Author's Notes: OK, OK, I know I really should be updating "True Love" but I really wanted to get this out before the 16th. The next Harry Potter book comes out then at midnight, and I wanted this written before anything might happen in the books to disprove the events of this story. Now, because I ship this couple, I think the next book will only improve the conditions for them. But still, I want this up before the next book comes out.
So, with that being said, here's my first Harry Potter story. Please be gentle, as I've never done it before. But hopefully you'll enjoy it!
The fire crackled merrily in the hearth of the Gryffindor common room. It shed a warm glow over the entire room, giving it a cozy feeling. But there were only three people still in the room to enjoy the comfort of the fire. Three seventh years were still hard at work, attempting to make a dent in their large workload. Though a fair amount of the work wasn't actually due the next day, they had all learned first-hand not to leave anything for later.
Harry and Hermione were sitting in their usual armchairs by the fire, leaning over the table at their feet. Ron was sprawled on the floor, lying on his stomach. They were all focused on their respective tasks, yet talking occasionally. Ron sat up, leaning against the arm of Hermione's chair closest to the fire. He ran a hand through his hair distractedly, frowning at the scroll in his hand.
"I have no clue if any of this is right," he moaned. Hermione sighed.
"Have you reread it?"
"At least four times!" Ron snapped. Harry rolled his eyes. He was overloaded with homework, and the last thing he wanted to deal with was another argument between his two friends.
"Well, then you should know by now!"
Ron didn't respond. Instead, he carefully lifted up what he had been working on and held it over his head. He gestured towards Hermione with it.
She let out a "Hmph!" but accepted it and put her own book aside. Ron smirked and stared into the fire. Harry scratched something out on his paper, then flipped through a large book on the table in front of him, looking up a definition. There was silence for a few minutes until Hermione broke it.
"It's all wrong, isn't it?" Ron asked nervously.
"No! No, not at all. In fact, it's all right."
Ron sighed a breath of relief. "Well, as long as it's OK-"
"No, I meant that it's all correct. This is a great essay, Ron."
Ron's ears turned pink. He allowed himself to grow a pleased smile. "Well," he said, stretching his arms above his head. "Looks like you have taught me something."
Hermione snorted. Harry nearly screamed. If they didn't stop running circles around each other, he was going to lose his mind.
The three friends continued to work. Ron sidled over slightly to reach one of Harry's books. As he flipped through it, he voiced his opinion on the homework.
"Rather stupid, really."
Hermione frowned. "What do you mean?"
"Do you really think this helps us learn the material? I mean honestly, we would do much better if we were simply given the information and then-"
"So you think you could teach this better than our highly-qualified professors then, hmm?" replied Hermione coolly.
"You see, Ronald, that's the problem these days. Everybody thinks they know the best way to do something, but in reality, they don't. You are not a professor, and I sincerely doubt you will ever become one. Not, of course, that you're not intelligent enough to do so, but you don't apply yourself! You should never have allowed yourself to slack off for a second! I mean, I think I did a better job about staying on track, but still, I could be earning much better grades if-"
"If you had no friends," concluded Ron sarcastically. "You had to sacrifice a perfect grade for friends."
Hermione sniffed disdainfully, but said nothing.
"But wouldn't you much rather have friends, Hermione?" Harry asked, with a chuckle in his voice.
"Oh yes," she replied happily. "I think," she added with sneer at Ron. He pivoted to give her a sickly sweet smile.
Harry laughed, then settled into his work once more. There was a few rustles of pages, and the occasional grunt from Ron or a sigh from Hermione. Harry was beginning to feel slightly light-headed and sleepy when he heard the portrait of the Fat Lady swing open quietly. He glanced over to see a shadowy figure lurking by the entry way. He looked back to see that his friends hadn't noticed anything. The portrait swung closed once more, and the person skulking in the gloom stepped forward. Harry grinned. "Hello, Ginny."
Ron spun around so fast, he knocked into Hermione's knees, causing her to smudge what she had just been writing. She scowled at him, then began fixing her mistake.
"Ginny? Where were you?"
"Studying in the library," she came back with calmly. Ron raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah, right, you were studying… who else was there?"
"Ginny, don't play games. Tell me who you were meeting."
"Oh fine!" she huffed, her eyes filling with tears. "If you must know, I was going to meet Mark Johanson, but he stood me up!" She stomped her foot, then tore off across the room, dashing up the stairs that led to the girls dormitories. There was a stunned silence. Ron's mouth was agape, his quill lying on the ground, forgotten.
After a few moments, he seemed to remember there were other people in the room, and he turned around to face them. "What was that all about?"
Hermione sighed. "Mark Johanson was a boy who showed a lot of interest in Ginny recently, but she wasn't as sure about him. They've gone on a few unofficial dates. I guess all the while, Ginny was warming up to him, but now… it seems he's not interested anymore."
Ron puffed up his chest, the big-brotherly instincts kicking in. "If I ever see this guy-"
"Ron, you can't hit him," said Hermione sharply.
"Look what he did to my sister!" he crowed. "What am I supposed to do?"
"Nothing. Ginny won't want Mark to see how much he's hurt her. If she pretends she wasn't fazed in the least, she'll feel better sooner." Hermione looked back down at her work.
Ron shrugged. "If you say so… I still think he deserves a good kick up his-"
"Alright, let's get back to work," interjected Harry quickly.
The three friends settled back down to their work. They continued in silence for a few minutes, with Ron glancing into the fire on occasion. He seemed slightly distracted. Harry and Hermione tried not to notice, for they knew their concentration was required for their schoolwork. But they knew Ron was deep in thought, and although they were curious about his musings, they knew better than to interrupt his train of thought.
Ron turned away from the flickering flames, closing his book. He placed a careful hand on it. "If only there was one of these on the female brain."
Hermione actually sighed. "Oh Ron, if only you could see what they write in the Muggle world."
"What do you mean?"
"There are literally thousands of books written by Muggles on how to analyze the female brain. So many people have written self-help books, and 'understanding your wife' books, and the like. Muggles will resort to reading one if they find themselves in a totally desperate situation. But since each author is different, each one has a different opinion." She sniffed condescendingly. "Only the well-researched scientific accounts should be taken into consideration, if you ask me."
"Uh-huh." Ron looked down at the book in his lap. He cracked it open again.
"You know, I've never actually considered this before," Harry said thoughtfully, "but there's a book written on just about anything."
Hermione beamed at him. "That's absolutely correct, Harry. I've been trying to stress the fact that reading different books really does make you that much smarter. Your vocabulary improves, your entire range of knowledge grows - it's just incredible! If you two would only read a few more books, think about how much you would gain! And I don't mean reading the books we're required to, I mean books that really get you thinking, Just imagine each one as an entire world of knowledge yet to be discovered. Think of how many worlds that you haven't discovered yet! You could even try reading Muggle books, some are really quite fascinating. And Ron, you would certainly learn a lot about Muggles that way. I mean, with your father, you have a bit better background than most wizarding families, but still, think of how much more you could learn! You know you'd learn valuable skills! Really! Books are the best - and only - path to learning new things!"
"She's almost as passionate about reading as she is about spew," Harry murmured under his breath. But Ron wasn't paying attention. He had turned around to face Hermione.
"Do you really believe you can learn everything from a book?"
Hermione paused for a moment, contemplating. She so wanted to be right, but she also didn't want to be proved wrong. If she realized now that she'd made a mistake, it would be less embarrassing. After a minute, she reached her conclusion.
"Yes, Ron. I believe you can learn everything from a book. There is nothing in the world that cannot be fully explained in writing. I'll admit, you might not get the same effect as you would actually living it, but you can learn it, certainly."
"Well, I'll have to check myself out a book on how to defeat the most powerful Dark wizard," Harry chuckled darkly. But Ron had turned back around. Her gazed at the work in front of him, shaking his head slightly.
"I don't believe you can learn everything from a book," he said flatly. Hermione puffed herself up.
"Oh really? Well, you're wrong. Books can contain everything. There is a book on everything. If there isn't, one can easily be written. Ron, you can learn whatever you want, absolutely whatever you want, from a book."
"I don't believe that."
"Name one thing," Hermione said scathingly.
Ron slammed his books onto the table forcibly. He got up onto his knees so he could look Hermione directly in the face as she sat in the armchair. She glared at him. His eyes were narrowed at her, but Harry noticed an odd expression flickering behind the redhead's cold exterior. Harry could sense thee was more to this.
Ron leaned forward onto the chair until his face was parallel to Hermione's. They continued to shoot daggers at one another. Ron reached behind Hermione's head, leaving his hand on the nape of her neck. She kept staring angrily, but her face also become curious and confused. Ron gave Hermione one last sneer, then pressed his lips against hers.
Hermione's eyes shot open, surprise written all over her face. Her entire body tensed up at the unexpected display of affection. The textbook she had been holding in her hands slipped out and fell to the side. Ron slowly removed his hand from behind her head so that it rested next to Hermione's knees. He broke the kiss, opening his eyes very slowly to look at her. Hermione blinked at him, her mouth slack.
After a beat, Ron seemed to remember himself. He coughed quickly, then yanked himself off the chair.
"Uh… well… sorry about… about that," he said gruffly. Hermione nodded wordlessly. Ron turned around quickly, his entire face almost as red as his hair. Neither Harry or Hermione had ever seen him blush so hard.
Harry was currently stabbing himself with his quill in an attempt to find out if what he had just witnessed had actually happened. He deduced that, yes, it really hurt to try drive the feather pen into his hand, so he must be awake.
Ron carefully lifted his books back into his lap. He flipped open to a random page, but the book was upside down. He held up his current scroll for notes, and pretended to jot down a few things.
Hermione held a hand up to her lips. That kiss had been so sudden, so unanticipated, so startling, it had caught her entirely unawares. Her cheeks were flushed as if she had been running, and she found herself completely dumb. She had no idea what to say. She picked up her book that had slipped, and opened it as well, but simply could not concentrate.
There was an awkward silence for a few minutes. Harry tried in vain to think of something to say, but he was at a loss for words. He knew there had always been something between his two best friends, but he never knew if it was going to show itself and in what form. Now that it was revealed, what was there to say?
Hermione cleared her throat. Ron winced slightly, terrified of the verbal lashing he was about to receive.
"So… so that was… learning?" she asked, with a slight quaver in her voice. She determinedly stared at the book in her lap. Her face was bright crimson.
"Uh… yeah, yeah, that was… learning," Ron managed to stammer out. He didn't dare turn around to face the girl behind him.
Hermione ran a finger down the cover of her book. It was heavy and cool, pure knowledge stored within. She'd clung to books for so long, they felt like extensions of her own body. But now, she merely gazed at the leather-bound cover, thinking.
"I rather like learning," she said conversationally, tilting her head. Her nose had even turned pink.
"Yeah? Well… I… I like learning a lot too," said Ron, not turning around. Instead, he stared at his knees, a look of apprehension and hope on his face.
"I enjoy learning so much, I think I'd like to do more of it," Hermione said, trailing off. She felt so embarrassed, but at the same time, so bold.
"Yeah," Ron agreed, finally turning around to face Hermione. "I think I would too." He gave her a small smile, which she returned. They were both still red in the face.
"Well! I'm tired. I'm off to bed," said Harry cheerfully, stretching his arms over his head. He gathered his belongings and headed towards the stairs. Neither Ron nor Hermione paid any attention. When Harry turned, grinning at them, they were already kissing again. They had stood up, arms wrapped tightly around each other, with their books lying forgotten on the table.
Author's Notes: Whew! I actually got it done in time! I don't know how I did about keeping everyone in character, but I hope they're OK. (I'm shooting for average, and if I hit that, I'm happy.) Hehe, anyway, please let me know what you think of it! If you have any suggestions on how I can improve my Harry Potter fanfic-writing-skills, I'd love to hear them! I hope you all enjoyed this story, and DEFINITELY enjoy the next book! One more day!