The Sugar Quill
Author: Aldawg Kunzizzle  Story: Incredibly Stupid Blind Boys  Chapter: Default
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She was unaware of the carefree chatter around her as she made her way across the common room

 

Incredibly Stupid Blind Boys

 

She was unaware of the carefree chatter around her as she made her way across the Gryffindor common room. She eyed Harry nervously, and watched as he scribbled away at his Potions essay. She reached behind her and placed her own sweaty palms into Ron’s. Ron squeezed her hand; the encouraging gesture calmed her nerves as they made their way to their best friend.

            “Harry?” Hermione attempted, though the word came out as an indistinguishable grunt.

            “Bless you,” Harry said absentmindedly without looking up.

            Ron let out a cough that closely resembled a stifled laugh, but after a well-known glare from Hermione, he spoke to Harry.

            “Harry, mate,” he said. “Hermione and I…erm…we’ve been meaning to…uh…tell you something for quite a while.” The words spilled out hurriedly, as if Ron wanted the conversation to be over.

            “Oh?” Harry said, finally looking up from his parchment, “How long is ‘quite a while’?”

            “Well…” Hermione started, “it all began last year, in Grimmauld Place…”

 

*          *          *

 

            Ron paced his room at 12 Grimmauld Place, attempting to ignore Pig’s ceaseless hooting. The owl was perched merrily atop his head.

            “Bloody feathery git,” he muttered.

            Ron’s anger, however, had not surfaced because of Pigwidgeon’s new attachment to his hair. He had been moping around his room for hours, remembering the Yule Ball, and consequently, the day he finally opened his eyes and saw Hermione for what she was: a girl. But not just any girl. She was a very pretty girl with lovely eyes and a charming smile and exquisite bushy hair that fell around her glowing face when she was working. She wasn't just the girl Ron had known for four years. She was more than that now. She was the girl Ron fell in love with. But Viktor Krum seemed to realize it before him and not only stole her heart, but also stole her away from Ron for the summer as she went to Bulgaria on his invitation.

            “Vicky bloody Krum,” Ron muttered. Pig hooted happily.

            He could hardly expect to ever match up to an internationally famous Quidditch player. He was just Ron Weasley. Just Ron, who was cursed to be the tallest and lankiest son in the family, who stood out from a crowd only by his trademark Weasley red hair and known by many as "Harry Potter's best friend". He was just an average guy who had never accomplished anything someone else hadn't already done. What did he have to give her, when she deserved so much?

            He decided not to dwell on the Viktor Krum incident, and instead reflected on their farewells at Kings Cross. That wasn't much better. He was, of course, sad to say goodbye to Harry, but the sorrow disappeared when Hermione gave Harry a kiss. Sure, it was on the cheek, but all the same...what did it mean? Why hadn’t she kissed Ron too, if it was meant to be a friendly farewell gesture? Did she fancy Harry as well? He could understand Hermione liking a guy like Krum, but Harry?

            He groaned to himself, running his fingers through his flaming red hair, causing Pig to tumble to the floor. There was no way he could compete with Viktor Krum and the famous Harry Potter.

            Damn them. He stopped pacing and stood in shock. Cursing his best friend? What was this girl doing to him? Ron flung himself on the bed, his mind racked with guilt for thinking that way about Harry, and drifted off to sleep.

            Less than an hour later, he was awakened by the incessant growl of his stomach. Cursing his enormous appetite, he stumbled out of bed and made his way to the kitchen of the Black house, making sure to tip toe quietly past the portrait of Mrs. Black.

            As he approached the kitchen he heard an oddly familiar muttering inside. He paused, his hand grasping the doorknob and his ear pressed against the wood. Praying it didn’t creak, he pushed it open just enough to peek into the kitchen.

            He felt his heart leap as his eyes settled on the back of a girl with bushy brown curls, mumbling to herself, gripping a glass of water that was quite full. He strained his ears and managed to catch fragments of her one-sided conversation.

            “…NEVER catch on…. incredibly stupid…. blind boys…”

            Incredibly stupid? Blind boys? What in the name of Merlin was she on about? Without thinking, he swung the door open, and Hermione Granger turned quickly in her chair, letting out an audible squeak of surprise.

            “Ron!” she squealed, jumping up from her chair and hurrying to greet him. He immediately enveloped her into a huge hug, trying, and failing, not to blush.

            “Hermione, what are you doing here?” he asked, “I thought you were in Bulgaria with Vic…

            Vicky, right?” Hermione said suddenly, shoving him away. The warm expression of faded quickly to a resentful glare. She picked up a piece of parchment from the table and shoved it in front of his face. Ron, recognizing his own handwriting, gulped and shifted his eyes to the ground. Hermione cleared her throat and read it aloud:

 

“Dear Hermione,

            I suppose you’re going to Bulgaria to visit Vicky. How can you do this to Harry? For all you know, Vicky is a crazy nutter working for You-Know-Who, out to get Harry. He is the enemy, Hermione! Think about that before you run off with that Krum git.”

 

            “How dare you?” Hermione hissed, “After an entire year of drooling over Fleur Delacour! Honestly! Has it possibly slipped your mind that you asked her to the ball last year? What makes you think SHE’S not evil?”

            “But Hermione—“

            “And who wanted Viktor’s autograph, Ron? I cannot believe you can accuse him of dark magic…” Hermione ranted on, ignoring Ron’s futile interruptions.

            Ron seized his chance when Hermione paused to breathe. "Hermione, no, listen to me. It's not that, it's just...well… I'm just really worried, that's all, and I don't think you should have gone to Bulgaria when You-Know-Who is back... who knows exactly where he is right now and what he’s plotting. I just…think it’s safer for all of us to be kind of close to each other.”

            Hermione’s expression immediately softened. She looked down at her shoes, emitting a small sniff. When she looked back up, her eyes were brimmed with tears. She placed her head on Ron’s chest before sobbing uncontrollably. Ron cursed under his breath.

            “No, no, don’t cry. Please don’t cry. I’m sorry. I was wrong, okay? You were right, I’m just a brainless git.”

            “Ron, it’s n-not you,” Hermione choked in between sobs, “I’m j-just so worried about m-my parents…it’d be m-my fault if anything ever h-happened to them!”

             Ron stared at Hermione in shock. That was the last thing he expected her to say.

            “Your parents are going to be fine,” Ron said, placing his arms around her in what he hoped was a comforting way. “And even if You-Know-Who did target them, it wouldn’t be your fault. He’s the bad guy here, Hermione, remember that.” He paused, thinking hard, “How about this? I could ask my dad if he can get extra protection for your house. Something like the Fidelius charm, so your parents would be safe.”

            Hermione didn’t look up, but nodded against Ron’s shirt as her sobs subsided. When she finally pulled away, Ron’s shirt was wet from tears.

            “You okay?” Ron asked, genuinely concerned.

            “Yes, I’m fine.” She sniffed as she looked up and met his eyes. “Thank you, Ron.” He nodded, then sat down on top of the kitchen table.

            “So…what ARE you doing here?” he asked.

            “I got an urgent message from Dumbledore telling me to come. I guess he figured this was the safest place for us to go, and since we’re so close to Harry…” Hermione’s voice trailed off. “I had to cancel my plans to visit—“

            “Oh I get it,” Ron said, jumping off the table, unable to control himself, “I bet Vicky wasn’t too pleased, was he, when you couldn’t go to Bulgaria?” 

            Hermione’s eyes widened as she stared at Ron in disbelief, and for a moment she looked quite dangerous. “I never said that, Ron.”

            “You still fancy him, don’t you?” His brain was telling him to stop, but he continued to pace the kitchen, ranting at Hermione.

            “Ron…” Hermione tried to say, but Ron cut her off.

            “You bloody well fancy him! He doesn’t know you like I do, Hermione! For Merlin’s sake, he can’t even pronounce your name! He has no idea how smart you are, no idea how daring and rebellious you can be. He wasn’t there when you slapped Malfoy, he never saw you steal from the Potions master…he doesn’t know you, Hermione. You’re so real, and no one knows that better than I do.”

            “Ron…” Hermione started again, “I never said I was going to Bulgaria. I had no intention of going there. I had to cancel my trip to Italy.

            Ron stared at her in silent shock. “Oh,” he mumbled, turning away so Hermione couldn’t see his face, which was now burning a fierce shade of magenta.

            “What…what were you talking about, Ron?” she asked, her voice quivering.

            He closed his eyes in silence, attempting to summon the right words to say. “Oh, bloody hell.”

            Hermione stared at him, for once willing to ignore his language. “Yes?” she pressed gently.

            Ron heaved a great sigh. It’s now or never.

            "What I mean is...erm...you're...bloody hell!" he muttered in frustration. He took a deep breath and began again. "What I mean is you're really...erm...nice, Hermione. Yeah, nice. And... and you care about people." His eyes shifted to a few inches above her head. He wrung his hands, avoiding her gaze. "And you're… erm..." Ron gave a loud cough that distinctly sounded like the word 'pretty'.

            “Ron…what are you trying to say?” Hermione asked softly.

            "What I'm trying to say is…" Ron forced his eyes downward and, with much effort, locked them with Hermione's deep, brown eyes. "Erm...I..." Good job, Weasley, he thought to himself. One word down, two to go. "L...lo... love....you."

            Hermione stared at him in astonishment, amazed that she was finally hearing the words she had craved for over a year. “What?” Hermione whispered.

            “I…I love you.” Ron said, with much effort.

            “Oh, Ron!” Hermione choked, flinging her arms around him in a warm embrace. Ron hugged her back, enjoying the feel of her hair against his cheek.

            “Have anything else to say?” Hermione asked, her voice muffled against Ron’s shirt.

            “Erm…yeah,” Ron hesitated. “If…um…you, I mean, me…. erm…” Hermione looked into his eyes, and he felt the familiar burst of confidence she always gave him. “If I don’t kiss you this minute, I’m going to go crazy.”

            Hermione’s eyes widened at his audacity. She tilted her head slightly. The space between them closed as Ron’s mouth met hers. Time seemed to stop as a tingling sensation ran through her entire body, from her lips to her toes. She had waited for this moment for so long, and now that it was finally here she could hardly breathe through the exhilaration. She couldn’t believe Ron had felt the same way she had, all these years.

            Hermione pulled away and gazed at Ron. “I love you, too,” she whispered.

            Ron smirked. “Yeah, well, just remember who said it first.”

            Hermione opened her mouth to argue, but never got the chance, as Ron's lips were on hers once more. She pulled away fairly quickly, however, her expression filled with worry.

            “Harry!” she exclaimed.

            “Harry?” Ron asked, befuddled. “You were thinking about Harry while we were--“

            “No, you idiot, I mean, what are we going to tell Harry?”

            “Oh, right, Harry.” Ron said with relief.

            “Oh, Ron, Harry’s got so much to worry about already, I don’t want to have to add this to it…You-Know-Who is back and this will be just one more thing that’s changing for him…What if he thinks we’ll ignore him, Ron? What if he thinks things won’t be the same with the three of us? What if--?”

            “Okay, okay, I get it Hermione. We won’t tell Harry.” Ron frowned. “He’s going to have to know sometime though…and I have a feeling he won’t be happy about us hiding this from him.”

            Hermione placed her head on Ron’s warm chest again, wrapping her arms around his neck. “We’ll worry about that when the time comes.”

 

*         *          *

 

            Hermione coughed nervously and chanced a glance at Harry, trying to read his expression. Harry stared for a moment at the two of them, looking like he was trying hard not to laugh. “Oh,” he finally said, and continued to write his Potions essay.

            “’OH’?” Hermione asked, almost disappointed by his subdued reaction, “Harry…you’re not upset? We’ve kept this from you for over a year…I mean…I’m glad you’re not angry with us, but honestly, Harry…”

            “See Hermione? Told you not to worry about it,” Ron said, looking quite relieved. “I think I’ll go for a game of chess.” He tried walking away, but Hermione had his arm in a death grip.

            “Relax, Hermione.” Harry laughed. “I was mad at first, but I understand why you didn’t tell me.”

            Hermione interrupted. “Harry…what do you mean ‘at first’?”

            Harry doubled over in a fit of silent laughter that had been bursting to escape. “I already…know about…you and Ron!” he exclaimed in between chuckles.

            “WHAT?” Hermione yelled. “You already KNEW? How long have you known? You knew, and you made me embarrass myself and tell you this entire…how long have you known, you prat?”

            “Since the first day of term.” Harry said with a smirk, “I saw you snogging in the train compartment when I was coming back from the food trolley. I was really upset at first, so I went to talk it over with Ginny…”

            “GINNY knows?” Hermione shrieked.

            “Well, yeah. She’s the only one I’ve told though,” Harry said calmly. “Anyway, Ginny told me that you two were probably just concerned about me having too much on my mind already.”

            Hermione stared at Harry in disbelief. Ron was eyeing the chess set with interest, completely unperturbed by Hermione’s breakdown.

            “Harry…why didn’t you tell?” Hermione asked.

            “It was funny.” Harry shrugged.

            “Funny?” she asked, her eyes wide.

            “Well, yeah,” Harry said. “Watching you two give each other ‘special glances’ across the room…it was classic.”

            “Hey, Harry,” said Ron. “Want to take a break? Up for a game of chess?”

            “Yeah, sure,” Harry said, putting down his quill. The two boys set off for the chess set.

            Hermione followed them across the common room to watch their game. “Incredibly stupid…blind boys…Honestly!”

//
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