It was about seven o'clock in the morning when Ron's body clock woke him up. He stretched and looked around, wondering why he'd forgotten to put on pajamas the night before. Then he felt the body heat next to him in the bed. Resisting the urge to yell in fright, Ron suddenly realized that the figure (who also lacked anything in the form of clothes) was Hermione. Last night's events suddenly came rushing back to him, and he resisted shouting, this time with joy. Grinning to himself, Ron pulled Hermione closer and trapped her into a hug. Unfortunately, this time, it was her turn to wake up. She turned over, uttering a little groan that sounded somewhat like the sound Ron had come to enjoy profusely. But then she looked down at Ron's arms and screamed, before realizing who was holding her. Then, she blushed.
This could possibly be the worst outcome Ron could think of. He was nowhere near blushing. He was, obviously, too happy. But Hermione seemed to be mortified. She clapped her hand over her mouth and leaped out of the bed, dragging the sheets with her. Ron suddenly felt embarrassed, too. Why had he thought she would be happy about this? He'd practically forced her into the whole thing!
“I'm sorry!” Ron and Hermione said at the same time. “Why?” they both asked again.
“I practically jumped you last night!” Hermione cried. “I forced you into the whole thing.”
“Are you kidding? I was the one who took you to your room. Besides, I wanted it. I am a man, after all, Hermione.”
Her expression changed, to a look Ron couldn't quite identify. He wasn't going to try, either.
“Oh. Well, me too.” Hermione said, turning bright red again. “I'm not a man, but... well you get it.”
“Definitely.” There was a pause. “Hey, um, you're not... pregnant, are you?” Ron asked stupidly. Hermione burst out laughing and crawled back onto the bed. Ron's lack of knowledge on the subject seemed to break the ice.
“No, I'm not, I performed the spell. And even if I'd failed- which I'm extremely doubtful of- I wouldn't know if I was pregnant yet. It hasn't even been twenty four hours, Ron!”
“Oh. Right,” Ron said, trying to comprehend these facts. “Are you feeling okay?” he asked next.
“I don't really know yet.” Hermione answered, which was a lie. She'd stayed up about three billion hours after Ron had gone to sleep, thinking about how she felt after what had just occurred. It was different, and strange, but somehow good. She was glad she'd waited this long. Somehow it seemed more perfect. The setting, the guy, the age. Ginny had called her silly, but Hermione wasn't jealous of her friend at all. Ginny had done what was right for Ginny, and Hermione had done what was right for Hermione. “So. Ready for breakfast?”
The word breakfast seemed to perk Ron up.
“Or, you know, we have an hour before the cameras come back on.”
Hermione rolled her eyes lovingly and scooted off of the bed again, looking around the room for her jeans. She spotted them, then shoved Ron out of the room so she could put them on. He made a point of leaving the door open as he left, and for some reason, she didn't mind.
“I can't believe it's been three weeks since the last date.” Ginny said, sighing contently. “I mean, I'm not all that happy about my plan failing miserably. But it's also kind of nice that this is all over.”
“I know.” Hermione said. Having just been at Ron's house, she was feeling all tingly and happy. She couldn't help loving where their relationship was at the moment. He made her so happy- it never failed to surprise Hermione. “But we have the final episode, too.”
For her, it didn't really feel like it was over quite yet.
“That's right! I'll have to go shopping for another outfit... oh, by the way, did I tell you? I scheduled your blind date. It's two weeks from today.”
Hermione swung around, her mouth open.
“What? Ginny! I told you, I don't want to go on a blind date. I'm happy where I am.”
“Single?” Ginny asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Well...” Hermione dithered on telling Ginny. But she wouldn't do it. She was going to tell her friend at the right time, when she wanted to. It was going to be her choice. She turned back to Ginny. Her best friend was staring at her, obviously waiting for a good answer. “Yes. Single. And loving it.”
“Well, I'm not loving it. By the time you get married, you won't be able to have babies anymore!”
“Ginny, at twenty four, I'm not exactly worried about fertility.”
“Hermione, look. I'm over the idea of you and Ron. I know that it's never going to happen.” Hermione avoided Ginny's eyes as she nodded slowly. “But I want you to be with someone!”
“These things take time, Ginny! Believe me, I'll find someone.”
“His name is Scott. He's hot, and he's a lawyer, just like you. Well, not just like you're, since you're in it for the bloodrights, but you know what I mean. Oh, and he has an independent firm. He doesn't work for the ministry. His only flaw is that he likes the Cannons...”
“Speaking of the Cannons, are you setting up a blind date for Ron?” Hermione asked, trying not to think about the appeal of having a partner in life that could share her adoration for her occupation.
“No. He's not over you yet.” Ginny told Hermione.
“All over me is more like it,” Hermione muttered under her breath, smiling to herself.
“Hmmm? What was that?” Ginny asked curiously.
“Oh. Um, nothing.”
“I think you just said that-”
“So, what should I wear on my date with Scott?” Hermione asked desperately.
“You'll go?” Ginny squealed.
“Fine.” Hermione said, feeling guilty already. “But you have to tell Ron!”
Sure enough, three hours later Hermione was greeted at Ron's with a colder smile than she had seen in a long time.
“I'm guessing Ginny was over here.”
“An hour ago.” Ron said indifferently. Then he closed his door, crossed his arms, and glared at Hermione.
“Ron, you know I don't want to do this!” Hermione cried before he could say anything to her. “The thing is, I practically let it slip that we've made love, and I had to distract her somehow.”
“Really? Is it on your mind that much?” Ron teased. Hermione put her hands on her hips and outright glared at him.
“Yes, but that is so not the point here!”
“Mione, just cancel. It'll be fine. Do it at the last minute!”
“But I never cancel!” Hermione wailed. “Ginny will see right through me, I know she will. Especially because he's exactly my type...”
“Really? Red hair, freckles, stupidly lovable?” Ron asked, an eyebrow raised. “I got the impression he was a brown haired lawyer.”
“You're not stupid, Ron.” Hermione snapped. “And you're not my type... but you're Ron.” She sighed and threw her hands up into the air. “I can't describe it. I really have no idea how to explain it.”
She was so agitated, Ron just stood there, watching her as she paced around, knowing it would be best if he just didn't say anything.
“You're not at all my type, but you're the only one I can fathom spending the rest of my life with. The only one I want to spend the rest of my life with.”
She sighed, and stopped pacing, then turned toward Ron. His mouth was clamped together, arms crossed, as he stood in front of the fireplace. He gazed at her with dark, clouded eyes, as she walked closer to him. Not too close, but close enough.
“I love you, Ron. You have nothing to worry about. And I'm doing this for us. So we can tell when the time is... right.”
Half of his mouth slid into a grin, and he drew her to him and kissed the top of her head. She sighed contently and leaned against him, until, suddenly, he whispered into her ear.
“You know, you're awfully sexy when you're declaring your undying love for me.”
“As are you.” Hermione said, raising her face so her eyes could meet his.
“Really?” Ron asked. She nodded. “Well then. I have undying love for you.”
Laughing, Hermione brought her lips up to meet his.
“Well then, how bout you prove it?”
Ron was halfway to the bedroom by the time she said it.
“Ron, I really have to go now!” Hermione cried, attempting to get off of the couch. He caught her around the waist, however, and pulled her back toward him. She laughed, then slumped back against him. “Fine. But you have to find all my clothes while we're still on the couch.”
“Yeah, sure. That's what I'll be doing.” Ron said, kissing her neck. Hermione finally swatted him away and got up before he could do anything more.
“I'm going to be late for the date! It's bad enough that my hair got all messed up when I came over to say goodbye to you.”
“Hey! It takes two to tango!” Ron said indignantly. Hermione rolled her eyes.
“Well, if one wasn't horny, the other one wouldn't have had any inclination to tango.”
“So you're blaming this all on me? Who knows? Maybe he'll like sex hair!”
“If only I could find my wand...” Hermione fretted, ignoring Ron and searching the room with her eyes. “Then I could fix my hair!”
“Why do you care so much?” Ron questioned. “I mean... you have a boyfriend.”
“But if he tells Ginny I'm not really trying, she'll figure it out like that!” Hermione snapped her fingers together to demonstrate her point.
“Mione, I'm kind of worried you're going over the edge. Ginny's brilliant, but she's not Einstein. And she won't find what she isn't looking for.”
“Mmhhmm. I agree, Ron.” Hermione said, grabbing her wand and pointing it at her hair. It immediately brushed out.
“HERMIONE! Why are you trying so hard?” Ron's voice was so impatient and furious, Hermione had to turn around and look at him.
“I... I don't know.”
“Is there something wrong with me? Am I not good enough? It can't just be that I'm not your type!”
Hermione turned to Ron, stung.
“That is not what I was trying to say. And that was two weeks ago! You can't hold it against me.”
“Watch me!” Ron yelled. “God, Hermione. This is the first time in seven years that you'll be going on a date with someone that isn't me. And the thing is, you're with me! Did you ever pause to consider the fact that I might be jealous? That the fact that you're trying so hard might be hurting me?”
Hermione paused. Then she turned to Ron with wide eyes, speaking in a small voice.
“No. It hadn't really occurred to me. But I get it, Ron.”
“Do you not realize that the fact that I am irrevocably in love with you is making it hard for me to see you all dolled up to go on a date with someone who isn't me?”
“I said I get it, Ron!”
“Do you?” Ron asked, looking at her with hurt eyes. “What if I was in here, preparing for a date? What if I was putting on your favorite shirt and your favorite cologne and freaking out over the state of my hair? Would you think everything was all hunky-dory?”
Seeing Ron wear his feelings so obviously on his sleeve never failed to disarm Hermione. She stared at him with an open mouth.
“Would you?” Ron demanded, oblivious to Hermione's reaction.
“No! I wouldn't! But I'm going on this date, and I promise not to let anything happen. What, do you not trust me or something?”
“Of course I... wow, Hermione, you really know how to make me the bad guy.” he shook his head in disbelief.
“What do you expect me to do, Ronald?” Hermione shouted.
“Don't go. If I mean anything to you at all, don't go.” Ron said quietly. Hermione shook her head and stepped forward, then leaned in to kiss Ron.
“Ron. You mean the world to me. But I have to do this.”
She backed away, then headed towards the door.
“What if you fall for him?” Ron asked in a pleading voice.
“I won't.” Hermione turned toward Ron, smiling at him even though he was at his most vulnerable.
“How do you know?”
“He's not you.”
But she couldn't help feeling like she was making the wrong decision as she turned the knob and closed the door on his still devastatingly sad face.
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