I ate five oranges today, washed down, of course, with a large dose of fluff, which I shall now share with you.

All credit for inspiration goes to Potsim, my beluffed Royal Harlequin Plot Bunny. [kiss]

Imagine Freedom.

Strangely, the silence after the war was the loudest thing Hermione had ever heard.

She knew it was silly, illogical and downright impossible, but still, after so much unbroken din, so much roaring, so many explosions and so many screams, the stillness that followed had to be thunderous in order to fill the empty space.

She was the only one awake in the room at St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. The chair she was currently slumped in was between two beds. In the one to her right, was Ron, spread eagled on the tiny hospital bed so his feet dangled off the far edges of the mattress, one of his legs bound up tight in dressing, his mouth slightly open, emitting a faint snore every so often.

Well, at least he was sleeping in a Ron-like manner, she thought fondly, her mouth twitching into the first thing that looked vaguely like a smile since the day before. 

In the bed to her left, lay Harry and Ginny. The healers had been forced to put them in the same bed because however hard they tried, they couldn't pull them apart. Even in a deep sleep, they clung to each other as if to let go would undo everything that they had done in the past twenty-four hours. Their limbs were as tangled as ivy on a trellis, exactly the way they had been, only six hours before, when the End had arrived.

Hermione remembered, and would never forget the sight of the End.

In the midst of all the blaring and roaring and conflict, everything had suddenly gone completely silent, as if the universe itself had forgotten to breathe. Hermione couldn't move, but nor did she want to. She only wanted to watch as the darkness spread through the immobility, and all the stars died as their light failed. Breath froze in her throat as the very magic holding the world together flickered for a moment in the absolute darkness.

Then, from somewhere behind her, sound blasted outwards and made her stumble round to see. Light made her squint and raise her hand to her eyes.

A shadow of two people stood in the centre of something she could not describe. All she could see was some sort of light, but the light was coming from the magic. As for the couple, they were being blown violently about, as if in the middle of a small tornado, while bolts of brilliant magic lashed out, twisting and cracking from their centre.

Hermione felt as if every drop of light, sound and human emotion was rushing towards that one spot in front of her to support the sheer volume of the magic concentrated in one place, where two people were struggling desperately to hold onto each other. 

Next second, there was a magnificent explosion. Hermione felt the breath rush back into her lungs and the sharpness return to her mind. Flecks of light were thrown out into the celestial abyss as the stars returned to their places above her. The magic in the universe rushed back out to its rightful place, like the water of the Pacific would do if it were sucked up and then suddenly released again.

If it were possible, the light seemed brighter than before.

So, that was how Harry and Ginny had been found, and it was, apparently, how they wished to stay, even in sleep brought on by life-threatening exhaustion.

She was hauled back to the present by the sounds coming from her right. Ron was shifting in a bid to wake up.

"Galloping Gargoyles, I've got a headache that could kill a dragon."

"So no permanent damage then?" Hermione smiled ruefully, and he squinted at her, pausing a moment to take her in.

"Did we win?" he asked, as if he had been injured during a petty Quidditch match. She smiled.

"Yes, Ron, we did," she nodded, and Ron collapsed back onto his pillows, grinning from ear to ear.

"Not that I ever doubted it, of course," he said, as if continuing a conversation.

"Of course," she agreed.

"I mean, I just want to make sure that- . . . what happened to my leg?" He lifted the afore mention limb to inspect the complicated layering of bandages around his shin.

"You broke it," Hermione said.

"Well, obviously," Ron said, "doing what?"

"Um . . . taking down a troll," Hermione said truthfully.

"Oh," Ron said thoughtfully, "I think I remember. Yeah." He glanced at his leg again. "Did I win?" Hermione gave a small laugh.

"Yes, Ron, you did . . . just." Ron smirked, nodding in a self-satisfied way. "Not that I ever doubted you, of course," Hermione mimicked.

"Of course," he grinned back. "And you got off scot-free, did you?" he asked, silently checking if she wasn't secretly injured under the pretence of sitting up fine.

He jumped out of his skin when she broke down in tears.

"Hermione! What? What did I say?" he asked, panicked, as she blubbered on, her face going a little red, tears leaking out of her eyes.

"I don't . . ." she gasped, "I don't . . ." (sniff) " I don't know! It's . . ." (snort) "It's . . ." (hiccup) "It's nothing!"

"It's not nothing! You're bloody crying!" he said incredulously, but she only gave a few ragged gasps in response. "Aw, cripes." He held out his arms, "come here."

Shakily, she got to her feet and put a knee on the mattress, tipping over next to him and arriving in a horizontal hug. Ron dug around in his back pocket for a hanky and triumphantly found one. It was a bit burnt at the edges from where the back of his trousers had been grazed in some kind of cross-fire, but other than that, it was fine. He handed it to her and she took it, still shaking, and dabbed at her eyes while he awkwardly pulled her close.

"It's nothing, I'm fine," Hermione waved at him, "it's just you know . . . stress . . . and things . . ."

"Plus, you know, a war," Ron said fairly. Hermione smiled and sniffed into his shirt. "Actually," he continued, "you think you've got something to cry about, what about me? Look at my leg!"

"This is true," Hermione admitted, catching a last minute tear that crept out of her eye.

"You know, Hermione," he said, completely seriously, "this time, I think it might really have to be chopped off."

She raised her head to look him in the eye, and then burst into watery giggles.

Ron chuckled beside her as she laughed outright for a good minute or so.

"Oh, Ron," she said, when finally capable of distinguishable speech, "I honestly don't know what I'd do without you. Even when I'm downright miserable, you can still cheer me up, no problem. Of course, mostly, you drive me up the wall, but sometimes . . ."

She sniffed, and he thought he'd better say something before the euphoria of the End wore off and he lost his bottle.

"Er, yeah . . . about that," he began. "After this whole war business, I think . . . I think I'd quite like to have a crack at making you happy, if you wouldn't mind . . . Er . . . so . . . what do you think?"

Hermione smiled wider into his shirt.

"I suppose so," she grinned. She heard him release the breath he'd been holding, and felt a small kiss land on her forehead.

Pitiful, she decided and returned the favour to his lips.

As soon as he had woken up, Harry had experienced the most peculiar feeling. It felt as if he had been underwater for the past five or six years, and during the last twenty-four hours, he'd been kicking upwards harder than he'd ever done anything before. At that moment, it felt as if he'd broken through the surface and could finally breathe.

He took a deep breath and the smell of Ginny's hair soaked into his lungs.

The air up here was so much sweeter.

Harry was without his glasses.

Unfortunately, this made things a bit difficult when he was trying to see what was going on in the bed to the right, and whether his best friends were actually kissing as he suspected. He craned his neck, trying to see without disturbing the redhead he was currently embracing and not intending to let go of any time soon.

However, Ginny began to stir in his arms and he had to abandon his spying methods in a bid to get her to go back to sleep.

"Shhh . . ."

"What's going on?" Ginny murmured. "Did we win?"

"I think so," Harry whispered back, "and I think Hermione and Ron are kissing." Ginny gave the lightest snort.

"Impossible," she whispered, "Ron wouldn't have the guts. You must be imagining things, Harry." He stopped stretching his neck and rested his chin on her head.

"Well, here's hoping," he said quietly and Ginny made a small noise of agreement. "Gin," he said after a moment, "I hope I didn't imagine this." She lifted her face to his and questioned him in silence. "I mean, I hope I didn't imagine the part where I said that I love you."

"Trust me, Harry," she said, settling back down in their tangle of limbs, "when you've dreamt of something happening for so long, the real thing is pretty unimaginable."

Yay! Fluffety-fluff–fluff! [Seth dances]

Next one shot may be another H/G, I feel it quite probably in my left leg, the one with the vicious plot bunny affixing its jaws into my shin.

[Beats off bunny with a cricket bat.] Damn rabid plot bunnies! Potsim shall pay for this!