Chapter 1: Nerves of Steel

Ron Weasley was fast asleep on the sofa at 4pm when he heard his roommate close the door to the small flat they shared. Ron and his flatmate Harry had been living there for almost a year and the place looked as if needed a spring cleaning. Not that Ron and Harry were slobs. They would have tried to keep the place in better shape if they had the time to spare. They were both often so busy they simply didn't have the time to properly clean. And when they did have the time, they were usually too tired to care. No one really expected two young bachelors to have a tidy home. Both Harry and Ron were in their second year of Auror training and they were often only home for a few hours each day to get some sleep and grab a shower before heading back to headquarters. Today was Saturday and for a change, Ron decided to catch a quick nap before his big plans for the evening.

"Ron...Ron...RON" Harry yelled.

Ron blearily opened his eyes and tried to focus on the room. "What time is it", he managed to say before yawning.

"It's four o'clock. Don't you think you'd better get moving? You don't want to keep Hermione waiting" Harry said, with a hint of a smile pulling on the corners of his mouth.

"Good point. Didn't mean to sleep that long. Thanks for waking me up, mate." Ron yawned again and stretched like a cat who had been curled up in a ball for the majority of the day.

"No problem. Besides, I'll never hear the end of it if you muck this up." Harry was definitely grinning at Ron now.

"Shut it" Ron said and walked toward the bathroom. Ordinarily, Ron would have had a wittier comeback, but he was a bit nervous about tonight. He had always had a bit of crush on Hermione Granger, but was too nervous to tell her how he felt. When she started dating Zachariah Smith in their 6th year, Ron and Hermione had a terrible fight where they both said hurtful things. Zach Smith was a boy Ron detested not only because he was a git but because he was clearly not good enough for Hermione in his opinion. Hermione argued that she was perfectly capable of judging people on her own and could date anyone she chose. And because they were both stubborn, they each had refused to apologize to the other and didn't speak to each other more than was necessary for 3 years. Ron was sure it had been awkward for Harry, because he was still friends with both of them, but Harry had his hands full fighting Lord Voldemort and so their petty bickering seemed pretty minor. Ron had recently run into Hermione in Diagon Alley and it was as if their separation had never happened. Ron truly did miss her and as he had grown up in the war, he certainly wasn't going to hold a grudge. He even asked about Zach, the slime ball. And then she told Ron the best news he had heard in years. They had broken up some time ago and she was currently single. They had made plans to get together tonight to catch up. Ron had thought about inviting Harry along, but wanted Hermione all to himself. So what if that was selfish. Harry understood.

Ron was busy getting ready for Is that what she thinks it is? Truth be told, he was very nervous. He had butterflies in his stomach and he was feeling slightly queasy. He told himself that it was only Hermione, that he had eaten hundreds of meals with her. But that was before he had feelings for her. He had thought of her often over the last few years, and it was always in misty, dreamy sort of way. Would the Hermione of his daydreams be like the real Hermione?

'Knock it off, Weasley. She's your friend, at least she used to be. It's just dinner.' Ron thought to himself. 'Get a grip.' He wiped his sweaty hands on a towel and got dressed in his best 'I just threw this together but doesn't it show off my eyes and my muscular upper body' outfit. Ron was as ready as he was going to be.

"I'll see you later then Harry." Ron said as he headed toward the door.

"Tell Hermione hello for me. And don't do anything embarrassing tonight. I would like to see her again you know." Harry said with a wink.

Ron gave Harry his best icy glare before apparating to Hermione's flat.