WARNING: SPOILERS HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS AHEAD

››'There's the silver lining I've been looking for,' she whispered, and then she was kissing him as she had never kissed him before, and Harry was kissing her back, and it was blissful oblivion, better than Firewhiskey; she was the only real thing in the world, Ginny, the feel of her, one hand at her back and one in her long, sweet-smelling hair –

The door banged open behind them and they jumped apart.

'Oh,' said Ron pointedly. 'Sorry.'

'Ron!' Hermione was just behind him, slightly out of breath. There was a strained silence, then Ginny said in a flat little voice, 'Well, happy birthday anyway, Harry.'

Ron's ears were scarlet; Hermione looked nervous. Harry wanted to slam the door in their faces, but it felt as though a cold draught had entered the room when the door opened and his shining moment had popped like a soap bubble. All the reasons for ending his relationship with Ginny, for staying well away from her, seemed to have slunk inside the room with Ron, and all happy forgetfulness was gone.

He looked at Ginny, wanting to say something, though he hardly knew what, but she had turned her back on him. He thought that she might have succumbed, for once, to tears. ‹‹

(Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Page 99)

A/N: This is where this story starts. Pretty long quotation, but it had to be clear. I tried to make the whole thing plausible, and it will be sort of according to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book/movie.

This has been done as a request for one if my best friends and is thus dedicated to you, Sarah.

Translated from my German original. I've already finished Chapters 1-4, so expect them to be up as soon as I translate them :)

DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of those amazing characters; I'm just borrowing them from dear Miss J.K. Rowling ;)

This is eventually going to be femslash/ girl-girl. Don't like, don't read.

Pairing: HG/GW

We Should Have Had Years

Chapter 1 – Rollercoaster

"I'm so sorry, Ginny."

Hermione closed the door behind them and stood behind Ginny, who was standing there leaned against the wall of her room and breathing heavily while she tried to regain her composure.

"I tried to hold Ron back, we really didn't mean to burst in like that, we-"

"It's all right, Hermione", Ginny replied and wiped her eyes hastily, "I know."

Hermione put one calming hand onto her shoulder.

"But, one thing's clear to me now", the redhead continued, "It's over. It didn't feel anything like it used to."

"But, Ginny, maybe –", Hermione began, but Ginny interrupted her again. "I'm not just talking myself into it, Hermione. I know it. I'm sure…" She took a step ahead and thus out of Hermione's reach. They stood like that for a few seconds, then Ginny said: "Please leave. I… I gotta be alone for a minute."

Hermione closed her eyes shortly.

"Okay", she said and turned towards the door, "If you wanna talk or need anything… I'm always there for you." And with those words she followed Ron and Harry downstairs.

Ginny heard the closing sound of the door, and only then did she allow herself to sink slowly to the floor. It was true; she did not love Harry anymore. Not romantically. That had been clear to her for a long time, and she had wanted to tell him, she had just been collecting all her Gryffindor courage to tell him when her genius brother and the reason for Ginny's emotional troubles had stormed into the room to disturb her. This should have been the last kiss for Harry, the only thing she could give him for his seventeenth birthday, the only thing he would be able to take along as a last memory. That was what she had wanted to tell him, and then that she understood his decision to break up with her and explain to him what was wrong with her. She was sure he would understand. If not him, then who would? And of course he was still important to her as one of her best friends and Hogwarts would not be the same without Dumbledore, without Harry, without her brothers… without Hermione.

Ginny took a deep breath and sank further down on the floor. It had been clear to her for a long time, just like she did not want it to be true that her mother was never going to have Harry Potter as her son-in-law, she did not want it to be true that Hermione was more to her than just her best friend. Or that Ginny wished she were.

"Hermione…", she whispered and buried her face in her arms. And while she racked her brains on how to admit to her best friend that she herself was the reason for Ginny's emotional rollercoaster she could no longer hold back her tears.

...x...x...x...x...x

The girls did not see each other for the rest of the afternoon, on the one hand because Scrimgeour gave Harry, Ron and Hermione the heirlooms that Dumbledore left them, on the other hand because Ginny did not leave her room until dinner. She seemed to have calmed herself, at least on the outside. She did her best to behave as always, but to Hermione it was obvious that her best friend was still in low spirits. She saw exactly that Ginny did not really listen to Bill talking to her about his future plans with Fleur, that she laughed only half-heartedly about Fred and George's jokes and Tonks's faces and - and that was a little surprising to her – that Ginny constantly ignored Harry's as well as her – Hermione's - own eyes all the time. She planned to talk to Ginny later about that, when they would be alone in her room.

...x...x...x...x...x

The remaining evening of Harry's birthday went relatively calm, considering the fact that Bill and Fleur's wedding was set for the next day. When it was slowly getting darker everyone was still sitting in the living room, Lupin and Tonks were still there, and everyone was talking relaxedly. Ginny however withdrew to her room early on the pretext of still having to finish a book after Hermione had begun to talk to Ron and Tonks about Quidditch. Her plan to wake Ginny's interest with this subject and to draw her out with that had thus failed miserably.

But she did not want to follow Ginny immediately; she had a feeling that she needed time for herself once again. However, she could not really focus on the conversation with Ron after the disappearance of the redhead as her enthusiasm for Quidditch had always been pretty limited, which is why she did not wait too long before she followed Ginny to her room.

On arriving there, she found Ginny sitting on her bed with a book on her lap. She had obviously been prepared for someone to follow her and had wanted to make her excuse seem plausible. Although Hermione could not see the title of the book, it was not even important anyway, as she realized that Ginny was not reading a single letter. Her eyes were fixed on a point shortly above the edge of the book, and she did not notice Hermione before the latter closed the door a little louder than she normally would. The brunette smiled at her, and Ginny gave her a small grin that did not reach her eyes in response. While she quickly changed into her nightwear Hermione thought about how to start the conversation with Ginny and eventually decided on the rather inelegant direct way for the lack of alternatives.

"Ginny", she said an sat down on the edge of Ginny's bed, "please… talk to me. I know something's wrong with you. I want to help you." She had not touched the redhead as the latter had backed away slightly when she tried. Hermione waited for an answer for some moments, but there was no stir whatsoever of her best friend. She continued to stare into nothing. Hermione sighed.

"Okay… you see, I don't wanna push you, so." Ginny turned away her face. Hermione got up and was just about to go when Ginny eventually started to speak.

"I can't say it, Hermione. You're my best friend and still… I can't tell you." Or rather because of that, she added in her thoughts. Now she turned towards Hermione, her blue eyes met worried hazel ones.

"But please… stay here." She reached out to her with one hand. "Please…" Ginny was rather sure that this plea was not good for her, but still her heart screamed louder that her brain. There was nothing she wished more than for Hermione to stay here, not only now but forever, that she would not have to go with Harry and Ron, that no one of them would have to go. And yet she knew, if she did not want to show Hermione here and now what was going on with her she should not ask her to stay.

That was why she was as incredibly happy as horribly sad when Hermione took her outstretched hand and sat back down.

Hermione seemed to feel that, just like she always felt what Ginny needed, another reason why Ginny felt so attracted to her. And the older one knew exactly what Ginny needed in this situation. Thus she pulled the younger one into her arms, gently ran her fingers through the flaming red hair and the other hand over Ginny's back. Ginny let it happen, she clang to the blouse that Hermione would always wear to sleep. Being this close was heaven and hell at the same time. It felt so good, and yet she knew that this was all she would ever have. And Ginny had to admit again what she had been pushing away for so long, that Hermione meant more to her than was good for either of them.

Neither of them knew how much time had passed by when Ginny broke the silence.

"Thank you." Hermione smiled.

"For you, always", she replied. Then Ginny looked up and their eyes met.

Hermione found herself getting lost in those blue depths. In this … gaze which seemed to look deeply into her…

"W-well, we… we should go to bed", she said with a shaky grin. Never before had she noticed the intensity of Ginny's gaze and – and that was even more surprising – how nice it had felt to hold the younger girl in her arms. Yes, she had been her best friend for a long time, the best friend Hermione could ever wish for, but never before had she had shivers down her spine like that when they looked at each other… or had she? She could not even say so anymore herself.

"Yes, you're right", Ginny ripped her out of her thoughts. Hermione felt her own cheeks flush. Did she really just have such thoughts about her best friend? Only now did she seem to realize just how much Ginny had grown, how beautifully red her hair was, and how nicely it fell over her shoulders, shining in the dim light of the small lamp on her night desk, how cute those freckles on her nose and under her eyes were, how dark her eyelashes and how silky her skin –

Ginny, who did not seem to have noticed anything, now pulled her covers over herself and lied down.

"Good night."

"Good night, Ginny."

But Hermione did not find any sleep in this night. Her thoughts kept a strong hold onto the emotions she had just realized she had but could not yet really sort out. Was it because of the journey she, Harry and Ron would soon have to set out to and her fear of never coming back? Had this … opened her eyes? Or had she always only been pushing it away…?

She remembered a moment in her fourth year, during the Quidditch World Championship, when she had shared a tent with Ginny. That had been the moment in which a strong bond of friendship had formed between them. Of course they had always been getting along quite well, but that was the real starting point. During the entire fourth year it had been Ginny whom Hermione had told about her relationship with Krum, it had been her who had shared her sorrows about what could have happened to Harry, it had been her who had helped Hermione to tame her bushy hair for the Yule ball… Then, in her fifth year, when she had started Dumbledore's Army, Ginny had practiced the Patronus Charm with her, the only Charm that had ever been problematic for her…

Why did she only now think about the fact that it might be because of Ginny that Hermione's Patronus took the form of an otter, that it was not because of nothing that she always thought about Ginny's – not Ron's – laughing face when she summoned it?

Ginny's laughter, which she had hardly heard during her fifth year when Harry was with Cho Chang… when she herself had advised Ginny to be more herself around Harry to make him notice her…

All of a sudden Hermione felt a sting of jealousy. Stupid girl, she cursed herself, you can't be jealous of Harry… and yet she suddenly had the strange wish that it had been her who was kissed like that by Ginny…

Had Ginny maybe noticed what Hermione had realized only now, did she maybe harbour the same feelings, was it because of this that she had not talked Harry into getting back together with her?

Or was she only talking herself into this, was Ginny really only what everyone thought she was, what she was supposed to be – her best friend?

She did not know, and when sleep finally did conquer her, her dreams were still haunted by the girl sleeping in the bed next to her own.