Warning: Rated T for language, violence, and sensuality. For further disclaimers and warnings, make sure to read my profile.
Beta Love: Fluffpanda and TequilaMockingbirdWrites
A/N: I originally posted this fic Aug 2014 after binge reading the books and watching the movies (not for the first time). High on Harry Potter canon, I wanted to fill in the blanks of the Ron/Hermione story. Over the year my OTPs have changed dramatically and I no longer write/read Romione pairings, but I have had even some die hard Dramione fans say nice things about Lost Moments, so I didn't want to delete it. Instead, I've decided to revamp the story, edit it, and repost. I hope you all enjoy.
** Everything in italics is taken directly from the books.
[Updated Nov 2016]
"All the good-looking ones taken, Ron?" said Hermione, loftily. "Eloise Midgen starting to look quite pretty now, isn't she? Well, I'm sure you'll find someone somewhere who'll have you."
But Ron was staring at Hermione as though suddenly seeing her in a whole new light.
Her face flushed like it often did when she was angry or frustrated with him. Not a blush in the centre of her cheeks, but high on her neck as though the blood were pumping straight from her heart, furiously up to her mouth in order to give it constant fuel for the battery of insults and quips she would make toward him during one of their general rows. It was the flush that caught his attention as he watched her skin turn slightly pink and rise against the hollow point against her collarbone. As if his body were trying to subconsciously colour coordinate, the tips of his ears turned pink and he quickly brought his eyes up from her neck to her face, hoping he hadn't been caught staring.
"Hermione, Neville's right - you are a girl..."
"Oh well spotted," she said acidly.
"Well - can't you come with one of us?"
He was trying to be as subtle as possible, though the idea that she would accept his offer only to end up going to the Ball with Harry made the tips of his ears turn from pink to red rather quickly. He wasn't quite sure what it was that he'd noticed about Hermione in the split second that it took for her neck to flush, but he knew that it crossed a line in their friendship and, unlike everything else in his entire life, it was something he wasn't willing to share with anyone.
"No, I can't," snapped Hermione.
"Oh come on," he said impatiently, "we need partners, we're going to look really stupid if we haven't got any, everyone else has..."
It would be stupid if he'd been genuine with his reasoning. Saying exactly what he felt wasn't his strong suit unless he was angry and even then his words were truth and exaggerations littered with swears. Playing on her pity seemed an easy bet. She hated it when he and Harry worried over tests and homework, and she would jump at the chance to help them just so they didn't come off looking stupid or inadequate.
"I can't come with you," said Hermione, now blushing, "because I'm already going with someone."
"No, you're not!" said Ron. "You just said that to get rid of Neville!"
"Oh did I?" said Hermione, and her eyes flashed dangerously. "Just because it's taken you three years to notice, Ron, doesn't mean no one else spotted I'm a girl!"
He knew she was a girl. He wasn't that thick. She slept in a different dormitory after all. They'd been friends for years and all of a sudden she was upset that he didn't notice? What? Was he supposed to approach her every so often and remind her that she was a girl just in case she forgot? Her bitterness aside at his lack of attention over gender, Ron suddenly began feeling anxious, and not over the idea of going to the ball alone—though that too was weighing on his mind—but that Hermione seemed so intent on the fact that she was going with someone else. She was a terrible liar, especially when it came to him. Her morals were too high and, though she'd lied from time to time over the years, Ron felt that he knew the telltale signs of a Hermione fib and she wasn't showing any of them. He looked closer at her face, waiting for an eye to twitch or for her to scratch her left ear. She didn't.
Ron stared at her. Then he grinned again. "Okay, okay, we know you're a girl," he said. "That do? Will you come now?"
Give her what she wants, then maybe she'll calm down and see reason.
"I've already told you!" Hermione said very angrily. "I'm going with someone else!" And she stormed off toward the girls' dormitories again.
His heart sank into the pit of his stomach as he watched her leave. He felt foolish that he'd pushed so far only to get no where, and hoped that no one else caught on to his lack of effort attempt at getting a date with Hermione. But not really a date. Just someone to go with. She was his best friend; he couldn't date his best friend. It would be like dating Harry. It would be like dating Ginny! He paused as the thoughts rolled over in his head and he turned his eyes to his little sister who seemed to glare at him as if he'd done something wrong, and immediately he shook his head and widened his glance as he turned away from her. Okay, so it wouldn't be like dating Ginny. Hermione was nothing like a sister to him. But he felt suddenly protective over her like he'd always been with Ginny. Like the idea of her going to the ball with someone made him angry. The thought of someone putting his grubby mitts on her waist, or holding her hand, or kissi . . . no. She had to be lying.
Of course, she hadn't been lying at all.
Ron's heavy eyelids blinked open and he looked over at the empty bed across the room in Grimmauld Place.
It was still dark out, and thank Merlin he still had a chance to go back to sleep for several hours before his mum would wake the whole house to get everyone started cleaning again. He had no idea what the purpose was for that infernal elf if the rest of them were meant to get the place in living condition. He paused for a moment and drew his gaze across the room to the door which remained firmly shut. He couldn't help but wonder if Hermione was awake, as he began recalling his dream.
He hadn't learned much in the few months since the Yule Ball, and the idea of someone else putting his grubby mitts on her waist, holding her hand . . . someone else—someone other than him—kissing her . . . he couldn't think about it. He hadn't even realised he'd wanted to kiss her. Then again, earlier that morning the two had gotten into a row, and between her yelling at him and Mrs. Black's portrait screaming obscenities floors below, he had wanted to silence at least one of them. In the middle of Hermione lecturing him on his lazy attitude, the thought of covering her mouth with his own in order to shut her up came into his mind. It caused him to flush all the way to his ears, apologise and then quickly leave the room.
He closed his eyes now in his bed, tightly, to rid himself of the shameful memory. With a little luck he fell back asleep before the need to open them again arose.
"Hermione - who are you going to the ball with?" said Ron.
He kept springing this question on her, hoping to startle her into a response by asking it when she least expected it. However, Hermione merely frowned and said, "I'm not telling you, you'll just make fun of me."
Why would he make fun of her? Unless she was going with someone completely ridiculous. It wasn't Neville. Seamus and Dean had dates already. He couldn't help but imagine it was someone younger, and immediately the hilarious image of Dennis Creevey trying to dance with Hermione while craning his head to look up at her face came into his mind and he let out a sharp laugh, which Hermione heard and then immediately scowled at him.
The question lingered in his head for much too long and, after a while, he stopped even caring about who he'd end up going with himself. Days on end he was perplexed by her lack of information, often resulting in telling himself over and over that she was lying just to bother him. But why did it bother him?
"What, you need three hours?" said Ron, looking at her incredulously and paying for his lapse in concentration when a large snowball, thrown by George, hit him hard on the side of the head. "Who're you going with?" he yelled after Hermione, but she just waved and disappeared up the stone steps into the castle.
"Ickle Ronniekins jealous of Granger's new boyfriend?" Fred grinned as he launched another snowball at his younger brother, effectively smacking him in the chin.
Ron turned and growled at his brother, grabbing a fist full of snow in his hand and throwing it. Unfortunately, he'd broken rule number one in fighting against one of the twins: there were two of them, so always have double the ammo.
Just as Fred ducked the lame assault, George appeared with an armful of snowballs as he charged at Ron, fist raised in the air as though he were carrying an invisible banner of war. By the time the fight ended, Ron was drenched, freezing, and face down in the snow with his brothers dancing victoriously around him.
"Don't worry, little brother," George said with a grin. "If you don't get a date of your own soon, you won't have to go and watch up close and personal..."
"As Hermione's date gets up close and personal," Fred finished the sentence with a wink.
Ron's already red face nearly turned purple at the thought and he stood up, shoving Fred backward. All the good it did as he was caught by George. Unfortunately, he thought as he stormed away from them, they had a point. If he didn't get a date soon, he'd miss out on the whole thing, and Ron wanted to see for himself if Hermione had been lying all along.
Finally at the ball with Padma at his side, Ron's eyes widened at the sight of Hermione. She was . . . he wanted to say beautiful, but had she changed all that much between yesterday and now? Certainly, she had. She'd done something to her hair, something that looked great but bothered him at the same time. She wore makeup and a dress. She didn't look like herself. He growled under his breath, an unearthly rage built up inside of him as he looked at the arm that she clung to: Viktor bloody Krum. Not only had the enemy crept into their school, threatening to take away the Tri-Wizard Cup from Harry, but he had the guts to sport a Hogwarts girl on his arm at the ball? And Hermione of all girls!? Hermione, who never wore her hair so calm and collected. Hermione, who never wore dresses and looked so . . . so . . . was she blushing!?
Ron could feel his heartbeat in his throat and he stepped forward only to accidentally land on Padma's foot. His date winced and shot him a daring look, to which he offered a small uncomfortable smile as an apology, his eyes gluing back to Hermione and Krum, not even noticing Harry and Parvati.
"How's it going?" Harry asked Ron, sitting down and opening a bottle of butterbeer.
Ron didn't answer. He was glaring at Hermione and Krum, who were dancing nearby.
"Can you bloody believe this?" Ron scowled, gesturing to the scene in front of them. He watched closely as Hermione and Victor continued dancing. "You think they're going to be at this all night then?" He narrowed his eyes.
"I'd imagine so," Harry shrugged. "It is a dance after all."
"I'd imagine so," Ron repeated the words angrily, not paying attention to what he was saying and, instead, just echoing Harry. He'd assumed Harry was just as perturbed as he was, and had answered him with a length of swears that he too, felt were well prepared for the occasion. He wanted to stand up, walk over, and punch Viktor bloody Krum in the face, though even he could truthfully admit that the encounter wouldn't end in his favour. Krum ended the World Cup with a broken and bleeding nose, Snitch in hand. Ron couldn't imagine what would happen if he'd had the courage to confront him, but still, the idea was abundantly tempting. Certainly Ron could get in at least one good hit to the face before he'd end up in the Hospital Wing.
As Hermione approached with a bright smile, he barely had enough sense to put insults and accusations together, but they seemed to somehow string along just fine without much effort and attention. He couldn't attack Krum without serious physical repercussions, but Hermione had agreed to go as his rudding date, so he felt that she shared the blame.
"Hasn't he asked you to call him Vicky yet?"
"He's competing against Harry! Against Hogwarts! You - you're fraternising with the enemy, that's what you're doing!"
"Obvious, isn't it? He's Karkaroff's student, isn't he? He knows who you hang around with… He's just trying to get closer to Harry - get inside information on him - or get near enough to jinx him -"
Eventually she'd stormed off and it took Ron several moments to catch up with the argument they'd just had. Whatever had been said, he appeared to have won. Although, now he didn't feel like he had a reason to be there. His date was off dancing with her sister and the other students, and with how he'd already treated her, Ron didn't imagine leaving her behind would be all that surprising. Harry had stood up to grab himself another butterbeer and, unable to sit there alone a moment longer in his stupid looking robes, Ron stood up and stormed off to the Gryffindor common room in the hopes of going to sleep and forgetting this night had ever happened.
Unfortunately, when he crawled through the portrait hole he came to find a tearful Hermione, crying as she sat on the couch that faced the fireplace. Hands to her face as she quietly sobbed, Ron felt guilt seep into his body like a wind chill. A tissue was clenched tightly in her hand, evidence of smeared eye makeup on it.
The image almost immediately reminded him of second year when Hermione had been petrified, her hand clenching tight to the piece of parchment revealing the information about the basilisk. He recalled how he felt the moment he saw her body, stone-like and immobile in the Hospital Wing. He'd never felt such fear and panic before, not even when facing a troll or being struck down on the giant chess set. No, those experiences he felt he'd had at least a moment or two to prepare for. Despite the fact that the Heir of Slytherin had explicitly called out an attack on Muggleborns, Ron had never actually thought that Hermione would be in any real danger. Danger that he and Harry wouldn't be able to protect her from. After Harry defeated Tom Riddle and Ginny and Hermione were returned to full health, Ron made a promise to himself to never let Hermione get hurt again, and yet here she was, crying in the common room, because of him.
"Hermione . . ." he said, almost in a whisper as he approached her with regret clear on his face.
"You," she looked up at him, her tear stained eyes furious. "Ronald, you ruined everything!" she screamed.
"Me?" He rose a brow defensively. "You've been going about for weeks now knowing that he was your bloody date, and you didn't say a word about it! How's this my fault?!"
"Who I choose to date has nothing to do with you!" She stood up and leaned forward, as though her words would reach him faster if she closed the distance between them.
He scoffed. "Hell it doesn't! You're my best friend and I'm supposed to . . . supposed to . . . you know," he stumbled over his words, "look after you and whatnot." His face reddened and he felt foolish for taking pity on her when she'd clearly been looking for a fight.
Her lips pursed. "I am not your responsibility, Ronald. I am capable of looking after myself, and if you really were my best friend, you would have treated me and my date with some semblance of respect instead of acting like a jealous child!"
He inhaled sharply at her words. "Jealous?!" His eyes widened. "I've . . . not . . . I'm . . . jealous?!" He didn't notice that several of the other Gryffindors had peeked around the stairs of the dormitories to watch the fight. Knowing the two of them, their volume had woken the entire castle. He also didn't catch the portrait opening again and Harry stepping into the room. "What do I have to be jealous of? You're the one who . . . who . . . you shouldn't be dating the enemy!"
"Well, if you don't like it, you know what the solution is, don't you?" yelled Hermione; her hair was coming down out of it's elegant bun now, and her face was screwed up in anger.
"Oh yeah?" Ron yelled back. "What's that?"
"Next time there's a ball, ask me before someone else does, and not as a last resort!"
Ron mouthed soundlessly like a goldfish out of water as Hermione turned on her heel and stormed up the girls' staircase to bed. Ron turned to look at Harry. "Well," he sputtered, looking thunderstruck, "well - that just proves - completely missed the point -"
"Bloody . . . . rudding . . . " Ron muttered in his sleep, his arms twitching. "Pumpkin head . . ." His right leg kicked out furiously, smacking into the side of the wall, effectively waking him up as he yelled loudly in pain, grasping at his stubbed toes.
Accidentally knocking the bedside table in the process of reaching for his foot, Ron sent his wand and several books to the floor with a loud thud. Floors below, Mrs. Black's portrait began wailing, "Filth! Unclean! Mudbloods! Traitors!" and Ron moaned, knowing that he'd certainly be blamed for waking the entire household. He could only hope that a few Order members were still down in a meeting and would shut the old hag up.
After about thirty seconds or so, Mrs. Black stopped screaming and he thanked Merlin that he was right and someone had been downstairs. He wasn't the only one awake now, of course. With loud CRACK Fred and George Apparated at the foot of Ron's bed. "Oh hell," he muttered as he looked up his twin brothers.
"All right there, ickle Ronnie?" Fred asked.
"Jumping on the bed, are we?" George observed, sticking a lit wand in Ron's face.
Fred raised a brow. "All by our lonesome?"
George smirked. "If you're going to have a wank, learn to keep it quiet, yeah? The decent people in this house are trying to get some innocent shut eye . . ."
". . . And don't need to hear you shouting from beneath the sheets."
"Get out," Ron snapped, grabbing his wand from his side table and muttering "Lumos!" so he could see if his toes were bleeding. "I wasn't . . . having a . . ." He scowled at them.
The door to his room opened and Hermione stood, one hand clutching the door handle, the other on her lit wand as she looked around the room frantically, having heard the commotion. "Everything all right?"
"Er . . ." Ron muttered looking up at her, pulling the sheet up around him quickly at the sound of her voice.
Fred and George immediately both cackled. "We'll let you get back to business," Fred said with a smirk and then he and George disapperated with another loud CRACK.
Ron turned back to Hermione, noticing immediately that her pyjamas were the same colour as the dress she'd worn to the Yule Ball and, suddenly, his dream came back into focus taking any leftover brain function away from his ability to answer her properly.
"Bad sleep . . . dreams, you know, nothing too bad." His ears turned pink as he tried to recover the fact that he'd might as well have told her that a nightmare woke him and now he was hoping to go sleep in his parents bed. "I'm fine now, though," he lied as images of her dancing with Viktor Krum were still branded into the back of his eyelids any time he blinked. "Go back to sleep, Hermione."
"Well . . . " Hermione frowned at the idea that Ron was having nightmares. After everything they'd been through in the last few months, she'd hoped that Ron would be able to at least talk about it if he was having a hard time adjusting. Between Cedric's gruesome death, the inability to write to Harry about anything important lest they face Dumbledore, and the fact that Voldemort had returned, Hermione had expected everyone—especially Ron—to be uneasy. But unfortunately, they relied on the Order to keep them informed, and Hermione trusted that the adults had things taken care of.
She smiled softly at him. "Get some rest."
"Night," Ron managed to mutter out after the door was closed and then collapsed backwards into bed. "Bloody brilliant." Ron smacked himself in the side of the head. "Right git, you are."