Terms of Endearment

By Stargirl

She hates him.

She truly despises him with every inch of her small frame. (Or so she says.)

She hates that now that they're sixteen, he's grown to be a foot and a half taller than her. He uses his height to his advantage every chance he gets. It irritates her when she becomes his armrest whenever he's engaged in conversation. When they have a row, he towers over her. Not that it's an effective scare tactic or anything. Giving him a hug is awkward, seeing as how she has to hug his middle or tiptoe to encircle his neck with her arms. It drives her mad that his clumsy, calloused hands always descend upon her neck and shoulders whenever she's tense and give her a massage. She repulses herself because she shivers slightly every time he does it.

She hates that his red hair obstructs her view of his intense blue eyes, leaving her no choice but to brush the hair away. When she thinks about it, he's quite attractive. The combination of those eyes, his charming smile, his rough hands, his muscular build… But that's yet another reason for her to despise him! It's always harder to argue with an attractive bloke, because he uses his charming smile and his intense blue eyes to sway her. Whenever he asks for help on homework, she wants to push him out a window because he uses his pathetic puppy dog face to his advantage. She knows that he knows he can get away with anything by using that face. The most unfortunate part about his appearance is that red hair. Unfortunate for her, anyway. Even if she's trying her best to avoid him, she can spot his red head a foot above a crowd in record time.

She hates that they've been having rows more frequently and for longer durations of time. Harry always tries to take on the role of the mediator. Harry tries to get him and her to chat and work their issues out. He mainly ignores her and turns red in the face whenever she's in close proximity. He only speaks to her when he needs her to pass the potatoes at dinner or something. It's impossible to endure civility. She would rather live in isolation than have civil conversation with that insufferable git! It frustrates her that they never truly resolve anything after rows; usually, he just mumbles an apology and she accepts. She loathes herself for shrugging off these rows as though they're nothing. Why does she continually subject herself to the torture by fighting constantly with him! She detests his temper, which combusts at any given moment.

She hates that almost four years pass before he realized she is a girl. Secretly, she abhors the fact that he hardly initiates gestures of affection. Why does she have to put all the work into their friendship? Inwardly, she fumes whenever he babbles on about how incredibly gorgeous another girl is. She isn't the jealous type, but she's vexed by the way that he doesn't even bother to compliment her on when she makes an effort to look nicer than usual (i.e. the Yule Ball). Okay, so that was the one time, and they were immature fourteen-year-olds, but still. She isn't ugly. Not drop-dead gorgeous, but she's not terrible to look at!

She hates that she runs to him every time she needs help. Who the hell is she, a damsel in distress! She's Hermione Granger, Gryffindor Prefect and the smartest witch in her year! What does she need that prat Ron Weasley, other Gryffindor Prefect, for, anyway! There were the times in their misadventures with Harry, their other best mate, when he would do something terribly valiant and she would want to swoon. Not that she swoons. Especially over him. But why? Why would she even think about swooning? Over that poor excuse of a boy, no less.

She hates that he's always chivalrous. This makes him a complete paradox. Supposedly, she doesn't even count as a girl to him. Yet he always opens doors for her, pulls chairs out for her, and carries her over mud puddles as a boy does for a girl. It's almost painful for her to listen to him sing. His deep, rich voice resonates through the air long after he stops singing. Trite as it sounds, she feels a weak pang in her chest when he sings her favorite song to cheer her up. "The Way You Look Tonight" by that long-gone American crooner Frank Sinatra. When he sings it to her, he accomplishes the exact opposite of what he wants to. He only further upsets her. His perpetual obliviousness makes her cringe. He never has and never will think of her in any other way but a best mate-way. Not that she wants him to…

She hates that she knows him too well. It irritates her that she can finish his sentences and she can't even do the same for Harry. It's almost unfair to Harry, in a way. They're supposed to be the Triumvirate of Gryffindor Bravery! The Golden Trio! Yet she feels guilty for excluding Harry from something that comes so naturally. She detests that all of these reasons have absolutely no correlation to their current situation.

At the moment, she hates that they're having a row and she's alone in the Gryffindor Common Room on a Hogsmeade weekend. Six years of friendship is at stake, as it always is whenever they fight. To think that for once, it's her fault. She was the one who let her temper get the best of her, and not Ron. Her messy brown hair falls into her face. She attempts to blow it out of her eyes, to no avail. Hastily, she pulls it into a ponytail. It aggravates her that she's reminded of all the times her hair gets in her eyes, he tucks it behind her ears or yanks on it.

She's practically convinced now.

She hates him.


He hates her.

He tries as hard as she does to convince himself of this silent declaration.

He hates that she doesn't even see him standing by the portrait hole watching her. Not in a scary stalker manner, but in an observant way. He can't stand that she can concentrate so hard on whatever she's thinking, reading, or writing about, that the rest of the world fades away. Nothing else is of as great importance as the textbook she's reading or the essay she's writing or the thought she's forming. He detests when she snaps at him when he interrupts her concentration. As though she can't be bothered by one question or one request. He disgusts himself in that he would rather nick her notes than take any of his own. He gets a thrill out of having a copy of her handwriting scrawled furiously on the parchment, with random doodles in the margins.

He hates that he feels like he has to protect her from harm's way. He's well aware that she's a sixteen-year-old girl, not a newborn duckling. He knows that she can take care of herself. But something nags at him that she wants him to take care of her. He's at a loss as to why he assumes such things, seeing as how she's never seemed to take interest in him that way. No, redheaded British Keepers aren't her type. Bulgarian Seekers, more like. Ones who are four years older than them, ones with thick accents who can't even pronounce her name properly, and ones who are world-renowned Quidditch players rather than just on the school team are her type. Or, one such Bulgarian Seeker, rather. He detests that she fell for Viktor's load of shite! He can't stand that she wrote Viktor excessively long letters, undoubtedly filled with mushy longings for that wanker, until last year. It frustrates him that she makes him envious of every boy who seems interested in her romantically.

He hates that despite the fact that there are other girls at school who pursue a relationship—or some, not even a relationship, but a short-lived fling—with him, he turns them all away. He doesn't know why anything with any other girl is doomed! Actually, he does. He admits this to himself. Once, during fifth year, he went to Hogsmeade with Hannah Abbott. A fifth year, like he was at the time. They had a splendid time. As the end of the afternoon drew near, she kissed him. Afterwards he murmured, "Hermione…" against her lips. He still can't explain why. Much to his chagrin, the hair he ran his fingers through was straight and blonde, not frizzy and brown. Needless to say, Hannah ended the date shortly.

He hates that he can pick her tangle of brown curls from a sea of people. Her hair is utterly Hermione. There isn't another girl at Hogwarts with hair that atrocious. He's annoyed that it's become a reflex to fix her hair. He can't stop himself from doing it anymore. A coil falls into her warm brown eyes and he has to tuck it behind her tiny ear.

He hates that she's so small compared to him. She's the perfect size to scoop up and twirl around. But maintaining eye contact while standing up? He despises that this is an impossible feat to accomplish. It vexes him that he has to make an effort to stoop down to have a proper conversation with her while walking through the corridors.

He hates that she can be so arrogant yet so obliviously humble at the same time. She's well aware that she's clever. She's quite possibly one of the most intelligent students ever to grace the classrooms at Hogwarts. But she doesn't know that she's pretty. Yeah, it took him awhile to notice that she's a girl, but still. While her hair isn't the most becoming style, it annoys him that she acts like he's the one who can get away with murder by making, what she calls, his puppy face. All she has to do is bat her huge, doe-like brown eyes at him and pout, and he's ready to acquiesce to her every request. He would probably even be an active member in S.P.E.W. if she batted her Bambi eyes at him.

He hates that she provokes him to fight with her. Rows with her are the worst. They're torturous, killing him slowly. He detests the silent treatment she gives him—the icy glares and refusal to meet his gaze. It drives him mad when she won't listen to a word he has to say, even if it's an apology. He can't stand that she's the one person besides his mother that can force him to apologize, even if what he'd said was true or deserved. Truth be told, he despises rows with her because he misses her terribly as they occur. He doesn't know why she makes such a big deal about putting Harry in the middle of their fights; Harry is the Boy Who Lived through Voldemort's various plots to kill him. What are a few fights between mates going to do to the bloke?

He hates that she always puts other people's emotions before her own. Namely Harry's. Don't get him wrong; he cares for Harry. Loads! Harry is his best mate who's a bloke. But he knows her so well that if he ever even—far, far into the future, seeing as how he has no such feelings—brought up the prospect of having a…relationship…with her, she would make Harry an excuse not to. So what if the three of them are the Golden Gryffindor Trio! Harry would probably be mad about some bird or another, get together with her, and wouldn't feel lonely.

He hates that he's drawn to her. Even now, after she'd said those cutting words that morning at breakfast in the Great Hall, an invisible force pulls him to her. He shakes his head and wills himself not to think about it. He finds that his feet are bringing him, quietly, towards her.


Ron trips over several boxes of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes stacked on the Common Room floor. Hermione jumps out of the squashy armchair she had been occupying. The large volume that was in her lap flies into the air and onto the floor beside the scattered Wizard Wheezes. She rolls her eyes, walks over to where her book landed—a foot away from Ron—and snatches it away before he can even hand it to her. He raises his eyebrows and holds his hands up in mock-surrender.

Hermione's dark brown eyes narrow to thin slits and her mouth becomes a straight line. "How long have you been standing there? Spying on me?"

Ron guffaws, "Spying on you! Please. Why the bloody hell would I be spying on you! Of all people! I happened to come in through the portrait hole when I tripped over my brothers' wonderful merchandise and you threw your book at me."

"Threw my book at you! Why would I even deign you worthy of having my book thrown at you!" She tosses her book to the armchair she had been sitting in.

He inhales deeply, closing his eyes. He exhales sharplyand says, "If anyone should be angry, it should be me."

She grits her teeth and assumes her combative stance. She balls her fists and rests them on her hips. He busies himself by crouching down, gathering the Wizard Wheezes into their appropriate containers, and stacking them up again. She gives an angsty sigh; she crouches beside him and assists him in doing so.

It's his turn to glare. "I don't need your help, Granger."

They stand up and face each other, a metre between them. Hermione winces at his usage of only her surname. It's something that only Malfoy does. And Malfoy is the Golden Trio's odious arch-nemesis! Ron knows this and does it to purposely tick her off more.

"Honestly, I'm one of those stupid dogs who follows people around." His nostrils flare and his eyes flash dangerously, "No need to patronize me."

"Ron…" She reaches out to put her hand on his arm. He yanks his arm away to avoid contact with her.

"Granger, you know me as well as I know you. And the fact that you said something like that after all we've gone through as mates—"

She interrupts him, "I never said that what I said wasn't uncalled for—"

"No shite, Sherlock." He interrupts, his blue eyes steely with determination.

And the glaring relay baton is handed back to Hermione. "I would've never even thought of saying what I said if you hadn't said what you said!"

"I was just looking out for your welfare! Load of thanks I get…" Ron crosses his arms over his chest and steps toward her.

Hermione cranes her neck to make eye contact with him. She whispers, "I'm sorry."

He barely hears her as she says it. A slight smirk creeps across his lips. "Come again?"

"I'm sorry." She says it a wee bit louder than the last time.

"Pardon me, but did I just hear what I thought I heard?" He cups a hand around his ear.

"You heard me loud and clear, you git." She frowns and shoves her hands into her robe pockets. "I'm sorry for getting angry at you this morning. But you must admit, you were wrong for jumping to conclusions…"

"Well…yes." He reluctantly says, staring at his shoes. "Clark Carraway is annoying as hell, and the way he's been pursuing you is less than becoming for him—"

"I realize that, but did you think I'd actually go to Hogsmeade with him today!" She gives him an incredulous look. "He's a womanizer. Honestly, do you not trust my taste at all?"

He takes a step towards her. A half of a metre separates them. "I don't know…you did have an affinity for incoherent Bulgarian seekers for awhile…"

"I was fourteen, Ron!" She almost shrieks, embarrassed to be reminded of the Viktor debacle.

"And you're sixteen now, Hermione!" He imitates her screechy tone. His voice deepens to its normal range, "Not to say that you can't make your own decisions on who you want to date. Because you should…it's obviously your choice. I know I shouldn't interfere. If you want to date some arsehole Ravenclaw womanizer, then it's none of my business."

She nods, "I shouldn't have said you're like a loyal, stray puppy who follows me around, though. That was quite rude."

"I provoked you—I shouldn't have tried to nonchalantly punch the bloke's arm too hard when he asked you to Hogsmeade today." He says, "What just really bothered me. What with everything we've gone through as mates—"

She takes a step towards him. A quarter of a metre separates them. "You're my best mate. I can tell you everything and we've been through everything and we'll continue going on like this forevermore!"

Ron's face falls. Just as suddenly, he asks, "What if I don't want us to continue on forevermore?"

"Wh-what?" Hermione is thoroughly confused, "You…you don't want to be mates anymore?"

"Frankly, no, I don't." He takes another step towards her. A centimetre separates them now.

Damn him and his large steps! She swallows audibly and stares.

"Upon reflection, I've realized that I don't want to be mates anymore because…" His voice trails off and he brings a hand up to tuck that one pesky curl behind her ear. "…I want to be able to interfere when some twat tries hitting on you."

"Not that you don't already…" She tries to lighten the mood, to no avail. His blue eyes are smoldering, burning into her brown ones.

"I want to be able to say that I've got a reason for the things I do. The things that probably drive you mad. Like fixing your hair." His hand rests on her shoulder, "Or massaging your neck." He works his hands into the knot in her neck that developed while cocking her head during Double History of Magic.

She opens her mouth, but finds no words come out. She closes her mouth and tries again, unsuccessfully.

"You look like I did when you told me off after the Yule Ball." He muses, smirking.

She clears her throat and blinks a few times. "So what do you suggest?"

Ron's face dips low, level with Hermione's. His voice murmurs, "Y'know, I hate when you do that."

"You hate when I do what?" She whispers back, her pulse quickening.

"Act so oblivious."

She snickers, "Me? Oblivious? You're the oblivious one! Your obliviousness is only rivaled by—"

He cuts her off by kissing her. They kiss like they fight. Intensely, pouring all energy into it, focusing only on each other. His hands slide from her shoulders to the small in her back, rest there, and pull her towards him. Her hands tangle in his hair, she grabs a fistful as their mouths meld together. Her arms encircle his neck, and she doesn't have to tiptoe since he's half-crouched down. His head spins, his heartbeat synchronizing with hers—a deliciously staccato rhythm. She slowly pulls back first. Both are reeling.

Hermione swallows, blinking slowly. "I hate when you do things like that."

Ron smirks, "I know we have incredibly long lists of what we hate about each other. The endearing qualities we each have that become annoying when we're having a row."

"I hate that you know me too well." She pouts.

"Right back at you," He tweaks her nose.

"Y'know what my grandmother says?"

"If I did, you wouldn't be asking—"

She rolls her brown eyes, "The more you hate the more you love. I always thought it was a ridiculous saying, but now…"

"…it makes much more sense. Don't you hate how we can finish each other's sentences?"

She nods, feigning ruefulness. "What a terrible thing. But back to the saying, I suppose, the more you know someone, the more you analyze him to find fault so as to prevent you—"

He interrupts and finishes, "—from fancying the person."

She gives him a tiny smile, "Yeah."

"I fancy you loads, by the way." He adds, almost as an after-thought.

"Couldn't tell." She replies, suppressing a mischievous smile.

He shrugs casually, "It takes two to tango—"

"—or snog." She laughs.

Ron raises his eyebrows and nudges her nose with his. His arms tighten around her waist.

Hermione squeaks, "I fancy you, too."

"Not loads?" He gives her the puppy dog face.

"Guess you'll just have to find out." She says nonchalantly, playing with the hair that rests on the nape of his neck.

"There you go being all cryptic…" He sighs, feigning exasperation.

"It's what I do best. Just as it takes you four years to discover I'm a girl, then two more to own up to any feelings you have—"

"Please. You could've said something!"

She gives him a dubious look. "Last time I checked, you were the chivalrous one…"

"Oh yeah. Hermione, will you—"

"—be your girlfriend?" She asks, and pretends to contemplate the question longer than necessary. "I suppose."

Ron grabs one of her hands and plants a kiss on the back of it. Their fingers intertwine.

"Y'know, I used to mind this huge height difference. But now, I rather like it." Hermione is instantly reminded of Ron's favorite song by The Postal Service and sings softly, "And I have to speculate, that God himself did make us into corresponding shapes, like puzzle pieces made from clay…"

He grins and in the cheesiest manner possible, croons. "I will feel a glow, just thinking of you, and the way you look tonight…"

They dance, spinning excessively as he continues singing her favorite song. He's a better singer and both of them know this. They exchange smiles.

It's amazing how a single conversation turns every trait the two supposedly hated about each other into charming qualities. It's incredible that fancying each other has made them completely blind to the rest of Gryffindor watching in awe at the beginning of their relationship. It's ridiculous that they don't hear the twittering, the cries of victory from those who won bets on how long it'd take for them to get together, and the bet losers' groans as they pay the winners' money. It's grand that the Common Room has now been christened the Come-On-and-Admit-Your-Infatuation-For-Someone Room.

Hermione and Ron decide that they most definitely don't hate each other.

The End

Author's note: Hope you enjoyed my fluffy one-shot! Please review—it makes my day!