All I Know

By Stargirl

Author's note: Thank you once again for the grand reviews! They make my day. In this chapter, I've clarified when a flashback occurs. There'll be more of them in this chapter. Please continue being wonderful and review!

Chapter Three: The more you give

The rest of the week, Ron and Hermione fell into a splendidly relaxed routine. Every morning, Ron would cook a large breakfast—the aroma of which woke Hermione from her deep, docile slumber. The rest of their mornings were spent playing endless games of chess, where glorious victories were Ron's until Hermione attempted to assist him in preparing lunch. Their afternoons were a blur of picnics outside, de-gnoming the garden, taking naps on the squashy couches in the living room, reading, having tea around four, chatting about everything and nothing, having moonlit dinners at midnight, then collapsing from exhaustion in their respectable rooms.

The following Sunday (a week from Hermione's arrival at The Burrow), Ron had prepared breakfast as usual. He had finished scrambling the eggs, buttering the toast, and frying the bacon, and was scooping rations of each onto two plates. Typically, by this time, Hermione groggily stumbled down the flights of stairs and into the kitchen, greeting Ron with a sleepy grin. That morning, however, she did nothing of the sort.

Curious as to why, Ron stood at the foot of the stairs and yelled, "Oy! Hermione!"

No answer.

He climbed the first two flights of stairs and yelled a bit louder, "Hermione! It's breakfast time!"

Still no response.

Worried, Ron ran up the rest of the stairs and continued shouting her name, "Hermione! Hermione, wake up!"

He reached Ginny's room, which was functioning as Hermione's room for the summer, and banged on the door.

And yet, still no reply.

Swinging the door open, Ron found Hermione wrapped in four blankets, shivering furiously, and tossing and turning in her sleep on the twin bed. He rushed to kneel by her side and shook her gently. Bloody hell!

"Hermione, Hermione, wake up!"

Hermione stirred, then bolted upright. "Ron!" Her teeth were chattering and her voice was hoarse, "Ron—I'm-I'm freezing!" The sweat beads that glistened on her forehead and the fact that her face was very flushed contradicted the very statement.

Slightly panicked, he put the back of his hand on her forehead, "Merlin, poppet! You're burning up! You must have a fever…we'll fix this…" He climbed onto the bed behind her, rubbing her back. "Is your throat sore?"

Ignoring the fact that "poppet" would probably become his new nickname for her, she tried to swallow, but couldn't. She nodded and managed to croak, "Yeah." She turned and climbed onto his cross-legged lap, still wrapped in the excessive amount of blankets. I could easily fall asleep in this position…

Ron put his arms around her waist and rocked slowly, "D'ya think you can stomach some breakfast? Or d'ya want me to make you some soup?" The girl is sick, twat! Thus, you must ignore the fact that she smells like apples and she's too close… You nasty git! This is Hermione, your best mate! Not someone to mate with!

Coughing to clear her aching throat but not succeeding, Hermione replied softly, "Chicken soup would be nice." Her face found the crook of his shoulder and rested there. If I weren't so tired or feeling so horrid, I'd wonder what I'm doing…but I suppose, that's the beauty of feeling ill. You can always blame it on not having your wits about you… Heh heh.

He leaned his cheek onto her forehead and kissed her temple quickly, "Right. That's what Mum always makes when any of us are ill."

Silent for a few minutes, they stayed the way they were. Neither wanted to move because the position was so comfortable. Ron was the first to speak, "Would you rather eat now or go back to sleep?"

Hermione said nothing. She had already fallen asleep again. Not wanting to disturb her, he scooped her into his arms and slid out of the bed. He set her down again, careful not to wake her. He brushed her hair out of her face, tucking it behind her ear, then slipped out of the room. Quietly, he descended the stairs, sat in his chair at the kitchen table and ate breakfast.

Flashback

After the memorable day that Ron—as Harry put it—whisked Hermione away to the now-legendary romantic hotspot, the Prefects bathroom, threw caution to the wind, and proved that he had the emotional capacity that was more than teaspoon, Ron and Hermione got along brilliantly. Two years' of not dancing around the idea of going to a ball with each other rather than dancing together at a ball—and the rows caused by doing such—were now a silly part of the past. Ron had gone to other balls with Lavender and Parvati, the girls who were the exact opposite of Hermione. They were the type of dates who expected the boy to pull out their chair, ask them to dance to every song, and giggle to fill any lapses in conversation, if there was any conversation to begin with.

Harry noticed the change in his two best friends' behavior and enjoyed making coy insinuations when both were present. A week after Ron's exposure as a boy with the emotional capacity of at leasta serving spoon, the three were seated at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall and eating breakfast. Ron and Hermione sat beside each other with Harry across from them. Ron and Hermione were reaching for the banana pudding at the same time. Their elbows bumped and both blushed.

Bemused, Harry raised a black eyebrow. "Is the pudding spoon heated?"

"What in the bloody—" Ron's red eyebrows were furrowed in confusion.

"Don't curse, Ron." Hermione interrupted to reprimand him.

"Sorry, love." He turned and gave her an apologetic look.

Hermione's brown eyes grew wide, her mouth slightly agape. He just called me love!

Ron faced Harry to continue, "Harry, what in the world are you talking about?"

"Oh, nothing…aside from the fact both of your faces are rather flushed. I figured that the pudding spoon was hot, thus burning your faces in addition to your hands." Harry snatched their hands. "Funny, though, your hands aren't burned…"

Ron rolled his blue eyes and regained possession of his hand.

Yanking her hand back, Hermione snapped with an embarrassed look, "I haven't the faintest idea of what you've been rambling about, Harry." She paused and turned to Ron, "Did you just call me 'love'?" It slipped! Something in his subconscious—no! He likes girls like—oh why does it matter, since he's just your best mate.

Ron shifted uncomfortably, much to Harry's amusement. "Er—yes? I—I didn't mean to—" Bloody hell! Did I slip? Did I mean to call her 'love'?! Why would I?! She's just…Hermione, not someone who I'd give a-a-a-pet name to! Merlin, Hermione with a pet name…ridiculous…

She smirked. "It's…different, but not a bad different." Catching Harry wiggle his eyebrows, she continued defensively, "Not that you have to call me 'love'. In fact, you could still call me Hermione, but love is much shorter than Hermione…"

"That's true…" He stroked his stubbly chin. He was rather proud of himself for finally having something to shave other than peach fuzz.

"But I can't call you 'love', can I, Hermione?" Harry's green eyes twinkled mischievously.

Both of his best mates glared at him.

"You may call me 'love' if you so wish, Harry." Hermione rolled her brown eyes. Not that it would have the same effect… Er, I mean…

"But it wouldn't have the same effect, now would it, lo—"

SPLAT!

Two spoonfuls of banana pudding hit both lenses of Harry's black-framed glasses.

"Banana looks rather becoming on you, mate." Ron snickered as Harry took his glasses off and Scourgify-ed them.

"Do shut up, Harry." Hermione smiled angelically, "Then again, if you keep talking, I have some hot eggs—which came from a hot spoon—and would match the lap of your pants perfectly."

"That's perfectly alright." Harry held up his hands in surrender, still smirking at his two best mates who were giggling and eating their banana pudding.

End flashback

After finishing breakfast, Ron tidied up the kitchen. Poor Hermione. What can I do to cheer her up, once she wakes? He began pacing between the stove and the kitchen table. What would I want if I were bedridden and ill? Stroking his newly shaved chin, he stopped pacing. A good snog? NO! Snogging her would make me ill, too! Not that kissing Hermione's perfect mouth would make me ill—I could catch whatever illness she has—bloody hell! He began chanting a mantra he'd adopted since her arrival. She's my mate. My best mate. I am not attracted to her. I would not want to snog her. I'm just a randy old bastard in close proximity with a pretty girl—who merely happens to be my best mate. Argh. I'm disgusting.

"Maybe I should go for a stroll in the garden." Ron said aloud, then responded to assure himself, "Yes, yes, that's a good idea."

Grabbing a scrap of parchment and a quill, Ron began scribbling a note to Hermione. He tiptoed upstairs, left the note on the nightstand adjacent to the bed, tiptoed downstairs and went outside. Once in the garden, he looked around and found the watering can.

"Mum's flowers look a bit parched." He filled the watering can with water and tended to the flowers. He smiled as he looked at the white daisies he'd planted beside his sunflowers. His Mum also had rosebushes, lilies, orchids, and some random flowers in her garden. His daisies reminded him of a conversation he had with his poppet—Not my poppet!—er, Hermione about flowers.

Flashback

One evening, a week after the banana pudding incident and three before the ball, Ron and Hermione were walking toward Gryffindor Tower following a Prefects meeting.

"Are we going to coordinate for the ball?" Hermione asked. Her arms swung as she walked. Every now and then, her hand would brush Ron's and he would nudge her pinky with his, but both pretended not to notice.

"Er—dunno, d'ya reckon we should?" Ron would forever be confuddled by the female mind. This he was certain of. Coordinating colors? What did he care! He was going to the ball with the cleverest witch in their year who happened to be rather pretty and who was also his best mate! Not that he noticed her in any other way but platonically…

"Well, which robes did you want to wear?" Please don't let them be the maroon ones with severed hems…not that they looked bad, but Ron looks so handsome in the bright blue ones… Not that she thought he was handsome, or anything.

Ron stopped walking and folded his arms across his chest, a stern look upon his face. "Hermione Granger." He pursed his lips, "Love, how could you forget?!"

"What-what did I forget?" ME?! Forget something?! Ridiculous!

"This ball is Muggle dress! We shan't be wearing robes!" He sighed and started to ascend the staircase to the Tower's entrance, "You're like one of those aphrodisiacs."

"I am not an amnesiac!" She scoffed indignantly while correcting him, disregarding his unintentional Freudian slip.

"I was planning on wearing blue." He replied. I shan't tell her what the outfit looks like, since I want her to be surprised as to how dashing I'll look. Not that she should notice.

"By all means, don't give me too much information." She said drolly, then changed her tone, "I was planning on wearing pink. Light pink." I shan't tell him what my dress looks like, since I want him to be surprised as to how becoming pink is on me. Not that he would notice.

"You like white daisies, right?" He queried as they came to the Fat Lady's portrait.

"Yeah. They're my favorite," She frowned slightly, "How'd you know that?"

"I'm all-knowing." He smirked and told the Fat Lady, "Mandrake."

With her brow furrowed, she followed him into the Common Room through the portrait hole. "So you're saying you're omnipotent now? Last time I checked, your name was Ron and not God."

Ron snorted as the two collapsed onto a couch in the Common Room. "I remembered last month when we were outside walking from the Quidditch pitch to the Tower after a match and I picked up two dandelions—one for me and one for you—to wish on. I told you that dandelions were my favorite non-flower and sunflowers were my favorite real flower. And you told me that white daisies were yours since they're the most cheerful flowers."

Hermione's eyes widened. Clearly, she was impressed. "Oh."

End flashback

Ron picked a dozen daisies from his section of the garden. His brothers teased him mercilessly for enjoying gardening. Evidently, they had never had a conversation with a girl about flowers and felt compelled to plant her favorite flower so as to have an endless supply at their disposal. Not that he needed an endless supply for any particular reason. Or person. White daisies were damn cheerful. That's right. Cheerful flowers. Ron needed loads of cheerfulness during summer (like when Hermione—and Harry!—weren't visiting him), and his mum needed it during the year. Exactly.

Meanwhile, Hermione stirred in bed. She blinked rapidly so that she looked like she was fluttering her eyelashes, when really she was trying to blink the exhaustion away. In case Ron came up soon, she reached for her wand and quietly did an anti-morning breath spell. Looking beside her, she saw a scrap of parchment on the nightstand. Arranging her pillows behind her and leaning against them, she picked up the note and read:

Morning (again), love,

I'm outside de-gnoming the garden. Don't be alarmed. Not that you'd have any reason to be alarmed about my absence. Not that I'm absent really, but…er…yeah. I'll be back soon to assume my role as your faithful servant. Not that I wasn't already. Heh heh.

Love,

Ron a.k.a. Well, I don't have nickname. That's the sad part about having a monosyllabic name. People don't feel the need to give you a nickname. Even if Ron is a nickname for Ronald, no one calls me Ronald except McGonagall and Luna. That's enough to depress someone about their real name. Not that Ron doesn't suffice as a name. And Weasel doesn't count as a nickname, since Malfoy is a prat.

"Oh Ron." Hermione shook her head, laughing silently so as not to aggravate her throat, clutching the note.

"Yes?" Ron leaned against the doorframe with both arms behind his back. He was wearing a light blue t-shirt with the fuzzy ironed-on words "Kings don't let the quaffle in", which Hermione made him for his birthday last year. She made him two more t-shirts, since she knew he got enough knitted clothes from his mum for Christmas. The words were a bit faded and the t-shirt stretched across his build rather nicely. He wore jeans with a S.P.E.W. patch over a hole in the knee (another gift from Hermione) and his feet were bare.

"I just woke up and read your note…" Her scratchy voice trailed off. "What's behind your back?"

He crossed the threshold and presented the daisies he picked in a water-filled vase. "To cheer you up, love. Since they are cheerful flowers." He squeezed beside her on the bed.

She smiled, "So you weren't de-gnoming the garden."

"No, that's rather boring alone." Good, she's smiling. The bed was quite small, being twin-sized, so he decided to pull her into his lap again. That way, they'd both be more comfortable and not risk falling off the bed. Practicality had always been Ron's top priority. Never impulsiveness. Never… In his other hand was a small dish with a cold compress. He began patting her face with it.

"And, you remembered." She inhaled the daisies' scent and set the vase on the nightstand as he patted her face with the washcloth. She shifted so her head was in the crook of his shoulder. He had another daisy in his hand, which he promptly tucked behind her ear. "And you didn't call me poppet." He called me love! Like he did at school! Merlin, Hermione, you're pathetic. Getting a thrill out of a joke between mates. And sitting in his lap, his arms around your waist, your arms resting on his—ack. I'm a twat. Babbling on and on about Ron as though he's the male lead in a romantic comedy film or novel.

"Should I keep calling you poppet? I'm rather fond of both nicknames…" He paused to think it over, "Perhaps I could combine them into love-poppet."

She cringed. "Ew. That sounds dirty."

He nodded in agreement, "And wrong on so many levels…" He tapped his head, "Or poppet-love!"

She scrunched her nose in disagreement, "That sounds odd." She opted for not talking too much, so as not to irritate her throat further.

"I agree, so if you don't mind, I shall alternate."

She rolled her brown eyes.

"I've been calling you poppet too much lately, though, and the novelty is wearing off. Love rolls off the tongue easier than poppet, as it does compared to Hermione."

She raised an eyebrow.

"Not that Hermione isn't a lovely name. Heh heh, love, you have a lovely name. Okay, shutting my stupid mouth."

She giggled at his ramblings. "I've thought of a nickname for you."

"Really!" Ron attempted to hide his excitement, to no avail.

"Yes." Hermione batted her eyelashes innocently.

"Well, come out with it."

She paused, "I'd rather have chicken soup."

"Damn, love. You know exactly what would distract me." Ron toyed with

"You know me. I'm the all-knowing one."

After three days of Ron making vats of chicken soup for the bedridden Hermione and entertaining her by reading passages from the new edition of Hogwarts: A History to her, letting her beat him in chess, bringing her more and more daisies, and listening to those round CD things in her stereo, plus giving her Mrs. Weasley's special get-well-quickly potion, Hermione's health was restored. On Thursday morning, Hermione awoke to find the sunlight warming her face. She cleared her throat, to find it didn't ache.

Looking out the window, she saw the cerulean sky with random white cirrus clouds, a slight breeze kissing the treetops, and Ron watering his daisies in the garden below. "Such a beautiful day…" She paused and got up to turn on her stereo. She'd transfigured a piece of wood into a plug for the wall, which is how she and Ron had gotten to listen to her CD's. Putting in a mixed CD, she pressed play and jumped back onto the bed.

"It's a beautiful daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!" Her voice was still a bit scratchy, but her throat wasn't sore anymore and her fever was gone. How she adored U2.

Ron entered the house with a bunch of daisies and heard the stereo blasting U2. "Hermione must be well!" He jogged upstairs to find her dancing around the room, her back to him. He snickered quietly, not wanting to interrupt the show.

Hermione belted out the rest of the song. When it ended, she sat on the bed, her back still to Ron and contemplated the past four days. When she'd awoken, obviously ill, Ron made her feel like he could cure her in a day. Impossible, since she, the cleverest witch in their year, couldn't cure herself in a day. Why did she feel that, then? She glanced at the nightstand, which was completely covered in vases with daisies in them. His chessboard and its pieces were on the floor, as was the new edition of her favorite book. Her CD's were scattered everywhere.

The week and a half she'd spent at The Burrow thus far was one of the most fun parts of any summer she'd had. Granted, she'd been ill the half-week, but still. She couldn't believe he did all the things he had for her. Eating chicken soup with her so that she didn't feel like she was missing out on his other excellent dishes? Listening to Barry White and learning the words to some of his songs? Letting her beat him in chess?! Reading aloud the new edition Hogwarts: A History?! She loved that he did those things solely to improve her mood. She loved that he started growing white daisies next to the sunflowers. She loved hearing his soothing voice lull her to sleep. She loved how he had no qualms about playing with her hair, rubbing her back, and giving her hugs. But was that just because she was ill?

If so, Hermione had the slightest wish to be ill more often.

Author's note: Well damn. That turned out to be a lot longer than I thought it'd be. Liked it? Hated it? As you awesome people have been doing, review! Lovelovelove, Sam