I always thought that OOTP is where Ron started making efforts on his feelings regarding Hermione. But I am so disappointed at Hermione in the whole book. She does not make any efforts towards Ron except a good luck kiss before the Quidditch match which can be interrupted(by Ron) only for a morale booster because she kissed Harry too at the King's Cross. Her lack of efforts did nothing but clouded Ron's mind even more with his insecurities.
This is a one-shot where Ron finally confronts Hermione of the way she treated him. Set in the summer before the sixth year.
Hermione closed the book she had been reading for the past hour and sighed blissfully. It's been a week since she arrived at the Burrow. She always likes spending her time at the Burrow with the Weasleys... with Ron. That is the reason why she always came a few days before Harry so she could spend her time with Ron alone without the constant presence of Harry and his safety. She traced her right hand across her chest where she got hit by a curse by Dolohov a few months ago. She thought about Ron and the scars he received on both his arms to shoulder by the enchanted brains. She never felt so grateful that Professor Lupin helps Ron in time before the brain chocked him to death.
Her thoughts shifted to Sirius, and she blinks back the tears. It was not fair for Harry. He already loses his parents, and it was not fair for him to lose his godparent too when he just found him. And on top of it, he certainly feels guilty about Sirius death. She had warned him that it could be a false scene implanted by Voldemort and she feels angry towards Kreacher. She is worried about Harry and was happy to see him again. He arrived two days before and was still quite moody and shuts himself out. At least, Ron was finally able to convince him for a game of Quidditch today.
Her mind wonders about Ron again. Ron, Ginny, Harry, and the twins are playing Quidditch just outside the Burrow. She noticed that Ron really improved in his game over the year. She does not care about Quidditch, but she did care about the way it changed his body. His shoulder got a lot broader, and his arms are toned with strong muscles. She stared at him above her book for the first half of the game, but she eventually retreats back inside the house to finish a book she had been reading. He is distracting her more, and more now and she found herself daydreaming about him more often. She desperately wanted to clear her situation with Ron before she embarrassed herself in front of him. She was quite aware of her average look, bushy hair and the lack of curves. She knows that she was lacked in the department of looks and she always feels envious of blondes. She desperately wanted Ron to find her attractive the way she finds him. She desperately wanted him to ogle her the way he ogles Fleur or Madam Rosermeta.
She thought about the previous year and smiled a little. If she was not making any assumptions, then she was sure that Ron was finally making some efforts on his feelings towards her. The perfume he had given her as a Christmas present is the beginning. She also smiled at herself at the way she tried to move closer to him during the Prefect rounds and the way she occasionally tries to brush her hands with his. At first, she thought he got angry at Viktor because he was against Harry in the Tri-Wizard Competition. He is always loyal to Harry by a fault. But as he always gets moody and grumpy whenever she mentioned Viktor the previous year, she hoped that his mood change is less to do with his loyalty towards Harry than his jealousy towards Viktor. She knew it was a low blow to use jealousy ploy every time to confirm his feelings towards her, but she cannot fancy the idea of embarrassing herself in front of him if he doesn't feel the same way and destroying their friendship.
Her train of thoughts is interrupted when a large owl came towards her barging from the window. She recognized that owl anyway. It is from Viktor. She hadn't written to him for months when she again declined his offer to visit Bulgaria in summers and was quite surprised to receive his letter. She untied the letter and was again quite surprised to see that the owl stays as if waiting for her to replay. She got nervous and quickly started reading the letter. When she finished it, she groaned. Why hadn't he got the message, she made it pretty clear to him that she only wanted friendship with him. He was signed by the new club and was in England for a few days for a pre-season friendly match. He wanted her to reach and attend the match. She found a single ticket of the match in the envelope. Single ticket! He wanted her to visit him alone. She thought about it for a second and quickly decided against it. She does not want him to have any ideas that she wanted more than friendship with him besides she does not trade her time with the Weasleys for anything in the world.
She started writing a quick replay when the boys and Ginny barged inside the kitchen from the back door taking loudly about there game. She looked up and was astonished by the sight of Ron. He was leaning against a counter, his skin sweaty and shinning lightly. His red hair is plastered on his forehead. His next action takes away her breath. He was using the hem of his Chudley Cannons t-shirt to wipe the sweat off his brow revealing his abdomen and half his chest. She watched his pink nipples and then her eyes traced over the freckles spattered across his sweaty chest and abdomen. She trailed her eyes over his ginger hair from the abdomen to the waistband of his pants. She knew that she was ogling her red-haired best friend shamelessly, but she could not look away. Suddenly her view was offended by his orange t-shirt. She suddenly becomes aware of her actions and looked around, relieved to find that her shameless ogling goes unnoticed.
"I told you, Ginny," said Ron, "that we can easily kick off the twins arse."
"Piss off! Ickle Ronniknes!" said Fred.
"Do not exaggerate, little brother-"
"to impress our sweet little miss know-it-all."
Ron's ears turn pink and look towards Hermione. "Hey!"
"Hi yourself," she exclaimed.
"How was the book?" Ron asked still a little amused when he found out that she was reading a muggle novel instead of the course textbook. Then he suddenly notices the owl beside her. "And whose owl is that anyway?"
"Viktor's," Hermione replied.
"Krum?" he asked, and she rolled her eyes. "What does he want anyway? Bet he still wants you to visit him. Doesn't it?"
She bits her lip knowing what was coming. Why does he have to be so infuriating? She knew he was referring to Viktor's last year invitation to Bulgaria.
"No, he doesn't," she replied knowing it is for the best if Ron does not know about Viktor's latest invitation.
"Why don't you finish your replay to your darling Vicky. I bet he is waiting for it?"
"For God sake Ron! I am telling you this hundredth time. Don't call him Vicky. His name is Viktor." Hermione snapped finally losing all her control.
"Ron-" Ginny begin tentatively. But Ron ignored her anyway.
"What does he want anyway?" He asked.
"It is none of your business," she said sharply.
"Ohh! Then I leave you alone to write down a replay to your darling boyfriend."
"Ron you prat!" yelled Hermione. "I told you so many times before and I am telling you again he is not my boyfriend." She took a deep breath to cool down. This is getting nowhere. She does not want to fight with Ron.
"And for your information, he signed a new club and invited me for his next match."
"What? You are not going, aren't you?" He asked unsurely. Then his face suddenly darkened. "Unless you decided that it was a good idea to leave your best friend and wander around to solve other important problems."
She was about to answer that obviously she was not accepting the invitation when his last statement caught her off guard. She was momentarily transpired back to the time where she and Harry told him that they are not able to watch him lift the Quidditch Cup as they were gone to help Hagrid with his brother.
"Ron you-" Harry started but suddenly stop himself, certainly does not want to come between their fight.
"Surely you don't feel embarrassed watching your darling Vicky playing confidently and winning the match?" he said with an uncharacteristically calm voice. And with that, he stomped up the stair towards his bedroom.
Hermione stood there frozen in the spot, her jaw dropping. She had thought that Ron will understand, that he did not mind. She remembered that how bad she felt for missing the match and believed that Ron will understand. But definitely, she was wrong. And now she realized that she never said it aloud to Ron that she was truly sorry for missing the match. She was caught by the cold sensation not because of her fight with Ron but because of the way he accused her. He was not yelling at her like he always did, he said it in a calm voice as if he was stating a fact. Did he really think of her like that? Did he really think that she did not care enough for him? When in the whole world she cared for him the most.
She needed to talk to him, wanted to put all this aside and clear everything with Ron. She started to move towards the stair when the owl stopped her by hooting. She groaned and quickly write a replay.
'Sorry, Viktor. I am busy.'
And tied the parchment to owl's leg. She hopes that Viktor will understand that she does not want anything but friendship from him and will stop inviting her in future. Now she had an entirely different predicament in front of her, and she wanted to resolve it as soon as possible. She hastily climbed the stairs and knocked at Ron's door. She waited for two seconds and opened the door not caring for anything but to resolve this with Ron.
"Go away," said Ron. He was sitting on his bed his face on his hands.
"Ron we need to talk," she stated calmly ignoring him.
"I don't want to talk."
"But I do!" she exclaimed. "Ron, we need to resolve this."
When he does not say anything she continued "Ron we do not mean to-" she stopped wanting to be more clear, so he gets the message "I do not mean to miss-"
"Yes you do," he cut her off. "You do, otherwise you do not leave in the first place."
"I don't want to leave. I wanted to stay, but Hagrid said that it was really important, and Harry agreed with him, so I have no choice."
He chuckled bitterly. "It always comes down to Harry. Doesn't it?"
"Ron? What are you on about?" she asked confused about where he was going.
"You does not like Quidditch at all, and yet you never missed a match in which Harry was playing."
"Ron it is not liked that-" she started, but he cut her off again.
"Yes, it is," he let out a mirthless chuckle "You always believed in him like he was a fucking hero who can do everything."
"No Ron. Please," she stated pleadingly. Wanting him to believe her. "There is no one in the world I believe more than you."
And she was telling the truth. She trusts Ron more than anyone else because when he was not self-doubting himself than he becomes the most amazing person in the world. She saw it from her own eyes as she adores him for his loyalty and bravery. But why cannot she say it aloud?
"No, you don't," he cuts her in, oblivious to her internal battle. "You never believed that I was a Prefect."
She closed her eyes tightly restricting herself from crying. She well knew her reaction to Ron's been a Prefect and she hated herself for it. Luckily that day she was saved by Mrs. Weasley who pampered over Ron so she could hide behind her. Internally she was so thrilled for Ron being the Prefect as it will allow more alone time for just the two of them. But she never said it aloud nor did she apologized for her reaction. Why? She believed that Ron will understand, that he will don't mind. But certainly, he did. And she despised herself for not realizing it before.
But she needed to make it clear now when they are finally talking about it.
"It is not like that Ron. I was just surprised."
"Surprised that I was appointed as a Prefect."
"No!" she shouted. She wanted him to understand her. "I was surprised that somebody besides Harry was a Prefect. I never thought it will ever possible Ron that Dumbledore will choose someone other than Harry. You know how close Harry and Dumbledore is. I always thought that Dumbledore will make Harry a Prefect to take his mind off for everything that happened last year."
Ron did not say anything lost in his own thought. She was able to get through him.
"And I was very thrilled that you are appointed as a Prefect."
Ron looked at her, and their eyes met for the first time she entered his room. She saw him smile slightly then his expression darkened again.
"Then you did a very poor job of showing it?" and she groaned internally. She still needed to explain more.
"I don't care you are surprised or not. Hell, I am even surprised myself. But I do care by the way you act," he said, and she readied herself for another blow. Another mistake she makes unintentionally while trying hard not to show her feelings towards him.
"You act as though I had stolen the batch from Harry and when twins are teasing me you don't even try to defend me. You don't even give them a single reason as for why I deserve to be a Prefect."
Hermione choked back a sob trying very hard not to cry but a tear still rolled her cheek, and she wiped it hastily. She has a lot of things to say to twins. She wanted to say that it was Ron who beat professor McGonagall at chess at the age of twelve. That it was Ron, who followed Acromantula to save the school despite suffering from Arachnophobia. That is was Ron alongside Harry who solved the mystery of Chambers of Secret. That it was Ron, who stood on the broken leg in front of a mass murderer before his friends. But she could not. Her words died in her throat, and she unintentionally ended hurting Ron's feelings.
"Ron, I am so sorry. I know I acted horribly. I wanted to say so many things, but then Mrs. Weasley comes in, and she talked about to give you a new broom so I don't think you would mind." She knew it was a petty excuse, but she could not say about Ron qualities now. It didn't matter if she said it now. She should have defended him from the twins.
"So you think that I will don't mind. That all this does not affect old poor Ron at all," he said bitterly.
"No Ron I don't-"
"Yes, yo do," he said forcefully "because according to you me and my teaspoon emotions weren't all to effected."
Hermione's head snapped up, and a cold feeling enveloped her again by seeing the bitter look on his face. He could not have? She did not mean it.
"Ron I didn't-"
"Don't tell me you don't mean it. Because you do. For you, I am nothing but an insensitive wart. Right?" he said with a mirthless chuckle.
"You know you should have given me a book on feelings so I could expand my emotional range. Wouldn't that be the perfect Christmas gift?"
She could not look him in the eye, and this time a loud sob escaped her mouth before she stops herself. Tears are flowing freely down her cheeks as she wiped them hastily to be replaced by the new set of tears. She could not believe it. She did not mean anything. She had thought that he had understood that she did not mean it. That she was frustrated towards him. But certainly he did not, and she berated herself again for her lack of communication skills.
"Ron, I can't believe you took it like that. I did not mean anything. I was frustrated, and we always say things like that to each other all the time."
"We do bicker, Hermione. But we never shoot vicious, unprovoked insults at each other just for fun."
"But you know what, Hermione. I do have emotions. And you would have noticed it if you do not bury your nose off writing that novel-length letter to Krum."
Hermione shook her head suddenly overcome by the emotions, tears still freely flowing down her cheeks. She could not believe how everything has gone to hell just by letters wheater it was a Prefect letter or a letter to Viktor. She gave a bitter chuckle as she realized how her jealousy ploy work against her. How instead of giving Ron the required confidence it just hurt him more. How she unintentionally hurt Ron's feeling and all this time she does not know. She felt so small in front of Ron now. She cannot look him in the eye as she collapsed on the floor in front of Ron as silent tears sliding down her cheek. What surprised her that Ron too joined her beside on the floor, and is awkwardly patting her small hand with his large one in order to comfort her. She felt an incredible rush of affection towards him flowed through her body.
"I want you to know Hermione, that when I sat there, in the hospital wing waiting for Madam Pomfrey to come and tell me how you are-" he paused and swallowed hard. "She told me that you were hit by an unknow cursed. That you are still unconscious. I was so scared, you know? I mean, completely bloody terrified."
Hermione felt a lump in her throat and meet his eyes. His eyes also seem glassy, and she silently urges him to continue. He took a deep breath before saying the most wonderful thing she had heard by anybody in her whole life.
"I was never so scared in my bloody life. It was the worst I have ever felt. You look so pale, and fragile and I thought that you will never... well, you know." He took another deep breath and she nodded.
"I never felt that low in my life before. I mean even the attack on my dad, Acromantula, Death Eaters are nothing compared to what I felt in that moment. And I could not do anything. AlI I could do was to bloody sit there and wait. And there is so many thought running in my mind... I remembered so many things about you. Things I never care to remember before. And I imagine what it would be like to live without you. And it was a hell and I was a bloody mess."
"But you know, there is also one thing that I remembered about you, about what you said... and I wanted you to wake up and see by your own eyes that I am not insensitive. That I do have feelings."
Hermione could not resist anymore. She hugged him tightly and sobbed on his chest. She was overwhelmed by so many emotions. Guilt and self-loathing for hurting Ron's feelings, berating herself for her lack of communication skills, but one emotion is most prominent than every other emotion. The affection she held for her red-haired best friend. And she knew right there that if she had not fallen in love with him before, she would have fallen for him again. She swore to herself that she will try her best to never offend Ron's feelings again. She swore to herself that from now on she will communicate more openly to Ron. And she was up for that challenge. It was a challenge she never intended to fail... and Hermione Granger will never be backed away from any challenge.
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