Disclaimer: I own nothing. Man, I wish I had money :P
Author's Notes: See bottom.
A Red and Gold Scarf
Part IV: Perfect Things
The rest of the week was filled with snow fights, shopping, conversations, and hot chocolate (and not a single book, Ron might add). The two spent what Ginny considered an "ungodly" amount of time together. When questioned, Ron would always claim that he had to keep her in his sights to make sure she didn't abuse the contract, but no one, including him, really believed that. It was Christmas Eve before either of them realized that the contract was about to expire.
They had just gotten back from Hogsmeade together and Ron had gone to the notice board to see if Harry or Ginny had left them a note. He affectionately looked over the contract that had brought him one of the best weeks of his life. Hermione had already sat down at her usual place by the fire and was knitting. Her scarf, which it now clearly was, was nearing completion.
"Did they say where they've gone?" Hermione asked as he rounded the corner of her couch.
"No, no note."
"Awfully suspicious, isn't it?" Hermione teased.
"What do you mean?" Ron could make a guess as to where she was going with this, and he didn't like it.
"Nothing," she chimed innocently.
"'Oy, Hermione, please…they wouldn't…" The truth was, he wasn't sure if they would or not.
She shrugged mischievously. "Well, they have been spending a lot of time together lately."
"Well, so have we." He meant it to be proof that Ginny and Harry weren't secretly having some torrid love affair…but it ended up sounding a lot more like a pickup line.
"Well, it's getting late, isn't it?" Hermione asked nervously.
Ron nodded, standing up as she did the same.
"You know 'Mione…tomorrow's the last day of our contract."
"Oh?" she said. "Barely seemed like a week."
"Shame it's over…it was nice seeing you without a book every now and then," he laughed.
"Well, it was nice being bookless."
"I should have trusted you, Hermione," he admitted. "You did really well this week. Congratulations." Without another word, he had learned down to her, placing his arms on her shoulder, and kissed her softly on the lips. He pulled back like it was nothing at all, and gave a slight smile, as if it was as normal an expression as a pat on the back. And as he turned for his dormitory, she had no choice but to do the same.
The next day, Christmas day, went off without a hitch. Neither Hermione or Ron brought up the kiss. It began to seem as if it really was meaningless, as insignificant as a congratulatory hug. That day, Hermione binded off her gold and red scarf. It had ended up as unattractive as she expected, getting larger and smaller, with holes, and stains where Ron had spilled his hot chocolate. Yet, somehow, as physically repulsive as it was, the scarf had another, unexplainable kind of beauty to it. It was her scarf; she had put herself into it, and all its holes and imperfections, just made it that much more unique.
She wrapped it in a shinning green paper and placed it on a table in the common room, since they lacked a tree. She finished all this by dinner and followed Ginny and Harry down to what was, unarguably, the greatest meal of the year.
She saved a seat for Ron beside her, although it wasn't necessary, only 8 other students remained. Dumbledore finished the usual speech, but Ron had not yet appeared. Ginny and Harry had already dug in.
"Where's Ron?" Hermione asked. It wasn't like him to miss out on food, especially not a Hogwarts Christmas dinner.
"Nothing!" Ginny chimed in from amidst a pile of pumpkin pudding. "I mean…nowhere, probably just resting. He did eat a big lunch."
Hermione raised an inquisitively eyebrow, but Ginny responded with the smile of an angel.
"He's a good guy, Ron, isn't he? Don't you think?" Ginny asked. Harry let out a squeak, and rubbed his leg from beneath the table.
"Yeah," he said. "Great guy, definitely."
"Wouldn't you say so Hermione?" Ginny asked again, anxiously.
"I suppose so," she responded suspiciously.
"He can be a bit of a git though…but that's just because he's really very protective of the people he loves," the redhead pointed out.
"Ginny, what are you talking about?" Hermione stabbed at piece of turkey, worried about her friend's welfare, and fairly fed up.
"Nothing!" she squealed innocently. "Just, you know, you two fight a lot, but that doesn't mean you don't care about each other……right?"
"…Right…?" Hermione said.
"Great!" Ginny smiled. "Well, Harry and I've got to…go…check out some library books…" Harry opened his mouth to say something, but was stopped by another foot in the shin. "You know, should really head up to bed Hermione, it's getting late! Have a happy Christmas!" There was an unmistakable grin on the youngest Weasely's face as she grabbed Harry by the hand and dragged him away. Hermione decided to take Ginny's advice.
She walked with admitted disappointment to the Gryffindor tower. She hoped to find Ron there, and tell him of his sister's quick exit from the table. She was doubtful that Ginny and Harry were truly planning to 'check out books from the library, unless that's what the kids were calling it these days. She thought this over and decided it would be best to keep silent. No need to have Ron threatening Harry's life, at least not on Christmas.
Hermione was let down to find the Gryffindor tower empty and dark, the usual crackling fire was lacking so much as an ember. She let out a low sigh, and suddenly, the room filled with light.
Her jaw dropped, her eyes widen, but she still couldn't take it all in. The common room glittered and gleamed, sparkled and shimmered. There was lights, holly, ornaments, a tree. It was beautiful.
In an instant, her mind raced back to the conversation at the Three Broomsticks, as the two sat, peeling off their layers over a glass of Butterbeer.
"What's a Muggle Christmas like? A lot different?" Ron asked curiously. The two had been talking about the differences in their worlds, each one taking great amusement in how little the other really knew and great pleasure in learning more.
"They're very similar, really. Muggles…they try to make things seem more magical. They string up lights, shinning red and green, there's ornaments, and Christmas trees, and mistletoe…" She blushed slightly and decided she could have left that part out.
"Well, we've got mistletoe, and trees, and decorations," Ron pointed out. He wasn't finding the idea of a Muggle Christmas very thrilling.
"Well, yes," she sighed. "It is very similar…but it's different. Instead of magic they use, well, electricity…and paint….and wires…" She stopped, realizing what she was saying. "I guess it isn't very exciting, is it? It's just…" she tried to think of the world. "It's nice…it's…home."
Ron nodded as if he fully understood. At the time, she thought it had been an obligatory nod, and that he really thought she was quite loony. It was clear now that he had understood exactly what she meant.
"Ron," she whispered, as tears begin forming in her eyes.
The lanky redhead appeared from behind the tree. He looked uneasily at his own work, and then at her. He walked to where she was standing, frozen. He was breathing heavily, but it was clear he had some initiative, some plan of action in mind.
"Do yo…do you like it?" he asked fearfully.
She nodded enthusiastically, still trying to hold back tears. She grabbed her package from the table, and held it out to him.
"I…" she fumbled. "It's not much…I didn't…well…" Two more nervous teenagers had never existed.
Ron's awkward hands tore through the green wrapping paper, to reveal the red and gold scarf underneath. He ran his hand over it, feeling Hermione's diligence and effort in every stitch. He saw the holes he had made, the tears he had caused, the stains he had spilled. For two weeks, Hermione had never put this scarf down, and now, she was giving it to him.
"I know it's not very good, but I wasn't sure how to…fix it…and-"
"It's great," he interrupted. "But are you sure you want to give it to me? I mean, you've worked so long on it…"
"I'm sure. It was always for you," she admitted, blushing, turning the scarf over to show him a spot where the gold and red weaved in and out in a broken pattern that looked almost like an 8. "That was supposed to be a R."
"I'm sorry Ron," she said tearfully, looking at the common room. "It doesn't compare to this. This…it's…the best gift I've ever gotten."
He shook his head. "No….it's perfect…I mean, it's not perfect…but that's what's so perfect about it…the best things in life have some holes…but, you just have to work on them…Hermione, I did this because…because…I wanted you to like it…and you said it was like home and…I wanted to tell you that…I wanted to tell you…" He stopped, fearing his heart was beating so hard it might break through his chest.
Hermione looked up at him, innocently, hopefully, patiently, and he knew he would never get the words out. His hand shook as he tucked a strand her hair behind her ear, and lifted her face toward him.
He moved forward slightly, and stopped, before quickly convincing himself to proceed. The moment his lips touched hers, he knew he'd made the right decision. His timidity dissolved as he felt her kissing back. He wrapped his arms around her, unable to imagine having ever felt this wonderful. Good things can't last forever though, and Ron pulled back, feeling wetness on his cheeks.
It was Hermione; she had broken into tears.
"Hermione-I- what's wrong?" he asked frantically, terrified he had done something wrong. "Should I not have…I didn't-"
She shook her head, wiping away her tears. She laughed. "No Ron, it's good crying…I…I liked it…"
"I liked it too," he stumbled. "I've been meaning to do it for a while now, but I wasn't sure if you…well, wanted to."
" I did," she blushed. " I mean…Ron…I-" she tried, but she couldn't find the words either.
"Me too," he said, shyly stroking her hair. " Ever since third year."
She smiled, and Ron felt confident enough to let out the joke that had been waiting. "What kind of girl cries when you kiss her anyway?"
"In this case," she smiled. "The happy kind."
She drew him into another kiss.
"Happy Christmas, Ron," she whispered, squeezing him as if he was the only good thing left on earth.
"Happy Christmas, Hermione."
And it was.
Author's notes: Apologies all, for taking SO long to get this last chapter up :( Two words, my friends: Exam week. O.O I wasn't really satisfied with this chapter, and had been intending to rewrite it completely. However, I realized it would be another two months before I had time to rewrite it, so I decided it would be best just to slap this puppy up,as to not keep anyone waiting. This way, I can rewrite it as soon as I get a chance, without feeling guilty about not having posted the ending. Thus, you have my solemn promise that you will get a better, more thought out ending….it'll just take a while :D Now that I'm done apologizing, it is time to start thanking! THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO REVIEWED! You are the beacons of light on my dark, miserable days and the only reason this fic was able to be written. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I appreciate everything, from the constructive criticism, to the encouragement. I can not possibly thank you enough. Know that you have made a sad little exam-filled girl, very VERY happy! THANK YOU! I LOVE YOU! Also, the whole time I had been intending for the scarf to be symbolic of the R/Hr relationship. I hope that came across!
Best wishes and lots of love:D
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