“Pawn to E4.”
“Knight to G7.”
“Queen to C2.”
Ron looked at the chessboard, his
brow furrowing, trying to decide the best course of action, but he was having a
hard time concentrating. And lately,
his inability to concentrate on his favorite game was centered around Hermione,
who was sitting across the chessboard, biting her lower lip as she surveyed the
“Bishop to D5.”
Ron watched as Hermione’s hand
came up and brushed away a few stray strands of hair in front of her face. She tucked them behind her ears, still
chewing on her lip. Ron wanted to tell
her to stop, that her lips shouldn’t be abused that way, but he didn’t know
what to say. So he didn’t say anything,
tearing his attention away from Hermione’s lips back to the chess game.
“Rook to C7.”
Hermione apparently didn’t realize
the danger to her knight. Ron counted
on that. Hermione was often so focused
on the goal that she didn’t realize the little dangers along the way. He was taking a chance with moving his rook
there, but he thought it would work out.
“Pawn to G3.”
And it did.
“Rook to G7.”
The knight was now lying smashed
on its square, before it was dragged off to the sidelines to wait with all the
other injured chess pieces of both colors.
There were growing piles of both white and black pieces, which actually
appeared to be about even now.
Hermione surveyed the chessboard,
looking for a move to make that wouldn’t get her slaughtered. Ron was, after all, the acknowledged Chess
Master of Gryffindor, who could play even Professor McGonagall to a stalemate,
but Hermione had the decided advantage of playing against him constantly for
the past six-and-a-half years. She knew
what moves he would typically make. And
she could call him on them.
Luring him into a false sense of
security. Making him feel complacent,
sure in his skills. Hermione knew his
typical plan of attack just as well as she knew her own. But she also knew that if she wanted the
results to go her way, she would have to have a new strategy, one Ron wouldn’t
expect. She would turn the game around
when he expected it the least. She
smiled to herself.
Ron saw Hermione smile, and
decided that he liked it. It was just a
small smile, but nice, and sure of itself, just like Hermione was. He’d like it if she smiled like that all the
“Bishop to E3.”
“Queen to F2.”
Now it was Ron who was overlooking
moves in favor of his own strategy. And
it was Ron who would lose his rook for it.
“Bishop to G7.”
The rook, now resembling a ruin,
became part of the rapidly growing pile of bruised chess pieces. Sometimes, Hermione knew, not even the
things she thought glaringly obvious were even visible to Ron. He would be off in his own little Ron-land,
and it was usually only either a threat to Harry or a smack to the head that
would bring him back. Whether that
smack was literal or figurative…well, that depended on what the situation
“Queen to C5, and check.”
Ron would think he was in control,
when really his every reaction was carefully planned out by Hermione through
her knowledge of him, the knowledge of a girl who has watched him closely for
the past three years. She probably knew
him better than he knew himself, and she turned that to her advantage.
“Knight to C5.”
Ron hadn’t even remembered her
knight. Hermione was slowly cutting off
all his resistance with her carefully executed moves, and then she would go in
for the kill. This time it was a broken
queen who limped furiously off the board, joining her other subjects on the
sidelines. Ron’s king was beginning to
look scared, for perhaps the first time since Hermione had played against this
set. Ron himself was now concentrating
fully on their game, little beads of sweat breaking out on his forehead as he
considered his next move. He only had a
few pawns, a rook, a bishop, and his king left.
Ron wasn’t sure if he would be
able to salvage a win out of this game.
Hermione certainly turned the tables on him, and she currently had some
much more useful pieces in play, including her queen. And—there’s a move!
“Rook to G3.”
A pawn joined the ranks of its
brethren on the sidelines. An
insignificant victory, perhaps, but little victories could easily add up and
contribute to the total victory.
“Rook to H8.”
Why was she moving to the
corner? The action of the game was in
the middle right now—quickly, Ron checked for hidden motives and possible
moves, but found no reason for moving a rook out of the action and into the
corner. Suspicious, Ron took his time
before making a move of his own.
“Rook to B3.”
In a couple moves, he would be
able to put her king in check again, and with the strategic placement of a few
pawns…the game would be his.
“Queen to A6, and check.”
Ron’s king, currently on D6,
protested loudly at this until Ron bid him move to a different square.
“King to D7.”
Hermione made her next move within
the seconds following Ron’s own.
“Rook to H7, and check again.”
Eyes widening as he checked the
board, Ron nearly groaned aloud at the trap he had allowed himself to be caught
into. With a growing sense of futility,
he ordered his king into the last row.
“King to D8.”
“Queen to A8.”
And the game was over, but Ron
wasn’t sad to have lost. He looked up
at Hermione, smiling slightly. She
returned his smile.
“Well, Ron, it looks like you’ve
finally met your match.”
Ron cocked his head to the side,
looking at Hermione in a different light.
She sat there, with a slightly cocky smile on her face, leaning back in
her chair with her arms crossed, as if daring him to do something. In a split-second decision, he did.
He found he liked kissing her very
much. And it appeared she shared the
After about a minute or so, Ron
drew back a bit, grinning widely, the tips of his ears rather red. Hermione smiled widely back at him, her own
cheeks flushing a bit as well.
“Looks like I have, then.”