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8. Tabe bells and Little Grangers

Harry and Ginny sat silently in the living room. Ron had left them there over half an hour ago to go and talk to Hermione.

“How can Hermione be acting so stupid?” Ginny sighed. “She knew he would have to go! To me she said she was fine with it, they could stay in contact and everything…”

“Yes…It’s not like Hermione, but I guess she’s always been different when it comes to Ron.” Harry replied sadly.

“And Ron can’t let this opportunity go either…he’s been wanting this for such a long time! Did you see his face when he read that letter?” Ginny said in a fed up voice.

***

“Herms?”

Ron stuck his head in through the door to Ginny’s room. Nobody replied, so he entered. The window in the room stood wide open. Hermione’s bed was made, but all her clothes were nowhere to be seen.

“Hermione!” He breathed, running to the window. She was not on the ground below. No, he mustn’t think like that. She was gone. She had left.

His legs gave way and he sunk down on the bed, which still had the slight whiff of his girlfriend. He put his head in his hands. It was all his fault. He should never have applied to the stupid auror training! He had what he wanted with Hermione didn’t he?

There was a flutter and something ruffled beside the window. Ron looked up and saw a small note posted with some spell-o-tape to the window sill. For a while, he just sat there watching it, not daring to get up and look.

The sun was shining in through the window from a clear March sky. The note still hung there innocently.

With shaking hands, he got up and reached for it. He took it, but couldn’t get it off the window sill.

“What the bloody hell is wrong with this,” he murmured. “Oh. Right. Spell-o-tape. Relashio!” He said pulling out his wand. The note un-stuck from the window and he read what it said.

Ron, I need to spend some time on my own. I need some time to sort out my life, I don’t know what I’m doing. I wish I could be happy for you now that you made it to training, but I just can’t manage it because right now you are all I rely on. Ron, please don’t be angry with me.
What I really want to tell you is that I’m so proud of you. You worked so hard and it payed off. Go to training. I’ll be fine, I promise. I hope I’ll see you soon…

I love you.

Hermione

Where was she? He didn’t know. All he knew that she wasn’t here, where she was supposed to be, safely in his arms. She hadn’t even said where she was going. This was his fault, and he was the only one who could set it right again.


***

“Hi Ron! How is Hermione?” Ginny said as she looked up and saw Ron entering the living room where she and Harry sat huddled together on the couch.

“She’s gone. She left. I have to go and find her, tell mum not to worry.”

That was all he said. He left the room and minutes later they could hear the front door slamming.

“I’m going after him.” Harry said, standing up. “I won’t let him do this to himself. Not now.” He ran upstairs and got his Firebolt. He quickly told Ginny he’d be back before dinner and ran out of the door after Ron, who had reached the other side of the field.

Harry mounted his broom, felt the usual surge of happiness through him as his feet left the ground, but he did not waver. He flew fast toward Ron, and landed on the grass right beside his freckled friend.

“Ron!” Harry said loudly. “You’re not going anywhere mate, pull yourself together! Hermione will be FINE.”

“Don’t mess with me Harry. She’s NOT fine! And it’s all because of this stupid training. Look what it’s doing to her! I can’t go Harry, she needs me!” Ron almost shouted, trying to get Harry to let go of his arm.

“She’ll be perfectly ok. You should know more than anyone mate, this girl can take care of herself. Ron, she knows she screwed up your whole plans, she knows her reaction was out of line, because it was! She’ll miss you like hell yes, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want you to go to training. She just needed a bit of time to sort herself out. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you’ve had all your plans ready for ages, while we’ve never really heard about what she’s planning to do have we?” Harry spoke in a hectic voice, desperate to get Ron to see sense. “You can’t just go running after her, mate, she needs her time. Just give it to her. She’ll come back soon!”

Silence stretched in the space between them. Harry had let go of Ron’s shirt. Ron was staring at a bunch of trees standing nearby. Spring was showing well as small green buds had began forming on the ends of the tiny branches.

“I guess I’ve just gotten so caught up in all this training stuff…took her for granted…” Ron mumbled silently more to himself than to Harry.

“Come on mate, let’s go play some chess or something. You just have to give her some time.”

“Right,” Ron said, “Hey, Harry, sorry man…I’ve been acting so stupidly lately…”

“It’s fine, really, but let’s get back to the house.”

It turned out Ron’s shoes and feet were soaking from walking (who knew why he hadn’t taken his broom) through the field that was wet with spring rain. So they both sat on Harry’s broom and he flew them safely to dryer land outside the kitchen door of the house.

***

“Harry? You know how you said you wanted a nice couch for our flat? I’ve been looking around, and I’ve found one that will let you change its color at will! How’s that? And I’ve also found the greatest curtains for the bathroom, and some other ones for the living room, now in the bedroom…” Ginny was going on about plans for their apartment, and Harry was only barely listening.
The rest of the family were engaged in all sorts of conversations, Mrs. Weasley apparently brooding over the fact that Ron hadn’t told her that Hermione had left until the day AFTER she had left. Mr. Weasley seemed to be in an argument with Charlie about screwdrivers, Charlie and Jen had come to visit that day. Percy and Penelope had also decided to come, and George was happily behind some bush with Angelina, after vividly exclaiming “Can’t anyone have any privacy here? Gosh!”

They were, indeed, a lot of people, and seeing that it was only March, they could not sit outside. They had (somehow) managed to cram into the kitchen, but only just. Ginny was therefore sitting on Harry’s lap as there had been no more room anywhere. The meal had been heavenly, but it had also lasted a while. Harry finally realized that he no longer had any feeling in his legs due to Ginny sitting on them, and told her he had to get up and get some fresh air.

Hermione had still showed no sign of returning, and neither had she sent any other messages than the one Ron had gotten.

Ron followed Harry and Ginny into the garden after having seen Harry’s facial expression clearly indicating that they were to follow him. Once they got outside, Harry started explaining the idea he had come up with during Ginny’s long speech of ’how to furnish our apartment’. (gosh, why couldn’t she just make him a pamphlet or something…she was just droning on forever that girl was…).

“Ron I have an idea of how we can find out what Hermione is doing! We can send Midget! I only just thought of her!” Harry said.

“It’s a girl now is it? Who said it wasn’t a guy?” Ron replied before quite realizing what Harry had said.

“OOh! Er…ok…I…but… can it really bring a message back to us? The woman in the shop said nothing about-”

“Ron they can’t speak, but I did a bit of research, and it turns out they send some sort of brainwave that can be read by the human mind. Although, it can only be recognized by the owner of the diricawl.” Harry replied quickly. Ginny nodded in hopeful agreement.

“Alright, but don’t let her notice it! I mean, I don’t want her to feel like we’re stalking her…I mean she did say she needed her bloody space…”

They all ran to Harry and Ron’s room where Pig immediately started making an incredible amount of noise, and Harry’s still unnamed Tawny Owl hooted cheerfully. The diricawl was making some strange buzzing and purring noises, followed by a small ’hickup!’ every couple of seconds.

“Er? What’s it doing?”

“No idea.” Harry laughed and picked the little blue creature out of its cage.

“Er…I need you to find Hermione Granger, but don’t show yourself. Come back and tell us how she is. Alright?” Harry wasn’t even sure if it had understood him. It had just struck him how stupid he must look talking to the little creature that had just crawled up to his shoulder.

The little creature responded by nudging Harry’s finger with its tiny beak, then disappeared in a puff of multicolored smoke.

“Well, that was dramatic,” Ron said with a smirk. But the expression vanished almost immediately from his face.

***

Midget did not return for another two hours or so. It appeared on Harry’s shoulder just as he was endorsed in a quite intimate moment with Ginny. It made its buzzing and hickup sounds as before.

Ginny laughed as she pulled away from Harry. “Hey, you, stay away from him! He’s mine.” She said, pretending to push the little creature from Harry's shoulder.

She demonstrated her point by kissing Harry on the mouth while staring mockingly at the diricawl. Harry smirked into Ginny’s hair as he caught the creature and placed it on his shoulder.

It was one of the oddest sensations he thought he had felt before. Midget was sending some sort of sensation into his ear, it was like sound, but at the same time not. It tickled the inside of his ear, and suddenly, a feeling of understanding came through him, and he was able to interpret the strange vibrations the diricawl was letting out.

“Mione Graner look good. Happy, smile with little Graner. Letter on the big flat tabe bell. Says to Won Weslie. Mister Harry happy?”

Harry spoke the words as they materialized in his head.

“What is a Tabe bell?” Ron said, entering his bright orange room where Harry and Ginny were. “Smile with little Graner? What little Graner, Mione doesn’t have any siblings! What do you think it means? At least it said she looks good and is happy…”

“Ron, she’s ok, that’s what you wanted to know right? And she’s saying TABLE, not tabe bell, gosh, Won Wesley, don’t you understand Diricawl?” Ginny laughed, and flicked her long red hair back, away from her face. Harry’s stomach lurched and he felt an extreme desire to snog her senseless, but then he remembered that Ron was in the room. Go away Ron!

“And by the looks of it, she’s also in the process of writing you a letter,” Harry said, edging over to Ginny and sliding his hand up and down her back.

“I just wish she would hurry up and send it, though, she’s driving me insane here!” Ron exclaimed.

***

Ron and Harry spent the rest of the day killing time by playing chess, ending surprisingly with a win for Harry, as Ron was looking hopefully out the window every minute or so. He almost fell off his chair when the doorbell rang, but it turned out only to be Mr. Weasley who had locked himself out when going to feed the chickens.

The clock on the wall struck nine, and still there had been no sign of a letter from Hermione. Ron said he was tired and went upstairs with heavy steps, leaving the rest of the residents of the Burrow in a rather sorrowful mood, as they all felt so sorry for Ron. Fleur went as far as saying that it was all Hermione’s fault, but that idea was immediately cut down by Angelina, sitting on George’s lap.

Harry waited half an hour before finally deciding that Ron might be asleep. He snuck upstairs quietly, and was just about to jump into bed as there was a small tap tap on the window. Harry opened it and saw Hermione’s new owl Orion sitting on the window sill. He was carrying a letter, addressed to Ron Weasley.

Ron was snoring softly beneath the bed sheets, and had not noticed.

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