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Never Say Never by CocoapuffShooter

Format: One-shot
Chapters: 1
Word Count: 2,699
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: 12+
Warnings: No Warnings

Genres: Romance
Characters: Ron, Hermione
Pairings: Ron/Hermione

First Published: 07/12/2005
Last Chapter: 03/21/2009
Last Updated: 03/21/2009

Summary:


Set in the summer in-between fourth and fifth year. Could this simple Muggle device, a photo booth, be the key to unlock vaults of secrets both Ron and Hermione are holding?


Chapter 1: The Photo Booth
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Never Say Never
The Photo Booth


As Ron watched the strip of pictures come out of the slot in the side of the Muggle contraption, Hermione smiled up at him.

“It really is nice you could come hang round for a bit,” she said. “Mum and Dad were happy when I suggested you come over for the weekend.”

“Yeah?” Ron asked, looking over the pictures. “Oy, these are funny!”

Hermione peered at them in his hand and nodded, laughing. “You live to make weird faces, Ron.”

“And you live to stuff me full of brains,” he said dryly.

Hermione shrugged. “Well anyways, when are we supposed to meet up with Harry?”

“No idea,” Ron said. “I heard something like they’re trying to get him to Sirius’ house...”

Hermione nodded as they both set off through the bustling walkway of the Muggle Mall, which Ron had asked Hermione about. As they walked he frequently shot double takes at things such as payphones, cart collectors, ATM machines, and children’s rides. Hermione, the third time this happened, looked over at him.

“Jesus, Ron, wear a tattoo on your forehead that says WIZARD, why don’t you?” she laughed. “You’re supposed to be being discreet.”

He shrugged, every one of his freckles showing in the lighting. “What’m I supposed to do? It’s... weird!”

Hermione chuckled softly, adjusting her long pony tail as it tried to spill out. “Not as weird as last year.”

“Don’t remind me,” Ron said dryly. “Effing Daily Prophet did an article on Diggory.”

Hermione nodded, recalling having seen that article, a few weeks ago. It was interesting, really, that they labeled his death as a “Misconstrued Tri-Wizard Accident” when really it was because Voldemort... No, it was better not to think of it. After a while, she checked her watch.

“Mum and Dad are meeting us at Boot’s in a few minutes,” she said, grabbing his hand and pulling him off the other way.

Neither of them wanted to admit it, but as their hands touched they both felt a sort of jolt run through their nerves. Ron bit back a smile, letting her drag him along, still holding the strip of photos in his hand. The jostling crowds didn’t notice the two teenagers, hurrying through the crowd with their hands locked together, which was quite merciful for Ron as he was used to the twins tearing out pages of his old journal and quoting them in public places. Such as the grocery store and on the sidewalk- loudly- in Diagon Alley. Now, as Hermione rounded some corners into other busy halls lined with large stores, Ron let himself smile. It was nice to have some privacy of sorts.

Hermione was looking at shop signs, and looked back at him. “Should be rou- What’re you smiling at?”

Ron realized that she’d seen his small grin, and immediately it dropped. He felt his ears growing hotter, and shrugged quickly. “Nothing.”

She stared at him, one eyebrow raised, before shrugging and continuing to drag him to a pharmaceutical looking store called Boots. They saw, immediately, Hermione’s parents, Chelsea and Henry Granger. They all exchanged greetings, Hermione hugging her rather clingy mother, and Ron thanked god that Henry hadn’t seen that his daughter had been holding his hand. All four of them left the mall and into the June sunshine, going to the Granger family car to drive back to their comfortable house, a few minutes out of town.

~*~


Hermione, that night, lay on her stomach on her bed, propped up by her elbows. She was grinning down at the pictures, shaking her head and remembering that Ron had thought that they’d be moving ones, at first. But they obviously weren’t, so he’d managed. Her parents thought she was asleep, and certainly they were, as it was near midnight. But she couldn’t sleep, she was thinking. What on, she didn’t know. Shaking her bushy head, Hermione stood and silently left her room.

The house was silent, and she padded out to the back porch. There was an old wooden bench swing, there, and she loved to sit on it on sleepless nights like this and look out at her mother’s beautiful garden in the moonlight. It’d stormed sometime after they’d gotten back from the mall, and now the entire back yard was covered in a misty, wet haze. The moonlight was reflecting off all the little dewdrops, and her mother’s roses seemed like they were covered in diamonds.

Swinging open the back door, Hermione smiled, silently closing it again with her free hand, as she was holding the picture strip still. Breathing in the moist air, she walked to the white wooden railing, leaning on it and ignoring that her sleeves got wet. It was a quarter moon, and gave just enough light to fully display the beauty of Chelsea Granger’s garden.

“Oh, er, should I leave?”

Hermione turned to see Ron was sitting in the swing, looking kind of sorry he’d intruded, though it’d been her to come out last. She hook her head.

“No, don’t be silly. You were here first,” Hermione said softly, noting with amusement his Chudley Cannons shirt. “If anyone should go, it should be me.”

He shook his head, red hair flopping. “Nah. I just couldn’t sleep.”

Hermione nodded, looking back out over the yard. “Me either.”

There was silence for a minute or two, dew gathering on her toes. Ron was silent, watching her out of the corner of his eye. The only noise to be heard was the breeze and some crickets. After a few minutes, Hermione spoke softly.

“It’s still pretty hard to imagine that he’s out there...” she said softly.

“Who?” Ron asked.

Hermione looked over at him, an odd glint in her brown eyes. “V-Voldemor-rt.”

They both shuddered, though Hermione much less than Ron. He stood and leaned on the railing next to her, noticing that she was holding the picture strip from today. “I figure it’s best not to think about it.”

“Why?” she breathed, her breath coming out as a small puff in the cold air. “I mean... He’s out there, we’ve got to face facts.”

There was a silence, before Ron walked round her and down the porch steps, walking barefooted along the steppingstone path through the garden. Hermione followed him, out of curiosity, and the two walked round the beds of flowers and trimmed bushes. They both ignored the biting cold droplets of water on their bared feet as they walked through the moonlit mist. Ron, looking around himself, tried not to think that any Dark witch or wizard could easily Apparate into their midst and kill them dead right now. It was hard not to feel paranoid, even though he knew he was. He’d grown up, subconsciously afraid of Voldemort, and now that he’d not only been around his presence for almost four years, but he was back... It was a danger he didn’t care to imagine.

Hermione looked at Ron, arms crossed, as he sat on the stone bench somewhere near the middle of the garden. He didn’t look up at her, though she was standing in front of him and her satiny blue pajamas blocked most of his view, along with a corner of the picture slip.

“Why, Ron?” she repeated softly.

He shrugged. She was one of those types that would persist on until they got an answer, even if it took forever. Most girls would eventually give up, but not Hermione Granger. She was not a quitter by nature, choice, or force.

“I just don’t like to think about it.”

“But, Ron, you’ve got to,” Hermione said softly. “I mean, I know it’s bad... But really it’s a way to prepare yourself for when he does become public, again. He’s not going to be incognito forever...”

Ron just nodded, swallowing hard to bite back a hot emotion he was feeling rising in his chest. “Yea...”

“Yea?” Hermione repeated. “Ron! For heaven’s sake! You’ve got to wake up, it’s dangerous! You can’t be pretending he’s not back, Ron. There’s going to be a war and you’ve got to concentrate on learning everything you can about defending yourself!” Leave it to Hermione to bring up education at 12:17 in the morning. “You can’t do that to yourself, Ron! It’s too... dangerous! For you!”

He turned and glared up at her. “Hermione! Listen to yourself! It’s too blimey early in the morning for this. I understand that you want me to pay attention in school, but-”

“What are you hiding?” Hermione hissed. “I know there’s some other reason you don’t want to acknowledge his return, Ronald Weasley. Are you afraid for your family? For Harry?”

Ron shook his head. “My family can take care of themselves, and Harry can, too.”

“Then what are you so scared of, Ron?” Hermione asked. “He’s out there, you’ve got to admit it. I know you’re not scared for yourself, I know you would have given anything to have been able to help Harry in that cemetery.”

Ron just nodded, trying to ignore her. She was like a bug, persistently buzzing in his hear, and when she wasn’t, the memory of her doing so was echoing in his head. There was silence for a while in the garden, Ron hoping Hermione would go away. Hermione was bristling with anger, raging through her at him. What was his deal?! He’d have to start working soon if he wanted to be able to fight against Voldemort. He needed to come to the realization that weather he wanted it to be or not, Voldemort was out there, lurking, planning, killing.

Granted Ron was usually on the ball when it came to stuff like this, but really! Him sitting around and doing nothing, pretending there was no threat... Gave her this nagging feeling, a mix of different emotions. After a while of this silence, she felt her anger mounting. Oh, how she’d adore slapping him right this instant for being such a twit!

“What are you afraid of, Ron?” she whispered. “I know you’re afraid of something. Every time you’re around I can feel the fear off of you. It’s in your eyes. It’s in your voice when you talk. You look around everywhere you go, like you expect a sudden attack. A sudden attack that’s never going to happen, Ron! We’re not the one’s he’s targeting!”

“Never say never,” Ron said dryly, quoting his own mother.

Hermione seemed to get more mad at him, and took in a deep breath. “Ron. Listen. To. Me. We are not the targets. We aren’t the ones Voldemort is after. CHILL. Is that what you’re scared of? That he’ll swoop down and kill you?”

Ron turned and glared up at her, and his whisper was in a deadly tone she’d never heard before. “Excuse me?”

Hermione nodded, ignoring the chills that furious tone sent down her spine. “You heard me. That’s the only other logical reason you’re afraid to admit he’s back, Ron. You’re selfishly afraid for your own life.”

Ron felt a tidal wave of indignant fury rise in his chest. “NO I AM NOT!”

She jumped, looking behind her at the house to see if he’d woken her parents. Luckily, he hadn’t. “Shut up, Ron I know you are! There’s nothing other than that for you to lose, I eliminated all your options. Your family and your best friend. Surely you’re not afraid Voldemort’s going to smash your Cannons posters!”

Ron felt himself becoming more and more furious at her. Without even realizing he did so, Ron launched to his feet, towering over her, and suddenly had her face in his hands so that she was staring up at him. There was a look of angry surprise on her face. “No, Hermione, I’m not afraid for me. Whenever you're around and get those feelings, it's because of you. You can feel the fear off of me because I'm worried about you! It’s in my eyes because I can't hide it anymore! It’s in my voice when you talk, yes, but only when I talk to you, Hermione! I only look around everywhere I go when you're with me, because I don't want you to get hurt! I’m afraid for you.

Hermione’s face became blank, eyes wide open in the garden moonlight. Her free hand had reached back to slap him, but now it dropped in her surprise. Ron felt his anger dripping away like hot wax as he stared down into her brown eyes.

“What?” Hermione whispered.

Ron stifled a noise of emotion, feeling his eyes get sort of wet. “I don’t want to admit that he’s out there because I don’t want you to get hurt. I don’t want to see you die, Hermione. You’re Muggleborn and he’ll stop at nothing to kill anyone, Muggle or Muggleborn.”

Hermione seemed like she was in shock, but her eyes were steadily staring to water. “You... You’re afraid for me?”

Ron nodded, getting over the initial shock of what he’d finally told Hermione. “I’ve been worried about you since second year.”

He let her soft face go, intending to go back into the house and sit in the darkness, wondering why he ever bothered. But as he let go of her, Hermione grabbed one of his hands in hers, holding it tightly. Looking back at her, he saw there were tears in her eyes.

“I was scared for you, too,” she murmured, emotion evident in her voice.

Ron stared down at her, not daring to believe it. There was silence between them for a while, and a tear gently slid down Hermione’s cheek. Ron instinctively reached and wiped it from her face. She watched him, the moonlight framing her face. He could see freckles on her nose that was otherwise never visible, and the moonlight showed that her eyes looked copper in this light. But of course Ron knew that. He could tell anyone who asked what color her eyes were in any lighting.

“Were you?” he managed.

She nodded. “I didn’t think that... you felt... that way about me....”

Ron suppressed a laugh at that as he shook his head. “Sometimes you amaze me, Hermione.”

“Why?”

He smiled softly. “You know almost everything there is to know.... But can’t see what’s in front of your face.”

She shrugged, and Ron wiped away another tear. “I never thought you’d see me as more than a smart-alecky know-it-all.”

He shook his head, feeling tears forming in his own blue eyes. “No, Mione... I can’t think bad stuff about you... Because... I love you....”

His voice was so soft and hesitant that Hermione almost thought he hadn’t said it. She stared up at him, and he averted his gaze, ears starting to turn red. The mist in the garden blew chilly on her cheek, and she felt the mist on her face making her cold. Hermione reached up and gently turned his face back so that he looked at her again.

“What did you say?” she asked softly.

Ron was very obviously uncomfortable with this, and shifted slightly, shaking his other hand a little as if to free it from her grasp. “...I.. I said... that.. I love.. you.”

Hermione started up at him, before she gently smiled. “I love you too, Ron.”

Ron let out a sound of surprise. “You- you.. l.. love me?!”

Smiling softly, she nodded. “Yes, Ron. I love you.”

He stared down at her in shock for a moment, before he smiled. Gently cupping her soft face in his hands, Ron brushed the icy droplets of dew off. Hermione sniffed slightly, and Ron bent, gently kissing her. Hermione jumped slightly, not having been expecting it, and stared at him, brown eyes wide. Slowly her free hand reached up and she touched her lips. It was her first kiss, as was it Ron’s.

“Er... I’m sorry...” Ron mumbled awkwardly.

But Hermione smiled, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him full on the mouth. Ron was surprised this time, but only for a moment. He hugged her close, leaning into the kiss, as the night wind gently brushed the picture strip against his cheek.

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