“R-right.” Colin said, regaining his composure. Hermione could feel her heart beating madly in her chest as she attempted to calm down. “The first episode of this season is not a date. No. It is a challenge. We will have one at the beginning and end of the show and see how much you learn about each other. Ron, Hermione, You will each swallow verutsium and I will ask you questions about each other. Ron will answer first, then Hermione. If the answer to the question about you is right, then you will raise your wand and make it emit green sparks. If it is incorrect, make them red.” Colin said into the camera, glancing back at the contestants every once in a while so that they knew he was talking to them. Colin Love did hate to have to repeat himself. He turned back to the two contestants, who were glaring at each other. “Ron, Hermione, please sit.”
Hermione and Ron took couches on exact opposites, much to Ron's displeasure. He wanted to grab Hermione, to kiss her, to feel her body pressed up against his and hear her voice whispering in his ear. Colin handed each a glass of verutsium, and they reluctantly drank them.
“Remember, audience, the potion won't make Ron or Hermione know things that they didn't know before. They will have the same answer they would have chosen without the potion, it's just to make sure they say the proper answer instead of making them up or trying to make the other fail on purpose. Righty then. Question number one: Ron, what is Hermione's favorite book?”
“Hogwarts, A History.” Ron said without even having to think about it.
Hermione did what she always did. She took time and logic to figure out the answer even though she knew it by heart. She couldn't have lied with the potion anyway. When she had her answer, she said it slowly, choosing her words carefully so she wouldn't say the wrong thing in front of millions of people.
“Well, Ron never really liked reading so I'm going to have to say Flying With The Cannons
, because it's the only book I've ever seen him read at will.”
“Results?” Colin asked. Hermione and Ron glanced at each other, confused. Hermione turned away angrily when she realized what she'd been doing. Ron whipped his head around, refusing to look at her, either. If she was going to act this way, so would he.
“Red or Green sparks.” Colin hissed exasperatedly in a totally different voice then his stage voice. Ron and Hermione's expressions cleared and both shot green sparks into the air.
“One point each.” Colin told the camera, going back to his cheery stage voice for the audience. “Next question. What are your favorite comfort foods?”
“Hermione likes triple chocolate ice cream.” Ron said without missing a beat.
“Ron likes alcohol, all kinds of it, everything from beer to firewhisky” Hermione said in a bitter, annoyed and slightly ironic tone. She shot a glare at her ex boyfriend, her first love, and the man she now hated.
“Results?” Colin asked again.
Hermione reluctantly shot a green spark into the air. Ron wanted to put red up, but the potion wouldn't let him. With a sigh, he realized that Hermione was right. He did go to alcohol when he needed comfort. Usually, though, it made him more lost then before, but at least he was happy for a few hours, until he woke up the next day with a pounding head-ache.
“Two points.” Colin told the audience. “The 3rd question is: does the other snore at night?”
“Like a chipmunk!” Hermione blurted to her embarrassment. Well, she was already here, she might as well continue. “He snores all night every night, loudly and obnoxiously, it's nearly impossible to sleep!”
“She doesn't snore.” Ron said reluctantly. If he hadn't had the potion for this question, he would have embarrassed Hermione so every man in the wizarding world would hear that she snored and Ron would be the only man on the planet who wanted to be with her. Well, that was the idea.
“You snore enough for both of us.” Hermione shot at Ron, her eyes burning holes in her head.
From the wings, Ginny nodded fervently at Hermione's words, then saw the glare on her best friend's and brother's faces.
“Harry, I think we'd better go. Hermione's going to kill us if we're here when she comes off stage.”
“Us!?” Harry said, panic rising in his voice as he watched the insult match progress. “Ginny, this was your idea in the first place! I shouldn't be murdered!”
“I know it was my idea, and it was a damn good one, even if Hermione doesn't realize yet. And besides, if I'm going down I'm taking you with me.”
“Fine, let's go. We can listen to it on the wireless when we get home.” Harry said reluctantly. There was a crack announcing their departure just as Colin said.
“NEXT QUESTION: does Hermione have a celebrity crush, Ron? How about Ron, Hermione?”
“Hermione loved Stephan Vet.” Ron said maliciously. “Her eyes mist over every time she sees him, and she used to kiss a poster of him goodnight.”
“Is this true, Hermione?” Colin asked gleefully, and Hermione nodded slowly.
“Ron had dreams of snogging the bar maid at The Three Broomsticks!” Hermione said just as maliciously. “Harry told me he would call her name in his sleep, and whenever we went to Hogsmead he always insisted on going there so he could attempt to flirt with her. Too bad she's old enough to be his grandmother.”
“HEY!” Ron yelled. “YOU CAN'T JUST SAY THAT ON TV!”
“WANT TO MAKE A BET, RONALD? YOU JUST DID IT TO ME!”
“NEXT QUESTION! Next question, uh, does Hermione have any scars, Ron? If so, where and how did she get them?”
So Ron told everyone on TV about Hermione's cookie cutter scar and how it was her favorite place to be kissed. He also named the places where she had scars from being tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange. Or at least, most of them.
“Ron has many scars from the battle at Hogwarts, but the biggest one is across his jaw. You can't really see it, though. It's the longest, but it's pretty faded because I put a spell on it when Ron couldn't stand it any longer.” Hermione said when it was her turn. The potion was making her blunt and right to the point.
Hermione remembered the day she had made the scar almost go away. It had been soon after the final battle, and one of her and Ron's first dates.
Hermione pulled the door to the burrow open. She felt happy, light, airy, and not the angry kind of light and airy she got when she was furious, the kind she felt when she was downright happy, and no one could shake it. She'd only experienced the feeling a few times in her life, the majority of them having to do with Ron (then again, the majority of the opposite had to do with Ron as well). Right now was one of those times. Ron was taking her on their first date, and she was more then ready. She had been waiting for this moment for years, and now, 2 months after the final battle, they were both ready for it. There had been time to grieve, two months strait of it, but now was the time to celebrate.
Lord Voldemort was dead, gone forever, and because of that, everyone in the wizarding world was safe. Hermione hadn't been this relaxed since her first year at Hogwarts, when she had befriended Harry Potter and her whole life had turned upside down. Because, along with Harry came adventure. Along with Harry came fear, worry, trouble. Along with Harry came laughter. And along with Harry came Ron. Along with Harry came a red-headed boy who might possibly be the love of her life. And Hermione was going to go see him (the love of her life, that is, not Harry) at this very moment.
First, she hugged Mrs. Weasley. Mrs. Weasley was like her second mum, after her real mum, whom she had removed the memory charm from 3 weeks ago. Hermione had been spending long hours with her parents, who had been angry at first, but then had made her tell them everything, and slowly, they were beginning to forgive and trust their daughter. She hadn't told them about her kiss with Ron yet, or that they were together, although she had told them everything they needed to know about him during the trip. However, Hermione had decided to keep the 'Oh, by the way, I'm totally and completely in love with a guy I've been crushing on since first year and whom finally loves me back' talk to a bare minimum. As much as she loved to talk about Ron, this was her and her parents' time together, and even Ron Weasley couldn't ruin that.
“Hello, dear. Are you here to see Ron? You must be. Ginny's out with Harry and George is at the shop with Arthur.”
“How's George doing?” Hermione asked, grabbing a tomato and cutting it for the other woman.
“He's coming along.” Mrs. Weasley said tiredly. “It's a big step for him to go to the shop, as you must know.”
“I do. It took a lot of courage for me to go find my parents.” Hermione admitted. “I knew they would be angry that I stole a year of their lives away from them, even if it was for their own safety, as well as mine and Harry's.”
“But you did it in the end, didn't you dear, and look how well that's turned out.”
Mrs. Weasley turned around to face Hermione.
“My, you look nice. Stop chopping that tomato, you'll ruin your shirt. Ron's in his room, go on up.” Mrs. Weasley ordered. Hermione kissed her on the cheek and headed upstairs.
Ron, as promised, was standing in front of the mirror in his room, wrinkling his nose at his reflection. Hermione grinned at the familiar features and the unintentionally adorable look on his face, then leaned on the door frame.
“You look handsome.” she said quietly. He started, then hastily pulled away from the mirror, the tips of his ears glowing red. His eyes took in her appearance, and he smiled at her, her favorite lop-sided grin that always made her want to laugh, cry, smile and feel a million of other emotions. When she had told this to her parents on the few times they had discussed Ron (after all, he was a pretty big part of the story. Or, rather, his not being a big part of the story was a big part of the story. His absence made him a subject that was unavoidable to skip over in the re-telling of the tale) they had rolled their eyes and given each other half glances, as if to say, 'She has it worse then we thought. When's the wedding?', which Hermione chose to ignore.
Ron sidled up to Hermione, placed his finger on her cheek and kissed her lips.
“Hi.” he breathed once he'd pulled back.
“Hi.” Hermione whispered against him, and then closed her eyes as he kissed her again. “What were you looking at yourself like that in the mirror for?” she asked in a louder voice, choosing to break the spell. After all, there would be plenty more moments like this, and curious witch that she was, she was dying to know.
“Oh.” Ron said, shuffling uncomfortably. “It's just this scar I have. I don't really like it all that much, and it's really noticeable. Plus, I keep wondering why...”
“Why what, Ronald Weasley?” Hermione asked in a commanding voice, as though Ron was a small child caught playing in the mud. She knew what was coming, and she wanted to deal with it then and there so Ron would shut up about the subject forever more.
“Well, why you'd choose me over Harry.” Ron said very quickly. “Lots of girls like him much better, he's the hero and I'm sort of the sidekick. And I can't see why you'd want to hang out with me, much less go out with me... I think I'm quite ugly.”
“You're your own worst critic, Ronald Weasley.” Hermione said in a disapproving tone. “Stop doubting yourself. I picked you, not Harry. I kissed you, not Harry. I love you, not Harry. Well, not in the same way I love you, anyway.” Hermione realized with a start that she had just told Ron she loved him for the first time outside of the craziness of post battle euphoria without even thinking about it. It had just come out. He seemed to realize it too, but instead of looking shocked, a large grin stretched across his face. Hermione reached up and kissed it. She pulled back. “Besides,” she said, studying Ron's face and looking him up and down. “I like sidekicks
much better. And I think you're kinda cute. And as for this scar...” Hermione traced it with her index finger, then reached up and made a long trail of kisses down the scar line. “I think it makes you look devilishly handsome, but I can fix it for you if you want.”
“Don't make it go away all together,” Ron said hastily as Hermione raised her wand. “I have a feeling someday I might need it. I don't want it right now, the battle is so fresh in my mind, but someday I'm going to need it.”
“How about I make it so when you need it it becomes stronger and easier to see?”
Ron grinned at her in approval. Her favorite, lopsided grin.
Hermione re-focused back to earth and realized that, while she was having the memory, she had just answer 15 questions plus the first five and emitted the right sparks without even realizing it. She chanced a sneaky glance over at Ron and saw that the scar was darker then she remembered it from the last time she'd really concentrated on it, back while they were dating. He was starting to need it, apparently. Hermione shivered. The memory made her want to jump into Ron's arms and kiss his lips, then kiss his jawline just as she had the day of their first date. But now she couldn't. His jawline was no longer hers. His lips were no longer hers. Ron himself was no longer hers.
Ron was giving Hermione a odd look, and she realized that he'd seen her looking at him. He placed his hand curiously on his scar, then turned back to Colin.
“Now, this is the last question, is the bonus question, which will give you a certain amount of points deepening on how well you answer it. Here it is: which color to you like best on each other?”
“I like Ron in navy.” Hermione offered coming out of her reverie entirely at the words bonus and question. She always did like bonus questions. She smiled at her answer, thinking about how nice his hair looked with the color. It made the crazy red color look sexy, something no other color could do. “He has this great outfit with this tight black tee-shirt and a nice pair of jeans, wore it to the muggle world once, I don't think I've ever seen him in a better outfit.” Hermione grew steadily redder as her words flew out of her mouth.
Well, she did like him much better with no shirt at all, but that wasn't an outfit so the potion wasn't forcing her to say it.
“I like Hermione in periwinkle-lavender sort of colors-” (Hermione's face flushed with anger at the word lavender) “-because the two times I've seen her really dressed up she was wearing that color scheme.”
“Wonderful!” Colin said. “Now, the audience is going to score you on your answers- don't forget that we'll be meeting back here again after a few dates...ah, yes- here're the results.”
But Hermione didn't listen to who won the first challenge. What did it matter? As soon as she had finished fake smiling for the camera and the director had yelled 'CUT!', Hermione ran off of the set, sprinted down the hallway and wrenched open the door to her dressing room.
Ben, the security guard, looked into the room.
“Are you alright?”
“I'm fine.” Hermione said angrily. “Have you seen Ginny?”
“She left with her fiancée a while ago. I must say, that was quite a stunt to pull. Oh, and what a way to announce their engagement...”
“Thank you, Ben.” Hermione said firmly. Ben took the hint and closed the door. Hermione stood there for a minute, then collapsed on the couch and started to cry. Mascara ran down her face as she cried into her hands.
The door burst open. Hermione looked up from her hands to see Ron standing in the doorway, looking as though he didn't quite know what he was doing there. He saw her tear streaked face and his own face softened slightly, the confused look melting off of it.
“You're wrong, you know.” he said in a strong, clear, unafraid voice. Hermione looked up at him incredulously, pain and confusion flicking across her face. “You're wrong.” he said again, and she noted the bold way in which he spoke. Well, that was okay. She was afraid enough for both of them. “I am yours. I always have been, and I always will be.”
How did he-? But before she had time to ponder it, Ron had strode over to her in two swift steps. She tilted her face up towards his, and, using his thumb, Ron wiped away a mascara influenced tear. Then, with two more strides Ron walked over to the door and walked through it, shutting it firmly closed behind him.
A/N: What'd you think? Liked it? Hated it? Thought the whole time that writergirl8 was the craziest thing you've ever seen? Well, I've just hit my 300 somethingth review and although this must sound scarily cheesy, it feels good to know you've just made someone's day by giving them advice or telling them how good you thought their chapter was. Warm fuzzies. Yours till I actually remember to call my cousin back (if you're reading this, A, I love you like a sister!)... ~writergirl8