A/N: I apologize for the long wait! Thanks to all who reviewed, keep it up! Hope you like this chapter…
The next morning, Harry awoke with a feeling of unease. He had no idea how both Ron and Hermione would react today. He wasn’t expecting the usual blow up argument with screaming and shouting. Harry figured they would be rather subdued. For Ron to be the one to end whatever he and Hermione had seemed odd.
Harry could always sense that Hermione was a bit frustrated with Ron. He could also tell that Ron really, really like Hermione. Or so he thought. But would Ron really pass that quickly from Hermione to Luna?
Breakfast was served as usual, except the right half of the table was trapped in tension. Harry sat down next to Ron, Hermione following after and taking a seat across the table next to Ginny.
Harry could see clearly that Hermione had been crying. Ron seemed paler, almost in a daze. He just sat quietly waiting for the food.
“Here we go!” Mrs. Weasley leaned over and laid out a couple platters with sausages and eggs, and sat down next to Mr. Weasley.
Ginny seemed to be like a hawk; she was eagerly watching Ron, Hermione and Harry to see if she could catch anything unusual; she could sense people talking with their eyes, sending mixed messages this way and that. Hermione didn’t even attempt to meet Ron’s gaze; instead she took interest in what Mr. Weasley was saying about the Ministry.
Harry tried to engage Ron and Ginny in light conversation to no avail. He finally struck gold by bringing up Quidditch. The chatted for a few minutes before Mrs. Weasley piped in.
“Ron, dear, why don’t you three open your letters after breakfast, yes?”
“Okay, mum.” Ron muttered, staring solemnly at his plate.
“Molly, don’t get upset if things don’t work out the way you want them to.” Mr. Weasley reasoned.
“I still can’t believe I’m Head Girl!” Ginny exclaimed, clearly very pleased with her achievement.
The meal continued on as such, eventually ending in Ginny getting up and retrieving the letters for the trio.
“Come on, open them!” she urged.
Harry gazed at his name on the front. He had no idea what to expect. He weighed it in his hands. It felt surprisingly heavy. Ron had started to open his, as had Hermione. Harry slowly peeled his open. He quickly scanned through his letter, when suddenly, he heard Ron bellow.
“I’M HEAD BOY!”
“Oh congratulations Ron!” Mrs. Weasley ran up to her son and gave him a famous Weasley hug. “I’m so, so proud!” Mr. Weasley beamed happily at his son.
“Head Girl and Head Boy are Weasleys!”
Harry glanced at Hermione and saw that she looked hurt. Really hurt.
“Great job, mate!” Harry said with a smile, clapping his friend on the back. “What about you, Hermione?”
Hermione smiled sadly at him. “Nothing. I’m just plain old Hermione, 7th year Gryffindor. Exactly what I wanted.” Harry could see she was fighting back tears. He knew she had desperately wanted to be Head Girl.
Harry saw a badge in the bottom of his envelope. “I’m Quidditch Captain!” Harry said with a grin as he pulled the badge out. “And there’s something else…”
“What is it?” Ron asked curiously.
Harry reached in pulled out a key with a note attached. He read it carefully before looking up, astonished. He shook his head from his reverie and said;
“I’m not sure. McGonagall says she’ll tell me when I get to Hogwarts.” But truthfully, Harry wasn’t telling the truth. He just didn’t want to speak to truth. At least not yet.
Mr. Weasley looked quizzically at him. Harry knew that Mr. Weasley already knew about this. Harry just shook his head. This was big. So big, he couldn’t bring himself to say anything yet.
Harry promptly left the kitchen and stepped out into the backyard, leaving Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Ginny and Ron in a wave of confusion. Harry had seen Hermione quietly come out here while he was opening his envelope.
“Hermione?” he called out the silence, his voice lingering in the humid summer air.
He found her a few moments later around the side of the house. She was sitting on the bench against the wall, her hands folded neatly in her lap, her gaze staring subtly downwards.
“Hermione?” he asked again, more softly this time as he approached her. “Are you okay?”
She nodded quickly, but there was no mistaking the few lone tears splattering her lap. Harry sat gently next to her, his brain whirring. He had no idea what to do next. He wasn’t good around crying girls. But then he remembered something. This wasn’t a random crying girl. This was Hermione.
“I always wanted to be something I wasn’t.” Harry admitted truthfully. He found himself speaking to the fence in front of him, but really, he knew Hermione was hanging on his every word. He found the silence overwhelming.
“I wanted to be normal; I didn’t want all the fame. I wanted to have a family; people who would love me for who I was, who would always be there. I wanted to be living in light, not shadowed by fear, not being stalked by the unknown. But it didn’t happen.” Harry sighed. “When I thought I was being swallowed by it, like nothing I ever wanted was going to happen, my life changed. Not exactly in the way I expected it, but in a way that showed me I could overcome everything.”
Hermione shuffled her feet and lifted a hand to wipe at her red eyes.
“I know this isn’t just about Head Girl, ‘Mione. It’s about more complex things. Or less complex red-headed things. However you want to put it.”
Hermione gave a small laugh, and Harry smiled a little. He was getting somewhere with this.
“Ron has always been envious of me. He makes it painfully obvious. But one thing I know for sure is that I have always been envious of him. He had a family. He didn’t have the weight the Wizarding World on his shoulders. He had everything that seems important to me.”
At this point, Harry managed to catch Hermione’s gaze. Her brown eyes bore into his, trying to unearth the reason for this.
“But now, I realize that although Ron has everything I never had, there I many things I have that Ron doesn’t have. First of all, I think I can control my temper better than he can.”
“Definitely.” Hermione muttered in agreement.
“And also, I have the ability to accept things. Most of the time.” Harry chuckled at his own comment. “Anyway, the main thing I’m trying to say is, you need to trust yourself that you’ll make the right choice when it comes to Ron. And just so you know, you don’t deserve to be Head Girl. You deserve to be much more than that.” Harry turned towards Hermione. He didn’t believe that he had actually just spent the last two minutes giving Hermione Granger advice. And she didn’t even ask for it. For some reason, Harry could tell that she wanted it, even without her asking for it.
She was smiling. “Ron would never have followed me out here.” She wiped away a stray tear that escaped. “Why, Harry?”
Harry desperately wanted to tell her the real reason why, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it.
“I can’t stand to see you upset, you know that.” Harry stood up.
“Are you okay?” Harry asked Hermione. Hermione smiled.
“No, I think I should be asking you if you are okay.” She was looking at him oddly, sort of like he was a new discovery and she was trying to figure out more about it.
Her smile disappeared. “You know, I’m still going to make sure that Ron comes too when we go beyond the veil. He promised and I want to make sure he sticks to it.”
Harry nodded and turned to head back to the Burrow.
“What did your letter say, Harry?” Hermione asked.
Harry took a few steps back towards Hermione. He figured he should tell her the truth. He didn’t see a point in hiding the truth from her.
“Well, I’m Quidditch Captain.” Harry admitted with a small smile. Hermione cast a broad grin, knowing Harry would be very pleased about that.
“And let’s just say that you’re not going to fail Defence Against the Dark Arts this year.”
“Oh don’t say that! How can you be sure?” Hermione spoke frantically.
“Because I’m your teacher.” Harry said plainly. He felt a smile trying to escape his lips.
“W-what?” Hermione stammered. Before Harry knew it, Hermione had flung her arms around his neck in an enthusiastic hug. “Oh my goodness! I’m so happy for you! This is so exciting! It’s – it’s…”
“Calm down Hermione! The Weasleys are going to think that something bad has happened!”
“Sorry! It’s just unbelievable!”
“When have we not had an unbelievable year at Hogwarts?” Harry left Hermione speechless at the thought that he was DADA teacher, and walked normally into the Burrow.
At dinner that evening, Mr. Weasley cast a hopeful glance at Harry. Harry shook his head. He didn’t want everyone to know that he was a teacher at Hogwarts this year. Harry already knew Ron would be jealous of him when he found out, and he didn’t want it to happen during the last week of summer.
“We’ll have to get going to Diagon Alley soon. What about this Saturday?” Mrs. Weasley offered, breaking the awkward silence that came whenever Ron and Hermione were in the same room together.
Everyone nodded and silently continued eating.
“What has gotten into all of you? You hardly even speak to each other anymore!” Mrs.Weasley exclaimed.
“It’s all Ron’s fault!” Ginny sneered playfully.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley looked at each other confusedly.
Harry threw a glare at Ginny for bringing this up. Hermione stood up.
“May I be excused?” she asked politely.
“Of course, dear.” Mrs. Weasley replied. She eyed Hermione’s half eaten food worriedly.
Harry leaned over to Ron and whispered in his ear. “Now’s the time to go sort things out.”
Ron looked at Harry nervously, and Harry nodded in reassurance. Ron slowly stood up and walked into the living room.
After a few minutes, Mrs. Weasley started clearing up the table, and Mr. Weasley went off to the Ministry to sort through some cases that had popped up in his department.
Harry and Ginny sat quietly at the table, listening intently. All that was heard was the soft humming of Mrs. Weasley and the water in the sink running as she set the dishes to be washed.
As if on queue, Harry and Ginny stood up and walked into the yard. Harry went over and sat on the bench, Ginny following suit.
“What did you and Hermione talk about earlier today when you came out here?” she asked.
“Nothing much, just tried to calm her down. She’s been pretty uptight with everything these last few days.” Harry said quietly.
An uncomfortable silence filled the air. Harry found the humidity suffocating. A thin breeze ruffled the leaves on the willow tree behind them.
The quiet was suddenly filled with voices. Ron and Hermione were clearly having a go at each other, shouting back and forth.
“I was waiting to see how long it would take for this to happen.” Harry stated. He and Ginny both listened intently.
“WHY WOULD YOU? YOU KNEW WE WERE IN NEED AND THERE YOU GO, RUNNING OFF WITH LUNA BLOODY LOVEGOOD!” Hermione shrieked shrilly.
“I COULDN’T HANDLE IT ANYMORE! YOU AND I BOTH KNEW THAT HARRY HAD NO IDEA WHAT HE WAS DOING!” Ron bellowed. Harry was deeply offended. To have your best friend talk about you like that?
“DON’T TELL ME TO SHUT UP HERMIONE!” Harry guessed Hermione must have been fairly upset at Ron’s previous comment.
“I’LL DO WHATEVER I PLEASE! BUT THAT’S NOT EVEN THE POINT. TO HAVE SOMEONE WE THOUGHT WE COULD TRUST RUN OFF IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MISSION TO HAVE TEA! I CAN’T STAND YOU!” Hermione spat the last phrase off her tongue, word by word. Ron lowered his voice a little and Harry and Ginny had to move closer to the house to here what they were saying.
“Get out.” Harry glanced through the living room window. “GET OUT!” Ron shouted at the top of his lungs. Harry saw his face. Ron was fuming, his face near purple, and his ears beet red. Then, Harry saw Hermione. She was backing against one of the closest walls, tears streaming down her face. Her face was panicky, she was frightened.
Harry was mad now. Ron had no right to do this.
“We have to do something!” he whispered furiously to Ginny.
“No!” she grabbed his arm, preventing him from leaving. “This is between Ron and Hermione. Stay out of it!”
Then Harry heard something he had never wanted to hear, especially between his best friends.
“I HATE YOU! YOU-YOU MUDBLOOD!” Harry thought Ron’s head was going to blow off. Harry jumped to his feet, but Ginny threatened him with her wand. Harry backed down.
“What did you just call me?” Hermione asked calmly. Harry could see she was taking deep steadying breaths to keep her voice at this level.
“MUDBLOOD! Always taking his side! HE TAKES EVERYTHING AWAY FROM ME!"
“Well, if I deserve to be called a mudblood, you don’t want to know what you deserve to be called. I have every right to call you disloyal, because that is what you are! You know what? I’d rather not associate myself with this weasel any more!” Hermione threw her hands in the air and stormed out of the room. Harry faintly heard her call out.
“Thank you for everything, Mrs. Weasley! It was lovely!”
In mere seconds, the door of the Burrow burst open and Hermione stalked out. She stopped and gaped at what she saw. Harry turned around and saw that Ginny was surprised too.
“Harry! You’re-you’re glowing!” Ginny exclaimed.
The air around Harry was flickering green, the shade of his emerald eyes. He narrowed his eyes before he vanished.
“Where’d he go?” Ginny asked, astonished.
A pop filled the air after a few seconds, confirming Hermione’s suspicions that he Apparated. Hermione and Ginny peered into the living room to see Harry glaring at Ron. Harry had pinned Ron against the wall. Harry’s glow was growing bolder and was enveloping Ron in a greenish haze.
“DON’T. YOU. EVER.” He lowered his voice. “Call her a mudblood again.” Harry turned on the spot, and the air echoed the pop. He was gone.
Harry was walking somewhere. He didn’t know where. But he had to get away from them. All of them. He himself was scared. Ever since Voldemort had been defeated, Harry had slowly felt himself grow more powerful, but he didn’t know that his magic was this strong. He had never glowed before. He was positive he had put everyone in the Burrow at risk.
His anger fuelled the power, causing him to threaten Ron so violently. But truthfully, even if he was weak, he knew he would be just as mad. Hermione had saved their lives so many times it was ridiculous for Ron to show even a hint of disrespect. He was slowly calming down.
Harry stopped walking. He had no idea where he was. He felt that he should maybe go back. But part of him told him not to. Not yet, anyway.
The next morning, Harry awoke with a start. This wasn’t the Burrow. The previous night’s revelations slowly came back to him, and he associated himself with his new surroundings. Climbing out of the bed, Harry dressed and headed down the rickety staircase of the Leaky Cauldron.
“Thanks for everything, Tom.” Harry gave an appreciative nod as he handed the man some galleons and headed out the door.
“Anytime, Mr. Potter.”
It was still early out. Harry had wanted to get back to the Burrow before he started getting recognised by everyone. He had no idea how things would go when he got there. Mrs. Weasley had been planning to take everyone to Diagon Alley today, but now Harry didn’t know if that was such a good idea. He was worried that Ron would never speak to him again, worried that he had lost somebody else close to him. Yet, deep down, he was still fuming, still raging at Ron. Mad because Ron loved Hermione. Mad because Ron had a family. Mad because Ron threatened Hermione. Hermione. Harry wondered if she had managed okay last night.
Just as he was walking past Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, he heard violent tapping coming from one of the upstairs windows. Gazing upwards, he saw none other than Ginny Weasley, leaning out of a window and beckoning for him to come in.
Ginny. Things seemed to be going better with her. Harry would never truly forgive her, but he would still try to remain on good terms. Harry was happy to find the door to the shop unlocked, as it made everything easier.
Climbing up the staircase, Harry ran into George.
“Oy! Harry, mate, what are you doing here? At six in the morning no less!”
“Sorry George. Is Ginny up there?” Without waiting for an answer Harry finished the stairs and opened the door that he suspected led to the room where Ginny was situated.
“Harry!” Ginny exclaimed when he entered. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, just a bit worried. How was everything after I left?”
Ginny turned towards an armchair in the corner of the room. Harry followed her gaze and was surprised to see Hermione sitting there, engrossed in a book.
“Hermione!” Harry exclaimed. “Are you okay?”
“You worry too much.” Hermione said with a small smile as she marked her page with a bookmark.
Harry sniffed. “I have every right to worry.” Ginny giggled. “I do! I could have seriously hurt everyone at the Burrow last night!” He looked frantic. “I didn’t right?”
Harry glanced between Ginny and Hermione. “Oh no!” Harry buried his face in his hands and slumped into a chair.
“Harry-” Hermione started.
“What have I done?!” Harry cried.
“Ron-well let’s say that he’s seen better days. Hermione discovered that your over-whelming magical power may have impaired his vision slightly.” Ginny winced. Harry groaned. Hermione noticed Harry’s unease.
“He’s okay. St. Mungo’s is tending to him.” Hermione paused. “On a brighter note, I also found out that with your magical strength, it will make it much, much easier for us to see with out eyes closed!”
Putting all worries of the previous day’s activities aside, Harry, Hermione and Ginny spent the morning learning how to strengthen their vision. Harry would think of something that made him furious, and then Hermione would use a spell to capture the glow in vials. Ginny sat there, amazed at how clever Hermione was to think of something like this.
A few hours later, when Harry could not force himself to show anger any longer, Harry pulled Ginny aside.
“I have no idea if Ron’s going to come beyond the veil with us, but if you’re coming, I want to make sure we can still be friends.”
Ginny nodded. “Sure thing, Harry.”
Harry’s thoughts suddenly went to Ron. Was he okay? Did Mr. and Mrs. Weasley hate him? They probably did. And he’d have to live with that, because deep down, he knew he had done the right thing. But would Ron ever speak to him again? Even worse, would Ron ever see again?
Harry needed Ron’s supportive friendship through hard times. It was just that he didn’t know if he could tolerate him through stressful moments. Hermione was preparing the solution that would allow them to see with their eyes closed. He heard a cauldron bubbling in the corner of the room. And from it, a greenish mist, glinting in the early afternoon sunlight filtering in through the windows. Ginny was watching Hermione intently.
Harry sat on the window seat and looked down to the Alley below. He was beginning to hear customers entering the shop below. He knew one thing now. They had their master plan, yet a piece was missing. Ron.
A/N: Hope you all like it! I apologize if you’re angry with me on how I portrayed Ron. I’m not trying to bash him, just trying to show how stubborn he can be sometimes. :P Thanks for reading and please please please review and tell me what you think!