The day Hermione Granger bought herself a clue
Hermione Granger's quill gracefully filled the white-yellow parchment in front of her. She had been sitting in the common room, wrestling with this Arithmancy essay for over three hours, and, finally, it was done. Her eyes grazed the parchment. Perfect. That's what it was. She would surely get the highest grade possible for this.
Satisfied, she carefully put it down on the table, and grabbed her worn and beaten copy of Hogwarts; A History. Her thoughts drifted over the winding and unsearched corridors of Hogwarts, and unfound secrets, and then they landed forcefully on one particular thing.
Ron Weasley. Her best friend.
She could see his young face grinning at her when she said something he found amusing, frowning at her when she was nagging him, watching her curiously while she was writing a particularly difficult essay. She loved his faces. His hands had long, almost feminine fingers, while his palms were callused and hard from too much Quidditch playing. She loved his hands, too. And she loved the way his shoulders were broad and muscled while his waist was lanky and thin.
Suddenly, she shook her head. She was supposed to be reading her book, and not thinking about this boy nonsense. So, she started concentrating on the mysteries that surrounded Hogwarts again.
His freckles. Oh, she loved his freckles! They seemed to almost have been strategically placed in a pattern that only she could see. Every freckle had its own place, and she knew every last one of them.
But, after a while of reminiscing of everything she knew about Ron, reality pushed its ugly face through her haze of happiness, reminding her that her hopes and dreams never would come true. Because Ron Weasley was too good for someone like her.
Because she wasn't good enough for someone like Ron Weasley.
Hermione gave up trying to read and decided to finish her Potions essay instead. It helped a bit, but her thoughts still drifted to his magnificent blue eyes as they saw into her soul. She snorted. How clichéd was she, anyway?
"What's so funny?"
She gave a startled yelp and accidentally pushed over her ink bottle, making it spill all over her almost-finished essay. Ron sat down next to her in the now almost empty common room.
"Sorry," he chuckled, and grabbed her book and some parchment's to save them from getting splattered with ink as well. "Didn't mean to startle you or anything."
Hermione was breathlessly restoring her essay by grabbing her wand and chanting, "Scourgify!" The shock of seeing him just as she had been viciously daydreaming about him was total.
"It's okay," she mumbled, embarrassed by her own reaction.
They were silent for a minute or so, and then Ron seemed to remember something. He pulled out something from inside his robes and put it on the table in front of her. It was two sandwiches. She looked from them to him, confused.
"You didn't come to dinner," he explained. "I thought you might be… hungry…"
His ears were immensely red and he was looking at the table. She smiled and plucked up one of the sandwiches.
"Thank you, I really am hungry," she said, and bit into it.
Ron instantly shone up and grinned at her, though his ears were still a shocking red.
"By the way," she said when she had swallowed, "have you seen Harry?"
Ron got an amused spark in his eyes. "Yeah, I came upon him and Ginny snogging in the Owlery earlier. It's getting quite thrilling, really. You don't know when or where you're going to stumble upon the two of them next. You just know you want to avoid it in any way possible, right?"
Hermione was now snorting with laughter, and nodded. She felt so warm and safe with him. Like she hadn't been this relaxed her entire life. She wanted to tell him, but she didn't know how. So she put a small hand over his big one. It felt smooth and warm under hers. His grin faltered, and for a terrifying moment, she thought he would snap his hand away from hers. But then he was stroking it with his thumb. Hermione shivered at the sensation.
"Cold?" he asked.
"Not really," she mumbled, and she knew her face matched his ears perfectly.
He looked confused for a second, and then he grinned, turning his eyes to the table. Then, he seemed to gather strength to do something, and she bit back a surprised gasp as he turned his hand so their palms were facing, and knit their fingers firmly together.
She felt the urge to do something she never had done before; giggle like a girl and run to tell Ginny about everything.
Ron seemed to have been drained of his courage, and was just sitting there. Hermione looked up at him and felt a surge of bravery run through her. Perhaps… could he possibly like her? She had to put him to the test.
Nervously, she stroked his hand with her free one, the other one still clasping it firmly. His eyes widened, and he glanced at her hand and then back at the opposite wall. His jaw muscle began working.
She smiled. Hope was filling her from top to toe, and she felt like dancing around the common room. Instead, she let go of his hand and dropped it to his knee. He gave a small jerk with surprise, but was soon back to staring intently at the wall. Hermione frowned a bit, but she would not stop now. Not when she had finally been given a slight chance to get to know how Ron felt about her.
Also staring at the wall, she squeezed his knee slightly. She felt Ron's eyes on her, and looked around the common room. There was just a couple of fifth years left, studying quietly in front of the fire in the other side of the room. She then turned to meet his eyes. He silently inclined his head to the stairs that led to the boys dormitories. She smiled swiftly and nodded. Everyone else was in the Great Hall having dinner and wouldn't be back for at least another hour.
Ron grabbed her hand and led her up the stairs, stopping outside the door that led into the seventh year boys' dormitory. She did not hesitate for a moment, but followed him inside and shut the door behind her. Suddenly, the silence was awkward. Ron was standing in the middle of the room and she was standing with her back against the door, they were both breathing heavily from climbing the stairs so fast. Then they both moved at the same time. They crossed the room and met in the middle, crushing their lips together and tangling their hands in each other's hair.
Hermione was certain she had died and gone to heaven. Or she was dreaming. Or possibly both.
His forceful kiss was surely bruising her lips, but she didn't care one bit. She pulled him even closer and a gasp formed in her throat as their bodies melded together for the first time. His hands travelled up and down her back and she let hers graze his chest, marvelling at the subtle muscles she could feel flexing under them. She instantly felt the need to touch him without these ridiculous robes on. Why were they wearing them anyway?
She felt him tense as she unclasped his robes, and pulled away slightly. They were both breathless and red in the face.
"What?" she asked, gasping for breath and clasping his tie.
"Are- are you-" he stammered, and she smiled at him. He took a deep breath. "Are you sure you want me?"
He instantly looked down at the floor, avoiding her eyes at every cost. She was stunned. Ron Weasley, insecure? It couldn't be. Didn't he know that half the girls in school sighed dreamily every time he walked by?
"What do you mean?" she asked dumbly, instead.
He was, if possible, even redder. "I've wanted you for a really long time, Hermione, but I just never thought… that is… that you would feel anything for me of all people."
"You've wanted me?" Hermione asked hopefully. She still couldn't understand that this was happening.
Ron's mouth was open in shock. "You didn't know?" Hermione shook her head, grinning widely. "Merlin, Hermione, I've fancied you since fifth year. Everyone knows that, I thought you knew, too, but didn't say anything just to spare me the heart ache!"
Her grin was even wider, she thought her face would split in two, and she grasped his tie more firmly. "You've fancied me since fifth year? That's why you've never gone out with any of the girls that are constantly fawning over you?"
Ron nodded shyly. "Haven't you seen the looks they keep throwing you?"
It suddenly clicked. Why Ron had bought her that special perfume in fifth year, why he had been so dazed when she had kissed his cheek. She could recall so many signs of his devotion for her, now that she knew. How come she had never noticed? But, she didn't care just now.
"That's great," she giggled, she actually giggled, and tugged his tie so his face came down to hers. She captured his lips and smiled against them. He pulled away after a moment, looking a bit uncertain.
"Are you sure –"
She put a finger to his lips, quieting him. "I've been sure for over three years."
Then his lips were upon hers again, more needy this time. His hands grazed her sides and went up to the clasp that held her robes together. He quickly unclasped it, and they fell in a heap on the floor. Hermione felt like laughing and crying and flying and dancing, everything at the same time. She felt Ron moan against her lips, and shivers flew down her spine at the sound.
She started undoing the buttons of his shirt until she could push it back over his shoulders, and then she stopped to look at him. He was so beautiful, but when she looked him in the eyes she saw that he was nervous. Did he think she didn't like what she saw? She looked at the freckles that were sprinkled across his subtle muscles, and realized that she had a new pattern to learn. Slowly, Hermione brought her lips to a freckle near his shoulder, then one beneath his neck, and so on. She could hear him sigh, and looked up to find him standing with his eyes closed and a happy expression on his face.
Not able to resist, she stood on her tiptoes to get his lips over hers again. It was fierce and tender, all at once. Suddenly, she got an idea. She pulled of her socks with her feet, took hold of his neck and then jumped up, putting her legs around his waist. He put two hands on her thighs. There. Now she could reach him properly. She could hear him let out an almost growl, and understood that she must be teasing him terribly in this position. It almost made her chuckle. He went over to the door and pressed her back against it, still assaulting her mouth in a most delicious way. She felt like she would faint right then and there. Luckily, she thought, she was in Ron's strong arms.
He suddenly broke away, still holding her tight.
"We –" he gasped for breath, as did she, resting his head on her shoulder. "We have to – stop – now."
"Why?" She felt breathless, and confused. They weren't going to do that, but they could still keep on a while more. No one would come there for at least another twenty minutes.
"Because," he panted, "if we don't, I won't be able to."
Hermione's mouth formed a perfect silent 'O'. "Alright," she agreed. "Just one last kiss before we go down and study a bit more?"
Ron looked at her with a lopsided grin. Her knees felt weak. He looked at her from the waist and up, still grasping her thighs as her legs were around him. Then he kissed her neck, softly, and traced her jaw line before capturing her lips in the sweetest kiss yet. Her head was spinning and her arms were shaking around his neck. He, too, were shaking with the intensity of it all. Hermione suddenly understood how much Ron felt for her, and, with the kiss, she showed him exactly how far her devotion for him went.
It was love.
Suddenly, they could hear voices outside the door.
"Why did you have to challenge me for a game of Exploding Snap?" It was Seamus. "You know I'm just going to beat you."
They could hear a snort.
"Hey!" Seamus snapped. "I haven't lost a game since third year, thank you very much."
"Yeah, like you haven't!" It was Harry! Ron and Hermione looked at each other in pure horror. "Besides, Ron and Hermione are probably out doing their prefect rounds."
"Or maybe they're doing something else," Seamus snickered.
"You know it's Hermione we're talking about here, right?" Harry shot back, chuckling. "If Ron finally tried something with her, she'd probably kill him if it was during the rounds."
They had now reached the door.
"Sounds about right," Seamus chuckled, and someone put a hand on the doorknob. Ron pulled Hermione tighter, ran to his bed, threw her down on it, grabbed their robes and his shirt, threw them onto the bed as well, and then jumped down next to Hermione, dragging the curtains shut.
The door opened.
Ron didn't answer.
"Ron, are you sleeping?"
He still didn't answer. Hermione began biting her nails.
They could hear steps towards the bed, then Seamus voice. "Hey, Harry! Look over here."
The steps vanished, and they could hear quiet mumbling.
"We'll just be off, then!" Harry almost shouted. Then they heard the door open and close.
Hermione let out the breath she had been holding. That had been really close. Ron chuckled a bit, and grabbed the curtains to let them both out.
She saw him step out and instantly freeze on the spot.
"What is it?" she asked, worried.
"Well, well, well!" came Seamus voice. "It seems that Gryffindor's biggest lovebirds finally bought themselves a clue! Don't you think?"
"Sure does look like it," said a very amused Harry. Oh, Merlin, no.
"Hey, you don't get to bloody tease me!" Ron snapped. "You're snogging my sister!"
"Well, yeah," Harry agreed. "But I told her of my feelings fairly fast, while the two of you have been dancing around each other for years. And Ron," his voice was suddenly serious, "if this is just a stupid idea of yours, to just snog Hermione and then ignore her, you will be very sorry, okay?"
"You think I'd do that?" Ron shouted. Hermione wanted to see Harry's face, but didn't dare to climb out of the bed. "I bloody love her, you git, and you know that!"
Hermione's mouth flew open in shock while Harry chuckled and said warmly, "Just wanted to hear it, mate. We'll leave the two of you to it now, then."
"Hell, no," Seamus protested, "I want to see this!"
But his voice became muffled suddenly, and the door opened and closed, steps vanishing down the stairs.
Ron just stood there, facing the door. He looked embarrassed and nervous. Hermione's heart warmed at the sight of him. He still didn't understand that she cared about him.
"I love you, too, Ron."
He let out a deep breath, and Hermione climbed out. He put his arms around her shoulders and embraced her gently. Hermione thought her heart would shatter with the intensity of their love for each other. She had found home.
Suddenly, she could feel Ron laughing. She pulled away and looked at him questioningly. He pointed to the floor in front of the door.
"Guess we know how they found out, then," he gasped between fits of laughter.
Hermione walked up to the door and looked down.
There, on the floor, were her socks. Her favourites, the ones with big books on them.
She, too, started laughing.