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Ron waited, rather impatiently, for Hermione to arrive home. She was late...again. He was getting fed up with the amount of overtime she put into her work. To top it all off, he was sure that she was falling for that blond-haired git, Lockheart.
Of all the people she had to work with, why him? She had never stayed back for any of the others. If he had said that to her she would have answered that none of the other people she’d seen, had a memory block as strong and as stubborn as his was proving to be. But she didn’t because he hadn’t told her how he felt.
Hermione apparated into the hallway, looking slightly dishevelled. Hastily running her hands through her hair, in a vain attempt of making it look neater, she called out, “Ron? I’m home!”
He appeared at the kitchen door, holding his wand casually in his right hand. He noticed her appearance but didn’t comment. Instead he asked, waspishly, “Where have you been? You should have been home hours ago!”
She sighed. “At work, Ron. Where else would I have been?” She took off her cloak and hung it on the hat rack before adding in a weary voice, “I’ve almost broken through Gilderoy’s memory block. Another day should do it.”
Ron looked at her. He knew that she wasn’t being entirely truthful. Doubts filled his mind; visions of his Hermie and Lockheart were enough to make him feel more than a little ill. The thought had been poisoning his mind now for weeks. Without stopping to think or phrase it better he accused, “You like him, admit it. You prefer him to me.”
Hermione looked at him blankly, not believing what she had heard. “What?”
“You like him more than me. Just say so and I’ll go.” Ron’s face was white and he wished that he could kick himself for being so tactless. Tact had never been a strong suite with him, but he had improved over the last couple of years.
“Don’t be silly, Ron. I don’t like him,” she said evenly, shaking her head. The words came out in a rush, almost too quickly; sounding like it was a statement she had been rehearsing. Realising this she added, “its just work. Your wand caused the memory block to be much stronger than normal and I’ve had a hell of a time trying to crack it. Lockheart’s a pompous idiot.”
Ron still looked unconvinced and Hermione couldn’t blame him. Deep down she knew that was attracted to Gilderoy and her feelings were getting harder to ignore. Brushing passed him Hermione entered the kitchen.
Turning around, she asked in a light voice, “What’s for dinner? I’m starved.”
Ron knew that the conversation was over, for now. He didn’t want to cause a fight but he vowed that he would get to the bottom of the matter.