Harry, Ron thought miserably as he stared at his best friends conversing across the table. Harry. She likes Harry.
Well, of course she liked Harry. It figured, after all. He was the hero, and the hero always got the girl. The sidekick never got much of anything.
After all, they were just there to provide comedic entertainment.
Other than his occasional witty one-liners, Ron decided that he was pretty much pointless.
"Ron, what's gotten into you?" Hermione asked him, sounding a bit concerned. "You're being so quiet."
"Nothing," he responded stonily.
As if you even care, he added silently. Seeing as I'm not Harry and all.
"If you're sure," Hermione said, sounding thoroughly unconvinced as she turned back to Harry. However, moments later Ginny came over and sunk down in the seat next to Ron. Immediately, Harry's green eyes lit up, and he began to talk to Ginny, leaving Hermione forgotten.
Why did she want to fix them up if she likes Harry, anyway? he asked himself in confusion. Just trying to hide it, I suppose. Putting Ginny's happiness in front of her own...that's just like Hermione.
Hermione didn't look very affected at all at the fact that Harry was openly ignoring her to talk to Ginny. As a matter of fact, she just looked satisfied at having gotten them to speak to each other.
"Hermione," Ron said quietly. "Can I talk to you outside for a second?"
She looked a bit confused. "Sure, Ron."
The two of them walked side by side out of the Great Hall. As soon as they were in the main hall, Hermione asked, "What is it?"
"Er...Operation Midget and Giant is going pretty well, huh?" he asked weakly. "Even though it's more like Giant and Giant now."
Hermione nodded, a smile gracing her face. "They're actually talking...I do hope he asks her to the ball."
Mustering up his courage, Ron asked softly, "Doesn't it bug you at all?"
"What do you mean?" Hermione asked.
She shook her head. "No, not at all. They're both some of my best friends. I'd love for them to be happy."
"But...wouldn't you rather be with Harry?"
"No!" Hermione exclaimed at once, looking disgusted at the mere thought. "Where in the world did you get that idea??"
"You mean you don't like Harry?" Ron asked, feeling his heart leap within his ribcage.
"No, of course not," Hermione said. "How could you even think that?"
"Well, just something Malfoy said," Ron said, feeling incredibly stupid to have even believed him. "Dumb of me to listen."
"What did Malfoy say?" Hermione asked.
"Um...something about you being madly in love with one of your best friends," Ron recollected.
Hermione's cheeks immediately flushed dark pink, and she bit her bottom lip nervously.
"But you don't like Harry, right?" Ron confirmed.
"So it's not true?"
"Well," Hermione said awkwardly, studying the floor. "Not exactly."
What the bloody hell? Ron thought incredulously.
"Then who is i..."
His voice trailed off as realization struck him.
It was him.
It was him!
"I'm sorry," Hermione apologized abruptly, looking positively miserable. "I just...oh, Ron, I don't want to ruin our friendship! I'm so sorry! I know you're positively disgusted; I'm not pretty at all, and-"
"Hermione," Ron cut her off, taking her hand in his. "I'm madly in love with one of my best friends, too."
She looked completely shocked, but managed to say with a faint smile, "I hope it's not Harry."
Ron shook his head, grinning broadly.
Hermione smiled back. "I didn't think so."
"What do you reckon they're doing?" Harry asked interestedly, staring at Ron and Hermione's empty seats.
"I don't know," Ginny said. "Hopefully confessing their feelings about each other...it's about time."
Harry nodded in agreement. "I know. Do you have any idea how aggravating it's been, hanging out with those two constantly and for four years wanting nothing more than to shout 'ADMIT IT ALREADY!'?"
Ginny giggled. "I can imagine."
"We should get them together," Harry said.
"Yeah," Ginny agreed. "Operation...Know-It-All and Quidditch-Obsessive."
"Sounds like a plan," Harry laughed. "They'd better go to the Seventh Years' Ball together or I'll hurt the both of them."
"So," Ginny said, trying to sound casual. "Are you going to the ball with anyone?"
"No," Harry responded. "Er...you?"
"Nope," Ginny said.
"So, maybe do you want to go together?" Harry asked nervously.
"Sure," Ginny smiled. "I'd like that a lot."
She silently added, Eat your heart out, Malfoy.
"Great," Harry grinned.
"Yeah," Ginny agreed, blushing.
"Now all we've got to do is get Ron and Hermione to go together," declared Harry.
"I don't think that will be much of a problem," Ginny responded, pointing towards the entrance to the Great Hall.
Ron was muttering something to Hermione, who was smiling in return. Their fingers were entwined, arms swinging lightly as they walked.
"Aww!" squealed Ginny in girlish delight as the two reached the table and sank down next to each other.
"So, Ron," Harry said with a smile. "D'you have a date for the ball yet?"
"As a matter of fact, yes," Ron returned slyly. "How about you?"
"You know that if you do anything to upset Ginny, you answer to me," Ron informed him, then realized that Harry was indeed taller than him now. "How I miss it way back when-"
"When you could squish me like a bug," Harry finished.
"It was smoosh," Hermione corrected him.
Harry opened his mouth to reply when the unwelcome drawl of Draco Malfoy interrupted him.
"And you're all living happily ever after, I suppose?" he sneered.
"Yeah, actually," Ron responded with a forced smile. "And really, Malfoy, it's all thanks to you."
Malfoy looked absolutely revolted at the prospect of causing anyone's 'happily ever after', and with a disgusted grunt, he turned and walked back towards the Slytherin table, leaving them all to live, well, you guessed it.
Happily ever after.
(That is, at least until Hermione and Ron began to argue five minutes later and Harry accidentally spilled a pitcher of orange juice on Ginny...but let's just leave it at happily ever after, shall we?)