TITLE: Too Late
AUTHOR: Sugah Sugah
SUMMARY: Ron wonders if he's missed his chance with Hermione by dating Lavender. Part 5 in the Ron/Hermione saga (the new part 5).
SPOILERS: HBP
PAIRING: Ron/Hermione, as if you couldn't tell
RATING: M, just to be safe. We're talking about a guy, here.
DISCLAIMER: My name is not JK Rowling. I am in no way affiliated with her, Warner Bros., Scholastic, or Harry Potter. This is purely to satisfy my muse, which was incredibly disappointed that Ron chose Lavender (LAVENDER!) and simply wanted to do something about it.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Apologizing for any American slang. I don't know much British slang, so I had to go with what I know. I tend to write how I talk.
Takes place during chapter 15 ("The Unbreakable Vow") and is told from Ron's POV.
Based on the song "Is This Where We Both Say Goodbye" by Catherine Britt and Elton John.
I'm working on updating "Cross the Line", which is the next installment in the series. I had hoped to post them both at the same time, but it's taking longer to write part 3 than I'd originally thought. Anyway, enjoy this installment!

Reviews are always appreciated.


Too Late

"Have we reached the point where it's too late to try…" – Catherine Britt and Elton John

Ron had been spending a lot of time in his room lately. Most of that time was spent snogging Lavender. Well, now they were on to more than just snogging. Lavender was no prude. Besides the snogging, which was bloody brilliant if Ron did say so himself, things had gotten pretty hot and heavy. She hadn't minded when his hands had started roaming, even when he let his hormones get the best of him and his hands slipped under her jumper. When it was just the two of them, she was more than willing to let Ron sneak a peek at her goodies. In fact, just last night Ron had gotten more than just a peek.

He had never seen bare breasts before. He almost had a stroke. His brain had seriously ceased to function for a good half a minute before he came to enough to do something about the half-naked girl lying on his bed. He just came repeating the same word over and over to himself: breasts. And she had some bloody brilliant ones.

Some of the time, though… Some of the time Ron spent in the boys' dormitory was spent thinking about Hermione. He tried not to, but he couldn't help it; it was hard to just brush her aside like she was that days Potions homework. She was so firmly entrenched in his mind that it was nearly impossible to chuck her.

It didn't help that he dreamed about her damn near every night. He thought he would start to dream about Lavender once their relationship started to get more physical, but that hadn't happened. It was always Hermione. Hermione in various states of undress, but almost always naked. Naked on his bed and begging for him to make her a woman. Usually she said something about how Vicky was horrible at snogging and Ron was brilliant and would he please snog her senseless before she went mad with desire. She was there every night when he closed his eyes, and every morning he had to change the sheets when he woke up.

It didn't help that he felt incredibly guilty for the way he'd been treating her lately. He knew how she must feel whenever she saw him and Lavender together. He imagined it was the way he felt whenever he saw Hermione with anyone, but most especially that sodding bastard, Krum – like his heart had just been ripped out of his chest and served to him for supper. After Ginny told him that Hermione had snogged Krum, all he could see every time he closed his eyes was Hermione and that grouchy git. It tore him apart, bit by bit, until he was in a thousand pieces. And when he finally pieced himself back together, there was Lavender, ready and willing and not bad looking, when you really got down to it.

Merlin, how he missed her.

His arms still had the scratches from her bird attack. His heart leapt into his throat at the thought of it. He could deal with an angry Hermione – he was good at it – but a hurt Hermione was something he never had gotten the hang of. And it was hurt, more than anger, that had been in her eyes when she'd sicced those canaries on him. He hated to see her hurt like that, and he hated that he was the cause of it.

But apparently not enough to break up with Lavender. Because as much as he hated hurting Hermione, she deserved it. It wasn't like she could complain. After all, she had Vicky, and whoever else was waiting in the wings for her. And he liked being with Lavender. Damn, who wouldn't like being with Lavender? He was getting to do stuff he'd always wanted to do, stuff he'd always dreamed about doing. He'd been so jealous the previous year when Harry and Cho had kissed. He never thought that he would be the first of his friends to do anything like that, but the fact that Harry had and Ron was nowhere close to it really upset him.

He'd always imagined that Hermione would be his first kiss, if he ever got up the nerve to tell her that he fancied her. He'd pictured it thousands of times – how he would tell her that he fancied her and she would tell him that she'd always fancied him, and then they'd snog like the couples snogged in those Muggle movies he and his brothers sometimes snuck into town to see. But he wouldn't get to be Hermione's first kiss, because she had already kissed Krum, and now he'd gone and snogged Lavender.

He liked Lavender, he really did, but he didn't fancy her the way he fancied Hermione. Snogging was fine. Touching was fine. But he wasn't sure if he wanted to go any farther with Lavender. He thought about it. A lot. And he wanted to go farther. But he wanted to do it with Hermione. He couldn't be her first kiss, but he could be that guy, and he wanted so desperately to be that guy.

He just hoped it wasn't too late.

Merlin, what she must think of him, snogging Lavender at every opportunity he got, which was usually when Hermione was around, just so he could rub her nose in it. He was a horrible, awful person and he didn't deserve Hermione, and she felt the same way because she wasn't talking to him. It didn't matter that he wasn't talking to her. She wasn't talking to him first. What she must have thought of him after he did that ridiculous impression of her jumping up and down, waiting for McGonagall to call on her. But she'd deserved that after the way she made fun of him for accidentally giving himself that moustache.

Then she'd gone and asked out McLaggen. Of all people she could have asked, and she'd gone and asked McLaggen to Slughorn's stupid Christmas party. Of course, he would have been jealous of any guy that Hermione took to the party. He was supposed to be the one going with her. Him, not any other guy, and especially not that prat McLaggen.

He rolled over on to his side and stared at his curtains. Hermione was at Slughorn's Christmas party, probably snogging McLaggen under the mistletoe, and he was alone in his room, sulking. He should go find Lavender and have himself a good snog. It would make him feel better.

It might make him feel better.

It probably wouldn't make him feel better, but it would take his mind off things.

Maybe.

Ron sighed, reached through the curtains for his wand, and cast an Imperturbable on his curtains. If he couldn't be with the real Hermione, he'd just have to go back to Dream Hermione. Dream Hermione was more than willing to do things to him that Real Hermione wouldn't, because Real Hermione wouldn't even talk to him. In his dreams, he got to be with Hermione the way he wanted. In his dreams, she felt the same way about him that he felt about her.

In his dreams, it wasn't too late.