The Sugar Quill
Author: Poppy P (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Waking Ron  Chapter: Default
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Hermione shuddered with cold and dread after taking the potion that would return her through the enchanted purple flames. She looked desperately over her shoulder one last time at Harry, but he was already facing the doorway alive with black flames. His shoulders were set with grim determination. Hermione suppressed a whimper and stepped through the doorway alight with purple flames. It was a strange sensation to walk through fire without feeling a thing.

A few short steps and her nostrils were accosted with a revolting odor as she stepped into the chamber with the troll. Mercifully, it was still out cold. Still, she approached it cautiously as she made her way around its huge form. Just as she stepped over one gigantic leg, it stirred. Hermione froze with unspeakable terror. Facing a raging troll with Ron and Harry was one thing, but alone…. Luckily, it did not wake up and she made her way out of there as quickly as possible.

Finally she was back in the room with the giant chess set. Apparently, now that they had completed a match, the pieces were no longer in their places on the giant board. Pieces that had been captured, were sitting up, rubbing their hard stone heads. Hermione wasn’t sure what would happen once they had recuperated. She wasn’t keen on having to play her way back out if Ron was injured or…. or worse. She hurriedly scanned the chamber until she spotted him. There he was, right where the white queen had dumped him on the side of the board after callously striking him across the head. Hermione couldn’t help the little sob that escaped from her at the sight of his body prone and deathly still. She approached Ron quickly and cried out his name as she sank to her knees beside him. There was no reaction. Heart in her throat, she gently turned him over on his back. She was relieved to see he was breathing, but alarmed at the nasty cut running across his temple. The dried blood looked dark against his pale face and red-orange hairline.

"Oh Ron!" she began breathlessly, "Please wake up! Oh please wake up! Harry’s in trouble and we’ve got to contact Dumbledore." Although Hermione spoke close to Ron’s ear, he didn’t stir at all. Hermione’s voice reached a high, desperate pitch as she tried again. "Please Ron, wake up. I wish I could do the enervate charm, but we won’t cover that until fourth year. I’ve read all about it of course, but I can’t do it yet. Ron, wake up!" At her last words, she tapped him gently on the right side of his face. Ron simply continued to lie there, still as death. Hermione thought desperately of Harry, alone in that last chamber, facing Snape in a final confrontation over the Sorcerer’s Stone. She knew she had to wake Ron up and get help to Harry as soon as possible. She covered her face with both hands in a gesture of hopelessness, and then she was struck with an idea! Slowly, cautiously, she uncovered her face and looked surreptitiously around her. None of the chess pieces were paying her any attention, busy amongst themselves.

She looked back at Ron’s still figure. Would it work? Well, she thought, it worked for Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. Hermione almost laughed out loud at the thought of Ron having anything in common with Sleeping Beauty. "Desperate times call for desperate measures," Hermione muttered to herself as she leaned over Ron, caught him by the shoulders and planted a firm kiss on his warm pink mouth.

Alarmed at herself, Hermione sat back and watched as Ron’s eyes blinked rapidly, several times. Tentatively he put a hand up to his injured temple and rubbed gingerly as a long, low moan escaped him.

"Hermione?" He hesitated, then, catching the wide-eyed, startled look on her face, he attempted to sit up, but faltered. Hermione reached out a shaking hand and pulled him to a sitting position. She let go of his hand quickly as though it stung her. Ron took no notice.

"Where’s Harry? Did he stop Snape? What’s going on?" He fired off his questions in such a quick succession that Hermione had to clear her head before she answered.

"Er…." she shook her head, "He’s in that last chamber, he went by himself, and he told me to come back for you and get to Dumbledore as quickly as possible." Hermione’s words grew faster with urgency.

"So what are we lying around for? Let’s go!"

Hermione helped him to his feet as she saw him struggle. He teetered unsteadily for a few seconds before resolutely leading the way out of that chamber and into the one with the winged keys. Intermingled with her fear and anxiety about getting help for Harry as soon as possible, Hermione felt another emotion. Great floods of relief coursed through her as she mounted a broom to get through Fluffy’s lair. Ron had not been aware of the kiss.

Later on, when they were in the infirmary with Harry, telling him about how they got to Dumbledore while he was battling with Quirrel, Harry asked Hermione how she had woken Ron up.

"Er…." she hesitated, "it took a while."

Neither of them pressed it further and she left it at that.

Four years later, as they shared their first ‘real’ kiss, (with both of them conscious, that is) Ron pulled back from Hermione and smiled slyly at her closed eyes and pouty mouth.

"What?" asked Hermione defensively, wound up tightly as she was from what she considered a momentous occasion.

"I was thinking, " said Ron quickly, "see you didn’t really have to knock me out to get a kiss."

Hermione’s face registered three emotions in quick succession: confusion, shock and indignation.

"You knew I kissed you when we went after the Stone? You never said anything, you great prat!"

Ron ducked his head, this time his smile was shy as his ears took on their characteristic glow.

"’Course I knew! I saw you pulling away with that terrified look. It was written all over your face."

Hermione returned his shy, little, hesitant smile as her body relaxed. "You never mentioned it. I thought you didn’t know."

"Hermione," Ron began as he wrapped his arms around her waist, forcing them to face each other as they blushed furiously. "A bloke doesn’t hurl slugs for just any girl, you know."

Hermione started, momentarily stunned by this revelation. Then she leaned in and gave him a kiss that put all thoughts of Sorcerer’s Stones and slugs out of their minds indeed.

The End

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