This is another one that's not so much unfinished as just a thing that didn't add up to much.

Green Earrings

by Resonant

1. She expects to be loved for her mind.

There's nothing wrong with Hermione's body. It's healthy, functional. Tolerates late nights in the library with little complaint. Takes her up all nineteen flights of stairs to the top of the astronomy tower, over and over.

She finds her frame pleasingly compact, her skin an unexceptionable pink, her hair not too much of a nuisance and capable of actual beauty if she chooses to take the trouble, which she usually doesn't. Secretly she's charmed by her small hands, her tiny round nails. But she doesn't use a Glossing Potion, because she's not the kind of girl who does that sort of thing.

Someone might (Hermione does) sigh over Ginny's leggy, graceful walk, Parvati's dark lashes and spice-colored skin. Someone might (Hermione does) watch Angelina Johnson doing handsprings on the Quidditch pitch and have a breathless, half-panicked image of running her hand up the rounded ridges of muscle that frame that flexible spine.

But no one is going to fall in love with Hermione Granger's fingernails.

2. They think boys are rather endearing.

Alicia takes boys very seriously. Angelina and Katie think this is cute, though they can't help thinking that it complicates her life unnecessarily.

For instance, Alicia has been nursing a crush on Oliver Wood for years, absolutely years -- even now that he's left school and joined the [team] -- and it does nothing but make her miserable. And anyone with half a brain can see that Oliver isn't going to be ready for romance until he either grows up a little or takes a couple of Bludgers to the forehead.

Angelina and Katie tell Hermione all about this up in their dormitory room when she's meant to be helping them revise Charms for their N.E.W.T.s, while Alicia's gone off to Hogsmeade with another mysterious package that she won't trust to the school owls.

Most boys, they tell Hermione, need a Bludger or a decade before they'll be fit for dating, and Hermione has to admit that her own observations tend to confirm this.

"It seems a shame, though," Hermione says. She's sitting against Katie's headboard, knees drawn up under her chin. "Just because they're suffering from arrested development, why should we have to wait?"

Angelina's lying sideways at the foot of Katie's bed, long legs hanging down to the floor, and Katie's lying wrong-way-round on the bed with her head on Angelina's stomach and her small pink feet right next to Hermione's elbow.

"You could date the teachers," Katie suggests. Her smile is sly.

Hermione lets out a caw of shocked laughter. "Don't even joke about it!" she scolds. "The only one on the staff who's under ninety is Snape. And besides, they're teachers."

Katie and Angelina exchange a glance. Angelina gives a microscopic headshake.

Hermione sighs, feeling as though she's just failed a test. Whatever it is, they've decided she's too young, or too something, to hear it.

3. Hermione knows some charms that are actually useful.

"Katie: blue light," Hermione demands.

"*****," Katie says. A blue glow lights up the end of her wand briefly. She puts it out.

"Good. Angelina: freeze water."

"Um. *****," Angelina says. Ice forms on the surface of a glass of water.

"Good. Katie: Melt ice."

"*****." It melts.

"Good. Angelina: Braid hair."

"There's a charm for braiding hair?"

Hermione frowns. "You don't mean you've been doing all that by hand all this time?"

Katie claps her on the back, making Hermione stumble forward a step. She's small, but she packs a punch. "What do you know," she says to Angelina. "The professor knows some charms that are actually useful."

Angelina begins pulling beads off the end of her braids. "Show me," she says.

4. Angelina offers a loan.

"Wait right there. I've just the thing." Angelina accios under her breath and a small bundle flies through the open door. She leaps to catch it, beads clacking.

"Show-off," Katie says. "You haven't played seeker since you were eleven."

"Years or stone?" Angelina sticks out her tongue at her. Then she casts a playful look at the two of them, and shuts the door carefully, and locks it.

The bundle proves to be a black velvet pouch full of jewelry. Angelina pulls out an earring, four round, flat jade beads dangling from a silver wire, and tosses it at Katie, then paws through the pouch in search of the mate.

Katie holds the earring up to Hermione's new dancing robe. The green and the camel are perfectly lovely together.

"Told you so." Angelina arrives with the other earring. Without a by-your-leave, she plucks the gold hoop out of Hermione's earlobe and hangs the jade beads in its place. Katie does the same on the other side. The feel of their fingers on her ears makes the hair stand up on the back of Hermione's neck.

5. Hermione goes shopping.

The robe that Hermione picks out for university has a little twitch in the hips.

She doesn't know how else to describe it. Something about the way it's made, maybe something to do with the little band of material across the small of her back, makes it swing from side to side with her every move in front of Madame Malkin's mirror.

"What a lovely shade of green," her mother says. She sounds surprised. Hermione's never been one to experiment with color. Her closet at home is pure fawn and black. "It does wonders for your eyes."

Hermione looks back at the mirror over her shoulder and gives herself a little grin.

6. Hermione has a friend who's famous.

"Is that Angelina Johnson?"

Hermione's other two suitemates drop their suitcases and crowd around, looking over Ceri Lloyd's shoulder at the photo Hermione has just pinned to the bulletin board. The Hermione in the photo waves at the four girls shyly. The Angelina behind her looks over the top of her head and winks.

Angelina only spent eight months on the [team] reserves before she was promoted to the main squad. [store] sells a poster of her swooping down, laughing her fierce laugh, flanked by Merriman and McDonough. She's really turned out to be an excellent Chaser.

"Mhm," Hermione says in as offhand a tone as she can manage. She is remembering the moments after Katie snapped the photo. Angelina's mouth on her ear, lips tugging at the jade beads. Katie's blue eyes sparkling as she laid the camera on the counter and stalked closer. The soft sound of the two of them kissing over her shoulder. "We were at school together."

"Do you play?"

Hermione almost laughs. "No," she says. "I'm not much of an athlete."

They're looking at her differently now. By the end of the week, the entire dormitory will know her as "the girl who was mates with Angelina Johnson."

That's fine with Hermione. They'll get the true measure of her soon enough.

7. Hermione goes dancing.

She comes down the stairs a few steps in the lead. Angelina's and Katies' voices are a pleasant music behind her, and she shakes back her hair a little, in case they're looking at her. A low, conspiratorial laugh tells her they are.

She feels warm all over, and the balance of her head on her neck is just a bit different to what it was earlier. Before. Before Angelina lent her a pair of earrings.

Seamus is the first one to look up and see her, and Hermione would swear his mouth actually drops open. It would be insulting if it weren't so funny. Ron follows Seamus' gaze, and he gets that pained look -- oh, look, she's reminded him that she's female, how careless of her. Harry grins at her with no particular intensity. How she looks is nothing to him.

"Pity we won't be around after tonight," Katie murmurs. "I'd love to be the one to teach you to dance."

8. It's really quite a good photograph.

Only after the other girls leave does the picture move. Hermione watches Angelina's long fingers work the pearl buttons of her dancing robe and slip inside. Watches her own eyes widen and then fall half-shut. Watches a flush rise up on her cheeks, making her eyes sparkle.

Angelina's tongue touches the rim of Hermione's ear, and then her lips are moving.

"Pretty, pretty," she's saying. "So pretty."











  Back to in medias Res

July 18, 2007