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What A Wicked Game You Play by chiQs09
Chapter 2 : Chapter 1: Rumours
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 6

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(A/N: ALL chapters of this story are about 5000 words long, but I promise, it's worth reading. :)

DISCLAIMER: J.K. Rowling owns the Potterverse and all its characters.

In case you missed it in the prologue, Astoria Greengrass is a year older than in canon. That's essential for later chapters.

“Well, Hermione’s dating a girl now.”

“What, like a girlfriend?”

Ginny watched her brother as he slumped on the squashy armchair beside the fireplace. Running his hand through his tousled hair and removing some imaginary lint from his pullover, Ginny thought how crestfallen he seemed. Bottom lip pushed forward to a pout and eyebrows furrowed together, he exhaled a long-suffering sigh.

He squinted at Ginny, who was lying on the couch, her Pygmy Puff, Arnold, on her chest, as she tied a white bow at his long tail.

“Hermione must’ve told you ‘bout her girlfriend,” Ron ventured, lifting the right corner of his lips slightly. “Ain’t you her thickest buddy after all?”

He was trying to keep it cool, but his expression was strained from hiding his displeasure, for Ginny had thought that he was finally going to ask Hermione out and get rid off Lavender. He had his hands folded on his chest; Ginny noticed how heavily he was breathing.

“No, she has not. I didn’t know,” Ginny said, giving her brain time to register the new information. “But…how’d you know she is going out with a girl?” she asked reluctantly, capturing Arnold with a reflexive grasp before he was able to escape. “I mean, how can you be so sure they’re together? Were they kissing or something? Or…did she tell you?”

Ron groaned to his chest, “Well, not me at least, I didn’t see anything.”

Staring at the hearth, he made a short pause, seeming to be searching for the right words to convey his thoughts. He sighed again as if he was having difficulties thinking about what to say and whether to believe what he had just found out about Hermione.

He grunted, “Lavender—apparently she’d seen ‘em snogging and stuff.” He shook his head in incomprehension. “Couldn’t believe it myself.”

“By the Holy Stars! Lavender?” Ginny pulled a face, exclaiming in utter disbelief, “Lavender’s a damn gossip; you can’t seriously eat the crap she feeds to you.”

“I asked Hermione, all right? And she didn’t deny it,” he said flatly, not meeting Ginny’s gaze. After a moment, he smiled distantly at something he seemed to be remembering. “I had never thought that she actually fancies girls. Thought it was just me—me not understanding her and all the girl things she wanted me to understand, which really has pissed me off sometimes.”

“Girl things,” Ginny snorted. “You make it sound as though she’s from another planet, speaking an alien language. She worshipped the ground you walked on, and you never noticed?” she said, cringing as she realised that it was supposed to be a secret. She looked at Arnold, brushing his chin with her index finger.

“Oh? So she did really fancy me? Thought Seamus was just teasing me ‘bout that,” Ron said in genuine surprise, then mumbled something incoherent under his breath. He looked thoughtful for a moment.

With a shrug, Ginny conceded, “I dunno if she still secretly does. She’s not confiding in me that much lately, but it was rather obvious…before.”

She didn’t feel like telling her brother that Hermione had been snubbing her for weeks, now months, for a reason unbeknownst to her. Ron might have had already noticed that Ginny and Hermione hadn’t been talking to each other lately; but he’d only dismissed it as a frivolous girl drama, which Ginny and Hermione often had.

Ginny had, aside Hermione, Luna and Neville as her friends. She also remained good friends with her ex-boyfriends, Dean, and Michael, but especially with Harry. The other boys she had barely dated couldn’t really be designated as ‘ex’, thus, she didn’t remain friends with them. Those were meaningless affairs, which comprised of snogging in between classes in the hallways. She had friends from her Quidditch team, classmates she got along well. But quite unlike all of her friendships with the people in her life couldn’t hold a candle to Hermione Granger.

“Who’s your best friend: Harry, Ron, or I?” Ginny had asked her once. It was back then when Ginny had accompanied Hermione attending to her prefect duties. They sat on the lower stairs leading to the Astronomy Tower; the corridors just dimly lit.

Hermione, sitting in front of Ginny, whilst Ginny hugging her from behind to keep her warm, giggled softly and turned her head. “What?” As she turned and the torchlight reflected on her face, she gave Ginny a bizarre look, saying, “All of you, I guess.”

“But who’s your bestest best friend?”

“Why, are the three of you competing for that position?” Hermione humoured.

“Just asking,” Ginny had said, quietly speaking to her ear. “If you were to save just one of us from an army of Death Eaters, who would you try to rescue?” Then, as she tugged at Hermione’s scarf, smirking, she added teasingly, “Answer me or I’ll bite your ear!”

Hermione laughed, swatting her hand away. “I don’t know. Is this seriously a matter of life or death?”

“All right, don’t tell me I didn’t warn you,” Ginny had said, attacking Hermione’s earlobe with tender bites. She gnawed Hermione’s earlobe between her teeth, purring and roaring like a little monster as she gave the soft flesh a playful tug.

Hermione, squealing, laughing, and shuddering, all at the same time, had tried pushing Ginny’s face away. “All right, all right,” she giggled in surrender as her laughter subsided, “you are! You are my best friend, Ginny!”

“There,” Ginny had said with a smirk, “was that so hard?”

Most often, they would talk about blokes; what they liked or disliked about them and why boys were so bloody complicated. They’d made speculations in regards to the boys’ minds, and whether they might be functioning differently. Whether sex is all that was on their mind, or why they keep their brooms spotless but live like pigs at home. Or why they can enthusiastically sleep with a woman they know they would never see again.

One time Hermione sat alone in the library, a letter clutched in her hand. She had looked up briefly when Ginny joined her table, her eyes blurred with unshed tears.

“He’s married now,” Hermione had mumbled to herself, sniffing. On the table, Ginny read the sender’s handwriting—the letter was from Viktor Krum. Then she watched Hermione crumple the letter up to a ball and toss it aside, her lips then changed to a sudden, wretched smile.

Ginny had never asked Hermione if she liked Viktor Krum. She’d only assumed that she did, or maybe had been infatuated, seeing how Hermione’s cheeks grew rosy or her eyes sparkled whenever she received a new Owl from him. What else could it be? You would not blush over a friend’s letter that didn’t touch your heart, would you?

Seeing Hermione in such a miserable state, Ginny couldn’t help but lean over and take Hermione’s shaking hand in her hands, then she kissed her palm, gently, prolonging the moment. That’s how close they were—affections shown that way were natural between them. Hermione’s hand was soft and warm against her lips as she smiled against it.

She felt Hermione slightly shiver.

“There are other hot Quidditch players on the pitch,” she had told Hermione in a gentle voice, eliciting a smile from her broken-hearted friend.

Hermione’s dating a girl now.

How could she have kept something so vital from Ginny, who was her closest friend, her main confidante, her best friend? Granted, Hermione was upset at Ginny due to an argument—and the many others before that—but she could have at least mentioned that she had a girlfriend.

Hermione had sought some time of solitude after their fights. She needed space, she’d said, and time to think…about their friendship.

“Who’s it?” she asked her brother now, who had dozed off on his chair.

“What?” Ron said croakily, looking startled. He had his hands folded behind his head to support his neck, then rubbed his eyes, and gave a loud yawn.

“Hermione. Who’s her girlfriend?”

“Oh, that girl from Slytherin, Green—something,” Ron said, shrugging, feigning indifference. “Dunno, I forgot. She’d dated Malfoy before I think, according to Lavender. This’s why I dunno how she ended up dating Hermione. I reckon Malfoy made her gay.”

“Greengrass? Daphne Greengrass?” Ginny guessed, furrowing her brows. “Or Astoria?”

“Yeah, the latter. She’s the youngest, isn’t she? The prettiest of the two,” Ron enthused, smiling distantly.

He massaged his temples, and then said uneasily, “It’s just a phase, isn’t it? Reckon Hermione only wants to experience the best of both worlds. Girls experiment a lot, after all,” he said with a sheepish grin tugging at the corner of his lips. Suddenly he looked weary, and he dropped his gaze.

He stretched his arms over his head, flexing his tense muscles. “Have you seen Harry?” Lifting himself from the couch, he walked towards the boys dormitories. “Gonna have to copy the damn essay, or I’ll be screwed in Potions tomorrow. Gonna hit the sack. Wake me if supper is ready, will you?”

Hermione has a girlfriend, Ginny thought, disregarding her brother, What the hell?


I can do this. I can do this.

“Granger, you sure this is what you want? You might not be ready for it.”

I can do this.

“Yes. I am!” She took a deep breath. “I swear, if you ask me again I might just change my mind,” she wailed, then added in a kinder voice, beseeching, “please. I thought you wanted to do this with me.”

“All right.”

A soft giggle came from the pale blonde girl behind Hermione as she swung her hair over her shoulder and placed both hands on either side of Hermione’s waist, her body pressed against Hermione’s back.

“Merlin, relax! You’re so tense.”

“Oh God, hold me tighter than that,” Hermione cried, closing her eyes.

She felt as though her head was weightless, her temples beginning to throb, and they had not even started yet. She’d mentally prepared for this over the course of two weeks, yet she still didn’t feel entirely confident whether she could go through with this or not. Backing out now was just not an option for her—not for Hermione Granger. After all, she was prepared, she was ready, and it was now or never.

I can do this!

“This is safe, isn’t it? And you know what you’re doing, don’t you?” she asked again.

Astoria, wrapping one slender arm around Hermione’s belly, the other brushing Hermione’s hair from her neck, let out a joyous laughter. “Why, Granger? You don’t trust a Slytherin?” she asked teasingly, seductively, against Hermione’s neck.

Soon, once Astoria’s other arm was wrapped around her, and before Hermione could respond or take a breath or repeat her mantra, Astoria had pushed them off the ground and they were flying.

It was as though Hermione’s internal organs were pushed downward, her lungs constricted, the sudden rush of adrenaline in her blood burnt her guts, and she was screaming. With her eyes still pressed shut, she grasped the broom handle tighter, holding onto it like a lifeline.

“Bloody Merlin, Granger! Stop screaming!” Astoria shouted over Hermione’s voice, but instead of slowing down the speed, the broom flew higher, faster, and began to vibrate under her grip. The vibration made Hermione sicker.

“Lean back. You’re the one speeding up. Jeez, stop screaming!”

“Oh God, oh God, we’re going to fall!” Hermione screeched hysterically, panicking, close to a nervous breakdown. No, she was not going to faint, because if she fainted she wouldn’t know if she’d come alive of this. And she was, most certainly, almost absolutely, not going to die like this. Not from falling! Not from crashing on the ground and breaking her skull and all bones in her body. “Oh God, no! NO!” she cried, tears in her eyes, imagining this scenario.

Breathe, damnit, breathe!

She felt Astoria pulling her back, placing a hand on Hermione’s fingers to ease her grip off the handle, and felt her voice and warm breath at her ear. “I won’t let you fall,” she assured her, gently, confidently. “I won’t let you fall, Granger,” she repeated, “Trust me.”

Surprisingly, Hermione let go a little and leaned back slightly. The broom slowed down its speed.

“See,” Astoria said in triumph. Then, Hermione felt Astoria nuzzling her ear, and she shivered again, only this time not due to her fear of falling. Hermione knew Astoria was doing this to distract her, which, shockingly, worked well. “Granger, will you relax a little? I’m right here. You won’t fall,” she said over and over again, until Hermione relaxed in the other girl’s arms. She was trying hard to control her shaking body.

Hermione shifted to adjust her position, causing the broom to turn in a sudden movement when, once again, Hermione bent forward and the next moment they headed with immense speed towards the ground. The cold air whipped across her face, the stale adrenaline in her veins made her head woozy, freezing her body. Hermione let out another scream.

“Pull the shaft a little,” Astoria instructed with practiced patience. Then, “Damn, pull it up, Granger!” Her voice more urgent now when Hermione failed to obey, too frozen to move a muscle. Astoria tightened her grip around her, speaking to her ear again, “You can do it. Yes, just that. Easy, Granger. Easy.”

Taking quickly a deep breath, Hermione did as she was told, pulling tenderly on the shaft, until it slid with ease ever so slightly over the ground. The grass brushed against her shoes, that, with a little more pull, it changed its direction towards the air again. Hermione released her breath in relief, her shoulders relaxing as she tried straightening her body. The broom was now flying smoothly.

“You’re a natural,” Astoria sniggered, with pride in her voice, pulling slightly back. “Turn towards the lake,” she instructed calmly, resting her chin on Hermione’s right shoulder. “Steer it just like that, it’s very easy. And, for Pete’s sake, I said, relax. You’re friggin’ tight.”

And, again, Hermione obliged, unable to say a word, too scared that if she as much as move a muscle even if that movement was by opening her mouth, she’d lose control over the broom again. With reluctance, she eased her grip off the broom, steering the broom towards the lake just to glide a few inches along its surface. At least falling here wouldn’t be too hurtful than on hard concrete or on hard rocks, Hermione thought.

Astoria pushed the shaft down, brushing Hermione’s hands in the process, so that they glided over the water. With her feet outstretched, Astoria splashed the water to produce a water fountain, and laughed in delight, like a carefree child.

“See, how easy it is?” she told Hermione.

They flew for almost half an hour. They flew towards the castle, so close that they nearly crashed against the Gryffindor Tower if Astoria hadn’t pulled on the shaft in the last second, then back towards the Quidditch pitch, the forbidden forest, over the school ground. Hermione sighted Hagrid’s massive build emerging from his hut, which looked just like a tiny orb on the green landscape; his giant boarhound, Fang, running after him.

She tilted her head back to feel the late afternoon sun against her face. The sky was an endless blue and with a meadow of clouds. Thankfully, it wasn’t raining.

So this is how the world looked like from above, Hermione wondered in awe, finally understanding why everybody loved to fly. It was the feeling of freedom. It was the feeling of embracing the world with outstretched arms and being kissed by the sun. There were no limits in the sky.

And it was Astoria, who showed this all to her.

They landed on the pitch smoothly afterwards, halting when Astoria reached her legs for the ground.

“How’d you like it?” she asked Hermione excitedly, brushing her fingers through her dishevelled hair to straighten them.

“It was…terrific,” Hermione admitted breathlessly, surprised that she meant it. She pressed her hands together as they were still trembling. “And thank you for teaching me this.” She smiled.

Astoria waved a hand dismissively and scoffed. “Pfft, no problem! Next time I’ll show you how to fly like a Pro, with tricks and stuff, like how to surf on a broom but still managing to keep the balance,” she offered with a grin, flashing her straight, white teeth. “Before I teach you how to play Quidditch.”

Hermione felt her face blanch and her stomach tighten at the mere thought of standing on a broom. “No, thank you,” she choked. She busied her hands by fumbling in her robe pocket for a handkerchief, so that Astoria wouldn’t notice her nervousness. Thinking that she hardly managed to sit calmly and still on a broom without getting hysterical and bursting out in sweat, let alone stand on it; not even Voldemort with an Imperius Curse could make her.

She thought of Ginny, and how she would have taught her all this, flying high, higher. She would have reassured that Hermione was comfortable with the height, the speed, the flow of wind. She would have started it slowly, unlike Astoria, who almost startled the hell out of her.

“All right, let’s go back. I still have to do some homework and hope to get it done before supper,” Astoria said; she now had her hair pulled up to a ponytail as a few strands of hair dangled at her ears.

Her collar was untidy, tie askew, the hem of her blouse tucked out of her uniform skirt. Her overall appearance rather lacked neatness, but her beautiful face and natural blush made up for it all. In one hand, she held the broom, the other held out for Hermione, she said, “You coming?”

Hermione frowned at Astoria’s hand as if expecting she’d be dragged back on the broom and sent off flying again. She crossed her arms, taking a wary step backward. Astoria, though, seemed to have mistaken Hermione’s reluctance for mistrust in her, withdrew her hand and sighed.

“All right,” Astoria said after a moment, tilting her head to the side as though struggling to understand Hermione. Then she stared towards the sky, her attention had been caught by something else. She lifted her hand to shade her eyes and her gaze grew fixed. “I—I have to go,” she mumbled, swallowing hard and looking disgusted, whilst her eyes following whatever she was staring at at the sky.

Hermione looked towards the direction in which Astoria was staring. “You okay?” she asked uneasily. “Those are just the school owls, returning from their post delivery. Look, the snow-white one is Harry’s,” Hermione said kindly, smiling, “Are you expecting an Owl, or a Howler?”

Astoria didn’t answer, her eyes still fixed at the flying birds that flew towards the Owlery Tower, as if expecting an air strike. Her face had paled a bit. When she wheeled around, she jogged back towards the castle.


She put the napkin on her lap, folded it a few times, brushed the creases out of it, and then adjusted it so that it lay perfectly. The same procedure was repeated with the utensils on the table—the fork on the left, parallel to the knife; she readjusted the position of the spoon that lay on the right side of the plate.

She brushed a strand of brown, frizzy curls out of her face, tucked it behind her ear, and, again, ensuring it was sitting perfectly. Her hand reached for the glass of pumpkin juice on the left side of her plate, took a few small sips before placing it back on its exact original spot. Only then, she began to eat, one careful bite after the other, masticating the food with relish.

Had Hermione always been such a perfectionist before, Ginny wondered, shoving a piece of beef in her mouth. Or had she just never looked closely enough to notice? Maybe she’d copied this habit from her new girlfriend. Ginny groaned, rolling her eyes at her plate.

Harry nudged Hermione in the side, causing her to jump. Squealing in shock, Hermione threw him a fiery look and swatted his arm. Harry chuckled, rubbing the spot Hermione had hit with his hand. “What’s the matter? You’re as stiff as a poker.”

“I feel a bit chilled. I think I caught a cold.” Hermione sniffed, as if that explained her peculiar behaviour. She drew a cloth handkerchief from her pocket, turned her head from the table, and wiped her nose. “Every bone in my body is aching,” she said in a nasal voice.

She grabbed Harry’s hand and placed it on her forehead. “Do I feel hot?”
“Yeah, a bit,” Harry said. “Must be the flu. Take a rest after your meal.”

“Yes, thank you, Harry.” Hermione, carefully shoving a forkful of beans in her mouth, caught Ginny’s eyes. “What is it?” she asked snippily, raising a brow.

Ginny disregarded her with a shake of her head, turning away. She glanced over her shoulder towards the Slytherin table, her eyes in search for a particular person. Why was this whole issue so bloody intriguing to her? Why did it matter whether Hermione was seeing another girl or not? It wouldn’t make her less a friend just because she preferred girls now.

She caught sight of the younger Greengrass, chit-chatting with her friends. Astoria, by contrast, had absolutely no table manners and ate like a pig, so to speak. Just like Ron. She talked with her mouth full, elbows on the table, and with her fork, she waved for her friend’s attention. And just like Hermione, she caught Ginny’s eyes as if she had sensed that she was being observed. She took a big gulp from her glass, licked her lips dry, and smiled sweetly.

When Ginny turned back round to look at Hermione, who was smiling shyly in the direction where Astoria was seated, only then did Ginny realise that the smile wasn’t meant for her. Thank Merlin!

So the bloody rumours are true!

“Pass me the sauce, Ginny,” she heard her brother mumble, snapping her from her thoughts. He sat across from Ginny, hand outstretched. “The sauce,” he repeated, waggling his fingers when Ginny didn’t move.

Please, pass me the sauce,” Hermione corrected, looking the other way.

“Did she just say something?” Ron asked Harry, his mouth full, shifting his gaze from Hermione and back to Harry.

The table was crowded with Gryffindors, their chatter a rumble. Ron looked around as if uncertain who’d spoken and corrected him. Surely, he only meant to tease Hermione. He took another bite of his pork-sausage, his cheeks filled with food like a hamster’s. Sauce was dripping off the tip of the sausage, and Ron licked its end and bit it off, savouring.

“Goodness, Ronald, I’m trying to eat,” Hermione said with a grimace on her face.

“What?” Ron asked. Harry bent his head to hide his chuckle.

Ginny passed the bowl of brown sauce to her brother, snorting in amusement and disbelief over her new discovery in regards to Hermione’s beloved sweetheart, and this snorting most likely gave the impression that she was laughing at their childish bickering.

Still, she couldn’t deny the fact that she was hurt, that she felt dismantled inside.

Hurt—because Hermione didn’t see fit to tell her about her new darling. Girl or boy, that wasn’t the issue. Dismantled—because Hermione was dating someone else.

Ron threw a green pea at Ginny, hitting her forehead. “What’s so funny?” he grunted.

“Nothing,” Ginny snapped, throwing a pea back at him. It hit him right in the face. “You pig! Stop throwing food!”

Hermione straightened her body and coughed in her handkerchief. “You seemed to be not quite yourself today, Ginny,” she pointed out, as if she had been acting her usual self lately.

“You think so?” Ginny retorted mockingly.

“Yes,” said Hermione.

Harry, nudging Ron’s side, said in a lowered voice, “They’re gonna jump down each other’s throats again. Do something!”

Ron shrugged, as though he was used to it. “It’s a female thing, mate,” he said. “That’s their nature.”

“Nothing’s wrong with me, at least,” Ginny said accusingly.

Hermione snorted, and rolled her eyes towards the ceiling. She must have caught the edgy tone in Ginny’s voice. “Oh Christ! Don’t you start on me, too, Ginny!” With her handkerchief, she wiped at her nose again, then tucked it back in her pocket. She chafed at her throat, then took her glass and drank from it. All the time her attentive eyes never wavered from Ginny’s.

Shaking her head, Hermione pushed her shoulders back, both hands tensing around her fork and knife. She shook her head again as if refusing a notion that must have just occurred to her, then looked accusingly at Ron for an extra long second, then back at her plate. Ron, of course, didn’t notice Hermione’s scrutinising gaze. He nibbled on his spare ribs and licked his fingers clean.

Ginny could literally see Hermione’s brain working and hear the click being triggered. I know about your secret, Ginny’s eyes said, I know about you and Greengrass, and you didn’t even tell me! Then Hermione’s cheeks grew scarlet. She dropped her knife, causing a clattering sound at the table. Nearby students turned around curiously, their look saying, Can’t you ever sit still?

“What did he tell you?” Hermione hissed through clenched teeth, looking incredulously at Ginny. “Whatever he’s told you, it’s, well...Astoria and I were only larking around last night, you know, when Lavender caught us off-guard, and Ron, did he…” she trailed off, threw another look at Ron. She had this guilty look on her face. “I was curious, and I wanted—”

“You were curious?” Ginny echoed, her mouth fell open. “You just wanted—what?”

For the love of Merlin, when did you ever indulge your curiosity that way, Ginny thought, bewildered. Her mind went wild, maybe she had jumped to conclusions at once, now misjudging Hermione’s actions. However, Ginny thought now, This is why she’s requested a friendship break from me? It wasn’t our fights that wearied her... She wanted something new!

Ginny’s breath came in short, ragged gasps. She felt her hands itch, as though they ached to shake Hermione until she came back to her senses, and came back to her and be friends again.

“You disgust me!” Ginny’s voice was sharp, slashing at the air like razor.

The harshness of her voice hit Hermione with almost visible force, her shoulders collapsed instantly, as if she’d been struck by an Unforgivable. She threw the napkin from her lap on the table, and crossed her arms, holding herself together.

“What?” Hermione exclaimed, staggered.

Ginny felt shame for hurting Hermione; she had no damn right to criticise or pass judgment. Maybe she wasn’t at all against the same-sex relationship per se, but that Hermione was going out with Astoria Greengrass. All this simply took Ginny by surprise.

“I knew it was a bad idea,” Hermione said after a short silence, breaking into Ginny’s thoughts, as if she had only been talking about the bad choice of outfit. “But Harry said I ought to give it a try. Right, Harry?”

“You knew about this?” Ginny shot at Harry. He cringed, slightly taken aback.

“I might’ve encouraged her, I guess,” Harry said with a shrug, looking at Ron for help.

Ron, though, only shoved a forkful of whatever he was eating into his already full mouth. He was immersed in a conversation with Neville, Dean, and the Creevey brothers. He wiped his mouth on the sleeve of his school robe, laughing light-heartedly.

“I can’t believe this! How can you all act as if it’s not a big deal? Come off it, Hermione. You and that blonde floozie? She’s been cruel to you, did you forget that?” Ginny cried; despite her previous resolve to accept things as they were, her bitterness, however, overwhelmed her.

Hermione gave a look as though saying, ‘As if you hadn’t been cruel to me!’

“When did you decide to switch teams, though?” Ginny asked snidely, seething. “Or have you always been into girls? When we used to rave about our crushes, your admiration for Viktor Krum, your secret fancy for my damn brother since your third year—was that just a farce?”

Hermione’s eyes grew wide; her cheeks a deep crimson. Nearby students looked up curiously, watching.

“Would you keep your voice down, please?” Hermione hissed as she shrunk down a little on her seat.

Harry looked nonplussed. “Switched teams?” he asked, blinking. He turned to Hermione. “What does she mean, ‘you’re into girls’?”

“What’s this crap ‘bout Viktor Krum?” Ron interrupted, elbowing Harry.

Seamus was talking beside him to the other blokes about a duel between a Gryffindor and a Slytherin, of which one of them had ended up in the hospital wing. It seemed by far of a more interesting topic as it caught Ron’s attention back again, without waiting for Harry’s answer.

“Ginny’s being ridiculous,” Hermione declared in a low voice, waving a hand dismissively to underline her statement. “Besides, Harry, that’s not the point. You know the reason why I’m hanging out with Astoria.”

“When the hell did you chummy up with ‘dear Astoria’ then?” Ginny spat the name out as if it were a curse word. “And why, if I may ask?”

Hermione threw a look at Harry to silence him. Harry gave Ginny a shrug, his look suggesting how sorry he was.

“Fine,” Ginny retorted, her eyes stung with tears as she felt being deliberately excluded. “I don’t care a fig anyway.”

Blinking her tears away, Ginny glanced at her brother. Ron had always acted like a complete git when it came to Hermione being especially excited about a letter from Viktor. Now that her sole attention was devoted to a girl, he didn’t seem to mind it anymore? He was over it. Accepted it, maybe.

And Harry, for Heaven’s, he encouraged Hermione? He encouraged her to date girls, to come out, and be gay? He seemed to be a true friend then, a better friend, Ginny thought and felt guilty, because Harry accepted Hermione completely without judging her.

Ginny, feeling a rising sensation on the pit of her stomach, glared at Hermione. Hermione looked back, with that kind of look that could melt butter, as if beseeching Ginny for her understanding. That Ginny, as a friend, should be happy for.

“Well, how do you like it, though?” Ginny asked, clearing her throat. She tried another approach, tried composing herself. She grabbed her glass of gillywater and took a big gulp to swallow the dryness in her throat.

“Hmm, it’s nice,” Hermione said reluctantly, downplaying her true emotions, which her sparkling, bright eyes was revealing. She said, her voice low, as though divulging a dirty secret, “I’m slowly starting to enjoy it.”

“Really?” Ginny said, encouraging her with a rather wretched smile to go on.

Hermione nodded. “It was a bit strange at first feeling the vibration between my thighs because I wasn’t really used to it, and I was worried that I wouldn’t make it right. But then she showed me how,” she enthused, blushing. “I guess before she shows me some other tricks, like standing up whilst keeping adequate balance, I’ve got to try it on my knees first.”

Hermione laughed enthusiastically, brushing a curl behind her ear, seeming to be oblivious to Ginny’s growing discomfort. On the other hand, maybe that was exactly what she was intending, as though rubbing salt in the wound. She added in an afterthought, “I like it better though when we sit safely and she holds me from behind.”

“By all of Hogwarts’ ghosts, spare me the details! Hermione, she’s only fourteen years old,” Ginny stated numbly once she found her voice, banishing the troubling images from her mind of Astoria Greengrass holding Hermione in an unchaste, lascivious way from behind, of Hermione being on her knees, with a determined shake of her head.

“A forth year,” Ginny grumbled on, poking her meat with her fork.

“Actually, she’s turned fifteen three months ago,” Hermione corrected matter-of-factly, as if that made a difference. “And I don’t care how old she is.”

“You all right, Ginny?” Harry asked, pushing his glasses up his nose. “You look kinda ill, too.”

“I’m fine,” Ginny muttered, now cutting her meat infuriatingly.

Hermione peered through the heads of students across the Great Hall to steal a glimpse of her new sweetheart.

“Whatever,” Hermione said, nonchalantly, “she knows the basics, she’s great. She’s terrific.”

This is just…sick. Sick. SICK, Ginny thought with derision. She emptied her glass quickly before she could say more.

“As long as she knows how to excite you. Right?” Harry teased, sharing a knowing look with Hermione. Hermione giggled and pinched his arm.

And he’s just a bloody pervert! Ginny frowned.

Staring up at the enchanted ceiling where the stars were sparkling and twinkling down at her, Ginny searched for the brightest one and made a wish, just like the many nights she had spent with Hermione outside by the lake, counting the stars.

Please, this is not happening.

(A/N: What do you think now, though? I know it's only the first chapter, but it'll get better in later chapters. Just stick with me.) ;)

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What A Wicked Game You Play: Chapter 1: Rumours


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