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A/N Ok so here's the next chapter. I hope people enjoy it. The chapters are getting better, at least I think when I'm wiritng them, so please stick with it if you like the story ideas as the writing style I think improves. I've got ideas for the rest of the story too and how to tie it in with the book so hopefully you'll enjoy it.
Also, the characters are not mine etc etc - this is purely a fanfic and I don't want to take anything away from J K Rowling

Chapter 2

‘Hermione, it’s going to be alright. I’m going to be fine,’ he reassured squeezing her hand once again, though in his own mind he was scared. He still didn’t know what had happened to him, why he was in the hospital wing. It was not normal to sleep for days on end, even for him. But he felt that now was not the time to grill Hermione for the details. 

‘What time is it?’ he suddenly asked her. 

‘What? Oh, it’s about seven thirty,’ Hermione replied, ‘I skipped dinner. I wasn’t hungry.’ 

‘But dinner runs half five until seven. You could have gone,’ Ron stated, ‘how long have you been here?’ 

‘Oh, I came straight after transfiguration,’ she blushed. 

‘But that was ages ago,’ Ron looked at Hermione questioningly. 

Hermione was silent. She didn’t want to have to tell Ron that she had been sat with him, by his bedside, every spare hour that she had. That she had been up until one in the morning the past couple of nights working only after being ejected from the hospital wing by Madame Pomfrey as the visiting hours ended. That when she had finally finished her work she had been unable to sleep, every time she closed her eyes only able to see Ron shaking on the floor as images from Harry’s story stayed etched in her mind.

‘I didn’t intend on staying this long,’ she lied, eventually answering, ‘I came to check up on you and then started reading something and got carried away.’
Ron spied her suspiciously. There certainly was a book in front of her, but it wasn’t open. And had she not been staring into space when he had finally come round? 

‘Oh,’ he answered simply, not sure of what to say next.

At that moment, the door swung open. Hermione let go of Ron’s hand as they turned around to face it. 

‘Hey, you’re awake!’ 

It was Harry. 

‘Yeah, looks like it,’ Ron grinned, ‘how’s it going?’ 

‘Oh you know, not too bad,’ Harry grinned back, ‘it’s good to see you finally talking. Makes me hopeful that you’ll be back for Quidditch soon. We’ve had to bring in McClaggen while you’ve been lazing around in the hospital wing and I think if I might end up killing him before the end of the week with all his, ‘hmm, Harry, I’m not sure I agree with that tactic’ and ‘I’d think we’d have more success if we did this’ crap’.’
Ron laughed, 

‘So he really is awful is he?’ Ron definitely appeared to be much cheerier in the knowledge that his Quidditch nemesis was failing to make a good impression on his captain. 

‘So awful it’s beyond words,’ Harry grimaced before joining Ron in more laughter.

Hermione sat silently as she watched her two best friends laughing and joking. It was such a relief to see Ron awake and even more so, alive with energy. It had only been a couple of days but she had missed him terribly. Even his sarcastic insults and teasing was something she had longed for all those hours she had spent in the hospital wing. The way he was talking now, it was if he’d never been gone.

But he had been gone, and she had been so scared that he wouldn’t fully recover. She’d always known that Ron was more than just a friend to her. Ok, well that was a lie. She had initially thought he was an idiot. That spell he had attempted on the Hogwarts Express had been just ridiculous and anyone who thought otherwise must have been completely stupid. But soon after Ron came to cast a real spell. Not the magical kind she saw everyday performed within the school, but the real kind. A spell of love had been cast over her.

She couldn’t trace the feeling back to one specific moment. It had crept up on her gradually. When she thought back she realised that she had felt that way even in her first year, but it wasn’t until she saw him dragged off into the secret passage and into the Shrieking Shack in their third year that it was really confirmed. Maybe she just hadn’t been mature enough to realise her true feelings before then. At the time she had simply put her fear following Ron’s fall from the enchanted knight chess piece as a natural reaction to any friend getting hurt, but now she knew it was more. Maybe if Ron wasn’t quite so immature, she thought to herself, he might just see what’s right there in front of him.

But did he? She was sure that he had woken up on that first day and said her name. Or was that just wishful thinking? He had, she reasoned, held her hand with him, but was he just looking for comfort? Surely anyone coming out of a deep sleep having been close to…death…would just want some human interaction. He had wiped away her tears. But maybe he was just being kind. As much as she knew he could be an immature and tactless teenage boy, she also knew that he had a kind heart. It was one of the reasons why she loved him. He wouldn’t want to see her upset, but similarly he wouldn’t want to see any of his friends upset right? But he had said her name, she was sure. He had stirred and said ‘Er-my-nee’. That had to be her name.

No, Ron was with Lavender Brown. He had a girlfriend and they were happy. Two people can’t possibly spend that much time together with their tongues down each others’ throats if they weren’t happy together. Hermione had been so wrapped up in Ron’s poisoning that she had forgotten about Lavender, but as the memories of the past few months came back to her she remembered all the pain of the dull ache within her heart. But he had said her name! Maybe that was just because he heard her speaking. No. He hadn’t said her name. He must have fallen on his knee when he had collapsed. Yes, he was telling them that his knee was hurting. That was all it was.

With this apparent sad realisation Hermione felt a lump in the back of her throat and knew that tears were close to falling.

‘So you shoved a bezoar down my throat?’ Ron pressed Harry looking for more details of his near death experience. 

‘Yeah, pretty much.’ 

‘Bloody hell. And we don’t know who gave Slughorn the stuff?’ 

‘No, but..’ Harry looked up at Hermione, as did Ron. 

She had just stood up. 

‘You going?’ Ron asked, looking a little bit disappointed. 

‘Umm, yeah, I need to…potions essay, umm, library…I’ll see you, umm, soon,’ she stammered as she picked up her bag and pushed the book which had been lying unread and unopened on Ron’s bed into the already full satchel compartment. She was trying to hold back the tears which were threatening to start flowing as she couldn’t wipe the images of Ron and Lavender from her mind. 

‘Oh, OK, well, come back tomorrow. No doubt you’ll be wanting to bug me to get me started on all the work I’ll have missed,’ 

‘Yeah, umm, maybe. I’ll see you later Harry,’ and with that Hermione turned and made her way to the door, Ron and Harry looking on in confusion at their friend’s sudden decision to leave and the less than convincing explanation. 

Ron shrugged, ‘Hermione’s weird.’ 

But he couldn’t help but stare at the door from which she had just exited, thinking.

As Hermione departed the room she rested her back against the door which had closed behind her. Ron was OK and that was the important thing. But from now on she couldn’t see him anymore. It was too hard. She couldn’t be ‘just friends’ with Ron. For her it could only be all or nothing. The pain of being with him as a friend yet not being with him properly hurt so much that it was simply unbearable. With Ron happily settled with Lavender she knew that she would have to learn to live without Ron in her life. She would have to try, for her own sanity and her own long term happiness. She felt sure that this was what she had to do. 

A/N hope that was ok. I'd really apprecaite some reviews, good or constructive criticism. Hopefully there won't be anything too harsh as I'm sure you're all nice people :-) But yeah, reviews would be really nice just to know what people think. Thank you (in advance!)

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