Disclaimer: Not mine. I just play in JKR's playground.
A/N: I hope you like this little fic. :) It's R/Hr with a teensy weensy hint of H/G.
Inspiration: I was listening over and over again to The Game of Love by Santana featuring Michelle Branch. Great song. I have always been a fan of Carlos Santana's music. :D
* Crossing the Line *
"What's your problem?" Hermione demanded. She stared at Ron, her eyes in narrow slits.
"Nothing!" Ron answered rather vehemently. He poked at his mashed potatoes in a rather violent manner, which convinced Hermione that he did have a problem. With what, she had no idea.
"Yes, you do! Stop saying you haven't, when you act as if you do!" Hermione exclaimed. She was sick and tired of this guessing game. Lately, Ron would say he was fine when he really obviously was not.
Ron's jaw hardened. He dropped his fork on his plate with a clatter and stared at Hermione with blazing eyes. "If you're so smart, you would have figured it out!"
"Ron, I don't know what you're talking about! I don't know why you would talk to everyone else but me!" Hermione tried to keep her voice from trembling. She hated it when Ron was mad at her. It left her with an exhausting emptiness.
Ron's hands gripped the edge of the dining table. "Oh you know!" His voice was dripping with venom. "Don't give me that—that you don't know what this is all about!"
By now everyone in the Gryffindor table was looking at them, and some of the students from other houses were, too. But Hermione didn't care.
"Honestly, Ron, I have no idea," she said, looking pleadingly into Ron's eyes. But he looked away.
Ron's breathing started to get heavy and irregular. After a very long pause, he said in a low and dangerous voice, "Why didn't you tell me that you visited Krum last summer? Why did I have to find out from Harry? He knows and I don't?"
So this was what it was all about. Hermione bit her lip. She told Harry about the visit, but she didn't tell Ron because she was afraid that he'd get angry. Unfortunately, she forgot to tell Harry not to tell Ron.
"I'm really going to tell you—"
"When? When?" Ron demanded.
Hermione really intended to keep it a secret. She had no plan to tell Ron ever. She didn't want risking Ron's anger. Besides, her visit to Bulgaria was just a friendly one. "I knew you would get mad at me because you don't like Viktor, so I decided not to let you know right away!" she lied.
"Now I know," Ron said darkly. He resumed eating, but his face was expressionless.
"You're not speaking to me, then?" Hermione asked.
No response again.
Hermione threw up her hands in the air in resignation. "Fine! Fine! Pretend that I don't exist! Just do—do whatever you want to do! Pretend that I'm not your friend!" She was not going to cry. She wasn't. Even if her eyes started to have this prickly feeling around the edges.
Ron looked up. "The last time I checked, you were the one who didn't treat me like a friend. You told Harry about the visit while you didn't tell me," he said coldly.
"You don't understand, Ron," Hermione whispered. How could she tell him that she didn't want to fight anymore? That she wanted something else from him?
Ron pounded his fist on the table, which made his glass wobble. "Damn, I do! I do understand! Just tell me if you don't want to be friends with me! I can deal with it!"
He suddenly stood up, causing his chair to fall back. The Gryffindors, who were all watching with silent interest, were staring back and forth from Ron to Hermione.
In a blink of an eye, Ron was outside the Great Hall.
Hermione didn't waste a moment. She was out of her seat and practically flying out the Great Hall.
"Ron! Ron!" Hermione called up to her friend's retreating back. "Ron, wait up!"
Finally she was able catch up with him. But he wouldn't look at her.
"Look, Ron, you're my friend, and will always be. I'm sorry for not telling you. I just thought you wouldn't understand," Hermione pleaded.
Ron stopped, and looked at her in the eye. For all the experience she had in reading Ron's expressions, she couldn't read the one he was wearing now.
"You should have known that I'll understand. I don't hate Krum, you know," he said. His gaze bored into her eyes for a few more moments. "You could have told me earlier so I could've congratulated you," he said in a flat voice. Then he walked away, his head bowed.
Hermione ran up to him. "Wait, wait a minute!" she grabbed Ron by the shoulders. "Congratulate me? Why? Krum and I aren't together," she said firmly.
Ron looked at Hermione in confusion, and then realization sunk in his head. "You're not?" he asked in what Hermione thought was a hopeful tone. Her heart beat fast.
"We're not," Hermione said firmly.
Ron shrugged. "Well, maybe not now, but probably soon, right?"
Hermione took a deep breath. She was about to say something that would break or make her heart.
"No, never. Not when—not when—" Hermione's voice faltered. She looked at the floor. She felt her cheeks grow hot.
"Not when what?" Ron pressed.
For some reason, Hermione couldn't take it anymore. She had been keeping her feelings to herself, but it was so hard, especially when Ron was right in front of her, so close. It felt…so right.
She burst into tears.
"What's wrong? Hermione, what's wrong?" Ron asked worriedly. He gently gripped her shoulders.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry. It's wrong, I understand if you'd be disgusted or—or angry—or freaked out—or any of those things. It's just that—just that—Ron, I—I—I fell in love with you," Hermione mumbled, her shoulders shaking with silent sobs.
She waited for Ron to say something, anything.
Finally, he spoke.
"It's not right," he said.
Hermione felt her world crumple. That one sentence was like a dagger through her heart.
Of course Ron would not like anything to get in the way of their friendship. He would want more, someone pretty and exciting and exotic. How stupid of her to think that she had a chance with him.
"I know. I'm sorry. I just had to let it out—"
Ron chuckled. "Let me finish, will you? It's not right that you're the one telling me all this. I should be the one to tell you. I'm an old-fashioned bloke," he said. "Look at me, Hermione."
And Ron gently tipped a finger under Hermione's chin. He slowly brought up her face to look into her eyes.
And Hermione saw the things she had always wanted to see in his eyes. Love, affection, tenderness…
Ron slowly leaned over, his lips inching little by little towards hers. Hermione closed her eyes, waiting for that life-changing fairy-tale moment.
That moment when Prince Charming's lips touched Sleeping Beauty's.
And the moment when Beauty told the Beast that she truly loved him.
And the moment when Cinderella slipped her foot into that one glass slipper.
At last it came.
It was far more beautiful than any fairy-tale, because this was real. Hermione was kissing her best friend Ron, and it didn't feel wrong at all. She could really feel his lips on hers, gentle yet firm. Sweet and sure.
Ron didn't have to say the words. She felt in the way that he kissed her all what he felt for her. It was more than enough for Hermione.
"Oi! It's about time! You finally got around to admitting it to yourselves!" a voice yelled. Ron and Hermione jumped apart in surprise.
Harry was standing at the end of the corridor in his Quidditch robes, just fresh from practice. He was walking towards them, grinning from ear to ear.
"God, Harry, you're ruining our moment," Hermione said. She reached out her hand and entangled her fingers with Ron's. Again, it felt so right.
"Get out of here, Harry," Ron said, laughing.
"No, you get out of here. Into a broom closet, you two," Harry said, laughing as well. "By the way, how did this happen?" he looked at them, his face full of wonder.
"It's all because of you and your big mouth, you prat. You told him about my visit with Viktor," Hermione said. But she smiled gratefully at Harry.
"I don't see anyone complaining," Harry said. He shook his head. "I can't get over it. You've finally seen the light."
"Better get used to it, mate," Ron said happily. "And best you find a girl as great as the one I've got." He smiled affectionately at Hermione.
At this very moment, Ginny Weasley and her friends passed by the corridor.
"Hey, you three!" she called out with a wave and a smile.
Ron, Harry, and Hermione smiled back. But Hermione noted that it was particularly interesting the way Harry looked after Ginny. It was the look of a boy when he saw something that greatly pleased him.
"I think Harry found one already," Hermione whispered to Ron.
"Who?" Ron asked, confused.
Hermione discreetly pointed at Harry. "Look at him, Ron."
Ron followed Harry's gaze, and he realized what Hermione meant.
"Oi, Harry, not my sister!"