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: The Finale
Notes II: The lyrics in #26 are to a song I wrote myself. Please do NOT report me for plagiarism / infraction of TOS. The lyrics not only are mine, but serve as a thematic element within the story itself.
She had a little corner of the library set aside just for her.
Well, not really, but she liked to think it was. It was hidden, in the recesses of the wing, with shelves boxing her in, and a big window off to one side. Most people felt claustrophobic there; it felt homey to her. The stacks of books fenced her in, and she loved it.
But she loved it more when Ron joined her. Ron, who was too tall for the chairs and table, whose knees always bumped against hers. Sometimes she'd bump his, just to see how he'd react.
He'd stretch every so often, and she'd steal a quick look. The waistband of boxers, a pale expanse of flat stomach, and a fine trail of red-gold hair heading south of his bellybutton; she looked away quickly, having long since stopped blushing over an inch.
Sometimes, when the late afternoon sun filtered in, his hair looked golden and sun-kissed, and she wanted to run her fingers through it. He'd stretch and, sometimes, drape an arm over the back of her chair. If she was lucky, and he was distracted enough, he'd play with a lock of her hair.
His arm was a fence, and she welcomed the weight across her shoulders.
26. if only I could make you mine
There had been a song, the summer after fourth year, that had come on the radio. He wasn't sure when it was written, or how old it was, but he had known he liked it.
The singer was a voice he didn't know, smooth and clear and emotional all throughout the melody. Every note and every word rang true when she sang it. When he heard that song, he felt his skin rise in gooseflesh; she had a haunting quality to her voice.
But it was the words, the way they arranged themselves, which drew him to the song. It sang of a love lost, as most songs do, but this love was never hers. She had loved and lost out and felt she'd never have him, and she'd never told him. Something about her, about those words, resonated with him.
They were washing dishes one night when it came onto the airplay. When he heard the opening strums, he set down the dishcloth and turned up the volume. He answered her quizzical look with a shrug. "It's a good song," he replied, and picked up the dishcloth. Over the running water, she could hear him humming along.
"My love," the singer crooned, "My love is gone, to another woman, and I can't help but think to myself: if only I could make you mine..."
"Ron, why do you like this song? It's so sad; it doesn't seem like...you."
He shrugged. "I guess I just like the melody," he lied deftly. He grinned mischievously and grabbed a handful of suds and blew them into Hermione's face. She squealed and blew suds back. Ron dodged the bubbles, but slipped on a wet patch and went crashing to the floor, bringing Hermione down with him.
They lay still for a moment, getting oriented, before they realized their position. She was sprawled over him, and he was half sitting, and together they made a very compromising position. His ears went scarlet and she scrambled off him, wiping her hands on her apron.
"I'll show you something," she declared. Walking to the sink, she dipped her hands in the soapy water and withdrew them. Carefully, she blew a bubble between her hands, letting it fly into the air before it popped.
"Hey, let me try," he said, standing carefully. He mimicked her, and a perfect bubble floated through the air before touching her lips and popping.
"Blech!" she cried. "Soap! Ew." She splashed him with the soapy water and he grabbed the sopping dishcloth, both laughing.
In the background, the song continued. "I made him mine in the end!" Cymbals crashed and the last chord faded with it.
You don't think about him, sometimes.
You avoid him, don't look at him. You miss the hurt look on his face when you brush past, but you feel every nerve stand on end. He'll pass you, and your shoulders will knock, or your hands will touch over a book, and you'll feel it for hours. You can't take your eyes off him, but you can't meet his gaze.
You feel piercing blue eyes on you, smoldering and fiery. You raise your eyes to meet his and there's a plummeting sensation, and then it feels like you can't feel any more for exploding and some part of you has to smile, because that's exactly what he said, once. And you tear your eyes away from his and smile, and you're chilled by the look on his face; he's matured so far and, suddenly, even though you're older you feel much more childish.
You worry you'll overflow, that you'll reveal your hand too fast, too soon. He's not where you want him, and boy do you want him, so much you scare yourself. You never expected to end up with a guy like him, ever. He is not the kind of guy you imagined for yourself. You wanted a professor, stuffed shirt type, brainy and always considerate, money maker and domestic.
You got him.
You go outside in the rain and let the water wash over you. It's like a baptism of the soul. Your overflow – the tears – mingles with those of the sky and you feel cleansed, vindicated.
And as the raindrops kiss your smiling mouth, you wonder if his kisses taste the same.
28. Wada Calcium CD3 (It's a calcium pill, for pale people.)
Her father had given her a bottle of calcium tablets.
"For your teeth, love," he'd told her, when she was twelve. "They're still growing, and we want them to be strong." She'd smiled sweetly and packed the bottle into her trunk.
And then she'd forgotten about it.
When Ron had made the Quidditch team, she'd worried. Ron, who chose juice over milk and sugar over vegetables, was sore more than he should have been.
And something, somewhere clicked. "Calcium," the bottle read, "can strengthen muscles in addition to tooth and bone reinforcement."
"Yeah?" He lay spread-eagle on the floor, exhausted and sore all over.
"Maybe you should use these."
He cracked open one eye. "Whazzat?"
"They're, um, calcium pills."
He raised an eyebrow at her.
"They're, um, good for you?"
He rolled his eyes.
"They'll make you less sore?"
He grabbed them, kissed her on the cheek, and dashed out. "Thank you!"
She stood there, in stunned silence, a little smile threatening to burst out.
29. the sound of waves
She was sitting beside the lake when he found her.
Leaning back, sitting on her outer robes, she looked peaceful for the first time in a long time.
He walked up to her and sat down, resting his chin on a knee. The sound of the waves of the lake lapping against the banks was soothing.
The sky pinked and purpled, and the sun turned from bright yellow to blood red. His hair turned auburn in the fading light, and he felt her eyes on him.
Soundlessly, he turned to her, eyes quizzical but not accusatory. They were about a foot apart, and that alone felt like too far. They had almost kissed the night before, and suddenly the air between them was thick with tension.
She sat up and looked him in the eye, slowly shifting closer, the high-tension wire of energy between them collapsing. The distance between them shrunk; a foot, one half, an inch--
Her knees gently pressed against his leg, but he kept looking at her. Every nerve was on fire, like the red of the setting sun was something more, and he raised a slightly shaking hand to tuck back a lock of her hair. One of her hands fluttered to his knee, and he caught the other one, entwining his fingers with hers.
She leaned into him, eyes only half open. The roar in his ears -- the sound of waves crashing -- got louder as she got closer, and he felt the edges of his vision blacken as his eyes slid shut.
It was chaos.
Ron hadn't imagined it would be like this. Their first, real fight in the war, and they were badly outnumbered. He thanked every deity he could think of for Hermione's idea of the D.A. Without it, he would have been dead by now for sure.
When Harry had given the signal, he had cast Reducto and ran straight ahead, dodging spells left and right before banking left and shooting at the Death Eaters sniper-like from between shelves. When a fireball had been sent his way, he had ran again until he found this, a niche between shelves that was cover enough for the time being.
Ginny was all right; he had seen her Bat-Bogey a Death Eater threatening her. Luna was holding her own, surprisingly, against the others. Her tactic was to hide, then shoot three spells in rapid succession; it was oddly effective. Neville was dodging like the best of them, counter-jinxing as best he could. Harry, of course, was fighting brilliantly.
That left Hermione. He could still feel her hand in his. He wondered--
The shelf above his hiding place splintered ominously, and he threw himself sideways just as it exploded. More seers' figures ghosted out of the broken spheres, muttering in their hollow voices. Was that what Trelawney had sounded like when she had predicted the rise of You-Know-Who in third year?
Vaulting another fallen shelf, he raced past dozens of shelves to get to the door. Harry had grabbed Hermione, but he still had to get to her. Goal firmly in mind, he dodged another Death Eater, tossing off a Stunning Spell at them. There was a shout, there was yelling, and the scent of blood was everywhere.
Someone was looking out for them.
Hermione blessed James and Lily for being intelligent; Harry's quick thinking had saved them – her – once again.
The torrent of glass and splintered wood had been surprising. The ghosts of seers wailed around her, chanting their omens in the monotonous voices of ones possessed. Quite frankly, it sent her reeling. She didn't believe in prophecies, she didn't believe in fortune-telling; she didn't believe in any of it.
So why did she almost want to hear what the specters had to say?
Harry had dragged her forward, away from the others, and pushed her aside to elbow the Death Eater in the face. The hooded figure recoiled, hands clamping over a possibly broken nose. Make that definitely broken, she thought, grimacing at its misshapenness.
The case above her made an ominous creak and she flung herself backwards as it teetered and fell, crushing three Death Eaters from behind. She had only a moment to smile before a shattering sound from nearby sent her hunting for cover. Another shelf, neatly split in two, provided a temporary barrier. It would do for now. The sounds ran together, shouts meshing with the mumble of the seers, into a dull roar of sheer noise.
There was another explosion, and she saw Ron headed for her.
"Ron!" Someone grabbed him and pulled him behind another collapsed shelf. He fell heavily on his knees, determined to stay low behind their barrier. He turned to his rescuer.
"Hermione!" Impulsively, he hugged her. He'd been worried about her; Harry had pulled her forward and that had been the last time he'd seen her.
"Just scratched up a little from the glass."
"Me too. And the shelves; I think one broke apart above me."
An explosion thundered nearby, reverberating around them. Startled, they clung to each other, wincing against the sound.
"Listen," he whispered quickly, holding her at arm's length. "I...I don't know what's going to happen, and I don't know where we'll stand after this, but I have to...I have to..."
"Don't do anything stupid!"
"It's not! I have to--"
"What do you have to do?"
He met her curious, slightly worried gaze with a determined one. "This."
And he kissed her.
They broke apart, slightly breathless and red in the face.
He hugged her again and whispered in her ear, "I'll meet you on the other side, ok?" Squeezing her hand, he jumped up and ran to where Harry had been, Luna and Ginny catching up to him.
She sat, stunned, for a moment after he left.
He kissed me!
She touched a hand to her lips.
He kissed me!
The sound of glass shattering above her broke her out of her reverie.
I'll meet you on the other side, ok?
Her mouth hardened into a line. She'd act like a lovesick fool later; right now, she needed to survive.
She counted to three, and ran for the end of the row. Clearing another fallen sphere case, she saw Harry being manhandled by a hooded figure.
"Stupefy!" she cried, and the figure tumbled backwards, unconscious. Falling into step beside Harry, she ran for the end of the row. She found Neville catching his breath behind the ruins of more shelves.
"Neville, come on," she urged. "We have to get to the others." She offered him a hand and he grasped it. Behind Harry, they ran for the door. Barely after Neville's shoelaces were in, Harry slammed the door.
"Colloportus!" Hermione gasped out. The door sealed itself, allowing her to sigh and lean against it; the fading adrenaline rush left her drained. They were only out of the frying pan; there was still the fire.
"Where are the others?" Harry panted, palms on his knees.
Icy dread ran down her spine. I'll meet you on the other side, ok? "They must have gone the wrong way!" Neville placed an arm on her shoulder and Harry closed his eyes, a pained expression on his face.
Touching a hand to her mouth, she prayed they — he— would be all right.
It's been a great journey. I really loved writing these and I want to thank everyone for all the feedback and support; it meant a lot to me.
When I wrote the last kiss, I went back and re-read all of these, start to finish. And, I realized that the last kiss instead of debunking all the scenes that would chronologically come after it actually added another level to the interactions. Particularly potent, I think, was the scene in 20, where he traces her jaw; to me, that moment gets such oomph now that we know what came before it.
I'd like to ask all of you something: which was your favorite kiss and why?
Keep an eye out for the sequel that reconciles these kisses (especially that last one) with HBP: "Bend and Break".
A thousand thank-yous to all the reviewers who've stuck it out until the end now. A hundred thousand to my betas; you know who you are. ♥
Peace out, y'all.