Continuing Tales


A Harry Potter Story
by MsBinns

Part 28 of 45

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"Going – to – kill - Kinglsey!" Ron cursed between breaths as they struggled toward the edge of the small dark pond hand-in-hand. His spirits were raised slightly by the fact that she was still holding onto his hand as they both coughed and gasped for air. "And my dad!" he wheezed as he helped her to the banks of the pond.

They collapsed onto the ground, chests heaving as their eyes struggled to adjust to the light of the jungle.

"That was quite unpleasant," Hermione stated much more calmly, though he could hear she was as breathless as he was.

"Unpleasant? It was like being flushed down a giant toilet bowl!"

"It got us here," she stated positively. At her words, Ron looked around the dense canopy of leaves above them. It was unlike any forest he had seen before. Most of the trees stretched upward, almost completely obscuring the sky from view, yet the forest still managed to be bright somehow.

"So this is Australia, huh? It's very…green."

"Don't get used to it," Hermione remarked. "This is just the Wet Tropics."

"Are we in a jungle?"

"A rain forest," she clarified. "One of the oldest in the world."

"Blimey, Hermione, is there a place in this world you don't know everything about?" he panted, still slightly out of breath after their ordeal in the water.

"I sent my parents to live here. Of course I would read about the country."

"So your parents have been living in a jungle?"

"No, obviously, they're not in the jungle," she scowled at his comment.

He hated how short she was still being with him. He just wanted her to laugh. He'd always been able to divert her with a compliment or a joke. And because tact was something he'd never really possessed, he just asked her.

"Are you still angry with me?"


"You didn't even let me explain."

"That's because your explanations always turn out to be excuses," she sighed wearily. He was so relieved she was actually talking again he wanted to hug her.

"I just want you to understand why I acted the way I did."

"That would be an excuse, Ron," she replied dismissively and got to her feet. The look of annoyance had returned.

"No, it's not!"

"Look, we have to get out of here and get to Brisbane." She ignored him and began siphoning water off her clothes with her wand.


"Come here, I'll dry you off." She offered to do his clothes next, which at least appeared to be a kind gesture, but he took a step away from her.

"Will you stop and listen to me!" He knew his frustration must be evident to her by the rising volume of his voice.

"We have to get to the Ministry office before they close!" she raised her voice as well, the exasperation mounting.

"We're not going anywhere until you listen to me!" Ron maintained as he ran his hands through his wet hair. "I'm not trying to make an excuse. I fucked up, okay?" Ron could tell his angry words were not what she expected. He took in a deep breath and looked her square in the eye, expecting her to look away. Instead, she looked right back at him and it was all the impetus he needed to speak. "I am jealous of Viktor Krum." He said the words slowly and clapped his hands to his chest. "I reckon I'll always be jealous of him." He was surprised how good it felt to say the words aloud. Hermione looked just as surprised that he'd said them because the words silenced her. "It's just all of a sudden we're at his mansion of a house and – and you look gorgeous like always and he's staring at you and pouring you wine and then he had to take out that effing rakia and I'm a jealous bugger and I got pissed and I lost it." He gave a hapless shrug and then collapsed back down onto the jungle floor in a heap. "I'm jealous of him. That's all."

It took a moment, but she slowly lowered her body down to sit next to him on the forest floor. "Why did you say all those things last night then?" she asked quietly. Ron just shrugged his shoulders.

"I dunno."

"Do you really think I prefer Viktor?"

"I dunno. I was off my face."

"But there's truth to what you say when you're - "

"Look, I just - "

"It hurts me, Ron," she interrupted. "You thinking I prefer someone else. It hurts me. It always has." Her words were nearly inaudible and she lifted her eyes to him sadly as she spoke them. The confession was the last thing he expected to hear. Amazed at just how much he was capable of screwing up, Ron struggled for words as he tried to make sense of her confession. He'd never imagined her anger with him was anything but anger. She was cross with him because he was a jealous git. That was all.

"It's just when I see Krum, all I think about is how he got there first," he muttered finally, running his hands through his wet hair again. She opened up her mouth, probably to protest the way he'd referred to her as some kind of prize that Viktor had won, but he didn't let her speak. "Because I wish it hadn't been him. I wish I'd kissed you first. And I wish I'd asked you to the bloody Yule Ball and I wish I had…. the balls to tell you three years ago that you have always been the best thing in my life!" He was so worked up now he didn't even notice how Hermione's face immediately softened at the last confession. For a long time neither said anything.

"He kissed me three times," she informed suddenly. Ron jerked his head up at the answer to the question that had eaten away at him for years. "Once was before the Yule Ball, the other was between the second and third task and then once more before he left." He looked to her curiously, recognition slowly dawning on his face as he realized the intent of her confession. This would be it. After this, they would not have any more conversations about Krum or the nature of his relationship with Hermione. She was giving him this one detail, but that would be all. "I was so nervous the first time I didn't even kiss him back. I was quite frozen really. I probably frightened him," she admitted with a laugh. "The second time he kissed me it was outside the library." Hermione began pulling at the tall grass around their ankles. "And the last time he just kissed me goodbye and told me to write to him." She shrugged. "He kissed me three times and that was it. They weren't anything like the way you kiss me," she admitted with not even the slightest touch of embarrassment.

Ron didn't know how to respond at first. Part of him wanted to laugh. Part of him wanted to interrogate her further about where exactly the kisses had taken place and how long they'd lasted. Still another part wanted to kiss her right now, exactly the way she said Viktor hadn't. But he didn't do any of those things. He just stared at her helplessly, unsure of what to do in this moment after so much had been said. It was his turn now to pull at the tall grass at his feet.

"He just reminds me of how I let you down," Ron admitted awkwardly.

"You don't let me- " she began to protest.

"I do. I always do," Ron stated firmly. "First there was the sodding Yule Ball and everything last year with Lavender and then this winter…" His desertion loomed over them both as he now began shredding the long blades of grass that he'd pulled out. "Just everything."

"We've been through a lot," she stated simply and nodded her head in recognition. "But I like to think that things had to happen the way they did for us to get here. You and me."

Ron blew out a loud sigh, turning her words over in his head. He could trace back the 'what if's' in his life to the moment Harry had come to sit with him on the Hogwarts Express. So many awful things had happened since then. He'd made mistakes that made him cringe to think about. He'd insulted Hermione and almost gotten her killed by a mountain troll when she was twelve, ignored her for weeks over a silly argument about her cat, failed to ask her to the Yule Ball, broken her heart last year after agreeing to go to Slughorn's party together, and then abandoned her this winter. And yet, when Hermione said it, he realised that if he took out all the bad things that had happened it was impossible to say who he'd even be right now. Still, he knew he'd caused her pain. He knew he'd made her cry on more than one occasion. And suddenly, there on the damp jungle floor in the Wet Tropics of Australia, all he wanted to do was apologise for everything.

"I'm sorry," he blurted out, finally lifting his head up from the grass to look her in the eye. "I'm sorry I snogged her for four months when I really just wanted to snog you. She was there and she was pretty and she thought I was fit and I just wanted you to think so too. I'm sorry I was such an arse." The apology tumbled out so easily. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you I really wanted to go to Slughorn's party with you. I'm sorry I let her toss me off -"

"I – please - " Hermione blanched and held up her hands in protest, but Ron was eager to tell her the truth of it.

"It happened once and I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I didn't even mean for it really – she just started and I - "

"I don't need to hear the details." Deep down, Ron reckoned she did despite her protestations so he continued.

"First I wanted her to leave, but then – then I just wanted to make you jealous."

"Make me jealous?" Hermione couldn't help but laugh at the statement.


"How would that make me jealous when I never even knew until the other night?"

"Why'd you let McLaggen snog you in the cloakroom?" Ron parried her question.

"I - I don't know," she stammered.

"Because you wanted to make me jealous!" he fired with a knowing laugh. "Even though I'd never know unless you told me, you still wanted to prove that - that somebody wanted you like that. You wanted to know it in your heart, just to yourself that you knew it was true." He pressed his hand to his chest and Hermione looked down shamefully at his knowing words. He knew his analysis was spot on in assuming his motivations with Lavender were the same as hers. So much for the emotional range of a teaspoon. They'd both done it, to themselves and to each other.

"You stopped because you knew it was wrong. I didn't! I fucked up! I'm sorry!" he pressed his hands to his chest. "And I'm sorry I made fun of you that day in Snape's class and I'm sorry I ignored you for months. I hated it! Harry's my mate and he always will be, but you – you - " he stammered over words trying to figure out how to convey what Hermione meant to him and just how terrible last year had been. Instead, more apologies just started to spill forth. "I'm sorry I didn't write more this summer. I'm sorry I insulted your cooking and that I never helped and that I was such a grouchy git. And I'm sorry..." His voice quickly faded away as the pent up apology he'd been holding onto for months, but never able to say properly, finally tumbled out. "I'm sorry for running out on you this winter."

He didn't bother saying you and Harry. He had apologised to Harry already and while he'd blurted out an apology to Hermione once before, he'd never offered an explanation. This wasn't an excuse either. This was about the mistakes he'd made and the mistakes he was desperate to show her he had learned from. He heard no placating words from her. She set her jaw firmly, the way she did when she steeled herself not to cry, his words clearly bringing back memories she wasn't eager to revisit. Seeing how much just the mere mention of his departure had upset her made this all the more difficult.

"I'm so sorry, Hermione." He swallowed and took in a great gulp of air. "It made me see things, the locket, and think things about…about you and me," he admitted what he never had to anyone. "I think it wanted me to give up on us." Her silence continued and Ron knew he would have to say more. "I didn't want to give up. I wanted to believe deep down that it was me you wanted, but…" His voice fell away as he recalled the horrible image of Harry and Hermione embracing. "But it made me see things different. And as soon as I took it off I knew it was wrong, but I still…I could never believe it was me."

There was a long pause. Ron couldn't figure out if he should say anything more. She looked like she wanted to speak, but when she opened her mouth no words sounded. He fidgeted nervously, awaiting her response.

"Who else would it be?" she finally creaked. Ron was silent, but he knew the guilty look in his eyes conveyed it all too well. "It's always been you." She let out a tiny laugh as she said the words then, like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

He laughed too then at his own idiocy in doubting her and for doubting his own heart. He looked at her from his spot across the grass. He desperately wanted to close the gap between them, but he wasn't sure if he should. There was so much he wanted to say and do, but he wasn't sure where they went from here. He wanted to keep apologising, he wanted to tell her he was stupid, he wanted to tell her he had no intentions of ever leaving her side again, that she'd always been the one for him. He wanted to tell her that he was quite certain, as certain as a bloke like him could be, that he was in love with her. In love with her in a way that terrified him because he was confident he could only screw things up from here. She looked like she wanted to move closer to him too. She even licked her lips like she always did right before she moved in to kiss him, but neither said anything. Neither even moved.

I love you, Hermione. It wouldn't be that difficult to say. He'd already said it to her once before, after all. That had been like an over-exaggerated thank you though. This would be different.

Things had changed between them, he knew they had. After everything that had just been said, it wouldn't be like just resetting to that moment in the sleeper car before she'd started asking about Lavender. It wouldn't be like just erasing everything that happened at Krum's. They'd moved forward, yet he had no idea what he was supposed to say or do. "Er - do you reckon we ought to get out of this jungle?" He stammered awkwardly, turning to her. "I think I read somewhere there are spiders in Australia as big as your head."

"Maybe not as big as your head," she chuckled softly, "but I do know there's seventeen poisonous species alone here in the Tropics," she replied.

"Right, let's get out of here," he laughed nervously and scrambled to his feet, horrified by the realisation that if there were seventeen poisonous species of spiders there must be countless more non-poisonous ones lurking about. He turned back around to face her and extended his hand. She hesitated slightly before taking it, smiling shyly when she finally did. He pulled her to her feet effortlessly and was pleased when she immediately laced her fingers between his. He hadn't held her hand properly since the Bulgarian rail station. He gave her hand a squeeze and gave a look to the vibrant colours of the tropics.

"Let's go find your parents."


A Harry Potter Story
by MsBinns

Part 28 of 45

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