A/N: The story title (You Must Do the Things You Think You Cannot) is a saying by Eleanor Roosevelt.
And so it begins
Harry scanned the room one last time, checking to make sure he hadn't missed anything. Everything he had acquired over the years, minus Hedwig, who he had asked to stay at the Burrow while he was gone, was packed away in the trunk sitting on the floor by his cot.
He was currently standing in Ron's room at the Burrow. Harry had arrived at the Burrow about a month before, when he had been invited to Bill and Fleur's wedding.
The wedding had taken place in the Weasley's garden. While it was not unusual for a lot of people to be at the Burrow at one time, as the Weasley family was a large one, nothing could compare to the mass of people that had attended the wedding.
Fleur's family had consisted of her parents, sister, and grandparents, as well as, her aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Ron's eyes had almost popped out of his head when he had seen Fleur's female cousins, both of whom were part veela as well. Having seen his reaction, Hermione had stomped off in a huff. Harry, who had seen Hermione, had stomped on Ron's foot and drawn Ron's attention to Hermione. When Ron saw Hermione running away, he had blushed red, in embarrassment or shame or both, Harry wasn't sure which, and had run after her, calling her name. No one saw them again until they resurfaced, holding hands, several hours later, looking disheveled and very happy.
The Weasley family had also included Bill's parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins; although, there were still many more Weasleys than Delacours.
In addition to the Weasleys and Delacours, several Order members had been invited, including Lupin and Tonks who seemed attached at the hip these days.
The sound of the door creaking open broke Harry out of his thoughts.
Ron walked into the room, his hair standing on end and his clothes in disarray.
"Have fun?" Harry asked, smirking at the expression on Ron's face.
"Yes," Ron answered happily, sitting down on the edge of his bed, which was still covered by a Chudley Cannons comforter, just as it had been the first time Harry had walked into this room.
While Harry thought back to the things that had and hadn't changed over the last few years, Ron's thoughts turned to Bill and Fleur's wedding which Ron would always remember as the day he and Hermione told each other how they felt.
Harry and Ron had been standing by the punch bowl when Fleur's two female cousins walked by them. Harry smirked as Ron's eyes widened and stood gawking at the two girls.
"Ouch!" Ron cried, his foot throbbing where Harry had stomped on it. "What did you do that for?"
Harry nodded toward Ron's right and Ron turned in time to see Hermione turn swiftly and run off toward the Burrow.
Oh, no Ron groaned silently. "Hermione, please wait!" Ron yelled, shoving his drink into Harry's hand and running after Hermione.
Hermione, who had a head start, was able to reach the house, slam the door to Ginny's room, and perform a locking charm, seconds before Ron tried, unsuccessfully, to twist the door knob.
"Hermione, please open the door," Ron pleaded, silently willing the door to open.
Ron waited a minute and was about to ask again, when the door finally creaked open. Ron glanced into the room, and saw Hermione retreating over to her cot.
He approached her slowly and hesitantly sat beside her.
Ron sat silently for several minutes unsure of what to say. Finally, Hermione spoke, turning toward Ron.
"Are you going to ask one of them out?" Hermione asked, her voice trembling.
"What?" Ron was confused; he had thought that Hermione and he had silently agreed that it was only a matter of time before they started dating. She had even gone as far as to tell him that she had stopped writing to Viktor. So, why was she asking him if he was going to date someone else instead?
"They are your type," Hermione said, her voice not losing its tremble.
"My type?" Ron asked, unsure of what she meant.
"Well, when you met Fleur, you goggled at her. You dated Lavender. Now, you were leering at Fleur's cousins," Hermione said, her voice becoming more sad and disappointed sounding by the minute.
"That doesn't mean I have a type," Ron replied.
"Oh, yes it does. Fleur, her cousins, and Lavender all have blonde hair and are beautiful," Hermione answered, a sob ending her reply.
Ron looked at her and saw that she was looking away from him again. Ron reached out and brushed his finger against her cheek, turning her head back toward him. He tilted her head up so that her eyes met his.
"I don't really know what you want me to say Hermione," Ron said, sad to see tears in her eyes.
"You don't have..." Hermione began looking down.
"But," Ron said, interrupting her, "I do want to say that you're wrong. About two things actually."
Hermione looked at him, unsure of what he was talking about.
"Shocking isn't it? That you're wrong, I mean. Never thought I'd see the day," Ron said, smiling softly.
Hermione couldn't help herself and smiled slightly as well.
"First, let me just say that if you don't think you are beautiful, then, you are so wrong Hermione," Ron said, correctly guessing one of the reasons Hermione was so upset about his supposed attraction to 'beautiful blondes.'
Hermione shook her head. "I am not wrong about that," she said, sadly.
"You are wrong about that Hermione. You're very beautiful. I don't see how you can't see that," Ron said determinedly, even though the tips of his ears were turning red.
"No, I am not," Hermione repeated, stubbornly. "Why do you think that I care so much about doing well in school? Being smart is all I am. I'm not beautiful or funny, but I am smart. So, I try as hard in school as I do and read as much as I do because I don't have anything else going for me," Hermione said, close to tears again.
Part of Ron had realized she did think she wasn't attractive. But, it still shocked him to see that he had been right. How could she think that she wasn't attractive? Ron thought. She's mental. Of course she's beautiful.
"You might not think you are Hermione, but you are. If I have to spend the rest of my life convincing you of that, I will," Ron said, knowing that her stubbornness would not let her believe that she was beautiful, at least not yet. Ron looked forward to showing her that she was.
"You said I was wrong about two things. What's the other thing?" Hermione asked, wanting to change the subject.
"Impatient aren't we?" Ron teasingly asked.
Hermione shrugged at looked Ron in the eyes, waiting for him to continue.
"You think that I have a 'type,' but you're wrong," Ron said, getting the nerve to continue with what he wanted to tell her. "If I did only like blondes, then, I wouldn't care about you the way I do. And I do care about you Hermione. I...I love you," Ron whispered, before bringing his lips down on hers.
They kissed for several minutes, but stopped when Hermione pressed her hand lightly against Ron's chest.
"I love you, too, Ron," Hermione said, hugging him around his chest and resting her head on his shoulder.
Ron smiled and returned the hug.
"Oh!" Hermione said, pushing away from him and getting off the cot. "I wanted to give you something." She walked over toward her trunk and started digging through it, searching for something, but Ron wasn't sure what.
"What is it?" Ron asked, trying to see what Hermione had taken out of her trunk and had hidden behind her back.
"Well, I had gotten you something for last Christmas, but we were fighting at the time so I was too mad to give it to you before," Hermione said, putting the perfectly wrapped present into Ron's hands.
"I got you a present, too. Let me go get it, it's in my room," Ron said, putting the present Hermione had handed him on the cot beside him and walking toward the door and up the stairs to his room.
Ron walked over to his desk drawer and drew out the not-so-perfectly wrapped present. He turned around and was about to head back to Ginny's room when he saw Hermione standing in his doorway with his present in her hands.
Ron smiled and sat down on his bed, patting the spot beside him. Hermione smiled back at him and walked over to his bed and sat down in the spot he had indicated.
They switched presents and Hermione nodded at Ron, signaling him to open his present first.
Ron looked down at the present, and tore the paper, much like children did on Christmas morning, until he uncovered a white box.
"Open it," Hermione said.
Ron nodded and opened the box. Inside was a bunch of chocolate frogs. "Uh...thanks Hermione," Ron said, a little disappointed. This was a gift someone would give a friend. The present he had got for Hermione had been more than something a friend would get another friend.
"That's not all," Hermione said, able to tell that Ron was disappointed. "See the two chocolate frogs with orange stickers on them? Open those."
Ron drew out the two containers and set the box of chocolate frogs on the other side of him, the side Hermione was not occupying. He noticed that these two chocolate frog containers were lighter than they usually were. Laying one of them in his lap, he opened one of the containers. The chocolate frog was gone, but the wizarding card remained in the container. Picking up the card, Ron was shocked, but very happy about what he saw.
"That's Agrippa," Hermione said, "You once said you didn't have that one."
"Yeah, thanks Hermione," Ron said, still looking down at the card in wonder.
"You still have one left," Hermione reminded him.
Ron carefully put the Agrippa card down and picked up the other container wondering, and hoping, that he was correct in guessing what the other contained.
"Ptolemy," Ron whispered, staring at the other card.
"You said you didn't have that one either," Hermione said, happy that Ron seemed to like the gift.
"How did you find these?" Ron asked, looking up from the card and at Hermione.
"Well, during the past summer I had brought chocolate frogs home for my cousins, the few that know I am a witch. They really liked them, but I asked that if any of them got an Agrippa or Ptolemy card, if they would please give the card to me, because my friend was missing them. As luck would have it, my cousin, Alexia, got the Agrippa card. I'm glad it was her, she is the sweetest of my cousins, so I knew I wouldn't have to fight her for it," Hermione added jokingly.
Ron smiled. "What about Ptolemy?"
"I got it from Ernie Macmillan," Hermione answered. Before she could continue, Ron interrupted her.
"I bet that's because he fancies you," Ron announced, angrily, not so keen on the Ptolemy card anymore.
"No, he doesn't," Hermione replied, amused by Ron's reaction. "He spends a lot of time with Hannah Abbott. Haven't you ever noticed that? They've been together for about two years now."
"Oh," Ron said, looking at the card with interest once again. "Thank you Hermione, this is a great present."
Hermione smiled, then turned to her own present. Hermione opened her present more slowly and with more care then Ron had. Her present, too, was contained within a box. Laying the paper aside, Hermione opened the jewelry box and gasped. Inside the box was the most beautiful bracelet Hermione had ever seen.
"It's made of jade," Ron supplied. "Jade is the birthstone for the Star Sign of Virgo. Since your birthday is in September, Virgo is your Star Sign. It's also used as a talisman for good fortune and friendship, as well as to protect the wearer from evil while traveling and to promote wisdom and ensure a long life. I thought it was fitting," Ron said, smiling sheepishly. "It also has rune symbols carved in to it. The person I bought it from said that they were symbols for love, friendship, good fortune, wisdom, and life."
Hermione nodded, looking down at the bracelet, her fingers skimming lovingly over the etchings. "It's beautiful. Thank you, I love it."
Ron returned the smile and set his chocolate frog cards and containers back into the box and onto his night stand. Turning back to Hermione he took the bracelet from her and separated the clasp. Realizing what Ron was planning on doing, Hermione brought her arm up and held it in front of him. Ron slipped the bracelet around her wrist, and closed the clasp. Bending his neck slightly, Ron tenderly kissed Hermione's inner wrist. Hermione gasped and their eyes met.
Ron wound one arm around her waist and slid his other hand into her hair. He leaned in and brushed his lips against hers. At the sound of her moan, he became bolder and deepened the kiss. They were soon sprawled across his bed, Hermione on her back, her head on his pillow, and Ron lying next to her.
They continued to kiss for several more minutes, until Hermione pushed lightly on his chest. Ron broke the kiss and looked questioningly down at her.
"We should go back to the reception," Hermione said, answering his silent question.
Ron was disappointed, but nodded and sat up on the edge of the bed. He was trying to right his clothing when he heard Hermione exclaimed "Ouch!"
"What's wrong?" Ron asked, looking over at her.
"I don't know, something pulled my hair," Hermione said, her hand reaching behind her back to feel around at her hair.
"Here, let me help," Ron began, trying to get her to turn around.
"No," she interrupted, "I got it."
Hermione's arm reemerged from behind her back, her hand holding the offending item.
When Hermione opened her hand, Ron was horrified to see what she had found.
In her hand was the "My Sweetheart" necklace Lavender had gotten him for Christmas.
Hermione's nose wrinkled and she looked down at the thing in disgust. "What is this?" she asked, looking up from the necklace to Ron.
Ron cringed. "It's the present Lavender got me for Christmas." Here is comes he thought.
"And you were sleeping with this under your pillow?" Hermione questioned, raising her eyebrow and still not taking her eyes off Ron.
"Yeah, but not really, I forgot it was there," Ron said, preparing himself for her inevitable anger at him.
"Well," Hermione began.
Ron was now preparing himself for the worst.
"Why aren't you wearing it?" Hermione said, amused.
What? Ron thought to himself. He had definitely not been expecting this kind of response. If anything, this response was worse because he had no idea how to deal with it. "What?"
"Why aren't you wearing it?" Hermione repeated, smiling now. "It's cute."
Cute? Ron thought disgusted. Cute was the last thing he would have called it. What is it with girls? He would never understand them. Before he had the chance to answer Hermione he was torn out of his thoughts by the sound of her laughing. Wait a minute...
"You're taking the mickey aren't you?" Ron asked half embarrassed at Hermione finding Lavender's present under his pillow and half frustrated at Hermione's continued laughing.
Gasping for breathe, Hermione could only nod in response.
Ron just watched her and, when she renewed her laughing, began to wonder at her sanity. I'm been saying it for years, she's mental he thought to himself, as Hermione clutched at a stitch in her side.
"I'm sorry, Ron," Hermione managed to get out after her laughter subsided. "It's just that you should have seen the look on your face. Then, I started to imagine what face you had made when you opened this on Christmas." Hermione giggled again.
"Well, I'm glad you found my face amusing," Ron grumbled.
Hermione bit her lip to keep from laughing at this. "Ah, come on, Ron. I'm sorry." Hermione leaned in and, for the first time, initiated a kiss.
When Ron felt Hermione's warm tongue brush against his lips, he groaned and forgot all about his annoyance.
That day had gotten them to where they were now, or rather Ron thought, as he was now standing in his bedroom at the Burrow, where he and Hermione had been a few minutes ago.
They had gone down to the river that ran not far from the Burrow, so they could have some privacy. The Burrow was too crowded for them to spend time alone without interruptions.
Ron moaned against Hermione's lips as her nails scratched lightly across his back.
In response, Ron brought his right hand to the hem of her shirt, and slowly slid his hand under her shirt, until he felt her soft skin.
When she felt Ron's hand touching her under her shirt, Hermione froze.
Ron felt her response and mumbled a "Sorry" against her lips before withdrawing his hand.
Hermione pushed Ron off of her and sat up.
"What?" Ron asked, unsure of how offended Hermione had been. Before he could apologize again for upsetting her, Hermione reached for the hem of her shirt, pulled it off, and laid back down, drawing Ron on top of her again.
Ron was amazed but very happy about the change of events. Hermione had never taken her shirt off in front of him before. Seeing Hermione's breasts incased in a blue lacy bra caused a jolt of pleasure to shoot through Ron. He groaned in pleasure when he felt Hermione's soft breasts pressing against his chest.
Ron brought his lips to the right side of Hermione's neck and began alternately kissing and sucking. He pulled away and saw that his efforts had been rewarded by a love bite that was quickly forming on Hermione's neck.
Hermione caught his lips in a kiss and Ron, again, brought his right hand to Hermione's waist. This time she did not freeze and instead moaned sweetly. Encouraged, Ron slid his right hand up Hermione's stomach until he reached her bra. He hesitated at this point, unsure of how far she wanted to go. In response to his hesitation, Hermione surged up, pressing herself into Ron's hand, which had been hovering inches above her breast.
Her moan at the feeling of Ron cupping her breast mingled with the groan Ron made when he felt her soft, firm breast pressing against his hand.
Feeling bolder, Ron slid his other hand under Hermione, attempting, clumsily, to undo her bra.
Hermione stopped him at this point, both panted, trying to catch their breaths when they broke apart.
"We should stop now, Ron. It's getting late. I don't want your mum to come out here and find us."
"You're right," Ron said, regretfully. He pulled away from Hermione and sat up. He watched as she slipped her shirt back on and attempted to fix her disheveled hair.
Ron got to his feet and held out a hand for Hermione, pulling her up from the blanket spread out on the ground.
Hermione began to make her way back toward the Burrow, but was stopped by Ron's strong arm wrapping around her waist and pulling her back against him. Turning to face him, she was about to ask him what he was doing, when she saw him bring his hand up to the back of her head and felt him lightly tugging on her hair.
"Grass," Ron explained, showing her the grass that he had pulled out of her hair.
Hermione nodded, and watched as Ron resolutely, with a protective look on his face, continued to pull grass out of her hair. "I don't want Gred and Forge to tease you," Ron said, pulling the last piece of grass out of her hair.
Hermione was touched by how caring and protective Ron was of her. She brought her hands up to his shoulders, and stood on tiptoe to kiss him. "Thank you, Ron. I love you."
Ron and Hermione walked back to the Burrow hand-in-hand.
"I was down by the river with Hermione," Ron spoke up, unnecessarily, breaking Harry and himself out of their respective thoughts.
"Obviously. You've come in here every night since Bill and Fleur's wedding looking like that," Harry replied, sitting down on his cot.
"I know," Ron answered, grinning happily at Harry.
Harry smiled in response to Ron's obvious happiness. Last year, he had been concerned about Ron and Hermione getting together, and what it would do to his friendship with them as well as their friendship with each other. After the whole incident with Lavender, however, Harry realized that their friendship would suffer more if Ron and Hermione weren't together.
The whole time Ron had dated Lavender, Ron and Hermione had been at each others throats or, even worse, ignoring each other totally. However, once Ron and Lavender had broken up, Ron and Hermione had stopped fighting. It didn't take a genius like Hermione, which Harry definitely wasn't, to realize, then, that Ron and Hermione were better together than they were apart.
"Hermione will meet us up here after Ginny goes to sleep. She said it will probably be sometime around 2 a.m.," Ron said, getting up to finish packing the possessions he was taking into his own trunk.
Harry nodded, lost in his thoughts again. Ginny had looked beautiful in the dress Fleur had chosen for her bridesmaids to wear. But, he guessed he was biased because he always thought she was beautiful.
He really missed her, having her as his girlfriend. Someday, after Voldemort was really and truly dead, he hoped she would be there, waiting for him. A part of him realized how selfish this thought was, but he couldn't help it. Aside from killing Voldemort and getting revenge against Snape and Pettigrew, a relationship with Ginny was something he desperately wanted.
"Are you all packed?" Ron asked, shoving one of his maroon jumpers into his trunk, just managing to close the bulging trunk.
"Yeah," Harry replied.
About a week after Dumbledore's funeral, Harry, Ron, and Hermione had began planning their journey to find the remaining Horcruxes. They had agreed from the beginning to keep their plans secret because they knew that if Mr. and Mrs. Weasley or the other Order members got wind of what they were going to do, they would surely be stopped.
To many people's surprise, Hogwarts was reopening in September, in time for the new school year. This year, however, was going to be different. Security was going to be much tighter. They had all been sent letters about what new security measures would be put into place in an attempt to alleviate the uneasiness some parents still felt about sending their children back.
One such security measure was the establishment of escape routes that would get the students and faculty safely out and away from Hogwarts in the event that it was attacked again. The students would have to participate in weekly, then once they were more familiar with the routes, monthly, "practice escapes," After enough practicing, they would eventually memorize all the escape routes out of the castle.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione, had already agreed before they had known that Hogwarts was reopening that if it did reopen they would not return. They had all been anxious but weary of starting the search for the Horcruxes. After thinking about it, they had decided that they needed to wait until today, the day after Harry's birthday, because it would have been pointless to start their quest before Harry was allowed to legally do magic.
"Oh! I almost forgot," Ron announced, opening his desk drawer and rummaging through it before he pulled out what he had been looking for: a piece of parchment, a quill, and ink.
"What should I tell them?" Ron asked, at a loss of what to tell his parents, both of whom had been nervous about allowing him and Ginny, and Harry and Hermione for that matter, although they had no real authority over them, to return to Hogwarts. "You still want me to tell them about..." Ron began, his voice trailing off.
"Yeah. We need to tell someone, I guess. I trust your parents, so, they're the best choice," Harry answered.
Ron nodded. "I guess I'll also tell them the usual stuff, you know? That we had to do this and that we'll be careful," Ron said, dipping the quill into the ink before pressing it against the parchment and scribbling madly in his messy scrawl.
Ron spent about fifteen minutes writing the letter, which made Harry think he was writing more than the "usual stuff." Harry didn't ask though, realizing it was a private letter, one that Ron may feel uncomfortable about allowing others to read.
When Ron finally finished the letter, he stood up, stretched his arms above his head, and yawned. "We might as well sleep for a couple hours. Hermione shouldn't be up here for a while."
Harry agreed and climbed into his cot. He doubted, however, that he could sleep at all.
Harry realized he had been wrong when he had said he wouldn't be able to go to sleep, when, around 1:45 a.m., he was awakened three hours after he had fallen asleep by the sound of the door opening.
Hermione turned and shut the door as quietly as possible. Turning back toward the room, she saw Harry sitting up in his bed.
"Hi, Harry," she whispered to him before heading over to Ron, who lay snoring in his own bed.
"Ron," she whispered, sitting on the edge of his bed.
Ron groaned in his sleep before suddenly grabbing Hermione around the waist, which caused her to fall across his chest.
"Ron, wake up," Hermione said, slapping Ron lightly on the shoulder, but smiling as she did so.
Ron cracked his eyes open and was delighted by the image in front of him. Hermione looked beautiful. Her hair was still damp from her shower, which meant that her hair was sweetly curled and lacked its normal bushiness, not that he didn't think her normally bushy hair wasn't attractive. She was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. In her arms was a traveling cloak with a hood, similar to the ones Harry and Ron had draped across the foot of their beds, ready to put on when they leave.
Harry and Ron both climbed out of their respective beds.
"Where's your trunk, Hermione?" Harry asked, having not seen it when she had come into the room. "Did you shrink it already?"
"Yeah, it's in my cloak pocket. It would have been too hard to drag it up here without making any noise."
Harry nodded. He and Ron proceeded to shrink their own trunks and stick them in their cloak pockets as well.
Harry looked around the room one last time, making sure they had everything.
"I think we're ready to go," he said, finally, looking to Ron and Hermione. They nodded their agreement.
Harry and Ron had both passed their apparition tests a few weeks before. Hermione had passed her test when it had been offered at Hogwarts the past year and so she had spent her time helping Harry and Ron so that they would pass their tests as well, as it would be easier to travel when they looked for the Horcruxes if they all knew how to apparate. Their hard work had paid off because Harry and Ron passed with very little difficulty.
Three cracks resounded through the room as Harry, Ron, and Hermione apparated to their first destination, Godric's Hollow.