"Good luck, Ron," said Hermione, standing on tiptoe and kissing him on the cheek. "And you, Harry -"
Ron seemed to come to himself slightly as they walked back across the Great Hall. He touched the spot on his face where Hermione had kissed him -
Hermione had kissed him -
Kissed him -
Kissed him -
Ron sat up in his four poster bed, wide-eyed, and looking as though a spider had settled itself on the tip of his long nose.
"Bloody hell, not again!" he muttered to himself, slamming his hand to his forehead.
You see, Ronald Weasley fancied someone. Well, not just someone, obviously. He fancied Hermione Granger. His long-time best friend, and his number one homework checker. Well, not that he had any other homework checkers...
Beside the point. Ron had unknowingly fancied Her for quite a while. Of course, it had taken him nearly five years to figure it out.
When did he realize it? Oh, he could pinpoint that do the exact day, no, the exact minute.
He had just dreamed about it.
It was last year, fifth year for Ron, who had been made the keeper for the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Just before his first game, Hermione had come up to him and...and...
And kissed him on the cheek.
He wasn't sure what had happened at first, and when he did he was frozen for quite awhile. Frozen. A Crumple-Horned Snorkack could have danced merrily in front of his face and he wouldn't have noticed.
And then, just last week, Hermione had the brilliant idea of getting Harry and Ginny together by means of some muggle game. Naturally, it worked flawlessly, and Harry had since been conspicuously absent many a time when Ginny had also just happened to be conspicuously absent. Not a good picture for poor Ronnie's mind's eye.
Well, after the plan worked, and the two lovebirds were off in separate (thank Merlin) dorms, Dean had the nerve to make some comment about getting people together, and then winked at them. Not too comfortable a silence followed that statement. And all ears were not naturally colored.
Well, ever since, Ron had taken that to heart. He had been trying to come up with some ingenious, or as Ron thought of it, Hermian, plan to get Hermione to go out with him.
No such luck.
* * *
"Truth or dare?" Seamus asked Neville. Neville looked nervously at his dorm mates.
He whispered, "Dare."
A dead silence hung in the air. Neville, choose dare? Never had any of the other players thought of that possibility.
"Oh, make it a good one," Ron told him, "Chances he'll choose dare again are pretty slim."
"I dare you, to..." Seamus seemed to be struggling with something in his mind. "Aha! I dare you, to ask Loony Luna Lovegood to the ball!"
Harry groaned. Neville looked as though Christmas had come early, and his parents were there to carve the roast beast.
"Do you pay attention to anything besides Lavender, Seamus?" Harry asked. He looked at Seamus' blank eyes for a few moments. "I thought not."
"Done," said Neville confidently.
The Gryffindor boys were playing Truth or Dare, if you couldn't tell, and Seamus knew quite well that Neville was taking Luna to the ball.
"Truth or Dare, Harry?" asked Neville.
"Er...truth," he replied.
"What did the prophecy say?" Neville asked curiously.
Dean and Seamus looked confuzzled, Ron looked as though he thought Neville insane, and Harry looked...well, he looked quite panicked.
"Just joking, Harry. I know better than anyone that it broke. It's not as though Dumbledore had some other means of telling it to you."
Harry looked relieved, but he looked at Neville oddly. As if he reminded Harry of someone. Ron had no clue who that could be.
"Truth or Dare, Ron?" Harry asked, still looking at Neville.
"Truth," he said confidently, obviously sure that his best mate would not go to hard on him.
"What's different from Fleur?" Harry turned to Ron as he said it, and had an odd look in his eye, though his face otherwise looked normal.
"Excuse me?" asked Ron.
"He said," said Dean, "what's different from Fleur?"
"What do you mean ‘different from Fleur?' Fleur who?" Ron seemed to be getting nervous.
"Come on, Ron. How many ‘Fleur's do we know? Fleur Delacour, obviously."
"I still don't understand. What about her?"
"Do I need to spell it out for you?" And, grinning mischievously, he did just that. With his wand, Harry wrote the words ‘What's different from Fleur?' above Ron's head.
"I don't think he gets it," said Neville.
"Ron, how do your feelings for her differ from your feelings for Fleur?" asked Dean.
"Feelings for who, exactly?" Have I been that obvious? thought Ron.
"Isn't it obvious?" Apparently.
"Not particularly, no."
"Hermione!" said Harry, Neville, Dean, and Seamus, at once.
"What?" They know? This is not good.
Added to the magical writing. ‘Hermione'
"What are you talking about?" asked Ron, pulling at his collar.
Above ‘Hermione', Neville wrote, ‘Ron', and drew a heart around the two names.
Ron swallowed audibly.
"Er...Merlin, it's hot in here."
"Come on, Ron, what do you want us to do? Go down to the common room, invite the girls, and play Zipperhead?" asked Harry.
Ok, thought Ron, Hermione told me the definition of Karma, what was it?
"Come on, Ron. It's not that hard."
"Fine. Well, it's realer." He thought for a moment. "is ‘realer' a word? Or is it ‘more real?'" They snorted. "Fine, she rubs off on me. But, well, Fleur was part-Veela, and that just wasn't real. Hermione is real. And she's nicer. And smarter. And an all around better person. And...is that an extendable ear!?"
"Why, yes Ron, I believe it is," Harry had a positively shocked look on his face.
The extendable ear quickly went back under the door.
Ron hurriedly got up from his bed and ran after it. His dorm mates followed.
He ran right down the stairs into the common room.
"Where the bloody hell did it go?"
"Ron, don't swear! Children might be listening!" Neville scolded.
Ron saw the end of the ear make its way up the girl's staircase.
He followed. The steps disappeared.
He slid back down.
And broke his crown.
(Didn't have one ‘til that moment, but Dean decided to magic one onto his head.)
And Hermione came sliding down after.
Followed by half the girls of Gryffindor.
Dean walked up to Hermione and shook her hand furiously.
"Pleasure doing business with you!"
They marched back to where they were standing.
"You were, saying something Ron?" asked Ginny, who, with the help of Harry, pulled Ron to his feet.
"I, er, I, erm. Do you want to go to Hogsmeade with me? Hermione?"
"Oh, I'm so sorry!" She looked it, too. "But I promised I'd go with Victor. Actually, he told me to call him Vicky, so..."
"What?" asked Ron, clearly outraged.
"Just joking, Ron. Of course I'll go with you." She walked up to him and threw her arms around him. "You great, big , wonderful, prat."
Their audience, by now nearly the whole of Gryffindor, applauded wildly.
"You know what, Hermione?" he asked, pulling away from her. "It's almost as if you planned this."
"Jesters do oft prove prophets," she said. "Shakespeare said that."
Ginny wiped a non-existent tear from her cheek with her shoulder, while clapping. "I just knew it would have a happy ending!"
Author's Note: Hope it lived up to the original, ‘What's Different from Cho?' which got many a review asking for more.