It was scary to find out heartbreak could actually result in something
so tangible, so physical, so real. Ron stood, feeling the rumble of an empty
stomach, the dull burn in his legs, and the clammy cold in the air, wondering why
he had endured out here for two hours. Maybe if these physical discomforts were
significant enough, they could somehow overcome the grabbing ache in his chest.
He leaned his unattractive and ungainly body on the railing, set off to
the side of the stairs leading up to the castle entrance. A cool breeze blew in
over the hills and swept his face as he scanned the landscape painted by the
glowing sunset colors. The sky was darkening into hues of blues and purples as
the first stars began their nightly watch; he was surrounded by the pungent
odors of wet earth. The rush of students to dinner in the Great Hall had
finished a while ago, leaving him free to wallow alone, watching and waiting.
Hermione walked briskly along the stone path leading up to the steps.
As she walked, she smoothed down her black school robes as she ran a hand
through her tangle of windswept hair.
He never took his eyes off the waning sunset as he flicked the remains
of a snapped twig and a shredded leaf over the side. He spoke as she approached
the first steps, “Oy. Brilliant evening for a fly, isn’t it?” His voice was
loud, but empty of the anger he felt earlier—something he didn’t think was
With a slight tremble in her voice she said, “Er, yes. Yes it is.”
“Viktor,” he paused a step before he let a hint of rising resentment
color his words, “Viktor, is a bloody brilliant flyer, isn’t he?”
“Oh. I…” It was satisfying that she had to hunt for words; she was full
of words, too full sometimes, “Were you spying on me?” A look of suspicion
replaced one of guilt; she put her hands on her hips with a huff.
He couldn’t push away images of those hands clutching Viktor, those arms around Viktor, as they rode. His imagination saw
them high in the sky, making breathtaking turns. His imagination saw them swooping
among the hills, taking in fairy tale views. His imagination saw them laughing
“Hard not to notice two people on a broom.” He made his way around the
railing, working the aches in his legs, savoring the sharp pricks in his knees
as he moved.
“Yes, well, Viktor wanted to show me what it’s like to fly. It’s been
ages since I’ve been on a broom and I thought that today was a perfect day to
He said nothing as he slipped down the steps and stopped just as he was
going to pass her, desperately avoiding looking at his temptation—her uniquely unruly
hair; her un-glossed, almost dry, lips; her eyes, tired from reading—but he
couldn’t check himself. He stole a momentary glance before he broke the thick silence,
unable to keep his voice from cracking, “Think I’ll have a bit of a fly,
“Is Harry done with dinner?”
“Didn’t you eat?”
He took the rest of the steps quickly and strode as if he had a purpose
towards the Quidditch pitch; leaving her and the things he stupidly, foolishly
dared to daydream about and hope for, behind.
He felt a little guilty turning his back, but he was entitled.
He reached the Quidditch pitch just as the remaining bit of sun
disappeared over the hills. Wand in hand, he intoned, “Accio Ron Weasley’s Cleansweep”. Within moments,
his broom had flown from a window in a tower high above the castle to him.
Clumsily, he swung his leg over the broom, gripped the handle dearly,
and climbed into the twilight sky with a whoosh.
He forced his broom into a dangerously steep climb—ignoring the memories of his
many brothers’ instructions and his Mum’s warnings. He leveled off high above
the grounds and circled, trying to catch the last rays of the sun, searching
for its warmth.
Here, high above it all, he was away.
Closing his eyes, breathing deep, he savored the bite of the evening
Unwelcome images of Hermione occupied his thoughts: The feel of the
soft tangle of her hair as he punched Harry behind her back; the accidental
warmth of her hand as she reached for a book; the sharp piercing of her eyes every
time they rowed over stupid things. Reality flooded back as he remembered why
he was flying.
He wondered if the cold air could scrub him clean. He dove in a shriek
of wind, his own mouth twisted in a painful grimace, a guttural growl ripped
from his throat by the torrent of air. He pulled out of the dive only meters
over the lake; he sat there, hovering, shaking in excitement from the rush of
The cold air did nothing to take his aches away and he slapped his
thigh in frustration. Nothing could be done, nothing could change her. Her. This
was all about her, wasn’t it? She had done this to him; Viktor was just as guilty. He punched the
Cleansweep repeatedly, ignoring his stinging hand.
He damned all those who had the brass to be happy. He damned every
person who dared to ruin other people’s lives. He damned each person who was
brazen enough to be so much better than others were. Then he couldn’t help but
feel pity for these people—they couldn’t understand what their foolishness did
to people, people like himself.
His tantrum tapered off in fatigue and he just watched the water
ripple. The soft whistle of the wind isolated him out here in the middle of the
lake in the growing gloom.
Dark settled over the countryside as he slowly flew back to the castle.
He landed on the pitch, gathered his broom to his shoulder, and slowly shuffled
to the doors. His shoes scraped over the grey stones, echoing in the darkness
as he approached the stairs.
“Brilliant night for a fly. Isn’t it?”
Her voice slapped him in the darkness and his legs grew heavy enough to
stop. He was as unsteady on his feet as he was inside his thoughts.
“I said, brilliant night for a fly,” Hermione repeated softly, “Isn’t
“Ah—I—I reckon. What do you care?”
“Just making an observation about the evening. I didn’t feel like
He stood in the dark, silent, as he heard footsteps at the top of the
stairs, and then footsteps coming down the stairs.
She stopped two steps above him, her head almost even with his, “Did
you have a nice fly?”
“It was fine.”
“I think you ought to know, I enjoyed my broom ride.”
“I’m sure you did.” His mother would have been angry at his tone, but
he didn’t care as he swiped and rubbed at what must have been dust in his eyes.
“It wasn’t quite what I expected.”
“Whatever.” Bitter waves overwhelmed him. “You can just go and ask Vicky—”
“Don’t. You don’t need to be angry. You have no reason.”
“What? Whatever, I’m going back.” He started to move around her.
Quietly, almost embarrassed, she asked, “Ron, would you…could I—could I
have the ride I really wanted? Tonight?” She gently took his free hand with her
fingers and, suddenly, warmth restored life to his body. Ron stared at the
intertwined hands and could barely nod before he tugged her back to the pitch
in the gathering gloom.
They rose into the stars. As she wrapped her arms around him and laid
her head on his back, he felt a familiar fire. It was difficult for him to
figure out how she could intensify his desires with things so simple as a
touch, a hug, or a word.
A sharp prick in his shoulder, “Ouch!”
“What’s the matter?”
“Your badge. It’s bloody poking me in the back, can you take it off for
Over his shoulder, he watched as she took one hand and gingerly worked
the clasp and carefully, slowly pocketed the small Head Girl’s badge, “Better?”
She looked doubtful, vulnerable as she glanced at the ground, barely above
the hulking, dark forms of the trees to their left and right.
The broom climbed steadily, quietly, gently. He brought the broom to
level, high above the school’s towers; many of the castle’s windows shone with
warm light. Beyond, across a chasm of darkness, lay Hogsmeade—a glowing island.
Towards the town, a tiny worm of illuminated points snaked its way along the
“W—why are you so—so mad that I went flying with…him?”
Ron could not speak, not daring to hope, fearful that the act of
wishing might disturb the wish itself.
“Ron. P—Please tell me.”
Thankful she couldn’t search his face, he took a deep breath, “Erm…because…I…you…
that is, Hermione, I can’t stand seeing you…with…guys.”
“What do you mean by that?” she almost squeaked.
“It—it, drives me mental to see...,” his throat tightened and he leaned
over, turning the broom in a large, lazy S.
When the broom had completed the turns, she prodded, “Why?”
“I will not sit here and guess. Please…” she pleaded.
He brought the Cleansweep to a hover and slowly twisted his upper body
around. The movement caused the broom to tilt suddenly forward and back.
“OH MERLIN!” Hermione shrieked and clutched at Ron tightly.
“Oy! It’s fine. Just a weight shift.”
“I despise heights!” she gibbered as she stared into the darkness
“So why did you ask me to go higher?”
“I don’t know,” she worried her lower lip, “I guess, I…maybe I felt
“You’re the one who’s mental,” he murmured, “Don’t look down, then.”
“I—I’ll try not too,” she took a shuddering breath, “Uh, so.”
“Why…Why does seeing Viktor with me drive you mad?”
He looked to Hogsmeade, “Because—because… best friend is not good
enough anymore. It’s not nearly enough,” he paused before adding, carefully, “I
want to be more than just your best friend.”
There was silence before she answered, “I—I think we can still be best
Water pricked in his eyes.
Ron could barely hear her as she said, “And I want to be more than your
best friend, too.”
For a different reason, his eyes continued to fill; he wiped at his
face with irritation as he blinked rapidly.
“So, how do you do that?” she asked.
“Be ok with flying so high? You could fall to your death.”
“Nah. Broom is pretty safe. I reckon when I was small I started out
flying low with my brothers. Then as I got comfortable, I just flew higher and
got used to that. And then I flew higher and got used to that. Takes time to
get used to it, I reckon,” he said in the quiet.
He felt every promising warmth and curve underneath her robes as he
turned towards her.
“Can I?” he asked in a whisper, motioning with his head towards her.
She nodded, once.
He crooked his left arm around so that his hand could nestle in her
hair and pull her closer. He breathed in the flowery simplicity of her perfume;
he watched her eyes darting up and down. He bent towards her and she closed her
eyes. Their lips touched in delicate warmth. For one moment, high above in the
sky, they were lost, dizzy, and falling.
She pulled away as he stared into her face. He leant forward and
repeated the kiss, this time willing himself to venture further—higher—than he
“I’ve—I’ve, oh my. It’s been so long I’ve been waiting…wanting…” she
murmured, staring at him with half closed, half full eyes.
“Wicked,” he agreed.
They laughed uncomfortably, together. Ron guided the broom down as she
warmed his back with her closeness.
They landed with an awkward thump and they set about neatening
themselves up. Hermione pulled her Head Girl badge from her robes and pinned it
back on, “Is it straight?”
He leaned closely and squinted, “Yeah.” He leaned in and reached for
her waist, but was interrupted by a light shove on his chest.
“Stop! None of that, somebody might see.”
“Later,” she hissed. She turned and he took her hand and they walked
towards the castle. “We’ve missed dinner.”
“It’s ok, maybe we can get something from Dobby out on patrol this
“We don’t have patrol.”
“Well, we’ll just have to put ourselves into the schedule then. What
good is being Head Girl if you can’t do that sort of thing?”
“Well, maybe Hannah and Ernie wouldn’t mind switching, I’m sure they
can use the extra time for N.E.W.T.S.; we can drop by their common room tonight
and ask.” She paused, “But it’s probably better to owl them, then they can’t
ask questions. Let’s head up to the Owlery first.”
On the threshold of the steps, they stopped and looked at each other; her
hand went limp in his, but he wasn’t letting go. She tugged to free herself, “Ron,
we can’t. Not yet; you have to let—”
“You two have a nice fly tonight?” said Harry in a voice as dry as the
leaves. In the darkness, he could make out the smirk in his friend’s voice.
Acknowledgements: Once again, it was
my beta who help inspire this little bit ‘o fluff. In particular, she
recommended—indirectly—some writing exercises and this fell, unbidden, from my computer. All hail, ivy! Long live the