This is a missing moment from Chapter 22 of HBP involving Ron, Hermione, and Lavender and the events surrounding Ron and Lavender’s break-up.
Disclaimer: As always, everything belongs to J.K. Rowling.
Author’s Note: I’d like to thank Zsenya, Kellie, and Jamsel for all of their help and suggestions with this story.
Ron Weasley stared at the blond-haired girl who was pacing furiously in front of him. He’d known he was in trouble the second Lavender had seen him coming down the stairs with Hermione. With Harry hidden under his Invisibility Cloak, he knew what it had looked like.
“What were you doing up there with her?” Lavender had shrieked, and with that she’d exploded with accusations. It had taken Ron a minute or two of stuttering before he had come to his senses and dragged her out of the Common Room and into an empty classroom where she continued her attack.
Now, nearly a half an hour later, she was still ranting and Ron wasn’t sure how much more he could take. He had barely gotten in two words during her tirade. It seemed as though she hadn’t even taken a breath to give him a chance to speak, and even if she had, he wasn’t really sure what he could say. What she had witnessed was totally innocent, and yet he knew there was a part of him, a big part of him, which wished it hadn’t been.
“I can’t believe that she would stoop so low, trying to steal you right from under my nose…” Lavender said, the anger and hurt evident in her voice.
“What? No, it wasn’t like that,” Ron protested.
“Not like that, ha!” snorted Lavender. “Please, she’s wanted you for years.”
At her words his heart froze. Years? Was that really possible? Could Lavender be right? That one day in Herbology class, when Hermione had asked him to Slughorn’s party, he had felt hopeful, and Hermione had definitely been annoyed by his relationship with Lavender. But years? What was he doing here still with Lavender when he could be with Hermione instead? Oh yeah, waiting for her to end it because he didn’t have the guts to do it himself.
“I’ve been such a fool!” Lavender screeched, bringing Ron’s attention back to her. “All this time I thought you were interested in me…and she’s the one you really wanted.”
At those words she stopped ranting and stared at Ron as though daring him to deny her statement. He couldn’t, and she knew it. For what seemed like hours they stared at each other. Ron desperately wanted to say something, but he couldn’t make himself speak. He couldn’t deny her accusations because they were the truth, yet he couldn’t bring himself to admit his feelings aloud either. Tears began to fill her eyes, and she looked abruptly away.
As much as he had wanted the relationship to be over, immense guilt filled him, knowing that he was the cause of those tears.
“Lavender,” he began softly, “I’m really s…”
Her head jerked back at his words and shook as she muttered, “Don’t…just don’t.”
An awkward silence filled the room as they both looked everywhere but at each other.
Finally, sighing deeply, Lavender muttered, “Guess this means we’re over.”
Ron could only nod his head in agreement.
Lavender went to leave the room, but as her hand touched the doorknob she turned back to Ron and spat, “So, now you’re free to snog Hermione Granger’s brains out all you want!” And with that she fled from the room, sobbing.
Ron stared at the door as it slammed, his mind racing. It was over. It was finally over. Sighing, he slid down the wall, putting his face in his hands. He had barely sat down when there was a quiet knock on the door and a soft creak as it opened. Ron looked up, and there stood Hermione in the doorway looking somewhat nervous and flushed.
“Hi,” she said softly. All he could do was stare at her in surprise, his mind still a jumble of thoughts from his break-up with Lavender.
“I, uh, saw Lavender running down the hall.” Hermione cleared her throat and looked up at the ceiling. “Thought you might want some company.” Not trusting himself to say anything coherent, Ron patted the floor next to him, and Hermione crossed the room to join him. He felt a jolt shoot through his body when her shoulder brushed his.
They sat in silence for several minutes, both seemingly lost in their thoughts. He felt like he should be mourning the loss of his relationship with Lavender, or at least feeling guilty about making her cry. Yet the longer they sat, the more and more his mind seemed to focus on the girl sitting next to him in silent support. After all he had put her through this year, here she was next to him, there for him. She was incredible.
“I’m sorry,” Hermione finally said, breaking the silence.
Ron looked up at her in shock and, unable to keep the surprise out of his voice, replied, “You’re sorry?”
“Of course I am,” she responded.
Still not believing her, he pressed further. “You’re sorry that Lavender and I broke up?”
“What? No! I’m sorry she yelled at you and thought we were…” Hermione’s voice stopped at those words, and she blushed.
“We were what?” Ron asked.
“You know what!” Hermione replied with a trace of annoyance in her voice.
“Talking?” Ron teased.
“No!” she exclaimed, clearly beginning to get aggravated.
“Well, what then?” Ron continued. He loved the way her eyes blazed when she was all annoyed with him. “Maybe she thought we were doing homework.”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, Ron! Fine! She thought we were snogging each other’s brains out.” Hermione yelled, exasperated.
Ron’s eyebrows rose at her choice of words. Had she? Surely not, but he had to know. “Hermione, how long were you standing out in the hallway before you came in here?”
“Not too long,” she replied, quickly. He looked at her skeptically. Rolling her eyes, she conceded, “just for the end of your fight.”
Ron’s heart hammered. How much had she heard? The end of their fight had practically ended in him proclaiming his love for Hermione. He wanted to ask, and yet he didn’t have the courage. Instead he joked, “I don’t know how easy it would be for a bloke to snog your brains out,” nudging her shoulder with his own, he added, “with your brains, that would be a hell of a lot of snogging!”
Ron wasn’t sure what he expected Hermione’s reaction to be. Maybe he thought she would angrily remind him of all the snogging he had done with Lavender, become embarrassed, or remind him not to swear. He was shocked when instead he felt her lightly squeeze his arm with her fingers and heard her quietly say, “Perhaps some bloke will be up for the challenge someday.”
Slowly he turned to look at her and found her grinning shyly at him. Putting his hand over hers and trying to sound casual, he asked, “Got anyone in mind?”
As Hermione coyly replied, “Maybe,” he felt her thumb lightly caress his arm, causing the most wonderful sensation to run up it, his heart to race, and warmth to spread through out his whole body. Lavender’s touch had never made him feel this alive.
“Do I know him?” he asked, letting the hand that covered hers move softly back and forth.
Ron felt Hermione shiver, but his question was met with silence. Slowly he looked up and found her staring bravely at him. He met her gaze, their eyes searching one another for answers to questions they had always been too afraid to ask. Neither one of them spoke, yet somehow Ron knew without a shadow of a doubt that she held the same feelings for him that he had been harboring for her. Suddenly everything else was in the past. His relationship with Lavender, hers with Viktor—none of it mattered anymore. Hermione seemed to have come to the same realization because she whispered, “Ron…” and then softly wrapped her arms around him in a warm embrace. Ron held her close as she nuzzled her head into his chest. He had hugged Hermione before, but this…this felt different. This wasn’t a quick hug shared between friends. This embrace had too much emotion behind it. In all of the months of snogging Lavender, he had never felt this complete or a connection as deep. He was very tempted to kiss her. If a hug could be this intense, he couldn’t even begin to imagine how wonderful and powerful kissing her would be. However, it just didn’t feel like tonight was the right time, not with him having just broken up with Lavender.
After a while, they eased apart, but neither seemed to want to completely let go of the other. Hermione’s head remained on his shoulder, and his arm stayed wrapped around hers. They sat in comfortable silence, absorbed in thoughts about what lay ahead in their future. Ron wanted to articulate what he was feeling; how he thought Hermione was amazing and how wonderful she made him feel. Yet he knew that his words weren’t needed. Just like he didn’t need her to tell him anything either. He knew that for some crazy reason the smartest witch he knew, the brilliant Hermione Granger, wanted him, Ron Weasley, and it made him feel like the luckiest wizard in the world and that was enough for now.