A/N: This piece was written in response to the Common Room prompt, "I wish you'd told me that a long time ago" on the Hogwarts Online forum; the link is on my profile if you're intersted.

Disclaimer: I. Do. Not. Own. This. At. All.

Give You Up

"Hermione Jean Granger, will you marry me?" Ron clears his throat nervously before asking me the only question I knew I couldn't answer correctly. The words stick in my throat as I try to answer, but eventually I force them out.

"No, Ron, I'm sorry, but I can't. I can't marry you. I don't...love you."

He's turned pale, a deathly green tinge to his freckled skin. "Are...are you sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure. Ron, I've never loved you, not in that way." I try to place a hand over his, to calm him and let him know how sorry I am, but he shakes it off and storms away. At the end of the hall he truns back to face me.

"I wish you'd told me that a long time ago, Hermione. Then I could have saved my breath. You've just wasted my time, all these years. Was it fun, stringing me along like a push-along dog?"

I try to fight the tears, but they come anyway, flooding down my face like the tide. "No!" I shriek at him. Even though I'm not in love with him, it breaks my heart to hurt him. "I never meant to lead you on; please, Ron, believe me!"

He shakes his head sadly. "No, Hermione. I'm done wasting my time on you. Have a nice life." Then he disappears out of sight down the long, dark corridor.

I never see him again. And I always wonder: What did I give up?