Days turned into weeks; weeks turned into months; months turned into more months, and before any of the trio knew it, it was June and they were finishing their very last term at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Both Ron and Harry had been accepted into Beauxbaton’s new Auror program in France, and Hermione would be attending Healer training at St. Mungo’s in London.
And during these many months, Ron and Hermione’s relationship stayed cautiously formal. They talked, but of nothing deeper than classes or the weather. Ron, heartbroken and empty inside, didn’t know whether to be angry with Hermione or shake her and tell her how daft she was being. Hermione, also heartbroken and empty inside, didn’t know whether to plead with Ron to take her back or to just leave him alone all together.
Both of them were clearly torn.
A pillow launched itself onto Ron’s bed, landing on a pile of gorgeous red hair, and emitting and “Ooof!” from its owner.
“Time for breakfast!”
Ron merely grunted about not being hungry and shifted into a more comfortable position in his bed. His stomach emitted a loud growl, reminding him of his famished state, and he inwardly groaned.
“C’mon, Ron,” came Harry’s voice. “She’s not down there. Ginny told me she went to breakfast early this morning.” He rummaged around. “I know you’re hungry.”
Of course, Ron already knew this. It was typical Hermione behavior. The day of an exam, she got up, ate breakfast quickly, and then retreated to the library for some last minute studying. He remembered a time when they would both go to the library for some “studying”…
Stop that! he yelled at his brain. Don’t think about that!
“Hermione is the least of my worries right now.” He was lying. Harry knew he was lying. He knew Harry knew he was lying, but neither of them commented on it.
“Well, will you hurry up? I’m hungry…”
“Than go eat. I’m not hungry.”
“Yeah you are.” Harry yawned. “C’mon, Ron. You haven’t eaten breakfast in the longest time. Do you want me to write to your mother about that?”
“Ha, ha, ha,” Ron laughed dryly. “I don’t need to eat breakfast. I have some crackers in my bag if I get hungry. And who knows? Maybe I’ll indulge in some last minute studying.”
“Sure,” said Harry, sounding unconvinced. “Well…if you change your mind, I’ll be in the Great Hall.”
“’Bye.” Ron waved, as Harry exited the dormitory. He let out a yawn and lay back in his bed. His stomach growled once again, and he eagerly emptied the confines of his bag to get a hold of his crackers. With a final, “Aha!” he found his treasure, and proceeded to munch on his food.
“We’re too different, Ron. Too different. We can’t keep doing this.”
Ron sighed and nibbled some more on his cracker. Her voice had been haunting him for several months. He couldn’t get her out of his head. He missed her terribly, and then, at the same time, he couldn’t help being a bit irked by her behavior. He was hurt by the fact that she referred to their seemingly loving relationship as “this”. And sure, they were different, but their differences were what kept them together. They complimented each other, or so Ron thought. He was the youngest boy, she was an only child; he was funny, she was serious; he was plain, she was beautiful…
“Go away, Ginny.” Ron hurriedly stuffed his crackers back in his bag. “I’m not hungry.”
“I’m not Ginny.” Hermione emerged from the outside hallway and frowned at Ron. His jaw dropped.
“Hermione!” he squeaked out. He turned bright red and cleared his throat as he quickly jumped out of his bed. “I mean—Hermione…what—?”
“Why aren’t you at breakfast?”
“I’m not hungry,” he stated defensively. “Why aren’t you at breakfast?”
Hermione ignored his question. “You’re not hungry? Why not?”
“I’m just not.”
Hermione looked down at her feet.
“I thought you were in the library.”
“I was,” said Hermione, “but I, er, I forgot my books and needed to come get them.”
“In the boys’ dormitories’?” Ron raised his eyebrows in confusion.
“No, I just went up the wrong staircase.”
“You went up the wrong staircase?” Ron repeated skeptically. “After being here for seven years?”
“I’ve been in the Head’s dormitory for a year and have forgotten my way.” She pursed her lips and crossed her arms over her chest. “Is there something you wanted?”
“You came up here!” Ron shouted. “You’re the reason you’re here! You ‘forgot your school books’!”
Hermione shot him a look, but said nothing more and looked down at her shoes. Ron stuffed his hands in his pockets, nervous.
“I guess I should go,” Hermione announced, not moving.
“Yeah.” Ron nodded, looking anywhere but towards the doorway.
“Er—good luck on exams.”
Ron swallowed. “Yeah…you too.” He glanced at her briefly to find her staring at him in return. She quickly looked down. “Not that you need it or anything.”
A blush graced Hermione’s cheek as she backed out of the dorm. “I’ll see you later. ‘Bye.”
Hermione left, and Ron could have sworn she smiled shyly on the way out. He grabbed a pillow and screamed in it, not knowing whether to run down the stairs to catch her and snog her senseless or run down the stairs and ask her what in the bloody hell she was playing at.
The former seemed very tempting.
Ron screamed in his pillow again.
It’s going to be a long day.
“She just came into the dorm?”
“Just like that?”
“Just like that.”
“That’s odd…” Harry shook his head. “Not like Hermione at all.”
“Yeah…tell me about it.”
Harry nodded. “D’you reckon she’s been…,” he trailed off, waving his hands.
“Been what?” questioned Ron, confused.
“You know,” Harry whispered, taking a quick look around the courtyard, “been…coming up to the dorm every day when she thinks we’re gone.”
Ron looked nonplussed. “Why would she do that?”
Harry rolled his eyes. “’Cause she’s enjoys wearing men’s underwear,” he said sardonically.
Ron’s nose screwed up in disgust. “Really?”
“No!” Harry yelled, causing several birds nearby to fly away. “It’s ‘cause she’s still in love with you!”
“No she’s not.” Ron shook his head, refusing to believe Harry. “If she still loves me, she wouldn’t have broken it off in the first place.”
Harry shrugged. “Maybe she’s protecting you from something.”
“No idea,” said Harry. “C’mon. We should get to Herbology.”
Ron nodded and followed Harry to the greenhouses, his mind far away from the upcoming Herbology exam.
“I know, Gin, I couldn’t help it,” whispered Hermione, wringing her hands. They were in the library, pretending to search for some extra study materials. “And he was right there! What was he doing? Why was he in there?”
“It’s his dormitory, Hermione,” said Ginny, fighting not to smile. “I think he has the authority to be in there.”
“Well—I know that, Ginny, but—“ she faltered and frowned at Ginny’s laughing face.
“Look, Hermione, you should really be more careful, you know.”
“I know…I just couldn’t help it.” She sighed. “He was sitting there, trying to hide his crackers…” She smiled to herself. “It was endearing.”
“Merlin,” Ginny sighed; she rolled her eyes and shook her head in disbelief. “I cannot believe you just used my brother and the word ‘endearing’ in the same sentence.”
Hermione turned pink and shrugged. “I—“
“Why’d you do it?” asked Ginny, her voice suddenly serious.
“Do what?” Hermione already knew the answer.
“Break things off with Ron,” said Ginny simply. “Both of you have been miserable.”
Hermione shook her head and sat down at a nearby table. “It’s complicated. I just—we argue so much and…” She shook her head and looked up at Ginny, forcing a smile. “It’s not important. I need to get to Herbology. Good luck on your exams, Ginny!”
And before Ginny could comment, Hermione was out of the library.
“’Glad that’s over,” Ron muttered, as he and Harry emerged from their Defense Against the Dark Arts N.E.W.T: their last and final exam at Hogwarts. “I managed to conjure my Patronus on the fifth try.” His voice was sarcastic and rather shaky.
“Don’t worry about it,” said Harry distantly. “At least you conjured it,” he added. Ron nodded. Several people in the class (non-D.A members) had not managed to conjure up a Patronus, and that would significantly hurt their scores.
“Hermione conjured hers on the first try,” Ron commented conversationally. “I mean—obviously, she was going to do that, but—“
“Right,” Harry interjected with a smirk, as they turned a corner and bumped right into Hermione herself.
“Oh,” she gasped, her hand over her heart in alarm. “I’m sorry—I wasn’t paying attention.”
“It’s all right, Hermione,” Harry assured her, exchanging significant glances with Ron. “Erm…I’m actually quite glad we ran into you,” he started, and noticed how Hermione’s eyebrows quickly went up. “I need to talk to you.”
“Really?” Hermione’s voice was skeptical. “What about?”
“Uh—“ Harry stuttered. “Well…we are Head Boy and Girl, so we should discuss” – he struggled while looking for the foreign word – “duties.”
Hermiones eyebrows shot up even higher. “Duties?” she repeated, shifting her bag onto her right shoulder. “Er, all right. When?”
“Now would be fantastic.” Harry looked at Ron. “I’ll meet you in the common room?”
Ron looked confused, and had the sense that Harry and Hermione would be discussing anything but duties, but he nodded slowly in understanding. “Okay,” he stated simply, as they walked off. He was rather apprehensive about what they would be doing, but he quickly dismissed that thought; Harry and Hermione were just friends. Shaking his head of his thoughts, he retreated the other way and disappeared down the corridor.
“So, what do you really want to talk about?” Hermione inquired as she dropped her bag on the nearest bench.
“Duties,” replied Harry, without blinking as he dropped his bag next to Hermione’s.
Hermione pursed her lips. “Honestly Harry,” she said, hands on her hips, “tell me why you really wanted to talk to me.”
Harry sat down, and without looking at her, spoke up. “It’s about Ron.”
“Oh.” She looked down at her hands and fiddled with them nervously, her heart beating loudly in her ears. “What about him?”
“He… He told me what happened this morning.”
“Oh.” She flushed in embarrassment. “What exactly did he say?”
“He said you came to the dorm,” he said simply.
“I did,” she sighed as she slowly sat down next to Harry.
Hermione shrugged. “I needed to.”
Hermione swallowed nervously and looked down at her hands. “Ron’s heart wasn’t the only one broken a few months ago, Harry,” she whispered. “I’ve never, ever, ever felt the pain that I felt then.”
“Than why’d you break up with him?” asked Harry, his voice almost desperate.
“We’re different,” she began, “in almost every way. And I know that can be a good thing, but in our case it did more bad than good. I was so absorbed in everything but Ron, and I thought it was only a matter of time before he would break up with me. So—“
“So you broke up with him to protect yourself,” said Harry, comprehension pouring over his body like a cold liquid.
“Exactly.” Hermione nodded. “But it didn’t work out the way I planned it would.”
“I thought that once I broke up with Ron, I’d be free. I’d be free from the guilt I felt about not spending time with him, and I thought I’d be happy just being myself and not being told to ‘lighten up’ or ‘relax.’” She sighed sadly and looked up at Harry. “That didn’t happen. I felt even guiltier for breaking up with him—that was after I realized how in love we were—and I realized that I actually liked him telling me to relax. I liked it when he would pry me away from my work and attempt to loosen me up by taking me outside or going for a walk.” She smiled slightly. “It was nice. I miss it. I miss him.”
Harry followed Hermione’s gaze to Hagrid’s hut. “D’you...regret it in any way?”
“Do I regret it?” Hermione repeated before shaking her head slightly. “Surprisingly, no I don’t. I think it was good for me.”
“Being heartbroken was good for you?” Harry questioned dubiously.
“Yes it was.” Hermione nodded. “I’m stronger. I’m better at controlling my emotions. And regardless of what happened, I wouldn’t take it back for the World.”
“Well, that’s good for you,” said Harry, bitterness creeping in his voice. “What about Ron?”
“He’s changed as well,” Hermione told him. “Haven’t you noticed?”
Harry had, to an extent. He noticed that Ron had adopted a reserved nature about him that kept him inside on sunny afternoons, doing homework, but Harry had thought nothing of it; they did have N.E.W.T.s after all. “He’s more focused, I suppose,” noted Harry with a shrug.
“Exactly,” Hermione whispered. “Because he wasn’t distracted with spending time with me, he became focused and did what was necessary.” She grinned. “That’s why he’s going to be an Auror.”
Harry smiled despite himself. “’Guess you’re right,” he told her, nodding, and they exchanged smiles.
“Come on,” said Hermione as she suddenly jumped up from her seat and grabbed her bag. “I need to pack. We leave tomorrow.”
“Yeah, me too.” Harry followed suit and hoisted his bag over his shoulder. “And I told Ron I’d meet him in the common room.”
“Right.” Hermione nodded. “Well…I guess I’ll see you at dinner.” And with that, she forced a small smile and turned on her heel.
“You should talk to him, y’know,” Harry called, as she walked off. Hermione stopped walking. It was as if Harry’s words had acted as a barrier between her and the rest of the courtyard, not allowing her to go and find shelter in the library. “I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.”
Hermione nodded briskly without turning around to face Harry, and broke through the barrier with a newfound confidence.
“I’m hungry,” Ron announced, jumping up from his chair, as Harry climbed through the portrait hole. “Want to go down to the kitchens?”
“Er—“ Harry felt heat creeping up in his neck. “I’m, er, supposed to meet Ginny for—“
“Oh,” Ron interrupted, looking put out. “Right.
“I’m sorry, I just—“
“I know.” Ron put up his hand to quiet Harry. “You just want to spend some time alone” – he shoved his hands in his pockets – “with your girlfriend.”
Harry nodded slowly.
“It’s not a problem, really,” Ron assured him, nodding and forcing a smile. “I mean—more for me, right?”
Harry nodded, but when Ron thought Harry wasn’t looking, his face was screwed up in a dejected frown. “I need to get cleaned up,” Harry said.
“Yeah you should,” replied Ron, looking up. “You don’t smell too good.”
Harry rolled his eyes and brushed pass Ron on his way to the boy’s staircase. “Ron,” he called suddenly.
Ron turned and looked at him quizzically. “Yes?”
“Hermione might want to go with you to the kitchens.” Harry turned around, without staying to see Ron’s reaction, and smiled to himself as he climbed the staircase.
“Take this cart, Miss Granger,” Madam Pince ordered briskly, “and shelf the books alphabetically. If you have a problem, just leave the book on the cart.”
“Thank you, Madam Pince.” Hermione smiled politely at the older woman as she gave a crisp nod and stalked off to her desk.
With great force, Hermione pushed the book-laden cart along the libraries’ rows. She was completely engrossed in what she was doing, and was thoroughly enjoying shelving the books, that is, until she got to a book that belonged on the very top shelf. Unfortunately for her, she lacked the vertical blessings that were necessary in this line of work, and she huffed in desperation, blowing a wisp of fallen hair out of her eyes. She knew magic was not allowed in the library, and she let out a groan of frustration when her attempt at jumping did not work.
“D’you need some help?”
Hermione nearly fainted at the sound of his voice, and she whipped around to face an amused Ron. Defiantly, her brown eyes met his blues, and she involuntarily stood up to her full height.
Ron raised his eyebrows. “Well?”
“D’you need some help?” he repeated, his voice teasing.
Hermione blushed, and gave a small nod. “I suppose I do.” She handed him the book. “It goes on the very top shelf—in between Magical Me and Moste Potent Potions.”
Effortlessly, Ron slid the book where she directed, and rubbed his hands once he was done. “Anything else?”
Hermione shook her head. “Not at the moment,” she said.
“Well—er,” he started, “d’you mind if I help you out? I mean” – here his ears turned bright red – “I can put up the taller ones and you can work with the bottom shelves.”
“I suppose that’s a good idea.” Hermione’s voice was shaky and she swallowed nervously. She didn’t think she could spend so much time around Ron, especially after the talk with Harry. Her brain was still raw with the details of the conversation, and all the burdens that she thought she had buried safely away had resurfaced and proved themselves to be immovable.
The plan started off innocent enough; Hermione took care of everything on the bottom, Ron was occupied with the top, and there was very little conversation between them. This continued for quite a while until Ron finally blurted out the question that had been plaguing him all afternoon:
“So what did you and Harry talk about?”
Hermione froze, almost dropping the book in her hands. He asked the question she precisely did not want him to ask. How could she look him in the eye and tell him that she was glad she broke up with him because it helped her control her emotions? How could she possibly look at him and say, “I was selfish and tried to protect myself from love”? The idea was preposterous.
“Relationships,” she said simply, sliding the book onto the shelf.
“Oh really?” Ron didn’t sound surprised. In all honesty, he wasn’t. “What type of relationships?”
Hermione sighed heavily and went for another book. It was now or never. “Romantic relationships.”
Hermione swallowed nervously. She suddenly became aware of the sweatiness of her hands and the incessant beating in her ears. She let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding. “You and I.”
Ron had dropped the book he was holding. Hermione didn’t budge from her spot, and she felt, more than saw, him bend to pick it up. “Oh.”
“Yeah,” she breathed out, grabbing another book from the cart.
They worked in silence for several more minutes, both of their minds spinning frenziedly with the knowledge that the inevitable conversation they had been avoiding for quite a few months was merely seconds away.
“Ron,” Hermione said suddenly, causing Ron to jump in alarm.
“Yeah?” he questioned, turning around to face her. She wasn’t looking at him, but at the book in her hands.
“Er—I have a book that needs to go on the top shelf here. Can you take care of it for me?”
Ron nodded soundlessly and crossed the row in two easy strides. As he took the book from her, their fingers brushed together, and both of them felt an electronic shock zoom through their bodies from the contact. Ron’s ears turned bright red and Hermione’s pale face colored significantly.
“Top shelf,” she told him unnecessarily, as Ron moved to slide the book into the open gap.
Suddenly, Hermione moved to put a book at her on the middle shelf, and she found herself trapped by Ronald Weasley’s arms and the bookshelf.
“Oh,” she gasped, diverting her eyes from Ron’s; they had suddenly become too blue to look into. “I’m sorry…”
“Don’t worry about it,” Ron stated, his voice lower than normal. His eyes were boring holes into her face, and she was flushing even more brightly than before. He was so intense, and despite herself, Hermione felt herself drawn to him in the only way a woman can be drawn to a man.
But she was stopped when Ron’s lips made contact with her nose. At first, she was shocked—how could he even think of kissing her after all that had happened?—but then comprehension dawned on her and she became confused. Why was he kissing her nose?
Ron froze, his lips glued to her nose. He had meant to aim a little lower, and he had meant for it to be the most heartfelt, passionate kiss Hermione had ever received, but it wasn’t.
This is awkward.
“Er,” Hermione squeaked out, ducking out of Ron’s man-made cage. She was as red as Ron’s hair. “Well…”
Ron was red, too, but not for the same reason as Hermione. He was embarrassed out of his mind. “I-I-I should,” he stuttered, “I-I sh-should go.”
Hermione shook her head very briefly, but Ron was out of the library so fast Hermione wondered if there was a spider anywhere in the vicinity.
Unfortunately for her, there wasn’t.
“Hello Ron Wheezy, sir!” Dobby squealed excitedly, as Ron passed through the threshold of the kitchen. “Dobby is most pleased to see Ron Wheezy!”
“Hi, Dobby,” Ron replied gloomily, giving Dobby a forced smile. “Have you got any treacle tarts?”
“Yes, Ron Wheezy, sir!” Dobby’s tennis ball eyes were practically overflowing with happiness as he scurried off to the pantry in pursuit of Ron’s treacle tarts.
Several house-elves walked pass Ron and bowed appreciatively, and he forced a grin in return. He didn’t feel very social at the moment; perhaps it was because, after trying to kiss the girl of his dreams, he managed to latch himself onto her nose and cause her to push away from him again.
“Here you go, Ron Wheezy, sir!” Dobby cried excitedly as he handed Ron the treacle tart. Ron was momentarily surprised to find him back so soon, but that quickly evaporated, and he eagerly retrieved the dessert from Dobby’s long fingers.
“Thanks, Dobby,” he muttered thickly. “This is excellent.”
“Dobby is glad Ron Wheezy likes it, sir,” he stated with a wide smile. “It’s been a long time since Ron Wheezy and Harry Potter visited Dobby.”
Ron stopped eating his treacle tart mid-bite, and frowned down at Dobby. “Sorry, Dobby. We’ve had exams...”
“Dobby understands Ron Wheezy, sir!” Dobby nodded earnestly. “Where is Harry Potter, sir?”
Ron’s frown deepened. “He’s with his girlfriend.”
Ron nodded and took another bite of the treacle tart.
“Dobby is most pleased!”
“Dobby!” Winky cried as she ran over to him. “Dobby and Winky need to get supper ready!”
“Oh!” Dobby jumped up, causing Ron to blink in surprise. “Dobby must leave Ron Wheezy, sir!”
“Oh, that’s all right, Dobby,” said Ron as he moved to the door. “I was just about to leave.”
“Bye, Ron Wheezy, sir!” Dobby called, as Winky dragged him off.
Ron climbed out of the fruit portrait and started down the corridor to Gryffindor Tower. He was coming to the very end of his treacle tart, and was suddenly regretting not asking for another.
Turning a corner, Ron licked the last of his treacle tart off of his fingers and wiped them on his robe. He was suddenly aware of how alone he was, suddenly aware that he could no longer use the treacle tart to numb his emotions, and suddenly aware that he had just made a complete idiot of himself in the library.
If it would have happened to anyone else, Ron would have laughed. He would have laughed until he cried, but now all Ron wanted to do was cry.
That’s right. He wanted to cry.
He also wanted to run to the library and try to kiss her again, but his pride wouldn’t let him. His pride controlled his feet, and soon he found himself in front of the Fat Lady, staring at her blankly.
“Well?” she urged, irritated. “You’re not getting through without the password.”
“Oh,” said Ron. “Right. Er – Peruvian Vipertooth.”
The portrait hole swung open, and Ron climbed through, making a beeline for the boy’s staircase.
“Where have you been?”
Her voice stabbed him in the back and he turned around in curiosity. The Head Girl stared back at him, hands on her hips, her brows contracted in worry, her lips in a straight line.
“Her-Hermione,” he said, catching himself, “what are you doing in here?”
“This is the common room, Ron. I can be in the common room, can’t I?”
“No, I mean—“ he stammered, “why aren’t you in the library?”
She shrugged. “I suddenly wasn’t interested in shelving books anymore.”
“Oh.” He nodded and cautiously took a step towards her. “Why not?”
“I couldn’t put half of them up,” she whispered, grinning a little.
“Right.” Ron nodded once again. “Er, well—“
Ron stopped mid-sentence and stared at her. “Why?”
She crossed her arms over her chest, and looked down at her feet. “Let’s sit, shall we?”
Ron watched as Hermione crossed the circular room and sat down in a high-backed wooden chair. He followed suit.
“I’m sorry,” she began, “for breaking up with you—“
“No, Ron,” she interjected sternly, casting him a look. “Let me explain myself.
“In a nutshell, I broke up with you to protect myself. I was afraid of our relationship. I was afraid of what would happen. I was so engrossed in being Head Girl and getting as many N.E.W.T.s as possible, and it was only a matter of time before you” – she looked up at him shyly – “decided you wanted something else. Or rather—someone else.”
Ron was shaking his head vehemently. Hermione shook her head to stop him. “No…I need to explain myself.
“So I did what you were inevitably going to do. To protect myself.” She fiddled with her hands. “And, in a way, I protected you, as well. Ron, you needed to be nurtured, to be loved, and I can’t do that in the way I know how if I remind you of your mother.”
The tips of Ron’s ears turned bright red.
“And…you’ve changed,” she stated, a hint of a smile creeping up on her face, “I mean…look at you. You helped me shelf books today!”
Ron let out a laugh and cast his eyes downward.
“And you shouldn’t be concerned about what happened today in the library because I—“
She was cut off by Ron’s lips as he captured hers in a kiss. Neither of them moved for a few moments, until Hermione’s hands moved instinctively up his shirt and around his neck, and her lips started to tentatively move against his. Ron quickly responded and soon they were kissing so fervently several people scattered around the common room started giggling.
“Ron?” Hermione suddenly mumbled against his lips.
“Hmm?” Ron responded, causing vibrations to resonate against her lips. Hermione groaned, and she gently pushed him away, shaking her head.
“We still need to talk,” she told him quietly, staring into his eyes.
Ron nodded reluctantly, and took her hands in his. “About what? ‘Mione, I love you. I never stopped. I was never even angry with you—”
“What?” Hermione stopped him, eyebrows raised. “What do you mean you were never angry with me?”
“Well…I mean, I told myself I was, but I really wasn’t,” he admitted. “I can never be truly mad at you.” He smiled. “My heart won’t let me.”
Hermione blushed. “I love you.”
“I love you.”
Later that evening, as Ron and Hermione sat in the corner of the common room—Hermione reading Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Ron pretending to read his Chudley Canons book for the umpteenth time—Harry and Ginny strolled in, both looking rather pleased with themselves.
“Hi,” Harry greeted them with a grin, as Ginny moved to sit down next to Hermione.
“Hey,” Ron replied, closing his book. “How was your picnic?”
Harry nodded. “It was all right, wasn’t it Gin?”
Ginny grinned, and the two of them shared a secret smile while Hermione closed her book. “What did you two do?” Ginny asked Ron and Hermione.
Ron and Hermione exchanged amused glances. “We shelved books in the library.”
“Really?” Harry looked surprised. “How did that go?”
Hermione smiled. “Pretty well.”
Ginny raised her eyebrows—she was almost certain she had missed something incredibly significant—but Harry discreetly shook his head and mouthed, “Later.”
“Do you all realize this is our last night at Hogwarts?” Hermione asked Ron and Harry, her head tilted to the side.
Ginny nodded, and then jumped up and quickly went over to Colin Creevey.
“It is, isn’t it?” Ron said, eyebrows scrunched together at Ginny’s behavior.
“Yeah,” Harry breathed out. “It’s hard to believe.”
Ron and Hermione both nodded slowly. Suddenly, tears burst into Hermione’s eyes, and Ron wrapped a comforting arm around her shoulders.
“What’s wrong, love?”
“I’m going to miss you two,” she cried, her head falling onto Ron’s shoulder. “I mean—both of you are going off to France to be Aurors and I’ll be here in England—“
“—and we can Apparate in a heartbeat to come see you,” Ron finished for her with a grin.
Hermione sniffed, and gratefully took the handkerchief Harry offered her. “I guess you’re right. I just feel so foolish. I mean, Ron, you and I—“
“—have a long life ahead of us,” he assured her, pressing his forehead against hers. “”Mione…”
“And you, Harry!” she cried, flinging her arms around him. “I love you… You’re the brother I never had!”
“Got the camera!” Ginny announced as she proudly brandished the camera, but then frowned at seeing Hermione’s tearful face over Harry’s shoulder. “Hermione, what’s wrong?”
“She’s emotional,” Ron spoke for Hermione as he rubbed her back. “It’s our last night here, after all.”
“Yes,” Ginny agreed with a nod, “it is.” She frowned. “Well, come on, than; let me take your picture.”
Hermione let go of Harry, sniffed, dabbed her eyes, and smiled as brightly as she could, as Ginny snapped the picture.
Ten years later, a pregnant Hermione Weasley sat at her Chief Healer’s desk, beaming at the picture of her, Ron, and Harry on their last day of school. Harry was beaming at the camera, and Ron would ever-so-oftenly move to kiss Hermione’s cheek. Beside that was a picture of her and Ron at their wedding, and beside that was a picture of a pregnant Hermione, Ron, and their two-year-old son, Alex during Christmas at the Burrow.
She lay back in her chair, her hands unconsciously moving to her enlarged stomach, and grinned at her surroundings.
Hermione looked up at the trainee Healer in mild surprise. “Yes?”
“This note just came for you.”
“Oh,” said Hermione, taking the note from the girl, “thank you.”
Hermione looked down at the note, and smiled widely at the four words scrawled in the handwriting she knew all too well:
I’m mad about you.
Author's Note: That's the end! Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed! :)
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