A/N: Ginny and Harry are together. It is the result
of a story I didn’t yet write. It is in my head, and you’ll simply have
to trust me. As a result, Ginny and Hermione are closer than before,
and Ginny is very confident- she’s blossomed now AND we don’t see her
blushing and stammering.
Hermione Granger leaned back in her favorite chair
in her favorite corner of the Gryffindor common room. Heaps of books
formed a very effective barrier to the rest of the chamber, and she
had her 1001 Dark Curses and How to Defend Against Them propped
against two of the larger piles. Despite the large amount of homework
she needed to do, she simply wasn’t concentrating.
Her hand went to her forehead, rubbing her temples
and pushing her bushy bangs back. She exhaled slowly, her eyes shifting
to the tower window to her right, the one that overlooked the Quidditch
“None of that, Granger,” the voice inside her
head said sternly. “You have work to do! Midterm exams are only a
few weeks away! And you’ve Potions homework! Don’t think about anything
– anyone - else!” Hermione frowned, and told herself she’d manage
it – she always did. She was the cleverest witch in her year, wasn’t
she? “Apparently not very clever with boys, are you?” the voice
asked. Hermione felt as though someone had punched her. Darn him
anyway. Boys are silly!
Just then several
fourth year students burst through the portrait hole, laughing and jostling
each other. Evidently some joke or another was making the rounds. Ginny
Weasley was giggling along with her classmates as she glanced toward
Hermione’s corner. Her brown eyes took in the older girl’s stormy expression,
glancing at the books before shifting to the window. Hermione watched
the girl with the familiar shade of red hair make her way over as several
students headed into the bedchamber towers.
“Hello, Ginny,” she began, as her friend reached her.
Ginny grinned as she returned the greeting. “What’s
going on, Hermione? I figured you to be in the library, since Harry
and Ron are at Quidditch practice.”
The older girl’s eyes shifted almost imperceptively
to the window. “I, well, I decided that I would study here tonight.
It’s closer to my books, of course. I wasn’t sure which ones I might
One red, perfectly groomed eyebrow shot up. The look
out the window was indeed almost unnoticeable, but Ginny was very astute.
“Hermione, the library has any book you could need... and I saw the
look out the window. Come on now, I of all people know the signs.”
“What signs?” Hermione asked innocently, as her stomach
bottomed out. I shouldn’t have had that trifle at dinner, she
thought, blaming her stomach butterflies on the dessert.
Ginny rolled her eyes in an achingly familiar, achingly
Weasley way, and looked pointedly at the window. “Do you suddenly
care for Quidditch, Hermione? Or has my silly brother’s position at
Keeper got something to do with you wanting to keep an eye on the field?
Come on now. I’ve had years of experience with silent longing.”
Hermione had the good grace to blush, and she closed
her eyes briefly. Just talk to her. She knows anyway. What are you
going to do, pour your heart out to Parvati? Opening them, she said,
“Ginny, I don’t know what to do.... I....” her hand went to her throat
as if to help clear the lump that had suddenly attached to her larynx,
making further speech nearly impossible.
Pulling out her wand, Ginny pointed to a blue armchair
and commanded, “Accio.” The chair drew itself up near Hermione,
behind the mountain of books that had been so carefully constructed.
Ginny put a comforting hand on Hermione’s arm, knowing exactly how she
felt. Sympathetic eyes found tortured ones. “Hermione, my brother is
an idiot, like Harry.”
Hermione chanced a quick look at Ginny, something akin
to anguish in her eyes. “But Harry,... well... and, this summer... you
know, but Ron...” she trailed.
“Yeah, I know,” Ginny grinned at a sudden memory of
a silent, prone Harry pushing a lock of hair away from her cheek as
she bent over him. After years of angst, Harry had finally noticed that
Ginny was a girl, and a very cute one at that. It had taken getting
knocked off of his Firebolt by the fiery fifteen year old to make him
realize it, however. “But Harry is different from Ron. He’s more damaged,
sort of. But stronger too. And not such an idiot. I don’t know why you
like my brother, really Hermione, but you’ve got to take matters
into your own hands! He’s oblivious to the fact that he’s crazy about
Hermione’s eyes widened. “You can’t really think that’s
true, Ginny. I … he doesn’t... I mean, he hasn’t ever... he’s never
done anything that would give me that idea....”
“Nothing? What do you call that outburst at the Yule
ball? And his whole attitude about Viktor?”
Hermione pulled a wry grin. “But he’s never said that
“But nothing, Hermione, trust me. I live with
the git. I know him rather well.”
Hermione brightened slightly, thinking for a moment.
She screwed up her mouth, wrinkled her nose, and seemed to come to a
decision. She exhaled a long breath. “So, what should I do, then?” she
asked, blushing, because she was afraid Ginny would think she was too
eager. A sudden thought plagued her. “You wouldn’t tell Ron, would you?
Or even Harry? I would die of humiliation.”
Ginny grinned conspiratorially. “Are you kidding? We
witches have to stick together. What you need to do is go that extra
mile, you know, get some new robes and maybe paint your nails or something.”
“But, you knocked Harry off his broom, you didn’t try
to change yourself for him. I don’t want to look too obvious...” Hermione
began, looking skeptical. “That sort of thing just isn’t me,
“It was you at the Yule ball! Look, I don’t
mean to say that you ought to be someone else. Just do something that
calls attention to yourself without making you uncomfortable. I know
you’d never ask him out, but it wouldn’t hurt to walk next to him, would
“Or perhaps send him a Valentine?” Hermione teased.
“It’s not Feb- Hermione!” Ginny squealed, blushing.
“That is so embarrassing.... then again, it kind of worked, in the end!”
Laughing, the girls almost didn’t hear the portrait
swing open, but they couldn’t mistake the deep voices as the boys in
question stepped through the hole. Ginny grinned at Harry, who smiled
back easily – a familiar smile that was coming less often, now that
Voldemort was back. Hermione, meeting Ron’s eyes, blushed furiously,
sure that he knew what she and Ginny had just been talking about. Can
he read it in my eyes? Can he see we were just talking about him? Oh
no, oh no, her little inner voice squeaked. Say something. She
looked down and began to gather her books. “Nice practice?” she mumbled.
It was Harry who answered her query. “Great! We’re
going to win the Cup this year! I’m sure of it!” He slung one arm around
Ginny and ruffled her hair.
Meanwhile Ron was staring at his shoes, the tips of
his ears bright red. Hermione thought it was quite odd, but she decided
that Ron was embarrassed at Harry’s pronouncement.
“We at Hogwarts like to move with the times,” Dumbledore
was saying, as Ginny rushed into the Great Hall. She was late for breakfast
again, and she squeezed into the Gryffindor table across from Hermione
and between Harry and George. “We have always had a Halloween feast;
this year, the feast will have a bit of a twist. Since it is a Saturday
night, and we’ve no classes on Saturday, we’ll have the traditional
feast followed by a Halloween party – costumes required.” Over the groans
of several students, he continued. “Muggles have for generations worn
disguises at Halloween,” he glanced briefly at Professor Snape, who
looked disgusted, “and I think it sounds like a bit of fun.” Slytherin
table began to murmur and groan, and Dumbledore turned toward them with
narrowed eyes. “I intend to go to the party as Wade Fraley, who won
the Nobel Prize in Magic last year – students who do not wish to participate
may choose to take dinner in their common rooms.” With that he sat down,
a cue for the students to begin breakfast.
Hermione could almost hear Malfoy’s smirk as he spat
out, “Better that than follow Muggles in anything.” She herself, being
Muggle-born, was quite familiar with the custom of dressing up for Halloween.
It wasn’t as popular in England as she knew it to be in America, and
in Scotland it was a popular holiday, if not quite for children. But
a large number of Muggles tended to dress as witches, and wizarding
children who dressed up on Halloween tended to go to parties as Harry
Potter – and that was certainly out!
“Bit old, aren’t we,” Ginny stammered. Hermione barely
heard the youngest Weasley as her mind raced – it was only two weeks
to Halloween! How would she ever come up with a costume in time?
Harry grinned. “At least it isn’t a ball. It’ll be
fun. Never got a chance to dress as I pleased on Halloween. Always got
Dudley’s hand-down costumes,” he finished, stuffing a forkful of steamed
tomato into his mouth.
Hermione chanced a sidelong look in Ron’s direction,
a couple of chairs down the table from her. He was looking at Harry.
Hermione guessed why, and laughed, “Oh, honestly, Ron!”
He caught her eyes, grinning ruefully. His
shrug told Hermione he couldn’t help being protective, she was
his little sister, no matter how old or happy she was. Hermione grinned,
and it was like old times, raeding Ron’s mind. Then Ron suddenly flushed,
and looked away.
Hurt, but all the more determined, Hermione picked
up a slice of toast and her bulging bookbag. “Ginny,” she said, “would
you meet me in the common room after your Potions class?” Ginny nodded
her agreement as the brunette continued, “I have to go, I’ve got double
Arithmancy this morning, and I don’t want to be late.”
Ron looked at his pocket watch. It was at least twenty
minutes too early for her to leave the table. Guess she caught you
staring at her. But damn it! Why’d she have to be so cute when she grinned?
This is all her fault. Can’t act normal anymore. She’s just Hermione!
He sighed. Maybe I should try to find out what
she and Ginny were on about. Wait… Ginny’s Potions ends half hour after
Quidditch practice starts. It looks as if I won’t out find today, anyway
– Katie’d kill me if I were late to practice! Ron picked up a piece
of toast and slathered it with marmalade. He took a big bite, and glanced
at Harry and Ginny. They’re happy enough. Nice to see Harry smiling…
Ginny intercepted his stare this time. “Why the long
face, big brother?” she asked.
Ron flushed, grumbling, “Goes with the long body.”
George laughed. “Don’t you know what’s wrong with him,
“I do, but I don’t think he does,” the youngest
Weasley told her brother. “Now shut up, you prat.”
Hermione lay stomach-down in her bed, waiting for Ginny.
Her head was propped in her hands, and she was actually daydreaming
about Halloween. Lavender and Parvati were sprawled on Parvati’s bed,
talking about something – Hermione simply wasn’t listening to them.
A tall red-headed boy approached her, wearing a
musketeer costume from seventeenth-century France. She was wearing a
long, ice blue gown, rich with decoration – like something a princess
would wear. They were both masqued in those elaborate, feathered concoctions
usually reserved for Carnival in Venice. The red head took her hand
– perfectly manicured – and led her toward a long table. He handed her
a drink, and touched her chin softly. “Hermione,” he whispered, and
it wasn’t a question.
“How’d you know who I was?”
“I’d know you anywhere,” he answered. The musketeer
took her goblet from her hand, pulled her close, and –
“HERMIONE!” Lavender shouted, breaking her reverie.
She looked up, finding her two roommates and Ginny standing there staring
at her. Lavender started giggling.
“No use asking you where your mind was, is there?”
Parvati grinned. “Although I could guess.”
Ginny was smiling. “Come on, Hermione, scoot over.”
Ginny scrambled up onto the bed and asked the fifth year girls, “So,
what are you going to be for Halloween?”
Parvati and Lavender sat on Lavender’s bed, which was
nearest to Hermione’s. “I’m going as Shiva,” Parvati said. “That’s a
Hindu goddess. She’s the Destroyer of Worlds. It’s going to be fantastic.
My Mum has the gear at home as she used it a few years ago for her Halloween
“That’s a lovely idea, Parvati, you’ll look fantastic
– and you might be able to teach us all something about your culture.
I haven’t been able to come up with anything really good. What are you
going to be, Ginny?” Hermione asked.
“Well, it was Harry’s idea, really. He’s going as the
Mad Muggle Martin Miggs and I’m going as Muriel Miggs.” Ginny colored
sweetly. “Uh, you know…”
“His WIFE!” Lavender was laughing again. “Oh. I don’t
mean to make fun at all, I think it’s sweet! I don’t know what I’m going
to do, either. I thought about going as a bottle of butterbeer. That
would be really unflattering, though, so I’m trying to come up with
Hermione flopped back on her back. “I don’t have time
for this! I’ve got an Arithmancy essay to finish and I really should
be studying memory potions for our N.E.W.T.s. I just want to choose
something and be done with it.” She pressed a hand to her eyes and made
a disgusted sound with her mouth.
“How about…” Ginny trailed off, thinking.
“Pirates. No, how about… a vampire? Or a veela?” Parvati
interjected. Hermione sat up.
“That would be a miracle! How could we pull off being
veela?” Lavender snorted. “But I could see the vampire idea working.
Oh, Hermione, can I have that one!?” Lavender had jumped up, excited.
Hermione shuddered. She’d avoid anything that
involved huge teeth. She’d enough of that, thank you. “Go ahead, Lavender,
I’ll think of something. Maybe…”
“Marie Antoinette!” Ginny had nearly shouted.
Suddenly Hermione’s vision came back to her. She could
see it! A long golden dress, very tight on the top, with a corset-like
shape, a large skirt, lots of decorations, very rich fabric… powdered,
tall white wig, masque, heavy make-up …
“Perfect!” she smiled, jumping off the bed. “Ginny,
let’s go to the library and look for some pictures of her.” She grabbed
Gunny’s hand and pulled her up. “I’m sorry to rush off, girls, I’ve
got some research to do.”
Hermione found just the picture she needed in
a book called Magic and the History of France. She decided to
owl her mother right away. “Mum’s got a dress she used to be Queen Elizabeth,
and my Gran sews, so maybe they can come up with something,” she commented
Ginny grinned. “You’re going to look beautiful!… This
is the perfect opportunity, Hermione… I mean, to make Ron notice… You
know, without being uncomfortable…”
Hermione smiled. “But do you think it will really work?”
“He’ll never know what hit him.”
Hermione had gone to the owlery, back to the tower
to get her schoolbooks, and had headed to the library to do some homework
by the time Ron and Harry made it back to the common room after practice.
Harry sat down near the chair that Ron had taken; both boys were exhausted.
“Stupid idea of Dumbledore’s, eh, Harry?” Ron grumbled
for approximately the 999th time since breakfast.
Harry grinned; he had a good idea why Ron was in such
a foul mood, and it had nothing to do with the announcement at
breakfast. “Ginny and me are going as the Mad Muggles. What are you
going to come up with?”
Ron groaned. “I’ve NO idea. I haven’t got anything
that would do for a costume. Maybe I’ll go as Percy.”
Harry laughed. “Just borrow his big-head boy badge
and you’ll be set.”
Ron sat up in his chair, elbows on his knees and chin
propped in his hands. “No, I want to do something really good… Maybe
I’ll go as Jack the Ripper, that’s good and terrifying.”
“Yeah, but no one knows who he was, and no one knows
what he looked like.”
“Harry, you don’t believe that bloody rot! You haven’t
read any wizard history, have you?”
Harry looked confused. “Only when we were doing that
research first year, and what we’ve done in Binns’ class.”
“You ought to check out Mass Wizarding Murderers
from the library,” Ron commented, a kind of maniacal smile on his face.
(A/N: Honestly, boys are so bloodthirsty! I couldn’t help him saying
it, he just did, I promise. And that look was on his face!)
“Was Jack the Ripper a wizard then?” Harry asked.
“Of course! Why do you think the ridiculous Muggle
police never caught him, but yet he stopped killing? He was a nutter,
that one. Name of, oh, what was it… Oh yeah, William Graves, if you
can believe that one. Mental. Wizard police put him in St. Mungo’s and
kept him there. He was dangerous, but completely crazy. Ate one of his
victim’s kidneys. Even if they were Muggle street walkers…” Ron
broke off, and shuddered. “I think he’d had some kind of romance with
a Muggle woman who’d broken it off when he told her, you know, about
his being a wizard… he went mad, seriously. Started cutting women up,
not even magically killing them, wanted to do it with his own hands.
Then he’d just apparate, and leave the police to figure out the mess
Harry had looked really fascinated with the story.
“I have to go get that book. Meet you at dinner, then?” he said
as he looked at his watch and started for the portrait door.
“But I still don’t…” Ron began, trailing off as the
portrait closed behind Harry, “…have a costume.”
Maybe the Ripper costume would work… but would people
know who I was? I guess the Muggle-borns wouldn’t. Or maybe if I dressed
with that top hat and a long cloak, kind of dapper…
Ron was still thinking about his costume, wondering
where he was going to get a butcher knife, when Hermione came through
the door, carrying her heavy book bag.
“Hello Ron,” she said, sitting down in the chair Harry
had vacated. She put her bag on the floor and propped her feet on it.
“Er… where’s Harry?”
Ron’s ears turned a lovely shade of rose. “’lo, Hermione.
He went to the library. You didn’t pass him on your way up?”
“Honestly, Ron,” Hermione rolled her eyes, “there’s
more than one way to get to the library. Maybe if you went there more
often you’d know it.” Hermione blushed suddenly. That’s nice, Hermione,
Ron’s eyes narrowed. “Just because you spend all your
time down there doesn’t mean the rest of us want to be boring,”
he returned. That’s right nice, Ron.
Hermione turned her head away, hurt. She knew she’d
started it, but still… she wasn’t really boring him, was she? As tears
welled up, she picked up her groaning bookbag and hoisted it onto her
shoulder. “As I am so boring, I think I’ll go up to my room.”
Ron rubbed his temple with the thumb and forefinger
of his right hand. “Not coming to dinner?”
“Boring people don’t need to eat. We just study!” On
the last word, her voice broke, and Hermione fled up the girls’ staircase.
“Damn it,” Ron said to no one in particular.
Up in her room, Hermione let the tears come. The frustration
over Ron and the strain of everything poured out of her. She
reckoned she was overreacting, but she didn’t care. Why was he
such a, such a boy? She lay on her side in her bed, Crookshanks
curled up next to her, and let all the hurt of the past three years
fall onto her pillow.
Ron stirred his soup absentmindedly. Girls. What
Harry watched Ron through speculative eyes. “Where’s
Hermione, Ron?” he asked, curiously.
“How should I know?” his best mate exploded. “I don’t
keep up with her, and I don’t care where she is!”
Harry’s eyebrow lifted. Mischief replaced the speculation,
and Harry commented, “Oh, really? I was just asking, but… you know what
they say. ‘Methinks thou dost protest too much.’”
Ginny giggled. George guffawed, and Fred fell laughing
to the floor. Several other Gryffindors watched as the Ron’s ears turned
red. “I don’t know what you are on about, Harry, but you can forget
“What, that your girlfriend is mad at you again?”
Fred asked through his laughter.
“My girl- Fred, you’re mad!” Ron looked astonished.
Imagine! My Girlfriend! That’s just... that’s just silly!
“Oi Ron, admit you fancy her!” George demanded.
“Shut up, the both of you, or I’ll tell Mum about the
Wheezes.” Fred and George had been selling their wizarding jokes all
year at school, despite Molly’s express command that they cease until
they’d left school.
“Oh Ron,” Ginny sighed, “Please, can’t you just put
us all out of our collective misery? And just where is she anyway? She
said she’d see me at dinner.”
Ron’s eyes narrowed. “Last I saw her she was going
up the stairs to her room. Now let me alone.”
And remarkably, they did just that.
For the next week, Ron and Hermione refused to speak
to one another. Harry thought it was worse than third year, when they
were fighting over Scabbers’ supposed death, because it was so obvious
that they were both miserable about whatever had happened. They refused
to even talk to Harry about it; but that didn’t stop them trying to
get him to take sides. “She’s awful, Harry, she has been since first
year,” and “Really Harry, he’s just so lazy and hateful, honestly I
don’t know how you can still be friends with him.” They were going to
drive him nutters; never mind Jack the Ripper.
The Monday before the Halloween feast, two great grey
owls dropped a large, lumpy package near Hermione’s breakfast plate.
“It’s arrived!” she exclaimed, talking animatedly to Ginny. “Oh, I wish
we had time before classes…”
“We do. Take your toast and let’s go back to the tower!”
Ginny said as she stood. “See you later,” she called over her shoulder
to Harry as she hustled Hermione out the door.
Harry exchanged a glance with Ron, who had been pretending
not to notice the package or the exit of his sister and his… his friend.
Harry shrugged; Ron gave him a lopsided grin.
Taking advantage of Ron’s good mood, Harry took the
opportunity to ask, “When are you two going to make up?”
“What, Hermione and me?” Ron asked, although he knew
the answer. Without a pause, he continued. “I guess I’ll try to patch
it up today or tomorrow, if she gives me a chance. It’s hard work, ignoring
Hermione. More trouble than it’s worth.”
“That’s brilliant, Ron, really, it’s a pain when you
two fight,” Harry grinned. “And you miss her, so you’re grumpy.”
“Harry, shut up,” Ron groaned.
Meanwhile, in Hermione’s room, the girls had the package
unwrapped and the contents lay across the bed. The dress was a good
approximation of a 18th century Muggle gown; it had a bell shaped skirt,
a very tight bodice, and long sleeves. The velvet fabric was a rich
golden hue, with touches of pale gold and white. It was trimmed with
beads that looked like amethyst. Mrs. Granger had also sent a powdered
wig she’d bought in a Muggle shop and a golden half masque that would
cover Hermione’s face between her hair-line and the tip of her nose.
Hermione’s own cloak and a lace fan she’d gotten in Belgium on a vacation
with her parents would complete the look.
The girls squealed with delight, oohing and ahhing
over every detail, until it was time to go to class.
As they went down the stairway, Hermione said, “It
will be perfect.”
“Ron won’t be able to resist you,” Ginny added.
“Oh, him. Well… I suppose I will have to start talking
to him again, if I’m going to try to, well, make him notice me,” she
Ginny just shook her head.
It wasn’t until after dinner in the common room that
Ron and Hermione had a chance to patch things up. She was doing a Potions
essay; Ron was talking to Harry about the first match of the year. Ginny
came in – she’d had detention with Snape – and sat in Harry’s lap.
Ron, wincing, said, “Can’t you take that elsewhere?
I don’t care if you date my sister, Harry, but do you have to… you know…
nearly snog in public all the time?”
Hermione tutted from behind her Arithmancy textbook.
“What are you on about, Hermione?” Ron asked, moving
to the chair next to hers.
“Harry…” Ginny mumbled, nodding toward the portrait
hole. She slid off his lap and dragged him up by the arm.
“Uh, right. Uh, Ron, uh… we have to go,” Harry murmured,
although Ron wasn’t paying them the least attention.
Hermione put down the book and looked at Ron. “What
do you care if they snog? Don’t you want Harry happy?”
“Course, I do, Hermione… but… and it isn’t that I mind
he and Ginny being together… but there is just an ick factor, you know,
she’s my sister.”
She took a deep breath. “I’m sorry, Ron, I misunderstood…
I…” she broke off, and looked at her hands. “Maybe I do that too often,
“I’m sorry too, I shouldn’t have said that about, you
know, studying. I don’t know…” His ears were a delightful shade of magenta
as he tried to find the words. “I don’t know why I explode all the time,
anyway I’m sorry.”
Hermione rewarded his effort with a broad smile. “Oh
Ron! I hate to fight with you!” she exclaimed.
“So,” he began.
“Er,” she said.
“Erm, are you going to the feast, then?”
“Yes, I am. How about you?”
“Reckon I will. Harry’s going as the Mad Muggle.”
“That’s what Ginny told me.”
“What’s your costume, then?”
“I want to surprise you and Harry. So I’m not telling.”
“Oh, come on, you can tell me! I won’t tell him,” Ron
pleaded, curiosity lighting his eyes. “Please?” he put his hand on her
knee. She almost told him then. He was hard to resist, and every rational
thought seemed to have fled.
Ron’s. Hand. Is. On. My. Knee. Hermione flushed,
her heart swelled so that it might burst if he didn’t remove his hand.
Or if he did remove it.
Er… How’d that get there? Ron thought. Um… how can I leave it there? No!
I did not just think that. Must …remove… hand… now.
He casually sat back, his hand leaving her knee. “Well?
I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.”
“No, Ron, really.”
“Mine’s really good. Come on, give us a hint.”
They were grinning then as several seventh year students
By Thursday, the entire school (except Slytherin house)
was abuzz with thoughts of the costume party. Ron and Hermione had reverted
to short, stammering sentences and blushing whenever they got within
fifteen feet of one another. Harry and Ginny simply shook their heads,
glad they, at least, had gotten the point. In the common room,
a scant forty-eight hours before the Big Event, Gryffindors of all ages
were speculating on costumes. Most people were keeping their costume
choices quiet, as Dumbledore had hinted that there might be a contest
worth fifty Galleons and a case of butterbeer to the best costume.
Ginny and Hermione were in Ginny’s room, trying on
costumes and gossipping.
“Ginny, you look…” Hermione broke off, unable to put
what she was thinking into words. “You’re… priceless!” Since
she was Muggle-born, she found Ginny’s costume particularly funny. The
younger girl was dressed in a brown plaid skirt that was at least two
sizes to big, a hot pink halter top, and a pair of yellow sneakers.
“Wait ‘till I get this wig on,” she laughed, holding
up an electric blue wig. She flipped her head over and pulled on the
wig over her short copper curls. She righted herself, looked in the
mirror, and burst out laughing. “Oh, my god, this is awful! It’s perfect!”
Hermione was laughing so hard she was in tears.
Once they’d regained their composure, Ginny prodded
Hermione to try on her costume.
Hermione pulled the golden dress over her hips and
turned around for Ginny to zip it up. Turning back around, she smoothed
the velvet over her flat stomach, admiring the fit in the mirror. “It’s
remarkable,” she pointed out, “that my Gran can make alterations only
knowing my measurements. I mean, I wasn’t there to try it on, but…”
“It’s perfect, Hermione,” Ginny breathed, very pleased.
“Oh, you’d going to be the belle of the ball!”
Hermione pulled the tall white wig on over her bushy
brunette hair. “Oh, it’s just what I imagined!” she exclaimed.
“You need some jewelry, though,” Ginny commented. “A
necklace, a really elaborate one, and a tiara.”
“Do you think I can get a fake one in Hogsmeade Saturday?”
“Probably. There is that accessories shop there, they’ve
always got lots of fun things.”
“Great.” She paused. “Um, Ginny… do… Do you think Ron
will like it?”
“Are you mad, Hermione? Of course he will.”
Saturday dawned fair and cold, and the first Hogsmeade
weekend of the term was a fantastic way to divert the students from
the impending evening. The Three Broomsticks was full of Hogwarts staff
and students. Harry, Ron and Hermione, and Ginny shared a large table
with Lavender and Seamus. It was nearly three hours until feast time
when Lavender stood up, saying, “I think I’ll head back. Lots of preparation
to do if I want to win.”
“Wait, we’ll come with you,” Hermione added, glancing
The Great Hall looked fantastic. The starry ceiling
cast a pale glow over the hall, the castle ghosts provided a bit of
ambiance, and the hangings had been changed to orange and black in honour
of the holiday.
Harry was wearing a pair of tartan pants and an orange
polo shirt. He looked the part of a mad Muggle. Ron, on the other hand,
had borrowed an old black half-coat and top-hat from his Uncle Finnius
via owl-post. He wore a plain white shirt and a pair of black trousers;
he carried a dragon-headed cane (borrowed from Bill) and a large stainless
steel knife that Professor McGonagall had charmed to be harmless when
she’d given him permission to carry it around. Both boys’ costumes were
very good, but Ron thought secretly that he looked rather more dashing
than Harry. Especially in that awful costume.
When they arrived in the Great Hall, they were astonished
to find that the usual large House tables had been replaced with a number
of smaller, round tables. The hall was draped in black, lights twinkled
from the star-lit ceiling, and roaring fires made it warm and inviting.
Harry and Ron took a table. Harry’d seen Ginny’s costume, but when she
arrived with it on, he was glad to be sitting down. He’d had
the breath knocked out of him. She was, her – well, those robes sure
covered a lot of Ginny!
But it was Ron who was stunned. Ginny had arrived with
a goddess, and it wasn’t Shiva (who was obviously Parvati, Ron
thought). Which fourth year was that golden vision of a girl? It was
hard to tell in the mask and wig. But… she was heading his way.
“Hello, Ron,” Hermione’s voice came from the goddess.
“Er… Hermione?” he replied, a bit dumbfounded, grateful
to be able to even catch a breath. She was beautiful.
“Yes, Ron… What do you think of Marie Antoinette?”
“That’s who you… wow, it’s an amazing costume.”
Her face fell a bit. Somehow, he’d said the wrong thing.
“Er, Hermione, you look fantastic, Different from the usual.” That
wasn’t right either! Now she looked really upset.. “I mean, you
always look nice but tonight you look great…”
Hermione smiled, letting him off the hook. She could
see he was trying, and after all, he was only a boy.
“Thanks, Ron, er, I think.” She sat down.
Harry had pulled Ginny into his lap. “Hey, I have to
have my own chair. I have to eat!” Harry responded by feeding her a
Ron and Hermione were trying very hard not to look
at each other. Without meeting his eyes, Hermione murmured, “Um, nice
costume Ron… who are you?”
“William Graves, Hermione,” he answered.
“Don’t tell me you don’t know who he is! Wait Harry,
mark it down. Hermione doesn’t know something,” Ron exclaimed.
“Ron! Just tell me who it is. You can gloat later.”
“Muggles call him Jack the Ripper.”
Hermione’s eyebrows rose. “You had to pick something
horrible! A murderer! But why’d you call him, what was it?”
“Will Graves. Wizard. Muggles never caught him.”
“Really? That’s fascinating. I never thought of all
those unsolved Muggle crimes that wizards might have done. I really
should do some reading…” Hermione caught Ginny’s eye and recognized
that perhaps, right now wasn’t the moment to be talking about studying.
“Er, well anyway you look nice. Rather smashing actually.”
Ron grinned. “I look good! And since
you’re the best looking girl in the room, we make a good pair.”
Hermione’s eyes were big. What did he mean by that
remark? Us, a pair? What does that mean? She was saved from a reply
by the appearance of plates of food in front of them.
Ron was dying. I cannot believe I said that to her,
he thought, blushing slightly. He was saved from meeting her eyes by
the arrival of the feast, but Harry, sitting across the table, caught
his eye and raised a brow inquisitively. Ron looked down as his ears
turned red. Luckily, his top-hat covered them, or he’d have given himself
Ron leaned back and put his napkin on the table. “That
was brilliant, nearly better than Christmas,” he commented.
Harry grinned. “You keep eating like that and you won’t
be able to fly!
Ginny giggled. “All of the Weasleys are blessed with
fantastic metabolisms. You won’t have to worry. Besides, Ron’s awfully
skinny. I should think he should gain a few pounds so he could take
a Bludger to anywhere other than his hard head.”
Ron picked up his napkin, throwing it at her head.
Harry caught it easily as Hermione primly laid her napkin on the table.
“Now what?” She asked.
“Well, I guess maybe there will be some music?” Ginny
proposed as the empty plates disappeared.
Dumbledore stood at the front of the Great Hall in
a very odd cloak. His long hair was neatly cropped close to his head,
and he had no beard, but it was obvious that he was dressed as some
kind of Muggle scientist. “May I have your attention, please? If you
would all remove yourselves from your table, we will rearrange the room
for a bit of dancing and some other activities.” Students moved quickly
to comply. The round tables transformed into much smaller tables,
arranged themselves with two or three chairs against the walls. Music
began to filter through the Hall (magically, of course). The students
took new seats, and Harry and Ginny were among the first on the dance
floor (mostly because Ginny liked dancing. Harry was reluctant to repeat
the Yule Ball episode, but he’d do just about anything to please Ginny).
Ron and Hermione found themselves alone, at a small
table for two near the back wall of the Great Hall. Ron didn’t know
why, but Hermione sort of did. After all, it was her plan.
“So,” Ron said. Hermione was staring at the dance floor.
Ron thought, she sure is cute. Wait. Did I just think… yeah. Yeah,
I did. Hermione is cute. No, she’s pretty, really pretty, and smart.
And she looks great. And…
The girl in question had screwed up her face into a
look Ron had learned to fear. It was her determined look.
Well, here goes. Just remain calm. He’s your friend.
It’s perfectly logical that you might… “Ron, would you like to dance?”
Ron was stunned. That certainly was a bit different
from what he was used to hearing from her when she got that look.
Hermione died a thousand deaths as the seconds passed.
Ron’s mouth hung open and he had a sort of glazed look on his face.
“Never mind then, it wasn’t…”
“No.” He finally managed to squeak out. “I mean, no,
not never mind,” he said, a bit more forcefully. “I’d… I’d love to dance,
if you still want to.”
Hermione smiled, a smile that met her eyes and made
Ron feel like – like the only guy in the world. And then he stood up
and extended his hand to her, and led her to the dance floor. Somehow,
he knew just what to do. One hand settled on her waist and one held
her hand. Her other hand settled upon his shoulder. They danced in silence
for several minutes until, “I didn’t know you could dance. I mean, you
didn’t last year…”
“Didn’t want to dance last year, Hermione. But
Mum taught us all to dance. Made us learn.” He grimaced at the memory.
“Worked out, after all… I guess Mum was right.” He smiled. “You dance
as well as you do everything else, don’t you?”
Hermione smiled that smile again. And then the
music changed, slowed… He dropped the hand he was holding and pulled
her closer with both hands on her waist. She made a small noise, and
her free hand found his shoulder, then crept round to meet her other
hand at the back of his neck.
Ron tucked her into the crook of his neck, her forehead
against his collar, and put both hands around her back, pulling her
nearly flush with his body. Suddenly thinking that might not be a good
idea, he set her back away from him for a moment, looking down into
her eyes. “You seem different tonight…” he said. “No, no you don’t.
I just,” he looked, unseeing, to her left, his face flushed like he’d
been at Quidditch practice a little too long. He took a chance and met
her eyes again, and decided that if he didn’t kiss her now, he’d
go as mad as Martin Miggs.
Hermione met Ron’s eyes as he stumbled around for words
and knew her plan had worked. What she didn’t know was whether Ron knew
it had worked. At that moment, his eyes changed. His pupils dilated,
his breathing became a little shallow… and then he leaned in, an inch
closer, an inch closer, as she stood nearly on her tiptoes, and he kissed
She kissed him back. The sensation was like flying,
only better… This she could do forever, this kissing Ron, Hermione
thought. His lips were softer than she imagined they might be, and she
was shocked to find that she was kissing Ron in the Great Hall and she
didn’t want to stop.
Ron raised his head and looked at her. “Hermione…”
She’d disentangled one hand and was now touching her lips. He nearly
groaned aloud, he wanted to be her fingers so badly. “Hermione,” he
tried again, “could we… could we maybe go, you know, somewhere else?”
His eyes pleaded with her, and she knew it was right.
She followed him out the doors and up toward Gryffindor Tower, where,
if they couldn’t be alone, at least they could be slightly less public.
When they reached the portrait, they found the Fat
Lady having a Halloween snack of pumpkin juice and chocolates. “Password,
dears?” she asked, between bon-bons.
“Hob knobs,” Hermione breathed, having found her lungs
were quite shallow.
Ron was simply glad he didn’t have to try and talk.
No one was in the common room, by some stroke of luck. They sort of
drifted toward a sofa near the fireplace, chancing small glimpses at
one another as they sat down.
Hermione didn’t allow Ron to sit too far away from
her, but they weren’t close enough to… to whatever, again, either.
Taking a deep breath, Ron shifted ever so slightly
to the left, toward Hermione, and places his hand over hers on the sofa.
He was rewarded with that smile, again, and she turned up her
hand and laced her fingers with his. Unbelievable, he thought.
She … I … we fancy each other… Yeah, I reckon that will do. He
grinned at the thought.
After a few speechless moments of staring at the fire,
Ron let go of her hand, leaned toward Hermione, and put his arm around
her. Once again, he tucked her into the crook of his arm, and tried
to figure out how to kiss her again.
“Er, Ron…” she began, “um, what was that down there?”
“Well,” suddenly he wasn’t so sure. “Um, well, I, I
just wanted to, you know…”
“Glad to,” he said with relief, purposefully misinterpreting
Some time later – it might have been twenty minutes
or an hour, they didn’t know – several people came in, laughing, from
the ball. Ron’s hat and top coat were abandoned on the floor, and he
was straightening his vest as Harry popped his head over the sofa. “All
right there?” he asked, smiling at his two best friends.
“Just fine, Harry,” Hermione answered, her tiara sitting
crookedly on her head and her dress twisted slightly sideways.
“That’s fine, then,” he mumbled, turning away, “Just
thought you’d like to know Ginny won the costume contest. She’s gone
up to bed. I’m going up too.” He’d blushed, and stammered, “Er, to my
bed. See you up there.”
As other students filtered in and out, Ron and Hermione
sat on the sofa staring at the flames of the fireplace and holding hands,
low, murmured conversations about everything and nothing filling the
time. It was after midnight when Hermione stood reluctantly to go to
Ron stood with her, still holding one hand. He walked
her to the dormitory entrance and kissed her goodnight. “Will you have
breakfast with me?” he asked.
She smiled that smile, the one Ron now knew
he’d never tire of seeing turned on him. “I’d love to,” she answered.
“If you really want me too.”
“If I…” He looked astonished that she’d ask him that.
“Hermione, I… well. I like you. You know what I mean.” He blushed then,
for the first time in hours.
She hugged him then. “Oh Ron, honestly,” she