The hospital wing was silent but for soft breathing. Hermione thanked whoever was listening that he was asleep and padded into the room. Long red hair spilled across the white pillowcase, and beads of sweat dotted his brow. Hermione pulled up a chair and sat down, beside his bed, taking his hand in her own.
His fingers were so rough and callused, and if he'd been awake, his grip would be strong. His lips were parted ever-so-slightly, and there was a dusting of freckles across his nose. Hermione smiled despite herself, thinking about the smile that graced that face in better times. Now, as he fought the fever and sweated out the werewolf toxins, she caressed his hand with hers, now and then brushing strands of hair off his face.
One hazel eye fluttered open and Hermione moved to pull her hand from his. He squeezed his hand around hers and opened both his eyes. Hermione looked down at their hands, entwined together and felt the heat of embarrassment creep up her neck. He didn't say anything though, and Hermione chanced a look up at his face and found him smiling at her. The smile held a moment of sadness, but Hermione returned it with one of her own.
"Thank goodness you've awoken," Hermione said, "Fleur's driving everyone 'round the bend…" A laugh died on her lips as Bill's face suddenly looked stricken. He turned away from her, hiding the gashes to his face. Hermione suddenly felt horrible and slipped her hand from his. She stood, and made as if to leave, but Bill's voice, hoarse from disuse, stopped her.
"Don't go…don't leave me alone…" he said, turning back to her, his eyes pleading. Something had changed in him, and Hermione noted it. The once fearless older brother was now suddenly afraid of being alone. She took her seat again, and his hand in hers. Bill squeezed it, and Hermione squeezed back.
"I'll stay then," she said softly, brushing his long hair off his face. He smiled and his eyes fluttered closed. Hermione heard him sigh and then she knew he was asleep. She smiled and gently pressed a feather-light kiss to his cheek, noting that for the first time in two days, his skin felt cool. The fever had broken and he would be fine. Hermione leaned back in the straight-backed chair and looked up at the ceiling, watching the shadows change as the wind scudded clouds across the moon.
Slowly, the night continued on, and Hermione found herself falling asleep as well. She had had trouble falling asleep since the battle and thought it was a case of the nerves. She'd also been jittery and restless while awake, but for the first time since the battle, tonight she was calm. His hand in hers was warm and comforting and Hermione was lulled by the sound of his rhythmic and steady breathing.
Sitting in the hospital wing, Hermione had ample time to think about Fleur and Bill's relationship, but didn't dare to dwell on it. Unbeknownst to anyone, she'd always harbored a bit of a crush on him, and seeing him gravely injured had certainly brought that feeling to the forefront. She watched him sleep, and watched him dream. All the while, she wondered what it would be like to be in Fleur's place and marry a well-off Gringott's employee. Hermione shook her head and laughed softly to herself, like Bill would give up Fleur, they were meant to be together and she was meant for Ron. But still, as the moonlight seemed to settle on Bill's features, a voice in the back of Hermione's head whispered that she might have a chance and Hermione felt a small flower of hope bloom inside her. His pale skin became almost translucent in the moonlight and the freckles on his nose stood out like ink-spots on white paper. Hermione's fingers itched to touch him, but she held herself in check and merely counted the dusting across his nose.
So lost was she in her counting that she didn't notice Bill had awoken. When she did notice finally, her breath hitched and her eyes flew open wide. Bill merely smiled, lifting the hand that held hers and bringing her fingers to his lips. He pressed a gentle kiss to them and Hermione shivered inside. He gave her a crooked grin and she couldn't help but return it. They grinned like a pair of fools for a good long while, neither saying anything and neither realizing that morning had arrived.
It's still like that, to this day. Hermione and Bill will suddenly find themselves watching each other, and he'll flash her a lopsided smile that she'll return. Even now that they're both married, him to Fleur, and her to Ron, the smiles remain. In spite of everything, they managed to remain alive and Hermione's children have a doting uncle who spends as much time as possible with his niece and nephew and Bill's child has a beautiful and sweet aunt, who sends her well-wishes to her niece whenever she can. It's always been touted as a strange occurrence that Hermione and Ron's daughter has the same hazel eyes as Bill and the same dusting of freckles across her nose. And it's no coincidence that Hermione's niece is growing up to follow in her aunt's footsteps at Hogwarts or that she has long and wavy brown hair. Some things are better left unsaid and so Fleur and Ron remain silent, and Hermione and Bill continue to share those secret smiles.