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          As Ron went tearing down the staircase and crashing through the halls, his anger boiled over once again. How dare she? He had gone to protect her, he had gone to apologise, instead he was faced with that. Hermione had been the one sneaking around behind him and Harry’s back. Hermione had been the one telling lies. Sure, Ron let his mouth get away from him sometimes, but he was honest at least.

          Ron stormed through the almost empty common room and stomped up the stairs to the sixth year dormitory. He slammed the door behind him, making all the other boys look up.

          “What’s wrong with you?” Seamus asked.

          “I go up there to apologise, what do you think I find? Do you know what she’s doing right now?”

          “Who, Hermione?” Harry sat up now.

          “Yeah, Hermione. You know what that sluts been doing behind everyone’s back?”

          “Ron…” Neville muttered, hoping the redhead would stop for once.

          “You know who that little trap is with right now? Probably half undressed again-“

          “Shut up.” Harry said.

          “What?”

          “Just-just shut up, Ron.” Harry sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “You went up there to apologise, remember?

          “But, Harry, she’s-“ Ron yelled.

          “I don’t care, Ron. I don’t care who and I don’t care what, and neither should you. You’ve already got a girlfriend remember?”

          “Harry, she’s been lying to us, don’t you see?”

          Harry rubbed his temples and leaned back on his bed. “I know. I know she hides stuff. I know she lies some times. I know she’s been seeing some guy and for whatever reason she doesn’t want to talk about it. But that’s her business, not ours.”

          Ron sat down and licked his lips. “How can you say that?”

          “Because Hermione’s my friend. Because for whatever reason, she doesn’t want me to know. Out of embarrassment or him saying so or fear I’ll blow up like you did. Whatever it is, that’s her decision. Hermione’s a big girl, Ron. She’s a smart girl, and I trust her to be able to take care of herself and make up her own mind.”

          “So you’re just going to let her do whatever she wants? What if he does something to her? What if she gets hurt?”

          “You’re right.” Harry brushed his fingers through his messy hair. “You’re right, I’ve been letting this go on far too long. And Hermione keeps getting hurt.” Harry looked to the other boys in the dorm room, frowning. “Ron, you’re not seeing Hermione anymore.”

          Ron stood up. “What?”

          “You just keep hurting her, Ron. I give you chance after chance to make it right, and you just keep doing it over and over again. So, I’m not letting you around her anymore.”

          “You can’t do that! Who the fuck do you think you are?” Ron stepped to Harry, towering over his bed.

          Harry pushed himself up and stood nose to nose with his best friend. “I’m the closest thing Hermione’s got to a brother, that’s who. And you two are the only family I’ve got. I’m sorry Ron, but I’ve got to put my foot down.”

          “Come on, Harry.”

          “Did you make her cry?” Harry asked, still standing his ground.

          “I-I didn’t notice.”

          “You didn’t notice? She was standing right in front of you!”

          Ron backed up, his willowy arms flailing in desperation. “It’s Hermione, she cries all the time! She cries over everything!”

          Harry’s lips narrowed into a grimace. “Really, cause I’ve never made her cry. Who else has ever made Hermione cry? Hands up!” Harry looked around to the other boys in the dorm. They all tried to look away like they hadn’t been listening to the fight erupting. “Dean, you ever make Hermione cry? Seamus? Neville?”

          “I did once.” Neville whispered, then he said quickly, trying to explain, “My cauldron sloshed over, some of my shrinking potion got on her, but I don’t think I made it right and it started burning.”

          “So, out of the five of us, Neville accidentally hurt her once, then there’s you, Ron. How many times have you made her cry?”

          “I don’t know.” Ron muttered, sitting down on his bed.

          “Well you did tonight, there’s one. Last month when you told Lavender very loudly that you’d never even liked anyone but her. Two months ago in transfigurations when you made fun of her.” Harry began listing off.

          “When Ginny told her she couldn’t visit at Christmas cause you didn’t want her there, she cried, but I’d say that counts one against you, not against Ginny.” Dean said.

          “Plus at least a week she spent crying after you so delicately started dating lavender, that’s eleven just this year.” Harry said.

          “She cried at least that much in fourth year after the whole yule ball Victor Krum fiasco.” Neville said.

          “And the cat-rat fight in third year.” Seamus said.

          “And the only reason you two became friends in the first place is cause you picked on her so much that she spent a whole afternoon crying in the bathroom and nearly got killed by a troll.” Neville said.

          “And I was the one who decided to go find her. You barely even apologised to her.” Harry said with finality.

          Ron sat with his head in his hands for a long time as Harry stood over him. Eventually, Harry sat next to Ron on his bed.

          “Ron,” Harry started, “What would you do if some guy kept making Ginny cry?”

          “I’d beat the crap out of him.” Ron muttered.

          Dean winced.

          “Well, I’m not going to beat the crap out of you. You’re still my best friend, Ron. But I can’t let you keep doing this to Hermione.” Harry said. “So, you’re not going to talk to her anymore, and you’re not going to hang out with her. Not until you can prove to me that you can care about her the way a friend should.”

          Harry stood up and went to his own bed. “I think we should all go to bed now, it’s well past curfew, and we’ve got potions first thing.

          Ron laid awake in his bed well after the lights went out and Seamus began to snore. Ron had said the same thing Hermione had. He wasn’t being a friend. He knew it. He was acting like a jealous ex-boyfriend. He couldn’t help it though, every time he thought of Hermione with Draco Malfoy he just wanted to wring the little blonde twat’s neck. Every time he thought of Hermione with anyone, really. He hadn’t been any better about Krum. Ron sighed and rolled over in bed. Maybe the rest of the boys were right.

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