I Can’t Talk About It
Author’s Note: So you thought Ron and Hermione barely
spoke two words to each other during the whole Lavender business, up to Ron's
poisoning? Think again…
Big thanks to Moey for betaing!
Disclaimer: All characters
belong to JK Rowling. I’m just playing around. The
title is borrowed from a pretty little song by El Perro
No, she most certainly wouldn’t. Increasing her speed, she marched
determinedly down the corridor towards the portrait hole. Only a little
further, then she’d be safely inside the common room, in the company of dozens
of people who would ensure that no further embarrassment had to be endured by
“Wait, I say!”
Then again, there’d been several
dozens of people at the party, and that hadn’t stopped him from attempting to
manhandle her under the mistletoe.
“Hermione, just slow down and listen to me!”
Oh, he was infuriating! Who was
he to give her orders?! “No, Cormac, I most certainly
will not! Now, please, will you just
leave me alone?”
But he kept striding along after her. “I
don’t understand what your problem is,” he said, in that annoying, pompous
voice of his. “I thought we were having a perfectly pleasant time—“
Oh, this was just too much. She had
to interrupt him. “Oh, really?” she
hissed, stopping and spinning around so quickly he almost bumped into her.
Taking a step back, he stood towering over her as she glared up at him.
“Yes, really,” he replied testily. “So I don’t see why you were so
desperate to leave all of a sudden.”
“Oh, let me get this straight.” Her voice was as cold as ice. “You’re
confused by, and in complete awe of the fact that the second time you tried to feel me up under the mistletoe, I was
anything less than flattered?”
He narrowed his eyes at her. “I did not try to feel you up.”
She raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms over her chest. “No? What
would you call it, then?”
He stood silent, attempting to look offended, but clearly searching for
a possible answer. Finally, he just raised his chin and stared down at her
contemptuously. “You and I both know I didn’t do anything you didn’t want me to
Hermione’s mouth fell open. What an incredibly idiotic thing to say.
“Do you honestly believe that?!”
“Come on, admit it. You’re a tease.
You enjoy leading blokes on, then telling them off if they actually make a
Hermione just shook her head and stared at him, amazed. She’d have
boiled with indignity if it weren’t for the sheer absurdity of his accusation. Her? A tease? It was laughable –
anyone in school would agree.
“You are so utterly and fantastically dense,” she managed, still in awe.
Ignoring her, he continued, “I’ll bet you treated Krum the same way,
eh? Shutting him out and yelling at him after letting him cop a feel here,
allowing him a peek there—“
“You have some nerve!” Hermione’s bafflement had turned to fury in an
“Well, apparently I hit one,” Cormac said,
looking pleased as he rubbed his sore cheek.
“How dare you make
assumptions about me and Viktor? You know nothing
“Oh, come on, Hermione. The whole school made assumptions about you
Hermione’s heart skipped a beat. This was new. What kind of
assumptions? Well, she could only imagine what kind… Instinctively, she shook
her head. “What?”
“Don’t pretend you didn’t know. As if you didn’t like
being talked about.” He was smirking now, and clearly enjoying himself
“I…” She cleared her throat, suddenly feeling very small under his
arrogant stare. But she would not let him win this. “I don’t have to defend
myself to you,” she finished frostily. “Good night, Cormac.”
She turned on her heel to continue back to the common room, but was
forced to stop as a hand caught her arm in a painful grip. “We’re not done
Gasping, she gritted her teeth as tears pricked at her eyes. “Yes, we
are, and have been for quite a while. So let me go, you big troll!”
“No! You’ll just run off again. And I won’t let you go ‘til you’ve
Cormac let go of her arm as if
electrocuted, and they both turned to see Ron and Lavender standing a bit
further down the corridor. Her – clearly intrigued. Him –
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Ron’s voice was dangerously
low and sent an odd thrill down Hermione’s spine.
“Mind your own business, Weasley,” Cormac snapped. “This is between me and Hermione.”
Ron looked at him murderously, then turned his
eyes to meet hers. “Is he bothering you?” She felt her stomach knot itself up
tightly. That look he was giving her… It was just too much.
“I can take care of myself, Ron.” She was
amazed at how cool and collected she managed to sound. “So you can just
continue off to whatever deserted classroom you intended on defiling tonight.”
Lavender raised her eyebrows at her classmate’s
catty tone and let out a soft, “Oooh, touchy…”, which Hermione ignored. She kept her gaze locked with
Ron’s, determined not to look away, and suddenly realised that this was a test.
She wondered if he understood that. Probably not. He’d
most likely look away any second now, grab Lavender’s hand and walk off. And
she’d be stuck here alone with the ogre again. Any moment now…
But Ron didn’t move. He just stared at
her with those intense, blue eyes of his as the silence hung thick in the air,
and in the end she was the one who had to look away.
First to speak was Cormac.
“You heard her. She wants you to leave.”
“No, she doesn’t,” Ron said fiercely.
“She wants you to leave. And I reckon
you should bloody well be gone already.”
He’d taken a few steps towards Cormac, and Hermione saw that they were almost exactly the
same height. The older boy was broad-shouldered and thick-necked – Ron looked
almost slender-limbed next to him. Looking at her friend – well, former friend – standing there, dressed
in worn corduroys and a light blue, home-made sweater, his hair on end and his
face flushed with anger, Hermione felt dizzy and love-sick.
Lavender, Ron? What’s she done to
Cormac was drawing himself up to his full height, clearly bothered by the
fact that – for once – he couldn’t look down on the person he was addressing. “My, aren’t you eager to play the knight
in shining armour?”
“No, I’m just eager to kick your useless
arse all the way to Hogsmeade. So just sod off before
I get too tempted, will you?”
Cormac snorted. Apparently he had no comeback, so instead he turned to
Lavender. “You’d better hold on tight to your boyfriend. Seems his priorities
aren’t all sorted out, eh?”
Hermione’s chest tightened at this
insinuation, and Lavender looked affronted, but not confused. She understood
all too well. Glaring at Cormac’s back as he finally
gave up and sauntered off towards the portrait hole, she said to Hermione, “I
can’t believe you went out with him. What a pig.”
For the first time in… well, possibly
ever, Hermione found herself agreeing with her dorm mate. But she’d rather
endure another session under the mistletoe with the pig in question than admit
to her own lack of judgement. “Look, we were having a perfectly good time ‘til
you two showed up,” she said.
Ron snorted. “Good time? My arse. You don’t
need to put on a show, Hermione.”
She rounded on him. “Oh, don’t be so patronising, Ron! I didn’t ask you to
come here and rescue me in some grand, Lancelot-like manner. You took that upon
yourself. I was doing fine. Now would
you two please just leave me alone?”
Oh, Lavender was having an absolute field
day with this, she was sure. The stories she could tell about goody-goody
Hermione Granger, having a fit over some boy who dared make a move at her. Dear
old Hermione, so prim and proper, can you believe
that someone actually thought it was worth trying something with her?
Hermione willed the lump that had formed
in her throat to go away. Could they just go,
instead of stand there and look at her like she was some poor, lost little
Crossing her arms and looking away, she
heard Ron say to Lavender, “Look, could you leave us for a bit?” Hermione stole
a glance at the other girl, only to catch her glaring back at her.
“You want to be alone with her? Why?”
Lavender’s voice was rather shrill.
“Oh, lay off it. We just need to talk.
Please? I’ll be right there.”
There was a pause, and then – with an
indignant little “Hmph” – Lavender stalked off down
Silence. Hermione couldn’t stand it, so she spoke. “We have nothing to talk
about. So you can run after her right away. I’d hate to cut into your tradition
of an evening snogfest.”
She could hardly recognise her own voice.
When had it become this caustic? Looking up at him, she tried hard to look
sulky instead of on the verge of tears. It was hard work, but she wouldn’t
break down in front of him. Not ever. He wasn’t worth it.
he is, isn’t he? He’s worth everything.
He was looking at her with a pained
expression on his face. It made her chest ache. “Look, we obviously have a
Astounded at how matter-of-factly he
stated this, she struggled to keep her cool. “What problem? I don’t have a
problem. Maybe you have a problem, but I certainly don’t.”
He just looked at her. Could he stop with
that? It was making her head swim. “Ron, honestly, I don’t know what you’re
“Really? So you’re not mad at me for going out with Lavender?”
“No, why would I be?” She wondered if she
really was as lousy a liar as she felt.
“Because, maybe… or apparently, more like
it… it meant we couldn’t go to the party together.”
She quickly shifted her gaze to a
sleeping, pyjama-clad wizard in a painting on the wall. Pressing her lips
tightly together, she drew in a shaky breath and held it. No crying. Not now.
He sighed at her silence. “Though I don’t
see how me going out with Lavender got in the way of
that. I mean, we were going as…” his
voice was apprehensive now, “…as friends, right?”
She couldn’t hold it in anymore. Looking
at him almost desperately, she threw her hands into the air. “It was a date,
Ron! Does it matter what we were
going as? All that matters is that I,
at least, was looking forward to it!”
“So was I!” he said.
She snorted. “Hardly!
But I was. A lot,
actually. I was looking forward to going to a big, fancy, interesting
party, where there would be big, fancy, interesting people. I was looking
forward to feeling a bit special, knowing
that someone thought I was
interesting enough to be at that party with all those people. I was looking
forward to dressing up for once, feeling pretty
for once, because you know what? Amidst all the Lavenders and Parvatis and Cho Changs of Hogwarts, it’s not much fun being me. But most of
all…” She couldn’t bear to look at him anymore. The stupid tears were coming.
“Most of all I was looking forward to going there with someone I knew I’d have a good time with. Someone
who it took me ages to work up the nerve to ask, ‘cause I was so scared I’d
been wrong about a bunch of things, and that he’d laugh it off and say no.” She
choked back a sob. The sound was mortifying and she leaned against the wall,
covering her eyes with her hands. “And it turned out I had been wrong! Turned out he didn’t give a flying Knut about going to the party with me,
because no, he’d rather spend his time snogging one
of the prettiest girls in our year! And can you blame him? As if he’d ever choose—“
She broke off before she exposed herself
even more than she already had and sank to the floor, sobbing. The situation
was surreal and horrible and she never wanted to look at Ron again, therefore
her hands remained firmly clamped over her eyes.
This silence, it was awful. She wanted to
die. She wanted to disintegrate and never be reassembled. Had he left? She
didn’t have a clue. But then his voice came, soft and pleading, “Hermione…”
She shook her head. “Can you just go
away?” she said fiercely. “Just leave me alone.”
But he didn’t leave, did he? She heard no
footsteps. Just silence, ‘til that wonderful voice filled the corridor again.
“Hermione, I swear. I was looking
forward to it loads. I’d picked out
clothes and everything.”
She couldn’t help a muffled little laugh.
“You planned an outfit?” she said with a sniffle.
“Yeah. After the whole Yule Ball fiasco, I swore I’d be prepared the next
time I was going to a formal event.”
She almost forgot she was angry and sad. But only almost. “Then what happened? Why did you… I mean,
you…” She dried her eyes on her sleeve and then fixed them on the
skirting-board on the opposite wall. “Why did you get so angry with me?”
She glanced up at him only to see him
looking rather guilty. “I, uh… It was… I had my reasons,” he stammered.
Not good enough. As hard as it was to be
angry with him when he looked so lost and lovely, she had to be tough. She owed
that to herself, or to her pride, at the very least. “What reasons, then? Let’s
But his mouth was clamped shut. Clearly,
this was nothing he wanted to divulge.
Snorting and shaking her head, she said,
“Why am I not surprised?”
He looked pained now. “Hermione, please,
I just…” Reaching out to her, he let his fingers lightly touch her hair. The
sensation went like a jolt through Hermione and she shot up, shocking him. She
couldn’t stay here. Not if he was going to plead with her and touch her and
look at her with those painfully blue eyes. Her resolve had already shown signs
of weakening, and she couldn’t have that.
“I think your girlfriend’s waiting for
you,” she said, her voice cold and devoid of emotion.
“Hermione, aren’t we going to—“
“No, no more talking, Ron. Go have your snog. See if I care.”
already showed him you do. So don’t act aloof, you’re rubbish at it.
He looked dejected, disappointed,
annoyed. “Fine. I guess we won’t talk about it.”
“Right you are.”
She turned around to head back to the
common room, but found her arm being grabbed for the second time this evening. Though this hand was gentler. And warmer.
“You’re not the only one who was scared,
you know? I was bloody petrified. Positive I’d gotten the whole thing wrong and
that I’d make an arse out of myself if I acted on…
And suddenly she was fighting tears
again, and felt equally as desperate to get away as she was to turn around and
bury her face in his neck. Somehow, she was sure he’d let her.
“Okay, Ron. Fine.
Good for you. What do you want me to say?” She was so tired now.
“Nothing. You talked about me like I was some heartless prat
who’d deliberately make you feel bad. But I was just a coward, is all. And I
wanted to tell you that. ‘Cause I wanted to go that party with you. I really did.”
She had to leave now. Or else her heart
might remain clenched like this forever. “Goodnight, Ron,” she whispered. “Say
hi to Lavender for me.”
Snatching her arm from his grip, she left
him in the corridor as she made her way to the portrait hole, went through it,
crossed the floor of the common room, climbed the stairs to the dormitory,
changed into her pyjamas, crept into bed, buried herself deep under the covers,
and cried her heart out.
It was done. She’d told him, more or
less. She’d opened up, let it out and was now positive she could never again
bear to face Ron, least of all in daylight. So she would avoid him, as well as
she could. She would continue playing the ice queen; no hurt feelings, no
opportunities for public humiliation, just heartless laughs and mockery. And
undoubtedly, he would try to talk to her, as if nothing had ever happened,
because that was Ron, wasn’t it? He hated
conflict of this kind. He hated apologies and heartfelt talks and people
being cross with him. So she would demand no further explanation, she would
make no room for heart-to-hearts, she would not be
cross with him as much as cold and indifferent.
And she would cope. She’d come out of it
stronger and better and smarter than before. She had to. Sure, there was a year and a half left of school and
therefore of avoiding Ron, but she had her studies, and her plans for the
future, and she had Harry, didn’t she?
Feeling a bit better already, she sniffled
and wiped her eyes and turned over on her side to try and get some sleep.
Even if it was a long time of keeping her
and Ron’s lives completely separate, she was sure she could do it. After all,
she was nothing if not strong-willed.