Summary: "If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads." Thirteen moments of books and growth, and love, between Ron and Hermione. From CoS, HBP, DH, and lots post-DH. Ron's POV.

AN (1) : Recommended listening: "I'm With You" by The Stills.

AN (2) : So, one of my lovely friends sent me this quote, all about why guys should date girls who love books. He told me it made him think of me, and I loved that :). It also made me think of Hermione... and Ronald, of course. So, I sat down and this popped out! Anyways, the italicized portions are from a blogger by the name of The Monica Bird. So... please drop me a review! Thanks!

I Would Tell You This

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

"The library?" you ask.

She glares at you. "I have to pick up some things before I leave." You see a small, neat list clutched in her hand, and for a second, you're startled at the race of your heart and sweaty palms. She hasn't been talking to you much lately, still embarrassed from the recent polyjuice potion complication.

"I-I got you something," you stutter. Sometimes around her your mouth doesn't work right.

She blushes prettily. "I did too," she tells you, taking a perfectly wrapped package from her bag.

You take it, fumbling clumsily before managing to take your package off the table in the common room and hand it to her. It's wrapped in yesterday's Daily Prophet.

You open your present as quickly as possible, ripping off the paper. It's a Chudley Cannons scarf, horribly orange, and you grin, immediately throwing it on. "Thanks, Hermione!"

She doesn't say anything, though, and you look up nervously. She's unwrapping her present reverently, tears filling her eyes. "How'd you know?" she whispers, holding up The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. "I love this book."

You shrug. In reality, you'd seen a battered copy of it in her bag countless times. "Lucky guess."

She smiles, then, brilliantly. "This made me believe in magic, you know."

You suddenly want to hug her. But you turn red and kick at the edge of the rug instead. "Happy Christmas, Hermione."

Her voice is soft. "Happy Christmas, Ron." She lifts her trunk, heading towards the portrait hole. She pauses, turning around under the frame. "Thank you, Ron."

"For what?"

"For the book." She pauses. "For paying attention. For being my friend."

You shrug. "'S nothing, really."

She shakes her head. "No, it's a lot."

Find a girl who reads. You'll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She's the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That's the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

"Hermione?" you ask, looking nervously at Harry.

She doesn't stir. Her bushy hair spills over her book, her nose pressed into the old, frail pages.

Harry shrugs at you.

"We can't let her sleep down here," you tell him. He nods. He steps forward to shake her shoulder gently.

Hermione lifts her head blearily. "What?" she asks, confused, pushing hair out of her face. You immediately realize that you want to wake up to that every morning, she looks so cute –one of her cheeks is red with her small handprint. Lavender doesn't even touch the surface of what Hermione means to you.

"We just didn't want you to sleep down here all night," Harry says, lifting Hermione's bag onto the table with a grunt as she still tries to gain her bearings. She glares at you.

"Don't you have to get off to Lav Lav?" She slams the book she'd been using as a pillow, looking down for a second at it apologetically.

"I-I – no, no," you say.

Her face softens a little, and she picks up the book, holding it against her chest in a pose that's so naturally Hermione you want to kiss her then and there. She takes a deep breath, bringing the pages to her nose, before sighing happily and taking her bag from Harry. You know there's about nine thousand unread books in there, and you want to offer to carry it, but you can't go up to her dorm anyway.

"Well, thanks. Goodnight," she says, turning, her left shoulder slumping slightly under the weight.

Harry turns towards your dorm. But you watch her. "Goodnight, Hermione."

You'd watch her all night.

She's the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she's kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author's making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book. Buy her another cup of coffee.

It's one of her Muggle favorites, so you've seen her read this book about a million times; it's a stupid question, but it's one of the only ones that doesn't seem to make her angry: "What are you reading?"

She hums noncommittally.


She glances up, annoyed. "The Catcher in the Rye, if you must know," she tells you. "But I'm sure you can read the cover for yourself."

You sit down at the small table in the tent next to her. She's still angry and you don't blame her, not at all. You'd left.

You're quiet, watching her read. (You think – if you both survive this – you could do this for the rest of your life.)

She suddenly sighs, slamming down the book. "What do you want, Ronald?"

"I-I made you tea," you say quietly, offering her the warm mug.

"Oh," she whispers, looking at her book with an apology that is meant for you (and the book, too). "Well, thanks." She takes the tea and picks up the book again.

You watch her read for a few more minutes before you notice her eyes stop darting back and forth across the page. "Should I read out loud?" she asks.

"I'd like that," you say.

You swear she smiles.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce's Ulysses she's just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

"I found this," you say, handing her the book.

Your heart breaks, just a little (or a lot), when she winces as she takes it from you, clutching her ribs.

"Do you need more pain potion?" you ask hurriedly. It's late and you can't remember the last time Fleur had made any.

She shakes her head, already engrossed in one of what you know to be her favorite childhood tales. "'M okay. Just a little tired." It's her distracted-because-I'm-reading voice, always a little in love, always a little sad, always a little mystified, always a little excited.

"You should go to sleep, then," you say forcefully. She has shadows under her eyes. When you'd carried her to Bill and Fleur's door, she'd been so light. So thin, when you'd made Fleur check her for more injuries (which she'd had).

She looks up at you, her eyes exhausted and terrified and honest. "I've been having nightmares."

Your heart breaks a lot now. "Here," you say, taking the book from her scarred wrist gently. "I'll read and you fall asleep, okay?"

Her face lights up, the cracks in her eyes beginning to heal – finally – and you want to cry with happiness.

"Alice and Wonderland," you start, and she settles back against the pillows.

"You know, I wanted to be Alice when I was little," she says with a yawn.

"Yeah? And now?" You're not quite sure why you ask this; not certain why the words tumble out of your mouth, because you'd take her place in a second if you could.

But your heart lifts when she smiles. "Now, I'm happy being Hermione. Just Hermione."

You take her hand and read. For hours.

Until you both fall asleep.

It's easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by God, she's going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does. She has to give it a shot somehow.

"I don't understand it, 'Mione."

She sighs. "It's Allen Ginsberg, Ronald." Like that will make this crazy poem more logical. But then she smiles.

"Let's try this," she says, and she scrambles behind you, leaning against the oak tree in the meadow just by The Burrow.

You're pretty sure you can't breathe when she puts her small hands over your eyes.

"Just listen," she tells you, and you can feel her breath. Glorious shivers run down your spine.

" 'Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone!'," she shouts. You have no idea what she's saying – she told you that it was a performance poem called Howl, that it was very famous among "educated Muggles", that it was her father's favorite. That it was very, very beautiful. You'd bought her the book for her nineteenth birthday, even though she already had it memorized.

Now she's shouting all around you, sounds and words that make no sense but are the most wonderful thing you've ever heard.

Her body is pressed up against yours, her breath and her shouts hot against your skin. Suddenly, you can't help it. You roll over and press your lips to hers.

Her eyes close immediately, her tongue meeting yours.

"I understand now," you murmur.

She rolls her eyes with a laugh, biting her lip with a smile. "Just don't tell this part to my father."

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

"It'll all be perfect," you say. It's not true – it won't ever be true – because she has Mudblood carved into her skin and your brother is dead, but you know she needs to hear it anyways.

She takes a deep breath. She nods, her curls bobbing just above her shoulders.

"They'll understand." They won't.

"Okay," she says, and you walk down the stairs, her hand grasped tightly in yours.

"Mum, Dad," she calls, going to the sunny drawing room, where they're waiting. Her parents look at her expectantly. "We all got hurt," she says. You know these aren't the words she'd meant to have said, that they tumbled from her mouth before she could stop them.

Her parents look concerned and confused.

"What I mean is," Hermione starts again, biting the bottom of her lip, "I didn't – we didn't –" she glances at you – "make it through without scars."

Hermione shows them her wrist. Brokenly explains, while all of them cry, a softened but still mostly true version of what had happened. She tells them about Gringotts. And the dragon. And the Room of Requirement. And Fred.

You cry, too.

She holds your hand and then she says, "But we're okay now."

She smiles at you. You nod, rubbing your thumb over her scar, pulling her close. Her parents notice the gesture. "We are," you tell them.

It's not entirely a lie. Not this time.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

"I didn't think – "

She cuts you off mid-shout. "That's right, Ronald. Exactly right. You didn't think."

You clench your jaw.

"Viktor and I had coffee!" she's screaming now, screaming, her face red, her hair and hands flying everywhere, making her small frame look larger. "It's nothing!" She punctuates this with a stab to your chest by her tiny finger.

"Merlin, Hermione! Can't you see?" you shout, taking her wrists so she doesn't hit you again. (You're still the only one allowed to touch her scar, even during a fight.)

"See what?" She's livid, her voice so shrill you think dogs will be the only beings able to hear it soon.

"You're what everyone wants, Hermione! Don't you see it?" Her brows knit together. "God, you're funny. And beautiful. Beautiful, okay?"

You can see understanding hit her like a bludger.

"You're so smart. And kind. And brave. Any man would want you, 'Mione." You're quiet now, her wrists lowered. At some point you'd taken her hands. "I don't – I can't figure out why you chose me."

Her face falls, and she takes a step closer to you. "Honestly Ronald," she whispers, "how could I not choose you?" She brings her left hand to your cheek. You both know you look to her scar. "You're my hero," she murmurs, a smile tugging at her lips.

You breathe. You kiss her. "I love you."

She rolls her eyes. She meets your lips again, on her tiptoes. "I love you too."

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop.

It's an unspoken question, her hand on your shoulder.

"Hey Gin," you say quietly. You've read the last sentence in Super Sad True Love Story, one of Hermione's latest Muggle books, five times, now.

She puts a mug in front of you, sitting down. "'Mione's with Mum."

You nod. "She cut her hair," you say. You have no idea why.

Ginny sits back. "Yeah, I know. It's cute. I saw it Monday, remember?"

"Oh. Yeah."

She stares at you for a minute. "You're really pathetic now, you know."

You look down at your dressing gown. You haven't shaved in a while.

"Why're you two fighting so much?"

You sigh, pinching the bridge of your nose between your forefinger and thumb.

"I know you're scared. I know your damn terrified, Ron. But she loves you. Loves you. I'm not sure why, exactly, but – "

You hug her so hard then, shooting across the table, knocking the mug over. You cry and Ginny lets you silently.

"All done with that now?" she asks you when your cries have turned into quiet sniffles.

You smile with a small laugh, wiping your tears with your sleeve. "Sorry."

She shakes her head. "It's no problem. That's what sisters are for," she grins. "And, speaking of haircuts, you really need one."

You laugh. "I'll go with Hermione later today. I swear."

Ginny takes your hand. "You're exactly what she needs, Ron. Don't forget that."

You promise you won't.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She'll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You get back late.

You can recognize her little sobs from the kitchen, and you rush to your room. She's sitting up, curled on the bed, her cheeks wet. She's weeping. Jane Eyre is open, face-down on the comforter.

"Hey, Hermione, it's okay. It's okay, love," you whisper, taking her into your arms. She cries and cries and won't talk to you, only shakes her head and allows you to lead her to the kitchen, walking like a zombie.

These episodes happen every few months – she gets hit hard. It's called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, you've found out. Ironically enough, Hermione's triggers are very often her comforts: Books.

You help her drink the tea, guiding her shaking hand to her mouth. There's some calming potion mixed in there, and she looks at you with a sadness as great as the stars blooming overhead.

"Jane had such a sad life," she whispers, her breathes rapid.

"Hermione," you try. She won't meet your eyes. "'Mione, love, calm down, breathe."

You say this over and over again, calmly and softly reassuring, coaxing her back into bed.

She doesn't talk and she sobs at random intervals, always mumbling about Jane Eyre, but you hold her, and, about twenty minutes later, the calming potion fully takes effect and she falls asleep.

She wakes you in the morning. "I freaked out again, huh?" Her hair – shorter and calmer, now, more grown up, is sticking up everywhere.

"Yeah," you say, pulling her close. "You were very sad about Jane Eyre."

You can tell she wants to cry and laugh at the same time.

You smile, moving her chin up so she meets your eyes. "You always come back, 'Mione."

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she's sick.

"It's obly a cold, Robald," she says, shuffling out to the couch. She has on your dressing gown and a pair of sweatpants, one of your flannels, and a pair of wool socks. If she wasn't sick, you're pretty sure you'd fuck her then and there, because it's so adorable.

Her hair is everywhere at once, and her entire nose is red.

"Let me just go pick something up at St. Mungo's. You'll be better."

She shakes her head, plopping down on the couch, appearing completely exhausted from the trek from your bedroom down the hall. "I'll be fibe. I'll just read today. I cab miss work." You realize she's exhausted and merely wants to relax for the day as she summons an e.e. cummings anthology into her lap.

You walk over to her, reading i carry your heart with me upside down. You kiss her on the forehead.

She smiles up at you.

"Marry me," you say. The words are a waterfall past your lips.

Her eyes grow huge and then small and then big again. You're shocked that you asked, too, much too shocked to move. Or breathe. Or think. The smile slides off her face.

And then back on. "Okay."


She grins. " 'it's you are whatever a moon has always meant/ and whatever a sun will always sing is you'," she says in a rush.

You can't breathe.

She sighs with a laugh. "It's the poem," she tells you, holding up the book you'd completely forgotten.

"Oh." It's the only sound you're capable of making.

She kisses you. "It means yes. Trust me."

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn't burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day.

"Hugo?" you ask.

"Les Miserables is one of the best love stories ever told, Ronald."

"We already named Rose after Romeo and Juliet," you whine. "And she's in love with birds lately."

Rosie, to your complete dismay and Hermione's complete amusement, had been enamored by birds for the past few months, transfiguring chairs and lamps and your socks with wild magic quite often. There was often a flock of small yellow (and very familiar) canaries flapping around whatever room she was in.

Hermione laughs. "She inherited that from me. Obviously."

You can't help but smile.

"And Victor Hugo was a brave, honest man. A brilliant man," she tells you. "I think his name will fit his inherited personality from you perfectly."

You really can't argue.

You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Yeats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

"Remember?" she'll ask.

You never will, because she'll always want you to remember weird moments that you're certain only she knows of.

She's beautiful, still. You'll always think that.

She'll be reading W.B. Yeats when she falls asleep. You'll know her eyes are tired, and yours will be too, but you'll take the book anyway.

She'll smile.

You'll read and read for hours, the same part, over and over again: "'But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you, / And loved the sorrows of your changing face; /And bending down beside the glowing bars, /Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled / And paced upon the mountains overhead / And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.'"

Until you'll both fall asleep.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you're better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

"You're everything, Hermione."

She smiles. "Thank you for the world."

You kiss her, softly. "I love you."

"I love you too. I'll see you soon."

You hold her hand. She stops breathing and very soon, so do you.

You will meet her again in a field of dandelion seeds.

She'll say they're her wishes but she doesn't need them anymore because you're with her. It's probably the most beautiful thing you will have ever seen when she stands and they all bloom into yellow flowers.

She'll twirl around, young again, and so you'll be, too.

She'll shout Allen Ginsberg and C.S. Lewis and e.e. cummings and John Keats and T.S. Elliot and Oscar Wilde and Victor Hugo.

You will dance as she recites Walt Whitman at the top of her lungs: "'Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, /Missing me one place, search another. / I stop somewhere waiting for you.'"

You'll kiss her and the world will change again to the ocean, because that's what you've always thought of when you kissed.

It will be beautiful.

"I love you," you'll tell her. She'll smile and say it back.

Forever. Again, and again.