Disclaimer: The characters of Harry Potter belong to J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury, and AOL Time Warner, and were used without permission. No copyright infringement is intented.

Defining a Hero

Ron was descending the stairs to the Common Room to go to breakfast when he heard his two best friends talking quietly. On any other day, he'd have just gone over to them, but something they said made him stop in his tracks:

"All right, I'll tell you... but you have to promise me you'll never tell Ron." Harry was serious about this- Ron could tell by the tone of his voice. He knew he shouldn't eavesdrop, but curiosity won over his conscience

"I promise. I won't tell him," was Hermione's answer.

Harry took a deep breath and went on. "Dumbledore said he owed me an explanation for not making me a prefect. He said it was because I had enough to deal with already. He didn't want one more thing for me to worry about." Ron heard his friend give a heavy sigh..

There was silence after Harry said the words. Ron felt a pang in his heart. He had always known that the badge really didn't belong to him, but deep down he hoped it did. That it had come to him because of his own merits and not because Harry couldn't deal with it.It just wasn't fair! He didn't need to know that. He'd rather have lived in his world, where he was a prefect because he earned it.

He didn't even feel jealous of Harry this time. Just disappointed. With himself mostly, but with Dumbledore as well. Didn't he know how much it would mean to Harry to be a prefect? He had seen the expression on Harry's face when Ron was holding the badge. He wanted it. And it had been his all along.

Harry's voice brought him out of his reverie.

"Do you understand now why I didn't want to tell you? And why Ron mustn't know?"

"Of course I do. And I won't tell him. I wouldn't be able to bear seeing the disappointment in his face."

Ron almost laughed. Hermione knew him too well. He had to get out of there. He slipped through the Portrait Hole as silently as he could, and walked to the lake. He wasn't hungry any more.


Hermione turned slightly pale. "Oh no..."

"What? What is it?" Harry jumped to his feet in alarm.

"Unless I'm mistaken, and I'm fairly sure I'm not, Ron just passed the Portrait Hole."

"Are you sure?"

"Pretty sure."

"Bloody hell!"


"Do you think he heard us?"

"Why else would he slip past us like that if he hadn't?" Hermione said worriedly.

Harry cursed again.

"What am I supposed to do now?"

"I'll talk to him."

"Don't you think it should be me explaining it to him?"

"No, let me try first. He's probably feeling bad and no matter how reassuring you may sound he'll feel that he's inferior to you."

"But he's not!"

"Harry, I know that and you know that, but Ron doesn't. And probably a lot of people at Hogwarts don't either." She took a deep breath and went on. "Harry, you know that most people only know Ron as another Weasley, or as Harry Potter's best friend. I'm sure Ron never regretted being friends with you, and he'd do anything for us or his family, but nobody wants to be known because of someone else! As if he didn't have anything to show for himself." Hermione looked sad. Sometimes she thought it was so unfair the way people treated Ron. He deserved better.

"I think they're a bunch of idiots if they can't see Ron for the person he really is," Harry said fiercely.

"I agree." Hermione smiled at him, then sighed. "I think I'll go and talk to him now."

"I hope you'll be able to put some sense into that thick skull of his."

"I'll do my best," Hermione said with a smile, turning to go and search for her other best friend.


Ron heard Hermione's footsteps as she approached him. He stiffened- he didn't want to talk. And if Hermione had found him so soon, it was because she knew he had heard them talking.

She sat beside him in silence for some time, before asking quietly "Do you want to talk about it?"

Right to the point, that's Hermione, he thought fondly.


"I really think you should."

When he didn't say anything, she continued, "Well, will you listen to what I have to say then?"

He shrugged indifferently.

"All right. I don't think what Dumbledore said to Harry by any means diminishes your merits, Ron. You're a good and dedicated prefect. You take it seriously because it's important to you. No matter how many times you say you didn't want it, I know you did. Don't let this incident ruin something that means so much to you."

"Come on, Hermione, nobody thought it should be me." He stopped, then softly continued. "Not even you."

She could hear the hurt in his voice. Hermione knew she hadn't been fair to him, and she felt really bad.

"I'm sorry for the way I reacted. I know it wasn't fair to you. I was just saying to Harry that people didn't treat you fairly, and I'll admit that I'm guilty of the same crime."

Ron looked at her, stunned.

"No need to apologize. You were right, as always."

"Oh, Ron! Please, can't you see that you deserve this badge as much as Harry? It doesn't matter what Dumbledore said, Ron. You deserve it!"

He wanted so much to believe her, but he just couldn't.

"It's not just the badge. It's everything," he sighed. "I'm not good at anything, Hermione. I'm average, at best. One more in a crowd. The biggest thing I did in my life was being friends with Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, and Hermione Granger, the cleverest witch of this school. But what do I have to say for myself? Nothing. I'm not even good at Quidditch, something that I really like. And now..." he shook his head. "I didn't need to know this."

"I know, Ron. And you shouldn't belittle yourself so much. You are brave, loyal, and you have a great heart. And I know you wouldn't hesitate to put your life at risk if it meant saving someone you care about. You've already done that for me and Harry more than once. And this is how you know someone's a hero. You are a hero, Ron Weasley, and I'm proud of you."

He felt the sting of tears in his eyes and blinked furiously to prevent them from falling.

"Thank you," he said, his voice choked.

They stayed in silence for a few minutes, then he cleared his throat. She looked at him- he seemed nervous.

"So... if I am a hero, do you suppose... erm..."

She was puzzled by his behavior. "What?"

"... Ahem... do you suppose I could get the girl at the end?"

Ron blushed furiously, and she felt the heat spread on her cheeks.

"I don't know, Ron," she said quietly, "maybe you could get the girl in the middle." She could feel her face grow even hotter.

His head snapped up and he looked at her with such intensity that she started to tingle all over.

"Do you mean it?" he asked seriously, his voice deep.

"Yes. I mean it."

Hermione heard his breath catch and her eyes locked on his mouth. She unconsciously moistened her lips. Ron leaned closer and their lips met in a kiss that was gentle, soft and powerful. He pulled back to look at her eyes and gather her reaction. After a few seconds he leaned back to kiss her again. This time it was deeper and more passionate.

When they broke the kiss they were both breathless. Ron touched his forehead to hers and smiled.

"That was brilliant."

She grinned back at him. "It was."

Hermione pulled back to look at his eyes and felt her heart swell. His feelings for her were all there for her to see. Unmasked.

At that moment, she felt the luckiest woman on the Earth.


Harry was pacing in the Common Room. Hermione had been gone for a long time now. What if she hadn't found him yet? Or hadn't convinced him? He didn't know if he should go and find them or not. He was tired of waiting. He decided to take a walk.

As he was making his way to the lake he saw his two best friends sitting together.

He stopped and blinked. Shaking himself, he looked at both sides before turning his eyes back to his friends.

Yes, he was really seeing it.

Ron had his arm around Hermione's shoulder. She was leaning on him with her arm wrapped around his waist. Then he gasped. Ron was kissing Hermione's forehead! What was going on here?

He took a few steps towards them, and heard Hermione laughing softly. She pulled back and the most astonishing thing happened. They kissed.

Harry was stunned. He had sent Hermione to talk to Ron, and here they were, snogging, while he had been worrying about Ron! Well... it was about time, but they could have spared him the worry. He smiled. He was truly happy for them- but they didn't need to know that yet.

He cleared his throat and glared at them.

"Am I interrupting something?"

They pulled back abruptly and looked at him.

"Harry!" Hermione said, sounding startled. They were both blushing furiously.

"I was worried, you know that?"

They looked at each other then at Harry, this time guiltily.

"I'm sorry, Harry. We were talking and then..." Hermione started.

"Then we... erm... we sort of got caught in something else." Ron finished.

"Yes, I can see that."

"Are you mad at us?" Hermione asked quietly, and Harry took pity on her.

"Of course not- it took you long enough!" He smiled at his best friends.

They smiled back, clearly relieved. Harry sat on Hermione's other side and asked Ron, "You all right, mate?"

"Yes, Harry..." He looked at Hermione with a smile. "Now I am."

The End.