Hermione Granger seemed to be sleepwalking after leaving Professor McGonagall's office. The accumulation of events that had occurred in the last few hours that she had referred, to still seemed to be getting through to her.
Mr. Weasley had been attacked in the Ministry by Voldemort's snake! And he had only escaped death because of the early warning that Harry had given.
When she woke up this morning, she was surprised not to find Harry or any of the Weasleys in the dining room, which had led to an unpleasant feeling on her chest, but what had set off all her alarms was the story from Ron and Harry's roommates. She had immediately rushed to the teachers' table, when a simple gesture from McGonagall had instructed her that this was neither the place nor the time. Something that was confirmed moments later, with the appearance of Professor Umbridge demanding to know the whereabouts of the Weasley brothers.
In her mind, she could recreate the scene as if she had been there. She was about to bet that at this moment, Harry would be oblivious to the fact that he was the one who allowed Mr. Weasley with his warning. What's more, she would bet one of her O.W.L.s marks that at this same moment Harry would be blaming himself for what happened, convinced that Arthur had been attacked simply because he was the father of his best friend and so, he would be ruminating that feeling inside himself without letting anyone penetrate the shell of isolation he would have built around him, preventing anyone from making him see the absurdity of his reasoning.
Along with this feeling, her other concern was to imagine the state of Mr. Weasley and how the rest of the family would be passing the hours.
She could imagine their reactions and the visceral fear they must have felt in their hearts, when they were woken up in the middle of the night to inform them that, their father, was struggling between life and death, the victim of a Voldemort attack.
She imagined Mrs. Weasley tried to appear strong and confident so his family wouldn't break up. To the twins, whose jokes for once could not insulate them from the merciless reality of war. To Ginny in whose mind she'd be spending her ordeal in the Chamber of Secrets, to. . .
"Ron!" The moan escaped from between her lips and her whole mind was focused on him.
Hermione knew of the particular connection between Mr. Weasley and his youngest son. That one that not only covered the physical aspects that he also shared with his brother Bill, but also on other much deeper levels.
She knew that his father, in an effort to raise a progeny that seemed to have been gifted with a stomach that was as voracious as a black hole, had been forced not to devote as much time to it as he would have liked, and so, Ron had been raised basically by his mother, Percy and the twins. . .
"If the way they are used to behaving with him could be called raising," she snorted under her breath as she thought, how much of Ron's insecure and explosive personality was the responsibility of that pair of troublemakers. The point was, when Mr. Weasley was partially relieved of that burden after the emancipation of the two older sons, he had tried to make up for that loss of attention by devoting more of his scarce free time, and had taken him to watch his first quidditch match with the Cannons, from which the redhead's eternal love for the lousy team, emerged.
But Hermione had found many other similarities. Both were brave, though they tried to avoid direct confrontation, noting in common to evil or any temptation to try to abuse any situation of privilege, nevertheless they were fierce when it came to defending what they understood to be right.
Immersed in her thoughts, her legs led her to her sanctuary, that corner of the library that took her away from the usual hustle and bustle and allowed her to concentrate on her readings and the writing of her complex essays. The same corner whose window overlooked the quidditch pitch, from which, she furtively observed the training sessions of Gryffindor's team or, perhaps it would be better to say, the developments of one of the team's newest members.
As the smile insinuated itself on her face, Hermione could not help but reflect on how extraordinarily complex it was to understand Ronald Weasley.
Ron, sighed to herself. She really couldn't understand him! There seemed to be two of them and they alternated with each other in an unpredictable way.
Ron was loyal to a fault, but sometimes he seemed a little jealous of Harry's reputation. Most of the time he behaved like an insensitive fool and yet sometimes he surprised her with gestures of infinite tenderness. She could have the funniest talk with him and tell him all the places she planned to travel when she finished school, but it was mentioning Bulgaria and Ron seemed to turn into a manticore.
When he flew over the grounds of The Burrow, he seemed to be in perfect communion with his broom. She had been surprised to discover that sometimes the twins had suddenly thrown some quaffles at him and he would alter his flight to intercept them with an almost feline grace, but it was flying over the school pitch and he becoming into a nervous mess of hands and feet struggling to hold onto his broom, with an unsettling shade of green on his face.
For the most of the people, Ron was what could be defined like a lazy who was always behind in his schoolwork and unable to perform a spell correctly during class, but, the day after she helped him complete his homework or gave him a practical demonstration on it, he seemed to be able to perform it almost perfectly and, not even then! He seems to have a consistent line of behaviour at this point. Ron didn't seem to have the slightest interest in learning basic glamour spells, how transfiguring a rat into a chalice or making a potion to cure warts, and yet, he was perfectly capable during DA's training, of transfiguring a cushion of The Room of Requirement into a solid block of solid stone to ward off a spell cast by Harry, while he counter-attacking him by throwing impedimenta spell that caused Harry to retreat ten yards.
And in spite of all that crazy, absurd, unrealistic and incomprehensible double personality she loved him. Oh my God, how she loved him! She couldn't understand it, but it was the truth and she knew it wasn't a young girl's crush, it was something else. She could see his faults and the weaknesses of his personality that he should try to correct, such as insecurity in himself and eternal self-comparison with his brothers and in spite of everything. . . there it was. The blurred sketch of the formidable man he was destined to become just by trying it from the bottom of her heart. A man who would make any woman's heart tremble like, he already did her own.
She was deep in thought about the irritating redhead when she discovered a parchment note carelessly folded in front of the seat she used to occupy in the library.
She opened it out of curiosity, recognizing the sloppy handwriting of the object of her tribulations as she began to read it. . .
"So, what's a teaspoon?"
As they moved along the lines of the writing, her eyes widened meanwhile one of her hands went over her chest in an unconscious attempt to calm the rampant galloping of her heart that seemed to have gone mad with the careless lines of writing.
"...To seem happy, sad, haughty, understated,
emboldened, fugitive, exasperated..."
It seemed that the world had been turned upside down and where once there was a mindless lout with the same sensitivity as a teaspoon, now there was someone who had been able to correctly interpret the verses her mind was slipping on. But that was inconceivable to Ron.
He... he really can't have been able to show me this, she thought as she began to reread thinking that she was being part of some kind of joke or enchantment the twins had left behind. A joke or a spell that should perhaps be called cruel because of all it was doing to feel to her.
To be fainthearted, to be bold, possessed,
abrasive, tender, open, isolated,
spirited, dying, dead, invigorated,
loyal, treacherous, venturesome, repressed.
Not to find, without your lover, rest.
To seem happy, sad, haughty, understated,
emboldened, fugitive, exasperated,
satisfied, offended, doubt-obsessed.
To face away from disillusionment,
to swallow venom like liqueur, and quell
all thoughts of gain, embracing discontent;
to believe a heaven lies within a hell,
to give your soul to disillusionment;
that's love, as all who've tasted know too well.
"Ro... Ron!" The exclamation escaped like a whisper from her lips while her legs seemed to waver when she completed the last line. . .
Hermione dropped into the chair at the impending failure of her legs to hold her as the crying made its way through her chest to replace her breath with an incoherent set of hiccups and sobs meanwhile she pressed the parchment to her chest.
No. Ron Weasley was not the callous wart she had said, nor was the imbecile with the emotional range of a teaspoon. No, Ron was just a normal teenager in constant confusion because of the tide of hormones circulating in his blood, the emotional overload of facing feelings whose intensity she herself knew very well, the recognition of the darkness that was approaching, and right now, the boy who feared for his father's life and who would put under a thick shell all the pain and all the terror that his heart harboured for, with an apparent indifference to avoid further anguish to his family during these times of tribulation, just as he did in the second year, when he went into the forbidden forest with Harry.
But, above all, Ron was her friend. The friend who needed her now more than ever, and as she began to write a letter to her parents explaining why she couldn't stay with them for the Christmas break, she couldn't help but notice the tremor in her hand and how her knuckles went white clutching her quill when one simple question seeped into her head:
Who-in-the-hell had taught Ronald Bilius Weasley what love was?
Notes: The original poem is by Spanish author Lope de Vega. The best Spanish poet writing about love and possibly one of the best, if not the best, on the world.
The English translation is not mine. It was made by David Rosenthal. I wish my English was a quarter of his! Ha, ha.