Setting: the Gryffindor common room
Summary: Ron, desperate to get into the Chamber to find Ginny, implores Hermione to help him figure out a way in.
"Hermione!" Ron shouted frantically, running down the stone steps and nearly losing his footing several times in his haste. "Hermione!" he called again, desperately hoping she was in the common room. Precious minutes were passing, in which Harry was in the Chamber...by himself...Harry Potter...who had not waited for Ron. He had to get into the Chamber soon!
Ron breathlessly repeated the password to the Fat Lady several times before she could recognise it and burst into the common room, trying to catch his breath as Hermione gazed up mildly at him from her battered copy of Hogwarts, A History.
Hermione took a look at Ron's face and jumped up, her book narrowly missing poor Crookshanks, who hissed. "Did you find Ginny?" she asked, reaching for her wand.
"Harry'sgonegether!" Ron said all in one breath.
"Where?" Hermione had a sudden thought. Ron looked very nice all flushed like that. She berated herself and forced herself to look anywhere but Ron's lips.
"Didn't you see Harry's note?" Ron said.
That brought Hermione back to earth. "What note?"
"The note," Ron said immediately. "That Harry put out! He says Ginny's in the Chamber! He told me he was going off alone to get her! You've got to—" He stopped, seeing the look on Hermione's face.
A whole mess of thoughts were running through Hermione's head, and she took a moment to place them neatly into categories. Ron was nice, yes, those thoughts went there. Harry had been keeping things from her, that thought went there, and… "Ginny's in the Chamber?"
"Yes! You didn't see Harry's note?" Ron said again.
"No," Hermione said curtly. "Well we've got to go get her! Where's Harry now?"
"He's got to be in the Chamber by now! But it's closed behind him. 'Mione!" Ron said desperately. "You can find a way to get in, can't you?"
"Well..." Hermione sat down, deflated. "No."
"No?" Ron sounded as if he couldn't believe his ears. "What d'you mean, 'No'?"
"You have to be a Parselmouth to get in. Or at least know the word. I don't!"
"There's got to be a way around that!" Ron was indignant. "You've got to think of a way around it! Can't you…do a spell or something to talk in Parseltongue? Or! Something in your books! You've read them all a million times! Oh, Hermione, go on, you've got to think of something! You've just...got to," he finished lamely.
"Ron if there was a spell for knowledge like that then I don't think Salazar Slytherin would have used Parseltongue for his password." Hermione looked genuinely sorry. "I think we should tell Professor Dumbledore."
"But there's no time!" Ron looked frantic. "Ginny's in there all by herself—so is Harry! Can't we—can't we just—"
"I don't know what we could do, short of breaking through the roof of the Chamber!" Hermione said.
"Well, we..." Ron chewed his lip. "Look, I don't have any ideas, all right? Why did Ginny have to go somewhere I couldn't follow? Does she hate me? Did I do something wrong?"
"I don't think she's trying to punish anyone but herself, Ron." Hermione said, consoling him. "I think she just wanted to make sure no one could follow her. Or well, no one but Harry."
"But why Harry?" said Ron.
Hermione chuckled. "In case you haven't noticed, Ginny has had a crush on Harry since First Year."
"Yeah, I knew that!" Ron said indignantly. "But...oh." His face reddened. "You don't think they're...d'you mean...eh?"
"I highly doubt that the Chamber of Secrets is very romantic. Or that Ginny would be in the mood. Ron, I really think we ought to tell a Professor."
"Yeah, I s'pose so," he agreed halfheartedly. "Want to–to come with me to Dumbledore's office? Then I guess we need to tell Madame Pomfrey in case anything's happened."
"Now you're thinking." Hermione beamed. She took his hand as they left the common room and gave it a squeeze. "Ginny'll be all right. Harry will take care of her."
"Okay," Ron said in order to reassure Hermione. He tried to push all those bad thoughts to the back of his mind. He just wished that Harry had remembered to think of Hermione and himself, like he used to, like the other times when they went rushing into danger together instead of Harry all by himself.
He didn't let go of Hermione's hand until they had reached the great stone gargoyle.