Chapter 7 : Chocolate Frogs
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Hermione came downstairs after dinner carrying one of her sweaters. It was the first night they'd spent alone in Shell Cottage since Bill and Fleur had gone to Paris with Ginny and Luna, and so far, they hadn't really done anything. Ron and Harry were caught up in yet another game of Wizard's Chess, and of course, Ron was winning.
"Does anyone know where Fleur keeps her needles and thread? A button popped off my sweater."
Harry opened his mouth to speak, but Ron interrupted him, pushing back from his chess game as if to surrender.
"No. That's it. We are not sitting here playing chess and sewing when we have the house to ourselves."
Hermione laughed, putting her hands on her hips and speaking with a bit of sass in her voice. "Well what exactly did you have in mind, Ronald?"
Ron wouldn't dare admitt what went through his mind. It wasn't actually what he was suggesting when he said it, but seeing her stand there with her hands on her hips like that... he thought of how grown up she was now, how her body had shaped out, with her long legs and curvy hips, she'd definitely matured. But he shoved those thoughts quite quickly from his mind and turned to Harry for suggestions, trying not to blush like an idiot.
"Well I don't know!" Harry laughed. "Blimey, what did we used to do for fun? I don't recall us spending a lot of time being bored."
"That's because we had a whole castle to entertain ourselves with!" Hermione laughed, sitting on the arm of the sofa. "And we were more easily entertained back then. We could sit around for hours eating Drewbry Drops and be totally entertained."
Somehow, that's exactly what they ended up doing, at least at first. Harry dug a box of the magical candies out of his trunk and they poured them into a dish on the coffee table. They took turns eating them and all produced different sounds apon doing so. Harry came out with a yowling cat sound at one point that had Hermione laughing so hard she actually fell of the couch. Ron burst into side-splitting laughter when Hermione took on the vocal persona of a steamboat, and Harry's favourite was Ron's moo. But the candies quickly began repeating themselves and Ron ran off to his room, bringing back a case of Chocolate Frogs.
"I had four cases ordered, I was supposed to take them into the shop tomorrow but I don't think anyone would notice if one went missing..."
Hermione's eyes went wide. "You think we're going to eat an entire case of chocolate frogs?"
Ron shook his head. Opening the box just enough to put his wand in, he opened the little packages magically and waited. Harry and Hermione caught on, and they ran to shut all the closest doors. Then, Ron counted to three and pulled the box open, unleasing 200 chocolate frogs around the room. Screaming in laughter, the three friends began casting spells and shooting jinxes at the little things one at a time. They could have froze them all at once, but that wasn't the point. 200 small frogs darting about a room was a perfect way to unwind. When one hopped on top of the tallest bookshelf, Hermione hopped onto Ron's back, but it jumped at them and they fell on top of each other, laughing. Harry got one on his back and the other two couldn't stop laughing to help him get it off. Ron stopped to eat one, and his girlfriend smackked him on the arm, laughing and saying it was cruel to eat it in front of all the other frogs, to which Harry pointed out they were not alive, only jinxed, and they all had to sit down so they didn't fall over in laughter.
When Harry looked over and saw Hermione on Ron's back the second time, the smiles on their faces, his heart softened in his chest. Through thick and thin, these two had never once left his side. They loved him and he loved them and alongside Ginny, they were the most important people in his life. When even she couldn't be with him, they were. One night during their travels, he came in from his turn keeping watch and saw them asleep on the sofa, Hermione's head rested on Ron's shoulder, and realized that he'd had it all wrong. He wasn't the chosen one, they were the chosen ones, because even though he was chosen from birth, they were stuck together from the moment that troll colapsed on the floor of the girl's bathroom, and nothing would separate them.
Ron felt it too when they all took a break, falling onto the sofa and breathing deeply. They had all fallen on top of each other, Harry's shoulder up against his, his arm around Hermione, and to feel them all close together made him realize that these were the two most important people in his life and they always would be. They'd faced it all together, the good and the bad, the very best and the very worst, and he knew that wouldn't change now that the worst was over. Time had tied them together unbreakably, and although they had other friends, they had Ginny, the rest of the Weasley's, nothing would change their little trio.
Hermione didn't feel it until later, when they closed the box of defeated frogs and went into the kitchen to make tea. They were all out of breath, and she watched as Ron patted Harry on the back in support. Her boys. They were her boys and she loved them with all her heart. She was glad that Ron cared for her the way she cared for him for any reasons, not the least of which that she didn't ever want their little trio to fall apart. It put a lump in her throat to think that, should she and Ron break up, things would change, but she pushed that thought aside. She couldn't see that happening for a long while. All she could see was the two most important people in her world, her brother and her boyfriend, her two best friends. She never considered herself a guy's girl, and yet it was so natural for her to spend all her time with them. She loved them dearly and she always would. She thought of her wedding one day, looking up at Ron, Harry standing behind him, and then she became totally embarrassed for thinking about it and shook the thought from her head.
When the tea was ready, she sat down next to Ron, sliding them their mugs and letting out a sigh.
"That was a brilliant idea, Ron," Harry laughed. Herione rubbed her boyfriend's knee under the table.
He smiled. "I love magic."
They all laughed. For a moment, no one spoke. They just looked around between each other, remembering how they used to sit like this all the time, just being together. It was all any of them could have asked for. Finally, Hermione spoke.
"We've had a good life, haven't we?"
Ron half-laughed. "A real eventful one, that's for sure."
"I'm serious," Hermione smiled. "I mean, yeah, we spent a lot of time doing things other kids never dreamed of, but..."
"...the rest of it," Harry finished.
"Exactly." Hermione smiled. "All the nights in the commonroom and the afternoons out on the grounds..."
Ron grinned, looking into her eyes. "We were really lucky."
In that moment, Harry felt something strange. When he looked back on his childhood, he was lucky to have Hermione and Ron there in the tough times, and he always thought of the evils he faced, the challenges he conquered. He seldom thought about the good moments, the normal things, every Christmas, every afternoon spent in Hogsmeade, the nights he and Ron stayed up to late, and it was these moments that made it all worth it. Hermione was right.
Just then, something moved in the corner, and they all turned to look at it.
One chocolate frog in the middle of the kitchen floor.
They exchanged looks, smiles growing, and then dove at it.
Ron came into the livingroom and found Hermione asleep on the couch. Ron looked at her face, her whole body, he thought of how wonderfull she was and how much he loved her. He had to tell her.
Moving over to the couch, he sat on his knees so their faces were inches apart. "Hermione? Wake up, love..."
She rubbed her eyes, smiling when she saw his face. "Sorry. Guess I drifted off..."
Hermione's heart fluttered. He'd complimented her, but never like that. She looked into his eyes. There was something there. She could feel his anticipation.
He opened his mouth to say it, but Harry came into the room.
"I'm, ah, off to bed..."
Ron nodded. "Right." Harry going to bed meant one of them had to, too. They couldn't let him suspect anything. Ron went into his room so Harry could see, then waited untill Hermione went into hers. They muffled their rooms so Harry wouldn't hear and then he apparated over to her room. She was still half asleep, so he just curled up into bed with her and they drifted off. They'd been falling asleep together every night since they got together. It was always very innocent, just cuddling into each other's arms and drifting off, but it was perfect.
His mind raced as he lay there, arms wrapped around her waist, her head nuzzled under his chin.
"I love you," he finally whispered. She was already asleep.