A/n: This story is a personalized gift for one of my internet besties and beta CallieSkye. She loves sixth year Ron, Romione and fluff, so expect all of those in here. Additionally, as this story is a surprise for her, she hasn't beta read it (yet). Errors, if any, are all mine. Special thanks to another dearie jenn582 for providing her valuable inputs. Happy Reading. A review will be highly appreciated.

Happy Reading! A review will be highly appreciated.

update: Fic all edited and proofread, thanks to CallieSkye.


"Did ya see that coming?" Ron indicated vaguely at a couple in the distance. Hermione glanced up briefly from the book she was absorbed in, responding leisurely, only after completing the paragraph she was reading.

"For a while now, yes. Didn't you?"

Ron looked away from the tree that was partly obscuring his view of a raven head, that was far too close to a glorious red one. Exhaling softly, he lay back on the grass, arms tucked under his head.

"I guess, I just assumed she'd have outgrown her crush by now," he admitted.

"Not all of us outgrow our crushes, Ron. Sometimes the feelings remain, get stronger even-", she shrugged without taking her eyes off her book, "-you just learn to mask it better," she added casually, and he stopped trying to figure out what his sister and best mate were doing and turned sideways to watch her instead.

Was she saying..? Did that mean... Could she have-? Nah, he had messed it up horribly, he was sure. But then...

Ron watched the petite girl sitting on an old Gryffindor bedspread; a couple of books lay next to her while she held one on her lap. Her soft blush could have been due to the sun, but it was a pleasant spring afternoon; in fact, there was still a fair bit of chill in the air. Moreover, she was hidden in the shade of the enormous oak tree under which they sat.

With his heartbeat picking up a little, he watched as she paused and pretended to be engrossed in the book again – pretended for sure- he had known her long enough to know she wasn't reading anymore.

"Perhaps Ginny dated other guys only because she got tired of waiting for Harry to notice." Her voice was so soft that he had to wonder if she wanted him to hear her at all.

"How could Harry not notice? She was right there in front of him all this time."

The irony of his words struck him hard and he averted his eyes sheepishly before being drawn to the sound of her soft laughter. Merlin, he had missed that sound and more than that, missed making her laugh.

She shook her head as she chuckled, the curly ponytail swinging enticingly as he watched mesmerised. It took him a minute to realise that he was grinning like a dork and adjusted his expression quickly. Hermione finally snapped the huge volume shut and placed it next to her, hopefully, to give him her full attention.

"You know, Ron, boys can be idiots." she observed playfully, mirth reflecting in those pools which Ron realised he had been gazing at for a while now. Once again, he looked away quickly, ears embarrassingly red.

"I have to agree with that," he confessed trying his best to rub the redness of his neck away. But by then his eyes found something new: Hermione's hand was on her book, tracing the odd Rune symbols on the cover.

It was absolutely barmy the way she made him feel. In the past, he would have assumed that he was just a horny, female-companionship-deprived teenager. But he'd had his fair share of 'companionship' in the last few months, however, nothing, not even those intense snogging sessions with Lavender, compared to how he felt around her. His heart ached for Hermione in that delicious sort of way that made his brain go all fuzzy. And it happened all the time- even during the most mundane moments like when she was in class busy taking notes or during dinner when she sat next to him, reading while she ate. It even happened when she was not around him at all. He was not a confused fourteen-year-old anymore and knew well enough what his feelings for her were. Unfortunately, a six-feet-three-inches tall, seventeen-year-old ginger moron called Ronald Weasley had gloriously fucked up his chances with this girl.

He drummed on the ground and played with tiny pebbles and grass blades at the edge of the sheet to keep from lacing his fingers with hers. It was a nice Saturday afternoon, his noisy sister and cock-blocking best mate were safely out of the way (doing things he was trying very hard not think of; he shook his head to rid the thought. There were more important things to think of right now), and he intended to do or say nothing that would bring him to the fiery end of Hermione's wand. Alright, he wanted to do a lot of things to her, with her in fact, but he couldn't risk any of it now. The break up with Lavender was barely a week old, and the last thing he needed was for Hermione to think he was some sort of a playboy- which he was not, of course. A chat with Lavender would tell her how embarrassingly sloppy his kissing skills were in the initial days. But something told him she'd prefer not to know (and he was pretty glad about it, to be honest).

He cleared his throat realising that he was busy wasting precious time in internal monologue while Hermione was staring at him curiously, finally giving him all the attention he had been craving.

"Yeah, you are right!" he provided quickly.

Her eyebrows quirked up slightly in confusion and mirth, and she grinned a little, this time turning around to face him properly. Ron's heart gave a tiny little whoop as she got significantly closer to him than before- whether intentionally or not, he wasn't sure. It struck him once again, and a lot more powerfully this time, how she meant more to him than any pretty face. Oh, she was pretty alright, beautiful in fact, especially at times when she made an effort – like the disastrous Yule Ball or more recently at Slughorn's Christmas party. It made him sick to the pit of his stomach to realise that he had fucked up brilliantly on both occasions, giving away the chance of her company to two ridiculous morons. Alright, maybe he was the bigger moron here.

"You okay, Ron?"

He grudgingly realised his displeasure with himself might have been reflected on his face. Merlin forbid, he hoped he hadn't given her the impression he was upset with her!

"Yeah, I'm fine..."

He picked his not-so-lanky-anymore form up to sit up straight in front of her, still itching to take her hand in his.

"Hermione?"

She looked up at him, and it was all Ron could do to stop himself from wrapping an arm around the small of her back and pull her closer. It was a damn hard task. He wondered if this is how it would be when he finally found the courage to kiss her. She was so much smaller than him, and he would have to lift her up perhaps; it wouldn't be very difficult as he was sure she weighed close nothing.

And if it happened while they were sitting, he could pull her onto his lap. He would then hold her close and touch that glorious mane that seemed to have a life of its own. Something told him he would find the curls to be much softer than they appeared. And he would just-

"Ron?"

Once again, he was pulled from his reverie by the confusion in her eyes. He sucked in a breath and uttered the first words that came to him.

"I've missed you."

Her mouth opened to form a small 'o' before she found her composure and quickly looked away.

"You have?" she asked in a quiet whisper; there was confusion, but also a hint of something else. Longing perhaps?

"More than you know."

"I didn't think you'd have had the time to miss me, considering you were so... shall I say, 'occupied'?"

Ron cringed. He didn't miss the hurt- in her words or in her eyes. He wanted to do the right thing. After all, if she allowed, he wanted to have her in his life, forever. The sooner he dealt with the pain he had caused, the better it would be for their relationship (he hoped he still had a chance, that small smile in her eyes gave him hope that he hadn't messed up irrevocably).

"Hermione, I don't want to get into the details-"

"Please don't," she responded quickly before turning crimson and uncomfortable. "I-I mean, you don't need to tell me anything, Ron. It's none of my business, really."

"You didn't let me finish. All I was saying, without y'know saying anything is well... all I can say is...erm... I well...she wasn't you."

Bugger! Did he really say that?!

As Hermione turned sharply to meet his eyes, he fumbled a little before straightening his shoulder. Alright, now was the time to be a man and stand by his words. But those brown eyes were looking at him with a hundred questions and he wasn't sure he had all the correct answers. This wasn't one of their Potions assignments where the worst that could happen would be getting a 'T'. The stakes were too fucking high.

Ron looked away as his Gryffindor courage failed him when he needed it the most. He sucked in a breath and licked his lips and then mumbled under his breath,

"It really wasn't one of my best decisions."

His hand finally went completely out of control, and before he knew, he had interlaced his index finger with her little finger. It was ridiculous how such a tiny touch could make him giddy. Even snogging Lavender didn't feel so amazing. Perhaps, it was all about being with the right person?

"I never knew you fancied her."

Hermione didn't try masking her hurt. He was sure because she kept her eyes on their entwined fingers and didn't meet his gaze. He barely curbed the urge to lift her chin up and make her see the truth in his eyes.

"You never knew- because I never did..."

She opened her mouth for a solid rebuke, to throw the hundreds of accusations that she had against him. She had spent many painfully lonely nights with Lavender and Parvati giggling and whispering in the dorm. And Ron was to be blamed for all the times she had cried herself to sleep. But as those blue eyes locked on hers, she forgot how angry she'd been. She forgot all the pain... He tugged on her finger and she allowed him to, although she had promised herself never to let him touch her again. When he gently pulled her hand to his, a jolt of something warm passed from his skin to hers. This, she decided, was what craving someone felt like: that one touch, a touch that somehow erased months' worth of pain. She hated that he had such a maddening hold on her; that he could play with her emotions with simple actions and words and her heart could do nothing to keep him away.

Ron was busy tracing lines on her palm. Her hand was much smaller when compared to his and yet somehow, they fit so well together. Anyone watching them might think them lovers. She pulled her hand away at the thought. They weren't lovers- they were just best friends, or were they? Somewhere between his poisoning and today the lines that defined their friendship had blurred. Though she no longer knew what they were to each other, she knew what she wanted for them to be, had known for years.

Why did Ron need to look at her that way? Like he had not really seen her in ages and had been waiting for this moment? The urge to give up on her resolve gained strength. All she had to do was take the initiative. She could just kiss him (since Ron seemed too clueless to figure out the subtle hints she'd been dropping for years). She glanced at that face, the way that gorgeous red fringe fell over his eyes... Sweet Merlin, those eyes... He was still watching her. He looked so adorable... and delectable... and kissable... She gulped and licked her lips, willing her courage to take her a step closer. Lavender had already proved that Ron preferred the girl taking the lead... That one thought left a sour taste in her mouth and she turned away from him quickly to gather her books. It was too soon, she reminded herself; it had barely been a week.

"What happened?" he asked.

His longing tore at her heart, and she grabbed the loose parchments at double speed, eager to get away while at the same time barely holding back the urge to pour her heart out to him, arguing and bickering if necessary. She would not end up looking like a wanton here, she decided firmly. It was such pathetic irony, Hermione had been the one waiting for Ron all these years, yet, if she made a move now, it would make her look like the 'other woman'. And, she hated herself for it but- Lavender would be hurt. She had been on the receiving end of that scenario and knew how it felt. She wouldn't stoop so low.

"I need to go to the library," she provided quickly before picking herself up, only Ron's reflexes were faster.

He saw the confusion in her eyes. He knew that brain of hers was running a thousand miles an hour, working on various permutations and combinations that included their past, present and quite possibly their future. He grabbed her wrist on instinct.

"Don't," he called, tugging her towards himself and she looked torn.

"Ron, I-"

"Stay..." he pleaded softly.

He had called for her in that drugged state, not Lavender, her heart reminded. Why was she wasting precious time when 'time' was the very luxury they didn't have? Who knew what future held for them? Hadn't they wasted enough time already?

"I can't, Ron, I have to finish my Runes notes," she responded before she could stop herself. Perhaps her heart was more hurt than she realised. Ron paused to look at her intently and Hermione tried unsuccessfully to pull her hand from his grip.

"Fine then, let's go to the library."

Letting her go, Ron picked himself up and waved his wand once. The bedspread wrapped itself into an untidy ball and zoomed into his hand.

"You're coming with me?!"

He nodded with a grin before getting back to forcing the cloth into his bag.

On such a bright spring day, Ron Weasley was voluntarily choosing the Library over the open grounds?! She tried hopelessly not to feel elated or special; surely Ron had some other reasons.

"And why not? You haven't nagged me in days," he grinned. "You can work on your Runes notes while I try to make some sense of the DADA essay we have to submit. When I'm done, I'll even give you the glorious privilege of telling me how utterly rubbish it is."

"Hermione?" he called again when she didn't move. She was frozen to the spot, holding a book to her chest and trying her best to make her heart slow down a bit.

"Let's go," he gave her a lopsided grin and took her hand in his, tugging gently. This time Hermione allowed herself to be pulled by him, watching their entwined fingers as they made their way towards the castle. It was downright impossible to hold back the waves of joy that flooded her veins no matter how hard she tried.

...

"Ron, this is..." she sighed exasperatedly striking off, what he assumed, was most of his essay as she read through the parchment, "Did you even read the book?"

The honest answer was 'no': Ron had read nothing. He also had no real idea what he'd actually written because he was so preoccupied watching her. In his defence, he had missed these times sorely for months now. Hermione sitting in the library with the enormous bookshelves as backdrop always did something strange to him. He had a hundred tiny scenes that played in his head at nights; some with him annoying her playfully while she worked, others a little (or quite a bit more) naughtier. He looked away guiltily from her and rubbed the back of his neck hurriedly. With any luck, she would assume he was embarrassed about his essay.

"Er... a bit?" he offered with a grin and her expression softened.

"I doubt it," she noted shaking her head.. "This is an essay fit for a third year, Ron. Snape will give you a 'T' for it. It needs a more elaborate description of the curse breaking techniques."

He groaned aloud. "This book doesn't have anything else on it, see?" he shrugged, pushing his tattered DADA course book towards her. She glanced at it once before looking up at him.

"My essay is in my trunk but the book I used for reference should be here," she offered and left her seat quickly to stand next to the bookshelf, scanning hundreds of volumes that stood there.

Ron watched as she placed a hand on her waist and ran through the lower shelves scanning the titles on the spines. He marvelled at the speed with which she moved from one row to the next, but knowing Hermione, it wouldn't be a surprise if she had read all of them already.

"It's not here!" she declared annoyedly after a while, "I hate when people pick up books but don't put them back in their correct places," she grumbled on but Ron couldn't concentrate on what she was saying. Her stance was making her jumper stretch across her chest making her breasts very prominent.

'Look elsewhere, Look elsewhere, Look elsewhere!' he chanted furiously to himself. Thankfully Hermione was too preoccupied with the missing book to notice the blush creeping up his neck

"It can't have been issued. Madame Pince said the binding was too weak! It has to be here somewhere!" she went on talking to herself and tucked a loose curl furiously behind her ear. Ron tried desperately to hide the stupid grin on his face. She looked adorable when flustered. His mind went into overdrive thinking of more interesting ways of getting her all worked up.

"I'll check the other side, meanwhile, you'll find there is a paragraph in chapter 8 in this one that you can include in your essay," she stated handing him a huge volume before hurrying off to the row behind theirs. Ron groaned internally. He had no intention of wasting this precious alone time working on that greaseball's essay. He wanted to spend it watching Hermione (without making it completely obvious that he was head over heels in love with her of course). Reluctantly, he picked up the volume she had placed on the table and flipped its hardcover to read the title.

Okay, this was barmy. She needed to know he was here, in this fucking library on a perfect weekend, for her and not for the books. Pushing it away he walked purposefully towards the book-racks she had disappeared behind.

And thanked his stars he did.

...

Hermione hated the ladder. It had wobbly old legs and had a habit of moving of its own accord and ignoring instructions from the person using it. But it was also the only way to reach the topmost shelves of the Advanced Sections.

Wrong. She could have asked Ron for help.

She shook her head forcing herself to focus on the book instead. He wouldn't know what to find. Her brain scoffed. In all honesty, she just wanted him out of sight for a while because that stupid, annoying but adorable grin was making her resolve weak. Prat!

She blew softly to get a grip on her foolish heart and tried to concentrate on the titles in front of her. One spine further to her right looked familiar, but it was a little beyond her reach.

'Move right', she instructed the ladder, only it didn't bulge.

'Move to the right!' she instructed more firmly and then frustrated with the ancient object, stretched her hand. "Just a little…..further..." she told herself without looking down. She had almost managed to touch the spine when the ladder decided to follow her instructions- only in the wrong direction.

"OH-"

Ron never realised before that particular moment, how swift his reflexes were, but one minute he was incredulously watching Hermione stretch at a peculiar angle and the very next he was there as she fell. His arms came up instantly and she landed with a whoosh in them- eyes closed, shaking slightly and fingers gripping his jumper tightly.

The panic of watching her fall dissipated and its place something warm filled his heart- after all, it wasn't every day that Ron Weasley had Hermione in his arms, with her face pressed on his chest. He looked up at the top of the shelf once more and let out a breath slowly. It wouldn't have been as terrible as falling from a broom but it would've still been a nasty fall. That drop could have given her a serious concussion in the very least if not a broken bone! Still a bit shaken by her narrow escape, he carried her back to their table instead of lowering her to her feet right away. He could almost hear her heart thudding madly- oh, wait... that was probably his.

Hermione opened her eyes as he lowered her gently onto the desk. He gazed down at her and knew that this image was burnt on his soul - those flushed cheeks, the laboured breathing and the curl of her lashes when she looked up at him slowly, hints of the recent scare still evident in her beautiful brown eyes.

"Are you absolutely mental?" he asked incredulously. "What exactly were you trying to do? I thought you were scared of heights? Or is this some sorta crazy library ritual you follow which I am unaware of?" he chuckled nervously.

He was still standing way too close, he told himself it was just because she was still holding on to him. Bugger! His hands were resting on her thighs. ON HERMIONE'S THIGHS! Of course, they were still covered by her jeans but-

Holy shite... Fuck... Fuck... Fuck... He wished he had some kind of a spell to stop his brain from going into imagination mode about Hermione's naked thighs. Merlin's saggy balls! Was his brain tryin' to give him a heart attack?

He removed his hand quickly to rub the redness off his neck instead, but he could nothing about his glowing face or ears. He forced himself to concentrate on her face. She returned a weak smile before her eyes met his. The intensity and vulnerability in them wiped off the grin from his face, and he pulled her into him, wrapping his hands around her small form protectively.

"That would've been a nasty fall, 'Mione. Don't do that me!" he breathed into her hair and then let go before she struggled for release; it was still supposed to be just a friendly hug. But the way she was looking at him was far more intense than 'just friendly.'

Ron didn't dare close his eyes that were threatening to flutter shut in sheer bliss. For months now, the only look he had received from her was that of absolute distaste- like she had found something rotten stuck under her shoes. He'd given up hope of ever getting her back, but now, here she was... up close and watching him like she had been longing for him just as much as he had been craving her.

He watched her to ensure he wasn't dreaming. Hermione's cheeks flushed a deep scarlet and she lowered her lashes, but still did not push him away or move away herself.

"Hermione-" he spoke softly, not sure what he was planning to say although there was so much that he needed to tell her.

She met his eyes briefly in anticipation and apprehension and then, slowly, almost torturously so, raised her hand to his face and with her fingers gently began tracing his jaw over day-old stubble.

…...

Hermione's heart was still thudding madly in her chest. She wasn't quite sure if it was the effect of the fall (she'd always been petrified of heights) or the final of the outcome of it. Ron had carried her to the desk... in his arms. She felt her blush deepen as he placed her down gently and she opened her eyes to see him. Her heart was probably having a hard time deciding whether to thud madly or stop altogether; it was erratic at best. Ron said something but she was far too intoxicated by his proximity to understand. She looked up, and as their eyes met, the world stopped spinning. No one else existed but them. The emotions in those blue orbs were raw. She blushed again as he rubbed his neck- a sure sign of his embarrassment, and they somehow managed to lock eyes.

Ron had caught her, saved her once again... It struck her how much she loved and wanted him. Did that reflect in her eyes? Could he see that need? Because, suddenly, she was wrapped in his strong embrace.

They had hugged before, but not like this.

Her palms that were still clutching his jumper were pressed between their bodies and she could do nothing to untangle herself. Not that she wanted to of course, but wrapping her arms around him would be nice.

That would've have been a nasty fall, 'Mione. Don't do that me!" The concern in his voice touched her heart and the way his deep voice sounded so close to her skin sent pleasant shivers through her body. She inhaled deeply, taking in his scent. He let go of her much too quickly for her liking but she managed a smile. If only Ron understood how he made her feel...

Perhaps he did see something in her eyes for he called her name, and she almost cried at the sound. Everyone called her 'Hermione', then why did it sound so different when he said it? She looked into his eyes again, and the walls collapsed. Hermione acted before her rational mind could stop her.

It had been an excruciatingly long separation period, or maybe she had given up hope of ever having Ron back, but here he was -with her, even after everything. Her hand moved to touch his face, to ensure he was real and she was mesmerised at the roughness of his stubble against her fingers.

When had he grown up so much?

She remembered her craving for the adorable, ginger-haired, thirteen-year-old boy, but Ron was no boy now... he was practically a man. She sucked in a breath at the thought. No wonder he had girls swooning over him. But none of them saw what she did when she looked at him- the bravery of the eleven-year-old kid who was willing to sacrifice his life for his friends. That boy was still there behind those eyes, braver and stronger than ever before.

She traced a shaky finger across his strong jaw line, wondering how it would feel against her bare skin. He was standing so very close, his fragrance hitting and assaulting her senses in a deviously tempting way. And those lips... she watched as they parted slightly and her finger reached up to touch...

Ron couldn't take his eyes off her, and it was good because he had to ensure that he wasn't dreaming. His heart thudded madly in his ribcage as her eyes took in his face. He could live in this moment forever.

Kiss her...Kiss her... Kiss her, you moron!

The need to touch her was turning had become an unbearable ache and he waited with baited breath as her finger reached and paused at his lips. She met his eyes and he could see her longing but also her doubt.

He took her hand his hand and brought it to his lips, urging her to touch and she practically blushed crimson in front of his eyes.

I love you... I love you... I love you...

The words were loud and clear in his head but he seemed to have lost his voice. Breathing deeply through his nose, he guided her hand reluctantly away from his lips to place it firmly over his heart, holding it in place by covering it with his much larger one. Wrapping his fingers in the tempting curls at her nape he pressed his forehead to hers. He was sure he was behaving like a clod, but he couldn't care less.

"I'm sorry Hermione, for everything," he murmured and heard a soft intake of breath. "If it's any consolation, these months without you... I mean, these few months haven't been the best for me either.

She chuckled bitterly and dropped her hand; Ron hated how much it hurt.

"You were snogging her, Ron... all the time," she sniffed looking away. "That's not even counting what you did when … when you were by yourselves..." she added miserably.

He placed his palms on her cheeks to turn her face towards him and used a little pressure when she did not relent immediately.

"There was nothing else, Hermione. Nothing, I swear."

"Then why?" she asked and he closed his eyes for a brief minute, sucking in a breath. "Because she seemed to like me for what I am," he confessed, "-no matter how horribly average that is."

He heard her gasp and the next minute her small fists were tugging at his collar, glaring at him with hurt and fury.

"You think I don't like you for who you are?!"

He snorted and shook his head, "You of all people know best how utterly rubbish I am,"

"I swear, Ron if you utter another imbecilic word, I will hex you into the next century." He chuckled at her words infuriating her further and she retaliated by shaking him till he met her eyes.

"You think Lavender appreciates you more than I do? Are you out of your mind?! You didn't almost die to save her, Ron! You didn't stand up for her in front of Malfoy and Snape. She didn't see you face an assumed mass murderer while standing on a broken leg! She wasn't even there when you fought Death Eaters in the Ministry. I was! And you think she appreciates your worth more?" She let go of his jumper to wipe an angry tear on her sleeve.

"But you know how horrible my essays are, and I-"

"I'm only hard on you because I know you can do better, you moron!"

"And Quidditch? You thought I could save goals only with the help of a luck potion," he grumbled in a low voice.

She looked flustered. "No, I didn't."

He smirked unbelievingly.

"Okay, I thought Harry had given you that potion but I only acted that way because it's against the rules. I know your only problem is nerves. I know you can do so much better if you don't worry so much."

"If you know me so well, why don't the fuck you see how much I-" Bugger!

She was looking at him with those big brown pools, and Ron knew she was smart enough to understand what he had left hanging. He rubbed his neck vigorously and swallowed hard, forcing his nerves to settle. He wanted to tell her but feared her rejection. But her eyes softened and she pulled his hands in hers and pushed his sleeves back. The faint marks left behind by the brain attack and a few more recent ones from her birds stared back at her.

"I shouldn't have set those birds on you," she whispered tracing her fingers over the scars, "I shouldn't have hurt you that way."

He waited for her to continue which she did.

"Ron?" she said his name softly and he met her eyes with a weak smile. "I don't know what made me do it, I was distraught... and jealous. What is happening to us, Ron?"

"You're the one with all the answers, Hermione. Don't you know the answer to this?" he asked without taking his eyes away. Blimey, she was insanely beautiful. How did he get so lucky?

"I do... just that... What if I am wrong?" she asked in a quiet whisper.

His lips turned up in one corner and he and tucked a curl behind her ear. "When have you ever been wrong?"

"Loads of times," she replied.

"Not this time...," he confessed seriously.

"Are you sure? You do realise that I set those birds on you because you showed me that I was utterly wrong about us, don't you?"

He badly wanted to kiss and Hermione wasn't making it easy at all by looking at him like that- a little hurt but expectant. His fingers resumed their place on her cheeks and he took a deep shaky breath.

Okay, Hermione, this is it. I'm going to put my cards on the table.

"You weren't wrong," he sighed. "I was a moron... an utter jealous moron. This is something I should have done long ago..."

He glanced at her lips and bent towards her slowly. The first touch of his lips on hers was utter bliss. He was sure this was exactly how heaven felt. She was soft and warm; his eyes fluttered shut as she wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed into his chest. His brain stopped working altogether. Her lips felt perfect on his, she felt perfect in his embrace- a culmination of everything he had ever wanted.

When they broke apart for air, Hermione took longer to open her eyes, her cheeks glowed and lips quivered slightly. He almost pulled her into him again, desperate for more.

"It's too soon, Ron..." she whispered, clearly fighting some inner turmoil.

Was she barmy?! What he had with Lavender was 'too soon', with Hermione it was more like 'Finally'.

"Her-"

"WHAT ARE YOU BOTH DOING?!" The shrill voice of Madame Pince caused them to bolt apart. His back collided with the shelf while Hermione jumped off from the desk, glowing with embarrassment.

"I cannot believe! Hermione Granger?! Hmph! Out! Out of my library now!" she screeched and the two of them clambered to collect their books and stuffed them quickly into their bags before rushing out.

...

"I can't believe I was thrown out of the library!" she gasped as they walked down the corridor and Ron snickered. Personally, he was quite pleased with himself.

"Ron!" she exclaimed incredulously and he stopped to turn towards her. She flushed at his gaze and made to quicken her steps. But Ron was quicker and grabbed her by the wrist once again. He had spent an enormous amount of time alone in the hospital wing pondering what he wanted. And that book from the twins had helped plenty too. He realised that this wasn't the time to back down. She had kissed him back. He was not letting her go.

"Come with me," he called and tugged on her arm. She glanced around trying uselessly to free herself.

"I'm not letting you go, Hermione. We either walk, or I can carry you in my arms," he added grinning and made to lift her up; she gasped and looked away.

"We walk," she said quickly.

He chuckled and pulled her along, holding her hand firmly in his as he guided them to the Astronomy Tower. She looked curiously at him but refrained from commenting. Ron stopped only after they had reached the very top of the spiral staircase and pulled her down to sit beside him. The sun was beginning to set and spread a warm glow around them.

"Why are we here?" she asked looking around.

"Because, I need to convince the most stubborn witch of our age; an uphill task which needs both time and privacy," he replied taking both her hands in his, and she bit back her smile.

"You just broke up with her, Ron. It is too soon," she replied looking at their hands.

"Do'ya really think so? We don't know what life holds for us, Hermione, do we? Why waste time?"

She looked away conflicted.

"Looks like logic won't work, I have only one other option left to me," he reflected aloud and before she could protest, he pulled her from the stair and onto his lap.

She froze and blushed at the same time, looking pretty as a picture with the rays of the setting sun on her face.

"I have better ways to convince you," he stated and placed his thumb boldly at her lips. Hermione didn't need to know that his heart was ready to beat out of his chest. He'd messed up before, it was time to get his life back on track.

She gasped softly and licked her lips causing her tongue to graze his finger lightly and Ron almost growled aloud. He wrapped an arm firmly around her waist and placed the other at her nape, rubbing his thumb tenderly against her jaw.

"I-I am not Lavender, you can't woo me with your kissing skills," she managed. God, he loved this fierce streak in her.

"I know you're not Lavender, you're Hermione Granger. The only girl I want to do this with.. And are you challenging me?" he asked tilting her face slightly towards him, watching her lips before meeting her eyes again.

Her eyes moved to his lips and Ron knew Hermione was losing the fight. Time for the final move, Ron Weasley. Let's hope she doesn't checkmate your king. He realised with a chuckle that even thousands of acromantulas hadn't scared him as much as the possibility of her rejection did.

Gathering all his Gryffindor courage, he pulled her face closer and looked into her eyes, "I love you, Hermione. I always have." He heard her breath hitch but continued. "I'm an idiot and don't always understand hints. Tell me, do you feel the same? Or have I got it all wrong?"

Hermione practically knocked him back with the force with which she crashed her lips to his and Ron let go of all his inhibitions as he kissed her back. It was even better than before. He deepened the kiss, relishing her taste, nipping on her lips while feeling her body press closer to him as she gave back in kind. This was how his first kiss should have been, utterly perfect. They broke apart for air before seeking each other again. It felt as if his thirst for her closeness would never be quenched, and it was good this way, brilliant in fact.

When they finally broke apart, the sun had already set and Hermione looked utterly snogged and her curls were a mess. Ron watched as she tried desperately to arrange her hair back to normalcy in the light of their wands.

"We'll miss dinner," she gasped looking outside.

"You look thoroughly snogged, Hermione," he grinned and she playfully smacked him on the arm before rubbing her lips with the back of her sleeve.

"Does it look better?" she asked seriously, and Ron pretended to look closely before placing a quick peck again.

"Definitely! The 'snogged thoroughly by Ron' look suits you," he replied grinning. 'Shagged into the mattress by Ron' look would look you even better on you,' his brain provided quickly. He bit his tongue to stifle his nervous laugh.

"You prat!" she smacked him again but chuckled. "How come you're not hungry today?" she asked standing up and brushing down the back of her jeans. Ron glanced at her denim covered shapely arse and bit down the comment on his lips. Too soon, he reminded himself.

"Should we leave?" she asked extending her hand and he nodded as he took it.

"By the way, where do we say we were if Harry asks?" she pondered stopping mid-step and he turned and placed a kiss on her cheek.

"Why? The library, of course!" he winked and she blushed.

"Erm... Ron?"

"Yeah?"

"Just in case you didn't get the hint, I love you too."

Her laugh died in her throat as Ron scooped up in his arms with a scary amount of determination in his eyes.

...

That night, Ron and Hermione reached the Great Hall with just enough time to grab a couple of plates of pudding each before the tables were cleared.


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