Just Human After All.

A/N. Sequel to 'Too Many Espresso's' which, btw, has a new poem added to it….ooooh!!!! Personally I think this is rubbish but Midnight Breeze told me to finish it so I did…blame her…but also go read her stories!!!! Re-posted….needed to change the spelling of espresso…thanx to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer!!!! :}

Christmas holidays! Normally I would rejoice at the fact of having an extra two weeks to get my work up to standard, that's what people expect me to do anyway. Not this holiday though! For the first time since we've been going out I actually plucked up the courage to ask Ron if he'd like to stay for Christmas round mine! I'd been thinking about it for weeks but every time I'd open my mouth to ask him the 'what if's' would buzz through my brain and a million possibilities of how Ron could get out of it would hit me like a smack in the face. I did, eventually, but he said he could not stay for Christmas day because it was 'family time.' Here he made a face but said no more about it. He told me he could stay one night after Christmas…so he did!

I was kind of hot and bothered before he arrived, praying my parents wouldn't say something to embarrass me and make me wish I was six feet under, and at that ring on the door bell my heart leapt into my mouth as I approached the doorway.

'Hiya!' he grinned at me as I opened at door and dropped his bag on the doorstep, narrowly missing my toes. I noticed that he wasn't quite meeting my eyes and I wondered why. He didn't fling himself apon me nor I apon him as may have been customary for couples. Ron and me weren't the kind of lovey-dovey couple who couldn't keep their hands off each other, it could still get a little awkward sometimes.

I didn't need to introduce him to my parents because they'd met before so I just led him up to my room, pushed open the door and told him to put his bag on the floor. We sat there in silence for a while trying decide what to do next. The snow was falling lightly outside but it was settling and in a few hours I knew we'd have a few inches…which is rare in this part of Britain! For some reason there was awkwardness between us. I tried to talk to him but all I received were short, uninterested answers and grunts. Finally I almost lost my temper and begged him to tell me why he was being so cold.

'Hermione,' he said shortly. 'This isn't working out. It's over. I'm sorry. But we're still friend's yeah?' His ears had gone very red

This was the last answer I expected. I stammered for a while, finally blurting out that yes, we could still be friends, whilst still trying to cover up my real emotions.

'Good. I…I'll just go down stairs and…um…go…I'll just go…for a minute.' He said rather gruffly before getting up and going out.

I sat on the bed for a while with those awful words going round and round in my head. It isn't working out, what did he mean? It isn't working out. It isn't working out. I sat thinking for a few minutes before I came to that awful conclusion that there was someone else. And I was determined to find out who it was. I am ashamed to say that a jealousy rose up inside me when I came to that conclusion and I hastened down stairs so find him.

He was there, in my kitchen, arms resting on the draining board and eyes staring out the window.

'So who is she?' I asked quietly as I stood behind him, heart racing.

He jumped slightly and turned round to face me.

'What do you mean?' he said, his eyes now cast to the floor and ears turning red again.

'Oh come on Ron! Do you really think I'm that stupid? I know you dumped me for another girl and I just want to know who it is!' I replied shrilly, stepping closer to him.

He mumbled something to the floor.

'Jackie?' I said, trying to stay calm. 'Why am I not surprised! The two of you have been eyeing up each other for weeks…you could have at least waited until we stopped going out!'

Jackie was a very pretty, popular Hufflepuff girl who had become friends, or more acquaintances with Ron, ever since he saved her in Herbology from being squashed by a falling flower pot. Very heroic.

'I haven't cheated on you Hermione, I promise!' He looked at me and I knew it was no lie. Tears came into my eyes though I wasn't sure whether it was the fact that he'd remained faithful to me or he'd just broken up with me.

He stayed that night in the guest's bedroom and was I thankful he didn't snore for his room was right next to mine. But it wouldn't have really mattered even if he did snore because I couldn't get to sleep that night anyway. The words he had spoken to me were still echoing in my brain and a part of me still couldn't accept that he was truly gone from my life. I suppose I knew deep down that I'd get him back. Don't get me wrong, I didn't behave like the jealous ex-girlfriend, sadistically trying to split them up, I supported him and stayed his friend throughout the course of his relationship with Jackie. For they did go out, it was a day after we'd returned from the Christmas holidays that he asked her out, and, of course she said yes, not even bothering to ask whether I was still with him.

It sickened me, having to watch them walk around holding hands, kissing. When anyone ever asked me what I thought about they're relationship I answered cynically and pretended not to be bothered about it. Only Harry knew that inside I was seething, still being in love with Ron. But I vowed to myself and Harry that I wouldn't do anything to try to split them up…I cared about Ron too much to ever hurt him in that way.

So the days drew on and Ron and Jackie become happier and happier each time I saw them, as I become more and more depressed. I never knew Ron could affect me in that way.

One day, when I was just casually walking to meet the boys from Muggle Studies, I turned the corner and saw Jackie talking to another boy. I was unperturbed until I heard Ron's name come up in the conversation and, I am ashamed to say, I stopped to eavesdrop…or 'started earwigging' as Ron would say.

'…the idiot's completely in love with me! You should hear him, it's pathetic, I don't know how that Granger girl put up with him, honestly! He's like "oh I'll to that for you Jackie" and "Jackie, I'm so pleased you're my girlfriend" and this is the best one "I don't know what I'd ever do without you"! It's enough to make you sick!'

Naturally my blood was boiling at this. No matter how much Ron hurt me, he was still my friend and I was not going to let people use him in that way. Despite myself I carried on listening whilst I decided what to do.

'So you still think the plan will work?' asked the boy.

'Of course!' she replied sneering. I noticed she didn't look particularly pretty now, but ugly and cruel. 'When that red-haired baboon wins us the Chess Championship, this summer we'll be skiing in Italy!'

That's when I remembered. This year at Hogwarts the teachers were arranging a Chess Championship for the students, obviously thinking this would be a much safer activity than a Triwizard Tournament! Naturally Ron would be competing. It was in pairs and he'd decided to go with Jackie instead of Harry, considering the fact that if they did win (which wasn't unlikely seeing as Ron is so good at chess) Harry wouldn't be able to go to Italy (which was the prize) anyway, due to the current problem with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. So Harry had told him to go with Jackie.

Getting more and more angry by the second, I carried on listening.

'But he'll have the tickets, won't he?' asked the boy.

'Don't be stupid! I'll take them for 'safekeeping' then break up with him. It's quite simple! Come on, let's go to lunch.' She and the boy walked off.

My head was swimming with the conversation but I knew what I had to do. Following them to the Great Hall at a safe distance I sat down next to Ron, who had waved at Jackie as she'd walked in.

'Ron, I need to talk to you,' I muttered quietly to him. 'Now,' I added.

'Why?'

'I'll be one minute I promise!'

I pulled him to his feet and led him from the Hall with Harry staring after us in bewilderment.

Once we were out in the corridor I quickly told him the conversation, trying to be as gentle as possible. To my utmost surprise, when I had finished, he threw his head back and laughed.

'You're going to have to do better than that Hermione! What a story! Did you actually expect me to fall for that one?'

My whole body went numb as I stared at him in disbelief. He didn't believe me. He actually thought I was making something up to break them up. It had never even crossed my mind that he wouldn't believe me. We'd been so close…

I stammered for a while before he cut in, speaking to me in a voice I'd never heard him use before.

'You just stay away from her, OK?' he said, threateningly. I took an involuntary step back. 'Don't you dare try to make up any more pathetic stories, Hermione!'

Almost feeling frightened of him, I turned away and ran, knowing that there was no way even I, with all the knowledge at my fingertips, could prove any such conversation had taken place between Jackie and the boy. No longer feeling hungry I collapsed on my bed sobbing. The last time I remember crying this hard was back in our first year when he had referred to me as a "nightmare" just before the troll incident. Now, come to think of it, most of the times I'd ended up bawling my head of was mostly because of him. At the end of lunch I sat up, dried my eyes and tried to think rationally before I reached my next lesson which, I realised with a pang, was Herbology. I really hoped that perhaps Harry hadn't truly listened to Ron and would believe me, but I hadn't much hope.

I walked in dubiously and went over to Harry.

'Hi,' I said nervously.

'You didn't make that up, did you?'

'No.'

'I tried to convince him but he wouldn't listen.' Harry sighed as he looked across at Ron, who was talking to her.

Thankfully, if you haven't already guessed, Harry believed my story, even if Ron didn't, so that was definitely something.

I made sure I stayed out both Ron and Jackie's way that lesson, feeling sure he'd have told her what I'd said and want to do something horrible to me for trying to ruin her chances as going to the snowy slopes of Italy.

At the end of the lesson I walked up to the castle a little way behind Harry and Ron when someone grabbed me and pulled me into an empty classroom. I turned round and stood face to face with Jackie. Her eyes were narrowed maliciously as if she wished me nothing but ill, and said to me in a voice not much more than a whisper;

'Stay away from Ron, you little whore. He's mine…well, at least until he wins me that competition. Keep your fat, ugly nose out from where it's not wanted, got it? Did you actually think that poverty-stricken weasel would actually believe you if you told him the truth about his darling girlfriend?' She laughed. 'Hate to break it to you angel, but I've got Ron Weasley twisted round my little finger and there's nothing you or anybody else can do about it!'

Not quite sure what I was going to say but determined to say something I opened my mouth but, as you know, most stories have big coincidences and here's ours, I was cut off by none other than Ron Weasley who had been standing out side the door listening to every word. Lucky that, wasn't it?

I saw the hurt in his eyes as he looked at Jackie, who was stammering, trying to resolve the situation. He whispered two words that got across all the emotion and anger he felt at this betrayal;

'Get out.'

That was it, no ranting and raving as I had expected, just those two simple words.

She obeyed leaving Ron and me alone in an awkward silence. I placed my hands on my hips and raised my eyebrows, waiting for an apology.

'I…I…I,' he stammered.

'Was there something?' I said sweetly.

'I'm so sorry,' he said hopelessly. 'I'm such an idiot!' he shouted, raising his eyes to the ceiling.

'Oh, come on Ron, everybody makes mistakes!' Even then I couldn't believe I'd forgiven him so quickly, after all he'd put me through, but he was just human after all.

So, take a wild guess at who won the Chess Championship and at which two lucky people are going to be visiting Italy. Yup, we got back together. Perhaps you wouldn't think that we would, me being afraid that he'd do it again, but I could see he was truly, truly sorry about what he'd done and how he'd been behaving. We're just teenagers, that's the point, we make mistakes but we learn from them. Nobody's perfect, but it has to be said that's he's damn close!

A/N. That was a bit rubbish wasn't it, to be perfectly honest!!! You may argue with me that Jackie is so mean she should be in Slytherin but if you think about it mean people can be in any house…also I didn't think Ron would trust a Slytherin!!!!:}

Disclaimer: First, the obvious one is that JK own Ron, Hermione, Harry and most other things, the thing about "earwigging" is what my friend Hermione 2001 (read her stories) always calls it, the line 'Hate to break it to you angel' is from 'The Parent Trap, the plot is loosely based round that Hey Arnold! episode when Arnold and Helga go to the beach and he goes out with this girl called Summer (something like that) but she's only pretending to like him so he'll win her the sandcastle competition…nobody know what I'm talking about do they??? Ahem…my friend BransgoreBabe thought up the bit about the Chess Championship, and that line about every story having big coincidences was from 'George of the Jungle'…all together now…George, George, George of the Jungle strong as he can be…ahhhhh…WATCH OUT FOR THAT TREE!!!….yes, I've finished now, what do I own? Not a lot!! I don't even own Jackie, she's my friend…she doesn't act like the Jackie in this story btw!!!!:}