The Sugar Quill
Author: Ava  Story: Say I Like This Girl  Chapter: Chapter 2. Ron's Retaliation
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RON'S RETALIATION

A/N: This is only a two-part story, making this the final installment (unlike my version on fanfiction.net). Short and sweet, I say, leave 'em wanting more! So I hope you like it and please review. **BIG THANKS** to my beta reader NightZephyr, who is absolutely wonderful!!!!!!



RON'S RETALIATION

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Ron's mind was an odd jumble of mismatched words that didn't make any sense. He couldn't focus his eyes on anything and he was having trouble figuring out where he was.

"Ron? Are you okay?" Hermione's voice sounded distant and muffled. "Can you hear me, Ron?"

"Ron?" That sounded like Professor Lupin, only he too seemed to be speaking from a very great distance. "Ron, sit up and drink this, please." Ron felt something warm and wet roll down his throat. His eyes began coming back into focus.

"Where am I?" he managed to utter as his eyes cleared enough that he could see Hermione leaning over him.

"You're in the kitchen," Hermione explained. She looked worried. Ron wondered why she was so worried.

"What happened?" he asked.

Hermione looked a little confused. "Ron - you collapsed."

"Collapsed?" Ron repeated. He was beginning to feel a lot less disorientated. Hermione had kissed him. She had kissed him, but then what happened? He couldn't remember. "You kissed me," he heard himself say. Hermione shifted uncomfortably and her eyes flew nervously to Lupin.

"Yes," she replied quietly.

"Oh." Ron lifted his hand to rub his head. Hermione had kissed him and then he'd collapsed. Could he be any more of a loser? He rubbed his head angrily, but only managed to make it hurt more. He was furious at himself. The proper response when someone kisses you is to kiss them back. But not Ron Weasley - oh no, he had to be a complete moron and pass out. Suddenly he felt Hermione wrap a hand round his wrist. She pulled his arm away so he couldn't do anymore damage to the now throbbing lump on the side of his head.

"Take this, Ron." Lupin ordered, handing him glass filled with thick grey liquid. He drained the glass, which smelt awful, but tasted almost like pumpkin juice. "Off you go then, straight up to your room and rest please." He took back the empty glass and ushered them both out. The pair walked wordlessly towards the stairs. As soon as they made it past the portraits Hermione mumbled something about changing her robes and disappeared up the stairs. Ron resigned to the drawing room and dropped into an armchair near the fire. He sat there feeling sorry for himself until Harry walked in ten minutes later.

"Hey, Ron," he said, throwing himself down onto the seat opposite. Ron stared at his hands and didn't answer. "Is there something wrong?" Ron grunted in response and didn't look up. "Where's Hermione?" Harry continued, attempting to make conversation. "You know, your mum is furious, and it took forever for us to get Mrs. Black to stop screeching." Ron grunted again. "Have you turned into a troll or something?"

"I wish," he replied, sighing sadly.

"What's going on?" Harry asked, sitting up and staring intently at Ron.

"Nothing. Nevermind." Ron sighed again. The door swung open and Ron looked up to see Hermione walk in. She had a pile of books in her arms and without so much as a glance in their direction she pulled up a chair at a desk in the far corner. "I blew it," Ron muttered quietly, immediately hoping Harry hadn't heard.

"Blew what?"

No such luck. "My chance." Ron had a sudden urge to tell Harry everything. "I didn't even know I had a chance, but somehow I still managed to blow it."

Harry looked completely confused. "Ron, what on earth are you talking about?"

Ron jammed his mouth shut. If he did tell Harry he'd only be embarrassing himself and Hermione. He glanced at Hermione. She was staring off into space, absent-mindedly twirling a wisp of hair.

"Fine, you don't have to tell me," Harry said, cutting into Ron's thoughts, "but if you ask me, it ain't over till the fat lady sings!"

"What?" Ron's attention flicked to Harry and then back to Hermione. She slammed her book shut, grabbed some parchment and strode towards the door.

"Oh, have you never heard of that? I guess it's a Muggle saying," Harry replied. "It means it isn't over till itís over."

"Harry, that doesn't make any sense."

"Look at it this way; maybe you haven't completely blown it, maybe if you hurry you can fix it," Harry explained, then added to himself, "whatever IT is."

Ron glanced over his shoulder at the closed door. "You know Harry, I think you're right. Thanks, mate." Ron leapt from his seat and raced out of the room. He was a few paces down the corridor when he suddenly slammed into Ginny. "Where's Hermione?" he asked, without stopping.

"Um, the attic, I think," Ginny replied. "Why?" she called after him, but Ron was already bounding up the stairs and didn't reply. He strode quickly down the next corridor and up the stairs to the attic. He paused outside the door taking a deep breath. Slowly he pushed the door open a tiny crack. Hermione was sitting cross-legged next to Buckbeak, a book resting on her knees. Ron watched as her eyes flew back and forth across the page. He resisted the urge to run straight to her, instead favouring to shove his hands into his pockets and walk in as calmly and casually as he could manage. Hermione looked up in surprise. Ron suddenly noticed that she had the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen. It took him a moment to realise he was staring, then he immediately shook himself out of it.

"Hi," he managed to say.

"Hi," Hermione replied. She seemed to be blinking a whole lot, or perhaps that was him.

"I... uh... what are you working on?" Ron asked, pointing to her book.

"Homework," she replied simply.

"Oh, uh, I'll leave you alone then." Ron turned to leave.

"No, that's okay," Hermione said quickly, "you can stay. If you want to, that is."

Ron's heart did a little leap and he couldn't stop his lips forming a small smile. "I do."

Hermione's expression brightened, but she immediately tried to hide it and casually flipped a page of her book. "You can sit down if you want," she added, without looking up.

Ron's smile widened as he dropped down beside her. For a moment neither spoke. "You know I'm a git, right?" Ron asked, breaking the silence.

Hermione laughed and closed her book.

Ron reached over and took the book from her lap, placing it on the ground. "Just making sure," he said. Ron leaned forward, cupped her cheek in his hand and kissed her gently. He pulled away slowly, savouring the brief encounter.

Hermione bit her lip. "You know I'm a bossy, know-it-all, right?" she asked. Ron nodded. "Just making sure," she said leaning forward and softly kissing him back. They pulled away slowly a second time.

"Hermione?" Ron asked, his expression serious.

"Yes?" Hermione prompted.

"Would you, I mean, as corny as it sounds, would you be my girlfriend?" he asked, hopefully.
Hermione's face broke into an enormous grin. "Just when I'm beginning to lose all faith in you, Ron, you come out with something like that and completely redeem yourself."

"Is that a yes?" Ron persisted.

"That's a yes," Hermione confirmed. Ron grinned broadly. Hermione laughed and threw her arms around his neck. Ron barely had enough time to realise just how lucky he was before he was lost in the intensity of the moment and the purity of young love.

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Thanks for reading!
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