Disclaimer: I own nothing, and so don't get any silly notions in your pitiful mind that I need to be sued. Do I look like I have the words 'Sue me' written on my forehead? No, that's what I thought! Ha! Take that!

A/N: My birthday was yesterday, and I'm still a little hyper (had some Mochas. began singing, "I am sixteen going on seventeen" until the clock- chimed 2:30. Then at 2:32 p.m. I began singing "I was sixteen, now I'm seventeen". LOL) *~*BEWARE*~*

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School is starting again. The beginning of my fifth year.pretty scary if you sit down and toss it around. It has a funny taste to it, saying that I'm a fifth year. Its unnatural, and definitely strange, but I'm growing accustomed to it. Not only that, but I'm growing used to the idea of not being Krum's girlfriend any longer. It's a good feeling now. He never did learn how to pronounce my name correctly, and what with his little 'fans' swarming around him every time we tried to spend time with each other, I grew frustrated with the entire situation. So I told him how I felt, and then I told everyone I knew. Harry wasn't too surprised; I'd been confiding in him ever since we got out of school. Ron was overly happy about it. I am glad that he finally asked Krum for his autograph at the end of last year, but he and I never did talk about Krum in our owls to one another, for every time his name came up, we'd get in a tiff over it, and we wouldn't talk for a week or so after.

We got to Hogwarts about an hour ago, and I'm finally finished organizing all of my homework. We had less than usual over the summer I think, because I had three weeks without it. I think that, if I had had another week with out homework or anything to do, I believe I would have died from boredom. I don't know how everyone else survives it!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* (Sept. 1st)

Hermione left her bedroom and slowly went down the staircase leading to the Gryffindor Common Room. Harry and Ron were already engrossed in a game of Wizard Chess; and to no one's surprise, Ron was winning. She sat down on the arm of Ron's seat, and watched the game play out. Ron and Harry had each grown over the summer, but Ron was still taller. His hair was just as red as it was when they all met, and his eyes just as brown as ever. Harry's hair was still the same unruly mess it had been the previous year, and he still had the friendly green eyes Hermione had grown accustomed to seeing.

"So, Hermione, are you excited about your birthday?" Harry glanced up from the board to see her face. Ron just grinned as he said quietly, "Check- mate," then faced Hermione, awaiting her answer. She slowly nodded her head, and followed that with a sheepish looking grin.

"So what do you want then?" Harry watched as her face turned an attractive pink shade, and was surprised with her answer. "I don't want anything from you guys."

"What do you mean, Hermione?" Harry just stared at her, flabbergasted, while Ron ripped her from her position on his chair. "You don't want anything for your birthday? Come off it, everyone wants something."

"Don't say that you want nothing, because I will give you some of Uncle Vernon's old socks!" Harry laughed as the threat escaped his mouth, and soon all three were in hysterics.

"Seriously you guys, I do not want anything. I've got all I could ever wish for! We're all safe and sound, back at Hogwarts, and we're still great friends. I don't think there is anything I could want more!" She just watched as her friends gaped at her response. Finally she just shrugged her shoulders and headed down to the Great Hall, tossing a, "See you soon," at them over her shoulder.

"Hey Ron, you don't really think she doesn't want anything, do you?" Harry and Ron slowly packed away the wizard chess set and took it up to their dormitory.

"I think she does, she's just not going to admit it." Ron took the chess set from his friend and sat it in his trunk, then turned to Harry and saw a glint in his eye. 'I'm going to regret this, I just know it!' Ron thought to himself, but ended up asking slowly, "What are you thinking, Harry?"

"Just that the best gift you could 'prolly give her is finally admitting that you like the girl, and asking her out."

"WHAT?" Harry ran out of the room, slid down the banister, and into the Common Room, landing on the floor with a soft 'thud,' Ron hot on his heels. "What do ya mean?!"

"Oh come off it! We all know that you like her. Hell, she even partially figured it out last year. You know, when you both had that argument in this very room? And she stormed out of here, leaving her last words to sink into your skull, which they apparently haven't done."

"I dunno what you mean Harry." Ron crossed his arms in front of his chest in a stubborn manner, his demeanor clearly showing that he was earnestly attempting to act dumb.

"Oh Gods, how thick could you get?! She said 'Next time there's a ball, ask me before someone else does, and not as a last resort!' Do you remember that Ron? Do you?!" His face was almost as red as Ron's had been, moments before Hermione's words were catapulted in his face by his friend.

"YES OF COURSE - " Ron stopped in mid-sentence and, noticing how everyone in the room was staring at them, lowered his octave. "Of course I remember that day. It was, quite possibly, one of the worst in my life, next to when I found out Gin had been taken by You-Know-Who into the Chamber of Secrets. But under no circumstances am I going to tell Hermione - I don't like her anymore Harry, and that's the end of that." He took a second to glare at Harry, before marching out of the room.

Harry just walked backwards out of the room slowly, his plastered-on smile never faltering.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* (Sept. 14th)

Ron awoke groggily to the sound of Neville Longbottom snoring. 'Gods how I wish he'd just learn a spell to shuttup. Honestly!' He pulled off his covers, and standing up in his Chudley Cannons pajamas, he padded his way down the stairs and into the Common Room. Expecting to find it empty, he was astonished to see Hermione sitting in front of the fireplace, curled up in a blanket.

"Morning 'Mione." He walked up next to the couch and sat down next to her. She offered him part of her blanket, and he accepted.

"Normally I would tell you off for calling me that, but it's too early right now." Hermione turned to him and smiled, then began giggling.

"What? What is it?" He watched as she just pointed at him and continued laughing. She finally calmed down and gave a light tug at his shirt. He looked down and just smiled. "So I wear little kid clothes. They're my favorite Quidditch team."

"Oh, I know they are Ron. I just thought that it was kinda. What time is it anyway?" She broke eye contact with him and stared back into the fire, awaiting his answer.

"Not even five in the morning," he replied quietly. "What are you doing up?"

"I just had some things on my mind, that's all. How about you?"

"Neville's snoring. It's a nightmare, I'm telling you!" He started to imitate it, which earned another bout of laughter from Hermione. Once she settled down, he asked what she had been thinking about.

"Oh, just stupid things; you wouldn't understand."

Ron gently turned her face towards his and said, "Try me."

She was quiet for a moment, debating whether or not to confide in him or not, but against her better judgment, decided to go ahead and 'try him.' She explained how she had been confused about Krum and how she had often been pondering whether or not breaking up with him was the best thing to do. To her great surprise, and pleasure, Ron didn't interrupt once to tell her what a 'bloody git' he thought Krum was. Instead, he just listened to her pour out her heart, and just patted her hand when she finished. She hadn't wanted advice, just someone to listen to her problems, and he had. She smiled thankfully at him, and held his gaze for a long time before he broke it.

"Do you think you could get back to sleep now?" He asked her softly, as if a louder voice would wake up everyone.

"Yeah, I think so. I wish we could do this every morning, you know? Just like come out here and spend some time hanging out, without all of the interruptions. It'd be fun." Hermione stretched a bit before standing up and wrapping her blanket around her shoulders.

As she turned to go, Ron said hurriedly, "We could you know. I mean, er, we could just chat down here in the mornings, if that's what you'd like. If it's not that's fine too, because I can always just - "

Hermione put her hand up, and smiling, stopped him from going on any farther. "Ron, I would like that, thank you."

"So, I'll. er, I'll see you tomorrow?" He grinned, his face full of boyish characteristics.

"Same time, same place." She waved goodnight to him, and he just stood there, smiling to himself.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* (Later that morning.)

"YOU DID WHAT!? WITH WHO!?" Harry bellowed after their roommates had left the dormitory. "Talked. Hermione," Ron reiterated for his friend.

"I'm sorry, did I hear you correctly? Did you say that you, Ronald Weasley, talked with one, Hermione Granger?" Harry was sitting upon his bead, astonished beyond belief.

"For the fifth, and final time, yes. I talked with her! Do I really have to keep saying it over for you? Gods," Ron stated, shaking his head with disbelief. 'What is so hard to understand about it?' he thought to himself. "What's so hard to understand about it?"

"The fact that you, the boy who has been smitten with her for over a year and a half, talked with her. Alone, mind you! And you're going to do it again, tonight!" Harry exclaimed, throwing his hands into the air. "That is what is so unbelievable about it!"

"Whatever. I'm going downstairs to have breakfast. Are you joining me or not?" Ron stood stubbornly, holding the door open. "Well?"

"All I am going to say is that if you do not tell her you like her, I will." With that, Harry marched out of the room, Ron following at a slower pace.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* (Sept. 19th)

"Morning Ron!" Hermione's giddiness could be heard in the tone of her voice, for it was her birthday, and every cell in her body reverberated with the feeling of being one year older.

"You are seriously way too awake for." Ron checked the Grandfather Clock, " four in the morning. What is up with you today?"

"Don't you know Ron?" She smiled at him mischievously, as he took his usual seat next to her and stole some of her blanket.

Ron decided to feign ignorance, and said, "Oh, do we have Transfigurations today? Is that why you're more awake than usual? No, that can't be it, we had it a couple days ago and you were so tired you couldn't keep your eyes open. Now what could it be?"

She laughed as she punched him lightly, saying, "It's my birthday, half- wit!"

"Well how could I be so thoughtless as to forget it? How could I be so stupid?" He smiled good-naturedly at her, and her laughter filled the Common Room, like music to Ron's ears. "So what did you get?"

"Oh nothing so far, I haven't opened my presents. Krum sent me an owl the other day. He said some harsh things, but I was perfectly fine with it." She smiled sadly, and explained the details. How he bragged about his new girlfriend, and rubbed it in her face that she, Hermione Granger, was fifteen and had never been.

"Oh 'Mione. That's nothing to be ashamed of. Tons of people haven't," Ron told her in a soothing voice.

"I'm not ashamed of it, it's just embarrassing, and I have been, it's just that it wasn't real. Krum would, but it was a peck on the cheek or something. Nothing that I would consider note-worthy." Hermione looked up in Ron's eyes and saw that he was nervous about something. "What's wrong Ron?"

"Nothing'. It's. it's nothing at all."

"Ronald Weasley, what aren't you telling me?"

"I don't think you should be embarrassed about it 'Mione," Ron said quietly. "I think that it just makes you all the more. endearing."

"Endearing?" Hermione asked, incredulously.

"Yes. It just adds to your many qualities that I happen to like and admire." Ron just smiled shyly, and looked down at her with a twinkle in his eye.

"Thanks, Ron. thanks." She broke the eye contact between them and stared into the fire. "I noticed that you didn't give me anything for my birthday."

"I, er, I know 'Mione, and I'm truly sorry 'bout that, it's just that." Hermione put her finger to his lips and shook her head.

"I don't need presents Ron, this is all I needed. A friend who listens to me and tells me just what I need to hear, when I need to hear it most."

"'Mione. I have something else to tell you, that you really need to hear," Ron stated quietly, not trusting his own voice to speak above that level.

"What is it Ron?" Hermione stared into his eyes, and saw something that she wasn't sure she liked. "Ron?"

"I. Well. I dunno quite how to put it." Ron finally just took a deep breath and pulled Hermione's face close to his, and brushed her lips softly with his. He felt her open her mouth and sigh into his as the kiss deepened. He pulled her into his arms, and felt hers go around his neck, pulling him even closer. After what seemed like a millennium, they pulled away, and looked into each other's eyes, searching for what that had meant. "'Mione, listen, I - "

"Ron, just shut up. Don't talk for once." She leaned back in and kissed him lightly on the lips, feeling him smile beneath hers. When she pulled away, she said, "Happy Birthday to me?"

"Aye," Ron grunted, before encircling his arms around her waist and pulling her tight against him. "Happy Birthday 'Mione."

They stayed like that for a while, just lying content on the couch, Hermione in Ron's arms, before she said, "By the way, Ron?"

"Yes?" He asked softly against her ear, his mouth tickling her skin as he did so.

"Don't call me 'Mione."

"Okay. 'Mione" He laughed as she elbowed him lightly in the ribs, and heard her sigh contentedly. "Happy Birthday."

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A/N: Hey there! So, what'd you think? C'mon, tell me! Please? Just push the little blue button and leave a Review! That's all it takes! And, er, tell me if ya want more! Cuz there's more where this came from!