Ron couldn’t believe how paranoid Hermione was about studying for NEWT levels. They had just received their OWLs back and she, of course, received an ‘O’ on every subject. Ron had scraped by with a few himself; enough to continue on in Charms, Transfiguration, Defense Against the Dark Arts—thanks to Harry and the DA—and Divination. Yes, Divination. It had been the one class he had passed which Harry had not. He would have dropped it too, but Molly insisted that he continue, as he would not be taking Potions, Astronomy, or History of Magic. The only thing that kept Ron from constant Molly lectures was the fact that he had done better than both the twins. Merlin bless them.
Unfortunately, this didn’t keep Hermione off his back. “If you start studying now, you won’t have to stress about your NEWT levels, Ron,” she said for the umpteenth time that week. He had stopped counting after Tuesday, like he did every week since the end of June when Hermione arrived at The Burrow to stay with them.
Harry had left this conversation already… Ron was now regretting not joining him. “Look, Hermione,” Ron said. “There’s a reason they call it Summer Holiday: it’s the summer… and we’re supposed to be on holiday. I never remember holiday including loads of studying and homework.”
“We’ve had homework before, Ron.”
“They didn’t give it to us this year,” he retorted.
“That’s because we just got finished our OW—”
“Of course it is!” Ron said firmly, leaning forward in his seat. “That’s my point!”
“Don’t you remember what happened last year?” Hermione asked, pinching the bridge of her nose.
Ron loved when she did this—it meant he was winning. “I remember a lot about last year, Hermione, you should really be more specific,” he said.
“Stop patronizing me!” she said. “Don’t you remember all the last minute studying you had to do?”
“You had to, too,” Ron pointed out.
“Yes, but I also knew most of it before. Mine was refreshing my memory,” she argued.
“You’re impossible,” Ron said, standing from the couch in the living room and heading to the kitchen.
He knew Hermione wouldn’t give up on the nagging; knew it before he heard the door open from behind him as he picked up one of the biscuits Ginny had been making earlier. “Don’t eat those, they’re for later,” Hermione said, grabbing the biscuit from Ron’s hand and putting it back on the cooling rack.
“Don’t tell me what to do,” Ron said, picking up another and holding it high above his head as Hermione continued to jump up, trying to take it from him.
“GRAH! You are positively the most juvenile male to have walked this Earth!” Hermione shouted. Hermione growled in frustration as she turned around and started slicing celery. “You do realize how bad those are for your teeth, don’t you?”
Ron picked up another and bit into it. “You do realize how good these are to my taste buds, don’t you,” he said, mouth full with biscuits.
Hermione ignored him this time, continuing with the vegetables. Ron listened to the crunch of the carrots as the sun streamed in to lighten Hermione’s hair; the waves were tame today. He wished she would pull it back more often, like she had done last week while reading by the fireplace. He had been tempted into sitting next to her and studying then.
Ron waited for Hermione to turn around and start lecturing again, but she didn’t. “You want a biscuit?” he asked, to break the silence. She didn’t respond. Guilt started setting in as he could imagine a scowl on her face. “How about some watermelon? I could cut some up,” he suggested. Nothing. He hated when people did this to him, especially when he wanted them to talk. Okay… so he wanted to do more than just talk to Hermione… ever since she had told him about her trip to Bulgaria, Ron had wanted to try and make her forget that Viktor Krum had ever existed.
He watched carefully as Hermione finished her cutting and turned around to leave. He caught her by the arm as she started past him. “Please don’t leave it like this,” he said.
“How did you want to leave it then,” she said, jaw set.
Ron paused for a moment, wondering about what she had just asked. Without another word, he leaned down.
Hermione sat with her arms crossed as she looked sternly at Harry. “You remember what McGonagall said, they only take the best of the best,” she reprimanded.
“Just… drop it,” Harry replied, and left.
“Why can’t you just leave him alone?” Ron asked.
“I’m just trying to help him,” Hermione said.
“By nagging him to death?” Ron responded. “Besides, he’s having a hard enough summer as it is.”
“That’s why he should keep distracted with study,” she told him.
“Sure thing, let’s study the stars,” Ron retorted. “‘Er… Harry… do you know where the Dogstar is placed here?’”
“Don’t be daft, there are plenty of other subjects,” Hermione said. “And what about you? I doubt you’ve picked up one book this summer.”
“You doubt right,” he said.
Hermione let out a breath and rolled her eyes. “If you start studying now, you won’t have to stress about your NEWT levels, Ron,” she told him. Why doesn’t he get it? She asked herself. Hermione always felt guilty when she was wasting time. Games and lounging was good for a little while, but why couldn’t he see that she just wanted to do something constructive… with him…
“There’s a reason they call it Summer Holiday: it’s the summer… and we’re supposed to be on holiday. I never remember holiday including loads of studying and homework,” Ron said.
And why does he always have to be sarcastic towards me? Hermione wondered. “We’ve had homework before, Ron,” she informed him. Then again, he had never done his until a few nights before school was to start.
“They didn’t give it to us this year,” he argued.
Ron was right, they didn’t have homework, but Hermione wasn’t about to admit that. She wanted him to get the excuse behind it all, but wasn’t about to be forward. She left that to people like Lavender and Parvati. “That’s because we just finished our OW—” Hermione hated when Ron interrupted.
“Of course it is! That’s my point!” he said, using large hand gestures. He always added those when she was winning an argument.
Still, she had to act frustrated, or he’d know she was winning and give up… then they’d be in separate rooms for the rest of the morning. She didn’t want that. “Don’t you remember this last year?” she asked.
Ron acted as if he didn’t understand… Hermione disliked this most of all, seeing as he didn’t understand enough; feigning it just made it more frustrating. “Stop patronizing me! Don’t you remember all the last minute studying you had to do?”
“You had to, too,” Ron said.
Hermione held herself back from strangling him. Of all the insensitive things to say, he had to mention that one. Everyone assumed she passed everything with flying colors, but she hadn’t told them of how her potion was a bit too clear during the examinations. It was an embarrassing thing, especially since Hermione had decided to catch up in Ancient Runes instead of reviewing Shrinking potions. It didn’t matter that she still received an ‘O’, but more that she knew she had failed herself in studying. “Yes, but I also knew most of it before. Mine was refreshing my memory,” she still excused, not wanting to explain the blush she felt rising to her cheeks.
“You’re impossible,” he said, standing and heading for the kitchen.
Hermione let him go, allowing her face to return to its normal color before following him in. She watched as he went for a biscuit Ginny had been making. She knew Ginny had been cooking a lot to pass the time away this summer, but didn’t know exactly what they were for. “Don’t eat those, they’re for later,” Hermione said, grabbing a biscuit from Ron’s hand and putting it back on the cooling rack.
“Don’t tell me what to do,” Ron responded.
“GRAH! You are positively the most juvenile male to have walked this Earth!” Hermione shouted after her failed attempt at getting another stolen biscuit back. She took a deep breath, trying to keep calm. Shouting never did much for her, and she didn’t do it often… but Ron seemed to know exactly how to bring it out in her.
Hermione didn’t think she could stand it anymore, but was hoping he might start to be decent. In the meantime, she needed an excuse to stay. Sitting on the counter was a cutting board, a knife, and some neglected vegetables. She took the celery first. “You do realize how bad those are for your teeth, don’t you?”
“You do realize how good these are to my taste buds, don’t you,” he said, mouth full with biscuits.
She could hear him chewing like a cow behind her. She almost lost it again, but took some carrots and started to chop.
“You want a biscuit?” she heard him ask.
Wouldn’t that have been nice of him to think of me in the first place? Hermione thought bitterly. She continued to ignore him, wishing he would just get it for once. It was one thing to explain this girl stuff to Harry… it was like explaining it to a brother. She couldn’t do it the same way with Ron. That just took the romance out of everything.
“How about some watermelon? I could cut some up,” he offered.
Hermione felt tears starting to come to her eyes. She forced them back, thinking that if he did start cutting at least they’d be doing something together. But she refused to talk. When she looked down for something else to cut, Hermione finally realized it was all gone.
With nothing left to do, Hermione put the knife down, gritted her teeth together, and turned to leave, making sure not to look at Ron. She felt a jerk on her arm, and turned to face him. She looked at his freckles. The ones just above the bridge of his nose looked almost like Orion. She wondered if he ever noticed it.
“Please don’t leave it like this,” Ron said, pulling Hermione out of her freckle gazing.
“How do you want to leave it then,” she said, staying as stiff as she could.
She waited for him to give up, let her go, like he always did. Viktor would have said something full of understanding. Then again, Viktor wouldn’t have provoked her in the first place. He would have understood and been sympathetic….. yet he wouldn’t hold her heart in his hands like this. She started to turn to the door when Ron made a sudden move, his face coming down to hers.
Before Hermione could do anything else, she felt Ron’s lips warm on her own. She was tentative for a moment, not moving. Slowly, she moved her hand out to Ron’s waist, allowing his arm to envelope her. About damn time, she thought.
Harry was sick of the lectures. After it got old, he would go out back and fly around. He left Ron and Hermione bickering in the living room, hoping to have nothing more to do with that discussion. With a sigh, he went towards the broom cupboard. Just as he was about to open it, he saw something green out of the corner of his eyes. Pulling his wand he turned around, seeing that he was pointing at the youngest Weasley. “Sorry,” he muttered, pocketing his wand once more.
“That’s all right,” Ginny said. “Sorry for startling you,” she added.
“It’s the whole green thing,” he pointed out.
“Do you attack the grass too?” Ginny asked with a grin.
“No,” Harry muttered. “I didn’t know anyone was out here.”
“Well, I finished with the biscuits,” Ginny said, “and I thought I’d get some Quidditch in before making lunch.”
“Has your mum let you take over the kitchen?” Harry asked.
“Sort of,” Ginny said. “She’s a bit busy with the Order right now, and I’ve been feeling so.... never mind,” she concluded with a fake smile.
Harry didn’t push. It wasn’t his place and he knew how much he hated when others did that to him. “One-on-one then?”
“Can you Chase?” Ginny asked.
“A bit,” he said.
The pair of them mounted and rose into the air. “First to five,” Ginny called.
Harry was surprised by how much faster she had become, dodging him twice and scoring before he got his hands on the Quaffle once. The game was over in ten minutes after Ginny continued to score.
“You made that easy,” she said.
“Give me a break!” Harry demanded, landing softly on the field. “I’m usually the one looking for the little gold thing.” He was smiling, which had become a rarity these days.
“I think I should be starting lunch.” Ginny looked at her watch.
Harry nodded and followed her towards the kitchen entrance on the other side of the house. “So why have you been cooking so much lately?”
“I’ve had a lot of time,” she said. “I was supposed to go visit a friend, but it fell through and I didn’t want to—” but Ginny never finished her sentence.
She was standing in the entrance, a look of disgust on her face.
Harry furrowed his brow, wondering what she was looking at, but didn’t wonder too long, squeezing into her left and covering his mouth to hide an audible gasp.
Ginny could hear them arguing… at least she could hear Hermione and Ron. She didn’t get why Ron didn’t let Harry fight his own battle.
She finished placing the last batch of chocolate chip biscuits on the cooling racks and looked at her watch. Fred and George had bought it for her as a Christmas present; a literal mood-watch. Every time you checked the time, it said exactly how you were feeling. Right now, it read ‘Lonely’.
“No I’m not,” she said incredulously to the watch, which changed to ‘In denial’. With a groan, she ignored the watch and headed outside, convincing herself that all she needed was some fresh air and her broom. She had done one loop around the field when she heard the door of the broom cupboard open up. Figuring she wouldn’t be wanted, Ginny made to land, only to have Harry draw his wand on her. “Sorry,” she heard him say.
“That’s all right,” Ginny said, completely unfazed. “I’m sorry for startling you.”
“It’s the whole green thing,” Harry said.
Ginny knew what he meant. She couldn’t stand tile floors for quite some time after being in the Chamber of Secrets, but couldn’t help play on this fear. “Do you attack the grass too?”
“No,” she could barely hear him mumble, “I didn’t know anyone was out here.”
“Well, I finished with the biscuits and I thought I’d get some Quidditch in before making lunch.”
“Has your mum let you take over the kitchen?” Harry asked.
“Sort of,” Ginny answered. “She’s a bit busy with the Order right now, and I’ve been feeling so.... never mind,” she concluded with a fake smile. Ginny was glad he didn’t enquire further.
She was happy, though, to not be alone as he offered a game. Ginny assumed this would be the hardest game she’d had all summer, but was vaguely surprised when she had three points on him within the first five minutes. “Losing your touch, Potter?” she jested.
“Not by a long shot, Weasley,” he joked with mock look of determination.
“You made that easy,” Ginny said at the end of the game.
“Give me a break! I’m usually the one looking for the little gold thing.”
Ginny noticed his smile… about damn time, she thought.
“I think I should be starting lunch.” Ginny looked at her watch. ‘Infatuated’ it said. She covered it with her hand, trying to suppress a blush.
“So why have you been cooking so much lately?” Harry asked when they were almost to the house.
Ginny didn’t know exactly how to answer it and not embarrass herself. “I’ve had a lot of time,” she said. “I was supposed to go visit a friend, but it fell through and I didn’t want to—” Ginny stopped mid-sentence, shocked by the sight in front of her. There were Ron and Hermione snogging between the stove and the table. She felt Harry squeeze in next to her, but didn’t notice much else.
Ron felt Hermione pull away. He wondered if he had done the wrong thing by kissing her, but hadn’t she just kissed back? IT was in this moment Ron noticed Hermione was looking away from him. He followed her gaze only to see his best friend and sister standing jammed in the door frame. He gulped and turned red. Hermione looked between Ron and Ginny, looking as though she were trying to come up with something.
“Er—Ginny…. I was wondering if we could have some… some of these… biscuits,” she said, grabbing one with her free hand and holding it up.
“Have them all,” Ginny said. “I’m not feeling well enough to have any,” she said, then dashed into the living room.
“I think I’ll—er—just uh—I’m going to go fly around for a bit longer,” Harry said, turning around and exiting the way he came.
Hermione and Ron looked at one another then started laughing. “Care for a biscuit?” Ron asked Hermione, picking one up.
“Sure,” she said. Ron placed his next to her lips as she took a small bite. Leaning down, he found her lips again, hoping to continue uninterrupted.
Author’s Note. This story is based on Greendesire’s picture of the same title. You can see the picture here