Chapter 1 : Bedtime for Won-Won
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“Come on Ron, you know. Parvati's sister. In Ravenclaw?” Harry replied, sitting on his bed and removing his glasses.
“Oh, yeah. I remember now,” Ron lied. He paced carefully around his own bed.
“Yeah, well let's go ahead and get some sleep” said Harry. “I'm exhausted from all this Yule Ball nonsense.”
“Thanks for the help,” Ron grinned and sat on his bed. “Such a pain, girls that is.”
“Right. Good night then,” Harry said with a laugh.
Ron lay back, staring at the ceiling of his four-poster bed, and began thinking to himself. This Yule ball business is just stupid. How desperate am I that I had to have Harry find me a girl? He closed his eyes and tried to picture Padma's face. Nothing. How could he expect me to go with a girl I can't even remember? I mean, Parvati is quite the looker, so maybe I've got nothing to worry about.
He shook his head, clearing his thoughts of the girl he couldn't remember and replacing them with Fleur. Now that's a girl you can show off to your best mate. Harry definitely would've been jealous of me if she'd just said yes. He groaned mentally. Why did I have to mess that up?
As he tried to fall asleep, one more face appeared in his mind. At this, Ron's face scrunched up in a sort of frustrated and confused manner. Who could Hermione be going with? She must've been lying about having a date. Desperately trying to get some sleep, he thought, these girls are more trouble than they're worth, keeping me up like this. After what seemed like hours to him, Ron finally drifted off.
It felt as though he'd just fallen asleep when he woke up to a cacophony of conversation. He turned over, clutching his covers and yelling, “What are you lot thinking, making so much noise this early?” Expecting to once again see the ceiling of his bed, Ron rolled onto his back and opened his eyes, rubbing them immediately. Looking around all he saw was smoke, slowly and carefully forming familiar figures in a room nothing like his dormitory. He was in the Great Hall, and everyone was dressed for the Yule Ball. He rose from his bed and looked back at it; it had disappeared. “What?” he asked aloud. Shaking his head in an attempt to forget what just happened, he looked to his left.
There he saw Cedric and Cho talking to each other, standing a bit too close for Ron's comfort. “Blimey,” he thought. “Harry must not like the sight of that. That Diggory sure is a git. I bet he knew Harry was after Cho.” Trying to rid himself of the disturbing image, he looked over to his right and noticed another couple on the other side of the room. Ron began to move closer, unable to make out who it was from where he stood.
“I see you're enjoying your date with Parvati,” he chuckled and called out after noticing that Harry was kissing the girl. Glad to know that Harry seemed to have gotten over Cho, Ron smiled. That is, until he got close enough to see that the girl Harry was with was none other than his own sister, Ginny.
“What the hell, Harry!” Ron yelled at this startling revelation. “What's got into you, snogging my sister like that?” His fists clenched and the tips of his ears turned bright pink; his face followed suit soon enough. He now stood several feet from the two, looking from one to the other as if to separate them with his eyes. “Seriously mate, back off of her. And you Ginny, what are you doing? He's my best friend!”
At that instant, Ron lost what little self-control he had and began to lunge forward in attempt to put a stop to their kissing. Then came a voice from behind him that he knew he recognized, but couldn't quite remember. “Seriously Ron, why can't you just leave those two alone? They are in love after all,” the voice said in a matter-of-fact way.
“Who asked you?” yelled Ron, still confused and furious, turning back to meet this familiar voice.
In an instant, Ron's anger dropped along with his jaw. There stood Hermione in a set of periwinkle robes, her hair tied up in a knot. Mouth agape, Ron simply stared; Hermione smiled and looked back at him.
“Hermione, you've got legs!” said a bewildered Ron.
“Thanks for noticing, Ron,” she responded. “You don't look too bad yourself.”
Even more confused, Ron looked down at himself. He had been too busy before now to notice he was in a rather dashing set of robes himself. He looked back up and his eyes met Hermione's.
“Typical of you, not even noticing what you're wearing,” chuckled Hermione. She took a few steps toward him. “May I have this dance then?”
Ron looked back up with the same look he'd had every time Snape called on him with a question he clearly wasn't prepared to answer. “What?”
“Well... this is a ball,” Hermione responded with a slight look of frustration on her face. “And one tends to dance with their date at a ball. You haven't forgotten about me, have you?”
“Wait a minute Hermione. You said you had another date and that you couldn't go with me or Harry,” Ron asserted, his own temper rising.
Puzzled, Hermione insisted “No, I haven't a clue what you're talking about Ron. Now are you going to dance with me or not?” She walked up to him, stopping within arm's reach.
“Is this a joke, or am I dreaming?” Ron asked a now deeply annoyed and hurt Hermione.
“A dream? Seriously Ron, this isn't funny anymore. And here I was excited that you'd finally asked me to the ball.” She looked down toward her feet obviously hiding a reddened face.
“I did that?” asked Ron, more confused now than ever.
“Ronald, how dare you!” Hermione looked back up at him, tears streaming down her cheeks. “I just wanted to have a good time with you, I just-”
And then it hit him. Her lips, that is. No sooner than Ron had noticed her teary eyes and red cheeks, he had been kissed. He began to think to himself. What is she doing? Has she gone mad? His eyes were closed at this point, his lips still attached to hers. This has to be a dream, Hermione would never do this. Would she? I mean, maybe she likes me, but I can't return those feelings. He searched deeper.
Wait a second, no, I'm sure I don't like her. She's my friend. Or do I? It had happened, Ron had his first real epiphany. Maybe I do. But if that's true, what does this mean? He opened his eyes.
Instead of the beautiful girl he had just been kissing for an eternity, he met the gaze of one of the few things he truly never wanted to see again if he could help it.
“It has been too long, friend of Hagrid...”
The room was now dark and seemingly empty, aside from himself and a large spider he knew by the name of Aragog, the latter with a large grin upon his face.
“It seems like it has been years since I last saw you and your other friend. In fact, I have been on somewhat of a hunger strike since then, destined to make the two of you my next meals. And it seems like dinner time has finally come. You may run if you like, but I do not think you will make it past my ravenous children,” Aragog said, ominously.
His eyes had been too fixed on the giant spider in front of him to notice earlier - he now began to hear the clicking noise he had long feared since his journey with Harry into the Forbidden Forest. Whimpering loudly, Ron looked around and saw what looked to be thousands of spiders in all shapes and sizes.
Aragog laughed maniacally, “Eat, my children. Leave nothing left!”
Disapparating would've probably been the best option for him at this point, but having never learned how to, regardless of how hard he tried, he was unable to even attempt it. And there he was, stuck in an ever-closing swarm of his greatest fear. He began to scream, but no sound came out. Laughing, Aragog crawled up to him, placing his pincers on Ron's shoulders which then began to shake him to and fro. Ron felt as though he'd faint, still screaming his lungs out. This was no longer a dream - this nightmare had been worse than anything he had ever endured.
No! This would not be the end of Ron Weasley, he thought, with a feeling of self-preservation rising in him. Gathering what little courage he had left, Ron grabbed Aragog by the pincers and fought back. Struggling his hardest, he felt his opponent give in, and he took this opportunity to do perhaps both the craziest, and most daring thing he had done since he tried to take on Fred and George at the same time.
Eyes closed, he tackled Aragog.
He must have been victorious, for he heard cheering all around him. He opened his eyes and looked to his left and right to see Neville and Dean clapping and laughing at him. Looking once more, he noticed he was back in the Gryffindor boy's dormitory.
“Well that was weird, I remember fighting Aragog and-,” he stopped, looking down as fear rose up in him again.
“You know, friends don't typically dive tackle friends when they're trying to wake them up from a nightmare...” Harry coughed and looked up at him, appearing drowsy and angered.
“Sorry mate, I thought you were Aragog,” replied Ron, offering a hand and a nervous laugh.
Harry accepted his friend's hand and got up off the ground. “Just lay off the butterbeer for a while, will you?” suggested Harry.
After this spectacle, the boys went back to their beds and attempted to get back to sleep. At this point, however, Harry was wide awake and too interested in what had been going on to fall asleep just yet.
Walking over to his bed, Harry asked, “so what was your dream about, Ron?”
“Sorry, but I can't remember much,” Ron said, sitting on the edge of his own bed. “I do remember battling Aragog with my bare hands and something about Hermione, but other than that it's all a bit of a blur,” he paused. “And don't take this personally, but for some reason I really feel the need to punch you in the face.”
Harry laughed, “Well it's a good thing you just chose to tackle me rather than break my nose. Bandages wouldn't make the ball any easier to endure, that's for sure.”
They both laughed at this, Harry finally attempting to fall back to sleep.
“Harry, do you really believe Hermione saying she found a date for the ball?” asked Ron, laying back on his bed.
“No clue, though I don't think she would have much of a reason to lie about something like that,” responded Harry. “Now come on, get some sleep.”