Chapter 10 : Life has to go on
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A week passed by. Stuart was in Azkaban. He was not as handsome as his brother, and not as handsome as Peter once was, in reality. Dumbledore had had a little eulogy for Peter, like the one with Cedric in fourth year.
Hermione didn’t talk at all, she just spoke when she was forced to in class. She didn’t show off her knowledge. She just sat quietly in her seat. A smile hadn’t showed up since before the death of Peter Hanson.
As Hermione didn’t speak, Ron was forced to explain it all to Professor Dumbledore. But when Harry and Ginny and everyone else began to question him, he just told them he wasn’t ready. He had looked into Harry’s eyes, and Ron knew he understood; that’s just how Harry had felt after Cedric’s death and the return of Voldemort.
But Ron didn’t talk, either, now when he didn’t need to. He watched the world with lifeless and dull eyes; it seemed the world was coloured grey wherever he went. And Hermione was even more down.
When a week had passed, though, Ginny made her way through the common room to Ron who was doing homework in quiet.
“This can’t go on,” she told him sternly, but friendly at the same time.
“What?” Ron said dully.
“You have to start living again,” Ginny said quietly. “We’ve experienced our moments of grief and sadness now, haven’t we?”
“Ron… if you were the one who had died, would you have liked to see the people remaining live like this?”
“I wouldn’t know if I were dead, would I?” Ron said, giving a little yawn.
“That’s not the point! And besides, why do you care about him that much? You hated him, didn’t you?” Ginny asked. Even in her own ears that sounded harsh.
“I didn’t want him dead,” Ron whispered. “And I never got to know the real Peter. I’m sure Peter wouldn’t act like that. I asked some Ravenclaws. He changed this year. Peter had never been that charming. Even though he had his own fan club, he had always been modest. This year he became more confident in everything he did. I don’t believe he would’ve tried to hit on Hermione that way. Stuart probably took advantage in the charm he had seen his brother use or something. He could do everything he wanted if he was just handsome.”
“I don’t think I’ve heard you talk that much in ages.” Ginny smiled slightly.
“Not funny, Gin,” Ron snapped, but didn’t manage to be really angry.
Ginny sighed. “You need to live again. Of course it’s sad and everything but life has to go on. I’ve tried to convince Hermione, but it’s impossible. But I thought if you talked to her, perhaps… perhaps she’d feel better.”
“Why would she feel better if I talked to her?”
“Because I know you both love each other and that you really need each other. You two need to talk about it, let it all out.” With that, she left.
Ron stared after her in amazement. It had surprised him when she had used the word ‘love’ instead of ‘like’, but it was true. He loved Hermione, and hadn’t she told Stuart she loved Ron? Yes, she had. But it wasn’t about their feelings. They both knew the truth there. No, it was about guilt, embarrassment and sadness.
He decided to talk to Hermione. Maybe it would make him feel better. “Ginny!” he shouted. “Can you get Hermione down here?”
Ginny turned around slowly, then grinned at him.
Ron put away all the homework. He looked at it in disbelief. He did actually do homework instead of spending time with his friends.
“Hello, Ron,” a voice said in a quiet whisper. Ron looked up, and gazed into Hermione’s big, brown eyes.
“Hey.” He paused. “Want to get into my dormitory? It’s more privacy in there.”
Hermione stared at him.
Ron realised what he had said. “Sorry, that came out a little wrong. What I meant, was that it’s easier to talk in there.”
“Yes… it’s just – you reminded me of him when you said it.”
“Oh. Yeah… well, I didn’t mean to.” Ron rose up and made Hermione follow him up the stairs.
Luckily, no other boys were in the sixth year dormitory. Ron muttered, “Colloportus” when they were inside, pointing at the door with his wand.
Hermione sat down on his bed, and Ron followed. They sat in silence for a while, before Ron said, “Ginny said we should talk about it. You know, that.”
Hermione nodded curtly.
“I’m sorry,” Ron said. “I shouldn’t have been that – that jealous.”
She shook her head. “It’s my fault.”
“What?” Ron asked confused. “What’s your fault?”
“I killed him,” Hermione whispered.
“You didn’t kill anyone!” Ron said indignantly.
“I did; I killed Peter Hanson. I was the one who drove Stuart out of his body.”
“You had to! If you hadn’t, we wouldn’t have survived!”
“But still…” Hermione said miserably. “I made Peter die.”
“Yeah, but if you hadn’t droved Lockhart out of him, he’d still be dead. He wouldn’t be able to do anything. Stuart would control his every move.”
“You’re right, but I killed him…”
“You didn’t; you freed him.” Ron glanced at her. “You’re not a killer, Hermione.”
“Shut up, OK?” Ron said as he leaned in and kissed her.
When he broke the kiss, he saw Hermione’s shocked and wondering expression.
“Ginny’s right,” Ron told her determinedly. “Life has to go on. No matter how many deaths we encounter, we have to keep living. We have to keep living, for the ones who died. We have to live a normal life or as normal as possible. I – I love you, Hermione.”
Hermione frowned slightly, but then smiled. “I love you, too.”
They talked about Peter and Stuart for an hour, before they entered the topic of their relationship again, recollecting old fights and memories.
“I can’t believe how stupid we were,” Hermione said, shaking her head. “I’m so sorry for everything.”
“I’m sorry, too,” Ron grinned.
“We’ll never be like that again, will we?” Hermione asked him. “Be like those immature kids fighting over stupid things? We’ll never have those problems with the love again, will we?”
“Can’t promise we’ll never fight again,” Ron chuckled. “It’s too much fun.” When he saw the expression on Hermione’s face, he became more serious at once. “I promise we’ll never fight over something stupid again. But can we bicker once in a while?”
Hermione looked exasperatedly at him, before she laughed. “You’re impossible. But I suppose we can bicker sometimes. Why, though?”
“I know it annoys Harry.”
“Ron!” Hermione said, hitting him lightly on the head. “You’re mean!”
“I know I am; that’s why you love me.” Ron couldn’t help but grin.
Hermione sighed. “I don’t love you because you’re mean, OK?”
“OK. Why d’you love me, then?”
“Who said I loved you, anyway?” Hermione asked, rolling her eyes.
“I love you because you are you. Is that good enough, or do you want me to give you a more educated and advanced answer?”
Ron seemed to consider this for a moment. “It’s good enough. I don’t want a lecture.”
Ginny had discovered a spell that allowed you to make a little hole in the door, and now she and Harry took turns in looking into the boys’ dormitory. They had been standing there for twenty minutes.
“What are they doing now?” Harry whispered to Ginny who was the one who peeked through the hole.
“Talking,” Ginny answered for the fiftieth time, rolling her eyes.
“They’ve talked quite much now. D’you think they’re done talking about that?” Harry asked, thinking of Peter.
“I’m sure they’re done now.”
Harry stood there, watching Ginny’s fire-red hair flow down the back of her black sweater for twenty seconds before he asked again. “What are they doing now?”
“Talking. No, wait! They’re doing something else! Oh, I can’t believe it! Actually I can, but that it finally happened!”
“What? Let me see!”
“It’s not your turn yet!”
“Give me a hint, then! What’re they doing?”
“A hint? OK, Ron does unfortunately not use the Lobo Nisista spell which he definitely should use. Ew, that technique is gross!”
“They’re snogging?” Harry said in a shocked voice. He couldn’t quite believe it. Well, now I’ll never hear them bicker again. If it’s true.
“Yes!” Ginny replied.
“Let me see! Please, Ginny…”
“No. What? I can’t believe it…”
“Hermione seems to be accusing Ron of being ‘a mean idiot who sometimes doesn’t care about others’ feelings’. Extendable Ear,” Ginny added, holding up a string.
“But – d’you mean – they’re fighting?”
“Not fighting, exactly… but there’s certainly an argument going on in there!”
Harry sighed. “There’s not really a chance for a peaceful life between them, is there?”
Ginny considered this for a moment. “Nope. Not really.”
“Thought so.” Harry seemed disgruntled for some seconds. “But I s’pose I should be happy their relationship won’t be just kissing.”
“You definitely should,” Ginny grinned. “But you should also be happy that their relationship won’t be just bickering.”
“Trust me; I am.” Harry smiled, shaking his head.
A/N: Finally finished! I know this started out as quite a clichèd, stupid fic (with the handsome OC ending up in the same compartment as the Trio and everything), but hopefully it became a little better. This is the first fic I've finished which is not a one- or two-shot, so if you've read the whole story I would appreciate if you gave me your thoughts in a review. :)