One-Up

author's note: Obviously I don't own the rights to any of this stuff. I wrote it for fun and not for profit. I hope you enjoy it.
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"We find the defendant, Stanley Samuel Shunpike, not guilty of all charges. Case dismissed," said the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. He started to say something else, too, but his words were drowned out by loud cheers from Stan's friends. Stan hugged his lawyer, Hermione Granger, and thanked her again and again. Ernie was crying and pounding Stan on the back, and most of the spectators were applauding. Harry Potter, sitting among Stan's friends, shouted, "Well done! Well done!"

The warlocks of the Wizengamot rose and left their seats, and then the rest of the court began filing out. Hermione gathered her papers with a flick of her wand, packed them neatly into her bag, and slung the bag over the shoulder as she left the courtroom.

"That was great, Hermione," said Ron, as he came up behind her.

Hermione jumped. "Ron!" she exclaimed. "What are you doing here? Why aren't you at work?"

"I talked Kingsley into giving me the day off," said Ron, grinning. "Harry got the morning off too, but he has appointments this afternoon. There he is, see?" Ron pointed. Harry was among the crowd walking up the stairs. He waved back at them.

"We both wanted to come watch your closing statement and wait for the verdict with you." Ron held up a picnic basket. "Look, I brought you some lunch ... well, lunch for both of us, actually ... let's go to that field near the Burrow. It's nice and quiet and we can, er, sit and talk for a while. It's a really nice day out." Hermione looked like she might be about to suggest that Harry come along, so Ron added firmly: "Just the two of us." Hermione nodded.

"I didn't see you in the courtroom," said Hermione. "I definitely saw Harry, but not you. How did you get in there without me noticing? Were you there all morning?"

"Oh, yeah," said Ron. "I was watching your closing statement. You were brilliant."

"You should've told me you were coming," said Hermione, looking a little annoyed, but half proud. "So you've finally gotten the hang of Disillusionment Charms, then? But I thought those were blocked inside the courtrooms ..."

"I found a way," said Ron. He stuffed his wand into his pocket, hoping Hermione wouldn't notice a small soft bulge there. For a moment, Ron's eyes went over Hermione's shoulder and met Harry's in the crowd, and Harry winked. Ron nodded at him, then turned back to Hermione. Luckily she didn't seem to have noticed. Harry pushed his way into the elevator with a dozen other wizards, and was soon lost to sight.

"I didn't want you to see me, because you get a little nervous when I watch you work," Ron explained. "And this was your first big trial, so I wanted you to be calm. And you were. You looked very good." Hermione beamed.

"Ready?" She smiled, placed her hand on his arm, and they Apparated to the field. Ron concentrated very hard on his destination, visualizing it as clearly as possible. He'd had a good look at the place yesterday, just to make sure. He wanted everything to be perfect today, and he mentally blessed the Wizengamot for giving him a great start.

Of course, a few thanks were due to Harry as well, for loaning him the Invisibility Cloak.

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