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
"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.