The Sugar Quill
Author: Jelsemium  Story: Breathe  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.

By Jill Weber/ Jelsemium

By Jill Weber/ Jelsemium
Characters copyrighted by J.K. Rowling and used without permission or intent to make a profit.

 

Breathe

 

 

Gryffindor sixth year, Ron Weasley, guarded the goal posts and watched the Quaffle being tossed between his sister and second year Gabrielle Delacour. Gryffindor and Hufflepuff were neck and neck for not only the Quidditch Cup, but the House Cup as well. A lot was riding on this game, and Gryffindor was at a disadvantage. This was the first year that most of the Gryffindor team had played for their house while most of the Hufflepuff team were veterans.  

The Keepers had been doing their jobs so well that the score was tied at ten to ten. Which meant it was all going to come down to the Seekers. A glitter of gold caught his eye and Ron leaned back on his nearly new Flying Tiger. The Snitch! He wasn’t the only one who had seen it. The crowd was beginning to roar and both Seekers were diving. He had the best seat in the house for this, as the Snitch was only a few meters in front of him. 

The Hufflepuff seeker, sixth year Eloise Midgen was closer to the Snitch, but Harry had the Firebolt. He put on a burst of speed and looped Eloise, arriving at the Snitch bare seconds before the Hufflepuff Seeker. 

Ron let out a whoop that was echoed by his teammates and half the spectators. The Gryffindor team charged Harry and Ron laughed. He bet himself that the new Chasers were going to take advantage of the situation to steal a few kisses. He knew Ginny was going to try. He bet that second-year Gabrielle was going to try as well. This could be almost as much fun as watching Harry catch the Snitch, so he hung back a bit to get a good view. 

“Gryffindor wins!” bellowed the iron throated Ernie Macmillan. To give him credit, the Hufflepuff sounded excited about Gryffindor’s win.  

Ron shook his head. So much for Hufflepuffs being loyal, he thought. Just then he noticed that one of the Bludger remained unsecured and he shook his head. All four Beaters were new and this was a typical novice blunder. Then he realized that the Bludger was going to crash straight into the back of Gabrielle’s head. Automatically, Ron kicked his broom into an interception course. 


*** 


Ron was disoriented when he woke up. Oh, bugger, was that game a dream? No wonder it had been so good. Oh, well, the good feeling was lasting. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt so… floaty. Wait, ‘floaty’ wasn’t a word, was it? 

 

“Ron?” a worried voice. 

 

Ah, good, here was Hermione. She’d know if ‘floaty’ was a word… wait, what was Hermione doing in the boys’ dormitory? He squinted around. 

 

“He’s awake,” he heard Harry say with obvious relief. 

 

“Don’t expect much in the way of coherence,” Madam Pomfrey’s voice responded severely. “Breathe-rite has some powerful pain-killers in it. He’s bound to feel a bit… inebriated.” 

 

Drunk? Was he drunk?  

 

Hermione and Harry moved into his line of sight. 

 

“Ron?” Hermione said again. 

 

Wha’ happened?” Ron managed to get out. 

 

“We won the game, the Quidditch Cup and probably the House Cup as well,” Harry told him. He didn’t smile when he said that, which Ron thought was very odd. You’d think a bloke would have to grin when he delivered that much good news in one sentence. 

 

“Have I missed the party?” Ron muttered. It was the only explanation he could come up with for Harry not smiling. 

 

Harry did manage a grin at that and Hermione rolled her eyes. 

 

“Honestly, Ron, you’re in the hospital wing. Why would we have a party without you?” 

 

“I’m in… How’d I wind up in here?” 

 

“You got hit by a rogue Bludger,” Harry said. “Stopped it from cracking Gabrielle’s head open, by the way. You’re quite the hero.” 

 

“But you caught the Snitch!” protested Ron. 

 

“Do you think anybody cares about the Snitch just now?” Hermione asked. “You could have been killed! The Bludger drove one of your ribs into your lung!”  

 

Hermione sounded close to tears. Ron needed to distract her, and quickly. “What’s Breathe-rite?” he asked. 

 

Faced with a question, Hermione managed to collect herself. “It re-grew your lung,” she replied. “Unlike the skele-gro, the Breathe-Rite has a pain-killing component in it.” She paused. "How do you feel?” 

 

“Very, very happy,” Ron said, smiling broadly at her. 

 

“You’re going to get a lot happier,” Harry predicted. 

 

It was a pity that the academic year had ended, because Harry might have received extra-credit for the accuracy of that last prediction. Over the next few days, Ron was showered with attention and presents. Not to mention gratitude from Professor Fleur Delacour. She made a point of dropping by the Hospital Wing at least once a day to deliver a treat or a card or sometimes just a kiss on the cheek. 

 

“I cannot thank you enough for saving my sister,” she said, again, after kissing Ron on either cheek. 

 

Ron watched her leave. His smile only faded when he heard a small ‘hmph’ from Hermione. 

 

“Something wrong, Hermione?” Ron asked a faint shadow of anxiety tried to worm its way into his happy place. He looked at his friend, who was putting Professor Delacour’s bouquet of flowers into a vase.  

 

“No, no, of course not, I love sitting around watching you drool over Professor Delacour,” she said in a sniffy voice.  

 

For some reason Ron found this very amusing. “You’re jealous!” he exclaimed. 

 

“I am not.” 

 

“You shouldn’t be, I mean, really. Fleur, I mean Professor Delacour, is pretty, if you like plain, bland vanilla.” 

 

 

“Plain? Professor Delacour?” Hermione asked in skeptical tones. She sat down next to Ron’s bed and fiddled with the flowers some more. 

 

“Well, really, her hair is pretty, but it’s rather colorless and it just lies there like, well, like hair,” Ron reached out and touched Hermione’s hair. “Unlike some people’s hair, which has all sorts of brown mixed in and bounces all over like it was alive.” He gave her hair a tug.  

 

“Ron!” Hermione rescued her hair from his grip. 

 

“Fleur’s complexion is just plain white, too. Unlike certain other people’s whose skin blushes or gets sunburned or picks up little freckles… look, here’s a new one!” he tapped her nose when he said that. 

 

“You silly…” Hermione brushed his hand away. “Honestly, Ron, you’ve never talked like this before!” 

 

“I’ve never been dosed up with Breathe-rite before,” Ron admitted. 

 

Hermione sighed. “So, the only reason you’re saying this is because…” 

 

Ron interrupted her. “I mean, I’ve thought it lots of times, but I never had the nerve to say it before.” 

 

Hermione looked away and there was an uncomfortable silence. 

 

“So, what’s bothering you?” 

 

“She kissed you.” 

 

“Only on the cheek!” Ron said. “And only to thank me for saving her sister. You know that Gabrielle is the thing that Fleur would miss most.” 

 

Hermione looked down at her hands, which were twisting in her lap almost of their own volition. “Yes, well…” 

 

“You could kiss me, you know,” Ron said. 

 

Hermione’s head jerked up and she stared at him. 

 

“You needn’t confine it to my cheek, either.” Ron smiled wistfully. 

 

Hermione’s eyes went wide and she leaned in a bit. Ron thought she was actually going to go through with it, and then she pulled back. “No, it wouldn’t be fair. You’re all dosed up with Breathe-rite and… and I’d be taking advantage of you.” 

 

“I wouldn’t mind,” Ron protested. 

 

“I would.” She left at that point and didn’t come back on her own after that. 

 

*** 

 

A week later, when Madame Pomfrey finally let Ron out of the hospital wing, Hermione and Harry turned up to walk him to the leaving feast. Ron shot Harry a significant look and Harry obligingly vanished down a side corridor. 

 

After a few minutes of silence, Hermione looked around. “Where has Harry got to?” 

 

Ron looked around as if surprised. “Dunno, you think the lummox actually got lost?” 

 

“Maybe we should look for him,” Hermione said worriedly. 

 

“Nah, let’s see if he’s in the Great Hall first,” Ron said.  

 

They walked a few more minutes before Ron worked up the nerve. He had to do it now, or Harry would never let him live it down. “Erm, Hermione, I’m not taking Breathe-rite any more.” 

 

“I hope not,” Hermione said. “Why?” 

 

“Well, I was just thinking, that if you kissed me now, you wouldn’t be taking advantage of me.” 

 

Hermione’s head jerked around again. “I… what?” she looked around, but the corridor was deserted. “Oh.” 

 

“May I kiss…?” Ron didn’t finish his sentence because that’s when Hermione kissed him. 

 

They drew back a few paces and tried to remember how to breathe. 

 

“I guess that isn’t taking advantage of you,” Hermione said thoughtfully. 

 

“Really? Maybe we should try it again, just to be sure,” Ron suggested. 

 

Hermione had no objections to that at all. 

 

//
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