"I swear, Ron, how are you ever going to pass your exams if you don't do more revising?" Hermione said, exasperated at the redheaded boy in front of her. "You need to put those Quidditch plays away and work on your Transfiguration!”
“Hermione! This is important, too! After all, we have our match on Saturday against Slytherin. And there is no way I’m letting that snarky bunch beat us!” Ron ran a hand through his already tousled hair and looked directly at his girlfriend. “If you took more of an interest in Quidditch -”
“Don’t go there with me, Ronald Weasley!” Hermione started as she snapped her book shut with a thump. “I take plenty of interest in Quidditch. I’ve always attended the matches, rooting first for Harry, then you and Ginny. This has nothing to do with me not liking Quidditch.”
The common room of Gryffindor tower had cleared out at the onset of what sounded like a famous Granger/Weasley row. There were fewer of these since Hermione and Ron had declared that they fancied each other; however, the ones they did have now were long, drawn out, and loud. Anyone in ear-shot tried to leave the room as soon as it was feasible.
“What? You don’t like Quidditch?” Ron said, a hint of disbelief in his voice. “How can you say that? It’s the most exciting thing on earth! How can you not like Quidditch?” Ron paused, as he looked at Hermione. “Oh, wait, it’s because of the flying, isn’t it? You don’t like to fly, so you don’t like anything associated with flying, and that includes Quidditch.”
“Oh, Ron, don’t be ridiculous. It has nothing to do with the fact I don’t like to fly. I just…I just don’t…like sports that well. And just because you have to fly in Quidditch -”
“Aha! I am right! You don’t like Quidditch because you don’t like to fly. Or is it because there is one thing that Miss Hermione Granger, student extraordinaire, can’t do?” Ron’s face lit up with delight as he realized that he had hit upon a very delicate subject to Hermione.
“Ron,” Hermione said, as she stood up, collecting her books. “You are impossible! Hmmph!” And the bushy-haired girl promptly got up from the table and left for her dormitory.
“Girls!” Ron said under his breath as he watched her go. “Well, I guess that rules out snogging tonight in front of the fireplace. At least now I can look over these Quidditch plays in peace! Mental, she is!”
The entrance to the portrait hole swung open and Ginny and Harry walked in, holding hands, laughing over some joke.
“Hey mate, where’s Hermione?” Harry asked his best friend of six years.
“She’s mental, Harry. Totally mental. She didn’t like the fact that I was reviewing the Quidditch plays for Saturday’s match instead of revising for my Transfiguration exam,” Ron spoke as he held up the parchment with the plays. “Come to find out that Miss Granger is still very sensitive to not being a very good flier.”
“Ron! You didn’t! You didn’t tease her about that, did you?” asked Ginny as she narrowed her eyes at her brother.
“Well, I don’t think I teased her. I just pointed out the fact that she can’t fly,” Ron said smugly as he looked at his sister. “After all, there are very few things any of us can do better than Hermione, and I think she needs to be reminded of those things that she can’t do to perfection.”
Harry and Ginny exchanged glances and shook their heads. “I’ll go talk to her,” Ginny said, as she bent down and gave Harry a peck on the cheek. “You see if the plays my git of a brother worked out are any good.”
Ginny walked past Ron on her way to the girls’ dormitory stairs and smacked him on the back of the head.
“Ow! What was that for?” Ron asked, indignantly.
“For being a prat, you git. Harry, talk some sense into him.”
“Of all things to talk to me about; he has to bring up my flying abilities! I never!” Hermione muttered as she paced across the seventh year girls’ dormitory room in a right state. “He is such a prat sometimes. I don’t even know why I like him!”
She stopped when she heard a soft knock on the door and a voice call out, “Hermione, it’s me, Ginny. Can I come in?”
Hermione walked over to the door and pulled it open roughly. “Come in.” She resumed her pacing as soon as the younger girl closed the door behind her.
“Hermione, are you alright?” Ginny asked the fuming girl.
“No! No! Your…your…your git of a brother picked a fight with me!”
“So, what else is new?” Ginny asked dryly.
“Well, he had to pick a subject that he knows I’m no good at. He has to bring up the fact that I can’t fly. I swear, he lives just to fight with me.”
“Well, he’s always been a git, so that hasn’t changed since he’s been at Hogwarts,” Ginny said with a grin. “But why does this bother you so much, Hermione? You excel in everything else; why does the fact you can’t fly bother you?”
Hermione sighed. “Oh, I don’t know. You’d think that I’d be over this by now - I have never been able to fly since first year. You’d think I could let go the fact that your brother can actually do something I can’t. But-” Hermione paused as she looked at Ginny. “-I can’t.”
Ginny sat down on Hermione’s bed. “Well, what are you going to do about it?”
“I don’t know, Ginny,” Hermione said, as she sat next to her best friend, “I’ve been thinking that maybe I could give flying a try again. You know, see if I’m any better at it. But I don’t want Ron to help me. Honestly,” Hermione said, as she looked at her hands, “I’m not even certain I want Ron to know what I’m doing. I want to try this without him knowing, so that he won’t poke fun at me if I don’t succeed.”
“Hermione, are you certain? I mean, you’ve never had much luck with a broom.” Ginny asked worriedly.
“Yes, I’m positive. I really want to do this. I want to learn to fly.” Hermione said resolutely. “I was hoping that maybe you and Harry would help me. You are two of the best fliers in the school, so I’d be learning from the best. Will you help me? Please?”
“Hermione, I don’t know about this....”
“Please, Ginny? Will you help me or not?”
“Well, we need to ask Harry, but I reckon we’ll help you.”
Hermione hugged the younger girl. “Thanks, Ginny. I can’t wait to see that git’s face when he sees me on a broom. It’ll be such a surprise to him that I actually got on a broom and flew.”
“Oh, I’m certain he’ll be surprised. Along with everyone else we know.”
“Okay, Hermione. First thing you need to do is to get the broom to respond to you.”
Harry, Ginny and Hermione were out on the Quidditch pitch the next morning at the break of dawn. Hermione had wanted to come out early before anyone was up, so that no one would know what they were up to. She had secretly borrowed a broom from the school’s flight instructor, Madam Hooch, telling her that she wanted to study the workings of magical brooms for an essay in her History of Magic class.
“I know, Harry. I remember Madam Hooch’s first lesson,” Hermione said looking down at the broom at her feet. Holding her hand over it, she said, “Up,” in her best commanding voice.
The broom rolled over twice, but remained on the ground.
“UP” Hermione said again, this time more frantic and louder.
The broom rolled over again.
“Hermione, you need to say it with confidence in your voice, not fear.” Ginny said. “Like this. Up.”
Ginny’s broom flew straight up from the ground and into her hand.
“I’m trying, Ginny, but I’m nervous. Do you think that broom knows that?”
“Yes, I do,” Harry said. “You need to relax, Hermione, if this is going to work.”
“Well, I’m trying, Harry. What do you suggest I do?” Hermione asked, frustrated.
“Well, first of all, take a deep breath. Next, say ‘Up’ like you really mean it.” Harry said. “And say it like you’re not afraid of the broom landing in your hand. Like this. Up!” Harry’s broom flew cleanly into his hand.
Hermione looked at Harry and Ginny, and took a deep breath. “Okay, here it goes”. Holding her hand over the broom again, the girl said, “Up.”
The broom shivered on the ground briefly then flew straight up into Hermione’s hand.
“Oh my! I did it! Harry! I did it!” Hermione squealed.
“Great, Hermione. Okay, next step is to mount the broom. Swing your leg over it like this,” Ginny said, as she demonstrated.
Hermione followed suit, and she swung her leg over her broom. “Okay, next?”
“Don’t grip the broom handle too tight, but you don’t want to hold it too loose either. No, that’s too tight, Hermione,” Harry said as laid his hands on hers and adjusted her grip. “You look like you’re trying to strangle the handle. Loosen your grip. Yes, that’s better.” Harry nodded as Hermione adjusted her hands on the broom.
“Now, you need to push off of the ground with your feet,” Ginny said, as she came up next to Hermione and mounted her broom. “Don’t push too hard or you’ll shoot straight up quickly. Let’s try a gentle push off so that you don’t go too high up at first.”
“Show me, Ginny. Can you show me? You know…how to do that?” Hermione asked sounding more nervous than she intended.
“Hermione, are you certain you want to do this? I mean, you don’t have to learn to fly for my prat of a brother, you know,” Ginny said, laying a hand on Hermione’s shoulder.
“Oh, I know, Ginny, but I want to learn to fly. You know, new experiences and all,” Hermione said as she waved her hand. “Besides, this will give me something else to talk to your brother about.”
“You and my brother actually talk?” Ginny asked, winking at Harry. “You mean, you don’t just snog all the time?”
“No! We actually talk about things. You know, lots of things. Like schoolwork and the library, and oh, I don’t know,” Hermione said, as a blush crept upon her cheeks. “Are you going to show me how to do this or not?” she asked, stomping her foot.
“Okay, okay, I guess that’s enough teasing,” Ginny said, as she grinned at Harry. “Well, you push off like this.” Ginny pushed with her feet against the ground gently, and her broom hovered about six meters in the air.
“Okay, Hermione, now you try.” Ginny called down to the girl.
Hermione took a deep breath and pushed off gently. Her broom lifted upwards, and she was soon up next to Ginny in the air.
“That’s great, Hermione!” Harry called out as he joined them in the air. “Now to fly forward, you just need to lean forward a bit and your broom will go forward.” Harry demonstrated the proper technique for moving a broom through the air. He continued, “The further forward you lean, the faster you go.” Harry leaned down over his broom and shot through the air. Hermione jumped a bit on her broom. Harry circled around and came back. “If you want to go right, lean right; left, lean left.” Again Harry demonstrated.
“Ready, Hermione?” Ginny asked to her left.
“Yes. I’m ready,” Hermione answered, sounding a bit more determined now that she was actually in the air.
Leaning forward slightly, Hermione flew forward. Calling over her shoulder, she asked frantically, “How do you stop this thing?”
Harry laughed. “Sit up straight and pull back on the handle slightly.”
Hermione did, and stopped mid-air and hovered. She leaned to her right and slightly forward and circled around and came back to them.
“I did it! I did it!” she said excitedly. “I even came back to you on my own!”
“How does it feel to be flying?”
“Well, truthfully, I still don’t like it much. But at least now I know I can do it.”
“Well, why don’t we call it for the morning. We need to get to breakfast soon and to classes. Why don’t we meet again tomorrow morning, and we’ll work on getting you up higher in the air.”
“Oh, I’m not certain I want to go much higher...”
“Hermione, you were barely off the ground. Do you want to learn to fly or don’t you?” Ginny asked the girl.
“Well, maybe a bit higher wouldn’t be so bad,” Hermione said. “How do we land?”
“Like this,” Ginny said, as she headed for the ground. Harry followed, and with a bit of coaxing, the pair were able to get Hermione to land safely and on both feet.
“That wasn’t so bad,” Hermione commented as they headed back to the castle. “You both won’t tell Ron, will you?”
“Of course not, Hermione. But when do you plan to tell him?” Harry asked.
“Oh, I don’t know. I might have him meet me out at the Quidditch pitch and surprise him,” the girl answered thoughtfully.
“Well, he’ll certainly be surprised.”
For the next four mornings, Harry, Ginny and Hermione were out at the pitch, working on Hermione’s flying. Although she wasn’t a natural at it like Harry, Ginny and Ron were, she was progressing quite nicely. She had worked to get the height of her flight to a respectable level and had learned to land very cleanly. One thing was for certain: when Hermione put her mind to something, even something that totally frightened her, she made certain she accomplished it and did so the correct way.
One thing she refused to try, no matter how hard Harry and Ginny had tried to persuade her, was to dive. She watched as her two friends as they dove around her, quite content to fly slow lazy circles around the pitch. If someone had told Hermione a week ago that she’d be up on a broom flying, she would have told them they were nutters. But here she was, flying with two of her best friends. There was only one person missing, and he would find out soon that she had a new talent.
“Ron, Ron! You have a note here on the table, mate,” Neville called to the red-headed boy as he headed into the common room from their dormitory. “Looks like Hermione’s handwriting, too,” Neville continued. “Wonder what she’s writing to you about, Ron. Care to share?”
“No!” Ron said, as he hurried to where Neville held the sealed parchment.
“Oh, did Ron get a note from Hermione?” Dean called out from the sofa where he was sitting with Parvati.
“Yes, he did,” sniggered Neville, as Ron grabbed the parchment from his hand.
“What’s it say, Ron?” Dean asked innocently. “Hermione want to meet you in the broom cupboard for a snog?”
“None of your bloody business, Thomas,” Ron huffed, as he took the parchment and headed for the stairs to his dorm.
The sniggers from his friends could be heard all the way back to his room.
“Bloody prats,” Ron fumed as he stomped his way up the stairs. What was Hermione thinking…leaving a note for me in such a public place? She should have known the others would give me a hard time!
Ron flopped on his bed and opened the parchment roughly.
Could you meet me out at the Quidditch pitch when you get this note? Bring your broom with you, too.
“The Quidditch pitch?” Ron mumbled to himself. “Why does she want me to meet her at the Quidditch pitch?” Ron folded the note and tossed it in the drawer by his bed. Well, at least maybe I’ll get some flying in tonight after all. Well, after our snog session, maybe, the boy thought to himself.
Ron grinned as he walked over to his cupboard and grabbed his broom. Taking a deep breath, he headed down the stairs, through Gryffindor’s common room and to the portrait hole. He totally ignored the catcalls and whistles the others were throwing his way. He hurried out of the hole, along the school corridor, out the front doors and toward the pitch. As he approached, he didn’t see Hermione anywhere.
“Hermione?” Ron called. “Are you out here?”
All Ron heard was silence.
Pulling his wand in case this was a trick, he called again, “Hermione? Bloody hell, Hermione, are you out here?”
“Ron! Don’t swear! And yes, I’m out here. Look up.”
Ron, startled by Hermione’s voice, looked up quickly.
“Bloody hell, Hermione! You…you’re flying!” Ron said, his mouth hanging open in surprise.
Hermione giggled. The girl had hidden behind one of the banners on the Quidditch pitch until Ron had come out from the castle. She was now hovering over Ron’s head and looking down at him.
“That I am,” Hermione answered. “Are you surprised?”
“Um, yeah, Hermione, I am a bit surprised. You have had no talent on a broom whatsoever in the past and have had no interest in learning.” Ron grinned. “When did you do this? I mean, when did you learn to fly?”
“This week. Harry and Ginny have been helping me each morning before everyone else was up. We were out here before daylight.” Hermione paused and looked down at Ron with a wicked grin. “So, do you want to fly with me?” she asked rather seductively.
“Um, wha-?” Ron asked, blushing at the tone of her voice.
“Do you want to fly with me?” the girl asked again, her voice low and husky.
“Um, yeah, that would be nice,” Ron stammered, clearly not certain what the tone of Hermione’s voice meant.
“Well, mount your broom and come on. I don’t fly really high, and I fly slow, so don’t expect much, okay?
“Oh, okay,” Ron somehow said despite the fact he was still trying to figure out what Hermione was saying between the lines.
Ron threw his leg over his broom and kicked off. As he flew upwards towards his girlfriend (who had flown a bit higher since their little chat), he shook his head. Wonder what she’s up to. Why, after all these years did she decide to learn to fly?
Flying up next to Hermione, Ron looked at her and said, “Hey there.”
“Hey yourself,” Hermione answered.
“So,” Ron said, smirking, “Why’d you decide to learn to fly? After all these years?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Hermione replied, airily. “I just decided it was time…you know…to learn.” Leaning forward on her broom slightly, she said, “Come on, let’s fly a bit.”
Taking off before Ron, she was in the lead. Ron quickly caught up, since Hermione flew slowly. The two circled around the pitch in a lazy pattern.
“So, what do you think of flying?” Ron asked.
“Well, I still don’t like it much. I definitely like my feet on firm ground. But it is a nice change to fly occasionally. Besides, it’s fun flying with you.” Hermione smiled. “I know how much flying and Quidditch means to you and I hope that this proves to you how much your interests mean to me - I may be all about school and studying, but I do like to have fun, too.”
Ron pulled back on his broom handle and stopped his broom, hovering in mid-air. Hermione stopped likewise. Ron looked at her and said, “I know that, Hermione. I know you like to have fun. Is that why you really learned to fly? To prove to me that you like to have fun?”
“No, not really. After our discussion when we were supposed to be studying Transfiguration, I just decided I needed to learn to do this. I needed to get over my fear of being in the air.” Hermione paused. “So, I just did it. And while it’s not my favourite thing to do with you, it is something we can do together.”
“And what would be your favourite thing to do with me?” Ron asked.
Hermione raised the eyebrow over one of her eyes. “Do you really need to ask that, Ron? Do I need to show you what my favourite thing is to do with you?”
“Well, maybe you should,” Ron whispered, as he came as close to her as he could.
“Meet me on the ground then,” Hermione whispered back, pointing her broom downward. She landed on her feet, stumbling just a bit.
Ron landed next to her. Turning and stepping close to her, he quietly said, “So, tell me. What’s your favourite thing to do with me, Hermione?”
Dropping her broom, Hermione snaked her arms around the redhead’s neck. Standing on her tiptoes she reached up and kissed him gently on the lips. Pulling back slightly, she whispered, “That, Ron, is my favourite thing to do with you.”
Ron dropped his broom and wrapped his arms around her. He looked down at the brunette in his arms and smiled. “I think you need to show me that one more time.”
A/N: This was written for the Great Aggiebell/OHGinnyfan 2004 Challenge on Live Journal. I never got around to actually getting this posted in the archives here at PhoenixSong, and since I now have some spare time on my hands, I’m working on getting caught up on my writing and posting. Thanks always to Jen and Jules for the pre-beta/beta jobs. Y’all are the best. *grin*