Chapter 1 : Everybody's Fool
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"Why does she think she's so bloody high and mighty!?" Ron raged, pacing the empty common room. He had been doing this for almost twenty minutes now. Repeating his disbelief over and over again. Harry was sitting forlornly on the couch. His best mate was going down a path he didn't want to follow.
Perfect by nature.
"We would be perfect together. Why the bloody hell can't she see that?!" He roared.
Icon of self indulgence.
"Oh Ron." He continued to mimick in a high, girly voice. "Don't you see? We're just friends. Besides, I have so much work to do, it wouldn't be worth the pain." Ron grumbled to himself. "Like anyone actually looks up to a head girl and wants to follow her example."
Just what we all need.
"She's only fooling herself." He concluded looking to Harry for support.
More lies . . .
"Actually, Ron." Harry said clearing his throat.
. . . about a world that . . .
"A lot of people look up to her."
Ron looked at him in disbelief.
. . never was and never will be.
"She said that to me in front of the whole house!" Ron cried, throwing his arms out to the sides to emphasize.
Have you no shame?
"Then she ignored me for a week!" He crossed his arms across his chest. She was the guilty party here. Not him.
Don't you see me?
"You're all bloody fools." He said. "You, of all people, should be able to see through her Harry."
Somehow you've got everybody fooled.
Harry was beginning to feel uncomfortable with the situation Ron had put him in. He really couldn't see why Ron was being so condemning and so rash. Hermione had been like their little sister for years. Even if she did sometimes act like a mother to them more than a friend. Ron was being ridiculous. This was turning into an obsession. "Let's go to bed." He suggested. But, at that moment, the portrait swung open and none other than Hermione, clutching a book to her chest, walked in.
Look here she comes now.
Ron muttered something as she entered. Her head was angled towards the ground and her face was veiled by a curtain of hair. She was bent over, as if she was tired and couldn't find the strength to stand straight, to hold her head high. Like some great weight was on her shoulders.
Bow down and stare in wonder.
"Harry quick!" Ron said loud enough for her to hear. "You got a quill? Maybe we can get her autograph!?" He said in mock enthusiasm.
At the painful jeer she glanced up. Harry really didn't want to get involved, but almost broke his vow to himself when he saw her tear stained face. She must have been crying consistently for awhile for her eyes to get that red.
Oh, how we love her .
"Oh look Harry. She acknowledged our presence. We must be special." Ron was leaning against the wall, his arms still crossed, delighting in torturing her.
No flaws when you're pretending.
Silent tears renewed themselves as she stared at Ron in horror.
But now I know she . . .
Before Ron could say anything she tore up the stairs to the girl's dormitory. Harry stood from his chair and reached out, as if to stop her, but she was already gone. With a sigh he slowly sat back down and looked over at his friend. He looked as if he was very deep in thought.
I guess it's true then. If she really loved me, she wouldn't have run away. Look at him. He thought as he turned to Harry. He's lucky. Everyone loves him. I'm just Harry Potter's redheaded friend. The one with the shabby robes and tattered school supplies. Second hand in everything. Even life. Even friends. He looked up towards the stairs Hermione had disappeared up. Even to her. Second. There is only one thing left, I guess.
"What?" Harry asked him.
Ron looked up, a guilty expression on his face. "Nothing." He said.
. . . never was and never will be.
Her best friend, Ginny, met her at the door. " Hermione? Mione what happened?" She asked concerned. She had a towel wrapped around her head as if she had just left the bathroom. She knelt down on the ground so that she was level with Hermione's face. She had noticed that Hermione was depressed lately, but she had thought nothing of it. After all, Hermione always gave her brilliant excuses. Hermione was a happy witch. She was excellent in everything. Ginny envied her that.
The brunette crumpled to the floor and Ginny noticed a slip of paper clenched in her hand.
You don't know how you betrayed me.
"Shh . . Hermione What's wrong? What's that paper?" Ginny asked gently.
"This? Oh . . it's nothing." She said as she shoved it into her book. "and nothing is wrong. I'm just . . I went to see Professor Flitwick . .. and . . . he said I got . . . an E on my last exam . . . yeah . ."
And somehow you've got everybody fooled.
Ginny frowned. I got a D She thought to herself. And she's upset over an 'exceptional' ? "Well, maybe you can rewrite it for him or something." She suggested half-heartedly, looking over her shoulder at a group of girls that, thankfully, were calling and waving to her as they entered the dorm.
"Look Mione, I gotta go. I'll catch yah later?"
"Yeah . . I'll be fine .. better go start rewriting that essay."
"Night Mione." She said, then went off to meet her friends, a smile on her face, her laughter ringing back to where Hermione knelt feeling very alone.
I miss it. I miss everything. The days when we had all been like that. She hit the floor with her fist. Why did Ron have to go and ruin everything? She crumpled into the floor and thought back.
"Hermione?" Her best friend's voice interrupted her academic bubble. She glanced up and smiled at the red head.
"Hey Ron." She grinned at him, but he didn't smile back. "You alright?" She said while gesturing to the chair across from her. He and Harry rarely bothered her when she was in the library. Probably scared of the books . . .
"Mione . . I need to know . . . how you feel about me." Ron said, his gazed locked on her.
"Oh, well I Love you of course." She replied with a smile as she dug through the pile of books before her. His heart soared.
Only to come crashing down. "After all, we are best friends." She concluded with a small 'Ah!' as she pulled out the book she had been searching for.
"Do you think . . ." He said taking her hands. "We could be more than friends?"
"More than friends?" She squeaked in surprise. She hadn't known he felt like that. She was suddenly very happy. Like she could float away like a feather on the breeze. Then suddenly she remembered Dumbledore's words to Harry about Ginny. Physical ties could hurt. The dark side could use them against them. What is one day, during the battle, she was taken captive, or killed, or something and they used it against Ron and he got hurt? It would be all her fault. She couldn't let that happen. She would not let anything happen to him.
"Yeah." He said moving closer. "Like boyfriend and girlfriend."
"Are you asking me out?" She whispered.
"Yes." He whispered back.
She pulled her hands from his abruptly. "I . . I don't think we could Ron . . I have a lot of work to do . . and we're so close as it is . . ."
Without the mask where will you hide?
"So that's it huh?" He said standing. "Just like that? You have no feelings for me other than platonic?"
"No." Her voice cracked from where she was sitting with her head down, unable to meet his eyes.
He shook his head. "All these years . . " he muttered to himself. He laughed wryly and then turned his back and walked out, hands clenched in fists. She stood, her hand outraised and her mouth half forming the word 'wait'. But she couldn't do it. He slammed the library door behind him and the librarian squeaked in indignation as she sank back down in her chair.
Can't find yourself lost in your lie.
Ron was making his way down to the Forbidden Forest. His steps were quick and he could see his breath in little puffs before him.
I know the truth now.
He wrapped his cloak tighter around him. Was it the air that was so cold?
I know who you are.
His footsteps hastened as he reached the edge of the woods. He told himself over and over again. . . this was for the best. There was nothing left back there for him. Nothing at all. No friends. No life. No love.
And I don't love you anymore.
Anger welled up inside of him as he followed the path. Why couldn't they be together?
It never was and never will be.
He had thought that all those years meant something to her. He used to be able to feel it. She'd walk by and warmth would bubble up in him and he couldn't help but smile. Their hands would touch and they'd both withdraw quickly as if they had been shocked, then smile slightly at the other.
You don't know how you've betrayed me.
And yet perfect Miss princess of Gryffindor hadn't been phased in the slightest by his confession.
Didn't he deserve better?
And somehow you've got everybody fooled.
He finally reached the clearing he had been told about. He stopped abruptly. It wasn't too late. He could still turn back. There was still a choice. He didn't have to do this. There was no reason why he had to go through with it. Maybe there was still some hope.
It never was and never will be
No. He clenched his fists, his nails biting into his palms. There was nothing. He was nothing but secondhand. Second in everything. He couldn't live in Harry's shadow anymore. He couldn't pretend that every time he looked at Hermione it didn't hurt. He couldn't go on pretending anymore.
Summoning all the strength and courage he could, he called to the one person who could redeem him now.
You're not real and you can't save me.
There was a bright flash and he shielded his eyes with the back of his hand, falling to his knees. A dark figure's laughter filled the clearing. It was like sandpaper on the eardrums. He cringed. It was too late now. There was no going back. Besides, he wanted this now, more than anything. What else was there for him?
Ron bowed his head. " I am at your service, master." He vowed to the Dark Lord.
Somehow You've Got Everybody Fooled
Years later, when a second year opened a textbook they had taken out from the library, they were surprised when a crumpled and yellowing piece of paper fell into their laps.
I am so sorry. I was weak. I wasn't strong enough to fight to make our love work. I could easily make it first, the most important thing to me. As you are. You are my first. The first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning, and the first guy I have ever fallen head over heels for. You've always been first in my heart. But, you are also my last. You are the last thing I think about before I fall asleep at night and you are the last person I will ever love like this. Because you are the only person I could love like this. We could save each other.