Pairing: Hr/G, Hr/R
Summary: Remember that book from Deathly Hallows? The book that helped Ron Weasley improve his skills with the ladies? Yeah. That book.
Authors Notes: This didn’t really start as a fic. It was an anti-Hr/R ship manifesto disguised as a fic but adding Hr/G usually spurs me to write more than necessary so it grew a little beyond the original intention. Kinda silly turned to kinda fluffy. It has no place in actual canon.
I decided to write this after lash_larue threatened to write Hr/R smuttiness in retaliation to my usual angst. I’m quickly learning that Lash does not threaten – she executes. So this is for you, Lash.
“I don’t think this is working, Ron.”
“What? Why?” he yelped, completely taken by surprise at this declaration.
“Because since we became a couple, you’ve changed. You never go against me, you always agree with me and you never fight with me!” Hermione said, exasperated. She leaned against the door of the boys’ dorm, making sure that no one would accidentally burst in on them.
“I can’t fight with you, Hermione!” Ron protested, ducking under his bed to retrieve his copy of Twelve Fail-Safe Ways to Charm Witches to show to her. “This says that fights lead to fall outs, and fall outs lead to break ups – and I don’t want us to break up.”
“Sod your book, Ron,” Hermione groaned, annoyed at his constant references to this particular text. “The bloody book is half the problem! You’re not you anymore! You’re this perfect boyfriend facsimile and that’s not who I want.”
“So you want me to be horrible to you and ignore you and never compliment your hair or your shoes or whatever?” Ron asked rhetorically, going against every guideline he had learned from his hallowed book.
“Ron, I couldn’t give a flying hippogriff about my hair and my shoes!” Hermione exclaimed. “That’s not me, and you know that. You don’t need to change to be in this relationship.”
“Don’t I?” Ron scoffed, looking down at the smiling couple on the cover of his book. “If I wasn’t trying this hard then we would be having a fight about how I don’t try at all. Can’t win.”
“No, we wouldn’t,” Hermione said hesitantly, aware that he was probably right.
“I mean, don’t you like the gifts I get you? I wouldn’t have thought to do that before – just buy you flowers whenever or hide chocolates under your pillow—“
“I know and that is sweet,” Hermione conceded. “But presents don’t make a relationship. We need that something. And you being my devoted shadow doesn’t help!”
Ron looked crushed at Hermione’s assessment of the situation. She softened and stepped towards him as he sat on the edge of his bed.
“I’m just saying we’re not us like we used to be. We never discuss anything anymore,” Hermione said tactfully.
“We talk all the time!” Ron burst, holding up his book. “I know we talk all the time because there’s a whole bloody chapter in here about talking!”
Hermione snatched the despised book out of his hands. She aimed for the open window beside his bed and threw it with all her strength. She had shocked herself. She never thought the day would come when she would disregard a book in such a callous way.
“Hermione! How could you?” he yelped. For half a second, Hermione thought that he might dive out of the window after his prized possession.
“Sod your sodding book, Ron!” Hermione fumed. “If I have to hear you go on about that book one more time…”
“Don’t you talk about my book that way!” Ron shouted. “It’s done a lot for me!”
“Well it’s done sod-all for me!” Hermione shouted as she backed away, head in hands.
“I just don’t get this…”
“I know you don’t, Ron,” Hermione said sarcastically through gritted teeth. “Somehow this is all just beyond you. It’s so complicated. How would you ever get through without a book telling you what to do? Isn’t there a chapter about this in your book?”
“I would check – but you threw it away!” Ron yelled.
“Relying on a vapid self-help book… It’s no wonder you’ve become so… so… so pathetic!”
“Pathetic? I’m pathetic?” Ron spluttered.
“Are you suggesting that I am?” Hermione scoffed, barely able to look at him in her increasing rage.
“You’re never bloody happy. You don’t know what you want. Any other girl in Hogwarts would be thrilled to get presents from their boyfriend and have him be kind and attentive – but oh no, not Hermione Granger. That’s not enough for her. What do you want? Me to ignore you and treat you like dirt and—“
“Yeah, Ron, just flail from one extreme to the other,” Hermione rolled her eyes, growing impatient. “And if anyone else would be thrilled to have a boyfriend like you – then go ahead. Take your almighty God-like self and make some easily pleased, dim-witted idiot happy. I honestly think that’s best right now.”
“Well. Right. OK,” Ron growled, groping for the words. “Well. Since you know what’s best then maybe we’ll just do that then. Right. I will.”
“Right. You do that,” Hermione nodded stiffly, marching across the dorm to the door and slamming it behind her with ferocity.
She quickly descended the stairs to the common room and refused to look at any of the faces of her Housemates as she passed through to the portrait. She would go down to the Great Hall to Sunday brunch and drink a gallon of tea to sooth her anger and annoyance.
While waiting for the shifting staircase to swing back round to her level, she heard quick footsteps behind her.
“Hermione! Hermione, wait up!” Ginny called. Hermione refused to turn around and waited for the young red head to catch her up.
“Did I hear right?” Ginny asked putting a hand on Hermione’s back to indicate that she’d caught her. “Did you and Ron break up?”
“We did,” Hermione said shortly, descending the staircase before it decided to move again. Ginny was quick to react and jumped on behind Hermione, tugging at her arm to turn Hermione to face her.
“You broke up,” Ginny repeated incredulously.
“Yes, yes, Ginny. We broke up,” Hermione snapped, hopping off the stairs to the next level. Ginny pulled her arm back again.
“Hermione – Why?”
“It’s complicated. Apparently,” Hermione sighed, looking around her. She didn’t want to look at Ginny because she didn’t want to see that disappointed, half annoyed expression that always made her feel so terrible about herself.
“Hermione, you’re going to have to do better than that,” Ginny huffed, not letting go off Hermione’s arm. “Because I know he was really trying. He was really doing his best. He hasn’t spoke about anything else for months. It’s always ‘I did this for Hermione’ and ‘I said this to Hermione’ and ‘I flew up to her window bollock naked with a rose between my arse cheeks and sang her favourite love song.’ I’ve never seen him so single-mindedly dedicated to anything before in his life.”
“Well, that was the problem,” Hermione admitted.
“You’re kidding?” Ginny guffawed, spying the spare cupboard door to the side of them. She cast Alohomora on the new-looking padlock and unhooked it. “In here,” she commanded as she opened the door. “I can tell this isn’t going to be a very quiet talk.”
Hermione groped for the light switch as Ginny closed the door to condemn them to pitch darkness. She pulled out her wand, whispered lumos and scanned the cramped cupboard. There were many very old, very tatty mops lying against the three walls of the cupboard and nothing much else. These mops were so filthy and so decrepit that no sane person would fail to dispose of them.
“So, what’s your problem then?” Ginny asked, abruptly tearing Hermione’s attention from inspecting the wide range of done-in cleaning instruments.
“I don’t have a problem,” Hermione said defensively, trying to move back from Ginny but finding that the lack of space made that impossible.
“Well, then does Ron? Really, what the Hell happened?”
“It just wasn’t working,” Hermione said simply, biting her lip. “You know, most friends don’t pull you into a cupboard to interrogate you after a break-up.”
“Yeah, well most friends aren’t related to the ex-boyfriend,” Ginny rolled her eyes.
The light from Hermione’s wand grew dimmer as she softened.
“He’s just… He just wasn’t himself,” Hermione said finally. “He was completely strange and he brought me flowers and—”
“He bought you flowers?” Ginny drew back in mock shock. “How dare he: the bastard.”
“No, Ginny, you’re not understanding—”
“What other heinous things did he do?” Ginny asked sarcastically. “Compliment you and hold doors open?”
“Not really opening doors for me,” Hermione muttered. “But he was forever complimenting me like he had a quota to meet for the end of the day.”
“Flowers and compliments – no wonder you binned him,” Ginny said ruefully, shaking her head.
“Stop it, Ginny!” Hermione protested, attempting not to whine. “You’re twisting it!”
“Am I? I don’t see the problem.”
“You know your brother better than most,” Hermione started, her wand light burning fiercely. “Is the real Ron nice, polite, courteous, unobtrusive – utterly boring and without an original thought in his head?”
“That’s a bit harsh,” Ginny breathed out. “Berating him for being nice.”
“Come on, Gin, you know what I’m trying to say. I don’t want the version that someone thinks I want to see. I want it all. I need it all. I can’t have another placid conversation about nothing in which he doesn’t contribute anything but agrees with everything I say. It was making me crazy!” Hermione said breathlessly.
“Crazy? I’d agree with that,” Ginny nodded vehemently. Hermione felt a different sort of anger surge within her. It wasn’t the exasperated anger she had felt minutes before with Ron, or the quiet, annoyed anger she had been harbouring over the past few weeks. This was different; it was powerful and it felt almost liberating.
“So, he was trying to be a better person for you – he was trying to change. What is so wrong with that?” Ginny demanded. “Relationships aren’t easy. You have to change.”
“And you’ve changed for Harry?” Hermione retorted, seething.
“Well, yes,” Ginny said simply.
“And you don’t see anything wrong with that?” Hermione pressed.
“No. Both have to make sacrifices to make it work,” Ginny said, hesitating a little.
“That’s utter rubbish, Ginny, and you know it,” Hermione said fiercely. “The tone of your voice is telling me that you know it.”
“No it isn’t,” Ginny faltered.
“Yes, it is! Yes it is!” Hermione chorused triumphantly.
“Hermione you’re not right about this,” Ginny said stubbornly, holding her ground.
“I am,” Hermione replied, her eyes glinting in the wand light.
“No, you’re—“ Ginny started, ready to go into full assault before Hermione clamped a hand over her mouth.
“No. Ginny. No. I’m not satisfied being ticked off on a list. There are no instructions for me, no guidelines that are written down in a book. There is no secret formula to satisfy me. I am not that simple. And neither are you. You don’t need to change for anyone and you shouldn’t. You don’t need to hold back and you don’t have to pretend to be someone else. You’re perfect as you are, with all your faults and flaws. You should never change,” Hermione told Ginny, her voice fading.
In that moment, Ginny pulled Hermione’s hand from her mouth and closed the short distance in the dank mop cupboard to kiss her friend. A short, sharp jolt was delivered to Hermione’s brain as she began to understand that this might be what was missing. They parted, eyes searching each others in the near darkness.
A half moment had passed and Hermione had pushed Ginny up against the wall, kissing her fiercely. The carefully propped mops fell, creating a domino effect. The sound of clattering wood on stone filled their ears as they pushed their bodies together, hands in hair and mouths hungry.
Nothing could have parted the two witches in the midst of their romantic epiphany but the sudden influx of light from the outside and the shrill tone of a familiar staff member.
“’Ere! What you two filthy trespassers doin’ in my special cupboard? Are you thieving from my prized collection?” Filch roared.
Ginny and Hermione could only look at each other and collapse in uncontrollable hysterics.
Oh, and if you couldn't tell, the other ship here is Filch/Mops. Should have put that in the subject line to attract the Filch/Mops shippers. Damnit.