Several years down the line, Ron and Hermione have a conversation in a muggle café. Sometimes, things need to be said. And sometimes, things need to be finished.
"I don't see why you can't manage this, Ron!" Her voice was harsh with frustration, but she kept it low. No need to get anyone else involved in this.
"No! I don't want to hear it. You're late. Again." She sighed, and twisted her crystal bracelet around her wrist, "Fine; I can understand if you don't want to visit an exhibition, or go to see a muggle play with me. What I can't understand is why you persist in lying about it!"
"Hermione, don't! It's not like that, I swear. It's just... things have been busy, lately." He shifted in his seat, replacing the milky coffee on its saucer without taking a sip.
"Your boss needs you to stay at work, or Fred needs you to watch the shop, or Bill needs you to mind your niece..." Her voice was close to sliding into sarcasm, but not quite. Not yet. "I'm not stupid, Ron. I don't believe for an instant that you couldn't have got out of those things, if you wanted to. If you wanted this. You could make time for me, take me somewhere you want to go if you're tired of my choices. Pick me up on time, for a change, so we don't miss the concert and wind up hugely overdressed for the cafÃ© we end up in."
"So that's it? Are my other commitments really so unimportant to you?" His voice would have sounded incredulous, but by this point, the only feeling left was a bone-deep weariness. "Hate to break it to you, but you're not the centre of my universe. You've got plenty of other people willing to put you on that pedestal; what about that Karlin guy, on exchange?"
A blush stained her cheeks, almost imperceptible through the meticulous makeup. "Frederic is a very nice young man..."
"Nice?" He snorted. "'Frederic' worships the ground you walk on, and you know it." He rubbed his temples with one hand. "Look, this isn't working. We aren't working. You're smart, and pretty, and too damned reliable for your own good. I'm not. I can't cope with this constant pressure from you..."
The blush was fast becoming more pronounced, although it certainly wasn't from embarrassment any more. "Excuse me. I put you under pressure?"
"Yes. You do. All the time. Trying to teach me to 'appreciate fine art', or listen to the words of some medieval muggle playwright, or understand all the complicated terms you toss around about your work. Trying to 'educate' me, to improve me to how you think I should be."
"Well, maybe that's not such a bad thing. I doubt you'd fit anyone's mould for 'perfect boyfriend' without a little 'improvement'" Her expression was almost as venomous as her tone.
"If you're so superior to me, what's the point?" He rose from the rickety chair and fished out a bill to pay for his untouched coffee, depositing a fresh twenty pound note on the table. "Go find yourself a Ministry lapdog to lick your boots. Maybe they won't mind your little 'improvement' schemes as much as someone with a little self-respect."
She watched his back silently until it disappeared into the crowd. At this point, there was nothing left to say.