Hello, everyone! Welcome to my 17th story on ! It's a cause for celebration. And you know what else is a cause for celebration? Someone's birthday. Specifically, Twinzlover's birthday! Happy Birthday, Twinzlover! This story has been written for, and dedicated to, you! I hope you like it. I tried to follow your requests as closely as I dared interpret them.

DISCLAIMER: Harry Potter and all of its characters do not belong to me and will never belong to me. If they did... everyone would be having babies with Hermione. EVERYONE. Does that include Snapely and Voldiepants? Sure...why not? If you're into that. I know I am. :D

Warning:This story contains mildly graphic sex scenes amongst underage Hogwarts females. Read at your own risk.

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

The winter holidays. A break from the piles upon piles of coursework that were heaped on the fifth-years in preparation for their O.W.L.S, which were coming up at the end of the school year. Many fifth-years had been waiting for the winter holidays since the moment they had set foot in Hogwarts once again after their arguably too-short summer holidays.

But one fifth-year was not so happy about the vacation.

It would mean that she wouldn't get to raise her hand high above her head and wait, heart pounding and bushy hair bouncing, for the professor to call on her to tell the class what nugget of information that the other students ought to have known from studying their textbooks hourly. It would mean that she wouldn't get to pour over her homework late into the evening, precisely detailing in a neat hand what exactly a dribbling doxfactor was and how to avoid bringing it home instead of pansies. But worst of all... it meant that she wouldn't be able to see Blaise Zabini for two weeks!

Yes.

Alright, yes.

Yeah, she admitted it!

To herself, at least.

Hermione Granger had developed a small, very very tiny crush on the fifth-year Slytherin, Blaise Zabini.

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

It had all started when Professor Snape had taken it upon himself to assign new potions partners to every student near to the start of the year. (That probably had something to do with Seamus and Dean constantly chit-chatting when they were supposed to be working.) It seemed that the idea of pairing Hermione up with someone from the Slytherin house amused Snape greatly; he had been smirking a greasier smirk than usual when he directed Hermione to gather her things and sit on the Slytherin side of the room... where Malfoy and his gang were located.

Fortunately, or rather unfortunately, Malfoy had already decided on his partner. Of course, it had to be Harry. Hermione was uneasy with this development, as she knew Malfoy could get to Harry much easier now that he was closer in range. She would have switched places with Harry if only for Harry's own sanity, but then thought that would reflect poorly on her regard for the boy. Harry could handle his own. Hermione knew that.

So she had set down her things on the desk and started fussing with them, delaying the moment when she would have to look her own Slytherin guy in the eye. The last Slytherin without a partner.

When she had done everything she could think of, from checking the ink supply in her well to testing the weight of a quail feather (one of the ingredients needed for the potion that day), she had cut her eyes carefully to the profile of her new potions partner.

Blaise Zabini. Fifth-year Slytherin. Most thought him to be the embodiment of two things: Arrogance and Indifference. Depending on his mood, it could be either-or. Hermione decided to furtively size him up.

Even sitting down, she could tell he was tall; taller than most. Well-built, sinewy with a lean frame. The dark brown skin of his face was wonderfully clean and clear, though she thought she could see a tiny beauty spot near the corner of his almond-shaped, liquid-chocolate eyes. High cheekbones accentuated and sharpened his facial features, but at the right angles his face could appear beautifully curved. His shapely nose pointed straight and true, rounding sweetly at the end. His lips were thin... and quirked in a kind of sardonic half-smile.

When she saw the slant of his mouth, she knew that he knew that she was studying him. Embarrassed and irked that she had been caught, she turned her head back to her things and began again to nit-pick at them.

Then Professor Snape had called his class to order, pointed a few things out on the black board, and the students set to their work.

Hermione expected no cooperation from Zabini. She didn't even think he would speak to her. Because, after all, he was friendly with Malfoy. He was also, she thought at the time, a pure-blood. No self-respecting pure-blooded Slytherin deigned to converse with a know-it-all, mud-blooded Gryffindor. At least, not that she had ever heard of. But then, she was always a little out of the social gossip-loop.

She could do this all by herself, though. Who needs a cynical Slytherin?

The first thing she did was read the list of materials and procedure of the making of the potion. Three times. It always had to be read three times, and then nine times during the potion-making itself.

Zabini was quiet during this.

Then she made sure that all of the ingredients she (they) needed were on the table.

Zabini was quiet during this, too.

Hermione noted that she was missing some powdered hogs' eyes and scarecrow straws.

She got up to get them from the cupboard when she felt eyes on her. Knowing it was her partner, Zabini, probably wondering contemptuously where she was going, she turned towards him and opened her mouth to tell him... when he surprised her.

"Missing the scarecrow straws, pigs' eyes and fish lard?" He said to her. There was not a hint of inflection, scornful or otherwise, in his voice. Though he did have a rich, even baritone going for him.

She was so stunned she blurted out the first thing that came to her mind. "What?"

(Cool, Hermione, very cool.)

That was followed by a two second silence.

Then he repeated his sentence.

And she responded with, "Ah... yes. But I don't need lard from a fish."

Zabini had raised his eyebrows. Minimally, but she could still tell.

"It does call for it. Read ingredient number seven," Zabini said, an air of patience faint in his tone.

She did.

And she nearly sighed with relief. She hadn't been wrong.

For those who are questioning why this conversation is even taking place, you must know something important. You see, to make life extra difficult for his fifth-year students, Professor Snape had begun writing the ingredients lists in Latin, the language base of all wizardry. Snape said that it was to help ready his students for O.W.L.S, but Ron just claimed he was being a git, as per usual. Harry tended to agree with Ron, but Hermione thought that it was nice for Snape to take such measures to ensure maximum preparedness.

Hermione said to Zabini, "That doesn't say 'pisces adipi'. It says 'caper adipi', which means goat lard. And we have that." Hermione pointed, somewhat timidly, to a labeled jar of brownish ooze.

There was another silence. This went on for four seconds.

Then Zabini narrowed his eyes and glanced at the black-board. Hermione could see his irises moving hastily over the ingredient list, searching for proof that he was indeed right and she was indeed wrong.

But Hermione knew she was right.

And she saw that, in the second he recognized that he had made the little mistake, his mouth turned down and his broad, masculine shoulders slumped the tiniest bit. Defeat?

He turned back to her and said, "Yes. Shall I go retrieve the scarecrow straws and pigs' eyes, then?"

And Hermione, for the second time in as many minutes, was astonished.

He had been trumped. He hadn't even tried to make an excuse for his mix-up. But... did he accept his error? Hermione scrutinized him. He didn't seem to be disheartened in any visible way. Then again, that didn't mean he wasn't calling himself a blind idiot inside of his head.

Hermione considered. She could appreciate a person who swallowed his pride and acknowledged his faux pas. (Unlike Ron.)

"Yes, thank you," Hermione managed.

Zabini's eyes glinted. His face was a mask of porcelain brown. She found she couldn't read him at all.

Then away he went.

And when he came back, he had several grams of scarecrow straws and pigs' eyes. He set them down on the table and did the oddest thing: He rolled up his sleeves.

(Whoa, his forearms are certainly well-sculpted.)

Hermione had never seen anyone roll up his sleeves for potion-making. Maybe she'd just never looked over at Zabini.

She realized she was staring when he glanced over at her, and she was just standing at the edge of the table. Her face might have been a picture of bemusement.

"Well," Zabini said, glancing over at the black board. "The first thing to do is... measure the Ulysses syrup. Could you do that while I light the cauldron?"

"Sure," Hermione replied, still bewildered but happy that Zabini was apparently willing put aside their differences and work with her. Unlike some people in his house (Malfoy), Zabini might actually be a reasonable, amicable person. The rumors about him being an egotistical jackass may be just that: fictitious hearsay.

So it went on like that. They never got in each other's way. And they tried not to argue if the amount of some such ingredient was just the tiniest bit off, or if one of them accidentally stirred the potion counter-clockwise a hair too long.

They made the potion together.

After class, though, it had seemed Zabini hadn't been in the mood for small talk, despite how well things had gone. He had picked up his bags and walked solemnly out of the room. Hermione was left staring after him and wishing... perhaps that they could have spoken a little more about things that hadn't concerned potions class. Not that they had spoken much about things that had concerned potions class either. He had been very reserved.

She hoped that in her next potions class, she would get to know a little more about Zabini as a person. But her perception of him had already been altered for the better. Now in her eyes he was at least a diligent and gracious potions partner.

The next potions class, Professor Snape had informed the pair that they had had the best potion out of all the fifth year classes and he had used it as an example in several classes with younger students. This degree of high praise was not (never!) to be taken lightly when it came to Professor Snape. Hermione had been ecstatic, but Zabini had looked neither pleased nor dismayed by the information. However, he did smile a bit when Hermione happily said to him that he was allowed to be proud of his handiwork.

Snape's real motives to partner Hermione with Zabini may not yet be realized, but Hermione found that she didn't care why Snape had paired her up with him in the first place. She started to enjoy Zabini's quiet company, and grew to admire him more in the instances when he showed that behind his good looks, he did have brains. Despite the fact that he spoke little with her, he was always helpful before, during, and after the making of their potions. It struck Hermione that Zabini had a natural gift for the subtle art.

What she found she liked best about him, though, came also as a revelation about her own relatively insecure private persona. That he never so much as coughed about her blood status made her feel strangely grateful to him, seeing as he was a Slytherin. And he never criticized her about her zealous enthusiasm for learning (like Malfoy and her other classmates often did), or even when she made small mistakes in her reading of the ingredients lists and procedure outlines; oversights that no one but herself and/or a careful observer (which she suspected Zabini was) would notice.

So, in time (maybe over the next two months), Hermione's crush was flourishing. But there was a problem. Zabini was still as mysterious to her as the day they'd (officially) met. They hadn't even begun to build a friendly relationship like she'd desired. And, curiously, she still couldn't tell if Zabini ever felt anything about anything. It was hard to discern if he even had any feelings at all. Other than the occasional weird half-smile (it wasn't quite a smirk or a grin) or slight pout, Zabini's face remained starkly emotionless. His handsome facial features barely betrayed a hint of his inner thoughts. Then again, maybe Hermione was just missing crucial countenance clues. She'd never been good with reading faces.

Even so, she maintained her feelings for him, hoping that, when (if!) she was brave enough to ask him out, he would respond with an affirmative and a smile.

But she wasn't sure.

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

Hermione's parents had wanted her to come visit the Caribbean Islands with them over the holidays, but the plane tickets were a wee expensive, so Hermione had told her parents that she was totally fine on her own at Hogwarts for the two weeks. Never mind that her two best friends would be going to The Burrow to have a merry, family Christmas there.

Hermione hadn't wanted to tell her friends about her holiday arrangements in case Ron felt obligated to invite her to his home as well, but that turned out not to be a wise tactic.

Early in the evening, two days before the winter holidays started, Ron and Harry were talking and laughing about what a jolly time they would have at The Burrow. And Hermione had had to listen to them.

Finally, she couldn't take the incessant jabbering about the warm fires and the tall (though leaning and rather needle-less) fir tree... about the roast duck, Christmas gifts exchanged at the crack of dawn, treacle tarts and oodles of cakes, cookies and candies that would be available to them when they got home to the old, towering Weasley home.

She had just felt a mite left out, that was all.

The next thing she knew, she was giving them a lecture about "The Importance of Stuffing It" when some people within earshot didn't have as nice a family as Ron did (like Neville, for example).

And Ron had then started on a tirade which went something like, "I can say whatever I want, it's Christmas time and this is my common room!", to which Hermione snapped back with 'respecting broken families' (she mentally apologized to Harry) and Harry interjected with a mixture of both Ron's tactless opinions and Hermione's shrewd points.

Finally, after ages of alternating light bickering and heavy arguing, Ginny butted in to their conversation.

"Hermione, are you going anywhere with your parents?"

She was two seconds away from cracking Ron's nose in half when Ginny said that. The flame-haired girl's interruption had been right on time, because it gave the angered Hermione pause for thought, and deflation.

Harry, Ron and Ginny waited silently for her answer.

"Um... no," Hermione said in a small voice.

Harry, Ron and Ginny let out exasperated sighs.

"Okay, then, why don't you spend the holidays at The Burrow? I'm sure Mum won't mind. I'll go owl her now," Ginny said, patting Hermione gently on her shoulder and giving her a cheerful smile. The older girl didn't notice that Ginny's long, spindly fingers trailed through her hair and lingered just a little longer than was necessary on her back.

Hermione, though feeling a bit guilty at having essentially invited herself over, was nevertheless happier at the thought of spending Christmas time with a loving, joyful family rather than in the Gryffindor common room, alone.

She didn't protest as Ginny walked off to owl her mother about the newest guest.

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

Hermione had never stayed at The Burrow during winter vacation. She usually only came over in the last few weeks of the summer holidays. Seeing The Burrow dusted with a healthy powdering of snow felt odd. She found that she couldn't quite believe it actually held up under all that ice and firn. The Burrow was so ostensibly old, practically falling apart in places, only kept up by difficultly-cast enchantments. But once she stepped over the threshold of the front door she could tell it was quite the cozy home in the wintertime.

The antechamber, parlor, romping room and kitchen were all decorated with the typical cheery Christmas trimmings. It was not unlike what she and her parents did for the winter holidays, minus the magic touches. Crepe paper in golds, reds and greens were strewn all over the house, some still hanging themselves up. Mistletoe lazily floated in the air. Snow would randomly start sprinkling on the tops of peoples' heads (this was Fred's and George's doing, of course).

There were two Christmas trees. One was in the rustic parlor, and was obviously more for decorum than for any family activities. It was ornamented with floating, brightly glowing red candles, golden baubles of different shapes and sizes, peppermint canes, and long minty-green ribbon bows. A bronze, metallic star topped it off.

The actual gift-opening ceremony and Christmas after-dinner discussions would take place in the romping room, where the more festive tree was place squarely in the center of the room for everyone to admire and comment upon with their own style of decorating. The tree was divvied up into seven sections, one for each of the children to decorate in his or her own way. Bill, Charlie and Percy, who had come home for the holidays, had already placed little trinkets and such in their parts of the tree. Hermione was amused to see that Percy had largely filled his with office supplies, such as Spell-O Tape and, curiously, muggle-made Magic Markers.

Mrs. Weasley had wanted Fred and George to share a space on the tree so as Harry could have his own little sliver, but she didn't know how to compensate Hermione. Thankfully, the bushy-haired girl was spared from Mrs. Weasley's fretting when Harry offered to share with his friend. They spent a fun afternoon sticking little bits and pieces of things on the tree that showed their personalities. They found most of the items in their suitcases.

However, the situation went a little awry when Harry joked that he should put his old Quidditch-patterned socks on the tree, otherwise he wouldn't have anything to show he was an outstanding Seeker. Hermione agreed with him, laughing. She then turned back to shrinking a book so that she could hang it on the tree, when she caught a glimpse of something rather disturbing in Harry's trunk.

Dropping the half-sized book on a chair, she hurried over to where Harry was rummaging through his things, trying to find the socks with the snitch-pattern on them that Dobby had given him a few years ago.

"Hullo, Hermione. Are you going to-?"

Hermione cut him off with a distressed wave of her hand. "Harry. What is that?"

She pointed, hand shaking, to an article of clothing that was bunched up and suspiciously frilly.

Harry looked at what she was talking about. "Oh, um..."

Hermione's hand darted into the suitcase and came up with the wadded ball. She unfolded it carefully. It was a pair of blue boy-short boxers with lacy edges. An undergarment very similar to one that Hermione owned.

There was a moment of awkward silence. She couldn't even look at him. She suspected that he was having the exact same trouble.

Hermione decided to end the uncomfortable silence before it stretched out past the point of no return. She might have, however, in the moment of building anxiety, chosen the wrong words to say.

She flung the panties away from her person and rushingly said, "Egads Harry, are those my knickers?"

Harry's reply came to her quickly but quietly. "No, they are mine thank you very much."

She stared at him. He had gone very pink. She suspected she had as well.

"But they look just like-" She clapped a hand over her mouth. Whoa, Hermione. Slow down. Nobody needs to know that. Especially not boy wonder over there.

And now Harry was staring at her. "Please don't tell me you were going to say... that they look just like yours."

He just had to finish that thought, didn't he? Harry had always been slightly confrontational. It was in his nature.

"Well, yes, I was. Because... they do." And Hermione just couldn't keep her big mouth shut either. Shame, shame.

If possible, Harry's pink hue deepened. Hermione's blood responded to his, darkening her cheeks to a reddish-rose color.

They stood for probably as long as two minutes, looking at the floor, the both of them. Then Harry (so he is the bravest of us three!) broke the icy cloud that had formed around them.

"They're just... comfortable, you know?" There was a hint of humor in his voice. Had he already gotten over the embarrassing fact that his best female friend had caught him red-handed with a pair of ladies' underwear? Knowing Harry like she did... probably not. But she knew that he was trying to smooth over the situation, and that filled her with relief.

"Yes. They fit quite well. Er, I mean-" Hermione couldn't believe her choice of words, again, and struggled for something more appropriate to say. Which was rather hard, as one can imagine.

Harry laughed softly. "It's okay, I know you mean well. And for the record, I didn't think that they were for women, at the time. I found out after I peeled off the price tag, and by then I had already bought them, so..."

He trailed off, but Hermione understood. It was a small mistake, and it never would have mattered if Hermione hadn't seen them. But she had.

"I hope this doesn't make things...er... odd between us," Harry added, his face returning to its normal shade. Hermione could still feel heat in hers.

"Of course not, Harry. Everyone is entitled to his own tastes. Who am I to deny your right to agreeable underwear?" She said.

"Good." She could hear the relief in his voice. "I'll see you, I've still unpacking to take care of."

"Yes," Hermione reassured him. "Go unpack. I'll... help Mrs. Weasley with dinner."

They both went their separate ways.

It didn't matter that their part of the tree was only half-finished. They needed a small break to recover. For Hermione, it was mostly from the worry that Harry was denying some part of himself (don't worry, he wasn't); And for Harry, it was from the sheer embarrassment he had faced up to and owned that day. But he was going to throw away the underwear.

It didn't help that, while the two best friends had an unspoken agreement never to bring the terrifying incident up again, Fred and George broke the story at dinner-time, causing mass hilarity and pumpkin juice to come squirting out of noses.

Mercifully, nobody at the table really believed it.

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

The evening after Hermione arrived at The Burrow for the winter holidays, she was helping Ginny muck out the chicken coop when another guest arrived, on foot, to the little gate leading into the garden.

"Ginny! Hermione!"

The two girls in the garden looked up and delightedly called out to the newest arrival.

Luna Lovegood was wearing her usual choices of assorted odd clothes and accessories and carrying a small trunk, which Ginny quickly offered to take.

"Glad you could come, Luna. I suppose your dad is going to be down here later, then?" Ginny asked the blonde as she and Hermione escorted Luna inside The Burrow.

"Oh, yes. Father just has to finish printing out the newest copies of his magazine. He should be here by dinner-time before he has to leave on business."

"Business?" Hermione said, puzzled. "I don't mean to intrude, but what sort of business?"

Luna smiled dreamily at her. "Father must go to Sweden for a few days to research a new story. Normally, I would go with him, but I would like better to have a merry Christmas with the Weasleys. My family is small and broken, but theirs is big and whole, so I imagine that they have happier Christmas times. I should like to experience that."

Ginny muffled her nervous giggles at Luna's explanation, but Hermione just felt a flaring of sadness for the girl in the pit of her stomach. Luna always seemed to trigger sadness and pity within her now instead of skepticism and irritation, as Hermione had learned long ago that her cool logic and Luna's belief in the incredible didn't mix well.

Still, the two were friendly enough with each other, and the trio of girls talked together as they did chores for Mrs. Weasley around the house for most of the afternoon.

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

Luna's father, Xenophilius Lovegood, just stayed long enough for dinner. After thanking the Weasleys for taking care of his daughter while he would be away on "quite important matters of consequence", he whirled thrice around and was gone, Apparated to Sweden, leaving behind only the snapping sound of his coat after his departure.

Following the egress of Mr. Lovegood, the Weasleys all went their separate ways for the evening. The elder ones had a night-cap and went off to sleep. The younger ones went up to their rooms a bit later; Dreamland could wait until they'd had lengthy conversations about whatever they felt was in need of discussion.

Finally, only Hermione, Luna and Ginny were downstairs, lazing about on the ancient, though still comfy, chairs in the romping room. A large, warm fire crackled in the grate, casting flickering shadows across the room and making the knickknacks on the Christmas tree glint like eyes.

The three girls weren't speaking of anything in particular, just mumbling to each other whatever was on their minds. Hermione, in particular, was feeling especially indulgent; after a good meal and a couples minutes sitting in front of a warm fire in a cozy chair, she was half-asleep and feeling the abnormal need to be talkative. This was the time of day when girls speak to their girlfriends about very interesting things.

"Hey, guys," Hermione whispered to the other two girls.

"Yeah?" Ginny and Luna said in unison. Hermione could tell that they, too, were feeling the tiring effects of the day.

The elder Gryffindor rolled over in her chair and smiled into the cushion. "I really like this guy in my potions class."

Ginny squealed and Luna grinned. They both poured themselves out of their chairs and crawled over to where Hermione was sitting, seating themselves on the shag rug before her, as if she were some sort of goddess.

"So? Tell, tell," Ginny said, excitement in her voice despite her fatigue. Luna nodded eagerly, playing along, her eyes barely open.

Hermione turned to look at them. She found that she wanted to be face to face with the two, so that they were on the same level. She slid down her chair, joining them on the shag rug, her skirt riding up her legs in the process. The other two girls didn't bother to tell her to fix it, they were too busy waiting for her juicy gossip.

When Hermione had sat herself in a comfortable position, she leaned forward, causing Ginny and Luna to put their heads near hers as well.

"It's..." Hermione breathed, barely able to speak the name with her heart pounding in her ears, "It's Blaise Zabini."

Ginny reeled backwards and started to giggle uncontrollably. Luna's face remained close to Hermione's face. It appeared Luna did not know who Zabini was.

"Blaise Zabini? Isn't he that arrogant Slytherin asshole?" Ginny said, gasping for breath between her snickers.

Luna sat back now too. "Oh, I think I know him. He's a really nice person."

Hermione was a bit hurt by Ginny's reaction, but buoyed by Luna's perception of Zabini. "Yes, he is! Stop laughing, Ginny. He really is a pleasant boy."

Ginny calmed herself, then snorted. "If you say so. I am, however, of the opinion that he's a bastard."

Hermione scowled and shot back angrily, "No, that's the school's opinion of him. If you actually tried to get to know him, you'd see he's a great guy."

Luna tipped her head to the left and smiled at the red-haired girl. "Hermione's right, Ginny. He's quite good-natured. And handsome, too."

Ginny perked up at this. Then she smirked slyly. "Ah. Do you have a crush on him, then, Luna?"

Hermione looked at Luna, whose dreamy features had melted to a face of... what was this? Slight panic?

The elder Gryffindor reached out to grasp the Ravenclaw's shoulder, to reassure her that she bore no ill will on the girl for having a small crush on Zabini, as she herself did. These silly school-girl crushes, what did they matter compared to real friendship?

When Hermione's hand landed on Luna's left shoulder, the blonde gave a start, and the brunette's arm recoiled.

"Well, come on then, out with it," Ginny jeered. "You were only defending him because you like him too, right?"

Luna's eyes lowered to the shag rug, and she began plucking nervously at the fraying green cords. "No," she said softly. "No, I... I like someone else."

Ginny's sneer upturned into a Cheshire cat grin, and all thoughts of defaming Zabini seemingly flew out of her mind. "Oh? So... who is he?"

But Luna continued staring at the rug, mum on the subject.

"Who is he?" Ginny pushed, beaming at the blonde, whose face was slowly pinking. Hermione watched the scene unfold, sleepy but somewhat entertained.

"If I told you who it was," Luna finally whispered, "I don't think you would want to hang out with me anymore."

Ginny's smile loosened and turned into a soft line that was her mouth. "Luna," she said gently, "We've been friends for a long time. I'm not going to stop hanging around with you because you have a crush on someone. Even if it's... I dunno, one of my brothers or something. We'll still be intimate."

But Luna shook her head and brought her knees up to her chest, burying her face in her ankle-length skirt. After several minutes and quiet coaxes from Ginny and occasionally Hermione, though, the blonde lifted her head. Hermione was surprised to see that Luna had apparently been trying not to cry; her eyes looked puffy red and shiny with unshed tears.

"Luna," Ginny started, "I didn't mean to upset you-"

"It's alright, Ginny," the eccentric girl said. "Actually, I've been wondering if I should say this for a long time. But everything that I know to be true seems to go against it. What I feel... it isn't right, I know it isn't right. Mother told me so, Father told me so... kids at school say it is wrong... so I know it isn't right."

The two Gryffindors stared at her, trying to make sense of what she was saying. Luna continued.

"But, maybe if I get rid of it, say it aloud to you," And Luna looked straight into Hermione's eyes at this point, "Maybe it won't bother me so much anymore."

Something clicked into place in Hermione's mind. Ginny, however, was still in the dark. "Luna," the younger Gryffindor questioned, confused, "What are you trying to say?"

Luna took a deep, shuddering breath, closed her eyes, and said in a hushed voice, "Hermione, I like you." She then opened her eyes, slowly, one at a time.

There was a silence. A long silence. Not even the pop and hiss of the fire helped the terrible quiet that settled upon the trio of girls.

Luna's tears finally overflowed and streamed down her face, not making a sound. Hermione gazed at Luna, unblinkingly, and Ginny was staring at Hermione.

Nobody spoke for ages, it seemed.

Then Hermione braved the smothering silence and said, in just as much of a gentle tone as Luna used eons before, "I like you too, Luna."

Ginny was now frozen in place. Luna, however, was not. The Ravenclaw's mouth dropped open into a perfect, pink 'o'. And her tears lessened their pace, then stopped altogether.

It was all Hermione now. She had their attention. So she took the floor. "I've recently found girls to be as attractive, or more attractive, to my senses than boys," Hermione began. "I've never really noticed that I looked at girls for their sexual appeal... until I started puberty. That's when I first thought that a girl could be as captivating to me as a boy could. I looked into the matter, and found that while many people in the wizarding world and muggle world find homosexuality to be a sin, there are also plenty of people who regard it as natural. I, for one, think that it is a completely ordinary facet of human nature, because I experience the feelings.

"Whoever told you that those feelings you have for other girls are wrong, Luna... those people are wrong. Homosexuality is not uncommon or perverted. It is a part of who you are. You were born genetically wired to be gay and have such passionate emotions for same-sex peoples. You should not have to be afraid of those sentiments, and you should not inhibit them or cast them off as erroneous or fallacious judgments on your part. You should embrace them as part of your genuine character. Don't listen to anyone who says you should not do so."

Hermione was going to go on to make more pronouncements of great import on the subject, when Luna flung her arms around the elder girl and kissed her right on her lips.

Hermione had been kissed before (only by Viktor Krum), but this was a kiss unlike any she had experienced. All thoughts of Blaise Zabini zoomed out of the metaphorical window.

Luna's lips were soft and tender to the touch, and she wasn't putting much pressure on Hermione's mouth, which Hermione found she liked. There was also some kind of pleasant flavor to her lips, which, when Hermione opened her mouth to allow Luna more access, brought back memories of the dessert they had had only two hours before. 'Ah, yes,' Hermione said to herself, 'Strawberry tarts.' This thought made her smile, which in turn caused Luna to smile. Hermione liked the feeling of a smiling mouth on hers. (She had never felt that with Viktor.)

The kiss lasted for awhile in Hermione's mind, though in reality it was probably quite short. When the two girls broke apart, both were grinning and breathing a bit more rapidly than before. Luna's cheeks were pink again, and Hermione too felt a healthy flush on her face.

The glowing moment was somewhat ruined, however, by a small noise of disbelief made in the back of Ginny's throat. The two previously entwined girls jerked their heads to look at her, having almost forgotten she was sitting not three feet away from them.

Like Luna and Hermione, Ginny's face was a dusted a light pink. Unlike Luna and Hermione, however, Ginny's blush wasn't from joy and arousal... but more from guilt and anger that she had witnessed something most of the wizarding world regarded as taboo. Of course, there weren't any laws against it... it just wasn't the sort of thing many witches and wizards were comfortable discussing. Those witches and wizards included Ginny's family.

"I'm sorry," Luna said, looking from Hermione to Ginny (but mostly beaming at Hermione). "I... what you were saying... I just..."

Hermione laughed lightly. "I understand, Luna. I know it was spontaneous. Don't be sorry, though... I did enjoy it."

Luna's color, which was starting to die down, flared back up. "You, you did?"

Hermione smiled from ear to ear. "Of course. Didn't I say that I like you too? I do find you attractive, Luna. I just never knew that you were a lesbian, or that you found me desirable. Otherwise, I think that would've happened sooner."

By now Luna's face was positively scarlet. She leaned forward again, possibly going for another kiss, when Ginny arrested her movement with one word.

"Fuck."

This startled all three of the girls.

Luna and Hermione were now very aware of Ginny's presence in the room. Ginny, on the other hand, wished she could shrink to the size of a mouse and run up the Christmas tree.

"Excuse me?" Hermione said to Ginny, who was staring shamefully at the floor. Luna could only gape at the flame-haired girl, whom she had very rarely heard swear. And at a time like this!

Slowly, Ginny raised her head. She began, "You know that many wizards and witches consider homosexuality to be illicit. I mean, there aren't any specific laws against it... but it's pretty much a taboo topic."

Luna and Hermione glanced at each other. Luna had an apprehensive, pained look on her face, but Hermione's features were stony. She couldn't believe she was hearing this jibber-jabber from someone as liberal-thinking as Ginny!

The bushy-haired girl made to say something, but Ginny dismissed her with a wave of her hand. "I'm not done. I'm going to have my say too."

Hermione nodded and waited, cool disdain apparent in her expression. Luna still looked like a frightened little rabbit, ready to hop away into the forest.

Ginny breathed deeply through her nose and let it out through her mouth. She set both girls in her line of vision, and began her confession. "You must know something about me. Something very important. I've... I've been questioning my sexual orientation."

At this, Hermione's and Luna's faces opened into similar miens of shock. Then Hermione gestured for Ginny to go on, and Luna too nodded, encouraging her friend to continue.

"I've been struggling with that part of my identity for years. I've never been too sure if I prefer boys to girls, or girls to boys. It's so muddy, so unclear to me, and I don't know why. There's no one in my family or circle of friends that I thought I could talk to about it, and anyway, I kind of knew it was a forbidden subject. So, maybe... if you guys are willing to help me... we could... fuck?"

The last word, again, sent Hermione's and Luna's thoughts walking down a dark path that tingled with sparking electricity.

"Or," Ginny suggested, "We could kiss a bit. I've never fucked a girl before, but then again I've never kissed one either... so we could start small."

There was a small period of silence. Hermione spoke first.

"Speaking for myself... I am a virgin. And, not to be impolite or turn down your offer, Ginny, but..."

The younger Gryffindor got the message and nodded. "Yeah, I understand, Hermione. What about...?" She trailed off.

Hermione considered. She certainly liked Ginny, more as a friend than a potential "mate", but she felt that she could kiss the girl if it would help solve Ginny's identity crisis.

Luna took Hermione's silent pondering as a moment to put in her two cents. "Ginny... in the past, I've liked you as I like Hermione now. I think my feelings transferred over to her when I saw how much more we had in common. Also... I never got the feeling that you were... gay. I think that I did get that feeling from Hermione, though." Luna shared a smile with her new-found love. "But if it will help you... and I do want to help you... I will... I will..."

Ginny's and Hermione's eyes widened as they figured out what Luna wanted to do.

"Luna," Ginny said, her eyes suddenly brimming with tears, "That's so... so... but, you're a virgin, aren't you?"

Luna tilted her head and gave a tiny nod. "Yes. But I never dreamed that I would be able to lose my flower to a girl, a person who I actually loved... or, rather, liked." Luna's face deepened in hue again.

Hermione faced Luna, studying her. The blonde was not frightened or shamed anymore. Her face showed her confidence. What a change had occurred in her, in this past hour. What a good change it would be.

"Are you sure about this, Luna?" Hermione asked the girl. "Once you do this, you're not going to be able to take it back."

"Yes, Hermione, I know." Luna answered, her cerulean eyes shiny and bright. "I am completely certain."

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

The trio snuck quietly into Ginny's room, which had been outfitted with two cots for Hermione and Luna. They pushed the cots together. They had decided, by unspoken mutual agreement, to participate in this activity together. All for one, and one for all.

Hermione shrugged out of her clothes first. The other two lay on the bed quietly, not touching each other just yet. Hermione tried to tease them a bit by pulling off her clothes slowly, but Ginny and Luna were not amused by Hermione's leisurely stripping and instead beckoned her to the enlarged bed. She played right into their hands and crawled over the blankets, trying to act like a seductive tigress, but Luna flipped her, pinned her down and kissed her while Ginny yanked off Hermione's skirt, tights, socks, sweater and shirt, taking care to stay out of Luna's way as she did so.

With Hermione in her bra and panties (which Luna thought were adorable and Ginny thought were matronly), the bushy-haired girl and the flame-haired girl attacked the blonde. Luna tried to remain silent throughout the process, but the nips and flowering kisses placed all over her body while Hermione wriggled her out of her garments caused her to giggle and squeak. Hermione found the noises endearing and told the blonde so, but Ginny shushed Luna with her mouth and her hands. After all, they didn't want to get caught in the act. And that made the act all the more deliciously enjoyable.

By the time Luna was down to her underwear (Hermione had taken off her bra and helped herself to Luna's nipples), Ginny was divested entirely of clothes, apparently too excited for the sex to wait for one of her partners to wrestle them off of her.

They began exploring each other's bodies, all of them kissing, licking and nipping various parts of the others, it didn't matter who or where.

Finally, all of them were naked, sweaty and panting even though they could see the snow falling thickly through Ginny's window.

They cooled off a bit, taking a breather before continuing to the actual act of coitus. This went on until... the inevitable.

"Um," Luna intoned, her pitch high and her voice breathless, "What do we do now?"

And this opened a floodgate of questions. And an embarrassed silence. Luna and Ginny, at a loss, looked to Hermione.

"Ah," Hermione started when she saw the two younger girls hoped she had some words of wisdom. "Well, I've read that, in the process of female-to-female intercourse, the females must use a phallic-shaped object in order to-"

"Hermione," Ginny interrupted her. "Use British-English please. We're not in some type of class, here. If we're going to do this, you're going to have to be in the moment. Just... relax."

Hermione grinned at her. "Ginny, this is how I normally speak."

Ginny stared at the brunette, her chest heaving and her red hair soaked with sticky sweat. "Good god. You have a very big stick up your ass, don't you?"

Luna gasped, ostensibly offended for Hermione's sake. The elder Gryffindor just shrugged. "I suppose, if you must put it that way. Now, as I was saying, we must acquire a phallic-shaped object in order to penetrate each other deeply, to get to the G-spot that's buried far inside our vaginal cavities. Or we could just stimulate each others' clitorises. That always works when masturbating, with me."

Luna nodded eagerly, instantly comprehending and agreeing with everything the brunette said. Ginny, however, looked less certain about Hermione's trove of knowledge.

"You make it sound so complicated, like we're doing open-heart healing or something. So, a phallic-shaped object, huh? You mean, the size and length of a penis?"

"Yes," Hermione affirmed.

Ginny's lips curled into a suggestive smile. "Wait here on the bed for me," she told them.

Then she jumped off the mattress, landing on the floor like a cat. Hermione and Luna watched Ginny's butt sway in the air as she scuttled with quiet precision across the floor to her dressing table.

"She has a very nice ass," Luna whispered to Hermione conspiratorially.

"Yes," Hermione concurred. "And have you noted that the upstairs matches the downstairs?"

Luna giggled. "Indeed I have."

The two kissed and would have moved on to naughtier deeds had Ginny not flopped on the bed five seconds later, startling them and breaking them apart.

"Got it," Ginny said, smirking and holding up a pink, seven inch long device. "This little baby right here has gotten me through some lonely nights. I only have one, but I wash it after every use, and I don't have any sexually transmitted diseases."

"So, this is what a penis looks like," Luna said, gingerly taking it from Ginny and running her fingers along the length of it. "I've never seen one before."

Hermione examined it when Luna passed it on to her. "Yes. It may be an artificial one, but it is a phallus nonetheless. This is of exceptional quality, too."

Ginny took Hermione's last thought and twisted it. "You mean, you've used one of a lesser caliber?"

Hermione shook her head. "No. I've never used one before, but I can tell this one is made to simulate a real penis's weight, form and size."

Ginny giggled and Luna smiled in that dreamy way of hers. When Hermione had concluded her inspection of the dildo, they decided that they had to warm each other up again. So Hermione placed the device on the bedside table, and all three of them took turns heating each other up. Again, it didn't matter who did what to whom or where. All that mattered was the ultimate goal: female intercourse, with help from a fake penis.

Luna, it turned out, didn't even need that much extra help. Within ten minutes, she had had her first orgasm in her life, and it was by Hermione's hands. While Ginny had been toying with Luna's clitoris, Hermione decided to slip her fingers inside of Luna and pump her until the point of release. And it had worked. Ginny and Hermione, excited by this new prospect, fingered each other with Luna watching. Ginny managed to achieve an orgasm; Hermione was left high and dry.

But since the brunette was already leaking salty, lubricative juice, Ginny chose to use the dildo on her. Luna, to add to Hermione's pleasure, feathered kisses on the top half of her body while Ginny worked on the bottom half.

Before long, Hermione too orgasmed.

Afterwards, with or without the dildo, they climaxed at least three times each. And then they collapsed on top of each other, sweat on their skin and exhaustion in their minds, and slept a deeply peaceful sleep.

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

The morning after, at the breakfast table, all of the other Weasleys (plus Harry) noted how happy and healthy the three girls looked. They were practically glowing.

And at the end of another long day, the three girls were sitting sprawled all over the shag rug in the romping room, in front of a merrily crackling fire.

The other Weasleys (and Harry) had gone up to bed half-an-hour before, and the trio were contentedly chatting about nothing in particular, when Ginny brought the subject up again.

"About last night," She began.

Hermione's and Luna's heads lifted from the rug, turning expectantly to her.

"I think I've figured it out," Ginny continued happily. "I'm straight as a wand."

Hermione and Luna broke out into happy smiles. They were glad for her, and told her so.

"Yeah, it is great and all," Ginny conceded to them after accepting their congratulations, "But... and don't quote me wrong on this... I think I'm going to need a little girl lovin' every once in a while. You know, just to keep on the 'straight' and narrow."

All three of them laughed loudly at Ginny's little joke.

"So," Ginny went on, "How does another round tonight sound?"

The elder Gryffindor and the Ravenclaw shared a look, and then turned back to the younger Gryffindor.

"That's a yes for me," Hermione said, standing up and smoothing down her jumper.

"I would like to assist you again too," Luna agreed, allowing Hermione to help her to her feet.

"Great." Ginny beamed, a dimple in each cheek and a twinkle in each eye. She jumped up and started to lead the way up the rickety staircase to her bedroom. "It keeps getting better."

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

For the record in this story:

Ginny's sexual orientation is Queer, or Questioning. She prefers to think of herself as Straight, however. This is due to the stigma surrounding homosexuality that she grew up with. Hermione is Bisexual. You may have picked up on that from the way she talks about being attracted to both girls and boys. She isn't necessarily enticed by boys and girls equally, though. I tend to think she likes boys better physically and girls better emotionally. Luna is full-on Lesbian.

So, there you go. I had a lot of fun writing this. I hope you had a lot of fun reading it. I plan to do more LGBTQ stories in the future. Thanks for reading!

One last thing. I must sing a song. Ahem.

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Twinzlover, Happy Birthday to you! Whee!