“Now remember, students, tomorrow we’re going to go
outside for our final demonstration of the term. Make sure to bring your gloves
and your scarves,” Professor Sprout instructed. The students were dismissed,
packing up their bags and heading out.
Harry Potter threw the last
of his papers into his Herbology book and shoved it into his bag as he ran to
catch up with his two best friends, Hermione Granger (who was busily reading
the next few paragraphs of her favorite book, Hogwarts, A History) and
“Fascinating lesson wasn’t
it?” Hermione muttered, not taking her nose out of her book.
“We didn’t do anything!” Ron
said, rolling his eyes. “We studied the plants we’re going to be seeing
tomorrow. How exciting is that?”
Hermione said nothing but
only grunted. Harry shrugged. “I thought it was interesting.”
Ron laughed. “Harry, you
Hermione raised her nose out
of her book to glare at the pair as they laughed richly. “It’s not funny. What
happens if this comes up on the exams? Hmm?”
“Oh calm down, Hermione!”
Ron said through a laugh. “We’ll read the chapter later.”
“No you won’t,” she said,
pressing her nose back into her book and walking farther ahead than the other
They slowed to a halt.
“What’s her problem?” Harry asked.
“I don’t know,” said Ron,
watching Hermione. She hadn’t acted this strangely since their third year. “You
don’t suppose it has to do with school, does it?”
“Well, why should it?” Harry
asked, beginning to walk again. “She’s the top of every class and she’s taking
the normal required amount. Besides that, she’s Prefect. I don’t understand it
“Neither do I,” Ron said,
casting a sideways glance at Hermione, who had stopped to talk to a professor
before entering their next class, Transfiguration.
Harry sighed. “So are you
staying for Christmas break?”
“Oh yeah,” Ron said, coming
back down to earth. His thoughts had been on Hermione. His thoughts were always
suddenly turning to Hermione those days. “Yes, I am staying. I just wrote home
yesterday to ask Mum if I could. They’re going to stay with Bill anyhow. Ginny
will probably be staying here.”
“I see,” Harry said. “I just
don’t get…” Yet before Harry could finish his thought, they were interrupted by
a familiar fifth year.
“Hello, Harry,” said Ginny
Weasley’s voice. She had run up to them after coming from her last class.
“Hello, Ginny, what is it?”
he asked, frowning. Ron stood by, unnoticed.
“Andrew says there’s a
problem with that new Quidditch form you drew up. He says that we Chasers don’t
have the room to score with where you’ve put the Beaters,” she explained
Harry sighed, frustrated. He
looked at Ron and smiled apologetically. “I have to go handle this, I’ll catch
up with you in class. Save me a seat,” he called, and he ran off with Ginny.
Ron watched them retreat and
found himself all alone, thinking about one thing.
Hermione had clouded his
thoughts more often than anything anymore and it was almost annoying. He found
that he couldn’t do his homework sometimes because of it… not that he did it
He slowly drifted toward
Professor McGonagall’s class and looked up at the board in front of the
classroom. He read, much to his dismay, ‘Today: Animals to Furniture.’ He took
his usual seat next to Hermione, placing his books on top of Harry’s seat.
Hermione still had her nose plunged into her book.
Ron cleared his throat.
Hermione didn’t look up. He cleared his throat again and she still didn’t give
an inch. Finally, with one loud cough, he managed to attract her attention.
“Don’t sit so close to me. I
don’t want to get what you’ve got,” she shot at him.
A shocked look crossed his face and turned quickly
to one of disappointment. Professor McGonagall walked into the classroom, right
by Ron’s chair.
“Weasley, where is Mr.
Potter?” she asked in the strict tone she was so famous for using.
He looked down at the desk
in front of him. “H-He had to go work out a few Quidditch problems.”
McGonagall pursed her lips.
“Well, as long as he’s here before we begin,” she said, and continued to move
forward. Ron half smiled and then looked back at Hermione, who seemed to be
completely entranced by her book.
“Hermione,” he whispered.
“What?” she snapped.
He jumped back with a start
and then sighed heavily. “Never mind,” he shot back.
She slammed her book shut, which
caused Ron to jump once again. “You’ve been badgering me all day! What do you
“What is your problem?” he
“Problem? Do I always have
to have a problem?” she too, was growing angry. “Does it always have to be
“Not always, but right now
it does,” he retorted. “You’re usually pleasant and for some reason the past
few days you’ve become rather short. I was wondering what was going on.”
“Nothing is going on! Can’t
a girl read?” she yelled.
“Not if you’ve read the book
three hundred times!” he screamed back at her.
Hermione stuck her nose up
and turned away. “Well, I wouldn’t expect you of all people to understand what
kind of a joy comes out of reading.”
“What’s that supposed
to mean?” His red eyebrows knit together in confusion and fury.
“Nothing,” she said
nastily, opening her book again. “It just means that you’re always complaining
about not getting good grades when you don’t even read the material. It’s
“Hypo…” he started, but was
cut off when Harry sat down next to him.
“Hello. Thanks for saving a
seat, have we started class yet?” Harry asked, his green eyes wide and full of
Ron shot an evil look over
at Hermione. “No. We haven’t.”
Hermione put her book down
and didn’t dare look over at either Harry or Ron. Ron kept his back to Hermione for most of the
hour. Harry sighed. It was happening far too often. Petty bickering and stupid
fights between Ron and Hermione were becoming a daily routine, and he still had
trouble figuring out why.
“Alright class,” McGonagall
said, stepping up to the front of the room. “Today, we’ll be changing your pets
into tables, desks, and chairs. Now,” she said, approaching a large toucan that
was perched on the edge of her desk. “You will pick up your wands,” she instructed,
picking up her own and pointing at the toucan. “One, two, three, monopodium.”
The toucan instantly transformed into a table. The class oohed.
“Now, I want you to start
smaller than that for now,” she pointed her wand and muttered, “Finite
incantatem,” and the toucan was restored. “I want you to all say with me,
one, two, three cella. This should turn your animal into a chair.”
The class all picked up
their wands and pointed it at their pets. Ron picked his up half-heartedly and
managed to say the words completely inaudibly. Hermione sighed disgustedly.
“What? Did I do something
wrong as usual?” he snapped at her.
“Yes, as a matter of fact,
you did,” she said, just as rudely.
“Hang on,” Harry said
quickly. “Ron, do it over.”
“What? But I was—”
“Just do it!” Harry yelled.
“Yes, do it,” Hermione said,
pointing her nose up again.
“You stay out of this,”
Harry instructed briskly.
Holding his wand so tightly in his hand his knuckles
were turning white, Ron spitefully over enunciated, “Cell-a.”
Hermione only turned her
head briskly away from Ron and muttering something that sounded a lot like,
For the remainder of
Transfiguration, a tense silence filled the air between Ron and Hermione. Harry
felt it grow. Within a few days, there would be a burst of emotions and he
didn’t want to be there to see it this time.
They were then dismissed to
lunch and as quickly as she possibly could, Hermione gathered up her things and
rushed out the door. Ron spat, “Good riddance.”
Harry rolled his eyes and
sighed heavily. “Go talk to her.”
Ron looked at Harry as if he
were crazy. “What?”
“Go talk to her,” he repeated. “And I’m serious.”
“Why don’t you go and
talk to her?” he said stubbornly.
“Because I’m not the one
she’s angry at.”
“Exactly,” Ron said, a sudden
distressed look coming about his face. “She won’t yell at you.”
Harry looked at his friend
sympathetically. “Maybe if you didn’t push every one of her buttons she
wouldn’t yell at you.”
Ron remained quiet as they
walked to the Great Hall. Upon entering, they found Hermione sitting in her
usual seat. Her quill was pressed harder on the paper and writing faster than
anyone’s they had ever seen.
Ron sat uncomfortably next
to her and cleared his throat.
“What did I tell you?”
Hermione snapped without looking up. “I don’t want to catch your cold, don’t
sit so close to me. I can’t afford to be sick.”
He looked at Harry, asking
for help. Harry too, cleared his throat and opened his mouth to speak.
“Am I the only healthy
person anymore?” she groaned disgustedly, finally looking up. She shoved her
parchment papers into the books, slammed it shut, and gathered up her things.
She fled the Great Hall, no doubted heading toward the library.
A crooked look told Harry
that Ron desperately wanted to talk to her, and immediately following lunch
Harry quickly made his way toward the library.
To no one’s surprise
Hermione was sitting in a back corner. She had three books open and a roll of
parchment in front of her, half written on. Harry sat down quietly in front of
“I can’t believe it,” she
muttered after he sat in silence for a couple of seconds. “We have a
three-paged essay due for Potions by tomorrow and I’m still on the first page!
What is wrong with me?”
Harry opened his mouth to
speak, but was cut off abruptly by Hermione’s rant. “I mean, I seem to be
falling behind somehow lately, and I don’t know why.” What a lie, she
As a sixteen-year-old girl
began to lose control in front of him, Harry sat up straight in his chair and
began to speak. “Listen, Hermione,” he began quietly. “I have no idea why
you’ve been so short lately, but I want you to know that Ron¾”
“Ron!” Hermione screamed.
“RON? What has he got to do with anything?”
Harry was completely amazed
in the change of tone Hermione had exhibited when the conversation turned to
Ron. She had been civil one moment, unbelievably hostile the next.
“Hermione, listen, I was
“What does he have to do
with this conversation? Why was he brought into it?”
It was as if she wanted
nothing to do with Ron whatsoever. Almost like she didn’t even want to hear his
“He’s really worried about
you,” Harry fought for anything to say.
“Well,” Hermione said, her
tone softening in the slightest. “If he’s so worried about me, tell him to come
talk to me and not send you.” And with a slam of her books and her chair, she
fled the library to her next class.
Harry watched her go, his
mouth hanging open. What was going on here? There was obviously some serious
problems with this girl if she was going to fly off the handle every time a
certain name was mentioned.
A certain person.
The next few hours Ron and
Hermione barely said but two stifled words to each other, while Harry stood by
and scratched his head furiously. It made absolutely no sense whatsoever, that
two best friends could go at each other’s throats so horribly and not seem to
mind at all the next day.
Hermione was having a
frustrating time in doing her Arithmancy homework that day. Not only were her
equations becoming harder and harder to work out, but she was also having
trouble getting Ron out of her head.
For the past few weeks he
had done nothing but sit inside of her thoughts, and for once in her life she
couldn’t figure out why. She couldn’t answer something and it was killing her.
It also completely bewildered
her that every time she saw Ron, something inside of her went awry. Her heart
thudded like crazy and her stomach churned constantly. She wanted to kick
herself because she had been presenting such a snotty front. It seemed as if she had to fight her new
feelings about Ron, and to do that she was putting on her know-it-all face. All
she really wanted to do was be a normal girl, smile and giggle and get closer
to Ron than she ever had before. However, she was Hermione Granger. She
couldn’t do this.
And it was Ron Weasley.
She snapped herself back
into attention and reprimanded herself for being so careless with her thoughts.
She had to organize herself once again before Christmas break.
Suddenly, it was as if she
was hit with a ton of bricks.
After being dismissed from
class, Hermione hightailed it to the owlery. She had a note to write home about
Christmas that year. Her parents wanted to go away for Christmas break but
Hermione had had the sudden strong desire to stay at Hogwarts. She was sure she
knew why but tried to coax herself out of the thought before it had time to
Grabbing the note she had
written out of her bag, she tied it to the leg of a large,
distinguished-looking owl and watched as he flew off with the note. She didn’t
wait to watch it disappear before she did the same thing, scurrying off to her
Care of Magical Creatures class.
All the way down, she
promised herself she was going to be civil. She was going to be kinder to Ron;
it was the least that he deserved. How long would he be able to stand her
rudeness before giving up completely? Not that he had been trying for anything
Seeing the two culprits
standing outside of Hagrid’s hut, Hermione rapidly walked over to join them.
Much to her dismay (and secret delight), Harry had gone inside the house with
Hagrid to talk to him for a couple of minutes. It didn’t surprise Hermione at
all. The three of them did this with Hagrid often.
Ron looked uncomfortable all
by himself. They usually had Care of Magical Creatures with the Slytherins,
which meant that Draco Malfoy was lingering about somewhere, in his usual nasty
state of being. Ron would have rather danced with an ancromantula spider than
to be anywhere near Malfoy.
Approaching the spot where
Harry had been standing, Hermione sighed deeply and set her books down.
Ron looked at her, afraid of
what to say. They stood in a tense silence for a couple of minutes, stealing
the occasional glance. The noisy chatter going on around them was barely heard,
because lost in a trance, Ron and Hermione were fighting too many feelings
within to notice anything but each other.
Finally, catching each
other’s gaze for once, Ron looked into Hermione’s big brown eyes, opening his
mouth to speak. “Listen, Hermione—”
There was silence again and
they both looked away from each other. Glancing slowly back upward, Ron stepped
closer to Hermione. Much to her frustration, her heart was pounding like crazy
on the walls of her chest. She could feel his wonderful warmth on her skin as
he stepped closer, opening his mouth and gazing adoringly into her eyes.
“Hermione… I’m sorry about…
everything…” he began cautiously.
It pleased Hermione to know
that Ron was a decent enough person to take the initiative and say he was sorry
first. It was what made him that much more special to her.
“It’s alright Ron, I’m sorry
as well,” she said quietly, staring up into his vast blue eyes. My word, how
handsome he’s gotten, she thought to herself.
Hermione’s blossoming beauty
had not gone unnoticed by Ron, either. He had seen the way she had gone from a
girlish eleven-year-old to a stunning sixteen-year-old woman.
“I’m glad that’s settled,”
he whispered out of the corner of his mouth as Harry and Hagrid reappeared out
of Hagrid’s hut.
“I am too,” she sighed
happily, smiling at Ron.
Ron smiled back. “What do
you say you blow off some studying tonight and just hang out with Harry and me
in the common room?” he suddenly burst out.
Hermione was taken aback.
“Oh Ron… I don’t know, I’ve got a lot of work for Arithmancy…” she began.
Ron was not convinced. Harry
approached them, smiling, but unnoticed.
“Oh come on, Hermione! Have
a bit of a fun side! You’ll have plenty of time to study and be boring during
Christmas break at home.”
Hermione bit her lip. Did
she tell them she was staying? She opened her mouth to begin but was cut off
immediately by Harry.
“What is going on
here?” he bellowed. Ron and Hermione jumped back. “Two hours ago you two wanted
nothing to do with the other! Now you’re making plans for tonight? What did I
Ron and Hermione stole
glances and then looked back at a thoroughly frustrated Harry. They only
laughed as Hagrid began class, talking about the bowtruckle. Ron placed his
hand on top of Hermione’s, causing both of them to feel tingles up and down
“Let it go for one night…
Hermione couldn’t resist. She looked up into the
shining blue eyes, and through a hoarse and choked voice, croaked out, “Sure.”