Ron hates folk tales.

Firstly, for the obvious reason: Their reality is discounted by the ignorant. Because magic (root word magus, wise man) is something the Muggles can't figure out, they unwisely demean it, or even pretend it doesn't exist, in direct opposition to the evidence of their own eyes. Innocent young girls see unicorns all the time; but the moment their parents chide them for lying, their innocence is lost, and the only vestige of that taste of magic to remain in many cases is a vague desire for a pony.

Secondly, because they deal with archetypes. The Tragic Hero. (That would be Harry, of course.) The Misunderstood Villain. (Snape. You-Know-Who was all too easy to understand.) The Wise Man Who Cannot Fight The Final Battle For The Hero. The Huge Hairy Creature Who Seems Frightening But Is In Fact Kind And Gentle. The Villain's Advisers Who War Amongst Themselves To Be First Sycophant. The Smarmy Bureaucrat. The Long-Lost Uncle.

The Trusted Friend.

The Magic Princess.

Hermione would never call herself pretty, although she was. She would steadfastly refuse to believe she was beautiful... but she was. Her smile was bright, her eyes warm and alive... it was her attention to what she was doing that made her beautiful, how she seemed to try to become one with whatever she was dealing with, and God help you if it was you and you were a boy because your legs would turn to water and your tongue to ash and you'd gape at the intensity with which this young woman studied you.

Except for Harry.

Harry's gaze matched hers so fiercely that anything caught between them would've been paralyzed, suspended like a fly in amber.

The first time they looked at each other like that was at breakfast one Sunday, when they didn't have to be anywhere which is a good thing because they would've been late as hell, and it was the simplest, stupidest thing. Hermione was at the table already - she'd apparently been studying all night, and had just been dozing a few minutes when Ron sat down next to her and Harry across from her, which in theory was the way it was supposed to be or at least Ron hoped to God was the way it was supposed to be, and Hermione started, and looked down apologetically, swiping a stray hair out of the corner of her mouth, saying, "I must look a fright."

And Harry said, "Never, Hermione."

That's all. That's all the bastard said. It must've been the extra Hermione that did it, that made it sound like a grave, carefully-considered judgment that would satisfy Harry for the rest of his life. She looked up at him like - Ron didn't know what like, but he'd never seen that dance of shock and fear and longing and naked hope on her face before - and, for about eight seconds, the only things in the world were Harry and Hermione.

And Ron on the outside, looking in.

He never even formally broke up with her - fitting, really, since they'd never formally started going together, it just kind of happened. And it took a few weeks, and a few long talks with both of them, including a dire threat to Harry that he'd better make her happy, which Harry took with utmost seriousness, but they'd gotten back to pretty much where they were before. Except that now, sometimes, there is a closed door between two of them and the other.

On those nights, Ron finds someplace to sleep where he can lie back and look up at the stars, and dream of finding his own love. He knows it will happen, and he knows it will be great, and then the last shards of burning bitterness can be swept from his heart and he can love his friends again.

But, until then, he hates folk tales. Mostly, he hates wishing he was in King Arthur while his best friends are off in Robin and Marian.