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Disclaimer: I don't own anything. If I owned this Ron would be cursed into oblivion and Hermione would be with Draco. AND I wouldn't be looking like hell for a job. If only If only!

Author's Note: I just got a new laptop a couple weeks ago and I'm so excited about it. Part of the reason for that is that I don't even have to get out of bed to update which is good news for you all because if I don't have to get out of bed (I've been REALLY sick these last couple of months with a kidney infection...a really severe one apparently) to write I can write more often so WOOT!!! Basically I'm saying MORE updates!!! My goal is to update three times a month. We'll see if that's at all possible. I need to get on a roll with this. I would like to thank everyone who has read this and I would like to apologize for taking so long to update. It's not fair. Here's the next installment

Why Don't You Kiss Her?

Chapter 7: Never Take Friendship Personal

Ginny stormed out of the compartment Harry at her heels, "Ginny please stop. I didn't mean it. I was just annoyed and I wasn't thinking." He pulled on her arm to get her to face him, "Ginny would you just listen to me?"

Ginny snatched her arm from him, "Don't fucking touch me Harry James Potter."

"But Ginny I didn't mean it." He pleaded trying to take her hand, "Come back and let me explain."

"No." She hissed, snatching away from him. "How many times did you not mean it Harry?" She asked. "Did you not mean it when you snapped on me because I asked you what was going on? Or did you not mean it all summer? You do this every damn time I try to talk about it." She crossed her arms and tapped her foot impatiently. "Well which was it? I fail to see how someone can 'not mean' to be cruel."

Harry scratched his head, "I didn't mean to snap on you. I don't like talking about the battle and you know that. You shouldn't have pushed."

"You were talking to Ron about it! Don't feed me that bullshit." She laughed, "It's not that you don't like talking about it. No, that's not it at all." She pushed him in the chest, "You just don't want to talk about it with ME."

"You weren't there Ginny. You don't understand what it was like. It's easier to talk to people that were there." He explained, trying to reason with her.

"And who's fault was it that I wasn't there?"

"That's not fair. I was trying to protect you!" He exclaimed, his voice beginning to match her angry tone.

"Yes you were, but what about now? What are you trying to do now Harry?" She sighed and looked at the ground, "I can't keep doing this."

Harry looked confused, "What do you mean?"

"I can't keep waiting for you to come around." She replied, "It's disappointing and I'm tired of being let down."

Harry couldn't find the words to say. He hadn't meant to be ugly to her and he definitely hadn't meant to hurt her in any way, "I just need time Ginny. You said you'd give me that." He was quiet, searching her eyes for the softness he knew could be there, but he didn't see any of it.

"And I have Harry!! It's been MONTHS!" She exclaimed as Harry winced. She sighed dejectedly, "How much longer do you expect me to wait? How much longer do you expect me to sit on the sidelines and watch as everyone else gets a part of you but me?"

"I don't know Ginny. I just need time to sort everything out."

"Well go ahead Harry. Take as much time as you want." She spat and as she turned to walk away she said, "But don't expect me to sit around like a pathetic sap waiting for your attention." And when that was said she walked off.

Harry stood there shaking his head. This was Ginny. She was a bit prone to fits of rage over trivial things. She'd get over it. He was sure of it.

Hermione and Draco were in the middle of an amusing conversation when they heard someone clear their throat. Stiffening they turned to see an amused Pansy and hurt Blaise looking back at them. Hermione shot to the other side of the compartment, her face a couple of shades too pale. Draco rolled his eyes and looked at his two friends, "Well, I’m prepared for a nice verbal lashing. Have a go at it."

Pansy looked at him strangely before entering the compartment and collapsing on the seat next to Hermione in giggles, "Is this seriously who you were talking about that night?"

Draco rolled his eyes, "Parkinson are you seriously going to make fun of this? It’s not all that unbelieveable." He mumbled defensively.

Pansy just continued to laugh. Hermione eyed her warily and then looked to Blaise as he said, "Well then, I never expected this. Care to explain yourself mate?" His voice and eyes were cold as he looked at Draco with his arms crossed over chest.

"Well I think you pretty much know the story already. I do tend to get a little less private when I drink." Draco drawled, looking at his nails disinterestedly.

Blaise knew differently though. He'd seen the tensing of Draco's shoulders, the fear in his slate grey eyes. Draco was preparing for rejection. He was preparing for Blaise to blow up and walk out of his life. Blaise wanted to laugh. Didn't Draco recall that BLAISE had been the first to renounce the pureblood supremist bullshit? Blaise wasn't mad that Hermione and Draco were friends. He wasn't even mad that Draco was in love with Hermione. What he was mad about was the fact that Draco had kept such a big secret from him. After all that he and Blaise had been through, where was the trust? "Yeah I know mate."

Draco looked up, seemingly emotionless, but his eyes were hopeful, "Why don't you join us?"

Blaise looked to Pansy, who shrugged and said, "We might as well. It's not like we have any other friends on the train." She looked at Hermione, "Besides, I think I'd like to get to know Granger here."

Hermione looked at her, eyes bewildered. She then turned her eyes to Blaise and then to Draco, "Are they serious?"

Draco locked eyes with Blaise, a silent communication passing between the two before he said, "I believe so."

Blaise nodded and took a seat by Draco. As Draco visibly relaxed Blaise turned to Hermione, "So how long has this been going on?"

"Since sixth year." She answered. Her hand was on her wand as she was still a little unsure of their intentions.

Pansy's eyes lit up, "So that's what you were doing on patrols!" She exclaimed. At Draco's questioning look she continued, "You never did tell me who Chang put you on patrol with." She began, "And you stopped looking annoyed after the first couple of times. In fact, you used to come in with that stupid, self satisfied smirk on your face. You know," she paused as she tried to find the right words. "Like the cat that ate the canary!"

"Lovely comparison Pansy." Draco drawled.

"Well you did." She insisted.

Blaise interrupted, "Pansy why didn't you just look at the patrol schedule? Isn't it posted somewhere?"

Pansy rolled her eyes, "It never really concerned me so much. Getting paired with Weasley was kind of consuming my mind." She looked at Hermione, "Does he ever stop eating?"

Hermione giggled, "Yes, he does." She looked at Pansy's shocked face and burst into giggles again. "I promise."

"Well if you say so." She looked at Draco, "And I was alway tried to be polite to him. He was infuriatingly rude. We must have hexed each other at least a dozen times."

Draco was itching to say an appropriately witty and scathing remark about Weasley's manners, but he caught Hermione watching him out of the corner of her eye and stopped. He didn't need to make her mad. And they definitely didn't need to fight in front of his friends. So he settled on a shrug.

"You always were fit to kill when you came back to the common room." Blaise replied, not unaware of Draco's restraint. He would have to ask him about that later.

Hermione still didn't know what to make of this, but she wasn't one to complain. Still gripping her wand she looked at Pansy and Blaise, "So you two aren't going to hex me or anything?"

Blaise looked amused, "And why would we do that?" He fought the urge to laugh. She had every right to be wary of him. He hadn't always been so congenial with her.

She shrugged and looked embarassed. "Isn't that what you do to people like me?"

"Not at all." Blaise said as his urge to laugh died, "I never was one to believe all that pureblood shit. I actually renounced it far before these two did."

Pansy had the decency to look ashamed, "Look, Granger, I know I haven't always been the nicest person to you." Hermione snorted in agreement, "But a lot happened during the war. Just like Draco, a lot of us changed. And if people would talk to us for two seconds they would realize that. Not everyone was like you were with Draco, though. A lot of people don't want to forgive us even though we were forced to emulate our parents." She sighed, "Everyone is kind of in the Ron category. They don't want anything to do with us, they'd take any oppurtunity to hex us, and they're probably never going to forgive us for the mistakes we've made."

"Well maybe this year will be different." Hermione said.

Draco looked at her fondly, "Hermione, do you honestly think anyone would accept us being friends?" As she shook her head he continued, "Let's face it, Slytherin house hasn't exactly been the greatest bunch of students to grace the hall of Hogwarts in terms of social skills. This year is going to be like any other only worse."

"Why would it be worse?" Hermione asked.

Blaise looked at her carefully, "Because the white hats won and we," he gestured to himself, Draco, and Pansy, "didn't go to Azkaban with the guilty party. And even though we never really believed all that stuff, everyone else thinks we did. It's a no win situation because if we say we never believed all that stuff anyway everyone is going to think we're full of shit and not believe us. If we don't say anything everyone is going to believe that we're all You-Know-Who sympathizers and are going to try to revive the pureblood supremist movement. We're damned if we do and damned if we don't."

"I guess I kind of figured that. I just kind of hoped that people would get over it this year." Hermione said. She heaved a big sigh. "We're never going to be friends in the open are we?"

Draco's eyes grew stormy as he looked at Hermione. He knew the question was directed toward him. He really didn't want to answer, but he told her, "We could. It'll all depend on how much you're willing to give up." Hermione started to say something, but he stopped her, "We could be friends in the open, but you'd have to deal with the backlash. Your friends might not agree and I don't think you're willing to lose them."

"I have to go." Hermione said. "I need to get back to Ron and Harry before they come searching for me." She waved bye to Blaise and Pansy. Looking at Draco she smiled, "We'll talk later, yeah?"

Draco wouldn't meet her eyes as he nodded. He turned to Blaise and started talking about Quidditch. It was easier that way. If he kept talking to Blaise about this, he wouldn't have to face what he had just said.

He looked over at Pansy who in turn looked to the door and jabbed her thumb. "You might want to go now."

He knew he had hurt Hermione, probably worse than he had hurt her with his jealousy over Weasel. He couldn't let her leave like that. He nodded to Pansy and ran off to find her.

He found Hermione in an empty compartment tears running down her cheeks. He sat beside her and pulled her to him. She looked up at him and began sobbing in earnest, "I'm sorry. I never should have said anything."

"But you're right." She answered, her head burrowing into his chest. "You don't deserve to be my dirty little secret. It's not fair."

"You also don't deserve to be persecuted." He replied as he kissed her forehead, "Look at me."

She wouldn't do it. She kept her face firmly in his chest, "No."

"Hermione, look at me." When she finally did he began to speak, "One day it won't matter what people think. One day we'll be able to be best friends and no one will bat an eyelash, but that day hasn't come and you, you aren't ready to face your boyfriend and other best friend." He wiped an errant tear from her cheek, "I'm okay with that." He put his arms around her shoulders and sighed, "We won't always be in the dark."

Hermione nodded her head. She knew he was right, but she also knew how wrong she was being. Draco was her best friend. He didn't deserve to be an unspoken part of her life, not when he was such a horribly big part of it. "No we won't."

He hugged her tightly and whispered, "You're my best friend and I love you. When you're ready to tell, I'll be right behind you."

She hugged him back before wiping her face and standing up, "Do I look presentable?"

"Absolutely." He said as he flashed her a rare smile. He watched her walk out and sagged against the chair. He had just admitted that he loved her. Albeit he didn't think she knew how he meant it, but he had let it slip. He hit his head against the window. He couldn't keep doing that. He'd have to get a reign on his emotions. She didn't feel the same way about him and he needed to get over her.

But how was he going to do it?

Hermione stood at the door of Ron and Harry's compartment, hesitation written all over her face. She couldn't believe that she was about to do this.

Gathering her courage she straightened up and opened the door. She had to do this now. There was going to be no more of this waiting. Draco didn't deserve that.

She was going to tell.

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