Three Times

Summary: Ron's ears are red, Hermione is being a know-it-all, and Harry is counting. RonxHermione oneshot.

Disclaimer: I could post some really long disclaimer about how I'm not J.K. Rowling and don't own Harry Potter and stuff, but I figure that's essentially irrelevant, considering you probably knew that already.


The row started the way most rows do. A thickheaded prat opened his big mouth and called the temperamental, sharp witted bookworm a know-it-all for what was probably the five hundredth and twenty-second time that day.

Harry Potter knew. He had been counting.

"I. Am. NOT. A. KNOW-IT-ALL!" Hermione Granger shrieked fiercely, slamming her book down onto the table with a loud bang. "I am not. Just because I enjoy reading…"

"Just because you enjoy spouting off everything you read," Ron Weasley muttered sullenly, folding his arms across his chest.

"Well, what else is there to do around here?" Hermione gestured hopelessly around the dusty room, that was indeed shelved to the very ceiling with books. "We can't play around here, Ron; we're hiding." Ron's temper, it appeared to Harry, skyrocketed instantaneously, his ears reddening.

"Yes, Hermione, I know that," Ron spat. "I know about hiding. Actually, I'm well versed in it, seeing as how that's all we've bloody been doing for the past month and a half!" He stormed to the opposite side of the room, staring huffily out the window. "For the love of Merlin, I know about hiding," he whispered in an entirely different tone, one that seemed to suggest he wasn't just talking about taking up residence in an abandoned, beautiful old house, trying to avoid Death Eaters. "I do." Hermione sighed bitterly; Harry reckoned she regretted adding the "hiding" bit now.

"Well, I do, too," she informed Ron. "But hiding isn't the point! The point is that you're seventeen years old, and you're still as hopelessly immature as you were when you were eleven!"

"What!" Ron cried. "I—"

"Oh, you're such a know-it-all," Hermione mimicked, perhaps, Harry thought, a bit too nastily. "Why do you read all those books—haven't you already memorized the library? Oh, look there goes Hermione, reading another ancient tome for amusement again. What a laugh! What a lark! Let's make fun of the bookworm, ha ha, ha!" Ron glared at her scathingly.

"Oh, very funny," he snarled. "Very nice." But he seemed to have no real justification for his actions, and Harry didn't suppose there really was one. Ron worked in the not-so-mysterious ways of somebody in love. Harry knew. He had been—and still was--in the position himself.

"Well, how do you think it makes me feel, Ron?" Hermione stood up from the table, striding towards Ron at his window and glowering at him. "Do you think I feel especially happy when you taunt me like that? Do you fancy that I enjoy it?" Ron looked away out the window irritably, but remained silent. "Exactly," Hermione whispered. "Exactly."

Exactly what, though? Harry wasn't sure if he knew that one. Ron, he understood quite well. Hermione…well, she was different. He shuddered, almost unconsciously. She was a girl. Who knew what in bloody hell went on inside their heads?

"So." Ron finally spoke, breaking the uncomfortable, angry silence. "So! If you're so bloody fed up with me, why don't you leave?" Hermione faltered.


"Yeah, you heard me. Just leave." His face was stormy, his ears still quite red. "Just see if I care. Harry, though. Harry needs you. You're the brains of this operation." Ron stared at the ground bitterly. "Maybe I should leave. Maybe that would be best. Who would miss me?"

Oh, good Merlin, Harry thought, suppressing a sigh. Now he's in for it.

"Who would miss you!" Hermione burst out. "Who would MISS you? Oh, come off it, Ronald. You know who would miss you." Her eyes narrowed. "Harry would miss you. And so would…well, so would…I."

"That sounded quite forced to me," Ron observed dryly. Hermione looked close to shrieking in frustration.

"Oh, would you just stop it! Just stop all this rubbish! We need you, Ron. You can be whiny. You can be thick. You can be irritating and inconsiderate and the biggest prat to walk the face of the earth!"

Seconded, Harry agreed mentally. Couldn't have said it better myself, Hermione!

"But Ronald Bilius Weasley, we need you. You're smart. You strategize incredibly well—much better than Harry or I do. And when you're not being a git…well, you really care." She gazed at him fiercely. "Don't you?"

"Well…well, yeah," Ron said gruffly. "Of course I care." Now, Harry observed, the back of his neck was red, too. "I just…Hermione, you just…you make me so…" Agitatedly he ran a hand through his shock of red hair, pacing towards the other side of the room. "…so damn..."

"Confused?" Hermione offered, raising a brow and biting back a grin.

Now this, Harry thought, folding his arms and grinning. I suppose this is where it gets interesting.

"Yes!" Ron agreed. "CONFUSED! That's what you do to me, and I don't like it." He eyed her warily, as though she might be plotting against him. "One minute you make me want to shake you, to scream at you, and the next second I'm…I'm…" He scowled. "Oh, dammit all to bloody, sodding hell, I don't even make any sense to myself." Turning once more, he strode back across the room, pacing back and forth in front of the window in irritation.

Hiding, Harry mused. I believe hiding is what this is all about, mate.

"Hm," Hermione said, and she sounded less furious now. In fact, she almost sounded pleasant. Harry forced back a grimace of terror.

" 'Hm' what?" Ron demanded, glaring at her frostily.

"Let's play a game," Hermione suggested calmly, as though it were perfectly normal. "It's called, 'Let's See What Happens When I Hex Ron'."


"Petrificus Totalus!"

Ooh. Harry winced inwardly. Should've seen that one coming, Ron.

Ron, however, could only see the ancient, oak ceiling now, as he lay flat on his back, completely paralyzed. Except for his eyes.

"Let me explain something to you, Ron." Hermione sat down cross-legged next him, smiling benignly. "You are the most thickheaded git I have ever had the misfortune to meet, and it's all I can do half the time not hit you 'round the head."


"I can see by your extremely angry glare in my direction that you aren't exactly pleased with me for hitting you with the Full Body Bind," Hermione continued on placidly. "Well, that'll just have to be your problem, because for once I am going to talk, and you are going to listen."


"Ron, I sincerely doubt that I confuse you as much as you confuse me."

Well now, Harry thought wryly, I don't know about that.

"You play my emotions like a bloody violin, ok? One minute you're perfectly nice and friendly, the next you're taunting me, or harassing me about Viktor. And then you're furious at me for absolutely no reason at all." She leaned in close to him. "You infuriate me so much sometimes, I don't know why I put up with you. I don't why I even tolerate you."


"But see, that's the problem Ron," Hermione sighed. "No matter how furious you make me, no matter what you do, I can't stay away from you. And there are absolutely chapters in my journal dedicated to you and your temper, your hair, your smile, your freckles, even the way you talk."


"I can't stay away from you, Ron," Hermione repeated, her voice little more than a whisper, a tiny smile on her face. "Now, what do you suppose that could mean?"

Well! Harry thought, smiling to himself. If Ron doesn't understand THAT delightfully unsubtle hint, I believe I'll have to give up on him once and for all.

Hermione had stood up now, and brushed off her skirt. She was turning towards the bookshelves, perhaps already thinking about returning to her reading.

"Hermione," a voice stopped her. It sounded, Harry was a bit nervous to hear, terrifyingly pleasant. Hermione turned around, and Ron was on his feet, the effects of the curse apparently worn off.

"Yes?" she asked, raising a brow.

"Petrificus Totalus!" Hermione had quick reflexes. Unfortunately, they weren't quite quick enough. "This is a little game I like to play," Ron explained cheerily, walking around Hermione so that he could properly see her. "It's called, 'Let's See What Happens When I Hex Hermione.'"

Irony, Harry reflected, grinning a bit once more, Merlin, there's even irony! This is better than Wizard's Wireless! Better than a Muggle soap opera! Well, almost better than a Muggle soap opera.

"You see, Hermione," Ron went on, unaware of his best mate's delighted musings and ponderings and sometimes completely pointless interjections, "there's this one very simple fact that you have to keep in mind. I'm a bloke, and as such, I am not prone to being overly sensitive, or to 'picking up on things,'or to be especially perceptive in any way." He shrugged. "Not in my genetic makeup, I'm afraid. So that's actually a very big problem, because I have trouble even understanding my own feelings."

Harry expected that if Hermione were able to speak, she might comment on Ron's emotional range. It was the size of a teaspoon, if he remembered correctly.

"It's just…just, well…" Ron sighed in frustration. "Hermione, I can't quite explain why I'm such a bloody prat about you half the time. You're not exactly simple or easy either, you know. In fact, you're mostly more difficult than a dragon that's swallowed a Blast-Ended Skrewt." I wonder if it's possible to actually blow smoke out of your ears, Harry wondered, watching Hermione's face turn furiously red. Ron glowered at Hermione. "Oh, stop looking like that! You basically told me I had the IQ of a troll; I'm sure you can take a little abuse yourself!"


"Well, anyways," Ron said, glaring ruefully at Hermione again, "it's not just that you're difficult. You're brilliant. You know that? You really are. I know you hear this all the time, there can't have been a single person who's met you who's doubted that. But sometimes I wonder. Sometimes I wonder if you're so damn smart, why can't you see how mad I am about you?" Ron drew a sharp breath after saying this, as though he was surprised at himself. Hermione even seemed to stiffen further, if possible. "I mean…" Now, Ron seemed even more confused. "…it's just that…well, Hermione, as much as you irk me sometimes, as much of a know-it-all-genius-bookworm extraordinaire that you can be—well, basically whenever I'm around you, I have to remind myself to breathe.

"You're beautiful, Hermione. Did anyone ever tell you that? You're so beautiful. Not just on the inside either, like you might think, but beautiful everywhere, about everything. Everything you do, from the way you infuriate me, to the way you make me stare at you, to the way you mess with your hair when you read is just…well, just…" Ron sighed. "It's just good. It's right. It's how it was supposed to be." The effects of the hex had worn off on Hermione now, but she was still lying stock still, barely even breathing. The only way Harry could tell she was even able to move was when she blinked, which she was doing to ward off tears. "When you were petrified," Ron said suddenly, staring off at the window, "when you were petrified in second year, Hermione, nobody knew it, not even Harry, but I used to go and visit you down in the Hospital Wing every day. Sometimes I snuck out of bed to do it, but there wasn't a day that went by that I wasn't sitting by your bed for a couple of hours. I used to read to you. Things that I thought you might like, you know, like Hogwarts a History." Ron paused to smile. "Most Potente Potions. Even some of those girly romance novels you said you hated but I knew you read in private when you hid them behind the Potions book." Harry smiled to himself as well. He'd always suspected Hermione liked normal, romantic things as much as the next girl. Tears were streaming down Hermione's face now, and she wasn't bothering to conceal the fact she was free of the curse—in fact, she had sat up, and put her face in her hands—but Ron didn't seem to notice. He was lost completley in thought, staring aimlessly at the window.

"I used to laugh sometimes at those books," Ron said abruptly. "I thought they were so stupid, especially this one about a bloke who was in love with this girl he'd known for ages, but couldn't bring himself to admit it to her. He would almost get there, almost say the words, but every time something stopped him. Something stupid, like what his friends might think or how she might not love him back. Any excuse would do as long as he could hide a little more." He paused to draw a shaky breath. "I never thought I'd end up in his exact position, Hermione. I never thought the girl I was reading so religiously to, this petrified girl I had nightmares about losing…I never dreamed I would fall in love with her, and that I'd have so little idea with what to do with that feeling I'd do everything from hurt her to hurt myself."

Hermione was now staring at Ron, her hands over her mouth, tears staining her pale cheeks. She had a funny look on her face, Harry thought. A look that meant she was working up the courage to say something.

"I just don't know what to say anymore," Ron said tensely. "I don't know what to do about you. Why can't I be romantic, eh? Why can't I make you fall as head over for heels for me as I have for you?" At this point, Harry was becoming increasingly exasperated. He thought to speak up at this point, but something Hermione was doing stopped him. She had stood up, inched closer to Ron. Her eyes were dry, now, and there was a fierce, stern kind of determination on her face.

"Now, Ron," she addressed him in a terse voice, "you've got to stop being so stupid." Ron looked down at her, and Harry could see he was barely restraining his temper.

"I do, do I?" Ron asked through clenched teeth, his ears as scarlet as they ever had been.

"Well," Hermione said in the fashion of McGonagall handing out a detention, "honestly, if you can't see I'm already so in love with you it's hard for me to think straight, then I'm going to have to seriously consider your mental health." Ron was looking at Hermione now in a funny sort of way, his eyes boring straight into hers. Harry was determined not to ruin the moment, he was absolutely determined. They were inching closer and closer together, and he knew what was going to happen—what everybody had been waiting for. He held his breath and bit his tongue. Don't get involved now.

"You will, eh?" Ron whispered, his hand coming up to her cheek. They stared at each other again; it seemed that though this moment had been somewhere inside of both of them for ages, years even, they were almost too scared to know what to do with it. Already Ron was looking strangely hesitant and Hermione was looking terrified, her eyes huge and cheeks red. Harry saw they were about to call a rain check or something, that they were feeling neither of them could deal with this, not now, not yet. But they had waited long enough—for the sake of Merlin, Harry waited long enough for this. He had watched them ever since he had even been slightly aware of their attraction to each other, seen as it had blossomed into fancying, and then finally, full-fledged love. He stood up straighter and exhaled. He was not the Boy Who Lived for nothing, and it had been said he had something of a I-Must-Save-the-Day! complex.

Harry stepped out of the open doorway where he had been standing and coughed loudly. Ron and Hermione started and stared at him in shock, Hermione's mouth dropping open and Ron's ears flushing yet again, the eighteenth time of the day (Harry knew; he'd been counting).

"I have an enormous favor," Harry said seriously, folding his arms and regarding his two best friends sternly. "Do I have your word right now you will agree to it?"

"Er—" Ron choked out, looking completley stunned. "I…"

"Good," Harry interrupted. He paused, then glared at the both of them. "If one of you doesn't start snogging the other right now, I'm going to be right ticked off. Clear?"

"Harry, this is—" Ron tried to protest through gritted teeth, but Hermione had already stood on tiptoe and kissed him before he could finish the sentence. Harry watched as Ron looked more shocked than before, and then happy, happier than Harry had ever seen him. Harry bit back a smile as he turned to leave. They had always figured things out together, the Trio, but it seemed now that Hermione and Ron had some things to work out between just the two of them. He was almost out the door again when he turned and saw they had stopped. They were watching him, and smiling, and blushing, and then Hermione looked at Ron.

"I have," she said quite pleasantly, "a game I like to play."

"Wha--? Oh. Oh." Ron smiled almost evilly. "Yes, me too, Hermione." They both turned to Harry.

"It's called 'Let's See What Happens When We Hex—"

"Oh, bloody hell," Harry muttered, and attempted to escape, but unfortunately, too late. Harry would've grinned had he had control of his facial muscles, and had not had his best friend been roaring with laughter beside him. It was the third Body Bind of the hour. Harry knew—you see, he had been counting.

Mischief Mangaed

A/N: I would totally and completley absolutely appreciate some reviews. I've been very brain dead when it comes to writing lately, I was browsing my files, stumbled upon this half finished one, and applied myself to ending it in an attempt to avoid studing for my AP US History test, which is tomorrow...oops. So, please, I beg of you, tell me what you think. Flames will be used to burn my history textbook, constructive criticism and other pleasant such reviews appreciated.