Before Hermione Granger had come to Hogwarts, she had decided that she was a caterpillar. Caterpillars needed to blossom and grow so that they could become something entirely new. Something better. And when her Hogwarts letter had come along, Hermione had instantly recognized this situation for what it was. It was rejuvenation. It was time to reinvent herself, become someone that she wanted to be versus who she actually was. When she got to Hogwarts she would no longer be the class know-it-all with busy hair and buckteeth. She'd do something about her hair. She'd use magic to cover up the buckteeth. She wouldn't raise her hand, she wouldn't annoy people, she wouldn't show off how smart she knew she was.
But then she got her textbooks and everything changed. She realized that fixing her buckteeth would take much more advanced magic than a mere first year could even begin to achieve. She became practically addicted to the knowledge in the books, so fascinating and wonderful and new. She recognized the fact that she, Hermione Granger, was who she was, and there wasn't really anything she could do to change that. Then she wondered if maybe the kids in the wizarding world were more like her. Maybe she wouldn't have to change to be interesting. Maybe being smart was enough to make everyone like her.
So Hermione devoured the textbooks, ate them up with a raw determination to prove herself. She read them over and over again, allowing the words to pour from the page and into her soul. All summer, all she did was read. Her parents were proud, but at the same time a little bit concerned. Their daughter had already merged herself into this world that was so far past their own. Muggle parents sending their children to Hogwarts rarely ever understood how this would effect their lives until it was too late. Once the child entered the wizarding world, they seldom looked back, and they found new people to befriend and take care of them, people who were as magical as them. And the way Hermione ignored her parents all summer, the way she got lost in her textbooks was the first example of what was to come. The way her parents would loose her to two boys named Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley.
There was nothing they could do about it.
Of course, at first it wasn't that simple. At first Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley only saw Hermione as the bushy haired know-it-all that she so rarely saw in herself, lest it was pointed out to her. Looking back on it, Hermione always blamed the solidarity of those first few months of Hogwarts on Ron. She always said that the way he instantly judged her that first day on the train was what lost her Harry, when all he'd really had to go on was the fact that she'd showed him up in the spell department, and that way she'd pointed out he had dirt on his nose.
It was late, probably midnight, when Ron came downstairs. Hermione Granger was sitting all by her lonesome in the common room, eyes quickly slipping and sliding through the pages of Hogwarts, A History. And, upon looking around in a state of panic, Ron came to recognize that this obnoxious girl was the only one in the common room who wasn't a fifth or seventh year. Well, he didn't know any fifth years besides Percy, who wasn't even there. And he certainly didn't know any seventh years. So, quietly, as if hoping she wouldn't notice, Ron crept over to where Hermione was and sat a good distance away from her. She was so enthralled in her book that she didn't even notice her company. Ron wasn't sure whether or not he should be offended by this, but found that he was grateful. He couldn’t bear to hear her talking about school, and certainly this girl never talked about anything else.
He used this time to study her. Hermione Granger had bushy brown hair that shined prettily in the light of the fire. An excited light graced her mahogany eyes as they swept over the pages of her book. Ron found this trait to be the most appealing. She got so excited about the things she loved. In a way, it was unnerving. And, while eleven- year-old Ron would never admit it to himself, he later discovered that, in a way, Hermione's passion was beautiful. Here, in this relaxed state of mind, with her knees tucked into an cute little position underneath her and her one of her tiny fingers resting on her bottom lip, Ron found this girl to be almost endearing. Which was silly. He'd only known her for a month. He didn't even like her. Disbelief coloring his thoughts, Ron let out a little snort.
That snort was all it took for Hermione to look curiously up from her reading. When she saw a little ginger haired boy on the armchair to the left of hers, Hermione's expression became furious. It caused Ron to wonder exactly what he had done to her when she was so obviously the annoying one. What he didn't know was that, to Hermione, Ron represented the person she didn't want to be. He was the one who had instantly seen her outside face, who she really was, called her out on what she wore so obviously but what most people were too shy to comment on. Hermione hated him for it. It would have been so different if Ron Weasley had allowed himself to get to know her, to be nice to her. But he hadn't, and she blamed him for all of the loneliness she had been experiencing the past month.
“What are you doing here?” Hermione asked snootily, unable to stop herself.
She inwardly winced as soon as the words poured from her mouth. She had just done exactly what this horrible little boy had expected her to do. She was being a spoiled, only child snob. She'd even put on that horrible little voice for the occasion. To her surprise, however, Ron Weasley didn't bite back. It seemed to Hermione that he was just too tired. All he did was shrug his shoulders and be honest.
“I couldn't sleep.”
For some strange reason, Hermione could feel herself begin to feel sorry for him. She hated it when she couldn't sleep, especially when there was school the next day. Alarmed at the pity beginning to roll off of her, she continued to bite the boy's head off.
“I expect you had too much sugar before bed.”
And once again, he surprised her.
Instantly, Hermione dropped her obnoxious manner, exhaustion and kindness overpowering pride and hurt just once.
“Have you tried warm milk?” she inquired, and Ron shook his head.
“How do you expect me to get that?”
“Good point. Well, what do you usually do when you can't sleep?”
Ron bit his lip.
“I don't know. Usually I fall asleep right away.”
Now he was starting to annoy her. She was trying to help him, and it seemed to her that he was being unusually difficult. There was an awkward pause while she thought about what he could do to get himself to fall asleep.
“Have you ever tried reading?” she asked eventually.
Ron looked affronted.
“I can read!”
Hermione rolled her eyes.
“I mean before bed.”
“Oh,” Ron said, frowning. “No, not really. I mean, mum used to read us all the fairy tales before bed, but I haven't heard any of Beedle's stuff in a while. Not since Ginny.”
She had no idea who Ginny was, but at the mention of this Beedle person, Hermione's eyes widened a little bit.
“Oh, are those wizarding fairy tales?” she asked, interested. Ron's drooping eyes opened a bit wider, surprised by her enthusiasm. There it was again. That strange passion about books that he never would understand, no matter how hard he tried.
“Yeah,” he said unenthusiastically.
“How fascinating!” Hermione replied earnestly. “Do you know any of them by heart?”
The honest truth was that, yes, Ron did, but he wasn't in the mood to recite fairy tales. Besides, that wasn't masculine, and he wasn't going to let Hermione see the side of him that could recite fairy tales and spent all his time with his baby sister.
“No,” Ron said in an emotionless voice.
There was a long stretch of silence during which Ron stared grumpily at the fire and Hermione struggled to find something to say. It wasn't as if she actually liked this boy. That said, she wondered why she felt such a pressure to be nice to him, to help him. She didn't understand how they'd gotten all the way through this conversation without some form of yelling. She couldn't fathom how she'd been in a conversation with this boy for ten minutes and he hadn't made her feel that horrible pang of hurt she usually felt in her stomach when she was around him. Ron Weasley was a puzzle that she desperately wanted to figure out, but at the same time knew she had no right to care about. He was just a boy, just a stupid boy, and why was she letting him into her life like this when he so obviously didn't care about her?
She was so sick and tired of people not liking her. When she'd come to this school, all she'd wanted was a new existence, a new personality. Some friends who could love her in spite of her flaws. Maybe girls she could laugh with, girls who could tell her that she really was pretty. The only girls she'd met were all so giggly, and Hermione Granger didn't giggle. It wasn't her thing. Most of the boys at the school were obsessed with Quidditch. Worst of all, nobody had been able to look past her exterior and really see her for who she was. Hermione was starting to doubt whether she was the good person she actually thought she was.
“Why do you hate me so much, anyways?” Hermione asked in a tired voice. Ron's eyes that had just been drooping opened wider. He looked rather alarmed to be in this conversation. Hermione couldn't really blame him. She wondered if she was going to cry.
“I don't hate you,” Ron told her quickly.
“Yes, you do,” Hermione snapped. “And I want to know why.”
“Are you telling me that I hate you when I know I don't?”
“That would be correct.”
“But... that doesn't even make any sense!”
There was a pause during which the both of them glared at each other, Ron's gaze slightly confused.
“Sorry,” Hermione said quietly. “I don't know what came over me.”
“Alright then,” Ron said, settling back into his chair. “I really don't hate you, you know.”
“Maybe. Hate's a strong word,” Hermione admitted. “But you think I'm annoying?”
“And that I'm a know-it-all?”
“And that I'm a nightmare?”
He looked startled.
“I never went as far as to say nightmare.”
Hermione bit her lip to keep herself from crying.
“At least I know what I need to work on, right?” she said brightly, and Ron frowned at her.
“I guess,” he said. “But what are you trying to change for?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well,” Ron started, “it seems to me that you are a bit over the top. But I don't think you hate who you are. I think you hate how everybody else sees you.”
For a second, all she could do was wonder how an eleven-year-old boy could say something so astute. And when she couldn't come up with an answer, all she could do was clear her throat and say,
“Do you want me to read to you?”
“So you can fall asleep. As evident by the fact that you've never read Hogwarts, A History, I assume you'll find it boring and nod off.”
“Oh,” Ron said, smiling a little bit now. He really did doubt that this would work, but he'd let her do it anyways. It wasn't like he had anything better to do so late at night. “Alright.” He arranged himself into a more comfortable position in the armchair he was sitting in so that he could see her, then closed his eyes and said, “Go on, then.”
Hermione glanced down at her book, then began reading. Ron didn't bother concentrating on the words. After hearing a sentence, he realized this book was just as boring as it sounded and, furthermore, the words were just too large for his comprehension this late at night. But there was something strange going on, anyways. Something was lulling him to sleep, something that was making him feel happy and relaxed and content. And after a second of contemplation, Ron realized that it was Hermione's voice. It was soft and peaceful, and it was like a beautiful lullaby swaying in and out of his thoughts. Soon, he felt himself fall, his eyes sliding shut, his mouth curved into the tiniest of smiles.
It was the first time Hermione Granger had ever helped him fall asleep, but if you asked him about it the next morning, he'd deny it.
A/N: Hey, everybody! Thank you for clicking here and reading the first chapter. This story is 30 chapters long and all of them are already written. Almost all of them have been beta’d by my amazing beta. First through seventh year will have two chapters each, and then the story will expand on throughout Ron and Hermione’s life together. All of the thoughts, opinions, and characterizations expressed in the story are my head canon for these characters. It will in no way deviate from canon, instead giving you peaks into the characters and events that Harry was never privy to. The relationship between Ron and Hermione behind the scenes is the main focus of this story, especially how their feelings develop as time goes on. I will not be sacrificing characters for plot. Sleepless is my baby, so I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it. Please tell me what you think (I live off of reviews) and if you have any questions you can ask them. Feel free to check out my one-shots if you find yourself getting Romione withdrawal as I so often do. Have a great day! ~writergirl8