Summary: Hermione and Ron find themselves stuck in a Labyrinth. If they're going to get out, they'll have to learn to work together. But once they do, what will happen when they discover much more than meets the eye?

Rating: PG

Pairing: Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger

Disclaimer: I do not, did not and never will own Harry Potter.

Author's Note: Once again, I'm dreadfully sorry that I haven't updated in 5 months. I hope a few of you are still reading this! LOTS OF…ROMANCE AHEAD!

The Labyrinth of Love

Chapter 14: The First Photograph

Hermione slowly turned the keys in and leaned back, taking a deep breath and looking nervous. Ron looked at hear curiously and said, "You do know how to work this thing?"

She looked at his nose, avoiding his eyes and said to the glove compartment, "Well…a bit"

"…but don't worry, okay? It's just a car"

The minute she stepped on the gas, the car shook suddenly. Ron looked out the window.

"Great. Another flying car. Bloody hell, who keeps coming up with these sadistic ideas?"

"F-flying car?" Hermione said, "I can't drive a car—let alone a flying one"

"YOU CAN'T DRIVE?"

"Yeah…I can, but I get really nervous," she said quietly, "don't you know how?"

"I could try…"

"No. Don't." Hermione breathed, backing against the seat.

She stepped on the gas again, lifting them up even higher. Hermione could no longer see the heaps of garbage in front of her.

Hermione stops. "Ron, I can't do this."

"You seemed pretty self-assured holding the keys back there!"

"That was before I knew we were flying out of this place, Ron"

"Hermione, you know what's going to happen if you don't even try!"

"No, I don't! That's just it, Ron. I don't know what's going to happen anymore! I'm tired of just looking for clues and—and not getting anything out of it anymore. Okay. And I want to get out of here right now…right now. Ron…" her voice trailed off and she opened her mouth to say something else…but she just sighed and looked hard at the steering wheel.

"Hermione…," Ron said slowly. He couldn't believe he was about to say what he was going to, "Remember when we first got in here, and I wanted to leave and I was just so fed up about everything, because everything was so hard and it was just bloody wrong for us to go around chasing exits and just end up in another damned place…and having to do the same thing over and over again…" his voice trailed off too, cracking and unsure.

"…Hermione, I'm so glad to be stuck with you, you know that? Because you're the cleverest person I've ever known and I don't think I could ever get out of here without your help"

Hermione looked at him closely. He looked so nervous just saying that, as he's just thinking about what to say next, and drops of sweat are edging towards his chin.

"I could try," Hermione said in a whisper, and she stepped on the gas again and they veered towards the right.

"Do you even know where we're going?" Ron asked with uncertainty.

"As far away as possible," Hermione said, not looking at him.

About two hours and zero words later, Hermione opened her mouth to speak. She quickly closed it again. What was she supposed to say now? After everything Ron said to her…every beautiful word. She glanced at Ron's flaming red hair. His head was turned towards the window and he quickly reached up to run his hand through his hair, and Hermione looked away.

God, Hermione. Please don't say you're falling in love with Ronald. Please.

"Ron?"

"Yeah?"

"Er…I'm sorry for acting stupid and being afraid of heights…"

Ron cleared his throat and looked at her. He suddenly felt stupid for saying all that to her. He never meant to, really. He never did. Now she probably has some crazy idea that I'm in love with her! He thought about it. Actually, it's not that crazy. That's when he started debating with himself.

Mate. What's not to like about Hermione Granger?

What is?

But look at those eyes…that smile…

Yeah. Every other girl has eyes and a smile.

But she's not like every other girl, is she?

Shut up.

Gotcha.

Ron took a deep breath before turning to the window again. The sun was coming down.

"Hermione…" he whispered.

"What?"

"Look at the sky…"

The sunset was beautiful…especially from the sky itself. The colors seemed to keep on melting and melting until there was nothing but pure beauty and a sense of peace.

"That's beautiful"

Realizing that they spoke in hushed voices, Ron raised his voice a bit and said, "Hermione?"

Hermione pursed her lips. "What?"

"It's okay. I understand…" he rolled his eyes, "I have an irrational fear of spiders, remember?"

Hermione laughed.

But look at those eyes…that smile… it kept ringing in his head.

"Did you really mean what you said?"

What's not to like about Hermione Granger?

Ron ignored the voice and smiled back.

"Yeah, yeah I did."

"Thanks," she said, tucking her hair behind her ear.

As it was getting darker and darker by the minute, there was nothing else but the headlights and the stars…and the fact that Ron was there with Hermione, and that Hermione was there with Ron stayed in their heads.

Hermione let out a yawn and her eyes landed on the gas gauge. They were running on empty!

Ron looked at what Hermione was staring at and gulped. "What does that mean?"

"Were going to die," Hermione said plainly, and panicking, she said, "There's no more gas…!"

"We'll fill it up again, then."

"There's no gas station, Ron"

And as soon as she said that, they plummeted quickly into the darkness, hitting ground violently.

And they held hands the whole time.

000

Hermione shakily got out of the car. Her knee hit the car door. Sand entered her shoes and she saw the shore and she started laughing and smiling at the same time.

"We're at a beach…", she said under her breath, "A beautiful…romantic…hideaway-type…beach"

She bit her lip and rushed over to Ron, who was just getting out of the car.

"Are you okay…?" she asked.

"Hit my elbow," he said awkwardly, and looked around. "Haven't we already gone to a beach?"

"Yeah, well…" Hermione sat down on the sand, leaning against the car.

Ron sat down beside her, and said, "Some labyrinth, huh?"

"Yeah…"

Hermione slowly edged closer.

"Look at the stars," she whispered, looking up.

And I guess the two of them were so mesmerized by the stars that neither of them noticed that Hermione's head was already resting on Ron's shoulder and they were both falling…asleep and for each other.

Hermione was getting really sleepy and she suddenly noticed that her head was tilted to the right, on Ron's shoulder. And Ron didn't seem to mind.

Ron, of course, was aware the whole time that Hermione's head was on his shoulder…but he couldn't get over the fact that she didn't seem to care anymore.

And, maybe, he shouldn't care either.

"Hermione…?"

"Hmm?" She was already half asleep.

He took a deep breath and held her cheek and she looked up in surprise, and suddenly she closed her smiling eyes, because Ron just suddenly kissed her deeply, and she started to kiss back.

He carefully put his hand on her back and pulled her lower, as his head hit the soft, cool sand, and their lips slowly parted and she fell back onto the sand beside him, closing in to rest her head on his shoulder.

"Hermione…?"

"Yeah?"

"That was bloody awesome…"

She smiled. And fell asleep in his arms.

000

Ron on the other hand couldn't fall asleep. Was this it? He and Hermione are…going out? That was an amazing snog. He stopped thinking for awhile and he suddenly noticed that all he could hear were the waves…and Hermione's quiet breathing. And suddenly he realized that it all fit.

Maybe there was a reason for all this…their getting stuck in the labyrinth…all of the times that he saved Hermione…all of the times that Hermione saved him…all of the times that Hermione smiled at him…and all of the times he thought of that smile. He was thinking of it right now.

There were a billion feelings at once. They just exploded inside of him. And then he fell asleep.

000

Hermione was the first to wake up.

Did last night really happen?

It was like they were in some dream.

Did everything really happen?

Everything…from the walking in the corridor side by side with Ron, to hearing him spill words into her ear to get her to fly the car…it all seemed like some huge, beautiful dream…to him kissing her.

And she didn't want to wake up.

She looked closely at Ron. At his red hair, at his freckles…at his eyes slowly opening…with the sun reflecting on them.

"Good morning…," he said sleepily, yawning awkwardly, forgetting momentarily that he just kissed Hermione last night.

She just smiled at him, her eyes smiling with her, as brilliant as any beautiful day.

"Morning," she replied.

She slowly got up to look around. Then she suddenly remembered something. She went to the backseat of the car and took out the packs and rummaged until she found it.

It was already scratched a bit but it was still working when she turned it on. She sat down beside Ron and took a picture of both of them, smiling, with the waves rolling behind them.

000

"Hermione! Ron!" A huge voice bellowed from behind.

They turned their heads and saw that a man with a Hawaiian shirt was walking towards them.

"Who are you?"

The man looked at Ron blankly, as if offended that Ron didn't know who he was.

"I'm councilmember Stan, of course! Aren't I, Hermione?"

"Er, yeah, of course sir"

"Come, come…let's have some breakfast"

Ron's face lit up. Hermione saw and she smiled inwardly. Then the two of them followed Councilmember Stan to a huge table filled with delicious tropical food.

Ron ate slowly, glancing at Hermione more often than he took bites.

"So," Councilmember Stan said, taking a gulp of pineapple juice, "…let's get straight to the point, shall we?"

Hermione nodded, concentrating on what he was about to say.

"Well…of course you've already established that you're in a labyrinth…and well, there's no actual way to get out of here except to just keep on going through the rooms and such…"

He paused and looked at them closely.

"…well…Professor Dumbledore called the head office and asked me to get you out of here as soon as possible…"

Hermione looked at him hopefully and Ron couldn't even believe what he was hearing.

"…however…"

Hermione's face fell. Ron took a sip of juice.

"…that's not possible. But then…"

Hermione shook her head slowly and pursed her lips.

"…I owe Albus my life…there was this particular incident…well, let's not get into that. But, the best thing I can do for you is to take you through the closest door…"

"Thank you, sir—"

"But…you're going to have to go tomorrow…take all the time you want here to rest…take a walk around the beach…stretch your legs a bit…eat a lot…"

"…why? Can't we just go right now?" Ron asked, perplexed.

"Absolutely not"

"…but, why not?"

"Because you'll need all the strength, all the willpower. Because the room you're about to go into…the room you're going into tomorrow…it's the room…where they live"

"Who?"

"The beasts"

000

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