Title: An unusual taste
Challenge: Ginny Weasley, Bertie Bott's grass-flavoured bean, library
Summary: Some things are too personal to be shared, but a bean ain't one.
Warnings (if applicable): None
Notes: For the Ron/Hermione Reunion at rhr_smutfest. While I finish writing the third part of Trinkets, here's something I did with the second set of prompts I actually claimed. Ginny is always fun to write. Many thanks to exartemarte for the beta work and the nice words on my written English.
I apologise for the summary.
Ron walked through the book-lined aisles, unconsciously tapping his wand against his leg to the rhythm of the ancient clock. He spotted them in a deserted area near the Restricted Section: Hermione and Ginny were both bent over lengths of parchment and open books, one head covered in a mass of brown hair, the other half-hidden by a shiny red curtain.
‘Ron, are you all right?’
He opened his eyes to see Hermione and Ginny peering at him curiously across the table. With a last regretful sigh, he straightened and started taking his stuff out of his bag.
‘Yeah. I could use some of Mum’s willow bark tea, though.’
‘Are you going to start Snape’s assignment now?’ Hermione asked, promptly getting back to her own essay.
‘Probably should...’ Ron stared dejectedly at the books in front of him, and then down at his empty rucksack. Almost empty.
Brightening, he plunged his arm into it and retrieved his prize: a full bag of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans.
Looking around for signs of Madame Pince, Ron ripped the top open and smiled triumphantly as he took the first bean.
'Ron, you know we're not supposed to eat here, you'll get us all kicked out,' Hermione hissed.
'Then don't draw attention to us.' Deciding it was safe, Ron popped the bean into his mouth whole. Cheered up by the warm butterbeer taste, he finally set to work, carefully hiding the illicit bag under an upside down, open book.
'You can help yourselves, you know,' he told the other two. Ginny obliged without much thought, but Hermione pursed her lips and said, 'No thank you. I won't be the one to get us in trouble.'
'Suit yourself.' Ron bent over his copy of Confronting the Faceless and started reading, but he kept an eye on the bag of sweets. He didn't know why, but he wanted her to take a bean. Well, he had an inkling he did know why. Seeing Hermione breaking the rules, as lame a rule it was, was—
He couldn’t go there right now.
After scribbling a couple of lines for Defence Against the Dark Arts, and several hit-or-miss flavours, he picked out a green bean. It didn't look like anything he remembered eating before: not the lime green of sprouts, or the dark hue of spinach; it was neither the khaki of boogers nor the creamy tone of spearmint. It was bright green, with faint veins of gold.
He nibbled at it carefully. It tasted familiar: a mix of sweet and tart... something about it made him think of summer...
Ron made a face. It was grass.
It gave him an idea, though.
'Here, maybe you'd like to try this one, Hermione,' he said, holding out his offering.
She put down her quill again and looked up.
'What's that one?' she asked, her expression still guarded.
'It's... um, grass.'
'Pardon?' she said sharply, narrowing her eyes at Ron. 'What made you think that I'd particularly enjoy a grass-flavoured bean? Do you take me for some sort of grazing animal?'
'What? No!' Ron dropped his hand, his eyes wide-open in confusion. What had he said now?
'Look, I only thought you'd like to try it because you said you like grass... er, the smell... in Slughorn's class... the Amortentia?'
Ron's mouth felt like it was filled with wool; his mind processed what he'd just blurted out and he silently cursed himself. Was that even what she'd said? He remembered hearing her voice as if it was coming through a tunnel, his head swimming in the wonderful smell that came out from the potion, making him feel content.
Hermione, meanwhile, gaped at him, a very serious expression on her face. She was probably thinking he was mental. Then she grabbed her quill and looked down at her book again.
'I do like the smell, but I'd rather not taste it, myself,' she said curtly. Ron thought her cheeks had gained some colour, but he couldn't be sure.
Ginny, who had been watching the whole exchange with her eyebrows increasingly going up her forehead, piped up.
'Amortentia, huh? You know, that's supposed to be very personal. Was that the only thing you smelled, Hermione?' she asked in a pretended sweet voice.
Without looking up, Hermione said, 'I don't remember, actually.'
'Oh really! That's odd. Do you remember what Hermione said she smelled, Ron?'
He didn't. Grass had been the only thing he'd caught, because it had been the first one she'd mentioned and, besides, he'd thought it was funny. But he wasn't keen on Ginny pushing the matter any further. He didn't want to know whether Hermione’s favourite smell might be Krum's cologne, and not anything related to him.
'And what did you smell, Ron? Did you get anything... special?' Ginny was saying now.
Bad turn of events. He was definitely keeping those to himself for the moment. Especially with Hermione suddenly looking so interested.
'Er, just a bunch of food,' he muttered.
'Really?' It was Hermione who had interjected this time. Did she look a bit disappointed or was he imagining it?
'Yeah. You know what,' Ron told them both, 'I'll go back to the Common Room to finish this. I reckon it'll be quiet enough now.'
He dropped the bean he'd still been holding onto the table and stuffed everything back into his rucksack.
'Ron?' Hermione called hesitantly, but he just turned and said, 'See you later.'
Ginny rubbed the spot on her arm where Hermione had just punched her.
'What did you do that for?'
'What did you do that for?' Hermione whispered angrily.
'Well, what's wrong with it? I was just curious. What kind of forbidden scent did you smell?' Ginny asked, amused, but then she changed her mind and pulled a face. 'Wait, don't tell me.'
'I wasn't going to. I was lucky he didn't push it; I almost blurted it out in class before I stopped myself.'
'Wonder what's got his wand in a knot, though... maybe he didn't want to reveal what he smelled, either,' Ginny added, looking pensive.
'I, for one, am glad he didn't. I didn't need to hear how the thing that attracts him the most is French perfume.'
'That's a load of dragon dung and you know it. You were dying to know!'
Hermione shifted her position on the chair, making the old structure creak.
'Sometimes,' she started, trying to look down at Ginny even though the other girl was several inches taller, 'I can't work out whether you're with me or against me.'
'That remains to be seen.'
Giving Hermione an enigmatic smile, she turned back to her essay without another word.
Hermione sighed quietly, twirling her quill between her fingers. Her eyes wandered across the surface of the table, and she saw it: a half-eaten, bright green bean.
He had remembered. It wasn't a complete shock; she knew Ron remembered things like that about the people he cared about. It only meant that he wasn't as oblivious as most people seemed to think. That he was a good friend.
She was really glad she had kept her third scent to herself.
Without Ginny noticing, Hermione reached for the sweet and stuffed it in a pocket of her cloak.
She didn't see Ginny's smug smile next to her.