The Other Side of Love
Disclaimer: The world belongs to JKR – the song “How’s It
Gonna Be?” belongs to Third Eye Blind.
A/N: I know, I know, it’s been done many times
before. A Ron/Hermione fight and make up
story, but I just wanted to give it a shot.
So here you go, a slightly angsty, fluffy songfic to “How’s It Gonna
Be?” by Third Eye Blind.
I’m only pretty sure,
That I can’t take anymore,
Before you take a swing,
I wonder, what are we fighting for?
When I say out loud, “I wanna get out of this,”
Is there anything I’m gonna miss?
“I can’t take this
anymore!” Her shout rang through the
common room and she leapt to her feet.
He ran after her,
calling her name and pleading. “Hold
on. I’m not trying to make you mad. Would you just stop blowing up at me, and try
to listen to me for once?!”
“I have tried to listen
to you for seven years. This is not working, don’t you see?”
He bit his lip. In spite of himself, he knew it wasn’t
working. There was too much tension, too
much pressure from everyone. There was
so much being lost in the war, and yet, he was losing the one he loved the
most. He saw it every time her eyes
skimmed a newspaper article and her face fell, learning of the deaths of yet
another Order member, or another family member of a classmate.
He tried to make her
smile as much as he could. Ever since,
through a series of events that he would never exactly understand, both of them
had realized that their feelings were not quite as unreciprocated as they’d
thought, he had done everything he could to please her.
For a while, it
worked. She would laugh and roll her
eyes at his jokes and would put up with his immature snickering, but lately,
her patience had worn quite thin. It
broke his heart to watch her turn from a young, independent girl with hopes and
dreams to a guarded, frightened adult, who buried her fears in the piles of
homework that she worked on every night without prevail.
“We can make it work,”
he finally said.
Tears welled in her
brown eyes and she stepped forward and wrapped her arms around him. He clung to her tightly, knowing that he was
on the very brink of losing her, and also wondering how it had gotten this
far. What had happened? Didn’t she remember what it was like?
Of course she did.
They were going to
lose it all.
I wonder, how’s it gonna be,
When you don’t know me?
How’s it gonna be,
When you’re sure I’m not there?
How’s it gonna be,
When there’s no one there to talk to,
Between you and me,
Because I don’t care? How’s it
An exhausted Ronald Weasley stumbled into his quiet,
slightly run-down flat on the skirts of London. He tossed his cloak on an old chair and sank
onto the couch. His eyes closed and he
He sat up, startled, and saw an owl plastering itself to his
window. Standing, he let the bird in and
took the piece of folded parchment from its beak.
It was an invitation, and his brow furrowed in
curiosity. Who would be inviting him
anywhere? The war was over, so there was
not much left for the Order to do. In
the end, they had prevailed, but it was at a devastating cost to the wizarding
world. Harry had defeated the Dark Lord
as the prophecy had predicted and was now Professor Potter - teaching Defense
Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts, and Ron was fumbling about with a new
internship in the ministry.
Dear Mr. Weasley,
You have been cordially invited to
the Warlock’s Day Gala, which is being held in honor of those who fought
against the late Dark Lord. The Gala shall
be held on the Nineteenth of April at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Formal attire will be required, and your presence would delight us all.
of Merlin, Third Class
Ron chuckled, feeling cheered up. A gala?
This could certainly prove interesting.
He set the invitation on the coffee table and headed for the
kitchen to pour himself some tea. It
never even crossed his mind that she would most likely be invited as well.
Where we used to laugh,
There’s a shouting match,
Sharp as a thumbnail scratch,
A silence I can’t ignore,
Like the hammock by the doorway,
We spent time in,
The swing’s empty,
I don’t see lightning like last fall,
When it was always about to hit me.
He could see her
sitting on the bank of the lake all alone.
She looked so small and vulnerable out there, completely isolated. It wasn’t smart to be alone at a time like
this. He trudged along the grounds
toward her, but his heart wanted to turn back.
He knew what was going
to happen here.
When he reached her,
he sat beside her on the grass without a word.
He rested his elbows on his knees and looked at her patiently.
“Hello, Ron,” she
“Hi, Hermione.” He could tell she’d been crying.
There was a long
silence where he sat there, trying not to look anywhere in particular and
praying that he was wrong about their meeting tonight.
Eventually the silence
stretched so long, with her hiccoughing softly every now and then (she must’ve
been crying hard) that he could no longer stand it.
“So you wanted to talk
“Just say it,
She sniffed and said
in a trembling voice. “I don’t want to
“Then don’t.” Ron turned begging eyes on her and touched her hand. “Please.”
“I have to. You know I have to. We can’t carry on like this. Ron… you mean more than anybody else in the
world to me.”
Ron nodded. Hermione was not one for sappy words, and it
meant a lot to him to hear her just say it so directly.
“But I…” she continued
then paused and bit her lower lip. “I
think it’s time.”
“Hm,” said Ron
intelligently. He couldn’t say
anything. He was afraid he’d lose it if
hard. “Ron… we just lost it. You know we did. The war, the stress of trying to protect
Harry and everyone else – we just didn’t take time for the little things, I
Ron just looked at her
She turned away,
staring out into the water, as if willing herself to continue. “So, of course, we’ll stay friends. But it’s just… it’s time.”
Ron threw a pebble
into the lake. It splashed and then
sank. Just like the pair of them.
“I’m sorry,” Hermione
whispered, took to her feet, and ran back to the castle without another word.
Ron dropped his head
and squeezed his eyes shut. How did he
let this happen?
I wonder, how’s it gonna be,
When it goes down?
How’s it gonna be,
When you’re not around?
How’s it gonna be,
When you find out there is nothing,
Between you and me?
‘Cause I don’t care how it’s gonna be.
Upon entering the Great Hall, Ron’s eyes traveled around the
room in amazement. It was every bit as
spectacular as his memories led him to remember it being. The enchanted sky was a brilliant purple, to
match the cool spring evening. The
guests waltzed about - socializing, dancing, and sipping punch as they mingled
under the stars.
Ron made his way over to the spot on the floor where the
Gryffindor table usually sat. Swallowing
hard, he stared solemnly. So many images
washed over his mind. How many
breakfasts, lunches, and dinners had he shared with Harry and Hermione here?
As if called on cue, he heard a very familiar voice. “Hey, Ron!”
Harry was striding over to him, smiling widely. “Long time no see, eh? How have you been?”
Ron smiled sadly.
“Ah, you know. Considering the
“Ron, it’s been four years.
I think this is some sort of record.
Look, I know you and Hermione are stubborn people, but this is
Ron scowled at his best mate. “Easy for you to say – off chasing Dark
wizards all the time, with someone to come home to.”
Harry shook his head.
“I don’t know why the two of you are putting yourselves through
this. You would have someone to come
home to if you would just come over and eat with Ginny and I, and Hermione. I’m sick of having you over for dinner one at
a time. Ginny is getting tired of it,
“Ginny’s just being… impatient.” Ron was not at all pleased that his baby
sister had gotten happily married before he had. Though he was happy for both his best friend
and his sister, it made him sad to think of how close he had come to the same
happily ever after.
“She’s coming, you know.”
“What?” Ron stared at
his best mate. “Why?”
“Do you really think they would throw a commemorative gala and
not invite Hermione Granger?”
Ron sighed in relief.
Harry, noticing this, frowned. “What, are you glad she’s here?”
But…” Ron shook his head.
“It’s… it’s still Granger, then?”
Harry sighed quietly. “It is, but you’re running short on time
“What do you mean?”
Harry just shook his head.
“You need to talk to her, Ron.
Really, you do.”
Ron nodded, but then Lavender Brown appeared at his elbow,
squealing over how handsome he was and how she was now Lavender Finnigan. Ron smiled and chatted with his old classmate
for a good fifteen minutes, but he found his mind was elsewhere.
Where was she?
His stomach was twisted with the anticipation of spotting
her on the dance floor, and yet, a separate part of him hoped and prayed that
he would run into her somehow. The air
in the Great Hall became stifling, and he decided to take a stroll down to the
lake. After telling Ginny that he would
be back later, he headed out the doors.
It seemed funny that the Hogwarts grounds were exactly as
they had always been. Ron half expected
to find his own oversized footprints in the mud along the path down to the
There was someone standing at the water’s edge, gazing sadly
into their own reflection. Ron had no
idea who it was, but he felt bad for walking in on their moment of
thought. He turned to leave, but
whomever it was heard him and let out a soft gasp.
There was hardly a moon in the sky that night, and in the
darkness, neither could make out the other.
“I’m sorry,” Ron said automatically. “I did not mean to interrupt – “
The person, obviously a woman, sucked in another, even more
Hearing this, Ron shook his head in exasperation. “I promise you, I’m not here to cause you any
“Are you sure about that?”
The voice was so overwhelmingly familiar and brought on such
an onslaught of memories that he almost had to sit down. Yet he did not want to believe it – no, he
did not dare to believe it.
“Hermione?” It escaped him before he could stop himself.
She did not speak, obviously having realized who he was
before he had made the connection. She
sighed sadly and then finally spoke.
“I wondered if this would happen.”
“I didn’t know you were coming.” Ron’s voice was shaking.
“I didn’t know myself.
I almost didn’t. My…” she trailed
off, and Ron did not press her. He
stepped forward so he could see her more clearly.
She was beautiful.
The image in his mind’s eye was that of a crying seventeen-year-old
girl, not the elegant young woman she had become. Her face was thinner, but her hair was just
as bushy as it had always been.
“So how have you been?” Ron asked, walking toward her. She clasped her hands together behind her
back and stared nervously at the ground.
“Oh, I’m doing well.
Ron’s voice was horribly hearty. “I miss you, you know.”
Hermione nodded. “Me
too. I miss you too.”
“Why did you do it?” Ron whispered, years of buried painful
memories rushing over him. “I loved you,
Hermione. And I-“
“Stop, Ron. Just
“Why?” He found
himself biting down on the old Weasley temper.
He knew that if he yelled at her… well, there would be no going
back. No matter what happened, he had to
keep his cool.
“Please, don’t bring it back. I couldn’t stand it if you brought it
back.” Her voice shook and she reached
up to swipe at her eyes with her left hand.
Ron almost got sick.
There on her left ring finger, glittering even in the darkness, was a
ring. There was no mistaking what it
meant, either. He took a few steps back,
stumbling on the dark grass and stared at her.
She was getting
Everything seemed to stop for a second. He wondered who the bloke was. He wondered why it wasn’t him. He remembered all those times they had sat
together at the lake, sometimes arguing, sometimes laughing, sometimes not even
talking. Was it really supposed to end
Hermione stared in puzzlement at his shocked expression, and
then followed his gaze to her hand. She
sucked in a sharp breath. “Oh, Ron – “
He swallowed an enormous lump in his throat, willing himself
not to scream at her. “How long?”
“I didn’t mean for you to know… but I mean, I didn’t want to
hide it from you – didn’t Harry tell you?”
“How long?” Ron’s
gaze and tone were both of steel, glaring at her in the shadowy night.
“He’s such a sweet man, Ron, you’d like him.” Hermione was crying now, hard and loud, and
babbling like a madwoman.
“How long has it been, Hermione?” he demanded again, his
“Four months. Since
“I see.” Ron turned
and walked away, willing himself to just leave her there standing on the bank,
dressed to outshine the queen, with that stupid ring on her finger. He didn’t know what he would do with himself
now, but all he knew was that if he were around her one more second, he would
“Ron, wait!” Hermione
cried, hurrying after him. “You wouldn’t
answer my letters, what was I supposed to do?!”
“Your letters?!” Ron repeated incredulously. “Your letters?! Hermione, what about seventh year? That was your doing. Don’t make excuses, don’t try to make this
better. You didn’t want it. Just say it.
“Because?” Hermione prodded gently, still crying.
“Because I couldn’t stand it if you lied to me. Congratulations, Hermione. I hope you have a wonderful life with
him.” And he turned and left her there,
hurrying inside, storming past Harry and Ginny, and leaving the Gala and his
last hope behind him.
How’s it gonna be,
When you don’t know me anymore?
And how’s it gonna be?
At the graduation
ceremony, he could hardly talk to her.
It was not as if they would see each other anymore out of Hogwarts, and
he knew he could not go back to being her friend. It was just too much to ask of himself at the
moment. He did not know how he could
stand to be around her – knowing what they could have had – without losing his
But he also knew that
he would not be able to live with himself if he did not at least say goodbye.
She turned from where
she was walking alongside Neville and frowned at him, her gaze turning icy in a
split second. “What, now would you like
to be my friend, Ron Weasley?” she snapped.
“Can I talk to you for
She sighed and
followed him, walking behind him until he abruptly turned around. “Hermione, I just want you to know that… I’m
“And that I’ll really
miss you… but…” he shook his head. “I don’t see how we can be friends anymore.”
Her sad face turned
angry in an instant. “Why not?”
“We just can’t,
okay? It’s not going to happen.”
She shook her
head. “You’re making a mistake... But… I’ll really miss you too. I really, really will. Hopefully this isn’t forever.”
“Maybe it will
be. Goodbye, Hermione.” He kissed her on the cheek before he could
change his mind, and then turned and walked away. Maybe the wind was playing tricks with him,
but he thought he heard her sob.
He did not talk to her
Wanna get myself back in again,
The soft dive of oblivion,
Wanna taste the soul of your skin,
The soft dive of oblivion,
A few weeks went by after the Gala, and Ron recovered (to
some degree) from the shock of Hermione’s engagement. She apologetically sent him a wedding
invitation, because it was only polite of her to do so, and that was how she
was. Always polite.
He did not plan to attend, of course, but he figured she
knew that. He felt like an irrational
teenager again, furious at an old girlfriend for finding a new date. It was ridiculous, but he could not help it.
Hermione was getting married.
The day of the wedding, Ron sat in the living room of his
flat, staring at the wall and absent-mindedly twirling his wand between his
fingers. Pig hooted softly from his cage
in the kitchen, and Ron got up to let him out.
“’Lo, Pig,” he said heartily, swallowing a lump in his
throat. “Aren’t I the biggest prat you
have ever seen?”
Pig hooted reassuringly.
“Nah, s’too late,” Ron sighed. “She’s already married him.”
Pig fell silent and Ron was left to his own thoughts. So this
is it, he thought, this is why some
people don’t believe in this sort of thing.
It’s the nastier aspect of it all - the other side of love.
A soft knock filled the heavy silence and Ron looked up in
surprise. He crossed the room quickly
and opened the door. He could not
believe the sight that awaited his eyes.
She was standing in front of him with a tragic look on her
face. And she was a mess. She was wearing white wedding robes but they
were dirty, and her make-up streaked down her cheeks in heavy, black
lines. Her eyes were puffy and swollen,
but somehow, she was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen.
“Hermione, what the hell are you doing here? I thought –“
“I cancelled the wedding.”
Hermione’s voice was nervous and shaky.
“What?” Ron just
stared at her, wondering if he just might be dreaming.
“I cancelled it.”
“Why?” Hermione repeated, frowning at him. “You’re asking me why? Ron Weasley, did you fully expect me to date
you as a teenager, stop seeing you because I thought it was for the best but
realize I made a horrible mistake, then realize that you never want to speak to
me again, get engaged, meet you unexpectedly, and carry through with my
Ron continued to stare at her. He had not understood a single word she had
just said. He was simply mesmerized by
fact that she was here, standing on
“Did you?” Hermione put her hands on her hips.
“Uh, no?” Ron was not sure how he was to answer her
question. If, that is, she was asking a
“Good, you prat,” she said, smiling, and threw her arms
around his neck.
He hugged her tightly, wondering why on earth she had come
back to him, after all that had happened and how he had refused to communicate
with her for years. It shocked him that
she considered him to be even remotely good enough for her, when she was
brilliant and beautiful and ten times better at everything than he was.
It dawned on him, standing there clinging to her on the
doorstep, that they could have everything now.
They could get married, and both join Harry and Ginny for dinner. They could play chess, and he could get her
to play Quidditch. She could sit in his
flat and read and he wouldn’t care, even if she read Hogwarts, a History out loud to him, page by page. They could go to Diagon Alley and buy
Christmas presents for the family, dragging each other into Flourish and Blotts
and Quality Quidditch Supplies. They
could still fight, and he knew they would, because that was who Ron and
But most of all, they could be together, and Ron knew that
this time, he was not going to make any mistakes. He would not let Hermione make decisions that
she thought were for the general good of everyone when they were not, and he
would try to prevent himself from being a complete prat every day of the week.
And it would be this way forever.