Chapter 7 – Trapped
"Locked?" Hermione reached for the handle and pushed. "How could it be locked?"
"Good question." Ron kicked the door with all his might.
"Yeah, like that's going to help," Hermione scoffed, regaining her composure.
"Got any better ideas?"
"Uh…how about magic?" She asked sarcastically. She wasn't going to let the revelation that Ron had no feelings for her whatsoever crush her. She was going to stand up to him and pretend as if nothing was wrong – the same thing she had been doing for two years. Crying could come later. "You are a wizard, after all. At least you were last time I checked." He sneered at her. "Where's your wand?"
"In the banquet hall," he muttered, giving the door one last kick.
"Oh, well that's a good place for it."
"And what about your wand? After all, you were a witch last time I checked."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Where exactly would you expect me to hide my wand in this?" Hermione shouted, pointing to her dress. She was right, Ron realized as he looked her up and down, there was no room in a dress like that to hide a wand. "What are you staring at?"
"I wasn't staring," he replied, hastily tearing his eyes away from her body.
"Yes you were."
"No I bloody wasn't!"
"You are infuriating, you know that?"
Hermione turned and began to walk away. For the first time she realized where they were – a small kitchen.
"And where do you think you're going?"
"There's no way I'm standing here watching you gawk at me. I'm going to find another way out."
She stormed away, her heels clicking against the tile floor. Huffing, Ron quickly glanced around. He couldn't see another door so he hopped onto an empty counter and sat. Finding another way out was a good idea, but he wasn't going to give her the satisfaction that he thought so.
Having found another door on the other side of the kitchen, Hermione pulled it open. She grunted when she saw that it was only a storage closet. As she went to close the door again, she noticed a silver handle sticking out from the ceiling. Stepping inside the closet, she took a better look. The latch was connected to some sort of hatch.
Determined, Hermione dragged a wooden crate full of cleaning supplies over to the middle of the floor. She took out the cleaning supplies one by one and turned the crate over. She hiked up the bottom of her dress and stepped onto the crate. She reached up for the latch, standing on her tiptoes.
Across the kitchen, Ron looked around, wondering where Hermione had gone off to. Maybe she had found some other way out and she was secretly laughing at him sitting in the empty kitchen all alone. But he wasn't about to go after her. He would rather have sat there all night than admit that she was right. He idly kicked his feet against the metal counters when he heard a crash and a scream.
"Hermione?" He called out. He hopped off the counter and headed for the back of the kitchen.
"Ohh! Owww!" She cried.
Ron found her on the floor, clutching at her right ankle. The wooden crate she had been standing on was in pieces around her.
"What happened?" He asked, kneeling down beside her.
"Nothing, I'm fine," she replied, holding back tears. She couldn't stop the throbbing pain that was currently consuming her foot.
"You're not fine. Let me take a look." He reached out to touch her ankle, but she pulled her entire leg away, which sent shooting pain up her leg.
"I said I'm fine," she snarled.
"If you want to fight with me, that's fine, but I'm not going to let you just sit here by yourself in pain. Now let me take a look." He said it with such sternness, that Hermione was surprised. She slowly took her hand away from her ankle. Ron moved closer to her and looked at her pale skin that had already begun to bruise.
"It doesn't look broken. A bad sprain maybe, but not broken." He touched it lightly and she winced. "Sorry." He retracted his fingers from her ankle, but they lingered on her calf. "Your arm needs to be cleaned up, too." She looked at her left forearm, which had a long, deep scratch across it. She hadn't even noticed that she had injured it. "I'll get you some ice."
"I can get it," she insisted, trying to shift so that she could get herself standing again.
"Are we going to argue about this, too?" Ron asked.
Hermione was about to answer with some sort of snide remark when she saw the small smile on his face. He was joking with her like they used to do. Suddenly the night of jealousy and anger at him was disappearing from her mind and she was transported back to the time when they could easily joke back and forth.
She shook her head.
"No, I suppose not."
"Although I don't think Ginny would thank me very much if I left her maid of honor sitting on a cold, dirty cement floor."
He knelt down beside her once more and placed one arm under her knees and the other around her back.
"Ron, what are you…"
He lifted her in one swoop. She opened her mouth to protest, but he shook his head, telling her that she shouldn't say anything. So she didn't.
As he walked with her through the kitchen, she put her arms around his neck. The pain from her ankle seemed to subsiding. She felt safe and warm in his arms. And yet, she knew that she shouldn't be having those feelings. He had already made it very clear that he didn't have those feelings for her.
He placed her gently down on the counter he had been sitting on.
"I'll be right back," he said. He headed for the large refrigerator and freezer in the center of the kitchen. Within seconds, he was back with a bag of ice and two dish towels. "Well, it's a good thing you weren't in Ravenclaw, Hermione," he said as he knelt down in front of her and looked at her ankle.
"Because blue is not a good color on you."
She couldn't help but smile as he felt his fingertips once again on her skin. He slowly and carefully began to unbuckle her silver shoes and slipped it off her foot.
"Those things are a death trap," Hermione stated as Ron threw the shoe onto the floor. "And I don't care that they supposedly make a woman sexier. I'm never wearing heels again."
"That's too bad," Ron muttered. He had been admiring her in the heels all evening. They did make her incredibly sexy legs even sexier.
He busied his hands by wrapping the ice in the towel and placing it gently against her ankle.
She cringed as the cold towel made contact with her bruised skin.
"Sorry." He hated seeing her in pain. "What were you doing up there anyway?"
"I thought I found a way out."
"Is being stuck with me really so bad that you had to risk spraining your ankle to get away?" Hermione let out a small giggle.
With the ends of the towel, Ron tied it around her ankle to keep it in place.
"It's good to see you smile," he said, running the second hand towel under the faucet from a nearby sink. "I had started to forget what it looks like."
Ron rang out the towel and brought it back over to where Hermione sat. He began to dab at the cut at her arm.
"When did you become a first aid expert?" Hermione asked.
Ron shrugged. "It's just something I picked up here and there. You know, from Quidditch and roughhousing with my brothers in the backyard. Sometimes we'd come in so bloody and bruised that my mother would just look at us and scowl. And she refused to use magic to heal us. She said that if we were going to act like spoiled children, we deserved what we got."
Hermione smiled again. "Sounds like your mother."
Ron pressed the towel against the cut. Even though it had mostly stopped bleeding, he wanted to be sure.
"You know what?"
"I would say that this is the longest conversation we have had without it turning into an argument in…"
"Two years," Hermione finished. "What happened to us, Ron?" The question came before she even knew that she was going to ask it. He looked directly into her eyes, but then back at her cut again as if he couldn't really stand to look at her. That look made her remember the night she left all too vividly. Even still he couldn't stand to look her in the eye.
"I don't know." It was a lie and he knew it. He knew exactly what happened – she had left him and it broke his heart.
"For seven years we were friends…best friends," she couldn't stop the words from coming. "I miss that. I miss us."
He dropped the towel from his hands and took a step back. This was just becoming too much. He had waited so long to tell her how he felt and to find out the truth about what had happened between them, but he still wasn't prepared for it.
"You left, Hermione," he said, almost in a whisper. "You said you never wanted to see me again and you left."
"I left because that's what was best."
He gazed at her intensely. "What was best? After we kiss…after what happened, how could you possibly think that was best?"
"I heard you!"
"Heard me what?"
"Talking to Charlie."
"What? What are you talking about?"
"At Fred's funeral. You and Charlie were in your room and I heard you talking about…"
"About our kiss!" She yelled. Hot tears streamed down her face. "I heard you tell him that you hated it and that you hoped it never happened again and that I had sandpaper frog lips!"
Ron's eyes widened. It suddenly all made sense.
"So I said what I said about you and…and I left because I was humiliated. And not just because of the kiss, but because I had feelings for you that obviously weren't reciprocated and…"
"I didn't say that about you!" Ron blurted out.
Startled, Hermione didn't know what to say. "What?"
"I was talking about my Great Aunt Mildred."
Hermione's eyes blinked rapidly. Her head began to spin.
"Your Great Aunt…what?"
"Every time Great Aunt Mildred comes to visit, she always greets me with a big, fat, disgusting kiss."
"You had no reason to leave."
Her brain felt like it was spinning. Was he saying what she thought he was saying?
"Trust me, Hermione. Kissing you was the most amazing experience of my life."
"All this time…"
"You've been angry with me for something I never said. Well, at least not about you, anyway. And I've…"
"Been angry with me for what I said and for leaving when I never wanted to," Hermione finished. "I'm so sorry, Ron for the arguing and…"
"I'm sorry, too."
"No, it's my fault. I'm always the one who started them. I just thought that things could never be normal thing. And I didn't know how to be in love with you and just be your friend. I couldn't just be your friend."
"What did you say?"
"I said it was my fault."
"No, after that."
"I said…I said I love you."
In a split second, Ron had closed the gap between them and his lips were on hers. He wrapped his arms around her small frame as her arms snaked around his neck. This kiss was neither soft nor hungry. It was one of comfort and familiarity, signifying the first of many to come.
"I love you, too," he said when they parted. He leaned into her smile, pressing his lips gently against her own a second time.
"We have a lot of catching up to do," Hermione said quietly as Ron pressed his forehead against hers.
"And the rest of our lives to do it," he replied, running his fingertips over her bare shoulders.
"There's just one thing I have to know," Hermione said. She put her hand on his cheek and stared deep into his gorgeous eyes.
"How the bloody hell did you end up with Ginger?"
He smiled and placed a kiss on her forehead.
"Ginny introduced us."
"She told me you were taking a date to the wedding so, to make you jealous, I…"
"Wait, she told you that I had a date?"
He rested his hands on her hips. It felt incredible to be so close to her and know that it wasn't just by accident.
"Because she told me you had a date. And when I saw you and Ginger together, I decided to make Michael my date to make you jealous."
"Trust me, it worked."
She smiled. "It did?"
"You have no idea," he said, devouring her lips. She raked her hands through his hair.
They were both so enthralled in each other that neither of them heard the kitchen door open. Ginny and Harry stood together, arms around each other's waists, admiring the view.
"Looks like everything's back to normal," Harry said quietly.
"Well, I wouldn't say normal. I would say a little better than normal," Ginny giggled. "And I would say a told you so is in order. I knew that locking that door was a good idea."
"So you were right," Harry agreed.
"Thank you," Ginny replied, smiling.
"Oh, would you two shut up?" Ron practically yelled. He turned around, but kept his hand on Hermione's waist. There was no way he was ever going to let her go.
"Well, excuse us," Ginny said.
"We'll leave you two alone," Harry remarked, pulling on Ginny's hand.
"Oh and Hermione," Ginny said before she let Harry drag her away. "I think I got my something new." Ginny winked at her and walked away with her new husband.
"What was that all about?" Ron asked, pushing a stray piece of hair away from her face.
"It's a special maid of honor, bride thing," she answered, smiling. He looked deeply into her eyes. "What?"
"I really have missed that smile," he said, bringing her hand to his mouth and kissing each of her knuckles.
"Well, I promise that you won't ever have to go without it again."
"I'm counting on that. I love you, Hermione."
"And I love you."
Their lips connected once more, both knowing that this time, it wouldn't be the last time.
Author's Note: Well, that's it. I hope you enjoyed my story (despite some of the not so great reviews I received). I don't know if I'll be writing any more Harry Potter stories in the future, but thank you for reading!