He had been at it all afternoon. “Determination,
Ron anxiously tapped his wand against his forehead, trying
to jog his memory. “No. That’s not it.” To think, only a month without
practicing and he’d forgotten the rules of Apparation. He wouldn’t be able to
Apparate if he couldn’t remember the 3 D’s. “Destination, Determination,
Delegation!” After mumbling a plethora of swears, he shut his eyes and tried to
remember that cheesy little slogan that had helped him to almost pass his
test. “Destination, Defamation, Dilution, Dissertation…Defibrillation? DAMN!”
Ron was so frustrated with himself that he muttered under his breath while he
stomped down to his sister’s bedroom. “Should’ve passed the first time.
Bloody… eyebrow… who ruddy cares? I don’t need a piece of my blasted eyebrow!
What the hell are eyebrows for, anyway?”
He knocked on her door. She had her music blaring again.
“Oi, Gin?” He didn’t get a response. Making a fist, he pounded on his
sister’s door again. “GINNY? Where’s my bloody Apparation manual?” The radio
seemed to blast louder, and he continued to knock on the door until he became
impatient and let himself in. “Will you turn that rubbish-” He froze
mid-sentence, staring open-mouthed at the scene before him. His sister stood
in front of her full-length mirror; her hair was tied up all fancy, and she was
dressed to the nines in the dress robes she wore to Professor Slugmonster’s
Christmas party last winter. She was using her wand as a makeshift microphone,
lip-synching to some WWN tune into the mirror. “I will never, ever understand
witches,” he mumbled to himself, completely dumbfounded as he watched his
sister putting on some sort of performance for her reflection.
When Ginny spotted him, she turned five shades of red, and
Ron ducked out of the way of a vicious Bat-Bogey Hex just in time. She
uncannily reminded him of their mother, and that terrified him. “Ronald Bilius
Weasley! Get the hell out of my room! How dare you come in here without
“You almost took my bloody head off!” he shouted back,
holding his wand at the ready just in case she threw another. “If you’d turn
that ruddy music down, you’d’ve heard me knocking! I just want my-”
“I heard you, I was just ignoring you!” She angrily
grabbed the worn manual and stormed over to Ron, shoving the booklet in his
chest. “Hell of a help you’ll be Horcrux hunting if you can’t even Apparate.”
Ron glared at her, the tips of his ears going scarlet. “Why
do you think I’m practicing?” he asked through gritted teeth. “And why are you
all fancied up?”
“I’m making sure this still fits for Bill’s wedding next
weekend. Fleur decided to let Gabrielle wear pink.” Ginny lifted her chin into
the air, batting her eyelashes obnoxiously, trying to impersonate Fleur’s heavy
accent. “Eet iz terrible zat you are not flattering in peenk, eet iz
Gabrielle’s bezt color. Wear whatever you want, Geeny. I am sure you will
look abzee-loutely wonderful!” She rolled her eyes. “So I’m going to wear
He was about to defend Fleur’s honor when he heard a loud
crash downstairs, followed by the hissing of a rather loud cat. “Hermione’s
here? I thought she wasn’t coming ‘til Saturday.”
Ginny rolled her eyes at him. “It is Saturday, you
prat. Go get her trunk and bring it up here while I shower.”
Ron took the stairs two at a time, quickly running his hand
through his messy red hair. He grinned when he saw her standing by the fire,
struggling to remove that mangy beast who seemed to have attached himself to
her shirt with his claws. “Just throw him outside and let him chase the gnomes
or something,” he said as he approached her, hesitating before pulling her into
a quick hug.
“You know how he hates to Floo. He’s prone to motion sickness,”
she said absentmindedly, stepping back from the brief embrace to put
Crookshanks on the floor. She brushed the soot off of her jeans. “How’ve you
been, Ron?” she asked casually, tucking her hair behind her ears.
“Fine. You, er… had a few nice weeks with your mum and
“Yes, I suppose. I’ve cancelled their subscription to the Prophet.
I don’t want them knowing about Prof—what’s happened last year,” she muttered,
suddenly very interested in her cuticles. She cleared her throat, composing
herself instantly as she reached for her trunk. “I’m going to go run this
upstairs and see if there’s any milk in the kitchen for Crookshanks.”
Ron was quicker. He grabbed the handle, waving her away.
“No, you go on. I’ll get this up to Ginny’s room.”
“Thanks, Ron. I’ll be up in a minute.” She grinned
Ron pulled the impossibly heavy trunk up one flight of
stairs, headed down the second floor corridor, and then turned to heave it up
the second flight of stairs to Ginny’s room on the third floor. He made it
halfway up when Pig landed right on his head, making him jump and drop the
trunk. It fell back down to the landing with a crash, opening as a few items
fell out. “Ruddy useless bird!” he shouted at pig, running back after the
trunk as he thoughtlessly began to re-pack it. He tossed back what looked like
her copy of Hogwarts, A History (he couldn’t be sure, it looked as if
the cover was so worn it was faded), a pale yellow t-shirt, a pair of night
slippers, and… “No bloody way!” Ron’s eyes were saucers, his cheeks reddening
as he jumped away from the trunk, dropping the remaining article of clothing on
the floor. His hand flew to his mouth when he realized that he was quite loud,
and the walls of the Burrow weren’t exactly soundproof. He stared at the
garment in disbelief.
It was a bra. Correction: Hermione’s bra. He
gulped, crouching back to the floor, daring to pick it up again. His mind was
reeling. Throw it back in the trunk, Weasley. This isn’t your business.
Hermione’s unmentionables are sitting in the hallway. Just throw it back in
the trunk, shut the lid, carry it upstairs, and get on with your Apparation
Ron reached to throw it back, but when he touched it again,
the material felt… odd against his fingertips.
It was lace. Lace! Who would’ve thought his best friend of
seven years, Hermione Jane Granger, bookworm extraordinaire, would purchase
undergarments that were so… risqué.
Sexy, even! Lost in his thoughts, he couldn’t stop
images of a half-naked Hermione from creeping into his seventeen-year-old,
His thoughts were interrupted suddenly; he heard footsteps
rapidly coming up behind him in the hallway. Panicking, he turned around and
shoved the bra into his back pocket, just before he saw its owner walking
“Ron?” She eyed him suspiciously, surveying the scene. Ron
stood a few feet away from her still-opened luggage. “Why did you open my
“I didn’t!” He said a little too quickly, uneasily reaching
up to scratch behind his neck. When he realized he was speaking directly to
her chest, he forced his eyes up to hers, the trademark Weasley blush betraying
him. “Pig… he… flew… and… it… it fell down the steps.” He forced a laugh
which he hoped came out casual enough. “It’s not my fault. I mean, what’ve you
got in there, the entire Hogwarts library?” His voice was several octaves
higher than usual.
Ron knew that Hermione was far from stupid. She knew
something dodgy was going on, and he knew it was written all over his face.
“No, just a few defensive spellbooks,” she said slowly, crossing her arms over
her chest. Her eyes narrowed in on his jeans. “There’s something sticking out
of your pocket,” she said suspiciously.
Damn! Was he staring at her chest again? He stuffed the bra
strap that was, sure enough, hanging out of his pocket, back inside.
“Handkerchief,” he said uneasily, before he feigned a yawn. “Blimey, I’m
knicker—uh, knackered!” He winced. “I’ll... I’m going to grab—uh, have a nap
before dinner.” Before he could make a bigger arse of himself, he turned to
walk up the steps.
Ron didn’t make it half way before he heard Hermione say
very clearly, “Accio!” as the bra flew out of his pocket. He tried to
grab at it, but it was too late. He turned to see it land in her hand.
Ron watched the expression on Hermione’s face turn from
shock, to embarrassment, to pure anger. He suddenly had a flash of a dozen
yellow canaries bulleting towards his face and winced as he launched into
explanation. “All right, Hermione. Just… calm down! This isn’t what it looks
like! Pig flew at me, and your trunk, it just—it opened, and your stuff fell
out, and I was just putting it back in, and… and I panicked and I…”
“Thought you’d take a souvenir?” Hermione was absolutely
livid. She slammed her trunk shut and hit it with a Locking Charm. Her face
was possibly pinker than his. “What, Lav-Lav didn’t give you enough of
her own lingerie to choose from?” Her fists were clenched so tightly at her
sides, her knuckles went white. Her voice was trembling with anger as she
spoke. “Or is it for your personal collection? Is cross-dressing your
new hobby now that there aren’t any brainless tartlets around to snog?”
Ron pulled a face. “Oi! It’s not a big deal, Hermione.
It’s just a… bra! I was just a bit shocked ‘cause it was lacy, that’s all! I
always thought you were the granny-knickers type. I never pictured you would
wear something so…”
“So what, exactly?” Her cheeks could’ve rivaled the shade
of the Hogwarts Express. “Just because I don’t go around snogging every bloke
in sight, doesn’t mean I’m the epitome of innocence! I can’t believe… you
still don’t think I’m a girl!”
“Blimey, ‘Mione. I used to think you were a girl.” A small
smirk tugged at the corners of his mouth. “But now I’ll definitely picture you
more like a woman,” he said with a forced chuckle, trying to lighten the mood.
Hermione glared daggers at him, obviously not finding that
comment funny in the slightest. She walked up to him, holding her bra in her
hand. Her other hand reached out and smacked him, hard, across the face.
“Don’t picture me at all, you… perverted sex fiend!” She grabbed her trunk and
hoisted it past him, ran up to Ginny’s room and slammed the door shut.
Ron had hoped that Hermione would come around and see how
ridiculous she was being. It wasn’t his fault! Pig hooted happily in his cage
beside his bed-stand, and Ron huffed. “It’s all your fault,” he said to his
owl, who only flapped around more excitedly.
The wedding was in three days and Ron had yet to speak to
Hermione. Whenever he would enter a room she was in, she would leave. She
never made eye contact with him and made excuses to eat meals in Ginny’s room.
He didn’t know what to do. He felt like a complete prat. He was almost
thankful for the complete state of chaos the Burrow was in at the moment, so
there was always something to occupy him to try to take his mind off of
To be completely honest with himself, he was more fixated on
her lacy bra. He knew he shouldn’t think of it, but once the shock wore off,
Ron found terrible thoughts creeping into his head. Did she have lacy bras in
other colors? With matching knickers? Images of Hermione wearing skimpy
outfits raced through his thoughts, and that’s when he realized that Hermione
wasn’t exactly angry with him, she was more embarrassed. She knew him, and she
knew he was thinking those exact hormonally-charged thoughts about her. That’s
why she couldn’t look him in the eye.
Ron suddenly felt very guilty. He scribbled a quick note on
a piece of parchment.
Don’t be embarrassed anymore. I didn’t mean what I
said. I really am quite a big fan of lace. It’s a brilliant material, and it
suits your brilliant self well. Forgive me?
“There, that should do it. Take this to Hermione in Ginny’s
room, and be quick about it.” He let Pig out of his cage and tied the note to
his neck, and sure enough, the hyperactive bird returned just ten minutes later
with her reply.
“Damn,” he muttered, wondering what he wrote that was
wrong. Utterly at a loss, he made his way towards the kitchen, hoping food
would inspire him. As he passed Bill’s old room, he noticed that the light was
on. Ron peeked in, thankful that it was his brother in the room, sans fiancée,
writing at his desk. “Er, Bill?” He knocked, opening the door as he did so.
“What’re you doing?”
Bill looked up, a bright smile drawing attention away from
his scars. He set his reading glasses on the table, rubbing at his eyes.
“Trying to make seating charts for this weekend. Fleur put me in charge of
putting people at tables, ‘cause our family’s so much bigger than hers. But
her family is very traditional. Everyone’s got to have specific seats, and
wear uniform dress robes. It’s right exhausting, I tell you.” He ruffled
through his papers, motioning for Ron to come in as he found the page he was
looking for. “Ah, here it is. Would you rather Fred and George sit with you,
Ginny, Harry, and Hermione, or would you rather have Uncle Brutus and Auntie
Ron’s face paled. “Anyone but Auntie Muriel, for Merlin’s
Bill chuckled and penciled in the twins on the paper. “Oh,
right. Horrid bright pink lipstick wouldn’t exactly match with your brand new
dark blue dress robes, now would it?”
“Look, can I ask you something?” Ron didn’t wait for a reply
and asked before he lost his nerve. “What do you do when Fleur’s hacked off
with you for doing something stupid?”
“Me?” Bill set down his quill, a mischievous grin tugging at
the corners of his mouth. “Seduce her and shag her senseless. Make-up sex is
quite worth the row, didn’t you know?” he said matter-of-factly.
Ron flushed, clearing his throat uncomfortably. “Er, yeah.
Yeah, of course I knew that,” he lied, not wanting to seem too innocent in
front of his oldest brother. “But I meant, uh, what do you do if you hack off
A knowing expression settled on Bill’s face. “What did you
do to her this time?”
“Mum.” Bill rolled his eyes. “Hermione! What happened?”
Blushing harder, Ron lowered his gaze. “Oh, er… I sort of
embarrassed her. I didn’t mean to. It was an accident, and well… I’m not
going into details,” he added, once he looked up at Bill’s rather curious
expression. “But I’ve already apologized, and it’s not good enough. She’s
still furious with me.”
Bill sat back in his chair, considering. “Hmm,” he
started. “You embarrassed her? Well, you’ve got to make it up to her.”
“How? Should I buy her a gift or something?”
“Would Hermione forgive you if you bought her a gift?”
Ron sighed. “No. She’d probably say I’m an insensitive
wart who’s trying to buy her feelings.”
“Well then, I’m sure you’ll think of something. Perhaps… if
you embarrassed her, maybe a little self-embarrassment might fix things?”
“Self-embarrassment?” Ron pondered this for a moment, when
an idea flashed into his head. He jumped up suddenly, heading for the door.
“I’ve got it! Thanks, Bill!”
“No problem, Ronnikins,” he said with a snicker, rolling his
eyes again as he returned to his seating charts.
Ten minutes later, Ron knocked on Ginny’s door, his other
hand behind his back.
Ginny answered. “Go away, you stupid git. Hermione doesn’t
want to talk to you.”
“You’re her secretary now, are you?” He glared lightly down
at his sister.
“I don’t want to talk to you.” Hermione’s voice carried
through the room, but Ron couldn’t see her, since Ginny had only cracked the
“C’mon, Hermione!” he yelled over Ginny’s head. “You can’t
avoid me forever! We’ve got a lot of things to do together, after Bill’s
wedding. Just hear me out.”
He hoped that she’d realize that they needed to be a team
again in order to help Harry with Horcrux-hunting. Ginny opened her mouth to
tell him off again, when Hermione appeared behind her.
“You have twenty seconds,” she said when she stepped around
Ginny, shutting the bedroom door behind her to give them some sort of
privacy. She crossed her arms over her chest, and her lips were pursed, which
scarily reminded him of Professor McGonagall.
“Er, here,” Ron started, when he revealed the bunched up,
bright orange material in his hand. He held it out to her, and she took it
“What is this?” she said impatiently, unfolding the messily
folded piece of cotton. Her eyes went wide when she realized what it was. “Underwear?”
she hissed incredulously. It was a worn pair of boxer briefs with a faded
Chudley Cannons logo on the front. Her cheeks went scarlet. She threw the
garment in his face, and he caught it. “Why are you mocking me, Ronald
This was not the reaction he’d anticipated. He thought
she’d have a laugh with him and they’d both be embarrassed together. “No! I
“Haven’t you ever been embarrassed before?” she shot back,
tears stinging her eyes.
“Yes! I haven’t showed anyone else my Cannons boxers
before! I thought this would make us even!”
“Even? You aren’t embarrassed! If anything, I’m
even more embarrassed now! Oh, we are far from even.” With that, she
ran back into Ginny’s room and slammed the door in his face.
Ron slumped against Ginny’s door, sliding to the floor and
burying his face in his hands. It was only a moment later that he heard his
sister’s maniacal laughter, followed by a very loud, “I’d wash your hands,
Hermione! Merlin only knows if it was a clean pair!”
Fuming, Ron stomped back up to his bedroom. He passed by
Bill’s room on the way up to the attic and tossed him a rude hand gesture.
Saturday had finally arrived, and the expansive yard of the
Burrow was magically transformed into a beautiful garden. There were rows of
white chairs lined up facing the archway, which was intertwined with white
lilies. The aisle was littered with flower petals as well, and the sun
brightly shining down upon Ottery St. Catchpole made the scene seem heavenly.
Hermione hadn’t said a word to him since the boxer-brief
incident. Even as Ron stood in between Charlie and George with the rest of the
groomsmen, all wearing similarly styled, brand new dress robes (courtesy of
Fred and George), his eyes were locked on Hermione, who sat a few rows behind
his parents, watching the ceremony take place.
She looked beautiful. Her hair was done up in some sort of
fancy twist, a few curls springing free to frame her lightly made-up face. She
seemed to have purchased a new set of dress robes as well, and they were form
fitting, a soft shade of pastel green. Ron wished he hadn’t made such a mess
of things, because he would’ve loved to have finally gotten the chance to prove
to her that he wasn’t a complete idiot.
He wanted to have a dance with her. He’d been waiting for
this day ever since Professor Dumbledore’s funeral, when he noticed for the
first time just how right she felt pressed up against him with her arms wrapped
loosely around his neck and her head on his shoulder. Lavender had him in that
position countless times before, but she just didn’t fit. Not like Hermione
Ron knew that he had ruined his chance. If only he hadn’t
panicked and pocketed that damn lacy bra. Now her embarrassment would forbid
her to even speak with him, let alone dance with him.
And what if this was his only chance? They were going off
Horcrux-hunting with Harry tomorrow morning. They would constantly be fighting
and messing with Dark magic. There was a war going on, and this could be their
last chance to enjoy peace with family and friends. Hermione should be
But she wasn’t, because of him.
Ron was faintly aware of the minister pronouncing Bill and
Fleur as wizard and wife, the crowd erupting into cheers and, in his mum’s
case, tears. As they happily strutted back up the aisle, he noticed that
Hermione had finally dared to meet his gaze.
She blushed again, apparently still embarrassed. She looked
so unhappy that Ron felt his heart wrench. He needed to do something to fix
this. He would never forgive himself if she had a terrible time at his
brother’s wedding because of him.
As the guests moved to the back of the Burrow for the
reception to begin, Ron snuck through the crowd the opposite way, back into the
An hour later, the party was underway. When Ron appeared at
the party, he held his head high in determination, no matter how many guests
turned and laughed at him.
“Oi! Ron! That getup went out of style…. Well, I’m not
exactly sure if it was ever in style!” Fred yelled over the crowd, who then
turned to stare at Bill’s youngest brother and groomsman.
Ignoring Fred’s taunts, Ron strutted right up to their
table, where Hermione was engaged in a conversation with Ginny, though she
looked a bit disengaged whereas his sister was blabbing on.
“So I told him, I said, ‘Why don’t you go shove your wand
right up-’ Ron!” Ginny gasped, looking over at him. She burst into a fit of
giggles. “Why the hell are you wearing…Merlin, are they your Yule Ball
dress robes!?” She nearly fell off of her chair.
Ron kept his face calm, though he did blush a bit when he
realized that almost everyone was gawking at his change of attire. His old,
bright maroon, hand-me-down-for-generations dress robes were clearly pulled
straight out of the bottom of a trunk in the attic; there were wrinkles on the
sleeves (which only came to just past his elbows), the seams frayed. He tried
to do a Stretching Charm on the material so it would fit him better, but he
only managed to get one pant leg to extend to the floor, the other remaining
halfway up his calf.
Ignoring his sister, he stared straight down to Hermione.
“Hi,” he managed, trying to ignore all of Fleur’s veela friends and family, who
were blatantly laughing at him.
Hermione’s expression was a cross between puzzlement and
amusement. “Hi,” she said slowly, looking up at him questioningly. “What are
you doing in your old dress robes, Ron?”
“Embarrassing the hell out of myself, what does it look like
I’m doing?” he said with a nervous laugh, running a hand through his hair. He
looked over at Bill, who was grinning in admiration and tossing him a wink.
This gave him the last bit of courage he needed. “Dance with me?” he asked,
holding out his hand.
Hermione hesitated, her brow raised curiously. “Dance with
someone as foolish-looking as you? But that would be embarrassing, Ron,” she
said teasingly, rolling her eyes slightly before slipping her hand into his.
A perfect fit, Ron noticed. He didn’t realize he’d been
holding his breath until a small sigh of relief was released. He led her over
to the corner of the dance floor, bravely taking her into his arms as they
swayed slowly to the music. “So, are we even?” he asked hopefully.
Hermione looked around, taking note of the many people who
were pointing and laughing at Ron. She nodded. “We’re even.” She timidly
reached up to trace her fingers lightly over his collar, eyes going wide in
realization. “You’re wearing lace?”
Ron grinned, nodding slowly.
Hermione leaned closer to him, resting her head against his
chest contently. “Me too,” she whispered, smirking excitedly as she heard and
felt the rather rapid acceleration of his heartbeat.