It was the middle of summer, and Ron Weasley was bored. In two weeks his sixth year at Hogwarts would be starting, and there would be plenty to do, but for now everything was absolutely dead. He was lying on his back in the yard, staring up at the sky and letting the yard gnomes climb over his stomach and nibble at his shoes. His mum was inside washing the breakfast dishes, so he knew he’d be in for some serious chores if he let her catch sight of him lazing like this. Dad was in the garage, busying himself with his inventions. Ron had long tired of standing by and watching his dad curse at and fiddle with his Muggle machines. He rolled over on his side and rested his head sleepily on his elbow.
As for his brothers, they all had their own business to attend to. Charlie and Bill hadn’t been home in months—there were off living their own lives now. And Percy was sitting in on a Ministry meeting in Locksworth, hoping his mentorship with the Secretary of Defense Against the Dark Arts would pay off in a sweet intern job in the fall. Fred and George, who had just graduated last semester, had taken off for the voodoo filled islands of the Caribbian with Angelina and Alicia, their giggly girlfriends from school. Ron could only imagine the kind of wild fun they were having. It was no wonder that they had only written twice all summer.
His little sister Ginny had been his companion in boredom so far this summer, and they’d been spending a lot of time at the tavern in town, trading spells and tricks with the travelers. But today she was off with her friend Colin Creevy, and Ron was alone, going crazy with the sameness of another hot summer day at the Burrow.
" Hey, lazy boy," someone called suddenly, and Ron looked up from his comfortable position in the grass to see his friend Hermione Granger staring down at him. " What’are ya doing?" she asked, sitting down beside him. Ron pulled himself up and rubbed his eyes.
" NOTHING," he said, " Thank god you’re here, I was about to go into hybernation for two weeks until school started." Hermione laughed, and tilted her head back, looking up at the sky.
" Me too," she said, " That’s why I came. I was going crazy at the house, another day of re-reading the summer assignments."
" Oh, bullocks," Ron mumbled, " I forgot about those." He expected a scolding from his book smart friend, but instead she just grinned at him. Hermione looked pretty, and Ron wondered what a mess he must look like. She was clean and fresh looking, her long brown hair smoothed neatly and falling loose down her exposed back. She was wearing a light pink tank top, which clung tightly to her golden-tan skin. Ron swallowed a lump in this throat. He hadn’t been with a girl all summer. And, man, those shorts were short. He relised suddenly that he’d never seen how Hermione dressed during the hot days of summer…
" So…" she said, leaning back on the cool grass, " You wanna do something?"
" Heh…" Ron said, his cheeks turning red. He could just imagine what his mum would say. Get your mind out of the gutter, boy! " Sure," Ron said, regaining his composure.
" The problem with magic communities like this," she said, " Is that there isn’t much recreation offered. The Muggles, on the other hand, base their lives around recreation and entertainment!" she giggled, " With us, you’re either saving the world or doing bookwork!"
" Yeah," Ron said, " Tell me about it."
" It’s noble," Hermione said, " Of course, but come on, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." She winked.
" It’s from a Muggle movie," she explained, " That’s what we should do! I’ve got my dad’s car—I just got my license in June. We could drive to the theater and see a Muggle flick!"
Like…a date? Ron wondered, excited. He stood up, and offered Hermione his hand. She took it, and Ron’s cheeks flushed again as she pulled herself up.
" Anything sounds good to me," he said, a little shake in his voice, " Let’s get out of here."
Hermione smiled, and hooked her arm through his, leading him to her car. " I’ve got air-conditioning," she assured her, " It’s so hot out I feel like I’m melting!"
Me too, Ron thought, his arm squeezed next to hers. He knew he was sweating, and was a little embarrassed. They climbed into the big Muggle car. Ron didn’t even bother to tell his mother he was leaving—he knew she’d kill him later but he didn’t care. They drove into town, finally coming upon an old theater in a strip of shopping mall stores.
" Let’s see something scary," Hermione suggested, " I guess you don’t have any money…"
" Nope," Ron said, " Sorry. Even if we went to the bank, I don’t have anything to change."
" It’s okay," Hermione said with a funny grin, " You can pay me back later." Ron chuckled nervously. Mind out of the gutter! He commanded to himself again.
They sat together near the front of the theater, and Hermione bought some gummy bears and shared with him. Ron tried to position his elbow in the right way on the arm rest, so he could touch her bare arm. At one point they both reached for the same red gummy bear, and their hands touched, and grasped ahold of each other unintentionally. Hermione looked at Ron nervously.
" A-heh," he said, taking his hand away, " You can have it."
" Thanks," Hermione whispered softly. Ron’s heart was beating faster now—was she really sending him these signals, or was he just imagining them?
After the movie, they walked back into the hot sunshine, wondering what to do next. Ron stood beside her on the sizzling pavement, and glanced over, searching for words. He wanted to tell her that the way her little tank top was pushed up, partly revealing her tan little tummy, was driving him crazy. But he felt that might be inappropriate.
" So, um," he said, his cheeks red already, " Have you been dating anyone this summer?"
" Nope," she said, not looking at him, " You?"
" Uh-uh." He said, " I haven’t done anything. Haven’t done my schoolwork, haven’t made any money…" he trailed off, fearing that he sounded a trite pathetic.
" Hey, I know what we can do!" she said, " There’s a pool over by the baseball fields. Let’s go swimming!"
" Okay…" Ron said, " But we don’t have bathing suits." Now his cheeks were REALLY red.
Hermione laughed, " Well I thought I might have a swim, so I wore mine under my clothes," she explained, " And… you can wear your boxers, can’t you?"
" Sure," Ron managed, his voice cracking. They got back in the car, and headed for the pool. Ron looked over at her in the driver’s seat, and he did notice a bright pink strap poking out from under the tank top. He hoped it was a bikini… and a skimpy one at that… then he mentally slapped himself. Snap out of it, boy! This is your friend here.
Ron’s wish was met when they got to the pool, and Hermione stripped off her shirt and shorts. Her little bikini was tied with thin strings on the top, and the bottums were cut high up her tighs. Ron thought his eyes might fall out of his head.
" Wow," he said, without meaning to. " Nice tan," he added, to cover up. She just laughed.
" Come on," she said, grabbing his arm, " It’s burning up out here! Let’s get in." She pulled him inside the gates, where he reluctantly pulled off his t-shirt and jeans, stepping into the water in his boxers. Hermione dove in like a fish, and he watched her form salaciously from where he stood, waist high in the shallow end. Hermione surfaced and grinned at him.
" What are you waiting for?" she asked, " Go under! It feels great!"
" Uh…." Ron said, getting ahold of himself, " It’s freezing!"
" It’s supposed to be freezing! Don’t be a whimp."
" Hang on," he said, lowering himself half an inch deeper in the ice cold water. But before he could carefully coax himself in any furthur, Hermione jumped on his shoulders and knocked him under. Under the water they were entwined together, and Ron opened his eyes to look into hers. He was so entralled for a moment with the feeling of her arms around him that he almost forgot to come up for air. When they finally broke the surface, Hermione was laughing.
" I couldn’t resist," she said, and Ron tackled her again.
After the sun went down they finally left the pool, and got back into the car, cold and shivering benneath towels.
" I’m so cold!" Hermione said, teeth chattering as she clung tightly to her towel. Ron wondered why she hadn’t started the car. " Will you warm me up?" she asked him suddenly, and Ron was taken a bit off guard.
" Well…um…" before he could come up with an answer, she climbed out of her seat and pulled herself into his lap. Ron dropped his towel and put his arms around her, squeezing her to him. Hermione’s arms encircled his shoulders.
" Oh, Ron," she mumbled in his ear, kissing his cheeks. Ron was flushed in every possible way—clinging to his friend in nothing but soaking wet boxers. She finally met his eyes, and they kissed each other, tounge to tounge, pulling each other close as their lips moved together. Ron sighed into her warm mouth, a long-anticipated shudder of relieved tension moving through his excited body.
" Hermione," he breathed, " I wanted this… for awhile…." She pushed his head back against the car seat.
" Shut up, Ron," she said, pushing her bare stomach against the boyish muscles on his chest, " It’s time for dinner."
Ron stopped trying to undo her top for a moment, " Huh?" he asked, confused.
" I said, IT’S TIME FOR DINNER!" she screamed, and Ron opened his eyes.
He was lying on the grass in his yard, his muscles sore and cramped from falling asleep on his side on the ground. His mother was glaring down at him.
" Come on!" she shouted, " Your foods getting cold!"
Ron moaned and sat up. It was all a dream! But what did it mean… did he have a crush on Hermione? He’d always thought she was pretty…
" Really, Ron," his mother scolded, " I can’t believe you did nothing all day but lie here and sleep." She went back inside, and Ron followed her in.
His sixth year at Hogwarts would sure be interesting. He’d never thought about his friend Hermione that way before… but he sure was now.