Till Death Do Us Part
"Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly, it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come." -Jack Handey
The thing that no one will believe is that in our first year, Ron and I weren't friends at all. In the beginning, it was because Ron felt like I was trying to infiltrate his and Harry's impenetrable friendship, in the middle, it was because I had, and towards the end our personalities just didn't mix and we drove one another crazy.
His little quirks and inattention to schoolwork are just minor annoyances to me now. But then, I didn't know of the better Ron, the deeper Ron, and the Ron that I really do love. And he couldn't see passed my bookishness and almost anal attention to detail. Believe it or not, I can pretty much safely say that we hated one another.
Harry never knew, I don't think. If he did, he never let on.
We pretended to like one another. We bickered because we couldn't help but bicker, but we had both grown to love Harry for all his little oddities. Even before he grew into the hero he is now, we saw him as the young wizard with a lopsided grin and shaggy hair. He was sweet, and caring: modest almost to a fault. We both loved his Quidditch excellence (although Ron probably more than I) and we both loved his wry, deadpanned jokes.
Ron loved that his favourite food was garlic-mashed potatoes, and I loved that he brushed his teeth every night, punctually.
His past, which we were both vaguely aware of, wasn't what kept us from openly despising one another. It was just Harry, and his unassuming ways of making us grudgingly see the best in one another.
The end of that year, when Ron nobly sacrificed himself for Harry, was the first time that I begun to suspect his depth. The fact that he had done it wasn't what surprised me—we had both attached ourselves so much to Harry it was just the natural thing to do—it was the way he did it. Without batting an eyelid. Fearlessly.
Harry went on to find whoever was attempting to steal the Sorcerer's Stone, as I told him to. And I waited for Ron to wake up, feeling— can you believe it? —really annoyed. I kept telling myself that what he had done was noble, and good, but a small part of me kept thinking; He's playing this up, just like he plays everything else he does up.
When he finally returned to the land of the living, he shot into an upright position and asked, "Where's Harry?"
I guess that was when my annoyance disappeared. "He went on," I told him soothingly. "Are you feeling all right?"
He was a little wary of my apparent concern, and nodded (while wincing). "Yeah, m'fine," he mumbled. "Why didn't you go with Harry? You'd probably be useful."
Undoubtedly he didn't realize that he'd complimented me. "It's Harry who's meant to reach the end," I explained, shrugging. "And I wouldn't be much help. I'm scared silly."
He seemed amazed. "You are?" He asked, blinking in surprise.
"Yeah. I really need to work on it. I think I read somewhere that if you participate in exercises with your fears—like, if you're afraid of heights, sit in an open window sill on the third story, that sort of thing—than you'll grow out of them."
Ron shook his head. "You're batty," he told me, shifting his leg and grimacing. "Agh. Stupid old hag whacked right into it."
Worriedly, I rolled up his pants and inspected the flesh. "There's a little piece of marble still inside," I informed him matter-of-factly. "Can you put weight on it?"
He nodded stubbornly. "Yeah. It just twinges a bit, that's all."
Ironically, it is the same leg that would later be bitten by Sirius in his dog form. There's still a scar from both cases.
I smiled at him and he tentatively grinned back. "That was…really brave of you," I grudgingly admitted. Ron shrugged modestly, blushing. "No, really," I insisted, feeling a stab of annoyance. "It was."
"You would have done the same," he mumbled. "Anyone would have."
And that's when, I think, I realized that Ron's modesty—the thing that was so appealing on Harry and seemed so false whenever it appeared in Ron—was, however rare, truly genuine. He had no idea how brave, and how strong he was.
Of course, that was before I knew him to amazing, funny, loyal, caring, and smart, if a little thick, as well.
"Not anyone," I argued solemnly. "It was a really good thing, Ron. I'm proud of you."
He blushed and mumbled something inaudible before a heavy silence descended on us. After a few moments, he queried, "Where do you think Harry is? Do you think he's all right?"
I smiled strainedly, seeing his need to be reassured. "Of course he is. He's Harry. He'll be fine."
Ron nodded. "Right. Of course he will."
We both drifted off into our own thoughts, and then Ron said softly, "I'm really scared, too."
It was so minor, such a stupid thing to say, really, but at the time it meant more to me than anything else he could have said. It was just a statement, but he was sharing part of himself with me. He never let anyone know if he was scared, or nervous, or upset. It was so natural for me to admit my fear, but for Ron…I don't know. It just seemed like something he might say if we were friends. And, for a brief moment, I imagined we were. We still bickered, of course, and he was—and still is—annoying as ever. But there was an underlying bond, more than just mutual affection for Harry, and I found that I really enjoyed the feeling.
When Harry didn't come back, we knew something had gone wrong. At first we thought he was dead, but reassured ourselves that he was probably just too tired to return. We went to the Headmaster's office and confessed to our little adventure.
He'd gone—almost too calmly—down to where we had been and retrieved an unconscious Harry.
That sight, one that will never leave me, was the most horrifying moment of my young life. My best and only friend was dangling from the Headmaster's arms, bruised and cut, his eyelids gently shut. Ron put a comforting hand on my arm, and again I saw us as friends.
Again I liked it.
When Harry was still recuperating, we ought to have gone back to being enemies. Without the pressure of making Harry happy, we did not need to bother pretending.
But it suddenly seemed so much easier. I found myself genuinely laughing at his jokes and he was sincerely more careful about my emotions. I found myself stealing glances at him and smiling before catching it and inwardly berating myself.
Summer came, and I missed them both. Not just Harry, but Ron, too. I missed his jokes and his hair, and the feel of his hand on my arm. I debated whether or not to write to him, and when Harry didn't respond (which worried, rather than hurt, me), I decided it was my chance.
It was a crude letter, somewhere along the lines of, 'Dear Ron: Harry hasn't responded to any of my letters. Has he to you? It's beginning to worry me. How has your summer been? I hope it's gone well. What have you been doing? Please reply. Hermione.'
His reply was prompt and rehearsed. 'Hermione: Harry hasn't replied to me, either, but don't worry. Fred, George, and I have a plan. My summer has been really good, so far. I missed my little sister, Ginny, at school last year, but she'll be with us next year so it won't be so bad. She gets a little annoying, though. What about you? What have you been doing? –Ron.'
Soon afterwards, the letters were purely social and were signed, 'your friend, Ron', and 'Love from, Hermione'. The first time I signed it 'love from', I was afraid that he would take it the wrong way. But he never said anything and I assumed that he understood.
And from there, things just progressed. We went from casual friends to good friends, from good friends to best, and from best to…well. More than friends. Our relationship lasted for years like that. I was perfectly content to be Ron's girlfriend from eighteen to twenty-one, but on the day that Ron proposed (another amusing story for another time), I realized that I had been ready to be Mrs. Weasley since I was twelve years old.
I love you, Ron. Not many couples can say that they started off hating their fiancée. And of those who can, not many brag about it. But I do, because it's a part of who we are; it's a part of what we are. You tell me when I'm being asinine, and I tell you when you're being a thick prat. It's tough and there's a lot of yelling involved, but it makes us stronger and our love deeper.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I propose a toast to my best friend, Harry Potter. Because without him, none of you would be at this wedding.
Of course, if Ron weren't quite so good at kissing, you wouldn't be here, either.
Don't look so scandalized, love. I was only kidding.
Thank you for joining us at the wedding of
Hermione Jane Granger
Ronald Bilius Weasley
"May we remain at one another's side until the need to use the loo becomes too great."