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A/N: Hi again. I'm so so sorry for the long wait. I hope you all had a great Halloween and whatever holidays through which I've neglected my baby fanfic... Well I'm back, and for the extra long wait between chapters, I'm posting two! Keep on reading and reviewing! -------- You like to think that you know me; in your eyes I am something above you.
It’s only in your mind. Only in your mind… I wear a halo.

“He did it, he did it!” Ginny cried in delight, bounding over to Ron and Hermione to deliver the news.

They were sitting in the back yard on the grass, at the crest of a downward slope, and Ron was just about to beat her at Wizard’s Chess for probably the hundredth time.

“What did who do?” Ron asked distractedly, trying to think of a way to quickly finish the game.

“Harry… He sent his first letter to Lockhart just this morning. I would have known sooner… if he had bothered to tell me,” Ginny shrugged, a tiny hint of bitterness in her voice.

“Well that’s very good of him,” Hermione responded, just as distracted as Ron. “Tell him I’m very proud of him.”

Ginny stood there for a while, finally realizing that neither was going to say more. She walked back to the house, grumbling under her breath.

“This is completely impossible,” Hermione burst out suddenly. “I don’t think I’ve ever won yet.”

“Well it’s good for you, I think,” Ron joked, sitting back and basking in the glory of his victory. “It’s probably the one thing I’m better at than you are.”

“Then it’s good for your ego, you mean,” she responded angrily, getting up and turning her back on him.

“Hey, it’s just a game,” Ron reminded her, taken aback by her serious tone.

“Not the way you play it,” she replied loftily. “I hate it… going up against you like that.”

“Then why do you play?” he asked heatedly, standing up to remain level with her.

She turned to look at him, a disgusted look on her face. “Sometimes you’re an idiot, Ron.”

“Fine,” he said, collecting his things. “We just won’t play anymore, if it means so much to you.”

“Stop acting so noble,” Hermione shot back. “It’s not that I don’t want to play, it’s just… I’m not any good.”

“Well accepting it is the first step to self-improvement. Isn’t that what they all say?” he replied coldly, turning to leave.

“Did it ever once occur to you that you could try to help me, Ron?” she called after him, sounding rather distraught.

“What?” he asked, stopping his tracks and turning around. “You want my help now, do you?”

“Is that too much to ask?”

“No, it’s just that you’ve made it clear so many times that you don’t need my help with anything, unless you personally ask for it.”

“Well, I’m asking now!”

“We’re not playing!”

“Then get back here, Ron, so we can do the stupid thing right!”

Ron stared at her, amazed at how much stress a stupid game like chess could bring on to the pair of them.

“You want me to help you?” he asked quietly, looking at her intently.

“Yes,” she replied with a sudden smile, her tone dripping with relief.

He hesitated, before walking back towards her with the pieces still in his arms. He sat down before her and unfolded the board, setting everything up and giving a running commentary on everything that he was doing.

She sat down in silence as he moved his pawn.

“Now I can either move up one space or two. I chose one. It’s your turn.”

He kept his eyes on the game, thinking about how he could explain the next steps, which were much more complicated. But he couldn’t do anything if she didn’t take her turn.

“Hermione, it’s your turn,” he repeated, looking up in confusion.

She was staring straight at him, a pleased smile forming on her lips.

“Hermione, what?”

But she never said a word, and just kept smiling. In a few moments, she had knocked aside the chessboard and was crawling closer.

Ron stared at her in wonder as she wrapped her arms around his neck, but then he got the hint.

All thoughts of the chess game thrown aside, he tilted his head and kissed her, drawing their bodies close together. The heat that he had resisted in his bedroom the night they returned from her parents’ grave was back, and this time he did nothing to quell it. He felt her hand brush the back of his neck, light as a summer’s breeze. She was leaning back as he came to her with more intensity, and he felt her give a little gasp as they ended up horizontal in the grass.

He smiled, lifting his head while she laughed aloud, pulling him back down again. She arched her back as they kissed, and he wrapped his arm around her, only to have her push him aside and roll over onto him.

But alas, she had forgotten about the downward slope –or had she?- and she gave a shriek of surprise or delight as they tumbled down together. Their world spun out of control for a good seven seconds, the end of which found them at the bottom of the hill, sprawled out on their backs and panting to catch their breaths from laughing so hard.

“You did that on purpose!” Ron said loudly, unable to hide his happiness as he sat up to look at her.

“I did not!” she cried, feigning indignation and sitting up to meet him. She stared at him for a few seconds and then flopped back down onto the grass. “Oh, I can’t breathe!”

“Serves you right,” he said, nudging her with his foot.

“Serves us both right,” she corrected him, clutching his sneaker and looking up at him.

He smiled at her, watching her chest rise and fall as she fought to catch her breath. She began a nervous giggle again, purely from exhaustion, rolling over and sitting up. She touched her hair, pulling out bits of grass and dirt, laughing out loud.

It was the first time he had heard her truly laugh for a very long time.

He informed her of this as he went over to her on his knees, reaching out to pull some more grass out of her curly hair.

She looked up at him through lowered eyes, giving him a shy smile.

“It’s because of you,” she whispered quietly, reaching out to hold his hand. Leaning forward she gave him a chaste kiss on the lips, afterwards turning her body and resting her head against his chest.

They sat in silence, staring out at the field of taller grass before them. They could hear the peaceful hum of nature, and the occasional singing of a bird somewhere in the distance.

It was very much like staring out at their future together. They couldn’t see much but it stretched out forever before them, and right now it was warm and sunny and the calmest of calms.

“Well it appears to be just us six now,” Ron’s father noted as they all sat down to dinner. “How did your day go?”

Naturally, they all looked at Harry first, who blinked at them all and then said hesitantly, “Well… I sent in my first letter to Lockhart. My childhood, you know… up until I got my Hogwart’s letter.”

“I really wish I could have read it, Harry,” Ginny said, an expression of calm on her face but an edge in her voice.

He said nothing, and looked down at his food, poking at it with his fork.

Everyone stared at him for a moment too long, catching themselves and then hurrying to find a new focus.

“Er… I taught Hermione chess,” Ron stated helpfully. “I… think she could go up against our distant five year old cousin now… What’s his name? Cal-”

“Oh, Ron,” she slapped him lightly on the arm. “Stop it. I’m not that bad.”

“Not anymore.”

“What else did you do?” Mrs. Weasley asked, discreetly nipping any bickering match in the bud.

“Er… well… We er… walked around the yard a bit,” Hermione replied with a frown. “You know, for exercise… and er… then I went upstairs and cleaned Ron’s room-”

“Helped,” Ron corrected. “She helped clean my room.”

“Sure…” Hermione rolled her eyes. “And then the four of us came back downstairs to… talk. And er… now we’re here!” she finished somewhat lamely.

“It was all very much more interesting than that,” Ginny added quickly, smiling broadly for her parents. “She’s just a bad storyteller.”

“Yes, like Hermione forgot to mention the time I walked up the stairs,” Ron said sarcastically.

“Ron, hush,” Hermione muttered, avoiding his parents’ watchful gaze.

After a few moments of silence, Mrs. Weasley burst out.

“Oh for heaven’s sakes, we’re not keeping you captive here!” she cried. “You’re all old enough… you can go into town on your own. Right Arthur?”

“Well, it seems to appear, that lately-”

“Oh, speak your mind, Arthur,” Molly waved his words away impatiently. “‘Seems to appear…’ And it’s about time those… volunteer men left the house.”

“What?” Ron cried in alarm. “They’re still here? I haven’t seen them at all!”

“That’s the point, isn’t it, son?” said Mr. Weasley. “Though I do suppose that their services might be a little…”

“Unnecessary?” his wife cried out. “Of course, they’re unnecessary! They leave tomorrow morning, Arthur. And you,” she waved her finger threateningly at the four friends. “You kids are going out.”

“Out?” Ginny asked, looking at her mom as if she didn’t know the meaning of “out.”

“Yes, ‘out.’”

“I think what Ginny… and we,” Hermione corrected herself, seeing the dangerous look in Ginny’s eye once more. “I think what we mean is… Where exactly should we go?”

It seemed such a lovely predicament, as the four most involved teenagers in the War effort were finally free to be normal kids, and none knew how to go about it.

“We could… go to Diagon Alley,” Ron suggested. “Help out Fred with his-”

“No,” Mr. Weasley shook his head. “Fred has to do this by himself.”

“Well… then we could still go to Diagon Alley, and just sort of walk around a bit…”

“Maybe we’ll see some of our old friends,” Hermione added helpfully. “And I do want to poke around, and see how they’ve redone it… I also want to find out the quickest way to get our NEWTs. It’s about time we got those done.”

“I know!” Ginny cried. “We could go to Hogsmeade! I’m sure we’d find Hagrid there, or some other teachers…”

“Yes, they must all be there,” Hermione nodded. “As they’ve got a lot of new students coming in, as well as those who need to finish their schooling… including you, Ginny.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Ginny rolled her eyes. “Don’t remind me of it.”

“I can’t believe we’re given the option to do anything in the world and we’re talking about NEWTs and school,” Ron groaned.

“Well we can’t remain like this forever, Ron,” Hermione reminded him. “Not if we want to keep moving forward.”

“She’s right, Ron,” his father nodded, looking pleased. “And I’m very happy that you all came to the subject yourselves without your mother –and me- suggesting it.”

“I think it would be nice to walk around Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade,” Harry finally joined in.

“Then it’s settled,” Hermione said, nodding her approval.

They fell into an awkward silence after this, and she laughed nervously.

“I feel as if I should be using some sort of gavel or something,” she muttered apologetically.

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