Reluctantly Ron Weasley stopped on one of the
staircases in Hogwarts, gripping his broomstick rather tightly as he
to face Hermione Granger. Scurrying towards him with her robes
out behind her, Hermione's gaze flickered from his face to the
in his hand and she stopped in mid-step.
"Where are you going?" She asked
Fleetingly wishing that broomsticks were not
conspicuous, Ron waved the broom in the air as he replied,
tryouts, Hermione. Some of us do think about something other than
"You never said anything about it."
"You never asked."
Hermione simply looked at him, twisting her
within her robes for some odd reason. Glancing towards the staircase
then at his watch, Ron sighed impatiently and asked, "Did you want
"Yes...er, Ron, I need to talk to you about
"Or someone?" Ron asked dully. A tell tale
spread across Hermione's face and Ron sighed a second time before
"Hermione, I'll talk to you all you want, just after the tryouts,
"Okay." Hermione almost looked relieved that
didn't want to talk to her.
Throwing her a lop-sided smile, Ron started
the stairs again only to have Hermione call his name a second time.
oh what, did she want now? "Would you mind if I came and
Blinking, Ron gaped at her for a moment,
dropping his broom in his surprise.
"Are you sure you want to?"
"I do know something about Quidditch, Ron.
hanging out with you and Harry for four years, it would be
not to. I won't go if it bothers you so much..."
"No, you can come," Ron protested, looking
her for a second before muttering something under his breath and
down the stairs.
Left with no choice but to follow him, Hermione hesitated for a
and then took off after Ron. Out of the corner of his eyes, Ron
at her when she caught up to him, but he said nothing. Clenching her
into fists, Hermione bit back a sigh and determined not to look at
He had been like this ever since she came to visit at the Burrow
before the beginning of term. He was perfectly civil to her during
but whenever she tried to hold a normal conversation, he came up
something else he had to do and walked away. Why did he have to be
stubborn?! He didn't even know what he thought he knew and if he had
long enough, he would have found out that he was wrong. You could
told him, a voice whispered in her mind and she shook her head
It had been her second day at the Burrow and they had been waiting
until Mr. Weasley came back with Harry. On Dumbledore's orders it
only Ron's father that went to get Harry-though both Ron and
had insisted that they wouldn't be a bother, they had had no luck.
tearing off blades of grass and throwing them, Ron sat sprawled in
grass beside her, his long legs sticking out in front of him.
"I wanted to go," he said uselessly.
Sitting with her knees drawn up to her chest,
smiled and said slowly, "You can't fault Dumbledore for wanting to
"I know, but I don't have to like it," he answered, a smile
at the corners of his mouth.
"I'm sure Harry's fine," Hermione added, more to say something
express her worry.
"Yeah," Ron muttered, sending a shower of grass flying into the
Pondering whether or not she should tell him to leave the grass
just to get his mind off things, Hermione started when Ron suddenly
on a cheery manner and remarked, "You never finished telling me what
did all summer."
Hermione froze. She had been expecting this question, expecting
to dodge what he really wanted to know and now that he had finally
it, she couldn't say anything at first.
"I spent the fist half of it convincing my parents that it was all
for me to go back to school. They refuse to read Hogwarts: A
so they don't understand. I did homework..."
Hermione glared at him. He was still
didn't want to tell him. He was going to have a fit. But she had to
him now, or he'd find out when the next owl from Viktor came and
would be even worse. Looking anywhere but at him, Hermione
made her voice light as she said, "I stayed in Bulgaria for a week
"Great. Wonderful. Just dandy. So, are you
him Vicky now?"
Ron leapt to his feet, leaving a bare patch of grass beside him
he had unconsciously been tearing it from the moment she started
He was still having a fit, but for Ron this was incredibly civil.
shook her head and answered, "He doesn't like that nickname."
"Yay for Viktor Krum. You didn't answer my question."
"I believe I did," Hermione replied, wishing
he would at least look at her.
"No, you didn't."
"Ron, this is just silly."
"No, it isn't," Ron retorted, turning to look
her again. Swallowing, he took one step towards her and asked
"Are you dating Krum?" She hadn't expected him to be so direct.
rapidly, Hermione rose to her feet and tilted her chin to look up at
was too tall for his own
good-and retorted, "What would you say if I were?"
Ron's eyes bulged and his face turned several different colors in
succession, as if he had eaten all of the worst flavors of Bott's
beans all at once. Dropping Hermione's gaze, he scowled down at the
for a moment before raising his head and saying,"I would say that's
peachy, Hermione. Keep fraternizing with the enemy, go ahead and
dear old Vicky. You make a splendid couple."
He finished abruptly, his gaze when it met hers fiercer than she
ever seen it , and then he turned around and stormed into the
He hadn't even come out when Harry and Mr. Weasley arrived in the
and when Harry came back to announce that Ron wasn't coming down
dinner, he was staunchly silent about what was the matter with him.
Ron avoided having
a conversation with her unless it was absolutely necessary. They
had their fights and there were times when he seemed to forget
and enjoy her company along with Harry's. But, inevitably he
and he would start avoiding her again.
Glancing over at him, Hermione wondered if he was ever going to
her for Viktor and stifled another sigh. Honestly, why did it matter
much to him? It wasn't as if he had even acknowledged her as a girl
the Yule Ball last year and what business was it of his to tell her
she could and
couldn't spend time with?! And Viktor wasn't the enemy...he was an
especially with You-Know-Who on the rise again. Why couldn't he get
his own stubbornness and see that? Why hadn't he let her explain?
on her lip, Hermione told herself not to brood about it anymore.
were still friends...just not like they were...and that was all that
Ron knew what Hermione wanted to talk to him about: Krum. It could
be Krum, her precious Bulgarian "Vicky" who couldn't even say her
name right. "Hermy-own-ninny," honestly! If he or Harry ever said it
way...she was probably going to finish telling him what he hadn't
her say over the summer. He didn't want to hear it, even if he was
and she wasn't dating Krum. She had let him think it, for whatever
and if by some miracle she wasn't dating Krum, he would be angrier
her than he would be if she really were. Of all times, why did she
to pick right before the Quidditch tryouts to bring this up? He'd be
if he could even think about the game at all. If you had told her
were trying out, she would have waited, an irritating voice
and Ron almost told it to shut up aloud.
He hadn't told anyone, except Fred and George, about wanting to
for the vacant position of Keeper...not even Harry. Harry probably
knew, though, but Hermione, of course, paid no attention to anything
wasn't a book. He hadn't wanted everyone to know...that way, if he
his humiliation would be lesser. After all, it was a Weasley
to play for the house team-he couldn't fail to try out, no matter
unlikely it was that he would get it. Madam Hooch hadn't even looked
when he told her intended to try out for Keeper. She hadn't exactly
encouraging either. Only one thing really mattered, though. If he
in, it would have to be on his own merit, not because he was Fred
George's little brother, and not because he was Harry Potter's best
All he had to do was get through the try-out and then everything
be fine...until Hermione brought up the "K" word.
Scowling, Ron chanced a look at her and saw that she was lost in
own thoughts. Probably trying to find the gentlest way to announce
they're secretly engaged. Where was Ginny when he needed her? The
reason he had been able to walk away from Hermione when she all but
him she was dating Krum was the kindness of his little sister. Ron
been only one day
home at the end of his 4th year when Hermione's possible visit to
had started to bother him again. He had always known that she would
despite his random fits of insanity when he believed she would
visit Malfoy than spend more time with Krum. So he had enlisted
help, asking her to play Hermione's part and tell him every
detail about her vacation with "Vicky." In return he was to help
the Harry situation, something which he hadn't managed to do yet
he honestly didn't see what good Ginny's plan would do. Ginny had
a fair Hermione, though, and by the time of her visit, he had gotten
the point where he could hear
Krum's name without cringing. They had had a jolly time of
Ginny's hair and giving her a stack of books to hold while Ron was
to her. Everything was set...until Hermione had actually said
Krum's figurine, which he still couldn't bring himself to get rid
had lost another arm that night. "Play Quidditch if you can," Ron
sneered, though five minutes later he was certain that Krum would
a way to catch the Snitch without his arms-probably with his teeth.
hadn't helped either-the prat-when he got there. He had found Ron
back and forth across his blazing orange room, muttering furiously
Krum and Hermione. Almost instantly Harry's gaze found Krum's
figure and he walked over to it, a grin spreading across his face as
armless Krum looked down mournfully at his severed limb.
"Now I know what's wrong," Harry said, his shoulders beginning to
"She's dating him, Harry! She's actually dating him!" Ron burst
taking the armless Krum by the head and stuffing him back in a
"Good for Hermione," Harry answered quietly. Ron turned on him in
"Good?! Good?! What can possibly be good about Hermione
with the enemy?!"
"She likes him. I like him. You used to like him."
"Past tense. Very good," Ron muttered, pacing
Shaking his head, Harry unexpectedly put a hand on his friend's
and replied, "Let it go, Ron."
"I can't," Ron answered honestly.
"Did she actually say she was dating Krum?"
asked. Ron shook his head and muttered,
"She might as well have."
"So you don't know for certain?" Harry questioned, a mischievous
in his eye. Groaning, Ron flung himself down on his bed and cried,
start with me, Harry! Tell Mum I'll be down for dinner. Ask Hermione
tell you about her stay in Bulgaria, it's simply fascinating.
Harry had opened his mouth to say something more, only to think
of it and leave Ron to sulk in peace. Since then Ron hadn't been
to have any serious conversation with Hermione without Harry there.
he was alone with her, he kept seeing images of her with Krum, and
only way to make them disappear was to leave her company entirely.
Harry stood it, Ron didn't know, but he knew that even he wouldn't
able to take it much longer. Perhaps this talk of hers was a good
would know for certain and then...perhaps...he could forgive
Chancing one last glance at her, Ron deliberately pushed all
of Hermione and Krum aside. He had to have a clear head or he'd
make the team. Quidditch, Weasley, Quidditch. No Hermione, no Krum,
Quidditch and becoming Keeper. That's all that matters. Gripping his
tightly, Ron repeated the thought in his mind as he stepped onto the
Chapter Two: Broomsticks and
Almost all of Gryffindor had assembled to
the tryouts. Scanning the growing crowd, Ron smiled in relief to see
Malfoy and his cronies were not there and looked at who would be his
Clustered nervously around Madam Hooch were six other Gryffindors,
glancing at each other as furtively as possible and clutching their
brooms as if their lives depended on it. Standing off in a similar
a few feet away was the Gryffindor team, engaged in a conference of
sorts. Harry was next to Fred and George-he hadn't seen Ron yet and
that his best friend was grateful. His competition was fierce enough
having to worry about what Harry thought of his being here. Everyone
he had predicted had turned up and it figured that he would be the
one to arrive. Last. If only Hermione…Hermione! With a start, Ron
that she was still standing next to him and he turned to look at her
sheepishly. Eyes also scanning his competition, Hermione flashed him
smile and said quickly, "Good luck,
"Thanks," he replied, still not moving to
the other would-be-Keepers.
Opening her mouth as if to say more and then
better of it, Hermione hovered uncertainly in front of him for a
before dashing off to find a seat in the stands. She just kept
weirder, Hermione. Watching her scurry off to take a seat next to
Ron shook his head at her and went to
the other Gryffindors. Knowing Hermione, she thought there wasn't
glamour in the Keeper position, seeing as her precious Vicky was
Quidditch, Weasley, Quidditch! Ron resisted the urge to scan the
a second time for Hermione and Ginny and walked up to Madam Hooch.
was no Hermione, only Quidditch. If only he could believe
Looking as strained as the six participants
around her, Madam Hooch nodded in satisfaction as she saw Ron and
a mark on the piece of parchment she was holding.
"Ah, Weasley, you're here. Good. I believe we
begin now. Wait here while I have a word with the team and then I'll
back to explain what you'll be doing." All seven of them nodded and
Hooch bustled over to consult with the current members of the
Once or twice Ron caught a glimpse of Fred
George flashing him enthusiastic grins and he did his best to return
Harry, extremely interested in what Madam Hooch was saying, did not
up at all. Despite his earlier desire for Harry not to know, Ron
decide if this was good or bad. Leaving a furiously nodding
team-what was with everybody-Madam Hooch strode back to where Ron
the others stood, her features grim.
"All right. You're here because there's an
on the Gryffindor team for the position of Keeper, yes? No one
they get to be Seeker or a Beater? And you are all at least in your
year, yes? Then draw."
Thrusting a fist towards them, Madam Hooch
waited for one of them to step forward and take one of the seven
colored marbles in her hand. Watching everyone around him hesitate,
swallowed and stepped forward to take the first one. Staring down at
six marbles, his fingers hovered over each one in turn before he
seized the orange one in deference to the Chudley Cannons. Orange
to be lucky for him. Following Ron's example, the other six
took a marble and looked up at Madam Hooch wonderingly. Still
a grim expression, Madam Hooch took out her wand and
"The order that the colors appear in is the
in which you will try out."
Checking his impulse to nod along with
else, Ron simply watched as a burst of sparks shot out of Madam
wand and began to form seven bars of color. Red, purple, yellow,
green, orange and white. Ron frowned at the marble in his hand as
bars of color disappeared. 6th out of 7 possible, he knew Fred and
were laughing. At least he wasn't last…that unfortunate fate had
to a 4th year girl who looked as if she were about to burst into
"Everyone know their place? You will be
on the following: How many goals you save or let through the goal,
flying skill, and how quickly you can think in a tricky situation.
will be no Bludgers involved, the Beaters and the Seeker are here to
as impartial judges. Step forward, Red!"
The first, another 4th year, stepped forward
Ron went to stand in line with the others, his nerves steadily
Impartial judges, Fred, Harry, and George. Had Madam Hooch
meant that they were to be impartial while he was flying? Ron was
of the glances being sent his way by the other hopeful Keepers and
that the comment had been meant for him. Did no one in all of
think he was capable of doing anything on his own merit, and not
he was Fred and George's brother or Harry's friend?! Apparently not.
supposed that his being good at chess could even be attributed to
else. After all, he was just plain old
Ron Weasley, with nothing to show for his
years of age but an uncanny knack of winning at chess. And even that
probably be taken away from him.
Ron raised his eyes to watch the first
try and keep Angelina, Alicia, and Katie from scoring. Watching
in whatever form, thankfully, was enough to take his mind off all of
things which kept troubling him and he so detached while he watched,
he was able to evaluate the 4th year's
fairly. All the way down the line he watched as if he were not
to try out, as if he were carelessly seated in the stands with Ginny
Hermione-get out, Granger-or side by side with his fellow Gryffindor
Keep dreaming, Weasley. Oddly enough, he was not nervous, not even
the blue Keeper missed only one throw of the
Quaffle and the green participant rose into
air to begin his session. This time he did not watch, however,
the time reviewing his own strategy and what he knew of the
Chasers. To their credit, Fred and George had not given him one
tip during his summer training. What he knew was based solely upon
he had observed at other matches. He had a
few tricks up his own sleeve, too…hopefully it would be enough. If
would have to chalk it up as just another thing he wasn't good at.
green participant landed, having missed only three goals, and it was
turn at last.
"Weasley," Madam Hooch barked.
Stepping forward, Ron felt the orange marble
in his hand and he gritted his teeth before mounting his broom.
up into the air, he flew around the goal hoops twice in order to
up and then positioned himself in front to wait. The Chasers were
in a mini-conference-which was not very reassuring-and he found
scanning the crowd while he waited, easily picking out Ginny with
Weasley hair and Hermione, on the very edge of her seat, watching
Maybe she thought he was good enough to be here…no time for that,
Everything other than Quidditch became a blur
Ron began to fly back and forth before the goal posts, his gaze
on the Quaffle.
They would take it easy on him at first, he
in order to lull him into a false sense of confidence. It had worked
the sole second year trying out, but it wouldn't with him. Ron
blocked the first attempt they made but kept a wary eye out just the
Time after time they threw the Quaffle towards any of the three
and somehow, sometimes, admittedly, just by pure luck, he always
to intercept it. In the back of his mind he knew that everyone was
him, just waiting for him to miss and wondering if he would be the
one who they couldn't get past. He didn't dare think it himself.
he caught a glimpse of Ginny and Hermione, both of them sitting in
same position of agitation and he made a note to laugh at them about
Successfully catching the Quaffle again, Ron
threw it back to Alicia and waited as the three chasers retired for
He had been out here longer than anybody else
unless he was mistaken, this would be their last and trickiest
to get past him. Gripping his broom tightly, Ron hovered tensely as
Chasers bore down on him once more, acutely aware that this was the
moment of his try-out. Alicia threw to Katie, who was clearly
towards the far right goal and he drifted towards it uncertainly…it
too easy. Katie, bearing down on him, suddenly threw to Angelina,
was perfectly positioned for the far left hoop. Backtracking, Ron
towards the other end of the goal posts, only to see Angelina pitch
Quaffle back to Katie who was still in position for the right hoop.
was risky, but he could do it. Not changing direction, Ron sped
the back of the hoops, evoking a cry of alarm from the watching
Just a little faster, a little faster…his broom quivered beneath
but he rounded the corner just as Katie released the Quaffle,
between it and the goal with his hand outstretched. There was a
where time seemed to stop and then the Quaffle collided with his
and his fingers automatically closed around it as he continued to
around the goal hoops.
Ron circled the goal two more times before he
able to slow down, descending towards the ground in a haze of
The Quaffle was still in his right hand, a solid reminder, and yet
still didn't seem real. One second…one second later and Katie would
scored. One second. His feet hit the
and he climbed off his broom, throwing the Quaffle to Katie and
the others. The 4th year girl who had drawn last let out a nervous
at the sight of him and scurried away.
Reality was slowly beginning to dawn on Ron,
with the fact that his last save had been nothing short of
but he didn't really believe it. Scanning the stands, he saw
and Ginny hugging each other-girls-and began to smile. Not even
to watch the poor girl currently trying to block the Quaffle, he
briefly at the grounded members of the Gryffindor team. Fred and
looked absolutely flabbergasted-Ron couldn't recall ever seeing
eyes so wide-and Harry…Harry was grinning from ear to ear. Returning
grin, Ron remembered to watch the 4th year girl in time to see her
her tenth goal in a row and hear Madam Hooch call her down. He felt
guilty…the poor girl had obviously done worse than she would have
she not gone after him, but there was nothing he could do about it.
hadn't even thought that it would work.
"Congratulations to all of you for a job well
The team requests fifteen minutes to decide among themselves.
Madam Hooch motioned for him to approach her and Ron jerkily rose to
feet, the six other participants looking extremely glum as he did.
a hand through his hair, Ron nervously approached Madam Hooch. Lips
as if they wanted desperately to smile, Madam Hooch lowered her
and said, "That was a spectacular save, Weasley. As spectacular as
first time Potter caught the Snitch. Well done."
"Er…thanks," Ron stammered, running his hand
his hair again and causing it to stick up in all sorts of
Hurriedly going back to sit with the others,
all scooted away as if he smelled funny, Ron turned his attention to
still talking Gryffindor team. They were still deep in
need the entire fifteen minutes. Cheerfully plucking at the grass on
field-great, now it was a habit-Ron waited it out, his thoughts
more and more to what Hermione had to say to him rather than the
of the try-outs. Finally the team came to a decision, producing a
set of Quidditch robes and marching as a group towards the seven
If he had wanted any encouraging signs
Harry or his brothers, Ron was out of luck. The three of them had
neutral expressions, just like the faces of everyone else on the
and at last, Katie stepped forward, a small smile creeping onto her
as she announced, "The new Keeper for Gryffindor is…"
Continued in To Your Brooms...