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Why Me? by Taz In Love

Format: Novella
Chapters: 11
Word Count: 12,762
Status: Abandoned

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language

Genres: Romance
Characters: Draco, Ginny, Harry, Hermione, OC, Ron, Voldemort, Fred/George
Pairings: Ron/Hermione

First Published: 07/24/2004
Last Chapter: 08/05/2004
Last Updated: 08/05/2004

Summary:
Ron and Hermione...Reluctant Ginny/Harry. Has to be read to be believed.


Chapter 1: ONE
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“Reckon it’d be nice to marry Harry Potter someday, from what I heard, he’s got a lot of gold on his hands.”

“I don’t believe you! I never thought you as that much of a material girl. Personally I would prefer to get asked out by Oliver Wood. He’s famous, playing for…what was it? Puddlemere, isn’t it?”

“Oh no…Draco Malfoy’s my choice. His family’s got lots of influence, even though his father was a Death Eater. They got lots of money too, and from what I hear, they’re very popular.”

“Damn right you are,” the first girl replied. “They’re popular only with the dark side and Azkaban guards! What are you, out of your head?”

Hermione sighed. It was hard going to the girls lavatory in the morning when it was bombarded by groups of giggling girls. One moments privacy was just asking a little too much.

“Personally I prefer Fred Weasley, he’s a hottie.”

“No way! George is way better than Fred.”

“What’s the difference anyway?” the girl who favored Draco Malfoy scoffed. “They’re identical, for Merlin’s sake.”

“George’s got a scab on his knee,” the Fred Weasley shipper said.

“Fred’s got a burn on his wrist,” the other retorted.

Hermione sighed again. This time the five girls noticed her and looked at her.

“What do you want?” Draco Malfoy’s groupie asked.

“I just want to interject into your futures and your upcoming husbands, if it’s okay with you. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Harry’s going out with someone,” she said, even though it wasn’t like her to gossip.

“Yeah, I heard he’s going out with that Ginny Weasley,” Fred’s shipper said.

“And you didn’t tell me?” Harry’s fan said, looking wistful.

Fred’s shipper just shrugged and motioned Hermione to carry on.

“Oliver Wood’s too old for you, plus I heard he just got engaged to Puddlemere’s chaser.”

Oliver’s follower burst into tears, Draco’s groupie looked on the verge of gloating, and Harry’s fan patted her on the back.

Hermione continued. “Draco’s betrothed to Pansy Parkinson, doesn’t anyone know anything?”

Draco’s groupie stuck her chin in the air and pointed accusingly at Hermione. “Liar! Liar! I don’t believe you!”

“Fred’s with Angelina Johnson and George’s with Alicia Spinnet,” she said, ignoring Draco’s groupie’s comment.

“What about you, Hermione?” Harry’s shipper, a third year Ravenclaw named Ebony Roman. “Who do you like?”

Oliver’s fan, Claudia Knapp, who was also in Ravenclaw, inched closer to Hermione. “Yeah, Herm. You can tell us, you overheard all our crushes, so you can spill without the secret getting out.”

“Speak on it, girl,” Fred’s follower, a Gryffindor named Roxanne Carter, said.

The girl who favored George, Aurelia Chan, Hufflepuff, nodded hopefully.

“I know who she likes,” Draco’s groupie, Cassia Avery said, her voice cold and drawling. Slytherin, no doubt.

“Tell me!” Aurelia grinned.

“It’s that Muggle-lover, Ron Weasley, isn’t it?” Cassia said, smirking.

The four girls stared in horror at Cassia, not at her words, but how dare she speak like that to the Head Girl.

“Cassia, don’t,” Aurelia pleaded.

“What are you gonna do, Mudblood?” Cassia sneered. Aurelia looked hurt, and Claudia hugged her tightly before the four realized the insult was meant for Hermione.

The four girls seemed to hold their breaths, and looked back and forth at Cassia and Hermione.

Hermione was practically livid, and was trying to calm herself. Cassia was still sneering at her.

Hermione was taking short but deadly steps towards the third year Slytherin. The other girls scattered to make a path for her.

SLAP! Three of the girls had winced, but Roxanne had seen the whole thing, wide eyed and goggling.

It wasn’t Cassia that had hit Hermione, it was the other way around.

It appeared that suddenly Cassia was afraid and had realized her mistake, and did the first thing that came to mind; slapped Hermione.

“I think that will be twenty points off Slytherin,” Hermione said in such a venomous voice that even the other four girls shivered. “And detention for a week. I’ll tell Professor McGonaggal to be expecting you tonight at five.”

“But you can’t do that!” Cassia whined. “Today’s Valentine! I’ll still be in Hogsmeade trying to win Draco’s heart!”

“Bet you she can,” Ebony whispered to Roxanne.

“Bet you she will,” Roxanne replied.

“Watch me, young lady,” Hermione growled. “And I will take away your Hogsmeade privileges, starting today!”

Cassia whimpered. “Please don’t."

Hermione ignored her.

“That bitch, I’m going to get her,” Cassia said.

Hermione disregarded Cassia and exited the girls room, and entered the Great Hall.

After talking to McGonaggal about Cassia Avery, she went to join her two best friends at their usual seats at the Gryffindor table.

“What’s up, ‘Mione?” Ron asked, as she sat down. “You look…angry.”

“Well, I just blew off some Slytherin called Cassia Avery, heard of her?” Hermione said, piling some food on her plate.

“Yeah, she’s that rule breaker, isn’t she? Dark locks, pale skin, really skinny—but curvy—who needs a major attitude adjustment?” Ron asked, stuffing some pie into his actually empty mouth.

“Yes—how do you know?” she asked, slightly amazed.

“Guys, mind if I sit with Ginny?” Harry suddenly asked.

“Sure,” Hermione said, and Harry was gone in a flash.

“Well, I’ve caught her out of bounds about twenty eight or twenty nine times after curfew,” Ron shrugged.

Hermione was astonished. “You actually did some of your prefect duties?”

“’Mione, that hurt.”

“Sorry.”

“Anyway, twenty of the times I caught her she was snogging behind the statue in the Charms corridor. Each time with a different guy. The other seven or eight times, she was placing gum in the doors, or pelting Dungbombs at Mrs. Norris,” he said.

Hermione was speechless. As she stared at Ron, she was noticing other minor differences that made her heart beat faster as well.

“What were you talking about anyways?” Ron asked, cutting off her thoughts.

“Er-um…well…”

“Well?” he asked, raising his eyebrows.

She stuttered. “Er-b-boys…kinda.”

Ron suddenly looked interested. “Yeah?”

“Yeah, they were talking about their future husbands and stuff,” she said, reluctant to say her own secret had been spilled there.

“Anybody wants Ronald Weasley as their husband?” he grinned.

Yeah. Me.

“No…nobody,” she lied. His face fell, and she regretted it.

“Tell me all about it,” he ordered.

Hermione was helpless but to do what he said. “Cassia Avery wants Draco so much to be her husband. She even considered blowing off detention ‘trying to win Draco’s heart’. In her own words.”

Ron looked like Christmas had come early. “And?”

“Ebony Roman likes Harry,” she said.

“That stunning Ravenclaw with sleek blond hair?”

“Stunning?” Hermione raised one eyebrow.

Ron grinned. “You have to admit, she’s quite pretty.”

“Yeah, but one would wonder how the hell she got in Ravenclaw, because it seemed like she had no brains!” Hermione’s voice had raised with each syllable. She suddenly felt a surge of jealousy, though no Head Girl in her right mind would be jealous of a third year Ravenclaw who was blond.

“Chill, ‘Mione. Gee, you seem uptight today,” Ron said, looking taken aback by her sudden outburst. “So, who else?”

“Claudia Knapp from Ravenclaw, has a huge crush on Wood. When I told her he was engaged she burst into tears,” Hermione said, a smile playing on the corners of her mouth.

“Which one would she be?” Ron asked.

“Red hair,” she said. Claudia Knapp was no natural redhead like the Weasleys. She had dyed her hair bright red.

“Oh. Who else?”

“Roxanne Carter likes Fred, and Aurelia Chan favors George.”

“Roxanne Carter the gorgeous one with shiny light brown hair? And Aurelia that hot Asian with black curls?” Ron asked.

“I don’t see why any of them would be classified as pretty, both of their heads as thick as Crabbe and Goyle,” Hermione snapped.

“Alright, alright. Anyone fancies Ron in there?” he asked, a lopsided smile on his face.

“No, Ron, how many times—“

“Nobody who fancies Ron with brown hair, big front teeth, and Head Girl this year?” he interjected.

“Ron!” she screeched. “I do not fancy you!”

“You don’t?” he asked, his voice just above a whisper. His face fell, but he hid it just as the morning post arrived.

A smart snowy owl dropped a pink parchment in front of Hermione. She let it lay, studying Ron’s face for a while.

“Well, maybe I fancy you a little,” she said, giving in to his sad expression.

“Don’t fancy me from pity,” he said.

“I don’t,” she replied.

“You really fancy me a little?” he asked, his face shining with hope.

“Well, maybe more than a little,” Hermione said. She felt this was the right time to reveal her feelings to Ron.

“How much more?” Ron asked, grinning.

Hermione’s temper was short-circuited today.

“Ron, don’t play with me,” she warned.

“I’m not. I just want to know,” he said. “How much more?”

“Ron, you idiot, I like you a lot, okay? I’m even brave enough to say I love you!” she said quietly but quickly.

She got no reaction from Ron, and she snatched her letter up from the table and she stormed away.

“What did I do now?” Ron wondered silently.


Chapter 2: TWO
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Hermione wandered into the Library, which became her temporary sanctuary. Ron wouldn’t come here in a billion years, yet here he was walking towards her.

Quickly, she pretended she didn’t see him, and sat down at one of the tables to read the letter.

“Dear Hermione,” she read aloud silently to herself. “How are things at Hogwarts? Things are fine here in Durmstrang. Cold, but fine. How is that stupid bloke (that means boy, right??) Ron Weasley treating you? It pains me when I read your letters when you tell me about him. How he has mistreated you. Hermione, I really don’t understand you. He unappreciated you, mistreated you, yet you are mad in love with him. I guess you’re fighting the inevitable there. There, there, m’dear. I saw the tear stains on your last letter, I know that they have mistreated you there. Really, you should teach me how to have patience like that. Oh yeah, Hermione. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Remember that.
Love,
Viktor.
p.s. Wondering about my improved English? We have English language at school now, and I just happen to be taking it.”
p.p.s. I know I just said ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’, and I was wondering whether you could tell me what that means, because I’m not too sure myself…


“Letter from Vicky?”

Hermione spun around to come face to face with Ron. “You heard me?”

“I do not invade peoples’ privacies like that, Hermione,” he frowned.

“I’m amazed,” she said truthfully, but her tone made it sound like she was sarcastic.

“Outside, now.”

“No,” Hermione decided to test the waters.

Ron didn’t seem up to testing at this moment though, and he pulled her hand. She was surprised at how much strength he had in that bony hand.

He took her to an empty corridor and flung her at a wall, which surprised her.

“What do you mean by walking out on me like that?” he asked.

“I do what I want,” she said somewhat harshly.

“Hermione, sit down,” he said, doing so. “We’re going to have a violence-free talk.”

It sounded so much like an order, which surprised Hermione, but she did what she was told.

“Ron, okay, I want to apologize,” Hermione said.

“But what for?” he asked.

“For ever coming to Hogwarts,” she cried. “For being born! For global warming! For trying to pretend I love you!”

He grabbed her hand, and stroked it gently, but she pulled away.

“Hermione, I’m sorry, for throwing you against the wall,” he said, not meeting her eye. “I’m sorry for mistreating you and making you feel unappreciated.”

And that was when Hermione Granger broke.

She started shaking. Silent tears began running down her cheeks, and she moved closer to Ron. Ron hugged her awkwardly, and she was grateful for his shoulder. She was somewhat leaning on him, and his hands were around her, embracing her for dear life.

“Ron, you don’t know how I feel,” she sobbed.

“Try me,” he said, patting her back.

“The way you treated me sometimes, it was like you didn’t care. Especially this year and the last, it really pained me, you know. It was like you forgot I was a girl—“

“I never forgot, Hermione,” Ron said.

“You kept telling me about girls that had flirted with you, without realizing the one you were talking to wanted so much to, but didn’t dare because she was afraid to ruin our friendship! You’ve grown more like—like a man, and you have millions of admirers all over the school. You know it…but you didn’t know that one of them all was right there beside you…

“When we fought, sometimes I wish you would just shut up and kiss me. When Ginny and Harry got together, I was so envious. They were in love, Ron! I wanted to feel like that! I wanted to be treated like royalty—“

“You already are,” he said quietly.

“I was foolish, Ron. I thought-as did everybody- there was a chance of you liking me. But I was a prat, and you started dating Susan Bones. I was too late. Of course, I was stupid to even hope you liked me, let alone be in love with me!”

“But I am.”

“And when you broke up with--” she paused. “What?”

“But I am,” he repeated.

“But you are what?”

“I am madly in love with you,” he said.

“Don’t say it unless you really mean it,” she said.

He seemed to consider it for a moment.

“I thought so,” she sobbed.

“Let me rephrase,” he said. “I am really, really, madly, head-over-heels in love with you,” he said.

Hermione Granger was speechless.



Chapter 3: THREE
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Neither Hermione or Ron felt very hungry that night, so they clambered in the portrait hole straightaway after their discussion. They decided they couldn’t live like that anymore. Hermione realized she needed Ron more than ever, and Ron was really, really, madly, head-over-heals, in love with her anyways.

“I don’t believe you once got a D for Potions! It probably means Dunderhead or something,” Hermione laughed. Her chest felt much lighter since spilling her life’s worth to Ron, who gobbled it all up like a hungry hippogriff.

The new couple discovered it was hard to climb through the portrait hole when your fingers were entwined and you were laughing so hard your sides hurt.

The two stopped dead when they saw who was in the common room. Harry and Ginny were both snogging there.

“If Harry doesn’t stop soon, Ginny’s going to suffocate,” Hermione giggled silently in Ron’s ear.

Harry and Ginny were doing it with such a passion that both Hermione and Ron were blushing.

Ron cleared his throat. “Hem, hem.”

Harry and Ginny pulled away, and blushed furiously when they saw who it was.

“Hey,” Harry said.

“Snogging my sister senseless…” Ron was starting to redden around the ears.

“It was rather snog Harry than any of the other guys in Gryffindor,” Hermione said.

“Shut up,” he said, not thinking.

“Don’t you dare tell me to shut up, Ronald Weasley!” she exclaimed.

“I’m sorry,” he said, looking down at the floor, truly sorry.

There were a few comical ‘Aww’s from Harry and Ginny but they were shut up when both Hermione and Ron shot them daggers.

“Why aren’t you at supper?” Harry asked.

“Why aren’t you at supper?” Ron retorted.

Ginny rolled her eyes. “You saw why we were not at supper, Ron. What’s your reason?”

“He threw me against a wall and had some explaining to do,” Hermione smiled.

“He what?” Ginny yelled. “Ronald Weasley! Don’t you dare do that to Hermione ever again, or I’m telling Mum! You mistreated a girl—“

“Gin, shut up,” Ron said with an air of calm.

“Hermione cried on me,” Ron said, pointing to a soaking wet part of his robes where she had clung on to and cried.

Hermione blushed. “It was you who made me cry.”

“So are you guys a couple yet?” Ginny asked bluntly, eyeing Ron and Hermione’s entwined fingers.

“Ginny!” Hermione, Ron (who let go of each other immediately) and Harry said in unison.

“What? It was clear that one of you were going to crack one of these days,” she said.

“Speaking of which, I need to get my Potions essay started,” Hermione said.

“What does your Potions essay have to do with one of us going to crack?” Ron asked, looking at her, puzzled.

“Absolutely nothing. But I needed to find a way for it to fit into the conversation,” she said with a hint of a smile as she started taking out the books from her bag.



Chapter 4: FOUR
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“Some things just never change,” Harry said, laughing, as Ron eyed Hermione and her stacks of homework.

“Hermione!” Ginny cried. She approached Hermione and started whispering animatedly into her ear. Hermione blushed, then she giggled, and then she flushed again.

Hermione put her books back in her bag much to the bewilderment of Ron and Harry.

“You did it, Gin, you did it,” Harry said, shaking his head slowly in awe.

Ginny shrugged modestly. “Now if you don’t mind, this Common Room’s occupied. I heard the Astronomy Tower’s empty, though.”

Ron and Hermione blushed, and Harry laughed.

“Ginny! I’m warning you, if you put one toe out of line—I know it’s with Harry, but still—I’m telling Mum!” Ron warned her, shaking a wary finger at his baby sister.

Ginny stuck out her bottom lip at Ron, and pulled Harry to the couch. Harry followed obediently, and they sat down. She ruffled his fringe out of his emerald green eyes, took one last look, and closed her own eyes.

“Hermione!” Ron cried. “Oh God…Ginny, Harry, stop it! You’re just teasing us!”

Harry and Ginny had pulled apart.

“So what if I am?” Ginny asked, eyebrows raised. Harry and Hermione were doubled over in silent laughter.

“You know perfectly well we can do better,” Ron said.

Hermione, Harry, and even Ginny turned to him, mouths hanging open wide. His ears were crimson but he didn’t take back his words.

“Show me,” Ginny said once they had regained their posture.

“Ron, don’t,” Harry warned, but he was to late.

Ron pulled Hermione over to him, and pressed his lips to hers carelessly.

Hermione pushed him away. “You idiot.”

She stormed out of the Common Room whilst Ron was staring at her back, petrified.

“You redhead moron I regret having as a brother,” Ginny spat, going after Hermione.

“What did I do?” Ron asked Harry.

Harry looked at Ron pitifully. “You idiot,” he echoed.

“What?” Ron asked.

“I’ll answer that tonight. But now, you have to go after her,” Harry said, pushing him towards the portrait hole.

“No,” he said, folding his arms and staying where he was.

“You realize this is the most fatal mistake that you could ever do?” Harry said.

“No, because I still don’t know what I did. You have to explain what I did before I’m moving an inch.”



Chapter 5: FIVE
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“Hermione! Wait up!” Ginny called.

Hermione showed no means of slowing down, so Ginny followed her, surprised that Hermione chose to lead her to the Astronomy Tower.

“Out!” Hermione was crying when Ginny reached the door, puffing.

Two people stumbled out of the tower, a girl and a boy. The girl Ginny recognized as Cassia Avery, was muttering some bad words under her breath. The guy Ginny wasn’t familiar with, but he had some lipstick marks over his face and neck, identical to the color Cassia Avery was wearing at the moment. The guy looked ruffled but pleased, but Cassia simply looked bored.

Ginny entered the room. “Hermione?” she said timidly.

“Out,” Hermione said in a monotone.

“Hermione, I’m sorry,” Ginny said. “I’m going to disown the moron I have as a brother, I swear—“

“No swearing or I’ll have to take points of Gryffindor,” Hermione warned, her voice still emotionless, but Ginny knew there were fresh tear streaks down her cheeks, tears still flowing, without even looking at her.

“Hermione, please,” Ginny begged. She was looking at the back of Hogwart’s smartest witch, Head Girl, and the moron(her disowned brother)’s ex.

“What do you want, Ginny?” she said. Her voice was exasperated. “You want to apologize on behalf of that idiot?”

“No, why should I say sorry for that idiot—the idiot you love? I want to say sorry for provoking him. I didn’t know he would do that,” she said.

“Yeah, but I don’t understand,” Hermione said. “Why is he such an idiot?”

“He has absolutely no idea about this kind of things,” Ginny said, her voice very matter-of-factly. “You’ve got to teach him, Hermione.”

“No.”

Ginny let a smile linger on her lips. “You two are more alike than you realize, you know?”

A/N; sorry about it being so short, i promise there'll be more Ron in the next chapter, and the next, and the next, until...well, you'll have to find out for yourself, wont you??

Chapter 6: SIX
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“RON!”

“HARRY!”

“What?”

“I dunno, what?”

“Ron, please, just go after her,” Harry pleaded.

“No, explain what I did wrong.”

“You kissed her,” Harry said, his voice flat as if pointing out a simple fact.

“Yeah, I know I did,” Ron said.

“Exactly!” Harry cried, flinging his arms exasperatedly. “I take it that was your first kiss…and hers too. People want their first kiss to be special. I know she’s imagined kissing you…but—“ Harry shook his head in disgust of his best friend. –- “That wasn’t special. It was horrible…I could tell. No sparks, fireworks or nausea…then it’s not a great kiss.”

“She didn’t like the kiss?”

“I think she overlooked the fact that the kiss was a disaster. It was the reason of the kiss,” Harry said, suddenly feeling like an agony uncle. “You did it because Ginny challenged you, not because your bodies were longing for another touch. She didn’t feel the time was right.”

“Then how do I know when she wants to kiss me?” Ron asked, his eyes wide.

“You’ll find out. But now, find her, and apologize.”

Ron nodded, and ran out of the common room.

*


“Gin, I love him. But I didn’t like that kiss…” Hermione admitted.

“And now I wanna tell you I’m sorry,” Ron said, arriving in the doorframe of the tower, panting slightly.

“How did you find me?” Hermione asked, looking disgusted, yet happy and surprised that Ron had shown up.

“It wasn’t easy, just leave it at that,” he said, giving her his most charming smiled. “Gin-Gin, if you’d just give us a moment alone?”

“I’d love to,” Ginny smiled at her brother. She didn’t feel like disowning him anymore, he seemed to realize what he was doing. And she was sure Potter had something to do with it. She walked out, past her brother.

“What do you want?” Hermione asked, her voice somewhat bitter.

“I want to say I’m sorry,” Ron said. “I’m sorry for being a total idiot, moron, et cetera, et cetera.”

Hermione scowled.

“Look, I’m absolutely clueless at these kinds of things, and it embarrasses me to ask my little sister or my best friend,” he continued. “And I’m just asking for one chance? One more chance?”

“Give me three—no four—good reasons why I should do that,” Hermione said. She knew all of this was just an official bit, she would give him a million chances any day. And she knew four was an impossible number for reasons, especially with Ron.

“Because you love me,” he said, ticking the things off with his fingers. “Because I love you, because I want you to, and because you want to.”

Hermione felt her mouth open and close a few times, gaping blankly like a fish out of water. Ron felt hints of a smile tug at the edges of his lips.

“And also because I’m sorry, and I wont do anything you don’t want to do, ‘Mione. I realized my mistake. Please…I want to be with you,” he said.

Hermione felt a single tear slide down her left cheek, following the trail of water other tears left behind.

“Oh no, oh no, what did I do wrong now?” Ron mumbled to himself, fidgeting awkwardly.

Hermione started shaking somewhat violently.

He put her arms around her, and hugged her towards him. She shuddered against his chest, but accepted it.

“You didn’t do anything wrong, Ronald Weasley, except loving a Mudblood.”

Ron and Hermione both looked up, somehow both weren’t surprised to see Cassia Avery’s lanky-but curvy-shape.

“Ignore her,” Hermione whispered. “Ron, ignore her.”

Ron nodded just slightly, but he knew Hermione felt him.

“I know Weasleys are low, but I didn’t know you would stoop low enough to love a Mudblood,” Cassia continued, slightly disturbed by the fact that she didn’t get any reaction from the two Gryffindor lovebirds. She was only doing this to get Draco’s attention, honestly. She didn’t feel like losing another twenty points off Slytherin, but maybe she could get Draco to tutor her on how to get on the famous trio’s nerves.

While she was lost in her thoughts, she didn’t realize Ron walking over to her, until she saw him towering over her.

Hermione suddenly realized Ron didn’t need magic to do what he was going to do to Cassia, and she hugged him, pinning his arms to his sides.

“What the-“ Ron stated, surprised.

“Ron, please don’t, you’re going to get into trouble,” Hermione pleaded silently.

“What, Weasley, you’re Mudblood girlfriend wont let you get in a fight?” Cassia smirked.

“She’s not worth it, Ron, she’s not worth it,” Hermione whispered again and again. She didn’t bother loosening her grip on him, she knew he was much stronger than she was, and he could shake her off any time he wanted.

“Hermione, let go of me,” Ron said.

“No.”

“What’s wrong, Mudblood? I’m sure you know your good-for-nothing boyfriend is going to get in trouble…I’m sure his family doesn’t have enough Galleons to bail him out of Azkaban when the time comes.” Cassia was sneering at them.

It all happened quickly. Hermione let go of Ron, and walked up to Cassia. Hermione aimed and hit Cassia with a slap with so much force it knocked the 6th year Slytherin to the floor.

Her lip was bleeding, and her hand was blocking the blood. She licked the blood slowly off her hands, not taking her eyes off Ron and Hermione. Ron was staring at Hermione in admiration.

“You’ll pay, Mudblood, I swear to Merlin that I will make you pay,” Cassia said, her voice drawling. She got up, dusted herself, turned on her heel, and left.

“Oh no, five points off Gryffindor,” Hermione wailed. “I got into a fight, oh no, oh no, oh no…” She sank to the floor.

“Cassia’s not going to tell,” Ron said quietly, sitting down beside her.

“How do you know?” she asked, narrowing her eyes suspiciously, looking straight at him.

“She has no friends except maybe Aurelia Chan, she’s nice to anybody,” Ron said.

Hermione didn’t bother to ask him how he knew, but she was surprised there was so much to him she didn’t know.

“Ron, look, I’m really sorry,” Hermione whispered. She didn’t like being the bigger man and apologizing. “I was just so surprised. Logic seemed to escape me.”

“I know, ‘Mione…” he cooed softly, embracing her in his warm, strong arms, rocking her tenderly. “Logic is overrated.”

“I love you, Ron. I mean it,” she said, looking into his pale gray eyes.

“I know…but why?” he asked. His question was so silent Hermione wasn’t sure whether she heard it right or not.

“Because,” she stumbled with her words. “because…you’re Ron.”

“But I’m not special,” he replied. “I’m not a lady’s guy like Bill, not a Quidditch superstar like Charlie, not Head Boy like Percy, not pranksters like the twins, and I’m definitely not a girl like Ginny. I’m not special. Why me?”

“You’re really special, Ron,” she said. “Don’t ever think you don’t measure up to your brothers. I happen to think you compute just fine.”

Ron didn’t reply, he just continued rocking her slightly, and she allowed herself to lean on him.

“Ron, if we stay here much longer, I swear I’m going to get intoxicated,” she grinned about fifteen minutes later. “You’re aftershave smells so good…”

Ron stood up, and pulled her up with him. “Can I steal something from you first then?”

“If you’re going to steal some—“

She was silenced by his lips brushing slightly on hers, catching her breath in her throat. It was poisoning, the sweetness of the kiss mixed with the scent of his aftershave.

This kiss caught her off guard, but she didn’t feel like yelling at him again.

When he finished, she giggled, feeling high. All the way to the common room she felt like she was walking several feet above the ground. His step was bouncy, and he felt like a rubber ball.

Harry was right, but he didn’t want to admit it. He was aggressive the first time, if only he could’ve done it like the second time, he would save a lot of time. But then Hermione wouldn’t have slapped Cassia Avery…if anybody deserved that sudden outburst of violence from Hermione, it was Cassia Avery.



Chapter 7: SEVEN
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“Hey…you guys on good terms?” Harry asked when the two arrived at their usual seats at dinner.

“Lovely terms,” Hermione said, exchanging a glance with Ron.

“Would this mean they will fight less?” Harry asked in an undertone to Ginny.

“No, it would probably mean their fights would get worse,” she whispered.

Harry sighed, and eyed Hermione as she stole some sausages from Ron’s plate. Ron just grinned at her, and both Harry and Ginny stared at him, gaping.

“What?” he asked, when he turned to them.

“N-nothing…” Ginny said.

Ron shrugged. “Harry, we have Quidditch practice today, don’t we?”

Harry nodded, his mouth full of pudding.

“Do we have to?” Ginny whined, looking at Harry with her best puppy-dog face.

“Yes we do,” Harry said after swallowing his mouthful. He was now immune to her begs and pleas about Quidditch practice.

Hermione smiled. “Is it okay if I watch you guys practice?” she asked almost timidly.

“B-but y-y-you-“ Ginny stuttered.

“Yeah sure,” Harry said, kicking Ginny in the shins under the table.

“Ow,” she whispered. “That hurt.”

“Sorry,” he replied. “I’ll make it up to you tonight, after everybody gets out of the common room, okay?”

“Okay!” Ginny grinned happily.

“Why do you want to watch us, ‘Mione?” Ron asked, his mouth full. Bits of whatever he was eating sprayed all his three friends.

Hermione took her time to wipe her face on a napkin before answering, since she was the one who got most bits of food.

“I have nothing else to do,” she replied plainly.

“I thought you go to the Library when you have nothing to do,” Ron stated.

“No I don’t!” she cried. “You have no idea what things I like to do!”

“I’m sorry, ‘Mione,” he said, his voice very low. He bent his head and concentrated on his fumbling fingers before looking up at her to see her reaction.

Hermione saw this, and felt a sudden urge to just shut up and kiss him. But it wasn’t right for the Head Girl to kiss at the table, even if it was her boyfriend.

“Ron, please don’t,” she whispered, taking his hands into her own. “I’m sorry for losing my temper like that…”

There were a few comical ‘Aw’s from both Harry and Ginny as the other two continued eating.

It wasn’t long before Ron stood up. “I’m going down to the Pitch, okay. I want to have a fly…”

“I’m coming,” Hermione said, standing up as well. The two of them walked, hand in hand, out of the Great Hall.

While passing the Slytherin table, Ron caught the eye of a certain Slytherin girl called Cassia Avery. She was looking at him and Hermione with such hatred and revulsion, and she was sitting across Draco, who was also looking at them with a stare not too different from Cassia’s.

Ron concluded they were planning something to do to him and Hermione. Not just something, but something evil and foul. Cassia had finally got her wish to speak to Draco, so she must have told him everything.

Without realizing it, Ron squeezed Hermione’s hand tightly. Very tightly, and she squealed quietly.

“What?” she asked once they were out of the Great Hall.

“No, nothing,” he said.

She looked at her, scanning. The very tips of her ears were a crimson, like they were when he was angry, or slightly put out. She soon found out why.

“Well, well, look what we have here. The foulest lovebirds even in Gryffindor, Weasel and the Mudblood.”

The two spun around to see Cassia Avery and Draco Malfoy.

Ron’s wand hand automatically reached for his wand inside his robes. Hermione hung on tightly on his arm. His eyes widened in shock, because he couldn’t find his wand. He dug deeper and deeper into his pocket, searching for his wand.

“Looking for this, Weasel?” Draco asked, holding Ron’s wand up.

Hermione thought to summon Ron’s wand, and looked for her wand in her usual wand pocket, but she too couldn’t find it.

“Look, the Mudblood’s looking for her wand,” Cassia snickered, holding up Hermione’s wand.

“What do you want?” Ron asked rather harshly, putting an arm around Hermione, and pushing her behind.

“Protecting the Mudblood, I see,” Cassia sneered.

“Why bother, Weasel?” Draco said. “The Dark Lord’s going to kill all the Mudbloods anyway. No exception to Weasel’s girlfriend.”

Ron felt an urge to go do something nasty to Draco, but Hermione held him back.

“Well, lets see. Two people, that makes forty points of Slytherin,” Hermione said, her most rational voice ringing out over the others.

Draco looked taken aback.

“You have two wands that are not yours, and you are provoking two people into a fight,” Ron said. “Isn’t that right, Hermione?”

Hermione nodded.

Both Draco and Cassia threw the wands to the floor, turned on their heels and left in a very similar manner.

“Thanks, Herm…”

“S’okay,” she replied, taking his hand once again and walking out towards the deserted Quidditch Pitch in silence.



Chapter 8: EIGHT
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“Alright everyone, great practice,” Harry said, motioning everybody to come back to the ground. He himself was already there. “Remember, our match against Hufflepuff is next week.”

“We know,” Ron groaned.

Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnigan, the new beaters, exchanged a look and grinned.

“It’s late, we better go back up,” Ginny whined.

“I want to see you here tomorrow, straightaway after breakfast,” Harry said.

Protests and snide comments were stopped when he held up a hand. “It’s going to rain soon, go to the castle immediately. I don’t need any of you getting sick, especially since Carter’s still in the Hospital Wing.”

“Why is Roxanne in there anyway?” the other chaser apart from Ginny and Roxanne, Garth Ramon, asked.

“Flu,” Ginny stated.

“Is there any chance that happened because you made us practice during a storm yesterday?” Seamus said, his tone sarcastic.

“Probably,” Harry said. “Now, everybody up to the castle.”

As the seven players trooped into the changing rooms, Ginny tapped Ron on the shoulder.

“Don’t forget Hermione,” she said.

“How could I?” Ron grinned.

Quickly, he changed, and walked to the place Hermione last sat. But she was nowhere to be seen.

“Gotcha!” Hermione cried, hugging Ron from behind. Ron was surprised, but he turned around and hugged her back, even though his chest was heaving quickly.

“Scared you, didn’t I?” Hermione laughed.

“No, you didn’t, I was just pretending to be scared,” Ron replied, ruffling her hair. “Harry said it’s going to rain, we better be getting in the castle.”

But he said it a second too late as raindrops the size of pears fell down from the sky. In less than a minute, the two were drenched to their socks.

“You could’ve said something sooner,” Hermione grinned, pushing a layer of sopping hair out of her eyes.

“You know you look cute when you’re wet,” Ron said.

Hermione pretended to scowl, but she didn’t do a good job since a smile kept tugging on her lips.

“You realize you’re so cute when your hair is all over your face, right?” Hermione said.

Ron threw his head back as he laughed. “We better get going. Though I’m sure I couldn’t get wetter than this anyway.”

Hermione nodded mutely, and allowed Ron to lead her. But not long after, her vision became blurry from all the water, and her hair was in her eyes again. She let go of Ron’s hand, and wiped both hair and water out of her eyes.

When she reached back to where Ron’s hand was a minute ago, she couldn’t find it. She searched about blindly, still not able to see anything.

She called his name repetitively, but even she couldn’t hear herself, so she shouted in vain. Her ears were pounding with the steady dripping of the rain, and her body was numb from the cold. She had no idea where the castle was, but she was sure Ron was probably there already. It was stupid looking for him, when the rain stopped, they would be together again, in the warmth of the castle. Hermione reminded herself that, but the castle just never seemed to appear. The rain didn’t stop either, it just got heavier, if that was possible. Raindrops were pounding on her head, and her head felt light and hollow. She couldn’t think of any spell that could help in a storm as big as this, she couldn’t even remember which pocket she put her wand in.

“Ron, Ron, where are you?” she called out once more. She couldn’t see anything anymore, and darkness was creeping in on her. She closed her eyes, just to find similar gloom there.

*


Slowly she opened her eyes, and let them adjust for a few seconds before actually taking her surroundings in. It wasn’t raining, in fact, she wasn’t even outside. She was in a dim lit room—The Hospital Wing. Her body ached, and when she moved it, something in her head throbbed. Her voice seemed to be stuck in her throat when she tried to call Madam Pomfrey, only resulting in a inaudible croak.

She couldn’t move her head, it caused to much pain. But she needed to find Ron, make sure he was alright.

“Madam Pomfrey?” she said quietly when her voice came back.

“Oh, you’re awake, dear,” she quickly checked her temperature, on Hermione’s forehead, throat, cheeks, and hand, wincing every time. “You have a guest, but in your condition, please remember, you can only see him for a few minutes.”

When she had said ‘him’ her heart fluttered, she was sure Ron would be peering at her in a few moments. But instead, a pair of shocking emerald green eyes behind dull glasses were the ones looking at her.

“Harry!” she exclaimed. “Where’s Ron?”

He looked gravely at her, opening and closing his mouth a couple of times, looking like a fish out of water. He sighed.

“What?” Hermione asked, suddenly worried and afraid.

“We were hoping you could tell us where he was,” Harry said finally.

“What do you mean Harry?” Hermione stared at him. “I’m afraid I don’t understand.”

“He’s lost, Hermione. Gone, kapoosh.”

A gust of strength went through Hermione as she took Harry by the shoulders and shook him. He just shut his eyes and received all the shaking Hermione could do in her weak condition.

“Tell me this is some cruel evil joke, Harry,” she pleaded. “Tell me he’s right there behind you. Ron!”

“I wish I was, Herm,” he said. “I wish so much I was joking.”

A single tear ran down her pale cheek, with more behind it.

“Hermione, don’t cry, oh no, don’t cry,” Harry said, sounding worried.

“Where is he, Harry?” she asked.

“I don’t know, Hermione,” Harry said with an air of patience. Hermione felt like slapping him. He was talking to her like nothing had happened when his best friend and the man she loved was gone. She was relieved she had no strength to slap him, otherwise she might.

“Is it Voldemort, Harry? Did Voldemort take him?”

Harry looked at Hermione straight in the eye. “We-Ginny, McGonaggal, Dumbledore and I think so.”

Hermione was thankful when at that moment, Madam Pomfrey shooed Harry out.

“I’m sorry, dear,” she said quietly while measuring a blue substance and pouring it in a green jar. Hermione blinked, and the jar was pink. She blinked again, and again it was green.

“What color is that jar, Ma’am?” she asked.

“Which one, this one?” she asked, holding up the now pink jar. Hermione nodded. “It’s black, like all my other jars. Why do you ask?”

Hermione didn’t answer, but she looked very worried. “Did you see it as pink, purple or green, changing every time you looked?”

Hermione nodded, and the matron abandoned her jar and sat by Hermione.

“Miss Granger, you are the smartest witch of your age that I know,” she said quietly.

With all the strength she could muster, Hermione said thank you.

“And you’re also Muggle born. Surely you know what a concussion is?”

Hermione nodded.

“You may have heard of people having mild concussions and such. And you’ve got something like that. Only, it’s far from mild,” she explained.

“But is Ron really missing or was that some crude joke?” she asked quietly.

Madam Pomfrey didn’t seem to be able to catch her eye. She looked everywhere but Hermione’s pair of plain brown eyes.

“Please, ma’am, is it true?” she begged.

“Yes.”

Hermione felt giddy, and it was like the hospital wing was spinning around. She was a rational witch who always used her head, and she knew this had to be the effects of her concussion. But she couldn’t help passing out afterwards.

*


“How did she handle it?” Ginny asked when Harry came into the common room.

“Not so good,” he said. “She refused to believe me. Is there any news?”

She shook her head, and her eyes brimmed with tears. Harry took her hand and stroked it gently, but there was nothing he could do. He was just as broken as she was, maybe even more. But it was Hermione who hurt the most. And both of them knew that.

“How did she look?” Ginny asked, as if dreading the answer. “Tell me the details. I can’t go to her, I just cant.”

“Yes, I know you cant,” Harry said softly. “Her hair was muddy. Her breathing wasn’t steady. She was very pale, and she was way thinner than she was before. I—I just can’t explain.”

“How much damage can a night in the storm do?” Ginny asked, massaging her temples.

“That’s it,” Harry said. “We’re afraid Voldemort tried to take her too, but Ron—you know Ron. He probably did something heroic and stupid to save her…but Voldemort must’ve done a few unforgivable curses before.”

“If only they didn’t love each other like they did,” Ginny mumbled.

“Gin, don’t ever say that again,” Harry ordered.

Ginny mumbled an apology.

“Oh Gin, I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just that…nothing is ever right anymore.”

“Did anybody know what happened?” Ginny asked. “Apart from them?”

“Yeah. Trelawney.”

Ginny rolled her eyes. “No, seriously.”

“I’m serious, Gin,” he said. She looked in his eyes, but they weren’t teasing. “Trelawney predicted it in Roxanne’s class, Roxanne heard everything, and told me after I visited Hermione. She wasn’t looking much better herself.

“So it’s not the flu?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” Harry said, slamming his fist on the table. “I hate it, I don’t know anything now.”

A/N sorry for saying bye to Ron. It's for now, because otherwise their lives would be to perfect. i demand complications, and got...well, a little to much. hope u like it, n R&R, plz.

Chapter 9: NINE
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“Any news yet?” Hermione asked Harry the afternoon she was allowed to go back to her dorm.

Harry shook his head mutely.

“If only I hadn’t let go of his hand, Harry. If only we had gone inside sooner—“

“It’s not your fault, Herm,” he said, interrupting him.

“It is!” she protested.

“There’s no point blaming yourself,” he said. “If you could just remember what happened…Try to remember, Herm. It would help a lot.”

Hermione squinted, trying to remember what happened.

When she closed her eyes, gloom surrounded her, until someone called her name. She opened her heavy eyes, to look up into Ron’s.

“Thank God you’re here, Ron,” Hermione whispered. “I thought I’d lost you.”

“Hermione, listen, Malfoy’s here,” Ron said, sounding a little worried.

“What’s Draco doing outside at this time?” she asked, more to herself.

“Not Draco, Lucius! I think Bellatrix Lestrange is with him. Hermione, we have to get inside, now.”

“Is Voldemort with them?” she asked. He didn’t answer, and Hermione took it as a yes. Somehow she was lying down on the ground, covered in mud. He was holding her head up, and was helping her up.

She staggered up, and leant on his shoulder, rubbing the back of her head, where she had hit something.

Then she heard a cold voice, yell “Crucio”. She expected pain to go through her whole body, but instead Ron fell to the ground and started twitching uncontrollably, yelling occasionally.

She bent down beside him, and touched him. She scanned around where she heard the voice, but she still couldn’t see anything.

When Ron had stopped, he leapt to his feet, and Hermione slowly stood up.

“Crucio” was yelled again, this time by a female. Hermione withered, her body was on fire from the inside, and it hurt so much. She was burning from the interior, it was too hot, she screamed out in pain.

Ron was saying her name over and over again, and she got up, with his help. His wand was out, so Hermione took hers out too. But they couldn’t see where it was coming from, so they were stuck.

Hermione gripped the hem of Ron’s robes tightly, and he stroked her hand with his free hand.

A third voice yelled “crucio” again, and Ron fell to the ground, twitching. Then a cold pair of hands pulled Hermione by the waist. Even though she knew she was close to her attacker, she couldn’t see who it was.

A bony hand clasped her mouth, and she couldn’t say a word. The other hand pinned both of her wrists to her back, and twisted them slightly. Her eyes bulged from the pain, and her eyes darted to see who it was.

A lock of blond hair covered her eyes, hair she knew wasn’t her own.

“Lucius,” she thought.

Ron was yelling her name over and over again, not being able to see her. Lucius then stepped out of the shadow.

“Looking for this?” he held up Hermione easily like she was the wand Draco had earlier.

“Hermione!” he called. “Let her go!”

“As you wish,” he said. He lifted her with a simple ‘Wingardium Leviosa’ spell about ten meters from the ground.

She realized her wrists were tied with snakelike cords, not with Lucius’s hands.

You only realize the beautifulness of the scenery when you’re standing on the edge of a cliff, she realized. She noticed how beautiful Ron was, how magnificent the castle looked. Then she let out an ear-piercing scream, and started falling to the ground.

Despite all the mud, the ground was pretty hard, and Hermione fell to the ground in a sickening crunch, heaped over. Her wrists were tied, and so were her ankles. Ron immediately run to her and called her name repeatedly. But it was no use.

With a small sigh and a tiny “I love you, Ron,” she let her eyes close, and put her throbbing body at rest.


Hermione let a tear roll down her cheek. “I remember,” she said, rubbing her still sore, bruised wrists.

“It was Voldemort. With Bellatrix Lestrange and Malfoy,” she said.

“What happened?”

Hermione told Harry everything, while resisting the urge to cry again.

“It’s all my fault,” she told him.

“No it isn’t,” he said, moving closer to her, and hugging her. She felt more tears running down her cheek, and she started sobbing, shaking uncontrollably.

“Does Mr. Weasley know?” she asked silently.

He let go of her. “Yes, I remember now. Mr. Weasley sent this letter for you, Hermione.”

Harry gave her a parchment, and she opened it.

My dearest Hermione, How are you feeling? I hope you’re much better. Molly isn’t taking Ron’s disappearance to well, and she’s mentally invaded right now. That’s why I’m writing this letter to you, and not her. I would like to tell you, it’s not your fault that our son’s gone. Molly agrees wholeheartedly with me, although she can’t say anything. If you’re feeling better, I would like to ask Professor Dumbledore’s permission to send you home for the Christmas holidays. They’re not too far away, but only come if you’re willing to share your story. I’m sure it would make Molly better. Bill, Charlie, Fred and George are all here, and I wouldn’t mind if you brought Ginny and Harry with you. Ron’s disappearance is hard on all of us, but you mustn’t blame yourself. You did what you did. Remember that.
Yours truly,
Arthur Weasley


“How can he be so nice to me when his son’s missing, and it’s all my fault?”

“It’s not your fault!”

Hermione was surprised at Harry’s sudden up burst, but she then realized she wasn’t the one mourning. Harry lost almost as much as she did, but he wasn’t taking it as hard on himself as she was. But then again, he wasn’t there.



Chapter 10: TEN
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“Hermione! How good to have you here at last!”

Hermione forced a smile, something she couldn’t do in the past two weeks. Mr. Weasley took her bag with a little “ah”, expressing his surprise that her bag was so light for someone staying the whole Christmas at the Burrow.

“Where are Ginny and Harry?” he asked, peering curiously behind her.

When she couldn’t find the strength to answer, he asked again.

“Did they want to stay at Hogwarts?”

She finally nodded, and he told her to come in. George stepped out and took her cold coat from her. It was covered in white flecks of snow.

“You must be cold,” Fred said, coming out of the kitchen. “Come on, come sit by the fire.”

She let him lead her, and also when he made her sit down. Bill and Charlie were sitting there. Bill was roasting a marshmallow, and Charlie was reading. Charlie immediately put down his book.

“How’s it hanging, Hermione?” Charlie asked.

Hermione forced herself to smile again. “Brilliant.”

Fred shivered, and Hermione turned to him. She was almost staring back at him, but her eyes glazed over like she was looking straight through him.

That caused him to shiver again. He knew despite the letter his dad wrote about not blaming herself, she still held herself responsible.

“How’s Mrs. Weasley?” she asked him.

Fred sighed. “Bedridden. It’s not your fault, you know.”

His brothers were surprised that he raised the subject so quickly.

“Yes it is all my fault,” she said. “And I don’t know how you can be nice to me when Ron’s disappearance was because of me!”

She stood up quickly, knocking her stool over. Fred stood up as well, and he gripped her firmly by the shoulders, and gave him a good hard shake.

Her eyes brimmed with tears, and he let go.

“It’s not your fault, stop blaming yourself!” he cried. Bill stood up, and told Fred to sit down. He started talking to Hermione in an undertone, soothing her.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Charlie hissed at Fred.

Fred slammed his fist to the floor. “She can’t keep blaming herself!”

“You can’t blame her for holding herself responsible!” Charlie said.

Fred looked at his older brother, and realized he was right. Bill had managed to calm Hermione, but she was shaking and sat down farthest from Fred when she did.

That’s when Mrs. Weasley came running into the kitchen where they were sitting in silence.

“Hermione! What are you doing here?” she screamed. “You’re the reason my boy’s gone, probably he’s dead because he tried to save you! Get out of my house, now!”

Hermione’s eyes became big, round and glossy. Tears welled up in her eyes.

Mr. Weasley came running in, and tried to restrain Mrs. Weasley from strangling Hermione.

“What are you doing, boys? Get her out of her! That piece of vermin had better not be in here…” she yelled.

Tears flowed down Hermione’s cheeks, and she ran out the door. She ran as quick as she could, anywhere her legs would take her.

She knew it was true now, it was her fault. Mrs. Weasley had said so herself. She wasn’t welcomed at this house, she wanted to leave. She made a mistake by coming here, and she wanted to just go back to Hogwarts. She needed Ron. She loved him to every inch of his body. Yet she hated him. How could he leave her alone like this?

So far Hermione was denying the fact that her Ron could be dead. Nobody at Hogwarts said that, and she was almost sure that was impossible. But Mrs. Weasley told her it was possible Ron could be dead.

She stopped at the edge of the Weasley’s property, shocked to see they had fenced the area around. She couldn’t get out. She let her feet sink through the snow. Her body was numb and had no feeling ever since two weeks ago, it didn’t hurt to sit in the snow.

She was rubbing her wrist again. It was as if the cords were still trying her down. She saw a bit of barb wire sticking out of the fence. She snatched it, and scratched it on her bluing wrist. The redness seemed satisfying, as her blood spread out on the white snow. She leaned back on the fence, exhausted.

She didn’t know how long she sat there, it could be a few minutes or a few hours, but she suddenly noticed Fred sitting there silently beside her.

She nearly leapt up when she saw him, both surprised and frightened.

“I’m sorry,” he said.

She ignored him. “Get me out of here,” she hissed.

“No.”

“Get me out of here!” she cried.

“No.”

“GET ME OUT OF HERE!” she screamed.

“No.”

“You guys don’t want me. Mrs. Weasley said everything that all of you wanted to say,” she said, tears running down her already wet cheeks.

“Some things are better left unsaid,” he said.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I’m sorry,” he said. He sat closer to her, and she leant her head on him, sobbing into his clothes.

“I hate him! I hate him!” she wailed.

“We all do,” he said.

“Fred, I swear it was all my fault. If I hadn’t insisted on watching them, he wouldn’t be with V-Vol-Voldemort.”

Fred winced, but Hermione ignored him.

“Why don’t you tell me all about it?” he asked. His voice was smooth and soothing, she told every detail to him.

After she finished, he remained silent for a few moments, his eyes on her blue and red wrist, suddenly realizing the blood on the snow was hers.

He grabbed the wire from her fingers.

“WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING???” He shouted.

She started shaking, and he realized his mistake.

“I didn’t mean it like that, Hermione,” he said, lowering his voice. “You can’t harm yourself, it wont help Ron. And he would murder each and every one of us if anything happened to you.”

Somehow Fred’s words made Hermione feel contented, that night she had a deep, dreamless sleep.

Or maybe it was because Bill slipped a sleeping potion in her soup.



Chapter 11: ELEVEN
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To her surprise, Hermione woke up at 10 a.m. Someone tapping at the window was what woke her.

As she adjusted her eyes to the light, she noticed she was sleeping on the third floor, so it wasn’t possible for someone to knock on her door. It was Hedwig, a letter tied to her right foot.

Hermione opened the latch on the window and let the owl in. Hermione stroked it absentmindedly for a few minutes, thinking about life in general. Thinking about Ron. Thinking about Harry, Ginny, Mrs. Weasley, Fred, and Bill. Thinking about Voldemort.

Hedwig clicked impatiently and stuck out her leg.

“Ah yes, I forgot about that,” Hermione told the bird, untying the letter.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, HERMIONE! We both hope you’re feeling better. How’s all the Weasleys? Ginny’s down with the flu, because I made them play in the snow a yesterday. But if Ron isn’t back yet, I’m sure McGonaggal’ll let us forfeit. If you burst into tears after reading this I’m going to hex Ginny, so don’t, okay.
Love,
Harry & Ginny


Hermione smiled when she read that letter, suddenly realizing it was Christmas. She hadn’t bought anything for anyone, her mind being occupied as it was.

Nobody in the Weasley household was in the mood for celebrating anyway, and no presents were passed at the table. The boys all looked close to tears, and Hermione herself was constantly slipping away to some dark corner and cry.

“Hermione; Bill, Charlie, George and I are going to a party this afternoon,” Fred informed her around noon. “And dad’s taking Mum to St. Mungo’s. Want to come along?”

Hermione shook her head.

“We wont be back till late,” he continued. “Just come with us, come on. It’s at Angelina’s. You know her. I’m sure she wont mind if you came along.”

She shook her head again, and forced her lips to slant upwards. “No, it’s alright. I’ll be here, in case anything happens.”

“I doubt anything will,” he said. He looked into her eyes, peering curiously with his green eyes. “Are you sure?”

Looking into his eyes, Hermione felt her heart beat faster. Her breath caught itself in her throat. She forced herself to nod, and he walked away, smiling curtly.

You belong to Ron, she reminded herself over and over again. Plus, he’s on the verge of engagement. Angelina Johnson. It’s just infatuation. It’s just infatuation. You’re in love with Ron. Ron. Ron. Ron. Ron. Aaargh! Ron. Ron. Ron. Ron. Ron. Fred. Ron. Ron. Ron. Ron. Ron. Fred. Ron. Ron. Ron. FRED HAS A GIRL ALREADY! GET A GRIP ON YOURSELF!

She was shocked, surprised at herself. This was no time for silly schoolgirl crushes. No time for infatuations. She was Ron’s, where ever he was. She would always be his. Not Fred’s.

She was screaming at her consciousness, which didn’t help her already not-so-good condition. She didn’t realize when the others left, even though she was sure someone had said goodbye.

She felt like she needed to clear her head. She needed some fresh air, so she decided to take a walk around the Weasley property. And to think about Ron, of course. And maybe a thought or two about Fred.

“No Fred, just Ron,” she said. Without meaning to, she said it aloud, which made absolutely no difference.

She didn’t care to take her coat when she went out the back door. She looked up to the clear afternoon sky.

“Why is life so unfair?” she wailed. The only answer she got was a snowflake falling on her nose.

She saw a figure dart between the trees, and she turned around to face it.

“Just a gnome,” she murmured.

“Gnomes hibernate,” the anonymous person replied, stepping out of the shadows.

Her eyes widened in surprise when she saw who it was. Her eyes brimmed with tears, but her lips were turned upwards in a genuine smile, not a forged one like she used to do. This one was a hundred watts, totally Hermione smile.

“RON!!!” she cried, running over to him.

He hugged her with such a passion, and she hugged him back hard.

“I thought you were…gone forever,” he whispered in her hair. “You didn’t move…in a heap like that. You made me worry so much.”

A tear rolled down her cheek, oblivious to them both. Saying nothing, she stepped back, to take a look at Ron.

His robes were drenched in blood. Even his usually white socks were a shade of crimson. His face and skin were bruised and there was a lot of dried blood everywhere. His face was pale, and he was considerably thinner. His breathing was shallow and uneven, and his fingers were blue from the cold. His hair was muddy, and a lot of it had clumped up with blood, invisible because of his flaming red hair. His eyes were shining, full of emotion.

Tears flowed down her cheeks even though she didn’t notice them. He wiped them away with his bloodstained hands, and she realized she had been crying.

“Inside now,” she ordered, taking his hands.

“Aren’t you glad to see me?” he asked, letting her lead him inside.

“I’m over the moon,” she said.

He smiled even though she couldn’t see her, happy that she was still his. When they were inside was when Ron really noticed his body was aching all over.

“Sit,” Hermione said. Ron took a seat nearest to the fire, and took of his robes. His shirt inside it was totally scarlet, and she knew it used to be blue.

Hermione dashed to the bathroom and took out a pail of warm water, and a cloth. She also ran upstairs and got him a particularly loose jumper.

She dampened the cloth in the warm water, and let it go over his face without actually putting any tension on it. She was afraid to think where all the blood came from, but she had to consider all the possibilities.

“Are you cold?” she asked, rubbing his temple with the warm cloth just slightly.

“No,” he said. She ignored him, and once his face was clean, she quickly made a cup of warm tea, and handed it to him. She summoned a blanket from her room, and warmed him up.

He smiled gratefully and her.

“Take off your shirt, now,” she ordered.

“I’ll bathe later,” he volunteered.

“Now,” she hissed.

He did as he was told, although it was hard because the shirt had stiffened. Hermione felt a tear running down her cheeks again when she saw his chest. It was covered in a thick layer of blood, and a huge wound was still bleeding freely.

Silently, he wiped her stream of tears, but she didn’t look at him. She quietly concentrated on wiping away his blood.

“What did they do to you?” she sobbed.

“It was nothing, Hermione. Nothing compared to the thought that I might lose you.”

That made her cry some more, as she furiously tried to concentrate on getting his torso clean.

When most of the blood was gone, she summoned her first aid kit, and bandaged his wound. She couldn’t heal with a flick of a wand or a potion like Madam Pomfrey, but she certainly knew the Muggle ways.

“Are you feeling better?” she asked when she had finished his whole body.

“Much,” he replied.

She took his hands in hers, but he winced. She looked down at them, and realized they were just as badly bruised-or even worse-than hers.

“Oh Merlin forgive them,” she said, observing his wrists.

He pulled them away, but she kept a good grip on them. She summoned a Muggle antidote for bruises she always carried in her coat pocket. It was a cool jellylike substance, and he couldn’t help but smile when she spread it out on his wrists.

“Off to bed,” she said.

“But-“

“No buts,” she smiled.

He scowled, and she helped him up. She flicked her wand lazily, and all the things in the kitchen cleaned itself up. Ron’s robes and shirt flew outside and pinned itself to the clothes line to air. The pail and cloth went back in the bathroom, and so on.

Hermione noticed Ron limping, so she stood beside him and let his weight lean on her.

When they reached his room, she opened the door, and he climbed into his bed. She noticed he didn’t put his weight on one foot, just let it limp along.

She pulled a chair, and sat right next to him. He smiled at her for a few minutes before finally closing his eyes. She observed his ankle silently, letting her fingers trail slightly on his feet.

“Hermione?”

“What?” she asked, turning to look at him.

“I think I have a fever,” he frowned.

She felt worry express itself on her face. One of her hands felt for his temperature on his forehead, while the other on his neck.

“You don’t seem to-“

He grabbed both her wrists, causing her lots of pain. She winced, and he saw her. He shoved her sleeves back, and saw her bruised, bloodstained wrists.

“Bloody hell,” he cursed.

Hermione pulled away, but he kept a firm grip on it.

“Let me see that, ‘Mione,” he said softly.

“No,” she said. “I’m fine.”

“No you’re not,” he replied. He grabbed her right wrist, and reached for his wand beside her.

He did a simple ‘swish and flick’ motion with his wand, and Hermione felt a cold tingle. When she looked down at her wrist, all the wounds and bruises were gone, like there never was anything there.

“How did you-?”

He motioned for her to give him her other wrist, which she gave hesitantly. He did the same thing, and soon both her wrists were good as new.

“How did you-?”

“I might’ve learnt a thing or two from Madam Pomfrey,” he shrugged, smiling.

“Thanks. Anyway, go to bed, now.”

He frowned, but did what she told him to do. At least he tried.

Hermione looked at Ron intently, and saw him thrashing and turning. Every few minutes he would turn to Hermione and look at her. Finally, she couldn’t stand it anymore.

“Wait here one second,” she said.

She went downstairs and took a vial of dreamless sleep potion she nicked from the Hospital Wing back at Hogwarts. She had used them on herself because she didn’t dare dream of Ron again.

“Before you give me than stupid dreamless sleep potion,” Ron said, “Let me give you your Christmas present.”

“You don’t have to Ron,” she blushed, embarrassed. “I didn’t get anything for you, so I can’t receive anything.”

“No, it’s ok,” he said, reaching for something in the pocket of his trousers. He fished out a box.

She opened it slowly, glancing between a smug Ron and his present. When she had opened it, her eyes widened in surprise.

“Where did you get it?” she asked. She looked down at a silver necklace, with a pendant in the shape of a heart. It had a tiny R&H on it.

“Do you like it?” he asked.

She smiled as her eyes welled up with tears. “I love it.”

He smiled. “Give me that potion.”

“How did you know it was a dreamless sleep potion?” she asked.

“I served lots of detentions in the Hospital Wing. Let’s just leave it at that,” he said. She reluctantly gave him the potion, which he gobbled hungrily. She somberly realized she had forgot to give him any food.

He was nice enough not to ask for some, remembering what she was doing in the kitchen before.

“I’m so stupid!” Hermione wailed.

“No you’re not,” Ron smiled.

Hermione blinked at him for a moment, in surprise. She thought he had fallen asleep already.

“I love you, Hermione,” he said weakly.

“I love you too, Ron. But I wont if you don’t fall asleep right now,” she smiled playfully.

He pretended to scowl, but instead closed his eyes and fell asleep.

He doesn’t snore, she noted.

*


“Hermione? I’m home!”

Hermione ran down the steps two at a time. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were standing in the doorway, taking off their coats.

Mr. Weasley was smiling when he saw Hermione smiling. Mrs. Weasley just scowled.

“Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, I have some good news for you if you would keep quiet,” Hermione said softly. “Ron’s back.”

Mrs. Weasley’s eyes lit up, and Mr. Weasley grinned happily.

“I put him to sleep upstairs with a dreamless sleep potion. I’m sorry I didn’t ask your permission first,” she continued, not catching their eyes.

“Oh, you don’t have to ask our permission to do something like that to our boy,” Mrs. Weasley smiled. “Honey, you must be tired. Why don’t you go to bed now, I’ll take care of him?”

“Actually, Mrs. Weasley, I’m not exhausted at all,” Hermione smiled. “I’m too excited.”

“Dear, I’m sorry about what I said yesterday,” Mrs. Weasley apologized. “I didn’t mean it. I was just so caught up in-“

“I know, Mrs. Weasley, it’s okay.”

“Can we see Ron now?” Mr. Weasley asked.

“Only if you’re very quiet.”

The two Weasleys nodded, and Hermione led them up to Ron’s room quietly. The two older Weasleys were so happy when they saw their youngest boy sleeping in his room peacefully.

Hermione stood outside the door, waiting for them to come out. It wasn’t long when they did.

“Hermione, you did a wonderful job,” Mrs. Weasley praised when she had shut the door.

“I what?”

“I’m sure Ron didn’t come home looking like that,” Mr. Weasley said. “I’m going to bed now. Night, honey. Night, Hermione. Thank you so much.”

“Sit down and have a cup of tea with me,” Mrs. Weasley said.

Hermione nodded, she couldn’t reject an offer like that.

When she sat down, Mrs. Weasley busied herself in making tea.

“If you two get married, you are definitely getting my full blessing, Hermione dear,” she said, pouring tea from a teapot into her and Hermione’s cups.

Hermione blushed. “I don’t know about that far yet, Mrs. Weasley.”

“But you want to, don’t you, dear?”

Seeing Hermione hesitate, she continued. “You can tell me, it’s ok.”

“I would love to marry Ron, Mrs. Weasley, but I’m only seventeen. Too young to think about that,” she blushed. “Voldemort’s still about, and its not safe.”

“Would you like to bring Ron’s children into the world?”

Hermione blushed even redder at this.

“I really have no idea,” she answered rather truthfully. When she saw Mrs. Weasley’s face fall, she continued rather hastily.

“I mean, having Ron’s children would be okay with me, but I’m afraid its not safe these days. You cant bring children to this world when they’ll just be brought up with fear and death,” Hermione said.

“You are a wise girl, my dear,” Mrs. Weasley smiled happily.

“Mrs. Weasley, there’s something I need to tell you. About Ron.”

Mrs. Weasley’s face darkened, and Hermione could see her imagining not-so-good things.

“When he came, Ron had three still open wounds,” she said. “One on his temple, one on the back of his head, and one on his chest. I bandaged them and treated them the Muggle way, because I have no idea how to do it with magic.”

Mrs. Weasley looked somewhat relieved that this was what the bad news was, and not something else she had imagined.

“That’s okay, Hon,” she smiled.

A tapping on a window then distracted both women from their tea.

“It’s Errol,” Mrs. Weasley said.

Hermione got up and opened the window, letting Errol in.

Errol crashed into a vase, smashing it to pieces. Mrs. Weasley almost lazily flicked her wand and repaired it while Hermione untied the note.

“It’s from Fred,” she said.

“What does it say?”

“They’re staying at Angelina’s.”

“That’s ok. Reply on the back, and tell him Ron’s back. Don’t worry, and have a pleasant night.”

Hermione scribbled on the back of the note just like Mrs. Weasley told her to, and retied the note to Errol’s leg.

“I suppose I should write to Harry and Ginny too, shouldn’t I, telling them Ron’s back?” Hermione asked.

“Yes,” Mrs. Weasley said. “But you can do it in the morning. Now I want you to have a rest.”

“No,” Hermione said. “I’ll watch Ron for a little while before going to bed. You go to bed, Mrs. Weasley. You must be exhausted.”

“I am,” the older witch smiled. “And I will. Goodnight, Hermione. And thank you.”

Hermione smiled as she watched the older woman go to her room, and soon trooped silently up the stairs into Ron’s room.

If anybody had looked in on Ron, they would discover two people sleeping in the room. Ron, and a tired Hermione curled up in the chair beside him.



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