Continuing Tales


A Harry Potter Story
by MsBinns

Part 36 of 45

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Untitled Document

They used to.

The words practically caused Ron's heart to stop.

"They used to?" he squeaked unexpectedly into the telephone.

"They left about two months ago."

"Two months ago?" Ron could do little more than parrot back the words of the receptionist. "Can you tell me where they live?" He finally managed a few more words. "I'm -er - we're family."

"They live in Paddington," the receptionist replied after a long pause. "One seventeen Highgate Hill."

"Hold on a tick!" Ron searched frantically for the short stubby quill Hermione used and some blank paper. "One seventeen Highgate Hill," he repeated, scribbling it down, hardly able to contain his excitement. "Great. Great. Thanks. Thanks a lot!" Ron stammered, unable to even process what he held in his hand.

They did it.

It had come to the last fifteen offices, but he found them. He found her parents.

Lying back on the sofa, he rubbed his eyes and looked at the address. He wondered where Highgate Hill even was, whether it was close to all the places they'd already traveled to across the city. Maybe they'd walked right by it. He wondered how Hermione would react when he told her their search was over. He hadn't heard a sound from behind the bedroom door since she retreated back there hours ago. Her sleep last night had been so poor that he knew he ought to let her continue resting, but he couldn't resist sharing the news.

She was asleep on her side, curled toward his half of the bed, holding his pillow between her hands when he entered the bedroom.

"Hermione," he spoke her name softly as he drew near. She was sleeping peacefully and didn't budge. Fuck, he didn't want to wake her up if she was actually sleeping well, but this really couldn't wait. She'd been waiting long enough. "Hermione." He reached out to touch her shoulder then and give her a squeeze.

When her eyes slowly opened, the first thing she did upon seeing him was smile.

"Have you come to join me finally?" Her voice was dry and scratchy, indicating she'd been sleeping a while. The playful invitation made him smile.

"Maybe in a bit."

"Come and lie down." She reached for him groggily.


"How long have I been asleep?"

"Hermione, I found them." He ignored her query and blurted out the news.

"What?" She rubbed her eyes again and it was then she seemed to catch sight of the piece of paper in his hands.

"I found them. Your parents. Well, I found the place they used to work at, at least. They gave me their address."

"Their address?" Her voice sounded suddenly clear as she took the piece of paper from his hands. She held it delicately, almost like it was sacred. She had something there in her hands, proof that her parents were well, or at least that they had been two months ago. "You found them." He couldn't tell whether it was a question or not.

"I found their address," he confirmed, finally sitting down on the bed beside her. "Do you want to go and see it? It's not pissing it down outside anymore." He glanced out the window to where the rain had finally ceased.

"You found them," she repeated.

"We found them," he maintained, moving his hand over hers. She paused for a moment.

"No, you found them," she clarified, "I was asleep."

"Minor detail," he dismissed, ignoring the guilt he could detect in her voice. "You're the one who got us here," he reminded. "Remember when we had no idea where we were?" He recalled the rainy Dijon square that somehow felt like so many months ago. "After that old windbag Darling sent us to - where did Kingsley say we were?"

"Nantes." She gave a small smile at the memory from a week ago. "The Portkey sent us to Nantes."

"And you got us here," he reminded her. "And now...we found them."

"We found them." She said it for the third time like she was still trying to comprehend what the words meant.

Ron knew what they meant to him. It wasn't destroying Horcruxes or saving the word, but he promised his mum he'd be there for her and the address on the paper meant he'd done it. The words meant he'd accomplished his mission.

For Hermione, the address meant she had a family again.

And yet her reaction seemed muted. She wasn't racing to put on her trainers and find the place where her parents resided. She just continued to fold and refold the tiny piece of paper in her hands.

That paper that proved her parents were alive and that they'd worked and lived in Brisbane just like she'd planned. They lived at One Seventeen Highgate Hill. All they had to do now was go to them.

"Do you want to lie down?" Hermione inquired instead of leaping to her feet.

"Don't you want to go and see them?" Ron asked with an incredulous laugh.

"Of course, I do." A scathing look accompanied her immediate reply.

"Well then, let's go." Ron motioned for them to leave, but Hermione just sunk deeper into the mattress.

"There's things I have to consider and - and logistics to think about and I - I - I - I have to practice - you know - the spell and - and - what to say - how to - I don't..." Her stammering became more and more incoherent until Ron finally squeezed her hand and cut her off.

"We'll just go see where Highgate Hill is." He tried to sound confident and calm, despite how unnerving the stammering was. He assumed this was the kind of thing she had thought about in the past five days they'd been in Australia. Hell, he figured it was the kind of thing she'd thought about all year. What would she say to her parents, how she would explain what she'd done... those were the kinds of questions Hermione Granger answered in advance. "You don't have to talk to them today. We'll just look."

"Can you lie down just for a minute?" she implored again. Though a large part of Ron knew he ought to decline, the plaintive nature of her voice was too chilling to ignore. Even in the days and weeks at Shell Cottage when she was recovering from what had been done to her he'd never seen her like this. She'd been able to focus on something then. The intricacies of their Gringotts break-in and becoming Bellatrix Lestrange had consumed her. They had to keep pressing forward, no matter how weak she'd been or how much she ought to have rested.

Now that they had time she seemed to have lost her focus.

"Okay, but you can't use me for my body," he tried for a joke as he slid his hips down the bed so he was lying beside her.

He'd always prided himself on being able to know her. It bothered him to see such an unfamiliar part of her.

It could just be overwhelming. He supposed there were an awful lot of logistical details that accompanied locating her parents aside from just reversing the spell. But Hermione had been overwhelmed before. She'd taken twelve subjects her third year at Hogwarts. She'd helped organize secret D.A meetings while revising for all her OWL exams. She could manage stress.

It could be the uncertainty surrounding her parents and the lack of control over how they might respond. This entire year had been about facing an uncertain future though. She'd held it together when they had had absolutely no idea where they were going or what they would do when they got there. She'd handled it all then.

This was something else. He didn't press her for details. He didn't ask her why they weren't going to Highgate Hill, how it was she hadn't possibly thought about any of the logistics behind telling her parents earlier. He just lay on the bed beside her while she toyed with the fabric of his shirt. Her touch was suggestive, but he didn't cave. They couldn't run from this anymore. He wouldn't let her.

Ron reached for the wand that controlled the television and turned it on. He could sit here like this all afternoon if that's what she wanted, but he wasn't going to ask her about it directly and he wouldn't give in to the easy temptation. This was too large of an issue to cover up and ignore with a snog.

"I didn't think I'd find them," she finally murmured. "I mean, I wanted to. I did. I do. I'm glad you did." Ron couldn't help but think the way she repeated the words made it sound like she was trying to convince herself of them. "I just – I prepared myself for the worst, you know?" She gave an odd half-smile then and looked to Ron then. "All year, I just - I sort of prepared myself for the fact that I might never see them again. I figured if I prepared myself to never find them, then if I didn't…it wouldn't be so hard."

"But you did find them," Ron reminded her of the paper still pressed in her hand.

"But I haven't thought about how to bring them back," she admitted. "I haven't thought about any of it."

"You're Hermione Granger. Of course you have," Ron scoffed.

"I haven't."

"You have." Ron looked across the pillow to her knowingly. She'd always been a terrible liar.

"I'm telling you I haven't!" Her voice got more shrill and suddenly it dawned on him. He felt stupid for not having figured it out sooner.

"You're scared," he whispered. "You're afraid of finding your parents." His voice was a low murmur as he thought about her teary words when he'd found her in the bathroom, the guilt in her voice. She'd faced fear before, of course. She'd charged headlong into it for the past seven years. This was a different kind of fear. "You're afraid of how they'll react."

"I'm not - "

"When you're scared, you stall for time so you can figure things out," Ron spoke confidently now. "That's all you've been doing since we left the Burrow - stalling." He thought back on the last week. "Routing us to Dijon, taking a two day train trip to Krum's - "

"We needed his help - " she maintained, but Ron talked over her.

" - drawing everything out, staying up here all day and snogging me - "

"That's not stalling - "

"It is. It's the entire reason you've - "

"- the entire reason? Are you serious?" She looked suddenly furious at the accusation.

"It's gotta be a contributing factor."

"Because it can't be just because I love you and enjoy being with you? Why do you ALWAYS do this, Ron?"

"Do what?" Just like that they weren't talking about her parents anymore.

"Doubt me and my motivations?"

"Because a week ago if I touched you the way I did this morning, you'd have hexed my cock off."

"Well, a lot's happened in a week," she admitted quietly, looking suddenly self-conscious. "I didn't expect you'd be one to complain."

Before he could open his mouth and loose another accusation to dig himself deeper, he realised just how clever she was. Whether this was an important conversation worth having or just his own insecurities bubbling up again, she'd managed to get them quite off topic from where they'd started.

"You're stalling again."

She didn't reply and chose instead to roll over on the bed so her back was to him. And he knew then he was completely correct in his assessment of her behaviour. He was enough of an expert at avoiding problems to recognize it in someone else. And he knew well enough it had never solved a damn thing in his life.

"It's okay to be scared," Ron murmured after a long pause and looked to the piece of paper still clutched in her hands. "They're your parents. They'll understand."

"You don't know that," she finally muttered into the pillow. The words were so obvious Ron felt like a dolt for not figuring it out sooner. He should have known that first day in Brisbane. It was why her itinerary stopped at finding her parents. She didn't know how they would respond and she couldn't control it. There was no more plan to hatch out. No contingencies or escape routes. There were no spells to help her parents understand why she'd done what she'd had to do. His mum's critical words to her back at the Burrow echoed in his head suddenly. Shame on you. That's what she'd said to Hermione. She'd told her to be shameful. To feel guilty.

"We'll figure it out," he assured.

"Can we just have a day?"

"Come on, Hermione, you can't keep delaying it."

"No, I'm not delaying it!"

"You're asking for another day!"

" - Another day just to enjoy the city and – and not think about all this!"

"That's the definition of a delay!" he laughed at the absurdity of him defining words for her.

"No, but it'll be fun. It'll be our last day here. We'll go down and send a message to Kingsley and - and we can let him know we've found an address and then we can – !"

"You're hiding from them," Ron muttered. "You're hiding from it just like I was back at the Burrow."

"Well, then you're a hypocrite because you're still hiding!" she fired back at him.

"How am I hiding?" Like always, Ron pushed past the small part of him that knew she was correct, and chose instead to fire back. And so they went in circles again. This time she was able to skillfully deflect the argument from her avoidance to his own. She went so far as to question his real motivation for coming with her to Australia.

"Are you mental? You think the only reason I'm here with you is to be away from my family?"

"It's got to be a contributing factor," she echoed his words from moments ago, silencing him. He wasn't still hiding. He was supporting her. This was different from holing up in his room at the Burrow.

"Don't you see?" Her voice softened. "After tomorrow – if it works – if we find them, it's over."

"Right. That's the whole point, innitt?"

"No, I don't – I mean this. Us. Here." She blushed only slightly at the words. Ron hadn't really given the notion much thought, but now that she said it he realised how right she was, of course. If she found her parents and restored their memories, the last thing they'd want was for her to return to his hotel room with him. He still wasn't entirely unconvinced they wouldn't try to flay him, despite what she'd revealed this morning about her mum. This dream where they shared a bed and a hotel room, and what amounted to a home, together would be over. Suddenly, her proposition of a frivolous day taking in more of the city's sights didn't seem like such an awful idea. Finding her parents meant they returned home and the pit in his stomach that accompanied the mere thought of returning to the Burrow without Fred told him Hermione was right. For as far as they'd come, they were both still far from okay.

She took his hand then and repeated his words from their first night in the Executive Suite.

"We deserve this."

They planned out the day of sightseeing atop the bed just like they had planned the search for her parents their first night in Australia. Ron tried hard to remember that first night in the hotel room, but it seemed like a decade ago and not merely five days he had been sweaty-palmed at the thought of sharing a bed, afraid of where to sit and what to say. She was sitting cross-legged poring over the many maps and brochures they'd collected from the hotel lobby downstairs while he was stretched out comfortably on his side, lazily eating the fish and chips they'd ordered from room service.

"So if we go to the koala sanctuary then we have to take the bus anyway. Do you want to go to the beach? It's in the other direction." She traced a line from one side of the map to the other.

"I'd rather not."

"You don't want to to go the beach?"

"Think it'll be a while before I can enjoy the beach again." He didn't need to say anymore to pull her back to a beach along the Cornwall coast and all the painful memories it held. They sat there quietly for a moment, before Hermione spoke.

"Okay, so no beach. What about...a rainforest walk?"

"Already been to one," he reminded her of the Wet Tropics. "Why can't we just go round the city?" Having already finish his chips, he leaned over and stole a handful from her plate. She swatted his hand away and pulled the chips closer to her. "We could go have lunch on those cliffs I like. What's it, something like Kangaroo Point?"

"Like a picnic?" She looked as if he'd just proposed marriage.

"Yeah, we'll bring food and stuff."

"You want to go on a picnic?" she repeated incredulously.

"What?" He had admired the tremendous cliffs up on Kangaroo Point all week and the thought of sitting up there with her, looking out on the city they'd spent all week exploring together, sounded like the perfect end to their time in Brisbane. She leaned over and kissed him quite suddenly then, ignoring the bite of fried haddock he'd just taken.

"Oi! Still eating here!" He swallowed the bit of food in his mouth and laughed at her sudden enthusiasm, amazed that after four days of disappointment they'd reached a night this glorious. They had an address. He still couldn't get over it. "I didn't take a two hour nap," he teased. "I worked up an appetite."

"You made telephone calls."

"It was quite taxing."

"Oh, shut up."

The playful banter was the perfect prelude to a kiss. It's what he waited for all day, these moments atop the bed. It's what he felt like he'd waited years for. It still amazed him when he felt her hands run forcefully through his hair or her hips rise to meet his to think about the fact that she'd waited for them, too.

They found themselves beneath the covers quickly and when Ron joked that they hadn't brushed their teeth, she responded by shoving her hand in his face. So they wrestled playfully like they had after that first night together, legs and limbs tangling in the sheets, as their laughter and heavy breathing punctuated the silence. All the compromising positions they found themselves in felt that much more charged, purposeful even. There wasn't a nervous playful energy to it anymore, there was a raw, almost palpable desire. They had changed.

He thought about what she'd said this morning about her mum. He still couldn't work out whether she was just talking about her parents or if it had all been a guise to talk about sex. With him. He was temporarily reminded of all the accusations they'd hurled at each other that afternoon, about stalling and escaping and hiding from a pain they both didn't want to feel.

And then suddenly, as if recalling the same thing, Hermione gave up trying to pin his hands at his sides and collapsed face down onto the pillow. She let out a contented sigh as she did and, taking his cue from her, Ron did the same. They stared at each other from across their respective pillows for several moments, taking in the intimacy of the setting and the very routineness that now came with being in bed together.

"Can you believe we found them?" Ron spoke first, murmuring the words into the pillow with a contented grin.

Instead of growing larger though the smile slowly vanished from her face.

"There's so much I haven't told them."

The words weren't at all what he expected, but he tried not to frown or look too surprised like he did on the rare occasion she talked about her parents.

"What, you mean about the Horcruxes and everything this year?" The words sounded so trivial when he said them.

"I mean about everything," she muttered. "About Dumbledore - "

"They don't know about Dumbledore?" Ron interrupted, unable to even imagine how she'd returned home last year and kept something that large secret from her parents.

"They don't even know about Cedric," she admitted meekly, the guilt in her eyes more than evident. "Or your dad over Christmas...what happened to me at the Ministry..." He gaped wordlessly for a moment, trying once again to display a bit of tact, but she knew him too well. "I know. It's terrible, right?"

"It's...what you had to do," Ron fumbled for words of assurance.

"I used to tell them everything," she confessed, choosing to ignore his remark and instead dive back into memories where her parents had been her confidante. "I'm sure this might surprise you, but...I didn't have...a lot of friends when I was little."

She paused then like she was waiting for Ron to say something so he replied with the only lame comfort that he could think.

"I er - I just had my brothers."

"I just had my parents," she challenged as if they were now competing over who had been the lonelier child. "They were everything and then - then I went to Hogwarts and now…now you're..." Her voice faded as she looked to him with eyes that somehow possessed a strange combination of adoration and guilt. She didn't have to say anything further. He understood. He had the same overwhelming feeling. Now she was everything.

"It's like I became this person, this whole other person." She was still muttering into the pillow, but he could hear each word tinged with guilt.

"You grew up," he offered.

"I kept them in the dark."

"Well, tomorrow you get them back."

From the moment they woke up, the day felt different. They didn't have to search for anything. They had no more addresses to cross off their list. They'd done what they came to Australia to do. Today was just about them.

So they took a day to do nothing but enjoy the sights. With joined hands, they toured the shops and cafes of Brisbane, as two people deeply in love and finally able to express it. They took breakfast in a cozy cafe with mismatched tables and chairs Hermione had read about last night. Ron ordered a fluffy stack of pancakes that he covered with strawberry maple syrup and Hermione ate poached eggs and kedgeree. It was the first proper breakfast they'd had in the city and they giggled and flirted through it all, her legs lightly running up his calf the entire time like she did beneath the covers.

They climbed to the top of the Story Bridge and looked out on the city they'd spent four days exploring. He could see the racetrack from their first day where Leland was probably already skiving off work to play the ponies, and the entrance to the Ministry beneath the Motorway. He spotted the oddly shaped library where they'd first arrived in Brisbane and even excitedly pointed out what he thought was their hotel room and balcony. It was worth the long queue and two hour climb and when she kissed him atop the bridge, her hair whipping around his face, he knew this would be a day he'd remember for a long time to come. This was their day. The war seemed another lifetime.

The view of the city, stretching from Mt. Cootha all the way to the bay, seemed to plan the day out for them. They visited the city Botanic Gardens next and Hermione even dragged him through a display of bizarre twisted metal she claimed was art, but looked like something Hagrid had built. They visited the Queen Street Mall, which looked just like River Street only above ground and without Quidditch shops, and she never let go of his hand the entire time.

He thought about all the times they'd held hands this year. For the last ten months, he'd done it to offer protection. Practically, it was an efficient way to run without losing her. Holding hands after the battle had been their first real act of intimacy aside from that wonderfully unexpected kiss, but even then it had been more about comfort than affection. Feeling her hand in his was a way to show they were there for each other, even if they still had trouble saying it. But today it was an expression of love. They were declaring to every other person in the city that they were connected, they were together, they were in love.

He spied her looking thoughtfully at their joined hands sometimes, a small smile threatening on her face like she'd just realised something. Every time he caught her, she'd press her lips to his and each time it was longer and longer, until finally an irritated American mother waiting in the queue to the koala sanctuary had ordered them to 'get a room'.

They'd both apologised profusely, blushing fiercely and separating their tongues, but unable to detach much further. They stood instead with their hands wrapped comfortably around each other's waists while his chin rested atop her head. The mother looked none too pleased that they were still touching each other in public and clucked her tongue, turning the other way and herding her kids in another direction.

Ron looked at the litter of children gathered around the woman, who reminded him a bit of his own poor mum. She'd probably cluck and fuss at them too. He laughed to himself at the thought of his mum if she could see them today. But his eyes rested again on the four young children with shockingly white blonde hair surrounding their frazzled mum. If only she knew. If Voldemort's followers had reached India, they'd certainly reached America. They'd saved this woman. Saved her the horrors of 'freak hurricanes', random senseless murders and bridge collapses. Saved her from having to endure the horror his mum had of burying her own child.

Ron couldn't help think about how the Muggles would never know any of it. His face twisted in an odd sort of smile as he watched all the tourists from all over the world climb waiting for their chance to hold a koala. Voldemort certainly wouldn't have stopped with Britain, nor would he have been content with dominion over all of Europe. They'd all been at risk and they'd never know any of it. He looked down to Hermione, dressed happily in short-sleeves for the first time since the Burrow, the scars and bandage visible for all Muggles to see. They'd never know he and Hermione had both nearly given their lives to end it and that this carefree day was their one day to forget about it.

They inched forward in the queue, arms still locked around each other so they moved as one. His excitement over finally visiting the koala farm was quickly tempered with the realisation that the zoo charged for entry and pictures with the furry creatures. Quite angry, he pulled Hermione behind a shed and they Apparated right back to the only designated Apparation point on the Promenade, tucked in the tropical flora behind the Nepalese Peace Pagoda.

"That's such rubbish," he fumed.

"We could have just paid the fee. It was only twenty quid." She brushed the branches out of her hair.

"Twenty quid just to see an animal in a cage? That's complete shit! I don't know how they stay in business."

"Keep your voice down!" she reminded him this Apparation point was supposed to be secret.

"It just seems like a shit place to be a koala. Spend all your life hugging strangers, being locked in a cage." He continued to grumble under his breath some more about how he ought to have stolen one for Ginny and given it a better life as they climbed out from behind the trees.

"I love you." Her eyes seemed unnaturally bright as she said the words.

"Why?" he suddenly asked bluntly. The question made her laugh dismissively until she saw by his fervent gaze that he was serious. Clearly caught off-guard by the intimate question, she struggled for words for a few moments before collecting herself.

"Because I just do." She laughed when she said it, as if it were the most obvious answer in the world. Ron was about to press her further when he stopped and just echoed her with a smile. He supposed it was the perfect response. If she asked him he'd likely respond the same way. He couldn't trace when it happened or how it happened or even why it had. He just did. He couldn't stop it anymore than he could stop himself from being a wizard. Her only response was to reach for his shirt, tug him toward her and kiss him softly. "You're not going to cry, are you?" Ron joked, noting the glassy sheen in her eyes as she broke apart, but she just kissed him again, holding him so tightly he swayed on the spot.

"What was that for?" he laughed, looking around at the Muggles on the Promenade he now reckoned were starting to look at them.

"For being incredible."

"Well." Ron shrugged with no attempt at modesty.

"For finding them," she clarified.

"I just made the phone call."

She kissed him for the third time out by the wishing pond where everybody could see.

"Thank you." She was getting too soppy for him now and he squeezed her hand and tugged her along.

"Thank yourself. Come on," he laughed, leading her down the path to a lusciously maintained patch of lawn. Grinning with the delight of a fresh idea, he hurried to the nearest bench and quickly began unlacing his shoes.

"What're you doing?" she snorted absurdly.

"This is my favourite thing to do in summer!" he informed, eagerly tugging his socks off and walking out into the grass barefoot.

"You look foolish!" she laughed as he hiked up his trousers and allowed the manicured blades of grass to gently massage his feet. He laughed at the feel of it and all the memories of running barefoot through the orchard with his brothers, fighting against the brief lump in his throat. It didn't take long for Hermione to appear at his side and he smiled when he saw her following his lead and rolling up her trousers.

"Didn't you do this when you were a kid?" he chuckled, watching her take tentative bare-toed steps through the grass.

"I was always afraid I'd step on a bee or something," she confessed.

"Step on a bee!" Ron threw back his head and laughed as a breeze that felt like it flowed all the way down the river from the sea blew his hair wildly. Hermione continued to take small measured steps. "Come on, that's not how you do it!" He seized her hand suddenly and ran the length of the the green side-by-side with her.

"This is silly," Hermione remarked breathlessly.

"I know it is, but it's fun!" He raced back the other way with her, hands swinging wildly until he finally saw a smile erupt on her face, despite herself. Playfully, he wrestled her to the grass then just like he did atop the bed. She rolled away from him, shrieking as he tickled the bottoms of her feet.

"Don't think I won't kick you!" she threatened.

"Oh, I know you will," he sputtered with laughter, "you kick me at least two times every night."

"I do not," she stated firmly, stretching out on the bed of grass and folding her hands behind her head. He saw her close her eyes contently and this time he followed her lead. Crawling alongside her on his belly, he rolled over and wrapped his hands behind his own head. With eyes still closed, he watched her lips curve into a smile as she nudged toward him at an angle until the crown of her head just brushed his jaw.

Ron wasn't sure how long they spent there on the lawn. He was fairly confident she'd fallen asleep against him for a short time, awaking with a sudden snort that made him chuckle.

"I wasn't sleeping," she maintained.

"Right." Ron made no attempt to disguise his disbelief. "Do you want to go back to the hotel?" he inquired innocently. They'd had a full day already and evening had descended since they'd first lain down on the grass. There was a brief look in her eye that matched the way her hands had moved over him all day, suggesting the privacy of the hotel was exactly what she wanted.

"What about dinner?" She bit her lip. "We could get dinner and bring it up."

"No, we should go out to eat tonight," he proposed. They hadn't eaten outside of the hotel once all week.


"Instead of just eating in the hotel. We should go eat somewhere."

"Like on a date?" Her voice sounded unusually high.

"Er…sure." Ron hadn't meant it like that, but now that he had said it, he loved the idea. "Let's go on a date." There was a long pause as his words just seemed to hang in the air.

"Only if you say it properly."

"Say what properly?" Ron laughed.

"Asking me on a date."

"Hermione Granger." Ron sat up suddenly. "Will you go on a date with me?"

"Yes." There was the smile he'd missed all week. He loved that today he'd brought it back. It might still have been stalling, but this day was what she had needed. Ron felt cheered immensely.

"Where do you want to go?" She asked, still lying down and making no effort to move.

"I don't care," Ron shrugged, keen just to continue wandering the city like they had all day.

"I mean do you want to go across the river downtown, do you want to go to the River? do you want to stay here?"

"I don't know," Ron laughed, glad to see the glimpse of her typical self,. "I just want to take you to dinner."

At the remark, she just propped herself up on her elbows and smiled.

They chose a quiet little place behind their hotel in the West End with white tablecloths and waiters with funny Italian accents. Ron held the door and pulled out her chair and when the waiter asked if they cared to see the wine list, they just exchanged secret smiles, likely both thinking about the bottle of Burgundy red on the train to Zurich and where that had led. He couldn't believe how long ago the train ride felt. She'd been so nervous then about everything.

"Do you remember when it was we first met?" she asked with a fond smile somewhere between salad and their third basket of rolls.

Ron pushed the tomato around his salad bowl, trying to recall the moment he'd met Hermione Granger. His whole first year seemed a blur when he looked back on it. He remembered eating more sweets than he'd ever dreamed on the Hogwarts Express with Harry and he vividly recalled his first night in Gryffindor Tower and getting lost in the corridors with Harry their whole first week of school, but he couldn't remember the moment he'd met anybody aside from hist best mate. His only memories of Hermione were that she'd been a real swot, insulting his magic, showing off in class and tattling on him and Harry.

"In the Great Hall after we both got sorted?" He hoped it didn't sound too much like a guess. In truth, all he remembered about the Sorting was his relief he'd ended up in the same house as Harry and all his brothers. She hadn't been a big part of his first months or memories at Hogwarts. He could see from her expression that the same did not hold true for her and it gave him a funny sort of feeling. "Oh, earlier then? In the boathouse?" he tried again, but the frown remained. "On the platform at Hogsmeade Station? On the train?" Finally her satisfied expression told him he'd gotten it right. "We met on the train?"

"Yes." She seemed very put out he didn't remember. "I came in to try to help Neville find Trevor. You were about to do a spell to turn Scabbers yellow."

"That's right!" Ron tried to redeem himself, but he could see from her expression that she didn't believe that the detail had jogged his memory. He felt guilty that she could so easily recall the details of when she first met him and he had needed three guesses. "I do remember!" he insisted. "You were so awful! Telling us about all the books you'd read over the summer and how good you were at magic and how we ought to get in our robes," he snorted. She looked mildly insulted, but he could tell he was right so he continued to prove to her he knew it. "I even told Harry I didn't want to be in your house because you seemed like a complete nightmare. I hoped they'd put you in Ravenclaw or something."

"Well, when you made Gryffindor I was sure I was in the wrong house," she retorted


"Because you were rude and dirty and didn't seem very good at magic."

"Least I wasn't an insufferable know-it-all," he countered with a smile and there was something thoroughly pleasing about saying such things when her leg rubbed against his suggestively and all he wanted to do was kiss her. "Thank goodness for first impressions, eh?"

They reminisced throughout the night, about awful Potions lessons and rock cakes at Hagrid's while they waited for their dinner.

"I'm telling you, I never ate a single one!" Ron laughed. "I always fed them to Fang or put them in my pockets."

"If you dipped them in the tea long enough they weren't that bad."

"I'll take your word for it. I could hardly drink the tea." He twisted the spaghetti around his fork. It was weird to look back on the time at Hogwarts and know he'd never have any new memories there. There would be no more lessons or walks through the corridors. Ron gave a slight shudder at the last memory of the old castle.

"Are you really not going back?" Hermione seemed to be thinking the same thing and he noticed she didn't look at him when she asked the question.

"I'm really not," he mumbled, for some reason unable to look at her either.

"I wish you would," she stated plainly.

"I know you do," Ron sighed.

"It'd be fun, you know, being together our final year."

"I'd probably spend half the year in detention."

"For what?"'

"You know what." He eyed her cleavage obviously.

"Well, that means I'd probably be in detention too."

"Exactly! And I can't be responsible for the Head Girl being put in detention," he laughed. "You'll be better for it! Just think, you won't have to explain the lesson again to me - "

"That always helped me learn it better!"

"-or make revision schedules for me or worry about anyone else's work, but your own," he argued. "You'll be better off."

"I'm not better without you," she maintained, looking suddenly much more serious. Ron felt his ears burn. Somehow it seemed like the most intimate thing she'd ever told him. "So if you're not going back, what are you going to do?" she continued and suddenly he wished they were still talking about Hagrid's rock cakes. "Do you think about the future?"

"I dunno," he muttered, slightly annoyed by the inquisitorial nature of her question in the middle of what had been a relatively carefree evening.

"You don't at all, do you?"

"I think about being with you," he confessed, trying for some levity.

"But besides that," she pressed.

"I dunno," Ron repeated and gave a helpless shrug. There were numerous times throughout the year where he didn't think there was going to be a future for him. He'd never given much thought to what happened after they finished their quest this year. Back when he was fourteen he thought there could hardly be a better job in the world than being an Auror, but after the last year battling dark magic he didn't really know what he wanted his future to look like. Spending the rest of his life wondering if there was going to be a rest of his life no longer sounded so appealing. "No. I don't really think about it," he admitted. "I just see you."

Hermione looked touched, but still she pressed the matter.

"Yes, but - "

"What about tomorrow?" he changed the conversation suddenly. "That's the future."

"What about it?" She looked a bit uncomfortable. They hadn't so much as mentioned her parents or what the future held tomorrow all day.

"Well, you know, how it's going to go, what you're going to say - "

"I thought tomorrow we were just going to - to go and look and check on it," Hermione replied swiftly, almost sounding defensive.

"Right...but we're going to at least knock on the door, right?" Ron stretched the words out. "Right?"

"Yes," she replied meekly after a long pause. "I mean, of course." He could see her trying to sound more confident. She truly was terrified to see them again.

"I can talk to them if you want," he offered.

"No, I – I can do it."

"No, I can pretend I'm selling something. You said Muggles do that, right?"

"You don't have to."

"They won't recognise me, right? And then you can just...see them." He shrugged his shoulders simply, figuring that the sight of her parents alone would be difficult enough. "And we'll figure out the rest from there." He figured small steps like this were the way to go. It was too much all at once.

"I love you," she replied for the umpteenth time that day.

They'd said it so many times and still he had not grown tired of neither saying nor hearing it. He loved the fact that the entire day she'd seemed keen on showing the world just how much she did.

They made their way back to the hotel arm-in-arm and the moment the doors of the lift closed to take them up to the 28th floor, she had her arms around his neck and was kissing him hard.

He had no objections and practically lifted her off the ground as he pressed her back against the wall of the lift. "What if somebody comes in?" he asked breathlessly as he looked to the doors warily, but she didn't even bother answering. She gripped him tightly, kissing him the way she had the night she'd come undone in the bathroom. He hadn't meant for dinner to lead to this, but he supposed the whole day, the whole week, the whole year had really led to this. She pulled his shirt out from his trousers right there in the lift and they stumbled through the doors when they opened. Somehow they managed to make their way down the corridor and open the door while never breaking the seal of their mouths. She tossed the beaded bag aside and kissed him roughly then, her lips and teeth moving over his in a manner that indicated just how much she'd kept bottled up at dinner. Except this felt like more than just dinner. The way her hands were moving, working swiftly to pull her shirt over her head, indicated this was about more than tonight and two glasses of red wine.

"I love you," she spoke breathlessly against him as they crashed backwards to the bed, collapsing onto it with a thud that slammed the headboard rather loudly against the wall. They shared a laugh then and Ron used the moment apart to hurriedly unfasten her jeans and pull them off her legs.

"I love you," he replied only after her foot emerged from the trouser leg, as if he couldn't speak and act at the same time. Feeling like he had entirely too many clothes on, Ron hurriedly unbuttoned his shirt, delighting in how forcefully she jerked it off his shoulders.

"I know the charms," he sputtered suddenly as she balled up his shirt and threw it aside. Fuck, he couldn't believe he'd just said that.

"Me too," she admitted, coming together again on the bed.

"I mean I know how to do them," he clarified hurriedly between kisses.

"Right. Me too."


"And what?"

"Well, I mean…" He stopped the movement of his hand. "Did you - er - you know, change your mind - y'know - from the other night?" he stumbled, cursing himself and his own inability to ask a forthright question.

"I…" The words seemed to get trapped in her throat. "I don't know."

"Oh." He couldn't disguise the disappointment in his one-word reply.

"It's just …it's a big thing, sex." The word echoed about the giant hotel room.


Sex with Hermione. They were talking about it again. He was losing track of how many times they'd talked about it already. Except this time there was no mistaking the intent of her words. This wasn't a story about how her mum had taught her about sex or an inquiry about his past deeds with Lavender. She'd gone and said it.

"Even with the charms, you know, stuff can happen." She chewed on her lip.

"The charms always work." He propped himself up over her.

"Says the boy in a family of seven," Hermione laughed, edging out from beneath him.

"I'm just saying. They're supposed to be really effective."

"Muggles have things too, you know," she spoke.

"What kinds of things?" Ron asked curiously.

"Pills that I would take," she informed and then glanced between his legs. "There's also something you can wear."

"I'd wear? Like on my…" He pointed to his crotch.

"It's nothing big. Just a bit of rubber."

"A bit of rubber on my cock?" Ron exclaimed in disgust, but seeing her face he quickly sought to retract the words. "I mean, I'll…I'll wear it if you want. I'll - I'll do whatever you want." He hoped he didn't sound too desperate.

"I just want to be safe. I don't want…I mean it's just…it's kind of scary."

"Scary?" Of all the words he thought of when he thought about sex with Hermione, 'scary' was not one of them.

"Just the thought that we could get…pregnant." She whispered the last word like it was a swear. A frightening image of a pregnant Hermione and a swarm of little red-haired children screaming and running around them flashed before his eyes.

"So we'll be safe," Ron assured, shuddering at the mental image. "We'll do the charms and – and the pills and I'll wear the er – the - "

"Condom. It's called a condom."

"Right. I'll wear a condom if you want."

"There's a potion I can even take too."

"So a potion and the pills and the charms and the condom," Ron rattled, "and I – I'll pull out. I won't even…you know..." Hermione laughed and Ron wasn't sure whether it was his obvious desperation and eagerness or the fact that he couldn't even say the word. Ron figured if she could finally say 'sex' he ought to just loose his mouth.

"It's not just being safe though," she spoke as her laughter faded. "It's just…it's a lot."

"Right." Ron propped himself up on his arm to look at her. "It is."

"It's just...what if it changes everything?" she chewed on her lip.

"Well, it will change everything. a good way," he offered a smile and touched her shoulder softly.

"What if that's all we do then?"

"What do you mean?" Ron frowned.

"You've seen how this week has been! How today has been? " she laughed, looking at the trail of discarded clothes from the door. "What if – what if we can't stop?"

"You think once we start having sex we won't be able to stop?" Ron laughed.

"I think that might be all we do, yes," she stated firmly.

"That is the best reason I've ever heard for not having sex."

"Have you heard a lot of them, then?"

"Only from you," he grinned.

"Shut up."

"Make me."

"I'm serious, Ron. Think about it."

"You think too much, Hermione."

"You need to think about it!"

"We have thought about it. You've clearly thought more about it than any person in the world ever has." She glared at him at the teasing comment.

"It's one of the most important decisions I've ever had to make!"

"Right up there with fighting Voldemort, eh?"

"I'm serious!"

"I love you." Ron blurted out. "That's all I need to think about it."

"Ron - " She opened her mouth to protest his simplistic argument.

"It is a lot," he affirmed. "And stuff can happen and things will change," he parroted back all her concerns, "but I want them to." He gave a simple shrug as and that was all. The words weren't argumentative. He wanted to tell her life wasn't about thinking. He wanted to remind her, in fact, that life was incredibly short, that she'd almost been taken from him numerous times this year, that shit happened every day even when there wasn't a war going on. But somehow he knew, for once in his life, this was his turn to shut up.

"It's hasn't even been three weeks."

Ron was silent and so Hermione continued talking to herself.

"I mean, I know it's been longer. It''s you." The word was loaded with all the history of the last seven years, but still Ron said nothing. "But it's SUCH a big thing." With nothing but an amused grin, he watched her fight against the two sides of herself she'd always struggled to balance. "But if we take the proper precautions we can minimize the risk. But still it's not even been three whole weeks." She continued to argue between passion and reason, looking to him for help in her decision, but finding none. "Would you say something?" she demanded, clearly annoyed by his silence.

"I like when your cheeks get all flushed." He grinned, noting her frustration and what it did to her complexion.

"Something to help, I mean!"

"To help you decide if you want to have sex with me?" The slight chuckle in his voice did not amuse her.

"To help me...feel better about it." She blew out a loud sigh, thoroughly unamused by his aloofness on the matter.

"About what?"

"About the fact that I think I really want to!" The confession came out more like an attack. Ron would expect no less.

"No thinking," he reminded.

"I want to," she affirmed then, her voice shaky and uncertain.

"Want to what?"

"You know." Her irritation with him seemed to multiply each second that passed.

"I think I need to hear it," he playfully recalled their first kiss up in his bedroom and the way she'd teased confessions out of him.


"Say it one more time?"

"I want to have sex," she said it slower and more confidently this time. "With you."

"Well, I'd hope it's not with anyone else." He raised his eyes to look at her.

"I'm serious, Ron."

"You want to tonight?" Ron asked uncertainly.

"No, not tonight," her immediate reply sounded, "I'm not...ready."

"Not ready? What, like the charms?"

"No, I just - I need a day." Ron noticed she shifted her legs nervously on the bed. "I need to...prepare."

"You need to prepare?" he laughed. "What - do you need to read a couple of books first?" he teased at the odd statement. She scowled and pinched his side hard enough to almost draw blood. "You're thinking again."

"Well, I am thinking about this! I HAVE to think about it."

"Okay," he dismissed cavalierly and lay back on the bed, reaching for a brochure from one of the many places they'd visited that day and leaving her to think. Hermione stared at him as he lay back on the bed, like she was waiting for him to say something further, but Ron just continued to read in silence. Seconds ticked by that turned into minutes. She seemed unnerved by his casual and dismissive attitude. Like she couldn't possibly believe he wasn't going to say anything further.

"Is that it?"

"Yeah," he laughed at her disbelief. Perhaps she wanted him to try to convince her or reassure her it was the right choice, but after seven years he knew better than that. Hermione Granger made up her mind for herself. Attempting to sway it for her would be about the most useless endeavor he could ever try. "Did you know we could have gone horse riding?" He turned his attention back to the brochure advertising the many things to do in Brisbane. "I've always wanted to do that."

"I want to have sex," she finally blurted out. Without putting the literature down, Ron just looked at her over the top of it. "I don't think I want to. I know I want to," she affirmed confidently. "I want you, Ron," she admitted, staring at him from her pillow.

"You've got me." Finally, he put the brochure down and wrapped an arm around her.



Ron couldn't help but wonder what that meant they would do tonight.


A Harry Potter Story
by MsBinns

Part 36 of 45

<< Previous     Home     Next >>