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Hermione wandered into the Library, which became her temporary sanctuary. Ron wouldn’t come here in a billion years, yet here he was walking towards her. Quickly, she pretended she didn’t see him, and sat down at one of the tables to read the letter. “Dear Hermione,” she read aloud silently to herself. “How are things at Hogwarts? Things are fine here in Durmstrang. Cold, but fine. How is that stupid bloke (that means boy, right??) Ron Weasley treating you? It pains me when I read your letters when you tell me about him. How he has mistreated you. Hermione, I really don’t understand you. He unappreciated you, mistreated you, yet you are mad in love with him. I guess you’re fighting the inevitable there. There, there, m’dear. I saw the tear stains on your last letter, I know that they have mistreated you there. Really, you should teach me how to have patience like that. Oh yeah, Hermione. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Remember that. Love, Viktor. p.s. Wondering about my improved English? We have English language at school now, and I just happen to be taking it.” p.p.s. I know I just said ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’, and I was wondering whether you could tell me what that means, because I’m not too sure myself… “Letter from Vicky?” Hermione spun around to come face to face with Ron. “You heard me?” “I do not invade peoples’ privacies like that, Hermione,” he frowned. “I’m amazed,” she said truthfully, but her tone made it sound like she was sarcastic. “Outside, now.” “No,” Hermione decided to test the waters. Ron didn’t seem up to testing at this moment though, and he pulled her hand. She was surprised at how much strength he had in that bony hand. He took her to an empty corridor and flung her at a wall, which surprised her. “What do you mean by walking out on me like that?” he asked. “I do what I want,” she said somewhat harshly. “Hermione, sit down,” he said, doing so. “We’re going to have a violence-free talk.” It sounded so much like an order, which surprised Hermione, but she did what she was told. “Ron, okay, I want to apologize,” Hermione said. “But what for?” he asked. “For ever coming to Hogwarts,” she cried. “For being born! For global warming! For trying to pretend I love you!” He grabbed her hand, and stroked it gently, but she pulled away. “Hermione, I’m sorry, for throwing you against the wall,” he said, not meeting her eye. “I’m sorry for mistreating you and making you feel unappreciated.” And that was when Hermione Granger broke. She started shaking. Silent tears began running down her cheeks, and she moved closer to Ron. Ron hugged her awkwardly, and she was grateful for his shoulder. She was somewhat leaning on him, and his hands were around her, embracing her for dear life. “Ron, you don’t know how I feel,” she sobbed. “Try me,” he said, patting her back. “The way you treated me sometimes, it was like you didn’t care. Especially this year and the last, it really pained me, you know. It was like you forgot I was a girl—“ “I never forgot, Hermione,” Ron said. “You kept telling me about girls that had flirted with you, without realizing the one you were talking to wanted so much to, but didn’t dare because she was afraid to ruin our friendship! You’ve grown more like—like a man, and you have millions of admirers all over the school. You know it…but you didn’t know that one of them all was right there beside you… “When we fought, sometimes I wish you would just shut up and kiss me. When Ginny and Harry got together, I was so envious. They were in love, Ron! I wanted to feel like that! I wanted to be treated like royalty—“ “You already are,” he said quietly. “I was foolish, Ron. I thought-as did everybody- there was a chance of you liking me. But I was a prat, and you started dating Susan Bones. I was too late. Of course, I was stupid to even hope you liked me, let alone be in love with me!” “But I am.” “And when you broke up with--” she paused. “What?” “But I am,” he repeated. “But you are what?” “I am madly in love with you,” he said. “Don’t say it unless you really mean it,” she said. He seemed to consider it for a moment. “I thought so,” she sobbed. “Let me rephrase,” he said. “I am really, really, madly, head-over-heels in love with you,” he said. Hermione Granger was speechless.

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