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Sorry to disappoint, but there won't be a list in this chapter either. It just didn't fit, and I don't like forcing things. On that note, this chapter is low on humor. Mostly because I do a tiny bit of character development with Ginny (and explain something that I'm sure a lot of you have been wondering), and humor just didn't fit the mood. I, personally, am rather proud of this chapter, but as it's a different tone, I would completely understand if you don't like it. I do plan on bringing humor back next chapter, but then again, I never know. Just know that I am not planning on turning this into some sort of dramedy of any sort. Just as a drama needs a pinch of comedy every now and again, a comedy needs a little bit of severity.

And yes, you will notice that the H/G break up is different from in HBP. I hope you don't mind. I am taking liberties with canon, as I'm sure you've all noticed. If anyone needs me to set the record straight concerning what I kept and what I didn't, please feel free to ask.

Please review, and I hope you enjoy!

"Could you imagine how horrible things would be if we always told others how we felt? Life would be intolerably bearable."

~Randy K. Milholland

Harry was pleasantly surprised to find that the guest room with which the Grangers were providing him was just to his taste. It was painted a similar shade as Hermione's, which suited Harry quite well. On the wall opposite the door there was a huge picture window, from which Harry could see the streets of London. Whether it was due to how high up they were or perhaps sound insulated windows, Harry couldn't hear the bustle from outside, much to his relief. On the wall adjacent to this were two twin beds, both covered with a dark blue duvet, with a nightstand standing in between them. On the wall across from this bed there was, to Harry's great amusement, a row of bookcases, filled to the brim. He glanced at the bookcases and then looked pointedly at Hermione, who gave a guilty smile.

“There wasn't enough room on mine,” she admitted. Harry could only shake his head. Typical Hermione.

“About the beds…” Hermione said, walking over to the said furniture. “It's a bedroom suite, and mum didn't think anything but twins would be acceptable…but we can move around the table and push them together if you like,” Hermione added eagerly.

“No, it's fine,” Harry told her, awarding her with a grin. “It's perfect.”

“Thank Merlin,” Hermione sighed. “I was worried you'd hate it.”

“It's not like I had high expectations or anything,” Harry pointed out.

“No, but I still want you to be comfortable.” Hermione had a look on her face that Harry recognized as pure stubbornness, and so he decided to let the subject go. His thoughts trailed to his trunk, which still lay four floors below.

“Where should I put my clothes?” Harry inquired.

“Oh! Right! Over there,” Hermione answered, pointing to a bureau a few feet away from the door.

“I'll just go get my trunk then,” Harry said, making to leave the room, but a questioning look from Hermione stopped him. “What? I have to get it, you know!”

“We're not outside any longer, Harry. It's perfectly safe to do magic now. I actually asked Professor McGonagall about performing magic at home once I was of age.” Hermione took out her wand and muttered, “Accio Harry's Trunk!” A few seconds later Harry's trunk landed neatly at her feet. “See?” she beamed, pocketing her wand. “No harm done. Though try not to do it too much. Mum and Dad are perfectly accepting of the fact that I'm a witch, but sometimes I think they feel that I use magic to take the easy way out of things.”

“Right,” said Harry, making a note to himself to never do magic in Hermione's house, no matter what she said – he didn't need another reason for Mr. Granger to bury him alive. “I'll keep that in mind.”

“What do you think Harry and Hermione are doing now?” Ron said, lounging languidly on the Gryffindor couch.

“Snogging,” Ginny answered. She checked her watch. “No, that was an hour ago. They should be shagging by now. With all that sexual tension, being kept in the same house, bedrooms right next to one another…”

“How do you know their rooms are next to each other?” Ron said as he did his best to ignore the thought of his two best friends doing such…intimate things together.

“Oh, when I found out that Hermione was inviting Harry over for the holidays, I owled Mrs. Granger and asked her to make sure that the two were as near to one another as possible. I would talk to her when Harry and Hermione said their goodbyes at the end of the year, and apparently she feels the same way as we do. She's almost as helpful as mum.”

“What has mum done?” Ron asked, furrowing his brows. “We never told her about our strategy…”

“Not technically true,” Ginny said, leaning her chin on one of her palms and tilting her head so that her red hair touched the floor. “I owled her for ideas for getting those two together, and she gave me our plan.”

“Figures you'd take credit for it until now.” Ron shook his head in a manner that others would mistake as disgust, but that Ginny knew was anything but. There was silence for a few moments, save the flames that licked eagerly at the fireplace. “Hey, Gin?” Ron said finally.


“Why are you so intent on getting those two together?” Ron asked. “I mean, you used to date Harry, and he was the one who broke up with you. Why are you so eager to set him up with Hermione?”

Ginny gave Ron a pitying grin. “I'm not a selfish little girl, Ron.”

“I never said that!” Ron looked affronted.

“But you insinuated it.” Ron blinked, not understanding how he had done such a thing, but remained silent so as to let Ginny answer his question. “The truth of the matter is I stopped caring deeply for Harry a long time ago. I mean yes, he still means a lot to me, but like how you mean to me.”

“What happened?” For once Ron's voice came out caring, even worried. Not a tone Ginny was used to hearing, at least when Ron was dealing with her.

“I could only wait for so long. What type of person would I be if I pined away for six years? By the time he finally kissed me, the feelings had decreased significantly. But, since they were still there, and the kiss gave me hope, of course, I decided to go along with it. And for a while, it was nice.” Ginny smiled softly at the memory of her relationship with Harry. “Peaceful, even. I was very happy, and dare I say it, I even started falling for him again. But, at the same time, I knew that I would never come first. And not in a, ‘Oh! You're the only one who I care about, Ginny!' sort of way, but rather that I could never compare to Hermione. And not just because she's one of his best friends. They have this connection - a connection that I know means that they will end up together.” Ginny hugged her legs gently to her chest, now resting her chin on her knees.

“When he broke up with me, I knew it was more than not being ready to be in a relationship. It was the fact that he couldn't be in a relationship with anyone other than Hermione, even if he himself didn't realize it. And even though I thought I had deep feelings for him, I recognized that they were nothing compared to how he felt about Hermione, and how Hermione felt about him. So I gladly let him go, and since then I've come to terms with the fact that he's basically my brother. But I swear to Merlin,” Ginny snarled, her tone changing from that of a calm river to a stormy ocean, “if those two idiots do not get it together and realize what they have, I am going to be so pissed off it isn't funny.”

It took Ron a few moments to comprehend everything. “Well,” he said, “I was going to commend you on being so mature for your age, and even admit that you were more mature than me, but now I'm still dealing with the shock of what you said last.”

“Well I'm serious!” Ginny growled, grabbing at a pillow off the armchair next to her and throwing it madly at the ground. “There's no one on this earth who should be together more than those two. They have such potential to have this amazing relationship, and they're going to end up throwing it all away because they're too stubborn! They don't realize what they have.”

Ron was shocked to see a lone tear crawl down Ginny's flushed cheeks. It was at this moment that he realized that Ginny, as sassy and self-assured as she often appeared, wanted nothing more than someone on which to depend. And so Ron left his couch to wrap his arms around her, to provide her with the little comfort he could. And even though he knew that tomorrow Ginny would forget this ever happened, and that the subject would never once be brought up again so long as either of them lived, he allowed his little sister, the one person he had always striven to protect more than anyone else in the world, sob in his embrace.

Harry slept rather well that night, despite being in the house of people, neglecting Hermione, with whom he wasn't very well acquainted. Hermione, on the other hand, tossed and turned for hours on end, unable to forget that Harry was right next-door.

“It's all because of you, Mum,” she grumbled angrily into her pillow. “Make him comfortable, such close proximity,” she mimicked. “ARGH!”

She sat up in her bed, her covers flying away from her body. “Why can't I get her voice out of my head?” Hermione demanded angrily, leaning back against her headboard and sighing. “And why can't I get the fact that Harry is sleeping in the room next to mine out of my head? Why is it bothering me so much?”

Hermione felt her stomach turn as her thoughts moved on to what she was going to do in the morning. What happened if Harry saw her when her hair was an absolute mess? She'd scare the living daylights out of the poor fellow! Okay, it was true that her hair was always a mess, and even more true that Harry had already seen her bed hair, but that was beside the point! And what if her parents did something else embarrassing? Her mum was on the verge of basically pushing them into the same room, handing them a packet of condoms, and keeping them in there until the holiday was over, while she was fairly certain that, had it not been for her mother, her dad would've attacked Harry with his dentist tools by now.

And then there was the fact that Harry and she were now going to spend every minute together until they returned to Hogwarts. Granted, they were always together, but that was in an enormous castle, with staircases that didn't allow males to visit the females' rooms.

“Why do you care?” Hermione asked, anguished. She glanced over to her clock, which stood on her night table, and from the moonlight read that it was 2:47. She swung her legs over her bed and turned on a light. Blinking as she adjusted to the sudden exposure, she walked over to her bookcase and took out a photo album, filled with pictures her parents, friends, and, of course, Colin had taken. She was happy that she had learned how to develop moving photos at such a young age, and had been able to bring her parents' photos to Hogwarts and develop them so.

She ran her fingers over the thick cover, finally opening it up and looking through it. To her annoyance, all of the pictures that contained Harry, Ron, and herself or Harry, Ginny, and herself were absent of both Weasleys.

“What those two are playing at…” Hermione mumbled under her breath. “They're going to be in for a good hex when I get back…” She continued to flip through the pages until she came across one of her favorite photos. At the time when Ginny had taken the photo, Ron, Harry, and Hermione were sitting outside, next to their favorite tree. It had been an unusually beautiful day (for late March, that is), and the three were clearly content. Hermione had sat between the two boys, laughing as they placed their heads on her shoulders and wrapped their arms around her, unintentionally tickling her. But of course, as Ron's image had left the scene of all such pictures, it was only Harry who had his arms wrapped around a laughing Hermione, his head resting comfortably against her, a satisfied smile on his face.

And though Hermione would admit it to no one, she knew that she would mourn the day when Ron would return to the photo.

Shaking her head, Hermione returned the album to her bookshelf and slipped back under her pillows, turning off her lights. Closing her eyes, she vowed that she would not open them again until she was awaking from a deep (or at least a few hours) of sleep. And half an hour later, not even Voldemort could awake her.

“Morning, Hermione, dear!” a voice called, followed by a soft knock on her door. “It’s 8:00 already, and I know how you like to get up before then.”

Hermione groaned as she blearily opened her eyes. Of all the days, today was the day that her mother decided to finally remember that she was an early bird.

“Breakfast is on the table,” Mrs. Granger added, and a moment later Hermione heard her mother’s footsteps pattering away. Sitting up, Hermione stretched her arms as she yawned, trying to snap herself out of the drowsy state that she was currently in.

She got out of bed, grabbing her chenille, blue robe from her bedpost and slipped on a pair of matching slippers.

Moments later she arrived downstairs to find her mother at the stove and her father reading the paper.

So today is…Monday, Hermione thought to herself. Right. Mum cooks on the weekdays, and Dad on the weekends.

She sat down next to her father, where an empty plate and glass awaited her. She reached over to the centre of the table, grabbed a pitcher, and then filled her glass almost to the brim with orange juice.

“Will you have eggs and sausage this morning, Hermione?” her mother called.

“Sure,” Hermione answered, her voice scratchy from lack of sleep. She finally came out of her stupor when her mother exclaimed, “Harry! You’re awake!” Hermione half jumped from her sleep, and her hands immediately went to her unkempt hair. Out of the corner of her eyes she saw her father grumble something that she didn’t quite catch. “Do sit down,” Mrs. Granger told Harry, pointing to the chair next to Hermione. “Will you have eggs and sausage, or would you simply prefer some cereal?”

“Er, eggs and sausage would be great, thanks,” Harry replied, sitting next to Hermione. “Morning,” he told her, suppressing a yawn.

“Morning,” Hermione said, her voice two decibels lower than normal. Harry gave her a confused look. “I…I mean morning,” Hermione laughed, having willed her voice to return to normal. “Sorry, didn’t sleep well last night.”

“So,” Mrs. Granger said, placing food on everyone’s plate, “what will you two lovebi—”

Mother,” Hermione said warningly.

“—do today?” Mrs. Granger finished, as if she hadn’t heard her daughter. “My parents will be coming in for Christmas on Friday, so if you two want to do anything on your own, now will be the time.”

Hermione spared her mother a withering glass, as her father was already glaring at her. “Well,” Hermione said, brushing one of many stray locks behind her ear, “I thought, perhaps, that Harry would like to go ice skating.”

Harry choked on his eggs. “Ice-ice skating?” he exclaimed, eyes widening.

“Well, yes,” Hermione answered. “I mean we don’t have to if you don’t want to, of course, but there’s a very nice rink nearby, and I haven’t skated in such a long time. It is a lot of fun, and, well…” Hermione trailed off. “But if you don’t want to, I’m sure we can find something else to do.”

“No, no, it’s fine,” Harry said hurriedly. “I’ve just never skated before.”

“Well,” Hermione said brightly, scooping up some eggs on to her fork, “never a time like the present to learn something new!”

“Quite right,” Mrs. Granger said in a soft voice, smiling as she turned to place the pan back on the stove. “Never a time, indeed.”

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