Chapter 5 : Who's Afraid of the Wicked Witch now?
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When anger gets the better of you, you can feel it. It swelled inside of me, surged through every particle of my being, yet somehow I was still able to stay calm. Maybe that was because my heart was shattered for him. When I saw his expressionless face walk through the halls during the day, when I saw him let himself be beaten up by Professor Snape in class when he messed up his potion, when he barely ate any food during meals, and when he rushed in the other direction anytime Lavender came near him, it hurt. It was as if his pain was mine, and it was because of Lavender that it had started.
Lavender was careless. If she had actually thought her plan through, she would have realized that by doing what she did, she was pushing Ron away from her and making him more available for me to claim. I didn't realize that at first though, which is why I too spent the first few days in despair for Ron and everything that was going on. I raised my hand in class less than I normally did, I was distracted, and I even wrote down two more tips for the guide.
Tip #8: Never speak to her again if she causes you to lose your position on the quidditch team on purpose. She deserves it, because she just proved that she doesn't care about your interests and goals.
Tip #9: Murder her if she causes you to lose your position on the Gryffindor quidditch team on purpose. She deserves it, for the same reasons as tip #8, and then you don't even have to follow it.
Harry only laughed when I showed them to him. He said that he agreed, but that tip number nine would cause a lot of problems. Sadly I agreed, so I took it out, but I will always remember it as the unwritten tip to my guide.
It was then that I also decided that I was done with S.P.E.W. Harry and Ginny's faces lit up at this fact when I told them. There was also a catch though: I was starting a new society. They groaned then when I told them that. Smiling though, I said that it would be called the S.A.M.S., or The Society Against Man-stealing Snobs. For once their reaction was laughter, which caused me to laugh as well. It felt so good to laugh again, because it seemed like I hadn't laughed at all in the week following the incident.
Ron wasn't in the mood though to see my tips or the new society that I was starting. He just seemed to sulk from one place to another. It still hurt me as well that Lavender did all this just because I told her that I wouldn't back away from him. He wouldn't know that for now, but because of this, I decided to consult Professor McGonagall after transfiguration class.
"Miss Granger," she acknowledged as I walked up to the opposite side of the desk she was sitting at.
"Hello, Professor McGonagall," I said back, waiting for her to look up from the papers that she was grading. When she did, she only looked at me expectantly, so I continued. "I was wondering if we could hold another tryout for Gryffindor quidditch keeper."
"And why would that be?" she inquired. I conjured up a chair and began to tell her the story of what happened last Saturday afternoon. About how Ron was doing great until the last shot where he oddly went in the other direction and looked confused. How there was a big argument on the pitch about who would be keeper because of it, and how Harry said that he would have to make McLaggen keeper because they had no proof. "This is all great," she told me interested, "but like Harry, I too cannot give permission for another tryout unless there is proof."
I smiled to myself wickedly. "Well you see Professor, the culprit placed the proof straight into my hands without realizing that I could use it."
"Oh really?" asked Professor McGonagall. Knowing me she knew that my sources must have been correct.
"As long as you have a pensive and an open mind, I can show you," I told her. It was only a few moments later that we were out of her classroom and on our way to the headmasters office. We didn't pass that many students on our way since it was getting close to supper time, so the halls were quite empty excluding the occasional ghosts or teachers. When we arrived at the headmaster's office, Professor McGonagall knocked three times. There was the Professor's familiar word of "enter" from behind the wall that followed. Opening the door, Professor McGonagall and I strode in, then quickly shut the door behind us.
"Good evening, Albus," said Professor McGonagall as she conjured up two chairs for her and I to join the headmaster around his desk.
"Good evening, Minerva," responded Professor Dumbledore, "What brings you two to my office today?"
"The possibility of holding another tryout for Gryffindor quidditch keeper," responded Professor McGonagall. During this time I thought I would wait my turn to speak, so as to not interrupt while Professor McGonagall explained. She did, and within another five minutes the headmaster was pulling out his pensive. "Well then do enlighten us, Miss Granger," he told me smiling.
Taking my wand and putting it up to my temple, I took out gassy looking blue strand, a memory from the previous weekend. I placed it into the pensive, watched it swirl for a few moments, then settle. "I'll go ahead and go first," I offered, peering my face into the light surface, and then experiencing the feeling of falling into nowhere. I had never actually gone into a memory before. Harry had explained it in his sixth year, but my only other source had been the books I was reading about it from. It seemed much different than I had expected. I hit the ground hard, my legs feeling like jelly, but I was still standing up.
Looking around, I saw that I was exactly where I had been planning to end up, and moments later Professors McGonagall and Dumbledore were right behind me. We were standing on the quidditch pitch. It looked exactly the same as it did the moment that the event happened. Harry, Ginny, Ron, McLaggen, and I were standing in a huddle arguing, the other members of the team were waiting by the hoops, students who had not made the team were walking away, and the stands were filled with the talking and movement of people leaving to go back to their Saturday afternoons.
Looking behind me, and then motioning to follow, the professors and I walked over the huddle, which was the reason why we were here. Right before we got there though, McLaggen let out a triumphant shout and walked away. I explained to the professors that that was when McLaggen had been told he would be keeper. Once we were close enough Ginny's voice came out of the group, "Let's take him to the locker room, he should really sit down." We watched as Ginny and the memory of me helped Ron over to the locker room, and followed. We watched Ron for a few moments with his hands on his face, and then the moment of truth came when Lavender entered the room.
"I'm so sorry," she muttered to Ron like before, "I really didn't want to, but I had to do it."
I continued watching, seeing Harry's response of, "What are you talking about?", and then Lavender's explanation of, "I sent the confundous charm on you," and then continued to watch as my eyes were glued to Ron's hurt, pain stricken, expression. I was hurt all over again, I was angry all over again, and these emotions were so distracting that I never noticed Professor McGonagall's hand on my shoulder, or the landing back into Professor Dumbledore's office. All I saw was Ron's face over and over again, and I felt like I could almost cry.
"Well Miss Granger, I think that you have proven that the position for Gryffindor keeper will be open for tryouts once again," said a pleased Professor Dumbledore.
"Miss Brown will also be receiving her own form of punishment as well, whether she is Weasley's girlfriend or not," commented Professor McGonagall.
"Very well," replied Professor Dumbledore, "You may go now, Miss Granger." In a daze I walked out of the headmasters office, still picturing Ron's face, but then another face came into my gaze: Lavender's from the night I told her that I would not stop loving Ron. I looked at it, soaked it in, and then I smiled.
~ * ~ * ~
The next morning I walked down into the Gryffindor common room to find Ron and tell him the good news. I had already told Harry the news the night before as soon as I came back from the headmaster's office, and he was quite pleased. Ron was sitting in a chair in the corner of the room, looking in every direction but Lavender's who was sitting in the opposite corner of the room. Smiling, I walked over to him. "I have something to tell you that will make you considerably happier than you are at the moment."
"I truly doubt that anything you could say at the moment would lighten my mood," Ron sourly replied.
"Well I disagree," I argued, "Would you like to hear what it is?"
"Fine," he murmured.
"Re-tryouts for Gryffindor quidditch keeper," were the few words I told him. He didn't pay that much attention at first and it took him a few moments to soak it in, but finally he looked back at me with a surprised look on his face.
"What did you say?" he asked me to be sure what he was hearing was true.
"Last night I convinced the headmaster and professor McGonagall to hold another set of tryouts for Gryffindor quidditch keeper. You get another chance to try out and a guarantee that no spells will be placed on you this Sunday." I explained to him will full details this time.
"Hermione, you're a genius," said Ron, jumping out of his chair and giving me a big hug. I hugged him back, enjoying every last moment of it. The problem was that the hug didn't last as long as I would have wanted it to though. Seconds later Ron pulled away, and told me he wanted to go practice with Harry. I wished him luck and he was gone.
Looking across the room, I saw Lavender looking dangerously at me. Her face was hot, filled with anger, and all I could do was keep smiling to myself knowing that it would get even better later in the afternoon when transfiguration class came.
As I made my way to the portrait hole, Lavender came and stood in my way. "What was that all about?" she asked.
"The fact that you are the worst thing that has ever happened to him," I told her, "Hopefully he will be smart enough to realize that now and take advantage of the new opportunity he has been given."
"What the hell are you talking about?" she asked as I made to move around her.
"You will find out at breakfast and after transfiguration class," was all that I was willing to tell her before I walked past and out of the room.
The announcement was made as I had predicted at breakfast. The headmaster told the other students that there would be another chance to tryout for Gryffindor quidditch keeper since there were faults in the last tryout. McLaggen and Lavender's faces were priceless, and Ron's face was full of pride. He even gave me a big smile during while the headmaster continued to explain the details.
"Thanks," he mouthed in my direction while chatter erupted from the other students within the Great Hall.
"Anytime," I told him back, then turning to talk to Ginny after she tapped me on the shoulder.
"Good one," she said, smiling. I smiled too, because this week just seemed to be getting better and better.
~ * ~ * ~
As I would have predicted, Ron caught all five passes, and McLaggen caught four with no excuse this time because Professor McGonagall was there to make sure that no spells were put on anyone trying out. As a result, Ron gained the position of keeper over McLaggen, and McLaggen left the field in a huff, clearly upset. Ron's smile however at the news seemed wider than I had ever seen before, and he looked truly, genuinely happy for the first time in the past week. My heart was content with that too.
He and the rest of the quidditch team, along with Harry, left the pitch quickly after tryouts to stop by the kitchens for a few butterbeers to celebrate. What I'm sure made him as well as me happier, was the fact that Lavender did not show her face during, before, or after tryouts. It seemed she was finally getting a message, especially after she had been called up to Professor McGonagall's desk the day of the announcement about tryouts to be told that she now had detention for what she did during the last tryouts. I only smiled sweetly after she came back to her desk glaring at me.
What even put the cherry on top of that cake was the announcement for the first trip to Hogsmede next weekend on Halloween. Since Ron and Lavender were arguing, it would mean that they wouldn't be going together, and maybe he would be willing to spend it with me, and later Ginny and Harry since they would be going together. With all this great news, I seemed to be floating on air. I felt like nothing could put me down, especially since tonight I had another night shift with Ron for head patrolling duty.
We met by the statue of the bent witch on the first floor at nine o'clock, like we always did for patrolling. He seemed to be feeling good as well after all that had happened today.
"So are you happy that you are quidditch keeper now?" I asked him to start a conversation. It wasn't like it would be silent anyways, but I just felt like talking now rather than later.
"Yeah, really happy," he said, then turning to me added, "It wasn't fun finding out what it feels like to be beaten out to the position by McLaggen, and only losing the position because of your girlfriend. I really hope that that never happens again," he explained.
"Me too," I told him, "You didn't look like you were having the best days of your life either," He nodded, and there was silence for a few moments as we made our way to the second floor corridors. Then I decided to see what I could get out of him about what was going on with him and Lavender. That was always the useful thing about being his friend and liking him. I could ask him, and he wouldn't be very suspicious. He would just think that I was concerned.
"Oh, I don't know," he said looking at the classroom doors and the stone walls of the castle as we passed by. "I'm just confused right now. I hate her but I like her at the same time, you know. It's frustrating. I'm sure that you can relate in some way," he explained.
"Yes, I can," I added, thinking about him and how I hated him for not noticing me over Lavender, but how I loved him just the same. I still added afterwards though, "So what are you going to do then?"
"I just—don't know," he said full of thought, "What do you think that I should do?" he then suddenly asked, turning to me. His question hit me head on, and there were so many ways that I could go with it. I could say that he should dump Lavender and go out with me, but that would be the very bold, courageous thing to do, a quality that I had trouble applying without force. I could also say that he should dump Lavender period, which would probably be the most sensible thing to say. Then I could also say that I didn't know what he should do, but that would be the stupid thing to say. I could finally say that he should just get back together with Lavender, but there would have to be something wrong with my brain for me to say that. Or, last but not least, I could kiss him. No words, no thoughts, just a kiss. And it was truly something that I would long to do, but somehow I just knew that I couldn't with the possibility of him still picking Lavender over me.
I placed my hand on his shoulder, turning to tell him what I thought, but just before I did, Peeves came zooming down the hallway with an agitated Filch on his tail. "Come back here Peeves, I'll have you for this!" shouted Filch. Peeves only cackled, then finally taking Ron and I in standing ahead of him, my hand on his shoulder, he began to sing: Weasley and Granger sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g…Then he began to shoot spitballs at our heads and cackled some more. "Peeves!" Filch shouted once again.
"Come on," said Ron, grabbing my hand and pulling me down the hallway. I was still in shock of the randomness of it all, not to mention the fact about why I was running away from a poltergeist when I was a witch and had a wand, but Ron was pulling me along, so there was not much that I could do. Turning a few corners then spotting an empty classroom door open along the hall, Ron and I ran in and shut the door behind us. Pressing our ears up against the door, we hear Peeves continue to cackle as he flew down the hallway, and the wheezing of Filch as he tried to run to keep up with him, the pitter patter of Mrs. Norris' paws as she trotted along with him. We waited for a few minutes to pass by, letting the silence float on, and then decided it was safe to leave the classroom.
Stepping out, we began to laugh, because it was one unordinary night of patrolling for the both of us. We had never run into peeves at night before except for that one time in our first year when we were with Harry under the invisibility cloak sneaking to the third floor corridor. Nor had we ever ran away from him before, which probably surprised him as well. Our laughter was quickly halted though, by the sight of our potions master stepping into view. "What are you two doing?" he said in his normal, droning tone.
"Oh, nothing professor," I began, "We were just patrolling the corridors."
"Really Miss Granger?" he asked, "Well then I must inquire as to whether or not laughter is considered patrolling the corridors?
"It's not, Sir," butted in Ron. I glanced at him, wondering why he was being so weak, but I let Professor Snape continue.
"I'm glad that you agree then, Mr. Weasley. I expect you two next time to do your jobs, otherwise I will be suggesting that you are removed as heads of houses, is that understood?" he said.
"Yes, Sir," said Ron once again, taking what Snape was throwing at him. Snape seemed taken aback that a Weasley would not fight back against what he was saying, so he quickly moved on down the corridor, suggesting that I take a leaf from Ron's book.
"What was that about?" I asked him curiously.
"I just didn't want Snape to ruin my day," he told me, smiling, "Did you see the look on his face when I didn't fight back?" I nodded, and we both glanced around the corridor to make sure that he was gone before we began laughing again. The rest of our patrolling was considerably lighter, unfortunately relationships weren't brought up again, but I had a good time, and more importantly so did he.
The next morning we recounted what happened during the previous night to Harry and Ginny. I later went back and gave Ginny the deeper details that Ron didn't seem to pick up on. We were unfortunately interrupted though by a certain person named Lavender who came over to our place on the table. "What do you want? To make me lose my place on the team again?" asked Ron when she came up next to him. She looked hurt for a moment, and I silently cheered Ron on in my head.
"I just want to speak to you for a moment, please." She replied, glancing only where Ron sat and the floor. Ron looked like he was thinking for another moment, then she added "Please," again.
"Fine," said Ron, placing his napkin on the table and walking away with Lavender out of the Great Hall. My mind could only soar with possibilities of what was going on, and what she could be telling him. Could it even possibly be the fact that I like him? No…it couldn't. She was too self-centered. The minutes ticked by, and it seemed like Ron wasn't going to come back in time for the rest of breakfast, so Harry, Ginny, and I packed up and left.
It wasn't until Potions that I finally had a chance to ask Ron what was going on with him and Lavender, and what they were talking about earlier. We were learning how to make a Amortentia that day, because it was N.E.W.T. level. During the whole entire class, all I could smell was freshly mown grass, new parchment, and…Ron. It was one of the days of the year that I could not complain.
"Oh that, well you see the thing is…Lavender and I are going to Hogsmede together now," he said.
"What?" I said astonished and distracted. This couldn't be happening.
"Yes, talking and going out again. She convinced me earlier to forgive her," He explained to me.
"Oh, okay," I said, while muttering under my breath "I'm sure with a snog or two."
"Are you going to be okay with me not going with you then anymore?" he asked, looking at me while I distractedly tried to continue my potion.
"Yeah, yeah, sure, whatever…she's your girlfriend," I told him, trying to hold back the water in my eyes.
"Thanks, Hermione," beamed Ron, "You're such a great friend."
"Yeah, I know," I told him, trying to keep a smile. "Friend."
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