Title: Thirty Kisses
Author: Kasuchi
Rating: Teen (just to be safe)
Summary: Thirty missing moments – moments that didn't happen – from 'Order of the Phoenix.'
Fandom / Pairing: HP, R/Hr
Notes: Part One of Five.


1. look over here

"Hey, Hermione?"

She looked away from the book she had been poring over for the OWLs. "What is it, Ron?"

He pointed at the wall, where an odd stain discolored the otherwise spotless wall. "What d'you reckon this is?"

She walked over to where he was and crouched down a little in front of him. "I...I don't know," she said, a little worried. "Should we tell Professor McGonagall? Or Filch?"

"Nah," said Ron, straightening slightly. "We're prefects. We can handle it." He drew out his wand and made to touch it when Hermione grabbed it and stopped him.

"What are you doing!"

"Poking it with my wand?"

"But you don't know what it is!"

"So?"

"You could get hurt!"

"Aw, Hermione. I didn't know you cared." He sardonically put a hand over his heart and sighed.

Hermione flushed scarlet, though in rage or embarrassment he was unsure. "Of course I do! You're...you're my best...friend..." She avoided his gaze.

There was an awkward silence; Hermione looked at her hands clasped around Ron's wand, and he stared at the crown of her head.

"So," he remarked casually, breaking the silence, "what should we do?"

She let go of his wand and drew her own. "Charms, of course!" She turned around pointed her wand at the wall. "Scourgify!"

Nothing.

She tried a different spell. "Revelo!"

Nothing.

"AUGH." She let out a scream of frustration and glowered at the wall.

"Why don't you try my idea?" Ron remarked innocently.

She shot him a look over her shoulder. He held his hands up. "Hey, I'm just saying...it couldn't hurt."

She sighed and turned back to the wall. Slowly, she inched her wand to the mysterious stain. Ron leaned forward with her, bracing his hands on her shoulders. The tip of her wand touched the wall and the stain wiggled.

She screamed and jerked back so fast he didn't shield himself. His lips touched her hair, and some often-quiet part of his mind noted it smelled like apples and cinnamon.

"Did you see that!"

"Yeah," he replied a little breathlessly.

"It moved!" She squealed.

"Hermione, I thought you were a Gryffindor." He smirked lightly.

"Ron Weasley! Are you implying I'm not brave? Because if you are, I'll gladly point out the many times I've--"

"Hermione, look!"

The stain was gone.

"What the..."

"That's..."

They looked at one another for a moment.

"I think I'm tired. Goodnight, Ron."

"'Night, Hermione."

And they parted ways.


2. news; letter

"Dear Hermione,

I hope your holiday is going well. I bet your mum and dad really miss you; they aren't used to you being gone, are they?

Hogwarts is so quiet at Christmas. The grounds get covered with snow, and it looks like the whole campus is a blank canvas. Harry and I made snow angels and snowmen and had a big war; it was a lot of fun, even if Fred and George were prats about the whole thing.

We didn't even think of homework. (I'm smirking, just so you know.)

Anyway, I thought I would just write to wish you a Happy Christmas.

- Ron

PS - We promise, we'll look up Flamel."

She folded the letter quietly and touched it to her lips. Four years later, and he was still uncannily sweet at times. She smiled a little and tucked the letter back into her keepsakes box.

"Hermione?"

She looked to the door, where Ron stood, an unreadable look on his face.

"We're about to leave for St. Mungo's."

"Okay. I'll be right down." She turned away from him to put away the little box.

"Hey, Hermione?" His voice was a lot closer, and she wondered how he'd been able to move so quickly.

"Yes, Ron?"

"You've got an ink smudge on your face. Here--" Gently, he cupped her face and rubbed away the ink stain with the sleeve of his other hand. "There," he said, voice a little strangled, "all gone."

She smiled softly. "Thank you."


3. jolt!

Madame Pince had decided that nine was late enough. Hermione sighed deeply. It simply wasn't fair, she decided.

She passed a posted paper and gazed forlornly at it as she passed. The Educational Decrees angered her and saddened her in the same breath. This year was shaping up to be one of the worst yet, including the time she was Petrified. Although, she mused, walking on, she couldn't remember much from then.

She was walking down a corridor, all alone, when a chill ran down her spine. Glancing around furtively, she sped up a little; perhaps it was best to make for the Fat Lady a little faster tonight.

The painting was about two corridors away when she felt a hand clasp around her mouth and snake around her waist. Her eyes widened considerably and a jolt ran through her. She began to struggle when a voice breathed in her ear, "Don't make a sound."

She froze and craned her neck to see a few strands of red hair. "Mmmph?" Ron?

The hands let go, and she turned to Ron. "RON!"

His hand was back over her mouth, and a finger to his lips indicated she should be quiet. The look in his eyes made her obey, and he pulled her to the darkest corner. A large, grotesque shadow loomed from where she came, then shrunk to reveal Dolores Umbridge's unpleasant figure.

Hermione stifled a gasp as the frog-like woman passed, then went around the corner out of sight. Both of them let out breaths they hadn't realized they were holding.

"Ron, how...?"

"You were in the library during dinner -- again -- when she said that tonight's curfew was 8:30. I knew she wouldn't let you off even if you were in the library. When you weren't in the common room, I reckoned I'd find you. If she caught us, at least we could try passing it off as duties or something." He grinned at her.

"That was really nice of you Ron, but," she moved closer to him, "how dare you scare me like that!" She swatted him.

"Hey!" He held up his hands, and she could still see the print her lip balm left on his palm.

"Yeah, okay. Let's head back."


4. our distance and that person

"I never thought three feet would make me want to scream."

Ron smiled at her ruefully. "I've never agreed with you more."

"But...I'm worried about Harry."

Ron's face darkened. "So'm I."

"I just...Sirius was the closest he's ever gotten to having a real dad."

"I know."

"How is he going to handle this?"

"Dunno. Reckon he'll get quiet again."

"Ron...if you'd lost your dad at Christmas, how'd you have managed?"

His eyes hardened. "I think I'd have been angry. Then quiet. Sad, for a long time." He shifted and winced.

"Do the scars still hurt?" She welcomed the subject change.

"A little. Not really. Just...twinges, you know? It's...it's more the skin than the scars, if that makes sense."

She carefully picked herself out of the bed, hissing when her bare feet touched the cold stone floor.

"What-what are you doing?"

"Coming over to your bed."

"Should you be doing that?" His voice was a little higher than normal.

"It can't hurt."

"Are you sure?"

"No."

"You're admitting you don't know something!" She was within arm's reach, and he laid his hand across her forehead. "You really think you oughta be out of bed?"

She smiled and brushed his hand off, settling at the foot of his bed. "I'm fine. Now, where does it hurt?"

"As in, right now?"

"Yes Ron," she sighed exasperatedly.

"Actually, nothing really hurts right now--Oi!" She had leaned across the bed and now tugged on his arm, pushing the sleeve up, and revealed the scars. Scars she hadn't seen before.

"Oh, Ron..." she breathed.

"They're really not as bad as they look," he insisted quietly.

"But they're all red and blotchy," she looked at him, a pained expression on her face.

"Hermione, I'm okay. Really," he added emphatically, locking eyes with hers.

She pointed at one monstrous-looking scar. "Is that the worst of them?" He nodded silently.

She touched a hand to her lips and then pressed her fingers gently to the wound.


5. "ano sa" ("hey, you know...")

"Hey, you know, Harry's doing a really good job."

She looked over to where Harry was working with Neville. "He is, isn't he?"

"This-this was a really great idea, Hermione." Ron scuffed his shoe and wouldn't meet her gaze.

She pinked. "Thank you, Ron." Her eyes flicked up and she gasped. "Oh!"

"What is it?" He looked up too, and his eyes widened. "Mistletoe!" He whispered in a strangled voice.

"It's magicked, I'm thinking," she said tonelessly. "We can't move until we kiss."

"Erm," was about all Ron managed. Blushing furiously, they moved closer to one another. As if on cue, they both leaned in for the kiss.

It was soft and sweet, she thought. He tasted like peppermint, and she had to smile.

"Hermione? Hermione?"

She snapped out of her daydream and realized she was unfrozen.

"Hermione, it's your turn, now." Ron paused and looked at her quizzically. "Are you all right? You look flushed."

"Just a little warm, that's all. You ready?" She shrugged off the outermost layer of her robes and raised her wand.


6. the space between dream and reality

Ron groaned softly and stared up at the canopy of his bed. It was past midnight, and though tomorrow was Sunday, he still had to wake early. But the first Quidditch match of the season -- his first match -- haunted him. All his mistakes, real and imagined, hung his mind. He simply couldn't shut them out. Sighing, he looked to Harry's bed.

He'd been banned from the field. They were out three players, and with him being inept...

Yes, it was official: they had a snowball's chance in Hell of winning the Cup this year.

Sighing heavily again, he sank into the half-asleep state and let his mind wander.

He felt Hermione's hand on his shoulder, even through the layers of robes. He felt her body press against his for a moment. But, most of all, he remembered the feel of her lips on his skin.

He smiled at this as his mind calmed down and let him drift off to sleep.


Part Two should be up in two days. ♥