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