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Chapter 9 : Happy
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A/N: Please read this first, this story is already completed and trust me I know where I'm going with it. I'm stating this because some may be somewhat confused of whats coming in ths chapter...but it all works out eventually =) Let me know what yout think.
I can walk around with a pretty face on
Even when I’m black and blue
What the point in telling everybody
I’m not over you?
I’m so happy for you
I could cry
“Happy”- Saving Jane
Christmas was nearing and Ginny had long since arrived at Grimmauld Place. She had become inexplicably clingy. She rarely let Harry out of her sight. Harry hadn’t gotten the chance to talking with Hermione. Ginny seemed to blatantly refuse to leave Harry alone if Hermione was in the room. It was all seriously starting to annoy Harry. Particularly because he knew that Hermione fancied him as much as he did her, yet neither could do anything about it because of the Weaselys. Despite the annoyance that Ron and Ginny were causing, they were not about to hurt their friends. They were both too high in moral fibre to put themselves before their friends.
It was the morning of Christmas Eve, and Ginny and Ron had gone off to Shell Cottage to make a brief visit to their family. Harry and Hermione had had a narrow escape from going along, due to their jobs.
Harry had gotten all his Christmas shopping done weeks before. The only person left on the list was his girlfriends Ginny. It was after much deliberation with himself that he thought of the perfect gift for her. He didn’t know if it had been due to the Firewhiskey he had drunk, but he suddenly felt like a risk taker. He knew his gift to Ginny would change not only his life, but everyone else’s as well. In his right mind, he would’ve completely gone against his decision. The thing was he wasn’t in his right mind. He was confused. He felt extremely guilty about thinking of Hermione every time he was with his girlfriend. Yet he couldn’t help the way his eyes lit up and the way his spirits rose up whenever he saw Hermione. He hadn’t resolved the issue he and Hermione had come across. He hadn’t found a solution to the problem they faced of fancying each other and being with other people. Harry was desperate at this point, and that was partly the reason why he had picked Ginny’s particular present.
Harry was cheery that morning. He was pacing up and down the kitchen while Kreacher served breakfast.
“What is going on with you?” Hermione asked chuckling at seeing Harry so nervous.
“I just thought of the perfect Christmas present for Ginny.” Harry said excitedly.
“Oh?” Hermione asked. “What is it?”
Harry kept pacing, wondering how to tell Hermione.
“Harry just come out with it” said Hermione laughing seeing Harry look so flustered.
“I’m gonna ask Ginny to marry me.” Harry said smiling.
Hermione dropped her spoon into her cereal bowl.
“Are you serious?”
“Yes.” said Harry.
Hermione was speechless.
“Are you okay?” Harry asked bemusedly.
“Yeah, I’m just shocked.” replied Hermione. “It’s sort of… sudden.”
“Sudden?” asked Harry as he sat down in the chair in front of her.
“Yes. You and Ginny have only been together for a year and technically not even that because of the war and her being at Hogwarts”
“I know, but I really missed her.” said Harry. “It would also make for a perfect Christmas present.”
Hermione eyed Harry closely.
“Harry this is a really big step.” Hermione said seriously. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Pretty sure.” Harry replied.
“Pretty sure isn’t good enough!” said Hermione irritably.
“Are you mad?” Harry asked tactlessly.
“That has to be the stupidest question you could ask me Harry.” said Hermione bitterly.
“I know this is hard on you--”
“Is this how you’re planning on fixing our little issue?” Hermione asked daringly.
“Because it’s not going to work.”
“Hermione it’s for the best.” said Harry. “You know it is. It doesn’t matter how much we fancy each other or what it could become when we both know that neither of us will leave Ron or Ginny.”
“Maybe so, But you’re taking the easy way out.” said Hermione angrily. “But if it’s what you want to do, I’m not going to stop you. Do what you want.”
Hermione whipped around angrily.
“Hermione, don’t hate me.” Harry said pleadingly.
Hermione turned around slowly, she had angry tear in her eyes. Nevertheless, the way Harry had said ‘don’t hate me’ melted her heart.
“As much as I want to at this moment,” Hermione said thickly. “That’s something that will--unfortunately--never happen.”
Harry smiled shyly at her.
“And you’re right.” Hermione added. “It’s not like anything could’ve happened between us anyway. The hurt that we would cause Ron and Ginny is just not worth it.”
It hurt Harry to see Hermione hurting, it hurt even more to hear that what could’ve been wasn’t even worth fighting for, just because of the damage they would do to their partners. Sometimes it wasn’t all that great to do the right thing.
“I know I’m pushing my luck here but…” said Harry uncertainly. “Will you help me pick out a ring?”
It felt like a low blow to Hermione. As if Harry had just rubbed salt in her wounds. Yet she knew that if she was willing to have Harry as a friend even if having his love was impossible, she’d have to do stuff she would’ve normally done as just a platonic friend.
“You are really pushing your luck.” said Hermione smirking. “But fine. I’ll help you but you really shouldn’t trust my judgment when I’m not in the most placid mood.”
That afternoon, Harry and Hermione apparated to Diagon Alley. Some of the Firewhiskey’s effect was wearing off and Harry was starting to see the stupidity of his gift idea. However, the damage had been done and the least he could do was go through with it. He knew Hermione had reluctantly agreed to help him. He knew that what she secretly wanted to do was send him a dose of her terrifying Oppugno spell. Not that he didn’t deserve it. At the same time, he kept repeating what he had told her, in his head. It was true; they were both too honourable to put themselves first. Harry also was starting to fear that his crush for Hermione was all a result of the time they had been cooped up alone together. That would’ve been a terrible foundation to build on. He’d rather take the safe route and wonder what could’ve been than to regret crossing the line and ruin their friendship indefinitely.
“What about this one?” Harry asked pointing at a tacky ring with an intense yellow band and rusty looking diamond.
“Harry, are you even trying?” Hermione asked in jest.
“It looks nice, it looks antique.” Harry said.
“Yeah, it might’ve been popular in the medieval period.” said Hermione cattily. “Not so much now”
Harry was taken aback by Hermione’s icy comment. Hermione spotted his stunned face.
“What?” she asked him.
“That was a Lavenderish comment.” said Harry laughing.
Hermione couldn’t help but smile a little.
“Well it’s an ugly ring.” she said.
“Okay. So which one would you pick?” Harry asked.
Hermione scanned around the pane and a certain ring caught her eye. It was classic, white gold band and single pear-cut diamond ring.
“That one.” said Hermione pointing towards the ring.
Harry beckoned the sales witch over and she brought the ring out of the case and handed it to Hermione to try on. She slipped it on effortlessly and extended her hand out to examine it.
“It’s beautiful.” Hermione said breathlessly.
Her mind couldn’t help but wonder what it would’ve been like if the ring was hers and Harry had just proposed to her.
“It is.” Harry agreed.
“Shall I ring it up then?” the sales witch asked.
“Yes please.” said Harry politely.
Hermione slipped the ring off and handed it to the sales witch. She had picked out the most beautiful engagement ring for the future fiancée of the man she had fancied since fifth year. If there was ever a time she wanted to hit herself, it was now. She watched sullenly as the sales witch handed Harry a tiny white boy wrapped in a bright red bow. In her mind’s eye she could see herself walking down the aisle, smiling at everyone as she neared to Harry who was standing patiently at the altar, his eyes never leaving hers. She was just about to grasp Harry’s hand to stand by him when Ginny appeared and pushed her out of the way. Hermione shook her head, trying to rid it of all the nonsense it was creating. She thought of how it would all eventually melt down. They’d get married; Ginny would take up most of Harry’s time, making it harder for Harry and her to maintain their friendship the same. They’d eventually drift apart so much that they would only be acquaintances. It was a horrible thought to her and it was even more horrible to know that it was very probable.
Harry pocketed the small box into his trouser’s pocket. It was done. All that was left was plucking up the courage to ask the question.
“You can’t marry Ginny!” Hermione blurted.
Harry turned around.
“I said you can’t marry Ginny.” Hermione repeated more daringly.
“Why not?” inquired Harry.
“Because of this” said Hermione.
She flung herself on him and kissed him hard on the mouth giving him no time to prepare himself. It was passionate kiss, not at all like the sweet romantic kiss they had shared months ago. It was a kiss to end the world. She wanted him to know the passion and yearning she had had for him for years. She wanted him to forget who Ginny was, forget the world. She wanted him to know what real love was, not the imitation he was living with Ginny.
Harry was taken aback, but it did not take him long to respond, and very enthusiastically at that.
A/N: Well, I hope this chapter won’t cause tomatoes to be thrown at me. I took a chance with this chapter because I think it’s needed for you to understand Harry and Hermione later. As you may already know, this is an AU story but I don’t think the characters are completely off. I for one think Hermione would do what she did, after all she has put up with a lot and she just wants Harry to know what she feels.
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