A/N: Just some Ron/Hermione fluff before bed to make me feel better when I'm sick, blah. Ron/Hermione fluffy oneshots cure everything. :)

Hermione, Harry and I had been sitting in the common room late after hours, after all the other Gryffindors had already cleared out, talking in dark voices about the horrific events that had been taking place around the world. Darks times were present, and the future looked bleak, so there was always something to talk about. There was never a dull moment among the young witches and wizards of the age, constantly worrying for the safety of their loved ones because of the newfound dangers pressing in around everyone.

I had found myself more worried for Hermione's safety than anyone else lately. She felt almost more important to me than my own family. She was so much to me, and I could only pray that she knew that.

After several moments of silence between the three of us, in which we bonded quietly, joined by our souls in the secret knowledge of our friendship, Harry stood up. Hermione and I looked up at him, questioning looks on both our faces.

"I… I just… I have to go to sleep. I can barely stand these waking hours." His face seemed contorted in thought.

Hermione nodded. "You really should get some rest. You deserve it."

I felt stupid, and my body felt heavy and useless, but I nodded in agreement.

Harry looked at us, and smiled wryly, before turning and walking shakily up the stairs to the boys' dormitory.

And that left Hermione and me to sit all alone together, twisting our hands in our laps nervously. I stared into the slowly dying embers, trying to block out the hammering in my chest. Sitting all alone with Hermione always gave me the strangest feeling. It was a feeling of pure nervousness and terror slurred with the kind of excitement that I would rather not explain to anyone. A vicious heat crept upward from the pit of my stomach and over my face. My insides squirmed—why did I always blush so easily? Why?

Whenever I was all alone with Hermione, half of me felt the urge to at last reveal my desperate desire for her, and something inside of me made me feel like if I did, everything would be so much easier. Then again, the other half of me fought that urge with all the power I could muster. Why was I such an idiot? Why didn't I ever just get it over and done with?

In light of recent events, and the dark times we were living in, you'd think that I'd be a bit smarter and just tell her how I bloody felt, wouldn't you?

For all I knew, she or I could die tomorrow, and I'd never have told her how much I loved her. I could barely stand it, her simply not knowing, but my own cowardice made everything more difficult.

"Ron…" she began.

My heart leapt. At least I didn't have to be the first to break the silence. "Yes?" I said, quite surprised at the calm in my voice. Inside, I was breaking down from fear, and was utterly shocked that it hadn't manifested itself in my voice.

"Do you think much about… about the future?" Her voice wavered a little as she spoke, and I felt the need to hug her, to tell her it would all be alright, and that she needn't worry…

"Of course I do," I told her. "How could I not? We could die tomorrow, and—" and you'd never know how I feel about you… "—and we will never have been able to live our lives. We still have to help Harry find the rest of the remaining Horcruxes, and after that, if we do survive, what will happen to us? What will we do with ourselves? Especially Harry—his entire life is based on destroying Voldemort, but if he manages it, and survives, what will he do? If it were me, I'd feel like I had no place anymore: like my purpose had been fulfilled. I'd be so lost, if I were him…"

I suddenly blushed. I had just begun to talk without being able to stop. Why did being around Hermione have to make me more open? It made everything more complicated! I could talk so freely in front of her, and then I become unable to stop.

Hermione smiled sadly. "Well, if you survive," she said quietly, "what do you want to do?"

I furrowed my brow. I hadn't really thought about it much. Of course, my immediate thought was I want to be with you, in the end… but I had enough self-pride that I would never say that. "I donno…" I whispered. "I really haven't thought…" I shook myself off. "…but, what about you? What do you want to do, after it's all over?" A distinct voice in my head was praying religiously that she'd say she wanted to be with me, but of course, I was, as always, disappointed.

"Well… I guess I'd want to settle down, y'know? Like… maybe I'd marry a nice guy…" she started to blush as she went on. "…maybe start a family. Perhaps I'd even be a teacher." She gazed at me with a sparkle in her eye that was so beautiful, the atmosphere seemed suddenly airless.

I shuddered, and to distract myself from the impulses racing through my mind, I mumbled, "Yeah, you'd like that, wouldn't you?" She gave me a half-smile, like she was trying not to, but couldn't help it. "You'd just love to spend the rest of your life surrounded by musty old volumes and texts, and teaching little brats to become book worms like you. I can see it now…" I waved my arms at her, as though presenting her to someone unseen. "Professor Granger: beloved wife, mother, teacher, and nerd!"

She crossed her arms over her chest, still trying not to laugh, her cheeks going slightly pink, even in the dark shadows of the night. "What about 'beloved friend?' Or is that too much to ask?" She bore her brown eyes into mine in a harrowingly penetrating way that seemed to crush me from the inside-out.

"Of course," I said, breathless. "You'll always be a beloved friend. You're the best friend that I could ever ask for, so why would I forget that one?" I was shaking. "I just assumed that was a given."

She grinned shyly at me, and unfolded her arms from across her body. She leaned forward, her elbows on her knees, and stared at me intently for a long while. A whole coffee table stood between us, as she sat in the armchair opposite me, but she still seemed dangerously close. So close, that it was making my entire body burn with the need to touch her. "So… that's really what I am to you, isn't it: your best friend?"

Confused by the question, I simply muttered, "Well, yeah… you and Harry."

What else could I have said? Should I have admitted it, at last? Should I have finally divulged the painful secret inside of me that had been eating at my innards for six years?

I sort of started to go for it, with a sudden burst of courage out of nowhere. "But you, especially, Hermione…"

I stopped. What was I thinking?

"What is that supposed to mean?" She inquired, her eyes gentle and soothing, her voice barely higher than a whisper, shaking.

"Well…" Merlin, I must have been going mad. "…I just… I feel differently about you as my friend than I do about Harry. You're not just a best friend to me, you're…" What was I thinking? "…I don't know. You're just so much more than that. You're incredible."

And then, something amazing happened. In a single, swift movement, Hermione leaned over the fairly small table between us, and removed any space between my mouth and hers. It was like fireworks had exploded in my head. Lightning crackled around us, and, very much in the moment, I found myself unsure if the flashes of light outside the window were real or not. As rain began to pour suddenly, and the sound of it clapped heavily against the window panes, I felt her hands on my face.

What I was sure was an imaginary gust of hot air shot angrily at my face, and I knew I was blushing furiously. The fingertips on my cheeks were delicate and small, and I let out a tiny noise of excitement in the back of my throat, which made Hermione pull away. I suddenly wished I hadn't.

"Ron, I'm sick of this," she said, her voice unnaturally high. "I'm sick of our constant quarreling, and I'm sick of you not noticing that I've liked you since the minute we met on the Hogwarts Express!" My jaw dropped as she spoke. "Ron, I'm just sick of it! Just tell me whether or not you feel the same way, so I can stop tormenting myself over it!" It was a command, and it was filled with a pain I had never heard in anything she'd ever said before.

I didn't know what to say. I'd been covering up my feelings for so long, certain that she didn't feel the same way, and so it happens that she does. I really am an idiot, aren't I? Don't answer that. I already know what you're thinking: I'm pure moron.

I had apparently been sitting there, lost in thought, staring at Hermione incredulously, for a lot longer than I thought I had been. I was brought to my senses as she looked down at her feet, biting her lip to hold back tears, and then quickly stood and began to walk away from me, muttering quickly under her breath, "Of course, I understand it if you don't… I didn't mean to… I just… you had to know, in case…"

She thought I didn't like her? Now she was being the idiot.

In response to her babbling, I stood, and quickly grabbed her wrist so she couldn't keep walking. She turned slowly, and looked for a long moment at my large, rough hand around her small, thin arm. She was blushing, I saw, as she slowly lifted her head to peer into my eyes. Her face was so tiny, and pale, and looked so childish amidst the bush of brown hair perched atop her head. Her eyes were wide and brown and knowing, as I leaned in toward her.

Our lips only brushed innocently against each other, when my heart exploded within me, surely breaking every one of my ribs. I let go of her wrist, and lifted my hands to her cheeks. Holding her face before mine, I kissed her. It was more than just a touch, this time: it was long, and slow, and deep, and completely devoid of doubt or concern, or fear of any kind. I was becoming whole, as I pressed my mouth into hers even more strongly, and knew, somehow, that everything would be alright: that we'd survive the raging war, and stay in love until it ultimately killed us both.

I wrapped an arm around her waist, and, lips still hooked onto each other, walked her over to the wall outside the girls' dormitory. I pressed her against it with my body, and heard a low, deep growl from the very depths of her throat. It was particularly unlike Hermione, but I loved it. She was finally letting go, and letting herself be free with me.

I pressed my pelvis against hers, and a pleasurable sensation tickled my lower stomach, rather like the butterflies people write about in novels.

I trailed my kissed over her bottom lip and onto her chin. I look in her jaw, and her throat, and practically devoured the nape of her neck. She laughed quietly, and suddenly, her short giggles became sobs, and I pulled away in surprise. She threw her arms around my neck, and began to cry, hard and fast, upon my shoulder.

"Ron… Ron, what if we don't make it? I love you…" my heart stopped. "…more than you'll ever know, and what if… what if you die, and I still have to go on living without you? Or what if I die, before we can ever live a happy life together… before I can get a job… before I lose my virginity…" I found myself blushing, even as Hermione's tears soaked my sweater. "… before I can ever get married or have children… what if we do live through it, but Harry dies? What if Voldemort manages to win? What if he lets us live, but under his reign? What if…"

She didn't seem able to finish. I had barely noticed that she had slid down the wall behind her, and I was now hugging her crying mass, lying in a heap upon the floor.

I tried to console her with calming "shushes," and whispered in her ear several times, "it'll be alright, it'll be alright, don't worry. It'll all be alright…" Her sobs were deafening shrieks of sorrow, and, still in the tight hug, she began to slam her fists rather violently into my back as her tears continued to flow. I clenched my eyes shut, and grit my teeth, trying to bear the pain for her.

"That's right, Hermione, just take it out on me… let it all out…"

She cried, and cried, and it seemed like she had been for over an hour, when at last her sobs became less violent, and her breathing slowly evened out. Hermione's bushy hair had been obscuring my vision the whole time, but I had barely noticed. I loved that her hair was impossible to tame. I loved that it was brown, and I loved that it was curly, and wavy, and messy, and everything that made it her hair.

Her body grew heavy in my grasp, and her breathing became particularly slow, as she fell asleep. She snuggled her face into the crook of my neck, and sniffed. I didn't know what to do. I suddenly felt particularly awkward, and wondered what someone might say if they walked in to find me hugging a sleeping Hermione as she sat on the floor outside the girls' dormitory, her face streaked with tears. But honestly, I didn't really care so much.

All that mattered was that Hermione was there, in my arms, and loved me the way that I loved her. All that mattered was that there was just a little bit more love in the world, and with even that small extra amount, our side grew even the tiniest bit stronger. Love was all our side needed to win this endless battle—love was all any of us needed.