Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, Hermione’s office, LONDON:
Hermione Granger was scribbling onto a piece of parchment very furiously that afternoon. Her petition to improve the living conditions of all house elves was being denied for the third time. It was common knowledge that most house elves didn’t want any payment or leave, but Hermione had always felt that elves should at least have a choice in the matter.
Suddenly a deafening ‘crack!’ filled her office, causing the young witch to knock over her bottle of ink. “Ginny! Why in hell didn’t you just use the door like a normal person!” she shrieked, while cleaning up the mess of ink from her desk. “I swear, if it isn’t Fred and George testing their new products it’s you or Ron giving me a premature heart attack!” she took a deep breath after realising that she had started ranting like a lunatic again.
“I’m sorry, Hermione, this was a bit of an emergency.” Ginny said whilst pacing in front of Hermione’s desk.
Hermione paused what she was doing and noticed for the first time her friend’s distress. “What’s wrong, Gin,” she asked carefully. “You and Dean have a fight again?”
“What? No! Dean is fine. I’m fine. WE’RE FINE!” she exclaimed.
Hermione lifted her eyebrow suspiciously at Ginny, “Of course you’re fine, I don’t know what could possibly have let me think otherwise.” she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm.
“Shut it, will you?” Ginny looked very distressed at that moment, so Hermione used the only tool known to calm a Weasley in a time of distress.
“WELL THEN SIT DOWN AND TALK TO ME, OR LEAVE MY OFFICE AND LET ME WORK!!!”
Ginny was taken aback at Hermione’s tone. She recognised it from last Christmas, when Hermione had yelled at Ron and Percy to calm them down (They’d been fighting... Again). Sighing very heavily, she sat down in the chair beside her best friend.
Hermione wiped the brown hair out of her own face and folded her hands on the desk in front of her. “So, start from the beginning, and tell me everything.”
Ginny looked down at her shaking hands, Get a grip on yourself, Weasley! She commanded herself. She started talking. “As you’re probably going to become my sister pretty soon, I feel that I can talk to you about this, but let me be very clear: Absolutely NO interruptions and NO judging me until you know all the facts, okay? Then, and only then, will you get the full story.” Ginny’s voice was quivering as she said this to Hermione, who was looking very concerned at that moment.
“Gin, did Dean hurt you?” was the first thing Hermione thought – well, blurted – out.
“Not physically, no. I just... can’t be with someone that treats me as if I’m a four-year-old anymore, something I hadn’t noticed – even though you all told me about a thousand times – until now.”
“Well, then. I’m all ears.” Hermione said, quite relieved that Ginny was finally getting to the point.
Ginny started telling Hermione all about her relationship with Dean and how she was starting to feel suffocated by the way he always made decisions in her place and her opinion never made much of a difference in his thinking.
Hermione nodded solemnly. She recalled the dinner of three days ago when Dean had decided that he and Ginny were leaving, even though Ginny protested at this.
Then Ginny continued to tell Hermione about how she had met someone in London.
Hermione audibly gasped. “You cheated on Dean?” she asked, very shocked at this development. She could recall a younger Ginny lecturing her about the aspects of a healthy relationship back when Hermione had been going out with the Bulgarian Seeker, Viktor Krum, in her fourth year.
Ginny didn’t look amused at Hermione’s remark, “What happened to ‘NO interruptions’ and ‘NO judging’?” she asked with her eyebrows lifted. “And just so you know, I didn’t.”
The realisation that she had judged and interrupted already and Ginny hadn’t even began the story properly made Hermione blush. She motioned for Ginny to continue with the story.
Ginny told her all about her and Harry’s meeting in the muggle store, and how she couldn’t stop thinking about him for the last two days.
Hermione interrupted her again, “Hold on a second. Harry? As in Harry Potter? The git that played seeker for Slytherin back at Hogwarts?”
“He’s not a git. He’s the exact opposite, actually.” Ginny snapped. She then told Hermione all about her drunken escapades the previous night, and how she had ended up in Harry’s bed after mistaking their almost identical apartments (His being the one right next to hers, of course).
Hermione proceeded to voice her concerns of the possibility that Harry may turn out to be a stalker even though he gave up his bed for Ginny that night.
“He’s not a stalker, Hermione. He’s an Auror that was transferred to Holyhead because his partner resigned,” Ginny said defensively, her slight composure beginning to crack. “Besides, I was fully clothed when I woke up.”
“Okay, say he isn’t a stalker and nothing happened,” Hermione paused shortly, “Why are you so freaked out over nothing?”
Ginny smiled absentmindedly at her memories of Harry – particularly his green eyes. “There was this moment, right before I left his place to come to you,” guilt overcame her and she started crying. “He called me beautiful, and I... I...” words failed her and she covered her face with her hands.
Hermione rushed over to her side of the desk and hugged her tightly. “Nothing happened, Ginny; you have nothing to be guilty for.” She rubbed Ginny on the back as a motion of comfort.
Ginny looked up at Hermione. “I know, but I... w-wanted it t-to!” her body racked with sobs. “How c-could I be so h-h-heartless towards Dean?”
“The only way you could be heartless towards Dean, is if you didn’t tell him that you’re not happy with him anymore,” Hermione said with a frown. “If I were in his shoes I’d much rather you tell me than keep me in the dark and hurt me even further when I find out. I’m guessing you wouldn’t want things to happen with other men if you were happy with him.”
“Of course not!” Ginny shook her head. “I just... can’t tell him – I’ve only just met Harry, and it was a moment so stupid weakness. What if I throw away the four years of our relationship for a guy I barely even know?” She inhaled deeply and tried to convince herself that the words she was saying were her only option. “Besides, my father would disown me if I left Dean for a Slytherin.”
Hermione smiled at her defiance. “They’ll get over it if they see you happy.” Thinking for a moment, Hermione looked Ginny in the eye. “You know the first thing I think about when I wake up every day, Gin?” Ginny shook her head, looking very confused at Hermione’s remark. Hermione’s hand closed around the necklace Ron had given her for their third year anniversary. “I think about Ron, and how happy I am when I’m around him. How happy I am to call myself his girlfriend.” a tear rolled down her cheek. “I love him, and I’d do anything for him – even endure the Cruciatus Curse if it came to it.”
Ginny rolled her eyes, “That’s completely different; you’ve had years to get used to Ron and your feelings. And by the way, WHAT has that got to do with my situation?” she snapped.
“Everything,” Hermione didn’t seem to take any offence. “We have had years as you put it, but even back in first year when Ron and I became friends; I think in the back of my mind, I always knew. It has to do with your situation, because you should also get to feel that happy.”
“You make it all sound so simple,” Ginny sniffed. “Simple’s the exact opposite of what’s going on in my life at the moment.”
Hermione laughed at her remark. “No, simple is making a pot of tea or levitating an object with magic. Ron and I have had our rough patches, don’t be fooled”, she nudged Ginny in the ribs, “Viktor Krum for example.”
Ginny chuckled, “I remember that. The whole ‘fraternizing with the enemy’ fiasco; Ron was furious for weeks!”
Hermione smiled at the memory, “We still fight sometimes, you know – what couple doesn’t – but I know that we have to get it all out there to be able to work through things, and I’ll never stop being in love with Ron because of some silly quarrel. He makes me the person that I want to be – I know he loves me too.”
Ginny covered her eyes with her hands. “Does thinking of kissing another man qualify for one of those ‘silly quarrels’?” she asked, her voice dropping at the end of her sentence.
“Oh Ginny,” Hermione hugged her and said soothingly. “I know this must be difficult for you, and I know that you love Dean, but can you seriously see yourself waking up next to him for the rest of your life? Does he make you the person you want to be, or do you need to change who you are to suite his wants and needs?”
Hermione tried to disguise her prejudice against Dean, but she had never liked people that treated their significant other as if they didn’t have any feelings of their own; probably why she was fighting so hard for House Elf Rights, come to think of it.
Ginny nodded. She wiped her tears away and looked at Hermione pleadingly. “What do I do Hermione? Do I break up with Dean to be with Harry, or do I stay with him?”
Hermione took Ginny’s hands into her own and looked very seriously into her eyes. “I think you should do what you want to do. Don’t break up with Dean and blame Harry for it forever. Break up with him if you know you could be happier somewhere else, or stay with him if you feel that he’ll be the only man you’ll ever love and need,” she thought for a moment before adding: “It’s not only Dean’s feeling that count, Gin; you ought to have a say in whether you’re happy or not too!”
Ginny sniffed softly. “Do you know what my first thoughts have been for the last few months every morning?”
Hermione shook her head and Ginny continued. “I look over to Dean, and either think ‘I hope I’m not late for practice’ or ‘I hope Dean won’t notice me sneaking out before he wakes up’.”
Hermione gave her a squeeze. “You see? That’s a sign, Gin. Just sit him down and explain things, and if he give you any trouble, I’ll always have your back. Don’t punish yourself!”
Ginny wiped the last tears off her face. “Thank you, Hermione, for listening to my stupid ramblings,” she laughed despite her puffy red eyes.
Hermione stood up and patted Ginny’s hand. “Any time, Gin, and they’re not stupid – they’re necessary.” Hermione smiled a very sister-like smile. “Now,” she said, suddenly sounding very businesslike. “What can you tell me about House Elf treatment in the wizarding world?”
A quick update, but I had it prewritten!
But it is a filler chapter that was necessary to explain Ginny’s confusion, and I also wanted to induct Hermione as soon as possible. Since Ginny needed a shoulder to cry on, she was perfect.
Thanks for all you faithful readers out there! I love to write because of you! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE leave a review, if only just to say what you thought of the chapter or the story so far (Questions, Comments, Thoughts, and Concerns? ALL WELCOME!!)