Chapter 7 : Reality
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“Relax, Ginny” Hermione said, in a patient tone. She was sitting down on the couch of the compartment, watching Ginny pace back and forth. “Don’t feel pressured. No one’s forcing you to do something you don’t want to do”
“I know but I don’t like being in this situation” she stopped pacing and sat next to Hermione; then she sighed.
“You can get out of this situation anytime you want to and you know that. Remember the letter I sent you on Christmas?”
“Y-yes” said Ginny, hesitantly. “I know that I should break up with Dean, but I just can’t. I still care about him!”
“More than what you care about Harry?” whispered Hermione, to which Ginny looked seriously at her and, holding her gaze, she answered decisively:
“Then?” asked Hermione, expecting an explanation from Ginny.
“Even if I break up with him, Hermione, I still wouldn’t be able to go out with Harry! That is, you know, if he asks me” she added the last part a bit timidly.
“Why is that?” Hermione asked, clearly confused.
“Because I would have to get over Dean before I begin dating someone else. Plus, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. How can we be sure that Harry fancies me?”
Hermione looked perplexed at such question.
“Are you joking, Ginny? Are you saying that after he told you that you are not a sister for him, that after he got you a present, and he kissed your hand like a prince charming, you are still not sure about his feelings towards you?” Ginny hesitated and looked down before answering in a low whisper:
“I guess I’m afraid of being disappointed again”
Hermione sighed while she put an arm around Ginny, just as a big sister would to a troubled sister.
“I thought you were over this” she told Ginny “I thought you no longer cared whether Harry fancies you or not”
“To be honest, Hermione, I’ve never stopped caring” replied Ginny “It’s been months since I stopped fancying Harry, if you know what I mean” At first Hermione didn’t know what her friend meant. Nevertheless, it was a matter of seconds before she realized what Ginny was saying. Hermione’s mouth dropped.
“Are you serious, Ginny? I mean, are you sure?” Ginny nodded, not a single doubt in her gaze.
“Absolutely sure; my feelings for Harry have nothing but increased over the past year” Hermione stared at Ginny for a while, concerned, and then asked her:
“Is that what you’re so worried about? That Harry might not return the feeling?”
Ginny nodded, slowly.
“I mean, he fancies me all right” she said. “But I’m not sure if he feels something more than that”
“Ginny” said Hermione, almost in a severe tone “Harry is a good person. He would never try to hurt you. Ever”
The yelling voice of Lavender could be heard in the entire train. Ron’s faced went red when he saw Lavender running towards him through the hallway of the Hogwarts Express and put her arms around his neck in a tight embrace. Ron, red as a tomato and with an annoyed look on his face, gave her a couple of awkward pats on her back in return.
“I missed you so much!” she exclaimed when they finally broke apart. “Did you miss me?”
“I…err…sure” he said, reluctantly. Lavender made a ridiculous jump of excitement and pulled Ron’s hand toward a compartment. “Come, we have a lot to talk about!”
“Wait, Lavender, I can’t!” His reply made Lavender stop and turn to face him, completely perplexed.
“What do you mean you can’t?” she said, crossing her arms and suddenly with a stern look in her eyes.
“Well” Ron hesitated “I’m a Head Boy. I have to be on the compartment for the Head-“ Ron stopped talking when he saw that Lavender was trembling with anger. She was looking furiously at him, her face completely red, and an accusing finger pointing at Ron.
“Oh, so you have to go to that compartment, don’t you?” she said in an appeased tone, which made Ron shiver. “Come on, Ron, don’t lie to me! You just want an excuse so you can see her!”
“W-what?” mumbled Ron. “What are you talking about?”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about, Ronald Weasley! Or should I say, of whom I’m talking about?”
By this time the students from the neighboring compartments came out to watch the show. Harry, who was talking to Ron before Lavender showed up, was standing a few feet behind him, looking down while trying not to laugh.
“What are you saying? I do have to be in that compartment!” This was more than Lavender could bear.
“Alright, then!” she yelled at him, tears coming down her cheeks. “Go ahead! Go to her! I’m sure she’ll be very happy to see you!” And with that, she went inside the compartment in front of her and closed the door furiously.
Ron turned to look aghast at Harry, who was trying not to face his friend.
“What the hell was all that about?” Ron asked but Harry did not answer. Rather, he was suppressing a laugh. The rest of the students that were watching Ron and Lavender argue began to giggle. Ron looked back at them, furiously.
“What are you looking at? Go attend your own businesses!” He turned to Harry and whispered to him “I guess I better go before she comes out again. I’ll see you when we get there”
“See you, then” said Harry. After Ron left, Harry went inside a compartment and giggled.
Suddenly, the door of the compartment opened. Harry turned to find Neville and Luna standing in front of him.
“Hi, Harry!” greeted Neville, tending his hand towards Harry, who shook it with a smile.
“Hi, Neville, how are you? Hi, Luna”
“Merry Christmas, Harry, and Happy New Year!” said Luna. “How was your break?”
“It was great. I spent Christmas with Ron’s family. What about you?”
“Oh, Christmas was splendid!” said Luna, clasping her hands. “Dad and I went to visit mum’s grave and had a wonderful Christmas dinner next to her”
“That’s great, Luna. You, Neville?”
Neville looked nervously at Luna before answering:
“Mine was okay. Grandma prepared a nice dinner and…” he hesitated before continuing “I got to see my parents” he managed a shy smile and the looked down. Harry felt his heart sink. Neville rarely talked about his parents. He noticed that Luna had placed her hand on Neville’s. He looked up at her and Luna smiled at him, but Neville looked back down again.
In that moment the door opened again, showing Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas. Neville released his hand from Luna’s in a quick movement that did not escape Seamus.
“Hi, guys! Merry Christmas!” he said, looking suspiciously at Neville and Luna. “Did you have a nice holiday?”
“It was great” said Luna, with a wide smile. “Yours?”
“Oh, I had the best time” said Seamus, sitting next to Harry. “I went to visit my relatives in Ireland”
“How fascinating! I’ve always wanted to go there!” said Luna “Did you get to see a trinotaur? I’ve read that they’re abundant in Ireland” There was a moment of confusion in which Seamus didn’t know what to say, but before he could say anything, Dean spoke.
“You haven’t seen Ginny, have you? I’ve been looking for her ever since I got on the train”
Perhaps she doesn’t want to see you, thought Harry. Why couldn’t Dean leave her alone? She didn’t need him. Luna and Neville shook their heads, and Dean looked at Harry.
“You must know where she is, Harry. You got on the train with her and Ron”
And why should I tell you? Thought an irritated Harry. Nevertheless, he didn’t want his feelings for Ginny to show, so he answered as neutral as possible.
“I saw her meeting up with Hermione. They must be in a compartment catching up” he said.
“But Hermione is Head Girl. That means Ginny must be with her in the Head Boys and Head Girls compartment, right?”
Well, aren’t you smart? Harry thought, with a hard expression on his face. When he realized that the others might be thinking that he was behaving oddly, he soon relaxed his face and shrugged.
“Thanks, Harry, I’ll go find her” he turned to Seamus. “You’re coming?”
Once the Hogwarts Express came to a stop, Harry, Luna, and Neville went to find a carriage that would lead them to the castle. They were already sitting on the carriage, waiting to depart, when Hermione joined them.
“Hello, Hermione!” greeted Luna. Hermione greeted all of them and sat next to Harry.
“How was France?” asked the latter.
“It was good. Thanks for the book, Harry, I’m enjoying it a lot” Harry smiled.
“You’re welcome. And thank you for my Christmas present”
“No problem” she smiled back at him.
Once in the castle the group headed to the Great Hall, where they said goodbye to Luna and went to sit on the Gryffindor table. Harry placed Ron sitting next to Lavender a few seats away. Ron waved in their direction but his expression changed when Lavender gave him a hard look. Harry turned to Hermione and was not surprised at all to see her with a hard look on her face as well.
“So how was Christmas at the Burrow?” she asked, as indifferently as possible, though Harry could trace a bit of bitterness in her voice.
“It was good. Mrs. Weasley planned a dinner party for Bill and Fleur, and we all had to clean up the house and dress up”
“Oh, yeah, Ginny wrote me about that” Hermione looked at Harry suspiciously. “She said that she was having a hard time with her dress, but she forgot to tell me whether she could fix it” She was studying Harry’s face, as if expecting a reaction from him.
“I believe Mrs. Weasley helped her fix it” he answered.
“So she didn’t look like a mess. I’m glad” Harry frowned and looked at his friend.
“Why would you say that?” he asked.
“Oh, nothing” she said, smiling a little bit. “It’s just that she told me that she was afraid of looking bad that night” Once again, she looked expectantly at Harry.
“That’s ridiculous, Ginny never-“ but he interrupted himself when he saw the satisfaction look of Hermione.
“Ehem” hawked Harry. “What I meant was that it’s silly to worry about things like that”
“You really think so?” asked Hermione, clearly amused. As if it wasn’t embarrassing enough, Harry realized that he was blushing. Luckily, Professor Dumbledore called everyone’s attention at that moment and Harry was saved from replying to Hermione’s commentary. Dumbledore began to give his welcome back speech, but Harry was not able to listen to him. He missed Hermione over Christmas break, but he had to admit that she could be very frustrating at times. Why did she have to put him on the spot like that? Wasn’t it bad enough that he couldn’t date Ginny for Hermione to remind him about his feelings for Ginny at every second?
Then again, Hermione does know how I feel, Harry thought, while he gave a quick glance at Ron and Lavender. She had her arms wrapped around one of Ron’s arms. Harry could tell that Ron was feeling uneasy, for Lavender would not separate an inch from him.
“Harry, aren’t you going to eat?” Hermione’s voice brought him back to reality.
“Ginny, are you all right?” asked Dean
“What?” Ginny said, turning to face him “Oh, yeah, I’m fine”
“Are you sure? You seem a little upset” Ginny looked at him confused, as if he were speaking in another language.
“I’m not upset” she replied, while she grabbed a piece of bread and cut it with a knife quite aggressively. “Why would you say that?”
“Well, first of all, you haven’t said a word since the banquet began” Ginny glanced at him but didn’t say anything. Dean continued. “Second of all, you didn’t seem very happy to see me on the train”
Ginny felt guilty. What was the point in retaliating Dean when he just wanted to be with her?
“I’m sorry” she said “I have things going on inside my mind, and I just-well-I…I’m worried about so many things”
Dean smiled and took her hand in his.
“Everything’s going to be okay, Ginny. You’ll see” He smiled and Ginny smiled back at him.
Once in her dormitory, Ginny changed her clothes and went to bed. She tried really hard to focus on her sleep instead of on Harry. But it was useless. She actually saw him staring at Cho Chang. Could it be that he still had feelings for her? That’s ridiculous, she thought. Hermione had told her that Harry was relieved when he and Cho broke up. Still…maybe Harry realized that there was no point in waiting for her to break up with Dean and he wants to start seeing someone else…
For Merlin’s sake, Ginny, stop it! She thought to herself. Perhaps she was assuming things way too soon…but she needed to be sure. But how could she find out?
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