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"I'm sorry," he whispers. He is motionless in the doorway, his hand frozen on the knob. Hearing no response, he sighs; his hand drops heavily to his side. He remains stationary for a moment, two, before taking a timid step into the room. He hears her trying to stifle her tears and blames himself. They have had their fights before, but none quite as brutal as this.
"I," he starts, but words fail him and his mouth immediately snaps shut. He vaguely wonders why it is always so hard for him to verbalize those things that seem to come so naturally to everyone else. "Listen, I'm sorry," he starts again, his words ringing in his ears. "Me and my bloody big mouth..."
"Don't curse, Ron," she cuts in, her voice cracking with emotion. Although her back is to him, he sees her reach up, trying desperately to remove the evidence of her tears. A knot forms in his chest as he fully realizes the impact of his words. He hadn't meant them. At least, he hadn't meant them to hurt her.
"How did you find me?" she finally asks after a few moments of silence.
Raking a hand through his hair, he takes another couple of steps into the room. He shrugs before realizing that her back is still facing him. "I looked everywhere."
"Oh," she answers, her voice trailing off, as though indicating her disappointment.
Disappointment? Why would she be disappointed? He had actually looked for her, hadn't he? A frown etches its way across his face as he tries to understand.
"Yeah, I, uh... figured I'd look in the places you'd think I wouldn't look," he answers dumbly, as though trying to explain his actions. "I figured that if you were hiding from me, you wouldn't go to the library or the... uh..."
"What do you want, Ron?" she interrupts angrily. "Why are you here?"
He is taken aback by the biting edge in her tone. Hadn't he just told her? What did she want him to say? Girls were so bloody confusing and she was the most confusing of all.
As though taking his silence as an answer, she continues. "You made yourself perfectly clear earlier..."
"Hey," he interrupts, anger building inside of him once again. "I came here to apologize. I've already said it twice. Didn't you hear me?"
"Yes, Ronald, I heard your apology, but why are you here?" she asks, finally turning to face him. He takes in her appearance, shocked by the watery eyes and blotchy face that he sees. Had he done that to her?
"I'm here to say..."
"You're sorry. Yes, I got that. You've already said that. But that still doesn't answer my question. Why are you here?"
Why was he there? He was there to say he was sorry. He had told her that but that didn't seem to be the answer she was looking for. So what did she want? What did she mean? He finds her so damn confusing and he is tempted to leave but, for some unknown reason, he can't.
"Hermione, I don't know what you mean. I thought I..."
She sighs heavily, before turning away from him once more. "Just go, Ron."
"Get out, Ron! Get out," she yells, surprising him as she turns around and stalks toward him. "Get out, Ron. I want you to go." She pushes his chest, trying to shove him out of the room and he stares down at her in shock.
"No," he finally responds, taking a step back and grabbing her wrists. "I'm not leaving until you tell me what you mean. I'm tired of having to try and figure out what you're trying to say. Why don't you just bloody say what you mean so I know what you want?"
They remain frozen for a moment, each breathing heavily and glaring at the other. Then, with an angered grunt, she jerks her arms from his hold and steps away from him. His hands drop to his sides, his hardened expression quickly changing.
"Just tell me what you want from me, Hermione," he pleads.
"I," she starts, before stopping herself. He begins to wonder if she is going to tell him to leave again when she finally says, "I mean, why are you here? Why did come to find me when you could have easily waited to tell me you were sorry when I returned? Why did you even care enough to come and find me to say you are sorry? When have you ever cared enough to apologize, Ron? We've had more fights than I wish to count. I'm tired of fighting with you. I'm tired of having everyone stare and point and laugh at us because of our fights." She pauses, looking away from him. "I don't want to do it anymore."
Whatever he had been expecting, that, most assuredly, had not been it. The words hit him like a ton of bricks and continue to repeat in his brain. What was she saying?
"You don't want to do what anymore? It was just a fight. Like you said, we've had loads of those."
"I don't want to do this anymore."
"Are you saying you don't want to be my friend anymore?" he asks, the words tasting sour as he speaks them.
"I- I don't know. I just know that I'm tired of all of this."
"But- you can't really mean that Hermione. Right?" He feels his heart plummet in his chest, knowing the answer but not wanting to hear it.
As though defeated, she drops her hands to her sides, looking away from him. He tries to regain eye contact with her once more by shifting his stance, but she refuses to look at him. "I've got to go. I just remembered that I forgot to..." Her words sound hollow and he realizes that she is trying to come up with some way to get away from him.
He wonders why he cares. Wonders why it feels as though he just lost a Quidditch game or chess match, and a million times worse. She was going to leave the room. She had left rooms many times before but why did this time seem so final?
He watches as she skirts around him, her shoulders slumped, head bowed. Her words ring through his head, as she moves to the doorway and pauses for a moment as though waiting for him to stop her. What did she want from him?
And then, all of a sudden, it all makes sense. Everything seems to click together, as though he is playing a game of chess and has just discovered his opponent's strategy. Her words, his actions. Everything. Taking a couple of steps forward, he grabs her arm before she crosses the threshold and turns her around. She looks at him with a mixture of sadness and hope, but tries to appear angered.
"Wha-?" she starts before quickly being cut off as he crashes his lips to hers. She remains stiff for a moment before relaxing and fiercely kissing him back. His hands pull her closer to him, pressing on the small of her back and she moves to wrap her arms around his neck.
They parted sometime later and she tilts her head to the side, as though questioning his motives.
He remains silent for a moment as he tries to come up with the right words. "Maybe I don't want to be friends anymore either," he finally states. The corners of her mouth begin to curl downward before he adds, "Maybe I want something more."