When Ron Apparated into his kitchen his mum was sitting at the table
with Tonks and Lupin. Mrs Weasley’s eyes were puffy and her nose was
bright red. Her red hair was half grey now and falling out of its
twisty bun, but instead of making her looked windswept, it made her
look disheveled and a bit mad. Tonks looked subdued, her chin resting
in her hand. Lupin looked more tired than usual, but his hair seemed to
have less grey in it. Ron figured it must be because with the war over
there was less to worry about. Hermione was at the counter, pouring
pumpkin juice into a tall glass.
‘D’you want some?’
Ron shook his head. ‘No. Where’s Ginny?’
‘She’s upstairs,’ answered Mrs Weasley.
‘In her room?’
‘Ron, if you go up there and cause trouble, so help me I’ll—’
‘Don’t worry, Mrs Weasley,’ interrupted Hermione, ‘I’ll make sure he behaves. I’ll hex him if he doesn’t.’
‘Good girl. I’d hate for Tonks to have to make an arrest on her last week off of work.’
Tonks smiled feebly and Ron had to look away. Everyone was so depressed-looking he couldn't stand it.
should get home to Dad,’ said Tonks, pushing her chair back and
standing up. ‘He said he wanted to go home alone, but I feel like I
should check in on him since Mum …’ Her voice cracked a bit and Remus
ran his hand across her lower back.
‘Your mum would want you to check in on him. Did you want to stay there or are you going to come home?’
I’ll come home tonight.’ She kissed the top of Lupin’s head. ‘Thanks
for the tea, Molly. I appreciate it.’ Tonks took a step back and
tripped over the leg of the table. She righted herself before she fell
completely over and tried to laugh at herself. Only a moment later did
she Disapparate. Mrs Weasley and Lupin remained quiet as they sat at
At the end of the table was the largest chair,
the one with the broken arm and only half-painted with green paint. The
paint was chipping off now, but Ron could picture his father sitting
there, looking at his brood through his glasses, tilting his bald head
back as he laughed at the twins, and then ducking as Mrs Weasley tried
to hit him with a dishtowel for encouraging them with his obvious
amusement. None of the chairs around the table matched. The one he had
always sat in was small and wobbly and had been broken and repaired
Ron’s eyes moved from his father’s chair
over to the one that was always occupied by Fred. It had a large burn
mark in the seat which smelled faintly of watermelon – no one ever
figured out exactly what happened.
Percy’s chair was the
only one that looked pristine. He’d used his wand to reinforce the legs
(he didn’t trust the twins not to do something to his chair so that
when he sat down, it'd break and he’d fall on his bum!) and talked his
mum into sewing cushions for the seat. When he left and stopped
speaking to the family, his chair had disappeared. Ron found it once in
his dad’s shed, turned upside down as though it had been Banished
there. Now the chair was back at the table.
A big split down
the middle of Charlie’s chair set it apart from the rest. He’d had a
slight run-in with Bill where his chair had been broken completely in
half. Neither of them knew magic very well yet and they both tried
using their wands to fix the chair. Their rudimentary magic left a
large split in the chair, but it never broke again.
kitchen table would never be the same again. Ron wondered if those
chairs would always be reserved for his dad and brothers or if future
wives and grandchild would take them over. Part of him never wanted to
see another redhead sitting there, but he knew that probably wasn’t
realistic either. There were extra chairs that were magically stacked
in the corner and taken down when extra company came over. In the past,
Hermione had taken over Percy’s chair while Harry had always taken
Charlie’s from the beginning. Now, Ron looked at Percy’s chair, not
being able to imagine anyone else sitting there, even Hermione. She
wasn’t a part of the Weasley family the same way Harry always was. One
day that might change though.
Ron blinked hard and shook his
head. He didn’t like having those thoughts. Having Hermione part of his
family. Officially. Before he had the excuse that one of them might
die, but now he didn’t like to entertain the thought because she had so
much in front of her. What if she said no? Not that he planned on
asking. Not for several years. He wanted to wait because now they could
wait. Death wasn’t looming over their heads anymore. They didn’t have
to get married because of all the what-ifs – the main what-if being,
what-if one of us dies? Ron wanted to wait. They had all the time in
the world now and it wasn’t as though witches and wizards didn’t live
to be well over one-hundred anyway!
His thoughts of Hermione
being an official part of the family turned to what would happen if
Harry was permanently linked to them through Ginny. Ron looked at the
stairs, wondering how long it would take him to run up those stairs and
barge into Ginny’s room.
‘Don’t do it, Ron,’ said Hermione,
looking at him. ‘Let them just enjoy the afternoon. They aren't going
to do anything with your mum downstairs. Even they aren't that stupid.’
Ron clenched his jaw and shoved his hands in his pockets.
didn’t you stay for the whole ceremony?’ Mrs Weasley asked, looking at
her son. ‘The Minister said such nice things, even mentioned your
father by name.’ She blew her nose on a blue handkerchief.
‘I didn’t want to hear the Minister talk. He’s a giant sod.’
screeched Mrs Weasley. Ron didn’t respond and there was a silence in
the room that stretched on for well over a minute before Mrs Weasley
broke it by stuttering, ‘We’re going to St M-Mungo’s later to see Bill
an-an-and George.’ She sniffled and blew her nose again.
‘I’m going up there,’ said Ron, ignoring his mother.
‘Ron, no, don’t,’ pleaded Hermione.’
‘We’re going to leave at half-four. If you’re not down here to go we'll just leave you here.’
‘Don’t do it, Ron,’ implored Hermione.
didn’t want to listen to her. He went to the stairs and ran up them,
his feet making loud clunking sounds against the creaky steps. As he
turned the corner, the door to Ginny’s room came into view. It wasn’t
completely shut, but it was pulled almost all the way to. He was almost
at the door when, with a crack, Hermione Apparated directly in front of
Her hands were on her hips and her face was scrunched up with annoyance, her eyes narrowed, her lips pressed tightly together.
‘What is wrong with you?’
‘What is wrong with you? Get out of my way.’
Hermione didn’t move.
had already cried once and for some reason, he suddenly felt that urge
once again. He tried to suppress it, not wanting to be so bloody
emotional. It didn’t take long for Ron to realise that Hermione really
wasn’t going to move. He sighed and rubbed his eyes.
‘You look tired,’ said Hermione.
‘Let’s go to your room.’
looked at her, wondering what they would do once they reached his room.
That thought didn’t last long because the door to Ginny’s room opened.
Hermione grimaced and moved out of the way. Ron walked right up into
the doorway. Standing there was a seventeen-year-old man, his hair
sticking up and his shirt untucked.
‘I am so goddamn hacked
off at you!’ he said, pushing the wizard in Ginny’s room, causing him
to trip and fall on his bum on the floor.
‘RON!’ screeched Ginny. ‘Leave him alone!’
‘Why weren’t you there today?’ demanded Ron, standing over the wizard and trying his best to look menacing.
‘What is wrong with you?’ the wizard yelled. ‘You know I couldn't go. What if people saw me?’
‘You’re a giant sod.’
‘I thought you said the Minister was the giant sod,’ said Hermione, her eyes twinkling with mischief.
Ron turned his head around and frowned at her.
‘Look, Ron, I’m sorry I couldn't go. I wanted to, but I just couldn’t.’
‘You’re taking the easy way out. Faking your own death. I think that’s right cowardly, Harry.’
didn’t fake it. It’s more like I just didn’t tell anyone I was alive.
You know I’d never get a moment’s peace. Everyone would want interviews
or want to see the Boy Who Lived. I don’t want that. I need privacy. No
one needs to know I’m alive.’
‘What are you going to do? Just stay shut up in The Burrow for the next hundred years until you die?’
shrugged. ‘I don’t know. I have enough money that I don’t actually have
to work if I don’t want to. I figured I might get my eyes fixed so I
wouldn't have to wear my glasses anymore and now that my scar’s gone I
could go back to Hogwarts and teach or something. The new kids that are
coming won’t know it’s me if I don’t have the scar.’
‘You still look like you,’ said Ron.
‘My picture isn’t in any books or anything. I doubt a bunch of twitchy eleven-year-olds are going to know who I am.’
‘You could always charm your hair a different colour,’ suggested Hermione.
‘Don’t encourage him!’ cried Ron.
Hermione’s frown deepened.
mind. I’m going to my room.’ Ron turned around and stomped out of
Ginny’s room. He slammed the door behind him, but instead of going to
his room, he stayed in the hallway, waiting to see if Hermione was
going to follow him or not. She didn’t come out right away; he heard
her talking to Harry and Ginny.
‘He’s just upset. The
funeral was harder on him than he thought it was going to be. He fought
along side Luna and Ernie and watched one of the Death Eaters kill
them. And of course his brothers and dad.’
‘I lost the same,’ said Ginny, sounding annoyed.
you’re not afraid to let people know when you’re angry or sad,’ said
Hermione. ‘Ron can get angry, but he doesn’t like to admit it. And he
certainly doesn’t like to let anyone know he’s sad. I suspect he’s just
upset because it does kind of seem as though you got the easy way out,
Harry, not having to go to the funerals or ever have to deal with the
aftershocks of the war from the public. He and I have been asked
questions and been thanked by everyone. I know people are grateful, but
we really just wanted to go to the Leaky Cauldron and get something to
eat, but no one would leave us be. Every witch and wizard wanted to
know what fighting Voldemort was like.’
There was silence for several seconds. Ron’s palms grew wet with sweat and he wiped them on the thighs of his trousers.
why I can’t have anyone know I’m alive. They’d come looking for me.
They’d knock on the door to The Burrow looking for me. If you think
your lunch at Leaky was bad, imagine if I was there.’
rolled his eyes. Harry sounded cocky, even if it was the absolute
truth. They would never be able to go anywhere without Harry being
mobbed. And after years of being the Boy Who Lived, Harry did deserve
privacy and to get away from the prying eyes of the magical world. He
couldn’t stay at The Burrow forever, though, could he?
know,’ came Hermione’s voice through the door. ‘Just go easy on him for
a couple days, all right? He’ll get over it and you’ll both be best
‘I should go check on Ron.’
eyes widened a little. He had to get to his room before Hermione found
him eavesdropping in the hallway. Running up the stairs, he made it to
his room, closed the door, and flopped down on his bed before Hermione
knocked softly and entered. She gave him a small smile.
‘Are you all right?’
nodded. ‘I’m fine.’ He put his arms behind his head and crossed his
legs at the ankles, trying to look as relaxed as possible.
came and sat down on the edge of the bed, resting her hand on his
thigh. They hadn’t touched much, except for frequent hugs, since the
war ended. Tears and deaths and funerals didn’t give either of them
much energy for kissing and fooling around.
‘Are you sure?’
Come here.’ Ron pulled Hermione down next to him and hugged her to him.
She moved her hair out of her face and rested her head against his
chest. They were quiet for a while, hearing Mrs Weasley yell that they
were leaving for St Mungo’s, but ignoring her. Hermione’s breathing
evened out and she dozed off for half an hour before stirring and
opening her eyes. Her leg moved and wrapped around one of Ron’s. He
loved the way she fit against him.
‘You fell asleep,’ he said.
‘Yes, I did.’
‘Are you staying here tonight?’
‘In your room? No!’
Ron chuckled. ‘No, at my house.’
shook her head, her hair tickling his arm as she moved. ‘I need to go
home. See my parents. They’re leaving for holiday on Sunday.’
‘Oh. Where’re they going?’
beach somewhere. They’re going to let a house for a month. Dad had his
retirement party last week. This holiday is his reward for being a
dentist all these years. Mum’s still going to work, though.’
‘Are you going to take you NEWTs?’
‘Your NEWTs. We missed them at the end of term Not that I think I would’ve passed. I missed most of my classes last year.’
‘We all did.’
‘You still got good marks. I did horribly.’
Hermione sat up and looked down at Ron; her hair fell in his face and he brushed it behind her shoulders.
‘What’s this all about?’
‘I was just wondering if you were gonna take the NEWTs.’
‘Silly, of course I am. Are you?’
‘I don’t reckon they’ll do me much good.’
‘They’ll help you get a job. Don’t you still want to be an Auror?’
Ron shrugged. ‘I can’t be an Auror until there’s a new Ministry.’
still a Ministry. There’s a Minister and Heads of Departments. There’s
just not a building, but they’re going to rebuild it.’
‘Yeah, and that’ll take forever.’
‘Forever? I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration.’
Ron shrugged again.
‘Are you worried about getting a job?’
Sort of. Well, yeah. I don’t want to stay here. I’d like to get a flat
on my own, but there doesn’t seem like anything I can do.’
help you study for the NEWTs, all right? And you can take them and
become an Auror. By the time it’s time to take the NEWTs again at the
end of next term the Ministry should be rebuilt.’
‘I dunno …’
I have to study as well. We’ll do it together. I’m good at studying.
And weren’t your marks better when I helped you with your homework?’
‘So it’s settled then.’
‘You’re lucky. You get a whole house to yourself for a month. What’ll do you do after that? Get a flat?’
‘I’m not sure. I haven’t really decided. Why don’t you and Harry move in together? He can’t stay here indefinitely.’
‘That’ll go over well. Can’t quite invite anyone over when your roommate is supposed to be underneath a tombstone.’
‘He can hide. Or go to visit Ginny for a night.’
‘Hey! That’s my sister you’re talkin’ about! I don’t want to hear how Harry goes to visit her.’
snuggled back down next to Ron. She snaked her hand underneath his
shirt; her hand was cold against the warmth of his stomach. A tingling
feeling spread across his body; Hermione usually made his body respond
‘Are you considering not taking your NEWTs because you don’t think you’ll make it into the Auror program?’
answered Ron, although he was certain Hermione wasn’t going to believe
him. She knew him better than anyone else possibly could, even Harry.
‘You can be clever when you’re not doubting yourself.’
frowned, but didn’t say anything. The way Hermione felt against him, he
had no desire to get into a row and have her move – and responding
about whether or not he doubted himself would only prove to hack him
‘When your parents are out of town, are you going to invite me over?’
‘There isn’t anything special at my house.’
there. I’ve never been there and I think it’d be kinda , y’know , cool
to see where you used to sleep at night when you were a titchy little
‘You want to see my room?’
Hermione sat up again. There was a mischievous look in her eye. ‘I only sleep there. Nothing special happens in my room.’
‘It could – if I was there.’
laugh lit up her face, the first time it glowed since fifth year when
she opened up his Christmas gift. The frizz of her hair curled around
her chin and she pushed the offending strands out of her face.
Everything about her was beautiful right then and Ron wanted to kiss
her. Without the war looming over them, they were suddenly free to
actually do those things, but the emotional state of their relationship
had surpassed the physical state of it. Since they first got together
during the summer after sixth year Ron had done little more than
lightly touch her, there simply hadn’t been any opportunities to do
more. Even though they didn’t have much of a physical relationship, Ron
had been struggling over whether he was in love with her.
course there were things about Hermione that Ron wished he could
change: the way she nagged him, the way she was always right, or the
way she harped on the treatment of house-elves. Unfortunately for Ron,
those were also things that he found endearing, which put him in a
state of disbelief with himself, but it was true. If she didn’t nag
him, he’d never do his homework or eat his vegetables. If she didn’t
have to always be right, she wouldn’t have researched for days without
sleep on ways to destroy the Horcruxes. If she didn’t harp on the
treatment of house-elves ... Well, actually couldn’t think of a good
thing about that particular obsession of hers. But the point was,
Hermione took care of him, and Ron loved that she did.
or not he was in love with her yet, he just wasn’t sure. That concept
was terribly confusing and he did have the emotional range of a
teaspoon. In the past, Ron had always assumed he would tell Hermione he
loved her right before they had sex. He now realised that he would tell
her he loved her sooner than they would ever have sex.
‘You almost look happy,’ he said. Hermione raised her eyebrows in question and Ron clarified, ‘When you laugh.’
feel almost happy. That seems wrong, though, because of the funerals
today, but I suppose everyone died a hero and they helped end the war.
We’re safe now because of them. Safe to do whatever we want.’
‘Whatever we want?’
Hermione nodded. ‘Of course we still have to rebuild magical Britain and—’
‘But we can still do whatever we want,’ interrupted Ron.
‘Well, yes, but—’
‘Whatever we want.’
‘Ron, what are you trying to say?’
put his hand around the back of Hermione’s neck and pulled her to him,
kissing her mouth. With his other hand, he pushed her back so that she
laid down on top of him, her knee between his legs. She slipped her
tongue into his mouth and ran it across his. Ron couldn’t help himself
and groaned in response.
Sounds of wet kisses filled the
room. Hermione moved her legs so that she straddled his middle; not
quite low enough for him to grind against her, but Ron didn’t mind. It
took almost all of Ron’s courage to raise his hand to Hermione’s chest
and graze it across her—
‘Ron, I need to – ohh , shit.’
ripped her mouth away from Ron’s and dove off him. Her hands quickly
smoothed her hair and her shirt as she sat on the edge of the bed,
breathing in and out very hard and fast.
Ron sat up quickly, catching the back of Harry’s unruly head of hair as it whirled around and bolted into the hallway.
‘You all right?’ Ron asked Hermione. She turned her head to him and nodded, her cheeks blushing a fierce red.
‘Just a little embarrassed,’ she answered, her blush deepening.
‘Harry,’ called Ron, ‘what the bloody hell d’you want?’
peeked his head around through Ron’s doorway. ‘Sorry,’ he said, looking
rather embarrassed himself. His shirt was tucked in again, Ron noted.
It was strange to see Harry’s smooth forehead. Normally the lightening
bolt-shaped scar cut into his upper brow. If Harry were to walk down
the street without the scar, how many people would actually recognise
him now? Probably enough for Harry to want to dip underneath the radar.
‘It’s fine,’ said Hermione, her cheeks now only slightly pink.
‘Your mum and Lupin came back from St Mungo’s.’
‘I need to talk to you lot – and them – about … something.’
Ron raised his eyebrows. ‘Something?’
‘Yeah. So, can you come downstairs?’
‘We’ll be there in a moment, Harry,’ said Hermione.
Harry nodded and left, shutting the door behind him.
Hermione smoothed Ron’s hair for him. Her hand moved down to his cheek and she ran her thumb back and forth across it.
‘Let’s find out what Harry wants. I bet your mum’s making dinner as well. Come on.’
the kitchen, Ron motioned for Hermione to sit down in his chair. Mrs
Weasley was at the sink, rinsing off a bunch of carrots that looked as
though they were just pulled from the earth. Lupin sat in George’s
chair while Ginny sat in her usual, small one. Harry wrung his hands
together before clearing his throat, causing Mrs Weasley to turn
‘You lot all know that I’m “dead.” And I think it’s time I gather my stuff and move out—’
‘Oh, Harry, no!’ cried Mrs Weasley, dropping the carrots in the sink. ‘You can stay here as long as you like.’
know,’ said Harry, ‘and I haven’t even started looking for a place, but
in theory I can start as soon as I have a Secret Keeper.’
‘What? Why?’ asked Ron, crossing his arms over his chest.
if someone keeps the secret that I’m dead, and only the people in this
room know, then you lot are the only ones who can see me, right? Even
if I’m out in public, in daylight. Unless the Secret Keeper tells
someone, no one can see me. As long as one of you come with me while I
look at houses or flats …’ Harry shrugged. ‘Right?’
eyes moved over to Lupin; everyone else seemed to be focusing on him as
well. He rubbed his chin with his hand and nodded.
‘That seems to be the theory, yes,’ answered Lupin.
‘Brilliant! I don’t really know how to do the charm, though.’
‘Remus and I both do,’ said Molly.
‘Good. Then, Mrs Weasley? Will you be my Secret Keeper?’
couldn’t help but roll his eyes as his mother beamed at Harry. The
depressed look in her eyes was momentarily replaced with happiness and
pride. Part of him was a bit surprised that Harry hadn’t asked him or
Hermione to be his Secret Keeper, but it made sense for him to ask Mrs
Weasley. And after seeing the look on his mother’s face, Ron couldn’t
hardly fault Harry for his decision.
‘We’ll do it after dinner, then,’ said Harry.
Harry!’ Mrs Weasley dabbed at her eyes with the dishcloth that usually
hung out of her apron pocket. ‘Now just because you get Ron or Hermione
to go visit flats with you doesn’t mean you have to move out next week.
It’s been so nice having you and Hermione stay here. Almost like having
a full house again.’
The happy look was gone and Ron watched his mother’s face grow pale.
‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say—’
Mum,’ interrupted Ginny, ‘don’t be sorry. I think we’re all glad to
have a full house. Besides, George said he’s moving back in when he
gets out of St Mungo’s, yeah? And I’m not going anywhere. Well, not
until September first, that is. Hogwarts is opening up, isn’t it?’
Hermione nodded. ‘It is.’
‘My last baby’s going to her final year at Hogwarts!’
Mum, please don’t cry. I’m not a baby anymore anyway.’ Ginny tossed her
hair behind her shoulder, exposing both her shoulders. It was a move
Lavender used to do, tossing her hair, showing off her slender neck. If
Ginny wasn’t dating his very best mate, Ron might have told her to stop
acting like such a slag.
Mrs Weasley sniffled as she went
back to washing off the carrots. After each carrot got clean, she sat
it on the cutting board where a charmed knife chopped it up into small
pieces. She kept sniffling every few moments and had to excuse herself
twice to the other room where everyone heard her blowing her nose and
clearing her throat. Then she would come back into the kitchen, wash
her hands in the sink, and go back to making dinner.
Next to Hermione was the chair Charlie used to sit in. Ron moved it over so that there was a space next to Hermione.
‘Ron, what’re you doing?’ asked Ginny.
didn’t answer. He took his wand out of his pocket and pointed it at the
stack of extra chairs against the wall. He Summoned one of the chairs
to him and put it next to Hermione where he sat down. His eyes looked
over at Ginny. Her eyes were flickering back and forth between all the
empty chairs. Ron could practically see the wheels turning in her head
as she figured out that he didn’t want to sit in his dead brother’s
chair, as the rest of their departed family’s chairs were left
Hermione reached her hand over and patted Ron’s
thigh. Ron took her hand and held it, giving it a small squeeze.
Touching Hermione, her skin next to his, gave him a sense of comfort
and reassurance. If he had his way, he’d never stop touching her.
was a quiet affair. No one really spoke except to pass the butter or
the pepper. Harry and Ginny went outside to play Quidditch, but Ron
suspected that ‘playing Quidditch’ really meant ‘ snogging until
Hermione went home shortly after Ron had his
second helping of pudding. She told him if he needed her, for whatever
reason, to send Pig to her house and she’d Apparate over. Ron knew she
was trying to be kind, in case his emotions got the better of him since
he never really dealt with the deaths of his father and brothers, but
he didn’t want to wake her up in the middle of the night.
in his orange room much later that night, Ron lay on his bed in a t
-shirt and pyjama bottoms, using all his brain power to think about
anything other than the funerals. The emotions were quite overwhelming,
threatening to suffocate him as they had while he sat at the funeral
early in the day, listening to the Minister speak.
weeks ago, one brave boy set out to fulfil a prophecy and killed He Who
Shall Not Be Named. Sitting in these two front rows are the brave
witches and wizards who fought along side that boy. Behind me, are the
brave ones who were killed during battle. Their deaths haven’t been in
Three weeks ago, Ron had had a purpose: to help end
the war, to help Harry lead the way to freedom. Now he had to keep the
life of his best friend a secret. Now he had to look at the empty
chairs of his father and brother at the kitchen table. Now he didn’t
have a job, he had no purpose. What was he supposed to do? Quidditch
was still a slight possibility, but Ron wanted to do something
worthwhile. He wanted to be an Auror, but in order to that he needed to
take the NEWTs, which were only given once a year.
now, Ron was in a limbo. It was eating at his brain, trying to figure
out what to do. Hermione would know; Hermione knew everything. Ron
reached over to his bedside table and grabbed an old quill from it. He
sat up and crawled to the end of the bed and leaned over, opening up
his old school trunk and shuffling things around inside to find a blank
piece of parchment. It took a couple minutes, but he found one, rather
wrinkled from being crumpled up under a pile of books.
scribbled a partially legible note to Hermione and woke up Pig to send
it. Part of him was annoyed with himself because he hadn’t wanted to
wake her up, but the other part of him knew that if he wanted to get
any sleep tonight he’d have to have peace of mind.
It took about an hour, but Hermione Apparated into Ron’s room with a crack.
wrong?’ she yawned out, rubbing her eyes with one hand while the other
hand clutched her wand. She hadn’t bothered with a dressing gown and
wore a large blue tank-top with a pair of matching pyjama bottoms that
went down to her mid-calves. Her feet were shoved into some fluffy
‘I couldn’t sleep.’
‘I keep thinking about what I’m going to do with my life.’
Hermione blinked and narrowed her eyes. ‘I thought you were having a problem or something.’
‘It is a problem.’
‘I meant an important problem, Ron.’
‘This is an important problem. What’s the point of our lives now?’
gave Ron her best confused face. Her eyebrows knitted together and her
lip curled to the side as her head tilted to the left. Ron smiled; he
loved her expression which he fondly thought of as Hermione’s ‘HUH?’
‘The point of our lives? To live! That’s the point.’
‘Look, you’re clever so you’ll probably do something really brilliant and important—’
this doubting yourself thing is getting rather old. Stop it. You’re a
very clever, good-looking bloke. Stop acting as though you’re not.’
‘Sorry,’ mumbled Ron.
‘And if you’re going to get me up this late at night – or early in the morning – then have a better reason for it.’
‘All right,’ said Ron. ‘How about this reason? I want you here because I can’t sleep.’
‘Why can’t you sleep?’ asked Hermione slowly
I’m afraid if I sleep I’ll dream of them. They’re, y’know , dead, but
it feels rather like they’re on some sort of extended holiday. I’d
rather ignore the annoying fact that they’re dead, but I can’t . And
you can’t really control your dreams, right?’
Hermione shook her head. ‘No, you can’t . Why do you want me here?’
‘I’m hoping I can dream of you instead.’
cheeks turned slightly pink and she nodded. ‘All right, I’ll stay. I’m
setting your alarm clock though so I can wake up in plenty of time to
get home before my parents realise I’m missing and haven’t left them a
note. I don’t wish to worry them.’
Ron grinned. ‘Lock the door,’ he said.
pointed her wand at the door. ‘Colloportus!’ She turned to his bedside
table and tapped his alarm clock, setting it to wake her up in a few
Watching Hermione get into his bed made Ron want to
do things to her that he’d never done to anyone else before. Of course
his list of ‘anyone else’ only had one name on it. Ron pushed those
randy thoughts out of his head and slid into bed next to Hermione,
moulding his body next to hers until every part of him that could touch
her was touching her.
‘Go to sleep, Ron,’ Hermione said. ‘You’re going to be really’ – yawn – ‘tired in the morning.’
smiled and breathed in the scent of her recently washed hair. He fell
asleep and dreamt of her, not wanting to wake up the next morning and
face the harsh reality of the four empty chairs in his kitchen.