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The Return of the Not So Prodigal Friend

Ron's back, but Hermione refuses to forgive him. Ron's POV.

Ron Weasley turned over in his cramped bottom bunk, trying to get comfortable. He punched his pillow savagely. He even shoved his head under said pillow in an attempt to drown out Harry's soft snores.

No joy. He just really couldn't sleep, and grumbled something under his breath about smothering The Boy Who Lived with his useless bloody pillow. Anything to get some rest.

Really though, it wasn't Harry's snoring which kept him awake.

It was, as usual, Hermione.

The beautiful, clever, unbelievably stubborn witch who was currently keeping watch outside their lonely tent ... who also steadfastly refused to speak to him and only acknowledged his presence with disgusted huffs of breath and extremely black looks.

He was perfectly well aware of that fact that he deserved them – he had abandoned them in a fit of foul temper, after all ... but this was getting ridiculous. He knew her well enough to know that righteous indignation could carry her for weeks – months even, he remembered ruefully – but as there was no Luna Lovegood available to talk to her ... well, he'd just have to do it himself.

If he was honest with himself, and he more often than not was – brutally so, lately – he wasn't looking forward to it one bit. If anything, he was half-tempted to wake Harry, just for a bit of back up – no doubt there would be yelling, and Harry would end up awake anyway, but he decided against it. Fight your own battles and let the poor bastard sleep.

So, gritting his teeth, he swung his feet out from under the blankets and set them on the ground.


"We have to talk," Ron said by way of greeting, sitting beside her on an old log.

She looked up from her book briefly. "I have nothing to say to you."

Her tone was so cold he almost shivered. "Fine. Listen then."

She just shrugged in a dismissive sort of way and returned to her reading.

"Look, Hermione, I know I did a terrible thing. You don't have to tell me that, but this is getting stupid. Would it kill you to at least be civil?"

Her head whipped around and she glared at him. "Are you calling me stupid?" she asked in a dangerous voice.

"Don't put words into my mouth," he snapped, "you know perfectly well that's not what I said. This. Situation. Is. Stupid. I don't expect you to forgive me, although it would be nice, but we've got a job to do here ... and this," he waved his hands expressively, "isn't making it any easier."

She slammed her book shut so hard it echoed. "That's your problem, Ronald. You want everything to be easy. Well I'm sorry," she spat out, "but not this time."

Ron rolled his eyes. "Well, I'm sorry," he imitated her, knowing full well it would get him into more trouble, but at least she was talking to him now, "but not this time." He shook his head and then continued in his normal voice. "Has it ever occurred to you, Hermione, that not everything in life has to be mind numbingly complicated and difficult? I know what I did. I've apologised for it countless times. I've told you that I tried to come straight back but couldn't. I've told you I looked for you after. If you can't accept that, fine. I can deal with the fact that, for you, apologising will never be enough." He clutched at his hair in frustration. "But is it really necessary for you do be some bloody rude? We're stuck here in this damn tent, until the job is done. We've got to help Harry find the bloody horcruxes and, if possible, we've got to survive the bloody experience. It's going to be a lot EASIER," he narrowed his eyes at her, "if we can work together." He stood abruptly. "I don't know what the hell you want from me. That's all I had to say."


He stopped by the mouth of the tent, but didn't turn.

"What I want, from you, is to know what the hell you were thinking."

"I can't tell you that," he told her flatly.

She swivelled, on her log, to face him. His back was still to her, his shoulders hunched, and he was viciously massaging his right wrist.

"You can't, or you won't?" she challenged, jumping up and grabbing his arm.

He wouldn't look at her. "Either or. If that's what it's going to take, well then I'm shit out of luck, aren't I?" He tried to pull away, but she held fast.

"What's wrong with your arm?"

"What?" forgetting himself, he looked down at her in confusion. "Nothing's wrong with my arm."

"Rubbish," she snapped, "whenever you're stressed, or thinking hard, you rub the scars on your right arm, especially," she touched the inside of his wrist, "right there. There harder you think, the harder you rub it. Why?"

"That?" His eyes held a closed in, shuttered look. "It's nothing, a nervous habit."

"Bullcrap," she frowned up at him. "Sit down," she ordered, surprised when he let her drag him back to the log and force him down. "That's from the brains at the Department Of Mysteries," she stated, "they still bother you."

Ron shrugged, non-committal. "Sometimes, so what?"

"So why haven't you ever mentioned it?" she demanded.

"And said what? Ouch, the brain scars are stinging again! Boohoo? Despite what you believe, Hermione, I'm not that much of a prat. We've got someone in there," he nodded toward the tent, "with a scar that does a lot more than sting occasionally when things are a bit stressful."

Hermione opened her mouth to speak, then closed it again abruptly, taking her time to think before she spoke. "When you were wearing the locket, did they hurt more?"

"That bloody thing? They hurt like hell - " he cut himself off suddenly, realising he'd given away too much. "Look, it doesn't matter, really," he pulled his arm from her grasp, "I'm going to bed. Wake me up when your watch is done, Harry's sleeping properly for a change."

"OK," she watched him thoughtfully as he made for the tent. "Goodnight, Ron."

"Night, Hermione." He waved in her general direction and disappeared.