I love Romione. It doesn't get simpler than that.

Disclaimer: I do not, nor have I ever, own Harry Potter, or any of its characters. JK Rowling is my queen. I owe everything to her. I'm just playing with her characters.

July 31, 1995 – London, England

Ronald Weasley didn't quite know where he was. All he knew was he was hot and sweaty and hungry.

It was hot. Hot, hot, hot, hot. And some bloody idiot – Ron highly suspected his mother – had decided that the children, rather than stay at home where one of the adults could cool them off, should wander around Muggle London.

Brilliant idea, Mum.

Hermione had taken the lead, as she had grown up there. Her parents' office was only a few blocks away, she explained as she scurried down the sidewalk, seemingly unfazed by the heat. She made no offer to go visit them, however.

Hermione's hair had decided to puff up twenty times larger than it did on a normal day. Despite this, Ron thought she looked nice. Not that he was going to tell her that.

"Hermione, where are we going?" he whined. He had to speak pretty loudly, seeing as she was in the front chatting with his younger sister while he was lagging at the back.

"There's a nice little shop somewhere up here. It has everything."

Somehow, Hermione managed to walk even faster.

"Think anyone would notice if we apparated there?" Fred grumbled.

"Yes," Ron replied, scowling. It wasn't fair that all of his brothers could do magic and he couldn't.

"Oh, stop complaining. We're almost there," Hermione said happily from the front of the group.

And she was right. It was less than a block later that she pulled to the right into a little store that… oh, Merlin. It really did have everything.

"Now, I don't really have too much money with me. So you can each pick out one thing, I suppose," Hermione was saying. She rifled through her purse, a little bit oblivious to the Weasleys.

The cramped, crowded store filled with Muggle everyday objects had silenced them.

"Dad would love it," George finally said.

Hermione glanced up. "Oh, he probably would. Maybe we could take him one day… Do you think he'd be free on…?"

"Hermione," Ron said, holding up a finger. "Stop worrying about it."

Hermione's brows creased even deeper for a moment, but then she relaxed. "Okay."

They spent half the day wandering the aisles of that tiny little shop. They picked up objects, then put them back down when they found something that was more interesting, then put that down when something else caught their eye.

Ginny was absolutely enamored by a little stuffed penguin. Then she saw a really fancy pen that she wanted. But she ended up getting a jewelry box.

Fred couldn't help but get a can that claimed to have peanuts in it, but actually had a snake that attacked you when you opened it. And George got a whoopee cushion. (Hermione was surprised that they'd never seen one before.)

Ron got an ice cream cone because he was so hungry, something that they all rolled their eyes at. ("Really, Ronald.")

Hermione had the most trouble, because it was all stuff that she was familiar with, but she eventually decided on a 1000 piece puzzle that showed a picture of the Eiffel Tower. "Do you like Paris?" Ron asked her curiously.

"Not particularly," Hermione said with a shrug.

"Then why are you getting that?"

She smiled. "I like puzzles."


August 2nd, 1995

Ron hated that bloody puzzle.

Hermione had bought it two days ago, and all she'd done since that time was sit in the den and work on it.

He'd barely seen her in two days. It was taking way too long.

To be honest, the puzzle was actually going quite fast. Hermione had made remarkable progress – far more than he would have been able to in that amount of time. She would probably be done by dinner that night, in fact. But still.

It was hot again. Too hot. Too bloody hot. Even hotter than the day before. Sirius was cranky, his mother was cranky, Ron was cranky. Nobody would blow cool air at him with their wands. Kreacher didn't offer to bring him water (and Ron knew if he asked, Hermione would murder him).

Finally, Ron couldn't take it anymore. He just got up and walked into Hermione's puzzle sanctuary.

"Oh, hello, Ron," Hermione said, blushing slightly.

"Why is it cold in here?" Ron blurted out.

Hermione smiled. "Oh, your mum put a cooling spell on the room, since I've been spending so much time in it."

"I think I'll be staying here then," Ron decided, sitting down in a chair next to her.

"Er, would you like to help me on the puzzle?"

He shook his head. "Nah, puzzles are boring."

"They are not."

"Yes, they really are."

"They're no more boring than your games of chess," Hermione said.

"You're only saying that because you aren't any good at wizard chess," Ron said with a superior smile on his face.

"No."

"Yes, chess is based off of skill."

Hermione frowned. "Well, puzzles are based off of logic."

"I'm sure it takes a lot of logic to put two pieces together," Ron said, his earlobes started to heat up (if that was even possible in the heat).

"It's not…" Hermione was about to start yelling at him. He could tell.

But then the door burst open abruptly and Ginny's head appeared in the doorway.

"Guys, it's Harry," she said, fear written clearly across her face. Both Ron and Hermione were standing in an instant, worried for their friend. He could be dead, he could be hurt, Voldemort could have found him. Hermione took her wand out of her pocket – where she'd taken to keeping it even if she couldn't use it – and took a step towards Ginny.

"He's been expelled," Ginny finished.


August 17th, 1998

Ron finally found her in the den. "He's not here."

Hermione frowned. "Somehow I didn't think he would be."

"Well, he wasn't last time."

Hermione sat down at the little table and sighed. "Where do you think he went?" she asked, the pain evident in her voice.

Ron sat down on the opposite side of the table, a little too scared to be too close to her. "I don't know. If it's anything like last time… he probably came here, found Sirius' diary or something, found out that Sirius and James camped out in some woods at some point, and is now off brooding in that woods."

Hermione tried not to smile. "That sounds beyond accurate. And slightly rehearsed," she noted.

"It's what I told Ginny earlier."

"Ah."

Ron looked around the room. "Remember the summer we stayed here?"

"Of course. It doesn't feel like three years ago, though."

"Not at all." Ron laughed. "Remember when you spent a week in here doing that puzzle?"

"Excuse me, but that was only three days," Hermione said, only slightly annoyed.

Ron laughed for a long moment. "Hermione, there's something I have to tell you…"

Hermione raised one of her light eyebrows.

"You see… I… you like puzzles," he blurted out.

"I do…" she said, extremely confused as to where this was going.

"I… I'm like a puzzle. I'm broken. And I need you to put my pieces back together," Ron said in a quick jumble.

Hermione stared down at the table. "That may be the most… romantic thing you've ever said, Ronald."

"That may be the most romantic thing I ever say," Ron said, looking slightly scared by his words.

Hermione looked up and smiled. "Good. I never cared much for all of that stuff, anyway."

"Really?"

She nodded.

Ron looked at her for a long moment. Here was this girl in front of him… and she was perfect. She was the smartest person that he had ever known. She was so loyal and protective and friendly. But she was confident. And she liked puzzles and house elves (even when they didn't like her). She never doubted anyone and she would never settle for a B on a test. She admired her betters, and those beneath her. She listened to him, even when he whined for hours. She would give up anything for someone who needed her. She annoyed him so much sometimes.

And yet…

"I love you, Hermione," he said.

Hermione smiled and she leaned in a little hesitantly. And then she kissed him. Their second kiss. Their first that wasn't in the middle of a battle.

"That's all you had to say," she whispered.

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed!

~writergal24