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Chapter 2 : part two
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The red warming glow of the dormitory fire shown brightly upon the faces of over a dozen male teen aged Gryffindors. They huddled close to Harry as he began to heatedly describe something. Some, like Dean Thomas and Neville Longbottom, smiled to themselves as they listened to this ingenious plan. Ron himself was impressed on what was coming out of Harry’s mind as if Fred and George were perhaps living inside his best friend.
What is this devious deal that Harry seems to be making with his fellow students?
“Hermione! Hermione Slow Down! Where are you going this early?” Harry was practically skipping to reach his best friend who seemed to be walking rather quickly towards the all too familiar library.
“Go away Harry. If you are here to tell me to forgive Ron….” She swung around nearly knocking Harry off his feet.
“No, no,” he said smiling. “Not to forgive him. But it does have to do with Ron.” Harry said matter-of-factly. His eyes were glowing and Hermione knew immediately something strange was happening.
“What are you up to, Harry?” she said crossing her arms.
“There is something you need to see…” He grabbed her arm and dragged her back towards the common room protesting to be released.
The intense silence that filled the common room was stifling. The same boys from the previous night sat still in their seats upon squishy arm chairs and sofas. Every now and then Ron would see eyes plastered to his own face with a hint or curiosity. He began to blush as he played around with the new chess pieces that sat in front of him. They were beauties and Ron did like them. Yet, now, they were only here to prove a point.
The familiar rumble of the portrait door swinging open announced the arrival of Hermione and Harry. Everyone stood and began chattering and Dean Thomas began to pass out fliers he had drawn up and copied the night before. As Hermione entered, it appeared they had been in such of bustle of chaos all morning.
Dean handed her a flier and stalked off. Hermione watched him join the group that had surrounded one of the tables near the common room window. She could not see what was happening.
“Read the flier” Harry said as he too went to join the group with a little bounce in his step.
Hermoine looked down in horror as she read.
THE GREAT RON WEASLY WIZARD’S CHESS CHALLENGE
Think you have what it takes to beat one of Gryffindor’s finest chessmen? Try your luck with a brand new board donated by the gracious Hermione Granger today at the round table. Winners will receive a very fine antique chess piece from a board worth more Galleons than Dumbledore’s robes! Come wizard come warlock to rise to the challenge!
At the bottom was a very fine drawing of Ron holding a gleaming crown and placing it on and off his head. His smile suddenly reminded Hermione of a certain former blond headed defense against the dark arts teacher.
“Is this some idea of a joke, Ron?” Hermione nearly screamed as she stormed through the crowd to find the culprit. He was sitting at the table with Hermione’s gift already in play against Neville Longbottom. Hermione’s first thought was surprise…she didn’t even know Neville knew how to play. She had arrived just in time to see Ron fuming with red hot color as Neville took his king.
“Checkmate!” he cried! “I actually won!”
The look on Ron’s face made Hermione remain silent. He bent down and searched in his bag for something. Hermione stood on her tip toes to see.
“Here.” He mumbled as he handed Neville a struggling black bishop who clearly belonged to Ron’s old set.
Shock! Absolute Shock was all Hermione felt.
“What are you doing Ron!” Hermoine said loudly. However, Harry reappeared.
“Proving a point, Hermoine watch!” he said fixing his gaze back at Ron who had begun to play Collin Creevy.
It was clear Ron was not trying to loose the game on purpose. He made some very good moves but seemed quite distracted as the new pieces tried to command Ron’s decisions and made faces that provoked the others to giggle with amusement. These random acts by the chessmen seemed to unnerve Ron and he would miss opportunities or leave space for Collin to take a pawn or castle. The very excited fifth year seemed to jump out of his seat every time he mad a good move.
“See that Harry? See me take that knight! Just like that chess game you played your first year, right, Harry?” he would say grinning from ear to ear. Harry would just nodd and kept looking over at Hermione.
They all watched as game by game Ron had lost almost every single piece to his Grandfather’s set. Hermione even began to tear up as he handed the King to Seamus. Soon all that remained was the chipped and tattered board Hermione had seen him carry thousands of times. It did not take long for him to loose this to Harry who had been saving the best for last.
“Thanks Ron, I could probably get a pretty sickle for this…” Harry had begun to say. He was trying desperately not to laugh but the sniffle he heard from his left made that wide smile disappear. Hermoine was crying.
“You stupid boy! You are all so stupid! Don’t you see what Ron is doing!” She stomped her foot and even her bushy brown hair seemed to shake with fury as the room became silent. All eyes were fixed on her including Ron’s. She gazed steadily back at him tears streaming down her cheeks.
“I’m sorry, Ron. But this is just plain….” She seamed at a loss for an adjective. “stupid” she looked around the room with some type of determined hunger in her eyes. Harry actually began to feel a little scared.
She marched from person to person grabbing the piece out of their hands and moving on before they could protest. Ron watched amazed as she gathered in her arms every single figurine and the board from Harry’s grasp. Everyone watched quite bemused as she layed the set back onto the table and began to gather up the new one. She did rounds again with a very stern face and returned the pieces to their owners and told each and everyone to find a new entertainment. Harry couldn’t help but smile. Ron began to set the board with relief as Hermoine sat opposite him.
“Let’s play” she said looking down fondly at the old board which apparently meant more to Ron than anyone had ever known. “And I promise you Ronald Weasly if you don’t win I will jinx you into next Friday, that’s a promise.”
Hermione was startled to find the whole room in an uproar of laughter. She knew then that this whole fiasco had been some type of joke. Yet, she did not care. All she cared about were the blue eyes starring fixedly upon the pawns in front of them. She could see his mind racing with strategy as he finally fell back into the normality he loved.
She lost honorably and all thanks to Harry Potter.
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