And they were left standing there.
In the silence, Ron and Hermione looked at each other awkwardly. "I suppose we ought to be a bit flattered," Hermione said, looking anything but flattered. "But, honestly, I never thought Eloise would - I mean, she told me she needed help with her homework."
"Yeah," Ron muttered. Hermione looked troubled as they stood in silence for a few moments longer.
"Ron, how did we get like this?" she burst out suddenly. She put the books down on a nearby table, Ron suspected so that she could hide her face for a second. "I hate fighting with you, you know that, don't you? I've had more than enough of it to last me for the rest of my life. But I can't help it when...I just..."
"I know," Ron said, quietly. The awkwardness between them grew with the silence. Ron couldn't seem to quite find the right words to say. "Hermione - I'm sorry, okay? I'm sorry for hurting you, and I'm sorry for being such an idiot, I'm sorry for pushing you about Krum, I'm sorry about everything..."
Hermione looked suprised. He took a deep breath, getting up the courage to study her face. "Over the past few days, you've forced me to do a lot of thinking," he said slowly, then looked at Hermione with an almost scared expression on his face, watching closely to see how she would react.
"I forced you to?" Hermione said, in a sort of now-let-me-get-this-right tone of voice.
"Well," Ron gave out a low chuckle. "You see, there's this Hermione in my head who's always there telling me to do the right thing, a bit like a conscience, only bossier..."What Witches Want, from Katherina Black at the Sugar Quill.