Mental Match

Chapter 8: Promise

Chapter 8 - Promise

The sound of her ears ringing brought her back to some level of consciousness. It was deafening at first before settling down to an annoying level. A light groan slipped out of her mouth as she stirred.

"Hermione!...Hermione!...Can you hear me? God please..."

That was his voice and those were his arms around her she was sure, but there was still blackness surrounding her. She was tempted to just stay like this for a long while.

"Hermione...don't try to move...just open your eyes...please try..." his voice sounded strained and desperate.

The ringing in her ears died down as she struggled to comply with his request. Her eyes fluttered open and slowly adjusted to the bright light before focusing on...a pair of deep blue watery eyes set on a face filled with worry and concern.

As she stared at him, the pain in her head and back suddenly reached her brain and she groaned loudly this time.

"Take it easy... Everything is ok. Just relax and clear your head. You took a blow there I think." he said reassuringly as he continued to look into her eyes scanning for signs of concussion. He seemed to relax his arms around her as he scanned the rest of her.

As her senses returned, Hermione realised that Ron was cradling her in his lap next to a bench just off the corridor and somehow that fact rapidly cleared her head enough for her to try and sit up.

"What happened to me? Was I attacked?" she winced at the pain in her head and her hip as she moved to sit upright.

Ignoring her questions, Ron gently pulled her up until she was now sitting on the little bench still supported by his arms around her shoulder now.

"Just rest here for a while Hermione. Are you alright? Can you move your arms and legs?" he inquired gently.

She nodded at him as she slowly moved her limbs around. Besides the obvious pain at the back of her head, back and hip, she seemed to be relatively fine. She heard him sigh deeply as she looked up at him again. His look of concern had changed into one of slight anger as he passed his hand through his hair.

"Bloody Hell Hermione! You scared the living shit out of me! What were you thinking woman. Going down that corridor when you know it's unsafe. Didn't you see the barrier tape? Part of the roof came down. Five feet again and you would have been buried in stone. You know how lucky you are?" he hissed at her.

Hermione took in his words and finally realised what had happened.

"I...I'm sorry. I wasn't...I wasn't looking...I...I'm sorry." she cried softly looking down at her feet.

She heard another soft sigh escape his lips as his arm gave her a quick hug before releasing her. Feeling suddenly exposed, she glanced at him and saw that he was looking over her shoulder at something. The sound of various footsteps approached their little bench.

"Good Heavens! Miss Granger are you alright? What happened here?" the shrill voice of the Headmistress inquired sternly.

Hermione turned slightly at the Professor and a number of other students and teachers who had obviously heard the sound of the crash. Opening her mouth she started to respond when Ron answered quickly.

"It was my fault Professor McGonagall. I should have checked the barriers this morning to make sure they were up and in the right place. Miss Granger just happened to be passing at the wrong moment and thought this area was safe. I'm really sorry Professor. I assure you this will not happen again." he apologized sincerely even though Hermione knew his story was a lie.

The Headmistress shook her head at Ron before replying.

"I certainly should hope so Mr. Weasley. You are responsible for the safety of the people here while you are working and I will not have these accidents re-occurring is that clear?" she glared.

Hermione again opened her mouth to say something when she felt his hand knock against her arm.

"I give you my word professor." he nodded his assurance. The headmistress had turned to Hermione even before his reply.

"Are you alright Miss Granger? I suggest Mr. Weasley take you right away to Madam Pomfrey to get you checked out." she said.

Hermione balked at that suggestion and tried to make herself appear unaffected by the accident.

"It's ok Professor McGonagall. I'm fine really. It's just a slight blow to my head and some minor bruises. I can take a potion for my headache and take of the bruises myself. If I still have the headache tomorrow I will go and see her I promise." she tried a weak smile at her. Ron turned to her with a glare but she was the one this time giving him a small nudge.

"Well ok if you are sure. Just get some rest Miss Granger. Mr. Weasley can help you to your room I suppose. Come on everyone! back to what you were doing." she told the small crowd as she turned and walked away. Ron immediately jumped on her.

"Hermione you just received a blow to your head. I strongly insist that you go and see the head nurse." he said sternly.

"I'm fine Ron. Madam Pomfrey is going to want to keep me in the hospital wing overnight for observation and I refuse to spend another night there. I had enough of that place when I was in school. Just help me get to my room will you please?" she pleaded.

Ron hesitated for a moment obviously unsure of her decision but as Hermione stood up shakily, he moved quickly to hold her arm.

"OK fine. You stubborn...let's go then." he gritted through his teeth.

All her previous thoughts about him dissolved away as he led her to the familiar staircase. Her head and hip were throbbing incessantly but she was only aware of his hand around her waist. As they ascended the stairs, she had to hold on to him tighter as the pain at her hip became unbearable. On reaching the second landing he softly swore to himself before lifting her completely in his arms and proceeding up the last two flights.

"I can walk Ron! Will you let me down." she shot at him.

"I know...but It will take forever. Now shut up and tell me where to go." he looked at her for directions.

She was trying her best not to go up in flames as her whole body seemed to flush against him. Relax Hermione...this is certainly better than the hospital wing for sure. She tried to start a conversation but nothing came to her head. She settled for babbling out directions to her room.

Ron put her down in front of her room and stepped back quietly as she opened her door. She moved forward gingerly but stopped to look around at him, her mind spinning with what she wanted to ask him.

"Erm...I know I said I could take care of these bruises myself but...the truth is...I may need your help. Can you...you know...stay to help me. It shouldn't take long and then you can go." she stuttered a bit.

"You mean you lied to the Headmistress?" he smirked as he raised his eyebrows. "Tut tut Hermione...am I becoming a bad influence on you?" he laughed softly as he flashed his smile at her.

She immediately felt herself relax at his smile, her ease with him coming back like a fresh breeze across her body

"Will you just come in here and help me you git, before I chicken out." she laughed as she led him into the room and setting him down on the small couch in her sitting area.

She went into her bathroom before returning with a bottle and a washcloth in her hand. She stopped before him as he stared up at her.

"On the point of lying...I want to thank you for what you said to Professor McGonagall. It was all my fault and you didn't have to protect me but you did...and I just want to say thanks Ron." she said sincerely.

"That's all right. Couldn't have the school project member walking around in her own cordoned off areas now could we. I took one for the team you could say." he grinned. "Now sit here and let me see just how bad this is." he motioned to her after taking the bottle and cloth from her hand.

"I know what this is by the way. I have five brothers so you don't have to tell me how to use it." he pointed to the bottle now in his hands.

Hermione turned from him and shed her jacket and jumper before Ron let out a small hiss under his breath.

"Shit Hermione. There's blood on your blouse. You...er...should take it off so I can see where you're hurt." he said hesitantly as his ears turned slightly pink.

Blushing like mad, she quickly unbuttoned her shirt and pulled it off before she lost her nerve.

"Is it bad?" she asked from in front afraid to even turn her head. "Ron?"

"Don't worry it's not too bad but not good either. Just hold on and I'll have this taken care off in a bit." he said a bit seriously. "This might sting a bit."

She jumped as she felt his hand on her shoulder but soon relaxed as he applied the cream over the affected areas on her shoulder and back. She soon started to enjoy this experience as the pain slowly dissolved away and all she felt was his warm hands over her skin. When he took a lengthy pause she turned her head around to see his face now slightly pink.

"Er...I need to get to your hip Hermione. There's a bad gash down there and its turning purple around the edges. Can you reach behind yourself? If you don't want me to...you know..." he faded away.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.

"Just do it Ron please. I won't be able to see where it is. Quickly before I die of embarrassment." she laughed nervously as she pulled down the waist of her jeans and knickers just enough so he could reach the offending gash.

This time she froze when his hand began to rub her lower back and the tip of her behind. How much of this could she take? Just a few moments ago, she was running away blindly from this man and now he was rubbing her bare body in places no other man had ever seen before. She was going to burst if she didn't do something.

"I'm sorry" she said

"I'm sorry" he said

They had both broken the thick air around them at the same time and they both laughed with relief.

"No Ron. I'm really sorry. I over reacted to you and stormed away stupidly not looking where I was going and now look where I am. Blood all over my back." she sighed.

"It wasn't your fault Hermione. I shouldn't have said...what I said. It's just me and my stupid habit of saying things inappropriately. It was totally uncalled for and I almost caused you to...hell I don't want to even go there." he said unevenly. "There...it's all done. How do you feel now?" he asked suddenly as his hands fell away from her.

"It feels a lot better." she said lightly as she twisted her back to gauge her feelings. "I own you one...no two actually if we count the lie to Professor McGonagall."

She stood up and made her way to her closet where she found a clean shirt and put it on hurriedly. She finally turned to him and gave him her best smile with her face still heated.

"Thanks Ron. For everything. I feel exhausted now." she said softly as she sat next to him again.

"You should be. You almost got crushed by a roof today Hermione. I should leave you to rest." he started to reach out with his hand but stopped and let it rest in front of him.

He looked at her with that churning expression again on his face and she wondered what was coming this time.

"Listen Hermione. You were right. I have no right to meddle in your life but you were wrong about me too. I do listen to you...I hear every word you say to me and I do want to take the time to know you but...it's not easy for me. Because of who I am, I always have to think ahead. I always have to prepare for all possible...outcomes, and sometimes it just gets to me because...most of the times I know how it ends." he sighed softly as he looked away.

Before she could respond he stopped her by gently touching her leg with one hand and holding up the other.

"I had a great day today with you...one of the best days that I've had in a long while actually and I'm sorry I messed it up for you. I...want you to know that. I just have to learn to accept the good things that happen to me without over thinking too much...even the part where I end up rubbing a beautiful girl's back." he said with a slight smile on his face.

She gave him a small slap on his hand as she smiled back at him before going quiet and looking down.

"It was one of my best days in a while too." she said softly to her hands. "I'm sorry I...we...let it end badly...can we get a do over?" she looked up at him.

He continued his smile, his hand still on her leg as the churning expression flashed across his face for a brief moment.

"Sure. There's nothing I wouldn't like better." he said lightly. "Let's just promise to get to know each other better, to make sure we understand each other before we jump on each other again...shit!...I didn't mean...not literally on each other...I mean fight...like today...you understand right?" he laughed out with his ears turning red.

She laughed with him. She could do this. It was for the best. She could take her time and get to know him. She had rushed in too quickly anyway and now with his suggestion she could hold back a bit, take stock, relax with him and see where this could really go...or not... she grimaced to herself. With a new resolve she stared straight at his blue eyes.

"I promise Ron. Let's get to know each other...then we'll see where it leads us to." she said clearly.

"Good. I promise to try and not behave like a true git whenever I'm with you...I'll try." he smiled as he gave her leg a tiny squeeze before standing up. "Get some rest Hermione. It' s been quite a day."

She walked him to the door and as he turned to go, she reached up on her toes and gave him a quick kiss on his cheek.

"Now I only owe you one." she grinned at him before closing the door.


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