Disclaimer: I wish it all belonged to me, but JK Rowling is certainly the brains behind this operation.

Rated PG for: I have no clue. Stuff.

AN: Not much to say about this one. I wanted to write something short and introspective, and this was the result. Hope you all like.

Quidditch and Chess

The dark was piercing outside the window. Inside, candles were lit to give the room a warm, buttery feel to it. That was far from what Ron Weasley's soul felt like.

Hermione would never choose him over Harry. She shouldn't choose him over Harry. He was just the youngest boy in a family of a million, the bottom of the totem pole. Classified by older siblings or whom he chose to make friends with. Poor as dirt. Not to mention a terrible temper. Good only at chess. A hothead who got himself into trouble by yelling at people. Completely un-extraordinary in every way.

He would never tell her. If she didn't know that he loved her then she wouldn't have the chance to love him back. If she never loved him back, then she could be with somebody more remarkable. Somebody like Harry Potter.

Harry, the hero, the tragic orphan, the Boy Who Lived. Complete with a small underground fortune. Loved by all. Harry, who had the ability to get people to like him by smiling, who made girls weak in the knees by saying, "Hello". Harry, with messy black hair and piercing green eyes. Harry was good at everything, especially Quidditch. Who wouldn't want to marry somebody who was good at Quidditch?

The boy that Ron was willing to die for. Maybe in the future he would visit Harry and Hermione. Eventually time would make him forget his ruined heart.

A flash of lightning followed by rumbling thunder. The sound of heavy rain. Ron turned away from the window to look at his friends. Tonight was it. He was either going to enter the Inner Circle, sell his soul to the devil, feel burning on his left forearm, or he would die. For Harry. For Hermione. For the wizarding world.

Harry was sitting in the corner, staring off into space. Hermione was gazing fearfully at Ron, her eyes already brimming with tears.

"I-I had better go," Ron said, feeling a strange calmness descend upon him.

"Right." Harry stood up and crossed the room. "You know what to do if there's any trouble." Ron nodded. He stared at his best friend. They reached out and gripped each other's hands. He wondered if Harry was remembering everything they had ever done together. Somewhere inside he knew it was only right that they hug. It might be the last time they ever saw each other.

"I'll…goodbye Harry." Harry's grip on his hand tightened, and his face contorted oddly. It hadn't happened more than twice, but Ron had seen Harry cry before. Looked like he would see it again. Without warning the two boys embraced each other and Ron felt an odd lump forming in his throat. They pulled back and Harry put on a brave face.

"Good luck."

Not trusting himself to talk, Ron nodded again. He turned to Hermione. If he had hugged Harry then he would have to hug her as well. "Oh Ron, be careful!" she cried, flinging her arms around his neck. Hermione had no shame about sobbing into the front of his robes. Would this be the last time he would hold her in his arms? Ron closed his eyes. Harry was good at Quidditch; he was only good at chess.

And loving her Ron added silently to himself. He loved her eyes, and bushy hair, the way her nose wrinkled when she smiled, or when she yelled. He loved how she nagged him, how she constantly reminded him of things. He loved her parents and loved that they loved him back. He loved the way her eyes sparkled when she felt passionate about something, and the way they gleamed when she was angry. He loved the way she felt in his arms, and the way she smelled.

He had to tell her. If…or when he got back she could never know. He wanted to shout it from the rooftops but he couldn't.

"I love you," he murmured into her hair. He didn't care if she hadn't heard him; it was better that way.

Hermione pulled back, her eyes red and swollen from crying. He loved that too. Harry was sitting down again, wet tracks on his cheeks. An almighty rumble of thunder seemed to shake the earth under his feet.

It was time to go. He couldn't stall any longer. "Bye."

Hermione sniffed. "Come back. I love you too."

Ron never cried in front of other people, and he wouldn't start now. Blinking fiercely, he Disapparated to face Lucifer himself.

Ron Weasley was completely un-extraordinary. He wasn't good at Quidditch. He was bland and boring, hotheaded and poor. He never shut up, and never revealed his feelings. And Hermione Granger had picked him over Harry. Maybe he would yell from the rooftops after all, when he got back.