Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter books, nor any of the characters therein. If I did, I would have progressed Ron and Hermione's relationship a bit more in "Order of the Phoenix", LOL.

Hermione sighed heavily as she watched Harry leave with the Dursleys. "I do hope he'll be all right", she said quietly to Ron.

"Sure, he will be...that bloke Dursley was scared stiff of Moody", Ron said with a slight snort of laughter. "Besides, we'll make sure Dumbledore lets us go get him soon", he added more seriously.

Hermione nodded and turned to see where her parents had gone. She smiled at seeing them in an animated conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, no doubt trying to answer Mr. Weasley's many questions about Muggles. She was thankful that they genuinely liked the Weasleys and wouldn't get exasperated and rude. Moody and the others from the Order were gone, apparently having left after doing their duty and scaring the wits out of the Dursleys. The twins and Ginny were also nowhere in sight, and Hermione wondered what kind of mischief they were up to, hoping it didn't involve having people spout blood from their ears or grow an extra head.

"I hope my Dad's not driving your parents crazy." Hermione turned to see Ron looking worriedly at their parents.

"No, no...my parents understand. And they like your family...it's fine." She suddenly realized that the time had come to say good-bye to Ron. She had been dreading this, suspecting that it would be very awkward this year after all the time they had spent together, without Harry, over the past months. Ron must have realized this, too, because he stopped watching their parents and looked down at her awkwardly.

"So, um....will you be coming to London right away, or will you stay at the Burrow for a while?", she asked.

"Don't know. I think Mum wants to make sure we have some time at home first, but it depends on how things are going in the Order." Ron shifted his feet nervously, looking down at them. "Do you have plans to...go anywhere this summer? Maybe visit somebody?", he asked, not looking at Hermione, but clearly thinking about Viktor Krum's invitation to have her visit him last summer.

"Ron, if you're asking me if I'm going to Bulgaria...."

"I'm not!", he said, looking up quickly.

"To your credit, no, you're not", she said with a slight smile. "I think with all the recent excitement, though, I'm going to ask Mum and Dad if we can just stay quietly at home for a few weeks before I come to headquarters." She smiled at Ron's look of relief (which he unsuccessfully tried to hide by nodding seriously), then summoned her courage to mention something she had wanted to say for the past month. "Do you think maybe....maybe I could come to the Burrow for a few days before we have to go to headquarters? I really shouldn't invite myself, but....", she trailed off and looked down at her hands, suddenly feeling very unsure.

Ron brightened. "That would be great!...I mean....", he continued, trying to look serious again, "yeah, I'll ask Mum. It would be nice to have you there for a while....and Harry, too", he added.

"Thanks." Hermione smiled, feeling better about her own embarrassment when she saw how terribly he was blushing. They stood there awkwardly for a few moments, looking at anything and everything except each other. Hermione finally spoke. "Well......my parents will be ready to go soon, so....", she stepped closer and hugged him tightly around the neck. He was surprised for an instant, then he hugged her back, putting his arms around her waist and pulling her close.

For a moment, Ron wouldn't allow himself to think this was any different than the hugs that Hermione sometimes gave Harry when saying good-bye (he had just watched her, feeling mildly envious, hug Harry good-bye not ten minutes before), but when several seconds passed, and she still hadn't stepped away, he realized there was a big difference. He could smell the clean scent of her hair which was tickling his face, and time suddenly ceased to be a factor in his life.

Hermione knew she shouldn't be hanging onto Ron, here in the middle of King's Cross Station, with their parents nearby, and Fred and George capable of popping up and making their lives miserable, but all the tensions of the past year suddenly overcame her, and she was incapable of letting go. They had gone through so much together this year--working as prefects, worrying about Harry, recovering in the infirmary after their injuries in the Department of Mysteries--the feelings for Ron that had been indistinct in their fourth year had developed into something much deeper. She would miss him terribly for the next month.

"Hermione", Mrs. Weasley said quietly.

They jumped apart guiltily and turned to Mrs. Weasley, who was regarding them with a slight knowing smile. "I'm sorry, dear", she said apologetically to Hermione. "But your parents have taken your trunk to the car. They're ready to leave."

"OK. Thank you, Mrs. Weasley," Hermione said shakily.

Mrs. Weasley smiled again and turned, taking Mr. Weasley (who was also smiling knowingly) by the arm and leading him away. "Your father and I are going to look for Ginny and the twins, Ron...we'll be here shortly", she called back to Ron.

Hermione turned to Ron, who was blushing so furiously you couldn't tell where his face ended and his hair began. "I'd better go", Hermione said. She hesitated for a moment, then stood on tiptoe and quickly kissed him on the cheek, near the corner of his mouth. "I'll miss you", she whispered, then turned and hurried away.

Ron stood for moment, looking thoughtful, touching the place where she had kissed him, (again! his subconscious was screaming jubilantly somewhere inside his brain). "Hermione!" She stopped and looked back at him. "I'll write to you tonight and tell you what Mum says!" She smiled and nodded, then continued on her way to the parking lot.

Ron stood for another moment, still feeling Hermione's kiss, then he decided to find his parents and arrange for Hermione (and Harry, of course, his still-befuddled mind insisted) to come to the Burrow. It may be an interesting summer, after all.