Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: Well, here is my first attempt of Ron and Hermione. And yes, spurting out random one shots is my means of procrastination of my multi chapter fics…I apologize for any out-of-character-ness; I've never dabbled with part of The Golden Trio before. I'm thinking this is set in the fifth book, just before Harry comes to stay in Grimmauld Place, so it's probably considered 'AU'. Please review.
Ears like red traffic lights
Ron Weasley couldn't understand it. 'It' being life in general, of course, but at this particular moment, there was one exact issue that maddened him to no end.
And more importantly, their fixation with turning red.
Ron had formulated a theory that this sort of ear reddening disease infected him the second he stepped into Hogwarts castle. To his recollection, he had never had a problem with his ears, growing up as a child in The Burrow. There had never been a moment at the dinner table when Ron's ears suddenly heated to the point of ignition. Though, there had been an attempt of lighting Ron's ears with sparklers at the age of five, Fred and George's most finest, mischievous years (the time they had nearly made Ron shake on an Unbreakable Vow being their most 'triumphant' and well known stunt).
It seemed as though the older Ron got, the worse it had become.
"Oh bloody hell, sorry Hermione!" The most unbearable squirm was forced upon Ron's face as he froze at the opening of the bathroom, his hand glued to the knob of the door he'd just pulled open.
Spotting his reflection in the wall mirror inside, he noted the reddening of the progress of his ear 'disease'.
His ears resembled tomatoes now. Very oddly shaped tomatoes.
"Shut the door, Ron!"
He was extremely aware that his amount of wide-eyed goggling would come across as perverted, and he quickly redirected his gaze, blushing as he stared at the floor. "Right!" he bleated. He swiftly shut the door and stepped back out into the corridor of Grimmauld Place.
"Bugger," he cursed, with much importance. Cocking his head to one side, he felt the heat of one of his ears and found it resembled the temperature of a boiling kettle. "Double bugger."
Ron was pretty sure Hermione had just 'flashed' him (inadvertently, of course). He just had to be the most unlucky being in the wizarding world to walk on a girl getting into a bath. Fate was obviously testing him. Fate had planned him to open the bathroom door at precisely the same time as Hermione Granger decided to remove her dressing gown and reveal…things….things Ron only discovered until fourth year existed. Like, as Fred and George preferred to crudely call them: 'Mountains'.
And that rather attractive mole on her-…Ron Weasley would undoubtedly miss dinner tonight because he wouldn't be able to eat, sitting across Hermione, without thinking about that mole.
He stared hard at the closed bathroom door before resting his forehead on it, sliding his head against the surface until he was bent over and his bottom was prominently sticking out.
"Watch where you're shoving your arse out, Ron."
Instead of standing to full height, Ron kept in his odd and silly position, turning his head slightly to shoot his sister an almighty Weasley Glare. Scowling at her smirk, he responded most cleverly:
"Shut your face, Ginny."
Ginny rolled her eyes in return, observing his bent over position with a sigh. "I told you Hermione was in the bathroom, Ron."
Now peeved, Ron stood to full length, partly in outburst and partly because he enjoyed feeling taller than Ginny with his runner bean-like length.
"I thought you were lying!" His voice rose unnaturally high in roaring, which Ginny noted with a smirk. He coughed hoarsely and repeated, "I thought you were lying. You made me wait two bloody hours for a shower the other day and nobody was sodding in there!"
"Oh stop whinging and put some ice cubes on your ears."
A vein throbbed on Ron's forehead, clashing terribly with his vibrant hair and already red ears. Ginny was familiar with the vein; it crept up whenever they were in one of their brother-sister arguments. He closed in on Ginny, nose to nose. "I'm tellin' Harry you stole one of his socks and keep it under your pillow!"
Ginny's cheeks were the ones that were red now. "I did not, you liar!"
"OH Will you two be quiet?"
Both cringing, Ron and Ginny swivelled round to face their mother, Molly Weasley, highly annoyed she'd caught them fighting yet again.
"I can hear you two shouting all the way from the kitchen!" she said, wagging a finger with one hand and placing the other on her hip. "Keep your voices down or-"
"Filth! Scum! By-products of dirt and vileness! Half breeds, mutants, freaks, begone from this place! HOW DARE YOU…"
Unfortunately, the ill-fated happenstance Mrs. Weasley was going to mention had occurred.
"Sorry mum," the Weasley children chorused, looking apologetic.
"It's all right dears," Mrs. Weasley said, though the expression of her face showed she was on the verge of a mental break down. Tiredly rubbing the bridge of her nose, she made her way downstairs to quieten the portrait of Sirius' mother.
Turning back to face Ginny, Ron was about to throw her a few more insults at a more hushed frequency, when he strangely found Ginny hugging him.
"Despite the fact that we argue all the time Ron, I do love you," she mumbled into his famous Weasley knitted jumper, "You're my favourite brother."
"Ugh." Ron tried to wriggle away from her. "Gerroff," he mumbled, though in a slightly affectionate tone. There was something extremely suspicious about Ginny hugging him, as horrible as that sounded.
Ginny finally let him go with a last slap to his back and a grin plastered on her face. Slowly, Ron backed away, wiping his front. "Love you, brother!" she waved with much too enthusiasm.
"Sure," Ron replied uncertainly, making his way to Fred and George's room. Once his back was facing Ginny, she snickered.
"Sucker," she said low under her breath, admiring the sign she'd stuck firmly to the back of Ron's jumper. Dusting off her hands, she skipped back to her room with an extra spring in her step.
Meanwhile, Ron had just grabbed the door handle of Fred and George's room, trying to push it open. He quickly realised that he should've learnt to knock before another similar event with Hermione happened, but hopefully (and Ron really hoped) Fred or George wouldn't be unclothed inside.
To Ron's annoyance, the door pushed open only an inch.
"Just a minute, mum!" Fred's voice came from behind the door. "George! Quick! Hide the stuff!"
"Swallow it if you have to!"
"But I'll vomit!"
"Just tell her you're ill!"
"Last time you guinea pig-ed it, vomit came out of your ears, Fred! How the hell am I supposed to explain that?"
"It's me," Ron announced tediously.
There was silence, until it was broken by the question, "Who's 'me'? Is that Ginny?" followed by chuckling.
"Not unless Ginny's voice has broken," Ron answered bitterly. A pair of eyes appeared at the gap of the door, making him jump. "I need to talk you two. Let me in."
"We're busy," the being of the scary eyes stated.
Ron had expected that answer. "I'm your brother!"
"Exactly!" Another voice stated in the room. "If you were Harry, we'd let you in without any hesitation. Not to mention he's scary when gets in one of his 'SHOUT AT A DEAFENING TONE' moods."
"You'd swear he devoured one of those loudspeakers when he was a toddler, or something."
Ron rolled his eyes at their never-ending banter. "Let me in, you gits!" He kicked the door.
"Alright, alright! Sheesh, keep your kickers on!"
The door finally swung open and Ron stepped inside the room, slipping on a few dirty clothes scattered across the floor in the progress. He immediately eyed the bed spreads which had noticeable lumps, obviously hiding something.
"What can we do for you, dear brother?" George asked, currently patting down the small heap that had formulated under his bed spread. Apparently patting would make the mound less visible in his eyes.
"If you're looking for a girlfriend: no can do," Fred smirked, "We're wizards. We do magic, not miracles."
Ron scowled. "I didn't come here to ask for girl advice."
"Frankly Ron, we're worried that you haven't asked us for women guidance before." The mountain bed spread heap was apparently forgotten as George appeared by his side, gripping his shoulder in what could be recognized as a worried, brotherly manner. "We've watched you in Hogwarts, and let's just say we haven't seen you converse with girls much."
Ron eyed Fred peculiarly who was now gripping his other shoulder. Any time now, he was expecting them to give him a Dead Leg. "We're just a little worried, is all," Fred said. "It's just….you're not into…well, you know?"
Ron held a purely bemused gaze, "Into what?"
"You know." Fred's eyes bulged, as though that action would explain his elusive point. "George, I'm going to have to spell it out to him, aren't I?"
"Explicating will indeed be happening here."
Fred let out a sigh. "Okay, it sounds like the word 'clock', and if you take the letter 'L' out it becomes c-"
"BLOODY HELL." Ron had resorted to one of Harry's 'SHOUT AT A DEAFENING TONE' techniques to stress the importance of Fred not going any further. Luckily this method had drowned out Fred's last word. "Until now, I'd hoped I'd never hear that word from a sibling's mouth," he shuddered, "Well I think I've clocked up a few more hours of therapy due to family trauma, I'll be having in the future, for one visit. Excuse me while I go offer myself as fresh meat to Buckbeack."
"No, wait, Ron, come on," George managed to stop Ron from leaving by putting him in a headlock. "We're just messing around," he teased, rubbing the top of Ron's head with his knuckles.
"Just tell us what you want to ask us," Fred said.
Staring at his two brothers, both with the eternal, mischievous glints in their eyes, Ron wasn't so confident about asking his question.
"Hurry it up, woman, we haven't got all day."
Ron ignored the reference to him being a lady, and blurted out, "Do your ears ever turn red?"
The second silence filled the room; Ron knew he'd asked the wrong family members.
"Why on earth would they be red? Did we leave them in the oven too long?"
"Perhaps they're sunburnt."
"Maybe they'd been dipped in something red?"
"No, that would be just plain grotesque…and possibly against the law. I was thinking red paint."
"Maybe the ears were bleeding from the pure sound of Ron talking."
Ron stared at the twins, grinding his teeth. "You're both pillocks," he grumbled, before making his way to the door.
"Nice talking to you Ron! Buh-bye now!"
"Oh -and as much as it pains me to mention this, Ron- there's an amusing sign stuck to your back."
Ron immediately froze at the doorway, shouting "Bloody Ginny!" while he tried to seize the sign stuck to back of his jumper.
"You won't get it off that way," George mentioned, thinking that he was helping. "It's one of our products."
"They're extra sticky signs," Fred added. "The actual victim can't take the sign off themselves. The sign moves away from your hand."
Indeed, Ron understood what he was talking about, as he tried to grab the sign and found it leap away from his hand as though it owned feet.
"Brilliant idea, isn't it? Though I'm a little annoyed Ginny wasted it on you."
Ron growled in frustration as he spun in a circle, still trying to catch the moving sign. "Get it off!"
"Let me think about that for a second," George stroked his chin in fake consideration, "…No."
"Well at least tell me what it says!"
"Oh you'll find out soon enough," Fred grinned. Not being able to stand that particularly evil smile any longer, Ron huffed before leaving the twins' room, where they happily slammed the door shut after him. In such a well-known temper, his awareness wasn't up to scratch as he bumped into Hermione who'd just exited the bathroom in her robe.
"Sorry Hermione." Ron's ears ignited again, just after they'd cooled down while speaking with Fred and George.
"It's okay," she pulled a feeble smile, squeezing his right arm to stable herself before she toppled over. It seemed as though she was embarrassed by the earlier incident, not completely looking him in the eye.
The too-long belt of Hermione's bathroom dragged slightly on the floor, and as she was about to escape to her room, Ron didn't realise his foot had stepped on the tip of it. Alas, his day was not to improve when it came to interactions with Hermione Granger, and as she stepped forward, completely unaware to the humiliating scene that would occur next, the loose belt of her bathrobe came completely undone from her waist.
Horrified, Ron watched as the belt came unloose, his eyes focusing onto the culprit of the embarrassing situation: his own foot. Hermione let off a small shriek as she was suddenly aware of her bathrobe coming apart, and quickly tried to pull the sides of the robe together so no more of her body would be displayed (as if Ron hadn't seen enough this morning…).
Ron was vaguely aware that his ears could blaze the entire Gimmauld Place.
"Sorry Hermione," he mumbled again, silently handing her the belt from the floor.
She said nothing in return, but merely attempted to raise her nose in dignity, before fleeing to her room.
Standing alone in the corridor, Ron was going through in his mind the many delicious ideas of his sister's death, when said sister stepped out of her room. Ron made Ginny's inevitable death known in the most subtle words possible:
"I'm going to kill you."
"You can't because I'll tell mum."
Ron was about to bite back but found she was right. "For bugger's sake," he muttered.
Ginny peeked at the sign on his back and laughed sadistically. "Such truth behind it," she agreed with the note. Ron was getting more bothered by what exactly the sign said.
"Excuse me while I go to the kitchen," Ron told her, and muttered darkly afterwards, "To get a kitchen knife and kill you…"
"We all know cutting isn't your forte, Ron. You can't even cut vegetables right."
"You can't even cut vegetables right," Ron mimicked her voice childishly afterwards, entering the kitchen to see his mother making dinner. "Mum, how many years will I get in Azkaban if I kill Ginny?"
Instantly, he knew he touched a nerve, as Mrs. Weasley froze from instructing vegetable cutting with her wand to narrow her eyes at him. "Don't you ever speak about your sister like that again, Ronald Weasley."
Ron mentally thanked Merlin that Harry wasn't present to see how much a 'mummy's boy' he was. Though, truth be told, Harry knew already.
"You know when you were younger," Ron started, and Mrs. Weasley shot him a slightly dark look for implying she was of old age, "Did your, er…ears…ever turn abnormally red?"
Mrs. Weasley's attention was once again taken off her cooking and on to her uncomfortable son. "Your father's did," she said softly, smiling.
"Oh," was all Ron replied.
"You've probably inherited off him. The Weasley 'red ears disease'!" she chuckled.
"So it is a disease?"
"Of course not!" Mrs. Weasley reassured him, finding his flabbergasted look adorable. She suddenly had a faraway look in her eyes, and Ron instantly knew she was picking at an old memory. "In my years of Hogwarts, when your father and I were-"
"Don't say 'snogging', mum."
"Courting," Mrs. Weasley continued, "Your father's ears would always turn red in my company. He said his grandfather did the same with your grandmother too."
Ron tried to interpret what she was saying, and failed, because shrewdness was normally something he relied on Hermione to do for him. "What are you saying, mum?"
"I'm saying that reddening of the ears occurred in front of the one you love, in me and your father's case, and your grandparents too."
Ron would've inwardly vomited at this statement if it didn't so greatly affect him. "So, hypothetically speaking of course, if, say, my ears were to turn red in front of Herm-…a girl," he tittered nervously at his mistake, hoping his mother hadn't noticed, "then, hypothetically, they might be my future wife and I may or may already be in love with them?"
Mrs. Weasley beamed, with a knowing look in her eyes. "It's just a theory," she said, shrugging her shoulders harmlessly.
Ron sighed, running a hand through his hair. "Well, it's been….nice? Yes…perhaps nice, talking with you mum." He made his way to the door as Mrs. Weasley began humming, adopting a more cheery mood. "Which drawer keeps the kitchen knives?"
Again, Mrs. Weasley froze from what she was doing to stare frighteningly at Ron.
"Er…never mind," he cringed. Ginny's death would have to be postponed for now.
A few minutes later, he was subconsciously aware of standing in front of Hermione's door, his fingers clasped around the door handle. Just as he was about to enter, he remembered a polite rule: knocking first.
With suddenly rasped breath, Ron rapped lightly on the door, "Hermione?"
There was a brief pause, and then an answer of "Yes?"
For some uncanny reason, Ron smiled. Hermione's voice had the habit of making him do that.
"Can I come in?"
Ron pushed open the door to find Hermione sitting on her bed, reading. She smiled warmly, closed the book and pushed it aside, moving to give him space to sit down next to her.
"Sorry 'bout what happened earlier," Ron said, playing with his hands in his lap.
Hermione cringed in recalling. "Let's pretend it never happened," she suggested wisely.
"Yeah," Ron agreed. Feeling Hermione's intent gaze on him, he blurted out, "Aremyearsredrightnow?"
Hermione didn't quite understand or even hear the question. "Are you alright?" she asked instead, observing him closely.
"Are my ears red right now?" Ron said more slowly. Hermione was baffled by such an odd query.
"Alarmingly," she answered. "Why?"
Ron played with his fingers, feeling awkward all of a sudden. "I was talking to mum, and she said back in Hogwarts my dad's ears reddened whenever she was in his company," he explained. He forced a laugh to try to lighten up the tense atmosphere. "She came up with this mental theory that someone's ears redden in front of the person you…" He paused uncomfortably, unsure if he should even mention the next word, "…Love."
The subject of 'love' was something that had never been discussed with Ron, and Hermione stared at him with surprise. Slightly laughing, she replied, "But that's inane. If someone's ears reddened in front of numerous people, would it be true to claim that person loved all those individuals?"
"Funny how they always seem to redden in front of you." The words came so quickly out of Ron's mouth he hadn't realized.
Hermione tinted in the cheeks a little. "Funny," she agreed quietly.
"How red are my ears now?" he questioned with a sigh.
"They resemble muggle post boxes." She quickly realised he had no idea what a muggle post box looked like or what its purpose was. "They're bright red, by the way."
"Thanks for mentioning that."
A smile tugged at Hermione's lips. "You should blow on them."
"Your ears," she explained, a little embarrassed about how vague she had been. "You should blow on them to cool them down."
Ron snorted, "Bit hard to do myself." The second he had stated this, he felt the mattress of the bed move as Hermione shuffled closer towards him. Ron dared not look at Hermione, keeping his head straight and gaze at the wall. All of a sudden, he felt a cool rush of his air directed at his ear, from what he presumed was Hermione's mouth. Involuntarily, he shivered in delight.
"I don't think it's working," Hermione said after a pause for breath, before sucking in and blowing on Ron's left ear again.
Frankly, Ron wasn't surprised, and had to hold back a satisfied murmur escaping his mouth. He chuckled when it began to tickle. "Hermione, stop-" He abruptly moved his head without warning, and Hermione, in the midst of blowing on his ear, brushed her lips with his mouth, eventually deepening into a soft kiss.
Reluctantly Hermione drew back, looking alarmed by her actions, while Ron looked like his chocolate sundae had just been swiped away from him. "Oh dear," she put her hand to her mouth, "Sorry, I hadn't planned that or anything!" she rectified, flushing to the full. "I didn't know you were going to move your head-"
"It's completely my fault," Ron said at the same time. He realized how uncomfortable the mood was, and a nagging feel in the pit of his stomach was telling him to leave before he continued to break more friendship boundaries. "I should go…" He got up from the bed and made his way to the door, and Hermione made no means of stopping him until she cried out "Ron, wait!"
"Yeah?" A sense of hope rose inside Ron; was she going to ask him to stay?
"There's a sign on your back."
Reality hit him and he laughed at himself for thinking such absurd thoughts. "D'you think you could get it off for me please?"
Hermione got up from the bed and gently placed a hand on his back. "Don't you want to know what it says first?"
Ron gulped, preparing himself for what horrifying message was temporarily tattooed to his back. "What does it say?" he asked dreadfully.
"I-it…it says you love me."
Ron blinked. "W-what?"
"The exact words are…'I love Hermione Granger'," she told him carefully, awaiting an explanation.
"Well," Ron scratched his head with startling wide eyes, "this is rather embarrassing having my undying secret slapped on to a sign on my back," he said drolly, "This may be the worst romantic notion in the history of the wizarding world…."
Hermione drew in a breath at his words. "Undying secret?" she repeated in a murmur.
"Well it's fairly obvious isn't it…" he trailed off again.
"Ron, are you just saying that because of this whole 'ear reddening' hogwash, or….do you really mean it?"
"Hermione," he shook her head tenderly at her, his thoughts somehow clearer now. "I've known since my first Hogwarts train ride." The second his words were leaked out so boldly, he felt the wind sucked out of as Hermione attacked him in a hug.
"My ribs," Ron managed to wheeze out, but merely embraced her back.
Smiling coyly, she drew away from slightly, just enough so that she could reach arm around his back and pull off the sign from his jumper. Silently, she handed him the note.
"Yes?" she answered, with an innocent look.
Ron laughed in disbelief as his eyes read over the words of the sign. "Hermione," he repeated, trying to appear cross, but the smile on his face dampening the image.
"This note doesn't say what you said."
"Really?" Hermione held the same blameless tone.
"Yes, really. You told me it said 'I love Hermione'. It actually says 'I am gay'." He watched her try to hide a chuckle behind her hand and his eyes grew wide with utter incredulity. "Hermione, did you just trick me?"
She grinned wickedly in response. "Never underestimate a Granger."
"Never underestimate a Weasley," he countered smoothly. Hermione arched an eyebrow and was about to speak when something caught her eye by the door, also hearing mutterings behind it. Ron didn't even have to think before guessing what it was.
"Fred, George and Ginny are probably listening to this by Extendable Ear, aren't they?"
Hermione nodded with a roll of the eyes, and Ron sighed in return. "I'll kill them," he grumbled.
"Maybe we should just stop speaking?" Hermione suggested.
"Yeah," Ron vehemently agreed, still focused on his objective on how his siblings would die very painful deaths soon. It took him a while to realise what she had said had two meanings, an invitation to something else more enjoyable than talking. "Oh," he laughed, noting her cute, enquiring expression. He beamed, "Right," promptly swooping down to kiss her.
"You know what we need to make next, Fred?"
"…Pretty sure they'll increase crime rates, but anything to rake in the galleons."