Who: Ron & Hermione; open to Harry & Ginny especially, and any other Gryffindors
Where: Gryffindor Commons
When: Afternoon; September 19
It's Hermione's birthday! Ron gives Hermione her present.
Most would assume that whenever Ron left the dormitory so late in the afternoon, it meant that he'd slept in, but today it had been something else. He appeared at the foot of the stairwell with his hands behind his back, peering past the stone wall and into the commons.
Ah! There she was.
Ron approached Hermione from behind shooting several lower classmen glares. They giggled at what was hidden behind his back as he walked by. Stopping short and shifting his weight awkwardly, he cleared his throat to interrupt whatever it was that Hermione was doing.
"Happy birthday, Hermione," he said, still standing several feet from her and holding an atrociously wrapped box out for her. The crinkled wrapping paper looked as if it had been used more than once, and instead of a bow, it was tied off with an old, dingy shoe lace.
Ron offered a sheepish, uncertain smile. At least he could get his Mum to wrap Harry's presents over the summer -- but Hermione's, unfortunately, always turned up looking like a disaster.
Hermione looked up at the tattered package in surprise, and blinked. She considered it for a moment, wondering if she should take offense at the haphazard presentation of it, or be flattered that Ron remembered her birthday without prompting and got her something.
She decided on the latter. He was, after all, Ron, and that was saying something. He'd probably wrapped it himself, in which case she was quite lucky whatever-it-was hadn't been thrown across the room in a fit of Weasley temper. For all she knew, it had been.
"Oh -- thank you, Ron." Hermione took the package with a surprised smile and settled it on her knees. She quickly pushed a few books out of the way so he would have some place to sit down, and tilted her head to consider the sad little package.
"Should I open it now, or wait for Harry?" she asked him, arching one eyebrow questioningly.
"Harry won't mind!" he said out of either impatience or excitement, "Open it!"
Ron dropped down onto the seat next to her, picking up a book or two and reading their binds, and oddly enough making no disgusted comment about how she was reading on her birthday. A moment later his attention fell back on Hermione, who still hadn't opened his present yet. He pushed the gift further into her grasp, "Well, go on, then!"
Inside the box lay a thick, dusty old book about the Celtic wizarding culture. It wasn't long ago when Hermione mentioned in her journal that she was interested in reading up on it, which may have been proof that Ron was much more observant than he let on.
"Hope you like it," he said anxiously. "Or haven't already read it," he added teasingly, as relief for himself, mostly.
Hermione responded with a small cry and turned the volume over in her hands. She cracked it open gingerly and scanned the verso page. "'Druids Are People Too: a History of Celtic Influence'," she read aloud. She glanced up at Ron in amazement. "Where did you find this? It's not in the library here, and I don't think I've even heard of this one before." She leafed carefully through a few of the pages, all of which were cramped with impossibly small text that would hurt anyone else's eyes -- which was likely why Ron had chosen it in the first place.
"My goodness -- Ron, this is fascinating. Thank you, really." She paused in her excited perusal to flash him an unusually bright smile, and gave him a very quick, impulsive hug. Then she was back to running her hands over the binding to rid it of dust, scanning the index, and clucking happily over having a huge new book to read in her spare time.
Ron laughed, his hand ruffling the messy hair at the back of his head, a nervous tick of his. "Well, you know," he started, then trailed off, not really wanting to admit that he had been searching for a book high and low, or that it had been secondhand.
Luckily for Ron, Hermione interrupted his stuttering -- unluckily for Ron, the interruption came in form of something as equally embarassing as buying her gift secondhand.
Ron's face turned bright red and he sat still as she hugged him. The gesture had gone as soon as it had come, but that didn't rid any of the burning color from his cheeks. "Glad you like it," he coughed.