Chapter 3- All's Well That Ends Well
Hermione felt the warm morning rays bathe her face and smiled. She never closed her bed curtains on Hogsmeade Weekends. There was no time for lazing the day away.
She hummed while she made the bed and retrieved clothing, disregarding the sleepy grumbles of roommates while closing her trunk with a snap. Inside the bathroom, Hermione disrobed and neatly folded her discarded clothes, singing softly, "Weasley is our King."
It was hard to ignore the pillows her roommates threw when she came back into the room. Hermione smiled and tossed them back, leaving before the girls could return fire.
Briskly descending the girls' staircase and ascending the boys', Hermione quietly opened the door to Ron's dorm. Everyone seemed to be asleep. The bed hangings were all drawn. She tiptoed to her boyfriend's bedside and parted the curtains.
Fully intending to reach out and gently shake Ron's shoulder, she gave in to an irresistible impulse at the last second and kissed him.
When he felt a kiss, Ron smiled. He was having the most brilliant dream. During a match against Slytherin, he kept all the Quaffles out until Harry had snatched the Snitch. Afterwards, Ron had flown to the stands and Hermione had leaned out to snog him, breathless.
Ron slowly opened his eyes to smile at Hermione. His eyes grew wide. She wasn't a dream!
Behind them, Harry said, "What's going on?"
Ron thought that should be obvious, but he said, "Erm, Hermione was just…waking me up."
Across the room, Seamus grumbled, "Wish a girl would wake me up like that!"
Thankful that no one but Harry could see them, Ron sat up. He hastily grabbed his robe and put it on before saying as casually as possible, "Okay, right, thanks, 'Mione, I'm awake now, so I'll go grab a shower and meet you downstairs, all right?"
Dignified despite her pink face and disordered hair, Hermione nodded and regally swept out of the room. The instant the door closed, Seamus and Dean started sniggering.
Harry adjusted his glasses and said, "Better tell Hermione not to wake you up with kisses anymore."
Remembering the 'dream', Ron just grinned and moved to grab clothes from his trunk. When Seamus continued to heckle him, Ron smilingly told him to shut it…or else. The room grew quiet.
Ron headed for the shower, whistling.
In the common room, Hermione was sitting on a sofa, trying unsuccessfully not to fidget. Crossing and uncrossing her denim clad legs, her arms, and once, briefly, her eyes, she attempted to forget about the scene upstairs. Why had she given in to the impulse to wake Ron with a kiss? Chaos was the result.
Only Merlin knew what Harry thought. Hermione frowned. Seamus and Dean had not seen anything, so why had they awakened? A sudden realisation made her blush. When he had touched her, had she moaned?
A short while later, Ron came down and joined her on the sofa. His wide smile made her feel less awkward. He was obviously looking forward to a well-organized day.
Holding the day planner in her lap, she smiled and said, "I learnt the position of Keeper has existed since the thirteenth century, although the role of the Keeper has changed over time- simplifying from moving all over the pitch and scoring goals to remaining mostly within the scoring areas and concentrating on the prevention of goals."
Hermione felt a warm glow of pride at the stunned expression on Ron's face. She had wanted to impress him with her knowledge of his Quidditch position, and she had obviously succeeded.
A gleam appeared in the bright blue eyes staring into hers. He smiled and leaned forward, kissing her cheek. Hermione was not disappointed Ron had not kissed her lips. She was pleased at his restraint.
Hermione thought Ron would say, 'That's great, 'Mione, now what does the planner say we should do first?' but he did not. She was a bit disappointed, but realised the chronically unorganised could not be expected to immediately embrace time management.
She had to be patient. Once Ron found out for himself how nice life was with everything planned and orderly, then he would show interest. Until then, she had enough enthusiasm for both of them.
Opening the planner, she pointed to the day's date and said, "We should be leaving for the Great Hall. The schedule allows exactly one hour for a leisurely breakfast before we go on to our next event of the day."
Long red strands fell into Ron's eyes when he nodded. She brushed them back, taking pleasure in the texture. Reluctantly, Hermione stood instead of continuing to play with his hair. Holding hands, they made their way to the Great Hall.
Ron admired the dainty way Hermione ate a Belgian waffle while he demolished a rack of toast, a mound of eggs, and a pile of bacon. Wiping his hands on a linen serviette, he said, "I don't think I've ever been awake this early on a Saturday. We are almost the only ones here. The silence is eerie." Winking at her, he asked, "Is there a reason we're early birds, like you wanted to get in some snogging?"
Judging by the expression on Hermione's face, Ron knew finding a secluded alcove, or visiting The Room of Requirement, was not why she had awakened him with a kiss this morning. He tried to smile as if he had been joking.
Earlier, when she had spouted that Keeper stuff from Quidditch Through the Ages, Ron had been flabbergasted…and flattered. Since his girl cared so much, he would be happy to comply with Hermione's request and plan his day. He just hoped she did not go round telling everyone what they were doing. His mates would never let him live it down.
Ron watched golden-brown eyes glow with zeal and refused to panic.
Hermione informed him brightly, "We're going to spend a couple of hours in the library this morning- doing whatever assignments are due in your case and some extra credit work in mine. Ready?"
Should he answer that honestly? Fred and George's faces flashed into mind. They shook their heads wildly, mouthing 'NO!'
Ron chuckled. "Yeah," he said, slipping his arm around Hermione's waist. He slung her schoolbag over his shoulder with barely a wince, cheerfully giving up the idea of a third helping of breakfast to escort his girlfriend to the library.
One nice thing about the weekends was that the vulture queen Madam Pince was off duty. A sweet-looking old ghost named Miss Marple staffed the desk, currently engrossed in a novel.
Hermione said with a smile, "My grandmother enjoys Agatha Christie mysteries, too."
The ghost said, "That's nice dear," and returned to reading her book. She waved her fingertips to turn the pages.
The couple strolled toward the back of the chamber and found a table by a window. Ron looked on as Hermione unpacked several rolls of parchment and a couple of inkpots. She placed them neatly beside his History of Magic and Divination texts.
She consulted the planner and told him the exact assignments due. He had forgotten about the history essay. Ron gave the window and the far off Quidditch pitch a wistful glance before settling down to work.
Two hours later, he had finished the final assignment due next week. Tomorrow, he wouldn't have to worry about a thing. He smiled. This early slogging was not so bad. It sure made Hermione happy. She seemed to shine with a sense of accomplishment.
While they re-packed the schoolbag, she announced, "We'll go back to our dorms and get ready to go to Hogsmeade. I'll meet you down in the common room in precisely thirty minutes."
Teasingly, he asked, "Should we synchronise our watches?"
Her giggle made him chuckle before he insisted, "No, really, should we?"
Back in her dorm, Hermione pulled on a jumper, took a deep breath, and reached for the brown eyeliner in her woefully small cosmetic bag. Pleased with the results, she dusted her face with powder, slicked on some lip-gloss and hurried downstairs. Ron was waiting. She appreciated his punctuality almost as much as his admiring smile.
Standing in line to show their passes to Filch, she leaned close and whispered, "I scheduled Honeydukes first."
Red brows waggled. He said, "Sweets for the sweet?"
It was hard to refrain from a public display of affection, but Hermione succeeded. Ron's little sister and Colin Creevey were right behind them in line. It would not set a very good example to younger students if prefects started kissing in public- or maybe it would, if done properly…thoroughly…
Ron noticed the way her gaze dropped to his mouth and asked, "What are you thinking about?"
She knew her pink cheeks answered his question, and if there had been a statue anywhere nearby… Unfortunately, they were stuck waiting while Filch closely examined every pass and Mrs. Norris yowled at the students she disliked. The cat sounded like she was in her death throes when Ron and Hermione passed.
In the village, Ron bounded to the door of Honeydukes and opened it with a flourish. Hermione laughed softly, entering the sweet shop. They headed for the chocolate section. As always, there were baskets of samples waiting for students to try, become addicted to, and buy in bulk. She looked forward to testing them with Ron.
Ron could not decide which he enjoyed more; feeding Hermione chocolate or having her feed him. He loved licking her fingertips, but having his sucked clean was amazing too. Choosing not to decide, he just enjoyed the sweet experience.
After Honeydukes, Hermione told him she did not need to consult the planner. She had their itinerary memorised. Ron heaved a sigh of relief. Neville and his girlfriend had just passed by, and if Hermione had been reading from the planner in that carrying voice of hers, their friend would have heard…and repeated…everything. Humouring was one thing, being razzed by his mates was another. Ron looked sideways and reconsidered. It would be worth a joke or two at his expense to keep that glow of satisfaction on Hermione's face.
They explored Zonko's, happily sneering when they found knock-offs of Fred and George's creations. Afterwards, they visited The Sound of Music. The Austrian bloke who ran the place looked up when they entered, calling, "GUTEN TAG!" over loud Polka music.
Ron waved, following Hermione to the classical music section. She picked up an Orpheus Orb. "This is one of my favourite composers," she said. "Let's go listen."
After they stepped into one of the soundproof listening booths, Hermione set the orb on a shelf and gave it a spin. The magical sphere began to glow. Music filled the space.
Ron's face lit up. "Hey, I've heard that before!"
"Where?" Hermione asked excitedly.
"Dad took me to work one day- we went to a Muggle building. I heard this inside a lift!"
"Are you comparing a classic to lift music Ronald?"
Bollocks. He had thought to impress her, but she looked indignant, not admiring. Thinking fast, he offered, "It was a really posh lift."
Hermione smiled. Feeling as though he had dodged a hex, Ron said, "Want to listen to the new Weird Sisters orb?"
Ron felt relieved there was something they could both listen to and enjoy. They spent the next half hour discussing which songs were their favourites before moving on to their next destination.
Hermione led the way through several more shops, enjoying Ron's company as much as the shopping. His cheerful following of her plan made her feel all warm inside. She smiled as she crossed the street to her favourite shop, Buy the Book.
The owner, Madam Fowl, always greeted customers with a bright smile, although sometimes she grumbled about Flourish and Blotts' unfair monopoly on textbooks. Hermione was sympathetic, but she enjoyed the wide variety of first and second-hand books too much to mind the lack of textbooks.
Hermione loved the smell of books. She loved the words in books, which reminded her of something her mum always said. Love is a verb, darling. Show it in actions, not just words.Inside the bookshop, she halted suddenly. Were Ron's actions his way of showing her how much he cared? How could she show him her feelings in return?
"Any book in particular that you're looking for?"
The inquiring expression on Ron's face snapped Hermione out of her reverie. Shaking her head, her eyes scanned the shop and focused on the upper floor. She nodded decisively.
"No or yes, which is it?" Ron sounded amused.
Smiling ruefully, she admitted, "I just thought of something I need from upstairs. Come with me?"
Her heart began to pound as they climbed the stairs. Luckily, the top floor was deserted. Most students hung out down in the café area of the shop. At the far end of the last row of shelves, Hermione saw Ron look askance at the reference books. Her boyfriend knew that the likelihood of her needing a thesaurus was unlikely and improbable. He asked, "What do you need back here?"
Her lips curved. He cleared his throat. She stepped forward. "Spontaneity."
His back was against the bookshelves. What an inspiring sight, Hermione thought. Reaching up to play with the hair she had foolishly backed away from earlier, Hermione whispered, "Impulsiveness…"
Slender fingertips tracing his lips seemed to have impaired Ronald's ability to speak. She smiled. "Just because I'm organised, responsible, and manage time wisely doesn't mean I can't be spontaneous." Rising up on tiptoes, she murmured against his lips, "Alter plans to do what comes naturally…"
Kissing Ron felt as natural as breathing. Expressing feelings should be just as easy, right? It was not. Hermione could boldly explore Ron's mouth, but his heart was another matter entirely. There were too many 'what ifs.' What if she was serious and he was not? What if she wanted to date exclusively and he thought they should date other people?
His hands were sliding down her back, gripping her hips, pulling her closer. Hermione had no problems with physical attraction. Chemistry was a biological and enjoyable factor in their relationship. The emotional, illogical aspect was what caused her to worry and hesitate. Some bold Gryffindor she was.
The sensation of her tongue rolling with his was becoming a bit too stimulating. Ron's body was starting to flush and it was time to step back…er…forward…around…away. Gently, he grasped Hermione's shoulders and gingerly put some much-needed distance between them.
She made a sound of protest, lips clinging in a way that made it hard to be good. Was the girl not the one that was supposed to keep the relationship out of dodgy areas? Ron thought Bill did not know as much about women as he said he did. Resolutely, he turned toward the opposite shelf, blindly staring at the books until he was calm…or at least calmer.
Ron exhaled slowly and then turned to Hermione. "So…what was scheduled next?"
She stopped trying to smooth down her fluffy hair and said, "Lunch at The Three Broomsticks, but…we don't have to stick to the plan. Where would you like to eat?"
Ron stared. His girl was giving up her sacred day planner for him. He did not know what to say, so he lifted her off the floor in a hug that had her gasping, "Air, please?"
He laughed, setting Hermione down to ask, "How about the Bludger?"
The rest of the day passed in a pleasant blur for Ron. They wandered around down by the Shrieking Shack after lunch. The memory of the look of fright on Malfoy's face, when an invisible Harry had pelted him with mud made Ron laugh. Sharing the memory with Hermione made her laugh too.
On the way back to school, his girl darted off the path, into the woods. "What're you doing 'Mione?" Ron called.
She replied from the cover of the trees, "Playing hide and seek."
This was a game that Ron had played loads of times before. The thrill was completely different, however, when he snuck up behind Hermione and said, "Got you!"
She threw her arms around his neck. "No, I've got you."
While getting ready for the house party later, Hermione's words kept echoing in Ron's mind. Blue eyes stared impatiently back at him from the bathroom mirror. Would it really be so hard to admit to his girlfriend that she did have him, and his heart? He scowled at the hair his agitated fingers had rumpled and reached for a comb.
Standing beside Harry, listening to blokes good-naturedly debate the best pro Quidditch teams, Ron saw a girl descend the staircase and stared. Hermione looked different. She was always pretty, but tonight, in a little black dress, she was hot. He went to meet her.
"Ron…you look nice."
The way she faltered and blushed gave Ron confidence to say, "You look beautiful. Would you care to dance?"
He followed her gaze to see housemates standing, sitting, talking, even snogging, but no one was dancing. The music was one of those Weird Sisters tunes that were heavy on the bagpipes. He smiled in relief when she said, "Sure."
Ron steered Hermione to a shadowed corner of the room before taking her into his arms and starting to sway. After a few moments, he looked down and blurted, "You know, what you said earlier, in the woods, well, you do."
Her fingers stilled their sifting through his hair. Ron took a deep breath and said, "I don't care if you know about Quidditch, even though it's cool, and I don't care about being organised, although it wasn't as hard as I thought. I only care about being with you."
Ron felt his heart leap when Hermione said, "I only care about being with you too." When his arms came around her, she returned his hug, holding him tight.