Chapter 1: The Beginning …
“It was another Hogsmeade weekend, although one not part of the regular schedule. Given recent events, Professor Dumbledore and the teaching staff felt that a break was in order for the students, and declared a general amnesty for the school. No homework, no classes for the day (it was a Friday) … just a chance for everyone to let go for a while, and try to heal themselves from the horrors of the week just past.
There was an air of palpable excitement in the Gryffindor common room. Hermione and Ginny could feel it as they stepped out of the girl’s dormitory – it was a feeling so thick that one could cut it open with a knife, if one were handy. The feeling wasn’t helped by the fact that Fred and George had set off a round dozen Filibuster firecrackers; the smoke was so thick that one did need a knife to cut one’s way through.
“Let’s go, let’s go! What’s holding up the parade?” Seamus was shouting at the top of his lungs. “First one to the Three Broomsticks gets a butterbeer on me … and if Rosmerta’s nice enough, maybe she’ll give a kiss for the guy who orders a round!”
“Speak for yourself, Seamus,” Dean Thomas said. “It’s not the butterbeer on your mind, you just wanna get a kiss from Rosmerta. I always knew you had a perverted mind!”
The Common Room roared at that, with Seamus getting his share of catcalls and cheers from the assembled students. Ginny and Hermione smiled at each other – finally, after the gloom of the past days, things seemed to be getting back to normal.
“Hermione!” She looked over to where the voice sounded, and saw Ron bounding over to her. “Let’s go! I’ll take you over to Honeydukes for some chocolates, then we can go over to the Three Broomsticks for some butterbeer, and watch these guys make fools of themselves … go over to Zonko’s for some more dung-bombs … ”
“Ron!,” Hermione said loudly, smiling. “You’re blabbing!.”
“Hey, why not? After everything that’s happened, we all deserve a break – you, of all people, deserve a break…”
Hermione’s smiling retort was suddenly cut by Ginny’s quiet voice. “Ron, where’s Harry?”
A sudden silence descended over the raucous Common Room. Glancing around, Hermione noticed people looking in different directions: up at the ceiling, glancing at the fireplace, casting looks in various corners of the room. She looked back at Ron, and asked the same question, “Where’s Harry?”
Ron fidgeted. “Oh … well … uhm … he was up earlier, and then went out. I think he’s over there by the lake … doesn’t want to talk to anyone … “
Ginny and Hermione dashed over to the window overlooking the lake and looked out. It was difficult to see where Harry was, until Ginny saw a flash of white, and pointed it out to Hermione. Peering closely, the two girls saw Hedwig slowly flying down to a figure hunched on the shore.
Ginny glanced at Ron and the others, eyebrows raised.
“He … uhm … we did ask him to join us, Ginny. But he got all … ah … uptight with us … told us to go on ahead, and let him be for a while.” Ron looked down at his shoes. “He … ah … um … said that he would like some time to himself … just to bring him back something from Hogsmeade.”
The silence continued for a moment, to be suddenly broken by a loud “Harummph!” from Seamus. “He took the same tone with me, Gin, Hermione. I thought he was gonna curse me when I asked him to join us … After what happened last week, I’m not gonna take a chance at getting him mad at me.”
“He needs some time to himself,” agreed Dean. “I vote that we go on ahead … nothing we can do about Harry now. And there’s the butterbeer that Seamus owes me …”
“What butterbeer I owe you? You already owe me five bottles from last month’s bet!”
Ron looked at Hermione and Ginny. “I agree with them … I think Harry does need some quiet time by himself.” He shook himself, and said, “Let’s go over to Hogsmeade, and get some things for him. We can have a picnic with Harry when we get back, if he’s still sitting there.”
Ginny glanced at Hermione and said, “You go on ahead. I’ll catch up with you later.”
* * * * * *
“Ginny glanced at Hermione, and said, ‘You go on ahead. I’ll catch up with you later’.”
The words floated around in her head, and she willed her fingers to punch out the letters on her keyboard.
Nothing happened. The words did not appear on her computer screen. It was as if something were blocking the nerves connecting her fingers to her brain, keeping them from doing what her mind wanted them to do.
J. K. Rowling sighed, and pushed her comfortable chair back from her computer keyboard. She couldn’t understand what was happening to her … she had the story all plotted out, all the timelines and characters were in place, everything was set to go, everything put together in one neat package ….
But she just couldn’t. Every time she went over what she had written, she kept coming back to this particular passage – and she couldn’t write a word. She knew what she wanted to do … it had already been plotted out years back, even before the first book became a success – and the world was waiting for the fifth installment of the series – but she just could not get herself to type out those words.
Everybody she knew had been waiting with increasing apprehension for this book, the next installment in the Harry Potter series. But she had already missed several deadlines.
But she just couldn’t proceed from this point. It seemed that every time she was ready to put those specific words on paper (well, into the computer anyway) … she just couldn’t. It was as if magic were keeping her from completing the sentence … the thought … the whole bloody story from that point on.
She sighed again, and leaned her head back against the comfortable chair. “I’ll just close my eyes for a while … I need some rest … maybe the writer’s block will disappear, and I can get on with the show!”
Chapter Two. Visitors …
“I don’t think that’s where you really want to go, Miss Rowling,” a quiet voice said. Startled, she looked up to see a girl with bushy brown hair, dressed in Hogwarts robes, looking at the computer screen. JKR took a deep breath, preparing to scream when the girl turned around and looked at her.
The urge to scream stopped, and a smile made its way to her face. “Hello, Emma! What are you doing here? How come no one told me that you were visiting … and why are you in costume? There’s no shooting today, is there?”
A slight frown creased the forehead of the girl standing in front of her. “Emma? Oh … Emma! Yes, uhmmm, well … you know, I just decided to drop by, seeing as you were having some problems …”
JKR peered closely at the girl, suddenly fearful. After the recent stalking incident, she had increased the security around her house … but the girl was a spitting image of Emma Watson, and dressed exactly as she would have during shooting of the Harry Potter films.
She suddenly stopped … but there was something slightly different about this Emma Watson. She seemed to be older … somewhat more mature than the Emma Watson she remembered from the shooting of Chamber of Secrets. Yes, that was it … this Emma looked to be about 16 years old – not the 12 year old girl that JKR remembered from the movies.
‘Emma’ stepped back from the computer, and smiled at her. “Would you like some tea? I really think you could use some right about now.”
With those words, ‘Emma’ drew out a wand, muttered something under her breath, and tea cups, a pot, and a plate of sandwiches suddenly appeared on the coffee table in JKR’s office. JKR, slightly dazzled, noted that the cups were bucket-sized (definitely much larger than the tea cups she was used to), and were exactly like those that the production team had procured for the set of Hagrid’s house.
Before she could say anything, ‘Emma’ muttered something (to JKR’s ears, it sounded like, “Oh, drat! Why did I get Hagrid’s things? And if those are stoat sandwiches …”), and then she waved her wand again, muttering something else. Instantly, the cups changed into regular-sized, although elegant, tea cups, and the other tea things changed into normal sized pots, saucers, and the like.
“Cream or sugar, ma’m?” ‘Emma’ said, preparing to pour the tea.
“Uhmm … yes, please, thanks.” JKR responded. What was this? How could Emma Watson, a sweet but non-magical person (JKR hesitated to use the word ‘muggle’ in her mind) do something right out of her book?
Before she could say anything, another voice sounded in the room. “I know what you’re doing, Hermione Granger. You’re going to try to get Ms. Rowling to change that passage, so that you get to go to Harry in his time of need. Well, I’m not going to let you do that … he’s mine, right, Ms. Rowling?”
Startled, JKR looked up at the new arrival. Another girl, but with flaming red hair, also in Hogwarts robes, and the spitting image of Bonnie Wright, who was playing the role of Ginny Weasley (but again, seemingly older than what JKR could remember), stood in the office. Her hands were on her hips (one hand clutching her wand), and she was glaring at ‘Emma,’ who was sitting at the sofa, calmly pouring tea into three cups.
“Now what would make you think that, Ginny Weasley? All I wanted to do was to have some tea with my favorite author …” ‘Emma’ said, composedly. However, a slight blush was moving up her face as she stared with determination at her tea cup. “I just wanted to see if … well … if I could help her out. You know everyone’s so excited about the book coming out … anything to help her out … Have some tea, you must be starving …”
“Oh no, you won’t get away with that, Hermione. You came here to get Ms. Rowling to change that passage … you want Harry for yourself, don’t you? Well, no way … he’s mine … he was mine ever since the first book came out … so why don’t you just accept it and have fun with Ron?” ‘Bonnie’s’ eyes glittered, her mouth set in a grim line as she said these words.
“Virginia Weasley! I told you that I just wanted to visit Ms. Rowling … so stop with the paranoia thing, OK? Honestly! As if I were to go sneaking around, trying to make changes in the books …” ‘Emma’ responded, but refusing to look ‘Bonnie’ in the eye. “Sit down and have some tea.”
“You’re not gonna get away with treating me like a child, Hermione! We’re almost the same age … well, I am a year younger than you … but I know what you’re trying to do!” ‘Bonnie’ looked closely at ‘Emma.’ “And if you have no such plans – why are you blushing like that? C’mon admit it … you just want Harry Potter to yourself!”
“Ahem!” JKR said in a loud voice. The two witches looked at her, startled. “Why don’t we all just sit down like friends – you are friends, right? (The two looked at each other for a long moment, and then nodded.) And let’s have a friendly cup of tea first, OK?”
‘Bonnie’ and ‘Emma’ looked at each other, and then abruptly away, but nodded. ‘Bonnie’ sat down in a comfortable chair opposite to ‘Emma,’ and JKR rolled her chair over to the table as ‘Emma’ handed her a cup.
“OK, let me get a few things straight.” She looked at her two visitors warily. “You’re Hermione, right?” (‘Emma’ nodded) And Ginny, of course.” (The other girl nodded also.) “So what the hell are you two doing here? You’re just figments of my imagination … you’re not real … where the hell do you (looking at ‘Emma’) get away with looking like Emma Watson on the set …”
She stopped. Taking a deep breath, she apologized, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Please … I just can’t understand what two characters from my books are doing here … arguing over my stories and how I’m going to write them … what’s this all about, anyway?”
Ginny and Hermione opened their mouths at the same time to speak, but she interrupted them with her palm up. “First of all … what are you doing here? Or rather, how did you get here, both of you? You’re not real … you’re just characters from my books!”
Hermione sighed. “Ms. Rowling, haven’t you heard the expression, ‘the characters took on a life of their own?’ Goodness, after all the excitement about the books, and then the movies … millions of people around the world reading them … to say nothing of the other millions on the internet writing their own stories … don’t you think it’s logical that our characters will come to life?”
She paused. “And in a way, the movies helped. It used to be just thoughts floating around … nobody really knows what Harry Potter looked like, or how I looked like, except for the bushy hair and buck teeth, and the bossy, know-it-all manner. Well, the movies gave all those millions of people a clear idea of what everyone in Hogwarts looks like … to be honest, I really liked Emma Watson playing my role, she is so pretty, so smart, so … so like me that it’s amazing ….”
She suddenly stopped, having said all this in a fast monologue, and looked guilty at monopolizing the conversation. Ginny smiled, and looked at JKR with a look that clearly said, “Sounds like she swallowed the whole book, doesn’t she?”
Before Ginny could bring her thoughts into words, JKR interrupted her, “So, OK … now I understand. But isn’t this carrying things a bit too far? Yeah, sure, the characters assume a life of their own … but this is too much!”
“Well you have to admit, ma’am, that things, overall, are a bit too much,” said Ginny. “All those people reading about us … watching us … drawing and painting us … writing about us (with all due apologies to you as the creator of the books and characters) … all those positive energies coming together … you, of all people, shouldn’t be surprised that we just started ‘taking on a life of our own’.”
“Uhmm,” said JKR, unconvinced. “Are you telling me that you guys can just pop up out of nowhere, and start talking to people like this?”
“Well … no,” Hermione said. “It just works with you, since you were the original creator, after all. So, what happens is, we can take on a life of our own (sounds repetitious, I know, but how else to describe this?) but we still stay within what you want to happen …”
She paused, and suddenly giggled. “Actually, I think it’s better that way. You should see all the stories circulating on the Internet from fans … a lot of them are quite good, but the ideas that these people come up with … and the partnerships!”
JKR and Ginny looked at her blankly. “Partnerships?”
“Yeah,” Hermione said. “There’s Harry and me, Ron and me, Ginny and Harry (Ginny smiled, and said “Yes!” with her fist in the air), Draco and me …” Ginny’s mouth dropped open. Hermione continued without looking at her. “Ginny and Draco.”
“WHAT!” JKR and Hermione looked at Ginny. “Me? And Draco! Tell me you’re joking, Hermione!”
“Well, it isn’t as bad as some who thought up stories about me and Professor Snape!” replied Hermione. JKR and Ginny goggled at her, as she continued calmly. “But that’s not all … there are also Harry and Ron, or Harry-Draco, or Ron and Draco, stories floating around.”
“Excuse me?” JKR said. “Harry and DRACO MALFOY!?”
“Uhmm. Yes,” Hermione said, looking at them calmly, operating in completely logical, and objective, mode for the moment. “Although I really find it amusing …” Her voice trailed off, and she looked at the two stunned women with her.
“Harry and Draco? My Harry and that git?” Ginny whispered. “Harry and Ron … my brother, Ronald Weasley?”
“Well, it does sound logical, doesn’t it Ginny?” Hermione said. And then added, to herself, “At least that will solve our problems …”
Ginny stared at her, shocked. Hermione stared back, unblinking. Both girls suddenly looked at JKR, who had set down her cup, and was snorting and giggling, trying to keep a belly laugh from erupting out of her mouth. Ginny looked at Hermione again, who sat there calmly, composed … Hermione quietly put her cup down, looked Ginny straight in the eye … a corner of her lips twitched …
The mask of logic suddenly dropped off. “Come on, Ginny! Will you look at your face!” as she started twittering, and giggling. Slowly, a grin spread over Ginny Weasley’s face. A soft giggle escaped her lips …
At the other chair, JKR could no longer hold herself in. A loud hoot of laughter escaped her – in seconds, all three girls were shouting, and laughing their heads off. Hermione’s laughter soon got the better of her, and she fell on her knees, clutching her stomach, still laughing like a demented soul. Ginny also fell on the floor laughing, but she suddenly tipped the tea tray over, sending cups, pots, sandwiches and tea all over them.
A wave of tea splashed over JKR’s neat shirt. Stunned, Ginny and Hermione stood up, all laughter forgotten, and started apologizing. Ginny grabbed some tissues and started wiping at JKR’s shirt, the table, the floor, blubbering apologies a mile a minute.
“Stop it!” JKR said. Ginny and Hermione paused, looking at her in shock. She smiled at them. “Hey … I thought you two were witches or something?”
Hermione smiled, and pulled out her wand. She suddenly paused, and looked at Ginny. “Would you like to do the honors? After all, I did bring the tea in.”
Ginny smiled, bowed and waved her wand while muttering an incantation. In the blink of an eye, JKR’s dress was dried (and looked freshly pressed), the floor and table was shiny and new, and a new set of tea things and sandwiches were on the table.
The three sat down again around the table, the ice broken.
Chapter Three. Writer’s Block
“OK, “ JKR said, a cup of tea in hand, and looking at the two girls in front of her. “Let me get this straight. You two are the same characters in my books, with all the emotions, feelings, etc. that I put in there, BUT you are, in a sense, ‘living a life of your own,’ given all the attention from who knows how many people around the world.”
Both girls nodded.
“Sounds hard to believe.” JKR continued.
“Well … it is a magical world, ma’m, “ Hermione said, politely. “Didn’t someone say something about, ‘ never doubting the existence of magic in our life’?”
“Please, call me Jo.” JKR stopped, and looked at her. “’Beach Music,’ by Pat Conroy, right?” Hermione blushed, and nodded. Ginny opened her mouth to ask about this, but was stopped by a look from Hermione. “I’ll lend you the book later.” Ginny nodded, and looked at JKR.
“So … what is the purpose of this visit, Hermione?”
Hermione’s blush got deeper. “Well … uhmmm … as I said, it seems that you’re suffering from writer’s block. I just wanted to … uhm … see if there was anything I could do to help.”
“Oh, be honest, Hermione!” Ginny stepped in, eyes glinting. “Like I said, you came here because you wanted to convince Ms. Rowling to change that portion of her book! You’re the one who’s keeping her from moving on … you keep stopping her from letting me go and see Harry … you want to be the one to comfort Harry, not me! Right?”
JK Rowling, sensing another budding argument, stepped in. “Hold on … hold on, both of you.” They looked at her. “Would someone mind explaining to me, first, what all these has to do with my writer’s block?”
Hermione, about to answer Ginny’s comments, looked at her and then turned away. Calmly, she pulled her feet under her on the couch, and curled up. JK Rowling, eyebrows raised, asked, “Hermione?”
Getting no response, she turned to Ginny, still with eyebrows raised.
Taking a deep breath, Ginny responded. “Actually, ma’am, (JKR raised her eyebrows at this), I mean, Jo … it starts with something Hermione said. You know, about characters beginning to live a life of their own?” JKR nodded, still puzzled. “Well … it’s this way … some characters get to the point that they are able to influence a writer’s story … if they don’t like the way things are going, or their character is developing … they, uhmmm, tend to step in and uhmmm … well, stop the story from going forward in the way the writer has in mind.”
Shocked, JK Rowling asked, “Are you telling me that the reason I have been suffering writers’ block all these months is because someone, some character from my books refuses to do what I want them to do? Is that what you’re saying?”
Ginny nodded, slowly. JKR looked at her, shocked, and she continued. “If I understood it correctly, you have already plotted out all seven books in the series, right? (JKR nodded.) So … you have a fairly clear idea of where you, and the characters in the books, are going to, well … go? (JKR nodded, again). Well … it seems that … this time around, someone doesn’t want to do what you want to do.”
JK Rowling looked at both of them, and asked, “OK, it sounds logical … but how come I never had that much of a problem during the first four books?”
“Well, ma’am – Jo,” Ginny said politely, “I think it is because there was really no cause for anyone to make much of a fuss. I mean, things were going quite well during the first four books … although I do believe that you had more of a problem with the fourth book than the others?”
“Uhmmm, yes … but that was because that book was the longest I had ever tried.”
“Well, that can be part of it, Jo. But, as I said, the reason why it was so easy then, and it is more difficult now, is that the characters did not have much of a reason to fuss before. I have a feeling that things are different now …” Ginny said, casting a venomous glance at Hermione.
“OK, let’s accept that for a while,” JKR replied. She sensed that she knew the answer to her next question, but felt the need to bring it out in the open. “So, who’s the character who’s keeping me from my writing?”
She was looking directly at Hermione as she said this, but Hermione refused to look at her, or even acknowledge the question. Ginny sat back with a grin. JKR prodded, “Hermione?”
Hermione took a deep, shuddering breath and looked up at JK Rowling. Quietly, she nodded and said, “Yes … yes, it was me.”
Chapter Four. Reasons Why
“Why?” JK Rowling asked, quietly and venomously. After all the effort I’ve been putting in to this book! she thought. She was beginning to lose confidence in her writing abilities, to say nothing of being hurt by all the speculations and insults directed her way by people eagerly anticipating the book. “You mean to say you were causing my writer’s block? I want to know why you are doing this.”
Hermione looked at her, tears in her eyes, and took a deep breath. Before she could answer, Ginny stepped into the conversation, eyes blazing: “Because she doesn’t want to accept the role you want for her, Ms. Rowling. She wants to change things around so that, instead of me getting Harry Potter as you originally intended and planned from the very beginning, she wants to take my place. She wants to be the one to love and comfort Harry, rather than me.”
Turning away from Hermione, JKR could have sworn Ginny muttering under her breath, “Scarlet Woman!”
“Well, so what’s wrong with that, Ginny?” Hermione said calmly. “Why shouldn’t I do something about it? And it’s not as if I were the one doing it … don’t you think that Ms. Rowling could have finished that passage without any help from me or you … if it were not for the fact that she herself is not sure about who should go to Harry?”
“Oh, spare me, Hermione!” Ginny shot back. “You’re the one who keeps mooning over Harry … I’ve seen the way you look at him! All those times of ‘helping’ him, especially during the Tri-Wizard’s tournament … you were happy when Ron wasn’t talking to him, because you had him all to yourself! Well, lucky for Harry that Ron came to his senses soon enough … or he’d have been bored to death hanging around with you in the library all the time!”
“At least he learned something useful from me!” Hermione blazed back. “He wouldn’t have gotten through that first task if I hadn’t helped him … he wouldn’t have been able to rescue Sirius in our third year if I wasn’t helping him! You would still be locked up in the Chamber of Secrets if I hadn’t found the reference to the basilisk! ” Hermione was breathing hard, apparently letting a lot of emotions go. “And where were you the whole time, Virginia Weasley? Were you helping him? Or were you just out there in the crowd, part of his cheering squad and fan’s club – ooohing! and ahhhing along with the rest of the stupid gits, rather than helping him? Where were you, Ginny?”
Ginny sat still, mouth agape in shock, and looking as if Hermione had slapped her in the face. Her mouth opened and closed, trying to formulate a response to the cutting words coming from the other girl. But she could not get a word in as Hermione continued pouring out her long pent-up emotions.
“How do you think I feel, Ginny? I have put so much of myself into him … all those times of helping him, being there with him … looking up all the spells and enchantments so that he can be prepared for whatever was awaiting him … Don’t you think I would have been happier just being part of the crowd … part of his adoring fan’s club … just sitting there in the bleachers cheering him on?
“But no, oh no … I have to be there all the time. He’s my best friend, and I owe him my life. He was the one who went after me when I got locked up in the washroom with the troll … and afterwards, everything just seemed to happen naturally.”
She paused, and looked over to JK Rowling with tear-stained eyes. “You’re right, Ms. Rowling. There are other things more important than books and cleverness … friendship and bravery … I learned all that from Harry Potter, and I have tried to give that back in return. I have tried to give that back, in full measure and more … but what do I get out of it in return?”
Ginny tried to speak up, but Hermione kept driving right on. Ginny looked up at JKR, who gestured to her to let Hermione go on. “Can’t you understand that, Ginny? You keep giving of yourself, doing everything to help him out … searching out spells and charms so that he can get through another adventure … being there every time something goes wrong, and too often, being unable to do anything for him because he has to finish the adventure by himself?
“And what do I get out of it, Ginny? What do I get out of it? I’m standing there in the crowd, or standing there beside Harry and Ron, the bushy-haired, buck toothed, Muggle-born bookworm whom everyone thinks of as Harry Potter’s secret weapon, because I’m the one who comes up with what he needs to get through his adventures. And, at the end of the books, we will all be standing at Platform 9 and ¾ saying ‘good bye’ to Harry and another adventure … waiting around for the next adventure, knowing that Harry will be heading into danger yet again … and knowing that I will be there again, helping … but at the end of another adventure, there will I be, waving good bye to him at the Platform, waiting for next adventure.”
She stopped, looking at the other two for a moment, and then turned away, burying her face in her hands, sobbing.
JK Rowling, shaken, stood up and sat beside the crying girl, wrapping an arm around her. “But that’s the plan, Hermione,” she said in a soft, soothing voice. “That’s the part that I wanted you to play … Harry needs friends, loyal friends, trusting friends … (Hermione looked at her with a retort, which she stopped with a raised hand) … and yes, brave and brainy friends. Harry cannot take on the world by himself … not just Voldemort (Ginny flinched at the name), but everything else. How do you think he can adjust to Hogwarts and the magical curricula? After so many years of loneliness, chances are that he will spend his time having fun, rather than studying … rather than preparing himself for the tasks set out for him … which is why, aside from a brave and loyal friend like Ron, he needed a brave, loyal, and clever friend to watch him.
“That’s where you come in.”
Hermione looked at her for a long moment, and then turned away, still crying into her hands, softly, silently. JK Rowling felt like a heel for not being able to explain things well enough to her, for doing this to a character she had come to love deeply, especially since she knew that a large part of Hermione’s character was based on herself at that age.
“It’s the role I wanted you to play, Hermione,” she continued, softly. “When I was first putting it all together, I knew that you were going to be an essential part of it all. That’s why you’re there … someone needs to help Harry … some body has to be beside Harry all the time.” She paused, and repeated herself. “It’s the role I want you to play, Hermione … and it’s my story, after all.”
Ginny smiled at that, and shot a smirk at the still-crying Hermione Granger. Hermione abruptly stood up, and walked over to the computer where the words of the new book were glowing on the screen. Absently, she flicked her wand, and the words “Ginny glanced at Hermione, and said, ‘You go on ahead. I’ll catch up with you later’ …” floated in the air.
She stared at the words for a moment, and looked again at JK Rowling. “Yes, of course,” she said. “It is your story after all … and all of us are merely actors or actresses on the stage that you have built. We just move along the lines you put together … the plot that you created … acting out the roles you want us to play.”
She shook her head, and the words in the air disappeared. She walked back to the sofa and sat down, slumping on it. In a small voice, she continued, “But that doesn’t mean that we have to like it.”
“Get off that cross, Hermione Granger!” Ginny said in a rough, sarcastic voice. “At least you’ve had a major role in all the books so far … and you will always be part of all the books! What about me? After the Chamber of Secrets, I’ve gone back to my supporting role … you almost don’t see me in Prisoner of Azkaban … and I’m just another immature, star-struck git in The Goblet of Fire, who had to go to the Yule Ball with Neville because no one else will take me! At least you’ve got Krum!”
Hermione looked at her angry face.
“You’ve got Krum … you’ve got Ron … and you’re still Harry’s best friend. Isn’t that enough for you, Hermione? Why do you still want to go after Harry? Can’t you leave him alone … let the story go on as is, so that at least someone else … someone like me can also be a part of it all … and not just be one of the crowd of adoring fans waiting for a glance, waiting for a chance to have what you have had with him all these years?”
“Harry Potter’s best friend, aside from Ron?” Hermione smiled, a sad, wistful smile. “Yeah, right … what a role … But think about it, Ginny! After everything I have done for Harry … what does he say, or think, about it? ‘… there was much less laughter, and more hanging around in the library when Hermione was your best friend.’
“After everything we had been through together … is that all that he thinks of me? The librarian?”
JK Rowling opened her mouth to protest, and closed it. She wanted to defend what she had written … to explain to Hermione that the line was only a small part of a total tapestry that she was still in the process of weaving … but she paused. What was she weaving? Did she even know now, after almost ten years of writing, and re-writing, of plotting and re-plotting, of living with these characters for so long … and seeing them brought to life on the big screen?
She looked at the two girls sitting in her writing room … the characters she brought to life in her imagination … and now the characters who lived in the minds and imaginations of millions around the world. And she recalled what Hermione said at the beginning … that the characters have now taken on a life of their own … she may have brought them to life, but they now seemed to be moving on their own … they were growing up, and she was there to watch it all …
Before she could make a comment, however, Hermione again flicked her wand, causing the words that JK Rowling wanted to write to float again in the air.
“I’m sorry,” said Hermione in a sad, wistful tone of voice, “… I have been through too much with Harry to simply let him go like that … to simply allow someone else to go to him when he needs help … to simply turn my back on four years worth of memories, and shared dangers and adventures … I’m not going to let it happen any longer.”
She stood up, and turned away from Ginny and JKR. Again, she walked towards the computer, and the words still floating in the air, following her.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I know that I am just a figment of the imagination … that, by all the rules of the universe, I should just simply follow in what JK Rowling puts down on paper. I am just a character in a series of books … just a character who has taken on a life of her own, yes – but still a character in a book, and in a movie. But I’m not willing to just be that way anymore … I’m not willing to play the role that others want me to play … I have given too much of myself to Harry Potter to simply continue to play the role others want me to play …”
“Is that the reason for the writer’s block, Hermione?” As soon as she said it, JK Rowling wanted to take back the words – and the sharp, nasty tone that accompanied it. Hermione, however, took no notice of it.
“Yes,” she replied, no trace of emotion or passion in her voice. “Yes, it is … You see, I could not accept it, I did not want to accept it … the role you wanted me to play. I didn’t want to go through another year, another adventure with Harry, doing the same things I had been doing for four years. Looking up charms, doing my best to support him and trying to guide him out of trouble … and in the end, saying good bye at Platform 9 and ¾, with nothing to show for it all but another bruised and battered heart.”
“Was that the reason behind the kiss on Harry’s cheek at the end of Book Four?” JKR asked in a softer voice. Ginny looked at her in surprise, a question in her eyes. JKR explained, “It wasn’t supposed to be there, Ginny. What I originally planned was for Ron, and then Hermione, to give Harry a hug before letting him go off to meet Uncle Vernon. But somewhere along the way, Hermione’s hug changed from that hug to a kiss on Harry’s cheek … it was the reverse of a writer’s block … it just came out that way … and try as I might, I couldn’t make myself change it back.”
She looked at Hermione. “That was you, right?”
A small, wistful smile played around the corners of Hermione’s lips. “Yes … yes, it was me. I’m sorry … but I just couldn’t help myself. After all that we had been through … after all that Harry had been through … what was I supposed to do? Give him a hug of sisterly affection? I couldn’t … I just couldn’t … it was either hug him or kiss him … I chose to kiss him.”
She looked up at JKR with a smile. “At least, it got a lot of blood pressures up … as I hear it, a lot of people are going nuts over what that kiss meant …”
JKR smiled back at her, remembering all the screams, arguments, flames and what not that that simple gesture on Hermione’s part did. She shook herself. “Hey, wait a minute,” she thought to herself. “This is my story … I’m the one doing the writing here.”
As soon as the thought popped into her mind, she did her best to erase it – but Hermione looked her in the eye. “Yes, you are,” Hermione said. “It is your story, after all … you’re the one doing the writing … what do you want to do?”
Chapter Five. Alternatives
Ginny spoke up, “Why not just accept the role, Hermione?”
Ginny walked over to the couch, and sat beside Hermione. After a moment, she wrapped an arm around her friend.
“Why not just accept the role, Hermione?” Ginny said in a soft voice. “That’s the part that we have been asked to play … you, as his best friend along with my brother … me, as part of Harry Potter’s fan club … d’you think I like it? Walking around with my heart on my sleeve … acting like the damsel in distress, but totally looking like a git because I was stupid enough to trust Tom Riddle’s diary … going to the Yule Ball with Neville because you turned him down for Krum … d’you think I like my role, Hermione?”
She paused, looked at JKR and turned away, speaking softly, “But that’s the role … that’s the part I have to play in the stories … All that keeps me going is the fact that I know … I know that sooner or later something will happen to change things … that my role will change … that Harry will stop seeing me as Ron’s sister … that Harry will stop thinking of me as someone who’s had a crush on him from the first book … that someday, some day …”
She turned back to Hermione, and stood up, eyes blazing. “And you’re not going to change things, Hermione … you’re not!”
She turned away from the two, and continued in a low, rasping voice full of unshed tears, “Why can’t you be happy with what you have, Hermione? You’re the cleverest witch of your age … you’ll be a prefect, and later on, Head Girl – something not common for muggle-born witches.
“You’ve also got Ron, Hermione, the story will go that way. You even have a relationship with Krum, for god’s sake! Why do you have to go after Harry, too? Isn’t Ron and Krum more than enough for you? You’ve got the most famous wizard of our age as your best friend … a famous Bulgarian Quidditch player after your affections … you also have my brother, who is one of the best people I have ever known.
“Why can’t you be happy with what you have?”
Hermione stood up, and stepped behind Ginny. Grasping the younger girl by the shoulders, she tried to make Ginny look at her.
“I would have been more than happy to simply play the role, Ginny … and I would have been more than happy with Ron as more than a friend.” Ginny looked up at her with a smile, but the smile was dashed away as Hermione continued talking. “But can’t you understand, Ginny? I told you … I have given too much to Harry Potter to simply be happy with the role plotted out for me.”
Ginny tried to shake herself loose, but Hermione held her even more strongly. “I may have gone with him after the Sorcerer’s Stone because of the debt I felt I owed him … he did save me from the mountain troll. And in the years after … yes, it was out of friendship that I kept going after him … but at some point, I knew, I knew that it was no longer friendship that was pushing me to keep up with him …”
“Look at me, Ginny!” Hermione said, shaking Ginny slightly. ““Ron, Harry and I are different people from the ones who came together on the Hogwarts Express five years ago – Harry and I have grown older … moved forward … shared a lot together, but Ron … Ron and I have grown apart.”
She held up a hand at Ginny’s protest. “We no longer share the same things … we have nothing much in common now, except Harry Potter, and Harry’s quest. Ron will always be Harry’s friend, Ron will always be loyal to Harry (after what happened in our fourth year, he better be, or I’ll kill him myself!) … they’re both boys, they share the same dorm and classes … Ron will always be there – a true Gryffindor in his bravery and courage … but I have shared more with Harry …”
“Yeah, the library,” Ginny muttered. Hermione smiled, and nodded. “Yes, the library … but I never abandoned him, Ginny, never left him, unless it was a time to face a challenge alone. He had to go by himself after the Sorcerer’s Stone because the potion was only enough for one … I wasn’t with him in the Chamber of Secrets because I was Petrified by the basilisk … and the Third Task was something that only the Champions can participate in. I was always there for him … even when he didn’t want me … even when I knew that he wasn’t happy with me and the library, when he would much rather be having fun with Ron.”
Hermione let go of Ginny and turned away. “I hate to repeat myself, but it’s true … I have given too much of myself to Harry Potter to simply let things proceed as they were … to allow a plot made years ago to rule my life, and tell me where to go, who to go with …”
Silence descended in the room. Ginny and Hermione stood separately, not looking at each other, their thoughts turned inwards. JK Rowling continued to sit in her chair, looking at her hands … the hands that had typed out the thousands of words that had become four of the most-loved books in the history of publishing.
‘It all started out as a fun thing to do,’ she thought. ‘Meeting Harry Potter on the train from Manchester to London, and getting so wrapped up in his story that I couldn’t let it go … and along the way, things – magical things – happened, and I became so wrapped up in the books, and Harry’s adventures … never knowing, never even thinking that … as the years go on, the stories will no longer be about Harry and his adventures’
She admitted to herself the truth of what Ginny and Hermione had said — that at some point, it seemed that the writing had simply taken her over. Now she realized that it was not just a matter of the “writing” taking over, but of her characters gaining “a life of their own.”
She watched Hermione as she walked slowly back to the couch where she slumped back, seemingly exhausted from the release of pent-up emotions. “But do you know what’s the worst of it all, Ginny? Do you know what is the absolutely most painful part of it all?
“After everything that I’ve done for him … after everything that we have been through together … he just thinks of me as his best friend. He looks at me as his brainy best friend – the perfect counterpart to his fun-loving, magic-borne friend.”
“But that’s the role, Hermione!” Ginny cried out in a tear-streaked voice. She looked to JK Rowling for support. “Isn’t that her role, Ms. Rowling? You said it yourself – that is the role that you wanted Hermione to play!”
Hermione looked at Ginny, a wistful smile on her face. “Yeah … what a role, right, Ginny? The ‘best friend.’ But haven’t you realized that that kind of role carries with it its own burden of pain?”
“What do you mean, Hermione?” JK Rowling said. She was surprised – there had been no intention, no plan, no idea in her mind that the role would have any kind of pain involved in it.
Hermione spoke, in a soft, quiet voice devoid of passion and emotion, speaking as if the pain she spoke of had permeated every fiber of her being. “Have you ever been in a position where you love somebody with all your heart, only to see that person constantly, continually, looking for love from somebody else? Have you ever been placed in a position where you watch someone keep on seeking love and affection all over the place, never seeing … never knowing … never feeling … that love is right beside you, tapping you on the shoulder, asking that you look up and take notice?
“It’s how I feel, Ginny … I have been tapping Harry on the shoulder for some time … tapping him on the shoulder, asking him to take a look, a really good look at me … to see that he does not need to go looking for love somewhere else.
“But no … oh, no … at the end of every book, it will be the three of us together on the Hogwarts Express, riding back to say our good byes at Platform 9 and ¾ … and leaving me, again, to wait for an opportunity to tap Harry on the shoulder, and make him see me for what I am.”
She paused for a long, deep breath. “I will always end every book and adventure with another bruised and battered heart.”
JK Rowling felt a pang in her heart. Yes, she could understand what had happened to Hermione. She had plotted the story too well, but seemed to have overlooked the human angle, being too focused on telling the story of Harry and his adventures.
She had overlooked the fact that, in making Hermione give a great deal of herself to helping Harry, she had set up a friendship that would be too difficult to keep that way … not unless she took a different tack, a different approach to the story.
She understood now why Hermione gave Harry a kiss on the cheek at the end of the fourth book – and why she was unable to change it, no matter how hard she tried. ‘I would have done the same thing, in Hermione’s shoes,’ she thought. ‘After everything that had happened, after everything that we had gone through together … and being left behind during the Third Task … what would I have done, in her place? Shook Harry’s hand, and said, ‘see you next year?’ No … that’s not Hermione … and, truth to tell, that’s not me.’
She finally understood where the writer’s block was coming from: it was the conflict between what she had originally envisioned and planned – and what the characters were today.
But where does one go from here?
Chapter Six. Options
Silence descended in the room, a companion to the gloom that was slowly seeping in as the day drew to its end, and night began its slow ascent. JK Rowling started to make a move to the light switch, but stopped … she didn’t want a blaze of light to interrupt a moment where she felt that solutions were in the making.
“Where do I go from here?” she thought. She had brought the stories as far along as she could; she knew that, while the basic storyline and plot could be followed to its conclusion, the path to the said conclusion had to change, taking into account the changes in her characters.
Taking a deep breath, JK Rowling asked in a quiet voice, “What do you want, Hermione?” Ginny stood up to protest, but was stopped by her upraised hand. “Tell me … if you had your way, what would you want to happen?”
Hermione looked at her, and at Ginny. After a moment, she closed her eyes. “If I had my way …,” she said softly, “If I had my way … I’ll go to Harry and hold him, tell him that I will be there with him, always. I’ll tell him that … no matter what happens, I still owe him a debt … not because of the troll … but I owe him a debt for all the adventures, all the lessons learned … all the times we had together … all the memories that we shared.
“I’ll tell him that I love him … I’ll tell him that I care for him … I’ll tell him that I will do my best for him … and ask that he keep me in mind always whenever he needs me.”
Before JK Rowling could respond to this, Ginny stood up, wand in hand: “NO! No, no, NO! I won’t let you, Hermione … I won’t let you change the story now … I won’t let you change the story that was made long before you came into being. Harry’s mine … Harry was mine when the story was first put together …”
“Ginny …calm down,” JK Rowling said. Ginny turned to her, tears in her eyes, still clutching her wand and pointing it at Hermione.
“No! I won’t let you!” Ginny shouted. “You’re not changing the story! You wrote it all out years ago … everything was in place … I was to get Harry, Hermione and Ron were to be together … they were perfect for each other … why do you have to change it all? Just she because she” – and she pointed her wand at Hermione – “wants it? Just because she’s now taking on a life of her own … what about me? What about my life?
“Is it my fault that I wasn’t there to share the first adventure with him … that I was nothing more than the damsel in distress in the Chamber of Secrets? Should I be blamed for not being brainy enough to be able to help Harry when he needed help? I would have gladly helped … searched for charms and enchantments … be a lab rat when he practiced the Stunning Spell, waited until one in the morning to help him perfect the Summoning Charm … it’s not my fault!”
She looked at Hermione, slumped on the couch, eyes closed but turned away. “I wanted to be there for him too, Hermione. Can’t you see that? Yes, I was part of Harry’s fan club, but that doesn’t mean that I did not want to help … that does not mean that I did not want to be part of his adventures … but that was the way it went. That was the role that was set out for me … but if there had been a chance, just a small, teeny chance for me to help Harry, I would have been there in an instant …
“Only … he never asked me, “ she whispered. “Because there was always you there, waiting for him, ready to help him … “
Ginny paused, and a look of revelation slowly crept over her face. “There was always you, Hermione,” she repeated, in a soft, strangled whisper. “After the first year, and the first adventure … he never really needed anybody else … because there was you. There would always be you. There would never be room for anyone else … ”
She looked at JK Rowling, the revelation and its impact still visible on her face. “I can understand now,” she whispered, as tears started falling down her face. “But what about me? What about me?”
“Why don’t you just send me away, Ms. Rowling?” Shocked, Ginny and JK Rowling looked at Hermione, still slumped on the sofa, eyes still closed, speaking in a quiet, calm, seemingly objective voice. “Maybe that’ll be for the best … I’m tired. I’m tired of it all … tired of being simply Harry’s friend … tired of being the person beside him all the time, trying to catch his attention and make him SEE, yes, see that love was beside him all the time.”
“But you’ve got Ron, Hermione. You’ve got Ron,” Ginny said, in a trembling voice.
Hermione smiled, her eyes still closed. “Yes, there’s Ron … there will always be Ron … but don’t you see, Ginny?” She opened her eyes, and looked Ginny in the eye. “We’re no longer the same people we were when we met at the Hogwarts Express five years ago, when I went looking for Neville’s toad, and came upon both of them in that compartment, sharing Harry’s first taste of wizard candies …”
Hermione sighed, and closed her eyes again. “I have given my heart to Harry Potter, Ginny … and I am more than willing to give him my soul also … but I am growing tired of it all … tired of being simply ‘Harry’s friend’ … and knowing, again, that after another adventure … I will be saying good bye to him at Platform 9 and ¾.
“Maybe it’s best if I leave him now, while I’m still ahead — I’ve got four years of wonderful memories with The Boy Who Lived.” She looked JK Rowling in the eye. “I don’t think I need to see the next three years or more … So, go ahead. Blow me away … maybe it’ll be better this way. If I’m gone, it’ll be Ginny, Harry and Ron … Ron wouldn’t get jealous of you (looking at Ginny) … you’re his sister. Maybe you’ll enjoy the role better … you’ll be the one tapping Harry on the shoulder, trying to make him see that love is beside him all the time … tapping him on the shoulder, only that he’s too dense or too wrapped up in his misery to see it. Mind you … he’s got enough problems and mental baggage to sink the Titanic … but I’m tired … I’m tired of tapping him on the shoulder … I may just as well go …”
Ginny dropped to her knees beside the still-slumped Hermione, babbling, “No, Hermione … no … not that. I can understand now … I’m not pushing my claim on Harry … you’re right … you’ve given him too much … maybe if I had given him as much I will be willing to let you go … but no, that would be wrong …”
Hermione looked up at her, tears still falling down her cheeks. Ginny continued speaking, “You’re right … what can four years of being a fan (and she gave a small, tremulous smile) compare to the four years you’ve had together?”
Before Ginny could say anything else, Hermione hugged her tightly. Both girls were now crying, their aches and pains slowly dissolving in the liberating release of shared tears.
JK Rowling, who had been holding her breath the whole time, let it out in a slow, silent rush. Yes, she thought, that was an option … but not one she would willingly take. Like Hermione, she had invested too much of herself in her characters to easily let them go.
She realized that the characters of Harry, Hermione, Ron, and everyone else had grown with her … and now, having taken on a life of their own, were breaking away from the neat, logical world she originally envisioned on a train in Scotland ten years ago, when Harry Potter first walked into her mind, and her life.
She looked at two of those characters again, and marveled at the changes in them. Hermione, no longer as bushy-haired as before, no longer the bossy know-it-all of the first book, now a matured, loving individual. Ginny, no longer the star-struck teen of the second book, growing up fast, and learning to face life with the same determination that Harry and Hermione had shown.
She took a deep breath, happy and confused at the same time. She knew now where the writer’s block was coming from, and would make allowances for the conflict between what her characters once were, and what they had grown to be. Where it will go from here, she wasn’t sure yet, but she knew, she knew that they will be there, helping her by living out their lives with everything of herself that she had placed in them.
Before she could make a move, however, she saw a hand materialize out of nowhere. She stifled a scream (how many times does that make it for today, she thought?), as she watched the hand, followed by the arm, reaching out of thin air, and tapped Hermione on the shoulder.
Chapter Seven. Resolution
For a short moment, she watched, fascinated as the person (she had a feeling she knew who it would be) tapped an exhausted Hermione on the shoulder. She watched Hermione stiffen, and release Ginny, who stepped back, eyes wide. She watched as Daniel Radcliffe (except that this Daniel’s eyes were a deep, sparkling green, unlike the actor’s blues) slowly emerged from thin air to take on form and substance to stand behind Hermione.
‘Daniel’ gave her a small, wistful smile. For a wild, hysterical moment, she fully expected Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Robert Coltrane, Alan Rickman and Rupert Grint to walk in … she can have a cast party right there and then …
“Hermione?” he said, softly. “Hermione … I’m sorry … I never knew how you felt … but now I know … you won’t have to keep tapping my shoulder … I know, love, I know …”
“Harry?” Hermione opened her eyes, and looked up at those green eyes looking down at her, at the face that she had known for over four years – a face that was somehow more familiar with than her own. “Harry? How … why … how did you …”
Harry Potter placed a finger on her lips, silencing her. “I went back to the Common Room after everyone had gone … thought that it would be more comfortable there than out by the lake, that I could be alone for a while. But then I heard voices … it took me some time to figure out where it was coming from, and where you were … “
“Ahhh … Uhmm,” Hermione said. “How long have you been … uhh, listening?”
“Quite some time.” Harry gave her a hard look. “What was that about me and Draco Malfoy? Or was that me and Ron Weasley?”
“Oh, ahhh … well, uhmmm,” she stuttered, blushing furiously. “Nothing … nothing much …” She started to go on, but Harry suddenly leaned down, and kissed her softly on the lips. “Harry!” she protested.
“I’m sorry, Hermione. Sorry for everything that I’ve put you through. You’re right … I never really saw you before … you were always there … just there, but you’re right … I’ve been too dense, and too stuck up in myself to notice you were there all the time … tapping me on the shoulder, trying to make me see that I wasn’t alone … I was no longer alone …”
“Oh, Harry!” She wrapped her arms around him, and pulled him closer to her. In true romantic fashion, they wrapped arms around each other, and kissed deeply, breathing each other in … breathing in each other’s souls in a single, blazing moment of love.
Ginny watched them, smiling, with tears still flowing down her face. For a fleeting moment, JK Rowling caught a flash of jealousy, envy and hatred on her face, but in the next moment, it was gone. She watched Ginny drawing in on herself for a moment, drawing in all the strong, negative feelings into a small, tiny, hard ball of ice made up of the emotions that she was letting go.
Ginny looked at JK Rowling and the words, “Ginny looked at her and said, ‘You go on ahead, I’ll catch up with you later,” still floating in the air (although they had seemingly faded in intensity) and, with another flick of her wand, wrapped them around the cold, hard ball of emotion.
With a smile and a shrug, Ginny threw the ball of frozen emotions into the air — with a final flick of her wand, she exploded the ball into a fireworks display of gold sparks and showers. Harry and Hermione broke off from their clinch, and looked at Ginny in surprise.
“That’s better than showering you with rice,” Ginny said with a smile. “I’m very, very happy for both of you.”
“Ginny …” Harry said, standing up.
Ginny held up a hand. “No, Harry … there’s nothing more to say. I think it’s time for me to grow up, and move on. Hermione’s right … we can’t hold on to the past … not when we are now living lives of our own … I’m not going to hold on to what may have been.”
She gave Harry a small, fleeting, tear-stained smile. “Besides. I’ve got more than enough brothers to last me a life time!”
“Ginny …” Hermione said, and stopped. Ginny smiled at her and said, “Now, what I’ve really wanted for the longest time was to have a sister of my own …”
“Oh, Ginny,” Hermione said, and when she opened her arms, Ginny rushed in and gave her a strong, fierce hug, both of them with tears spilling down their faces. “When the time comes,“ Hermione whispered, “you will be my maid of honor, right?”
“Count on it, Granger, count on it,” said Ginny in a stronger, more mature voice than any of them had ever heard before. After a moment, they broke off their hugging, and looked at Harry Potter, standing to one side, smiling and taking them all in.
Without a word, he walked over to the two and engulfed them in a three-way group hug, trying to express in a single moment all the friendship, trust and affection they had for each other.
With a sniff, JK Rowling wiped a tear from her face. Yes, they had grown up … they were no longer the two-dimensional figures they were when she started her story over a decade ago. “Hey, guys,” she said. The three broke up their group hug and turned to her, smiling. “It’s getting late … and I have to get back to work.”
Hermione and Ginny walked up to her, and gave her a hug and a kiss which she returned. Harry shook her hand and, impulsively, she also gave him a kiss on the cheek.
With a wave, all three smiled and walked away into the darkness that was slowly descending on the room.
Chapter Eight. Continuation
With a start, JK Rowling lifted her head from the back of her chair. “That was a good dream,” she thought. She stood up and stretched, luxuriously – and suddenly stopped, shocked. A tray of tea cups, a pot and a plate of half-eaten sandwiches were on her coffee table.
Before she could utter a word, a house-elf (was it Dobby? she thought wildly) popped into view for a moment, gathered up all the things and, with a smile and a bow at her, popped out of sight.
She shook herself for a moment, and smiled, remembering Hermione’s comment about the existence of magic in our daily lives. She sat down on her chair, and rolled over to her computer, and looked at the screen.
“Ron looked at Hermione and Ginny. “I agree … I think Harry does need some quiet time by himself.” He shook himself, and said, “Let’s go over to Hogsmeade, and get some things for him. We can have a picnic with Harry when we get back, if he’s still sitting there.”
Smiling, she resumed:
Ginny glanced at Hermione and said, “Go to him, Hermione. He needs you.”
Ron’s mouth dropped. “But … but …”
Ginny turned to him. “Shut up, Ron. If you don’t want to grow up, I’m more than willing to take your place.” She looked at Hermione. “Go, Hermione. He may not know it now,” nodding to the window, “but he will soon realize that he needs you.”
With a smile, and a swift hug, Hermione left the room. Ginny continued watching from the window. Soon enough, she saw Hermione walking on the grounds, moving swiftly towards the figure slumped on the ground by the lake.
Hermione looked at the figure on the ground. Slowly, softly, she moved closer and quietly tapped Harry on the shoulder. Startled, Harry looked up to see Hermione’s worried face. A smile broke out on Harry’s saddened face, and he reached out to touch her face.
Silently, he moved aside, gesturing to Hermione to sit down beside him. After a moment, Harry rested his head on Hermione’s shoulder, as she wrapped an arm around him.
Ginny smiled, half-listening as the stampeding crowd emptied the Common Room. She would give a lot to listen in on the conversation down there, but knew now that it wasn’t necessary. If there was anything important, they will tell her or Ron.
“Ahh, errr, uhmmm.” Startled, she looked around. Someone else was still in the Common Room with her. “Umm, Ginny I was wondering … would you like to go down to the Three Broomsticks with me for some butterbeer?”
Smiling, Ginny said, “I will be delighted.”
JK Rowling pushed her chair back from the keyboard. “Well, she thought, “that’s out of the way. Now to get on with our lives …”
She studied the lines and words again. “Hmmm … who could that other person be? Neville? Nah … he’s had his chance in the Goblet of Fire. Colin Creevey? Uhmm … possible, but that’s too much of a Harry Potter Fan Club for my taste … Ginny wouldn’t approve, she’s growing up too fast for that.
“Let’s see … if I changed the scene to the Great Hall, or maybe the stairs outside the castle … then I can get Draco Malfoy to be the one to invite her out to Hogsmeade. Yes, that’s a good one!”
Another thought, unbidden, flashed into her mind: “Do that, and I’ll get Hermione and Harry to put a double hex on you! I don’t care if the fans have to wait another year … they’ve waited this long, they can wait a bit longer.”
Startled, she looked around at the empty room. “OK, OK,” she smiled. “It was just an idea … but I guess I’ll know who the person will be when the time is right.”
She felt the smile in her mind, a smile coming from a red-headed, freckle-faced girl who was no longer a girl, but a lady taking her first tentative steps into maturity.
She blew a kiss into the air, and went back to work.