The Sugar Quill
Author: Jaime (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Subtle Acceptance  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: J.K. Rowling owns it all, thank you very much. I just own the lack of plot.

Author’s Notes: Thank you so very, very much to Elanor Gamgee for beta reading this! It thrilled me. J This rare semi-plot bunny popped up a while ago, and I had to write it. I think it’s something that needs to be said. I was trying sort of, to go for a ‘Ron was’ sentence theme.. didn’t work much. ;)

Ron was bored.

In fact, Ron had surpassed boredom quite a while ago, and was willing to sink to new lows at this point. He proved this by doing the impossible; doing what he swore he’d never do in all his time at Hogwarts.

He was thumbing through the pages of Hogwarts, A History.

Granted, he wasn’t paying much attention, and he definitely wasn’t reading. But the fact was, Ron Weasley had hit rock bottom, and was subjecting himself to a fate he had tried desperately to stay away from for five years.

The portrait hole swung open, and Harry and Hermione stepped through it, looking quite determined about something. Ron nearly threw the book across the room in his embarrassment to be caught with such a thing.

“Ron, we have to talk to you--,” Hermione cut herself off, a suspicious stare crossing her features. “What are you hiding?”

Ron beat down a blush and slid the book further away from him by stretching discreetly.

“What? Nothing. Why would you think that?” he waved aside her sure-to-be-too-detailed response. “What is it you wanted to talk about?”

Now it was Hermione’s turn to look embarrassed. Harry looked pretty uncomfortable as well. This was interesting… They both sat in separate chairs, across from Ron.

“Erm… okay, Ron. This is kind of..,” Hermione cut off and glanced at Harry, urging him to jump in, Ron figured. Harry shook his head slightly, crossing his arms and staring at the ceiling.

Ron began to feel slightly nauseated. With the both of them being this uneasy, it could only mean one thing. But… they wouldn’t! Would they? Watching them soundlessly signaling each other to say something, Ron couldn’t stand it any longer.

“Well. All right. Um, I’m really very… happy for you two,” he stood and forced a smile. He would not be jealous, he would not be mean; he would finally be a friend they would be proud to have. Even if he was fighting hard not to punch Harry in the nose right now, for reasons he couldn’t think of.

Ron was so busy with his thoughts, and his haste to leave before he did anything he’d regret; that he didn’t notice the stunned looks on Harry and Hermione’s faces. Hermione grabbed Ron’s sleeve as he passed her, and pushed him back into his chair.

“Ron, what on earth are you on about? No, never mind that, I know what you..,” Hermione blushed a bit and rushed to correct him. “But you’re wrong, of course. You mustn’t assume like that, Ron. Harry, tell him!”

Harry jumped slightly at her tone. To Ron’s great relief, Harry agreed readily with Hermione, stating that they were just friends, something he hadn’t had to do since the year before.

Now, of course, Ron was left feeling like a complete prat, but that really wasn’t all that unusual. He tried to brush the whole awkward subject aside by saying, “So what were you wanting to say?”

Well, that certainly did nothing to break the ice. Harry gave a little moan and sunk down further into his chair, while Hermione fidgeted with her wand, refusing to meet either pair of eyes. She hissed quietly to Harry, “Oh, why don’t you do some talking for once? We both agreed we needed to do this!”

Ron was utterly befuddled.

“Okay.. if it’s not… well, that—,” he chuckled nervously, “Then what else could be so important?” What the hell is making you both act like idiots? is what he’d rather have said.

“Right. That.” Hermione brought her attention back to Ron at last. “Ron, you… you know Harry and I… well, need you, right?”

Ron stared. He glanced at Harry, who simply nodded enthusiastically at these words. Ron continued to stare.

“You remember, in first year, when Harry told Neville he was worth twelve of Malfoy?” Ron nodded tentatively. “It’s the same with you. Only you’re worth more like thousands.”

“Malfoy’s a git,” Harry piped up. Hermione glared at him.

“Honestly, Harry, is that all you can say? Why are you even here if you’re just going to sit there like a great lump making useless comments--”

“Okay, okay,” Harry looked rather seriously at Ron and spoke. “Look, we know how you feel about money.” Ron looked down at the ground in sheer mortification, but Harry continued, ignoring Hermione’s squawk of protest at his choice of words. “But it seems as though you think we’re going to think less of you or something because of it, like Malfoy.”

“Yes! And we realize you must know that we don’t, but it occurred to us that… we’ve never really said anything.”

“Because Malfoy’s a git.”

“Yes, that’s exactly why,” Hermione rolled her eyes. “Your whole family is just so great, Ron. They really are. And whether you realize it or not, you are one of them, and that makes you great too.” Ron raised an eyebrow. “But that’s not the only reason you’re great, of course,” she added quickly. “You’re… Ron.”

There was a rather awkward silence, each of them refusing to meet the others’ eyes.

“What we mean is… well--,”

“They love you.”

Startled, the three of them whirled around at the new voice. Seamus Finnigan was standing by the portrait hole, looking highly amused by the bumbling conversation he had walked in on. He nodded to them with a grin, and left, leaving behind the trio in various states of redness.

Now, of course, Ron observed, there was an even more tense silence.

Standing abruptly, ears flaming, he smiled weakly. Hermione stood as well, looking scared that he would run out and never speak to them again for causing such a scene.

“Erm. Thank you. For this. I… feel the same.” He had to leave before he did something completely stupid, like hug them tearfully. He’d never be able to look that them again.

“Ron.” Harry’s voice stopped Ron steps away from the portrait. Ron turned. “You know that if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here now.” Then he added with a slight grin, “And Hermione. She helps, too.”

Not trusting himself to speak, but laughing at the look on Hermione’s face, Ron nodded, and left the common room. He walked along the halls, not heading for any certain destination.

They were right, he thought. He was always aware that his friends valued him as their friend, Ron. Not just another Weasley. He wasn’t in his brother’s shadows with Harry and Hermione. He was their best friend.

He hadn’t known just how much he needed to hear it though, from them, until that moment.

He smiled to himself, content.

Ron was loved.

End

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