The Sugar Quill
Author: shiiki (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Agreeing to Disagree  Chapter: Agreeing to Disagree
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Agreeing to Disagree
by shiiki

This is for holdingback, who loves R/Hr.

September 2, 1995; fifth year

‘You’re always having a go at each other, it’s driving me mad!’

Harry snatched up his schoolbag and stalked off, to Ron’s bewilderment and surprise.

‘Blimey,’ said Ron uneasily, ‘are we that bad?’

Hermione frowned at her plate. ‘I expect that us quarrelling doesn’t exactly give him much pleasure, but I don’t think it’s the main reason he’s frustrated.’

‘I reckon it’s Snape; he’s such a git. Hermione, why do you keep defending him?’

‘Harry’s got to stop taking out his temper on us,’ she said, ignoring his question. ‘First he was yelling at us in –’ she glanced around furtively, to make sure no one was listening, before continuing in a low voice ‘– Grimmauld Place, and that wasn’t our fault. Then he was so snappish this morning –’

‘He had a row with Seamus,’ Ron reminded her. Hermione, however, continued as though she hadn’t heard him, which was what she invariably did whenever she was making a point.

‘– that row with Cho can’t have helped much –’

‘He didn’t row with her; she was still speaking to him after I’d said my bit about the Tornados –’ Even though Hermione wasn’t listening, Ron couldn’t help arguing with her; it was such a natural thing to do.

‘– then Snape was really unfair,’ Hermione concluded.

‘I told you Snape can’t have changed –’

‘And he probably hasn’t,’ said Hermione tartly. ‘He was really nasty in first year, but that was the year he tried to save Harry from Quirrell, remember?’

‘Yeah, but –’

‘Anyway,’ Hermione continued loudly, ‘never mind about Snape now – I was trying to say that I understand why Harry’s in a really bad mood at the moment, but nevertheless, he ought not to jump down our throats just because he isn’t happy.’

Ron opened his mouth to argue, then closed it as he realised that there was, in fact, nothing to disagree about; Hermione had a point.

‘Well … what are we going to do about it, then?’ he said. Hermione leaned forward and rested her chin on her palm.

‘I suppose we can stop arguing,’ she mused. ‘Although that’s not the root problem …’

‘How are we supposed to tell him he’s being a right prat, taking everything out on us?’

‘Honestly, Ron, must you always be so tactless?’

‘I’m just putting things in plain facts, Hermione –’

‘How would you like it if someone came up to you and told you that you were a “right prat” – especially if you were already mad?’

‘Well, I never said I was going to call him a prat to his face, I just meant …’

His voice trailed off mid-sentence as he realised that Hermione and he had just begun to bicker again. She had taken her arms off the table, and was facing him with her hands on her hips in typical Hermione-argument fashion. Ron couldn’t help but start to laugh. Hermione stared at him for one confused moment before his mirth seemed to infect her and she joined in merrily.

‘I reckon we do get started on each other rather often,’ said Ron, when their chuckles subsided. He hadn’t even noticed how easy it was to start up a good-natured quarrel with Hermione. Half the time they probably hadn’t even been aware that they were at it; the verbal sparring came as naturally as breathing.

‘Let’s try to stop, then,’ said Hermione. ‘For Harry’s sake. He’s going through a difficult time right now, after all.’

The traitorous thought, why should they go out of their way to stop bickering (and Ron found suddenly that he actually rather enjoyed arguing with Hermione) just to suit Harry, crossed his mind, but Ron hastily pushed it away and vowed to do his best. Harry was his best mate, after all. And his life certainly wasn’t easy, what with the Daily Prophet spouting lies about him left, right and centre. If Ron and Hermione didn’t support him, who would?

‘I think you should tell Harry that it’d be nice if he stopped taking out his temper on us, though,’ Hermione added.

‘Me? Why me?’

‘Because you’re seeing him first. You’ve both got Divination next, haven’t you?’

‘Oh … yeah …’ Ron didn’t relish the idea of being the first to tackle an angry Harry on his own. His fingers still bore the scars from when Harry had set Hedwig to pecking them during the summer holidays.

Hermione must have seen his apprehensive look, because she patted his shoulder and said, ‘For heaven’s sake, Ron, it’s just passing on a message from me, all right? You don’t have to agree with me.’

‘Really?’ This was unlike Hermione, who usually nagged until he and Harry conceded to her opinions.

She shrugged. ‘I expect you don’t want to be in another big row with Harry this year.’

Ron scowled, remembering guiltily the fight that he and Harry had had over the Triwizard Tournament the previous year. No, he certainly didn’t want to repeat that experience, even if Harry did seem to be looking for a fight nowadays. It wasn’t fair to put all the blame on Hermione though, was it? He distinctly remembered their third-year, with all that hoo-ha over the Firebolt and Scabbers – yet another instance that would shame him forever. Hermione had been dead right then, just as she’d been last year, and probably was now, too. Very likely, Hermione would always be right, with all those brains she kept inside that bushy brown head.

Why on earth did he argue with her, then, if he knew that?

Because she comes alive when she’s arguing, and she looks beautiful then…

Where did that thought come from? Ron shook his head, as though that would erase it, and made himself return firmly to the conversation at hand.

‘I’ll tell him,’ he said. ‘And we can … er … try to agree more too.’

Hermione smiled faintly. ‘Or at the very least,’ she said wryly, ‘we can agree to disagree.’

She started to gather her books for the next lesson – Arithmancy for her, Divination for him. Hermione gave him a brief nod before leaving the table. Ron watched her go, feeling that he had missed a point…that there was something he ought to set right.

He grabbed his own schoolbag and ran after her, catching her arm as she was walking through the doors of the Great Hall.

‘Ron?’ She looked down at his hand on her arm. He dropped it as quickly as if it had been a red-hot poker.

‘Hermione –’ Why on earth was he blushing? ‘I agree with you. About Harry, I mean.’

She looked even more nonplussed. ‘All right …’

‘And – er – you do know I’m not just – having a go at you when we argue, right?’

Was it his imagination, or was a hint of a smile tugging at the corner of her lip?

‘I know, Ron,’ she said finally. ‘I know.’

With a light, reassuring brush of her fingers against his shoulder, she was gone, heading up the marble staircase to the Arithmancy classroom. Halfway up the stairs, she turned her head, and Ron was certain that there was indeed a shy sort of smile on her face.

She does look pretty when she smiles like that. He entertained the thought for several seconds before shaking himself. Hermione was his friend, not some pretty girl to gawk at in the corridors.

Still, he wouldn’t mind seeing her smile at him like that again.

A/N: The idea for this story was inspired by an essay by Red Monster, found here at the Quill. The title of the essay is The Keeper of Her Heart: The Case for Hermione’s Feelings for Ron. Go read it: it’s a perfect reasoning resource for R/H fans!

Credit for the existence of this fic must also be given to holdingback; without her waxing lyrical about R/H, I doubt I would have attempted this.

Finally, I would like to thank my pre-beta, Rhianna (whatapotter), for looking over this and helping me to fine-tune it. Thanks ever so much, Rhi! Also, as always, Birgit for going through as well.

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