In His Voice
A Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger fiction
"Are you absolutely sure, Ron?" Hermione called after him, racing as fast as she could down the steps. They had just left the safety of the Room of Requirement in what they hoped was a means of destroying the Horcrux Hermione had stashed within her robes.
Ron stopped abruptly and turned around, letting his eyes meet Hermione's as she came to a halt. "Yes," he said confidently. "Think about it, we have a Horcrux, it needs to be destroyed – Harry destroyed Riddle's Diary with a basilisk fang – the venom – it ate through it like it was nothing!"
When Hermione's mouth failed to refute his words, he turned back around at continued his descent. As he reached the second floor, he took a sharp left and headed straight for the girl's lavatory, hoping to dodge Myrtle.
He darted inside, staring at the arrangement of sinks before him as he heard the door click behind him. Rolling his eyes and remembering the tips present in chapter seven of Twelve Fail-safe Ways to Charm Witches, he opened to door to a moderately surprised Hermione.
"Thanks," she mumbled, looking at him curiously as she ducked under his arm and into the room. "I never did see how you guys got in there," she said, speaking a little more loudly. She took several steps toward the sinks, keep her eye keen on the serpentine tap in particular.
"I wish you never had to,"whined Ron, stepping up behind her, looking over her shoulders at the barren basin – there was not the slightest hint of moisture.
"And why is that?" Hermione asked, and as she turned her head to face him, her eyes met his. Their faces were but an inch from one another; their breaths mingled together as each felt their heart flutter.
"I don't mean it like that – " Ron stammered. "I just mean – it's something no one should have to go through."
Hermione took the initiative to back away, Ron had the class to look embarrassed.
"You make it sound like it's torture," Hermione said softly, feigning interest in the tap below. There was a brief silence as she waited for a reply. When it didn't come she prompted action, "so, how do we get in?"
"We just have to speak Parseltongue."
"Ron, you're joking," Hermione groaned, turning to glare at him. "Please, tell me you're joking."
"Then how are we supposed to get in there?" Hermione inquired, looking at Ron with her hands placed on her hips and her shoulders raised a little in irritation. The semblance to his mother was almost sickening. "Only Harry and Voldemort can speak in Parseltongue, you know that."
"I've picked up a little," Ron said defensively.
Hermione sighed and rested against the sinks, closing her eyes in disappointment. "You can't learn Parseltongue, Ron."
"I didn't learn the language, just a phrase."
Ron stared at the tap bearing the snakes wrapped around its sides as ushered Hermione to move aside. She stepped backward once and shook her head.
"Sa'ai a'cha si'edh." He echoed the words he heard Harry speak at least twice before, each time to open something dark and soul-numbing. Whether the Chamber or the Locket, it didn't matter – it, despite Hermione's naïveté, was torture. She hadn't been there when he'd been verbally shredded by her ghostly counterpart.
The sink did not move.
"Should I go get Harry, now?" Hermione asked, not knowing the pain her words caused him. Ron was never good enough, never the best. Harry would always be better than him, always there to overshadow him. Something dark and bitter within him hoped Harry failed to make it out of the war alive.
"Just let me try again," Ron said, frowning at her. She nodded. "Sa'ai a'cha si'eth."
Yet again, much to Ron's dismay, nothing happened. The sink stayed completely stationary.
"I'm getting Harry."
"No, no." Ron pleaded, looking at her in earnest. "Just... I can do this, I know I can. Just let me try again."
"Ron, we're wasting time."
He ignored her complaint. Turning once again toward the tap, he focused hard on perfecting the sounds that escaped from his mouth, mirroring exactly the words that had left Harry's only a few months before. "Sa'ai a'ka si'eth,"
The sink began to spin, emitting a radiant white light as in shrank away and out of sight.
"You did it, Ron!" Hermione squealed, her eyes alight with excitement.
"See, I knew I could," Ron said, letting out an 'oumph' of surprise as Hermione tackled him with a hug. "And you doubted me."
Hermione instantly removed her arms from around him and glared as the last four words echoed lightly in the lavatory.
"So, is there like... a ladder or something?" she said after a moment, looking at the void the sink had left. There was an opening to an enormous pipe in its place.
"What?" Hermione looked at him questioningly as he jumped into the pipe.
"RON!" she squealed in panic, watching as his red hair vanished into the darkness. There was a moment where she could only hear her erratic breaths and the furious beat of her heart before there was the distant sound of crackling, like cracking bones from below.
She hoped that it wasn't his bones she was hearing.
"Just come down here," he called. Hermione's breathing eased. "It's safe – it smells like shit down here, but it's safe."
"Oh, if your mum could hear you now," she mumbled to herself, closing her eyes, hoping that her self pep talk would be sufficient to stifle her fear long enough to follow him into the Chamber. "You can do this, Hermione, you can do this."
She stepped toward the open pipe and took a large breath.
"No, I can't!"she cried to herself, racing away again.
"You coming?" Ron shouted. He sounded further away. Would he have gone on without her? Would he be safe alone? The questions gnawed at her mind.
She bit her lip anxiously. "Yes, yes, I'm coming," Hermione replied, throwing all caution to the wind as she leapt in. The journey down the pipe was a long and rough one, several times she worried she'd flip over and break her neck, though it may have been more likely that she would lose her hearing from her terrified screams that echoed through the pipes.
She crashed into something soft, causing it to fall backward and crash against the ground. She looked up quickly, fearing the worst. Her cushioned fall had been provided by Ron, whose eyes, not for the first time that evening, met hers.
"Hi," she said simply.
Hermione stood quickly, trying to regain her composure as she brushed the dust from her robes and swallowed. "Erm... yeah..."
She looked all around her, raising and lighting her wand instinctively. The little she could make out from the minimal lighting was that the floor was covered in the bones of perhaps a dozen different varieties of vermin and wet with grimy sludge.
"Wow, it's... dirty..." she stated the obvious, unable to find anything else to say.
Ron spoke lightly. "Well, what'd you expect, it's not like my mum's here to clean after me."
Hermione forced back a laugh. "Right, well, lead on." She motioned with her wand in the direction she assumed was forward. When Ron left in that direction and followed the dozens of winding tunnels, past the collapsed rubble, she knew her suspicions were correct.
Along each side of the Chamber were enormous stone serpents, eyes crusted with deep emerald gems, reminding Hermione of the piercing stare Harry could so easily give without trying – she didn't feel herself shiver.
"Wow," Ron said suddenly and sarcastically, causing Hermione to jump in surprise. A few feet ahead lay an enormous skeleton – the skeleton of the basilisk Harry had to slay with only a sword. She felt prouder of him now than she had even immediately after awakening from her petrified slumber. "Salazar would have made a brilliant interior designer."
"Gloomy, isn't it?"
"Quite cheery," Hermione said dryly, hazarding a step in the direction of the skeleton. "That's the basilisk?"
"Yeah," replied Ron, closing the distance in a few quick strides. "Merlin, it's big."
"It is. Reckon we can just pull one of those teeth out?"
"Using your bare hands?" Ron scoffed. "Are you mad? You could get cut... the venom – "
"Right, of course..." Hermione mumbled, directing her wand at the lower fangs. "In that case - Diffindo!"
There was a noisy clatter as several of the fangs fell to the ground. Ron, grabbing one, offered it to Hermione to examine.
"So, how did you do this," Hermione asked, withdrawing the Cup from her robes, " – you know, with the locket?"
"I just – stuck the sword through it." Ron said emotionlessly, not blinking as he looked Hermione in the eyes.
"Well, I mean – I mean what happens,you know? Does it just die or.. does something else happen?"
"It's a lovely experience, really." Ron said without missing a beat. He swallowed as he recalled destroying the Locket. The harsh, poisonous utterances that had brutalised his heart. "It's just lovely..."
Hermione kept her eyes focused on him as she knelt, setting the cup before her and brandishing the fang, as Ron suspected Harry had now five years before, as a dagger.
He looked at her, frowning. He knew that she was not happy with him – she had made a habit of using his full name when she was upset with him. A habit, he suspected, she had picked up from his mother.
"It torments you in any way it can till it's completely destroyed," Ron said shakily, swallowing as he fought the urge to force the fang away from her and suffer the horrors of destroying another Horcrux so that she wouldn't have to. "It's terrible. They make You-Know-Who cry if he weren't the one that made the ruddy things."
"Did you, did you – cry?"
Ron closed his mouth, simply nodding his response.
"What – what did it say ... or do to you?" Hermione whispered gently.
Ron's face distorted with the pain of memory, but his tongue did not betray him. "Nothing, nothing," he said weakly, sinking to the ground.
Hermione placed the fang her hand on the ground beside her and crawled to him. Placing her hand on his shoulder, she looked straight into his eyes. Her deep brown eyes met his, causing his throat to constrict a little. "You can tell me, Ron."
"No, I – " Ron mumbled.
"You," he replied. It was the only word he could muster.
"Huh?" He closed his eyes and took as deep a breath he could manage, fighting to control his emotions. He couldn't let himself look weak, not to her. He had to be strong, strong for her and strong for Harry.
"It produced these – ghosts," he said in a low voice, averting his eyes. "It knows, Hermione, it always knows."
Hermione looked confused.
"Knows what, Ronald?"
He wrestled with the restless emotions welling within him. Part of him wanted to stand up and confess his undying love for her, to kiss her, hug her, and snog her till the day he died. The other part, the part always the lesser – the shadow – the sidekick – kept his words at bay.
"We ought to get a move on or Harry'll get back without us – " Ron said in an effort to change the subject.
"Right," Hermione said. He could swear he saw a hind of crimson in her cheeks – he reminded himself that it was likely just the light playing tricks with his mind. She crawled back to the cup and took the fang in hand.
She knew the words that had been at the tip of his tongue. They were the same as the words that fought to be spoken from her own lips – to tell him what she felt. She was glad for the subject change, though, she didn't think she could deal with life getting any more complex than it was at the moment and a relationship, no matter how much she knew they both longed for it, was something that could only complicate things.
Turning away from him, Hermione raised her tightly
clenched fist, bearing the fang of the basilisk, and plunged it into
the heart of the Cup. Somewhere in her mind, she could hear, in his
voice, the three words she'd longed for so long to hear – I
Author's Note: Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this little one shot and hope to see you review!