The Sugar Quill
Author: Tartan Faeries  Story: I Like You...  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 forced himself to open the doors to the library. Gritting his teeth, he slouched past Madam Pince at her desk and peered down the row of tables. Sure enough, a mop of bushy brown hair hid a face engrossed in a large, dusty book. Ron’s stomach lurched. Gritting his teeth he headed for the empty seat next to her.

“Uh, hello…” he ventured sheepishly. Hermione’s head turned to regard him suspiciously.

“Hi,” she replied shortly, turning sharply back to her book. Ron clenched his jaw.

“Look…” he began slowly. “I’m…Oh bloody hell. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have gotten angry again. You’re not a bossy know-it-all. You didn’t deserve it. Sorry.”

 Hermione turned again, her expression still almost suspicious, but her eyes soft. She pursed her lips.

“OK,” she said simply.

“OK?” asked Ron incredulously, having been expecting a long drawn out speech. Hermione smiled slightly. Ron felt his ears heat rapidly. Damn pink ears!

“Hermione, I really am sorry,” he said fervently. Hermione lost her suspicious look and threw her arms round his neck in a tight hug. Ron’s insides heated. She drew back.

“Are you staying?” she asked softly. Outside the windows, rain pelted down on the castle and the sky loomed black and ominous above them. Ron felt a surge of sympathy for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, currently hard at work on the pitch.

 “Why not?” He smiled. They smiled at each other for a long moment. Hermione broke the silence.

“Be right back,” she said indicating a shelf of large and dusty volumes situated at the back of the library. Ron grinned and watched her for a while as she crouched down inspecting the shelves. His gaze turned to the book that she had been reading.

Sixteenth Century Developments in Arithmancy

 Fascinating he thought dryly. He noticed a piece of parchment sticking out from between the pages of the heavy volume.

Curiosity took hold and he began to tug the parchment slowly out. Checking that Hermione was still engrossed otherwise, he read what he could make out at the bottom of the page.

“…Bulgaria is barren, desolate and lonely compared to England with you. You remain with me constantly in my thoughts. Please reply soon Hermione, love always, Viktor”

Ron felt a painful twist at his heart. Fury, red-hot boiling fury burst through his veins. He clenched and unclenched his fists. Hermione returned, a large leather bound book in tow.

“Ron I…Ron? Are you alright?” she asked concernedly. Her gaze fell from his face to the table and the telltale parchment. Crimson crept slowly up to her hairline and her face set in fury.

How dare you.” She hissed acidly. “How. Dare. You.”

 Ron merely glared at her. Before he could open his mouth, Hermione had grabbed the letter.

“You…” she spat. “That’s private! My private…”

“Love letters?” retorted Ron spitefully. “From Vicky I see. Bulgaria is desolate without you!” he mimicked.

“Oh SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP, RON!” shrieked Hermione and fled the room, nearly knocking over a severly vexed Madam Pince in her haste.

 Not knowing why, not knowing how, not knowing anything except that he had to follow her retreating back, Ron found himself in hot pursuit of her all the way outside into the downpour. He followed her further, until they had reached the fathomless black lake. Ron wondered if she knew he was there, if she cared. He wasn’t aware of the rain beating down on his back, numbing his face and soaking his robes. All he was aware of was his desire to reach Hermione, turn her round and tell her everything…about his fury, his jealousy and to – to what? He stopped as Hermione ground to a halt at the waters edge.

 Something inexplicable pushed him forward till he was at her side. He was alarmed to see her eyes rimmed in red and tears mingling with the raindrops coursing down her cheeks. She turned to stare at him sadly.

“Why are you here Ron? Come to give me a hard time?”

“Hermione I….”

“Fraternising with the enemy am I? Well let me tell you, Ron Weasley, nothing, NOTHING romantic is happening between me and Viktor and I, believe it or not. Anyway you clearly don’t care enough about me to respect me or my privacy or…”

“Look Hermione, I’M SORRY ABOUT READING VICKY’S DAMNED LETTER!”

Don’t call him Vicky,” she muttered angrily. An awkward silence enveloped the air between them.

“Don’t,” Ron began, starting to squirm inwardly, “don’t say I don’t care Hermione. I do.” Hermione stared straight out into the lake.

“In fact,” he blurted out. It’s all or nothing he thought. “I’ve only just realised how much.” Hermiones face twitched.

“Krum…I just - God Hermione! You’re just amazing. I mean, he doesn’t even know you, not like I do. You’re clever…you’re stunning; you’re so many good things, Hermione, and I…I know I don’t always…” he faltered. He couldn’t look up. “Oh bloody hell, I think I’m jealous of him.”

Hermione remained silent. Ron wished fervently that the giant squid would pull him away from this awful embarrassment.

 What was worse? What he’d said? Or the fact he’d meant every single word of it? He stood awkwardly and chanced a glance at her. She wore a very faint smile.

“Bloody hell Hermione, please say something!”

“Ron you are such an infuriating prat sometimes.” Oh no.

“But other times you are the sweetest infuriating prat I know. I like you Ron. I like you beating me at chess, I like you furious, I like you like this.” Slowly she turned to face him. He swallowed and waited for the “but” – it didn’t come. He forced himself to meet her gaze. He brought a hand up to push a strand of hair away from her cheek. He rested it there, feeling the heat rise up from her, shocked to hear the breath catch in her throat. Slowly, nervously he bent his head to – to kiss her, he realised. Oh. Bloody. Hell. He choked back his panic and slowly shut his eyes. The soft bumping of their lips set of a shockwave of electricity in Ron. This was amazing. He moved his hand from her cheek and took her hands in his. She pulled back slightly.

“I definitely, definitely like you this way,” she said softly. They both began to grin, water dripping down their faces. The black sky didn’t seem so ominous, Ron thought, when he was stood like this with Hermione.

//
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