A/N – I’m once again trying to be a faithful authoress! I’d like to take this time to thank everyone who’s reviewing. Ya’ll rock my world! Seriously. I’m starting this chapter while chapter 12 is still waiting to be validated. That’s how much I love you all! Please keep reading and enjoy!
Chapter 13: Finalists
“The qualification is going to be the sign of passion,” Hermione announced.
Draco smirked while the other guys looked at each other and tried to figure out what kind of sign that was.
“You’re going to have to be a bit more specific, Hermione,” George said gently. Maybe she wasn’t ready for this yet after all.
“Then let me clarify,” Hermione said acidly towards George then smiled to everyone else, “Will everyone who has not shared a kiss with me please leave? You all are very wonderful, however, at this point, if we haven’t connected then…”
Hermione paused. She wasn’t sure how to continue. How could she tell them that if they hadn’t kissed her then she just wasn’t that interested in them. It seemed a bit harsh.
Fred gave a huge sigh of relieve and then winked at Hermione, “Well said. You heard her boys, Pack up.”
Fred and George expected most of the guys to leave. They almost expected that only Harry would be left remaining. What they saw surprised them. And surprised the guys who were left standing.
“Weasley? Really?” Draco sneered.
“Draco Malfoy, Hermione. Are you serious?” Harry asked a little angry.
Ron looked shocked to still be in the room, despite Draco’s sneer. Blaise was smirking, confident that he still belonged in the game.
While Fred was glad with the results, George looked on unsatisfied. He caught Hermione’s eye, and Hermione understood. However, she just smiled. Happy for once she was in control of others feelings instead of having her feelings being controlled.
“If you all will excuse me,” Hermione muttered as she left to go to her room.
The boys looked around at each other, still unbelieving at who their competition was.
“So now what?” Harry asked, still angry.
Fred smoothed over his hair. He wasn’t prepared for more competitions.
George was looking stonily out the window, not responding to the discussion of what was going to happen next. He couldn’t understand Hermione, and it bothered him. He wanted to know and he wanted to care. He left to go see her.
Harry stopped him at the door.
“A word, George?”
They separated from the other guys to give themselves some privacy.
“I’m sorry, George. But you’re out of the game. You need to stay out.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about Harry.”
“I think I do,” Harry said sincerely, “the others might not notice, but I can see. You love her, George. More than you can admit.”
George gave a sound of frustration, “What does it matter to you?”
“Because, if you don’t let Hermione free, then how is she suppose to find someone she loves?”
“I could say the same to you,” George replied quickly.
“I’m prepared to let her go though, if she chooses. Obviously, you’re not.”
George stared silently at the man that he had considered a hero for so long. Could he possibly be right? Was George really being selfish?
George smiled, “Consider myself let go then.”
Harry tried to reply again, but George had already left. He went in the opposite direction of Hermione’s room. He could walk away. If there was one thing he could control in all of this, it was that he had the choice to just walk away. Even if he didn’t want to.
Harry stared after George, feeling just a bit guilty. George was obviously heart-broken and no matter how much Harry had done it for Hermione’s own good, it still felt wrong.
“Harry,” Hermione murmured. How long had she been there?
Harry looked at her guiltily, “Hermione, I can explain.”
“Don’t worry about it Harry,” Hermione said with a sad smile, “it’s all for the better this way. Really.”
But honestly, Hermione wasn’t sure. She was glad she was able to make her point to George, but she wasn’t sure she ready to give him up completely.
Harry was embracing her now, trying to get rid of her sadness.
“Everything will get better,” he said.
“That’s what people keep telling me,” Hermione couldn’t help but smile, “do you want to join me in my room? I could use some company tonight.”
“I would love that,” Harry grinned.
Hermione took Harry’s hand and headed for her room, but on the way, they ran into Ron.
“What’s going on guys?” Ron asked a bit embarrassed.
“Um…hey Ron,” Hermione said with a slight blush.
“We were just going…” Harry stuttered.
“Everyone’s looking for you two,” Ron told them.
And they were. Draco, Blaise, and Fred soon found them.
“Hermione, I thought you had gone to bed,” Blaise asked bluntly.
“Surprise, surprise,” Hermione said sarcastically.
“You should get some sleep,” Fred said kindly.
“Very well,” Hermione sighed as she left to her room by herself. There would be plenty of time for some serious making-out later, after all.
Hermione never made it to her room though.
George surprised her from behind. She laughed nervously at being scared.
“Things are getting better already, then?”
“I guess so. It’s a lot less stressful without so many guys chasing after me.”
George tried not to sound sad. After all, wasn’t he one of the guys who wouldn’t be chasing her anymore?
“You must be relieved to getting closer to the end.”
“I guess it would depend on what the end brings.”
Hermione sighed, tired of the old argument.
George grabbed her hand, unable to hold anything in any longer, “Hermione, I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry for not standing up for my feelings. I should have given you a reason to keep me.”
Hermione looked like she was about to cry, “George, why are you telling me this now?”
“I know it’s too late. But I couldn’t let you go on not knowing.”
“Not knowing how much I care. How much I may love you.”
Hermione whispered very quietly, “And how much is that?”
“Oh so very much,” he whispered into her ear as he held her close.
Suddenly, Hermione jerked away. With angry tears running down her face she hit George hard against his chest.
“Why? Why are you doing this?”
George tried to hold her wrists to stop her flings.
“I’m sorry, I guess I wasn’t able to let you go.”
“Let me go, George? You never had me.”
Hermione bursted into more tears. However, she did stop hitting George. Instead she fell into his arms crying into his shoulders. He carried her into her room and laid her in bed. She was still crying.
“Please. Don’t leave me, George,” she said as she pulled him next to her in her bed.
“Never, Hermione. I’ll never leave you,” he answered as she laid her head against his shoulder again. Crying herself to sleep.
Meanwhile, Fred, Ron, Harry, Blaise, and Draco were discussing the final terms of the next day.
“So you all understand? The four of you will each have a 3 hour date with Hermione. We’ll discuss all of this with her tomorrow at breakfast at 8am. Ron, you will go first at 9am. From 12pm to 3pm it will be Harry’s turn. 3 to 6pm will be Blaise. Then Draco you can pick up Hermione at 6pm for your date. At 9pm Hermione will have one last chance to speak to all of us and make a decision. She’ll have one last dinner with who she thinks she wants to make sure. Of course, it doesn’t have to be her final choice,” Fred explained.
“So no one could technically win this round,” Blaise asked still unsure.
“Theoretically,” Fred answered. He didn’t want to push Hermione anymore. And this seemed the safest way to go.
“What if she doesn’t choose anyone,” Harry asked the question they were all thinking.
“She has to choose. She can’t keep us all waiting forever,” Draco complained.
“Are you not willing to wait forever for Hermione,” Fred asked smirking.
Draco glared in reply. They all went to bed, prepared to amaze Hermione tomorrow each in their own way.
A surprise was waiting for them in the morning though. Fred had suggested they all work together to make Hermione breakfast-in-bed. The boys opened the door to Hermione’s room to find her fast asleep in George’s arms. Breakfast was long forgotten.
A/N – shorter than the last I know, but still not too short I hope! I’m so glad I was able to finish this chapter because now I know that I’ll have something to put in the queue as soon as 12 finishes being validated. Wish me luck in getting chapter 14 done! Who knows, I could finish this entire fanfiction before summer is over! Please keep reading and remember to review when you get a chance.
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