A/N-Based on various interviews and facts that we know, this is basically a possible scene for Ron and Hermione's first kiss in the upcoming film Deathly Hallows Part II. I wanted to explore the idea that a Horcrux can affect people in different ways, not just based on the Horcrux itself, but based on the personality and traits of the person it's trying to affect. This piece pretty much explains itself, so I don't particularly want to get into any details here, except for the majority of the piece, I decided to follow mainly Ron's thoughts. In the future, I may or may not write this from Hermione's perspective, but we'll see what happens. In any case, please enjoy!
The air was thick with the smell of must and decay. Ron and Hermione stood at the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets, taking in the large space for the very first time. Though there were no torches to be found in this ancient place, an eerie green glow seemed to emanate from the very walls. The two found themselves barely suppressing an involuntary shiver as they stood rooted to the spot. In the farthest of distances, high above them, there was the quietest of rumbles. It was this that shook them from their quiet reverie. There was a job to be done, and they were the ones to do it.
"You ready for this?" Ron said after a deep intake of breath.
"Yeah. Let's just get this over with," Hermione answered, looking to the far end of the Chamber where the great shape of a basilisk's skeleton could be seen. They set off, wands at the ready, eyes flickering for any sign of movement or sinister activity. But the walk turned out to be uneventful as they reached the long-dead beast unscathed. Hermione headed straight for the open jaws of the enormous snake and bent to take in its razor-sharp rows of teeth.
"One will be fine, don't you think?" she asked Ron as he pulled Hufflepuff's cup from his jacket. Already feeling the cold heartbeat in his hand, he responded, "Yeah, for now. Let's get rid of this thing as soon as possible. I don't wanna hold onto this Horcrux any longer than we have to." And with that, Hermione severed a foot-long fang from the basilisk's skull with her outstretched wand. She offered the new weapon to Ron, but he shook his head.
"No, I think you should be the person to destroy this one. Harry and I have already gotten the satisfaction of destroying a Horcrux. This one belongs to you," he said, pushing the fang back toward her. She gave him a small smile and exhaled, "Okay then. Here we go." She stowed her wand in her jacket as they both knelt on the cold stone of the Chamber. Ron gripped the cup, holding it firmly to the floor by its base.
"You ready?" she asked him uncertainly.
"Uh, yeah, I think so," he said, already distracted by the pulsing metal beneath his hands. Clearing his throat, he said, "Whatever's in here may try to fight back, so let's finish it as quickly as possible." A familiar sense of unease began to creep up his spine as he tightened his hold upon the Horcrux. Hermione knelt over the cursed object as she brought the basilisk fang aloft, preparing to swing it down.
Seeing her stance, Ron suddenly forgot where he was, dark and painful memories rushing into his mind. The Chamber around him dissolved, a forest now surrounding him. He was kneeling there, too. Only he wasn't looking at the same Hermione or the same Horcrux. It was Riddle's impersonation of her, manifested from the locket that lay open on a flat stone. The anguish and despair, it gripped him as he stared in horror at the illusion that played out in front of him, like some macabre play.
"Ron? Ron! Are you okay?" He snapped himself back to the present with a small jerk of his head, trying to shake the thoughts from him. "Yeah. I'm fine," he responded thickly, hoping to cover up for his lack of focus in this important moment. As Hermione continued to look uncertainly at him, Ron thought briefly upon the locket. No, he thought. I won't let that happen to her. I won't allow this thing to get inside her head. He gave her a reassuring look and focused on the cup once more. Not to her. He held the Horcrux tight, its own heart-rate racing past his own. Ron gave Hermione a definitive nod, and she brought the fang to the apex of its swing.
Suddenly, the cup shook violently and burned white-hot within Ron's grasp. He quickly snatched his hands away, blisters already forming on his palms. At the same time, the brim of the cup seemed to melt and form a disfigured and hideous mouth as a high, cold laugh echoed forth from it. Ron's worst fears came true as it spoke directly to Hermione in the same mocking tone the locket had adopted for him.
"So how many people do think are dead already? You know everyone in the castle is dieing, right? Your friends, the ones you love. And you're down here, away from it all. Who do you think is already dead? Any of the Weasleys you love so much? Any of the teachers you care so much for? Or maybe even Harry Potter himself now lies dead in a forgotten corridor of the castle." Hermione stared in horror at the grotesque mouth, the basilisk's fang still held above her head.
Echoing Harry from that distant, damaging memory, Ron yelled in earnest at Hermione. "Don't listen to it! It's just trying to get inside your head! Destroy it now before it can do anything worse!" Her hands began to shake above her as the cup continued its taunt.
"Oh, but wait. Harry Potter's not the one you fear the most for, is it? It's your beloved Ron Weasley. He's the one you can't bear to lose." Ron and Hermione's eyes flashed toward each other, a peculiar mix of utter fear and dawning understanding playing across their faces. Ron thought upon his own Horcrux, remembering how it fed off the deepest-held fears within his mind. What's this thing saying? It couldn't be...
"Yesss," the voice hissed, their attention returning to the object between them. "What if when the Death Eaters finally find you two, they Cruciate Ron while you're forced to watch, unable to move, unable to block out his screams of pain?" They thought it at the same time: It was Malfoy Manor all over again, only in reverse. A great look of despair crossed over Hermione's face as she thought of her own experience with torture, terrified of the prospect that it may happen to Ron as well.
"And when they finally kill him, they will trample his body in their glee and drag his corpse throughout the castle, a glorious sign of their triumph while you're bound to him, still alive, forced to endure what he would no longer be able to feel. His mangled body will be destroyed as it's pulled through Hogwarts. The only thing left of him will be the blood that his body will trail behind him!" it cackled.
Hermione gave a strangled, almost guttural cry as she brought her head to her knees, her face in her hands. No, not again! Ron turned in panic toward the skull of the great snake behind him. "ACCIO BASILISK FANG!" he screamed at the top of his lungs. Catching it in his hand, he swung around, preparing to bring it down upon the cup. Suddenly, his swing was halted, caught off-guard by the sight in front of him. Hermione, head still in her hands, seemed blatantly unaware that she was now kneeling in a pool of water. Ron looked down at the Horcrux between them, water seeping over the brim. It gave one last withering laugh before a great torrent of scalding water gushed forth from the cup.
The enormous surge of water hit Ron hard in the chest, knocked him off his feet, and carried him away from Hermione and the Horcrux itself. A wave immediately crested over him, and he was quickly submerged. Struggling in the boiling-hot and churning water, he kicked to the surface and breathed great lungfuls of air.
"Hermione! Hermione!" She was nowhere to be seen. He turned this way and that, seeing nothing but the sudden ocean that had appeared within the Chamber. His last image of her burned itself into his mind: Her, kneeling, shaking with terror, unaware of the water that had rushed forth. Ron gave a scream of anguish, fearful that she was still beneath the water, angry that he let the Horcrux attack her mind the way it had done his. He could do nothing but scream her name, hoping she was still alive in these turbulent waters. "HERMIONE!"
Then, in the far-off distance, he heard her. But his heart sank like a stone when he realized he was hearing a long, drawn-out cry of grief and pain. And in that moment, he was far more scared for her than he had ever been. Far more than when he heard her screams in Malfoy Manor. Because the magic here was far blacker than the Cruciatus Curse, the perpetrator far more dangerous than Bellatrix Lestrange. It was Voldemort himself. Terrified for what was happening to her, Ron gathered all his strength and swam in the direction of the scream.
"HERMIONE!" Ron yelled fruitlessly as he continued to fight the currents that pulled him. He gave a great cry before gathering his courage and submerging himself in the scalding water. Ignoring the biting burns that had already erupted over his body, he opened his eyes for any sign of Hermione.
Within the green and slightly glowing waters, he did not see her, but what he did see was a disturbance in the water some ways off. He kicked for the surface and looked in the same direction. It was exactly where they had been before the water had erupted from the cup. He didn't know where Hermione was or her fate, but he knew, instinctively, that if he could destroy the Horcrux, the waters would recede. He looked with surprise at the basilisk fang he still held in hand, and it cast out all of the doubts he had in his head.
Pushing his fear to the farthest part of his mind, he swam with all his strength. When he neared it, he saw that the movement in the water was an enormous whirlpool. He couldn't see it, but he knew that the Horcrux sat at the bottom of the vortex. Seeing no way of reaching it, he swam beneath the surface once more with the intention of somehow breaking through the whirlpool's wall of water at its base.
As he reached the floor of the Chamber, the currents surprisingly gentle, he kicked hard for the churning water at the point of the Horcrux. Unsure of how exactly to breach the wall of water, he simply attempted to swim straight through it. To his surprise, he reached the interior of the whirlpool with very little difficulty. He breathed deep when he saw that it was completely open space, water towering over him, the cup at the very epicenter. And what he saw almost made him stumble backward in surprise.
Because there was Hermione, kneeling as Ron had last seen her, head in her hands, basilisk fang at her side. He rushed toward her and grasped her shoulder, but she just continued to shake violently, mumbling indiscernible words. Yet she was real, not an illusion. Ron could feel her physical body, feel the undulations of her form beneath his hand. She was still here. And he wasn't going to take anymore chances.
Enough of this, he thought to himself. It's time this ends. Releasing Hermione's shoulder, he gripped the fang in his hand as he swung it high once more. The cup had been surprisingly silent the whole time, unmoving. Suddenly, however, there was an enormous sound of crashing water. He looked up in time to see the walls of the vortex collapsing, the ocean rushing into the empty space.
Everything happened at once. As he quickly turned back to destroy the cup, Hermione violently broke from her stupor, snatching up the basilisk fang from by her side. With a snarl and angry defiance in her eyes, she screamed, "GET OUT OF MY HEAD!" before plunging the weapon through the air. Both of their fangs pierced the Horcrux at the same exact moment. It gave off one final screech before falling silent. And in that split second before the water crashed down upon them, Ron and Hermione grabbed each others hands in a vice-grip, unwilling to let either go. They both closed their eyes, waiting for the force of the impact.
But instead of water, they were hit by a staggering wall of sound. Feeling as if his eardrums would soon burst, Ron cracked his eyes just enough to see the ocean rushing back into the broken cup beside them. He closed his eyes again, forcing himself to focus on the feel of Hermione against him, his hands entwined with hers. In that moment, she was the only physical thing that mattered. And he pulled her tighter into him.
Suddenly, all sound was gone, nothing but a deafening silence surrounding them. They both slowly opened their eyes and looked around. The water was gone, the Chamber all but dry. The only signs that suggested anything unusual had even happened were the pierced cup and the two teenagers, soaked to the bone, still clinging to each other.
It was only after a few seconds that they finally dared look at each other. They drifted slowly apart, suddenly aware of the position they had just been in. Hermione stood quickly and turned away from Ron, who was still kneeling, to reach for the cup. She picked it up and turned toward him, surprised to find that he still hadn't moved.
She said quietly, "When it told me those things, all I could think of was the possibility that it might come true." She turned her gaze downward to fall on the broken Horcrux in her hands before continuing. "It ripped me apart to imagine it actually happening." She paused, shifting her gaze back to Ron. "But then it felt as if time had stopped. Everything just slowed to a crawl, and everything went black.
"I was floating, and, somehow, all physical feeling disappeared. I was alone in the darkness." She stopped, attempting to gather her thoughts, to try to explain to him what had happened. "Then I heard the Horcrux's voice echoing all around me, tormenting me even more. It was all about...you," she whispered. "It just kept telling me all these horrible things that would happen to you. I think at that point I actually cried out loud," she said softly, casting her eyes downward. Ron recalled, with difficulty, the painful sound of her screaming.
"But in that moment, I somehow realized that this was all happening in my own mind," she said, tapping the side of her head for effect. "Everything. When I came to this conclusion, I knew that I could fight him. It was my mind, and I wasn't going to let him rule over me in that space," she exclaimed defiantly. "If there's one thing I'm really good at, it's working things out in my own head," she said proudly.
"I started to attack back, my own thoughts, my own emotions." Ron remembered how the cup had done nothing when he finally reached it within the whirlpool. It had done nothing because it was completely occupied with battling Hermione's mind. Whoa. That's some amazing will, he thought impressively as he looked up at her.
"In the middle of all of this, a strange, warm feeling started to radiate from my shoulder," she whispered, absently moving her hand to that part of her body. Ron blushed slightly, but Hermione didn't seem to notice as she continued on. "It gave me this...incredible strength, the thing that I needed to make that final push." She looked down at the cup in her hand before holding it out to Ron, a smug, triumphant smile on her face. "I guess we did it then."
Before she knew what he was doing, before he knew what he was doing, Ron suddenly leapt up from his position on the ground, held Hermione's face in his hands, and kissed her full on the lips. And he was ecstatic when she responded just as enthusiastically. It was impulse, but there was more to it than that. It's because, in that moment, he saw that same fiery look in her eyes that she had as she destroyed the Horcrux. And he knew that there was no one else in the world he would rather be with. Because she was fierce, brave, and powerful in a way that very few people saw. Because she was an incredible woman who was strong enough to take care of herself, to fight even Voldemort himself on her own.
So he held on to her, as did she to him. And she did this because of what she didn't tell him. It was because when she felt that warmth spreading through her, she knew instantly that it was Ron who gave her that power. It was Ron who carried her through the thick and thin. He was the force that truly gave her strength. And it wouldn't be until after the War had ended that she would reveal to him just how crucial he was in helping her defeat the Horcrux. It was he that she thought about throughout her entire mental battle with Voldemort. Because the final emotion and thought that pushed him out of her mind was of how much she truly loved one Ron Weasley and the sacrifices they were willing to make for each other.
A/N-Thank you very much for you time. As always, comments, criticisms, and reviews are always very much appreciated. Until next time, happy reading!