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.
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.
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.
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!"
looked at 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.
Ron's voice was gentle, and he was still
looking down at their hands together as he spoke. Tell her. Tell her now.
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
"Ron..." Hermione said. Tell him!
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.