The Sugar Quill
Author: Aldawg Kunzizzle  Story: Facing Fears  Chapter: Default
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Facing Fears

Facing Fears

A/N: It’s been quite a while since our last fic…we decided we wanted to see our name up there again J.

Hermione Granger tucked a brown curl of hair behind her ear before knocking softly on Ron’s bedroom door at Twelve Grimmauld Place. She cleared her throat several times and ran her hand through her hair in what she hoped would appear in a natural fashion. Finally, the door opened.

            Ron Weasely stood before her, his hair ruffled from sleep. He still sported his maroon, too-short pajamas and looked tired and irritated by the interruption. Hermione stared at him in disbelief.

            “Did I wake you?” she asked incredulously.

            “Wake me? Uh, yeah, Hermione, it’s the crack of dawn!”

            “Ten-thirty in the morning is not the crack of dawn.”

            “Close enough,” Ron grumbled, and yawned dramatically while running a hand through his already messy hair, causing butterflies to rise in Hermione’s stomach. “So what’re you doing here so early, anyway?” he asked.

            “Actually, I needed a favor,” Hermione said, drawing her gaze from his beautiful red hair to meet his eyes. “Moody asked if we could take care of another boggart he found in the library. He didn’t want to ask Mrs. W—your mother, because of her reaction last year, and he was late for something or he would have taken care of it himself.”

            A few slight wrinkles appeared on Ron’s forehead. “Late for what?” he asked.

            Hermione shrugged. “Like he would tell me…the Order is still being secretive about everything, even after all we went through last year at the Department of Mysteries.”

            Ron sighed. “Figures,” he mumbled. “So this boggart is in the library, then?” Hermione nodded. “Well, let’s ask Harry and Ginny to help, too. The more people we have, the easier it will be.”

Hermione agreed, and they made their way down the hall to Ginny’s room.

            Hermione brought up a hand to knock, but Ron, having been a brother to six for the majority of his life, barged right in.

            Ginny turned from her desk to face them, and smiled when she saw who it was. “Hey, you two. What’s up?” she said with a grin.

            “Hey, Ginny,” Hermione said. “Can we ask for a fav—”?

            “Gin,” Ron interrupted. “Boggart, library, help?”

            Hermione shook her head at Ron. He’s too tired to even form a complete sentence…

Ginny seemed far too used to his behavior to be confused. She nodded, set down her quill, and followed them out the door.

            “Now where’s Harry?” Hermione asked to no one in particular.

            “I think he’s in the drawing room,” Ginny said.

            The trio headed toward Harry’s alleged location and found him staring blankly at the Black family tree, directly at the burn that had once been Sirius’s name.

            Hermione sighed. Ever since his godfather’s death, Harry had been downright quiet. He hardly ever spoke, and when he did it was short and to the point.

            “Harry?” Ron asked tentatively. Harry turned to meet Ron’s concerned gaze and raised his eyebrows ever so slightly. Ron took this gesture as a What is it? and explained the situation with the boggart in the library.

            “Okay, whatever,” Harry said with a shrug, and the four friends headed toward the library.

            They immediately became aware of the exact whereabouts of the boggart, as a lonely cupboard standing in the corner was shaking incessantly.

            The four friends approached the cupboard with some trepidation, halting five feet away and simply staring. They were all aware of the same fact. After what they had gone through last year, every one of them was terrified of what form the boggart would assume for each of them in turn.

            Harry glanced at his friends and took in each of their unwilling, terrified expressions. He sighed inwardly and approached the rattling cupboard.

            A short nod from Harry told Hermione he was ready for his turn. Hermione stepped forward and pried open the cupboard door.

A dementor emerged from the cupboard. The lights dimmed into total darkness as it glided toward them, and a definite chill was in the air; it was in their very bones. Harry’s insides turned to ice as memories of his past haunted his mind, each dark thought more painful than the previous.

            “Not Harry! Please, not Harry!”

            “Rid…riddikulus!”

            “You’re less like your father than I thought.”

            “R-Riddikulus…”

            “He can’t come back, because he’s dead…”

            Images flashed through his head. He saw Sirius fall through the veil over and over again, and he was completely helpless to stop it. He fell to his knees, gripping his hair and shaking all over, fighting to stay conscious.

            Suddenly the coldness had left his body. Harry brought his head up to see Ginny standing protectively before him, blocking the dementor’s path. The dementor disappeared with a loud Crack!

A handsome figure sprawled out on the floor, and a gasp was heard from everyone in the room when they realized who it was.

            Harry stared in shock at the mirror image of himself lying dead on the floor. Ginny’s greatest fear was his death?

            In what took a great amount of courage and effort, Harry chanced a glance at Ginny.

            Her face was stained with hot tears, and her eyes were held tightly shut, looking as if she wanted nothing more than to vanish on the spot. Harry could hear her muttering to herself, but only barely. “It’s just a boggart,” she was assuring herself, her voice trembling, “He’s not dead. It’s not real. It’s not real.”

            “Ginny…?” Harry said hesitantly.

            “N-never mind, Harry,” Ginny whispered, her eyes still closed. “Hermione…just get rid of it. Please.”

            Harry desperately wanted to comfort her, to assure her that he wasn’t going anywhere and that he would always be there for her, but he didn’t know how to express it in words. He therefore settled with placing comforting arms around her in a hug. He rested his hand behind her head to bring her close and breathed deeply.

            Hermione smiled softly at the two of them, then rushed forward and stood in front of the boggart, which changed again with a loud Crack!

            The dementor had vanished and was replaced, to everyone’s surprise, by Ron Weasely. He wore an expression of utmost loathing and disgust, and was staring straight at Hermione, whose mouth had dropped open, looking horrified.

            The boggart Ron glared at Hermione for a long time. Then it said with a sneer, “I don’t love you.” 

            Hermione’s face burned. She could feel the hot tears stinging her eyes as she fought her way through her friends and out of the library.

            She wiped her eyes furiously as she strode down the hall. She barged into her and Ginny’s room and flung herself on her bed. She wished she were back home where she could escape to the garden and hide in the shadows of the oak trees. She sighed. It just wasn’t safe.

            Hermione groaned loudly. “You’ve done it,” she said to herself. “You’ve pretty much ruined your life by indirectly telling your best friend that you are in love with him.” She buried her face in her hands. She had kept it secret since her third year, and now all of her emotions had been revealed by a stupid boggart.

            There was a knock at the door.

            “Hermione?” Hermione’s heart was beating much harder than it usually did. Ron was outside her bedroom door.

            Ron knocked again. “Hermione, can I come in?”

            Hermione swiped at her eyes frantically. She tried to speak, but instead was thrown into a coughing fit in her panic.

            The door opened and Ron rushed to her side, thumping her back. Hermione groaned between coughs. This was definitely not the romantic atmosphere she had once imagined…

            “Are you okay?” Ron asked when she had finally settled down. Hermione nodded, still avoiding his curious gaze. They stood for a while, the silence only broken at the sound of shuffling feet or the clearing of a throat.

            Hermione broke the silence. “You…you should really help them with that boggart, Ron.”

            “Tried…couldn’t,” Ron said dully. Hermione looked up at him questionably. “I’ll explain later,” Ron said, “but don’t worry about that, Lupin came in and took care of it.” Hermione nodded in understanding, holding Ron’s gaze. Now that she had finally gotten the courage to look into his eyes, it was difficult to turn away, no matter how humiliated she felt.

            “Look, Hermione…” Ron began. “It was just a boggart. It wasn’t real. In fact…” Ron gulped and took a deep breath, “it couldn’t have been further from the truth.”

            Hermione drew a deep intake of air and took a small step forward. She closed her eyes. She didn’t dare hope. But he had practically told her…was it possible?

            Ron, though already crimson to the roots of his hair, could tell Hermione was in no state to speak anytime soon. He therefore continued in what he considered one of his braver moments.

            “Hermione,” he said shakily, “I…um… Ireallylikeyoualot… annnd…uh… maybewecouldbetogether?” He had said all of this while staring at his shoes, and looked up only moments later, when he thought she might have had a chance to digest his proposition.

            He had no idea what to make of her expression. She was staring at him in complete disbelief; her eyes were still brimming with unshed tears. How can she be surprised? Doesn’t she know how wonderful she is? Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime, she stepped forward and placed her arms around him.

            Ron returned the hug, loving the sensation of having her in his arms. Hermione. His Hermione. This brilliant girl who was clinging to him made him feel like he was worth something, like he was his own person…like he wasn’t “just Ron”. 

            “Is that a yes, then?” he asked softly.

            Hermione giggled into his shirt. “Of course, you great prat.”

            Ron grinned and kissed her lightly on the forehead.

            “Ron?” Hermione said suddenly.

            “Yeah?”

            “What form did your boggart take?”

            Ron’s cheeks tinged pink and he looked away quickly. “Um…”

            Hermione looked up at him. “What was it?”

            “…It was you…it was you yelling at me about my homework.”

            Hermione’s eyes widened. “You’re lying.”

            Ron grinned. “I wish I was. You have no idea how scary you can get, Hermione. I mean, when you get mad it’s pretty terrifying.”

            “I’m scarier than spiders?” she asked incredulously.

            “Oh, yeah,” Ron said, “to a huge extent.”

            Hermione laughed and snuggled closer to him. Everything was going to be okay.

 

A/N: Huzzah for fluff! We are completely and utterly obsessed with Ron and Hermione getting together, but at least we admit it. Stay tuned for a possible H/G sequel!

 

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