Seven Days

By Nox


Overview: H/Hr, R/Lu. Romance/Humour. Hogwarts, 7th Year. Ron gives Harry seven days to fess up his attraction to Hermione before Ron does it for him. (Challenge)

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: Harry Potter and other related trademarks and copyrighted materials are property of their respective owners. Use of such properties is for entertainment purposes only and does not constitute a claim on such properties.

Authour's Notes: As I've come to learn, my french is incredibly rusty, and Mat^ (yes, including the ^) from pointed out that french for 'whatever will be, will be' is 'ce qui sera, sera'. I admit, I was thinking of an old Doris Day song called "Whatever Will Be, Will Be", which uses the line 'Que sera, sera' in the chorus.

Also, Hermione-Potter-52036 from has said that 'Que sera, sera' is also spanish for the same thing — which goes to show that my spanish is even rustier than my french. (I studied both languages at one point, honest!)

And now you know!

Chapter Notes: Not beta read. This chapter was almost finished before I got HBP, so it is spoiler-free. Any similarities are strictly coincidental.


Day 3

The idea came on to Ginny like a rush; a surge of sheer genius — or so she thought.

Dawn was just breaking when the idea popped into her head, at that cusp of consciousness and not. But when it did, Ginny was immediately awake and grinning.

Fred and George would appreciate this, she thought.

Rushing through her morning ritual — shower and changing — she hurried down to find Ron. Perhaps it was simply Weasley instinct, but she headed straight for the Great Hall, expecting him to be waiting for the breakfast hour to start. She wasn't disappointed, because there he was, tapping the top of the Gryffindor table, waiting for the food to appear.

"You're up early," he said, spotting Ginny coming through the main doors. Then, seeing the glint in her eye, he arched a brow. "And looking awfully spry. What's up?"

Bubbling with excitement, she leaned forward and explained her idea to Ron. It was something to get Hermione riled up about Harry and as she laid it out for her brother, Ron's eyes grew to small saucers of surprise.

"You're mental!" he laughed.

"What do you think?" said Ginny with a wicked grin.

"I think you're about, what, five foot two?" said Ron, sweeping his gaze over her.

"Five three, but what's that got to do with anything?" said Ginny with a puzzled look.

"Mum and dad should know what size coffin to get when Hermione finishes hexing you," he laughed. Ginny gave a smirk.

"I'll find her sometime today and tell her," said Ginny before getting up and hurrying back to Gryffindor Tower with a delicious grin etched on her features.


Approaching the doorway to the Main Hall, Harry was taking calming breaths as he tried to still his doubts — not to mention his fluttering stomach — about what he was about to do.

C'mon, Harry, this is hardly the scariest thing you've ever done. Better get on with it before the Hall fills up.

Walking as casually as he could, Harry bumped into another student while rounding a corner while his mind was quietly chanting to himself to not worry.

"Oh!" he cried, grabbing the girl's forearm to steady her. "I'm so sorry—"

"No, no, it's my fault, shouldn't be reading and walking at the same time," she said.

"Let me get that for you," said Harry, crouching down to pick up the book. As he handed it back to her, his green eyes glanced over her features. Somewhat short, blue eyes, blonde hair. A sixth-year, with a Hufflepuff crest on her robes. She looked vaguely familiar.

"Thanks, Harry," she said with a smile, hugging the book to her chest.

"You're welcome, er—" Harry couldn't remember her name.

"Carol. I didn't expect you to know my name." she said with a knowing laugh. Then, gesturing to something in his hand, "That's a lovely specimen you have there."

Harry flushed lightly, hiding the item behind his back. "Thanks."

"Lucky girl."

"What? How d'you know it's for a—"

"I didn't think it was for you," said Carol wryly.

"Oh. Yeah." Good old Harry. Smooth as ever with the ladies.

"Well, I'll let you get to breakfast," she said, nodding towards the Great Hall. But before they had each taken more than three or four steps, she stopped and called out. "Hey, Harry, let me ask you something?"

"Uh, sure."

"You wouldn't happen to have dark grey dress robes and the ability to cook, would you?"

"Er, yes to both. Why?"

"Just curious."

Harry's eyes narrowed at the strange question; particularly the mischievous glint in the girl's eyes as she strode away. Idly, he wondered if he didn't just give away something he shouldn't have. He was at the threshold of the Great Hall when his run-in with Carol was immediately ejected from all thoughts. He saw Hermione sitting by herself, a plateful of buttered toast to one side while an opened book lay before her on the table. Before he could balk, he forced himself to sit down next to her.

"Good morning, Hermione," said Harry, giving her a nervous smile.

Blinking up from her reading, Hermione noticed she was no longer alone and returned Harry's smile. "Oh! Good morning, Harry. Want some toast?"

"In a minute." Thank Merlin! She doesn't seem to be upset still, he thought. "I, er, wanted to give you something. An apology for yesterday in the library."

Hermione blinked at him, giving him a look he couldn't quite interpret. "Oh," she said, with just the slightest trace of pink to her cheeks. "Harry, that's not necessary, I was just . . . I think it was just stress. I shouldn't have left you like that."

"Still, I felt kinda bad, so I got you this," said Harry, a tentative, hopeful look in his eyes. "I hope you like it."

From behind his back, he produced a lavender orchid, just barely in bloom.


Over at the Hufflepuff table, Carol was only half-listening to Julia's latest dream. It was almost a ritual, as barely a morning went by where Julia didn't have a dream that involved some boy or other.

No, Carol's eyes occasionally flickered over to the Gryffindor table where Harry and Hermione were having a morning tête-a-tête. She had a hard time suppressing a smile at their run-in in the hallway, and was watching with an expectant look as Harry presented the flower she had seen him holding.

Hermione's eyes widened in surprise, clearly not expecting the gesture. Her mouth worked, and Carol knew the Head Girl was caught wordless for once in her life. She nudged Julia from her ramblings.

"You know, Julia, if you didn't spend that extra five minutes brushing your hair, you could've run into Harry with me this morning."

Julia gasped, mouth in a perfect 'O' in surprise. "You— you ran into Harry?"

"Yep," said Carol non-chalantly. "We spoke briefly. Turns out he does have charcoal grey dress robes. And he can cook," she added.

"I knew it!" gushed Julia. "My dream was right! Oh, how I wish I was there!"

Then, knowing it was going to be a harsh blow to her friend — but a necessary one, she reminded herself — Carol then pointed over to the Gryffindor table. Discreetly, of course. "Well, that dream you had? With Harry giving flowers? I think you had the wrong girl. Look over there."

Harry was waving his wand gently, touching the tip to the back of the flower, a gesture Carol recognized as that of a Temporary Sticking charm. With ginger fingers, he gently pressed the offering next to Gryffindor crest over Hermione's heart, obviously intending her to wear it for the day. And even though their words didn't carry, the looks they gave one another spoke clearly.

Glancing to Julia, Carol had the satisfaction of seeing a crestfallen look of anguish, followed by a soft whimper. Julia's romantic nature wouldn't have missed the looks Harry and Hermione were exchanging. I'm sorry, Julia, she thought, but you really need to get over this. The crown was seeing Hermione lean over and give a brief kiss to Harry's cheek, probably in thanks. Still, Carol wasn't completely heartless; she reached over and squeezed Julia's hand.

"It wasn't meant to be, dear."


The seventh year students still taking Care of Magical Creatures were on their way back from Hagrid's hut when Hermione noticed Ginny loitering outside the castle pacing back and forth. Hearing the commotion of students heading her way, Ginny glanced up and, with a herculean effort, stilled the grin threatening to blow her prank.

Hermione came to where Ginny had waved her over. Ginny's expression was a mixture of deep thought and worry, capped with a frown. Not a good sign. She leaned close. "Ginny, is something wrong?" she asked quietly.

"No, nothing's wrong," said Ginny with a carefully schooled look of contemplation. "I was just thinking about Harry . . . ."

Ginny sensed Hermione stiffening up.

"What about Harry?" said Hermione, with a forced casualness.

"Well, I've been giving this a lot of thought and, as his best friend, I thought I should talk to you first."

Hermione was starting to feel a curl of frustration. Why won't she just spit it out? she thought.

"Hermione, I think— I think Harry is gay."


Half-expecting a confession that she still fancied Harry (an admission she wasn't quite sure how she would respond to), Hermione was totally unprepared for what Ginny just said. Her jaw dropped, looking as if she were hit in the back of her head with a bludger bat.

"Hear me out! I was thinking about why Harry doesn't seem to show any interest in girls, and it's the only logical explanation. And I should also point out that I'm not making any judgements. I'll still care for Harry, no matter what."

"Ginny, I really don't think—" began Hermione, her sensibilities terribly offended.

"First," said Ginny, riding right over Hermione's objections, "we have the disaster that was Cho. He was so awkward around her, even though she was practically throwing herself at him. Just one kiss and a terrible Valentine's date, not to mention being backstabbed by that cow of a friend, Marietta, is not much of a first step in dating women."

"Cho was right mess at the time, it's not Harry's fault she—"

"Then there was Luna, who was mostly a comfort girlfriend. They broke up at Christmas after only, what, four months? And again, only one kiss."

"Harry knew that it wouldn't work with Luna!" exclaimed Hermione. "That's why they broke it off!"

"Third, is my time with Harry at the beginning of this school year," Ginny went on, touching a third finger as she counted out her reasons, "Which was even shorter. We broke up last Hallowe'en after a little over two months. Now, I'll grant you, we did a lot more snogging — and a little groping — but he was always . . . I don't know, his heart wasn't quite into it as much as his hormones were."

Hermione goggled at Ginny's clinical description of the brief relationship with her long-time crush. "Ginny—"

"And then the Yule Ball during the Tournament, he dumps his date — one of the prettiest girls in your year — and what does he do? He leaves the Ball with Ron! They spent time alone outside, then back in the Great Hall in the corner talking to themselves until the Ball was done. He was a Tournament champion; he had girls asking him out, and he spends it with his best mate."

"Now wait just one minute!" Hermione broke in with a heated objection. "They weren't off having a romantic interlude or something, they found out that Madame Maxime was a half-giant and that Karkaroff was friendly with Snape because they were both Death Eaters!"

Continuing on, as if Hermione was silent the whole time, Ginny added, "Let's also not forget that there are any number of girls who would gladly be on Harry's arm now, but can't quite seem to get his attention no matter how many buttons on their blouse they 'accidentally' leave undone or how short their skirts get."

Hermione had to at least mentally concede that one, thinking of Julia in the girls' toilets yesterday. She knew it was only her presence at times that kept some of the vultures at bay. Slags, all of them. Harry deserves better.

"He's the most eligible wizard in the British isles, and he's single," Ginny concluded. "Now what other reason can there be, but the obvious?"

The onslaught of Ginny's well-thought, logical arguments was a little much for Hermione. Everything Ginny said was perfectly true, but— "You're wrong," she said firmly. "Harry's not gay. He's just . . . he's just Harry!"

"Hermione," said Ginny patiently, "Harry's just a boy, a boy with hormones of his own and a wizarding society that doesn't look too kindly on wizards and witches who, shall we say, play Seeker for the other team. You've been his one constant female friend for ages. Has he ever tried to tickle you? Or grope you? Or pinch your backside? Try to peek down your blouse, or up your skirt?"

The thought of Harry carrying out such prurient actions was too much at odds with the Harry that Hermione knew. "No, of course not!"

"See?" said Ginny, as if pointing out the obvious. "Boys do that sort of thing. I know Ron has."

Hermione gave a little smirk. That figures. "Whose skirt did Ron try to look up? Let me guess — Lavender's? Fleur's?

Ginny gave suppressed grin to Hermione's questions. "Yours — when he fancied you." Hermione's smirk fell right off. "The twins and I used to tease him about it. 'So, Ronniekins, what colour knickers is Hermione wearing today?' I think his favourite were the white cotton with little flowers, but you'd have to ask him."

That little wanker! thought Hermione, feeling her cheeks heat up in indignation.

"Sorry, Hermione, we would've told you, but you were his best friend and we didn't think it'd be right to put you in that spot." Ginny leaned over and gently patted Hermione's arm. "We wanted Ron to embarrass himself with you."

"Whatever," said Hermione dismissively, her cheeks still pink. Ron is so going to get an earful when next I see him. "It's all in the past. But you're absolutely wrong about Harry. The explanation is simple: Harry's not like other boys. When has he ever been like other boys?" I wonder what knickers Harry would like.

Whoa. Where'd that come from? Hermione shook the disturbingly stray thought away.

"Harry's past, and his powers, may not be like other boys, true," Ginny conceded. "But he's still a boy. Boys like girls. Is there any flaw in my facts? Is there a flaw in my logic? I'm merely applying that technique you taught me . . . what was it called again? Occam's Razor? Harry being gay is the one explanation that doesn't require any more assumptions than necessary."

She's got a point, Hermione's inner logical voice piped in.

Shut it, you! Hermione shot back.

You know, I'm starting to feel like you're neglecting me. You haven't been like this since Vik—

I said shut up!

"Hermione?" Ginny interrupted her inner dialogue, looking concerned. "Are you all right? I'm sorry if this upset you."

"I'm not upset," replied Hermione, clearly upset. Then, getting to her feet, "I need to get back to my revising."

"Okay," said Ginny, sounding apologetic. "I just thought I should talk to you first. Anyway, good luck with your revising — I know NEWTs are in a couple of weeks."

Hermione grunted some vaguely affirmative response before making her way to the Common Room, taking a deep-seated chair by the fire and settling a stack of books on her lap. She opened the first book, but her thoughts were so far from studying that it was nearly half an hour before she realized that not only was she still staring at the same page, the book was upside-down.


It took all of Ginny's self-control not to simply explode as she left Hermione and retreated to her dorm. Closing the door, she drew the curtains on her bed, cast a Silencing spell before collapsing onto her mattress in a fit of giggles that lasted for many long minutes. She squirmed, pounded her bed with fists and foot as tears of the mischief managed streamed down her cheeks.

Finally, when her stomach was aching from the repeated contractions of her laughter, she rolled onto her side and mentally reviewed the five minutes with Hermione in the Common Room. Oh, Merlin, I'm so bad. If only I had a camera to catch Hermione's face!

Part of her mind — a very small part — felt guilty at pulling the prank she just did. The rest of it was already drafting a letter to the twins to explain what she and Ron were doing.

Smiling, she dispelled the Silencing charm and rooted around her bookbag for a quill and some parchment.

My favourite twin brothers—

Let me catch you up on what me and Ron are up to with Harry and Hermione . . . .


Leave it to Lavender and Parvati to simultaneously bring Hermione out of a mood, and then stick her right back into one.

Hermione was still preoccupied with her discussion with Ginny when Lavender's voice pierced through her bubble of contemplation.

"Ooooh, what a beautiful flower! My favourite colour, too!"

Hermione shook her head and looked up to see Lavender and Parvati looking intently at her jumper. Glancing down, she saw the orchid Harry had given her that morning; a warm elation filled her chest at the memory, banishing moody thoughts that Ginny had inserted. She smiled.

"Where'd you get it?" That was Parvati, who was lightly fingering a petal, admiring the texture.

"Harry gave it to me. An apology gift." There was no sense in trying to make up a story for these two.

Two pairs of eyes swung up to look at her in surprise, questions brimming.

"Really? Not as a gift that someone gives, say, their girlfriend?"

"No," said Hermione firmly. "I told you, nothing's going on with Harry. How many times do I have to say it?"

"Then why the flower?"

"He upset me yesterday, so this is his way of saying 'I'm sorry.'" said Hermione. "It's what boys do when they upset a girl."

"That's not what boys do!" Parvati laughed. "I know of no boys that do that!"

"Yeah," said Lavender, jumping in. "You and Ron have rowed loads of times, and he's never given you flowers afterwards." Both girls arched their perfectly plucked brows in expectation.

Hermione shrugged helplessly. "What do you want me to say? Harry's . . . ."

"Hermione, it's pretty uncommon for boys around here to give flowers to their girlfriends on any day except Valentine's Day," said Parvati. "Yet here you are, sporting a beautiful blossom from a boy who you say is only your best mate? If we seem to think there's something fishy, can you blame us?"

Parvati had a point; it was pretty unusual for Harry to give flowers, after all. But, despite the odd circumstances, and her discussion with Ginny, Hermione was floating on air for much of the day, wearing Harry's orchid like a talisman.

Clearly stuck for an answer, Lavender spared her the task of trying to explain further. "So, where did Harry get the orchid?"

"Actually, that's a good question," said Hermione after a moment of thought and a frown.

Lavender gave a dramatic gasp, flashing a grin to Parvati. "Merlin's beard, something that Hermione Granger doesn't know? Alert the Daily Prophet!"

Hermione rolled her eyes as her two roommates giggled. Glancing at her watch — a defensive mechanism to get out of uncomfortable company — Hermione gasped and began quickly packing her book bag. "Nearly time for rounds for the juniors," she said, referring to the first through fourth years that weren't allowed out of their Common Rooms in the evening. "I've got to find Ginny." And with that, the Head Girl hurried up to the girls' dorms.

Lavender and Parvati exchanged knowing grins. "Smitten," they said simultaneously.


For the second night in a row, Harry lingered in the Common Room, waiting for a chance to talk to Hermione alone. And, for the second night in a row, he had forgotten Hermione's schedule for supervising the Prefects. It was getting on into the night when this thought finally dawned on him, so he settled in with one of his notebooks and began re-reading.

When the room was mostly empty, he stretched out onto his stomach on one of the sofas, his chin propped up on his hands and his notebook leaning against the sofa's arm. It was a comfortable way to study — perhaps a little too comfortable, as he was nodding off before he had read another half-dozen pages.

Crookshanks wandered into the Common Room and caught the scent of one of his favourite human cushions still in the room. Padding over to the sofa, he was a little disappointed to see Harry face-down. Still, making the best of a bad situation, Crookshanks leaped up onto the small of Harry's back, walked in a circle and curled up with his tail around him, settling into a softly purring ginger pillow.

It was this scene that Hermione and Ginny found as they returned late from their patrols. Both girls smiled at the sight, though Ginny had the presence of mind to glance over to Hermione's reaction; Hermione's eyes were solely on Harry.

They tiptoed quietly to the sofa where Harry and Crookshanks rumbled softly in slumber. Crookshanks sensed their approach, lifted his furry head and purred loudly in greeting to his owner. Kneeling by the couch at Harry's midriff, Hermione reached out and scratched her cat between the ears.

"Aww, did you miss me, sweetie? Would you like me to pet you? Yes, mommy loves you too," Hermione murmured softly.

What with Crookshanks being a cat, Hermione certainly didn't expect an answer beyond more purring; so it was to her very great surprise when she did get a response to her cooing.

"Why, Hermione, I had no idea you felt that way about my buttocks."

Both Ginny and Hermione's hands paused in their petting to gasp, then saw the source of the voice — Harry's sleepy green eyes twinkled as he looked over his shoulder to the two girls.

Ginny immediately fell to the floor giggling, while Hermione's cheeks flamed in mortification at what Harry must've been thinking as he woke up. She quickly snatched her hand away from Crookshank's back, which was perilously close to said buttocks. Crookshanks looked a little put out at the cessation of the petting.

Half-twisting, Harry saw Crookshanks seated primly on his lower back and realized what was happening. He joined in with Ginny's mirth, grinning at Hermione who was desperately trying not to meet Harry's eyes.

"Crookshanks, I'm turning over," he said to the cat. As if understanding, Crookshanks hopped off and rubbed his head against Hermione while Harry sat up. "Sorry, but it did sound pretty strange from where I was," laughed Harry.

"I'll leave you Heads alone, then," said Ginny as she got up and dusted her skirt. "And don't worry, Hermione, loads of girls feel that way about Harry's backside."

Hermione's head shot up to give her a You're-Not-Helping look; Ginny just grinned cheekily and waved both of them a 'good night' and disappeared up the stairs. Hermione was still blushing when she felt Harry take her hand and gently pulled her up into the sofa next to him.

"I'm sorry," said Harry softly again, though there were still traces of amusement in his voice. "So, er, how was your day?" he asked gently, sincerely hoping he hadn't just earned another flower apology.

Summoning all the dignity she could muster, Hermione finally looked up to answer Harry; then faltered momentarily as their gazes locked. "It was good," she said with small smile.

"Great," said Harry with an inward sigh of relief. "So . . . you're still wearing my flower."

Glancing down, she spotted the bloom, looking decidedly more wilted than it was early that morning; still, her smile broadened at its sight. "Yes. Thank you for that, by the way."

A silence fell between then, an awkwardness they knew they hadn't experienced since they first became friends, way back in the girls bathroom and the escaped troll that fateful Hallowe'en. Harry could hear Ron's voice echoing in the back of his mind. Just tell her, you daft git!



They spoke at the same time, but Harry gestured for her to continue.

"I've been meaning to ask, where did you get it?" said Hermione, lightly stroking the orchid's petals.

"Oh. Neville got it for me. He's been helping Professor Sprout set up Greenhouse One for the summer, and he told me the other day that it's mostly decorative flowers, since there are no students around.

"Ah. What did you want to ask?"

Sadly, Goderic Gryffindor's courage was quite absent in the Tower that day, and even before opening his mouth, he knew he was going to chicken out once again. He kicked his inner self. "Just wanted to end the Sticking Charm." Taking his wand out, he pointed it at the flower. "Finite," he intoned and caught the orchid as it slid off her chest.

He held it out to Hermione and as she took it, their fingers brushed and lingered for longer than necessary. Harry's chest tightened at the contact which, all of a sudden, seemed far more intimate than he would have ever suspected.

"Thanks," she said quietly, cupping the flower gently. Harry was breefly speechless at her smile.

"Yes. Well, it's pretty late, so, I guess I'll see you tomorrow?" he laughed nervously as he stood up. "Only one class, so I guess we'll get in loads of revising, eh?"

Rising with him, Hermione blinked and nodded. "Right. Well, good night, then, Harry." Then, just as he had hoped, she leaned up and brushed him a soft kiss on his cheek before following Ginny up the stairs.

It took him a good minute to gather his wits, and he was profoundly grateful that the Common Room was empty. If it hadn't been, he wouldn't have needed Ron to out his secret.

So, with his mind still full of Hermione's gaze, her smile and her kiss, he dressed got ready for bed. And when he was between his sheets, ready to enjoy the dreams he knew were on their way, Ron called over in a whisper.


"Shut up," said Harry, feeling the smugness radiating from Ron.

"Three down, four to go."

Harry gave a shaky sigh. This is the Yule Ball all over again.


Post-script: Occam's Razor is a principle that comes up a lot in Philosophy 101 classes. An explanation, from Wikipedia, is as follows:

In its simplest form, Occam's Razor states that one should make no more assumptions than needed. Put into everyday language, it says The simplest explanation is the best. When multiple explanations are available for a phenomenon, the simplest version is preferred. For example, a charred tree on the ground could be caused by a landing alien ship or a lightning strike. According to Occam's Razor, the lightning strike is the preferred explanation as it requires the fewest assumptions.