JUNE June 1st
June, June, lovely June! Jesus, can you believe that six months ago I'd just started going out with Lavender and was all stupid and happy about it? It seems like a million years ago now. I don't know what I was thinking. Well, I wasn't thinking, obviously. I should have said something to Hermione before, then maybe that crappy three months where we weren't talking to each other might never have happened. Been kind of a weird year this year. Weird that I'm sort of going out with her after all this time. Even though we don't actually go out, as in outside. I feel like a vampire! It's particularly frustrating 'cos it's nice and sunny out there at the moment, and I really want to go outside with her but she reckons it's too risky, people might see us. I told her, "We'd only be going for a walk, it's not like we'd be doing anything", but she just raised her eyebrows in a way that clearly translated as, "Hmm, yes, I really believe you!"
And alright, she's not wrong on that one, but I'd be happy if I could at least just hold her hand or put my arm round her or give her a kiss. I mean, give me a break, is it too much to ask to be able to go for a nice walk in the sunshine with my girlfriend? Other people get to. Harry and Ginny get to. Oh well, only five more weeks and I'm outta here! Five more weeks and it's the summer holidays and I don't have to look at these bloody curtains 'til September, hurray! Five more weeks and we can finally tell people we're going out with each other, and I can kiss her in public and not have to hide in toilets! This is going to be the best summer ever. Six whole weeks of snogging! Outdoors! Not that this last month hasn't been fantastic, but Jesus I'm sick of the sight of that bathroom…
And then I'm going to Paris! With Hermione! With my girlfriend. That's in August, then when we come back it's final year, woo-hoo! I can't wait 'til we can all leave and go and get jobs and live in the real world. It'll be brilliant to finally have a bit of money and be able to buy things and go out to pubs and stuff. I sort of imagine us all living in London and working in the Ministry of Magic. Maybe we could even get a flat together! Oh my God, that would just be freaking fantastic! Her doing whatever she ends up doing and me and Harry doing our Auror training. It might happen! I'll have to do really well in my exams though, and I don't want to think about those just yet, thanks. It might seem like a long way off now, but I bet they'll come round quickly. Ruining my last year at school when I'd rather just be snogging Hermione.
Once I've left school I'm never writing another essay, I tell you that much. I'm never writing another essay, I'm never reading another textbook, I'm never taking another test, and I'm never wearing a bloody tie again either! Something else I'd like to do before I leave school: get Snape back for all the times he had a go at me in front of the class and all the detentions he made me do and all the millions of hours of misery I had to sit through in his sodding lessons. Obviously I'll wait until I've got my exam results first! And I'm going to punch Draco Malfoy in the face. On the last day of term. Yeah, I should make that the last thing I ever do at Hogwarts. Punch Malfoy, sweep Hermione off her feet with a huge kiss, stick two fingers up at everyone watching, and ride off into the sunset on my broomstick!
I will get him, though. One day, when I can't be expelled any more, when he can't do anything about it, when he hasn't got his big hard stupid mates with him. One day. No wands either, none of that, just what McGonagall calls "Muggle duelling" - fists and feet and knees and elbows. I'll have to make sure Hermione's not around either, 'cos I suspect that might be a dumping offence. Not that she doesn't hate him, just that I think she'd consider I'd let her down somehow. She'd think I should be able to rise above it. She probably wouldn't appreciate that I'd be half doing it for her anyway.
Whack! That one's for me! Whack! That one's for her! Whack! That one's for Harry! Whack! That one's for calling my family a bunch of blood traitors! Whack! That one's for saying's my mum's fat! Whack! That one's for calling my dad a loser! Whack! That one's for getting Fred and George banned from playing Quidditch! Whack! That one's for the time you tried to get Hagrid sacked! Whack! That one's for taking the piss out of my clothes for seven years! See this cheap second-hand shoe? See your nose? Shall we introduce them? Crunch! And while we're at it, this one's for inventing that bastard song! Who's your King, Malfoy? Come on, I want to hear you say it, I don't care if you have swallowed your teeth! Whack! These next fourteen are for every time you called her a Mudblood, you nasty little git! I should make a list of all the times I wanted to hurt him and didn't, so when it comes to it, I know exactly how many punches I owe him. It's got to be in the hundreds…
Ha, does it sound like I've spent the last six years bruising my knuckles on other people's faces? Honestly, I haven't actually hit anyone at all apart from Malfoy that time in first year. Shoving Seamus against a wall last year was the closest I've got since then. Oh, and of course I did punch Harry but since I'd just swallowed Romilda Vane's love potion at the time and had no idea what I was doing, I don't think I can be blamed for that one. I'd like to have punched Krum though. And McLaggen. I used to fantasise about smashing Krum's teeth in with his own broomstick. I think that might be the other reason I wanted to get on the team so much, actually. Mostly it was to impress a girl, of course. The girl. But the chance of pulverising Krum would definitely have run it a close second. And actually since that was all about the girl as well...
Mind you, they're both older and bigger than me, and built like broomsheds, so starting a fight with either of them might not be the best idea ever. Anyway, if I was going to do it, I should have done it ages ago. There's not much point now, is there? I'd sort of like to see him again though, just once, so I can enjoy a good gloat. "Look, you dimwitted Bulgarian git, she's going out with me now, not you anymore, you lose, HA!" I wouldn't say it in front of her, obviously. I'd find a nice dark corner somewhere just so if I did feel the need to smack him, nobody would see. See him beat the crap out of me, probably! I should just leave it, shouldn't I? Rise above it, like she would. But Malfoy's a different matter entirely. Whatever she says, he's getting a kicking. Who's your King, Malfoy? Oh, it's going to be such sweet revenge!
Interesting conversation with Harry tonight. The three of us are sitting in the common room and Hermione goes off to bed, and then he says, "So, you two seem to be getting on a bit better lately."
I try to keep my voice as neutral as possible: "Yeah, s'pose so."
Him: "Unless you're secretly having arguments behind my back."
I laugh much too loudly and say, very firmly, "No."
If only he knew!
Him: "Sorry I haven't been around much lately."
Me: "That's alright, you've got a better offer, it's fine. I'm sure I was a lot worse than you when I was going out with - no, still can't bring myself to say her name!"
We both laugh and he says, "Yeah, you were a total pain in the arse."
I say, "Well, it's your turn now."
He says, jokingly, "Shut up!" and then, "You should get yourself a girlfriend, then you'd be too busy to notice."
Me: "Nah, it took me long enough to get rid of Lavender. I'm quite happy to be young, free and single, thanks very much."
He sighs loudly.
Me: "What was that for?"
Him: "Never mind. So there's no-one you fancy, then?"
I tell him, "Nope!" as breezily as I can manage.
He says, "Right" and then, "I don't believe you."
I say, "Fine."
We glare at each other. After about three seconds he starts grinning and I start to crack as well. I say, "Oh, shut up, Harry," but I can't keep the stupid smile off my face. I think she's right, he probably does know I like her. But I promised her I wouldn't tell him, even though this would be a pretty perfect opportunity, so I just deny everything for the time being, and he doesn't bring it up again.
That's what I like about Harry, he doesn't push it. He'd rather not get involved. The whole time I was going out with Lavender and Hermione wasn't speaking to me and I was probably being a wanker quite a lot of the time, he only cracked and told me to sort myself out about twice. As opposed to Ginny, who was on my bloody back every other day. Mind you, I probably deserved it. I'm sure Hermione would say I definitely deserved it. But Harry likes to keep himself to himself a lot of the time, and he doesn't really want to know what you're up to either. He never really talked to me about it when he fancied Cho Chang, and obviously he never talked to me about fancying Ginny, but I'm quite glad about that one.
Ironic really how I spent the whole of April trying to get her on her own without Harry around, and now he's going out with Ginny, we hardly ever see him, especially at weekends. It's good though, because now I get to spend all my time with her, with a perfect excuse. She says we should be more careful, but I don't reckon he'll notice anything. He'll just be thinking about snogging 24 hours a day! I didn't really notice he was even more distant and moody than usual all the way through March and April, for exactly the same reason. Him: distant and moody. Me: childish and annoying. Her: gorgeous and smart and sexy and wonderful and oh, stop me before I embarrass myself... Too late, you reckon? Sod you, I don't care!
Anyway, I still don't think he'd mind if we told him. She's right that he's got enough to worry about, but then knowing him he'd find something to worry about even if there wasn't anything. That's probably why she doesn't want us to tell him yet. But honestly, I think it'll be fine. Anyway, according to her I was the least subtle person in the world about it, so I'll probably tell him, and he'll go, "Yeah, Ron, big surprise!" Not exactly sure how I'd phrase that one. "Er, Harry, you know you asked me if there was anyone I fancied, and I said no...? Well, um... that wasn't strictly true..." Maybe I should just do what he did with Ginny and kiss Hermione in the middle of the common room in front of everyone. Otherwise it'll just be me telling him I kissed her, and him saying, "Oh, right, when was this?" and me saying, "Er, April. And every day since!"
I still can't believe it's been a whole month. I keep waiting for everything to go pear-shaped, but the longer it goes on the more confident I get that everything's actually going to be alright, she's not suddenly going to come to her senses and dump me. It might only have been four weeks but it's going really fast. Maybe that's because we haven't got to do all that "What's your favourite colour?" "Oh, me too!" crap I had to do with Lavender. We don't have to get to know each other first, because we already do, and we aren't suddenly finding out little irritating things about each other like I did with Lavender and I'm sure she did with me, because again, we already know. She knows I'm a lazy idiot. I know she's a bossy know-it-all. I just don't care!
Well, I do, obviously, but the point is, that's her. She's got a million other good points so they cancel that stuff out. I'm not sure how it works the other way around. I suspect my bad points probably outnumber my good points, but she doesn't mind that because obviously I'm such a fantastic snog! Yeah, that'll be it. Definitely! She told me today she's been waiting for me to ask her out for about two years. Two years! I said I wish she'd told me sooner and she said, I wish you'd told me, and then we both stood there in silence probably thinking what a pair of muppets we are. I know I was. That's probably why it seems to be going quite fast, I reckon, because we've been thinking about it for ages and maybe in our heads we're already ahead of where we actually are. Well, I am anyway. I don't know about her. I'm told girls do think about that stuff, even nice girls.
And actually it turns out Hermione's not such a nice girl as I thought! I don't mean in a bad way. Just that, um, how can I put this? It's not that I'm trying it on or anything. Really, I'm not. I'm just pathetically grateful for everything at the moment, so I don't want to mess it up. But Hermione never has any objections. If anything, she's even more enthusiastic than I am. Hey, I'm as surprised as you are! Actually, she's full of surprises. I like that people who don't know her think she's just this boring serious girl who's only interested in books, and I get to see all the bits of her that are anything but boring and serious. And she's interested in loads of things that are a lot more fun than studying, I can tell you.
She says I'm full of surprises too. She says, who knew, when I took almost the whole of April to work up to kissing her, that I'd turn out to be such a touchy-feely sort of bloke? I'm not exactly sure what "touchy-feely" means, but my guess is it means I can't keep my hands off her! Which is certainly true, ha ha. Hey, that's what my hands are for! What was all that Quidditch about if not getting my Goalkeeper's hands in peak physical condition, limbering them up for the main event?! I think she might be coming round to my point of view about telling people, actually. She's definitely been taking a lot more risks in public lately. Like last night in the common room when she was rubbing her toes up my shins under the table and Harry was sitting right there.
Harry: "What do you think, Ron?"
Me, reduced to a gibbering idiot, absolutely no idea what he's talking about: "Er… er... er... yes."
Harry, impatiently: "Yes, what?"
Me: "Yes, whatever it was that you said?"
Her, with an impressively straight face: "Oh, for Heaven's sake, Ron, pay attention!"
She never used to be like this. All flirty and silly and stuff. Or was she always like it and I was just too dense to notice? No, I'm sure this is new. Not that I didn't like old Hermione, obviously, but new Hermione... bloody hell! It's a bit like when the new Nimbus or Firebolt comes out and it's basically the same broom but it's just faster and better. Which works, actually. New Hermione is faster and better! I might tell her that later. So if you see me around with a black eye…
I mean, really, how the hell am I supposed to concentrate on anything when all this is happening? It doesn't help when she sits next to me in all my lessons and she presses her leg against mine under the table. Or her school skirt rides up a couple of inches over her knees and I'm the only person who can see it. I thank God every day (well, maybe God's not the one responsible!) that our school uniform includes skirts rather than trousers for girls! Sometimes we'll just be sitting there next to each other with our legs and arms touching, and we're not really doing anything, but no-one knows we're doing it on purpose, so it's still like this fantastic secret no-one else knows about. And I like it when we kick each other under the desk, especially at mealtimes if she's sitting opposite me, because the table's quite wide, and I can always reach her feet with mine but she can't always stretch that far, and it drives her nuts.
Sometimes we probably forget where we are, and that there are other people around, and that it's supposed to be a secret. Little things like me pulling a stray bit of thread off her skirt, or her pressing her hand on my knee to stop me drumming my foot on the floor. There's no way we'd have done that before. I'd just have told her there was something on her skirt, and she'd probably have snapped at me to stop fidgeting. I'm sure if Harry wasn't so distracted lately, it might be a bit of a giveaway!
The thing is, as far as I'm concerned, I just don't care if people find out. I'd be quite happy to tell them. Actually, I'd be quite happy to get some announcements printed! So taking that into consideration, you can see why I'm maybe not trying as hard as I should to be careful in public. It's not just me either. (Although it usually is!) Yesterday we were standing in the corridor talking to Neville, and she reached for my hand and then realised and pulled it back again. I caught Neville's eye and we both looked away quickly. Hard to tell who was more embarrassed, really! Neville's alright though, I don't think he'll say anything. Now if it had been Seamus…
Mind you, even I never risk doing any of that stuff in Snape's lessons. He's got eyes in the back of his head, plus he hates me as well, so I wouldn't put it past him to draw attention to it in front of the entire class. "Weasley! Are you actually going to do any work, or are you going to spend the entire lesson stroking Miss Granger's elbow?" "I'm going to spend the entire lesson stroking Miss Granger's elbow, sir. Is that a problem at all?" Oh, if only I actually dared say that to him!
Slughorn's lessons are a different matter entirely. I swear ever since he accidentally poisoned me, my Potions marks have improved no end. And since it's not very likely I've suddenly developed a genius for Potions, you've got to assume the stupid old git just feels guilty about it and is marking me up. Not that I'm complaining. He owes me one. I feel like I can almost get away with anything in Potions these days. I bet if he caught me actually setting fire to his moustache, he'd just let me off with a caution. We could probably do it on his bloody desk and he'd just pretend not to see. We were playing footsie the other day in his lesson and I lost my shoe and had to go under the table to get it. And Seamus spotted me and said loudly, "While you're down there, Weasley..." which made me crack my head on the underside of the desk. So of course everyone laughed, and I told Seamus to shut his mouth and Slughorn had to tell us to settle down, please. I said, as loudly as possible so everyone would hear; "Lost my shoe, sir!", but I know I went bright red because I felt like my face was on fire, and I couldn't look at her at all for the rest of the lesson. Bloody Seamus. I can't wait to see the expression on his face next year when we tell him.
I suppose I should be grateful to Slughorn really. If I hadn't got poisoned, Hermione wouldn't have started speaking to me again, I might still be - Jesus, no! - going out with Lavender, and I certainly wouldn't be spending several hours a day snogging Hermione in the bathroom. Yeah, I should send him a thank you note. Maybe when I'm working and I get my first wage packet I can send him a bottle of Firewhiskey or something. "From Ron and Hermione. If it wasn't for you we wouldn't be together. PS: It's not poisoned, honest!" Actually, he probably won't even remember me. I'm still not sure he knows what my first name is. He probably thinks of me as "that ginger kid I nearly killed".
Hermione's mum sent me a present! Yeah, I know! I asked her why would her mum send me a present, and she got all embarrassed and said she wrote and told her mum "um, you know..." and she thinks she's probably just grateful because now she hasn't got to listen to Hermione complaining about me anymore.
I said, "What, now you can complain about me to my face instead?"
She said, "Do you want your present or not?" And she reached into her bag and pulled out this giant rectangular thing about two foot wide and half an inch thick that could only be a book.
Me, incredulously: "Is it a book?"
Her, even more incredulously: "Why would my mum buy you a book?"
I said, "Maybe it's a big list of things I'm not allowed to do. Number one: don't kiss my daughter. Oh dear. Number two: keep your filthy paws off my daughter. Oh dear, oh dear... Number three -"
She said, "Are you going to open it or not?"
Turned out - hooray! - it wasn't a book, it was a giant bar of chocolate! Some sort of Muggle chocolate in a purple wrapper. It was quite funny actually, I think Hermione was secretly horrified. She told me her mum's never even bought her chocolate. She said it's pretty ironic that her parents spent her entire childhood not allowing her to have sweet things because they're bad for her ("You don't need them, darling, you're sweet enough already!") and she ends up with me, the boy with the world's sweetest tooth. Who's obviously not nearly sweet enough already, ha ha!
Now I think about it, I can't believe she wrote and told her mum about it. I can't imagine ever having that kind of conversation with my dad. And surely she doesn't mean she told her everything? I know she gets on well with her mum, but Jesus, I'll never be able to look her in the face again! At least not without thinking, "I've had my hand up your daughter's top..." And worse, her knowing that. Actually, going out with me is probably the worst thing Hermione's ever done. I bet she's been the perfect daughter up 'til now. They must be delighted with me. "Where did we go wrong?" Ha ha! God, I really am going to find it hard to look them in the eye next time I see them. I'll have to be on my best behaviour, make sure I haven't spilt anything on myself, that kind of thing. I've never had to meet a girl's parents before, not like this. I suppose it's probably a bit too late now to try and make a good first impression!
ME: "Hello Mrs. Granger, nice to see you again, how are you?"
HER MUM: "Don't give me that, what was all that business with Lavender about, eh? Are you mental or something? What's wrong with you?"
ME: (shaking hands with her dad) "Hello Mr. Granger, nice to see you again, how are you?"
HER DAD: "If you ever upset my daughter again I'll track you down and have you killed."
ME: "Great! Going on holiday this year at all?"
Still, I suppose if they trust me enough to let me take their only daughter to Paris... Well, actually, they can't trust me at all, should I tell them that, d'you think?! I'm not sure they can trust her either. I've been thinking about Paris a lot lately. When she asked me to go in the first place she must have known I'd spend the whole of the next four months thinking about it. I'm sure she does too, but she probably imagines us visiting the cathedral and drinking coffee and going to museums, and I'm afraid when I think about it I never get out of the hotel room.
Well, no, that's not entirely true. I also think about finally getting to kiss her outdoors, in the sunshine, in front of a succession of famous tourist locations. But they're really just a backdrop to the snogging, I don't actually care what's in them! We have these conversations where we talk about all the things we might do when we're there, but we never talk about, ah, the other thing we might do. Funny how seven months ago I'd never done anything, never even kissed anyone, and now I'm thinking about hotel rooms in Paris. Paris... oh, those five lovely little letters, so much promise!
Actually, I was thinking about writing to Fleur and asking if she has friends or relatives we could maybe stay with instead. I've obviously got no objections to a hotel, but I don't really like the idea of her dad paying for everything. She says he doesn't mind, but I do. At least if we were staying with friends of Fleur's that would save money. And I think I'm going to brave the ribbing I'll no doubt get and ask Fred & George to lend me the rest of it when I see them. At least then I can pay my own way. Hopefully next year I'll be working and I can pay most of it back then. Or maybe I could work evenings or weekends in their shop and pay them back that way. It'll be worth it, though. Even if it takes me ten years. Even if it takes me the rest of my life...
So we're in the common room last night at about two a.m. and I'm teasing her about what she wrote to her mum about me:
"Did you tell her about all my crap attempts to kiss you in April?"
"Good, because it's going to be embarrassing enough next time I see them without that. So what did you tell her?"
"I just told her that we, you know, kissed."
"Oh, God! And what did she say?"
"She said, "Finally!""
I laugh my head off at that and she has to tell me to shush in case I wake people up.
I say, "Your parents must be delighted. I bet they were hoping you'd meet some nice boy..."
She says, "You are a nice boy!"
I protest, "Sod off, I'm not!"
She laughs. "What, is it not cool to be nice? Anyway, they already like you. In fact, my mum actually said to me once, 'You won't get any complaints from us, he's a nice boy from a nice family.'"
I can't decide whether to be pleased or offended about this. I can absolutely guarantee that nobody has ever said that about me before.
"When was this, then? That you were talking about it with your mum? And why would you get any complaints?"
She blushes, which is very cute. "I... can't remember. A couple of years ago, maybe. I was probably trying to talk myself out of it."
"Out of what?"
That makes me laugh. "Didn't work, then?"
After that there is quite a lot of kissing, which gets horizontal (my new favourite word!) very quickly, and anything else is none of your bloody business! Not that we're, you know, doing anything. Just snogging and, um, stuff. Jesus, I've embarrassed myself now. Is it good or bad that I'm having to censor my own diary? Good that things are happening that need censoring, I suppose! It just doesn't seem right to write some things down, you know? It's a bit like, I never wrote about a lot of Harry-related stuff because if it got into the wrong hands, it could be dangerous. I probably shouldn't be writing about this at all. I'm sure if she knew I was writing it all down, she wouldn't be exactly delighted. Well, I'm not writing it all down. Some things should definitely just stay in your head!
Actually, maybe I should just stop altogether. I think I said ages ago that this diary was all about her - no shit, Ron! - so if I'm not going to write about that stuff anymore then what's the point? Might as well just chuck it in. Either that or this is going to be a really boring read from now on! And anyway, it's too hot, and I'm too lazy, and I've just got better things to do. What things would those be, Ron? Ah, you know, things... Things that are a lot more fun than sitting up here writing this, I can tell you. In fact, I'm not sure I can even be bothered to finish this sent-
I think I just upset her, but I don't know how. I don't know what I said. We were in the bathroom at lunchtime and I was just really really happy. Six years of unspoken compliments were sitting in my head. I told her, "You look particularly lovely today," because she did, but she went red and frowned and said, "I don't." I said, "Allow me to know!" She didn't look pleased, she just looked embarrassed and for some reason, unhappy. I'm not sure why a compliment should make her feel bad, but it obviously does. We stood there awkwardly not saying anything for what seemed like ages. I didn't know what to say in case I upset her again. I said, "You do look lovely, though" She said, "Stop it." I said, "What have I done?" She said, "Just leave it." I said, trying to be sympathetic, "Oh, is it your time of the month or something?"
She practically exploded then. She shouted a lot of stuff at me which didn't really make any sense, and I let her, because clearly anything I might say was just going to make things worse. Then we had to go to lessons and we haven't mentioned it since. I don't know what I said wrong. I just thought, if I think something nice about her, I should tell her, not just bottle it up like I used to. Apparently this was a crap idea. Surely she doesn't think I'm taking the piss? I don't know what to do about it if she does. If she doesn't believe me, I don't know what I can say to make her. How come I always manage to say the wrong thing, even when I'm trying to be nice?
So I see her this morning in the dining hall and the first thing I say to her is, "Don't you have a library book to take back after breakfast?"
She says, "Alright," but she doesn't sound very enthusiastic.
When we get up there I start in straight away with, "About yesterday -"
She says, "Ron, I'm really sorry. I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm just not used to it, that's all."
I say, "Used to what?"
She goes bright red and can't look at me. She says, "No-one's ever said I looked lovely before."
I mentally kick myself for all those times I wanted to say it and never did. I am such a muppet.
Then she says, "Well, apart from Vi-" and stops.
I can feel my face burning up. Oh, Viktor said it, did he? Bully for Viktor. Good old Viktor. The image of what Hermione and Krum were up to two years ago, that caused all the problems in the first place, comes into my head. Not for the first time, unfortunately. I tell myself, say something nice, don't mention Viktor, don't even think about it. You're here now, aren't you? Stop being a prat.
I say, "I thought it loads of times, if that helps."
She says, "Did you?"
She looks surprised. I really am a muppet. I should have said it. I tell her I should have said it. I say she looks lovely every day and I'm going to tell her she looks lovely every day. I am on a roll! She says, "Don't do that, I won't believe you, just save it for special occasions", but obviously my fantastic ability to always say the wrong thing must be on holiday today because she looks pleased, and then there is quite a lot of, um, energetic snogging.
Which is great and all, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't stop me spending the rest of the day worrying about how easy it would be for me to fuck this up. We used to have these stupid little rows about just random stuff and we always got over them, but everything's different now. I don't want it to all get out of hand like last time. Hermione hasn't said anything about the whole Lavender business and obviously I don't want to bring it up myself, because I know I'll just come off really badly.
The thing is, I can just see this big argument looming up in the future, where she asks me why I was so angry with her in the first place and why I got off with Lavender, and I tell her, and she goes absolutely ballistic and dumps me. We can't go on forever never mentioning Lavender or Krum. Or McLaggen. Do I really want to know if she snogged him at the Christmas party? Honestly? Yeah, I sort of do. Even though I know I'd probably go majorly off the rails if it turns out she did. Why does it even matter now, anyway? I don't know! I can't explain it. It just does. I think it will be alright as long as neither of us mentions the V or L words. Ever. There are some four-letter words even I don't want to hear and Krum is one of them. I don't want to fuck it up. Of course, I probably will. But I'm gonna try not to. Those three months when she wasn't speaking to me were the worst three months of my life, and this last month has been the best. And I will fuck it up if I ever mention Viktor sodding Krum in front of her again.
Bloody hell, last night! We fell asleep on the sofa! I woke up this morning with a dead leg where she was lying on it and realised it was half six and we'd been there all night, and we'd better move otherwise someone might come down and find us there. Which would obviously not be a good idea! I suppose at least we were still in our day clothes, so no-one would think we were up to anything. Anyway, I woke her up and we've both just gone to bed. There's not much point in even trying to get any sleep since I'll only have to get up again in half an hour, so I just changed into my school uniform and I'm lying on my bed writing this. This is definitely one of those occasions I'm grateful for the curtains we have around our beds - no-one knows if your bed hasn't been slept in. That would be a bit of a giveaway, wouldn't it? Am desperate to tell someone about it, but can't of course. As soon as I got back here I really wanted to wake up Harry and tell him "Guess what I've been doing!" I can't wait until we can actually tell people we're seeing each other and stop sneaking around. Not that it's not fun. Jesus, fun doesn't even begin to describe this.
I have to pinch myself sometimes. Am I going to wake up and find out I've actually been unconscious in the hospital wing for three months and it's all been a dream? How the hell did this even happen? I must have done something really good in a previous life to deserve what this month's been like. I must have healed some lepers or something. Mind you, I'm not sure God works in that way. If he did, that evil little tosser Malfoy would never get any! Oh, wow, this is fantastic. I am a dirty stop-out! My hair is all sticking up on one side where I slept funny - half sitting up with her head on my shoulder. I could really do with a bath too. But I've got to admit, it was pretty fucking wonderful waking up with her there next to me. We didn't do anything, just snogging and sleeping, but hey, I'm not complaining! It was probably one of the best nights of my life! And if you ever do catch me complaining about it, you have my permission to whack me in the face with something large and heavy. Like Eloise Midgeon. HA HA! Totally knackered now, though. And starving! And I've just realised that technically I've slept with Hermione! Woo-hoo!
Jesus, I've just been completely wrecked all day. We both kept yawning, which I'm sure would be a huge giveaway if Harry was actually paying attention. Oh, I've got to tell you, we had to change classrooms this afternoon because someone had broken a bottle of something that was giving off poisonous fumes, so the whole class trooped along the corridor and up some stairs to a different room. I was walking with Harry and Neville and noticed she was trailing behind at the back looking for something in her bag, so I slowed down to let everyone get past me. And then everyone in front turned the corner and there was about five seconds where they couldn't see us, although some first year kids behind us could. And I'm afraid - nah, I'm not, not remotely - I had a bit of a mad moment and kissed her in front of all the first years. Not a major snog or anything, just a really quick kiss on the mouth, and then I ran off and caught up with Harry and when I looked back she was just standing there looking a bit stunned, it was hilarious. And brilliant. When I saw her later she said, "Don't do that again!" but she was smiling when she said it. She said she kept laughing to herself all through her next lesson because I looked so pleased with myself after I'd done it. She also told me she saw one of the first year girls stick two fingers down her throat and make a face and she really wanted to say to her, "Wait 'til you're seventeen, you won't be complaining then!" I am chuckling to myself thinking about it. And yeah, I am really pleased with myself. Hey, who wouldn't be? I might do it again tomorrow if I get the chance!
Finally managed to persuade Hermione to go outside for a walk with me today. Turned into a bit of a walk, too! It was too nice a day to be stuck inside and Harry and Ginny had already gone out for a walk themselves, so I pointed this out to her, but she wasn't having any of it. I said, look, we've been hanging around together all the time for six years, why would anyone get suspicious if we carry on doing it? And everyone knows Harry's going out with Ginny now, so it's inevitable we'd be spending more time together where it's just the two of us. So, really, no-one would bat an eyelid if we actually went outside and went for a walk. She says, well, that's all true of course, and maybe we could go for a walk outside... but we wouldn't be able to do anything in case anyone saw. Nothing. No kissing, no holding hands, and definitely nothing else. In fact, she'd be willing to go for a walk with me, but only on the condition I keep my hands in my pockets for the entire time we're out there.
I protest, "What about you? Are you going to keep your hands in your pockets too? Or are you just that certain you'll be able to resist me?"
She says, yes, she's that certain and just to prove it, if it turns out she can't, I have her permission to take my hands out of my pockets and do whatever I like with them!
This seems like a pretty good deal to me, so I agree to her conditions and ten minutes later we're walking across the grounds and up into the hills surrounding the castle. It's a nice day out - blue sky, sunshine, fluffy white clouds, nice breeze. I'm just happy to be outside. Especially when I realise that according to her rules I can't kiss her and I can't touch her, but I can speak. She's left me with my best weapon! There's absolutely nothing she can do to stop me saying things like, ahem, "Your hair looks particularly nice today" and "Those jeans make your arse look tiny..." I learnt that one from Lavender. Sadly it doesn't work on Hermione, who just gives me a withering look and says, "And those trousers make you look like a telegraph pole (they're brown), what's your point?"
I do better when I'm just being my usual idiotic self:
"What if I lost my balance and fell down a ravine, all because you wouldn't let me take my hands out of my pockets?"
She says she'd feel just terrible about it.
Me: "Maybe I should take them out of my pockets now, just to be on the safe side."
Her: "I tell you what, I'll take my hands out of my pockets, then if you fall down a ravine, I can catch you."
I say there's no way she'd be able to stop me falling down a ravine, she'd probably just lose her balance as well and then we'd both plummet to our deaths and they wouldn't find our bodies for weeks and we'd be eaten by wolves.
She gives me her shut-up-Ron stare and says, "There are no wolves in Scotland. Anyway, since we'll be dead, we won't be too worried about them gnawing our ankles, will we?"
I say, "Would you still go out with me if wolves had chewed off my legs?"
She says, of course. If anything it'll be an improvement because she won't keep getting a sore neck from leaning up to kiss me.
I say, "I suppose at least if wolves had chewed off my legs, I wouldn't have to walk round all those museums in Paris."
She says, "Fine, you'll just have to spend the entire week in bed, won't you?" and then when she sees the stupid great big grin that has instantly appeared on my face, "I mean, while I'm visiting museums! Oh, shut up!"
I protest that I haven't said anything; she's the one who's obviously been thinking about it. I say, "Why, Miss Granger, you've gone bright red!"
She gives me her shut-up-Ron-you're-not-funny-only-the-corners-of-my-mouth-are-turning-up-and-damn-it-I'm-trying-to-be-annoyed-with-you-but-actually-find-you-strangely-endearing-and-incredibly-attractive stare. I like that one better! Mainly because this often follows it...
Hermione: "I think you'd better just kiss me before I say something else I'll regret."
Me: "Well, if you insist..."
Five fantastic minutes later we're lying on the grass halfway down the hill, nicely hidden from anybody except the pack of hungry wolves at the bottom waiting to chew off my legs. I'm slightly aware that I'm lying in a patch of thistles, but I don't want it to stop, so I don't say anything. Not that I could even if I wanted to, since my mouth's kind of otherwise occupied, ha ha! Who'd have thought a couple of talkers like ourselves would manage to keep quiet for twenty minutes at a time? Harry should be pleased we're going out, actually, 'cos maybe now he'll finally be able to get a word in edgeways! Mind you, he is going out with Ginny, and she's no slouch in that department either. Harry might find he can never get a word in edgeways again! Poor Harry, he doesn't know what he's letting himself in for, going out with a girl with six older brothers. If he ever upsets her - well, he'd just better not, that's all. I've punched him once already this year, I don't want to have to do it again!
And she'd better not upset him, either. He's got enough to be going on with already without Ginny's famous Weasley temper. She made my life even more of a misery with her bloody nagging the whole time I was going out with Lavender. Although - well, OK, maybe she was kind of right about that; I was being an idiot. Maybe if I'd listened to her at the time… Yeah, like I'm ever gonna take advice from my little sister! My annoying little sister who knew Hermione liked me all along and never said anything. I mean, if she'd just told me a couple of years ago, I wouldn't have gone out with Lavender in the first place, and none of that shit would ever have happened. I might even have beaten her to the punch with the kissing thing. We might have got to go to Paris last Summer instead. We might already have - you know.
Anyway, I've wandered off the subject a bit there, where was I? Oh, yeah, I was halfway up a hill lying in a patch of thistles with Hermione's hand up the back of my shirt... Her parents must be so proud! That was pretty much it, anyway. Well, it's all you're going to get out of me! We came back inside after about an hour because she was worried Harry and Ginny might wonder where we were, but they didn't turn up 'til the evening, and clearly didn't even know we'd gone out. You'd think maybe they'd have noticed she had bits of grass in her hair and I kept scratching, but no, they were oblivious. Let's face it, how many ways are there you can get a thistle rash up your back? One, that's how many! One extremely enjoyable way. Well, maybe two. Maybe if I actually had lost my balance and fallen down a ravine and landed on my back in a giant patch of thistles. And maybe she got the grass in her hair rescuing me from the pack of hungry wolves. And maybe pigs might fly and Dumbledore doesn't have a long white beard and Malfoy's actually a really lovely bloke. Hell, I don't even care anymore about keeping it a secret, and I'm not sure she does either. Alright, I admit it, I never really did. But there's only four more weeks 'til the end of term now, let's just tell 'em! Why the hell not? Because she'd have you killed, Ron. Oh yeah. Good point.
Can't wait to see the looks on everyone's faces when we finally do tell them, though. I bet Fred and George will spend the whole summer taking the piss out of me about it. I'll have to let them too, if I want them to lend me the money for Paris. Oh, God, they're going to be unbearable. Still, I don't care, if it means I can go to Paris with Hermione, they can say anything they want. I can't wait to see Lavender's face as well. Sorry, Lavender! Actually, I'm not even really sorry. If it helps, you were good snogging practice. Oh wow, next year's going to be brilliant. And after that, no more school ever! Woo-hoo! Finally having some bloody money!
think I'm looking forward to the money more than just about anything else. No more hand-me-downs from my sodding brothers! Soon as I get my first wage packet I'm buying myself some new trousers that actually fit and aren't a couple of inches too short for me in the leg. And some shoes that don't need stretching spells on them before I can actually get them on my feet. And a jumper that hasn't been knitted by my mum - sorry Mum - and doesn't have my sodding initials on the front. And I'm never wearing anything maroon again as long as I live. And I'm going to buy a round of Firewhiskeys for everyone in the pub. Well, maybe not everyone. Me, her and Harry anyway. Maybe Ginny as well. I suppose I'm just going to have to get used to spending more time hanging out with my sister next year. God, she's going to be so smug about this when we tell her. I can hear her voice now; "I knew it, I just knew it!" Yeah, Ginny, you're a genius.
Actually, the first thing I'm going to do with my first wage packet is buy Hermione something really nice. And I'm going to take her out for a slap-up meal. Somewhere stupidly expensive, with wine and everything. I'll have to pay back Fred and George too. Bloody hell, I haven't even passed my exams yet, let alone got a job, let alone been paid for it, and I've already spent it all!
Well, we finally had The Argument. The one I've been sort of expecting for the last couple of months. I suppose at least it's out of the way now and I haven't got to worry about it anymore. She is still talking to me, anyway. For a moment there I wasn't sure she would. Like when she was shouting at me for what seemed like centuries and every time I tried to speak she just told me to, "Shut up, Ron!" It started alright, like these things often do. I'd had a lot of time over the last few weeks waiting for her in the bathroom so I'd spent some of it carving our initials into the underside of the sink unit. Which I stupidly thought she might actually like. I also did it on the windowsill by that spot in the third floor corridor where we first kissed, which I was absolutely sure she would like, and I was going to do it in the common room as well, but there was never really enough time when I was the only person in there so I only managed to get as far as the "R".
Anyway, I thought I'd done a good job, nice curly letters and that, "RW/ HG", it's not like it was huge or anything, it was only about an inch high. I just thought it would be, I dunno, I thought she'd like it. So I made her close her eyes, and led her over to where it was and showed her what I'd done, and I was probably grinning like an idiot because I thought she'd be all happy and that, but oh no. Instead I got, "Oh, very romantic, carving our initials in a toilet" and then when I obviously didn't look very happy at her reaction, she changed tack and started having a go at me because she said it was supposed to be a secret and had it not occurred to me that since Harry's famous in this school, we are too, and that not many people's surnames begin with W, and that anybody coming across what I'd done would probably be able to guess instantly who had done it and what we were up to. And another thing, this is a thousand year old building and you've desecrated it, etc etc.
And I got really defensive because I didn't really expect all this, and all I could think of to say was sorry, I didn't think about any of that, I just thought she'd like it. And she said, "How could you have been so stupid?" and I snapped and shouted, "Alright! I'm stupid! Don't you think I know that? I'm sorry, how many times do I have to say it?" She said, "You're not stupid, and I wish you'd stop saying you are, because no-one thinks it, it's just you, and it drives me mad!" And I muttered, "You just said it!" And then it all kicked off. Seriously kicked off. She started calm and then by the time she'd got to the end of the sentence she was shouting, and I didn't get a word in edgeways apart from "Yeah, but -" or "No, that's not -" for at least the next ten minutes. Obviously, I've tried to mentally block out some of the things she said, but basically it went something like this:
"Fine. If that's what you want, you're an idiot, happy now? (Yeah, I'm delirious) And actually, you know what, you are an idiot, because you could have had me six months ago (Don't rub it in!) and you messed it up. (Because I really need reminding) But no, you had to go off with Lavender instead! And don't look at me like that (like I've been hit in the face with a shovel), I never brought it up, and I should have done, (No, you really shouldn't) because I'd love to know what it was I did that was so appalling you didn't speak to me for fourteen weeks! (No, you really wouldn't) Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to ask you to Slughorn's party? (um, no) I bet you never even thought about it, did you? (um, no) Well, it was really, really hard! (um, sorry) I kept waiting for you to ask me out, but you never did, (God, I'm rubbish) so eventually I had to do it myself (so she did mean as more than friends after all, hooray!), and then a week - a week! - later you were really angry with me for no reason at all (well, not for no reason, there was a reason, it was just… shit) and wouldn't even tell me why and then you went and got off with Lavender as though it didn't matter, as though I didn't matter! (sorry) And with Lavender, of all people! I have to share a dorm with her, have you any idea what that was like? Fourteen weeks, with no apology, no explanation, no nothing! (I know, I'm sorry!) And even when we started talking again, you carried on going out with her for another nearly two months! (Well, yeah, but not really, but anyway, sorry) You'd probably still be going out with her now if she hadn't dumped you! (Fair point) So, yes, you are an idiot, you're the biggest idiot in the world (I'm not disagreeing with you), and I'm really looking forward to hearing your excuse, because it must be brilliant!" (Nah, it's rubbish. You'll laugh. Well, maybe not actually laugh.)
Yeah, that was pretty much the gist of it. Picture me standing there rooted to the spot while she's yelling at me, with all the colour having drained out of my face looking much like I do before Quidditch matches; as though I might puke at any minute. I can't decide whether to run away or not, because frankly, that's looking pretty appealing right now. But hey, I knew this was coming, might as well get it over and done with. If she's going to dump me I can't do a thing about it anyway, so fuck it. I take a deep breath and try and explain about Ginny telling me about her kissing Krum. As I knew she would, she shouts that it's not even true and why would Ginny say that when it's not true, and so I have to explain that Ginny didn't actually mention it was two years ago and not recently, I just jumped to that happy conclusion myself. Then I get, "Well, why didn't you ask her? Or me?" which is so ridiculous I just give her a hard stare. I point out that since I couldn't even get up the courage to ask her out, why the hell would I want to ask her, "Hey, Hermione, have you been snogging Viktor Krum lately?" I can see her processing that bit of information. Then she accuses me of just getting off with Lavender to punish her for kissing Viktor two years earlier, and I point out that I didn't know it was two years earlier, but that doesn't help because she just says, fine, but you still got off with her to punish me for kissing him. I make a pathetic denial but since I've sort of come to the conclusion myself that I probably did, I'm obviously not very convincing.
Oh yeah, and I get a big tirade about not speaking to her for fourteen weeks, and I point out that actually I tried to talk to her quite a few times, she was the one who wouldn't talk to me. I mention the time I tried to talk to her in the library after I found out that her kissing Viktor was two years ago, and she jumps on that and wants to know why once I knew I was in the wrong I hadn't gone and apologised to her. I say that I tried but she made it perfectly clear she didn't want to speak to me ever again and that she hated me. She says she didn't hate me. I remind her that she smacked me round the side of the head when we had that argument about Crookshanks, that was hardly a friendly gesture. She says, what did I expect? She asked me out and a week later I got off with someone else and I never explained why and I never apologised, and to be fair, when you look at it from her point of view like that, she's sort of got a point.
Eventually she thinks of something else she's annoyed with me about, which is why I even thought she'd been off kissing Viktor in the first place. Especially since she spent most of the summer at my house, with me, so when exactly would she have found the time? Which I have to admit I didn't really think about. I feel a bit stupid about it now, to be honest. Then she wants to know how come I was so keen to believe it of her when she'd asked me to Slughorn's party only a week earlier. Which, by the way, was really hard for her to do, and she only did it because I was clearly too pathetic to ever ask her myself. She comes back to this a few times, so it obviously really pisses her off. I try and explain that I never thought she was remotely interested in me, and yes, when she asked me to Slughorn's party I was really happy for about two days and then I heard about her snogging Krum and it just seemed really obvious she'd only invited me as friends or because she felt sorry for me or because I never got invited to the parties. She practically yells, "No-one feels sorry for you! It's just you who feels sorry for yourself!" Which, obviously, I am delighted to hear. Okay, I sort of know this about myself anyway, but having her rub it in isn't great either.
Then she wants to know how I can possibly not have realised she liked me as more than friends when she dropped loads of massive hints and this stuns me a bit because I honestly had no idea and I tell her this and she tells me I'm an idiot and I say yeah, I know. I try and explain that sometimes I thought she might be interested but then the rest of the time it just seemed spectacularly unlikely, what with me being a lanky ginger idiot and all. And that's why I never asked her out, and that's why I probably never would have either. She says, so basically, this whole nightmare happened because you feel like you're an idiot and somehow not worthy of me? And I say, yeah, that's pretty much right. She says, "That's... aargh!" I say sorry. She tells me to stop apologising. I say, without thinking, sorry. And then when I see her give me a dirty look, sorry again. She says, "Shut up, Ron" and I do, because it's obviously the only way I can stop myself saying sorry. There's a really long silence where I start to hope maybe she's finally got to the end of her list of things I've done to piss her off, but apparently not quite yet.
She says, "And you told me when you were in the hospital that it was supposed to be me, and don't you think I knew that? And even after that you carried on going out with her for nearly two months!" I think, oh, I did say that out loud then, I wasn't sure there for a while. I tell her it wasn't as easy as it looked, dumping someone, I'd been trying to do it since bloody December, I'd never had to do it before, and alright, fine, I'm a coward, happy? She says, why would she be happy? She says, wait a minute, since December? What do you mean, December? I tell her that Lavender started to get on my nerves after about three weeks and I spent the rest of the time we went out fantasising about her being killed in accidents.
She doesn't think that's funny. She says that's really pathetic. I try to explain that I was bored rigid going out with Lavender, and she drove me absolutely nuts, but it wasn't just that that made me want to dump her, it was because I realised I still - choosing my words carefully - liked Hermione. Even if she was completely ignoring me. Even if she was off snogging Krum. Even though I thought she hated me. She says, why on earth did you carry on going out with her for another four months? I say, well, if I'd thought for one second I had a chance with her, I'd have dropped Lavender like that, but then Hermione went to the Christmas party with Cormac sodding McLaggen, so that sort of confirmed what I'd thought all along, that she obviously didn't give the slightest toss about me.
She buries her head in her hands at this one and screams into them. She says she never even liked McLaggen, let alone liked him in that way, and was that not obvious?
I ask "Well, why the hell did you go out with him, then?"
She says, "Why do you think?"
I shrug. I say, "I've no idea. Because you're mental?"
She says, "Oh my God! Because I knew it would really annoy you!"
For some stupid reason this makes me smile, and I have to put my hand over my mouth so she doesn't see. Really? She just asked him out to piss me off? Fantastic! I tune her back in and get the tail end of:
"... obviously backfired... Anyway, what was I supposed to do, go on my own? You were supposed to take me, remember?"
Which wipes the grin off my face pretty sharpish. I mutter something like, I could hardly forget. Of course I remember! I was completely miserable about it for days! I don't tell her this, of course. I'm not coming out of this whole thing very well as it is, without making things worse for myself.
Which I promptly go and do by blurting out, "Did you kiss him?"
She goes even redder. "Does it matter?"
I'm too tense to speak, so she obviously realises that it does. She sighs and says, "No, I didn't kiss him. Well... he kissed me. I spent the entire evening fending him off actually."
Oh, dear. She should not have told me that. I completely lose my head and start yelling:
ME: "WHAT DO YOU MEAN, FENDING HIM OFF? WHAT DID HE DO?"
HER: "He didn't do anything."
ME: "YOU JUST SAID FENDING HIM OFF!"
HER: "Yes, and nothing happened because I fended him off. Stop shouting."
ME: "HE KISSED YOU!"
HER: "You were going out with Lavender! Stop shouting."
ME: "I CAN'T!"
HER: "This is ridiculous. I'm supposed to be shouting at you!"
ME: "It's not all my fault! If you hadn't got off with McLaggen -"
HER: "I did not get off with McLaggen!"
ME: "- I would have dumped Lavender at Christmas!"
HER: "ALRIGHT! IT'S NOT ALL YOUR FAULT! WHAT DO YOU WANT, A MEDAL?"
ME: "Did he touch you?"
HER: "Oh, my God! Stop it!"
ME: "I want to know!"
HER: "Why? What's the point? You're just torturing yourself! I told you I didn't even like him, isn't that enough? Do I need to spell it out for you? I… only... asked... him... out... to... make... you.. jealous! Alright? Happy now?"
ME: "Well, if you only asked him out to make me jealous, you can hardly complain when I AM, can you?"
HER: "This is pointless, Ron. I'm not having this conversation any more."
ME: "You started it!"
HER: "Fine, and I'm stopping it."
ME: "No, come on, we might as well get it out of the way. I'm sure there's loads more stuff you'd like to shout at me about!"
HER: "Yes, that's right, there is, and you know full well there is!"
ME: "Go on, then!"
We stand there glaring at each other. We seem to have shouted ourselves to a standstill. I feel a bit ashamed of myself, and realise that actually, I'm not angry anymore. And she seems not to be either, because she sighs and says, "I don't want to shout at you."
I don't say anything.
Then she says, "Well, maybe just one last question."
She wants to know why, even after we'd started speaking again and I knew she liked me, I still didn't do anything about Lavender?
I am, admittedly, pretty embarrassed about this. It might have seemed obvious to her, but to me it was like, I think she likes me, but then nothing happened and I wasn't sure and to be honest I thought maybe I'd dreamed what happened in the hospital because I was pretty out of it, after all. And that was March gone, and then as she well knows, I did do something about it after that, I spent a whole month trying to psych myself up to kiss her and making a complete hash of it.
Her: "You were supposed to dump Lavender first! That's how it works!"
Me: "I know, but that was a depressing prospect, whereas kissing you was - funnily enough - a lot more appealing. And anyway, I still wasn't sure, and I thought if I do it and you don't back away or scream or hit me, then I'll know for sure that you like me, and I'll run straight off and dump Lavender. Which I would have done, if she hadn't got there first."
She shakes her head and seems completely at a loss for something to say. I'm just glad this argument seems to have finally run out of steam. At least we are now talking at a normal level and not shouting. I still feel a bit sick though. It's that kind of "I've got a bad feeling about this" sickness that I always get before Quidditch matches.
I say, "You're going to dump me, aren't you?"
Oh my God! Why the fuck did I say that out loud? I thought it, but why actually say it? What the hell is wrong with me?
She seems to take about a million years to answer. She sighs and says, "No, I'm not," and then just as I'm inwardly cheering, adds,
The but turns out to be not really a but at all, for which I am more relieved than you can possibly imagine. She says that this conversation (I think, argument) was bound to happen sooner or later and at least it's out of the way now. And since it was all about things that happened before, maybe we should just agree never to mention them again. She says she won't ever mention Lavender if I promise not to bring up McLaggen or Krum. I tell her that's fine by me. She says "Good." Then I say, returning to the subject of our original argument like the muppet I am, "I'm sorry about writing on the sink." She says, "No, it's alright. I do like it. It's nice. I'm sorry I got stressed out about it. It's sweet." We stand there and look at it and she slips her arm through mine, which I take as the official end of the argument. She says, "And you're not an idiot, you idiot!" which makes us both laugh. There is some kugging. (Hooray!) And I think, thank Merlin that's over, and I cross my fingers in my pocket that this is the worst argument we ever have.
Bit of an awkward day today. We've both been being extra careful not to annoy each other after yesterday. I might possibly have been trying a bit too hard to be funny actually, trying to keep her happy. And maybe she was laughing a bit too hard as well, so it wouldn't seem like she was sulking with me. But at least we're trying. I think it will be okay. Actually, I'm sure it will. Even if Krum is still writing to her, he's thousands of miles away, why should I worry? And she doesn't even like McLaggen - which makes two of us - so there's nothing to worry about there either. She doesn't even like him and she only asked him out to make me jealous. I can't tell you how happy that particular piece of information makes me. I'm actually doing a little dance in my head. I would still quite like to punch his lights out, but you know, that's just 'cos he's a git. Anyway, I'm above all that now. I'm Keeper, not him, I won the Quidditch Cup, not him, and I'm the one who gets to stay up 'til three in the morning snogging her on the sofa, so really, if anything, he should want to punch me!
Really good day today. Maybe it's because we've cleared the air, but we've both been in a really good mood. There's been a lot of emergency "library" visits! And to think I always said I wasn't a reader!
Hey, guess what, I'm not six foot anymore! Picture the scene: last night, about eight o'clock, the girls' bathroom. I'm teasing her about the schoolgirl crush she had on Professor Lockhart in second year, which is hilarious, because she's really embarrassed about it:
ME: "He was an idiot!"
HER: "I know!"
ME: "Oh, so that's why you kept writing Mrs Hermione Lockhart on your exercise book…"
HER: "I did not! You're such a liar!"
ME: "I hope you stopped fancying him after he tried to bump off me and Harry."
HER: "He didn't try to "bump you off", don't exaggerate."
ME: "Well, he tried to wipe our memories, then. That's bad enough, surely? We might still be wandering around St Mungo's in our pyjamas, dribbling on ourselves and howling."
HER: "Well, of course I didn't still fancy him after that! Anyway, after that… after that I realised I had a thing for tall, red-headed boys..."
ME, looking stricken: "Oh no!"
ME: "I'm really, really sorry!"
HER, starting to get worried now: "What?"
ME: "Bill's already taken. They've set a wedding date and everything. I can't believe you didn't know!"
The look on her face is such a picture, I fall about laughing. She hits me in the arm, which I probably deserve, and says, "It's almost impossible to pay you a compliment, you know that?"
Me: "Look who's talking!"
Her, laughing: "Alright, fine, neither of us can take a compliment. Let's just insult each other for the rest of our lives instead."
Me: "Yeah alright. You start."
Her: "No, you start."
Me: "It was your idea."
Her: "I can't think of anything."
Me: "D'you want some help?"
Her: "Go on, then."
Me: "I'm childish and annoying and I swear too much."
She laughs at that one. "You're not annoying..."
Me, pretending to be offended: "Oh, right, but no disagreement on the other two, I notice!"
Her: "Well, maybe a little bit annoying..."
Me: "Oi! Shut it, shorty."
Her: "I'm not short! If anything you're too tall..."
Me: "I am not! Anyway, I thought you said you had a thing for tall boys..."
She laughs. "Did I say that?"
Me: "Yes, you did, about three minutes ago."
(Oh, and by the way, I am actually getting to the point of the story, have some patience, will you?)
So then she asks how tall am I now anyway, and I have to admit I don't know. I haven't checked since I was fifteen and I was exactly six foot then. Of course, it just drives her mad, not knowing. Imagine there being something Hermione Granger doesn't know!
Me: "Who knows their exact height, anyway?"
She does, of course. Five foot five, apparently.
Me: "You're practically a midget, then."
Her, a bit testily: "Actually, the average height for a woman in the UK is five foot four."
She knows everything!
So, anyway, then she said she was going to measure me and I'm afraid I couldn't stop the stupid grin that instantly appeared on my face. I said sorry - getting my apology in quickly before I got another slapped arm. But she just smiled and told me to take my shoes off (I said, "Just my shoes?" She said, "For now..." and then laughed at my stunned expression), and she did this spell (she would know a spell!) and it turns out I'm now six foot one and a half of ginger idiot. That's alright, isn't it? Not freakishly tall. A lot of boys in our year (and Eloise Midgen!) are catching me up now, which I'm quite glad about. Six foot one and a half is alright for a bloke. Although she says can I stop growing now please otherwise she'll have to start carrying around a small box to stand on.
Of course, the other solution is a lot more kissing on sofas. I'd recommend that, actually, as the solution to everything. I bet even You-Know-Who wouldn't be such a miserable git if he'd spent more time snogging when he was my age and less time plotting to take over the wizarding world. Shouldn't really joke about that, I suppose, but sod it. Never let it be said that Ron Weasley engaged brain before opening mouth. She used to say that to me all the time: "For Heaven's sake, Ron, engage brain before opening mouth next time!" She hasn't said it for a while, now I come to think about it. Either I haven't been saying quite as many stupid things as I used to - which is pretty unlikely, let's face it - or she just doesn't find me quite so annoying anymore. Or she does, but she's bottling it up and one day she'll just snap and shout, "Oh, for the love of Merlin, will you shut up!" Actually, she doesn't really need to anymore, 'cos now there are much better ways of getting me to stop talking, heh heh.
So, um, we're in the common room tonight and I'm half asleep, and then I wake up and realise that she's drawing little patterns on my arm with her finger.
Me: "What are you doing?"
Her, pulling her hand away: "Oh, sorry!"
Me: "No, don't stop. That was nice."
Her: "Was it?"
She smiles. Slightly awkward moment, followed by a little bit of kissing, then she says: "Actually, I was, um, trying to count your freckles."
Me: "Ha! Good luck with that!"
Her, laughing: "Why, have you got a load of hidden ones I can't see?"
Silence. Really awkward moment while we both think about what she's just said.
Me, going red: "Um... yeah."
Her, going even redder: "Oh."
We called it a night after that.
Harry corners me outside the Hall before dinner tonight and practically accuses me:
"Have you noticed Malfoy's been skipping lessons again?"
Me: "Er... not especially."
Harry, like it's my fault: "Well, he has! What's he up to?"
I just shrug. "Maybe he's ill."
Harry shoots me a pitying sort of look. "He's not ill. He's up to something. And I'm gonna find out what!"
Me, feebly: "You're still following him, then?"
Him: "Too right!"
I make a mental note not to mention this to Hermione, and try to change the subject: "Can you believe that this time next year we'll have finished school for good? It's gonna be brilliant!"
Him, suddenly depressed: "For you, maybe. This is my home."
Me, cursing my fantastic ability to always say the wrong thing and promptly making it worse: "Well, couldn't you move into Sirius's old place? He left it to you, after all. And how cool would it be to have a whole house to yourself? Just think of all the parties you could have!"
Him, now even more depressed: "No, I couldn't do that. Too many memories. Anyway, I don't want to think about that now. It's a whole year away. A lot can happen in a year."
Me: "Yeah. Yeah, it can."
Privately thinking,"You're not kidding, mate!", and then realising that actually he's not talking about me at all, he's talking about it nearly being the first anniversary of Sirius's death, and the war, and all that stuff. Not about you getting your hand in some girl's bra, you muppet.
And then I remember that last Summer she said we really needed to be there for him this year and not think about ourselves, and I realise that I haven't been there for him at all. Those first few months when I was first going out with Lavender I hardly saw him at all. Actually, those first couple of weeks I hardly saw much of anything, 'cos I had my eyes shut most of the time! Still, I suppose he's got Ginny now. Maybe he talks to her about that kind of stuff, the same way I do with Hermione. At least, I hope he does. It would make me feel a lot less guilty if he did.
He's right, though. A lot has happened this year. I've kissed two girls and been dumped by one of them. I've been poisoned. Twice. I've nearly died. I've punched my best friend in the face. (Sorry, Harry!) I've grown another inch and a half. I've won the Quidditch Cup for the second year running. What else? I've learnt that I can't take a hint to save my life. I've learnt where you can put your hand without getting a slap. (And where you can't!) I've learnt that actually, Firewhiskey doesn't taste very nice. The best thing I've learnt is that Hermione does like me after all. That's definitely worth a woo-hoo! Oh, and I've learnt that you should never eat things you find on the floor. Even if they are covered in chocolate...
(Only three more weeks until the end of term, hurray!!)
So tonight, we're sitting in the common room playing chess, which I've really been enjoying lately, mainly because every time she leans forward I get a nice view down the front of her shirt and I don't even have to try and pretend I'm not looking anymore, heh heh. All of this means she's doing much better than usual, probably because I'm a bit distracted, ahem, and manages to take three of my Pawns in a row.
Her: "You'd better not be letting me win."
Me: "Like I would."
Her: "I wouldn't put it past you."
Me: "Why the hell would I do that?"
Her: "Oh, I don't know, maybe you're just trying to butter me up for later..."
(I should probably explain that this whole conversation is being carried out in whispers, in case you're wondering)
Me, pretending to be outraged: "What are you saying, that the only way you could beat me is if I let you? I mean, it's true, but I'm just surprised to hear you admit it, that's all..."
She shakes her head. "Oh, my God! You're unbelievable!"
Me, jokingly, "Thanks, babe!"
Her eyes widen and she glances quickly around the common room to see if anyone's listening in. "Shhh! You mustn't say things like that! What if somebody heard you?"
Me: "It was a joke. I was joking."
Her: "Well, don't."
Me, trying to explain and just making it worse, "No, no, it was just because you said, "You're unbelievable!", so I said, "Thanks, babe." D'you see? 'Cos you meant it in a bad way and I was pretending to take you seriously to wind you up... (feebly) ... it was a joke..."
She just stares down at the board, her face all tense and annoyed.
Her: "It doesn't matter."
Me: "I didn't mean to -"
Her: "Forget it."
Me: "But -"
Her: "Shut up, Ron."
World's longest most uncomfortable silence. She sits there clutching her Rook in her hand really tightly as though she's just thinking about where to make her move, but I know she isn't. I offer another feeble "sorry," but she just stands up, announces, "I don't think I want to play anymore, actually. There's a book I need to take back to the library before it closes," and walks quickly out of the room without looking at me at all. I don't point out that she isn't actually carrying a book, and that maybe if anything's going to give us away, that is. I'm not that stupid.
I sit there pretending to play chess against myself for about twenty minutes and then give up. If she's going to have a go at me anyway, I might as well get it over with. I'm absolutely convinced I'm in serious trouble, especially since I've kept her waiting for nearly half an hour, so when I push open the door to the bathroom I'm slightly surprised when before I can even open my mouth she says, "Tell me to shut up." I say, a bit confused, "What?" She says, "Humour me. Tell me to shut up." So I say, more for something to say than anything else, "Oh, shut up!" and she smiles and says, "Make me." And, um, I do...
You'd think Ginny would have enough to be going on with what with her exams and going on long walks with Harry every five minutes, but she somehow manages to find the time to pester us as well. Hermione said Ginny cornered her this morning and asked her how things were going and she told her "Fine, I've got loads of homework to do though", and Ginny said, "Things meaning my brother." Hermione says she thinks she managed not to give anything away. She said, "Slowly" and Ginny patted her shoulder sympathetically and said, "Oh God, he's rubbish!" I asked Hermione what did she say to that, and she said, "Oh, I agreed with her of course!" Thanks very much! Later on, predictably, I got Ginny trying to wheedle information out of me as well. The whole conversation was pretty funny, actually:
GINNY: "So, how are you getting on with Hermione these days?"
ME: "Yeah, alright."
GINNY: "Just alright?"
ME, pretending to get all worried: "Why, has she said something?"
GINNY: "No, I was just asking."
ME, fake panicky voice: "Are you sure she hasn't said something? She's said something, hasn't she?"
GINNY: "No, she hasn't! She never tells me anything!" (I think, well, you've got that right!)
ME: "Well, that's alright then. See you later!"
GINNY: "For Christ's sake, Ron, are you ever going to say anything?"
ME: "What do you mean?"
GINNY, almost shouting: "Oh my God! You know exactly what I mean! Are you ever going to ask her out?"
ME, having a bit of a mad moment: "Yeah, I am actually."
GINNY, clearly stunned: "What? When?"
ME, trying not to laugh: "Soon."
GINNY: "How soon? It's the end of term in a few weeks."
ME: "Yeah, I spotted that, thanks."
GINNY, clearly a bit wrongfooted by my big confession: "Well... just... make sure you don't leave it too late, alright?"
ME, starting to walk away: "I'll bear it in mind. See ya!"
Oh, you should have seen the look on her face, it was hilarious! Hermione told me afterwards that Ginny ran straight off to find her (thanks, Gin, good to know my sister's on my side!) and told her she had "a funny feeling" I was about to ask her out. Ooh, Ginny, it's like you've got the gift of second sight or something! Have you thought about applying for Trelawney's job?
Hermione got a big parcel by owl this morning and when I asked her what it was she just said it was some "girl stuff" she asked her mum to send her, so I didn't ask again. But then later on she turned up in the bathroom with it all wrapped in stripey paper and and said, "I realised I didn't get you a Christmas or a birthday present this year, so…" I was a bit stunned. "But I didn't get you a Christmas present either!" "That doesn't matter. Anyway, it was an important birthday, so if it makes you feel any better, we'll just say it's a big birthday present." "But-" "Oh, for God's sake, just open it!"
So, I did, and it turned out to be probably the BEST present I have EVER got! Because it's a pair of boots! They're kind of like Muggle trainers rather than school shoes, except they're boots. And they're bright red too, with white soles and laces, and a star on the side. Seamus has got some exactly the same, only black, but mine are better! I'm wearing them now, and the absolute best thing about them is that because they come up a couple of inches higher than my shoes, you can't see my socks! No more annoying two inches of sock! You wouldn't even know that my trousers are too short! And they actually FIT! And they're NEW! And they're RED! And they're MINE! She can't possibly have known how perfect a present this was, but it really was. They're the right size and everything. There's actually about an inch of space in the toe so if, God forbid, my feet get any bigger, I won't have to put a stretching spell on them just to get them on.
Actually, when I opened the box I started laughing and said something really stupid, I said, "They're red! They're going to clash really badly with my hair!" She looked a bit upset at that: "Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you liked red. I can send them back if you don't like them." I had to explain that it was a good thing, that I loved red, that they were perfect in every way, and it was just that Lavender always complained about things clashing with my hair, and it made me want to wear red deliberately just to piss her off. She laughed at that one - let's face it, she's going to like it when I slag off Lavender, isn't she? - and asked, "So you do like them, then?" I told her it's the best present I've ever got, and that she's wonderful, and she got a very good kiss out of me!
It's really sad, actually, I can't stop looking at my feet and every time I pass a mirror I have to stop and admire myself in it. Harry keeps laughing at me, he says, "You'd think you'd never had a pair of shoes before!" I don't care though, I love 'em. And I've never had a pair or shoes like this before. Muggle clothes. New Muggle clothes. Still in the box and with the tag on and everything. Seamus actually said to me later, "Cool shoes, Ron!" No-one's ever said anything of mine was cool before. I've never been cool before. I tell you one thing, I definitely won't be throwing them out of any windows in a hurry!
Last night, the common room, waaay past my bedtime... The fire's gone out, so it's a bit chilly, but I'm doing my best to warm her up, ahem. Anyway, being the chivalrous kind of guy that I am, I offer to go and get her a jumper, but I don't want to put a light on in case I wake anyone up, so I just stumble around in the dark and grab the first thing that feels like it might be a jumper. Only when I get back downstairs I can see that I've picked up one of my mum's bloody hand-knitted maroon ones, haven't I?
I tell her, "I'm really sorry, I couldn't see properly in the dark" - but she just laughs and pulls it over her head and that makes me laugh too, because she looks ridiculous in it. It comes down to practically her knees and the arms are so long you can't even see her hands.
She pretends to model it for me, does a little twirl and asks, "What do you think?"
I say, "I think you look a lot better in that thing than I do."
Her, smiling: "I quite like your jumpers actually."
Me: "Now I know you're joking!"
Without thinking I say, "Lavender hated them. She said they should all be burned."
Her: "Yes, well, Lavender couldn't find her own face with a mirror."
That makes me laugh my head off.
Me: "Do you really like my jumpers?"
"Yeah, I do."
"Why, for God's sake?"
She thinks about it for a minute. "Probably for the same reason you say you like my hair when I don't. Because they're you."
That makes me go a completely new shade of red. I protest, "Yeah, but your hair's sexy. My mum's jumpers -"
But I don't get to finish the sentence because well, my mouth's otherwise engaged, heh heh.
Later on when we go off to bed, she pulls the jumper over her head and goes to give it back to me, and I tell her she can have it if she likes it so much. She says it might be a bit of a giveaway. I say at least it's not one of the ones with a sodding great big "R" on the front, that really would be a giveaway. She says actually, she'd love to walk into the common room wearing it and see the expressions on everyone's faces. I say, "Yeah, they'd all be like, "Oh my God, what the hell is she wearing?"" She says, "No, they'd all be like, 'Ooh, that's Ron's jumper! Bad girl, Hermione!'"
That makes me crack up. I still keep laughing to myself all day today thinking about it. Bad Girl Hermione... God, she's amazing. Amazing, awesome, wonderful, brilliant, marvellous, incredible... damn, I need some more adjectives. She'd be better at this than me, she knows more words. Let's just use one she'd never use in a million years, a definite Ron Weasley word: she's fanfuckingtastic!
Really funny and just a little bit scary today. We had double Potions after lunch and Slughorn was droning on as usual, and it was really hot, and I was practically falling asleep, so I thought I'd write her a little note, and then, well...
My God this lesson's really boring
In fact I think I might start snoring
Please tell me, if you're feeling daring
What colour knickers are you wearing?
And then she wrote this back:
You really should pay more attention
Or spend your evening in detention
Though I agree this lesson's not
Exactly thrilling. (Polka dot
In white on a light shade of blue.
They're rather nice in fact. And you?)
Oh my God! Polka dot! I nearly swallowed my tongue...
You've made me lose my concentration
I'm sitting here in mild frustration
Polka dot sounds most appealing
Any chance of you revealing
Them later on for my attention?
Make it worth the long detention!
Oh, and I forgot to mention,
At which point Slughorn, who I haven't noticed has come up behind me, leans over my shoulder and plucks it out of my hand. We watch with horror as he walks back to his desk reading it. He doesn't mention it at all until right at the end of the lesson when we both try and race out of the classroom as quickly as possible and he coughs and says, "Ah... Mr. Weasley... a word?" She mouths "sorry" at me and practically runs after Harry - thanks for the support, Hermione - and I drag myself up to Slughorn's desk expecting at least a detention and probably worse. It's hard to tell who's more embarrassed but to be honest I think its probably him. I'm really hoping he still feels guilty about accidentally poisoning me. He waits until everyone else has left and then he says, "Yes... hmm.. I believe that this" - handing back our note - "Is yours?"
I stare at the floor and mumble, "Yes, sir. Sorry, sir."
He says, "I think perhaps it would be prudent to save such things for outside of lessons, don't you?"
"Yes, sir. Sorry, Sir."
I glance up then and accidentally catch his eye, realise how utterly mortified he is about the whole thing, start thinking about Hermione's polka dot knickers, and to my horror, lose it completely and actually laugh out loud. Shit. Snape would have me in detention for a month for this. McGonagall would have me expelled. Slughorn just goes even redder and says, "Yes, well... I expect you've got lessons to go to, have you?"
"Well, go on, go on..."
I don't need telling twice.
"Yes, sir. Thank you, Sir!"
Jesus. How close was that? I don't think I'll ever be able to look him in the eye again! When I saw her later she said we should be more careful, because another teacher might have read it out in front of the whole class and can you imagine how embarrassing that would have been? I said it would be worse for her 'cos everyone would know she was wearing polka dot knickers, but Slughorn grabbed it before I could finish so at least no-one would know what colour my pants were. She said, starting to laugh, "Well, what colour are they?"
I had to have a quick look because I couldn't remember so I showed her a bit of the top of them - red and blue checked. I was obviously feeling a bit reckless after my narrow escape, because then I asked if I could see hers and she pretended to be outraged and said, very firmly, "I don't think so."
Me, jokingly: "Oh, come on, it's not like I haven't already seen your knickers!"
Me: "Last summer. In the holi-"
Her, going absolutely crimson: "Oh! I forgot about that!"
Me, laughing: "I didn't!"
Her: "Well, you did show me yours…"
I practically choked to death at that one, and she showed me a little bit of the top of hers (which was one of the highlights of my life!) and then we couldn't stop giggling, everything just seemed really funny. Slughorn's face!
Fuck. Fucking fucking fuck. Everything's gone wrong. Completely, totally and spectacularly wrong. I don't even know where to start, to be honest. Can't just say it. About Bill. And what Snape did, and Malfoy - well, I just can't, that's all. It just makes me really angry, and upset, and I can't do anything about it anyway, so what's the point? I mean, we've talked about it, me and her and Harry and Ginny, we've hardly talked about anything else for 48 hours solid, but I feel like I need to write it down as well, to try and get it sorted out in my own head, do you know what I mean?
They're talking about shutting the school for good. So I guess I'm not going to get to fail my exams after all. Sorry. That wasn't funny. Force of habit. I don't care anyway. I'm finding it kind of hard to care about anything anymore, to be honest. Might be dead this time next year. We all might be dead this time next year. Bill's lucky to be alive at all. Lucky! He - aaarrgh, I can't write this!
Harry was right. We should have listened to him. I should have listened to him. All those times he called Hermione a Mudblood, all those sarky little comments he made about my family being traitors to the name of wizard, I should have known! I should have pounded him into the floor years ago. Maybe if I had... Anyway, so yeah, Harry was right, the little bastard really was up to something. Something! Jesus. How were we supposed to know? None of us could possibly have imagined that. I hold him personally responsible for what happened to Bill. It's gone way beyond that kicking I was going to give him now. I don't know what I'd do to him if I saw him again. Bad things, anyway. I think I might have to push Harry out of the way to get to him, to be honest, because Harry actually saw what happened. Had to watch it but couldn't move, because Dumbledore had done the full body bind on him so he wouldn't move and draw attention to himself and get himself killed -
I think I might have to try and start at the beginning again.
Harry went with Dumbledore to - well, there's something they've been doing for a few months, that I haven't mentioned because it's his business - so they went, and something happened to Dumbledore, so he was sick when they got back, Harry said he was really weak and could hardly stand, and that was how they managed to -
No, I need to start before that.
We were in the common room waiting for Harry, just the two of us. We were just talking. It's too risky to do anything else when he could walk in at any second, and anyway, he definitely can't see my hand on her thigh from the door because the back of the sofa's in the way, I've checked. We were laughing about getting caught by Slughorn a couple of days before, although it seems like weeks ago now. And then Harry bursts through the portrait hole, running, races past us without even stopping and up to the dorm. He's gone about fifteen seconds, during which there's just enough time for me to make one of my idiotic jokes about wow, he must be really desperate for the loo, and her to roll her eyes and tell me, "That's not funny, Ron." And then he comes back.
He tells us how he'd been up on the sixth floor, trying to get into the Room of Requirement as usual, trying to catch Malfoy at it, and instead he'd bumped into Trelawney. She was looking for somewhere to stash her sherry bottles, only she couldn't get in because someone was already in there. She told him she'd heard a whooping, like someone celebrating, and Harry knew instantly that whatever it was Malfoy's been up to all year, he'd finally managed to do it. And let's face it, it wasn't going to be good. He asked her to come with him to Dumbledore to explain what she'd heard - I suppose he thought he needed back-up. Anyway, on the way to his office Trelawney started talking about the Prophecy, the original one she made sixteen years ago to Dumbledore about Harry being the chosen one, the one who's got to destroy You-Know-Who, and -
For God's sake, Ron, use the bloody name, what's wrong with you?
There you go, that wasn't hard, was it? The sky didn't fall in or anything.
So Trelawney lets slip that when she was making the Prophecy to Dumbledore, Snape had been there hiding and had overheard. Which means he was the one who passed on the information to - Voldemort - trying to make himself look good, I suppose, and that's why Harry's parents were killed. Because of Snape. I can't even begin to imagine how Harry must be feeling about that one. He ditched Trelawney and went rushing to Dumbledore to tell him that he was right all along about Snape, and about Malfoy, but Dumbledore wouldn't listen. He kept insisting that whatever Malfoy was up to wasn't important and that Snape was on our side. He said that after Harry's parents were killed Snape felt really guilty about it, said he didn't know what Voldemort was going to do - yeah, right! - and came to him offering to work for the Order as a double agent. And Dumbledore actually believed him! That was it, the reason he trusted him all this time. Like Harry says, how could Dumbledore have trusted the person who was responsible for Harry's parents' deaths, purely on his word? He's a liar and a murderer. Dumbledore wouldn't listen to him, though, he kept insisting Snape was trustworthy. Harry says every time he thinks about that now he wants to be sick.
Anyway, Dumbledore told Harry to forget about Snape and Malfoy, because there was something much more important that they had to do. He said he'd finally managed to find one of the Horcruxes, and he wanted Harry to come with him, to try and destroy it. Oh, yeah, Horcruxes. This is pretty hard to explain, especially for a thicko like me, but basically Voldemort's found a way to split his soul into seven pieces, and they're called Horcruxes, and it makes it almost impossible for anyone to kill him, because they have to find every piece and destroy it. And it could be anything. A stone, a pen, a cup, a locket, anything. It could even be a person or an animal. So you have to find out what it is first, and then you have to find where it is, and then you have to try and destroy it, and it's not that easy to destroy a Horcrux. There's no information about them in books or anything. Believe me, Hermione has scoured every page of every book on every shelf in the library, and she's found nothing. If there had been anything at all, she'd have found it. It's possible that no-one's ever done it before, because no-one's ever wanted to. It's not easy to split your soul in two, let alone seven. It makes you less than human. You're alive, but you're not really, because your soul's broken. At least, that's how I understand it. Does that make sense? As though any of this makes sense!
Oh, yeah, and to make a Horcrux, how it works is, you have to kill someone. That's how you do it, you kill someone and then you can split your soul in two. So for Voldemort to have split his soul into six pieces, he must have had to kill six people. Christ, my hands are shaking. Hang on.
Sorry, I just had to -
Anyway, Dumbledore tells Harry they're going to look for one of the Horcruxes, and Harry knows instantly that if Dumbledore's away from the castle, Malfoy will be able to carry out his plan, and there'll be no-one to stop him. He runs back to Gryffindor Tower to get his invisibility cloak like Dumbledore told him to, and his map, and the little bottle of Felix Felicis - the lucky potion I thought I'd taken that time but it turned out I hadn't - and he comes back down to the common room and says that he hasn't got time to explain properly, but he's going to go with Dumbledore and try and find one of the Horcruxes, and that Malfoy's celebrating something in the Room of Requirement and that whatever he's doing, we've got to stop him, and Snape too. He says we should try and round up as many people to help as possible, because there might be some fighting, and he practically throws the map and the little bottle wrapped in socks at us, and gives us both a look, like he knows this might be the last time he sees us, and rushes out of the room again. And I think that's just about where we came in...
Me and Hermione just stare at each other, stunned. I'm starting to get that sick feeling I get before Quidditch matches, only a thousand times worse. She looks absolutely terrified. She says she'd better go and get her enchanted coin from her trunk, so we can alert the other members of the DA to come and help us, but I grab her arm and say, "Wait!"
I don't know what I'm actually going to say, I just know that I have a really, really bad feeling about this, and I don't want her to go. All I can think about is how in the Ministry of Magic last year she got knocked unconscious and there wasn't a thing I could do about it, and what if something worse happened, and - All this goes through my head in about three seconds flat.
She shakes her head. "Ron, there's no time."
"Ten seconds, then. We can wait ten seconds, can't we?"
I tell her, "Look, I have a really bad feeling about this. What if something happens? I don't want this to be the last thing I ever say to you."
She looks shocked. She says I shouldn't say things like that, and it'll be fine, because we have the lucky potion, although to be honest she doesn't sound like she believes it either. She tries to pull away, but I'm not going to let go of her arm, not without one last try.
Then there's the shortest patented Weasley two-second hug of my life - only enough time for four words and one very short kiss - and before I've even opened my eyes she's pulled away from me and is running towards the staircase to the girls dorm.
She's back before I even have the time to think about what's just happened or what might happen later, with Ginny in tow. I don't get to speak to her alone again because she's busy explaining the whole thing to Ginny, and then to Neville who turns up looking all excited a few minutes later, and then we all take a couple of drops of the Potion, and suddenly I can't believe I was ever worried about what might happen. I feel fantastically confident that everything's going to be fine, that Malfoy is finally going to get what he deserves, and that tonight is going to be some sort of wonderful triumph. I feel so confident, in fact, that I don't even hug Ginny, which I feel absolutely sick about later once the potion has worn off. We all say "Good luck!" but we're sure we won't need it, and I'm not even worried when we get outside into the corridor and Luna's waiting there to offer her help too. Hermione goes off with Luna to watch Snape's office, and me, Ginny and Neville take the map and go up to the Room of Requirement to try and stop Malfoy. And then everything goes horribly, horribly wrong.
When we get there we've got our wands out ready, because we don't know how many people are in there. I'm pretty sure that between the three of us we could tackle Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle - hey, I got an E in Defence Against The Dark Arts, remember? - but any more and we might be in trouble. I don't know how long we wait, only that it's a long time, and that we can't make any noise in case they hear us and realise we're out there waiting for them. Anyway, eventually Malfoy comes out - I suppose he was checking the coast was clear - but before we can do anything suddenly everything goes dark. And I don't just mean dark like when the curtains are drawn, I mean, you can't see your hand in front of your face dark. There's a lot of shouting, and a load of people rush past us, but we don't know how many, because we can't see anything, and we can't use any spells to stop them, because we might hit each other. Malfoy's got his Hand of Glory, that horrible withered hand thing that gives light only to the holder, so he can see in the dark, and lead everyone through it. Finally, when they've all gone, we manage to stumble out into another corridor where it's light again, and that's when we bump into Bill, Tonks and Lupin, who are patrolling the school on Dumbledore's orders, so he obviously does suspect something might happen. I can't help blaming him a little bit, because if he hadn't told Bill to come -
Anyway, I've got the map, so we can see that Malfoy and his friends are heading for the Astronomy Tower and go after them. Later on we realise they'd gone there to set the Dark Mark over the school, so Dumbledore would see it and think that there'd been an attack and someone had been killed. Trying to lure him back to the castle where they'd be waiting for him. Harry told us afterwards he could hear fighting below, hear shouts and explosions, so he knew we were putting up a fight, and he kept willing us to break through and stop it. But we didn't know what was happening, we didn't even know he was there. And even if we had, they'd put some sort of blocking spell on the spiral staircase at the top of the Tower, so we couldn't get through to find out.
I don't know how many Death Eaters there were, just that every time I hit one with a spell, I'd look around and another one would be coming at me. I honestly think if it hadn't been for Harry's lucky potion I wouldn't be here, because somehow all their spells just seemed to bounce off us. I saw Neville get hit by a flash of something blue and get right back up again, as though nothing had happened. I seemed to remember every useful spell and hex and curse I'd ever learnt, at the exact moment I needed it. I kept looking for Hermione but I couldn't see her anywhere. I couldn't find Malfoy either - I knew he must be there somewhere, and I suppose I just figured if anyone was going to get the little bastard it was going to be me, but I never got the chance. I think I got knocked unconscious for a few seconds, because I remember being on the floor and not really knowing why, and seeing a tall ginger-haired bloke fighting a Death Eater a few feet away and thinking, "Oh, that's me!" But of course it wasn't me, it was Bill. I was a bit confused. Probably a bit concussed, too. And then Neville shouted at me to come and help, and I got to my feet and went to help him, and that was the last I saw of Bill until - well, afterwards. I didn't really see a lot that was going on. I didn't see Snape and Malfoy running back down the stairs from the top of the tower, and I didn't see Harry running after them. So I didn't know anything about what had happened until we were up in the hospital wing half an hour later and Harry told us.
She's the smartest girl in school, but she's got Luna with her. I like Luna and everything, but if I could have chosen anyone to go with and look after my girlfriend, it wouldn't have been her. Good thing I didn't think about that until after the lucky potion had worn off, because I don't think I'd have let her go without me otherwise. But then I'd have had to let Ginny go with Neville and Luna. Damn it. There was never going to be a happy outcome to this, was there? Anyway, her and Luna go down to Snape's office to watch it like Harry told us, and they wait, and wait, and nothing happens for about two hours, and then suddenly Professor Flitwick comes running, all flustered, obviously doesn't say anything to Hermione and Luna about what's going on, and Snape lets him in.
Two minutes later Snape comes out again, tells them Flitwick's collapsed and they should stay and look after him, and that Death Eaters have got into the school, and he's going to go and help fight them. So that's what they do. I've got the map, so they don't know what's happening upstairs with us lot, they just do what they're told. Afterwards of course, she realises that Snape must have done something to Flitwick, Stupefied him or something, and that's why he was out cold. He must have come to tell Snape that there are Death Eaters in the castle, and - because Snape's supposed to be a member of the Order and Dumbledore's told him to trust the bastard - he's obviously assumed Snape will help. Only instead Snape must have rushed up to the Astronomy Tower to help with the fighting on the Death Eater side. And - to kill.
Harry had the worst of it. Harry always has the worst of it. If I ever complain about anything again - Quidditch, exams, Mum banging on at me about my job prospects - remind me about this and I'll, oh, I don't know, punch myself in the face or something. You can even do it for me if you like.
I don't know how much of this I should be telling you, to be honest. I'm not sure it's safe to write it down. Anyone could read it. It's one thing having people read about my stupid fumblings with Lavender in a cupboard, it's quite another writing about things that are supposed to be secret, that Harry promised Dumbledore he'd never tell anyone except us.
Well, I suppose I can tell you that Harry's story of what happened that night is one of the scariest things I've ever heard in my life. And that they didn't find the Horcrux, because someone else had got there first, taken the real Horcrux and replaced it with a fake one, and a note signed R.A.B -
I think I might have to burn this page when I've finished.
Of course, Harry didn't realise this until afterwards, that they'd gone through all that for nothing, that Dumbledore had - for nothing. They Apparated back to Hogsmeade and that's when they saw the Dark Mark set over the school. How were they to know it was a trap? Harry says he was absolutely terrified, he was sure one of us must have been killed, he just wanted to get back as fast as he could to find out what had happened. They borrowed broomsticks from the Hog's Head and flew up to the Astronomy Tower, and when they got there Dumbledore actually told Harry to go and fetch Snape, he said Snape was the only one who could help him - help him! - with his injuries. But before Harry could do anything they heard footsteps coming up the stairs, and Malfoy came bursting through the door.
Harry says there wasn't any time, it all happened so fast. In two seconds flat Dumbledore had put the full body-bind spell on him, so he couldn't move, couldn't speak, couldn't shout out for help, and that meant Malfoy had enough time to take Dumbledore's wand from him, leave him defenceless. Without his wand he didn't stand a chance. Dumbledore must have known who it was coming up the stairs, known what was going to happen to him, he could have stopped Malfoy, but instead… Harry feels really guilty about it, he keeps saying that if only Dumbledore hadn't wasted precious seconds on saving him, he might have been able to save himself. If only he hadn't been too weak after what happened in the cave.
I think I need to tell that part too. In the cave -
In the cave there was a lake and in the middle of the lake was where the Horcrux was. There was a little boat, and they got in and rowed across to the middle of the lake, and the Horcrux - it was a gold locket - was at the bottom of this stone basin that had some sort of green liquid in. They tried all sorts of spells but only way to get to the locket was to drink it. Harry says he offered to drink it himself, but Dumbledore refused, said Harry was too valuable. And he told him - told him that whatever happened he had to promise to make sure he kept drinking it, right to the bottom. Even if he, himself, begged him to stop. Harry says he only agreed because he didn't have any choice, but if he'd known what was going to happen -
I've just walked three times around the room and I still don't know how to write this.
He says - he says that Dumbledore started drinking, and that at first there didn't seem to be anything wrong, but then he started shaking, and crying and - other things - and Harry had to force him to drink it, practically hold him down and force it down his throat, because he was screaming, and obviously in a lot of pain, and begging Harry to stop.
I can't write this. It's too hard. And it's Harry's memory, not mine. I don't have the right. I just can't.
He was under the cloak so Malfoy didn't know he was there, watching, the whole time. All he could do was watch. Couldn't shout out, couldn't get to his wand, couldn't do anything to stop it. Couldn't even blink to shut out what was happening. He said Malfoy was almost boasting, saying that when all this was over he'd be Voldemort's new favourite, like murder was something to be proud of. That was Malfoy's "special mission", that was what he'd come to do. Kill Dumbledore.
The thing is though, he couldn't do it. He kept saying he was going to, said some other awful things too, but he just couldn't go through with it. Dumbledore kept him talking, kept telling him he wasn't a murderer, that it wasn't too late to save himself. Harry says by the end Malfoy was nearly crying. He said he had to do it because Voldemort would kill him and his parents if he didn't. Dumbledore actually offered to help him, said if he came over to the right side, we could keep his family safe somewhere Voldemort would never find them, but Malfoy wouldn't listen, he said nobody could protect him.
And then the door burst open again and Harry thought that someone had finally come to help, that it was us breaking through the door, but it wasn't. We were all still fighting only twenty feet below, we didn't even know he was there, we didn't know what was happening. And - we were losing. Bill was down, Neville was down. Our luck was starting to run out - literally. If they'd wanted to kill us, I'm sure they could have done, but of course, that wasn't what they'd come for. They just had to keep us away from Malfoy so he could - you know.
Anyway, four of them managed to get away from us and up the stairs to where Harry and Malfoy and Dumbledore were. Harry says if they hadn't arrived when they did, he didn't think Malfoy would have done it, and they obviously realised that too, because they started to argue amongst themselves as to whether one of them should do it instead. One of them wanted to, but the others said no, Malfoy had to do it, it was Voldemort's orders. But Malfoy was too scared, he'd lowered his wand, he didn't want to do it. And then while all this was going on suddenly the door burst open again and Snape came in, seemed to realise what was going on instantly, and just - just did it, before Harry could do anything, before he'd even realised what had happened. The Killing Curse. One second and it was all over.
Harry says he was so shocked he couldn't move. He didn't even realise that the body-bind spell had broken for about ten seconds, and as soon as he could move again he knew it must be true, that Dumbledore must really be dead, because that was the only thing that could break the spell. He could hardly look at any of us when he was telling us this.
Lupin said he saw Snape dragging Malfoy down the staircase, with the Death Eaters apparently chasing after them, and just let them go. He didn't realise, he thought Snape was on our side. Harry chased them across the grounds, heading for the gates, and he knew that if he let them get out of the castle, they'd just DisApparate and he wouldn't be able to stop them. He tried to fight Snape, but he got away. And the next he knew he was kneeling over Dumbledore's body at the foot of the Astronomy Tower and Ginny was dragging him away, telling him we were all up in the hospital wing waiting for him.
Bill was fighting Fenrir Greyback, the werewolf, the one that bit Lupin when he was a kid. Most werewolves don't want to kill, they hide themselves away at the full moon, but Greyback's sick, he's got a taste for blood and killing, and he -
We thought Bill was dead at first. There was just so much blood. I thought I was going to throw up on the spot. I still feel sick thinking about it now. He didn't look like Bill anymore. If it hadn't been for the hair, and because I'd seen him, what he was wearing, half an hour earlier, I wouldn't even have recognised him. We took him up to the hospital wing and all I kept thinking the whole way there, was, Mum'll kill me for this. Stupid things you think in these situations. In the back of my mind I was starting to get this little nagging feeling too, wondering where she was, but I kept pushing it back - can't think about that as well or my head'll explode. I think by this time I was just in shock, actually. The others were busy getting Bill and Neville into beds and there was so much confusion, everyone talking at once, telling their stories, trying to understand what had happened.
All I remember noticing was that I had Bill's blood spattered over my new trainers, and when I looked round at the others I saw that their shoes had blood on them too, and that the floor was criss-crossed with what seemed like hundreds of bloody footprints. We'd all been treading in his blood. I think I threw up a little bit in my mouth when I saw that. It seemed impossible that Bill could have any blood left in him at all. I barely even noticed when Flitwick came staggering in, in a bit of a bad way, with her and Luna helping hold him up. I didn't even speak to her, I just registered that she was there, and she asked me if I was okay and I think I nodded. I don't think I even asked her if she was okay too. I didn't notice Ginny leaving to try and find Harry either, although I suppose she must have told me she was going. I just stood there.
And then I heard McGonagall say they should tell Mum and Dad, and that seemed to wake me up. Mum and Dad. What was I supposed to say to them? How could I possibly explain what had happened? What if he died? Afterwards it occurred to me that this was what Harry must have felt like when I got poisoned. Completely helpless. Guilty. Absolutely bloody terrified. I got hugged by so many people in a row I was sure if one more person hugged me I'd start crying, it was just awful. Everyone except her. I caught her eye and we sort of silently agreed we'd save our hug for later, when we were on our own. Although that didn't happen. There just wasn't any time.
Ginny and Harry came back then and Harry told us some of what had happened to him. Not all of it, just that Dumbledore was dead, and that Snape had killed him. And I'm looking at that written down, and it still doesn't make any sense.
We got the full story over the next couple of days. He kept remembering other terrible things that had happened, as though he'd tried to bury them in his head but they were so awful they had to come out. Some things he only told me and Hermione. Dumbledore made him promise not to tell anyone else, even members of the Order. Apparently we've "proved ourselves trustworthy", whatever that means. I'm not feeling particularly trustworthy at the moment, to be honest. I really messed up with Malfoy. Not just the other night, but not listening to what Harry was saying about him in the first place. Only caring about my own stupid problems. Quidditch. Girls. If only I'd listened to him! If I had - well, Bill wouldn't be lying in the hospital wing, for a start.
Oh God, the worst thing, the absolute worst thing, was the look on Mum's face, the sound she made when she saw him. It was just horrible. I hope I never have to see or hear anything like that again. This is the second time she's had to come up to the school this year, once for me and once for Bill. I never really thought about what it must have been like for my mum and dad, all I cared about was that Hermione was talking to me again and that I'd missed a Quidditch match. It's weird when it happens to you, the nearly dying thing. It's like it's not real. You're sort of vaguely aware that something's happened to you, but actually, it hasn't, it's happened to everyone else. They're the ones freaking out, you just get to lie there and have people bring you grapes, and you've got a great excuse to get out of homework for a couple of weeks. You get to turn it into a funny anecdote - "When I nearly died...", like it's a joke. But it's not a joke, not for the other people around you. I got off pretty lightly, considering. I mean, I actually felt better when I got out of hospital than before I went in. But Bill…
I keep thinking about Mum, what she's been through in the last eighteen months, all the people she's nearly lost. First my dad, then me, then Bill. And what Bill said last Summer, about her losing her two brothers in the last war and having six sons of age to fight - and die - in this one. Harry and Hermione don't realise what it's like, coming from a large family. She's just got her mum and dad to worry about, and they're Muggles, they're not right in the middle of it all like my family are. Harry - well, that's not a fair comparison. But I've got nine people in my family, and most of them are in the Order, and when you look at it like that, the odds aren't good, are they? Percy's a prat and the twins are a pain in the arse, but I don't want them to die. Four of us have already been nearly killed in this war. Four out of nine. Maybe next time we won't be so lucky. I bet Mum wonders why she was ever worried about Charlie going off to Romania to work with dragons, and she went mental about that. We still use it as a benchmark of Mum's freaking out level. "It's as bad as that time the twins accidentally burned down the shed, but not quite as bad as when Charlie wanted to go to Romania."
Still, I suppose being savaged nearly to death by a werewolf kind of puts all Fred and George's antics into perspective, doesn't it? Charlie came back from Romania. Dad rebuilt the shed. Bill might not get better. Nobody knows what'll happen to him now because Greyback hadn't transformed when he bit him. Lupin says there's no precedent for it, so he can't tell us anything. We'll just have to wait for the next full moon and cross our fingers. Cross everything.
I keep thinking about her too. She feels really guilty about it, like it's somehow her fault. We all do. Harry feels guilty because he thinks that if only Dumbledore hadn't tried to save him, he might have had time to save himself. I feel guilty because if I hadn't screwed up outside the Room of Requirement I could have stopped Malfoy. She feels guilty because she thinks she could have tried to stop Snape leaving. I'm very glad she didn't, though. I keep thinking about what he would have done to her if she'd got in his way. He'd have killed her without thinking twice, I'm certain of it. He'd have killed any of us without thinking twice.
She also feels guilty because it turns out it was Malfoy who sent Slughorn that bottle of poisoned mead, meaning for it to get to Dumbledore. He told Dumbledore he got the idea from her - he overheard her in the library, talking about how Filch can't recognise Potions if they're in the wrong bottles. That's how Romilda Vane got her sodding love potion into the school, and that's how Malfoy's poisoned mead got to Slughorn in the first place. So it's thanks to him I spent nine days in the hospital wing, and alright, maybe if I hadn't got poisoned she wouldn't have started talking to me again and I might still be going out with Lavender, but that's not the point. God, he must have been delighted when he got me instead. Like losing a Knut and finding a Galleon. He got the idea for how to send a message to his Death Eater mates from her too. They used enchanted coins, same as we did. It's kind of sick that last month we were using them to arrange our little night-time meetings in the common room, like it was a game, and all the time Malfoy was plotting this.
The look she gave me when Harry told us, though. She just looked gutted. Like I might hold it against her or something. Blame her for something Malfoy did. I mean, it's hardly her fault if Malfoy's too stupid to think of his own ideas and has to nick them from her, is it? None of this is her fault. I told her, "Listen, I'm glad Malfoy poisoned me. If he hadn't, I wouldn't have you, would I?" But even as I said it I knew that maybe I didn't have her anymore, I just didn't know it yet. God, if only I'd had the guts to tell Hermione I liked her last year! If only I hadn't kissed Lavender instead. If only we'd told Harry a month ago instead of keeping it a secret, but now... now we might never get to tell him.
There are a million if onlys. If only Dumbledore hadn't left! If only I'd listened to Harry when he kept telling me Malfoy was up to something. If only more people had turned up to help, if only we'd had more of the Felix Felicis to go around, if only Dumbledore hadn't trusted Snape, if only Bill hadn't been on duty for the Order that night, if only Fred and George hadn't sold their Peruvian Instant Darkness powder to freaking Malfoy... It doesn't help, but it's all we can do, keep going over and over it all trying to make sense of it.
It's pointless, I know, but I can't help thinking that if there was just something we'd have done differently none of this would have happened. Bill wouldn't have got injured and Dumbledore wouldn't be dead. If only the entire supply of Ministry time-turners hadn't been destroyed last Summer, maybe we could have gone back a few hours and changed everything. But then, why not go back a month so you'd have time to make a decent supply of lucky potion? Why not four months, and stop me drinking that poisoned wine? Eight months and I wouldn't have gone out with Lavender. A year and Sirius wouldn't have died. Christ, why not just go back to before Voldemort was born and stop the whole damn thing!
I could drive myself mad thinking about all the ways this might have turned out differently, but the fact is, it happened. I've got to stop dwelling on the past and concentrate on now, because whether I like it or not, this is probably going to get worse before it gets better. I can't think too far ahead. Hell, I can hardly think much further than the end of this sentence. I definitely can't think about going to Paris, or getting a flat together, or anything in the future. Anything good.
Just come back from seeing Bill in the hospital wing. We had a long talk. Bill says he feels fine, or at least, better than he looks. He says he's got to get well because he's getting married next month, and it's already cost so much money, Mum'll kill him if they have to call it off, and he started laughing. I asked him how can he joke about it, why isn't he angry about what's happened to him, and he said he's getting married to the most beautiful woman in the world, why would he be angry? And I, er, told him about Hermione. I don't know why, exactly. I suppose I just wanted to talk to someone about it and I knew he wouldn't tell anybody.
And do you know what he said? He said: "About bloody time!"
ME: "What's that supposed to mean?"
BILL: "Oh, come on, you've fancied her for years, haven't you?"
ME, horrified: "Does everyone know about this?"
BILL, starting to laugh: "Well, I'm not sure about Great-Auntie Muriel..."
ME: "Ah, fuck."
BILL: "Ow... Please don't make me laugh, Ron, it hurts too much..."
ME: "Well, I'm glad you think it's funny!"
BILL: "No, I'm sorry, it's not funny. Ouch. Not really, anyway. Hermione's a lucky girl."
ME: "Shut up!"
BILL: "No, really. Come on, you can be a total idiot sometimes, but you're still a Weasley. We're smart, we're funny, we have really good hair... We're a catch!"
ME, sceptically: "What, even Percy?"
BILL, chuckling: "Well, maybe not Percy."
ME: "Smart, funny, and broke, yeah, great catch..."
BILL: "Speak for yourself. Gringotts is pretty well-paid if you want to reconsider being an Auror. I could put in a word for you."
ME: "No, thanks."
BILL: "Listen, don't knock it. I need to keep Fleur in the style to which she's become accustomed, soon as I get out of here I'm going straight back to work. You've got another year before you have to think about any of that, you're lucky. No bills to pay, no wife and kids to feed... A whole year where all you have to worry about is kissing girls and trying to get served in pubs."
ME: "Final exams, no more long holidays, trying to find a job... and that's if they keep the school open, what am I gonna do if they close it? I can't get a job with only seven OWLs! Seven shit OWLs..."
BILL, shaking his head: "Look, this is going to be a difficult year for everyone. I don't know if I'm doing the right thing, marrying Fleur in the middle of all this, dragging her into a war our family's right at the heart of. You've already been through so much, seen things I never even had to think about at your age. I wish you could just have a year where all you have to worry about is kissing girls and trying to get served in pubs, but that's probably not going to happen. This isn't how I'd have chosen to spend my first year of marriage, either."
He goes silent for a bit, then he says he's been thinking about going to see Percy, to ask him to come to the wedding. He sent him an invitation last year, but he never heard back. He says look, things like this happening make you realise that's life's short, and I'm too young to realise that yet, but I will, probably sooner than I should. He says he remembers when he was my age he thought he was immortal, and that nothing serious would ever happen to him. He tells me he was talking to Lupin about this the other day, and he said the same, that him and his mates all thought they'd be friends forever, and look what happened to them. Harry's parents are dead, Sirius is dead, Pettigrew betrayed his friends and became a Death Eater... Lupin's the only one left. Bill says the best piece of advice he can give me is to make the most of any time we have. "Get as much kissing done as possible!"
And I know what he's saying, but… I mean, of course I'd rather spend the summer kissing Hermione in hay fields. Of course I'd rather stay at school and at least have the chance of passing my exams and getting to be an Auror. Of course I'd rather everyone I know doesn't die. I'd sort of rather not die myself if I can help it. At least, not before I've - we've - uh, well, you know... I just don't think I'm going to get a choice.
Just come back from visiting Bill again. Mum and Fleur were both there too. It's weird, they used to pretty much hate each other and now suddenly it's like they're best friends or something. I think Mum thought Fleur would run a mile when she saw how badly Bill had been injured, but she didn't, she's been here every day. Even when he's asleep she just sits there with him. Like Hermione did with me, in fact. I should ask her about that. I don't know why I never have. I suppose I didn't want to find out that one of my best memories wasn't real, that she wasn't there, that I'd just imagined it all. And maybe I realised that if it was real, if she was there, holding my hand, crying by my bedside... well, that's actually a little bit scary. I can't pretend she just thinks I'm her idiot friend anymore. She really likes me. She really likes me. She likes my stupid hair and my stupid jokes and my stupid freckles. She even likes my stupid jumpers, for God's sake. She likes stupid me and I should be happy about that, shouldn't I? I should be dancing around the bloody room. But knowing that - that it's not just one-way, that in a few weeks we were going to tell everyone and then we could have properly been together - well, that just makes it harder.
We managed to snatch a few minutes alone yesterday and I said to her, "We're never going to be able to tell him, are we?" She shook her head and said, "Not anytime soon." I know what she meant by that, she meant we can't even think that far ahead anymore. We have to just concentrate on what's happening right now, because tomorrow or the day after or next week we could all be dead. I didn't even bother asking about Paris. Everything normal like that just seems weird now. It's weird that I ever cared about my bloody shoes, or not getting good enough grades to be an Auror, or whether Hermione really did get off with McLaggen at the Christmas party. None of it matters anymore. I don't even know if there's still an us. It's not the most important thing anymore, is it? It still feels like it is, to me, but I know that it's not.
Me and her haven't really talked about what's happened. We've talked about it with Harry, of course, but not on our own. There's not been any time. We haven't talked about what happened before, either. What I said. There was a snatched five minutes the day after when Harry went off for a long walk with Ginny, but that was mainly just a very, very long hug. A good hug, but still just a hug. Actually, it was a bit like that hug I didn't get from her last Christmas. The Christmas before, I mean. When my dad was in hospital and she went to hug me and I didn't let her because I thought I was going to cry. It was like that. I didn't want to cry, because - well, I just didn't - but I didn't want to let her go, either. I might have lost her that night. I still might. I keep thinking about what if she'd tried to stop Snape, what he might have done to her, and getting this icy shiver up my spine.
Later on I went to have a bath, to get some time to myself to think - actually, no, some time not to think. I'm sick of thinking and talking and hearing about everything that's happened, I just want to go back to last week when all I had to worry about was getting a detention from Slughorn for writing filthy notes in classes. I sat there not thinking about it 'til the bathwater went cold. Didn't want to go back out there and see the expression on Harry's face and have to have that conversation again, realise that it's all true, it really happened, Dumbledore's really dead. Even last week it was like a game, me and her. Trying to keep it a secret from the others. But now it's really serious. Not just because of what I said to her, either. Everything's different now. Everything's divided into then, our lives before, and now. All of that stuff - Lavender, getting poisoned, trying to work out whether Hermione liked me as more than just friends - seems like a million years ago. My whole life up to five days ago already seems like it's fading away, and there's just now, this moment, and everything that's happened and will happen after.
I can't believe that this time last week the sum total of my ambition was to finally get to kiss Hermione in public. I'd sort of imagined it happening on the last day of school. Maybe at the station when our parents came to pick us up, or in the dinner hall on the last night of term. I was going to make a big dramatic gesture. Take her in my arms, tip her backwards, big kiss, huge round of applause, thank you, you're too kind, thank you all! Everyone staring. Harry amazed we'd managed to keep it a secret for so long. Ginny looking smug. Her all stunned and impressed. I was sort of hoping to make up for taking such a pathetically long time to kiss her in the first place. And even then she had to make the first move, I just stood there like a lemon. So, yeah, it was going to be spectacular. For once in my life. I was going to sweep her off her feet. But now... it's like someone's offered me a handful of Galleons and then snatched their hand away at the last minute.
And I know it's ridiculous to still be thinking about stuff like that after everything that's happened, but I can't help it. I've been thinking about it - her - for so long it's kind of hard to switch it off in my brain, think about something else instead. I know none of my stupid dreams are important anymore, and I know there's a war on, and people have died, and I shouldn't be thinking of myself at a time like this, but honestly, right now, at this moment, if you gave me a choice and if I'd passed my sodding test - I would take her and just DisApparate the fuck out of here. Go and live in a cottage in the Outer Hebrides or something. Somewhere not hot. Alaska. Just somewhere away from all this. I know I couldn't do it, though. Leave Harry, and my family. And anyway, what the hell would I do in Alaska? I can't fish. I'm not even a very good swimmer. Lavender thought that was hilarious. "You're a water sign and you can't swim?" I used to like swimming when I was a kid but I haven't swum for years. Not since the point I realised it probably wouldn't be the best idea for Hermione to see me in a pair of swimming trunks, anyway. Not with my legs.
And I'm rambling. I'm rambling because I'm nervous, and I'm nervous because in an hour -
No, not nervous. Terrified.
I think I always knew, somewhere in the back of my mind, that this wasn't going to have a happy ending. We might get a year, or a few months, or weeks, or no time at all. But eventually, we are going to have to fight. I mean, it's not like Voldemort's gonna wait until we've taken our exams, is he? "I was going to kill Harry Potter, but I'd better let him sit his NEWTs first…" No. People I care about might die. I might die. Maybe that's why I never bothered too much about getting my homework in on time. Jesus, I can't seem to stop making jokes, what the hell is wrong with me?
I can't imagine what dying might feel like. I know what not dying feels like. But dying? One minute you're there and then - you're not. You just don't exist anymore. A flash of green light and it's all over. Mind you, there are lots of other not so quick, much more horrible ways to die. When Dad got bitten by that snake it was at least half an hour before help arrived. He must have known he was going to die. Lying there in a pool of his own blood. Life flashing before your eyes, all that kind of thing. At least the Killing Curse is pretty much instant. One second, that's all it takes. You wouldn't even know you were going to die. That would be okay, I think. I don't think I'd want any warning. What would be the point? Although I suppose at least if you knew you had, I dunno, two hours to live or something, you could say goodbye to people. Mind you, that would be a cheerful conversation, wouldn't it? "See you tomorrow, Ron!" "Yeah... about that…"
It makes my head hurt just thinking about it, to be honest. The idea that I might die seems just as likely as the idea that I might miraculously pass all my exams and get to be an Auror. Or Paris. I never really believed that would happen, either. But then, this time last year I couldn't have imagined all this. Me and her. Hey, if I had two hours to live, maybe I could persuade Hermione to have sex with me! Last request and all that. Mind you, she'd probably just spend the whole time crying. Whenever I've thought about it before, it hasn't really involved the girl being in floods of tears. Not unless I turn out to be really rubbish at it, anyway. That's something else I can't imagine. What that might feel like. I can't really ask Bill that one. Oh, hey, I forgot to mention: I asked Bill how tall he is and he says he's six foot two. I don't begrudge him that extra half an inch, though. Considering everything he's been through. And considering I've probably got at least another year's worth of growing to do, so I might still beat him. Maybe if I'm lucky I'll live to see six foot three. Har har.
The thing I can imagine, though, is other people dying. Her, I don't even want to think about. Harry, though… Harry's like one of my brothers, only a lot less annoying. And he really might die. I mean, he's not even seventeen yet, how's he supposed to fight the most powerful wizard that ever lived and win? Not just defeat him, actually kill him. Even with our help. Although I don't know how much help I'll be. I suppose I can, I dunno, hold his coat or something. But what if he dies and there's nothing I can do to stop it? If he can't defeat Voldemort, there's no way I can. If Harry can't do it, if he dies… It'll all be over. For all of us.
No, that's not going to happen. Nothing's going to happen to Harry, or to any of my family, and nothing's going to happen to her, because I won't let it. Yeah, I've got to think positive. So, we might all be dead next week! Well, hey, we might not. We might find all the Horcruxes and Harry might finish off Voldemort and it might all be over by August. We can go back to school in the Autumn and she can get to be Head Girl like she always wanted. I can try and scrape the grades I need to be an Auror - although working in a bank's looking kind of appealing right now, ironically. Bill knew what he was talking about there. And Harry can get to finally just be normal for the first time in his life. And me and Hermione…
Oh God. I just have the worst feeling about this. Like everything's going to go wrong and there's nothing I can do to stop it. Tonight we've agreed to meet in the common room at 2 a.m, because tomorrow morning it's the funeral and then straight afterwards the train's coming to take us all home. So this is our last night. It might really be our last night. She said we needed to talk, and you know what that means. And even if it doesn't mean that, it still might be the last chance we get to spend any proper time alone together for a very long time. When I kiss her it might be the last time ever. And I know I said I was going to think positive, but it's kind of hard to when your only thought, every waking second, is, please God, don't take her away from me. I honestly feel like my head might burst open. Too much thinking, I suppose. Ha, I can hear Fred and George's voices now: "That'll be a first!" And I can't believe I can still find the time to make stupid bloody jokes when my whole life's about to fall apart.
It might be that seven weeks is all I get. Seven weeks! I want to say it's not fair, but then a lot of things aren't fair. It's not fair that Mum should have to go through all this worry again. It's not fair what happened to Bill. It's not fair that she might not get to take her exams after working so hard for six years. She shouldn't have to miss her exams. She should get to be Head Girl. She should get to see Paris. She should get everything she wants. I'm lucky, at least I got what I wanted. The only thing I've ever really wanted. Even if it was for only seven weeks.
I wish... I wish we could just have the Summer. Even if we don't go to Paris, it would be great just to be able to go for lots of nice long walks in the fields around the house with her. Getting sunburn and heatstroke and grass stains on my clothes and new freckles for her to count. Not getting any sleep. Hopefully for good reasons rather than bad ones, ha ha. And it's not even that that I'm thinking about, it's everything else. Just being able to be with her. Not having to arrange it in advance. Not having to worry about other people finding out. Not having anything else at all to worry about for six whole weeks. Although knowing her she'd probably already have started worrying about her finals, even though they're a year away. I can just imagine her insisting on taking a book with her on one of our nice long walks and trying to get some early revision in. And me trying my level best to distract her. Hey, that's my job! Distracting Hermione. It would be nice to be able to distract her outside, that's all.
God, if only I'd known these last seven weeks might be all I'd get, I'd have - I don't know, would I have done anything differently? Maybe it's better that we didn't know. All those nights of horizontal snogging on the common room sofa. All those snatched five minute kugging sessions in the bathroom between lessons. That time we went for a walk in the grounds and I got thistle rash. Less than a week ago I was standing in the bathroom with her while she showed me the top of her polka dot knickers, for Christ's sake. How can I just go back to being friends with her after that? Pretending I'm not thinking about other things in my head. Kissing her. Touching her. Even just holding her hand. What if I never get to do any of that again? What if that's it? See, this is why I've got to stop this diary. Stop imagining the worst. At least we had those seven weeks. At least I got to tell her how I felt about her. At least we did get to spend those few weeks together like everything was normal, like we were just normal, like we weren't involved in all this.
Even at my most optimistic the best I can imagine is that we put it on hold until all this gets sorted out, and that it's over quickly, and nobody else I care about is badly injured or - or killed. I'm trying to keep it together, to keep strong, because, well, what else can I do? If I thought about what might happen, that I might lose her, that less than two months is all we get, I've have to chuck myself off the Astronomy Tower. Because I have a really bad feeling about this. Every way I look at it I can't see how there can possibly be a happy ending. Bill was lucky - lucky! - not to have been killed. If we all get through this unharmed it'll be a bloody miracle.
And my family's one thing, but if anything happened to her... I don't know what I'd do. I don't think I'd cope very well. I think I might crack up. I remember how bad it was in February, when she wasn't talking to me. I thought I was cracking up then, but at least she was still here... The only way to deal with it is not to think about it at all, or try not to. It's better not to think about these things too much. The future. Maybe when it's all over we can think about normal stuff again. Passing our exams. Finding jobs. Getting a flat together. Ha. I'm never going to get to spend that fifteen Galleons, am I?
Everything depends on what happens now. I mean, maybe they won't shut the school after all. Maybe we can just come back in September like nothing's happened. No, you're right, I don't believe it either. Even if we do come back, it's not going to be the same. I don't suppose we'll get to do much revision, for a start. And how can we just carry on like everything's normal after what's happened? Harry's going to want to finish this for once and for all. I want to finish this for once and for all. If Harry can do this, and we can help him, that's got to be the most important thing. Nothing else matters now. I can't afford to let it matter. Harry needs us, and we've got to be there for him. I've got to be - ha! - brave, and let her go if I have to, and just hope that one day she'll come back to me. Christ. I feel about a hundred years old. I don't want to think about this anymore. I don't want to write about it anymore either. It just makes things worse.
Its five to two. She'll be there now, waiting for me. I want to see her, of course I do, but I don't want to at the same time, do you know what I mean? I don't want it to be over. I don't want to have to hear her say those words and then just stand there like it's not killing me. Why the hell did I wait this long? Why didn't I say something last year? All those times I wanted to tell her and never did. All those months I wasted with Lavender. And now it might be over before it's even really begun. I suppose there's a tiny chance she might not say that at all. She might say it's over. She might say, oh, let's just tell him anyway. She might say any one of a hundred things. Actually, I know exactly what she's going to say. She's going to say, "When all this is over, maybe..." That's the one thing I've got to hold onto, that we've all got to hold onto. That one day, hopefully soon, this will all be over, and after that, maybe…
I'm going downstairs now and I'm not coming back. Well, I'm coming back, I'm just not going to write about it, that's all. If this is going to be the last time I ever kiss her, I just want it to be in my head for ever, perfect, exactly as it was, I don't want to share it with anyone. Even you, sorry. So good night, and I suppose, goodbye. I won't say it's been fun, 'cos it hasn't. You've been rubbish. Anyway, I've got Hermione, what the hell do I need you for?
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Thank you all if you've read this far, and I hope you enjoyed reading my story as much as I did writing it - it's one of the things I'm most proud of in the whole world. Please take a few minutes to show your appreciation with a review, it's the only way I know you were here, and you liked it.
And if you haven't already, do go and read my other stories too. Probably have a nice hot cup of tea and a couple of jam tarts first, though.