The Sugar Quill
Author: Brenda Estel  Story: The Scientist  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.

Come up to meet you, tell you I’m sorry

Come up to meet you, tell you I’m sorry

You don’t know how lovely you are

I had to find you, tell you I need you

Tell you I set you apart

“Hermione, where in the bloody hell are you?” Ron mumbled to himself. Ron had been looking for Hermione for the past half hour in places where he thought she’d be. Once again, Ron started muttering under his breath to himself, ticking off anything he mentioned with his fingers.

“She’s not in the library, the owlery, the astronomy tower, Hagrid’s hut, the greenhouses, the Room of Requirement, or Moaning Myrtle’s lavatory.” Ron regretted (as he did all the other rows he’d had with Hermione) this particular fight more than usual.

Oh let’s go back to the start

Running in circles, coming up tails

Everything had been going quite well with the two friends. They hadn’t been bickering as much anymore since they’d both realized how it not only vexed their mutual best friend, Harry, but anyone else who was in the same room at the time. Ron and Hermione soon found out that when together and on friendly terms, it was perfect harmony. Of course, neither of them had mentioned this to each other.

Ron had decided to share some of his feelings with his best mate up in their dormitory.

“Harry, Hermione’s been on my mind a lot. It’s a bit unnerving, but in a good way, of course. I think I might fancy her.” Ron said in an almost inaudible whisper while beating Harry at chess for what seemed the umpteenth time that day.

“No way. Do you now, Ron?” Harry said with a small trace of sarcasm that Ron didn’t seem to notice. He was somewhat distracted as he watched his queen pulverize one of Harry’s knights in a most violent manner.

“I’d like to ask her to go to Hogsmeade with me, but... Harry, I don’t know if I can rake up the courage.” Ron finished with a note of bitter desperation in his voice.

“So, what do you think, Harry?” Ron asked. His face lit up for a moment as if an idea had emerged in the mess of strange new feelings going about in his head. “How about you ask Hermione for me, eh?”

“No, no, no, Ron”, Harry said while waving his hands in such a manner that told Ron with utmost frankness he’d do nothing of the sort. “I’m sure the outcome will not be good if Hermione were to find out you were too frightened to ask her yourself. Just think of the consequences, mate.” Ron understood his friend and was, with many thanks, brought back to his senses.

“All right, then. Seeing as you’re no help, I think I’ll go ask her now and get it over with.” Ron said this more to himself than to Harry as he threw his king down in forfeit. “Are you coming?”

“Sure, I needed to ask Ginny... something... about something,” Harry said while trying to avoid his friend’s gaze at any possible cost. Ron shot him a glance of mock suspicion as Harry fumbled around with his words. He seemed to be getting caught in more of these situations all the time, and Ron rather enjoyed himself when watching Harry struggle so as to not make things awkward between the two friends. Ron almost laughed at his friend if hadn't been for the horrible feeling at the pit of his stomach. The truth was Ron knew that he (and all the other Weasleys) would be more than glad if Ginny and Harry would get together. It’s just a matter of time, thought Ron, they both like each other and they get along so well. Ginny would make Harry take his mind off other things.

“Ready?” inquired Harry, breaking Ron’s train of thought. Ron nodded.

They both went down the boy’s staircase in silence. When they reached the foot of the stairs, Harry gave Ron a supportive clap on the shoulder. Ron doubted this would help him get rid of his nerves, or ask Hermione on a date.

There was Hermione standing by the common room fire, looking down upon a second year in a sort of patronizing way. By the looks of it, Hermione was finishing up on a lecture, and the victim looked on the verge of tears. What this poor soul had done was unknown to Ron; frankly, he wasn’t too keen on finding out either. Hermione seemed to condone the girl on leaving and the third year made out like a bandit. Ron thought he saw a look on Hermione’s face that showed she was very pleased with herself. Ron couldn’t tell because right after this observation, she glanced toward Ron’s direction. When she noticed him, she beamed. Satisfied with this reaction, Ron grinned from ear to ear as well.

“Hello, Ron”

“Hullo, Hermione”

“Are you all right?”

“Yes, why?”

“Well, you look a bit... peaky, as if you’re about to be sick.” Hermione explained. ‘She’s got no idea’, Ron thought.

“No, I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?”

“I already said yes Hermione. Why are you pressing it on?” Ron snapped. ‘Damn these bloody nerves’ he thought and cursed himself.

“Is it wrong to be concerned for my friends?” Hermione retorted with noticeable hurt in her voice.

“No, but you’re so stubborn! You never let anything go. When I tell you I’m fine, I’m bloody fine, Hermione!”

“Fine! I’m never going to ask you how you are. Never again!”

‘Damn’, thought Ron, ‘Take it back, you idiot! Take it back!’

Hermione was in the process of turning on her heel as Ron grasped her arm to stop her, but she wrenched it away in an almost vicious manner.

“What?!” Hermione hissed scathingly.

“I’m sorry, “Mione.” Hermione winced at his stupid nickname for her. Ron and Harry had started call to her this when they wanted to coax her into doing something she didn’t want to do. They had used it to get out of studying or other silly little things like that.  It was her Achilles’ Heel. Looking at Ron straight in the eyes made it oh so very hard to refuse the 'Mione trick.

‘Damn that Weasley charm!’ Hermione thought as she reprimanded herself, ‘No! It will not work this time!’

Ron continued pleading with a look of utter regret in those deep blue eyes, “I didn’t mean to say that. I don’t know what got into me. Maybe I’m not feeling well after all. I’m very sorry, Hermione. Stay. Please?” He said this in earnest and Hermione knew he meant it. She also had to lean close to hear because he whispered it ever so softly, and she was sure that she was the sole person alive to hear it.

‘Oh, I can’t stay mad at him, Hermione thought to herself. ‘I like it so much when we’re just talking. No! I can stay mad at him, and I will!’

“I won’t, Ronald Weasley! You’ve done this to me far too many times, and I’m just so sick of it. You’re just as stubborn as I am; therefore, you have no reason to criticize me! Now, if you will move yourself out of the way, I have better things to do than to waste my time attempting in vain to be your friend!” Ron moved aside without a moment’s hesitation and Hermione lifted her chin, put her shoulders back, and walked out of the room with an air of defiance through the portrait hole without giving Ron a second glance.

He stood there, mouth opened in bewilderment, thinking that he had lost almost all hope with this wonderful girl because of his idiocy.

Neither Ginny nor Harry knew what to do. They weren’t sure if they should just let him be or try to comfort him. Deciding on the latter, they stood up, but as they did this, they noticed Ron’s face change from defeated to, now, determined. With that, Ron strode with as much confidence as Hermione out of the Gryffindor common room with just one objective in his mind: He would not return until Hermione and he were going on an official date.

Nobody said it was easy

Oh, it’s such a shame for us to part

Nobody said it was easy

No one ever said that it would be this hard

Oh, take me back to the start

Well, Ron wasn’t doing a very good job of finding Hermione. He was ready to head back to his dormitory and do something… anything. He considered writing to either of his two eldest brothers on some girl advice. As soon as this entered his thoughts, he disposed the ludicrous option.

“I’m going to handle this on my own!” Ron said to himself aloud, “I don’t want anyone’s help, not even Harry’s.”

Suddenly, Ron heard a little voice at the back of his head that was screaming for him to go back to the library to check once more. Ron set off on a quick jog disregarding getting a detention or losing Gryffindor some points. Once again, Hermione was the single thing on his mind.

As soon as he got to the library, he went straight to Hermione’s usual table in a secluded corner of the library. He knew that Hermione would be there if, in fact, she was even in the library. He also knew that no one but Hermione would be there because everyone in their right mind knew not take Hermione Granger’s spot unless they wanted to get a nice and long telling off.

As he got closer, he grew more excited because he thought he had heard the rustling of paper. He turned around at the last shelf, and was about to yell out yet another apology, but what he saw almost made him shout in frustration. The table was empty. Hermione wasn’t there. He sat down on Hermione’s favorite armchair and reveled in that fact. He laid his forehead down against the cool wood tabletop and after thinking about ways to punish himself for being so stupid for a few minutes; he dozed off into a dreamless nap.

***

Once he woke up, he rubbed his eyes together and stretched out his long arms. He crossed his arms against his chest as he lay back on his chair. Once he finished yawning, he noticed something he had neglected to see before.

Before him lay a roll of parchment. It was smaller than the usual parchments he was used to and it was sealed with looked like Hermione’s initials: HJG. His heart fluttered with this newfound hope. After he reached for it, he tried to break the seal with his fingers, but saw that he couldn’t. He tried to pry it open it once again, and failed. He reached for his wand and muttered the first spell that came to his mind.

“Alohamora”, he muttered.

It opened and expanded to reveal a parchment that was about a foot and a half long. He recognized Hermione’s neat handwriting and his heart gave another small flutter. He took the parchment and started reading.

To Ron,

            I charmed that parchment to no one but you. That is, when you decided to use Alohamora. I also know that you are in the library or at least you were when you found this. You’re in the library because you’re looking for me, right?

            Well, Ronald Weasley, you are searching in vain, because I don’t even want to look at you right now, so you might as well head back to the common room.

            The thing is, Ron, I don’t know why you were so mean to me today. I was just concerned about your well-being. You looked sick and I thought I might be able to help you feel better. If you don’t want me to care, I just won’t.

            I love it when we’re not fighting. You’re such a great person to be with, and that’s wonderful. We talk about nothing at all, but I enjoy that so much, Ron. I just hope that the feeling is mutual.

            However, when you’re mean to me, it makes me feel terrible, terrible in a way I don’t think you can imagine. One minute we’re having a pleasant, civil conversation and the next you’re  biting my head off, and I don’t think I can take it anymore. What am I supposed to do? Back down and stay quiet? I don’t think so! Hermione Granger does not back down. Yes, I know, I can be a bit thickheaded as well sometimes, so some fights are my fault too. There! I admit it! I initiate some fights (emphasis on some). I have a bad side too. Doesn’t everyone?

            The point of this, Ron, is that our rows are becoming unbearable. I don’t think I can handle this anymore. I have neither the time nor patience anymore. This means that if you can’t some up with something to convince me to still be your friend, I don’t think I can stand to be around you much longer.

Hermione

I was just guessing at numbers and figures

Pulling the puzzles apart

Questions of science, science and progress

Do not speak as loud as my heart

 “Damn”, Ron said to himself.

“What am I going to do? If she leaves, that’d be like Harry leaving me. What am I supposed to tell her? That I love her, need her, and can’t live without her? No, not that. I sound like Ginny, but it does ring the truth… or at least some of it. I could never tell her that. She’d laugh in my face,” and with that, he dropped his head on the table with a loud thud.

He lifted his face off the table and said, “It seems that our know-it-all doesn’t know it all.” Disregarding just how stupid that had sounded, he continued, “She’s so oblivious to the fact that I’m mad about her.”

Ron had said all of this rather with bitterness in his voice. He had also said it somewhat loud enough for someone to hear if they were within earshot. Ron was aware of all of this but shrugged it off. He just didn’t care. He was far too concerned with other matters. ‘Anyway’, he thought, ‘No one should be around.’

What Ron didn’t know, was that he was very mistaken. Someone had heard.

***

Hermione’s eyes brimmed with tears once again as she watched Ron read the letter.

She had come to her peaceful sanctuary in the library to read one of her favorite books. She was headed towards her usual spot when she saw a redheaded boy sitting in her very chair. She recognized him in a flash. It was the boy she was so infuriated with at the moment.

***

“Oh goodness. He’s sleeping.”

Hermione had written a letter while she was in the library the first time round and knew that Ron was looking for her. The reason that he hadn’t found her was that she wasn’t sitting in her regular seat for the fact that she knew that that would be the first place he would look in. In her first trip to the library, she had written a letter to leave in her usual table sealed with a charm that would not open to anyone other than Ron. After finishing writing the letter and then giving it a quick once-over, she decided not to give it to him after all, but keep it safely in her bag where no one would find it. When she came to the library a second time only to find Ron in her seat, she took it as a sign.  She quietly placed the parchment a few inches away from his face so it would be impossible for him to miss it when he woke up. ‘Then,’ she thought, ‘When it comes to Ron, nothing is impossible.’

Now she was watching Ron read the letter. ‘He’s taking rather long, isn’t he?’ Hermione thought.

She didn’t know the reason that Ron was taking so damn long was that his eyes kept on clouding up and he had to blink his eyes into focus every few moments to continue reading.

Hermione was the on the verge of tears because she knew that she was putting Ron up to a very difficult task. So difficult that she even regretted writing it. She knew very well Ron would have a very hard time trying to put his thought into words. Then she thought defensively, “No, if Ron still wants to pursue this relationship, he will manage to articulate himself!’ “…That is, if he wants to pursue the relationship,” she finished aloud only audible to herself and the bookshelves that stood around her.

She always came to her beloved library when she and Ron fought. ‘Which is quite often’, she thought bitterly. Their rows always left her feeling strangely drained and she found that coming here would restore her strength.

Her thoughts were interrupted by Ron’s deep voice. She immediately set her eyes on the boy that she highly esteemed. He was obviously very perturbed by what he had to do to continue their relationship. That’s when he said those words: “That I love her, need her, and can’t live without her?”

Hermione had to get a good grip on those blessed bookshelves to restrain herself from throwing herself at him.  Hermione felt a pang of sharp guilt when he said that she’d laugh in his face. She wanted to go up to Ron to apologize for being so stupid. Oh, how she wished to run up to hold him and ki-

Hermione stopped. She noticed Ron had stopped talking to himself as well.

She watched him. She had to stop him. She’d told him to go back to the common room. He was going to go back because he’d never be able to tell her what he really felt. She was going to have to confront him and tell him how she felt herself.

Ron pushed himself away from the table and stood up. For a few seconds, he merely stood there, and Hermione merely watched him. After a few moments, he started walking towards the library exit. That’s when Hermione jumped out of her hiding place right in front of Ron.

Hermione couldn’t bring herself to look Ron in the eyes and decided to focus her gaze on the hem of her skirt.

She simply said, “Hello, Ron.” She found that the pleats in her skirt were in a quite captivating.

“What are you doing here?”

“I need to talk to you.”

“Talk to me,” he said incredulously, “I thought you said you didn’t even want to look at me.” Hermione could hear the bitterness in his voice. 

“Well, I’d like to take that back now.” Hermione finally brought her eyes to meet his. She noticed that his eyes looked glassy and she couldn’t bring herself to explain the reason behind this. “Ron, would you like to join me in a walk? I’d like to speak with you somewhere else.” Ron simply nodded.

***

Ron didn’t really know what to think. He already had planned what he was going to say to her. He had this great speech that would blow her mind, and it was going to have a grand finale. She’d fall in love with him after listening to the speech. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but she’d still want to be friends, no doubt.

‘Oh well’, thought Ron, ‘It’s useless now. I’ve really no clue what she’s got in mind. One thing I can say about Hermione is that there is never a dull moment with her. Well, maybe last year when she’d been forcing us to study for our O.W.L.s at every waking moment. Anyway, it’s different now.’

They walked out the Great Hall and out into the Howard’s grounds. The fresh air was exhilarating. The past few moments had rather tweaked their nerves and they really need to cool them down. They walked around the lake in silence until they got to a birch tree. They both stopped for no particular reason. They need some shade from the sun, for it still had not set. It wasn’t hot, it was just very sunny.

“D'you want to sit here?” Ron asked.

“Sure.”

Ron crossed his legs and started pulling out blades of grass and flicking them away from him. Hermione stretched out her legs in front of her and pointed her feet together while she concentrated on the small designs that adorned her shoes.

“So…” Ron began

“Ron, about my letter…”

Ron just had to tell her no matter the circumstances. He didn’t care what she was planning, but he knew he had to tell her what he felt for her.

“Yes, about that. Now Hermione, I would please like for you to be silent, no matter how difficult it must be for you, for a few moments while I convince you not to leave me.”

Hermione's jaw dropped. She noticed that the sides of Ron’s mouth twitched madly, and she tried to compose herself as quickly as possible. ‘So he did think something up’, she thought, ‘I underestimated him. I’ll have to apologize to him for that… later.’

“Ron, about that, you can forget it. You don’t have to convince me about anything. I heard you in the library.” Now it was Ron’s turn to be stunned.

“Really?”

“Yes. I’m sorry. I know I was eavesdropping.”

‘Wait’, he thought, ‘She has to hear this anyway.’

“Now you wait, I thought of a damn good persuasive argument, and I’m going to make you listen to it.”

Hearing this, Hermione crossed her arms and gave him a very attentive look like she was about to learn a new charm or something. She looked extremely interested.

Something about the way she looked unnerved him.

“You know what? Forget it. I don’t have to convince you of anything. You even said so yourself. So, I don’t think I will.”

“No, Ron, please, I want to hear what you had to say. Please?”

“Nah, I don’t think I will. Anyway, I’ve forgotten already. It’s a shame, innit?”

“Oh, you’re such a liar, and a bad one at that.”

“Well, I might remember a few things. You know, a bit by bit. Let’s start walking around the lake again.” He got up and dusted his slacks off. Hermione was still sitting. He offered her his hand and helped her up.

‘Oh, I love this, Hermione thought; being with Ron in silence is just something I’d like to do forever.

Hermione didn’t know that Ron was thinking the exact same thing. I wonder if she would mind me putting my arm around her, he thought. Just as he was about to take his chances and get himself a bit closer to Hermione, he remembered something.

“Hey, where were you hiding all this time? I’d been looking for you for ages.”

“Oh please we had that fight about an hour ago, and you fell asleep in the library.”

“Me falling asleep is irrelevant to what I’m talking about. Moreover, I covered a lot of ground in that half hour. I looked everywhere for you. I looked in the library, the owlery, the astronomy tower, at Hagrid's, the greenhouses, the Room of Requirement, and Moaning Myrtle’s lavatory. Tell me where you were.”

“No way! Then you’d know where I hide when I need to get away from certain people.” She said this with an accusing look toward Ron. He countered this with his own mock scowl.

“I thought you went to the library when we had fights. I went there twice.”

“Well, I didn’t want to see you, so, obviously, I wasn’t going to go to the library.”

“Good point. So where did you go? I actually looked everywhere.”

“Well, if you looked everywhere, then you should have found me.”

“I only looked for you in places where I thought you’d most likely be. Maybe I did go to where you were, but at the wrong time.”

“I’m not going to tell you until you give me your persuasive speech.”

“I’m still thinking. I think I remember something about me telling you that I really never want to fight again. Never.”

“Never is a very long time, Ron. Do you think you can actually do it? That we can do it?”

“I think if we try hard enough, we can do it.”

“All right, Ronald Weasley, you’re on. Let’s shake on it.”

Hermione stretched out her arm and he grasped her hand and nodded his head.

They continued walking and both thinking how hard it was going to be to keep up their promise.

“I remember something now. You’ve been on my mind a lot lately, Hermione. I can’t seem to get you out of my head. I think about you a lot. I mean, when I look at you, I want to run up to you and take you in my arms and-and… I don’t know. Then when we fight, oh gosh, I just can’t help it. I don’t know what triggers all those stupid fights. I guess this is my way of responding to all these feelings I’m having. I’m clueless as to what to do with these emotions around in my head. I get so frustrated with not being able to control something I just take out the aggravation on the slightest provocation. The worst part is that you’re usually the one that provokes me, Hermione, and you’re the one I hurt, and in hurting you, I hurt myself.”

“Ron… oh my goodness, I had no idea you felt that way. I thought you just considered me just a friend. This is… overwhelming. The truth of it is, I think of you all the time. You’re a great person that I love to be with. When I’m with you and we’re just talking or just simply relaxing, I can’t help being filled with joy. There’s something about you, Ron Weasley, that just makes me forget about anything else going about in the world.”

“Wow. That’s brilliant.”

Ron grabs Hermione’s shoulder to tell her to stop walking. He stands in front of her and says, “Uh... there was something else I was going to say. Would you like to go to Hogsmeade this weekend with me? As a date?”

“I’d love to, Ron,” Hermione said before embracing him. For once, he didn’t respond awkwardly, but hugged her back quickly. He enveloped her snugly in his arms, and he thought that they fit perfectly together. When they pulled apart, Ron still had one more thing to say.

“There was one last thing that I haven’t said. It was a grand finale of some sort.” He was rubbing his chin in mock thoughtfulness.

“Oh, yes, I remember now,” he lowered his head down to Hermione’s ear and whispered softly, “It went something like this.”

He lowered his head and turned it an angle so as to not crash into Hermione’s nose with his. He gently pressed his lips to hers. He felt a lovely shock of electricity overcome his whole body. When Hermione pulled away, Ron was so disappointed. If this was what Harry felt when Cho kissed him, he didn’t know why Harry didn’t seem to like it. It seemed that if it would be allowed, he’d make kissing Hermione a hobby.

“That was wonderful, Ron,” Hermione said breathlessly while she licked her lips. That kiss left her feeling senseless and dizzy, but in a crazy kind of wonderful way. His sweet taste still lingered on her lips and she wished it would always remain there. Hermione was at first overwhelmed, but not surprised, never surprised. She had imagined kissing Ron for ages, and the real thing was so much better.

“Yeah, it was. Do you mind if we- if we try it again?” Hermione simply shook her head and waited eagerly. She hoped it would just as good as or better than the first one.

This time it was Hermione who lifted her head and met Ron’s lips. Once again, they both felt this pleasurable shocking feeling. Ron prodded Hermione’s lips with his tongue, not sure of what exactly he was doing, and when she opened herself to him, he heard himself moan in bliss. Hermione was shivering almost uncontrollably while Ron’s tongue explored her mouth. Ron pulled her closer and decided that this is what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He wanted to hold, touch, and kiss this wonderful, beautiful, and slightly insane girl named Hermione Granger.

Hermione decided that Ronald Weasley was by far the best kisser in the entire world. Of course, Ron was the only boy who had ever kissed her. She wanted to kiss him and only him. He was the only one in for her. She took back all those times she had ever spoken ill of him because she never wanted to lose Ron. Her thoughts were clouded and unfocused be she didn’t care. All she cared for were his sweet kisses. She needed support and she moved from his arms to his chest. This standing thing is a bit hard when you’re doing something like this, she thought, it’s leaving my knees weak and I will not be surprised if I fall. By the way, where in the world did he learn to kiss like this? Has he ever dated anyone before? He tastes like… cherry-flavored sugar quills. All these thoughts were jumbled in her head and were drifted away when Ron tangled his hand in her hair. She ran her hands up his chest, to his shoulders, and then finally back to his forearms, which she held on somewhat tightly.   Ron moaned again as he shifted to be nearer to her and placed his other hand in the small of her back.

When Hermione felt like she would drown in this kiss and not be able to resurface, she pulled away reluctantly. She looked from Ron’s eyes, which were very clouded, to his lips that remained glossy from the kiss. He ran his tongue over his lips to savor the taste that stayed behind. He was breathing rapidly. Hermione realized something was happening that only occurred sporadically to her, she was speechless, unable to utter the simplest phrase.

Ron looked at Hermione’s dark brown eyes when he noticed for the first time that they had tiny golden flecks scattered across them. He then switched his attention towards those lips he wanted to claim for his own. They were slightly parted and taking in short ragged breaths. He looked at her once again and decided to speak up.

“Hermione…” she quickly glanced at him, but then focused her attention and turned her head towards the bushes that were planted next to the path they were walking on. This somewhat discouraged him. “I really don’t know what to say, I’m at a loss for words. What I do know is that I really enjoyed that,” he saw her grin madly at the bushes and, “and that I’d like to do it again. Not right now, but soon.”

“Me too, Ron. It was a fantastic feeling.” Hermione felt her face flush furiously as she said this. “You and I have been through so much, with Harry of course, I’m so glad we’re finally... together. You know, more than friends.”

“Yeah, more than friends,” Ron said with a wistful look on his face. “You know, you and I, well, we’re different. We’re unique. There’s no other pair out there like us. We’re Hermione and Ron. Well, we’re us! Just us. There’s no one else like us. Well, maybe Harry and Gin, but we got here first.”

Hermione laughed thinking that that was what she had needed to get over the nervousness of being kissed so passionately when it had been only the first (well, technically, the second) time in her whole life.

“Yes, us. That’s exactly what we are, Ron, you’re very right.” She gave Ron one of her nicest smiles thinking extremely pleasant thoughts. They started walking once again. They hadn’t noticed that where they had been kissing was actually quite concealed from anyone who just so happened to be around. They also didn’t know that that little area they had just been standing in, had served many other Hogwart's couples for that exact same purpose. Surely, they were bound to be there again in no time.

As they started walking, Ron yawned and stretched out his arms, making him appear even taller than he already was.

“Are you sleepy?” Hermione asked.

“No, it’s just that chasing after you around the whole school does tire one a bit.”

“All that time, I’d been in the Quidditch pitch. You never once thought to look there, did you?” Ron chuckled.

“Yeah, well, now I know of all your little secret hideouts, Ms. Granger.”

“Really? I highly doubt that, Mr. Weasley. I’ve got places you’d have to use the Marauder’s Map in order to find me.” She smiled mischievously as Ron tried his best to muster up his best face of mock astonishment. He failed miserably. They both started laughing simultaneously. They were both in a right fit of laughter until they reached the doors of the entrance to the school.

“I’ve had a great day, Ron, really.”

“So have I.” He leaned down to give her a soft kiss on her lips and she responded quickly. It was a brief kiss just before they went inside.

Right before Ron opened the door for Hermione, they heard a drawling voice they quickly recognized as Draco Malfoy's.

“Well, well, well, you’ve finally forced the mudblood into being your girlfriend, have you? Is it going to be possible for you to sink any lower? What am I saying, of course it is.”

Just when Ron was about to say something, he heard Hermione get in there first.

“Listen, you insolent, in-bred pest. I’m getting extremely tired of your little antics, so next time you utter something rude in our direction you will be sorry. This also includes Ginny and Harry so stay away from them as well. Now get out of my way before I change my mind about giving you one last chance and do something you’re not going to like. Come on, shoo. Go back to your friends and that cow you call a girlfriend, Parkinson.” Malfoy’s face was not as pale as it usually was, but flushed pink with fury. He opened and closed his mouth a few times as if to say something but never finding the right words. He finally decided to march past Hermione and Ron in the most defiant manner possible. He shoved Ron violently as he passed him and Ron was ready to hex him. Hermione placed her hand on his forearm to pacify him and make him lower his wand. Satisfied that this worked, she slid her hand down the rest of his arm toward his hand and entwined her fingers in his.

“Let’s go back to the common room.” Hermione said, smiling sweetly. They went up to the Gryffindor tower in silence appreciating the nearness of each other and relishing the day’s events.

Hermione sighed loudly. She was so overwhelmed by what had happened these past few hours. All this excitement tired her.

“All right there?” Ron asked.

“Yes, fine.” She said in mid-yawn. “Today was truly great, Ron, simply fantastic.” Ron nodded in agreement.

He was about to say the password to the Fat Lady when the portrait on its own. Out of it stepped Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley.

“Hiya, Harry,” Ron said a bit loudly. “Hey, Gin.”

“Hi, guys,” said Hermione.

“Hey, you kids,” said Ginny.

“Oh, hey, you two,” Harry looked surprised to see them together, “we were about to go looking for you. Wanted to make sure Hermione hadn’t done something awful with you.” Hermione shot the Boy-Who-Lived daggers.

“I’m just kidding, Mio-”

“Excuse me, but are all four of you going to just stand there all night?” the Fat Lady exclaimed, sounding on edge.

“Sorry,” the four mumbled in unison.

When they were inside, they all started talking about their lessons that day.  When it was getting late, the girls stood up and Ron and Harry followed suit.

“We’re going to bed,” said Ginny, “Night, Ron. Night, Harry.” She gave Harry a quick hug before dashing up the stairs to the fifth-year dorms.

“Goodnight, Harry,” Hermione said and then turned to Ron and stood on her toes to kiss him on the cheek. “Good-night, Ron.” She turned and walked up the stairs to her dorm.

“I think I’ll head off to bed as well. Coming, mate?”

“Oh, sure.”

When the boys were in their dorms, each sitting on their respective beds, changed into their pajamas, Harry was staring at Ron while he fidgeted with the sleeve of his shirt. When Ron finally noticed Harry’s staring, he asked him what he wanted.

“Are you going to tell me what’s up with you and Hermione? That’s what!”

“Oh, that. Yeah, sure. Of course. But let me beat you at chess first, all right?”

“Fine.”

Some twenty minutes later, the both watched Ron’s knight viciously and quite unnecessarily beat Harry’s king to a pulp.

“All right, start talking, Weasley, and I want all the gory details.”

***

Meanwhile, in the girl’s 6th year dormitories, two girls sat giggling in a single bed with the curtains pulled around them so other prying ears couldn’t hear. Hermione had just finished telling her account of the day to Ginny. From her listening to him in the library, to her face off with Malfoy. When Hermione finished, Ginny left to her dormitory after giving Hermione a hug. Hermione changed into her nightgown and lay down on her four-poster bed. She pulled her covers over her, right under her chin. As she shut her eyes, she silently wished for her dreams to be filled with a certain redheaded boy.

***

Back in the boy’s room, Ron had finished telling Harry about the day from his perspective. He stood up from the table where they had been playing chess and made a beeline to his bed.

“Night, Harry.”

“Sweet dreams, lover boy.” Harry called from his bed right before pulling his curtains together.

“Watch out tomorrow, Potter,” he said before shutting his own curtains. He covered himself as he fell into peaceful slumber thinking about a certain brown-eyed girl.

FIN

//
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