Chapter 1 : The Sidekick
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Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. And the 'Oi! There's a war going on here" line is from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows page 625.
Harry may have been everyone else’s hero, but Ron Weasley was hers. He always had been. But it was especially clear to her that night of the Final Battle. Ron had shown his strength, his courage, and an intelligent and logical side of him that Hermione had never seen before. If she thought before that night she couldn’t be any more in love with him, she had proved herself wrong.
Most people would expect her to be in love with Harry instead of Ron. Harry was “The Chosen One”, the hero, and everyone’s favorite. Ron was constantly overshadowed by his best friend. He was the sidekick, but he never complained.
She knew that if their life had been a book, Hermione’s place in all of this would have been to be Harry’s love interest. She would’ve have ended up with Harry and Ron would have been alone, without the girl. She was so happy that this wasn’t one of her books. She was never interested in Harry that way.
She was always the one to fall in love with the sidekicks in her storybooks that she loved so much. When she was younger she used to always ask herself why the sidekick never got the girl. He did just as much work as the hero did and the hero got all of the credit and the girl. The sidekick would be underestimated and left in the dust, overshadowed and she always knew that Ron was no exception to this rule.
There was something in Ron that had come out that night, something that Hermione had never quite seen before. He had turned from being the sidekick, to the hero. She had noticed the change at Malfoy Manor. He had offered himself up so that she wouldn’t have to be tortured. Even though it didn’t work, Hermione’s heart had swelled with pride. She had never felt more loved and cared for than in that moment. He would rather get hurt himself than know that she was getting hurt.
While she was going through that awful, relentless torture she was close to giving in, but then she heard him yelling, screaming, banging against the walls. He was trying to save her. He was willing to risk everything for her. That’s what kept her holding on even when she felt like the pain was going to kill her, she couldn’t let go, she had to survive for him.
After that horrible day at Malfoy Manor, Hermione found it harder to be herself. She could no longer be that strong, independent logically thinking woman she knew that she was. She had been strong for as long as she could remember, at least to the public eye.
Through all of the hurt she had felt during sixth year she tried not to let anyone see her tears. Sure, everyone could see she was hurting if they looked close enough. Whenever she would see Ron snogging Lavender Brown senseless, if you had really tried, you would’ve seen tears slowly forming in her eyes, threatening to fall down her cheeks at any moment. She would fight them.
Even at night, when she would hear Lavender’s not so hushed whispers to Parvati about Ron, what an amazing kisser he was, how happy that he made her. But if she had paid any attention, when she crept down the steps to the Common Room late at night when she was unable to listen anymore, or not being able to stand having her heartbreak anymore, needing to let out the tears she had still held in, she might’ve caught Lavender’s faint whispers of Ron’s stolen glances at Hermione, and the fact that Ron never stopped talking about her. But none of that mattered now.
Hermione didn’t need to try and be strong again once Ron had ended it with Lavender, she was stronger again once she had Ron back in her life. She didn’t realize it then but he was her hero. It would be a little while longer before she realized this.
When Ron left them behind in the woods when they were out searching for the horcruxes, Hermione had taken it as a personal blow. She felt like he was leaving her behind. That night at Grimauld Place, there were whispered reassurances, a gentle grasping of hands, and a whispered promise that he wouldn’t leave her. He had broken his promise.
She was so hurt that she didn’t take the time to think that it wasn’t her Ron that had left her behind. Surely it wasn’t the Ron she had come to know since the ending of sixth year. The one that was always there with a kind word, always there to comfort her, with a gentle touch, a tight hug or a shoulder to cry on. It wasn’t the grown up and matured Ron Weasley that she knew now. It was so far out of character for him that it wasn’t even the pig-headed Ron that she had dealt with for so many years. She didn’t stop to realize this was a Ron who had been changed by the horrid whispers of a locket that told him lies and made him believe things weren’t true.
So, as she instantly fell weak again, without her hero to pick her back up and put her back on her feet, she wasn’t able to make herself strong. She had slowly began realizing that Ron was something different in her eyes, more than her best friend or the boy she had been in love with for longer than she could remember, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it.
She hated that she wasn’t able to be as strong without Ron around. She felt pathetic, like one of those typical, cliché girls in romance novels, but she couldn’t stop herself. But, after a few days of curling up in a ball on Ron’s bunk, burying her face in his pillow, tears falling shamelessly from her eyes, she forced herself to be strong. Just like in sixth year, she put up that front. She had too. Harry needed her. She had to keep a straight head, no matter how heartbroken that she was.
She found her train of thought had rounded back around to Malfoy Manor, and then to the Final Battle. Ron Weasley had not only saved her physically so many times in those few days, he had saved her emotionally as well. He was there to help her keep her emotions straight when everything else had fallen apart.
No, Ron wasn’t a hero in the same sense that Harry was. That was always going to be true. But Ron was a different kind of hero. She knew that. Ron was the hero that she needed. It was never Harry. Despite what that wicked locket might have told him.
She had full realized this once Ron had announced that they needed to save the house-elves. The fact that Ron was showing such a heroic act, about something that she cared so deeply about, that no one else seemed to find important, touched her so deeply she couldn’t hold back her feelings any longer. She had tossed aside the basilisk fangs she had been holding, flung her arms around his neck and kissed him as passionately as she could. Not only did she feel Ron needed to be rewarded for being so brave, Hermione needed him to know how she felt in case something happened to either of them. She needed to know once in for all if Ron felt the same. What if he got killed keeping her safe? Or keeping Harry or his family safe, or the house elves? Hermione would never be able to live without him, much less not knowing whether he ever really loved her or not.
She was pleasantly surprised to feel Ron’s arm wrap securely around her waist and was even more shocked when he lifted her off of the floor. His lips felt so amazing on hers. They were soft, passionate in the way they moved with hers. Her head was spinning, her heart was beating wildly. She never wanted the moment to end.
“Oi! There’s a war going on here!” Harry had yelled at the two of them. Then they had reluctantly broken their kiss, their arms still around each other. Hermione could still feel her lips tingling from Ron’s being on them mere moments before.
Harry took off in a sprint, a head start over the two of them, but falling behind was worth the wait. Ron grabbed her hand, quickly, pulling her into a short hug before whispering in her ear, “I love you. I just had to let you know. We’ll have plenty of time to discuss everything between us when this is over. Right now, I just need to know that you love me too. Just in case.”
Hermione looked up into his eyes. They were so full of desperation, he was close to tears. Even in the midst of such a happy moment, he was close to tears. That’s when she saw that Ron was fighting to be strong. She knew that look all too well. Ron was scared but he was remaining strong. Unlike the Ron she grew up with, this was new for him. He normally would have let it show that he was scared. In that moment, once again, Hermione saw the face of a hero. Her hero. Ron was no sidekick. He never would be in her eyes. Never again.
“I love you too, Ron,” she’d whispered in reply. “I always have.”
She smiled at the wonderful memory as she searched The Burrow for Ron now. The Battle had only ended the night before and dinner time was slowly rolling around. Molly was bustling about in the kitchen, trying to keep herself distracted, silent tears rolling down her face. Hermione couldn’t even begin to imagine what she was feeling. She had lost a son.
Hermione felt tears fall from her own eyes. She hated seeing the Weasleys in so much pain. She hated seeing her family in so much. Yes. She considered them her family. They were her family. She felt like she had lost a brother. He wasn’t even really her brother, so she couldn’t begin to imagine what Ron was feeling, what Ginny was feeling, what George was feeling. She choked at the last thought. She tried to push the thought as far away from her mind as possible. She needed to find Ron. She need to make sure that he was okay.
She wondered outside of the Burrow, letting the beautiful sunset greet her, and the cool, summer breeze sweep across her face. She closed her eyes and stood there for a moment, enjoying the peace. It was nice, not having to worry about the war anymore.
“Hey, you,” whispered a familiar voice from her right. She whipped her head around to see Ron sitting on the ground, looking out at the sunset. His cheeks were stained red, his eyes were puffy. It was clear he had been crying.
Hermione kneeled beside of him, and she saw new tears streaming down his cheeks. She reached up, cupping his cheeks in her small hands, wiping his tears away gently with her thumbs. She wanted nothing more than to kiss him, to try and make him forget the pain, to make it better. She knew now was not the time however.
Ron looked deep into her eyes. “I know you think I want to talk about him now. I will eventually but not now. I’m not ready. I want to talk about us for awhile. I need something good in my life right now, Hermione, I’ve always needed you. But, right now I need you more than ever. I know what you told me during the battle. I’m hoping you weren’t just saying that. That’s my worst fear, you know. You not loving me back. I’ve always been afraid that you wouldn’t, that you’d be in love with Harry instead of me. Why would you be in love with sidekick when you could have the hero?”
He said all of this with tears strolling shamelessly down his cheeks. How could this be the same Ron that she had met in first year? This caring, sweet, sensitive Ron was new, but she loved it. She loved this side of him that had come out. It only made her love him all the more.
“I don’t know what you mean, Ron. You are a hero,” she whispered softly.
“Yes,” she replied. “You’re my hero.”
Ron smiled through his tear as he pulled her close and pressed his lips to hers for the second time in twenty-four hours and Hermione felt her heartbeat quicken as she melted into the kiss. Nothing had ever felt so right.
She knew that they would have a lot of things to deal with but in that moment she smiled because in that moment Hermione Granger felt like the leading role in a storybook that got her hero, except that it was so much better than that. She had gotten The Sidekick, the one that she had always wanted.
A/N: So that was that. What do you think?