing range Ginny asked, "So were you really planning on finding me and asking me to go on a picnic or was it a spur of the moment thing?"
"Well both sort of. I was leaving Ron and Hermione in the Great Hall to have some alone time." Harry grinned, "I decided to come find you and do something. About half way out of the room my stomach started growling so I thought having a picnic sounded good to me. Then Neville needed an idea and this is an easy way for them to get to know each other better. No pressure from anyone else but not too alone."
"You are good." Ginny laughed, "Tell me where did this romantic streak come from? I don't recall seeing any evidence of it before."
"Newly found just this year." Harry slid his free arm around her shoulders, "I've had a lot of time to think of ways to spend time with you. At first all I would think about was making out. But eventually I started thinking about scenarios of when and where you would be happy enough to forgive me and take me back."
"You were so pessimistic about even surviving I didn't think you'd think like that." Ginny snuggled into his arm.
"It's what kept me going. If I didn't think about you and a possible future together I would have given up a long time ago."
"So I saved you?"
"Yes several times." Harry nodded.
"Somehow I don't think that's quite true." Ginny shook her head as they found a good spot.
"It is true." Harry spread the blanket on the ground, they sat on it settling the basket on the edge, "When we kissed on my birthday it was amazing. I was remembering that kiss when Tom hit me with the killing curse. Loving you saved me."
"Wow. You love me?"
"I do. I love you."
"I love you too. But I have to say that gave me a vision of us getting married." Ginny grinned.
"What the I do?"
"Yes. When you said it I got a flash vision." she looked off over the lake, "We're at the front of a room full of people just like Bill and Fleur's wedding."
"Keep that picture. I have one in my head that I'm always thinking about." Harry pulled her close.
"Of us getting married?"
"When did you get that picture."
"When Ron was yelling at me for kissing you on my birthday." he whispered, " I said you weren't stupid you weren't thinking we'd get married. When I said that I got a flash vision of you marrying some unpleasant stranger, it made me feel rather sick. A few weeks later I was thinking about it again and I pushed him out of the picture and took his place."
An hour later after a lot of talking, kissing and eating Harry and Ginny were relaxing on the blanket. Harry was on his back with his hands behind his head. Ginny was beside him with her head on his elbow. Harry chuckled lightly but didn't say anything so Ginny sat up and turned around to see his face.
"What are you chuckling about?"
"I was just thinking about my conversation with Hermione earlier. We were doing some reminiscing." Harry smiled widely.
"What where you reminiscing about?" she asked.
"A conversation we had more than a year ago. We had been sitting in the Great Hall lamenting how the people we liked were both with someone else."
"Who did you both like?"
"The same people we like now." Harry grinned, "We were talking about how red hair and freckles are very attractive. Then we changed to how ditsy people and curly hair are terrible turn offs and we couldn't understand why you two couldn't see it."
"I think we were both lamenting the failure to be with the people we truly wanted to be with too."
"Are you still lamenting?"
"No, I'm with you now aren't I?" Ginny leaned in.
"And I'm very glad." Harry met her.
"That wasn't very nice." Hermione glared at her boyfriend.
"What chasing Harry off? It was fine he wanted to spend time with Ginny anyway." Ron waved her off.
"But you weren't very nice."
"Guys don't get nice to other guys. We have to be gruff and tough or they think we're a wimp. Look at Percy. Besides its kind of a game guys understand." Ron finished.
"Harry's nice about things but no one thinks he's a wimp."
"Harry's a whole different situation." Ron pointed out, "No one will ever call him a wimp even if he stands in the middle of the room crying and pouting."
Hermione giggled at the mental image and then said, "Ok, I'll give you that. But still a little nicer to Harry at least."
"I'll try. Do you want to go for a walk or something?"
They got up and left the hall hand in hand. Eventually they wandered out the front doors past Ginny and Hannah.
"I wonder where Neville and Harry went?" Hermione asked.
"Ginny and Hannah are standing together by the door but the other two aren't around."
"Harry's probably giving Neville some advice or something."
"You know I don't think anyone will try to call Neville a wimp again either."
"No probably not." Ron agreed.
"Where are we going?"
"You aren't going to try and get me up on a broom are you?" Hermione asked dubiously.
"No, relax. I'm just a bit more confident there than anywhere else." Ron slung his arm over her shoulder.
"And just why do you want to be more confident?"
"You'll see." Ron led her up the steps and into a secluded section of the seats. They sat down and Ron leaned against the seat behind him.
"Ok so why do you want to be more confident?"
"I'll get to it, let me absorb the atmosphere first." Ron stretched his arms out to the sides.
Hermione giggled and then leaned over and kissed him, "Does that help you absorb the atmosphere?"
"Yes very much, can you help me some more?"
After a while they pulled apart and Ron leaned his forehead against Hermione's, "I love you."
"I love you too Ron."
"See I told you the pitch would give me the confidence I needed." he grinned.
"Maybe we should talk here more often."
"Or we could do other stuff." Ron kissed her again.