The room was dark and quiet for the most part. Only the sounds of Neville Longbottom snoring lightly were audible in the silence. If anyone had walked into the room at that moment, they would have been under the assumption that the five bodies in the five four-poster beds were sound asleep, dreaming about Quidditch matches and such. They would be wrong.
For, there was someone who was anything but asleep. Harry Potter lay on his back nestled under the warm covers, staring up at the stone gray ceiling of the dormitory. He guessed it was well after three in the morning, and he wondered how he would be able to drag himself out of bed that next morning to go to Potions class. Try as he might, he was unable to drift into sleep. The thoughts of that previous evening were still racing through his brain.
How he wished he wasn’t so damn curious.
What provoked Harry to slip on his fathers invisibility cloak that evening and take a little romp around the castle was still a mystery. Who knew why he did anything like that… sometimes he just couldn’t help himself. It was as if he was just drawn to the rule-braking he was so accustomed to by now.
Whatever it was that had provoked him to go out that night wasn’t important, however. What was important was what he had discovered on his midnight escapade.
Harry had been traveling down a corridor he knew very well. It was full of large empty classrooms that were not only good for practicing summoning charms, but they also had a reputation of being a popular snogging spot for pubescent teenagers late at night. Not that Harry had much experience with the snogging part of the rooms. The only kisses he had ever received thus far were from a vivacious blonde veela and his best friend, Hermione Granger, not even one year prior.
Harry often thought back to that kiss. Not the one from the beautiful glowing siren, but the one from his best mate, his companion. His Hermione. The entire summer between his fourth and fifth year, he had found himself reliving the feel of Herm’s soft lips against his cheek. It was a warm memory of a year that had been from hell. Dealing with the death of Cedric, the rise of Voldemort, and the possible corruption of the Ministry of Magic, it had been a lot to take in and many times the thought that there still was innocence and love in the world, due to that kiss, was all that could save him from his own thoughts. (It has also helped to think about that while being cooped up with the Dursley’s all summer long… what a fun adventure that was!)
It was also around that time that Harry had begun to think of Hermione in a different way. Not just as the bushy-haired bookworm who had saved his ass countless times, but as the fifteen year old caring soul she had become. Sometimes, he found himself dreaming about Herm more than Cho. Which surprised him even more. But he always brushed it off, thinking it was no big deal, and it was most likely a friendly little peck on the cheek. Nothing more, nothing less. After all, he had been through a lot that previous month.
He was rationalizing such thoughts as he was lurking down the dark, damp hallway, when he heard some muffled voices coming from somewhere ahead. Harry started towards where he assumed they were coming from, and found himself at a deserted classroom where the great wooden door was sightly ajar. Assuming that there were some classmates in there, Harry decided to leave them to their tender moment. He started to turn around and continue his midnight stroll when he heard a voice loud and clear from inside the room.
“I don’t know what to say, Ron.”
Harry stopped dead in his tracks. Could this be the same Ron that was his best friend in the world? Ron having a snogging session? Harry searched his brain, trying to remember if his friend had been in bed when he had snuk out earlier. He couldn’t remember. So, his curiosity got the best of him and he peered into the room through the crack in the door.
Harry immediately knew that it was in fact Ron Weasley that was in the room. His brilliant red hair matched with his lanky features could give him away in any crowd. The girl he was talking to, however, had her back to Harry, so he wasn’t entirely sure who Ron was so deeply involved with. Ron reached out and stroked his hand against the girl’s cheek, and what he said next made Harry give an inaudible gasp.
“You don’t have to say anything, Herm.”
Ron was talking to Hermione! Harry couldn’t believe his ears or his eyes. He had seen Ron talk to Hermione hundreds of times, but never like this. There was something tender, and yet hungry in his voice. Harry leaned in as close as possible to the crack to get a better peek into the room.
“I just had to tell you. You don’t have to give me an answer right away. But, I just had to tell you how I feel.”
Hermione stuttered. “R-r-on. I never, not in a million years thought that you had feelings like this for me.”
“Are you upset?”
“No. Not really.” She paused. “It’s just…”
“Just what?” Ron said with a sound of pain in his throat.
“Its just that, well, I’ve thought of you in that way too, at times. I’m not exactly sure of my feelings all the time. But I know that I do feel something for you. But I don’t want to rush into anything, and end up hurting you or me.”
“Herm, you could never hurt me. And I would rather get thrown into a pit of spiders before even thinking about hurting you.”
“Oh, Ron!” Hermione sighed.
Harry watched silently as Ron leaned in and planted a soft kiss on Hermione’s cheek. They stared at one another for a few moments, then began to kiss passionately. Hands running through hair, along one another’s back, it was all Harry could do not to through up.
A heat started to boil inside of Harry. He could feel it in his toes, and rise up until he was sure that steam would come out of his ears and nostrils. He was full of jealousy. He was jealous at Ron, his best friend. Then, another feeling came right into his gut, it was a feeling of guilt and heartache at the same time. He was guilty of wanting to punch his best friend in the nose, and heartbroken that Hermione was kissing the red-haired git. He felt terrible.
Slowly, he turned away from the scene playing out before him and made his way back down the hallway toward the Gryffindor tower. Cursing himself the entire way back.
‘Potter,’ he thought, ‘why do you have to sneak around at night?!’
“Diem postero.” He muttered once he got to the painting of the fat lady. She obediently swung open and Harry slowly climbed up the stairs to the top floor of the tower. He quietly folded the invisibility cloak back into his trunk, settled himself into bed, and pulled the curtains around him to shut out the world.
So, here he was lying in bed, staring at the ceiling. Ron had come in about a half an hour after Harry and drifted no doubt into a peaceful sleep. There had been many times that Harry had envied Ron for having a family, and not having a scar. But never had he wished to be the tall red headed jokester more than at that moment. For he realized that he had fallen for Hermione, too.