Note: This story was written for the BTS Summertime Fic Challenge. Elements: A
vacation story, including a map, water (in any shape, form, or location), and a
camera or photograph.
For Julia32, listmom, fellow HP fan, and above all an incredible person and
beta thanks to Kedavra77, MissK and Wombat.
Weasley had never been a bloke to mope around. He had always considered himself
a happy person. Of course, he had his moments, but he was never one to sit
under a tree for hours, thinking about how miserable he was feeling. If he had
exploded at Hermione, that would have led into a huge row. Maybe then he would feel better. As it was,
Ron could barely recognize himself. Hermione had the gift to get under his skin
like no other person. If she and Malfoy entered a contest to see who could tick
him off first, he would bet all his money on her.
though, instead of screaming at her, he had retreated. He was sure that she
hadn’t even noticed that she was hurting him, anyway. She had arrived at the
Burrow a week ago, and had been happily nagging him every day to do his
homework, as expected. Naturally, Ron had waited until she came to start
working on his assignments. After all, he was a good friend, and wouldn’t want
to take this joy from her. He was also proud to say that he was almost half
done, and it was still three weeks until school started again.
since the Department of Mysteries, the lurch in his stomach every time he saw
Hermione had intensified. Contrary to what a lot of people thought, he wasn’t
stupid. He knew that he fancied her. He had known for more than a year now. He
just couldn’t imagine her going out with him. She could have anyone, after all.
She was pretty, smart, loyal, caring. Ron had seen a few blokes from other
houses looking at her, and he knew that, sooner or later, they would ask her
out. He had been trying to prepare himself for that moment, without much
success. So far the only thing he had managed was to break whatever was
day after they had come home, Ginny came into his room like she owned the
place, and said that they needed to talk. At first, he thought that it was
about what had happened to them, but then he had caught the mischief in her
eyes. He knew that whatever she was
planning to say, he wouldn’t like it. There was only one thing to do in this kind
of situation. Like any good big brother, he kindly told her to bugger off, and
leave him the hell alone.
that he thought she would do as he said, but this was part of a healthy sibling
relationship. She smiled in return, ignoring everything he said, and sat down
beside him on the bed.
Ron, so what are you going to do about Hermione?”
me?” The nerve of her. Did he ever pick on her about Harry? Well, he did, but
that wasn’t the point.
tell me you at least know you fancy her?”
I’m not having this conversation with you. Can you leave me alone now?”
you do know. Why don’t you tell her?”
was a very easy person to talk to, when she wanted. And, after a year of
bottling up his emotions, Ron desperately wanted someone to listen, but it was
extremely embarrassing to talk about this with his little sister. When he
didn’t answer her, she pressed him. “You can talk to me, you know. I’m your
sister, and I want you to be happy.”
it was because they had just been through a life-or-death situation, but he had
felt their relationship shift at that moment. There was no doubt that they
would still bicker and tease each other at any given opportunity, but he was
seeing her as a friend for the first time in years. Like when they were
children and would do everything together. Ron felt that he had just gotten his
went back to what her question had been, and felt his ears start to burn. “I
smiled at her weakly. “It’s just… I know she doesn’t feel the same, so why
embarrass us both with this kind of situation when I know what the ending will
don’t know that.”
me, Ginny. I know.”
I’m telling you, you don’t. Trust me, Ron. I wouldn’t encourage you to talk to
her if I thought you would get hurt.”
reckon I have a chance?” He tried so hard to hold back the hope that was growing
within him, but it was impossible. He wanted too much for it to be true.
Talk to her when she gets here. I think that, in a time like this, we can’t
afford to waste any chances we have to be happy.”
I’m happy. Not the happiest I could be, but I’ve learned to make the most of
whatever comes my way.”
wished he could help her with Harry, but he knew that the last thing he would
be thinking about was girls. He felt a pang at the thought of Harry having to
deal with Sirius’s death without anyone who cared for him at his side. If it
was hard for him to know that Sirius was gone, he couldn’t imagine what his
best friend was feeling right now.
I could, I’d help you.”
know, and that’s enough. Now let’s stop this bonding moment, or I’ll get sick.
Mum told me that we had to de-gnome the garden after breakfast, so get ready.”
laughed at his sister. It was good to know that he wasn’t the only one
uncomfortable. Before she left the room, though, she turned to him. “Talk to
her, Ron. It’ll be worth it.”
under the tree, Ron reckoned it was safe to say that the mess was all Ginny’s
fault. She was the reason that he was there moping, looking at the calm waters
of the lake as if it was the most interesting thing in the world, and
thinking depressing thoughts. After their talk, he had decided that she was
right, and that he should talk to Hermione. He had spent a whole month trying
to think of what to say. That morning, he knew it was time. He had put it off
for a week already. Ginny kept giving him meaningful looks, and he had to do
something before Hermione noticed. He was leaving the room when his eyes caught
a framed picture of Harry, Hermione and himself at the Quidditch Cup two years
ago. They were so happy, waving madly at him. He smiled back at them with a
sudden boost of confidence, and went to find Hermione.
he looked in the living room. He had expected her to be there reading, but she
wasn’t anywhere in sight. He then turned to the kitchen, but found only his
mother there. Finally, he spotted her in the garden. She was walking around,
enjoying the morning sun. He made his way to her, becoming acutely aware of the
thundering beat of his heart, his trembling and sweaty hands, and the knot in
his stomach. At this rate, if he could say more than ‘Hi’ without his voice
failing, he would be proud. When she saw him approaching, she smiled at
him. This made it all even worse, but he
was determined to tell her.
can we… err… I mean, can I… talk to you?” Ron didn’t know where to look, or
what to do with his hands. Could he be any more pathetic?
looked at him strangely for a moment, and then understanding filled her eyes.
“Ron, I’m not helping you with your homework. You are a prefect, and we are in
NEWT classes now. You have to start…”
Hermione, wait. It’s not about that,” he said, managing to cut her off before
she started a long speech about his obligations.
shook his head.
then…” She seemed to sense that it was a difficult subject for him, and
he reckoned that they would finally be able to talk now. “It’s about Harry,
you want to talk about. It’s about Harry. Did something happen to him? Is that
why you’re so nervous?”
that moment, something occurred to him for the first time. Was this all their
friendship was about? Harry and homework? Couldn’t she think of him, Ron
Weasley, beyond how he did in school? Or were they friends only because of
Harry? No, he was sure that wasn’t true. He remembered back in fourth year,
when he and Harry had had that big fight. She had listened to him then. She
cared. He tried to remember the last time they had had a conversation that
didn’t involve Harry, homework or You-Know-Who, and was startled to find that
it was right before he and Harry started talking again. What had gone wrong?
Did she think that that was all that tied them together now? It couldn’t be,
had to think. He couldn’t talk to her right now. He made some lame excuse and
called after him, but he never stopped. For a second, he thought that she was
going to follow him. A part of him wanted her to, but then he heard his sister
calling her inside. It was better this
later, he still hadn’t come to any conclusions. He felt crushed. If that was
the only way Hermione thought of him, she certainly didn’t like him back, as
Ginny had hinted. Maybe she fancied Harry. That thought hurt even more. He
wanted them to be happy, of course. They were his best friends, but how could
he be happy for them when he was feeling like rubbish? It made sense, though.
Hermione was always worried about Harry. And she had kissed him on the
cheek at the end of fourth year. She had wanted him to be a prefect instead of
Ron. She had left her parents at Christmas because Harry was brooding. She
hadn’t seemed too excited about the perfume Ron had given her. They were always
bickering…his head was starting to pound.
looked up to find Hermione walking towards him. What was he supposed to do now?
He was afraid of having his suspicions confirmed.
did you want to talk to me about?” she asked quietly.
wasn’t nothing, Ron.” She sat down next to him. “You’ve been here for hours. I
was starting to worry.”
me?” he said, before he could stop himself.
looked at him as if he was crazy. “Of course about you.”
His mouth seemed to be working on its own.
do you mean, why? You ask me if we can talk, then you don’t say anything and
leave without an explanation. You spend hours under this tree, looking as if
something terrible happened, and you ask me why I’m worried. Honestly, Ron!”
would have explained if you hadn’t interrupted me.”
so now it’s all my fault?”
knew that he shouldn’t start a row, but he was getting frustrated. What did she
want from him? Why, all of a sudden, was she worried about him?
I mean, yes. It is your fault.”
huffed, “I don’t know why I bother with you, Ron! I was trying to help, in case
you didn’t notice. I wanted to listen to whatever was bugging you, but no. You
don’t want to talk, it’s easier to blame me for your problems.”
didn’t seem very interested in what was happening to me when I tried to talk to
are wrong, Ron. So wrong. Of course I care about you. I don’t know how you can
even think I don’t. You’re one of my best friends.”
was the last time we talked about something personal, Hermione?”
sure it wasn’t that long. We were prefects, and made rounds together. You can
convince me that we…”
don’t have to convince you, Hermione, I know. I spent hours under this tree,
like you said, thinking about it. Of course we talked, but it was always about
Harry, the war, homework, prefect duties…”
it isn’t only my fault. You can’t blame it all on me. You could have talked to
me if you wanted. I’d have listened.”
you did today? First you accused me of wanting help with homework, and then you
assumed it was about Harry. You know what, Hermione? I’m a person too. I’m not
only Harry’s best friend. I have feelings, and sometimes I need someone to talk
to about what’s happening to me. To know I still exist. Do you see me at all,
Hermione? Or are my grades all you care about? Because if it is, please don’t
was speechless. He felt a little satisfaction at the fact. Her eyes were
shining with unshed tears. He knew that she would hold them back, though, and
was relieved. He never knew what to do with a crying girl.
know you felt that way.”
don’t know a lot.” His voice was much quieter now, but still bitter. He was
starting to feel drained.
want to. Ron, please. Let me in.” She was so earnest that he felt his heart
are in already, Hermione,” he whispered, avoiding her eyes.
are you trying to tell me, Ron?” The hope in her voice was unmistakable, and he
felt his own hope starting to rise all over again.
same thing I wanted to say this morning.”
he didn’t elaborate, she reached out for his hand.
at me, Ron.” He reluctantly did, and was mesmerized by her eyes. “Say it.”
He took a deep breath, and continued, “like you, Hermione… As in, err, more
than friends.” He was sure he couldn’t get any more red than he was at that
smiled at him in a way he had never seen before. Shyly, she said, “Me, too.”
It was all he was able to utter at that instant. His brain was still processing
what she had said.
silence that followed was uncomfortable. They both knew what they wanted to do
next, but didn’t know how to actually do it. Ron was trying to find a way to
ask her if it would be okay to kiss her, when she sighed and muttered, “Oh,
this is ridiculous!” The next thing he knew, she was pulling him to her.
was so shocked that it took him a second to understand what was happening. When
the feel of her lips on his registered in his brain, he tentatively kissed her
back. He had never done it before.
Awkward as it felt, however, he had never experienced anything as
awesome as kissing Hermione.
parted a few moments later, smiling bashfully at one another. Hermione pulled
her hands from Ron’s neck, and took his hands instead.
this mean we’re… you know?” For the millionth time that day, he stumbled on his
words. It was starting to irritate him that he couldn’t finish a single
are...” She bit her bottom lip, before saying almost in a whisper, “dating?”
nodded. “That is, if you want to. We don’t have to, if you don’t want. It would
be nice, but it’s okay if you reckon it’s too soon. I mean, we could always
take things slowly. Or not. I don’t want you to feel obligated. It’s entirely
your call, and… what?”
was laughing heartily at him, and it was then that he noticed that he was
babbling. That was somehow worse than being tongue-tied.
Ron.” She was still grinning at him, but tenderly now. “Yes, I would like to be
was his turn to grin at her. “And I would like to be yours. Boyfriend, I mean.”
laughed again, and stood up, pulling him to his feet. “Let’s go for a walk.”
they walked, they talked as they hadn’t in a long time, stopping occasionally
to steal a kiss or just to hold each other. It would take time for them to
adjust to this new stage of their relationship, especially when they returned
to Hogwarts. He would have to find ways to drag Hermione out of her studies
once in a while. He would also have to find places where they could have some
alone time. Ron grinned. Being Harry Potter’s best friend would certainly come
in handy, what with a certain cloak and map. At the thought of Harry, Ron made
a mental note to thank Ginny later. And maybe, if he had the chance, he could
help his sister to be as happy as he was.