Hey! So we’ve finally arrived at the second to last chapter. I can’t believe this story is almost over. Seriously. I’m going absolutely insane. Anyway, I’ve been looking forward to posting this chapter for months. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rewritten it, but it’s a heck of a lot. I really hope everyone enjoys it, because I really do love this chapter.
Anyway, as I said before, I’m going away until the 22nd, so the earliest I’m likely to be updating is then. I’m so sorry you’re going to have to wait until then to read the final chapter, but I promise that there’s no cliffhanger this time.
As I did with “I’m Not Neurotic!” I’ll be answering any questions you have about this story. Only this time I’ll be answering them on my “Meet the Author” page (you can find a link on my author’s profile). So if you have anything on your mind, feel free to ask it in a review OR at my “Meet the Author” page, and I’ll do my best to answer it. I’ll also be adding some fun/random facts about this story, as well as upload all of my pictures, etc. to my LJ, for all that are interested.
Well, on to the chapter! I hope you enjoy it. I certainly enjoyed writing it.
The Top Ten People Who Believe that Hermione Granger and Harry Potter are Dating
As recorded by Harry James Potter on November 24, 1997
1. Ginevra “Ginny” Weasley – See attached essay.
2. Ronald “Ron” Weasley – Claims that Hermione and I exchange these looks that just scream, “love,” and that the fact that we can communicate with only such looks is something that “just friends” can’t do. Which is just mental, because Hermione and I can only do that because we know each other so well and listen, not because we have feelings for one another. Anyway, I have a sneaking suspicion that he’s just agreeing with Ginny so she doesn’t murder him.
3. Terry Boot – Rumour has it he wanted to ask Hermione to Hogsmeade but decided against it because he thought I would hex him. Truthfully, hexing prospective boyfriends is more up Ron’s alley, given his reaction to guys approaching his sister. I’d only hex Boot if he hurt Hermione, but any friend would do that.
4. Molly Weasley - Well, Ginny has to take after someone. I’m fairly certain that Mrs Weasley figures that if I can’t be with her little girl, I might as well be with the closest thing she has to a second daughter.
5. Mrs Granger – She asked me if I had any idea where I wanted to plan our wedding. She suggested the Bar on St. Agnes. Though personally I always felt that Hermione was more partial to Paris. That way the day before the wedding she could spend a day immersing herself in culture.
6. Luna Lovegood – Apparently the fact that Hermione and I have the same first two initials means that the empritents will seek us out and attack us until we mate.
7. Professor McGonagall – She was under the impression that Hermione and I had been dating for five months, and then she refused to take down the newspaper article.
8. Draco Malfoy – Yes, I hate to even write his name, but the fact remains that he asked me if I had broken up with Hermione (using a different name) yet and if I had decided to stop being a “traitor to my bloodline,” only to comment that he supposed my mother already ruined my bloodline. I would’ve hexed him, but McGonagall was coming up the corridor.
9. Cho Chang – She broke up with me because she was convinced I was in love with Hermione.
10. Viktor Krum – He, too, was convinced that something was going on between Hermione and myself, and despite my denial of any such relationship, he let their relationship die.
There is no remedy for love but to love more.
~Henry David Thoreau
“I kissed Hermione, but I don’t think it turned out like we thought it would,” Ginny read slowly in the privacy of her room, the other girls having returned home for the holidays. “I think we just got ourselves into more trouble than we predicted. Dean.” Ginny crumpled the letter and grabbed a clean piece of parchment and scribbled, “Find a way to contact me via fireplace. Midnight. I’ll be in the Gryffindor common room.” Walking over to the window, she took the owl that had delivered Dean’s message and tied her own to the owl’s leg. “Don’t dawdle,” she called after the bird as it, and freed the owl. Crossing her arms, Ginny heaved a sigh. “I have to do absolutely everything, don’t I?” she muttered. “Those two better plan on throwing me a spectacular seventeenth birthday party for all the trouble they’re putting me through.”
“Tell me, what was so special about your wife?”
“…it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were suppose to be together... and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home... only to no home I’d ever known... I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like... magic.”
~Sleepless in Seattle
It was a good hour before Harry finally fell asleep, having resided himself to the fact that there was nothing he could do for Hermione until she awoke. Sighing, he placed The List on the ground and leaned back in his chair, imagining how he was going to prevent Hermione from murdering him when she discovered what had happened.
“Do you ever put your arms out and just spin and spin and spin? Well, that’s what love is like. Everything inside of you tells you to stop before you fall, but you just keep going.”
Ginny waited impatiently in the Gryffindor common room, pacing the space in front of the fire so many times that the paintings began yelling at her about wearing down the rug. Had Dean’s head not appeared in the fire at that very instant, Ginny would’ve had a few choice words for the portraits. Needless to say, those choice words were redirect towards Dean.
“How the Hell did you screw this all up?” she demanded, sitting down in front of his face.
“Nice to see you too,” Dean shot at her. “You know how much trouble I had to go through to get here? I had to sneak out of my house, apparate to the Leaky Cauldron, beg the man that works there to let me borrow a fireplace…I’ll be lucky if I get back home without getting caught!”
“Do you honestly think I care?” Ginny asked, a disgusted expression on her face. “I have bigger things to worry about, thanks to you. Now, what did you do?”
“Well, just like you told me to, I kissed Hermione at midnight,” Dean explained. “Only, in retrospect, I’m not so sure it was a good idea.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, it appears that Harry didn’t know where she was, and he spent a good time looking for her. When he finally found her kissing me, he was pretty pissed off. He didn’t look any happier when I told him that Hermione was the one who kissed me…”
“Wait a second,” Ginny said. “She kissed you?”
“Why on earth would she kiss you when she’s in love with Harry?” Ginny cried. There was no way she had been wrong about this. No way. She knew love when she saw it. Was Hermione just trying to make Harry jealous, or had she been under Imperius, or…?
“Well, apparently she was…well…drunk.”
Ginny’s mouth dropped open. “Drunk? Hermione Granger? Are you mental? That girl won’t even drink more than one butterbeer during a party!”
“Well, she was. And it didn’t help the situation much. I think I’m going to need to request a change in housing, because Harry all but said that he was going to strangle me in the middle of night for kissing her when she was so out of it.”
“You idiot,” Ginny hissed at him. “You absolute idiot! Now Harry’s going to go around thinking that the only reason why he was so upset about you kissing Hermione is because she was drunk and you were taking advantage of her!” She glared at Dean. “Can’t you do anything right?”
Dean stared defiantly right back at his ex-girlfriend. “I was doing you a favour, Ginny. And you’re right, I screwed up, but it wasn’t my fault. Anyway, maybe you should learn to keep your nose out of other people’s lives.”
“Oh please,” Ginny laughed. “That’s ridiculous. And for the record, Harry’s going to have to get in line if he wants to kill you.”
Dean shook his head at her in disbelief. “I can’t believe I ever dated you,” he spat, and his face disappeared.
Ginny felt a chill settle around her, and she couldn’t help how morose she suddenly felt. “Believe me,” she whispered into the flames. “Neither can I.”
“You know, that moment when you kiss someone and everything around you becomes hazy. And the only thing in focus is you and that person. And you realize that that person is the only person that you're supposed to kiss for the rest of your life. And for one moment you get this gift. And you want to laugh and you want to cry because you feel so lucky that you found it and so scared that it will go away all at the same time.”
~Never Been Kissed
“Ugh,” Hermione moaned, as she sat up and held her face in her hands. “I feel awful.”
“You’re up!” exclaimed Harry, who had been awoken by Hermione’s movements. He wasn’t normally such a light sleeper, but he had been on edge for the past twelve hours.
“I wish I wasn’t,” Hermione said, pressing her palm to her forehead. “Oh God, I feel like I’ve just been struck in the head by a hammer.” She opened her eyes, and immediately closed them as the blinding light came streaming into her eyes. “Oh God,” she repeated, swaying slightly.
“Hermione?” Harry asked worriedly, scooting closer to her.
“I think I’m going to be sick,” she cried, holding her hands over her mouth as she gagged on air.
“Er, okay, right…just…breathe! Keep breathing!” Harry exclaimed, as he frantically grabbed a small rubbish bin that sat to the side of her bed and placed it in front of her. It was at that moment that Hermione leaned over the side of her bed and threw up into the bin while Harry awkwardly held Hermione’s thick locks out of her face, staring almost helplessly at he pale face.
“I’m sorry,” she moaned into the bin, her voice hoarse as she coughed, hoping to get the horrible taste out of her mouth.
“It’s fine,” Harry said, smoothing back her hair once more as she finally sat back up, resting against her headboard and breathing heavily.
“Here.” Hermione looked out her eyes through narrow slits and saw a cup of water and two pills in front of her. “Take this. It’ll get rid of the headache and the rest of the nausea.”
“Harry?” Hermione asked, as she gulped down the pills. She realized she had yet to see who her mystery helper was, though, thinking about it, she realized there weren’t that many people it could be. But it was rather hard to think straight when her head was pounding so terribly. “Is that you?”
“No, it’s Ron,” Harry deadpanned. Hermione whipped her head to her side and glared at him.
“I’m not in the mood, Harry!” Hermione said gruffly. She cringed as another flash of pain shot through her, accompanied by another dizzy spell. “At least let the room stop spinning before you crack jokes!”
“Sorry,” Harry apologized, looking down at his hands.
“It’s fine.” Hermione gave a small sigh. “Why is the room spinning? And why am I still wearing my dress from last night?” she asked, looking down at herself. “Better yet, why was I just so terribly ill?” She gave a small gasp. “Did I get food poisoning?”
“You, er, you don’t remember?” Harry stared at Hermione, unconsciously biting his cheek. He didn’t fancy being the one to tell Hermione that she had not only gotten incredibly drunk, but incredibly drunk at a very highly populated party.
“Well if I did, I wouldn’t ask you, would I?”
“You…” Harry trailed off, uncertain how to go about this.
“You drank a lot of punch at the New Year’s Eve Party and didn’t know that it contained alcohol and you ended up getting sloshed!”
Hermione slowly dropped her hand, her eyes and mouth opened wide in disbelief.
“I what?” she repeated, as if she couldn’t comprehend anything Harry had just said.
“You got drunk. It wasn’t your fault!” Harry added hastily at Hermione’s look of horror. “You didn’t know that there was alcohol, I swear!”
“Oh Merlin,” Hermione groaned, letting her face fall back into her hands. “What awful things happened? What stupid, moronic, idiotic things did I do that will make me a hypocrite for the rest of my life?”
“Well, you made out with Dean Thomas at midnight,” Harry answered, his voice quiet and tinged with bitterness, not that Hermione could notice in her state of panic.
“No!” Hermione gasped, and up went her head again. Harry nodded. “How am I going to face him at school? He’ll probably think I’ll want to date him or something equally nonsensical!”
“You…you don’t fancy him?” Harry asked, trying to contain his happiness.
“Well of course I don’t fancy him!” Hermione said, looking exasperated by what she considered a rather thick question.
“But you kissed— “
“While I was drunk,” Hermione cut him off. “So drunk, I might remind you, that I don’t even remember getting drunk. I probably didn’t even know who he was! I probably thought he— Well never mind that. But, honestly, Harry. How could I like him? Not when…” She stopped. Harry was staring at her strangely, and Hermione realized just how much she had almost revealed in the last minute. “So,” she said, clearing her throat. “What, er, what else happened?”
“That was it, really,” Harry said. “Well, apart from passing out a few minutes after that, but I don’t think anyone else noticed. We went straight home and put you to bed.”
“Well that’s a relief,” Hermione sighed, her eyes flickering over to the dent in her covers. She blinked. “Harry,” she said slowly, “you didn’t stay with me all night, did you?” She looked up at him.
“Er, yeah, I did,” he admitted. Hermione stared at him, a mixture of incredulity, delight, and gratitude etched on her face.
“You didn’t need to do that,” she said softly.
“Of course I did,” Harry replied, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “You’ve done the same for me, haven’t you?”
“W-well, of…of course I have,” Hermione stuttered, a light blush gracing her nose. “But still, that was…” Hermione reached over and took Harry’s hand, biting her lip and staring at him. The look she was giving him made Harry’s stomach do a few flips. “Thank you,” she finished, opting for simplicity.
“Er, you’re welcome.” Harry fidgeted in his seat, wishing that Hermione would let go of his hand before he said something incredibly stupid. “I, er, I have to go!” he exclaimed, and wrenching his hand from hers, he raced out of the room.
“Well that was rather odd,” Hermione blinked. “I’ll have to find out what’s wrong later… Oh well. Now I can rest up and let the rest of the headache dis…disappear…” Hermione stared at where Harry had just been seated. At the floor of the chair was a journal, much like the one in which they kept notes for school, with “The List” sprawled across it in Harry’s messy cursive.
“I didn’t realize he had more than one copy,” Hermione said, reaching down to pick up the book. “I suppose this is for on the road,” she reasoned. “It’d be rather hard to drag along a five foot long piece of parchment.” Curious as to who was on there now, Hermione decided to forgo her rest and do her best to ignore her headache (her nausea was already thankfully gone). Opening it carefully, her eyes rested on the first page. It was divided into two columns. The first, which was significantly smaller than the second, listed the names, while the second stated the reasons why said people believed as they did. Not surprisingly, Ginny was first, with, “See attached essay,” as her stated reason. Hermione found herself smiling as she read through the other names. She turned page after page until she arrived at the last one and read:
387. The Fat Lady – she asked me why I wasn’t with “my girlfriend, Miss Granger.”
388. The ice-skating rink lady
389. Everyone who watched Hermione and my embarrassing moment at aforementioned skating rink.
390. Mr Granger – I know. Apparently he’s gone from “I want to bury you alive for being near my daughter” to “Well, if she has to date someone it might as well be you.”
“Well at least he doesn’t want to kill you anymore, Harry,” Hermione chuckled. She moved on to the final name, and her heart stopped.
391. Harry James Potter – Not because all of this has made me doubt the validity of our “just friends” mantra or because I have a passing fancy for her or even because Ginny’s always right. But because I love her, and that’s all there is to it. I’ve always loved her. I may have been blind to it all because I never really knew that love could actually exist before that night she hugged me in first year, and even then I still couldn’t recognize it for what it was. But now I know. I love Hermione Jane Granger. And that’s all that matters.
“Harry?” Hermione whispered, staring at his name. “Harry…loves me?” She felt the beginnings of another, more severe panic attack. “How is that possible?” Hermione cried, placing the book to the side and wringing her hands. “He’s done nothing to suggest it. He…I’m just a friend to him! Just like he’s simply a friend to me…”
Images flashed through her brain. Harry staring at her as they lay on top of the ice. His face as she made her way downstairs, something she had ignored at the time due to her mother’s fussing. The anxious look on Harry’s face while he watched Hermione open her Christmas present. Her Christmas present. The Christmas present that consisted of original printings of not one, but five novels. Had she been so blind? “I’m just grateful is all. For everything. You know.” But she didn’t know. It made no sense. There was more meaning behind this gift than, “Thank you for saving my arse every year. You’re a pal.” After all, hadn’t Ron done just as much as she? And what had Harry gotten him? Another book on the Cannons, that’s what.
Hermione got up and began pacing as she pondered what on earth was going on. Unsettled, she left her room, intent on cornering Harry to find out what exactly he had meant that day, only to lose her nerve and instead walk into the bathroom.
But what about his explanation! Hermione thought, desperately grasping for anything that would prevent this momentous change as she brushed her teeth furiously. “I’d tell them that we’re at the ‘we’re comfortable enough around one another so that we act around one another as if we’re attracted to one another when, in reality, we aren’t,’ stage of our friendship.” If he didn’t think it, why’d he say it? “That’s the most ridiculous, not to mention contrived thing I’ve ever heard,” her aunt’s voice sounded in the back of her mind. And as Hermione thought about it, she realized that her aunt was right. It was rather ridiculous and contrived, wasn’t it? Hadn’t he said, after reading Ginny’s essay with her, that they didn’t act like that around one another? Was it possible that Harry now actually loved her?
Having rinsed her mouth out, Hermione banged her toothbrush onto the sink counter and returned to her room, where The List sat on her bed, daring her to open it. Daring her to write in it.
But what about me? Hermione had spent all of this time frantically trying to believe that her feelings for Harry were platonic. After all this time, she was finally beginning to believe it…or at least wanting to believe it. But that wasn’t the problem, she realized. She abhorred change. The idea of moving from friendship to a romantic relationship with Harry petrified her. It had been an absolute disaster with Ron.
But you didn’t love Ron, a voice reminded Hermione. It was a passing fancy. Nothing more. But who was to say that what she felt for Harry wasn’t a passing fancy? Everyone.
“Maybe if you saw how many people actually believe that you’re going out, you’d realize why you’re in love with one another.”
Hermione’s eyes wandered to her side table, where her picture still lay face down. She apprehensively returned it to its normal position, her heart fluttering as she stared at Harry and herself, arms wrapped around one another, laughing and looking…blissfully happy. “Oh Merlin,” she sighed. “Who am I kidding?” She shook her head. “Passing fancy? How can I have a passing fancy for Harry.” She traced Harry’s face with her finger and gave out a small laugh. “I guess I can’t always be right, can I?”
Hermione took out a pen from the night table’s drawer and opened back the. I couldn’t fool everyone else, even when I didn’t know how I truly felt. I may be stubborn, but…I can’t act if every thing’s the same. Not anymore. Taking in a deep breath, she signed her name under Harry’s, an action she knew would change her life forever (and provide Ginny with 50 galleons and a lifelong claim on determining the rest of Hermione’s love life). She closed the journal and set it on her lap, waiting for Harry to come racing back for The List, as she knew he would.
Not five minutes later Harry ran into her room. “You didn’t happen to find a journal in here, did you?” he asked, looking incredibly distressed.
“You mean this?” Hermione asked, picking up The List and staring up at Harry expectantly.
“Yeah, that,” Harry said, defeated. There was no question in his mind that Hermione had read it, assuming that it was just a list of people who were “out of their minds” and not something that would make their friendship incredibly awkward.
“It was quite interesting,” Hermione noted, surprised by how calm she was acting. Inside, she was bursting to shout, “I love you too, you absolute idiot!” “There were some really intriguing reasons.”
“Look, Hermione, I can explain,” Harry began, paling significantly.
“I think the most interesting one,” Hermione continued, as if Harry wasn’t having a nervous breakdown right in front of her, “was the last one.” She looked up, her eyes challenging him. “Want to read it?”
“Hermione, please don’t do this…” Harry begged.
“I really think you should, Harry.” Hermione placed the journal into his hands and folded her hands in her lap, underneath her duvet.
Harry briefly closed his eyes and then opened them once more as he turned to the final page, one he had memorized by heart. He read it, all the way down to his name, not bothering to notice that there was something underneath, and looked back at Hermione, his eyes pleading.
“Hermione, I’d really like it if you’d just let me explain.”
“I don’t think you read everything, Harry,” Hermione answered, as collected as ever, although underneath her covers the fingers on her left hand were fidgeting furiously with the material of her pyjamas. “Look.” She nodded at the journal. Harry stared at her, clearly confused, but obliged, and let his eyes travel to a name that had certainly not been there twenty minutes earlier.
392. Hermione Jane Granger – I love you, too.
His eyes widened as he looked up to find Hermione smirking at him. “You should know better by now to listen to me,” she told him.
“Are you…are you serious?” was all Harry could manage. “You’re not still…drunk, or anything, are you?”
“Of course I’m not still drunk!” Hermione replied, looking rather disgusted. “And yes, Harry. I’m absolutely serious.” Her repulsion melted away and she gave Harry the most genuine smile he had ever seen in his entire life, and he couldn’t help but laugh as he realized all of his anxiety (not to mention his lying) had been for naught.
“You’re a piece of work, you know that?” Harry asked her, still awe-struck.
“So long as I’m no longer just your ‘insufferable know-it-all best friend’, I think I’ll live.”
“You’ve never been just that,” Harry whispered.
Hermione grinned and added, “Right. I forgot the, ‘with an immense amount of uncontrollable bushy hair that’s a complete eyesore as well as a tendency to drive you insane with my bossiness,’ didn’t I?”
Hermione’s eyes softened. “So would that make me the ‘insufferable bossy know-it-all with uncontrollable bushy hair’ girlfriend?”
“Never,” Harry answered, shaking his head, and Hermione knew fully well what he meant.
“Really?” she whispered, moving closer to him. He nodded.
And then he kissed her.
Hermione couldn’t help but give a small squeal as Harry placed his lips on hers. In all honesty, it was obvious that he was going to kiss her. But nonetheless…he was kissing her! Harry James Potter was kissing her, Hermione Jane Granger. After all of this time of worrying and trying to convince herself that she could just love Harry as a friend, she no longer had to, because he was kissing her.
She finally relaxed against Harry, wrapping her arms around his neck and returning the kiss. She felt Harry smile.
As the two continued their romantic rendezvous, Mrs Granger stopped in her daughter’s doorway, intent on having a little chat with her about what on earth she had been doing kissing this Dean fellow she had heard about. At the sight of Hermione kissing Harry, however, all of Mrs Granger’s worries disappeared, and her frown settled into a pleased grin. Turning around so she could go back downstairs, she could only shake her head. Teenagers certainly were more trouble than they were worth, but somehow or another, they made up for it with moments such as these.
This is most certainly going to be used as a “listen to your mother and you will do no wrong” moment, Mrs Granger thought to herself, all the while wondering how to break the news to her husband and ensure that he didn’t bloody up their cooking knives. He may approve of Harry as a possible boyfriend, but somehow I still can’t imagine he’d be quite pleased with the situation…
When Harry and Hermione finally broke apart, both out of breath and red in the face, Hermione found herself, for reasons completely unknown, blurting out, “I love you!” Apparently now that she had decided that she no longer needed to deceive herself, she had to say every single thing on her mind. She blushed and looked down as Harry gazed at her, his expression unreadable. “I know that we’ve only kissed this once, and we haven’t even dated, and all of the books say not to say this for a good few months, or not at all, because it’s relinquishing power or something, but I do, and I know you already said in The List that you love me, and I wrote that I love you, too, but it’s different writing it opposed to actually saying it out loud. The two have different meanings. I mean, honestly, I’ve been writing ‘Love from Hermione’ for years now. But that’s not the point. I just…well…yes…” She trailed off, looking rather confused and a bit helpless.
“Hermione,” Harry said gently. Hermione glanced up, biting her lip.
“Did I just ruin everything?” she asked meekly.
He laughed, a laugh that made Hermione feel silly that she ever worried about anything in her entire life. “I love you, too,” he answered. “And in a ‘say it out loud’ way, not only a ‘write it on parchment’ way, whatever that means.”
Hermione beamed at Harry. And then she kissed him.