Ron and Hermione: Missing Moments
'I'm going to bed,' Harry said abruptly. Hermione blinked, pulled out of her own dark reverie.
'If you need anything…' she said, looking over at him as he got up.
'I'm fine,' said Harry, which of course was not true, but there was no point in arguing. Harry turned to Ron. 'You coming up?'
'Nah,' Ron mumbled. 'I'm too tired to sleep yet.'
Harry glanced at Hermione, and then back at Ron, as though trying to determine something, but he gave up on it almost at once and instead dragged himself to the boys' staircase.
Hermione watched him leave, feeling suddenly at a loss. Something about Harry's presence had helped her to avoid really thinking about the reality of Dumbledore's death and what it would mean for the wizarding world. It was as if Harry was there, so was Dumbledore.
But of course that wasn't true. Harry was alone. They were all alone. Dumbledore was gone; he could not protect them, or the school. The only wizard Voldemort ever feared was dead, and Harry had no escape anymore. Hermione felt tears burn her eyes.
'Are you okay?'
She blinked and looked up. She'd almost forgotten Ron was still there. He was looking at her with concern, his brow furrowed.
She pressed her lips together firmly; she did not want to cry. She'd already done so much of it this year, anyway, and she knew she'd have plenty of it left to do at the funeral tomorrow…
'It's so real now, isn't it?'
The words came out before she'd really thought about them.
'The war, you mean?' Ron asked.
'There were Death Eaters in Hogwarts,' she whispered. 'They got in. Malfoy let them in.'
Ron's face darkened. 'All this time we kept saying Malfoy was a joke.' He laughed bitterly. 'Joke's on us.'
'Who would have thought he could accomplish that?' said Hermione desperately.
They fell into another silence; both of them stared into the fire. Hermione was exhausted and part of her just wanted to go to bed, but another part of her didn't want to leave Ron. She wished he would do something, take her hand or…something. They hadn't touched all week, though they'd seen each other for hours every day. It was as if they both needed distance, to deal with their feelings about what had happened. But now Hermione didn't want the distance. She wanted closeness, she wanted to lean into Ron and have him stroke her hair and hear the thrumming of his heart.
'I want to find him,' Ron said suddenly, his voice dangerous.
'Malfoy,' said Ron. 'That ruddy bastard…he let those Death Eaters in the castle…and Greyback got Bill…it's all Malfoy's fault. I want to find him. I could kill him.'
Hermione shuddered; Ron's face was as angry as she had ever seen it, but what scared her was not his expression, it was that he was talking so quietly, so low. She would have preferred him to go into one of his characteristic rages, not this unnerving, quiet fury.
'Ron…' she said pleadingly, moving to sit next to him on the sofa. 'Don't say that.'
'I mean it, Hermione,' he insisted, still staring into the fire. Hermione could see the orange flames blazing in his blue eyes. 'I won't even need a wand. I'll just—'
'Don't!' Hermione cried suddenly, and she grabbed his hands. 'Ron, don't. Please.' Her eyes filled with tears. She couldn't hear this now, even if a small part of her wanted to find Malfoy, too.
Ron looked into her eyes, and his gaze was fierce for a moment, but the sight of her tears made his face crumple. 'I'm sorry,' he said, and then he pulled her close, putting his arms around her. Hermione sighed in relief and sank against him, resting her head on his chest.
They sat there for a while, holding each other, rocking back and forth just slightly. Hermione's eyes felt heavy but for some reason she didn't want to fall asleep. She didn't want to miss a second of this, of being held.
'I'm sorry, too,' she murmured. 'I'm sorry I was so distant all week.'
'It's okay,' he said. 'I've been out of it myself.'
She felt herself snuggle closer to him, and it came to her suddenly. She'd been so adamant about them not rushing, about taking their time, but Death Eaters had gotten into the castle. They'd been lucky to survive that night, they'd had Felix on their side, but they would not always be so lucky.
She lifted her head and looked him in the eyes.
'I'm scared,' she said.
'Me, too,' he admitted.
'I know I said…before, about us…'
'To take it slow.'
She nodded. 'But…I don't…I don't want to anymore. Go slow, I mean.'
Ron swallowed. He had a hopeful look on his face. 'Y-you…want to go fast?'
Too hopeful, Hermione thought, and she rolled her eyes at him. 'Not that.'
'Right, right,' said Ron, too quickly. 'I know. Not that.'
'I meant,' she said, 'I don't…I don't want to wait for things to happen with us. It's like we've been waiting forever. I just want us to…to be. After what happened…there doesn't seem to be a point in dragging things out anymore, does there?'
'No,' Ron agreed, a smile curving at the corners of his mouth.
'But that doesn't mean we have to make some sort of declaration, either, does it?' she mused. 'I mean, it would seem awfully silly at this point for you to ask me to be your girlfriend. I already feel like I am…at least, well, I think so…only labels seem so trite, don't they, they don't really mean any—'
And suddenly she couldn't speak, because Ron was kissing her. Really kissing her. It wasn't hard or rough, but it wasn't exactly gentle, either. His lips pressed against hers insistently, as though determined to silence her, and he held her tightly to him for a moment. Next moment, he let her go.
She blinked, dizzy.
'Sorry,' Ron murmured, his face inches from hers. 'I just…you would have gone on all night if I hadn't.'
'Ron!' she protested, but she found herself giggling. Her cheeks were hot; she was hot. The look in his eyes for her was longing, almost hungry, and it thrilled her. He wanted to kiss her again. She wanted him to do it. He did.
Gently this time, just a brush of his mouth across hers. His lips were incredible, plush and soft and yet strong, too, masculine, and she caught a whiff of that scent, that amazing scent of his that was cinnamon and brooms and summer wind and home and just Ron. His hands moved to cup her face, and she shuddered slightly when she felt his thumbs caress her cheeks. Such simple little gestures, and yet it excited her beyond anything she'd ever felt.
He pulled away briefly, as though uncertain whether to continue. Indeed, a tiny part of her wondered if this was even appropriate, kissing on the common room sofa when Dumbledore was going to be buried tomorrow…
She pushed that thought from her mind. She didn't care for propriety, she didn't want cold reality. She wanted the drug of Ron's mouth. She mirrored his actions, putting her hands on his roughened face, marveling at the lines and angles of it, the hint of scruff on his cheeks, and leaned in to kiss him this time.
A firmer kiss, a press of lips. Ron's hands moved into her hair, and he angled himself slightly to pull her closer. She felt him part his lips against hers, and shivered in anticipation as she copied him. They hadn't kissed like this before, every previous kiss had been soft and sweet and almost chaste because she hadn't wanted to rush…
He did it again, dragging her mouth open with his, and then she felt the soft, light flick of his tongue against hers, and she thought she might die.
He kissed her that way again, slowly, as though mapping her mouth with his own. The pleasure of it, the sheer, raw pleasure of being kissed like this, by him…nothing had ever come close to it. Her whole body was tingling so much she wondered how she could sit still. He pressed his tongue against hers a bit harder, but not too much, and she imitated him once more, and then she heard a little sound in her throat, a pleading sort of sound that ought to have made her feel a bit scandalized, but didn't. Nothing had ever felt this deep, this simple, this pure and carnal all at once. It suddenly occurred to her, too, that he must have learned how to kiss like this from Lavender Brown, but amazingly, the thought did not hurt her or make her feel remotely jealous. On the contrary she was half-tempted to march upstairs and thank Lavender for teaching Ron how to kiss like a genius.
The thought made her giggle against Ron's mouth, and he pulled back abruptly.
'What?' he asked, his eyes slightly unfocused, his face flushed, his lips pink.
'Nothing,' she said quickly, putting her hands on his face. It would never do to mention Lavender at a time like this, so she said the first thing that came to her mind.
'Kiss me again.'
Ron leaned in, but then he smiled, a bit drunkenly. 'You even boss me around about kissing you,' he murmured, but before she could reprimand him his mouth was on hers again, driving away both speech and conscious thought.
She felt him pull her closer, and she responded in kind, wanting suddenly to absorb into him. Her breasts were crushed against his chest and it should have hurt, but it didn't. And yet there was an ache inside her now, a yawning, vast ache that spread through her whole body and anchored itself at the secret heart of her. She wondered if he felt the same ache, the same desperate need. The mystery was solved when he leaned over, and she felt the two of them fall back onto the sofa. Something hard pressed against her thigh, and he made a sound…he moaned and kissed her harder, and it was a sudden frenzy of lips and tongues and heat…her whole world seemed to spin out of control and she didn't want it to stop after all…
He pulled away abruptly, panting.
'We have to stop…' he gasped.
Yes, they should stop. She opened her mouth to agree—she, too, was breathing hard—but said, 'Why?'
Well. She hadn't meant to say that, but then again, there was a very big part of her that wanted to keep going, wanted to thrash around like eels with Ron on the sofa and see where it led.
Ron, still panting a little, took a deep breath. 'Because…if we keep going…I'll want to keep going.' He pressed his lips together and shifted slightly, and she felt it again, that hardness. He blushed and looked down. Hermione felt a rush of giddiness, of recklessness. He was excited, and it excited her. She moved a little, deliberately sliding her thigh along him.
He whimpered. 'Don't…' he begged. 'God, don't do that…'
She bit her lip. 'Sorry,' she said, but part of her wasn't all that sorry. She was thrilled. He wanted her. Really wanted her. She ought to feel at least a bit naughty for liking the idea of Ron Weasley having an erection because of her, but she didn't.
'Do you want to…with me?' she asked.
'Yes,' he whispered, looking into her eyes.
She felt a rush of heat at that single word, the softly vehement way he'd said it, but then a new, awful thought occurred to her. What if he'd done it before?
Does it matter?
Not really. But I want to know. I need to know.
She looked down at her left hand, which was now entwined with his right.
'Did you…with Lavender?' She looked up at him, knowing that whatever answer he gave her, he would not and could not lie to her.
'No,' he said. 'No.'
'Did you want to?'
'No,' he said, still gazing at her face. 'I mean…I thought about it…but I didn't want to.'
'Because she wasn't you.'
Hermione felt tears in her eyes again. One slid from the corner of her eye, but Ron caught it with his thumb and brushed it away.
'You're really sweet,' she whispered. 'Most of the time.'
'Ha ha,' said Ron, tweaking her nose. She giggled and he kissed the tip of it, and then her lips again briefly, and smiled down at her.
She smiled back at him, but then frowned and, extricating herself from his embrace, got up from the sofa.
'What?' He sat up.
'I was just thinking,' she said. 'About Harry…I'm not sure we should say anything. About us, I mean.'
'We'll have to tell him sometime,' said Ron, but then he paused and added, 'Then again, I guess Dumbledore's funeral isn't exactly the right place to mention it.'
'There's Bill and Fleur's wedding,' said Hermione. 'That's coming up very soon.'
'Yeah,' Ron agreed. 'Yeah, that's a better time to do it. You want me to tell him?'
She felt a rush of relief. 'Would you? I'd feel a bit funny about it and…well, you're both men, so…'
'Oh, so I'm a man now, am I?' said Ron, grinning at her a bit suggestively.
Hermione raised her chin. 'Oh, very much so.' Her eyes skipped briefly to below the waistband of his jeans, and he flushed bright red.
She giggled, and he jumped up from the sofa and enclosed her in a bear hug.
They held each other for a few minutes, Hermione feeling, in spite of everything, in spite of the war and Dumbledore's murder and every other tragic, dangerous thing that had happened, enormously safe in his arms. She didn't kid herself that they were invincible, or that the future was secure, but for now, she reveled in the comfort of Ron holding her.
After another few minutes she felt sleepy.
'We should go to bed,' she said, pulling back from him, 'separately, to our own dormitories,' she added, seeing the playful, wolfish look on his face.
'Damn,' he muttered. 'Worth a try, anyway.'
She gave him a mildly scolding look, and kissed him softly on the mouth, her blood heating at the brief contact. She pulled back and smiled at him; he was slightly glassy-eyed and she was sure she had the same glazed expression. She opened her mouth to say goodnight, but instead said, 'Keep trying.'
Once again, her mouth ran ahead of her brain. Ron's eyes widened for a moment, and then he grinned. 'I will,' he promised, and he kissed her, and it was a lot less innocent than the kiss she had just given him, and Hermione's knees turned liquid and it was all she could to do stop things before they ended up back on the sofa. And even then, Ron managed a few more quick but promising kisses before she made it to the relative safety of the girls' staircase.
'Good night,' she said breathlessly, smiling back at him as he lingered a few feet from the door to the girls' staircase.
'Good night,' he answered, watching her go. She backed up the staircase until she could no longer see his red hair, and shut the door behind her. Tomorrow was going to be awful, but tonight she would dream sweetly.