Disclaimer: This all belongs
to J.K. Rowling. Blame her.
For no good reason she could
currently recall, Ginny was attempting to coax Moaning Myrtle out of the
S-bend in the second stall without getting herself covered in water. "Ah,
come on now, Myrtle," she wheedled. "I know you’re down there."
She was answered by a large Glug! accompanied by a spray of water. Ginny
jumped back quickly, barely managing to keep her robes dry. "Fine,
then, if that’s the way you want to be. I’m just going to sit up here
;and wait." Ginny made a face at the toilet bowl. She really didn’t
know why she bothered. Myrtle enjoyed being miserable. She wasn’t
even sure that Myrtle cared at all that she took the time to visit her.
‘Just because I’d hate it if everyone avoided me like they do Myrtle-
but I’ll bet she doesn’t even notice. Still, it isn’t like her not to
even talk to me. ’ Ginny had been coming to visit Myrtle for several years
now, and never before had Myrtle avoided her, no matter how morose she
may have been. Ginny was often lonely herself- she couldn’t imagine what
it was like to be so lonely and miserable that she’d voluntarily hang
out in toilets. Besides, she reckoned she owed the ghost- she might very
well be dead now in the Chamber of Secrets if it hadn’t been for her.
Ginny had almost shared the same fate as Myrtle, who had been killed 50
years ago when the young Voldemort- then Tom Riddle- had opened the Chamber
It was still very painful for
Ginny to remember her first year at Hogwarts. She had been so homesick,
and so terribly in love with Harry Potter. She felt as if she understood
him. More than that, she felt a tugging whenever she was near him- something
indefinable but undeniable. Back then, she had been sure that he only
needed a bit of nudging to see it, too. Now, she had accepted that it
might never happen, but she still felt the connection. It was all very
confusing, but of one thing she was certain: his fame just made everything
more complicated. She knew what it was like to be surrounded by people
and feel completely alone. Of course, "people" only applied
to her brothers in the broadest general sense. They were bipedal, she’d
give them that, but sorely confused by deeper emotions. A heart to heart
conversation with Fred would lead to singed eyebrows at best, and Ginny
longed for someone with whom she could be honest. She was so tired of
secrets. She wanted to tell him that he didn’t have to worry about all
that stupid fame stuff with her, that she didn’t want him to be a hero.
She’d love him if he were the groundskeeper. She sighed. There wasn’t
much chance of them having that conversation, even if she didn’t act like
a complete ninny every time she saw him anymore. She blushed even thinking
about it. She doubted she could have embarrassed herself more if she had
tried- "His eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad?" Ginny
writhed at the remembrance.
But that memory paled in comparison
to the horror of Tom Riddle’s diary.
She could fully understand the
Imperius curse, now…only perhaps the Imperius curse would be more pleasant
than what she had experienced. She had heard that it made you feel light
and floaty. She had never felt further from light and floaty in her life
than when she had been under the control of Riddle’s diary. Every waking
moment had been excruciating- she had so wanted to confess, to Ron or
George or Fred- or even Percy. She had desperately wanted to lay it in
the hands of someone older, someone trusted. Even now, though, she couldn’t
imagine how that would have gone over. "Er.. Percy? I think I may
be evil. I don’t mean to be, you see, but I can’t stop myself, and it’s
really lucky that you’re not muggle born or I might be trying to attack
you right now." She snickered at the mental picture of Percy’s face
at such a moment. She sobered quickly as it occurred to her that was the
first bit of amusement she had ever found in that whole fiasco. Immediately,
she felt slightly ashamed. After all, people had almost DIED because of
her. She felt a familiar lump begin to form in her throat at the thought.
"No!" The exclamation
burst out of her throat before she could stop it. Was she trying to torture
herself? She looked around the dank and depressing bathroom. The floor
was covered with a good half inch of water, and the single light bulb
above the sinks was flickering in a maddening rhythm. What was she doing
in here? She was acting if this place held not only the entrance to the
Chamber of Secrets, but her own absolution. Suddenly, it was all quite
clear- she WAS trying to punish herself, lurking about in this nasty old
place, pleading with a singularly unpleasant ghost to LET her be kind
to her. After all, Moaning Myrtle had never solicited her kindness, or
seemed particularly grateful for it. ‘That’s it,’ thought Ginny, and shook
her head with an air of finality. ‘I’m going to give her one more chance,
and then I’m out of here for good.’
She cleared her throat loudly.
There was no response from the toilet. "Myrtle, I’m going to count
to five, and if you don’t come out here to talk to me, I’m leaving, and
I’m not coming back. One…two…three…four…FIVE. All right, then, Myrtle,
I’m off." Just as she was turning to leave, she heard a small pop!
from the direction of the toilet and turned back to see Myrtle’s bleary,
sullen face sticking up from the bowl of the toilet.
"Fat lot you care,"
said Myrtle nastily. "Coming ‘round here all the time pretending
to be poor stupid Myrtle’s friend. Well, I know what you’ve been up to,
I do, and don’t think I’m going to let you use me like that again. I know
what you want out of me- and I’m not-" Just then a large thud resounded
through the hollow room. Ginny jumped, and Myrtle started, which sloshed
quite a bit of water on Ginny’s shoes. The door had obviously been slammed
with some force, and the sound of very angry footsteps sloshing around
on the tile indicated someone was pacing back in forth in front of the
sinks. Waving one hand at Myrtle to shut her up, Ginny cautiously peered
around the edge of the stall door. There, pacing in front of the broken
sinks, one hand clutching her wand, the other in a fist, was Hermione.
Her eyes were narrowed in anger,
and her cheeks were flaming patches of red. She ripped her book bag off
her shoulder and threw it across the room. She was muttering under her
breath. "…stupid, great…git… if he doesn’t want…well then, I don’t
want, and he can just…" Her voice trailed off, and she took a deep,
ragged breath. ‘Oh dear,’ thought Ginny. ‘She and Ron must be fighting
again.’ They had been fighting all day, in fact, and obviously Hermione
had reached the end of her tether. Her eyes looked very bright, and for
a moment, Ginny thought she was going to burst into tears. Ginny instinctively
moved toward her, and then stopped, as the door swung open again, and
Ron burst into the room.
Ron looked as bad off as Hermione,
and additionally, he was panting with exertion. Ginny quickly stuck her
head back into the stall- she had no desire to get involved. She could
hear their labored breathing, and nothing else. Obviously, they were involved
in one of their famous staring contests. She resigned herself to a prolonged
stay in a damp and smelly toilet stall. Ron and Hermione were best friends,
but were more often than not at odds with one another. This particular
fight had been brewing since this morning when Hermione had received a
package from Viktor Krum at breakfast. While any communication from Krum
seemed to raise Ron’s blood pressure, Hermione had refused to let anyone
see the contents, and would answer no questions about it. Ron had been
sniping at her ever since. The last Ginny had seen them, Hermione was
steadfastly ignoring him, but she had obviously broken in the meantime.
Ginny couldn’t blame her- Ron’s persistence would wear anybody down. But
what made this whole situation strange was that, in the last few weeks,
it seemed as though they had finally made some headway into a Relationship-
Ginny capitalized this concept in her mind. She had known for some time
how Hermione felt about her brother- and it was obvious to the most dull-witted
that Ron harbored more than friendship for Hermione. Ginny sighed and
slumped against the stall. Unfortunately, Ron could be pretty dull-witted
when it came to girls. Were they never going to speak? Maybe they could
stand there all day and just glare at each other, but Ginny didn’t think
she could take much more of this. She peered around the edge of the stall
door. They were standing about a foot from each other, and Ron took another
step towards her, closing the gap.
"Well?" He burst forth,
his voice full of righteous indignation. "Well??" The single syllable
reverberated throughout the tiled room, and Ginny flinched. Hermione,
on the other hand, didn’t move a muscle.
"Well, what?" she
said quietly, but Ginny felt her tone was much more dangerous than Ron’s.
Ginny and Myrtle exchanged a
glance. They both knew that this attitude of quiet calm could only mean
trouble. Ron paused. Both Ginny and Myrtle leaned forward, peering through
the crack in the bathroom door. Hermione’s arms were folded over her chest,
and her face was deadpan.
This is bad, Ginny thought.
What could have happened to make her this mad? It must be that package
from Viktor. Maybe Ron had pushed too hard, trying to find out what was
inside. He has a tendency to do that, she thought ruefully. Stupid boys!
If he was smart, right now he’d keep his fat mouth shut.
Ron took a deep breath and words
tumbled out of his mouth. "Well, what was that? All that, just now
in the common room! You just turned and ran and didn’t I look like a prat
and Lavender gave me some stupid look and Harry was smirking and, honestly,
I don’t understand girls. You say one thing and then you do another thing
and… and don’t you pretend that you don’t know what I’m talking about,
because I thought, well, you know, since we, YOU KNOW, …"
Ginny’s mouth dropped open in
surprise. What did that mean? She glanced at Myrtle who was clearly thinking
the same thing, and getting ready to say so. "Shhh!", she mouthed
at her. The last thing Ginny wanted was for Ron to find them lurking in
this stall, eavesdropping. A sudden movement brought her eyes back to
the crack in the stall door. Hermione had taken a step toward Ron. It
was hard to tell from her face what she was thinking, which Ginny took
as a very bad sign. Apparently so did Ron, and he had the decency to look
wary. "What did you think, Ron?" She uttered the words so quietly
and calmly that Ginny and Myrtle had to strain to hear. " You think
I’m a "scarlet woman" now? Because of a stupid package from
Viktor? Well, there isn’t anything going on between Viktor and I, at least
as far as I’m concerned. Not that it’s any of your business. Besides,
I don’t understand why you care. There isn’t anything going on between
us either, is there." Her voice wavered, and she turned away from
him, biting her lip and trying not to cry. Ron’s mouth opened and closed
wordlessly, searching for words to respond.
Finally he sputtered, "
What does that mean, as far as you’re concerned? Does that great stupid
prat want…You want to know what I think? I think that I’m sick to death
of letters and packages from your boyfriend, Viktor Buggering Krum."
He stopped suddenly, knowing as soon as the words left his lips that he
had said the wrong thing, but it was too late. Hermione whirled around
and advanced on him. He backed up into the wall, and she poked a finger
into his chest. "You can just shut up right now, Ronald Weasley.
You can’t call Viktor names just because YOU can’t figure out how you
feel. He’s a nice boy and he likes me a lot- loves me even- and I won’t
let you talk badly about him just because you’re jealous."
This appeared to be the last
straw for Ron. It was the first time in her life Ginny had ever seen him
lose color when he was angry, but she watched the mottled scarlet slowly
drain away, leaving him slightly gray. "Jealous?" He hissed.
"How do you think Vicky would feel if he knew you kissed me?"
Hermione opened her mouth several times, but it was her turn not to be
able to produce sound. Ginny wasn’t sure she was capable of speech herself.
Well! This was a stunning development. Something floating in her peripheral
vision distracted her from this increasingly interesting scene and Ginny
turned to find Myrtle’s pale and perpetually scabby knees at eye level.
She was floating slightly above the stall in order to get a better view.
While Ginny was certain that an entire bag of dungbombs could not distract
either Ron or Hermione, she was taking no chances. She motioned wildly
at Myrtle to come down, but Myrtle rather ostentatiously ignored her.
In the meantime, Hermione seemed
to have found her voice again. "I…kissed…YOU?" she stuttered,
spitting out each word like it pained her. "Are you sure about that,
Ron? Are you absolutely sure that’s what happened?" Her voice had
turned smooth and venomous. "Because I seem to recall that it was
YOU who grabbed ME behind the Three Broomsticks, and not the other way
The color was returning to Ron’s
face, and it seemed to have doubled while it was gone. He looked as if
he wanted to throw something, preferably Hermione, but with a superhuman
effort, he kept his voice low. "So what YOU’RE saying is that you
had nothing to do with that kiss? You’re saying that you slapped my face
and screamed-" here his voice rose in falsetto- "Ron, you beast!
My heart is given to Vicky!" His voice dropped low again, and he
took a step forward, closing the little space between them. "Is that
what you’re saying? Because I’m not sure I remember that bit." Hermione
took an unsteady step backwards, and her cheeks flamed more brightly.
Once more, silence descended on the bathroom, broken only by the steady
drip of water.
Myrtle was slowly floating back
down into the stall again, to Ginny’s vast relief. She had been attempting
to coax her down, but it was a half hearted effort. This was all a bit
much to process at once, and she returned her full attention to Ron and
Hermione. Ron didn’t seem to be able to look away from Hermione, who was
avoiding his eyes completely. An unidentifiable emotion rippled through
his entire body, and he reached out a hand toward her. His hand had barely
touched hers when Hermione jumped back as if she had been slapped. "Why
did you do it?" Hermione practically wailed. "You obviously
don’t want to go out with me- you’ve made that clear enough. You can’t
just go around kissing me just because I’m there and I’m close enough
to a girl if you squint a little--"
"What are you talking about?"
Ron sounded honestly puzzled. "I don’t…I didn’t…" He was struggling
for words, but something seemed to occur to him, and he abandoned that
train of thought completely. "Oh, yeah?" He shouted back, as
if he’d found his stride once again. "It seems to me that you’re
just looking for an excuse to drop ME. After all, why would you want to
be seen with a nothing like me when you could have the famous Viktor Krum?
You always talk about how shallow us blokes are, but I guess your true
colors are showing now!"
"Don’t try to turn this
around on me!" Hermione screamed. She appeared to have completely
lost it. She had only heard stories of the infamous Draco Malfoy incident
from third year, but Ginny had always had trouble picturing Hermione resorting
to physical violence. Now she was witnessing it firsthand, as Hermione
shoved Ron backward with such force that he stumbled and nearly fell on
the slippery tile.
"Oooh! Fight!" Myrtle
whispered, and darted underneath Ginny’s arm to get a better view.
"I heard you, Ron! I HEARD
you talking to Dean and Seamus and…Harry." Hermione’s voice broke.
"I heard everything you said about me."
Ron’s eyes narrowed and he shook
his head. "I don’t know what you’re talking about", he faltered.
She rounded on him. "Don’t you? Don’t try to pretend, because I heard
you! I was coming down the stairs and I heard you…tell them you didn’t…wouldn’t
ever…couldn’t imagine…" She was taking huge gulping breaths in between
words, and had wailed the last bit. Ginny wasn’t able to make out quite
what it was that Ron had said, but apparently this disjointed sentence
was enough for him. He slapped his hand over his eyes and slid down the
wall until he was sitting on the faded yellow tile, muttering to himself.
Even Ginny, who had spent a lifetime interpreting the behavior of her
brothers couldn’t figure this out. Obviously, neither could Hermione,
who said rather confusedly, "Ron?"
What surprised them all was
that he appeared to be laughing. He took his hand away from his eyes and
rested his arm on one raised knee. "Oh Hermione, is that was this
argument is about? Because you know, you weren’t supposed to hear that.
At the time, I wondered if it wasn’t a bit harsh, but it got the job done.
It doesn’t matter, because you know it’s not true. Honestly, I thought
we were talking about something real. " He shrugged as he stood up,
looking disgustedly at the puddle he had sat in. "You told me to
Ginny stepped back so suddenly
that she stepped into Myrtle, who gave her a very disgruntled look. Her
mind was spinning. She knew exactly what Ron had done. He had kissed Hermione,
who had told him to be discreet, and so he told the next person who asked
him about it, i.e. Dean, Seamus and Harry, that "of course nothing
was going on! Couldn’t even imagine it! Of all the girls he’d pick, etc."
She shook her head in disgust. He’d really done it now and he was lucky
that Hermione hadn’t cursed him yet. Ginny would have. The sudden silence
outside the stall made her wonder if Hermione hadn’t just done exactly
that. She peered around the stall door and saw Hermione was shaking her
head. She suddenly looked so pale and sad that Ginny almost left her hiding
place to go to her. Hermione took a deep breath and looked terrified at
what she was about to say. "Ron, we’ve known each other for a long
time. I know you’re not stupid. So when you say things like that I can
only assume you’re being stupid on purpose. And…I just don’t want to do
it anymore. I…can’t." Hot tears splashed down her cheeks and she
wiped at them furiously with the back of her hand. "So, let’s just
forget about it, okay? All of it. We’ll just…go back to the way we were
before and we’ll pretend none of this ever happened."
She nodded once and bent down
to collect the things that had fallen from her bag when she dropped it,
all the while studiously not looking at Ron. He hadn’t moved since her
last declaration. It wasn’t until she brushed past him, trying to get
out the door that he finally reacted. He spun quickly, grabbing her arm
and pulled her roughly back to him. "So, that’s it? Clasp hands,
thanks for being my best friend and sharing every important event in my
life, it was nice knowing you?" He shook his head as she tried to
push away from him. "You don’t want this and I am not going to force
you…" she whimpered.
hands closed on her upper arms and he shook her. "Don’t try to tell
me what I want," he said through clenched teeth. "I know what
I want, I’m just not any good at going about getting it. You told me to
be discreet, so I tried to pretend that nothing happened. I went overboard
and said a bunch of stupid things because, oh hell, I don’t know why.
What I said didn’t even make any sense, and I promise you that nobody
believed me." His voice became desperate. "I don’t know what
to do, Hermione! I’m not doing it right, I know, but it’s because… I don’t
know how to act or, or what to say because…because…I’ve never wanted anything
like I want this." He let go
of her and stepped back. He crossed his arms over his chest miserably,
suddenly looking very young and frightened. "And what if you decide
you’d rather have somebody else? I’m not a famous Seeker, or even The
Boy Who Lived. I’m just an ordinary bloke, regular old Ron Weasley."
He straightened up and clenched his fists at his sides, looking suddenly
fierce. "But I’d never let anybody hurt you and you can always trust
me and well, that’s got to count for something." Then suddenly, Ron
grabbed Hermione’s hand and pulled her to him. He leaned down, kissed
her full on the lips, and let her go. "Do you still want to forget
it?" Ron tensed as Hermione stared back at him. For a moment, neither
of them moved. Then Hermione threw her arms around him and burst into
"Why are you crying?"
he asked anxiously. "Oh, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that, please
don’t cry," Ron said hurriedly.
"Oh Ron, shut up!"
she said, laughing. And she kissed him back, smiling.
"Right then." He broke
away from her, grabbed her hand and started to lead her out the door.
"What are you doing? Where are we…?", but he interrupted her.
"I’m taking you up to the common room where I will then kiss you
properly in front of any lucky folks who happen through. That way we can
clear up this nonsense and move onto more important things." The
bathroom door slammed shut behind them, but Ginny could still hear them
"Well," said Myrtle’s
voice behind her. "That was disgusting."
Author’s Notes: We wish to
reassure everyone that there was NO kissing in the common room. Hermione
does not permit public displays of affection, and Ron is secretly relieved.
We are planning a sequel to this, but we’re pretty lazy, so you might
want to badger us if you’d like to see it while you can still read without
bifocals. Honeychurch would like to thank Arabella for nudging her into
fan fiction writing in the first place, and Lallybroch would like to assure
Erik no house elves were harmed during the creation of this fic. Thank
you and good night.