The Sugar Quill
Author: Cordelia  Story: Well and Truly Stuck  Chapter: Default
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Well and Truly Stuck

 

Well and Truly Stuck

 

       The Hogwarts Express slowed down at platform nine and three quarters. The usual confusion and noise filled the corridors as the students began to disembark. Ron and Hermione struggled out past Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle, carrying their trunks.

       They did not speak as they lugged their baggage along the blissfully deserted corridor - they were right at the end of the train - and both were deeply submerged in their own thoughts.

Ron's mind was buzzing with unanswerable questions. Where is Voldemort? What will happen to us? Ron knew full well how dangerous it was to be so close to the famous Harry Potter now that the Dark Lord had returned. He was careful to show none of his fear and tension when he was with his friends. He had to be strong. At least he still had parents.

      Another question loomed in his mind. He felt a tug at his heart, stronger than he had felt it before, as it echoed around his head. Why am I ... why am I jealous? Why am I jealous of Krum? Ron almost winced as the pain he had been suffering for the past weeks grew. Though he knew how terrible the return of Lord Voldemort was, he had at last realised what the continuous ache in his heart really meant. He was in love. Completely, utterly, painfully in love with the girl whose wavy hair was swinging playfully with every step she took ahead of him. He adjusted his grip on Pig's cage (who hooted happily) and sighed deeply. She doesn't feel the same.

        Hermione groaned inwardly as she passed a window and glimpsed the cheerfully noisy crowd on the platform. How was she meant to be happy? A lot had happened in the past year, and the importance of the events she had endured meant that Hermione had changed. Her brown eyes were dull, her face thinner and her heart well and truly sunken. She felt the burden, as Ron did, of being so close to Harry Potter heavy on her shoulders, but she was clever enough to know that it was not Harry who had made her heart so painful. She felt....what, though? She was so confused. Was it Viktor? He made her feel special, beautiful, even. She tried to think of Viktor (or, as Ron called him, ‘Vikky’). He certainly wasn't handsome, but that didn't really bother Hermione. Was he funny? Well, not really, seeing as he could hardly speak English. For some reason unknown to Hermione, Ron's face, plus the usual grin, flashed in front of her eyes. Ron? Well, he's the one who knows how to make me laugh, I suppose, she thought. Actually, now she thought about it, it was Ron who knew her best. How to cheer her up, humour her, and, best of all, wind her up. Yes, it was definitely Ron. Hermione smiled sadly to herself. Who was she kidding? She had no energy left to fall in love.

CRASH!

      Hermione whipped around, which was difficult, due to the excess of large, heavy bags surrounding her, to find Ron on the floor. Pig's cage had caught an open door and yanked Ron back with it.

Love.

       The word echoed around her mind as though she had spoken it out loud. Where did that come from? Hermione thought in surprise. She frowned slightly, more confused than ever, and looked down at Ron trying to un-jam the large metal cage. Oh my...

        The late summer afternoon shot a ray of golden light through the nearest grubby window, which illuminated Ron as he continued to struggle with the cage. A slight frown creased his brow, and he didn't notice Hermione just standing motionless, staring at him. Do I love him? Ron? She came to her senses, and hurried towards him.

       "Bugger!" Ron said loudly, holding up the door of Pigwidgeon's cage, which had come off completely. Hermione swiftly went into action, drawing out her wand in a way which strongly reminded Ron of Hermione in her first year, when she was, well, a complete know-it-all.

       "Fenoculum!" Hermione allowed herself a small smile as the cage door flew back onto its hinges before Pig even had the chance to peek out.

       "Er, ta," said Ron, from the floor. He gathered up his things, which were scattered everywhere, and hastily stood up, before Hermione had the chance to move.

       Suddenly, Ron and Hermione found themselves jammed firmly in between Ron's trunk and the wall of the corridor, unable to move and face to face.

      "Oh!" Hermione struggled half-heartedly to free herself, but stopped quickly after Ron yelped.

      "Ow! My leg's there!"

      "Sorry,"

      "S'alright. Erm..."

Ron looked at Hermione.

Hermione looked at Ron.

       They started to laugh. Neither of the friends had even tried to have fun during those past weeks - it had never crossed their minds - but their situation now made them want to let it all out. Ron was shaken at suddenly finding Hermione up against him all of a sudden, and Hermione hadn't been expecting this... They laughed so hard that Hermione grabbed Ron's shoulders to support herself (not that she needed it - they were pretty tightly stuck) and desperately tried to control her breathing. Yes. I love him.

       "Woa! Don't hyperventilate on me!" Ron said, smiling. Just for a moment there, he had seen the old Hermione, happy and relaxed.

      "Don't! You'll set me off again!" They smiled into each others eyes, and Hermione realised that her hands were still resting on Ron's shoulders. She was about to remove them, embarrassed, but Ron took them in his own. He looked at them, so graceful, and squeezed them. He didn't really know how to explain. How to explain his heartache to this, the girl who knew him best, who shared a friend who was in the gravest danger, the girl he loved.

      "Hermione?"

      Ron's voice was gentle, and he was still looking down at their hands together as he spoke. Tell her. Tell her now.

     "Yes?"

      Hermione was surprised to hear how soft her voice was too. I have to tell him.

      "Well, I..." Ron gathered his courage and looked into her eyes. They were wide and had a look about them that Ron couldn't quite read.

      Hermione stared back into the depths of Ron's blue eyes, waiting, hoping. I love him. I love him so much.

      "I know this year hasn't been easy," Ron continued, "for any of us. Especially Harry. And I know how bad things could get, and that we'll all have to fight... And, well, I want to carry on with you, Hermione."

       He swallowed. Hermione fought back the tears that had welled up involuntarily as Ron spoke. All of the feelings she had pushed down during this last week all rushed back, stronger than ever. She thought of Harry, Dumbledore, Voldemort, and the tears threatened to spill. She was full of strange new emotion, and her heart ached for him so much...

        Ron wiped away the first drop with a trembling finger as it spilled down Hermione's cheek. His voice trembled as much as his finger when he continued,

       "Hermione, I need to tell you...I want to say that..." I can't tell her! he thought desperately. It won't come out!

      "Hermione..."

      "Ron..." Hermione said. Tell him!

"...I love you."

      Two voices rang out, with the same words. Two pairs of eyes lit up with joy and spilled tears of happiness. Two mouths met in the first kiss, and two people stood, knowing that they could face the world and whatever would come, well and truly stuck between Ron's trunk and the wall of the corridor, unable to move and completely in love.

The End

 

 

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