The Sugar Quill
Author: Ottercat (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Merry Christmas, Ron  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.

Ron Weasley lay on his back on his bed in Gryffindor Tower, completely lost in thought. He wasn't even sure how long he had been laying there. All he knew was that he wasn't ready to go downstairs and face Hermione Granger anytime soon. He rolled over onto his side, sighing. He couldn't believe he had almost asked her to the Yule Ball. It was a good thing he hadn't, he thought bitterly. How incredibly embarrassing it would have been when she turned him down.

Several weeks before, Professor Dumbledore had announced that the school would have another Yule Ball. At first, Ron had been overcome with an immense feeling of dread. The previous year, the Yule Ball had been a complete disaster for him, what between almost not having a date, ignoring the girl whom agreed to go with him, and spending the entire evening staring at Hermione with Viktor Krum. He had spent several days grumbling with Harry about the injustice of having to go through another night like that again. Harry too, it seemed, had been rather annoyed with the plans for a dance. However, Harry seemed mostly concerned about who to ask and how to go about doing so. Ron had claimed he was worried about the same thing, and the boys had gone through the names of most of the girls in the school, trying to figure out whom to ask. Of course, deep down Ron knew and had always known whom he wanted to ask this year. It was just a matter of working up the courage.

It had taken awhile, but slowly Ron had come to realize that he had more than platonic feelings for his best friend, Hermione. It explained his immense jealously of her "relationship" with Viktor Krum, why their constant bickering got to him so much, and why he couldn't ever get her off his mind. In reality, he realized all of their fighting was just a pathetic attempt at flirting, something he clearly wasn't very good at yet. However, Ron had decided as soon as he'd learned there was going to be another dance that he would use it as an opportunity to finally let Hermione know how he felt.

He had been fairly certain she would agree to go with him. After all, she'd told him last year to ask her first next time, and not as a last resort. Plus, Viktor had seemed mostly out of the picture this year. Hermione hadn't visited him over the summer, rarely mentioned him, and, as far as Ron could tell, hadn't written or heard from him this school year. Furthermore, she had seemed much more friendly and warm towards him this year. Many nights Harry had gone to bed early, and the two of them had stayed up studying, playing chess, or just sitting on the couch by the fire talking.

So finally after weeks of frustration and anxiety, he had decided that today was the day he would ask Hermione to the dance. Nervously he had gotten up, showered, and walked with Harry to the Great Hall for breakfast. He had sat down, and Hermione had touched his arm, asking if he was okay. He had shivered under her touch but assured her he was fine. Hermione had replied that he looked rather pale, like he was going to be sick. He had smiled weakly at her, feeling his heart flip-flop in his chest as she smiled back at him. Taking a deep breath, Ron had taken Hermione's hand in his own and told her that there was something important he needed to talk to her about. She had looked at him questioningly, and he had opened his mouth, trying to get the words out to ask her to the dance.

Unfortunately at that moment, the owls flying into the Great Hall delivering the mail had interrupted him. An owl flew over Hermione, dropping a letter in her lap. She had turned away from Ron to open her letter. The moment lost, Ron had asked casually whom the letter was from. Hermione had replied nonchalantly that it was from Viktor Krum. Ron had suddenly felt like a bludger had hit him in the stomach. To think he had almost asked this girl to the dance. Like she would ever go with him when she had the world-famous, rich, and talented Viktor Krum still pursuing her. Wanting only to get out of the situation, Ron had stood up, ready to walk out of the Great Hall. Hermione had looked up, startled at his sudden retreat, and asked where he was going. He had whirled around, glaring at her and asked Hermione what Vicky had wanted. Hermione had replied that they were just friends, and it was none of his business why Viktor was writing her. Feeling jealousy, anger, and frustration churning inside of him, Ron had retorted that he didn't see what Viktor saw in Hermione because she was so annoying, but he hoped they had a grand time at the dance. He had seen Hermione's face start to crumple up at his words. At that moment, he was too upset to care, and he had spun around and quickly marched out of the Great Hall.

So that was how he found himself, miserable, laying on his bed, feeling sorry for himself. How could he have even thought for a second that Hermione would ever be interested in him in that way? How could she be, with the Viktor Krums and Harry Potters of the world in her life? He could never compete with that. He was just another Weasley, too tall and poor to be wanted by any girl, especially one as extraordinary as Hermione.

Suddenly, a creaking sound interrupted Ron's thoughts. He realized the door to his room was being opened. He sat up and saw Harry walking into the room.

Harry looked at him carefully before finally saying, "So..."

"So?" Ron replied back.

Harry sighed and sat down on his bed. "Hermione's really upset about what you said. She's been crying ever since you stormed out of the Great Hall."

Ron felt a pang of guilt but quickly brushed it away as images of Hermione and Viktor dancing crossed his mind. "Honestly I don't know what Viktor sees in her. I mean, her hair is so bushy, and she always has to be right."

Ron glanced up in time to see Harry rolling his eyes.
"What?" Ron exclaimed.

Harry glared at him angrily and said, "You had no right to insult Hermione the way you did. You really hurt her feelings. She is a great friend to both of us, and you know any guy would be lucky to be with her."

Ron snorted, "Oh what, now you like her? Won't that make an interesting competition - the world famous Harry Potter versus the world famous Viktor Krum! Bloody brilliant!"

"For goodness sake, Ron! Just admit you are jealous and that you like her!" Harry shouted.

"What? Are you crazy? Like HER?" Ron exclaimed.

Staring Ron directly in the eye, Harry replied softly, "Ron, the two of you may fight a lot, but I see how you look at her when you think no one is looking. Don't even try to tell me there is nothing between the two of you."

Realizing he was at a crossroads where he either had to admit his feelings aloud or lie to his best friend, Ron threw himself onto his bed. He mumbled, "I really blew it, didn't I?"

Smiling, Harry said, "Not necessarily. She's forgiven you for worse before. Besides, I think she has a soft spot for the Weasley charm."

Standing up, Ron replied, "Well, I guess the least I can do is go downstairs and apologize." As he started to walk out the door, he turned to Harry and nervously said, "You know, I was going to ask her to the Ball today. Too bad Viktor beat me to it, huh?"

Confused, Harry responded, "Beat you to it? Who said she was going to the dance with Viktor Krum?"

"Wasn't that what that letter was about? Their plans for the Ball?" Ron inquired sadly. He looked up to see Harry laughing at him. "It's not funny, you know! I really like her!" This only seemed to make Harry laugh even harder. Starting to get angry again, Ron yelled, "What is so damn hilarious about the girl I like going out with another guy?"

Gasping for breath Harry managed to say, "You are such a prat, Ron. What Hermione got this morning was a Christmas card from Viktor wishing her Feliz Navidad, a Merry Christmas from Spain. He isn't coming to Hogwarts for some dance. He is with his family on vacation in Spain."

Looking sheepish, Ron merely replied, "Oh."

With a smirk on his face, Harry patted Ron on the back, "C'mon, let's go downstairs. I think you have a person to apologize to. Furthermore, as far as I know, Hermione does not yet have a date to this lovely ball of ours, so perhaps you have a question to ask her as well."

Blushing, Ron turned towards Harry and asked, "Speaking of not having a date yet, have you decided who you are going to take?"

Looking at his feet, Harry replied, "Yeah."

"Have you asked her yet?" Ron questioned.

"Yep," was Harry's short reply.

"Who is it?" Ron prodded.


Finally looking up, Harry declared, "That, my friend, is a secret. You can find out at the dance."

On that note, Harry walked swiftly past Ron and headed downstairs. Shaking his head, Ron walked out the door and followed Harry to the Common Room.

Ron's eyes scanned the Common Room as he entered, searching for Hermione. He finally saw her sitting on a couch isolated from the rest of the students in a corner of the room. Swallowing hard, Ron slowly strode across the Common Room towards Hermione and then sat down next to her. Hearing someone sitting down, Hermione looked up and briefly met Ron's eyes before diverting her gaze back down to her hands. Ron felt a mixture of guilt and confusion washing through him as he saw how tear-stained Hermione's face was. Why was she this upset about something he said? He'd been pretty harsh, but it certainly wasn't the worst thing he had ever said to her. Staring at her, as the silence between them became increasingly more and more awkward, Ron wracked his brain for something, anything to say to her. His thoughts were interrupted when he heard Hermione begin to speak.

"So did you come down here to tell me in more detail about how horrible I am?" Hermione muttered.

Glancing up at her, Ron said, "Hermione, I am so sorry. You didn't deserve what I said to you."

"Maybe I didn't deserve it, but that didn't stop you from saying what you obviously feel, did it?" she retorted bitterly.


Ron couldn't believe what he was hearing. Did she honestly believe that he had meant what he said?

"Hermione, you don't think I meant what I said, do you?" he asked.

She looked up again; meeting his eyes, and nodded. Then he noticed her eyes start to tear up again.

Shocked, Ron pulled her into a hug. "Hermione, you have been one of my best friends for the past 5 years. I know we fight a lot, but of course I know what Viktor sees in you. You are an amazing witch, and I am very lucky to have you as a friend." He felt Hermione relax into his embrace. They sat there like that for several minutes, just content to be in each other's arms.

Finally, Hermione pulled a way a little bit and said, "Not that it's any of your business, but I am not going to the dance with Viktor. What I got from him in the mail today was just…"

"A Christmas card, I know. Harry told me." Ron finished.

"Oh." Hermione said.

"Look, I am really sorry about what I said earlier. I just jumped to the wrong conclusion and…"

"Ron, why does my relationship with Viktor Krum matter so much to you?" Hermione interrupted. "He and I are just friends. Why does it all bother you so much?"

"Because…" Ron halted, unsure of what to say next. He knew why it bothered him so much, but to tell her why would require admitting how he truly felt about her.

"Because…" Hermione prodded.

Sighing, Ron quietly stated, "Because, I don't think he is good enough for you, and…"

Taking a deep breath, Ron prepared himself to tell her that he liked her, when suddenly loud voices and a hand on his shoulder interrupted him. He whirled around to see Fred staring at him.

Grinning wickedly, Fred exclaimed, "Why, Ron and Hermione, what are you two doing alone in the corner like this? Weren't getting ready to snog, were you?"

"Oh sod off, Fred." Ron yelled, knowing that his face was heating up.

"Geez, relax, little bro. I was just coming over to tell the two of you that everyone in Gryffindor is heading down to the lake to have a snowball fight. Didn't want you two to feel left out. So, c'mon let's go."

"Actually, I am not feeling much like participating in a snowball fight right now, Fred. Thanks, though." Hermione stated.

Fred shrugged. "Very well. Coming, Ron?"

"Err…actually, I think I will stay here too."

Smirking as he left, Fred replied, "You two alone in the Gryffindor Common Room … don't do anything I would do..."

Ron looked at Hermione and rolled his eyes. Hermione smiled at him, and he couldn't help but stare at her for a moment. He loved how her brown eyes twinkled when she smiled and how it lit her whole face up. She truly was beautiful. Ron entwined his fingers with hers, and she looked at him, surprised. Then she leaned back against him, resting her head on his shoulder. Ron carefully put his arm around her, and she nestled closer to him, sighing.

"I am really sorry for earlier, Ron. I should have told you what Viktor's card was about." Hermione whispered into his shoulder.

Ron replied, "I am the one who should be apologizing. I didn't mean to hurt you. Can you forgive me?"

Hermione squeezed his hand and said, "Of course I can."

They laid in each other's arms for awhile, until finally Ron felt he had the strength to do what he had been trying to do all day.

Trying to keep his voice as steady as he could, Ron declared, "Hermione, I really need to ask you something."

"What?" Hermione asked nervously.

"Look, the thing is…er…well…I mean, would you go to the ball with me?" Ron asked feeling his ears turning red.

Shifting his eyes to look at her, he saw her looking at him suspiciously.

"And how many girls have you already asked before me?" Hermione questioned.

"WHAT? I haven't asked anyone else."

"Ron, the dance is in four days. I find it very hard to believe that I am your first choice." Hermione retorted stiffly as she stood up to leave.

However, Ron was too quick for her, and he grabbed her arm, pulling her back down. "You were my first choice, I promise. I knew I wanted to ask you as soon as Professor Dumbledore announced the dance. It just took me awhile to work up the courage."

"Why would you need to work up any courage? It's just me!" Hermione exclaimed.

"Just you? Hermione, I probably could have asked any girl in this school easier than you."

Surprised, Hermione muttered, "Why?"

"Because I really like you, Hermione," Ron whispered as he ran his hand up and down her arm slowly.

Shivering under Ron's touch, and sure this was too good to be true, Hermione had to ask, "Really?"

"Yeah," Ron answered softly. "So you still haven't answered my question. Will you go to ball with me?"

Shifting her head so that she was gazing up at him, she took her hand and rested it on his cheek as she responded. "Yes, of course I will. I had been hoping you would ask me."

"You were?" Ron replied.

"Yes, I was." Hermione admitted.

As they stared at each other, Ron was suddenly aware of how close he and Hermione were. That he had one arm around her with the other caressing her arm. That her hand was resting on his cheek. And there was some strange force that seemed to be pulling them closer and closer together. He began to panic as he realized they were about to kiss. He had never kissed a girl before, and he had no idea what he was supposed to do. He started to pull back, but then decided that was stupid seeing as he had been dreaming of kissing Hermione for nearly a year. Just as their lips were about to touch, he heard shouting; the voices of lots of people entering the Common Room. They jumped apart quickly, blushing profusely, and darting their eyes away from each other.

Ron looked at the entrance and saw Fred, George, Harry, Seamus, Dean, Ginny, Lavender, Angelina and the rest of the students in Gryffindor walking in. Many of them looked soaked and had rosy cheeks. The girls had looks of triumph of their faces while the boys looked as if they had been handed a surprising defeat. He heard Dean and Seamus grumbling about dirty tricks and cheating. Ron figured that the girls must have won the snowball fight.

Then George was standing in the middle of the Common Room, requesting everyone's attention. The room got silent to hear what he had to say.

"May I have your attention, please? While many of us may question the sneaky tactics of our female competitors, one has to respect their willingness to win at all costs. So without further ado, I present to the ladies their prize for winning the Gryffindor snowball fight. I give you a quill, but not just any quill. George Weasley once owned the quill I give you. Try not to fight over it, ladies." George declared as he handed the quill to Angelina.

Ron grinned as heard many of the girls in the room groaning and rolling their eyes. His brother was a real nutcase, that was for sure.

Ron's attention was brought back when he realized Fred was announcing a party in the Gryffindor Common Room for later that evening. Looking down at Hermione, he smiled. This day was certainly turning out better than it had started.

Later in the evening, Hermione and Ginny were up in Hermione's room, getting everything together for the party. Glancing over at Ginny, Hermione noticed her socks. They were dark blue with green Christmas trees knitted all over them.

"Ginny, where did you get your socks?" Hermione asked.

"Oh, do you like them? Harry had Dobby knit them for me." Ginny explained. "Aren't they cute?"

"Harry had Dobby knit them for you?"

"Yeah, well, Dobby wanted to knit Harry more socks, but Harry didn't want any more. He was trying to convince Dobby to knit them for someone else this year when I happened to walk by. Personally, I am glad. These socks are so festive, and besides, one can never have too many socks!" Ginny stated.

"You and Harry seem to be getting closer lately," Hermione remarked.

Ginny looked at Hermione for a moment as if trying to decide whether or not to tell her something. She finally replied, "Don't tell anyone, but Harry and I are going to the Yule Ball together. Harry hasn't told Ron yet because he is afraid Ron will kill him. So, please don't say anything."

Hermione stared at her in shock, but finally managed to get out, "You and Harry?"

Blushing, Ginny quickly changed the subject by asking, "So, has my brother asked you to the dance yet?"

"Yeah, finally, this afternoon." Hermione replied, picking up a plate of cookies as she started to walk out the door.

"Where did the cookies come from?" Ginny asked.

"Oh, my mum baked them and sent them to me for Christmas. I figured they would be good to bring to the party." Hermione responded.

"With the boys in this house, they won't last five minutes!"
Ginny replied. Giggling, the girls headed downstairs to the party.

 

Ron surveyed the Common Room. The party had been going on for several hours. Music was blaring loudly, and some people were dancing to it. Mostly, people were talking in groups. Ron had spent most of the night near Hermione, though they had been constantly surrounded by all of their friends. Thinking of what had almost happened that afternoon, Ron had been wracking his brain most of the night for a way to be alone with her. She knew he liked her, and yet she hadn't slapped him or run away screaming. In fact, she had seemed quite receptive and interested. He knew they had almost kissed, and though nervous, he was eager to kiss her for real.

Feeling brave, Ron lightly took hold of Hermione's hand. Surprised, she glanced up at him quickly with a question in her eyes.

"Uh…err…I mean, it's getting kind of loud in here. I am starting to get a bit of headache. I think I am going to head outside for a bit to get some fresh air."

"Outside, alone at this hour? Ron, are you crazy?" Hermione exclaimed.

"Well, you can come with me if you want." Ron replied.

Hermione stared at him for a moment. He could tell she was considering his suggestion.

Surprisingly, she agreed a moment later. Still holding hands and grinning stupidly at each other, they walked towards the door. Ron had every intention of making the most out of his time alone with Hermione.

They were almost out of the door when a voice stopped them. "Wow, Hermione! You are looking quite nice this evening. Either that, or someone has spiked the egg nog."

Blushing, Hermione turned around to face George Weasley. "Thanks, I think," she muttered.

"Then again," George continued loudly, "I guarantee my little brother here thinks you look quite nice this evening, and I promise he doesn't need spiked egg nog to think that."

Blushing madly, Ron and Hermione both looked down at their shoes. Grinning, George whispered, "Ron and Hermione, I think the two of you need to look up and see what you are standing under."

Slowly, they raised their gaze above them to see mistletoe hanging. The realization of the situation they were in hit them, and they lowered their eyes to stare at each other in horror. Sure, Ron wanted to kiss her, but not like this. Not with everyone watching.

Suddenly they heard George proclaiming, "Ladies and gentlemen, Ron and Hermione are standing under the mistletoe. You know what that means." Then he started leading everyone in the room in a chant of, "Kiss, Kiss, Kiss…"

Ron gazed at Hermione, trying to read her eyes, trying to figure out how he should proceed.

Hermione quietly stated, "We have to do this. If we don't, they will just a make a bigger deal out of it."

Ron nodded. He knew she was right. A quick peck on the lips, and it would all be over.

Slowly, they leaned towards each other, trying their best to ignore their friends' chants around them. His heart beating madly, Ron had every intention of making this fast. A quick peck and then an escape out the door - that was his plan.

However, the moment their lips touched, his plan went out the window. He gasped at how soft her lips were. He was astounded at the sparks that were shooting through his body. He had never felt something this wonderful, and suddenly he knew a quick peck wasn't going to be enough. He needed Hermione in a way he never even knew existed before. Apparently, she was feeling the same way because she wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him closer. As they continued to kiss, Ron wrapped his arms around her, gently rubbing his hands up and down her back. He no longer heard the chants from his friends. He was only aware of himself and Hermione - the amazing way her lips felt on his, the calming yet arousing feelings she was creating in him by lightly running her hands in his hair. She sighed against his lips, and Ron felt an overwhelming sense of power in knowing he was responsible for her reaction. Ron could have kept on kissing her for hours, but Hermione suddenly seemed to realize where they were. She reluctantly pulled back from Ron, still gazing into his eyes.

"Wow!" she said breathlessly.

Ron, grinning and out of breath replied, "Yeah."

They continued to gaze at one another in wonder until they realized the Common Room had erupted into applause. Turning bright red, Ron turned to Hermione and whispered, "Why don't we get out of here and continue this somewhere a little more private?"

Beaming, Hermione nodded, grabbed Ron's hand, and pulled him out the door.

//
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