“My feet are freezing!” Ron exclaimed to Hermione. His voice rang out as
he stood in the cold, dark, third floor corridor. A glance through the windows
showed the bare trees whipping back and forth in a winter wind that spent its
fury upon the windows with howl and clatter. Flurries of snow whipped up by the
wind swirled away from the windows into the darkness. He stomped a few times,
“I can’t feel them anymore.” He hoped the stomping might bring feeling back,
but he was sorely disappointed.
Even chasing a Ravenclaw couple out of the Library had not run off the
Peering into a dank classroom, Hermione used her non-wand hand to draw her
cloak tighter around herself, “I know how you feel, my hands are numb. I always
hate patrolling in the winter…It’s always too chilly.”
“Chilly? Chilly? It’s ruddy freezing!” He
breathed out loudly few times and watched his breath. “Look at this! This
should not be happening inside. You’d think a magic castle
would be warmer. It’s all bloody Boot’s fault: He had to
go and splinch himself, didn’t he? And
why do we have to cover his shift? I swear, being Head Boy sucks sometimes.”
“You’re just a little ray of sunshine tonight, aren’t you? I would have
thought a little more compassion from you would be in order, especially
considering what parts of Terry got splinched.”
He smirked, “It’s going to be weeks before he can walk straight or sit.
Serves Terry right.”
“May I also remind you it is precisely the Head Boy’s job to cover shifts
when nobody else is available.”
He raised his voice to a high pitch, imitating her, “Language, Weasley.
“I wish you wouldn’t mock me like that,” she said with a sigh.
“Thank you. Look on the bright side, it’s chilly enough to keep most people
from sneaking about.” She closed the door with a thud and a click as she turned
to continue down the corridor.
Falling in next to her, Ron checked his watch and said, “I suppose. No
nasty firsties moping around where they shouldn’t be.”
The Gray Lady passed by, silently gliding in the opposite direction and
Ron nodded in greeting to the ghost as she smiled serenely at the pair. When
the Gray Lady had, hopefully, passed out of ghostly
earshot, Ron muttered, “Ugh, this place can be creepy at night.”
“Honestly, it’s the same as it is during the day. The difference is that
“How do you know that we’re not being watched, or followed, or possessed? I’m just saying the castle can
“You know, it’s likely we are being
watched and followed. Considering the age of Hogwarts, the castle is probably
home to lots of spirits, probably benign…well, most of
them are probably benign. Honestly, it’s been six
years. When have you ever encountered an evil spirit here?”
He looked at her, “Have you forgotten about Riddle?”
She waved her hand dismissively, “He doesn’t count. He was a memory
from an enchanted diary. Come on, now, I’m here to keep you safe from all those
She chuckled and he grunted. As they continued walking, Ron keep
glancing at her: The way she wore her travelling
cloak; her hair; her rosy cheeks; the curve of her nose; her lips. He snapped
his eyes forward with a shake of his head and sighed longingly as he shrugged
his shoulders against the cold.
“Still spooked at something?”
“Nah.” His quick answer betrayed his thoughts. Ron wanted to reach out
and maybe put his arm around her shoulder that way or
maybe even hold her hand, but the gulf of impossibility separated her from him.
His thoughts trailed off as he reached a heavy wooden door. He welcomed the
distraction, “OK, my turn.”
He yanked at the door and a loud creak resounded through the corridor. He
peered into the classroom and found it was empty and quite ordinary. In the
silvery moonlight light filtering through the arched windows, he saw it was a dusty
classroom with a row of desks pushed to one side, a row of empty bookcases on
the other. At the room’s far end he saw, judging by
their shapes, a teacher’s desk, a small lectern, and a painting off to one side.
Drop cloths covered the pieces.
Something whispered at the edge of his understanding, something
familiar was calling him into the room; Ron searched his mind to explain his
feelings of déjà vu. He checked his watch. “It’s getting late,” he said
He stood there looking around for a while before Hermione’s voice,
tinged with concern broke his reverie, “Something the matter?”
He muttered vaguely, “No. Nothing.” He walked towards
the front of the room.
Her footsteps followed, echoing behind him, “It’s just an unused
classroom, Ron. Desks, blackboards, a few bookcases, a canvas.
There’s nothing out of the ordinary here. Shouldn’t we move on to the next room? You said it was late.”
“But something doesn’t feel right….” His anxiety increased in his ignorance
as he walked towards the painting: Drawn by fascination; repulsed by
“Oh, you’re just spooked, silly,” she teased. She was just behind him as
they both approached the front. He saw that the desk’s legs and the painting were supported by heavy clawed feet.
“No. Something seems familiar with this…” He took the last couple of couple
steps forward, reached out and drew back a part of the cloth covering the panel.
The sight of the partial image shocked him into dropping the cloth as if it burnt
him and he retreated backward, bumping into Hermione.
They stumbled out of each other’s way before she looked at him with concern
and asked, “What is it, Ron? Is something the matter?”
He stared and pointed at the mirror, “It’s Erised. The Mirror of Erised.”
“Honestly, you got me all worked up and it’s just a mirror!” She walked
around it slowly, examining the front and back before reaching out to take down
“Don’t touch it!”
She withdrew her hand and looked at him. “Why? What’s the matter?”
“Just don’t. Trust me.”
Comprehension dawned on her face, “This is the same mirror you and
Harry saw first year!”
Her eyes lit up with wonderment, “Wow! Who would put that here?”
“I dunno, Dumbledore, maybe, but I think we
“I just don’t think we should be here.”
Hermione blew out an exasperated sigh, “Honestly, stop being so
infantile, Ron. It’s our job. Right?
Dumbledore told us to check the rooms on this floor, so he probably already knows
the mirror is here.” She sounded positively excited as she continued. “And if
that’s true, I think he wouldn’t mind if we took a quick peek. You and Harry
had a turn at it, I’d like a go.”
“I’m warning you—” Ron broke off as she stepped forward and reached for
the cloth. He quickly turned his back. He heard the sound of the covering being drawn over wood and footsteps.
After a long pause, her voice shook, “Well. I’m
done. Your turn.”
“No. Cover it up.”
“What’s the matter?” He heard sounds of cloth being pulled back over the
mirror as she spoke softly, “Aren’t you the least bit
curious what you would find in there?”
“No. I don’t need to.”
“Why not? You’re
Head Boy and Quidditch Captain now, the things you saw last time. So why wouldn’t
you want a glance at what your heart’s desire is now?”
“NO! This is not the time and place,” he paused, “I can’t…I shouldn’t.”
Hermione walked beside him and looked up at his face. Ron saw concern
in her face, “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Come on, you can talk to me. You can say whatever you want and I won’t
interrupt.” He looked up into her eyes: Eyes that caused his stomach to lurch
at the imagined possibilities of what could be. He would die for those eyes. Damn them.
He looked down at his feet and shuffled, “You won’t say anything, to
anybody. Will you?” He fingered his wristwatch.
“Promise. Now spill.”
He shuffled uncomfortably, “I think…I’m afraid of it.”
“Afraid of the mirror? But it’s—”
With irritation in his voice, Ron cut her off, “Hermione! I thought you
said you weren’t going to interrupt.”
“Oh, sorry.” She looked at him
He mumbled, “’S OK.” After a deep breath, he continued, “I’m afraid of
it. Well, not afraid that it’d hurt me, y’know. I’m not a sissy. But I’m
afraid of what I’d see in it …and that’s sort of scary.”
“But the images, they’re not—sorry.” Ron had shot her another look.
“As I was saying…The mirror would make it real. My greatest want—my
biggest desire—would be up there for me to see. And then I’d have to do
something about it.”
There was silence. Hermione asked softly, “Now can I ask a question?”
“Honestly, Ron, it’s just a reflection. How do you suppose a reflection becomes real?”
“I never realized so many years ago that a simple thing as seeing a dream of myself with this,” he picked at his
silver and scarlet badge, “would drive me harder than…than…than…anything. Not
even Mum could make me work harder. Somehow seeing it with these,” he pointed
to his eyes, “Makes it that much more real, and all I need to do is step
through the glass and get it.” He made a grasping motion with his hand to
illustrate his point. “You saw yourself and the other reflections in the
mirror, right? What are you feeling right now?”
She nervously fiddled with the cuff of her robes as she worried her
lower lip, “I—I suppose I can understand some of what you’re saying.”
“Yeah, you see?”
“A little, but why are you so afraid of this?” She added briskly, “It’s
just a silly reflection, and you know that it isn’t real. Knowing that should make
it easier to control your feelings.”
“Hermione, maybe I know it isn’t real, maybe you know it isn’t real, but
that doesn’t help.” The puzzlement on her face frustrated him, “I can’t help
what I feel!”
“If what you’re feeling is ambition, I think that would be fine.” She furrowed
her brow, “Dumbledore said something this evening. Are you afraid that this
ambition rules your life?”
Ron had never thought of that before. “Maybe.
“Well, in your case, being Head Boy and Captain are fine goals to reach
for. And you did.” Hermione’s smile made all of the grueling Quidditch
practices, boring Prefect meetings and Saturday night
patrols worthwhile. He blushed as his heart filled with something that might
have been pride.
“Erm, thanks.” He fumbled nervously with his watch. “Well, it’s
not always good. You remember the Tri-Wizard tournament?”
“Of course! What about it?”
“Remember the big row Harry and I had?”
“I try not to think about that part, but yes, I remember that.”
“I was driven mad with…well…envy, greed, whatever. Harry had
everything: All this money and fame and talent and
everything. And I think that some of that…my jealousy
came from remembering that bloody mirror, even four years later. I believed then
that he’d just sealed his nomination for Prefect…” He mumbled, “Bloody hell.”
Hermione finished for him, “And if Harry became the fifth year Prefect,
you wouldn’t be able to be Head Boy.”
“You must have felt terrible, how come you never told me? Did you tell
“Some things are private, y’know? I couldn’t tell Harry. What would I say to him? ‘Oy, mate, maybe you got everything, but now I’ve got something you don’t have.’ No, I never told anybody,
not until now.”
“You’ve thought a lot about this, haven’t you?”
“Are you worried you could get carried away?”
He thought for a while, thinking back to the past, sifting through
memories, looking for the signs of obsession. He answered slowly, “It’s
frightening how people can be possessed by their own desires by simply imagining
them. Do you know how I felt when I bloody
saw my dreams? They were real. I started to think I’d do almost do anything,
give up anything, to get this badge.”
“So you are worried.”
“Yeah. Dumbledore said that
people have wasted away, pining for what they can’t
get. I’m afraid of what I’d do to get what I want, if I saw things in that,” Ron motioned to the covered mirror,
“I…,” he looked sheepish.
“This is going to sound corny, but if I saw them, maybe I’d fail my
duty.” He felt his ears and cheeks grow hot, even in the wintry cold of the classroom.
“Duty? What duty?” She frowned at
Ron continued, “I’d be skiving off my responsibilities. I’d be letting people
down just so I can get something for myself…something selfish.”
He took a deep breath. It felt good to give a voice to the thoughts
that had haunted him for months. Closing and then opening his eyes, he glanced
at Hermione before looking back at his feet, “There’s too much at stake for me
to do that.”
They stood there in a long silence before a hand on his forearm
“I don’t think you’re the sort of person who will skive off things
people have trusted you with. You won’t run from the
things you believe in, I’ve seen that and you can’t fail because it’s not in
your nature. You’re not selfish.”
Ron muttered, “You’re not me. You don’t know.”
“I think I do. And just what do you think this duty of yours is?”
“What else? Who else?
“Harry? You’re not responsible for him,” she looked at him quizzically.
“I am, and I will be. I have to be there for him to the end. He doesn’t
have family to take care of him, so might as well be me,” he shrugged.
“No one person can take it all on. You can’t
take it all on because nobody can. Ron, we all take care of Harry. You, me, your family, Dumbledore, the Order. We all take
care of Harry.”
“It just makes sense, Hermione, you should know that.” He started
gesturing with his hands as he talked, “Look, I’m the one who’s with him the
most these days. We’re together in class, eating,
playing Quidditch…bloody hell, I’m in the same room when he sleeps for Morgan’s
sake. When it hits the fan, I’m going to be right
there. Most likely, catching most of whatever gets spewed out the back end.”
“What do you think that means?”
“I dunno.” As he rubbed his head, he
explained, “Put it this way, I don’t think much about things happening after
Harry’s final battle.”
“We’re all worried about it. But Dumbledore
said that we shouldn’t obsess about the things we can’t control. We have to
Ron stopped her, “No, that’s not what I meant. What I mean is that I
don’t expect to live.”
Her eyes grew wide, “That’s not funny. Do you really think you’ll…”
“I dunno. What I know is who’s
more important to the wizarding world. It’s my job to
make sure Harry can do his—kill Vol—him.” He fingered
“Oh, Ron. Don’t
you ever think that way! You’ll make it though, we’ll
all make it through. I just know it. Harry is an amazing wizard and between him
and Dumbledore…and us…we’ll be able to defeat Voldemort.”
Ron cringed at the mention of the name. Hermione gave him a frustrated
look before she continued, “Are you using what you think is
a responsibility as an excuse?”
“Maybe you’re just afraid of actually getting what you desire most. You’re looking for an acceptable way to let yourself down. Maybe
you don’t want to put in the work. It’s terrible
He had never thought of that before, “I—I don’t know, I never thought
In an authoritative voice she said, “Well, then, no excuses. Not if I
have anything to say about it. Now, what do you think you would see in the
mirror? I won’t tell Harry if that’s what you’re worried about.”
It’s those damned eyes again.
When Ron hadn’t answered, Hermione asked, “Do
you trust me?”
To hell and back. Double damn.
To his surprise, talking about his worries made him feel better, a
feeling vastly different from the anxiety he had felt for a long time. He felt
an optimism bordering dangerously close to hope—a germ of an emotion giving rise
to the insanity that followed.
He would show her his greatest desire; considering the most likely
outcome, he would count on suffering her retribution.
He took a deep breath and slowly turned her by the shoulders so she was
facing the covered mirror. He repeated her question back to her in a low voice,
gravelly with nervousness, “Do you trust me?
Since you’re so keen on this, you’re going to help me with the mirror.”
Looking over her shoulder at him, she said with hesitation, “Well…OK.”
“Take a few steps toward the mirror.” As she did, she reached for the
mirror. “Stop. No, don’t pull down the cover.”
“Well, now what?”
Ron rubbed his head and gathered his wits, suddenly full of doubt. Last chance to back down, you can always have her just take the cloth
down, and then lie to her. Yeah, right.
“Well? Do I take down the cloth now or what?” she asked.
“Don’t be impatient. Give me some time.” Last chance.
“Ron, I can’t wait all night. Are you ready for me to show you the
“No. Turn around and face me, instead.” He steeled himself.
Hermione hesitated before turning towards him, “OK, now what?”
His hand made a motion at her standing, facing him, framed by the
outline of the concealed mirror, standing in the silvery light. His voice
cracked in nervousness, “There.”
Her face furrowed as she looked around, “What? What am I looking for.”
“There. It’s right there.”
She looked at him and he returned her gaze, “Ron! The mirror is still
covered, how can you know what you’d see there if the
mirror is covered? Here, let me take off—”
“Just what are you on…” her voice trailed off as she stared at him. He
saw her head tilt and her brow crease. He watched her bite her lower lip.
“There.” His whisper was barely audible over the sounds of the wind
outside the windows, “I don’t need to see; I already know.” He shoved his hands
into his pockets, “It’s you.”
They stood there in the silence as he looked down at his shoes, noting
how scuffed up and worn they were.
They stood in silence for what felt like forever. He wasn’t
sure he had ever heard her this quiet for so long; the silence spoke loudly to
him. He couldn’t trust himself to look at Hermione to
see the rejection in her face. He didn’t want to hear
what she would say, what he feared she would say, what she would have to say.
He forced a cheery tone into his voice as he said, “Well, Dumbledore is
gonna kill us if we don’t check the rest of the
floor. Let’s go. Catch the door, will you?”
He turned around and strode to the door as Hermione followed along,
their footsteps echoing hollowly.
There was only one more door to check on the first floor and Ron
checked the room behind it in silence with a mind as numb as his feet. He
reflected later an erumpet could have rampaged down
the hall and it would have barely registered. He kept the pace quick enough
that she had to jog every so often to keep up.
The patrol was almost over as they stumped up the stairs of the
Gryffindor tower. He was starting to worry how they could
be around each other now. Now that she knew.
“Yes, dears. How was patrol?”
Ron simply grunted, but Hermione was more polite, “It went…well.”
“Very nice, good night.”
‘Very nice’ wasn’t the words he would have
used. He turned towards the boys’ staircase to find his room, to sleep, to
escape. The common room was empty of Gryffindors and he was thankful for that, although
it wasn’t empty: A grey and white cat chasing a black
one over the sofas and around the chairs remained. The room was quiet and the
fireplace was full of glowing embers, casting a reddish glow.
Her voice cut through the quiet, “Not a very funny password, Kneazles are terribly clever; Crookshanks
won’t be too happy when he hears it.”
He turned slowly and forced himself to be nonchalant, “Erm, yeah. I’ll change it.” Ron hesitated, “Look, I’m
knackered and my feet are freezing and I’ve got Potions tomorrow and I’ve got
to finish Charms in the morning and maybe I should be going to bed now.”
She said, “You don’t have to. In fact, we both have to finish our
essays. Don’t we? Do you want to finish them tonight…together?”
He just goggled at her.
He thought she smiled as she looked at her feet, “Well? Are you going
His heart swelled at the simple question as a surge of, something,
raced from his heart to the very tips of his fingers. “You’re asking to study
with me? Erm, sure. I suppose you need my crack Potions expertise.”
“Oh, come off it. Honestly, you’re so full of yourself,” she laughed,
and Ron thought she seem a little nervous. “Come on, there’s still a bit to
He kept staring at her as they pulled off their cloaks and settled back
into their chairs by the fire, retrieving their books from their bags kept by
the hearth. Ron was unsure what to do next and fell to busying himself with fishing
for his unfinished parchment. The two cats ran under their chairs, growling at
each other, startling both of them.
He muttered, “Oy, you little monsters, knock
it off. I’m Head Boy y’know.”
After fumbling through his bag, he stopped, dropped his backpack again and just stared at Hermione. Finishing the essay was
not possible with all of the questions racing in his mind.
He simply asked, “Well?”
“That’s all you can say?” He shifted uncomfortably.
Staring at her book she said, “What’s there to say?”
“Erm, maybe something about
the Mirror of Erised. Y’know, you didn’t tell me what
you saw. That’s not very fair.”
Hermione closed her book, carefully marking her page and set it on the
table in between them, careful of the Chocolate Frog wrappers left from earlier
in the evening. She settled herself, folded her hands in her lap neatly, and
looked at Ron with what he interpreted to be a serious expression. In a very
matter of fact tone she said, “I’d rather we discussed what you thought you
would have seen in the mirror.”
This is it. Time for:
Ronald Weasley, Suave Wizard Extraordinaire.
“Erm, at, well, I’ve been…you see. . .ahhhh,” he stuttered. Or not.
“I’m not sure if I heard you correctly the
first time. Try again.”
“Ugh. Well, you see, there’s this, er…” He felt heat in his ears as he stared at his shoes
He looked up and said irritably, “Don’t rush
me! You always rush me, trying to make me move faster than I want to. Can you
give it a rest right now?”
She said snippily, “You know, sometimes you
need a good boot in the bum. You don’t move fast
enough when I know you can. It’s infuriating.”
He looked at the puffy red sofa across from
him and mumbled, “Maybe I don’t like moving so fast.”
“Maybe I don’t like having to wait.”
He had the distinct impression he was about
to miss something. He said, carefully, “Is that it? You’ve been waiting
Hermione reddened and sat quietly and Ron forced
himself to wait. The suspense grew as he fidgeted in his chair.
He crashed to the ground. He felt as if ice filled
his heart. His mind went blank. “Wh—what? I don’t understand. It—it makes
Hermione tried to explain, “I mean…what I feel
for my best friend makes no sense. You see, the way I feel for Harry…” she
trailed off, looking thoughtful, “What I mean to say is that,” she looked into
his eyes, “You’re my best friend and it’s just that between the two of you I’m
Ron interrupted, muttering, “Harry. You
fancy Harry. Well, I see. I really am tired and my feet are cold and so are my
hands and…I really should get to bed.” He stood quickly to run for safety.
A tug on his arm stopped him. She had leaned
over and grabbed his sleeve. “Don’t interrupt while I’m talking and, most definitely
don’t leave. I’m not finished with you, yet. Now, sit
“Morgan’s knickers, Hermione, you’ve got to
twist the dagger some more?” he said with acid in his voice.
She smiled at him, “Twisting the dagger?”
“Now you’re laughing at me. I don’t have to
take this.” He wrenched his arm from her grasp.
“Oh come off it! Stop acting so tortured. You
don’t listen to anything I say and then just start
putting words into my mouth. Just SIT.”
Ron sat back down, arms crossed. He stared up at the high ceiling,
tracing the patterns of the rafters as Hermione continued to talk.
“Now, as I was saying, I wasn’t expecting to have…feelings for my best
friend like this, the kind of feelings that are,” she sighed, “Well, not
logical. And the logical part of me knows that my
other best friend is going to feel left out if I follow through with my
illogical feelings. You can’t blame me for wanting to
avoid a situation where one of my best friends feels left out. So—”
He looked at her and spit out with spite, “Namely, me.”
She shot back irritably, “You insufferable prat. Why won’t
you let me finish? On top of it all, you’re also being irrational. I’m
worried about Harry, you dolt. HARRY.”
Dizziness overcame him, his head spun, and the weight enclosing his
chest Disapparated to parts unknown. Flopping back in
his chair he said weakly, “Harry?”
“Harry. I’m worried that Harry will feel
left out because…” she trailed off and looked away.
She said softly, “I’ve said enough. Ron, I need you to say something.”
“Because…just because. I—I need you to tell me,” she pleaded.
He stood up, knelt in front of Hermione, and reached for her hands,
steeling himself for the task. He asked permission by gesturing with his head,
he couldn’t trust his voice.
She nodded without looking at him as he took her hands in hers. The
only thing Ron could think to say was, “You’re hands are cold. Er, that is, they’re soft, too. And cold.”
She giggled nervously, surprising him with her reaction, “They are like
ice, aren’t they? It was very cold on patrol. Do you mind?”
“I don’t mind at all,” he whispered.
She still avoided his eyes as she whispered as well, “So.”
He closed his eyes and gathered his courage. His voice was high with
stress as he spoke rapidly, “Hermione, I don’t know when I started feeling this
way, or how. I mean, I know how, you’re a witch and a very pretty one at that
and...well, um, oh. It’s not
like I’m just going after looks here, you see; you’re bloody brilliant, clever
even and I like the way you can be bossy, uh, but in a good way. But I’ve always thought you were pretty, even if I never
said anything, but I guess I just said it, didn’t I? But that’s not the only
thing, I mean, you always know what to do and well, now I’m saying…” Ron slapped
his forehead and stopped his fumbling, “Er, I’m
making absolutely no sense, am I?”
“No, not much, but go on.” Another nervous giggle.
“I fancy the pants off you—I mean, no. That’s not right, I meant...”
Ron let out an agonized growl. “See what I mean? You drive me mental, you do. It’s because I…I—I fancy you. We’ve
been best friends for forever, and…I want to be more than best friends, Hermione.
Much more,” He looked at her, trying to catch her eyes, “Thought you should
She looked up slowly, smiled back, “And I’m rather fond of you, Ron
Weasley,” she said softly, “Thought you should know.”
“Fond? Fond? You’re fond of dogs, Bertie Botts, or a quilt, not boyfriends.”
She laughed, “Boyfriend, already? You haven’t
asked me anything, yet. Or were you not planning to?”
“Oh, come off it. I like you, I think you like
me. What more is there?”
“You can ask me properly. Ron, sometimes I wonder if you’re just
intentionally being thick.”
“All right, fine.” He growled in aggravation. “Hermione, I’m wondering,
if you might have some free time or other, if maybe you might find it in your heart to have pity on me, on the off chance that, perhaps
you also think likewise—”
“Ron, get on with it.”
“Me, wizard. You, witch. We call
each other boyfriend and girlfriend or some rubbish like that. Do we exchange
pins or something? Is that the way it works? Or are you saying we should just stay
She blew her hair out of her eyes with a frustrated sigh and looked at
him, “Do you think best friends would do this?” she leaned forward in the chair,
screwed her eyes shut and bumped into his nose.
“Ow!” They both winced and rubbed their
“Bloody hell, Hermione, you’re going to give me a bleeder! And, no, best
friends usually don’t break each other’s noses.” He felt his face and ears grow
You probably should lead,” she said with flushed cheeks.
“Er, right. Now?”
She held up her hand, “No, wait, I forgot something.” She sat up
straighter in the chair.
She started to lecture nervously, “Try this, when you kiss me, put your
hands here…and here.” She placed his hands on her waist, “Got it? Excellent. I’ll put my hands like this.” She placed her
hands on his shoulders. “Then we tilt our heads to the right slightly, like
this. No, Ron, if we both go to our own right, then we’re
going to be oriented in opposite directions. That way, we’ll
avoid mashing noses like last time. See how that works?”
He was bewildered as he interrupted, “Cthulhu on a crutch, Hermione!
This isn’t an O.W.L. or even a N.E.W.T., it’s a snog! There isn’t a bloody procedure for it.”
She continued, “Maybe we should keep our eyes open, but we could close
them half way, that would be more romantic. Don’t you
think? And don’t forget to purse your lips like this, and mind that you not
have your mouth open too excessively because—”
“Bloody hell,” he muttered; he intended to stop her lecture.
He leaned in, causing her to squeek, “Oh!”
He closed his eyes and felt her breath soft on his lips. The common
room was quiet, amplifying the distant wind rattling against the windows, the popping
of embers from the spent fire, and the patter of playing cats. Anticipation surged
through him and it felt as if he was falling from a dizzying height—a jump into
the unknown. A vague hint of Hermione’s perfume reminded him of roses, a scent
he inhaled deeply, savoring every moment. He closed the rest of the distance to
her lips—lips that Ron discovered were soft and warm and entirely his at that
moment. He was unsure of himself, even a little scared, but he wanted the
moment to go on forever.
Hermione pulled away and he leaned forward, wanting to kiss her again.
He opened his eyes, taking in every detail of her flushed face, his eyes darting
between her lips, slightly opened and her eyes, slightly closed. Both of them
were taking deep breaths as his heart raced.
Ron broke the peace by quietly whispering what came to mind first, “Merlin’s
knickers! You kissed me. That was on the lips. You kissed me.” He just stared
at her in wonderment.
He was barely able to believe what had just happened;
so he was equally unable to grasp what it would mean—consequences would need to
be worked out, later. This one moment was the only thing that mattered; she was
the only one that mattered.
She opened her eyes dreamily, stared into his eyes and said softly, “Ron
Weasley, leave it to you to ruin our first kiss with swearing, mentions of
unmentionables, and a definite lack of preparation.”
“Leave it to Hermione Granger to turn…our first kiss into a bloody
homework assignment that she apparently forgot about before Bludgering
me with her nose.”
She pulled back from him and shook her hair over her shoulder, “Well, I
can’t help myself. The thing is I’ve thought a lot about this one moment.”
“Apparently,” he snorted, regaining his composure.
“Ron, what I meant is that I’ve thought a lot of this one moment,” she
repeated. “I’ve thought a lot of kissing you.”
“Oh.” What she had just said overwhelmed him: She had thought of
kissing him before and, apparently, more than once. This one thought filled
Ron’s heart to overflowing. “So, where do you want me to put my hands again?”
She smiled, “Wait. I’m still freezing cold, I
want to get my slippers. I’ve got to run upstairs and
then I’ll be back down in a few minutes, dear. Can you stoke up the fire a bit?”
I’ll wait here, then.” She arched her eyebrow at him. Ron was puzzled, “What?”
She repeated, “I’ll be back down in a few minutes, dear.”
He laughed, “Oy, so that’s
the way it’s going to be?”
“Yes, that’s the way it is going to be,” she said with a mischievous
“Um, right. I’ll be waiting, dear.”
As she walked away, Ron called out, “My feet are cold, too. D’you have an extra pair of slippers?”
She stop and laughed. “You can borrow mine
once I’m warm enough. They should enlarge quite nicely, love.”
Love, that’s a new one. Wicked.
At the bottom of the stairs, she paused and looked at him, “I never
thought of that before, you can borrow my slippers now. Isn’t that nice?”
“Yeah. Yeah, I guess so. As long
as they’re not girly or any
rubbish like that!”
She giggled as she climbed the stairs.
Since when does Hermione Granger
giggle? He spotted more wood by the hearth and used his wand
to levitate a few logs onto the embers and stir up the coals. The two cats
playing earlier had settled comfortably together in a corner of the couch,
cleaning each other. He sank back into the high backed chair with his hands
behind his head, closed his eyes, relived the last few minutes, and sighed
contentedly by the renewed fire. Just wait until Harry gets
Acknowledgements: ivy rocks: Nothing more, nothing
less. Perchance if you, kind
reader, look favorably upon this story, you can thank her for wresting goodness
from what was a hopeless morass of gerund thingies and ill-timed dialog tags.