Tiny white flower petals fluttered out of the tip of Ron Weasley's wand. They landed softly on the floor and vanished with small 'pops' moments later.
"Bugger!" he fumed, banging his wand roughly against his hand. He knew he was being ridiculous. He could hold his own against dark wizards, help his best friend hunt down evil artifacts, come back from a hard physical blow, but he could not, for the life of him, make one bloody flower appear from the tip of his wand!
"Stupid day..." he fumed. "Stupid wand... stupid girls!" The only reason he was even attempting to make a flower was for the girliest, most horrible, hideous day of all time—Valentine's Day.
Ron was more than glad to completely ignore the upcoming day. It had tormented him for as long as he could remember. Before going to Hogwarts, he remembered his mum and Ginny becoming excited, talking quickly and deciding which flowers were the best. They would try to include Ron, and actually succeeded one year... Ron shuddered at the memory. Girls were always giggling when this day came around. Everything was pink. People acted completely insane around the day, and it was totally irrational. In Ron's opinion, the world would be a much better place without pink, ugly, fuzzy things running around for twenty-four hours.
He knew that another person on the hunt, though, was of the opposite opinion. Ron knew that Hermione would never admit it to her two best friends, but she absolutely loved the fourteenth of February. It was the one time a year when she had something in common with all other girls. She became giddy, adorning a dreaming gaze in her eyes and looked lovingly at the squat cupids who ran around shooting people freely with arrows.
But this year, he and his friends weren't at Hogwarts. The trio had embarked on their quest for the Horcruxes that would bring Lord Voldemort's downfall shortly after Bill and Fleur's wedding last summer. It meant that there weren't any cupids flying above head, no confetti fluttering from the ceiling, and nothing pink inside of Grimmauld Place, where they had resided for the last couple of weeks, except for the ribbon Hermione used to tie up her hair.
Ron knew she would never imagine sharing her disappointment with the boys. There were bigger things to worry about than hearts and candies, such as Dark Lords and staying alive. But the little things Ron observed that she did, like twirling the ribbon around her fingers and sighing slightly, or gazing at the flowers they passed as they trudged through the woods and forests, made him realize another dissatisfaction for Hermione on this hunt. She had already passed up being Head Girl and continuing her education at Hogwarts. Ron had admired her for giving up everything she had worked towards for the past six years for her friends. He respected her bravery in times of danger, her concern for her friends' injuries. He respected her kindness, even when stressed out and in a crisis. He couldn't believe how much charisma Hermione could still have, how hopeful she could still be, how beautiful she really was... With all that she had done for Harry and himself, Ron felt the least he could do was bring a little bit of Hogwarts to Hermione, no matter how much he despised the day.
Which found him sitting in the room he shared with Harry at Grimmauld Place, where he should have been sleeping, growing angrier at his wand for not producing even one simple flower.
He had calmed down enough to try again, when he suddenly heard footsteps approaching the door. Panicking, he hid his experimenting wand behind his back as the door opened, showing Hermione.
"It's your turn to help me with resear—" she started, but stopped when she saw Ron's deer-in-the-headlamps look, hiding his hand behind his back. "...what are you doing?"
Ron stared blankly back at her, wondering himself why he was worried. "Um... nothing. Just... nothing. Nothing," he stammered quickly.
"Ron, come on, I can't stare at another book for one more minute," Harry yawned, walking past Hermione at the door and into the room. He stopped in his tracks when he saw Ron. "What's behind your back?"
"My back?" Ron questioned blankly, bringing his arm back out in front of him. He looked down, as if forgetting what it was, then looked back up at Harry and Hermione. "Just my wand."
"Oh," Harry said as if he understood, but once again looked confused. "Why did you have your—"
"I just did!" Ron squeaked exasperatedly. "No reason! I just...you know... " How could they know? Ron didn't even know what he was babbling on about. "I'm going to go research. Excuse me." He rushed past Hermione, not making any sort of contact, and glared at Harry before exiting the room. Harry and Hermione looked bewilderedly at each other.
"He's cracked," Harry said nonchalantly before lying down on his bed, turning towards the wall.
"Yes, I think he has," Hermione agreed.
* * * * * * * * * *
Hermione sat at the window of the sitting room, staring out at the snow and dead vegetation that surrounded the grim house that had been the trio's home for the past two weeks. She didn't know why she bothered to stare. With the dark clouds in the sky and the old snow covering the ground, everything was grey. It had all been grey since they had been there.
She decided that grey was her least favorite color.
Among her thoughts of the boring color were her thoughts of the day. Specifically, what day it was. Secretly, it was her favorite day of the year – Valentine's Day. She never outwardly showed her infatuation with the day, but on the inside she loved it. When she was younger, it was the day that all of her classmates had to be nice and slip a little Valentine's card into the box on her desk. It was the one day she could be girly without having her two friends look at her as if she were some sort of alien. No one seemed to hate her on this day. Even Ron, who pushed every button he could find on her, had never said a bad word to her on that day. Of course, he usually hides as much as possible from all the pink, and the giggling girls.
She sighed, scooting her pink hair ribbon around on the windowsill. The one thing that has disappointed her over the past six years was that she'd not been able to celebrate Valentine's Day the way it was intended; she'd never had someone with which to share it. Oh sure, she's had her share of opportunities. Neville always picked at least one flower out of Greenhouse Two and asked her to be his Valentine. Anthony Goldstein had seemed to be infatuated with her one year and had bought her a box of chocolates. Even that jerk McLaggen had bought her a gold necklace with the hopes of having her as his Valentine. And she had thanked them all, but politely rejected their offers. Because no matter how much she wanted someone to enjoy the day with her, she couldn't say yes unless it was the one boy she wanted to celebrate with. And the one boy she wanted always decided to ignore the day completely, because he thought that Valentine's Day was an abomination of all things that are right in the world. She doubted he would even remember the day, even though they were residing in the same house at the moment, and he knew how much this day meant to her...
She heard the door creak open. Turning around, she saw the object of her musings. Ron was tentatively walking towards her, one hand held behind his back, just like a few days ago. She turned back around, deciding not to care about what he was up to, and continue to stare out at the grey world outside the house.
"Hey," he said quietly, still walking towards her.
Hermione could hear Ron's shaky breath, and grew exasperated as he repeatedly tried to start several sentences, but never finishing. She turned around again and asked in a flat voice, "May I help you?"
Ron looked stunned that she was addressing him. "I... well, um..." he stammered. "I just...I wanted to... ask how the research was going?" he finished quickly.
Hermione examined Ron more carefully. He was bouncing from one foot to the other, keeping his eyes downcast. He had a bit of sweat forming on his forehead, and seemed to be silently berating himself. He had been acting weird around her for the last couple of days, ever since she caught him doing... whatever it was he'd been doing in his bedroom. She had been dealing with it best she could, but now she was just not in the mood.
"Ron, would you please just say what is on your mind, then leave me alo—"
Her angry rant was cut short by the presence of the most pathetic, weakest, dilapidated daisy Hermione had ever seen. Its petals were weeping, the core was brown, and the whole thing was sagging, with only Ron's hand keeping it from wilting in half. But when she looked up at Ron, who was biting his lip, still holding out the flower, and nervously making eye contact, she had no doubt in her mind that this was the most beautiful flower in the world.
She wanted to thank him. She needed to let him know how much it meant to her that he was giving her this flower. She had to let him know how long she had been waiting for this flower, and exactly what it meant to her...
"Where... where did you find that?" was what slipped out of her mouth. She knew that it had sounded all wrong, and that he would take offense as the words came out. She was proven right when she saw Ron's eyes bulged a bit and his face grow red, anticipating a shouting match. "No, Ron, I didn't mean—"
"Where... where did... Is it not good enough for you?" Ron seethed, clenching the weeping daisy in his hand. "I'm so sorry I couldn't go out and buy you a beautiful bouquet, but as we're here hiding for our bloody lives—"
"Ron, please—" Hermione's statement went unheard as he continued.
"And it's not my fault that my stupid wand won't make a whole bunch of flowers like it's supposed to! It's like it knows my dislike for them or something—"
"Would you just—"
"No!" he hollered. "You just! I try bringing you... because I know you're... and then!" he ranted, but in the middle seemed to loose wind and looked defeated. "You know what? Forget it. It was ridiculous to even try in the first place." Ron stormed out of the sitting room and stomped up the stairs, awakening the cruel portrait by the front door.
* * * * * * * * * *
Ron tore open the door to the room he shared with Harry and threw himself violently onto his bed. Harry, who was acting like he was sleeping, turned over and saw Ron tearing up a pathetic flower.
"What's that?" he asked.
Ron threw the rest of the flower onto the floor and glared at the ceiling. "Nothing."
"Doesn't look like nothing," Harry commented, reaching towards his bedside table and getting a Chocolate Frog.
Ron huffed and gave up. "A flower I was going to give to Hermione."
Silence followed that statement for a few moments. Ron figured Harry was too shocked to say anything. He had never told Harry about his feelings for Hermione, although he thought Harry would have figured it out by now. He was just about to ask his friend what he thought when he heard a snort come from Harry's bed. He looked over and saw Harry shaking with silent laughter.
"Awwww!" Harry blurted out.
"Shut up, Harry!" Ron bellowed, throwing a pillow at him with all his might. Harry laughed harder, causing him to roll out of bed, clutching his stomach and squishing the candy in his hand.
"Get out!" Ron hollered, jumping up from his own bed and grabbing Harry by the back of his shirt, picking him up, walking him towards the door, and throwing him out of the room and into the hallway, slamming the door in his face.
* * * * * * * * * *
After a few minutes of mad giggling and deep breaths, Harry decided that he might as well be productive and go do some research in the sitting room.
As he entered the room, he was attacked by a blur of brown hair that knocked him into the wall. "Harry! I need! A Chocolate Frog!" Hermione stressed, grabbing him by the lapels of his shirt. Harry brought the semi-squished Chocolate Frog in between them, fearful of moving anymore than that. Hermione grabbed the chocolate and ran out of the room and up the stairs.
Dazed, Harry pushed off the wall and sat down at the table that housed the most current books for the research of the Horcruxes.
"She's cracked, too," Harry exclaimed, picking up one of the books, but immediately threw it down—it was probably the hours upon hours of research that had driven both of his friends mad.
* * * * * * * * * *
Ron had thrown himself back onto his bed and was glaring at the ceiling. He knew he should have never attempted that stupid, useless charm. He knew that he wouldn't be able to do it properly. And the results of all his efforts were just a dilapidated daisy and a girl who would rather keep her nose stuck in books than receive a sad little flower. He knew he should have just ignored the day all together.
Over his self-depreciation, he heard the door open.
"Harry!" he hollered. "I said—" But as he looked over, he saw no one there. The door was once again shut, and all that was heard was a slight shuffling on the floor. Assuming the worst, he grabbed his wand and jumped off the bed, ready to fight whoever had just entered his room in an Invisibility cloak... but calmed once he looked down and saw a Chocolate Frog with a pink ribbon tied around it's body, spending all the energy left in its body, hopping this way and that, trying to find an escape from the room.
Ron picked up the frantic frog, suddenly noticing that it was Hermione's pink hair ribbon that surrounded the candy. He could see some miniscule writing on it. He untied the candy, throwing it to his bed, and squinted so that he could see the words on the ribbon.
Ron – How did you know that daisies were my favorite? I'm sorry I led you to believe I hated the flower. Actually, I loved it. I was surprised to see one because of the weather that has surrounded us these last couple of weeks. I hope you can forgive me. Happy Valentine's Day. Hermione
Ron read the message over again and looked down at the mashed flower that still sat on the floor. He felt like a complete git. She had liked the flower. She had wanted the flower.
He'd killed the flower.
He needed a new flower.
He put the ribbon in his pocket and, with wand still in hand, closed his eyes, concentrating with all his might, and exclaimed, "Orchideous!"
Out of the tip of his wand popped a bouquet of healthy, beautiful daisies. Ron, amazed, grabbed them before they could fall to the floor. He stood staring at the flowers for a moment before setting his sudden plan into action. He quickly left the room, flowers in hand, Chocolate Frog forgotten.
He tiptoed over to Hermione's room, making sure no one could hear him, and opened her door slightly to make sure the coast was clear. She wasn't in her room, so he assumed she was downstairs doing more research with Harry. He laid all but one flower on her bed, arranging them so that she would see them as soon as she walked in. He walked out of her room, down the stairs, and to the doorway of the sitting room, where Harry and Hermione were inside discussing research... sort of.
"Harry, I promise that these books are not making us go insane. Now, would you just sit down already and read something?"
"Fine. But if you go all wacky again, I'll jinx you."
"Fine," Hermione sighed, averting her eyes once again to the book in front of her.
Ron walked into the room and wordlessly sat down beside Harry, Hermione on Harry's other side. He picked a book off the top of the stack with one hand. With his other hand, he placed the one daisy he had picked from the bouquet on top of Hermione's book. She brought her head up quickly, seemingly startled with the flower that had just appeared. She looked around before glancing up at Ron. He met her surprised eyes, and smiled softly. She quickly got over her shock and smiled back.
Ron's attention was drawn to Harry, who'd snorted and seemed to find far too much humor in the situation. Well, Ron would have to remedy that. He delivered a punch to Harry's arm, and at the very same moment, Hermione playfully smacked the back of Harry's head.
"OW! Hey!" Harry yelled, glaring indignantly at his two best friends. Ron and Hermione shared a grin over their angry friend before returning to their reading.
Sometime later, Ron felt someone's gaze upon him and looked up to see Hermione shyly smiling at him.
"Thank you," she mouthed, playing with the petals of the daisy to indicate the reason for her appreciation. Ron blushed, but smiled and nodded before going back to acting like he was reading.
"Mental," Harry murmured, for which he received another punch and slap. "Ow!"
The two shared another grin, and Ron began to think that maybe Valentine's Day wasn't so bad after all.