The Sugar Quill
Author: Itsuwari  Story: When the World Didn't End  Chapter: default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

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When the World Didn't End
She rolls the window down
And she
Talks over the sound
Of the cars that pass us by
And I don't know why
But she's changed my mind

"This car doesn't fly, does it, Ron?" Hermione Granger asked, nervously eyeing the green vehicle sitting in her driveway.

"D'you think even my dad would enchant another car to fly after what me and Har- happened to the last one?" Ron Weasley replied, hoisting Hermione's trunk into the back seat of the car.

"Well, no, I guess not." Hermione tried to sound convinced, but failed utterly, hesitating before climbing into the passenger seat. Ron smiled inwardly. After six years in the wizarding world, Hermione was still more than a little afraid of any kind of flying. She'd been scarred by not acing flying back in first year.

"It was very nice of you to take the long drive here to come get me," she said as they pulled out of the driveway.

Ron blushed slightly. "It was no problem. I like driving." That hadn't come out quite right. He decided to try again. "And besides, Harry and I weren't going to miss you at the Burrow during our last summer before we finish school just because the Floo Network's been shut off."

She smiled. "That was really sweet of you."

Ron's heart beat just a little bit faster.

"Can I open the window?" Hermione asked. "It's really hot in here."  

He held back the sigh. "Go ahead. The whatchamacallit- cooling thing is broken." He  shrugged. "We couldn't afford a car that had a working one."

"Why didn't Harry come?"

Ron's heart sank. Of course, she wanted to see Harry. He tried to sound nonchalant as he answered.

"Well, Dumbledore won't let him leave the Burrow property." This was partially true, at least, and Harry wasn't stupid enough to tell her it wasn't entirely true. He hoped. Dumbledore 'preferred' that Harry stay at the Weasley's home, but had given him permission to accompany Ron on the trip to collect Hermione. Ron had persuaded Harry not to come, and though he had avoided saying the real reason for wanting to make the trip alone out loud, he had a feeling that Harry had gotten the point.

A long car trip alone with Hermione had seemed a good idea in theory. He would have plenty of time to work up the nerve to tell her what he'd finally realized, but it was five minutes in, and he knew he wouldn't be able to now that he knew that all she wanted to know was where Harry was. He frowned. He wouldn't be jealous of Harry. Hermione was an incredible girl; she deserved the hero, and Harry was the hero.

"Ron?" Hermione asked, a concerned, quizzical look on her face. "Is something wrong?"

"No, Hermione, nothing's wrong," He concentrated very hard on the road, really wishing that he'd brought Harry along.

 

Would you look at her
She looks at me
She's got me thinking about her constantly
But she don't know how I feel
And as she carries on without a doubt
I wonder if she's figured out
I'm crazy for this girl

Ron felt like a stupid git. He’d thought Hermione knew, but it was obviously just his overactive, lovesick imagination. He began mentally preparing to accept Harry’s invitation to be Best Man at their wedding. It would be difficult, of course, realizing that he’d missed his opportunity, but he would swallow his pride and stand up there with them, trying incredibly hard to stop thinking about Hermione that way.

She was the one to hold me
The night
The sky fell down
And what was I thinking when
The world didn't end
Why didn't I know what I know now

"Ron? Ron! Oh Ron, please be all right, please, please wake up!" As his eyes fluttered open and slowly came back into focus, the first thing Ron saw was Hermione sobbing on the chessboard next to him. Great, he thought, I have a splitting headache, and I have to deal with a hysterical Hermione. He sighed, and awkwardly patted her shoulder.

"It's okay, Hermione, it's okay. I'm okay."

Her head snapped up at his words. She wiped at her swollen, red eyes with the sleeve of her sweater.

Ron smiled inwardly. As if she could possibly hide the fact that she'd been crying!

His amusement was abruptly shattered when Hermione suddenly threw her arms around him in a crushing hug.

"Are you all right?" she sobbed.

Ron gulped for air. "I can't breathe, but other than that, yes." He felt rather panicked, and wished Hermione would let go of him.

 "Sorry." She blushed, letting go.

For some reason, Ron still felt panicked.

 "Can you stand up?"

He did.

"We have to go send an owl to Dumbledore," she said, suddenly sounding urgent.

Ron's stomach dropped. Harry. Something had happened to Harry.

Hermione continued, speaking quickly. "Harry's gone after Snape by himself. He's going to need help."

Ron didn't hear her. He was already running through the flying key room.

~*~

Ron leaned against the windowsill, sighing as he stared into the black sky outside. "So he's back," he murmured.

"Yeah." Hermione turned to him, a few tears trickling down her face. "I'm so worried, Ron." she said. "What if he comes after me? I know I should be thinking about other people, too, but I'm Muggle-born. He might--" she broke off.

Before he realized what he was doing, Ron had pulled her into a tight embrace.

"I'll protect you, we'll protect you. Harry and me, I mean."

She looked up. "Harry? How can he help? He needs protecting much more than I do."

"Then I'll just have to protect both of you," he said teasingly although he knew he meant it.

"You will?"

He turned back to the window and examined the first rays of sunlight peeking over the horizon. "With my life." They were his best friends. What else could he do?

Ron and Hermione stood together watching the sunrise for a very long time.

Would you look at her
She looks at me
She's got me thinking about her constantly
But she don't know how I feel
And as she carries on without a doubt
I wonder if she's figured out
I'm crazy for this girl

Right now
Face to face
All my fears
Pushed aside
And right now
I'm ready to spend the rest of my life
With you

Would you look at her
She looks at me
She's got me thinking about her constantly
But she don't know how I feel
And as she carries on without a doubt
I wonder if she's figured out
I'm crazy for this girl

"You didn't talk to me at all the whole way here, Ron," Hermione said, sounding hurt

Ron looked up. They were pulling into the Burrow. He hardly remembered the drive at all, and couldn't believe they'd actually made it there without any mishaps.

"I'm sorry. I've just been a little--"

"Lost in your own world?"

"Kind of.  I was remembering things. You remember back in fourth year, after the Third Task How we stayed up all night in the hospital wing while Harry slept?"

"Yes." She paused. "You said you'd protect me from You-Know-Who with your life."

She remembered. He could hardly believe it.

"Yeah." He stopped the car in the garage. "You know, I wouldn't just protect your life with mine. I'd protect your happiness, and, well, anything else I thought needed protecting." Hermione didn't say anything. He sighed. She didn't care. He hadn't expected her to. He opened the car door.

"I'll take your trunk up to Ginny's room," he said, getting out. " You can go see Harry."

She watched him struggle with the trunk for a moment, a hurt in her eyes that he was too preoccupied to see, before getting out of the car and walking to the door of the house. She paused briefly, an image of Ron riding a giant stone horse floating in her mind.

"You'll always be my knight," she whispered.
 
 

Would you look at her
She looks at me
She's got me thinking about her constantly
But she don't know how I feel
And as she carries on without a doubt
I wonder if she's figured out
I'm crazy for this girl
 

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Finite Incantem

 

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