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Author's Notice: Ron/Hermione. Odd. DIFFICULTBLOODY DIFFICULT. Anyway, yeah, enjoy it. :) Un-spell and grammar checked (hey it's 1 AM...I'm tired here.) Umm "the boy" is Ron, always. And Harry is always described as "Harry" so no confusion eh?

Disclaimer: J.K's.

Song: Willin' by Linda Ronstadt

I been warped by the rain, driven by the snow
I'm drunk and dirty, don't you know
But I'm still willin'

Out on the road late last night
I'd see my pretty Alice in every headlight
Alice, Dallas Alice

And I've been from Tucson to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonopah
Driven every kind of rig that's ever been made
Driven the backroads so I wouldn't get weighed
And if you give me weed, whites and wine
And you show me a sign
And I'll be willin' to be movin'

And I've been kicked by the wind, robbed by the sleet
Had my head stove in but I'm still on my feet
And I'm still willin'

And I smuggled some smokes and folks from Mexico
Baked by the sun every time I go to Mexico
Ah but I'm still...

And I've been from Tucson to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonopah
Driven every kind of rig that's ever been made
Driven the backroads so I wouldn't get weighed
And if you give me weed, whites and wine
And you show me a sign
And I'll be willin' to be movin'

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There are many stories to tell. Most good stories have already been told, they say. This is true. Almost all good stories have already been told, so it is our responsibility not to make new ones but to pass the ancient stories around, to tell the children, to speak them and write them, all over. A good story is a message to the world.

Some stories are spoken quietly, with gentle words and strong messages. Some stories are spoken harshly, with grimaces and messages of revenge and passion. But every story is a good story, every story deserves to be told.

Many would say this is a sad story, a story of grief and tragedy. Some would say it was light, happy, a fairytale. The story is neither. It is not a tragedy, but it is a far cry from a fairytale. It is just a story. And all stories would be the same...if there were no characters.

I'll tell you a story, if you listen.

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Once, in a land not so far away from yours, there lived a boy. The boy was silly and ridiculous, like most boys. He was gangly with red hair and lots of freckles ("fairy dust on your cheeks" his mother said, laughing as he smiled up at her, a child.) He had five brothers and one sister, and they were quite a clan. All filled with red hair and tired morning faces. He had everything a boy could want, a family, quidditch figurines, company, love. He had so much love.

Once, in a land even closer to yours, there lived a girl. She was so unlike the boy. The boy, in all his family's glory, the imperfect child, the love of their life. The girl, in all her family's shame, the perfect child, the unloved. She read fairytales, wishing for her Prince--waitng, when one is eleven they wait often. Wait for the sun to go down, for a new day for come...wait for love. She is for the heartbroken, the lonely, the poor. She is Blessed too, just not like the boy.

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As you probably already knew, the boy and the girl meet. I will tell you about this because everyone knows the second best part of a story is the beginning, second only to the end. The beginnings aren't usually perfect, they're kind of awkward, kind of awful. But everyone loves beginnings---they bring hope.

The girl---tired, nervous, afraid. The boy--her strength, a rock, a smile. She has no one here at this strange place...at Hogwarts, she is the new girl, as usual. She meets the boys, because she is looking for another boy's toad. She is always doing something for someone else and she hates having to do this sometimes.

She walks into their compartment, trying to seem strong, head up, shoulders back. They don't even look at her, immersed in sweets and getting-to-know-you talk, the black haired boy with scar and glasses says...

Yes, there is another boy. His name is Harry Potter and he's not near the hero you think he is...actually, he is. He is every bit the hero he's made out to be. Beat the Dark Lord at the age of one, an orphan, no stranger to the wizarding world. He will become the boy's best friend, and the girl's second favorite hero. Second only to the boy...only to the bravest boy she's ever known.

She sees Harry. She wants to say "Hello, Harry" but then he'd think her some awful stalker, so she doesn't. She tries to catch hir eye but he looks away, obviously tired of people even at eleven. She looks at the boy...our boy, and knows he will never be the hero Harry is, not to everyone else. He will play second best, second fiddle, second piece of cake, second...whatever. Finally, the boys look at her and nod expectedly. She states her case, taps her foot on the floor.

You can see in the way the boy looks at her that he's surprised at how strong and nervous she looks all in one. Which is not to say he is good at figuring out people, he's not, he's horrible at it, but he's honest and he knows things when he sees them. He gives her the slightest bit of sympathy with his eyes and mutters under his breath "know it all."

She leaves, stomping her feet on the way.

The boys smile to each other, glad to get rid of the annoying girl and sad to see her leave. The boy wonders where she'll sit, who she'll sit with, and if she'll be okay, Harry rolls his eyes. "Hey, you want a pumpkin pasty?" "Yeah...sure." The girl goes back to her compartment and she sighs.

"Boys are mean," she says to Neville who will just have to do for now.

"Not Ron," he says, reading her eyes and patting her shoulder. "Not Ron."

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And somehow, Neville is right because Neville knows these special special things about love and life and light.

Now, because I am retelling this story and not simply making it up I feel compelled to tell you how these three became fast friends. It was October...late October and they battled a troll. No, it's not funny, really...if you'd have seen this troll. Big and burly and warty, troll boggies all over the lavatory floor. The girl had cried in the lavatory after Charms, because the boys were being boys, as usual. What she didn't know was that a troll was also let loose that same day. Same day. Oh and the luck! The peril...the love! But they rescued her...they always did, and she rescued them.

Neville smiled as he secretly watched them come back to Gryffindor Tower smiling together as the boy patted her shoulder. Neville secretly smiled, feeling jealous she had such nice friends, feeling jealous but happy for her. All of a sudden she smiled at Neville ("Thank you Neville..." she mouthed) and Neville smiled back at her. Halloween wasn't so bad after all.

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They were good friends after that...the best. She had never had a best friend or a hero before, her boys. Of course, she batted off all the rumors of her dating either of them. "Harry is just a friend." She'd say, perfectly confident, looking the person straight in the eyes. "And him?" They may say, pointing to the redhead. "He's just a friend too," (she resisted the urge to tell them it is not polite to point) but no one believed her, really, would you?

The older she got, the more danger they were in, the more afraid she got, the more her likeness for our boy (her boy) was strengthed. She loved his laugh, his smile, the way he played wizard's chess, his arrogance, his insecurity, his love of chocolate, his family...his bravery. She loved his trembling voice when he spoke of Voldemort, his attachment to his rat, there was not a thing about him out of place, a thing she didn't love.

He was unlike Harry. Harry was praised and worshipped, adored, pictures were snapped of him. Harry got all the credit, Harry was a real hero...antisocial, cold, rarely laughed. She saw something different in Our Hero...she saw a youthful happiness, a zest for life, a boy with his heart on his sleeve. Our Hero was much better than Harry.

And Our Hero fell for the girl as well. Her brilliance, her smart aleck comments, her brisk way of walking, all the facades she put up...all the facades we put up. He never told anyone, except his Mother who smiled at him, all smiles, as usual ("You don't have to explain," folding laundry, "and you don't have to hurry. Smile at her. Be there for her.") He was sorry the only person he had told was his Mother so he told Neville. Neville smiled as he spoke of her. ("She just needs someone, doesn't she Ron? Someone like you.") He understood, though vaguely, thanked Neville and left.

Neville knew everything.

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She went to his quidditch games, scheduled in chats with him, spoke with his sister. She cheered for him when no one else did, gave advice to his sister, and spoke with him about Harry. Harry was sad and his best friends were left mourning for the person he never had the chance to be. But no one knew that side of Harry.

He stayed up with her late nights as she finished her homework, spurring her on, saying when she finished they'd play wizard's chess...she laughed ("It's one in the morning, I just want to go to bed.") "And not play wizard's chess?" he questioned. She laughed, in love with him, as usual. They spoke of her family, her ambitions, her life. And he thanked her for going to his quidditch games and said it was too cold in the stands...she'd catch cold, but she never caught colds.

He grabbed her hand once, Our Hero did, they were walking about the grounds, all smiles and snow-covered hair. He grabbed her hand and didn't let go. She held on tight, all her fear of the future and hope for the present kept safe in his hand.

"Thank you," she said softly, "I hope you know what this means to me."

He did and he just smiled. And didn't let go.

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What next? You're probably thinking...did they ride off on a white horse? Did they kiss in the sunshine...in the shadows? Unlike the versions of this story before mine, such things do not happen. It is the only part of the story I have changed in the retelling, you see. Be content in knowing that they loved each other, they loved life, the future...the past...the gifts of the present.

It is not up to the storyteller to create an ending it is up to the people--the characters--to create their own ending. And all stories would be the same if there were no characters.

And so, every story has an ending. Every great story must end, and remember, there are no bad stories. Everything must end, in accordance with how it was lived. I told you the ending of a story was the best.

I was right.

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End.