Without Your Help
Disclaimer: As we all (should) know, JK Rowling is the one true author
of Harry Potter and I wouldn’t dream of trying to pass off her characters as my
own. Harry Potter belongs to JK; there you go for everyone who needs the disclaimer
* * *
“Wicked! Hey Harry, check out how this guy cuts corners!” Ron Weasley
exclaimed in awe, as he thrust a Quidditch magazine in Harry’s face and stuck
his other hand into a bag of
Bertie Bott’s beans beside him on the armchair. Harry gazed at the moving
pictures in the magazine before him that he had gotten so used to.
“That’s excellent flying! Must’ve been playing for years now!” he analysed.
It was late on a Friday night, and Harry, Ron and Hermione had the Gyffindor
common room to themselves, as everybody else had already retired to their
dorms. The fire crackled from its spot in the fireplace and bathed the three
before it in a soft light. Harry and Ron had a couple of Quidditch magazines
that had arrived with the post that morning, and they were studying them in
earnest. Hermione, the third member of their trio, was also studying. It was
hardly surprising that numerous schoolbooks and volumes lay in front of her, in
stark contrast to Ron and Harry’s reading material.
“Nothing in that one
either!” she sighed in exasperation and slammed a heavy and slightly dusty old
volume on top of a growing pile of similar books on the floor beside her.
“Hermione, you shouldn’t worry so much about an assignment when it’s
due in three weeks. Besides, you always get top marks.” Harry reasoned with
her, glancing at the books and popping a bean into his mouth. Ron looked over
at Harry as if to say ‘If we’ve told her once, we’ve told her a thousand times’
and shook his head.
“This isn’t the first time I’ve had to question your sanity, Hermione,”
He said, rolling his eyes and turning the page of his magazine where a
particularly skilled seeker was demonstrating a shallow dive. “It’s Friday
night. Put that nasty thing away and have some fun!” Harry nodded in agreement.
“Fun,” Hermione scoffed, fixing Ron with a superior gaze, “Pouring over
Quidditch magazines all evening?” She looked over at Harry as well, “I don’t
see how you two can be so obsessed with the one sport! Wonky Faints and things,
Harry and Ron exchanged looks of mock horror and
“Wronski Fients!” Harry corrected her, amusement as well as annoyance
in his voice.
“Oh well, the way I see it, it’s your loss.” Ron shrugged and offered
her the bag of beans. “Bean?”
“No thanks.” Hermione smiled at him briefly from over yet another
“Anyway,” Ron said, throwing aside his magazine and eyeing the mammoth
book that Hermione was reading, “How old is
that thing? Looks like it belongs to a bloody museum!”
“Don’t swear Ron! And for your information it happens to be very
informative and –”
Harry sighed and tuned out for a moment. He loved his two friends, he
really did, but hearing them argue several dozen times a day wore thin after
awhile. Finding himself yawning yet again, he interrupted them.
“I think I’m going to go to bed.” He hopped off the chair he was
“Good idea. I might head off too.” Ron said, noticing that it was ten
“Don’t stay up too late, Hermione. Goodnight!” Harry said and turned to
head off up the boys staircase.
“You can always transfigure one of those old things into a blanket if
you were planning on staying there all night” Ron teased Hermione. She shook
her head in half-annoyance and sent a cushion flying through the air at him,
which he quite easily dodged.
“See you in the morning” he grinned and followed Harry up the stairs.
“Night you two.” Hermione called after them, bringing the cushion back
through the air and onto an adjacent couch. She sighed again. It was all right
for those two, they never seemed to care much when it came to excelling in
magic. She flicked through a couple of chapters but nothing caught her eye.
Glancing over at the bit of parchment her History of Magic task was written on,
she groaned and leant her head back on the armchair for a moment. Their class
was required to pick a single spell, charm or incantation to research and
present a detailed account on. No one else had trouble deciding what to look
up, but asking Hermione to decide on just one single spell was like asking Snape
to stir your cauldron for you. Putting it simply, it just wasn’t going to
happen. The thing was, Hermione was determined to pick a really good spell, and
so far nothing had stood out.
She was absentmindedly staring at the fire for about ten minutes before
she became aware of a pair of eyes lingering on her. Looking up with a start
she saw that it was none other than Ron, and to her horror and amazement she
found herself blushing. ‘Just how long has he been standing there…?’ she
silently thought to herself, but quickly dismissed such a notion.
“Couldn’t sleep,” Ron explained, sheepishly, before she could say
anything. “Seamus snores like a dragon with a cold at times.”
Hermione couldn’t help herself and laughed aloud, failing to notice
when the tips of Ron’s ears turned pink.
“I won’t be much company, I’m afraid.” She said, almost apologetically
as she pointed to the dreaded textbooks. Ron shrugged.
“Ah, you’ll do.” He said, and flopped into a neighbouring armchair, picking up one of the
Quidditch magazines that had been carelessly left lying around earlier.
Hermione bit her tongue to keep from saying something smart back and returned
again to the page in front of her, though with much difficulty. She was finding
it harder and harder of late to concentrate on anything important when she was
alone with Ron, let alone get anything done. It wasn’t as if she just slackened
off. No, it was more than that, a kind of feeling, like persistent butterflies
in her stomach. And she realized with annoyance that she didn’t quite know for
sure if she understood the feeling correctly. Surely she couldn’t be falling –
A shadow fell over the page that she had been staring at blankly, lost
in her thoughts and she looked up, startled. Ron was standing there, head to
one side and looking at her thoughtfully.
“What are you doing, Ron? Can’t you see I’m trying to study?” she
snapped, a little more harshly than she had intended.
“I’m sure you’ll get over it!” he said, catching her tone and
retaliating. “I was just going to say that you should abandon those cruddy
books for tonight and unwind for once.” And with that he took hold of the book
in her lap. Hermione grabbed the other side of it.
“Ron, would you stop being so stubborn?” she said, annoyed, looking up
at him from her spot on the couch. Ron chose to ignore this remark and gently prised her fingers away from the book. That too
seemed to have an effect on her, and all resolve to think sensibly flew out the
window. She looked away.
“Come and play a game of chess with me.” He said, looking a bit
“You know you always beat me.”
“Well, yeah, but it’s got to be better than that old thing.” He replied
in a good-natured way. “So, what do you say?”
Surprising even herself, she got off the couch and dusted herself off.
“Why not. It’s not like I’ve progressed too much with that tonight anyway.” She said, giving the
books a last glance and seating herself on the opposite side of the chessboard
to Ron, alongside the fire.
“All I can say is; you’re going down, Hermione. No one
beats… the chess king!” he grinned, setting up the chess pieces. She rolled her
eyes and looked at him, cynically.
“One of these days, Ron Weasley, you won’t know what hit you.” she
exclaimed, signaling a pawn towards the centre of the board while trying hard to ignore the feeling
that that sentence held a double meaning.
“Famous last words, I’m sure.” Ron said, grinning maddeningly.
A contented silence settled over the two of them, the only sounds
coming from the fire crackling merrily beside them, whenever they gave orders
to the pieces, and (of course) the sounds coming from the pieces exaggeratedly
beating their opponents up.
“You’ve improved.” Ron said, as one of his pawns tackled one of hers.
“We only played last week,” she teased, “But still, I wouldn’t be
nearly as good as I am without your help.”
He looked up and caught her eye questioningly, and their gaze held. And
held. And would have held some more had it not been for a stray strand of hair
falling in front of her eyes. She was both grateful and frustrated at this
sudden interruption and Ron chose that moment to checkmate her and end the
“And that would make fifty-nine victories
to me and one to you, only because you fluked it that time when Fred distracted
me with his hand dance.” he exalted, but failed to meet her eyes despite the
intense moment that had just past between them.
“Yes OK, you don’t have to rub it in.” she sighed, shaking her head.
Ron yawned suddenly and looked over at the clock.
“Nearly midnight,” he stated, “You’re absolutely off your rocker if you
go back to studying now.”
Hermione frowned, “Oh, that. It’s such an annoying assignment in the
fact that – ”
“What’s this? Hermione involving the words ‘annoying’ and ‘assignment’
in the same sentence?” he joked.
“Oh haha, very funny Ron!” she said, irritated. Ron looked at her for a
minute and then spoke up.
“Right, let’s see it then.” He pulled out his wand and pointed it in
the direction of Hermione’s task sheet of parchment. “Only because I’m too lazy
to get in myself, mind you.” He said, pointing at his wand and then waving it.
The parchment flew over and drifted into his outstretched hand. He
cleared his throat, feigning authority, “Now…” he cut himself short suddenly as
he noticed that Hermione had gone oddly quiet and was looking at him with a far
“You’ve improved too,” she murmured.
Ron gaped at her. “What? You can’t mean that ‘Wingardium Leviosa’ I
just did? Hermione, you and I both know that we’d all mastered it by the end of
first year, and now we’re in the fifth year, so – ”
Her gaze cleared suddenly and she looked him in the eye, “I didn’t mean
it like that, I just… took a trip down memory lane.”
He looked at her suspiciously, “Oh yeah?”
Hermione laughed quietly to herself, “Can you remember the first time
we really practiced that spell in Charms class?”
Now it was Ron’s turn to laugh. “How could I forget? Professor Flitwick
paired us off together and neither of us was very happy about it. And you went
ahead and performed it perfectly, like always – ”
“What do you mean, ‘like always’?” she said, a little indignant. Ron
ignored her and continued.
“And then… you went off to the toilets – ”
“Only because someone was
being a real prat.” She said, looking a little putout. Ron had the grace to
“Anyway! Then Harry and I came to save you – ”
“And then it turned out that Harry was the one who needed to be saved!”
They both laughed at the memory until Hermione spoke up again, “That
was when you performed Wingardium Leviosa for the first time since we had that
“I was so happy when it actually worked, didn’t reckon it was going to.
One more swing of that trolls club and Harry would’ve been toast. Though I 'spose…”
he stopped, and she looked at him, waiting, as he continued, quietly.
“I ’spose that I wouldn’t be nearly as good as I am… without your
This time their gaze held and stayed. Both felt themselves leaning
Neither realised how
close they were until they kissed.
They pulled apart briefly, questioning each other with their eyes
before Ron leant forward and kissed her again. It wasn’t until she was kissing
him back that the reality of what they were doing fully struck her, and it just
felt… right. Somewhere in the back of her mind she thought about how ironic it
all was, that they, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger - the two that probably
held the record for most fights and constant bickering - should be locked in
such an embrace. Previous differences and arguments left untouched after the
Yule Ball of last year melted away into nothingness.
Small cheers and the tiny patter of clapping hands finally separated
them. They looked down to find the chess pieces sitting there in miniature
deckchairs, grasping teeny cans of
soda and munching on minute boxes of popcorn. Ron and Hermione both turned
bright red and Ron sent them back to their respective compartments.
Keeping their eyes averted from one another, Hermione spoke up quietly,
“I didn’t expect that to happen, I must say.” Ron nodded, wide eyed. Hermione
plucked up her courage and looked him in the eyes.
“Ron, how long have you… felt that way about me?” she
blushed. The tips of Ron’s ears were now as red as tomatoes.
“Geez, Hermione. I don’t know… I never realised it properly until now. But last year, the reason why
I asked you if you’d been mixing up love potions was because I thought that – ”
She looked at him, puzzled.
“Ithoughtyoumighthaveputoneonme…” he blurted out.
Hermione glared, “Honestly!
I’d never do anything of the sort! You should know me better, Ron!”
“Well, that’s that then.” He said, looking apologetic. A big grin spread
over his face. “So… me and not Krum, hey?”
“Me and not Fleur, hey?” she mimicked, but she was smiling too.
After a moment Ron spoke up again reluctantly, “I suppose I better get
off to bed.”
“O.K… Good night Ron.”
He was nearly at the foot of the boy’s staircase when he turned back.
She looked up from where she still sat on the floor, “Yes?”
“Swish and flick!” He mimed with an imaginary wand, grinned, and then
he was gone.
Hermione picked up the piece of parchment her assignment was written on
that had been lying forgotten on
the floor beside her. She briefly realised that Ron never looked at it after all and laughed
freely when she realised that he had ended up helping her in more ways than he
knew. A smile crossed her lips as she thought back to what had just happened,
and how glad she was that their friendship seemed all the stronger for it. But
now it was time to get serious and start that assignment. She picked up her
quill and began to write: