Content Harry Potter

Along the Way — Chapter 1


In the way of a forward: I solemnly said that I wasn’t going to write any fan-fiction set after HBP.   Then the plot-bunny that became Maskirova stood up and started running through the wrinkles of my brain.   Then I said that I wasn’t going to write a search for the Horcrux story, when a couple of ideas that built on Maskirova came to me and wouldn’t go away.   Next time I say that I’m not going to write something — just ignore me — it’ll change within a day or so. Now, on to this story: you’ve read Half-Blood Prince, right?   Well after that, Harry has his last wretched summer at the Dursleys, then there’s the much-looked-forward-to wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour, in which Harry perfects his "lets dump Ginny to keep her safe" plan by perpetuating a hoax on a wizarding world all too eager to snap up celebrity news.   This hoax was covered in the story Maskirova.   After Harry’s birthday, the trio go searching for the bits of Voldemort’s soul that he stashed here and there for safekeeping.   Some of the time they used Grimmauld Place as their base of operations, and other times they used a magical tent similar to the borrowed tent used by the Weasleys for the Quidditch World Cup.   This tent has a few modifications; however, insofar as Molly made certain that Hermione’s room in the tent had the same boy-repelling charms that grace the stairway leading to the girl’s dormitory in Gryffindor Tower.     In August, they found two of the dark treasures, the first hidden under their noses at Grimmauld Place, and the second, well, we won’t say where they found that one, but it was a bit of a thrill to have survived the experience more or less intact.

It was amazing, really, what difference an hour made.   An hour ago they’d been running pell-mell from Inferi, hoping against hope that they’d guessed right when they snatched the package and ran.   Now they were settling down into what he called their holiday routine: Harry was inside the tent, bent over the small writing desk in their shared bedroom, writing another letter to Ginny; Hermione was leaning up against a tree, fitting in some light reading in the last hour of good daylight; Ron, fresh from his shower, was trying to distract Hermione.   He was getting very good at that, now that he knew what would make her purr.  

"Budge up, will you? I want to sit behind you," he said, prodding her bum with his shoe.

Hermione looked up at him, raising one eyebrow before she scooted forward, letting him slip behind her.   He swung one lanky leg behind her back and then sank to the ground, one leg on either side of her.   She leaned back into him, turning a page in her book.   He slid his hands carefully across her stomach, pulling her just a little bit closer to him.   Looking over her shoulder he saw the letters on the page shimmer and wiggle.

"What sort of book is that?" he whispered, smiling as she shivered.   Breathing on the back of her neck was good for that.

 "It’s Norse," she answered, frowning at the book.

"You don’t speak Norse," he said, a puzzled expression his face.

"That’s why I’m using a translation charm," she answered.

"Is that what’s making the letters jump around?"

"Yes, now quiet down, I’m almost through," she said.

Ron leaned his head back, closing his eyes.   The sun was shining warmly.   The woman he loved was more or less right where he wanted her, and they’d finished another one of their crazy missions with all of their limbs intact.

He felt her stir a few minutes later as she closed the book.

"You were brilliant today," she said warmly.

"Hmm?" he replied sleepily.

"Really," she said, "it went like clockwork."

"I was scared," Ron whispered.

"I’m always scared," she replied.

"Why are we doing this?" he asked rhetorically.

"Because he needs us," she said, leaning her head backwards until her cheek brushed up against his.   He moved his hands up from her stomach, stroking with his thumbs.   She made a throaty sound before she moved his hands back to her stomach.   "Not now," she said half-heartedly.   "Where’s Harry?"

"He’s back in the tent, writing a brief report to Lupin and a long steamy letter to my sister," he replied.

"How do you know it’s steamy?"

"I’ve seen the look on his face when he stuffs the pages away when I come into the room."

"I think it’s sweet," Hermione said.   "Ginny read one to me the last time we were at Hogwarts; they are a bit steamy."

"So why aren’t you writing letters?" Ron asked.

"I do write letters — every week I send a note to Mum and Dad," she answered.

"That’s not what I meant," Ron said sullenly.

"Speak plainly, Ron," Hermione said, putting her book down on top of her ever-present satchel.

"You haven’t been writing Vic-tor," he said.


"You’ve been writing him for ages."

"Well, I’m not writing him this summer," Hermione huffed.   "It’s quite simple really.   He’s off playing Quidditch with the Bulgarian team again, I haven’t an owl, and Victor warned me that his mail is being watched."

"So you would be writing him if you could?" Ron asked.

"Maybe," Hermione said playfully.

"Wrong answer," Ron growled.

"Wrong attitude," Hermione answered.   "Ronald, the only boy I’ve kissed more than once has his arms around me right now," Hermione said, placing her hands on top of his.

"So you only kissed him once?" he asked.

"On the lips?   Yes," she answered.

"I guess cheeking doesn’t count," he grumbled.

"Only if it leads to something else," she said, wiggling into him.

"So when did he kiss you?"

"Yule ball," she answered quietly.   "I’d spent the night in the most fabulous gown I’d ever worn in my life, pressed up against a handsome, attentive gentleman.   I think I was more than a little under the influence of the circumstances.   He wasn’t my first choice for the Yule Ball you know."


"I was praying that you’d ask me.   I was so insecure — I knew that I liked you as more than just a friend, but I wasn’t sure if you even knew that I was a girl.   When they announced the Yule Ball my first hope was that you’d ask me out — as a date," she said.

"And your second hope?"

"That Harry would ask me to go as a friend," she answered.

"As a friend?   What’s the difference?"

"If you go as friends, you know that nothing’s going to come of it — think of taking Ginny to the ball," Hermione said, gesturing with her hands.

"But she’s my sister!"

"That’s the point — at the end of the night she might give you a kiss on the cheek if you’ve been a dear," she explained.

"So what’s the point?"

"The point is that you still get to go to the ball, even though you don’t have a real date," she said.

"Like Neville?"

"Exactly," Hermione said.

"Who else?" Ron asked, leaning back against the tree.

"Pah!   That pig McClaggen, tried to push me under the mistletoe at the Christmas Slug party," Hermione said with distain.

"I can’t imagine you putting up with that for one instant," Ron said with a smirk.

"No, I was pretty severe in my response," she said with an angry grin.   "I was predisposed to be cross that night."

"Why were you cross?" Ron asked.

"I was supposed to have a different date for that party, remember?"

"Oh, right," he said.   He began rubbing his fingertips in a circle on her belly.   "So, who came after McClaggen?"

"Oh, that was just a fling," Hermione answered teasingly.

"Names, Miss Granger," Ron said with mock seriousness.

"I’m not sure that I remember his name — I do think that he was the Keeper for the house Quidditch team — I distinctly remember something about him holding the Quidditch Cup," she said, one finger on her chin as she looked as if she were concentrating hard.

"And after that?" he asked playfully.

She didn’t answer.   Ron’s heart skipped a beat.   "Hermione?"

"Harry," she answered in a small voice.

"Harry?   You snogged Harry?" he asked incredulously.

"I most certainly did not snog Harry!" she answered emphatically.

"But you kissed him?" he asked warily.


"What’s the difference?"

Hermione was silent for a moment.   He could see the colour rising in her cheeks.   She mumbled something inaudible.

"I didn’t catch that," he said.

"I said ‘no tongues.’"

"Why were you kissing Harry, no ignore that, when were you kissing Harry?"

"Early in July, before the wedding, when I was teaching him to Tango," she answered.

"I didn’t know you knew how to Tango," he said with a note of admiration. "Wait a minute, we were dating then," he complained.

"There’s a lot of things you don’t know about me," she said, scooting back into him and pulling his arms around her again.

"Evidently," he said sarcastically.   "So, why no tongues with Harry?   Does he drool?"

"You’ll have to ask your sister, I haven’t a clue whether he drools or not."

"What about the first part of the question?"

Hermione muttered something inaudible again as she pushed his hands aside and stood up, crossing her arms in front of her as she walked away.

"I’m sorry, I didn’t hear that either," he said crossly as he followed after her.

Hermione twirled to face him.   In the corner of his eye he could see that she had her wand in her hand.

"Ron, I love you madly, but your jealousy is not one of your more endearing traits.   I had to kiss Harry — it was part of the whole deception.   He had to make the Wizarding world think that he’d moved on, that he wasn’t in love with Ginny any more.   Did you think that kiss on the dance floor was sizzling?   I sure did!   It was practiced, just like the Tango."

"So why didn’t you kiss him like that?" Ron asked doggedly.

Hermione screamed in frustration.   "You are so infuriating!   Do I have to spell it out for you?   You hadn’t kissed me like that yet!   I had wanted you to be my first!   The only boy who has ever had his tongue in my mouth is you, Ron.   It’s always been you that I wanted, but you can never wrap your brain around that truth!   I wanted you to be my first everything!   I want you to be the last too," she said, her voice dying away.


The air was crackling around them.   Hermione wasn’t sure if it were her magic or his, but she kept a tight grip on her wand for fear that something was going to break loose.   Ron stared at her for the longest time, his face finally breaking in to a lopsided smile.   "I accept," he said, reaching forward to pick her up and spin her around.   He kissed her, hard, when he stopped twirling her around.

"You loon, what are you doing?" she asked.

"Accepting your offer," he said carefully, pushing her out to arm’s length.

"What offer?" she asked.

"The offer to be your first and last," he said.

"Oh no you don’t!  I’m going to get a proper proposal and a ring and everything!" she protested.

The smile returned as he gave her a wink.   "You’ll get one when the time is right.   I promised your dad that I’d do it right," he said.

"When were you talking with my dad?" she asked.

"Remember last week when I went into Edinburgh to pick up the ropes?   They didn’t have enough of the right rating, so I Apparated to a store in Leeds.   While I was there, I looked your dad up at the Surgery.   We had a little chat about how things were going.   You don’t know everything about me, either," he said smugly.

She reached up and ran her fingers through the crimson hair falling over his shirt collar, pulling his head down to hers, pulling him into a searing kiss.

"If you two are quite done, I’d like to go into town for dinner," Harry said.   Hermione pulled one hand free and made a shooing motion.   "On the other hand, a walk before dinner could be just the thing," he said quietly.   Hermione touched her thumb to her index finger before returning her hand to the back of Ron’s head.   "Right, a long walk it is," Harry said to himself as he thrust his hands into his pockets.   He whistled a tune raucously.   Things were looking up.


Copyright © 2005 — J. Cornell — all rights reserved. — write to me, I write back.

Disclaimer?   I don’t need no stinking disclaimer!   This is a non-profit writing exercise under the Fair Use doctrine.   If you recognize it, it’s JKR’s, if you don’t, it’s mine.   I claim this story against all the world as mine, but defer to JKR and her licensees as to her ownership of all things Harry Potter.