Chapter 1 : i can't be happy without you
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Note to Validators: I didn't mean to resubmit without changing anything; I hit the strong violence instead of strong language. My apologies, I wasn't trying to beat the system or anything.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.
Hermione crawls into bed, her breath coming out in labored pants. She’s hurt, she knows, but hers are not the worst wounds.
So many dead, she thinks, but under the sadness and grief is a layer of hope, of the knowledge that the day she had been working for for six years has finally come. She can breathe easily, now. She finally gets comfortable, her arm only slightly hurting her, and she closes her eyes.
Visions fill her head – Fred, Colin, and so many more that she can’t place, can’t think. She can’t get the smell of blood out of her clothes, and it makes her visions all the more vibrant, lifelike, ready to burst out of her mind and manifest themselves in front of her.
But she’s being silly. And if there is one thing Hermione Granger refuses to allow herself to be, it is silly.
And so she focuses on the good parts of the day – because under everything, there were good parts.
Harry won. Her Harry, the one she had grown up with and watched mature, had aged a lifetime that day. In the moment before he defeated Voldemort – she can think the name now with no fear – she saw the man he could become. Would become.
And… there was Ron.
She squeezes her eyes shut, hating not knowing how he feels. She knows how she wants this to play out – oh, she’s known for years. She has a sneaking suspicion that she isn’t entirely alone, in this respect.
But she’s not sure. Hermione hates being unsure of anything, and the knowledge strikes fear into her heart, along with a not-entirely-unwelcome set of butterflies.
For one time in her life, Hermione was brave. She did what she had longed to do for so long, and the kiss – circumstances however grave – had been wonderful and beautiful.
She has just decided that she’ll discuss this with Ronald tomorrow when her door creaks open.
In walks Ron, hands bruised, face bloodied. The moon casts a glow on his face, and he shoots her an awkward smile. “Hi.”
“Hello.” She smiles back at him, sits up, and allows him to sit next to her. She takes one of his hands in hers, cooing over the wounds. “How are you?”
Her voice is a bit higher than it should be, but she can’t bring herself to mind, really.
He doesn’t answer her, and she takes that as all the sign she needs. She resolves herself to the idea – Ron doesn’t want her. Not in the same way that she wants him, anyway.
She forces a smile at him, though, and looks into his eyes.
He’s staring at her. There’s no real expression on his face at first glance, though as she studies him she can see the indecision behind his eyes. It’s in the way he chews his lip, the way his brow is crinkled, just slightly.
Finally, after a moment that stretches beyond the point of time, he speaks.
“It depends on how you are.”
She cocks her head at him, but doesn’t say anything for a long moment. All right, maybe she’s torturing him. Just a little.
“What do you mean?” Her voice is just a bit lower now, and she’s whispering for a reason she doesn’t know.
He smiles, and grasps her hand more firmly. Memories hit her – holding hands at Grimmauld, hugging him when he returned, the day they got Harry.
“I don’t think…” He shuts off, shakes his head. “I don’t think I know how to be happy if you’re not.”
Her heart starts racing but she refuses to get her hopes up until she’s sure. “Why?"
“Damn it, Hermione.” He’s not mad at her, though, she can tell. He hangs his head down, shuts his eyes. Hermione rubs his shoulder, finally letting go of his hand.
She almost misses the longing look he gives to her.
“I can’t be happy without you because I fancy you. Not in the… well, I fancy you.”
He’s never been good with words, but she’s never heard a more beautiful speech.
He’s still looking down. “I know you don’t feel – I mean, I know the kiss – you were caught up, you would have done the same thing if Harry were the one to say it. I know all that stuff.” He looks at her, now, finally, and she has to take a moment to catch her breath. “But…” He grasps her hand again, refuses to let go. “But I had to let you know.”
Her eyes are wide as she stares, thinking, calculating. She can feel her heart in her stomach and the butterflies are back, more than ever before.
And so she leans forward and gives him a kiss. One kiss. Chaste, nothing more than a peck.
And then she pulls away, her eyes just as wide as before.
His eyes narrow a bit. “What was that… why?”
She smiles, then, and laughs. “Don’t you get it?” She kisses him again, a bit more this time. “I fancy you as well. As a matter of fact, I can do you one better. I love you.” She has no idea what has possessed her to say that – she’s Hermione Granger, for goodness’ sake, she’s supposed to think everything through before she does it – but she’s happy she has, if only for the look on Ron’s face.
It’s a look of reverence, of joy, of quite possibly reciprocated love.
He brings a hand up to cup her cheek, and his hands are rough. She can’t bring herself to care, and she pulls him forward again, into a kiss.
And before she knows it, she’s against the headboard and his tongue is in her mouth and she’s pulling on his hair, and he lets out a quiet moan into her mouth.
As if realizing this, he flies away from her, his hand on his mouth.
“Shit, Hermione. I’m sorry.”
She backs up, and her shirt is low and she’s only now realizing how she must look. “You didn’t do anything wrong –”
“I took advantage –”
“Oh, come off it, it was – ”
“I don’t want you to think I only love you for your looks.”
“It’s –” She stops. “Love?”
And there it is, it’s out and Hermione’s heart is racing.
He smiles, a little bit. “Yeah. I, erm, I love you.”
And she throws herself at him, though she’s loath to admit it – Hermione Granger does not throw herself at boys.
And that’s true. Because Ronald Weasley is most certainly not a boy, and she takes great care to be certain of this.
And she loves him and he loves her, and that makes it so much sweeter.