(or, THE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO RON/HERMIONE SHIPPING)
AN: Just warning you all: this has the intellectual merit of an episode of Passions so don't expect any great work of art in this. I see it mainly as something to read when you're brain is burnt out (by god these sorts of stupid fics are useful after an exam). Mindless, mindless, squishiness. The only thing it was stimulate is your salivary gland when you start choking on all the fluff. The idiot's guide to Ron/Hermione shipping comes complete with all the right cliches: a wedding, a car trip in which there is sitting on each other, Parvati Patil, Parvati being a dickhead, Hermione being very cool in an "I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman" sort of way, a scene in which Ron brushes Hermione's hair, the usual BW/FD marriage scenario. Basically your average piece of shit. Anyway, enjoy. And watch your step- its squishy.
There wasn't anything particularly special about that day, but when Hermione looked back, she would be able to pinpoint it as the day when everything changed.
It was Saturday, there was a Quidditch match, it was the first day of November, and Professor Flitwick had stopped Hermione in the hall to tell her she'd got a hundred and twenty six percent for her last Charms paper. Nothing special, really.
Gryffindor won, of course- they always did. Now with Ron as their new keeper, the Gryffindor team was playing better than ever. No longer known as "Harry Potter's mate" or "Fred and George's little brother," but "that really good Keeper on the Gryffindor team," Ron had lightened up considerably. He smiled a lot more, complained a lot less, and was generally better tempered and less sulky. Hermione was glad that for once the spotlight was being shared by Harry and Ron, for she knew that Ron often felt jealous and inferior of Harry. With his newfound talent, Ron didn't feel so insignificant compared to Harry's universal fame.
Hermione went down to the changing rooms to congratulate them both after the match-but only found Harry there. "Well done Harry, you were brilliant!" she said, giving him a hug.
"Thanks," he said wearily, brushing a clod of mud from his hair, "That was the longest game we've had for ages, I'm bloody exhausted."
"Where's Ron?" Hermione asked looking around for him.
"No idea…he was here a moment ago…"
Fred and George came out of the change rooms then, noisy with the exuberance of victory. "We won!" Fred announced loudly. "We kicked their arses!"
"Yes, I saw," said Hermione. "Well played, you two."
"Thanks Hermy-ninny-poo!" George cried, "without the fans where would we be?"
"I dunno…sane?' muttered Harry, as Fred executed a jumping jack of joy into the air while letting out a series of high pitched whoops. He fell straight onto his rump on the muddy ground, taking his brother with him as he tripped. The Weasley twins laughed hysterically while Harry and Hermione exchanged oh-my-they're-totally-mad glances.
"Here he is," Hermione said, as she spotted Ron jogging towards them, splattered with mud. He had a broad grin on his face as he approached. "Hey!" he cried. "We won!"
"I noticed," Hermione said. "Well done, Ron, you were fantastic. You didn't let a single goal get past."
"That's what I'm here for," he joked absent mindedly, as he spotted Fred and George throwing handfuls of mud at each other. "Are those two-? Never mind," he said, deciding he didn't want to know. He hefted his broomstick on his shoulder, "Okay, let's go back up, it's freezing out here."
"Where were you?" Harry questioned, as the three of them started off towards the castle. Fred and George caught up with them, still shoving each other playfully.
"Yeah, Ron, where? 'Cos, like, we really want to know!" Fred giggled, giving Ron a push in the back.
"Bugger off," said Ron, turning around to face Fred, 'It's none of your-"
But the rest of his answer was cut off by a whiffling, whistling noise from overhead. Before anyone had time to say, "Do you hear something funny?" a dusty, feathery lump fell from the sky and hit George square on the head.
"Ow!" he squealed. "What the hell?"
"Oh my god, George, something died on your head!" cried Fred. "Oh, wait…that's just your face." He giggled at his own joke until George elbowed him in the stomach.
"It's Errol!" Ron announced, picking up the family owl from the ground where it had bounced off George's head. "He's got a letter…"
"Must be from mum," Fred said, brushing mud off his robes. But Ron had a huge grin on his face as he untied the scroll of parchment from Errol's leg and then passed the comatose owl to Hermione.
"Nah- it's Bill's handwriting!" Ron said excitedly, and his brothers brightened up immediately.
"Really? I didn't know he was coming home- what does it say?" George said eagerly.
"Read it out," Fred prompted, and Ron obediently unrolled the letter and read it aloud as they continued walking back up towards the castle.
"Dear Ron, Ginny, Fred and George," Ron read, "I hope this gets to you before Errol dies. I wouldn't have used him, but Percy wouldn't let me borrow Hermes and I thought I'd get the news to you as soon as possible. I know I said I wouldn't be coming home this year for Christmas but there's been a change of plan-" Suddenly Ron stopped dead in his tracks. "Oh my god," he murmured.
"What?" Fred said, suddenly alert. "What's the matter?"
"Is it bad news?" George demanded.
"Nothing's wrong, it's okay," Ron said quickly to dispel their fears. He was still staring at the letter as though he couldn't believe what he'd just read. "It's just…really good. Shocking."
"What then?" said Fred exasperatedly, looking relieved.
"Spit it out," George urged.
Ron cleared his throat and began reading out the letter again. "I know I said I wasn't coming home for Christmas this year but there's been a change of plan. I've gotten engaged."
That stopped the twins dead in their tracks. For a moment the three Weasley boys stared at each other in amazement.
"Jesus!" said Fred after a while.
"Christ," George added, appropriately. "I didn't even know he had a girlfriend?"
"What else does it say, Ron?"
Ron looked back down at the letter. "Erm…I've gotten engaged. She is coming to stay with us at Christmas. We haven't set the date yet but we will fairly soon, and we'd like to get married some time around Christmas, so you four have to come home this year. Please invite your mates as well, as they're quite welcome to stay," Ron paused in his reading to shoot Harry and Hermione a grin. He then continued, "I guess this has come as a bit of a shock but it's all a bit sudden so forgive me for surprising you. Send your letter back as soon as you can- preferably with an owl a bit sturdier than Errol. Lots of love, Bill."
The Weasley boys grinned at each other.
"He's getting married?" Fred said.
"This is the weirdest thing I've ever heard," George admitted.
"I think it's great," said Ron.
"Yeah, cool," Harry added.
"It's fantastic!" said Hermione. "I've never seen a wizard wedding before."
"Ah, they're boring," said Fred, shouldering his broom as they started walking up towards the castle yet again. "It's the stag nights that are fun."
"How many stag nights have you been to?" Hermione asked, raising her eyebrows. "Aren't they a bit too old for you?"
"Nah, we've been to heaps," George said. "Ron too."
"Yeah, they're great." Ron said, nodding.
"I can't believe this!" Hermione said, turning to Ron, "Your mother actually lets you go to those?"
"Yeah!" said Ron, as though it were obvious. 'She does all the cooking."
"Yep," George said with a contented sigh. "There's nothing like roast stag."
"Especially the way mum cooks it- I can't wait for Bill's stag night." Fred agreed.
"Yeah, it'll be great!" Ron said, grinning again. Laughing, they led the way back up to the castle while Harry and Hermione exchanged confused glances. Harry shrugged his shoulders.
"Pure bloods," he said, rolling his eyes, "they're so weird."
Because of Gryffindor's victory, the common room was even more traditionally noisy than usual that night. The room was filled with laughter and music; the butterbeer flowed like wine in some sort of Dionysian legend; and the Gryffindors were once again living up to their reputation as the most boisterous of all houses.
But Hermione wasn't boisterous. In fact, she prided herself on having some self-control in these situations. Not like Fred and George Weasley, who were dancing very exuberantly with each other, nearly decapitating a few people with their Beaters clubs in the process. Not like Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas, who were using one of the cushions to play a one on one game of football, scampering around the room like a pair of monkeys in their effort to keep the ball away from each other. Not like Lavender Brown, who was flirting so openly with a group of sixth year boys that it was enough to make anyone sick.
No. Hermione had work to do. She had made a promise to herself that no matter what amount of partying went on in the common room that night she would work. There was an in class Potions essay on Monday- a particularly nasty one about truth serums. Well, it would be her classmates up the creek without a paddle come Monday morning, not Hermione herself, when they had Potions first thing.
But it was a bit hard to do with Harry and Ron making so much noise next to her.
"So let me get this straight," Ron managed to say through snorts of laughter, "Instead of broomsticks, you use bi-tickles-"
"Yes those- how do they work again?"
It was amazing, she reflected, on having known a person five years and never really seeing their smile. Now, as she looked closer, she saw that dimples appeared in Ron's slightly flushed cheeks as he laughed. Why had she never spotted that before?
Because Ron never lets himself smile like that, she told herself. He's always too caught up in his own troubles. This was something she had known for years, and something she had always pitied Ron for. Harry noticed Hermione giving them a dirty look and shrugged apologetically. " Sorry. I'm not really sure what he finds funny. I was just describing how Muggles use bicycles and he-"
There was a fresh wave of laughter from Ron as he cracked up again. It took a few moments for him to calm down."Okay," he gasped, "okay…I can't breathe…ah ha ha…I mean, imagine sitting on one of those, and having to push yourself around! Ah ha ha! Ha ha ha!"
Fred Weasley came bounding over, closely followed by his identical brother. "Come on you three!" Fred shouted, plonking down three bottles of Butterbeer for them. "Get up! Party! Come on kids, you two are the stars tonight!" he grabbed Harry in a headlock and ruffled his hair. "You gotta love this guy!" he laughed, "the best bloody seeker we've ever had!"
Unperturbed, George grabbed Harry by his other shoulder and smacked him on the cheek. "We're a shoo in for the cup this year!"
"Not if you maim me first!" gasped Harry, extricating himself from the Weasley's grip. The twins just laughed and ruffled Harry's hair again.
"You guys are no fun!" George said. He held out his hand to Hermione, "Come on Hermione, dance with us."
"Um…I don't really dance…" said Hermione, raising her eyebrows dubiously. Fred caught sight of his younger brother in fits of laughter.
"What do I see here?" Fred said, his eyes shining with equal feelings of astonishment and amusement. "Ickle Ronnie-kins with a smile on his face!"
George immediately bounded over to Ron and began to tickle him mercilessly. "What's the joke, little brother?"
Ron's laughter dissolved into yells. "Arrgh! Gettoff! Gettoff! Gettoff!" He kicked his long legs about in an effort to get George to release him. Fred, never one to let George have all the fun of torturing their younger brother himself, immediately joined in. Luckily the noise in the common room was at such a height that Ron's howls for mercy could barely be heard. The twins cackled in an identical, evil way and continued their relentless tickling, even as Ron slid off his seat and landed with a thump on the floor.
"This is very strange," said Harry, watching the tangle of Weaslies flail around on the common room floor.
"I didn't even know Ron was ticklish," said Hermione in mild surprise. Another thing she didn't know about Ron. This was surprising- two things in one night.
"Help!" Ron was begging, through his laughter "I-I can't breathe! Help me you two!"
Harry shrugged and got to his feet. As soon as he attempted to pull Ron up, however, Fred pushed him down to the ground and suddenly Harry was a part of the fray. The look of surprise on his face was the last thing Hermione saw of him before he disappeared in the tangle of legs, arms, and red hair.
"Fight!" yelled Lee Jordan. A small crowd gathered around the four boys, egging them on, too high on sugar and the thrill of victory to care who was in it- or to notice that they weren't actually fighting.
Hermione sat impassively at her the table watching the fray. From time to time she could see one of Ron's long legs kick out, or Harry's mop of black hair. Around them the crowd got more excited as the boys tussled.
"Argh!" she heard Harry cry, amid the cackles of the Weasley twins. "Hermione! He-help!"
What Hermione really wanted to do at that moment was back away and finish studying for Potions- but then she caught sight of Ron's face- half giggling, half angry- and she decided to help. She drew her wand, got her feet and stood in front of the tumble of bodies. "Petrificus totalus!" she said. Harry, stiff as a board with his arms pinned to his sides, rolled out of the fight.
"Whoops," said Hermione as the crowd 'booed'. "Bad aim." She flicked her wand again, "Petrificus totalus!"
This time she was dead on target. George suddenly shot up straight as a pole and fell to the floor again- right onto Harry. "Oof!" Harry gasped, as the full weight of a seventeen year old boy hit him in the chest. "Hermione!" yelled George, spotting her holding her wand. "That's not cricket!"
The crowd, sighing their disappointment, began to disperse. Ron, panting hard, managed to get to his feet with Fred still hanging off his neck. He grinned at her."Can you get this one too?" he asked, swinging around so that Fred was in full target.
Hermione shrugged. "Petrificus Totalus!" she said for the third time. But Fred leapt away just in time, and the curse hit Ron just as he swung back around to grab his brother. Ron stiffened, waved from side to side a bit and, with a look of total astonishment on his freckled face, fell forward- straight onto Hermione.
They hit the floor painfully hard. Hermione felt the breath knocked out of her, heard Ron's gasp of pain. She held out her hands in an effort to stop Ron hitting her head, but now her arms buckled beneath his weight, and his face dropped forward onto hers, so close that their noses were touching.
Hermione could hear what was left of the crowd "oooooh!" in astonishment. She had never seen Ron so close up before- they were exactly eye to eye. His face, pink with exertion, was all astonishment as he looked right into her dark brown eyes. They were both breathing very hard in an attempt to regain their breath. Ron spoke first.
"Are you -okay?" he managed to say through his gasps. By now, the initial shock Hermione had felt was quickly turning into anger. She was suddenly very aware of the compromising position they were in, suddenly very aware of the fact that half of Gryffindor house were staring at them, and suddenly very aware of the fact that Ron had just about the nicest pair of eyes she'd ever seen.
"Get –off- me!" she snapped, feeling her cheeks burn. Ron turned his head to the side and coughed. Then he turned back to her. "It's a bit impossible at the moment,"
Hermione felt a flush of anger and embarrassment. "Can't you roll to the side or something?" she said through gritted teeth. Thankfully, the crowds were beginning to disperse a little more, but the damage had already been done. Tomorrow, there would be more rumours to combat- last year it had been about Hermione and Harry, now there would be stupid stories about Hermione and Ron!
"Are you two okay?" said Harry from where he was lying a few feet away. George was still lying, immobilised, on his stomach.
"Give us a hand, Fred," George complained, and Fred obligingly grabbed his brother by the back of his shirt and heaved him up. "Good. Now fix me." Fred grinned evilly and propped George up against the wall like a broomstick. "Can't help you there, mate. Don't know the counter curse."
"Hermione, what's the counter curse?" Harry asked as Fred pulled him up too.
Hermione was busying herself by trying to push Ron off her person. "Ah, I…I've forgotten it!" she snapped, feeling frazzled and too distracted by the thought of rumours about her and Ron to remember the correct counter curse. Frustrated, she punched Ron on the shoulder.
"Ow!" said Ron. "Don't hit me!"
"Well, help me you great prat!"
Ron blinked at her blankly. "How?" he said, "I'm kind of…limbless, here."
"Can someone give us a hand, please!" Hermione yelled, Ron's mild behaviour in this desperate situation only making her more agitated. But the common room had started partying again, their attention not to be held in one spot too long.
"Fred!" snapped Ron, "Don't stand there staring at us you stupid git! Help me up!"
"Ah, don't pretend you're not enjoying it," said Fred, propping Harry up against the wall beside George. "It's probably the first time you've had a girl underneath y-"
Suddenly the portrait hole door slammed open. It was Professor McGonagall in her tartan dressing gown. "Now really enough is enough!" she shouted, "It's two am in the morning! I'm very pleased that Gryffindor won but you're keeping the rest of the castle awake and it's time to go to BED!"
"Aw, c'mon Professor," Lee Jordan started, but the professor quickly intervened.
"NO, Jordan! BED! ALL OF YOU! NOW!"
She began shooing people up to their dormitories. Harry, George, Hermione and Ron all turned to Fred. "Well," said Fred cheerfully, "I'm off to bed!" He had a very crafty grin on his face.
"What? No! Wait, you need to get me off Hermione-"
"Sorry, can't hear you!" Fred said, and quickly joined the crowd up to the boys' dorm.
"Come back here you stupid-" George yelled after his brother, but it was then that McGonagall saw them. The expression on her face would have been comical had not the situation been so serious.
"WEASLEY! GRANGER! WHAT ON EARTH DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?"
"Please, Professor, I can explain-"
"THAT IS NOT THE DECORUMOF A GRYFFINDOR STUDENT! How DARE you act- with…with such INDISCRETION!"
"No, really, professor It's not what it looks like!"
"WEASLEY! POTTER!" Professor McGonagall said, now turning on Harry and George, "What on earth are you doing, hanging around? I said GO-TO-BED!"
"Er, we can't Professor," said George, fighting to keep a smile of amusement off his face. "We're slightly…stuck."
"What do you mean stuck- WEASLEY! Will you kindly GET OFF Miss Granger at ONCE!"
"I can't professor!" Ron said, "I'm stuck too!"
Professor McGonagall took two quick strides and grabbed Ron by the arm. "You will do what I say AT ONCE or I will see to it that you are-" A look of astonishment crossed her face as she tugged on Ron's arm and found that the rest of his body came with it. In her surprise, she dropped Ron, and he landed back on Hermione. This time their heads clunked together.
"Oh my…" said Professor McGonagall, reaching into her pocket and drawing out her wand. "Mobilius totalus!" Suddenly all three of the formerly frozen Gryffindor students were free. Ron clambered off Hermione quickly, blushing furiously. The four of them quickly assembled in front of Professor McGonagall. "Very well," said Professor McGonagall, breathing through her flared nostrils, "All four of you in my office before breakfast tomorrow. I want a full explanation. Goodnight- and don't forget."
"Yes professor," they chorused. George waited until she was gone before letting forth a stream of swear words directed at his twin brother, and marching up the boys staircase, with intentions of "hexing that git all the way to Australia!"
Harry shook out his arms and legs, looking relieved. "Are you two all right?"
Ron nodded and shot a reproachful look at Hermione. "You realise we're all going to get detention because of you."
"Well, I didn't ask you to fall on me! That was really very rude of you."
Ron rolled his eyes at her. "Yeah, well, when your arms and legs are stuck to your sides it's really hard to direct yourself to the ground, Hermione," he snapped.
Hermione flushed. She was still feeling slightly breathless- but somehow she didn't think it was from the fall. She almost felt like apologising, but she quickly pushed that idea out of her head. She never apologised to Ron, as a rule. And besides- what he had just done was basically unforgivable. He must have done it on purpose, the pervert. Harry looked from one to the other and rolled his eyes. "You two can just work this out on your own. I'm going to bed."
He walked up the boys staircase, leaving Ron and Hermione alone. Ron, looking grumpy, threw himself down on a cushion in front of the fire. Hermione resumed her seat at her desk and continued working. But suddenly it was hard. Less than five minutes ago she had literally been closer to Ron than she ever had before. When you're friends with someone for such a long time, it's hard to see them as anything else. But now, Hermione realised, Ron was more than just Ron- he was a young man. No wait- a boy. That sounded better. Less intimidating. Anyone else would have been more immature about the incident. In fact, a few years ago, Ron himself would have been more immature about it. But now, as hard as it was to digest, Hermione realised that Ron was growing up.
"What?" Ron said.
"Hm?" Hermione quickly shook herself out of her reverie.
"Why're you staring at me?"
"Oh…" Hermione felt her cheeks redden. Had she really been staring at Ron? "I didn't mean to."
Ron shrugged. "It's no problem- I just wanted to know why." Suddenly he grinned.
"You know," he said slowly "it must have looked pretty bad."
"What must have?" she said, looking down at her book.
"Well…McGonagall walking in and.…you know, seeing us."
Hermione fixed him with a petulant stare. "Yes, it did look bad," she said. "But, the point is- we weren't…doing anything, so there's no reason for her to punish us."
Ron shrugged, "I'm just saying, it must have looked pretty bad."
To Hermione's irritation, he perched herself on the edge of her table and read over her shoulder. He
didn't say anything for a while. Then:
"I'm sorry I yelled at you just now."
She raised her head and looked at him incredulously. "What did you just say?"
Ron looked surprised. "I said, sorry I yelled at you just now."
Hermione frowned. "What do you want?"
"Why are you being so nice? I mean…I just got you into trouble."
Ron gave her a reproachful look. "Jeez- I don't have any bloody ulterior motive here. I'm just apologising."
"Well," she said, raising her eyebrows, "I can live without apologies, thanks very much."
Ron shrugged. "Suit yourself." He slid off the table and wandered around the common room, humming to himself. It wasn't very long before Hermione's nerves quickly broke.
"What is wrong with you?" she snapped, "You're getting on my nerves!"
Yet another passive reply! What was wrong with him today? Why wasn't he rising to the challenge? Ron walked over and perched himself on the table again. "Are you all right?' he asked, concern on his freckled face. "You look kind of stressed out."
Hermione looked at him incredulously. She couldn't believe it. Ron was actually showing concern! To her, no less! There was definitely something wrong with him- Ron, though he was incredibly loyal to his friends, rarely expressed concern for them in words.
"Herm? Is there anything I can do?"
"You can stop acting so weird, for a start," Hermione said, regarding him in disbelief. "Seriously, Ron, what is wrong with you? You've been acting so strange all day."
Ron smiled. "Have I?"
"Yes, you have! Now honestly, what is the matter?"
"Nothing…" said Ron. "Except…" He halted ambivalently and then continued slowly, as if scared of her response. "Except…well, you know Parvati Patil?"
"I'm aware of her, yes," said Hermione, rolling her eyes. She did have the misfortune to share a dorm with Parvati for the past four years after all.
"Well," said Ron, now blushing, and lowering his voice even though there was no one else in the room, "Um, I was really surprised this morning…because well, at the match, just as I was coming out of the changing rooms afterwards… um…Parvati, um…"
"Spit it out," said Hermione, smiling at Ron kindly, "What did she do this time?"
"She told me she really liked me," Ron blurted out, "And she, um …asked me out."
Hermione mouth dropped open. "What?" she said hoarsely.
Parvati Patil liked Ron Weasley? She actually liked Ron?
"Yeah, I was surprised too- but I wasn't about to complain. I mean, she's…lovely, isn't she?"
"You- you've got to be joking!"
"No, I'm not. Harry thought I was joking too, at first. But I'm not." Ron had a grin on his face.
Hermione could hardly speak for shock. Parvati Patil was the most stuck up girl in Gryffindor, and as far as Hermione knew, she had always disliked Ron- where was this coming from?
"You can't!" she blurted out. Ron looked at her with raised eyebrows. "I mean," Hermione said hurriedly, "Parvati's so…so…so mean to Neville!"
"Is she? I hadn't noticed."
"But Ron, she never does her homework-"
"Neither do I," said Ron, grinning.
"And she…she wears make-up to school- I mean, who's she trying to impress?"
"Me, obviously," Ron laughed, "Hermione, what's wrong with you? Do you not like Parvati?"
"No, it's not that," said Hermione, feeling confused. Why did she suddenly, urgently need to turn Ron away from Parvati? Where had this abrupt desire sprung from?
"I'm going to bed," she snapped suddenly, standing up and gathering her things. Being in a room with Ron was too distracting right now. (But why?)
"Hermione?' said Ron, scrambling to his feet, "What's the matter?"
"Nothing!" she said sharply.
"Something's wrong- why are you pissed off suddenly?"
"I am NOT-" she said, mounting the staircase to the girl's dorms, "- pissed off!"
"Then why are you biting my head off?"
Something in Ron's voice made her turn around. He was standing at the bottom of the staircase with a questioning look on his face.
"I'm not! I'm just…" she struggled to find the words, "I'm just…tired. Goodnight, Ron."