The Sugar Quill
Author: VoxMaille (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Really  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.


Author's Note: I wrote this back in August, first attempt at fanfiction and all that.

Does the world really need another ficlet about Hermione and Ron saying good-bye at King's Cross post-GoF? Probably not after the other wonderful ones that already exist. But I wrote a little one anyway. Hee. There are a couple of lines that still crack me up when I read them. Thank you to Arabella, B Bennett and Elanor Gamgee for the inspiration-their fics are simply lovely. Go to Now. Read everyone there. Now.

Rated borderline PG-13. Just because I'm cautious. ;-)

DISCLAIMER: Gosh, I really wish it were mine. Really. But it's not and it never will be. Everything belongs to JKR.

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Ron was always startled when Hermione hugged him. It seemed so girly of her. And Hermione wasn't a girl. Well, technically she was, but you know. She wasn't all giggly and she was tough and lots of other things that Ron just couldn't imagine those irritating girls in Trelawney's class ever being like. Sure she'd looked like a girl at the Ball, and gosh, she certainly did, as his mother would say, clean up nicely. His mind pondered how very nicely she cleaned up for a moment before going back to its original point-it was Hermione.

Why couldn't Krum see that it wasn't anyone that special?

Not that Hermione wasn't special or anything, but she wasn't one of those other girls. For example, you could talk to Hermione. You couldn't talk to girls. And he could hardly imagine any other girl he knew smacking Draco Malfoy across the face or catching that evil little beetle of a reporter or walking boldly into Snape's office and swiping ingredients behind his back. All with a mischievous glint in her brown eyes, surprising Ron with how damn brilliant and clever and completely shocking and pretty she could b-However, that had absolutely nothing to do with anything.

The point was Hermione wasn't really a girl.

And he didn't think about her in that way.

He really didn't.

That would be simply ridiculous.

So he hoped that she wouldn't kiss him on the cheek, like she had Harry. That would just be weird, in front of his family and all. He could already see the twins' faces if they were ever to see something like that. God knows what his mother would think. Hugs weren't great, but they certainly were leaps and bounds ahead of cheek kisses.

And then it happened.

Right there as she was hugging him. One second it was just regular old Hermione wishing him a nice summer and squeezing him around his chest (she could barely reach any higher, he was so tall) and he was kind of awkwardly hugging her back. The next he was noticing-no, not him, something else-that wasn't him noticing that Hermione was soft in all the right places and smelled vaguely of oranges and mint. Or that her, well, her bosom was against his chest. Hermione would die laughing if she ever heard him say that. She had nearly split a side over that "scarlet woman" comment he'd made after that stupid article.

But it wasn't the noticing that was the problem. It was the reacting. Of course, it wasn't him reacting; it was that something else. But still.

And no matter what anyone said about perfectly natural biological occurrences for a fifteen-year-old boy, Ronald Weasley was having none of that. He jumped back and pulled away from her. Hermione looked a bit puzzled.

And was that a flash of hurt that crossed her face?-but no, he was imagining that, because she was hugging Ginny and grinning at the twins and grabbing her trunk and waving jauntily to all the Weasleys as she disappeared into the crowd to meet her parents.

She didn't seem to notice that Ron was standing there, ears pink, and scuffing his foot on the cement. Or that his shoulder bag had somehow slid round to cover his front. Or that Ginny was looking at him, perplexed. Or that George was smirking broadly at him and was elbowing Fred hard to get his attention. He gave them a withering gaze and turned his back. From behind him, he could hear his mother.

"What has gotten into that boy?"

And he heard one of the twins; he wasn't sure which one, stage whisper,

"I believe, dear Mother, that our Ickle Ronniekins is becoming a man." That was it for Ron. He wheeled around, furious.

"Sometimes I really hate you, d'you know that?" he hissed at them. The twins nearly fell over laughing. The other Weasleys looked at him with bewilderment, amusement or some combination of the two. Of course they would all be here. Because it was important that every damn Weasley ever in his bloody family be at King's Cross right now, because it wasn't like any of them had ever seen people get off the Hogwarts Express before.

Charlie arched an eyebrow at him.

Great, Ron thought, he gets a vacation from those bloody dragons and suddenly he becomes a human behaviourist? That's bloody great. He tried to get control of himself.

Quidditch. Think about Quidditch. Think about Snape playing Quidditch. Naked.

That image helped. All right. Situation over. Entirely stupid in the first place.

This was really unfair. Why did he have to be related to such a group of gits?

Shaking his head, he turned, storming through the queues of people and nearly tripped over a figure sitting on a trunk. Ron almost snapped at the figure for being so thick as to sit down directly in the path of traffic when he recognized the person sitting on the trunk. It was Hermione.

"I thought you'd gone," he said, rather awkwardly.

"They're not here yet," she said. She didn't look up at him. "I hate this."

"Don't you want to see your parents?" Ron asked.

"That's not the point." Her voice sounded smaller than usual. "The point is that all of this stuff happened," she flung her arms out to indicate how much, "and then I have to go back and pretend I don't know anything about it-pretend that this is just another summer. Sometimes I just wish I was an ordinary Muggle and never had to know anything about it." Her arms dropped back into her lap.

Ron forgot that he was completely angry with his entire family and sat down next to her on the trunk. He patted her knee in what he hoped was a comforting gesture.

"Tell you what, Granger, I'll trade you. You can have an entire loud, nosy, obnoxious family of wizards and witches, and I'll take a quiet summer with a pair of nice Muggle dentists. Sound like a deal?" Okay, he had almost forgotten he was completely angry with his entire family.

She smiled, still looking at the cement floor. "All right. You go with my parents and pretend you're me. I'll go with yours and pretend I'm you. No one will ever catch on. After all, we're practically as identical as Gred and Forge. Except for the gender difference, the tremendous height gap, the hair colour, and practically anything else you could think of. Certainly the brain power." He laughed, putting his arm around her shoulder in a reassuring, friendly squeeze. Hermione finally met his eyes, grinning.

"Worth a shot, though, eh?" She shrugged, with that mischievous and perfect smile. Where did that observation come from? Had he gone mad? This was really not happening. And then of course that blasted something noticed how very close their faces were.

He swallowed.

And it-he-whatever was noticing that they hadn't broken eye contact at all, even though neither of them was speaking anymore. And that they weren't smiling now and that he was starting to lean closer and that her head was tilting and that he couldn't believe that he-no, that something-had ever felt threatened (threatened? He'd felt threatened? What was this, the day of random epiphanies?) by stupid Viktor Krum because he was sure Krum had never gotten the opportunity to do this or he hoped not but he wasn't thinking about that because his other arm was reaching for Hermione's waist and he was about to-


There was a bright flash. Ron's head snapped up. Behind him stood the rest of the Weasleys. Bill was grinning; Charlie was flashing a thumbs up. Even Percy appeared to be suppressing a smirk. Fred was holding a camera and saying

"That'll be a nice action shot, don't you think, George? I think it would go nicely with the Gryffindor décor when we get back to school."

"Have it framed, Fred. It can hang next to the Fat Lady." Ron stood up, ears bright red, bent on cold-blooded fratricide, right there in the station. Hermione buried her face in her hands.

"I'm done," he heard her mutter. "A scarlet woman forever. I cannot believe this." Ron, or rather, that something, hoped she only was talking about the fact that they had just been interrupted by eight people and one small impertinent owl, all of whom were very interested in what was going on and that she wasn't talking about the actual (or what was to have been the very near future) goings on.

But even if she was, well, then he didn't care.

He really didn't. Not a bit. It really would not bother him one teensy iota if-

That was the moment that the Grangers decided to appear.

"Hermione, dear?" said her mother. Hermione peeked between her fingers. "Is something wrong?"

"Nothing. Is. Wrong. Mum. Let's. Go. Now. Please." Every word was precisely enunciated as the Weasleys watched, deeply interested. Hermione's mother looked at them, bewildered.

"Ah, Hermione's friends. Nice to see you all again. Did you have a safe trip and a good year?"

"Yes," grinned Fred. "It was lovely. We'd be happy to show you some of the pictures we've taken." Ron jumped him. The scuffle lasted a few moments, but Fred managed to keep hold of his camera. George took the opportunity to add

"It appears that perhaps we'll see more of you in the future." Ron turned his attention and his fists to him. Mrs. Weasley glared at all of them.

"Boys." She spoke to Mr. and Mrs. Granger. "I'm glad you arrived safely. It's always a pleasure to see you. Perhaps we'll see each other over the summer. As always, Hermione is welcome to spend time at the Burrow."

"I'm sure she'd like that." Mrs. Granger smiled.

"I'm sure Ron would, too." Fred snickered under his breath. This time, Ron got the camera.

"Right, well, we need to be off. Have a safe trip! Hermione?" Hermione nodded and picked up her trunk and Crookshanks' carrying hut. She did not look at Ron-she resolutely kept her head down. For someone who not two minutes ago had seemed to want anything but to return to a Muggle existence, she wasn't showing it.

Maybe she was embarrassed. No, that wasn't it.

She really didn't care, did she? Just one of those flukes, to her. Fine. Whatever. He really could care less. But he watched her bowed head and he could almost swear she looked back over her shoulder.

At him? At the utter idiots surrounding him? He hoped it was at him. No, he didn't hope it was him, because that would imply he cared. And he really didn't. Not at all.

It was only a few seconds before the Grangers were lost in the crowd of people in the train station.

Ron looked his family over.

"I really hate you. I'm not kidding."

Eight people, all redheads, beamed at him. Pigwidgeon hooted. His mother was smiling knowingly.

"Of course you do, dear. When shall I invite Hermione to stay with us?"

Ron turned around and ignored them all for the second time in less than fifteen minutes.



* * * * * *




A/N: Those pesky family members.


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