Chapter Two: Of Lonely Pawns and Quidditch Accidents
A/N: Fell free to skip all this
and go straight to the story, since this author’s note is pretty much
pointless and way too long… Anyway, here’s chapter two of WWAE! I know,
it’s been eight months. But my muse and I have a very messy love-hate
relationship. When I posted chapter one, I was planning on continuing
it, but I got a terrible aaargh-why-can’t-I-write-just-one-blasted-worthy-line,
case of writer’s block. Believe me, it’s not nice. So, after a lot of
frustrated attempts to write something half-worth reading, I gave up.
It wasn’t as if I’d said I’d continue it. But when my muse came
back (after five months! The little… *aham*), I picked up this story
again, wrote a little bit of it, and then came writer’s block once more.
And I’m already naturally slow and lazy, so… you do the math. But that’s
not important, the important thing is that, after a lot of suffering
from the author, it’s here! And it has POVs! Right. So I’ll let
you read it, but first I wanted to thank Courtney, for being such a
good friend, helping me with this and encouraging me to write (where’s
your new chapter, girl?), and Elanor Gamgee, who’s just lovely.
Ron reached the portrait hole in
seconds, but stopped just before giving the password to the Fat Lady
and leaned (more like threw himself) against the wall.
So he had just kissed Hermione.
Very, very stupid thing to do. He was sure that he had had a reason
to do that, but couldn’t even remember it anymore. What he knew was
that he had done it, and now he had to face the consequences, not run
Well, he hadn’t really run
away. He had walked away. Walked very fast, true, but still only walked.
He sighed miserably. Yeah, like it made any difference.
Maybe he could just pretend it never
“You need the password if you’re
going to come in,” said the Fat Lady impatiently.
Ron looked up at her, just realizing
her presence. He didn’t know if he was going to go in. It wasn’t as
though he wanted to give Harry a full report on what had just happened,
especially when he himself still didn’t know for sure. But then, it
wasn’t such a big problem, as Harry would never press Ron to tell him
anything, and, even if he did, Ron knew how to dodge his questions.
The only ones who could always make Ron tell them anything were the
twins and, of course, Ginny.
He knew his sister. She would never
miss the chance of being alone with Harry when she had the perfect excuse.
He could even see it: No, Harry, I’ll stay here with you. Hermione
is my friend too, you know. Want to play some chess while we wait for
them to come back? Typical.
And it wasn’t exactly his idea of
fun to fumble around for an answer to Ginny’s questions, which never
left room for his usual vague replies.
Even so, he couldn’t just stay outside
the common room all night. He would get a detention, not to mention
that Hermione would have to come inside sooner or later. Honestly, if
there was anything worse than facing Ginny and Harry right now, it was
Actually, he had no idea how he
was going to be able to face her ever again.
“Uh, dear, can you hear me? The
password,” said the Fat Lady, whose existence Ron had once again forgotten.
“I don’t care about the stupid
“Excuse me?” said the portrait,
looking shocked by his outburst.
He took a deep breath. “You know,
up to yesterday, I thought my decisions wouldn’t get much dumber than
asking Fleur to the ball or flying Dad’s Ford Anglia... Hell, was I
wrong. My stupidity has risen to a whole new level.”
The Fat Lady blinked. “Er – Are
you all right?”
Ron gave a wry laugh. All right? If her definition of all right was ‘wanting to kick yourself and getting
annoyed at a painting for asking if you’re all right’, then yes, he
was very much all right.
“Do I look all right to you?”
he answered, not sounding as snappish as he felt, but definitely more
so than he intended to sound.
The Fat Lady looked ruffled. “I
was just trying to help!”
“Do you have a time turner on you?”
“Of course not!”
“Then you can’t help me, ok? Mushroom
The portrait opened reluctantly,
still sending him dirty looks.
As he entered the common room, he
could see Harry and Ginny playing chess by the fire, where he had left
them. Harry seemed to be examining one of the bishops he had taken from
Ginny, looking very bored indeed, like he had been waiting for her to
make her move for about a century. She had only the king and a pawn
left, but still seemed to be fighting bravely.
That was the essence of Ginny, in
fact. Never gave up on a game. Even if the opponent was heavily armed
with a pretty face and the Ravenclaw Seeker position and she had nothing
to defend herself with.
Ron watched Harry and Ginny play
chess together with mixed emotions. She could now have a normal conversation
with Harry without blushing, but Ron knew that her crush was far from
gone. He wanted his sister to be happy, he really did. But then, at
the same time, he couldn’t help feeling somehow relieved that her infatuation
with Harry was unrequited. Really, why his best friend? Couldn’t she
fall in love with someone safe, like… like Neville? Or even better,
not fall in love at all? That’d be great.
“Hey, Ron!” It was Harry, calling
him over. Ginny didn’t look up from the chessboard.
Ron walked over to them, although
he really, really didn’t want to. “Hi, Harry.”
“Didn’t find her?” asked Harry.
It was the first thing out of his
mouth. The bloody first thing out of his mouth, and it was about Hermione.
Couldn’t Harry just... talk about the weather or something before bringing
her up? Ron ran a hand through his hair. Well, no point in lying, was
there? “I did, actually,” he said, turning to Ginny before Harry could
make any further inquiries. “Hey, don’t you greet your brother anymore,
“Shut up, Ron, I’m busy,” she snapped
without taking her eyes off the board.
“Busy? Oh, I see, it takes a lot
of concentration to play that well,” he snapped back, eyeing
her lonely pawn pointedly.
Ginny glared at Ron and then, still
glaring, moved her king a spot. “Your turn, Harry,” she said evenly.
Harry sat up straight in his chair,
pushed his glasses further up his nose and murmured, mostly to himself,
looking the board over, “OK then… Can’t take any of your pieces…” he
glanced up at Ginny, grinned, and added a little slyly, “Too bad, I
was enjoying that.” Ginny glowed; Ron felt sick.
Harry looked back at the game and
moved his knight a spot, just as Ron eyed the board, realizing what
his friend was doing.
“No!!” he exclaimed. “Harry, you
prat, that way you’re going to leave your-”
Harry looked from Ron’s exasperated
expression to Ginny’s smug smile, flabbergasted. “Wha-? How did you
“What were you saying about my playing
again, Ron?” said Ginny in a very slick tone.
“Oh, please, Ginny, you only won
because Harry is stupid,” Ron replied, knowing that that wasn’t completely
true. He turned to his black-haired friend. “Honestly, you got
your king checkmated by a pawn! A pawn, Harry!”
Harry murmured a lot of things,
but none of them were distinguishable. Ron understood his friend. Not
that he had ever lost a game of chess to Ginny, but his sister’s radiant
I-won-you-lost smile was enough to drive anyone up the wall. He just
hoped that her ability to turn the game around was restricted to chess
and chess alone.
Ginny then turned on her chair to
look at Ron. “Well, you shall now have my full attention, dear brother
of mine. Isn’t that what you wanted?”
Ron froze. It most certainly was
not what he wanted. He never in his right mind would want it,
because when Ginny was in her full attention mode, she was very attentive. Too attentive.
“So… Didn’t you say you had found
Hermione? Where is she?”
“She’s probably still in the bathroom,”
Ron answered, looking intently at his hands, getting ready for the third
degree. “That’s where I found her.”
“Was she ok?” Harry asked, standing
up and starting to put the chess pieces in their box.
“Uh… Not really. She was crying.”
“What’s bothering her?” Ginny asked
softly, standing up too, to help Harry.
“She was upset…” said Ron, not looking
up from his hands for fear that his expression would betray him; hiding
emotions was never his forte.
“Yes…” said Ginny gently, as if
she was trying to encourage him to elaborate. “We’ve pretty much established
that, but could you - Ron! Your ears are so red!” she
reached for his right ear, but he pushed her hand away immediately.
“What’s the matter?”
“Leave my ears alone, Ginny.”
Ginny gave him a weird look while
Harry, who was looking very much like he didn’t want to be included
in the conversation, stepped sheepishly between the two Weasleys and
handed Ron the box, which he had just closed. “Here, Ron, your chess
Ron took the box from him and twirled
it around in his hands, staring at it. The game with Hermione seemed
like an eternity ago. It was almost like another era. The I-can-face-Hermione
era. In the present one, he just wanted to disappear from the common
room before she showed up.
“I’m going to bed,” he announced,
taking the fact that they had stopped asking questions as an opportunity
“Don’t you want to wait for Hermione
to-” Ginny started.
“I’m very tired, you know.”
Harry was the one giving him a weird
look now. “Goodnight, then.”
“Yeah, ‘night,” said Ginny.
Ron had just turned to go away,
but could hear Harry saying, “Well, Ginny, could you put Hermione’s
pieces in her room when you go to bed?”
“Sure,” Ginny answered, “but I hardly
think that’s going to be necessary. Look.”
Ron did, and regretted it instantly.
Hermione was standing by the entrance of the common room, looking intently
at something on the other side of the room.
Oh, damn, *so* close, he
thought, glancing nervously her way. Harry and Ginny turned to him with
identical looks on their faces, their eyes clearly saying, “What? Decided
to stay?” Ron was just barely aware of this; Hermione was the last person
he wanted to see in that moment and yet, ironically enough, he now found
himself utterly unable to look away from her.
She was staring fixedly at a group
of first years with her arms crossed tightly over her chest, but Ron
was sure that she wasn’t interested at all in the eleven-year-olds;
he knew her like the back of his hand and it wasn’t really that hard
to see, whether by the way she was biting her lower lip or by her ragged
breath, that she was trying to gather enough courage to come inside
and face him. She looked small, scared and incredibly lost.
Not that he was sensitive enough
to perceive those things. Maybe he had just assumed that her feelings
would mirror his own.
Then a very loud sound that almost
made his head explode came from his right, “Hermione!”
“I told you to leave my ears alone,
Ginny,” he hissed to his sister. “Stop yelling.”
Ginny ignored Ron’s comment completely
and continued shouting for Hermione, who hesitated a little and then
turned her head in their direction.
Ron discovered that, in a case of
emergency, looking away was actually quite easy.
Hermione walked towards them and
said awkwardly, “Hi Ginny, hi… everybody.”
“Oh my God, you look like a mess,”
said Ginny, hugging Hermione promptly.
“Um… You all right?” said Harry
to Hermione after Ginny had let her go.
“Yeah… Sort of, I’m not sure.”
“What happened?” said Ginny a little
too fast, as if she had been itching to ask that question for ages.
Maybe she had.
Hermione glanced uneasily at Ron,
just to look back at her hands quickly upon realizing that he had been
looking back at her. “Can we not talk about this right now?” she said
very quietly. “I have some things to sort out.”
Ron turned his gaze to the ceiling.
This was torture. He quite expected Ginny to ask something along the
lines of “What things?”, but she apparently saved the embarrassing and
importunate questions for him, since she only mumbled “Yes, of course,”
and fell silent.
All four of them stood there in
silence, and, after a few uncomfortable moments, Ron said a little hesitantly,
“I was just going to bed.”
He could hardly make out his sister
saying “Ron, wait-” as climbed up the stairs to his dormitory quickly,
without looking back.
Hermione stared at the fire the
next day, wondering if she should say something.
It was eight o’clock in the evening
and Harry was in Quidditch practice. George, after having been named
Captain, started to come up with some pretty unusual tactics, and one
of them was to practice during the nighttime.
According to him, anyone who could
play in the dark could play even better with light. Everyone knew he
was only doing that because he didn’t want to wake up early, though.
Harry said that he was already accustomed to the dark because of the
practices he had when Oliver was captain, which were before the sunrise.
So, Harry had gone to practice,
and she and Ron were sitting at a table in the common room, neither
of them talking nor looking at each other, but both painfully aware
of the other’s presence.
The uneasiness between then had
been bad enough during breakfast, but Harry had made it even worse by
mentioning the Yule Ball. Not that he had actually mentioned it, although
it was close enough. He had asked what was wrong with them. Ron had
laughed nervously and asked where he had gotten the idea that something
was wrong, and Harry had started saying “Well, it’s just like the day
after the-”, thought better about it and stopped himself with an embarrassed
“Never mind.” Of course, they all knew exactly what he was talking about.
During lunch, Ginny had approached
them and asked Hermione if she had already ‘sorted things out’. Hermione
had answered “Not really”, which was the absolute truth. The shock had
worn off a little and her thoughts now made some sense, but it was still
hard to believe it had actually happened and ever harder to get a word
out around Ron. Besides, she didn’t want to tell Ginny anything without
his permission. How she was ever going to be able to ask for it without
speaking to him remained a mystery.
She glanced at her watch. It had
been thirty minutes since Harry had gone to practice, which meant thirty
minutes since she and Ron had been there in silence. Well, not in complete
silence. About thirty minutes ago, Ron had mumbled something that sounded
very much like “This is ridiculous” to himself, obviously referring
to their current situation. That was all. In half an hour. He normally
wouldn’t be able to spend so much as a couple minutes with his mouth
Hermione would never have guessed
that she’d miss Ron’s talkativeness, but there she was.
“Harry’s right, you know,” she said
Ron turned to her, looking startled
by the sound of her voice. “What?”
Hermione took a deep breath. Well,
she wouldn’t back down now that she had managed to get the first words
out. “Harry’s right. This is exactly like the day after the Yule Ball.”
She was almost sure that Ron winced
slightly at her mention of the ball. “Maybe,” he said weakly, after
a few moments.
Hermione watched him turn back to
the fire and then came to the conclusion that Harry was wrong. This
was much worse than the day after the Yule Ball. At least then, they
had had a fight. They could say that the discomfort was because they
were angry at each other or something. Now, the only explanation for
the uneasiness was that they were angry with themselves. She knew Ron
was. He quite obviously regretted having kissed her. She wasn’t sure
why that hurt so much. After all, she too regretted that kiss. Didn’t
Don’t be silly, she reprehended
herself, of course you do.
Of course she did.
“Hermione?” came Ron’s voice.
“Could we not make a big deal out
of this?” he said, voice quivering.
Hermione decided it was wiser not
to point it out to Ron that they already were making a big deal
out of the situation. And anyway, how could they not? It was a
big deal. Didn’t he realize that?
“It was my first kiss, Ron.”
By the look on his face, Ron got
her point. He looked down at his hands and said softly, “I know. I just-
I’m sorry that I ruined that for you.”
“I never said you ruined it.”
Ron looked up at her with a shocked
expression on his face, and Hermione cringed, realizing the full implications
of her words. Where on earth had they come from, anyway?
“But, er- you did,” she finished
lamely, looking back at the fireplace and hoping she wasn’t too red.
That was when the portrait hole
opened and the entire Quidditch team, save Harry, stormed in.
“That’s not the point, Fred!” Angelina
was yelling, and Hermione winced. They were right beside her and Ron,
and Angelina’s shout had left her ears ringing.
“I don’t know what the problem is,
he’ll be all right, won’t he?? We didn’t hurt him!!” Fred yelled back.
“And it’s not like it was our fault!”
“Yeah! He wasn’t hurt!!” repeated
Angelina gave them a look of contempt
and climbed the stairs to her dormitory. All the team left too, except
“Are we still going to have practice
tomorrow?” she asked.
“Of course,” said George.
“Look, Alicia, tell Angelina that
he wasn’t hurt!!” Fred broke in.
“I think you’ve already told her
that a couple of times,” said Alicia in an amused voice, and went after
George snorted. Fred glared at him.
“Sorry. It’s just… A couple of times…
You have to admit, that was the understatement of the century!” said
“What are you doing here?” said
“Oh my God, a bunch of Gryffindors
just invaded the Gryffindor common room,” said Fred.
“Who’s the incompetent twit who
let that happen?” added George.
“Shouldn’t you be in practice?”
said Hermione, starting to turn back to her natural color.
“Oh, that,” said George. “I had
to call it off. You see, everyone was playing very poorly, so I made
them have some of our lucky Canary Creams.”
“Yeah, and Harry started making
a fuss only because he didn’t turn back,” said Fred. “I told him the
feathers looked dashing on him, but he wouldn’t listen.”
“Well, lilac is definitely not his color.”
“Definitely,” agreed Fred.
“Wait,” said Ron. “You two turned
Harry into a great purple bird?”
“Of course not, Ron,” said Fred.
“We turned him into a great lilac bird. Jeez.”
“Anyway, he’s in the Hospital Wing
right now and everyone started yelling at us because we think it’s funny,”
Fred scowled. “Correction: Angelina started yelling and the others went along with her.”
“She’s a great mass leader, you
know,” said George.
“It’s a wonder she didn’t get the
Captain position, she’s way better than you, George,” said Fred.
“It’s a wonder she hasn’t dumped
you yet, Fred. She’s way better than you,” retorted George.
Hermione liked the twins very much,
but they weren’t helping her already irritable mood at that moment.
“Oh, you’re right!” said Fred dramatically.
“I don’t know why she’s with me! I’m so horrendously ugly that-“
“Don’t you dare insult your appearance!
You’re a great-looking bloke, Fred!” said George.
“Oh, you’re so kind and selfless,
George,” said Fred.
“I know,” answered George.
“Right, so I guess I’ll just burst
inside the girl’s dorm, serenade Angelina and beg for her forgiveness
now,” said Fred, turning and going up the stairs.
“I’ll go watch. You two want to
come?” said George.
“No,” said Ron shortly, sounding
as annoyed at the world as Hermione felt.
“Me neither, but thanks for asking,”
George shrugged and ran up the staircase,
shouting, “Don’t start without me!”
Hermione glanced at Ron, at the
same time he glanced at her. They both looked down quickly at their
hands, and Hermione fought the urge to sigh, wishing more than anything
that she had accepted George’s offer.
TBC – If my muse is nice…