The Sugar Quill
Author: Mallaryrose  Story: A Hot Summer Day  Chapter: Chapter Two
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: Itís not mine

Disclaimer: Itís not mine. The wonderful world of Harry Potter belongs to the J.K. Rowling. I am writing this for (mostly) my own amusement, not money.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter Two

 

Ron sat down on the lawn, slightly out of breath. With Harryís help, he had finally finished the de-gnoming. Now they had a full afternoon to do whatever they wished. Smiling, he looked at his friend.

"So, do you want to go get something to eat?"

"Didnít we already have lunch?" Harry said, wrinkling his forehead.

"A whole two hours ago." Ron shrugged. "Doesnít matter though, I suppose I can wait until dinner."

"Hold on, Iíve got something." Harry fumbled with his pocket, and revealed a half-eaten bag of Bertie Bottís Every Flavor Beans. "Snack?" He suggested.

Ron grinned, coming toward him. Together they selected the safest-looking beans to munch on.

"So," said Harry, sounding a bit nervous, "You and Hermione seemed to be having quite a discussion"

"Yeah." Ron felt his face growing hot with anger. Picking out a white bean he inspected it thoroughly.

"This one looks safe," he said, changing the subject. He really wasnít in the mood to talk about Hermione and her denial. Not at the moment, anyway.

"Ron, I...Iím just curious." Harry wrung his hands. "Why do you care?"

"Care?" Ron straightened up in his seat. "About what?"

"Why do you even care if Hermione and Viktor are going out?" The color in his cheeks began to fade. "Viktor is a decent fellow, and Hermione seems to like him all right." He grew paler, as if he were afraid to say anything to his own best friend. "I donít mean to prod, really. But itís so hard when you two fight. I feel so...I donít know...divided. I just thought that if you could figure out why it bothers you, it might stop some of the fighting."

Ron stared open-mouthed at his friend. It was the most open statement Harry had ever made in all the years he had known him. His fighting with Hermione must really bother him, if it made him talk that much.

The question made him ponder. Why did he care? Ron struggled to answer.

"I...I donít know." He sighed. "Viktor isnít so bad, youíre right. He did give me his autograph and everything. Itís not Viktor himself I really have a problem with at all, I think. I suppose itís just the thought of Hermione with him that makes me upset." He leaned back, then shot up again. "But donít tell her I said anything about it."

Harryís face turned from one of anxiety to one of great amusement. He opened his mouth to respond, but was soon interrupted.

"Sounds to me like youíre jealous." A feminine voice came from behind them. Ron turned to see Ginny standing a few feet away, a sly grin slowly creeping across her freckled face. She held her schoolbooks tightly. "Of course, most of us have known that for quite some time."

"I am not jealous!" Ron stood up, clenching his fists slightly. "And what are you talking about? What have you known?"

"Oh please, Ron, stop being so thick." She pranced toward them, nodding at Harry, who looked like he was fighting back a smile. "Harry and I, along with practically everyone else in this world, know that you are jealous of Hermione dating another wizard. Itís extremely obvious." Harry was nodding along with her.

"Are you kidding me?" Ron could not even begin to accept what his sister was telling him. "Why on earth would I be jealous?"

"Because you have feelings for her."

You could always count on Ginny to put things simply. Ron stared in disbelief at his sister.

"The heat must be getting to you." Yeah, that was it. Why else would she say something that outrageous?

And why does something that outrageous make so much sense?

"Iím perfectly cool, thank you very much." Ginnyís eyes flashed. " Just admit it, Ron. Youíve got a crush on Hermione."

No! He couldnít have a crush on Hermione. She was his best friend, nothing more.

But then there was that unfamiliar feeling that he got so often. It had first started last year, around the Yule Ball, during a very boring Transfiguration lesson. He had been looking at different things in the room to pass the time, when his glance stopped at Hermione, who had been avidly taking notes, and hadnít noticed his gaze. It had been an odd sensation that started in the pit of his stomach. The feeling then rushed up his spine, ran down his arms, and tingled at his fingertips. It was like holding a wand for the first time, only there was no wand in his hand.

And he only felt it for Hermione.

Uh oh...

Ron fell to his knees, running a hand through his hair. "Bloody hell," he mumbled, trembling slightly. Harry placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. Ron choked out his words. "D...Does Hermione know?"

"That you like her?" Harry asked. He laughed slightly. "Sheís the only other person who hasnít realized it yet."

"Great wizards!" He muttered. "What should I do?"

"Thatís for you to decide, Ron." Ginny gestured up the hill. "But I can tell you that for starters, you might want to apologize."

He nodded glumly, and began his walk.

Placing one foot in front of the other was hard work sometimes, and Ron was panting with the effort. The sun was slowly setting behind the top of the hill, yet the intense heat still clung in the air.

Praying he would find the right words, Ron scanned the area. At first, as he peeked between the prickly branches of a large shrub, he didnít see her. In fact, all he saw was a pile of schoolwork and a pair of rumpled sandals by the side of the pond. Then, suddenly, he heard a splash and a giggle, and saw a sight that he was sure had covered him from head to toe in an embarrassed blush.

She stood across the pond by the shore, tiptoeing through the ankle-deep water, soaking wet, her books thrown aside, and being very un-Hermione indeed. A content smile adorned her face. Her curly hair had straightened to clumps of waves, and her skin, after being out in the sun all day, was a golden tan. Her pale blue sundress was sopping wet, causing the lightweight fabric to cling her body, showing her every curve...

"RON!" Hermione screamed, stopping in her spot.

"Hello, Hermione." Ron stepped out of his refuge behind the bushes, "I...um..."

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" She yelled. Her face, instead of smiling like before, now glowed with an expression of shock, anger, and something else Ron couldnít quite put his finger on.

Logically, he could have asked her the exact same question, but, not wanting to ignite another argument, he didnít say anything about it.

"Listen, Hermione." He put his hands in his pockets and looked down at his feet. "Iím really sorry."

Hermione swallowed, stepped onto the bank, and came slowly toward him, grass sticking to her wet feet.

"Itís okay," she said, sitting down on the ground.

Ron continued. "No, itís not okay. Iíve been a great big git. I should have never bothered you about dating Viktor Krum. Itís none of my business at all, and I donít know why I always get so angry about it." He hesitated, brought his hands out of his pockets, changed his mind, and put them back in again. "Actually, I do know why, but..."

He felt himself blushing madly at what he was saying. He wiped his forehead, which was growing damp with sweat. Hermione came closer, her eyes questioning his every move. He blushed even more.

"Ron," Hermione piped. Was it him, or did her voice resemble a sweet melody? She kept going. "It really is okay, you donít have to explain. It doesnít matter." She looked into his eyes, making his knees almost buckle under her cinnamon gaze. "Ron." She said, and then repeated it again, "Ron, thereís something I need to tell you."

~*~*~*~*~*~

Hermione gave herself a big mental kick in the rear. Why had she said that? Everything had been going so smoothly, and she went and messed things up. What was she going to do now? She had to tell him something, even if she told him the truth.

She felt like a deflated balloon. Usually, she had almost everything planned out, from her homework, to her answer to a question. But right then, with Ron, everything was spur of the moment, played by ear. Preparation and always knowing the answer were her strong points, but she certainly didnít have command of them at that moment.

"Hermione, what is it?" Ron looked perplexed. "Is something wrong?"

She tugged at her dress, which was dripping off water and forming a small puddle all around her.

"Nothingís wrong. Not really." She answered. "Itís just that...well, Iíve been thinking, and Iíve realized that I...I...Oh dear, how can I put this? Ron, I..." She went silent. Honestly! Why couldnít she just say it and get it over with?

"Hermione, I think I fancy you." Ron blurted, going red.

It looked like he was way ahead of her.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Ron could only think of one thing to do.

Run.

Turning on his heels, he bolted down the hill and towards the Burrow.

"Ron!" Hermione called after him. "Ron, please! Wait up!"

He kept running. The distant figure of the Burrow was growing larger. Orange and pink from the setting sun reflected off its windows. He had to get inside, into the cozy living room, where things were simpler. Where you didnít have feelings for your best friend, and where she wasnít running after you to confront you about it. A gnome squealed from the gardenís bushes as he rushed by. Heart racing, he reached the front door. He stopped to catch his breath, looking out to see Hermione descending the hill, her books enveloped in her arms.

He tried to open the door, but the knob kept slipping under his sweaty, trembling grasp.

"Let me help." Hermione gently pushed him aside, put her books in one hand, and turned the knob for him. The door swung open, revealing empty interior of the living room.

"It looks like everyoneís at dinner." She said.

"Guess so." He avoided making eye contact. "Hope itís not cold already, because Iím starved."

Maybe if he avoided what he had said earlier, it would never come up again. They could put it away and forget about it, like the old toys up in the attic.

"Ron?"

Or not...

"Yeah?" He answered.

"You know what you were saying earlier, about proving it?" She inched closer.

"Oh, that?" He shook his head, feeling relieved at the fact the she seemed to be avoiding the other topic they had discussed. "Hermione, I apologized, remember? I was just being stupid."

"I remember you wanting me to prove that I didnít have feelings for Viktor." He could hear her light breathing. "But the thing is, I can."

"How, exactly?" Ron smiled, not really understanding what she was getting at.

"Like this."

Suddenly, her arms were wrapped around his neck, her body leaning on his, and she was kissing him.

It was a soft and simple kiss, but at the same time, very intense. At first, he was completely shocked, but then he began to respond by placing his arms around her waist. It felt wonderful, like...eclectricity.

Their lips broke apart too soon, but they remained in each otherís embrace. It was amazing to Ron how well her head fit under his chin, resting upon his chest like a pillow.

"Point proven." He whispered.

Hand in hand, they headed inside, Ron knowing that things between he and Hermione would never be the same again.

They would be better.

 

 

The End

Authorís Note: I hope you liked my story. I was a bit worried in this chapter about making Hermione too much of a Mary-Sue in this chapter, but since most of it is in Ronís PoV, she would seem perfect to him.

To all of you who reviewed the last chapter, thank you very much!

Most of all I want to thank Yolanda for helping me with all my mistakes, especially with my atrocious grammar problems. THANK YOU!

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