A red headed girl cautiously peered around the crowded Griffindor common room and tried to slip out unnoticed. Unfortunately that wasn't to be the case.
"Ginevra Weasley where do you think your going at this time of night?"
"Ron! It is seven o'clock. It is not late!" She huffed dramatically and rolled her eyes, "All I want to do is go to the kitchens and get a little food. What's so dangerous about what I'm doing this time?"
Hermione and Harry were resting in the armchairs next to the fire and laughed as they saw both siblings turn identical shades of red.
"It's very dangerous Ginny!" Ron was trying to stay calm but instead was failing miserably as he rose from his comfortable seat in an attempt to look more authoritative.
Fighting the urge to smile Hermione decided to step in before anyone exploded, "Hey Gin, Harry said he's going to go down in a bit why don't you wait for a minute and he'll bring something up for you as well."
"Thanks," she heard Harry sarcastically mutter next to her and she stifled another laugh.
Ginny face clouded in indecision before turning sharply away from the portrait and heading up the stairs to the dormitories. "I'll have the chicken pie please Harry," she called over her shoulder," and some chocolate cake. Just call when your back."
Hermione was close to falling off her chair from holding back her giggles as Ron slumped back into his seat with an air of relief.
"You do realise that eventually she will kill you in frustration. Don't you?" Harry started. His voice was good humoured but tinged with warning.
Ron glanced apprehensively towards the stairwell, "I'm only looking out for her."
His two best friends shared a look. On the one hand, Ron had been through a lot. It had taken a fair bit of persuasion before he could even discuss what he'd seen and giving a full account of his month away had been incredibly difficult to hear for all those involved. They couldn't imagine what it must have been like for him to see his whole world crumble apart only to have it reappear again in a moment. But on the other, they could see that Ginny was close to giving her brother a good slap with his over zealous mothering. She had only allowed his nagging to go on for the past week since his return because she knew the reason for it and appreciated his concern.
Deciding that a little revenge against Hermione was in order, Harry decided to let her explain this to Ron without him to act as mediator. He looked at them both, "I'll just go get Ginny's food then shall I?" Rising from his chair he raced towards the portrait door before she could scorch him with her death stare.
Hermione shifted in her seat uncomfortably, "Well, Ron it's just that… you are being a little bit over protective," he made to start on his defence so she quickly continued before he could interrupt, "it's perfectly reasonable for you to be worried, anyone would be in your situation. But don't you think you're taking it a tiny bit too far?"
Ron glared at her," I'm not that bad."
"No not at all!" she scoffed, "you've only memorised her timetable, interviewed her friends to make sure of their good intentions and never allow her to leave the common room by herself," she continued dryly and lifted her eyebrows to emphasise her point.
He sighed and ran his hand through his once again red hair, "I just don't want her to get hurt."
Hermione took his hand in hers and spoke softly, "I know that and so does Ginny. Believe me, if she didn't know about the attac-" she stumbled over the words, "well, didn't understand why you were so protective, then you really would have had a bat-bogey hex flying in your direction by now." She smiled reassuringly, "Nothing's going to happen Ron. Smith has been stopped and with the other names you've given Dumbledore you've prevented that set of possibilities from happening. She will be okay. Alright?"
Ron nodded and smiled weakly, "Yeah, you're right. I suppose I could lay off a little bit."
A pause settled between them flavoured with awkwardness. Neither had mentioned the declaration Ron had made on his return home. He could barely remember making it and she was too terrified that she'd misheard him or simply misunderstood to say anything.
"Fancy a game of chess?" Ron asked, breaking the tension.
Hermione nodded and he bounded upstairs to the dormitories to get his set. He opened the door of the room he shared with the other sixth year boys and found it empty. As he reached for the game a piece of parchment resting innocently on his bed caught his eye. The folded robe next to it suggested that the paper had been left in the pocket of his robes when washed. The house elves had obviously found and saved it from the decimation of their cleaning spells that awaited often forgotten scribbles and snotty tissues. The odd thing was that this was the robe he was wearing when he came back through the Doorway, but he didn't bring anything back with him… did he?
Downstairs Hermione was getting worried. Ron may have only been gone for a couple of minutes but ever since his return she had barely let him out of her sight- she was just a little more subtle about it than he was with Ginny.
"Ron?" she spoke questioningly, cautiously opening the door to his room, "Are you alright? You've been up here a while," she stopped her nervous mumblings when she saw his silhouetted figure standing dead still with his head slightly bowed. Looking closer she noted that he was staring at a piece of parchment in his hands, it also seemed that he hadn't noticed a square of moving paper by his feet. Hermione's attention was drawn back from to ground to Ron though before she could get a closer look.
"I can't believe it," he half laughed, half cried, "she actually did it."
"Who did what Ron?" she asked moving closer and seeing that his face was lit in a wide smile of incredulity, though his eyes were glistening slightly more than usual.
Her voice brought Ron out of his stupor and he handed the note to her.
Shrinking mark IV- A
Bobolus Minoluct- A
End of Unit 6- A
The list carried on and she looked up in confusion, "This is most of the work we did last month?"
"Yep," his grin grew.
"But… you weren't… I don't understand," she gave up.
Ron was enjoying himself immensely- Hermione Granger actually wanted him to explain something. Feeling in a charitable mood he decided to enlighten her, "You, no I mean the other world's Hermione, told me that she'd send my grades through with me when I stupidly let it slip to Harry that I thought I could get away with doing nothing for the month." Hermione returned his smile but felt very uncomfortable talking about herself. Ron continued, "I can't believe that she remembered, that she actually had the gall to do it!" He took an appraising glance over Hermione and smiled when his actions were greeted by a flush, "Or maybe I shouldn't be so surprised."
Hermione dropped her eyes at the compliment, at least that's what she took it as. When she did she finally saw the moving image on the floor by their feet.
Her gasp and jump backwards caused Ron's brow to crease. "What is it?" he asked.
"Why don't you tell me?" Her tone was one of wonderment as she reached for the photo, she didn't remember having taken, on the floor and handed it to Ron; leaving the parchment temporarily forgotten on the bed. She stared at the kissing figures in disbelief, as if at any moment they would disappear.
Ron turned the colour of his hair and gulped a couple of times. Technically he had told everyone the truth about what had happened during his month away- it was just that he hadn't told them everything about that had happened before his arrival. There was only one piece of information he had held back really, the part where the Ron and Hermione in that world had been a couple.
"Erm… er… you see…" he stalled.
"Ron," she warned.
"Okay." He felt a sense of confidence begin to fill him as he truly realised that the Hermione of the other world and this one were essentially the same and that meant that she could only feel the same way. That was the theory anyway. Firmly he sat Hermione down on the bed and tried to stand still in front of her to tell her everything but he ended up pacing, the photo clutched tightly in his left hand.
"Look," he began and then stopped again, "Right... well, you see…"
"Okay! Okay. Say… hypothetically, that there was this dance," Hermione's face was creased with confusion but he pressed on, "a Christmas ball… two years ago."
"Oh," she breathed in understanding.
"Hypothetically speaking of course."
"Of course," she nodded, though they both knew that the other understood the implications of what was being said.
"Well say that before this ball this guy realised that his best friend was indeed a girl and tried to ask her to go with him but did it very, very badly."
"Then she doesn't realise how he really feels and goes with the next best offer," Hermione supplied. She was taking a slight amount of sadistic glee from this confession of Ron's. One she had been waiting for for a long time.
Ron argued her answer, "Yes, she could do that but what if there was no backup? What would have happened if she hadn't spent hours more than usual in the library making sure that her friend would be okay in a tournament he wasn't taking part in?" The explanation was starting to get a little confusing so Ron stood still straight in front of Hermione and looked down into her eyes, "Say that that night he got to ask her properly. Imagine, just for a moment, what it would have been like had the one sparkling glitter of that world happened here."
His words fell into silence. Hermione was too taken aback for words. Yes, as soon as she'd seen the photo she'd expected something, but this was an overload of information. She began to think out loud, "That would mean that they'd have been together for over two years by now," she continued after he nodded, "that would mean… oh God Ron he left her!"
Ron was taken back by the vehemence of her proclamation until he realised what she meant. In that world he had died. In that world she had died.
"Yeah," Ron began, "he did. But she's with him now. Is that a good or bad thing?"
Hermione fiddled with her hands and noticed their instinctive move towards the necklace around her neck. "I honestly don't know," she finally answered.
Silence fell again.
"Should it have happened?"
Ron's question only elicited confusion from Hermione.
"Was it worth it?" he explained, "Merlin Hermione, I could still see the pain every time she looked at me. It was an age before we could even manage a conversation that lasted longer than ten minutes. I don't want that to happen to y- here. It can't happen here."
Hermione quickly felt anger bubble up inside her. Standing up she let it overflow, "Don't you think that that would happen anyway Ron? Do you have any idea of how much it has killed Harry and me without you this past month? And we aren't even going out yet!"
Her shout echoed around the room. Her last word saying finally proving what she felt to the world at large.
Hermione looked back at the photo in Ron's hand and wound her fingers through his and around the paper. "Maybe she was trying to tell you something," Hermione hinted, looking straight into his eyes, "Maybe she knew we would ask this question and so gave us the answer. Maybe it is worth it."
"Are you sure?" Ron whispered, his lips drawing close.
"Hypothetically speaking," she breathed back and a moment later they were replicating the couple on the paper that was clutched between their entwined hands.
Another second passed before they were interrupted, "Hey do you to want some of this food I broug-" Harry stopped short when he saw the couple break apart, "Oops. I'm guessing no then." He laughed at their strawberry faces before walking past them, reaching for Ron's forgotten chess set, and turning back towards the door, "I'll play you in five minutes okay Ron? Alright make it ten." He ignored the lack of answer and continued laughing at the identical surprised looks on their faces as he returned to the common room eager to spread the good news.
A week later Ron and was still experiencing a nagging feeling of doubt. Everything was going well with Hermione and he wasn't too far behind in his classes but there was an annoying tug constantly chirping at him to do something more to protect the future. He voiced this to his closest friends hoping that they might have some of the insights he lacked.
"You know Ron from what you've told me," said Hermione in full analysing mode, "it seems that the only way to really prevent that world is to ensure unity throughout the country- well at least in Hogwarts anyway."
Harry spoke up as he slammed his potion materials onto the desk in front of him, "I really don't see that happening though, do you?" He nodded towards the sullen potions master and smug ferret, or rather, the Slytherins in general.
"It won't be easy," Ron agreed.
"It'll be impossible," Harry argued.
"How would you do it Ron?" Hermione questioned, genuinely intrigued and proud of her boyfriend.
There was a slight pause. "Absolutely no idea."
It was at the end of that lesson that an inkling of an idea came to him in the form of a forgotten book and a memory.
"It's a shame he turned out that way really," Harry whispered conversationally to Ron, returning to his bubbling potion.
"What do you mean?" Ron asked.
"Well Dumbledore has this strange notion that Malfoy may have actually joined our side if his father hadn't become one of Voldemort's key Deatheaters."
"Where on earth did he get that idea!"
"I don't really know, but it is Dumbledore we're talking about, sometimes I just think that he knows everything."
Jolted into action, Ron motioned for the others to go ahead without him and grabbed the textbook.
"Hey Malfoy!" he called out to the blonde's retreating back.
Draco turned slowly, making his irritation quite clear, "What is it Weasel?"
Ron swallowed the automatic response to curse the smug twat and instead handed over his forgotten potions textbook. Malfoy stared at it in surprise and some trepidation before taking it.
"Don't worry its not cursed," Ron reassured him. Though, in the strangeness of the situation, that wasn't very reassuring.
Taken by surprise at the realisation that he wasn't being hexed Draco mumbled a thank you and continued to walk away, not really conscious of the fact that he had just thanked a Weasley.
"Do you really think that will make much of a difference?" asked Hermione, appearing from the shadows and taking Ron's hand, Harry just behind her, "Hogwarts wasn't built in a day you know."
"True," he replied, kissing her lightly on the cheek and noticing that Malfoy had just turned his face back for a moment before leaving their line of sight, "but maybe parts of it were."
The End... or just the beginning.
AN: Before anyone thinks any differently there will be no sequal to this. Oh and the proverb at the end was borrowed and slighlty twisted from an episode of Murphys Law, a drama series on the BBC, though I'm sure it'll have been used elsewhere.
So that's it, it's all finished now.So to all those that have read and not reviewed now would be the time to do it. Anybody who reviews now will recieve a great amount of love via the web. But if you do review I'll be going back over this in a years time so if you could say one thing you liked and one you didn't then I can improve the story and learn from any mistakes. Thankyou!
Now to everyone who has reviewed this story- I hope you're still here:-
supernova8610, emanym, Broken Rain, BrownPryde, MyLuckyStars, Tinker1704, meee, Karla Marie, Grimm Sister, HeyImTalkingToYou, loonygrl90, Trevorthetoadsmybestfriend, Grint'sBestPal, Saraneth90, see-me-surf, Jewel, Alixa Lightz, Greenpluff, Dassadec, eMeRaLd'S gUrL, belanna30, pureangel, RHFCFSAF, Esrb99, Kaitie,eckles, actionmaster, dancerrdw, suckr4romance81789, Maygin, Bobboky, Cheekychik, Original Mercedes Benz, MikonHanyou13, Weasley, Harry Lvr, Granger-Hermione03, Sammery, Jdcrmn.
Some of you reviewed more than others but every single person on that list already has my thanks, those that have said something for every chapter (or pretty close) get a big hug aswell.
By the way, supernova is being a pain and web addresses wont show in reviews so could you please try again with gaps ect or send me an e-mail. Thank you- trust ff to make things complicated!
And last but not least a huge thank you to nattieb who made sure that this story actually made sense.
Coming soon to a fanfiction site near you:-
One Fine Day- A D/G fic loosely based on the as named movie. Release date unknown.
Harry Potter and the Glass Slipper: Revised- Expected June time
Bub bye till next time xx