The Sugar Quill
Author: TheRealMaraJade  Story: Thinking  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Author’s Note: I wasn’t going to submit any fic to the First Annual Sugar Quill Fanfic Tournament, but I ended up submitting a small fic at the last possible minute, called Leaning. And that was supposed to be the end of that particular plot bunny. 

But the bunny couldn't be put to rest, and a good friend of mine helped feeding him and giving him strength. So, here goes the second installment on what I think I may call 'The -ing Series' or at least 'The -ing Trilogy', since I'm so found of those. *coughcoughSWcoughcough* ;) (Oh, yes, there'll be a third installment. A couple of characters have been cutting their way into my computer screen since the first fic, so I decided to let them out to play.)

Anyway, let's get this over with. This sequel to Leaning is dedicated to my friend Clarisse Lupin. She is the one to blame for the fact that I ever wrote this one! :)

TheRealMaraJade  

 

Disclaimer: I don’t own Harry Potter or anything related. Jo Rowling owns them. No money is being made with this, so please don’t sue me!

 

Thinking

 

She had been able to feel Ron’s hot breath on her face tinged with a faint smell of sugar, but her cheeks had been pink for another reason; he was straddling her.

After that, Hermione didn’t remember too well what had happened. Ginny had come over and said something, and soon Ron and her had gotten to their feet, just in time to see Harry approaching and making a smart remark as well.

And then, the whole common room had roared with laughter.

They were laughing at her, on her birthday, because of Ron Weasley.

Hermione had felt her face flush with embarassment, and had left the common romm in a hurry.

She was so inexplicably furious with Ron that she skipped breakfast and went straight to their double-Transfiguration class, where she spent the whole morning avoiding Ron’s eyes and trying to pay attention to Professor McGonagall’s voice.

That was something she had acknowledged long ago as very difficult to do whenever she was angry with Ron. He made her lose all her coolness and logic, and she always ended up losing her concentration in classes.

Just because she loved him.

She had discovered that her feelings towards Ron were more than those of a friend back in their fourth year, when she had been angry with him for gaping at Fleur Delacour everytime she passed by, for not asking her to the Yule Ball until it was too late, and for being mad at her for going to the Ball with Viktor.

She had realized the reason why she was so angry for such stupid and small things at the night of the Yule Ball, when she had spent most of the night awake thinking about the Ball and Ron. Well, mostly Ron anyway.

So, it hadn’t been a surprise when they had enganged in yet another argument right in the middle of Snape’s class over that stupid Rita Skeeter article. She had babbled about Viktor asking her to visit him at Bulgaria over the summer, and Ron had been really mad at her. Hermione had felt increasingly uncomfortable because of his reaction to Viktor’s invitation, and they had never realized that Snape had reached their table.

And that had been just the first of many classes since then that she had completely lost her concentration in just because of Ron. During most classes, she spent her time just thinking about their last argument, like today in Transfiguration class, where she was forced to relive over and over again in her head the embarassment he had made her feel that morning.

But there were some classes where they eventually had some kind of argument *during* the class, and she lost the lesson anyway. Of course, she had begun to spend even more time than she already did in the library to make up for all her lost lessons. And that had only given Ron more to tease her with, saying that she would become a permanent resident of the library anytime now.

It was a wonder how she had succeeded in keeping her Prefect status after a definite drop in her grades. It was a lucky thing that Malfoy had never been able to get a better grade than she did at his exams, or she would no longer be the cleverest witch in her year, and undoubtely no longer a Prefect (at least in her opinion).

Of course, she was the only one worried about her grades. Whenever she said something, Ron and Harry said that she was overreacting, that her grades hadn’t changed much, and that it was something expected since the school got increasingly difficult with each passing year. So she needn’t worry about it.

But she shuddered to think if she would be able to become Head Girl next year, like Professor McGonagall had hinted to. If she and Ron continued to act, or rather, react like that towards each other, she was afraid that she would lose her concentration even more on classes, and that her grades were going to drop as well.

After surviving through McGonagall’s class, the thought of not becoming Head Girl in the following year keeping her mind from straying too far away from Transfiguration class, Hermione headed to the Great Hall to have lunch, and pointedly ignored Ron.

He had tried once or twice to catch her attention, and she had avoided him by sitting next to Neville and talking about their Potions essays on Polyjuice Potion due in two days.

Because of that, she completely missed when Ron, Harry and Ginny had talked rather conspiratorially during lunch. Not even when Ron’s ear turned pink under the scrutinizing eyes of his sister and best friend Hermione noticed them.

As soon as she finished eating, Hermione left the Great Hall and headed to Professor Vector’s class, thankful for probably the first time in her life that Ron had Divination instead of Arithmancy.

But not even her fear of losing the Head Girl badge the following year stopped her from thinking about Ron during that.

After the anger she was feeling towards Ron had drained away (she had never been able to stay mad at him for very long) Hermione began to ponder his reaction that morning.

Ron had been clearly trying to hide something behind his joyful face when he had congratulated her for dating Harry, and he had jumped up from his chair ecstatic and grinning when she had said that she wasn’t dating Harry.

‘What had given him that thought at the first place, anyway?’ She thought angrily. Harry had just hugged her for her birthday, and Ron had came up with that completely crazy talk about leaning and all that...

But then... Why had he been so mad at that? What if Harry had really leaned when hugging her? What if Harry fancied her? Why would Ron be so upset about that?

Hermione sighed. She had had countless ponderings like that over the past few years, especially after the ‘Viktor Krum incident’, and everytime she thought about it, she had been sure that Ron had been jealous of her, that he loved her, and that it would be just a matter of time before he told her so.

But time had passed and Ron hadn’t said such thing. Hermione had tried to forget him, to pretend her feelings towards him didn’t exit, that he was just a friend, but she hadn’t been able to forget him.

After all, they were best friends, and they spent most of their time together when they were studying at Hogwarts.

She spent the rest of her Arithmancy’s class thinking about Ron, and from time to time muttering under her breath ‘Bloody Ronald Weasley.’

He would undoubtely be proud to learn that he had not only succeded in turning a perfect student like her into a prat unable to concentrate properly in classes, but also in a cursing and swearing prat.

‘Bloody Ronald Weasley,’ she muttered again.

Hermione had been so engrossed in her own thoughts that she only noticed that the class was over when Professor Vector came to her and asked her if something was wrong, since she had been quiet during all afternoon. After all, it was unusual for Hermione not to answer any of the questions asked during class.

Hemione said that she was feeling slightly ill, and that she thought that it was just the beginning of a cold or something, and left before Professor Vector told her to go and see Madam Pomfrey.

When Hermione arrived at the Great Hall, she only met Ginny and Harry there. Thankfully, Ron was nowhere in sight.

She sat across from Ginny, at Harry’s left side, and began to eat her dinner rather slowly and quietly, until she jerked up her head in response to Ginny yelling her name for the third time.

“What?”

Ginny glanced at Harry, looking annoyed. “Hermione, I’ve been wondering if you could help me with Muggle Studies. I think we might have a surprise test tomorrow, and I’m having trouble with some stuff.”

Hermione’s brow furrowed in surprise, “Sure, I can help you. But wouldn’t you prefer Harry?”

Harry stuttered for a moment. “I...I...I can’t help her tonight. Quidditch practice.” He added, a relieved look on his face.

Hermione wasn’t buying any of that rubbish, but she thought that it would be easier to get some answers from Ginny alone than from both of them. “Okay, I will help you then. As soon as you finish with your dinner, we can go up to the library...”

“Well, I’ve finished my dinner already,” Ginny added in a hurry, “but I don’t think we should go to the library. First, because Madam Pince would be really mad at us for talking out loud there, and second because I need help with some Muggle equipment that we can only find at the Muggle Studies classroom.”

Hermione shrugged and finished her dinner. Soon, Ginny and her were up the marble staircase at the Entrance Hall, Hermione’s thoughts for once today not focused on Ronald Weasley.

“Hermione, I need to tell you something.” Ginny spoke up suddenly.

“What Ginny?” Hermione glanced at her while they turned a corner.

Ginny hesitated for a moment, unsure of what to say next. Hermione looked at her friend again with a quizzical look on her face.

“Well, you see...” Ginny was playing with her robes’ cuffs. “Hum, I guess there is no better way to say it...I want to talk to you about my brother’s feelings about you.”

Hermione turned defensive. “What makes you think I worry about your brother’s feelings?”

Ginny rolled her eyes. “Hermione, we can do this the easy way or the hard way. I *know* you fancy my brother.” She said, matter of factly.

Hermione remained silent, but her cheeks were rather pink again, just like in the morning.

“Anyway, I know my brother has been trying to tell you exactly how he feels about you for a long time now, but he has been to afraid to do it, because he thought you’d rather have someone famous like Viktor Krum or Harry Potter.” Ginny stopped walking and searched Hermione’s eyes. “I think this morning he actually thought that you were in love with...” she glanced at her shoes, “...with Harry when he saw you both hugging.”

Hermione, despite her friend’s obvious discomfort, was so nervous about Ginny’s talk concerning Ron’s feelings that she had to laugh.

“What?” Hermione was surprised. “I couldn’t possibly be in love with Harry! He is just a friend! True, he is a very good friend, one of my best friends in fact, but he is just that.” Hermione looked pointedly at Ginny, before walking again. “Besides, I couldn’t forgive myself if I ever tried to steal Harry from you.”

Ginny jerked her head up, and ran to catch up with her friend. “You...you knew?”

Hermione smiled. “Yes, of course I knew! I know you’ve been an issue for quite sometime now. You don’t think that my cleverness is limited only to books, exams, and school stuff, do you?”

“Well, no.” Ginny smiled sheepishly.

“And don’t worry, I won’t tell Ron anything.” She placed her left had on Ginny’s right shoulder. “I know you and Harry are hiding your relationship only because you’re afraid of how Ron will react when he learns that his little sister is dating his best friend.”

A shadow passed over Ginny’s face. “Hermione, for being such a clever girl, you can be pretty blind sometimes. But then again, even with all that’s happening, I guess it’s a little difficult to really see how much in danger we really are.” She gave a deep sigh, and added. “The reason why Harry and I have been keeping our relationship a secret is because he is afraid You-Know-Who might want to get to him by hurting me.”

Hermione felt ashamed for not thinking about that before. “Oh, Ginny, I had no idea!”

Ginny gave a sad smile, “Well, I can’t really blame you. We are living some pretty rough times, and things are happening so quickly that it feels almost unrealistic sometimes.” She brushed her eyes with her left hand.

Hermione thought she had seen tears in Ginny’s eyes, but she wasn’t sure. “Anyway, this talk isn’t about You-Know-Who, Harry, and definitely not about me. It’s about you and Ron.”Ginny looked deeply into Hermione’s eyes. “My brother loves you, Hermione. I know he does, even though he has never told me that. But the way he looks at you...it’s so obvious!”

Hermione stared at Ginny, open-mouthed. She was dumbstruck. Hermione couldn’t believe her ears. She was so startled by this revelation that she never noticed that they had reached the door to the Muggle Studies classroom.

“Oh, I forgot my book at Gryffindor’s common room. Do you mind waiting for me in here while I go and get it? Thanks.” And she left before Hermione could say anything.

Since it would take a while since Ginny returned, Hermione entered the classroom, and was startled by what she saw.

There were dozens of floating candles lit around the room, just like every year at the Sorting Hat ceremony. And in the middle of the room stood Ron, with a box of Honeydukes’ best chocolate in his hands.

“Hi, Hermione.” He said, a tentative smile tugging at his lips, his ears reddened.

She didn’t answer. Hermione was still speechless by Ginny’s revelations and by the decorated classroom she found herself in.

“Er...Hermione? Are you listening to me?” Ron asked, worried.

She nodded, unable to say anything, and unsure of what to say. She just stood there, looking at Ron, a tingling sensation running though her body.

“Er...I need to tell you something... Something I should have told you long ago.” Ron began, almost in a whisper. He stepped closer to her. “I...I...” He hesitated. “Happy Birthday.” Ron finally spilled out, and extended his arms to her offering the Honeydukes’ chocolate.

She took the box, muttered ‘Thanks’, and looked up into his eyes. There she saw the confirmation to Ginny’s words. And seeing that Ron was still having trouble saying it, she thought he could use some help.

“I love you too, Ron.” She whispered, and held one of his hands with her own free hand.

Ron looked dumbstruck. His mouth kept opening and closing like a fish would do in a fish tank. Hermione rubbed her thumb on his knuckles, hoping to show him that this was real, and not just a dream.

Ron’s face split into a smile, a smile that melted Hermione’s heart away, and the only thing that prevented her from turning into a pile of goo in the floor was the fact that Ron’s strong arms were enveloping her. Soon he was swirling her around in a bear hug. He put her down on her feet again, and cupped her cheeks in his hands.

“I love you, Hermione.” He took a deep breath, and continued, “I have for a long time now. But I was afraid to tell you and risk ruining our friendship. I don’t think I could stand losing that. But I think I’m more afraid of losing you forever. So, I decided to take a chance.”

“You think too much, Ron.” Hermione said, her eyes also sparkling with tears of joy.

Ron had to grin at that. “*I* think too much? Last time I checked, you...”

Hermione rolled her eyes, “Ron, shut up and kiss me.”

Ron blushed deeply, but lowered his face towards hers. Hermione shivered and blushed as well. Their lips came together in a kiss, and a long time passed before they returned to the Gryffindor common room to a very giggling Ginny and a beaming Harry. They couldn’t wait to tell Hermione how they had helped Ron prepare the Muggle Studies classroom for her, and how he had gotten to Hogsmeade with Harry’s Invisibility Cloak and the Marauder’s Map. After all, it was the least they could do after ruining their, er, ‘moment’ that morning.

//
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