Chapter 21 : The Ride to A Secret
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The hospital wing was empty, but for Hermione and Ron, who was lying, unconscious, on the bed. He looked peaceful, but his mouth was moving, mumbling things Hermione couldn't hear. She sat down next to him and took his hand, a smile playing across her mouth.
“Er-My-Nee..” Ron mumbled in his sleep, and Hermione wanted to lean down and kiss his perfect lips. All of a sudden, Lavender Brown appeared at the foot of the bed.
“Ron! You are not supposed to be saying HER name. You say MY name! Lav-en-der!”
“He can say my name all he wants to!” Hermione argued, indignant. “You have no right to tell him what to do!”
“Of course I do! I'm his girlfriend!”
“Well, I'm his future wife!” Hermione shot back, putting her hands on her hips and knowing that she had bested Lavender.
“No you're not!” Lavender screamed.
“Yes I am! I caught to bouquet! He caught the garter!”
Lavender opened her mouth to say something else, but all of a sudden there was a knock on the hospital wing door and Ron's voice saying 'Er-my-nee, Er-my-nee' over and over and over again.
Hermione was woken up by a knock on the door. She let out a moan and checked her clock. Merlin.
“IT'S EIGHT O'CLOCK!” she yelled to the person. “COME BACK IN AN HOUR!”
“CAN'T!” A voice shouted back. “IT'S ABOUT THE DATE!”
“Oh.” Hermione said, tumbling out of bed and going to let Ron in. “Hi, Ron. What do you want?”
“Some coffee. Do you have any? Oh, yeah, and they're come to come over here and explain about the date in about a half an hour.”
“Shoot.” Hermione said. “Here, you know where the coffee is. Let me go change.”
Ron started to follow Hermione, then blushed and stepped back. Hermione gave him a raised-eyebrow look, walked over to her room and closed the door slowly shut behind her. She breathed a loud sigh, then sank along the door and to the floor, wishing that she could go back into her dream and find out what happened in the end. A pressure from the other side of the door told her Ron too had slumped behind it and was leaning against it for support. Finally she got up and put on a pair of leggings and a periwinkle shirt outfit Ginny had told her would look fantastic for a date. She then walked back into the kitchen and enjoyed the effect her outfit had on Ron.
“Do you want some cinnamon buns?” Hermione asked.
“Er- sure.” Ron said. Hermione turned to the stove and set to making the breakfast treat. When she was done, she sat down across from Ron and gave him one. Ron took a tentative bite, then smiled.
“I love these.” he confessed. “You used to make them all the time.”
“I haven't made them in a while.” Hermione admitted, stirring some sugar into her tea.
“I know.” Ron said simply, taking a bite and beaming at Hermione. She let herself get lost in his grin for a few seconds before tearing her eyes away and turning the subject to the newly wed Potters.
“Have you heard from Harry and Ginny lately?” she asked.
“No. I think they're still on the honeymoon. Although they can't do much, because of Ginny's womanly problem.”
“I though you were okay with them? You made that moving speech at the wedding...”
“All show. Didn't really mean it.” Ron said, shrugging.
Hermione gave him the eye.
“You know, despite the fact you pretend to be all solid as a rock, I think you have some mush somewhere in there.”
“You are pretty good at bringing it out.” Ron agreed, looking at the way the morning sunlight was playing across Hermione's hair.
“I didn't say that.” Hermione argued, blushing red.
“You didn't have to. It's true.”
“Do you think maybe this is the way it should be? You and me, I mean. Just friends, sitting at the breakfast table, talking?”
“No. We're in love. We can't just be friends.” Ron said. “We never were, really.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, okay, maybe for 2 years. But we had crushes on each other, whether we realized it or not, for most of our school careers.”
“I know, but Ron, it's so easy to just sit here and talk. We don't need the perfect match to do that for us!”
“Hermione, we sat in bed or on the couch or at the table and talked for hours and hours, not doing anything but using words. Our relationship wasn't all about snogging and sex.”
“Maybe that's not what being in love is!” Hermione shouted, her voice rising to hysteria. “Maybe love is snogging! I don't know anymore, I just don't KNOW!”
She sat back down, breathing heavily.
“Look at Harry and Ginny. You heard what you said in your speech, Mione, a good relationship is good communication.”
“All show. Didn't really mean it.” Hermione mimicked.
“So you can honestly tell me that you didn't feel a thing whenever we kissed or held hands, and that the only thing you think we are is friends?”
“Isn't a relationship just a friendship with snogging?” Hermione asked helplessly, trying to find the answers herself. “What's the point?”
“Love.” Ron said. “And that doesn't answer the question.”
“When did you get so goddamn philosophical?”
“You're avoiding the question...” Ron sang.
And then Hermione was caught, caught in a web she had helped to build, a wed of lies and careful construction of her expressions. Of making Ron believe she didn't care anymore.
There was a loud knock on the door, and Colin Love's voice rang through the house.
“Hellooo! It's Colin!”
“Yes?” Ron breathed, completely ignoring the commotion the show's host was making.
“I... have to get the door.” Hermione said. She stood up and walked over to the door, then pulled it open.
“Hello, Ms. Granger. Tell me, is it true that you and Mr. Weasley used to live here together?”
“Emphasis on the 'used to', Mr. Love. Please, do come in.” Hermione said, trying to cover up the shaky feeling she was carrying in her stomach with rude sarcasm.
Colin and the camera crew filed in to the house, then arranged themselves around Hermione's living room, Colin sitting on the couch and the rest of the crew gathering around him.
“Ron! Ron, get in here!” Hermione yelled, and Ron ambled into the room. Hermione noticed he had a little bit of sticky bun on his upper lip.
Don't do it. Don't do it, Hermione.
“You've got a little bit of sticky bun..” she said quietly, then reached up and wiped it off of Ron's upper lip with great care. Then she turned away quickly before she could see his expression.
“Your next date is going to put you on a jet plane and drop you off in the middle of nowhere. You and Ron will have to find your way back to the plane using a virtually useless map and your wits. If it comes it finding food, you'll have to do it. If it doesn't come to that, congratulations. Any questions?”
“Yes. Isn't dropping us off in the middle of nowhere rather dangerous?”
“Not that question.” Colin said, through a plastered on smile. “Any other questions?”
“No.” Hermione said, sitting grumpily back onto the couch.
“Good.” Colin said. “Now, I suggest you put on shorts and a tank top, Hermione. Although the viewers will probably love this outfit in any other situation, I think, because of where you're going, you might be a little overheated.”
“Fine, then.” Hermione said, nodding.
“Right, we'll see you in the back lot of the studio in about an hour. Camera people, why don't you stay behind and interview our young lovebirds?”
Hermione scowled at Colin.
“Would you show me to the door, Ms. Granger?”
“It's right there. Show yourself to the door.”
“I don't like your attitude, Miss Granger.”
“I don't like being called 'lovebirds' with Ron. Even, aren't we?”
Colin shook his head and showed himself to the door. Ron swallowed hard and looked up and Hermione from the couch.
“I'm going to go change.” Hermione said. She paused. “Again.”
Then she walked over to the bedroom and put on a pair of dark denim short shorts and a light blue tank top, then looked at her hair. It was crazy out of control. She let out a moan and walked over to Ginny's Christmas gift from two years ago, a book full of (Hermione had to admit) helpful spells all about beauty.
“Hairatious Straitenios!” Hermione said, pointing her wand towards her hair. It instantly straitened, except for one small piece that was still pretty frizzy. Hermione groaned. Beauty spells were her weakness.
“Curlify!” She said, pointing her wand at the specific lock of hair. “Ponyus Updolio!”
By the time she was done, most of her hair was perfectly strait, but for the curly sections, and it had been pulled into a neat, no bumps ponytail.
“Damn I'm good.” Hermione grinned, surveying herself in the mirror. “Who needs Ginny?”
She was feeling so brave, she decided to try the 'Makeupado!” spell, which took her a few times to get right. By the time she was done, Ron was pounding on the door.
“Hermione, come on!” he exclaimed.
“One second!” Hermione called airily
“One one-thousand... DONE!” Ron retorted.
“10 minutes!” Hermione sang in a high soprano voice.
“Is there someone in there with you?” Ron said, rudeness soaked into his tone.
“No!” Hermione said, fiddling with her earrings.
“Hermione, I'm coming in there, dammit!”
Then, the door had burst open, and Ron was staring at Hermione, his eyes wide.
“Wow.” he said. “You look... brilliant.”
He went over to the bed and sat down.
“You look different from when Ginny does your make-up. I can't place my finger on it, though... maybe you're just more understated.”
“Like, the makeup enhances my features instead of covering them up?”
“Er- yeah, something like that.” Ron said, his makeup knowledge having reached its maximum limit.
“Ready to go?” Hermione asked.
“Yeah, sure.” Ron got up from the bed and started to walk out the door. Hermione noticed that, while she'd been playing around with beauty spells, Ron had changed into khaki pants and a blue shirt that exactly matched his eyes. Just seeing this made her grab her perfume bottle and spray the comforting scent all over herself. It helped too that Ron loved it.
Three hours later, Hermione and Ron were seating on the company airplane, watching a muggle movie called 'Forest Gump'. Ron figured it was a good choice, because it was making Hermione cry and it was making him laugh. He'd never really figured out how that worked. How, while he always tried to find the lighter side of situations and not take anything seriously, Hermione could not for the life of her manage to avoid the dark side, now matter how hard she wanted to laugh. She had to be logical and think situations through, carefully reviewing the point of view from each side. Sometimes Ron scoffed at it. Sometimes he appreciated it. Sometimes he was afraid of it.
If the mugge movie was supposed to be distracting him, however, it wasn't working. It was distracting him from all sense of direction, yes. Seeing as little plastic shields had been placed over the windows, not even Hermione could tell where they were. No, what was distracting Ron was the scent of Hermione's vanilla cinnamon perfume, wafting over to him and tickling his nostrils, admittedly making him want to pin her down and sniff her neck, just so the scent could be his, all his. He chanced a glance at Hermione. Silent tears were rolling down her cheek. Ron glanced at the scene and realized that Forests' wife (or whatever she was, Ron hadn't really kept track) had just kicked the bucket.
“It's okay, 'Mione.” Ron said, eagerly trying to make her feel better. “All those drugs, you knew it was coming.”
At that Hermione turned to Ron, eyes wide (he didn't know how, but somehow her makeup had stayed perfectly intact, a sure sign that she was ten times better at anything then Ginny).
“Ron!” she trilled. “You insensitive jerk!”
And of course, she started to cry again. Ron shook his head. He would never get women. Or Hermione. Or just plain old women. They were so weird. It was almost like they weren't human. Either that or they were too human, with all their weird emotions and all.
“Mr. Weasley? Ms. Granger? We've arrived at the spot you're going to get off.”
The credits of the movie stopped rolling and Colin's face popped onto the screen.
“Under your seat, you'll find a map. Please pull it out.”
Ron reached under his seat and pulled it out.
“This map is going to lead you back to this plane, which you will be jumping out of shortly.”
“WHAT?” Hermine shrieked.
“Don't worry, Ms. Granger, it'll be fine. We'll make Mr. Weasley go first, if you like.”
“Hmm, comforting.” Hermione said sarcastically.
“Yes, very.” Colin said. “Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed your flight with Perfect Match Airlines. I daresay we'll be seeing you soon. If you can find us.”
A dolled up flight attendant came out with a backpack and gave one each to Ron and Hermione. Ron noticed she had applied what looked like ample amounts of lipstick to her cheek, and even more to her lips. He could in fact smell the scent of her pina-colada lip gloss, and could tell she'd applied mascara to her atrociously long fake eyelashes.
“These have enough food and water for a few days and some envelopes containing instructions, plus a wildlife survival booklet in Hermione's pack.” the woman said. “Oh, and a parachute.”
“Not just in mine, right?” Hermione said, looking over at Ron as though she wouldn't mind if he fell without one.
“No, in both.”
Ron stuck his tongue out at Hermione and she rolled her eyes and sat back in her seat again. Just then, the hatchback opened.
“Have fun!” the attendant said, then vanished once again into the back cabin where neither Ron nor Hermione could see her. Ron strapped on his backpack and walked over to the edge.
“I recommend you don't look at the ground.” Ron hinted to Hermione, before, using all the courage being an auror had given him, jumping out of the plane. As soon as he was out, and his parachute was up, Ron felt the most wonderful feeling, the feeling of complete happiness and peacefulness. He was disappointed when it landed, but not very when Hermione landed in a heap just beside him, coughing at the dust that had risen when the pair had fallen.
Just then, the plane flew down and landed. Red carpeted steps descended, and out walked Colin Love. He tentatively stepped to the bottom step, took in a deep, confident breath, then spread out his arms, grinned widely and said,
“Welcome to nowhere.”
Then he saluted them and walked back into the plane. It took off, leaving Hermione and Ron in a fresh cloud of dust. As the dust settled to reveal a coughing Hermione and lots of sand dunes, Ron couldn't help agree with Colin.
That's right. He thought glumly. Welcome to nowhere.
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