The summer had
passed without a hitch. Granted he spent a lot of time alone thinking
about the events at the end of the previous school year, but eventually
his mood had lightened a bit. Hermione had spent more time than usual
at home; she would later admit that the whole incident at the Ministry
had shaken her up and she wanted to spend some quality time with her
folks. Ron and Ginny had returned briefly to Number 12 Grimmauld Place,
then moved back to the Burrow after Dumbledore had agreed it was safe.
When the Order finally came to pick him up, Harry was glad he was going
to the Burrow; there were still too many memories lurking at Sirius’s
house, and he just wasn’t read to go back there. Not yet.
at the Burrow lifted Harry’s spirits even more. He finally got back on
his broom after Dumbledore released it from captivity and spent hours
flying around the grounds. He became fond of putting on his
Invisibility Cloak and riding out to watch the sun set. Eventually, he
missed spending time with his friends and, once Hermione came to the
Burrow, things went almost back to normal. Ginny started hanging around
him more and more often as the summer progressed, and by the end of
summer she had become a regular member of the group. Harry thought
having Ginny around was great: it balanced the group and gave it an
extra shot of fun. He also found they would wander off into their own
conversations when Ron and Hermione would enter into one of their many,
long-winded arguments. It was like having the twins to hang around
with, only combined into an attractive female version.
too soon, the summer ended and Harry found himself back home at
Hogwarts. Draco was his normal loathsome self, only now his verbal jabs
and taunting had taken a decidedly more aggressive turn. Draco’s
father, Lucius was still in jail, having being captured at the
Ministry. Draco didn’t dare try anything, though; the rumor of Lucius’s
deeds had reached the student population and everyone was leery of him.
Harry found himself relaxing his guard and actually able to pay
attention in classes. Snape, of course, gave him no slack, but Harry
expected this. Harry was sure Snape was still annoyed he had managed an
“O” on his Potions O.W.L., which allowed him to pursue the classes he
needed to enter Auror training.
Yes, it was all going much too
swimmingly to last. It was at the Halloween feast that Dumbledore made
the announcement that completely destroyed Harry’s good mood.
we all retire to our dormitories for the night, I have an announcement.
The staff has decided to do something a little different this year in
the spirit of school cheer. To that end, I would like to announce that,
on November fifteenth, in honor of a tradition observed by our American
friends, Hogwarts will hold a Sadie Hawkins Day Dance.
those who are not familiar with this sort of dance, let me explain. In
order to attend this dance, a gentleman must first be asked to attend
by lady. No unaccompanied gentlemen will be allowed to enter the Great
Hall for the dance. Ladies wishing to attend the dance must be
accompanied by a gentleman who has agreed to attend with them.
Gentlemen are not obligated to accept any invitation by any lady. This
process is magically binding: any couple attempting to attend which
have been paired by a gentleman asking a lady will not make it past the
threshold of the Great Hall.
“Ladies may begin asking the
gentlemen tomorrow morning after breakfast. If you have any questions
about the rules, please ask your head of house.”
And that had
been that. The whole school had been buzzing all night. Nobody in
Gryffindor Tower wanted to go to bed. Worst of all was the giggling.
Even the seventh-year girls had been prone to let loose a muted giggle
or two. It was more than Harry could stand, much less Ron. The oddest
thing was Hermione; she had been strangely silent since the
announcement. Ginny hadn’t said a word, but then again she didn’t have
to. Thinking back to the train ride home last year, Harry knew her
choice of date was obvious.
As they sat chatting about the
dance, Harry couldn’t help notice several of the Gryffindor girls
glancing his way at odd intervals. It seemed he was noticing girls
everywhere: even some of the first-years had glanced his way and
smiled, blushing wildly. For the first time all year Harry started
feeling very self-conscious.
“What’s wrong, Harry? You seem a bit squirmy all of a sudden,” Hermione commented.
looked at Hermione, but glanced up when he noticed another girl looking
at him. The girl quickly looked away. Harry sighed and looked back at
“Some of the girls are looking at me funny,” Harry said.
Harry glanced at Ginny with a smirk, then decided to stare at the fireplace. “I think so.”
“So what are you going to do, Harry? Anyone you’d like to have ask you to the dance?” Hermione asked, smiling slyly.
thought he didn’t want to go, really. His experiences with dances to
date hadn’t been all that enjoyable. He thought they were
uncomfortable, clumsy and kind of silly, to be honest. Besides, the
only people he would feel comfortable going with would were either
taken or practically taken. Of course, neither of them would be a good
choice; it was pretty obvious that Ron and Hermione were secretly fond
of each other, and Ginny was with Dean. He wondered if Hermione would
actually ask Ron as he gave his answer.
“Not anyone that I
expect to ask me, no. Besides, I’m not really into dances anyway. I
don’t even know how to dance, come to think of it. The Yule Ball was
more depressing than anything, if I remember it correctly.”
suppose you’re right, Harry,” Ginny teased aloofly. “I suppose it
wouldn’t be fair knowing all these girls want to go with you, and you
would have to say yes to only one.”
Harry turned to Ginny. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
it, Harry: You like the idea that all these girls want to go with you,”
Ginny said, setting her jaw and looking Harry straight in the eye.
shifted in his chair. “No, it’s not like that at all. It’s just that…
well…” Ginny raised an eyebrow. Harry sighed. “Dances imply romance,
and I don’t want to go to a dance with someone I wouldn’t want to be
romantic with, that’s all.”
“And you wouldn’t want to be
romantic with any of the girls here?” Ginny asked, unconvinced. “Come
on, Harry, there has to be at least one available girl who you’d like
to go with.”
A small red flag went up way back in the deep
recesses of Harry’s mind. He wasn’t sure what it was, but it made him a
bit concerned. Why was Ginny pressing him like this? Was she just
trying to get him to open up, or was there more too it?
leaned in closer to Ginny so he could whisper. “If Cho taught me
anything, it’s that looks aren’t everything. If I was to go, I would
want it to be with someone I know I could get along with, someone I can
talk to. I don’t think I could get to that point with any of the girls
here in time for the dance, so I’d rather not go.”
Merlin, Harry, can’t you just relax and enjoy things for a change?” Ron
said, sounding oddly like an exasperated Hermione. “Why does it always
have to be so dreary for you? Dumbledore’s booked the Weird Sisters,
and he’s made the dress code semi-formal so it’s not like we’ll have to
wear penguin suits again. At least you could go for the refreshments.
Just agree to go with someone you find pretty and have a good time.
Besides, if I get asked, you and I can hang out together a bit.”
“What do you mean if you get asked?” Hermione asked indignantly.
“Well, I’m not exactly the most popular guy, am I?” Ron shrugged.
“Ugh, Ron, you’re as bad as Harry sometimes, you know that?” Hermione said, rolling her eyes.
“What?” Ron and Harry said simultaneously.
big brother, it’s like this,” Ginny started like she was explaining
something simple to a three-year-old. “You see, Quidditch is a pretty
popular sport, and Quidditch players tend to be looked up to. Now,
honestly, don’t you think that your performance in the Quidditch Finals
last year would have earned you a little admiration?”
Ron’s ears went pink and a smile crept onto his face. “I never thought of that…”
Hermione snorted. “Don’t tell me you’d actually consider going to the dance with some Quidditch groupie...”
“Well, maybe a pretty groupie, yeah,” Ron said, off in his own world.
lips got thin. “And what if someone else asked you, someone who wasn’t
really into Quidditch but was smart and pretty just the same. Would you
go to the dance with her?”
“I suppose that would depend…” Ron
said, then caught himself. Harry could almost see the gears turning in
his head. Harry distinctly remembered something Hermione said after the
Yule Ball, and now it seemed Ron had remembered it too. Before anyone
could continue, a girl approached Ron from behind the couch.
“Hey there Ron! What would you say if I were to ask you to the dance? What would you say?”
looked up to see Vicky Frobisher standing behind Ron. Ron and Hermione
both turned to see who it was. Hermione’s face fell as she recognized
the girl. Ron stood up to talk to her.
“Oh, erm, I don’t know Vicky, I kinda had my hopes up on a certain person, actually,” Ron managed. He was looking very nervous.
jaw dropped, but caught herself quickly. Vicky seemed to notice. Ron
didn’t. Ignoring Hermione, Vicky put her hands on Ron’s shoulders.
“Now Ronald, don’t tell me you’d pick Hermione over me,” she pouted. “I know how much you like a Quidditch gal.”
cheeks turned red, and Harry could see the anger starting to build in
her face. Ron’s nervous demeanor disappeared quickly. “And just what
would be wrong with picking Hermione?”
Vicky smirked. “She’s such a little know it all, and it’s not like she’s that pretty. Besides, she doesn’t respect your talents like I do.”
thought for a moment that Vicky was going to lean in and kiss Ron.
Hermione started to stand up but she never really got a chance to move
before Ron grabbed both of Vicky’s hands in a huff and removed them
from his shoulders.
“Next to Harry, Hermione is my best
friend. She has been with me through thick and thin. She is the
smartest girl in this school, and there is nobody I would rather go to
the dance with. And for your information, Vicky, I happen to think she
is very pretty, and I won’t have you talking about her like that. Now,
if you don’t mind, we were having a private conversation.”
Ron didn’t wait for Vicky’s reaction; he just turned back around and sat down. Vicky shrugged.
“Suit yourself, Ron,” she shrugged, turning around and rejoining her friends.
“The nerve of that girl,” Ron said, looking at Harry and shaking his head.
didn’t respond. He was watching Hermione, who had gone from shock to
anger to disbelief. Now she looked like she was about to cry.
“Hermione, are you all right?” Ginny asked, having apparently noticed the same thing.
Ron turned to discover Hermione’s condition. He was speechless.
“Ron, do you really feel that way about me?” Hermione asked, her voice quiet and somewhat broken.
Realizing he had let the cat out of the bag, Ron took a deep breath, let it out and put his hand on Hermione’s.
Hermione, you are my best friend, and I would love to go to the dance
with you. I guess I was just afraid to tell you that because I didn’t
know if you felt the same way.”
Hermione sniffed as a tear
streaked down her face. “Do you remember what I said after the Yule
Ball?” Ron nodded. “Why do you think I said that?”
widened a bit. “You were upset that I didn’t ask you sooner, weren’t
you? You would have gone with me if I had asked you before Viktor,
“Yes Ron,” Hermione nodded. “But I can’t blame
you for that. I could have asked you myself, but I was just as much of
a coward as I accused you of being.”
By now, Ron and
Hermione’s conversation had drawn a crowd. Harry was going to inform
them that they had an audience, but he didn’t want to interfere with
their mutual confession.
“I didn’t think you liked me that way, though. It’s not like I could hold a candle to you, you know?” Ron said.
not like that, Ron. You are the bravest person I know. Don’t you
remember? You were the one who took down the mountain troll in our
first year! You sacrificed yourself in the chess game, you faced down
Lockhart, you faced down Sirius, and you stood by Harry when he went to
Ron thought about his for a moment, then said
slowly, “So why are you always on me like you are, correcting me,
arguing with me…”
“Because I care about you, and I don’t know how else to show it,” Hermione said, hanging her head a little.
Ron grabbed her hand. “I care about you, too, Hermione.”
was a beautiful moment. Hermione looked up into Ron’s eyes. They got
closer and closer to each other, closing their eyes as they did. The
room got very quiet. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, their
lips met. There was a two second pause before the room erupted in cheer.
“Sweet Merlin I don’t believe it!”
“It’s about time!”
“Well done Ron!”
“She did it, she actually did it!”
found himself clapping and trying to catch his breath. He glanced over
to Ginny who was also clapping. She glanced back at Harry and smiled.
It was then that something hit him: Where was Dean? Why wasn’t he sitting with Ginny? Why wasn’t Ginny hanging out with Dean? That’s none of your business, Potter, he told himself.
commotion caused Ron and Hermione to pull away from each other. They
were both more than a bit red, but they chuckled just the same.
Hermione scooted over next to Ron and snuggled comfortably into his
“You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to do this,” Hermione said happily to Ron.
“You don’t think this will affect our friendship?” Ron asked, putting his arm around her.
“Of course it will affect it, Ron. I think I’ll make it stronger.” Hermione replied.
“This feels so strange having my arm around you like this. It’s almost like I’m hugging my sister. Almost,” Ron said.
“Do you not like it?” Hermione asked, half-faking disappointment.
didn’t say that, Hermione. It feels pretty good, really. I just didn’t
think you’d be the one I’d have my arm around. I’m glad it is, though.”
Harry realized Ron and Hermione were no longer concerned with the fact that he and Ginny were there.
“Think we should give them some time alone?” Ginny asked him suddenly.
“I think that might be a good idea,” Harry agreed.
this time a good number of the Gryffindors had decided to go to bed.
Ginny headed to an open spot at a study table. Harry followed and sat
down across from her.
“I feel like I’ve just been through a
Quidditch match. I can hardly believe they finally got together. I was
beginning to think my brother was too thick to realize how Hermione
“I thought Hermione was going to lose it. I’m glad
that’s finally over. Maybe the tension between them will ease off a
bit,” Harry said hopefully.
“It should be interesting watching
them interact now that they’ve admitted they like each other. After all
these years of fighting and bickering it’s going to take some getting
Harry laughed. “You’re probably right.”
“So there’s really nobody you’d like to have ask you to the dance?” Ginny asked, returning to their previous conversation.
Harry found himself wanting to say, Well, I wouldn’t mind if you asked, but you’re going with Dean,
but he couldn’t bring himself to say it. What was he afraid of? Was he
just being respectful of Ginny’s feelings or was he afraid of what
she’d say? Or was he afraid he was starting to like Ginny? And why was
he afraid of that?
Harry put these thoughts out of his mind. “There is, but I have it on good authority that she’s not interested in me.”
This seemed to pique Ginny’s interest. “Oh? Who’s that?”
She’s just not going to let up, Harry thought to himself as he let out a sigh..
I’ve come to think of you as a good friend, right up there next to Ron
and Hermione, but there are some things I’m just not comfortable
talking about. Please believe me; it has nothing to do with the fact
that it’s you asking: I’d give the same answer to them. I guess I’m
just still a bit burned out over the whole Cho thing, and I need more
time to sort out my thoughts.”
Ginny’s face fell a little. “I’m sorry, Harry, I didn’t mean to pry.”
“It’s okay, Ginny. Like I said, you’re my friend, and I know you were just trying to help.”
Ginny smiled. “Well, as your friend, I will tell you that you look very tired and should probably get some sleep.”
was right; he was very tired. “You’re absolutely right,” he said as he
stood up and headed for his room. “Good night, Ginny, and thanks.”
“Any time Harry,” Ginny said back.
Harry headed up the stairs, several of the girls said, “Good night
Harry” behind his back. Harry turned to discover that half the room was
looking at him. He said, “Erm, good night, everyone” rather clumsily
before taking the stairs two at a time and disappearing into his room.