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           The atmosphere the next day was almost parallel to the house itself: dark and dreary. Not even Mrs. Weasley’s delicious cooking could improve the group’s spirits as they all gathered for breakfast. They decided to act surprised when Mrs. Weasley told them about Harry being attacked by dementors and that he would be arriving within the next few hours, so as to not let her know they had been eavesdropping. This was especially important since this was not the first time Fred and George had eavesdropped on the meetings, though even that was a rarity as they had only discovered a few of the meetings before they ended. Most of the time the twins rushed downstairs to find that the meetings were already over, and people were leaving.

           Nonetheless they were grateful they had heard the full meeting – Mrs. Weasley had chosen not to disclose all of the details of what happened to Harry, leaving out his risk of expulsion, the Ministry hearing, and Dumbledore’s visit. In fact, the first ray of hope came to Ron and Hermione when they yet again were talking alone in Ron’s room.

           “Do you see that?” Ron asked, standing up from the bed to get a clearer look out the window.

           Hermione stood up also and saw a small white object growing larger and larger as it headed their way. She gasped as she recognized its big eyes and an object in its mouth. “It’s Hedwig! Harry’s sent us a letter!” she said, opening the window just in time for Hedwig’s arrival.

           Both Ron and Hermione smiled, reaching out for the letters they could now plainly see in the owl’s beak. However, as soon as they both had the letter addressed to them, Hedwig attacked. She began pecking them incessantly, flapping her wings and nipping hard at their fingers.

           “Hedwig!” Hermione shouted, backing away and holding up her unopened letter in front of her face to shield her eyes from the owl’s impending claws.

           “Back off!” Ron shouted, stepping in front of Hermione and holding out his hand to push Hedwig away. Hedwig took this opportunity to bite Ron’s finger which was in close proximity to her beak. Ron roared in pain and Hermione pulled him back toward her, looking down at his now bleeding finger.

           Thankfully Hedwig seemed to have gotten her point across for she landed back on the window sill, no longer attacking but still glaring and occasionally hooting angrily at the two of them.

           “Diffindo,” Hermione said, pointing her wand at the edge of her sleeve. She tore off the end of it and quickly wrapped it around Ron’s injured finger, holding it tightly in her hand afterword to hopefully stop the bleeding.

           “Are you alright?” Ron asked, wincing at the tight pressure she was putting on his finger.

           “Of course I am,” Hermione said worriedly, glancing again at Hedwig. “It’s you I’m worried about.” She slowly lifted up her hand and saw that the blood had seeped through the fabric of her shirt onto it. She did a quick spell to remove the blood from the fabric so that it could absorb more and enclosed her hand back around his finger.

           “I think she wants us to write,” Ron said, glancing back at the owl that was, as Hermione now noticed, close to where Ron kept his parchment and quills. Hedwig hooted in response to this and stretched out her wings threateningly.

           “Do you think Harry told her to… force us to write?” Hermione suggested. She looked from Hedwig to Ron who shrugged. Slowly, Hermione moved toward the parchment, pulling Ron with her, her hand still around his finger. Hedwig hooted a bit friendlier this time, implying that their guess was correct. Hermione then opened her letter which said “I’ve just been attacked by dementors and I might be expelled from Hogwarts. I want to know what’s going on and when I’m going to get out of here.” A short glance at Ron’s letter showed that Harry had written him the same thing.

           Hermione shook her head, still looking very worried, but instead of beginning to write, faced Hedwig. “Harry will be here in a few hours. And we can’t send him any answers in a letter. That’s why we haven’t been writing much,” Hermione explained, hoping that Hedwig would understand and leave them alone to get Ron’s finger healed by Mrs. Weasley.

           When Hedwig remained motionless, Hermione began to pull her and Ron back again, keeping her eyes on Hedwig who, though she continued to glare, made no attempt to stop them.

           Ron sighed with relief and Hermione looked up at him. “Does it hurt?” she asked, not even having to check her hand to know the blood was seeping through again.

           Ron shrugged and gave her a half smile, the pain still evident in his expression. “It’s not bad…” he said.

           “Oh, Ron…” Hermione said, feeling the tears well up in her eyes. She felt surprised at herself. She knew Ron would be alright. His mother may not be a world-class Healer like those who work at St. Mungo’s, but she could definitely heal an owl bite. But just the idea of Ron hurt… She gasped softly as she felt Ron’s warm, uninjured hand brush the tear from her cheek.

           “Why are you crying?” he asked. He looked almost pleased, though he covered it nicely with concern.

           Hermione pressed her lips together to keep them from quivering and shook her head. “Let’s… get your mother. She should heal this soon,” she said quietly. She blinked, causing a few more tears to fall, before glancing over at Hedwig who hooted softly and turned her head from them; she would not attack them again.

           Hermione quickly wiped the new tears with her free hand and led Ron out of the room. As they walked, Ron clasped his entire hand around the hand Hermione had clutched around his finger.

           They found Mrs. Weasley not too much later. Thankfully, no meeting was going on at the moment, since a fair few of the members of the Order were out retrieving Harry. Though she fretted about Harry’s owl attacking them, Mrs. Weasley removed Hermione’s bloody shirt and healed the wound fairly quickly. Hermione continued to watch Ron the entire time. She stifled a laugh when Mrs. Weasley began fixing Ron’s shirt and motioning to his pants, which were indeed becoming too short for him; Ron had had another growth spurt.

           She smiled and sniffled, wiping the last tear from her face. With everything that had happened, she had nearly forgotten about what she and Ginny had been discussing. As she considered everything, she became fairly certain that she did have feelings for Ron; why else would she have been so concerned from a minor injury? However, watching him now quarrelling with his mother, she realized that maybe Ron wasn’t ready to know this yet. Knowing him, as she did, he wouldn’t know what to do with the information. She decided that, at least for now, she would keep this to herself. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him she thought as the two of them made their way upstairs back to his room.

           Only a short time later, Hedwig and Pigwidgeon’s twittering led Hermione to look up at the skinny, dark-haired boy who just entered the room. She leapt up and threw her arms around her best friend, while the boy that she fancied stood up and smiled fondly at the two of them.  

                                                                  THE END

A word from the author: 

           I tried to keep this extremely accurate to what we are told in the books, one thing being that Hermione and Ron don’t become a couple in this point in the series, so although they’re spending a lot of time together, they can’t actually reveal their feelings yet. Another thing that I kept accurate was the letters that everyone sent (so, I’m giving JK Rowling full credit for the quoted letters!!). Plus the plot itself: the fact that Harry arrives later and sends them letters constantly, Dumbledore briefly visiting, the dementors attacking, etc. I don’t claim to have come up with this story in its entirety. It’s meant to just be another person’s perspective of the story we already know. I hope you enjoyed it! :) I can’t technically continue since once Harry arrives, we know everything that happens from his perspective (thanks to book five of the series!), but I appreciate the reads and would love reviews as well. Thanks!

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