A/N: For the few people who asked me to continue, I did. I'm sick, so please spare me, and don't remind me how horrible this is unless you really, really feel the need to. Bah. I hope you enjoy it, my children of the corn. :P
A soft tapping on her shoulder jerked Hermione quickly awake. Her tousled hair was everywhere, and she couldn't see. Brushing it aside, Hermione saw a pair of very round glasses somewhere above her. Rubbing the sleep from her drowsy eyes, Harry's face loomed into view through the fog clouding her vision.
"Hermione," he was saying rather sharply. "Hermione!"
She jumped at the sound of his voice, and found herself stuck in what appeared to be a very tight chair. She blinked, and looked down.
Ron was sitting beside her, and the two of them were squeezed together in a rather comfortable armchair, made less comfortable by the fact that a red-haired boy stuffed in it alongside her was clinging to her like a blanket, arms around her neck, snoring loudly on her shoulder. "Oh, now, honestly," she breathed, rolling her eyes.
Harry's face was split into a wide smile, and he was offering her his hand to help her out. She took it gladly, and yanked herself to her feet. Ron slid from her shoulder, but was still sitting upright, and fast asleep.
"Well," Harry laughed, "at least he looks peaceful." He smiled almost painfully. "Maybe where he is, Voldemort doesn't exist, yeah?"
Hermione watched Ron sleeping with utmost interest. Had what he said to her last night been true, or was he simply mumbling disjointedly with no meaning at all? Did he really… love her? Hermione knew how she felt about Ron, but had begun to simply give up on it, when his ignorance had become such a hindrance in their could-have-been relationship. But after what he'd said to her last night…
"Oh, yeah… maybe…" she agreed, barely knowing what she was talking about. The way Ron seemed to swell with every deep breath he took, and deflate with every exhale, was much more interesting to her at the moment than whatever it was that Harry had been talking about. She had a sudden urge to take notes on him, maybe even draw a picture of him… but she pushed all her nerdy thoughts from her mind, and turned back to Harry, blushing slightly from the pathetically girly thoughts she'd been having. "Yes… yes, I do hope he's having pleasant dreams like that, one of us should." She smiled back at Harry, who seemed lost in thought.
"It would be nice if we were all able to sleep as soundly as Ron here can," he said, shaking his head and walking around a bit. "Y'know, maybe he's dreaming about… nah."
"What?" Hermione inquired.
"Nah, I won't say. It was just a silly thought." He seemed to be holding back laughter as he looked at Ron beginning to drool in his sleep.
Hermione, annoyed, rolled her eyes and said, "Oh, this is just ridiculous." She shook Ron by his shoulders. "Ron—Ron, wake up!"
Ron snapped awake and sat bolt upright. "Bloody hell, Hermione, what—oh, hey Harry. What's going on?" He yawned, and rubbed his face with the back of his hand, sleepily.
"Good morning, Ronald," Hermione chimed, and she couldn't help but blush when he looked at her, especially after what he'd said last night.
"Uh… morning, Hermione," Ron said.
"Yeah, rise and shine, Ron, what had you looking so happy in your sleep?" Harry laughed openly at his friend, who went pink. He looked at Hermione, but looked away just as soon as their eyes met, ears blushing a deep red color now.
"Nothing," Ron mumbled. "Just dreaming silly things…"
"Yeah, silly things, alright… if you say so…" Harry winked, and punched Ron on the shoulder. "I'm going down to breakfast. I'll see you," he called, already half way to the portrait hole.
"Oh, right, okay, I'm not hungry," Ron mumbled into his jeans as he drew his knees up to his chest and curled up in a ball.
Hermione however, though rather hungry herself, decided to stay with Ron. She had to ask him about what he'd said. Whether or not he really did… really meant… he couldn't have, but she had to find out…
"Ron…?" She began, cautiously.
"Hm…" Ron moaned, uncaring.
Hermione sat on the armchair next to his, which she had been sitting in last night, before he'd pulled her into his seat with him. She twisted her hands in her lap, and found that her palms were sweating rather profusely. She wiped them on her skirt, and swallowed, before continuing.
"Ron… did you mean what you said… last night…?" Hermione inhaled deeply, to calm herself, but Ron didn't seem to know what she was talking about.
"What I said about what?" Ron mumbled.
Hermione took another deep breath, and said quickly, "Well, last night, in your sleep, you said… that you… loved me…" and at that, she dug her nails into the skin on the back of her hand, so nervous that it was eating at her insides.
She watched as Ron's eyes snapped open, and he suddenly coughed, loudly.
"I… what… I never… did I?" He spluttered.
"Uh… yes, you did."
"But… I… well…" He seemed to be casting around for something to say. He looked no longer tired. His face was now a brilliant red that nearly matched his hair, and he was intentionally avoiding looking at Hermione, who had to repress a giggle at Ron's fairly amusing reaction.
"Well, I just wondered if… I wondered if you meant it," Hermione offered, trying to be helpful.
"Well… I donno… I guess… I mean… the thing is…" Ron seemed unable to fit more than two words together as he threw disjointed mumbled words at her. "I mean… I guess, I always kinda… but, I mean… well, no, that's not… I didn't…"
Something inside Hermione seemed to explode, and she knew, suddenly, what she needed to do. "Ron," she said, determined to finally tell him. "Ron, you know… I've liked you for a really long time now." Her voice was timid, but an invisible weight seemed to have been lifted from her shoulders as she finally said the words she'd been wanting to for so long.
"You…" he whispered. "You… you did?"
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Yes, of course I did, you prat! I've been waiting for you to notice for ages, but you never did… so, I started to give up, after a while."
Ron's eyes were filled with something Hermione had never seen in them before. It was as if he were looking at her for the first time.
"You… but I've…"
"It's okay, Ron, if you don't feel the same way. I just thought that maybe… because you said that thing… last night…"
Ron shook his head. "No!" He said at once. "No! No, no, no, I meant it!" He seemed to suddenly realize what he'd said, and looked momentarily shocked. His face went ghostly white, but he shook his head, and seemed to gather himself together. "No, Hermione, don't you get it? I've just been… denying it. I've loved you for as long as I can remember, but I've just been… yeah, denying it." He slipped forward onto the edge of his seat, and took Hermione's hands in his.
Her heart was pounding so loudly, she could barely hear her own thoughts. All that seemed able to penetrate the deafening sound was Ron's soft, nervous voice. "I was so jealous of you when you were with Viktor Krum… God did that kill me, when I saw you together, but I guess I kinda got even with the whole Lavender thing. You know, I didn't really like her. It was all an attempt to make you jealous. I just… ugh, I donno… I've been denying it for too long. This is stupid. Y'know what, I'm just gonna stop talking now and…"
And that's when he kissed her.
Hermione knew, a moment before it happened, and just as her heart fluttered magnificently, his lips pressed onto hers, and she nearly cried. It was what she'd been waiting for, for so long, and it was finally happening. Ah, the feel of his lips on hers was the ultimate pleasure to her. It was a very gently kiss—full of fire, and passion, but small, dry, and innocent.
She felt his hand slip onto her cheek, and she couldn't help but giggle. It was such an un-Hermione-like giggle that it made Ron pull back.
"Oh, sorry, Ron, I just…" she giggled again. "I can't help it, it's just that… I've been waiting for this for… so long…" Hermione bit her bottom lip, trying to hold in her ecstatic laughter. And then, Ron began to laugh too.
The two of them sat together and laughed for a very long time. They didn't know how long they were there, but finally, when people were starting to fill into the common room from breakfast, and their sides were aching from laughing so much, they gave each other a knowing look, and with a final grin, decided silently that they wouldn't mention this to Harry at all, for his sake. And at that, they gathered together their books, still lying on the table from the night before, and left for class.
No one seemed to notice though, that the red-haired boy and the bushy-haired know-it-all were holding hands as they clambered through the portrait hole and headed for Defense against the Dark Arts class.