Always Ron
by Jaea

It was Ron, always Ron; dreaming under a blanket of soft snores, across the table at dinner, cheering beside her at a Quidditch match, clutching her from above or sometimes from below. It's always Ron. But it's not always Hermione.

She holds him in the darkness of closed bed curtains, listening to his sleeping conversations with Harry. Soon nightmares creeping with dark magic and shadowy shrouds will drive him from his bed, pulling her after, in the worn out march to Harry's sixth year chamber. Ron will curl up at his side, tucking Hermione in beside them, and fall to sleep with his head breathing in the scent of Harry's neck. As Ron's night terrors did not respect Harry's privacy, Harry has since learned to crawl into other beds rather than bring anyone into his. And so should they find the bed empty Ron will lay his head in the hollow of Harry's pillow, wrap Hermione into his side, and take comfort in the Harry-smell lingering in the sheets.

Ron was always Ron, solid in Hermione's arms.

But somewhere between waking and sleep, Ron's dreaming mind shortened and blackened Hermione's hair, etched a scar far above her nose and turned her sleepily into his hero and best friend, leaving his lover to puzzle it out for herself.

Hermione was used to being second. Research had never been as publicly exciting as wizard duels or magic that made Voldemort cringe. Ron cheered for them both, though his cheer sounded just a little bit louder for Harry. A hearty pat on the back and a huge grin were still her greatest rewards and it had sufficed for this long. It had been enough.

Now, though, Ron felt more like a good friend whose bed she had woken up in one morning and had never left. She still loved him but his attention was elsewhere. The spark, the excitement that had lasted for so long had finally dissolved into a routine that built itself on friendship and forgot about the little nuances that had made the beginning electric. Something had gone to sleep when they'd been looking away. Most likely, they had been watching Harry.

In the darkness of the drawn curtains Hermione toyed with the hair falling across Ron's forehead while her eyes traced the shadows across his slightly turned up nose. She toyed again with the idea of leaving them to themselves, of gracefully bowing out but knew that the boys, close though they were, would never consent to having an intimate bond that did not include some girl to balance the relationship.

Hermione's presence made everything ok. She kept the rumors of kinky threesomes from dissolving into rumors of unwholesome twosomes. Given Harry's predilection for the women of Gryffindor, she didn't think he would be pleased by the repercussions. His protests to the contrary would only generate more rumors and Hermione knew that hate wasn't a thing to be fought against and overcome like rumors of being the Heir to Slytherin. It was far more destructive and all consuming, and she couldn't leave either of her friends to deal with that on top of every other impending danger.

In her fantasies she was Hermione Granger: The Admired and Adored Brains Behind the Operation, in truth she was Hermione Granger: The Third in Line Know It All, The One That Held Them Together. She loved them both and that was her trap. She couldn't leave and it hurt so much to stay. She wanted to bury herself in the Restricted Section, daydream about foreign boys and the possibilities of being someone's center of attention. But much as she wished to be free of the constraints, she couldn't leave Ron to whimper alone in the dark. And in the coming war she knew they would not survive without each other.

Ron moaned softly, his body shuddering with fear. Hermione gathered his back to her and kissed his neck softly. Maybe tonight she could keep the Death Eaters away and maybe tonight he would whisper her name while he slept.


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Plain Style / Fancy Style