Chapter 1 : There Goes My Life
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I DID IT ALL FOR YOU
CHAPTER 1: THERE GOES MY LIFE
The blustery October wind howled past the window of the Sixth Year Girls dormitory in Gryffindor Tower. Lavender and Parvati were gossiping animatedly with each other about the date that Lavender and Seamus had had the previous night. Neither of them even paid attention to Hermione as she walked into the dorm and collapsed onto her bed, her pillow muffling the hysterical sobs pouring from her mouth.
“And then, if you’ll believe it, Seamus actually has the nerve to put his hand right on my--,” Lavender paused in her speech as Hermione gave a particularly violent and loud sob. “Hermione, are you alright?”
Hermione gave no answer. She turned over onto her side and faced the wall, pulling the curtains shut as she did so and hiding herself from view. The curtains, however, did nothing to stem sound of the continuous flow of misery that was coming from Hermione’s bed.
Lavender looked at Parvati with a knowing look on her face. They had both lived with Hermione long enough to know that when she came in sobbing uncontrollably and refusing to talk about it, it almost always meant one thing: Ron.
Sighing, Lavender slowly walked around to the other side of the bed and gently pulled the curtain back. “Hermione,” she asked, “Do you want to talk about what that prat did this time?”
Once again, the only reply was choked sobbing. Hermione turned again so that her back was to Lavender. Parvati, who was sitting in front of the mirror, shrugged at Lavender and continued applying her makeup with her wand.
Lavender had no idea what to say. Normally, if Hermione and Ron had had a row, she would come barging in and shut herself up in her bed acting as though she didn’t want to talk about it. Usually, however, with a very small amount of persuasion, Hermione would open up and tell Lavender and Parvati all about what her arsehole of a boyfriend had done that time. Lavender thought this was just Hermione’s way of confiding in them without losing her appearance as an independent “I-don’t-need-to-talk-about-it” woman.
“Hermione?” she questioned again. Still, no answer. Lavender and Parvati exchanged another look. Whatever Ron had done this time must have been really bad. By the way Hermione was acting, this might very likely have topped the infamous Yule Ball incident, something Lavender and Parvati had bet would never happen. If Hermione didn’t spill the beans soon, Lavender was down 5 galleons.
Taking a deep breath, Lavender tried again. “Come on Hermione, it can’t be that bad. Just tell us what he did, we’ll go over to his dorm and hex him to next Tuesday, and everything will go back to normal. Just like always.”
This time Hermione made some sign that she had heard Lavender. She slowly reached up and pointed to her bag, which was lying just inside the bathroom door. Lavender got up and walked over to the bag. She opened it up and pulled out a scroll.
Unrolling the parchment, Lavender couldn’t help it. She laughed. “You’re upset because your Potions essay only got an E?”
Parvati began laughing too, but Hermione finally spoke up angrily, wiping tears off her face, “Not that, Lavender! Even I don’t get that upset about school. Keep going.”
Lavender continued searching through the bag, pulling out spare quills, Hermione’s copy of Advanced Transfiguration, a picture of her and Ron out by the lake, and her daily planner. “There’s nothing else-” Lavender paused, her eyes drawn down to the bottom of the bag, where one sole item was left tucked away in the corner.
Lavender slowly reached down and took it out, a complete look of shock plastered onto her face. Parvati looked over from her makeup and saw what Lavender was holding and actually shrieked, covering her mouth with her hand. Both girls turned and gazed disbelievingly at Hermione.
Hermione turned over and saw the look on both their faces and the item in Lavender’s hand and let out another howl of misery.
Lavender checked the bottle she was holding again, just to make sure that her eyes hadn’t deceived her, but they hadn’t. It was true. She had found a pregnancy test in the bag of perfect prefect Hermione Granger.
* _ * _ *
One month earlier,
September 19, 1996…
Hermione could honestly say that, without a doubt, she had been having the worst birthday of her entire now seventeen-year-old life.
After the chaos of the past few months, when the war with Voldemort had really started and every moment you spent with someone could easily be your last, a good birthday was just the thing that she would have needed to pull her out of her near-depression.
Unfortunately for her, however, things had not turned out according to plan. She had answered a question wrong in Transfiguration, been late for Potions and gotten a detention from Snape, and, to top it all off, Ron had spoken a grand total of about five words to her all day.
Hermione looked around the common room, finding it vacant except for a group of third year girls studying in the corner. Spotting her favorite armchair by the fire empty, Hermione slouched over and collapsed into it, letting the chair’s comfort lull her into a half-awake state.
She had just been in the library finishing her Potions essay, despite the fact that it was her birthday, and the essay wasn’t due for another week. Oh, well. At least she didn’t have four parchments on the effects a Mind Controlling Potion has on the human body hanging over her head all weekend.
And as it was now Friday night, Hermione was thoroughly looking forward to the weekend and leaving this dreadful birthday behind her. She already had a whole itinerary planned out for the next couple days. She was going to spend it: reading, not thinking about Voldemort, spending time with Harry, Ginny, Neville, and Luna, finally getting some alone time with her sometimes-wonderful boyfriend, and…oh, yeah, not thinking about Voldemort.
She sighed deeply, thinking about Ron and how they had finally gotten together the past summer….
After the Department of Mysteries, Hermione had stayed in the Hospital Wing and had to drink more foul, disgusting potions than she even thought could be stored in Snape’s dungeon. During those days in the Hospital Wing Hermione felt like she had aged at least 100 years.
She couldn’t even believe she had been so easily swayed. She had known, deep down inside her, that Sirius was in no danger. Though she had no idea how, she knew that it was a trick of Voldemort’s and that the adventure they were about to embark on would not end as all the others did. There would be no Dumbledore, or Fawkes, or Professor Lupin and Time-Turners to come in at the end and save them all from whatever near-hopeless situation they were currently struggling through. And she had been right.
They all hadn’t come out of there alive, and the cruel irony that they had caused the death of the person they had gone out to save in the first place tore at Hermione’s heart worse than any of the potions did.
She had watched the other students out of the small window beside her bed, and felt as separated from them as she would now feel watching Muggle children. There they all were, swimming in the lake, playing pick-up games of Quidditch on the pitch, having contests to see who was brave enough to go past the outer trees of the Forbidden Forest, and not one of them out there knew the struggle that their fellow students were going through.
They didn’t know nor care about Ron, with bruises up and down his arm and nightmares so frightening he woke up in his bed in the middle of the night, screaming her name….
“Hermione! Hermione, where are you? Please, don’t be dead! Don’t be dead, Hermione! I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I thought you were right behind me…Please, don’t leave me…I need you, Harry needs you…Please, please…”
They didn’t care that Hermione had to hide her own wounds and put on a brave face in order to comfort her friend, didn’t care that the tears that poured down her face held the knowledge of such true sacrifice and loyalty that it burned to even think about it.
Her fellow students didn’t care that Ginny and Luna had to deal with the aftermath of a battle with Death Eaters, that Neville had the Cruciatus Curse used on him by the very same woman who had tortured his parents into insanity.
And, despite how many people were trying to be all buddy-buddy with Harry now that he was back in the Daily Prophet’s good books, Hermione doubted very much that any one of them cared about the real Harry Potter. All they cared about was The-Boy-Who-Lived. If any one of them knew the truth about Harry and the danger that could come from being close to him, every last one of them would be heading for the hills faster than you could say ‘Voldemort.’
The injustice of it all nearly drove Hermione to tears or insuppressible anger, at which time she was likely to either cry or take it out on Ron, which in hindsight was probably not the best idea, given the state that he was in.
Ron came out of the Department of Mysteries even worse off than Hermione. Though outwardly he appeared fine, a simple look under his sleeve would show that inside Ron was, to put it lightly, dieing.
The brain that had attacked him was not just a normal brain. It was in the Department of Mysteries because during the First War, when people were dieing left and right and the Ministry was at a loss about finding Death Eaters, the Minister thought that it would be a smart idea to remove the brains of the victims that they found. In doing this the Unspeakables would be able to delve into the memory of the victim and, with luck, discover the identity of their killer.
As completely gruesome and inhumane as the situation sounds in theory, the actual truth is ten times worse. Not only did the mutilation of the corpses fail to reveal the identity of any Death Eater, owing to the fact that all of them wore masks when they killed, it also demonstrated to the world just how little the Unspeakables performing the experiment actually understood about the human brain before beginning.
Surprisingly, the brains did not take the experimenters cutting them open and pulling out the strands of long coil that were memories very well. Two days into the experiment, five Unspeakables were hospitalized with, to put it simply, complete mental insanity. The memories of the torture that the original victims went through forced their way into the mind of the detectives and forced them to relive it, over and over and over, eventually driving them insane.
The brains were put in a tank in the Department of Mysteries, just in case at a future time when more protection could be used they would be useful. That is what Dumbledore explained to Ron in the first hours of the morning after the battle, when it was still up in the air whether Hermione would come out alive or not. Ron had in turn told Hermione the whole story, who was amazed that she had never read about it before.
Apparently, if Ron had spent any more time entrapped within the brain’s tentacles and Madam Pomfrey hadn’t been able to give him the antidote right away, Ron would be clinically insane for the rest of his life. As it was Ron still had some of the memories inside his own brain, and Madam Pomfrey said it would be a while before all of them were ejected from his mind.
Both Ron and herself came very close to losing their lives that night, and Hermione doubted Harry even had an inkling as to how close of a call it actually had been.
So every night during their hospital stay, Hermione would be woken with fresh screams from Ron, and she would get up out of her bed, walk barefooted across the freezing tiled floor, and sit in the chair that waited for her beside Ron’s bed.
Sitting down she would take his hand in her own. He would awake, his eyes searching for her in the near-darkness. When he felt her warm hand in his own and he saw her near him, his heavy breathing would calm and he’d slowly fall back into a deep but restless sleep. Hermione would stay there till morning.
As a result, Hermione got very little of the fifteen hours of sleep a day she needed to fully recover. Madam Pomfrey was absolutely furious.
“My God girl, what have you been doing? By the way you look you’d think you were getting one hour of sleep a night, not fifteen!”
Which, Hermione often thought to herself, wasn’t too far from the truth.
Eventually, however, Hermione and Ron left the Hospital Wing and the school year ended. On the platform after the train had landed Hermione experienced what might have possibly been the most awkward moment of her life.
She and Ron had been standing together by the entrance to Platform 9 and ¾. Harry had just left with his Aunt, Uncle, and cousin. Hermione was thinking that, though she couldn’t imagine how, Dudley had gotten even fatter since the last time she saw him.
Just as she was pondering the various ways that Dudley could have risen from the classification of “small elephant” to “killer whale,” she realized, with an uncomfortable jolt, that her and Ron were now alone.
Hermione looked around frantically for an excuse to join the rest of the group. The Weasleys and her parents were talking animatedly, Ron’s father looking particularly exuberant and pointing questioningly toward the beeper her dad had in his hand.
Ginny was saying goodbye to some of her roommates and Fred and George were talking with Lee. Remus, Tonks, and Moody, now that Harry was gone, had already left back to headquarters.
Ron and Hermione were alone. Completely, unavoidably, alone.
Both of them stood in silence, looking everywhere but at each other. Presently Ron cleared his throat loudly, and Hermione, having no other choice, turned to look at him.
Silence again. Quick, Hermione, quick. Say something!
“You know, that t-shirt clashes terribly with your hair.”
Oh, Merlin. Anything but that! She couldn’t have told him how nice she thought his hair was, how the color glowed in the sunlight. She had to bring up the one thing that wasn’t perfect about him…
Okay, one of the many things that weren’t perfect about him, but that’s beside the point.
Ron, for his part, blushed furiously to the roots of his hair but seemed ready for a fight nonetheless.
Before the scene could escalate any further, Hermione covered up her mistake by changing the direction of the conversation.
“So Ron, when do you think we can get together again this summer?”
She continued to look at him hopefully, her eyes praying for him to forget her earlier comment.
Still looking slightly confused, Ron replied, “Erm…. I dunno, maybe in a week or so, when we go back to Grimmauld Place. But don’t you want to spend more time with your parents?”
Ron’s voice didn’t sound hopeful that she would spend more time with her parents. On the contrary, he looked rather hesitant even asking the question.
Hermione looked guiltily at her Mum and Dad, who were still engrossed in conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Truth be told, she hadn’t really spent any time with them since their trip to France before her third year, which was two…no, now three years ago.
The ski trip they had planned for Christmas that Hermione had bailed out on was meant to be a chance for them to reconnect. Hermione still remembered the disappointment in their voices (well, the disappointment the letter had made it seem like their voices would have, had Hermione been able to tell them in person.)
But then she turned back to Ron, and he looked so lost, gazing at her with those big blue eyes, and she couldn’t resist.
“Well, I suppose I should but….I mean, Harry needs us, right? I’m sure my parents would understand.”
“Yes, of course! Harry needs you, and I …. I want you to be there for Harry, so…”
“So, yeah,” Hermione finished for him. “I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
Silence once again reigned supreme over Kings Cross as Hermione and Ron stood looking bashfully at one another.
Hermione finally spoke. “I’d better be….I mean, my parents probably want to….”
“Yeah, I should get going too…”
“Um, er-,” Hermione was dumbfounded as to why talking to someone who she had spent the better part of five years with suddenly seemed as hard as talking to Lord Voldemort.
“So, I’ll be seeing you,” Hermione finished lamely, after failing at thinking up something heartfelt and comforting to say to him before she left.
She really should kiss him goodbye, though, especially after she had just done so with Harry. It wouldn’t be fair to Ron if she didn’t, right?
Ron seemed to be thinking the same thing, and so both of them stepped forward a little. Hermione awkwardly leaned in and wrapped her arms around Ron, and he just as awkwardly hugged her back.
She pulled back and went to kiss him on the cheek. He, however, seemed to be thinking the same thing, and so as he turned her kiss went astray. She didn’t kiss him on the cheek.
She didn’t even kiss him on the lips.
She kissed him on the ear, of all places. And to just top off the most embarrassing situation of her life, Fred and George chose that exact moment to turn around.
As Hermione almost ran back to her parents and hurried them out of the station, she thought bitterly that she was never going to live that down. She tried desperately to block out the sound of Fred and George’s merciless laughter as it followed her all the way out to the parking lot.
As she got into her parents car she wished to herself that she would never, ever, see Fred and/or George Weasley again. Or at least not for a very long time.
Unfortunately for her, neither wish came true. Just the next week Dumbledore came to her house and whisked her away to Grimmauld Place because of safety reasons. And in the Black Mansion there was no escaping the taunting of the twins.
“You know Hermione, Fred and I have just thought up a wonderful new addition to the once-thought unsurpassable original Extendable Ear,” George told her smugly one evening when, naturally for her, just about every single member of the Order was present in the kitchen, including, to her utter embarrassment, Professor McGonagall.
Hermione tried to sound indifferent about the whole thing, but a slight pinkish tinge was enveloping her cheeks. “Oh, really, George? That sounds interesting.”
“Very interesting, Hermione,” Fred chimed in. “You see, we’ve noticed that teens today crave a little more zest from his or her ear.”
“You know, how it looks --”
“--And, dare I say,--”
“Hm, I suppose so,” Hermione replied, while completely not-on-purpose dropping her fork off the table and forcing her to hide her face from view to retrieve it.
“Yes, well, we thought we might need a little first-hand advice from someone who really knows what an ear tastes like, do you know what I mean?” Fred continued, looking for all the world as though today was Christmas, Easter, and his birthday all rolled into one.
“And so, Fred and I got to thinking,” George cut in, “who do we know who has knowledge such as this?”
“And then we remembered! Why, our darling friend Hermione!”
“Because, as some of us know and some of us don’t but will very soon, Hermione knows exactly what one Ronald Bilius Weasley’s ear tastes li--”
Nobody heard what happened next, as Snape’s head had chosen this moment to appear in the fireplace telling everyone the news of a Death Eater Attack on a village outside London. And though Hermione felt terrible admitting it, she had never felt more thankful to Voldemort than she did at that moment.
And so, as the summer went by and attacks from Death Eaters increased, Hermione found herself doing the one thing that she did (and didn’t) want to be doing: Spending time alone with Ron Weasley.
Though, thankfully, it wasn’t nearly as awkward as saying goodbye at King’s Cross, there still seemed to be an enormous amount of empty space to fill with conversation. At least the previous summer they were cleaning. This summer all they did was sit and wait for word of the next attack to come.
It was during one of these moments where the silence was so loud that it was ringing in her ears that Hermione said what may have been the stupidest thing she could have possibly ever said.
“Your ear was kind of sweaty, Ron.”
Ron, who had been laying down at the end of his bed reading a book, promptly fell off and smashed his head against the hard floor.
Jumping up quickly, however, Ron gazed at her in complete disbelief. “Excuse me?”
Trying to cover up her tracks, Hermione stammered, “I mean…. I’m just saying that that must mean you’re really healthy. I mean, you know, sweating is the body’s way of keeping itself cool, so, since you were sweating, you were obviously hot, and….well, I mean it was a hot day, why wouldn’t you be hot? But it was good that you were sweating because then you cooled yourself off and you didn’t die of…you know, being too hot…”
Nice, Hermione, she thought to herself. You should include that paragraph in your next Transfiguration essay. Very eloquent.
“Er—yeah, I guess so,” Ron responded, still rubbing the back of his head and staring at Hermione as though she had grown an extra arm out of her forehead.
The silence that followed this conversation was even more unbearable than before. Thankfully, however, Ron was the one to end it this time.
“Look, Hermione, I’m really sorry about that whole kiss thing at the train station, it was my fault—”
“No, Ron, it was my fault, I shouldn’t have—”
“I turned at the last second, so—”
“Yeah it was just an accident,” Hermione finished. Hermione looked at Ron. Ron looked at his bedpost.
“I did want to kiss you, though,” Hermione suddenly exclaimed, surprised at her own daring. “The normal way, of course.”
Ron whipped around so fast that he smacked his head against the bedpost that he was looking at so intently.
Blushing furiously and rubbing his head even harder than before, he regained his footing and said, “You mean, like…On the lips, normal?”
Ron looked taken aback and cast his eyes downward toward the floor. Hermione thought fast.
“I mean, I wouldn’t have minded…if it was on the lips. It wasn’t my intent, of course. But if had happened, purely hypothetically speaking, I might’ve….enjoyed it.”
Ron turned back around to face her. “Er—yeah, me too. Hypothetically speaking here.”
“So…I mean, if we both wouldn’t have minded, maybe right now we could…you know, try it out. Just to see what it’s like. Because we didn’t at the train.”
Ron looked both enthusiastic and terrified at this idea. “Er, uh,” he squeaked, his voice cracking so high Hermione thought the window might break. He cleared his throat and in a very over exaggerated manly voice continued, “Yeah, that would be cool.”
Though it seemed to have been established what they were about to do, neither made a move. Hermione sat on the bed where she had been throughout the whole conversation and Ron stood still rubbing his head where he had been after the bedpost incident.
Realizing that it was up to her to make the first move, Hermione got up and slowly walked over to stand in front of him. She put her hands tenderly on his shoulders, and Ron, looking as though there was a severe lack of oxygen in the room, wrapped his arms nervously around her waist.
She leaned up. He leaned down. And just like that, their lips met….
Hermione sighed to herself, sinking deeper into the armchair in front of the Gryffindor Common Room fireplace. It wasn’t all that great, as first kisses went. No passionate love confessions, no romantic walks on the beach. It was quick and very awkward, and Ron refused to so much as look at her for the following two days, but it was Hermione’s first kiss, and she wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Eventually Ron got over his temporary allergic reaction to her, and as more and more kisses came and the kisses became more and more intense, Hermione finally found herself in the relationship she had been waiting for since third year.
Hermione looked around the common room. The third year girls that were there earlier had left, and she checking her watch saw that it was past eleven o’clock. She really should be getting to bed soon.
She couldn’t figure out one thing, though. She had been waiting all day for Ron’s present to arrive as he had promised, but it hadn’t. Hermione was a little hesitant to go to bed and resign to the fact that Ron’s present wasn’t coming.
He certainly seemed excited when she walked into the Great Hall that morning, and so the day had started out nicely enough. He had jumped up so fast she wondered if his seat was on fire, strode quickly over to her and kissed her on the cheek.
“Happy Birthday, Hermione,” he said, leading her by the hand to where he was sitting with Harry, Ginny, Neville, and Luna, who had wandered over from the Ravenclaw table like she did every morning.
A chorus of ‘Happy Birthdays’ greeted Hermione as she took her seat and began piling her plate with breakfast. Between the usual conversations of Quidditch, the war, and classes, Ron pulled her aside and whispered, so only she could hear, “I have your present almost all ready, but it’s a surprise. You’ll love it, I think.”
Hermione looked at him questioningly, but he shut his mouth and refused to divulge any more information. The whole day Hermione waited anxiously for the present to arrive; during lunch, after their last class of the day. Perhaps he’d take her for a moonlit walk around the lake after dinner?
She was disappointed, however, when no sooner had she sat down at the table for dinner when Ron jumped up and murmured a quick, “See you soon,” to her.
Confused, Hermione looked around at Ginny and Harry. Harry quailed under her gaze and pretended to be in a very important conversation with Ginny about new Quidditch tactics.
“Well, uh, yeah, I really should try out the Wronsko—I mean, Wronski Feint,” Harry was saying nervously. Hermione smiled a bit to herself. Harry always was the worst out of everyone at lieing.
“Okay, guys, cut the act,” Hermione cut in. “What is Ron planning?”
Harry looked like a little overgrown schoolboy looking for his way home as his eyes darted around the Great Hall, apparently looking for an escape route.
“Yeah, Harry, what is Ron planning?” Ginny asked.
Well, either Ginny is even more amazing at lieing than Hermione had thought, or she also had no idea what the present was. Hermione sincerely hoped it was the latter, as Harry would easily buckle under the combined forces of Hermione and Ginny.
Before she could formulate a battle plan, however, Harry scooped up his schoolbooks and before either of them could utter a single word bombed out of the Great Hall as if Voldemort himself was on his heels.
“Well, it’s certainly not hard to figure out that Harry knows what it is,” Ginny said off-handedly, returning to her dinner and seeming to forget the whole situation.
Hermione, however, could not seem to think of anything else, and so in an attempt to distract herself she had gone to the library and finished her essay.
Now she found herself alone in the Common Room, with less than one hour left of her birthday, and both Ron and his present nowhere to be found.
Perhaps she should just go to bed and force this birthday from hell to an end. Bugger Ron and his bloody present, Hermione thought rather savagely to herself as she gathered up her book bag and made her way across the common room toward the door to the Girls Dormitory.
She was halfway across when she slowed down her pace and looked back at the staircase leading to the Boys Dormitory. Maybe she should just wait a little while longer…
No, he had his chance, her rational side told her. He lost it.
However, something, though she had no idea what, was somehow pulling her back, forcing her footsteps to unwillingly slow down and stop moving altogether. She stood still, hearing the faint ticking of the clock, the crackling of the fading embers of the fire, the soft, rhythmic beat of her own heart….
Oh, this is ridiculous, she thought to herself. She walked briskly the rest of the way to the door, but as her hand reached out to turn the knob, it happened again. It was as if something deep inside her was telling her to stay, if only for a few moments longer.
Hermione stood in front of the door, her hand just over the handle but not touching it. She looked back across the common room toward the boy’s staircase and sighed, finally resigning herself to the fact that Ron wasn’t coming. She turned back, grasped the door handle and--
An odd feeling swept over Hermione as she heard him call out her name. It wasn’t one of happiness or relief or joy, it was one of something bigger, something much more important than just some silly present….
Before she could think about what had just happened, however, she felt his arms wrap around her and she fell back against his chest, watching the doorknob as she moved farther and farther away from it….
She turned back to him and smiled. He smiled back.
“Look, Hermione, I’m sorry I’m late, but I was just upstairs getting—getting, ready, and I needed to pluck up a lot of courage to do it, so….Well, I’m really glad I caught you before you went upstairs.”
She looked back at the door one more time before turning back to him. She gazed up into his eyes and replied, “Yes, Ron, so am I.”
Ron smiled, and a little bit of the nervousness he had been displaying seemed to disappear. “Okay, well, I want the present to be a surprise, so…Would you mind wearing this?”
He produced a bandana from his pocket and questioned Hermione hesitantly, waving it in front of her face. She nodded, curious and fearful at the same time about what this could be all about.
He walked slowly behind her, tripping on the rug as he did so. He caught himself before he fell to the floor, but Hermione still had to try her hardest to hide the smirk creeping up her face.
“Ron, what is all this about?” she questioned, as her vision was blanketed by the bandana and Ron steered her straight out of the portrait hole and down the hallway.
“You’ll see. Now, shush, because I need all my concentration to make sure both you and me don’t to tumbling down every staircase in this castle.”
Hermione laughed, but quieted down after that. She tried to figure out where they were going by concentrating on which way Ron turned her whenever they walked up a stair or turned a corridor. She soon got lost, however, and just tried to enjoy the experience of being led blindfolded around the castle corridors by Ron in the middle of the night.
“But Ron,” she questioned suddenly, “what if McGonagall or someone catches us?”
“Don’t worry, I’ve got my prefect badge.”
“Yeah, they won’t think it’s suspicious,” Hermione joked. “I mean, we always blindfold ourselves when doing the rounds each night, right?”
Ron laughed. “Exactly. It keeps things exciting.”
A few minutes later they had stopped and Hermione felt Ron walk back and forth in front of her. She was wondering what he could possibly be doing when she heard him open up a door and she realized they must be in–
“The Room of Requirement!” Ron announced proudly, ripping off the bandana.
Hermione’s smile was so wide she swore it could have reached to the moon and back, no problem, when she opened her eyes. When her eyes took in what was around her, though, the smile turned into a scowl so fast one might think she was a secret Metamorphagus.
“RONALD WEASLEY!” she screamed.
The Room of Requirement looked about as different from it did when the DA meetings were held here as black looked different from white. It was much smaller, for one thing. If she wasn’t so angry she could have even called it cozy. There was a large fireplace roaring in one corner, a soft music coming out of the other. However, those two amenities did nothing to hide the huge, red canopy bed in the center of the room, shaped like a heart with rose petals covering it from head to foot.
There was nothing really wrong with the actual bed, per se. On the contrary, it was actually very comfortable looking. It was more of what Hermione knew the bed was there for that angered her. She knew exactly what Ron’s “present” was, and she was not very happy about it.
“What, you don’t like it?” he asked quickly, looking at Hermione with hurt eyes.
“Do I—I—Ron, you are the most insensitive, inconsiderate, perverted…scarlet man that I have ever met!”
“Is it the rose petals? Maybe they are a bit too much, I can just sweep them off if you want—”
“NO, IT ISN’T THE ROSE PETALS!” Hermione doubted she had ever been angrier in her entire life.
“Then what is it?”
“IT’S WHAT YOU WANT US TO DO AMONG THOSE ROSE PETALS, YOU IMBECILE!”
“You—you don’t want too?”
Hermione, for the first time in her life, seriously considered strangling Ron Weasley.
“What in the world made you think that I would EVER want to do that!”
“Well, I mean, you’re of age now, officially…You’re seventeen. So I just thought that you might want to act like an adult and—”
“I don’t care how old I’m turning! I don’t care if I was turning 50 today, that doesn’t mean that you should automatically assume that I would want to—to—shag!”
“Come on, Hermione, we’ve hardly done anything together, and I just thought that…you know, you’d want to catch up with all the other girls and—”
Hermione turned on her heel and made for the door, leaving a whimpering Ron behind her. Just as she pulled it open, however, his hand came out of nowhere and shut it again. He was so much stronger than her that she had no chance of opening it.
“You let me out of here this instant, Ron!”
“Not until you hear me out!”
“I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANYTHING THAT COMES OUT OF YOUR SICK, TWISTED—”
“Please, Hermione, just listen to me for one second,” he pleaded. “I didn’t bring you here to shag…Well, yeah, I guess I did, but not in that way! I didn’t want to just so I could brag to my roommates and just because it would feel good…I did it because I—I want to be with you, before it’s too late.”
Hermione stopped struggling and looked up at him, some (but not all) of her anger ebbing away.
“We never know when one of us could die,” he continued, “And nothing would kill me more than to have you be taken from me and knowing that we never—that we could have, but we never—”
“Ron, don’t worry, we have plenty of time, none of us are going die,” she told him rationally.
“You don’t know that Hermione! You can’t know that! Death Eaters could storm this castle right now, and just because you wish it won’t happen doesn’t mean that it won’t! We might only be together for a little while longer, and I sure as hell don’t want to leave this world with any regrets!”
She turned away and looked at the wall. She hated him for it, but what he was saying did make sense. And she was an adult, now, so it wouldn’t technically be wrong for them to…well, yes, it would, that was specifically forbidden in the Hogwart’s Rule Book, but…He was right, what if they never got to…
Ron could tell that he was winning her over. “Please, Hermione, please stay. Tell me you’ll stay.” He looked almost on the verge of tears when she looked up, and though every ounce of her brain was screaming NO, HERMIONE, NO! something else was screaming something entirely different. And something else won.
“Yes, Ron. I’ll stay.”
* _ * _ *
And so now here she was, lying on her bed on a cold October afternoon, with Lavender and Parvati both looking at her as though they had never seen her before, and she wished with every ounce of her body that she had just told him no.
And she cried,
There goes my life
There goes my future
Might as well kiss it all goodbye
There goes my life....
- "There Goes My Life," by Kenny Chesney
A/N: The chapter title comes from a Kenny Chesney song called, “There Goes My Life.” If you don’t know who Kenny Chesney is and haven’t heard any of his music, kindly escort yourself from the room. Just Kidding! Just download some songs and I’ll forgive you. Chapter 2 should will be up as soon as I possibly can. Read and Review!