Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Summary: This is the third task from Ron and Hermione's POV.


"This is so boring!" Ron let out a frustrated groan as he leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest. "We can't even see anything!"

It was true; darkness had taken over the Hogwarts grounds hours ago, and there was still no sign of anything from the maze. Both Fleur and Viktor had been removed already, causing momentary fragments of excitement in an otherwise dull event. But the latter of the two had been extracted over two hours before, and since then nothing had happened at all. Cedric and Harry were presumably still in the maze, but it was impossible to spot them. Half of the people in the stands seemed to have fallen asleep, and Hermione felt herself extremely close to joining them.

"What is taking so long?" she wondered out loud. She was sitting between Ron and Lavender Brown. Lavender had her head on Parvati's shoulder and raised it only briefly enough to reply to Hermione's question.

"I don't know. But if something doesn't happen soon, I'm going to bed." She returned her head back to its position and busied herself by picking at her fingernails.

Hermione rolled her eyes slightly. She was bored, too, but she wouldn't even consider going to bed until she knew the outcome of the tournament. She sighed and leaned back in her chair in the same fashion Ron had earlier.

"I wonder what's going on," Ron said absently, his own eyes threatening to give into sleep.

Hermione shrugged. "Who knows?"

At that exact moment, she felt something that felt like a very strong chill take over her body, and she shivered abruptly. Ron turned his head and looked at her with a raised eyebrow.

"What's up with you?" he asked curiously.

Hermione just shook her head, a horrible feeling filling her body. "I don't know…" Then suddenly, a revelation hit her like a ton of bricks. "Something's wrong!" she gasped.

Ron's confused look didn't change. "What are you talking about?"

"I don't…"

At that exact moment, a loud murmuring started covering the crowd, and both Ron and Hermione jerked their attention back to the field. They could make out the outline of two bodies appearing, and they saw a group of adults race out to the aforementioned bodies.

"Harry…" Hermione knew all at once that the horrible feeling had been about Harry, and the only thing crossing her mind was to get to him as soon as possible.

Ron seemed to be thinking the same thing, and Hermione suddenly found herself being yanked to her feet by his hand. She didn't protest at all as he started dragging her down the aisle much quicker than she would have thought possible considering the fact that they had to climb over so many people to get to the stairs. Still clutching each other's hands, they ignored Mrs. Weasley's shouts of, "Ron! Hermione! Get back here!"

When they finally reached the stairs, they immediately knew that getting to the field was going to be much easier said than done. It seemed as though the entire school was pushing their way down those stairs, and it was seemingly impossible to make their way through the thick crowd.

"What're we going to do?" Ron asked her, worry etched over every inch of his freckled face.

Hermione did the first thing that came to mind. She let go of Ron's hand, and with all of her might, she shoved the closest person to her, a second year Ravenclaw, and shouted, "Get out of the way!" The poor second year had been pushed so hard that she fell into a cluster of people, causing more than half of them to end up on their butts. Hermione grabbed Ron's hand once again and didn't think twice about actually stepping on the said people to get over them. Several cries of protest rang out as she pushed her way down the stairs, but everyone knew well enough to get out of her way. Together, they made it to the edge of the stands.

Just as they were about to climb over, though, a voice echoed through the stands.

"He's dead!"

Hermione froze where she was, feeling all the color leave her face. She could feel bile rising in her throat as she slowly turned her head to Ron. He, too, looked as though he were going to be ill. All around her, everything seemed to quiet completely, as though she had suddenly gone deaf. Her eyes connected with Ron's, and the moment she saw the expression on his face, she felt as though the bottom had completely dropped out of her world.

This could not be happening.

"Har…" She was surprised that she could hear her own voice, as everything else seemed to be muted completely. She knew, though, that she couldn't form a complete sentence because she felt a horrible stinging round her eyes and a wretched tightness in her throat. She suddenly found her face pushed against what she knew was Ron's chest. She wasn't sure if she had gone to him or if he had pulled her to him, but she honestly didn't care. Ron's arms were around her waist protectively, and she didn't know whether to scream or cry. She opted for the latter, and tears streamed down her cheeks as one of her hands covered her mouth and the other clutched desperately at the navy material of Ron's shirt.

It seemed to Hermione that they stayed that way for hours, though she was dimly aware that it was probably only a matter of minutes. She felt Ron pull slightly away suddenly. Then she heard him give a huge sigh of some unrecognizable emotion.

"Cedric," he whispered into her ear. "Cedric. Not Harry."

Her head shot up and she looked into his eyes which held a completely different look than the last time she had glimpsed them. "Harry's okay?" she asked, hopefully and not at all surprised to have found her voice so easily.

Ron just nodded, and it suddenly seemed as though someone had taken a silencing charm off of the crowd because Hermione's hearing seemed to have retuned. She once again heard the roar of the stadium, and she was even surprised to be able to make out Ron's urgent, "C'mon!"

He took her hand for the third time and pulled her the last few feet to the wall separating them from the field. He jumped it easily and turned to help her over it. She was surprised at how easy it was for her to make it over because she knew that on a normal day she never would have been able to clear it.

The field was almost as crowded as the stairs, and all around them, teachers were yelling at the students who had flooded the field to return to their dormitories immediately. Someone's voice was booming the same instructions to the students still in the stands. Hermione and Ron, of course ignored this order and raced to the area where they knew Harry to be. Several people, including Professor Dumbledore, were blocking him from their view, but they tried nonetheless to get to him.

Suddenly, Professor McGonagall stepped in front of them and held up her hands to halt them. "Go back to your dormitories," she told them sternly, though neither of them could ignore the unmistakable look of concern covering her face.

"Where's Harry?" Hermione asked immediately, peering around her professor in an attempt to gain a view of her best friend.

"Miss Granger, do as I say." McGonagall was speaking in a very even voice.

"No!" Hermione shouted, surprising even herself. "Not until you let us see Harry!"

Professor McGonagall was undoubtedly shocked by her prized pupil's sudden indignation, but she did not scold her for her disrespect. "Miss Gra… Hermione," she said softly, "Harry is fine. Now please return to Gryffindor."

"I'm not going until I see for myself!" Hermione made a sudden move to bypass her teacher but was stopped by the older woman grasping her arm before she could get by.

"Mr. Weasley," the professor said, turning her attention to Ron, "please do me a favor and escort Miss Granger back to the castle."

Ron looked at her as though she'd gone mad. "Hell no!" he shouted in the same manner Hermione had. "Where is he?"

Professor McGonagall seemed to be reaching the end of her tether with the pair of fourth years, as a stern frown suddenly covered her face. "Mr. Weasley, I will ask you to kindly not swear in my presence and to follow my instructions before I am forced to take points from Gryffindor."

Ron looked outraged by her threat. "I don't give a damn how many points you take from the bloody house! Where the hell is Harry?!"

As Ron was swearing profusely at their head of house, Hermione spotted Mad- Eye Moody dragging what she knew immediately to be Harry's form through a crowd of hysterical students. She could barely make him out through the crowd of crying girls and hyped up boys, but she knew it was him.

She tugged roughly on Ron's hand, causing him to turn to her. "What's wrong?" he asked immediately, concern and urgency evident in his voice.

She said nothing, but nodded her head in the direction of the rapidly disappearing Moody. Ron took only a second to follow her gaze and jerk her in that direction. Before they could move two feet, though, another body stepped in front of them.

"Miss Granger, Mr. Weasley, I assure you that Mr. Potter is fine. Please return to your tower right away." Professor Dumbledore was staring down at them, a look neither of them recognized covering his face.

"When may we see him?" Hermione asked quietly, not liking the look he bore one single bit.

The Headmaster looked down at her and then at Ron; his face turned suddenly quite sympathetic, and he reached out to place a hand on each of their shoulders. "We need to sort out some things, and then you may visit him in the hospital wing. For the time being, though, please return to your dormitories."

They nodded slightly and watched him hurry off in the direction of a panic- stricken Amos Diggory. Professor McGonagall returned to their sides and spoke to them in a very calming voice.

"Please do as Professor Dumbledore says," she urged them gently. "Harry is safe now."

"But what happened, Professor?" Ron asked in a much smaller voice than he had previously used. In fact, his voice was so small that Hermione wanted to cry all over again.

McGonagall shook her head slowly and said, "I'm not sure. We have many things to sort out before we'll know. Now, please, go. We'll find you as soon as possible." She gave them each a sad sort of smile and turned to speak with the Minister of Magic.

Ron and Hermione watched her go and then turned back to each other. For a moment, neither spoke. Finally, though, Ron said in a voice Hermione wasn't used to hearing, "Let's go then."

She nodded silently, and together they walked back to the castle, ignoring the questions of what had happened from various people who tried to stop them.

Neither of them even bothered to worry that they were still holding hands.

Once they made it up the stairs of the castle and to the Gryffindor Common Room, they were instantly flooded with a load of questions.

"Where's Harry?"

"Is he okay?"

"Is Cedric really dead?!"

It seemed as though every Gryffindor from first year to seventh year was crowding the Common Room and asking them questions. Both Ron and Hermione seemed to have reached a silent agreement not to discuss anything with the others, partly because they knew nothing but mostly because neither of them was up to talking to anyone else. They ignored the questions, and Hermione silently led Ron to the stairway. He followed without thinking.

Before they could hit the stairwell, though, three bodies blocked them.

"What happened?" Fred asked quietly, seriousness covering both his and George's face for once. Ginny was standing beside them looking as though she was ready to pass out.

Ron shrugged. "We don't know. Get everyone to lay off, okay?" He glanced at Hermione, who was looking rather sick herself.

"Is… Harry okay?" Ginny asked quietly, her brown eyes sunken deep into their sockets.

Ron looked at his little sister and noticed how pitiful she looked. "He's fine."

His siblings nodded silently and asked no more questions. Hermione once again tugged on Ron's hand, urging him to follow her. Instead of parting at the stairs, though, they both followed the same staircase in the direction of the girls' dormitory. Parvati and Lavender looked up at them from the Common Room and then glanced at each other; it seemed as though they silently agreed to stay put for as long as necessary.

Once they'd entered Hermione's room, they shut themselves in and dropped hands for the first time since they'd jumped the wall to the field. "I'm not supposed to be in here," Ron said quietly, in an attempt to break the silence.

Hermione shrugged and walked silently to her bed. She climbed onto it and brought her knees to her chest, hugging them tightly. Out of nowhere, she clearly said, "I'm scared."

Ron watched her, helpless to do anything to calm her fears. He'd always felt an overwhelming need to protect her, ever since their very first year at Hogwarts. But now… Now, he was just as afraid as she was. Not knowing what else to do, he crossed the room and sat down beside her. Quietly, he said, "Me, too."

Hermione raised her chin from its current resting place atop her knees and looked at him. "He's going to be okay. Right?" She was looking at him, urgent for some reassurance.

Ron brought his thumb to his mouth and chewed absently on the nail. "He has to be…" Then, barely audible, he added, "I don't know what I'd do if he wasn't… He's my best friend." Ron dropped his finger from his mouth, and stared down at it in its new place on his lap.

Hermione looked at him, not at all sure what to say. He kept speaking, though, and with each word, she felt her heart breaking a little more.

"I was so stupid, you know? Going on like I did at first and all…" He wrinkled his forehead and screwed up his face. "Jealousy… That's all it was. I was so jealous of him, and I wouldn't even believe him."

"Ron…" Hermione placed a gentle hand to his arm and tried to catch his eye, though it was impossible, as he was still staring at the hand in his lap. "It wasn't just you. It was both of you."

"I started it," he cut in. "It was my fault. Someone wanted to kill him, and all I could see was him getting even more admirers. God, why am I so stupid?!" He looked up at the last question, his face showing an emotion Hermione didn't recognize.

"Ron, you are not stupid. You just didn't know." She finally caught his eye and tried to give him a reassuring look.

"And what if something had happened, and I'd never made up with him?!" he asked, a sudden urgency in his voice. "What if we were still fighting and something awful happened?"

"Harry's fine," Hermione said quickly, not knowing how to deal with Ron's sudden outpour. "He's okay."

"Yeah, but what if… Cedric…" Ron's voice trailed off. "What if it had been Harry?"

"It wasn't."

"Yeah, but…" Once again, Ron's voice trailed, and suddenly, he turned to Hermione, a look of fear in his eyes. Very quietly, he said, "He's my best friend."

Hermione felt her heart breaking at the look on Ron's face. She'd never seen him look so pitiful. Reaching out to him, she drew him into her arms, and he came willingly. As his head rested against her small shoulder, she said, "I know he is. And Harry knows it, too. And you're his best friend, too." Admitting that both boys were closer with each other than they were with her might have been difficult in some situations, but at the moment she didn't care. She was just beyond thankful that both of her best friends were safe.

Hermione rested her own head against his and forced herself not to listen to the sniffling and random hiccups coming from the redhead she was still cradling. She wasn't sure if he was crying or if he was just forcing himself not to. She didn't care, either, because both options scared her beyond belief. Ron was supposed to be the emotionless, strong, macho one of the trio, and the thought of him crying was too much for her to handle.

They sat like that for a long while. Neither of them speaking, neither of them moving. Just sitting there, supporting each other both physically and mentally, until Ginny knocked softly on the door to tell that Mrs. Weasley and Bill were there to take them to the infirmary. At her words, Ron and Hermione finally pulled apart and looked at each other. Ron's face was extremely red while Hermione's was uncharacteristically extremely pale.

Without speaking, they slid off the bed and cautiously made their way toward the still closed door. Just as they were to pass through it, though, Ron grabbed Hermione's arm and pulled her in for a quick hug. When he pulled away from her, she just looked up at him questioningly, though not expecting an answer. In response, Ron just reached for her hand once again.

They both glanced down at their intertwined hands and then up at each other before exiting the room and heading off to face the uncertainty of what lay ahead for them.


Stupid, I know, but I was bored. I'd love feedback!