The Sugar Quill
Author: Mireen (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Alone Together  Chapter: Default
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Alone Together

Alone Together

 

            “Don’t you think it’s weird,” Ron said, stuffing a Pumpkin Pasty into his mouth, “that it’s Halloween and nothing strange or exciting has happened to us?”

 

            “I’m sorry, were you speaking?” Hermione asked. “I couldn’t understand you through that wad of food.”

 

            Ron scowled at her, swallowed noisily, and continued. “I mean, the feast is over, we’re walking back to the common room, and we haven’t fought a troll or discovered a basilisk’s victim…  it’s downright suspicious, if you ask me. No one’s even tried to kill Harry.”

 

            Harry laughed. “So, you’re saying that the peculiar thing about this Halloween is that nothing peculiar has happened? Pedes Draconis.”

 

“Exactly,” Ron said as he stepped through the portrait hole.

 

“Well, Halloween did fall on a weekday this year. Does that count as strange? I know I’ve still got scads of work to do.”

 

“Hermione, lighten up. It’s a holiday. They’ll understand if you only finish what was actually assigned. Want a game of chess, Harry?”

 

Hermione sniffed disdainfully. “I know for a fact, Ron Weasley, that you and Harry both left your Transfiguration homework for the last minute. Neither of you has time for a game of chess.”

 

The three settled into armchairs by the fire, Ron and Hermione still bickering. Harry smiled. It was very comforting that, even though the world was changing, Ron and Hermione were the same as always.

 

As it got later, people started filing out of the common room and up to their dorms. After awhile, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were the only three left. Finally, Harry stood up and stretched. “I’m going to bed. See you two in the morning,” he said through a yawn.

 

Ron and Hermione watched him leave. For some reason, this had been happening a lot lately. The two of them always seemed to be the last two awake… but neither of them minded. It was nice to have a little bit of time with just each other.

 

They reached for the same quill, their fingers touching accidentally. “Oh – sorry,” Hermione said, yanking her hand back. She looked away from him, trying to hide the blush she knew was coming. Why do I always do that? It’s never a big deal if we touch around people, but if it happens when we’re alone-

 

“You can have it, Ron… I’ve got another in my pocket…”

 

“Don’t worry about it. I don’t really need a quill.”

 

“But I insist.”

 

“No, I insist.”

 

“Ron, stop being difficult and take the bloody quill!”

 

I’m being difficult? I am? What about you?” His eyes flashed dangerously.

 

Hermione sighed. “Okay, okay. We’re both being difficult. Now let’s stop this before we scream so loudly that everyone in Gryffindor wakes up.”

 

“Fine. But I’m taking the quill,” he said, snatching it quickly.

 

“That’s fine. I’ve got one, remember?”

 

“Okay then. Everything’s fine.”

 

“Fine.”

 

Hermione smiled inwardly. She knew Ron well enough to know that he wasn’t really mad. She turned back to her book, and Ron turned back to pretending to read his. It wasn’t long before Hermione heard how slow and methodical his breathing had become.

 

She turned to make sure – he was asleep. Hermione put out a hand, ready to shake him awake, but stopped. She had never really watched him sleep before. Awake, he could be such a prat – but asleep, he looked like a rosy-cheeked cherub.

 

His eyelashes were so long. She hadn’t noticed that before. And his hair… was it as soft as it looked? Hermione wanted to touch it and find out.

 

Wait… what am I thinking? What if he wakes up and finds me stroking his head? He’ll think I’ve gone insane!

 

 Then again, he sleeps like a log… why would he wake up?

 

She reached out and touched his hair so gently that she wasn’t sure if she was actually feeling it. It really is soft, she thought, running it through her fingers. Wow. I wonder what shampoo he uses?

 

He had so many freckles. If she connected that one by his nostril to the one just under his eye… without even realizing it, she was tracing patterns on his cheek. He didn’t seem to feel it.

 

Hermione rested her hand on his chin and sighed. His mouth was slightly open, and his lips looked softer than his hair. What would it be like if–?

 

No. That was going one step too far. She couldn’t kiss him.

 

But, then again, he hadn’t woken up yet. Why would he notice her lips on his if he hadn’t felt her fingers in his hair?

 

And if he did wake up… well, she’d deal with that if it happened. There was no need to worry so much. She should just go for it, be impulsive for once.

 

While her mind was still considering what to do, her body had other ideas. Before she knew it, she and Ron were so close that she could count those long eyelashes. She took a deep breath and moved her head just an inch forward.

 

Of course, that was the moment Ron picked to open his eyes.

 

***

 

He had had this dream before. Someone was kissing him, and he didn’t have to look to know it was Hermione. It was always like this – he smelled her hair before their lips touched, and then they kissed so lightly that it was almost unreal.

 

The first time, he had woken up in shock – why would he ever dream about Hermione? And not just Hermione, but Hermione kissing him? Ron had to be out of his mind – but the more frequent the dreams became, the more he began to look forward to them.

 

Something was different about this time, though. It seemed more… real, somehow. He opened his eyes to make sure it was the same dream.

 

Yep, there she was, looking like she always did. Her eyes were closed. He reached up to caress her cheek, as usual. As soon as he did, though, her eyes snapped open, and then he knew.

 

It wasn’t a dream.

 

“HERMIONE!” he bellowed, jumping up from the chair so quickly that their teeth almost clacked together. “WHAT THE BLOODY HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?”

 

“Ron, shhh, calm down… we don’t want to wake everyone up…”she said desperately, her head darting around to make sure that there was no one else in the room.

 

He didn’t want to calm down… but she had a point. “Okay, okay. That’s all we need, people to see us ki-. Hermione, why the hell were you… you know… doing that?” His voice was shaking, and he was breathing like he had just run a mile around the Quidditch pitch.

 

“I…” Oh, God. What could she say? She was practicing Muggle mouth-to-mouth resuscitation? She had fallen on his lips? Why had she been so rash, why hadn’t she planned in case this happened?

 

Hermione cleared her throat. “I think we should try to discuss this like calm, rational adults.”

 

“Fine. Okay. Whatever you say,” Ron muttered, sitting on the edge of his chair. Now he looks like a frightened rabbit, Hermione thought.

 

“Well. Um… okay. I’ll start.” She took a deep breath, trying to make her heart stop fluttering so wildly.

 

“Well, Ron… you and I have been friends for… a long time. And it’s perfectly normal for boys and girls who are friends… what I mean is, now we’re growing up, and… our bodies are changing…”

 

What was Hermione droning on about? Ron couldn’t pay attention. He found that his eyes were locked on her mouth. The same mouth that had been touching his moments ago… just thinking about it made his head ache.

 

“And Ron, Malfoy is proposing to your sister.”

 

“What?” he said, looking up at her eyes.

 

“I thought so. You weren’t listening to a thing I just said, were you?” she said indignantly.

 

She was beautiful when she was indignant.

 

Hermione had kissed him. There was no denying that. It had to mean that she felt the same way he did. Maybe the best thing to do would just be to bring into the open what he had bottled up inside of himself for so long.

 

“Hermione – I… well.” Just say it! “I like you,” he said quickly. She waited with bated breath.

 

“And I hope that, maybe, we… can be… an us,” he finished awkwardly.

 

She seemed to understand him perfectly. “I’d love that,” she said, smiling and reaching out to hold his other hand.

 

They grinned like idiots at each other for a few minutes. Ron’s insides were churning so much that he thought he would explode… but that didn’t matter. It had been so easy. Hermione had said yes. They were together. All he wanted was to kiss her again.

 

As if she could read his mind, she closed her eyes and moved closer to him. This time, they were both awake.

 

Something strange and exciting had happened on Halloween after all.

//
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