Chapter 5 : The Offending Letter
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I know that the formatting is off, but for some reason I can't get it to work right. AHHH! Sorry about that...
Oh! In this chapter is also a part of the story that I had written out since the beginning, but had no clue when, or if, I would ever use it. Brownie points to whoever figures it out...lol.
Now, a quick recap of where we left off...
“We are going to visit Charlie in Romania,” Ginny said, placing an emphasis on the “we.”
“What's your point?” Harry asked, looking at Ginny, then at Ron, and then back at Ginny.
Ron looked up from the chessboard, guilt plastered on his face. “I'm so sorry Harry, but Mum said there isn't enough room for you on the trip.”
Harry's face fell. “Oh,” he said quietly, staring down at his hands.
“I'll ask mum if you can stay with us,” Hermione told Harry gently. “We're just staying home for Christmas, and she seems to be in love with you, at least to the point where she wants you as a son-in-law, so I'm positive that there will be no trouble.”
Harry's face brightened. “Are you sure?” he asked. “I don't want to impose or anything…”
Hermione placed her hand on Harry's shoulder, giving him a small, reassuring shake. “Don't worry about it. I'll owl Mum tomorrow and ask. I'm positive she'll be thrilled.”
“Sounds like it will be a simply wonderful Christmas,” Ginny whispered to Ron, and the two siblings exchanged satisfied smirks.
Eight Reasons Why My Life is Awful (Apparently it’s not as awful as I thought, because I can’t think of anymore)
By Hermione Jane Granger
1. Ginny. Of course. Apparently she always has to be on the list.
2. My mother, who is the biggest prat in the world (Mum, if you pick this up because you’re snooping around again, I meant prat endearingly…it’s a new thing we children do nowadays)
3. Apparently Ron and Ginny are trying to set Harry and me up. Officially trying I mean.
4. The same goes for my mother (yes, two and four are separate reasons).
5. I missed a question on our 100-point test in Potions because Ron, the arse that he is, somehow found a way to send me a note that read, “How are things going with Harry? Found any appropriate closets yet?” It made me so upset that I completely forgot the answer to one of the questions.
6. Because I missed one question, Snape took ten points away from our class, so now, not only does everyone know I forgot a question, they hate me for it (ironic, isn’t it? They’re always on my case for getting everything right…).
7. Ginny’s convinced that I’m obsessed with Harry’s ex-girlfriends. Please. Just because I think they’re prettier than me doesn’t mean that I’m obsessed with them.
8. Mum’s dragging me to this awful New Years Party, where all of the “adults” will insist that I know absolutely nothing because I’m a teenager (even though I am actually 18). Well, rather, Harry’s dragging me, but he’s not actually dragging me…he’s just very naïve.
"All love that has not friendship for its base,
Is like a mansion built upon sand."
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox
“I just don’t understand why you found it so difficult,” Hermione admonished Harry and Ron as the three of them, along with Ginny, made their way back to the Gryffindor tower. “All you had to do was make sure you stirred the cauldron three times counterclockwise, five times clockwise, six and two-thirds times counterclockwise, followed by a swift stir halfway around, clockwise, of course, and then one last stir four and five-eights times counterclockwise.” Hermione explained all of this as if she were informing the two how to make a sandwich rather than one of the most complicated potions either of them had ever seen in their entire lives.
“Just shut up about it, already,” Ron groaned at her. “We get it. You’re a genius. We’re idiots. We can’t figure anything out.”
Hermione wrinkled her nose. “I didn’t say that.”
“It was in the subtext,” Ginny explained to Hermione.
“Since when do you even know what subtext is?” Hermione raised an eyebrow.
Ginny feigned annoyance. “I’ll have you know that I have used that word around you more than once! You just never noticed before.”
“Sure,” Hermione nodded, as if Ginny was refusing to fess up about a lie, and then proceeded to laugh.
“Hey!” Ginny cried out, interrupting Hermione’s outburst. She pointed in front of her. “There’s Luna! Hey L— ”
But Ginny was suddenly cut off as Ron, appearing hysterical, clamped his hands over Ginny’s mouth and pulled her close to him. “Don’t!” he whispered anxiously. Harry and Hermione exchanged humorous looks, while Ginny glared at Ron, opened her mouth as wide as possible, and bit his hand.
“Ow!” Ron tore his injured appendage away from Ginny. “What was that for?”
“Do you honestly need to ask that question?” Ginny demanded. She looked around for Luna and gave a small scream of frustration. “Now she’s disappeared! I wanted to say hi.” She turned on her older brother. “What was that all about?”
“N-nothing!” Ron exclaimed, laughing. “Nothing at all.”
“You’re an awful liar, Ron, you know that?” Harry commented while smirking slightly.
Ron’s eyes moved back and forth. “Er, I…” He gulped. “I have to go!” he cried quickly, and then raced in the direction where they had last seen Luna.
“To quote Ron, what the bloody hell is going on?” Harry asked in disbelief.
“It seems that you two aren’t the only ones in denial,” Ginny grinned. Hermione rolled her eyes and gritted her teeth, but stayed silent in order to allow Ginny to go on.
“No response?” Ginny asked in surprise. “So, you’re not denying that you’re in denial?”
“I just don’t deem the question worthy enough for a response,” Hermione sniffed. “I’ve told you time and time again, we’re just friends.”
“She’s right, you know,” Harry told Ginny with a shrug. “Just get on with your story about Ron.”
Ginny sighed, but obeyed. “Well, over the summer, Luna, who lives about half a mile away (but you knew that, right?), would come over about every day. She’d just sit in our kitchen and wait for Ron to come downstairs. It was actually rather entertaining,” Ginny commented, emitting a small chuckle. “Ron was completely horrified by it. Not horrified in a bad way, mind you, but horrified in a, ‘I don’t want her seeing me in this atmosphere’ sort of way. Anyway, she would strike up the most unusual conversations. One, of course, was the initials thing I talked about in the essay.” Harry and Hermione looked at each other and sighed. It was hopeless. No matter what they did, somehow their “relationship” would come up in any conversation that involved Ginny.
“I told you that you should change your name to Lena,” Harry muttered.
“And I told you it’s a God-awful name,” Hermione answered through a smile, nodding as Ginny went on.
“…and then, and I think this is the conversation that shocked him the most, she started talking about different places people went to date and which places she personally liked. And I mean constantly. It was as if she were saying, ‘Hey, you idiot, take me out to one of these places already!’”
“Talking about places she likes doesn’t mean that she wants Ron to bring her there,” Hermione said.
“Oh please. It was absolutely in the subtext.”
“I really don’t think you have any idea what subtext is,” Hermione told her, to which Ginny, rather maturely, Harry thought, stuck her tongue out at Hermione.
“If you don’t want to believe me that’s your problem,” Ginny proclaimed indignantly. “I have to go study, anyway, so I won’t bother with you anymore.” Ginny turned around, her red hair whipping around her neck, as she headed in the direction of the library.
“She’s really such a lovely young woman,” Hermione said sarcastically.
"Yeah, but she means well,” Harry told her.
“Means well?” Hermione asked, looking up at Harry in disbelief. “Means well? The girl is going to destroy our friendship one day, I promise you! I can just foresee her forcing us into date after date after date.” Hermione shivered. “Honestly, I don’t get her! She gets all offended when I insist she doesn’t know what subtext is, yet she expects me to simply give up about the fact that we’re just friends.” Hermione began stomping as she became filled with anger. “And the only difference between those two situations is that one is a lie, and we both know that the latter most certainly isn’t!”
Harry nodded, but then paused and asked, “Which was the latter again? I forgot the order…” Hermione lightly slammed her bag filled with ten textbooks at Harry’s head. And lightly, in this case, meaning with full force. Lucky for Harry, Hermione had horrible hand-eye coordination, and instead of hitting his head, the bag flew out of Hermione’s hands and over Harry, landing on the ground a few feet ahead of them.
“Oh this day just gets better and better, doesn’t it?” Hermione sighed. “I can’t even hit you when I want to!”
“And you can’t begin to imagine how sorry I am that you missed,” Harry answered mockingly.
Despite wanting to hold a grudge against her best female friend, Hermione discovered that convenience would not allow her to do so, as she soon found herself in the sixth year girl’s dorm, begging Ginny to help her with a certain assignment.
“You want to borrow one of my dresses?” Ginny looked as if she could hardly believe what she was hearing. “As in a dress that I own…for you?”
“Don’t make this harder than it is,” Hermione snapped waspishly. “It’s not as if I want to borrow one.”
“Yet here you are, on your knees…” Ginny said pointedly.
“Look,” Hermione sighed. “Mum owled me a few weeks ago to let me know about some New Year’s party they planned on going to. Originally, I was just going to stay at home and watch the ball drop on the telly— ”
“What’s a felly?”
Hermione closed her eyes. “Must we get into this now?” When Ginny didn’t insist on getting an answer, Hermione continued with her part of the conversation. “However, I offhandedly mentioned the party while Harry was around, and, having never been to one, he really wants to go. The only problem is, I don’t have anything for the occasion. I can just shrink one of my dad’s suits for Harry, but all of my mum’s clothes are for someone that’s, well, old.”
“Her outfits should suit you perfectly then.” Ginny grinned cheekily.
“Well aren’t we snarky?” Hermione muttered under her breath. “Look, Gin, I don’t enjoy coming here and asking you for help. You know how I feel about relying on others. But I don’t have a choice in the matter. You go on and on about all of these muggle dresses that are in nowadays, so do you have anything I could borrow?”
Ginny bit her lip. “I don’t know Hermione… We’re just, well, differently proportioned, if you understand my meaning…”
“As in you have a figure and I don’t?” Hermione asked, raising an eyebrow questioningly.
“Well, no, that’s not it…” Ginny seemed flustered, a rare occurrence for the youngest Weasley.
“You don’t need to lie to me, Ginny,” Hermione laughed. “I’m really not bothered by it. I know that, in terms of looks, I’m not that desirable. I don’t have your tiny waist, I don’t have Parvati’s full chest, and I most certainly do not have Cho’s overall amazing figure in addition to shapely legs. I’m plain, and I’m fine with that.”
“You know,” Ginny mused, “the three girls you just happened to choose at random to compare yourself to also just happened to have dated (or in Parvati’s case gone to a ball with) Harry. And the one girl who you think is the most perfect happens to be the one who gave Harry his first kiss.” Ginny smirked, positive she had just made a point.
“Oh please,” Hermione glared. “Don’t start up with that again. You, Parvati, and Cho just happen to be the girls I know...knew best in Hogwarts. Well, Cho and I never really spoke, but I got involved with that whole Cho thinking that Harry loved me thing.”
“Even Cho got it, and she was a complete dunce,” Ginny snapped at Hermione.
“Cho was a Ravenclaw,” Hermione said coldly. “She was anything but a dunce.”
“So you agree that she knows what she’s talking about?”
“Like I said, she’s a Ravenclaw—”
“So since a Ravenclaw said that there was something going on between you and Harry, that’d mean it’s true, right?” Ginny grinned as she outsmarted Hermione for her first, and most likely last time in her entire life.
Hermione stood there, gawking. “You are a piece of work, you know that?” Hermione let out finally.
“Yes, well, I’m slightly afraid of what you are if I’m a piece of work.”
“Oh, just get me a dress already!”
“Here!” Ginny practically shouted at Hermione, shoving a pink strappy number into Hermione’s arms. “Take this.”
Hermione stared at what she could only guess made up a quarter of a dress.
“I’m going to a party with adults Ginny,” Hermione said. “Not a strip club. And for the love of Merlin, not another pink one.”
“Well I don’t think you’re going to have a lot of luck in that department,” Ginny replied.
“What are you doing wearing pink anyway?” Hermione asked darkly. “You’re a redhead. I might not be knowledgeable when it comes to fashion, but dear Merlin, I’m not that dense.”
“My mother’s reply is here!” Hermione announced to an empty room. She blinked as she received no response. She could’ve sworn Harry was down here… She turned around, biting her lip, and called, “Harry! Harry!” When still no reply came, she headed over to a set of stairs and, huffing, went up and knocked on a door. “Harry!” she called.
“What?” came his muffled voice.
“I have the reply from my mother…” she told him in a sing-song manner.
"…Good for you?” Harry answered uncertainly.
“I’m kidding!” The door opened and Harry let her into his room, which differed greatly from hers. Where her room was neatly organized, with all of her books placed on a bookshelf in alphabetical order, Harry’s was covered in random bits of clothes, with his books in a cluttered pile next to his desk. Where her walls were covered with painting by some of the most influential artists of all time, his were covered haphazardly with Quidditch posters.
“You should really clean up in here, you know,” Hermione suggested as she sidestepped a shirt.
“Thanks, mum,” Harry smiled sarcastically. “Now, what’s the verdict?”
Hermione stared blankly at him. “I haven’t read the letter yet,” Hermione said matter-of-factly. “I was waiting to read it with you.” Hermione carefully opened the envelope (annoying Harry slightly – why did women insist on having envelopes in perfect shape? To resend letters?) and extracted the letter. Unfolding it, she began to read:
“I’m so happy that you’ll be able to make it home for Christmas. We miss you terribly, as you know, and we quite enjoyed having time last year during the break to talk with you. You can’t imagine how hard it was for us during fourth and fifth year, what with not being able to really see you.
“I’m pleased to hear that your studies are coming along well. Your father and I were thrilled when we learned that you had the highest grade, yet again, in all of your classes, though we do hope you try to avoid another incident such as potions.”
“They’re not talking about the fact that you missed one question on that test last week, are they?” Harry raised an eyebrow questioningly.
“Of course they are,” Hermione answered briskly. “And I understand. It was completely unreasonably of me to miss that one… Honestly, nymphs? Why would that potion need nymphs?”
“But Hermione, it was one question out of seven years worth of tests and exams.”
“So there goes my perfect record,” Hermione sighed. “Can we get off this topic? You know how it upsets me. I don’t enjoy not getting the answer right, you know.”
“Go figure…” Harry laughed. “Go on with the letter then.”
“Your father and I would be delighted to have Harry join us for Christmas break. I must say, we’ve only met him a few times (and from those times I must say he is a charming young man), and it would be nice to get to know the boy of which you speak so highly.”
“You speak highly of me?” Harry asked brightly.
“Well, you have saved my life, along with hundreds of others, now and again,” Hermione explained off-handedly. “I suppose that makes you a rather stand-up person.” She quickly returned to the letter.
“I’ll give him the guest room next to yours. He should be quite comfortable there, I hope. This way, in case…” Hermione’s eyes bugged out of her face as she turned beet red.
“What is it?” Harry asked. When no reply came, he began tapping his feet impatiently. “Would you please continue?” Silence still. Frustrated, Harry ripped the letter out of a shell shocked Hermione’s hands and read:
“This way, in case you two want to have a ‘midnight-chat,’ it’ll be simple to get to one another’s rooms (we had that creaking floorboard fixed). And you’re far enough away from our part of the house that your father shouldn’t be able to hear you if you choose to do anything physical.”
It was Harry’s turn for his face to transform into a magnificent scarlet, as the letter fluttered gently to the ground. The two stared at one another, not sure who looked more like Ron’s hair – although at the moment, Hermione was betting it was herself. Had she been in a cartoon, smoke would be billowing out of her ears. After all, she wasn’t only red out of embarrassment.
“Maybe you should go…” Harry said swiftly, gesturing towards his door. Hermione could only nod as she turned and raced out, the door slamming behind her. Moaning and cursing her mother at the same time, she flung her face into her hands and slid down, her back against Harry’s door.
“Still there?” Harry called to Hermione.
“Yes,” Hermione croaked.
“Perhaps we should stay here for Christmas instead,” he suggested. “It might be safer. And all of those sadistic people who are pushing us together should be gone.”
“That might just be a wise idea.” Hermione moved her face from her hands and placed them against her thighs, wrapping her arms around her legs. She could not believe that her own mother could write such things to her.
In the end, however, they decided it wouldn’t be wise to go AWOL, especially after asking to go. And so it was, at ten at night, that Harry was rushing to pack for the morning, when the two would be leaving by Hogwarts Express.
“You should’ve done it earlier,” Hermione scolded him, watching him race across his room.
“I’m sorry!” he huffed. “I thought I had that packing spell down, but apparently I didn’t.”
Hermione rolled her eyes. “Here, let me,” she insisted, drawing out her wand. A second later, the contents of Harry’s room was packed neatly in his trunk. Hermione had also muttered an organizing spell of some sort, and Harry’s room was shortly as clean as her own.
“Did you have to do that?” Harry asked, almost cross.
Hermione gave a shrug for her answer as the two made their way downstairs, where Ron and Ginny were, surprise, consumed with a game of chess.
“Shouldn’t you two be packing?” Hermione yawned, flopping onto a couch. Harry joined her.
“For what?” Ginny inquired, knocking out Ron’s bishop with her knight.
“For the holidays?”
“Whatever for?” Ron asked. “We’re staying here for Christmas. Mum and dad told us that they’re going to visit Bill this year, and there simply isn't enough money for us to come with them.”
Harry and Hermione stared blankly at the Weasley pair.
“What did you just say?” Harry demanded.
“I was positive we told you that,” Ginny said, staring up at the two innocently. “We were oh so crushed when we discovered that you two would be abandoning us this year, weren’t we, Ron?” Ron nodded his head at the two, a puppy dog pout on his face.
“I would kill you two, but I’m too tired,” Hermione shot at them. “I hope you have an absolutely horrible Christmas. Come on, Harry. We have an early train back tomorrow.”
“Well, it certainly won’t be as action packed as yours,” Ginny snickered. Hermione turned around and flung at her the first thing she found (a book, of course). Hermione was certain that it was going to slam into Ginny’s disgustingly smug face, but a second later, the redhead had employed her Catcher skills and caught the offending object.
“I thought you said you were tired!” Ginny said accusingly, placing the book on the ground.
“Never doubt a girl who’s had it up to here,” Hermione snapped, and she and Harry made their way up to their rooms.
Thank God we won’t be here during break… I’d rather put up with my mother than her any day. Hermione’s thoughts traveled back to the letter, and she felt her face grow hot. Well, maybe not any day.
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