Thanks to Jo for her beta-prowess, and to Sherry whose idea this was in the first place.
Halloween: "Man cannot live on chocolate alone; but woman sure can."
Ron and Harry sat at a table in the Gryffindor common room, their faces a study of bemusement. It had become apparent to them, as becomes known to most men at some time in their lives, that the relationship between women and chocolate is A Great Mystery.
"Well that was… interesting," said Harry. "Do you think she meant it?"
"What, that she's never going to speak to me again?" asked Ron, leaning forward. "Of course not," he scoffed. "She'll be telling me off for not doing my homework in no time."
"She sounded rather serious."
"It was probably horse moans," Ron announced.
Harry looked even more at a loss than before. "I think you mean ‘hormones', and I wouldn't let Hermione hear you say that. Girls have this thing about blokes saying they're irrational because of hormones."
"Well, they are irrational!"
"So why can't we just tell them that?"
"Because they'll turn us into toadstools at the wave of a wand?"
"That wouldn't be any good for playing Quidditch, would it?" sighed Ron.
"Let's face it, you're going to have to apologise."
Ron pulled a face. "I'd rather eat dirt."
"You should have thought about that before you ate Hermione's chocolate."
"Yeah," muttered Ron.
"And suggesting that it was a good thing you ate it, rather than her ‘hogging the lot', as you so nicely put it, didn't put you in her good books either."
"What was wrong with that?" Ron was outraged that his friend wasn't sticking up for him.
"You were suggesting she's fat, you idiot!"
"I was?" Ron blinked. "Do you think she'll still go the Halloween Ball with me?"
Harry shook his head sadly. Ron was even more clueless than he had thought. There was obviously far too much testosterone in the Weasley family.
Christmas: "Forget love... I'd rather fall in chocolate"
"You are too infantile for words," yelled Hermione, her eyes flashing. "I'm never speaking to you ever again!"
Ron was treated to the sight of her back as she went storming out of the common room. It was a view he was getting rather used to; it happened with somewhat monotonous regularity.
"What did you do this time?" asked Harry as he climbed through the portrait hole.
"What makes you think I did anything?"
"Well, Hermione was stalking down the hall looking for something masculine to maim. I take it you would be her preferred victim."
"I didn't do anything!" exclaimed Ron.
Harry waited patiently.
"I think it was something I said."
Harry took off his glasses and began cleaning them on the corner of his robes, looking enquiringly at a now-blurry Ron.
"She deliberately misunderstands everything I say!"
"That seems to happen rather a lot."
"I think I need a dictionary. ‘How to cotton on to your Witch, when words don't say it all.'"
"It would probably make the Flourish and Blotts Top 100 Sellers list," agreed Harry. "So…" he paused. "What was it you actually said?"
Ron went bright red, fixed his gaze somewhere just to the right of Harry's shoes, and mumbled something.
"I take it you weren't actually speaking Troll?"
Ron glared, then grinned. "Trolls grunt. That was my Yeti impression."
"Ah, I see. Hermione has something against Yeti, despite being such an activist for Elf rights."
Suddenly the tips of Ron's shoes were of vast interest to him.
"You didn't!" gasped Harry. "Haven't you learned anything? Never. Put. Down. S.P.E.W." He enunciated with precision.
"She wanted me to go round the castle and help her lay out all these mittens she'd knitted, so the Elves would have a Christmas present each. I just said if she left off trying to get me to help her save the House-elves – who don't want to be saved, mind you – that I'd probably get higher marks on my NEWTs!"
"What did she say to that?"
"That I'd probably waste all my time playing Quidditch instead."
"That does seem a little hypocritical," agreed Harry. "She is always after us to study."
"Exactly my point. But she really didn't like it when I pointed that out." Ron's eyes took on an almost-religious fervour. "And as if anyone could think practising Quidditch would be a waste!"
New Year: "Chocolate is cheaper than therapy and you don't need an appointment."
"Ronald Weasley," Hermione bellowed in a somewhat un-ladylike fashion. "Somewhere a village has lost its idiot." Her eyes were bright and almost feverish in their angry intensity. An intensity that was focussed on one individual.
Ron's mouth dropped open. He gulped a little. From Harry's perspective it didn't make him look any more intelligent. In fact – and he hated to even think this about a good friend - the converse was true.
Things had been a little tense around Hogwarts lately. Ron seemed to lurch from one well-intentioned-but-inappropriate act to another, coupled with Foot in Mouth Disease. (Harry suddenly felt the urge to ponder if that was a real hex in the wizarding world). Meanwhile Hermione had been so touchy about the least little thing that everyone had begun saying ‘sorry' as soon as they saw her in the hallway, just to save time.
"Hermione, don't you think that's a little harsh-" he began in Ron's defence.
"And you!" Hermione's wrathful eyes were now focussed on him. "Always taking his side, no matter how idiotic he's been."
Harry squirmed. "S-sorry?" he squeaked.
"That's it, I've had enough!" Hermione's hand twitched towards the pocket in her robes.
Ron and Harry shared a panicked glance. Were they about to experience life as Lesser Beings?
"All these people apologising for no reason!"
The entire – albeit sparsely populated - common room winced in unison. If they hadn't been in fear of their collective humanity, it would have been funny.
"I just had a first year Hufflepuff come up to me and ask if my family were Death Eaters. Me - a Muggle born! How ridiculous is that?"
"Well, ‘Mione, you have been just a teensy-"
"And do you know where she got that idea?" Hermione continued as if Ron hadn't spoken.
"No?" he managed to croak out.
"No?" she shrieked. "No?!"
Harry's eye involuntarily flicked toward the windows, and he was reassured when the quick glance proved Hermione's voice had failed – thus far- to crack the glass.
Hermione attempted to gain a little control of her temper by taking a few calming breaths. "Ron," she spoke through gritted teeth – something her parents had probably carefully schooled her not to do. "Did you, or did you not, tell a group of first years to be wary of me, or else they'd be – and I quote - ‘taking their lives into their own hands'?"
"And did you not then suggest the Malfunctioning Magic Ward of St Mungo's are trying to fund a cure for me?"
"I was just jok-"
"You know, I hope they find a cure for your Y chromosome!" Hermione stomped off towards her dormitory, and the common room expelled their collectively held breath.
"She wants to find a cure for my what?" asked Ron, a perplexed frown on his face.
Harry grinned. "Basically she accused you of being male, mate."
"Oh, right." Ron's frown-creases deepened further, and he shook his head sadly. "She's bonkers, that one. Real bonkers."
Valentines Day: "Nuts just take up space where chocolate ought to be."
Muffled moans and whispers heralded student friskiness going on in the most popular cupboard in the West Wing. Hermione Granger considered the situation. As a Prefect, obviously she was obliged to stop such goings on, but after coming across Pansy Parkinson and Draco Malfoy in a very compromising position in this same cupboard only the day before, she wasn't sure her eyes could take any more. Maybe she should knock first?
Rapping her knuckles sharply against the door, she used her most authoritative voice. "Open up – this sort of thing is against the school rules, you know!" Deciding that was enough warning, she tugged at the doorknob. Surprisingly it was unlocked. It seemed this pair of love-birds had not yet learned to take precautions. She just hoped this wasn't the only ‘precaution' they had failed to take.
Robes were dishevelled, lips were slightly swollen, and chests were heaving from exertion. While her eyes were slightly prepared for the scene she came upon, it was the identities of the pair themselves who were not only a surprise, but also a shock.
"Erm, she was hit by a full blast of ‘Wiggle Bottom hex', and I was just trying to-" Ron paused, searching for words and looking to Parvati for inspiration. Due to the extreme redness of her face, no help was forthcoming.
"Do the counter curse?" Hermione suggested helpfully from outside the cupboard door. Hermione looked like she might actually believe him... about the same time as Harry joined forces with You-Know-Who. "A cupboard does seem the most appropriate place for that then. You can ‘apply yourself' up close and personal to the task," she said with vast sarcasm.
"It isn't…I wasn't…it's not…" he stammered.
"Not what, Ron? Not just what it looks like – an immature boy fumbling with some cheap tart in a broom cupboard?"
Parvati looked supremely offended at being referred to as a ‘tart'.
"It didn't mean anything!" Ron yelled, his voice echoing rather in the cupboard. "She dragged me in-"
"Well, I… that's the last time I'm spending any time with you, Ron Weasley!" Parvati stormed off, brushing down her robes in rage that they had been soiled by such uncouth and ungrateful hands.
"I agree!" screeched Hermione. "I'm never talking to you again!"
"Well, it wouldn't be the first time," Ron muttered, collapsing against the back wall of the cupboard.
Easter: "Chocolate is, let's face it, far more reliable than a man." --Miranda Ingram
"Are you giving up speaking for Lent?" asked Harry. "Or is this going to be a monthly event?"
Ron still had a face reminiscent of a codfish, watching the flick of Hermione's robes as she disappeared through the doorway leading to the girls' dormitory. He closed his mouth abruptly and flopped into a chair. "It's only House points!" Ron suddenly bellowed after Hermione, whose back was so stiff she might have had a broomstick holding her straight.
The Gryffindor boys looked at him in shock.
"I don't think it's the loss of House points that's upsetting her," said Seamus.
Harry rolled his eyes to the ceiling in exasperation. "She's peeved at you, you git. You were supposed to be supportive, not go off and… slay a dragon for her.
"Telling Snape he's an idiot for marking down Hermione's essay because it was three feet over the required length? Only a dim-wit does that! You know she hates it when you get in trouble with the teachers." Harry took a deep breath in an attempt to stop his head exploding. His two best friends were going to be the death of him – that is if Voldemort or his minions didn't do it soon. Death by Death Eater was actually looking like a good way to go. "A nice pat on the back, and telling her she'll probably get a hundred and ten percent next time would have been fine!"
Harry took another deep breath and manfully restrained himself from socking Ron one. Or locking him and Hermione in the broom cupboard so they could get their tortured love life sorted. "Look, just go apologise, all right?"
Seamus and Neville nodded in agreement. Dean chimed in with a suggestion of picking her some flowers.
Ron managed to look faintly nauseous. Did Venus Fly-traps count as ‘flowers'? Maybe he should go feed himself to one, instead.
End of Term: "I have this theory that chocolate slows down the aging process.... It may not be true, but do I dare take the chance?"
The familiar rhythmic rumbling of the Hogwarts Express' wheels on the steel tracks were lulling Harry into a dozy feeling of tranquillity. The journey from Hogwarts at the end of each school year always left him feeling as if he were being torn from his home, but it was still part of the Hogwarts experience and he did rather enjoy spending the time with his friends. He felt he needed to hang on to every chance with them he could, before spending the summer holidays with his so-called ‘family'. Exams were over, and while he did have a near tonne of homework to complete over the summer in anticipation of next year's NEWTs, he felt relaxed.
The peaceful and friendly aura over the carriage felt wonderful. Ron and Hermione were sitting with him and Ginny, speaking a few words to each other every now and again, but generally content to just be in one another's company.
It certainly made a change from the school year they had just completed. By Harry's reckoning, Hermione had spent one hundred and fifty two days of the three hundred and three day school year not speaking to Ron. He figured that must be some sort of a record. However, since Ron's heartfelt apology at Easter, peace and non-silence had reigned. Harry was beginning to wonder how long they could keep it up. Surely it wasn't natural?
"Have you got a quill handy, Harry?" Ron's voice jolted him out of a daydream.
"Erm-" Harry fished around in his robes before pulling out an only slightly-chewed quill. "What do you want it for?" he said, handing it over.
Ron didn't answer; he was already quickly making notes on his scrap of parchment, muttering to himself. "Three hours a day, for five days a week…nine months…five hundred and…"
He shoved the bit of parchment at Harry. "Check this, will you? You know I'm no good at maths."
Harry looked down at the calculation. "What is it?" he asked, looking over the convoluted multiplication equation. "Yes, five hundred and eighty four is right."
Ron looked at Hermione in awe. "You're old!" he gasped.
Hermione blinked in shock. "I'm what?"
"All that turn-timer use in third year. It made you older."
A slow grin came over Harry's face. He grabbed back Ron's calculations. "Of course you're only taking into consideration her classes. What's the betting she did a little ‘extra' time in the library as well?"
"I can think of far better things to spend extra time on than the library!"
"If you'd spent more time in the library, you'd have done better on your OWLs!" retorted Hermione, her face flushed with both embarrassment and anger.
Just then the train slowed to a stop at Platform 9 ¾'s. With Crookshanks tucked under one arm, Hermione pulled her luggage down off the rack, nearly hitting Ron on the head as gravity took over from finesse. Harry hurriedly gave her a hand at taking her trunk off the train and stowing it on a trolley: anything to save his best friend's life – from his other best friend.
"Well she didn't use the time-turner to get extra sleep and lose that temper," Ron murmured not quite quietly enough. Hermione had obviously maintained some cat-like hearing from her accidental Polyjuice animal transformation in first year.
"I'm never speaking to you again!" she yelled before striding off towards the barrier, her shoulders set. Suddenly she stopped, whirled around, and – abandoning her trolley and Crookshanks – stomped back. Reaching up on tiptoes, her hands on his shoulders, she planted her mouth on his and kissed him firmly on the lips. Falling back on her flat feet she glared at him once more before marching back to her luggage and making her way through the barrier into Muggle King's Cross Station.
Ron leaned back against the brick wall somewhat nonchalantly. His mouth tilted into a smirk as he glanced at Harry, whose face was a picture of astonishment. "I think I'm getting the hang of this not speaking business."