The Sugar Quill
Author: Tartan Faeries  Story: Chess  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.

Dedicated to Caz, the other half of the Tartan Faeries, for her support and general fabness! Love ya, Caz. Big thanks to my lovely beta-reader Yolanda for making my day with all her comments. :o)

***

The best part of their relationship, Ron reckoned, was the fact it was Hermione. This was a fairly stupid reckoning at face value, but what Ron meant was the way he could tell her anything in a comfortable trust and know he didn’t have to worry about surprise reactions or any weirdness. Hermione knew him so well it didn’t matter; there were no illusions to shatter. He wanted to be with her all the time, play wizard chess, talk about Quidditch, anything because if she was there it made it all worthwhile. He turned to look at her down the table.

Harry was engrossed in conversation with Charlie about Quidditch, his parents were talking quietly with an air of great mystery around them. The twins were joking with Percy about something or other while Percy looked rather far away. Hermione was chatting animatedly to Ginny…he loved the way her eyes flashed when she got excited…he suddenly caught his oldest brother Bill’s gaze and grinned sheepishly at his knowing look.

Under the table he nudged Hermione’s foot with his own, causing her to falter mid-conversation. She nudged back. Looking up at the sky he watched the colours fading gradually to an inky blue and felt an overwhelming sense of love for what was all around him.

“So, Ron,” intervened Bill, “up for a game of chess later?”

“Yeah,” he replied after a moment, “you’re on.”

* * *

Later in the living room after everyone else had gone to bed, Ron sat engrossed in a heated game of chess with Bill. As one of his pawns knocked Bill’s bishop senseless Ron was jerked out of his concentration by Bill’s voice.

“At last, young Ronald,” he started solemnly “you’ve found love.” It wasn’t a question, but more of a statement. Bill grinned as the colour rose in Ron’s cheeks. Ron couldn’t help but smile as he so often did when he thought about Hermione.

“Uh…well I found Hermione,” he said quietly, ”but don’t tell anyone just yet.”

“All due respect Ron, I won’t tell, but it is quite obvious,” laughed Bill. Ron flushed.

“Is it? Seriously?!” Bill nodded. Bloody hell, thought Ron. He sat back in contemplation.

“You really care about her don’t you?” another half statement from his older brother.

“Yes,” he replied without hesitation. He cared about her so much sometimes he felt that he would explode. Bill looked at him calculatingly for a moment. Ron’s attention wandered back to the chess game where Bill abruptly made a short, simplistic move. Ron fought to concentrate.

“She really likes you,” added Bill confidently. Ron dropped his eyes. That thought was enough to send a hot flush of heat all through his body.

“I suppose so,” confirmed Ron looking up to meet his brother’s grin.

“Well in that case I guess you have it sussed!” Bill laughed. Ron’s knight promptly knocked out his pawn.

“Check mate.” Said Ron firmly. Bill groaned.

“And Harry knows?” he enquired.

“Yep he does.”

“What did he say?”

“Good on you, sorry it took you so long,” said Ron with another foolish smile.

After a while Bill broke the thoughtful silence.

“Glad to see you so happy, Ron. You deserve it.” He said finally.

The door suddenly cracked open and there as if on cue, stood Hermione. Her face reddened as both heads turned towards her.

“Oh! Oh I’m sorry…I was just down for a glass of water and…” she trailed off. Bill nudged Ron’s leg and winked before getting up to leave.

“Nice to talk Ron. ‘Night Hermione.” He said heading out the door.

“Bye, Bill,” said Ron. As the door clicked shut Hermione moved towards the sofa where he sat. Ron moved up to make a space for her. Memories of the common room burned in his mind as he stared into the last dying embers of the Burrow fireplace.

“I’m guessing by the look on your face that wasn’t a simple chess game,” Hermione said softly as he took her hand.

“Uh no. It was…”Ron faltered. “We were talking,” he finished. Hermione replied by squeezing his hand. They looked at each other for a while.

“Hermione, I like you, you know that?” he grinned stupidly at this own foolishness.

“I like you too Ron,” she grinned back. The now familiar surge of warmth in Ron’s stomach took hold. He realised she was wearing her pyjamas. Hermione caught his gaze and straightened herself self-consciously.

“Pink…” started Ron fighting back a laugh. Hermione glared. “Oh, and uh, very fetching little fluffy sheep,” he snorted before dissolving into laughter. Hermione looked at him disapprovingly.

“Well, hmm, Ron what about maroon lacy dress ro…” she was cut short by Ron’s lips on hers.

“Hermione,” he said pulling away, “They’re fine, you’re fine, in fact you’re more than fine you’re… amazing,” he finished simply. Hermione looked flustered. Ron just looked at her. She seemed slightly on edge. Ron frowned.

“What’s wrong?” he asked. She shook her head slightly and bit her lip. Ron turned her slightly so she was facing him.

“Hermione if something’s wrong…” he started. She took a deep breath.

“Ron you have to let me finish,” she said.

“Ok” he said suspiciously.

“Well, uh, ….Ron, please don’t go mad. An owl arrived today for me. From…” she stopped again.

“Please don’t go mad,” she repeated.

Ron didn’t say anything.

“From…?” he prompted.

“Viktor,” she said her voice cracking. “Oh, Ron, please don’t say anything yet. He said some things…” Ron looked down at her and noticed a piece of parchment sticking out of her pocket.

“Carrying it around with you are you?” he asked, bitterly glaring at the piece of parchment. Hermione looked fraught.

“No! No, Ron, please. He just said some things about how he felt about me and I thought you should know. I owled back.”

Ron’s stomach dropped. No he thought silently. No. Not now. Not after all the things he’d said… He fought to keep his feelings in order. Part of him wanted to scream, but a larger part felt listening may be the better option now. He was after all only Ron Weasley. Compared to famous Bulgarian Quidditch star Viktor Krum, he was nothing. Nothing at all. He tore his gaze away from her and stared out the window at the far side of the room.

“And when I owled back I said, much as I liked him, I…didn’t feel anything for him anymore, not that I even did in the first place. Because I don’t, Ron.” Ron remained silent. Some sort of explosion had taken place in the pit of his stomach.

“Ron, look at me.” She said gently. Ron took her hands again and looked at her. He started to smile.

“So,…you…you turned him away?” he said softly.

“Oh, Ron!” she groaned. “Yes you idiot. It’s you I want. Not Viktor Krum. Not anyone else. Just you, Ron.” Ron grinned at her.

“That’s fine by me,” he said happily and bent to kiss her again. Hermione mentally sighed with relief.

//
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