The Sugar Quill
Author: Shina Laris  Story: Result of a Fight  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: All the characters as well as the base of this story are created and owned by JK Rowling, Time Warners Bros, and v

Disclaimer: All the characters as well as the base of this story are created and owned by JK Rowling, Time Warners Bros, and various publishers (Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Inc., etc.). This is only a fanfiction from a devoted fan of Harry Potter. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Ada Kensington, my SQ beta-reader.

 

Result of a Fight

by Shina Laris




Hermione sighed frustratedly as she trudged through the crowded corridors, heading back to the Gryffindor common room. As the O.W.L.s drew nearer, her workloads became noticeably heavier. The increasing workloads were just too much for her, and with the added homework from Snape and McGonagall every time the class met, she wouldn’t have as much time to study as she’d like.

Plus, I’ve a letter to Viktor to finish, she thought without much enthusiasm.

It was true that he was a dear friend to her, and a dear friend he would always be – but the line stopped at that. He had tried to be more than a friend to her, but Hermione had not allowed him to, and she never would. She knew deep inside her heart that there was only one person in the world whom she’d allow to step across the firm line of friendship. Unfortunately, that person had no idea of the privilege he held in his hands.

It was likely that he’d never use the privilege, since it’d take too much brain work for him to realise he had it.

“And brain is one of the things he obviously lacks,” Hermione snorted, though she knew it wasn’t true – well, not most of the time.

“I hope you’re not talking about me,” a familiar voice said behind her. Hermione almost jumped, but she changed her motion half-way and whirled around, facing her grinning, handsome, red-headed, best friend.

“Don’t scare me like that!” Hermione snapped furiously, more angry at herself for saying things that should have remained unsaid than at Ron for startling her. And perhaps if she acted furious, that would account for her flushed face, which was caused by embarrassment of what she was thinking about before she was interrupted.

“Sorry,” he said automatically and didn’t sound sorry at all.

Hermione scowled at him, her embarrassment momentarily forgotten. She started to scold him but stopped short as he gave her one of his lop-sided smiles that always melted her heart.

She turned away, unwilling to let Ron see her feeble attempt at maintaining her thin veneer of irritability, and started walking briskly towards the Gryffindor common room again. Though she was walking at a fast pace, Ron had no trouble keeping up with her. For every three steps she took, he only needed to take two.

“So, how’d Arithmancy go?” he asked casually as he easily fell into steps with her.

“Fine,” Hermione answered shortly. Of course, it wasn’t at all ‘fine.’ For some reason unbeknownst to Hermione, Professor Vector had given everybody extra homework today, which was rather unusual. Although Hermione was never the one to complain about the excessive amount of homework she was given, unlike her friends, even if it was about something she’d never heard of before, she couldn’t honestly say that she appreciated it. She had intended to study for the O.W.L.s today, and the unexpected homework would rob her of her precious time.

“Fine, eh?” Ron repeated, scrutinising her closely. Hermione felt her neck burn.

“Yes, fine.” She walked faster still.

He raised an eyebrow at her but for once didn’t comment. They walked that way for a few minutes, with Hermione stopping once to take five points from Gryffindor and Slytherin because two first-years were about to hex one another – not that they knew many hexes to begin with. Ron was no help at all; he kept giving the Gryffindor boy a significant look that urged him on. In the end, she managed to pull the two boys apart, only after giving Ron a threatening look that made him jump to her aid, though reluctantly. But other than that, their walk was silent.

“So, er, where’s Harry?” Hermione asked when she thought the silence had grown a little uncomfortable.

Ron shrugged. “I dunno. Last time I checked, he was really angry and left for… somewhere.”

“Honestly, don’t you think you should’ve gone after him?”

“And get yelled at? No, thanks.”

Hermione frowned at him. “It couldn’t be that bad.”

“No, it’s not,” Ron agreed. “He’s only just about to kill someone.”

“You’re exaggerating, Ron,” declared Hermione as they reached the Fat Lady’s portrait. “Flabber Stone.”

The portrait swung open and both of them climbed inside.

“I’m not. You should’ve seen his face,” Ron said, throwing down his bag and slumping down into the armchair lazily. “Best not talk to him about it for a while.”

Hermione didn’t like the idea at all, but she just pursed her lips and said, “Oh, okay.” She was about to say more when the portrait door sprung opened again, this time Harry walked in, looking tired and very much out of breath. His hair was messier than usual, if such was possible, and he was clutching his Firebolt tightly in one hand. His robes were slightly tousled and windswept.

He made a move as if to walk towards the boys’ staircase, but upon seeing his best friends, changed his mind and made his way toward them instead.

“Hi, guys,” he said, slumping down into a chair opposite Ron.

“What’s –” Hermione began determinedly, and then cringed as somebody kicked her shin, “– ouch!” Reaching down and rubbing her leg, Hermione glared daggers at Ron, but he was ignoring her.

“Want to play a game of chess, Harry?” Ron was asking.

Hermione frowned disapprovingly at him. “Really, Ron. You two have enough homework to keep you busy until midnight. You haven’t even started on your Potions essay yet, and it’s due tomorrow. And there’s a Transfiguration essay due tomorrow, too.”

Ron waved away her remark impatiently. “I’ll do it later, Hermione.” Turning to Harry, he repeated, “How about it, Harry?”

“Er –” Harry stole a quick glance at Hermione, who glared at him imploringly, and then at Ron, who just looked back at him, unruffled. Even when knowing from experience that Harry would eventually agree with Ron, Hermione still found it her duty to try and get him to agree with her instead, slim as the chance might be.

“Oh, c’mon, Harry,” Ron said encouragingly.

“All right,” Harry said with a grin. “I suppose little chess won’t hurt.”

Hermione rolled her eyes and threw her hands up in defeat. Well, at least she’d tried.

“Fine. Do whatever you want,” she snapped, hauling her heavy bag over her shoulders and picking up her Arithmancy books. “Only don’t come asking for my help when you’re still up at two in the morning.” And with a last glare at the boys, one of whom still looked very much unperturbed, she left the common room in a huff and stomped towards the library.

When her annoyance had abated a little, which was about ten minutes later in a remote corner of the library, Hermione sighed and dropped her head down into her arms. It was true that both she and Ron were Harry’s best friends, and that they both cared about Harry, but their ways of doing it were so different that one who did not know them would think they each tried to do the opposite of whatever the other was doing.

Hermione shook her head. How could she possibly have a crush on him, of all people? Him, whom she argued with everyday and whom she couldn’t think would be less like her former ideal figure of a boyfriend. It just happened, and Hermione hated it. She hated it when she couldn’t be in control, when things were out of her hands. One day he was just Ron Weasley, her best friend, and the next he was someone whom she couldn’t stop thinking about!

Really, Hermione, you’ve to get this essay done now, she told herself sternly, so stop daydreaming and get to it! Reluctantly yet firmly, Hermione focused her attention on the extra essay she’d been given earlier that day.

 

~*~

 

When Hermione got back to the common room nearly three hours later, she was annoyed and a little amazed at finding Harry and Ron still wasting time, thought it was Exploding Snap they were playing this time.

Don’t those two know how to manage their time?

Wordlessly, she strode towards them. Too focused on their game, none of the boys noticed.

“I remember you saying a little chess won’t hurt,” said Hermione. “So, I suppose three hours is ‘a little’ for you two, huh?”

Harry’s and Ron’s heads snapped up, guilt instantly creeping into their faces. “Err –”

“Don’t bother explaining, Harry,” Hermione cut in sharply. “You’d better do your homework right now unless you want to stay up all night doing it again.”

The two boys exchanged a significant look that Hermione knew only too well, before they both sighed simultaneously. “All right, Hermione,” Harry said, clearing up the cards. “We’ll do it right after we’ve cleaned up this mess.”

She eyed them suspiciously. When she was satisfied that they really meant what they said, she sat down at a table nearby and started writing to Viktor. She’d received his letter since last week. She’d procrastinated in writing one in return, afraid he might think of it the wrong way. What Hermione considered ‘writing to a pen-pal’ might be ‘writing to a girlfriend’ for him.

How could he not understand? she wondered uneasily. After all, I’d told him at least half a dozen times that we can only be friends.

Dipping her quill into the ink-bottle, Hermione looked at her paper thoughtfully. A famous Quidditch player wanted to be her boyfriend, yet she repeatedly turned him down. And for whom?

Instinctively, she stole a glance at Ron, who was also starting to write on his parchment, though of a different kind.

She had often wondered how she could’ve liked Ron, but now she started to wonder how any girls didn’t like him in that way. Most of them would think of Ron as a nice enough boy, maybe even cool if they liked his performance in Quidditch, and probably funny if they knew him well enough to appreciate his sense of humour, but Hermione knew much more than that. Ron was none and all of those at the same time. She could sit there and list his good characteristics for a whole day. Granted she knew him better than the other girls did, but even without his personality, he still looked handsome enough. Too handsome for Hermione’s peace of mind...

Realising what she was thinking about, Hermione blushed deeply. Just when did she start to think about things like that? Even when she first knew she liked him, she’d just think of him as normal, with a little more fondness, that is. She didn’t know when it started to involve physical attraction, too. Emotional was enough, but added physical and she didn’t know how long she could continue to treat him as if she did not have any feelings towards him.

Shaking herself out of her reverie, Hermione started to write her letter until the three of them were the only ones left in the common room, which was an everyday thing by now. Only the blazing light in the fireplace lit the whole room.

“Hermione?” Ron voice broke the peaceful silent.

“What?” she asked, startled.

“Can I please read your Potions essay?” said Ron pleadingly.

“No, Ron,” she said flatly. “I’ve told you before that I’m not helping you this time since you’ve procrastinated for the seventh time in two weeks.”

“Now’s hardly the time to gloat that you’re right, Hermione,” Ron returned irritably.

“You’re a fine one to talk about when’s the right time,” retorted Hermione.

Ron glared at her, unable to reply to that just retort. “Are you going to help me or not?” Ron finally snapped.

“No,” was Hermione’s laconic answer.

“Fine, then!”

Ron turned back to his essay and angrily crossed out the only three lines on the parchment that he’d spent at least half an hour on.

Hermione sighed quietly and returned to her letter. She hated it when she had to refuse to help him, especially with his homework, but he needed to study and depend on himself for a change. The clock slowly ticked by and the silence weighed on the occupants in the room until Harry spoke up.

“There! I’m finished. Do you want to read over it, Ron?”

Hermione had to refrain herself from a disapproving remark by pursing her lips tightly as Ron happily accepted the offer, and the room fell into silence again.

“Hermione, what’re you doing?” Ron asked abruptly a few minutes later.

“What?” she said, completely taken back.

“What are you doing?”

Hermione frowned absent-mindedly at him. “I’m writing to Viktor, of course.”

As soon as those words left her mouth, she knew it was the wrong thing to say. Ron’s eyes suddenly flashed as he whirled around to face her.

“Hah! I knew it! Writing to Vicky again, are you?”

“Don’t call him Vicky!” Hermione snapped. “His name’s Viktor.”

“I’ll call him whatever I please,” Ron replied nastily. “You care more about him than us, your best friends,” he said accusingly.

Hermione’s eyes widened. “Honestly, Ron –”

But Ron had got to his feet. “You spend more time writing to him than helping us!” he said seethingly.

“I do not!” Hermione shouted back, getting to her feet, too.

“You do too!”

“C’mon, guys,” Harry muttered quietly.

“You stay out of this, Harry,” Rom muttered.

Harry glanced at his two friends for a second before sighed and stood up, mumbling, “I’ll go ahead and get some sleep.” Out of the corner of her eye, Hermione saw him walk hastily back to the boys’ dorm. Guilt filled her but it was instantly evaporated and replaced by fury as Ron glared at her.

“What?”

“And here I thought we were your best friends,” he said in disgust.

“You are!” she snapped. “Viktor’s just a pen-pal! How many times do I have to say that to get it across to you?”

“But you’re not just a pen-pal to him, are you?” Ron glowered, bending down a bit and staring at her hard.

“Really, Ron!” Hermione cried, drawing herself up to face him indignantly. “He’s just a friend! Besides, what do you have against him?”

Ron’s eyes flashed again, but he still stared at her intensely. If he’s trying to intimidate me, Hermione thought, he’s not succeeding.

“What do I have against him?” Ron said between his teeth. “Only…” But he couldn’t seem to finish the sentence.

He stared at her for a second longer before cursing himself quietly and bending down, brushing his lips against her for a fraction of second. Hermione could do nothing but stared at him in shock as he abruptly turned around and hastily ran to the doorway where Harry had gone a few minutes earlier, forgetting his unwritten essay.

Did he just kiss her? It certainly seemed like it. But why? Why would he kiss me?

Because he likes you? A small voice in her head suggested.

Hermione shook her head, trying to clear it. No, that was certainly not the answer. But what the answer was, she just couldn’t figure out.

She touched her lips slightly with her fingertips where his lips had brushed past, feeling a warm tingle inside. She stooped down and hauled her bag over her shoulders before walking slowly up her dorm, trying hard to apply a certain degree of logic to Ron's curious behaviour.

As she lay on her bed that night, Hermione was still no closer to the truth than she was an hour ago. But she knew one thing for certain, Ron would not like to talk about this, which was fine with her. She sighed. But at least she knew he had kissed her voluntarily, even if she didn’t know why.

 

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