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SIYE Time:23:51 on 19th August 2017


Anticipation
By Northumbrian

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Category: Post-Hogwarts, Post-DH/AB
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fluff, General, Humor, Romance
Warnings: None
Story is Complete
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 16
Summary: One thing is certain, Ron Weasley will never be one of the first to arrive at platform nine and three-quarters, will he?
Hitcount: Story Total: 4701
Awards: View Trophy Room


Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.



Author's Notes:
This story was released into the wild a couple of months ago. Technically, it's a Ron/Hermione story (and it's first-person Ron - which to me makes it a Ron-shot), for this reason I did not submit it to this site. In fact, there is a lot of Harry/Ginny in the background. I await the veiws of the mods as to whether or not this tale contains enough Harry/Ginny action for this site.




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Anticipation

I looked at my watch, and pushed my chair backwards as noisily as I could. Standing and stretching, I picked up my mug and took it over to the sink.

Harry didn’t take the hint. He was leaning back in his chair; his eyes were closed and he had a stupid grin on his face.

‘Time to get ready, mate,’ I said.

He opened one eye and gave me his “don’t-be-stupid-Ron” look. It’s easy to recognise, even though I don’t see it as often as I see Hermione’s equivalent expression.

‘We’ve got plenty of time,’ he told me. ‘What’s the rush?’

‘What’s the rush? What’s the rush! This is it, Harry,’ I told him. ‘No more long letters, no more ridiculously short Hogsmeade visits. School is over, and it’s about bloody time. They’re finally free!’

‘I know that,’ he said dismissively, as he glanced up at the clock on the kitchen wall. ‘But what’s the rush?’

I gave up.

‘I’m not waiting any longer, Harry,’ I said. ‘You can be late if you want, but I’m going upstairs to get changed.’

‘It’s a twenty minute walk to King’s Cross from here, Ron,’ he protested. ‘And it’s still an hour and a quarter before the train is due.’

‘Fine,’ I said. ‘If that’s what you think! It’s up to you. I’ll see you there. If you’re late, I’ll just tell Ginny that you weren’t that bothered about meeting her, okay? Bye.’ I walked up the stairs from the kitchen, and Harry finally stood and followed me.

‘Don’t be stupid, Ron, of course I want to be there to meet Ginny, and Hermione, too,’ he said as he followed me upstairs. ‘But we’ve got plenty of time.’

I ignored him. As I went into my bedroom to change my clothes, I heard him start climbing up the next flight of stairs. It wasn’t long before I could hear him moving about in his bedroom, which was directly above mine.

I had been training and working as an Auror for more than a year. Because of my job I had more money than I’d ever had in my life, and I’d been spending it. I’d been shopping in the Muggle world. The brand new clothes I’d bought the previous weekend were lying on my bed. I’d bought them especially for the occasion.

The jeans were charcoal grey, I’d wanted a proper black, but the shop didn’t have any in my size. They’d had plenty of pairs which would fit me around the waist, but the only ones with long enough legs were grey, so I’d bought them. They looked okay, I thought. My new polo shirt was green and white and the assistant had assured me it matched the jeans nicely.

I’d bought both in the same shop. It saved so much time. Hermione was always rambling on about me dawdling and being inefficient, but she and Ginny could wander from shop to shop for hours, and Hermione would still come home without buying anything. It always seemed such a waste of time to me. Surely everyone can find something in the first place they visit? I’d spent almost an hour in that shop, and it was long enough.

I opened the box containing the grey trainers I’d bought, and tried to put them on. That’s when I realised my mistake. I have big feet, size fourteen. I’d bought size thirteens because they were the biggest shoes they’d had. When I’d tried them on in the shop, I’d thought that they felt okay. My cramped toes protested and I realised that if I didn’t do something, I’d be unable to walk. Unfortunately, my attempt to magically stretch them simply turned them into clown shoes so I gave up and put on my comfortable old trainers.

I looked at myself in the mirror and wondered what she’d think about my appearance. Would she be able to find fault with me? She wouldn’t even try, not today, surely? So long as I was vaguely smart, I would be okay, I hoped.

I stared at my reflection and wondered whether everything would work out. Harry and I had the day planned, but I wasn’t certain that the plan would work.

It hadn’t taken me long to realise that boyfriend/girlfriend stuff wasn’t easy. Trying to figure out what Hermione would like could be a nightmare. However, our friendship had never been easy, either. As I continued to stare into the mirror, I focussed on my past, not my reflection. I gloomily remembered my many arguments with Hermione over the years. After a few minutes, I realised that it was pointless, so I strolled over to my bedside table and picked up the photograph. She looked at me and smiled.

‘New clothes; what do you think?’ I asked her. She didn’t reply, of course. But she didn’t look unhappy, so I took that as a good sign. ‘See you soon,’ I told her, stroking the photo as I replaced it by my bed.

‘Are you ready, Harry?’ I shouted upstairs.

‘We’ve still got an hour, Ron,’ he yelled back.

‘Five minutes,’ I said. ‘I’m leaving in five minutes, Harry, whether you’re ready or not.’




As we walked from Grimmauld Place to King’s Cross Station, Harry dawdled. No matter what I tried, I could not get him to speed up. He told me that his legs were shorter than mine, and I’d have to slow down. It seemed to take forever to reach the station, but when we finally arrived on Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters and I looked up anxiously at the large clock was hanging from one of the brick pillars, we still had half an hour before the train was due. Harry gave me a smug look and looked up and down the almost empty platform. An elderly couple were sitting at the far end, but otherwise the place echoed with emptiness.

‘We’re not the first ones here,’ he observed. ‘But I reckon we’re second. We may as well grab a seat.’

His words triggered a memory. The last time Hermione had been home, over Easter, we’d taken the Muggle train to Winchester, to meet her parents. When we’d got on the train she’d said “grab a seat, Ron”. So I had.

The seat I’d grabbed had been hers. I was remembering the feel of her bum in my hands, and smiling, when I noticed that Harry was staring at my hands. It wasn’t until I looked down that I realised that my hands were fondling thin air. I felt myself blushing.

Harry shook his head, laughed, and walked over to the nearest bench. I sat beside him, but I didn’t speak. Neither did Harry. We’d been sitting in silence for a few minutes when Harry attracted my attention by growling in annoyance. When I glanced at him, he was staring up the track, lost in thought. There was a trace of annoyance on his face and he didn’t seem to realise that he was grumbling to himself.

You don’t get to be friends with Harry if you can’t read his moods, and I guessed what was bugging him. I wasn’t going to say anything about it. It was the one thing we never talked about.

One week ago, the previous Saturday, Ginny had sneaked out of school. Kreacher could Apparate into and out of Hogwarts without restrictions, and he could use Side-along to take someone with him. So Ginny had arrived, and she and Harry had gone off into Muggle London. When they returned, late, Ginny told me that she was staying overnight.

I tried not to think about it. Hermione had been offered the opportunity to leave, too, but she had said no. I hadn’t been surprised. I knew exactly why, and it wasn’t that she didn’t want to see me. She was “to busy preparing for her final NEWT Transfiguration exam” and I knew better than to try to persuade the Head Girl to stop revising and play truant. I’m not that stupid. Besides, Hermione is a complete pain in the arse when she’s swotting.

Because Harry’s bedroom is directly above mine, I’d known exactly what Harry and Ginny had been doing. I hadn’t heard anything of course. They used a Muffliato spell. But the spell distorted the background noise slightly, and last weekend that minor distortion had been irritatingly and frustratingly obvious.

Harry was beginning to scowl, so I decided that I would say something. I had to. He was working himself into one of his moods, and that just spoils things for everyone.

‘There’s no point in fighting Mum, mate,’ I reminded him. I even patted him on the back in an attempt to console him. ‘Cheer up, Harry. We’re meeting the girls; we’re taking them to see a film and we’re going out for a meal. It’s a proper date, a double-date, isn’t it?’
Harry grunted.

‘At least you saw Ginny last weekend,’ I reminded him. ‘I didn’t see Hermione at all. And you’ll be with Ginny for the rest of the day.’

‘I suppose,’ he said. I watched his face change. It’s bloody awkward watching your best friend grinning happily to himself while he’s thinking about your sister, so I didn’t. Satisfied that I’d diverted him for a few minutes, I turned away and thought about Hermione.

Tonight it would be Harry’s turn to cope with the knowledge that Hermione was staying over. My girlfriend was going to spend the night at Grimmauld Place, and her parents had not objected. I’d reread Hermione’s letter dozens of times, not certain that I could, or should, believe it. She had told her parents that she was celebrating the end of school by going out for the day with her best friends, and that she would stay overnight at Grimmauld Place before returning home.

Ginny had written home and had suggested that she, too, should be allowed to stay out overnight. When we had visited the Burrow last Sunday, Mum made her thoughts about that option very clear, and Harry hadn’t argued. That really didn’t surprise me, as Harry never wanted to upset Mum. She was happy to allow us to meet Hermione and Ginny from the train, and for Ginny to stay out for the afternoon and evening, but Ginny had to be home by eleven, or else. If Mum had known about Hermione, she’d have probably tried to force me to bring Ginny home, and stay at the Burrow, so we didn’t tell her.

I’d been checking the clock every five minutes, or so I thought. I was becoming convinced that the clock had stopped, or at least it was moving at a snail’s pace. Sometimes, when I checked the large black minute hand had not even moved. I was certain that we’d been on the platform for at least an hour, although the clock continued to claim that it had been only fifteen minutes.

I looked around. The platform was slowly beginning to fill. I watched a harassed-looking woman appear through the barrier. She was using one hand to push a pushchair containing a two-year-old, and she was holding on to a kid a couple of years older with the other. At the same time, she was trying to control two more. The oldest was a boy who looked to be about eight or nine.

I gave Harry a nudge, and nodded in the woman’s direction. Harry was off the seat in an instant.

‘Would you like to sit here?’ he asked her, as I too stood.

The woman gave us a grateful smile, mumbled her thanks, and herded her kids across to the seat. The eldest boy said, ‘It’s Harry Potter, Mum,’ and the woman did a double-take. She stared at Harry, and I became invisible to everyone except the little girl in the pushchair. I amused myself by sticking out my tongue and pulling faces at her. She responded enthusiastically.

‘Are … are you?’ the woman asked Harry. She stopped before completing her question, but that’s as far as most people get.

‘Yes,’ he told her shortly. He lifted his hair aside, so that she could see his scar.

‘Who’re you?’ the oldest boy asked me.

Surprised that he’d noticed me, I stopped pulling faces at his kid sister and grinned at him.

‘I’m his bodyguard,’ I said. ‘I deal with the things which are too tough and scary for even Harry Potter to deal with.’

‘What’s that?’ the boy asked curiously.

‘My girlfriend,’ I said unthinkingly. Harry began to laugh.

‘It’s true,’ Harry said, nodding.

‘Thank you for the seat, Mr Potter,’ the woman said.

‘You’re welcome,’ he said.

‘Yeah, we’ve been sitting down for a long time,’ I told her. ‘We arrived much too early, but Harry was desperate to get here. I couldn’t hold him back.’

Harry simply snorted.

As we walked away from the silently watching woman and her kids, I looked around the bustling concourse. I could feel the excitement and expectation rising in everyone around me.

I stood next to Harry, and we stared up the track, willing the train to arrive. As we did so, I thought back over the past few months.

Hermione and I had slept together several times since that wonderfully brilliant, if cold and rainy day during the Easter holidays when we had rather clumsily “done it” for the first time. From today, however, things would change forever. From now on Hermione would be free. She was nineteen, an adult in both the Muggle and magical world. And she had finally finished school. From now on we could be properly together, just like when we were both at school. Better than that, in fact, because not only could we see each other every day, we could possibly see each other every night, too.

She had applied for a job in the Ministry, in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, and if she got it, it would make sense for her to live in London, in Grimmauld Place. We could live together. As I thought about the possibilities and remembered the feel of her soft, cool, flesh, my mind bounced back and forth between dozens of wild fantasies. I must have been daydreaming for ages, because the memory of one of Hermione’s climactic squeals was replaced by the equally welcome sound of a train whistle.

Her nearness pulled me from my fantasies. I watched the bright red steam engine as it made its final approach into King’s Cross. Like a gently snoring dragon, it exhaled regular puffs of smoke as it chuffed slowly into its destination. As the Hogwarts Express drew ponderously to a halt, its brakes squealed like an angry banshee, drowning out the excited chattering of everyone on the platform.

I decided to remind myself, and Harry, what was happening. ‘Here they come, Harry,’ I told him, raising my voice to be heard over the last dying squeak of the brakes.

Screeching and hissing, the train finally ground to a halt. Loud bangs echoed along its length as carriage doors were pushed open. The students gushed out, flowing over the platform like a flood. I stood on tiptoe. My head darted in all directions as I sought out my girlfriend. My expectant heart began to race in anticipation of our meeting.

‘You look like an anxious owl, Ron,’ Harry told me, mimicking my swivelling head. I ignored him.

For some reason, Hermione always seemed to be able to spot me before I saw her. She did again. I saw a wildly waving arm in the distance, and beneath it, an abundance of thick and wild brown hair. Once again beaten by my girlfriend, I waved back, and strode towards her.

‘Have you seen Hermione? Is Ginny with her?’ Harry asked anxiously as he followed in my wake. I bounced back up on my tiptoes and spotted my sister’s ginger mop alongside and slightly below Hermione’s hair.

‘Yes,’ I told Harry. ‘Hermione always spots me before I spot her. I wonder how she does it?’

‘You’re one of the tallest people on the platform, Ron,’ he said, laughing. ‘And it looks like your head is on fire. Everyone can see you, even people who aren’t actually looking for you.’

I strode along the platform towards Hermione, rapidly closing the gap between us. Anticipation was about to become actuality, and my heart was trying to batter its way out through my rib cage. The future was about to begin, for both of us. I rehearsed my greeting in my head. “Hello, Hermione, welcome home, you look lovely.”

As we walked, the crowds parted. Not for me, of course, they were not at all interested in me. They were moving deferentially out of the way of “the Chosen One”. The reason didn’t matter; all that mattered was that my approach to Hermione was made easier by Harry’s presence. As the crowds eddied and swirled around us, Harry and I finally found ourselves facing our girls.

Hermione’s smile of greeting created creases in the corners of her eyes and I felt the physical effects of her obvious happiness in both my stomach and my groin. The effect she had on me was astonishing. I’d tried, but I’d never been able to determine exactly when things had changed.

I smiled back, and time stopped.

For years she’d simply been there, standing beside me through thick and thin; poking prodding, kicking, cajoling and arguing. For years she was merely Hermione, my annoying but loyal friend. This year, our long periods of separation–me in Auror training, her back at school–had finally proved to me how much a part of my life she’d become.

As I looked at her, I realised how much I’d missed her. I’d missed her smell. I’d missed that little annoyed ‘tut’ she made when I did something she disapproved of. Sometimes, I annoyed her simply to hear it. I missed the way she said ‘Oh, Ron,’ when she was unhappy and looking for comfort and support, and the entirely different way she said ‘Oh, Ron’ when we were making love.

In the tumultuous, grief-stricken weeks after the battle, I had discovered that it was possible to miss someone so much that there was a physical manifestation. The many deaths, but Fred’s in particular, had taught me that hard lesson.

Hermione’s absence from my life was an entirely different sort of emptiness. But the physical symptoms of grief and love were, I realised suddenly, surprisingly similar. My galloping heart reminded me of her absence from my life. Who would have thought that “heartache” was a real thing?

She was standing right in front of me, still smiling. Our once friendly and familiar meetings had become tentative as we began to take account of the change in our relationship. I stared at her. She was beautiful. I had watched her for years, but I could barely reconcile the slender, dazzling, vision in front of me with the inky-fingered bossy little know-it-all I’d known forever. She wore a short denim skirt, and the semi-transparent black blouse and form-fitting embroidered waistcoat she’d first worn, with a black skirt, at Colin Creevey’s funeral. That had been more than a year earlier, but I hadn’t forgotten the outfit, that had been before we’d actually “done it”, and the outfit had fuelled my fantasies for weeks.

My eyes rapidly raked her from hair to heels, and then they moved slowly back up again. Her ankles were slender, shapely, and not at all skinny. Her knees were–I wanted to kiss her knees, I realised–that wasn’t normal, was it? I forced his eyes up past her hemline to her waist and chest (more things to kiss) and finally to her face. My heart became a sledgehammer; I was convinced that it would actually break my ribs.

‘Hello, Ron,’ she said, a little hesitantly. It was ridiculous, ever since we’d become a couple she had seemed almost nervous when we met. Perhaps it was the enforced separation.

‘You look bloody gorgeous,’ I told her fervently. I cursed myself. The calm, polite and charming greeting I had intended had been elbowed out of the way by my lust; she blushed and laughed.

‘You smarmy creep, Ron,’ said Ginny dismissively.

I ignored my sister, because I realised that Hermione was actually rather pleased by my comment.

It looked as though Ginny wouldn’t let it rest, but she had no choice. At the moment she spoke, Harry said, ‘Hi, Ginny,’ and stepped forwards. My sister said no more. She couldn’t, because Harry had shut her up by covering her open mouth with his own.

‘I’ve missed you,’ I told Hermione. I bent down and threw my arms around her waist. Pulling her into a tight hug, I straightened up, lifting her from her feet.

Then I kissed her. It was lip-bruisingly passionate; I couldn’t stop myself. Memories of my lonely night last Saturday–when Harry and Ginny had been in bed in Harry’s room on the floor above–came flooding back, and I put my frustrations, lusts and fantasies into the kiss. Her response was ardent and enthusiastic.

‘Wow,’ Hermione gasped when we finally parted. ‘I think you really have missed me, haven’t you?’

‘Just a lot,’ I told her. ‘Welcome home.’
Reviews 16
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