Love is, waking up to see your face...

Hermione couldn't help but feel as if the ticking of the clock was mocking her. It was five minutes to midnight and she was as wide awake as she had been when they had gone to bed earlier that night.

She closed her eyes and snuggled even deeper if possible, into his chest; letting the soft drumming of his heartbeat drowned out the offensive ticking. She placed her palm flat across his chest and watched it rise and fall while his warm breath got lost in the abyss of her hair. She was completely aware of his presence; how the heat radiating off him encompassed her body, how her left leg was pretty much hugging his, while the soft blue blanket became a tangled mess around them.

Hermione wished he was still awake and talking to her; he always knew how to calm her down and convinced her worried self that everything would be okay. How Ron had managed to find sleep that night, she would never know.

She looked up, studying his face for awhile to see any signs of discomfort and found none; his soft snores put a smile to her face. She reached out and placed the palm of her hand on his forehead softly, careful not to disturb him. He was still too warm for her comfort. Perhaps having him asleep was for the best after all, at least, he was spared from the pain.

Snuggling back into his chest, she sighed softly and hugged him tighter while still being very careful about the wound. The ticking was now nothing but distant echoes in the background as she started counting after every heartbeat. One…two…three…four…five…

Earlier that day...

She woke up to the sight of Ron Weasley, wide awake, staring back at her. His blue eyes dancing in glee as he broke into a soft smile and whispered 'good morning' to her half-awake self.

She loved this part of waking up every morning. To have the face of the one man who had taught her how to love and be loved unconditionally the first thing to wake up to. His smile alone washed away any anxieties and stress she could already feel creeping up in her as her brain started planning for the day ahead.

Hermione didn't think she could ever feel this loved by a man.

"Hey you." She smiled.

"Are you in a good mood?"

She squinted her eyes, trying to figure out if he was up to any mischief. "You were staring at me while I was asleep, why?"

"Do you always have to answer my questions with questions?"

"Are you trying to get away with something?"

"Why do you think that?"

"Why are you smiling?"

"Should I be crying?"



"What? You should be crying?" She frowned.

"What? No!"

"Then why did you say yes?"

"It's not, yes, yes, it's YES!" He said, as if that explained everything. "You lose, you didn't answer my question with a question."

He could be such a child sometimes. She loved that about him.

"Okay fine you big winner," She rolled her eyes playfully. "To answer your question, yes, I'm in a good mood. I woke up to your face this morning."

"Hmmm…you used to can't stand this face."

"You used to call me a nightmare, yet I caught you staring at me while I was asleep."

He grinned. "Good point."

"Why does it matter if I'm in a good mood today?"

The grin fell from his face immediately. "Well, you're supposed to wake up ten minutes ago but I was too busy staring at you and then I didn't have the heart to wake you up cause you looked so beautiful sleeping like that and I reckon now you're fifteen minutes late because we were playing the who will end up answering the question without a question game add a few more seconds as I explained this to you."

She laughed, out loud, which really surprised him. If there was one thing she learnt from Ron Weasley, it was to always find the humor in life, even in the darkest moments. It worked…sometimes.

"You're laughing," He said. "does this mean I'm not in trouble?"

"No, you deserve a kiss for that." She said as she closed the gap between them and planted a big kiss on his forehead.

"Tell me, what must a man do to get a kiss on the lips from his girlfriend?"

"In your case, nothing. I just don't kiss anyone with my morning breath Ronald."

"I don't mind."

"You're disgusting."

"So I've been told." He smirked. "But you made love to this disgusting person last night."

"I'll never get out of this bed if I keep talking to you."

"You're most likely twenty minutes late by now."

"We are twenty minutes late Ron."

"Oh yeah."

"Never mind, it's Saturday anyway, we get some slack." She stifled a yawn before getting out of bed and went straight to the bathroom.

When Hermione got out of the bathroom, Ron was no longer in bed. She dressed casually and went straight to the kitchen, to find two plates of toast, bacons and egg served along with two cups of tea. Ron was reading the Daily Prophet.

"Something smells kind of yummy."

"I know it's not me." He said as he folded the papers carefully and then stood up. "Don't wait for me, I might take forever in the shower and that wasn't meant to sound dirty, at all."

She smiled and watched him left.

It was so easy to treat the day as any other day but she knew they were both trying too hard to not say anything about it. The kitchen was suddenly too quiet for her liking. His plate of breakfast was left untouched and it unnerved her to picture a day when she would have to spend breakfasts without him.

Hermione buried herself with some paper works while waiting for Ron. They would have to report to the office as usual, distributing case works to the team and then making their monthly house visits and attend to complains and what not.

Ron doesn't work for the Ministry, he worked freelance, fixing pipes and the likes. However every Saturday, he would take in charity cases from her department, fixing things for free. Whenever Hermione felt like she couldn't go through another day studying case files that were mounting on her desk, she would think of Saturdays working with Ron.

On Sundays, Ron would travel with Harry to Hogswart, which was reopened earlier that year, to train the Gryffindor's quidditch team. It might still be too early for Ron to start flying again, but it didn't stop him from imparting his strategies and experience to the kids. It was their little escape, Hermione figured, a time when they could unwind and enjoy what they loved doing most.

"You haven't touched your breakfast yet."

"Was waiting for you."

"I told you not to. It's cold now."

She frowned. "Are you a wizard or not? Honestly." He smirked and then muttered a heating spell over the two plates of food. "I want to have them with you."

She knew it was easier to get him to eat that way.

They talked over breakfast until Parvati's head popped on the fireplace and yelled for their arses to be at the office.

Throughout their house visits, Hermione learnt that Ron was a natural when it comes to socializing with the aged as well as kids. He talked to old men like he would with his dad and when he commented on how good Mrs. So and so's cooking was, he had this gentleness about him that warmth her. There were also times when she would catch that glint in his eyes, when he missed a mother's touch.

Ron also never failed to bring some treats with him whenever they went for house visits, in case there were kids around. Most of the treats he brought came from either the twins' shop or Honeyduke. He always said the same thing to the kids when they left: Chin up!

When Ron played with the kids, Hermione sometimes wondered what life would be like to be married to Ronald Weasley and having him fathered her babies. She would sometimes even go as far as imagined what they'd look like. She found herself wanting this family with him and then wondering if they would ever get to get that far in life together.

House visits usually lasted till late afternoon, after which, they'd report back to the Ministry and then flooed to the Burrow, which was only a walking distance away from the house they lived in now and the only reason Ron even entertained to the idea of moving out was because Charlie had returned for good and brought with him Ramona, a witch he was dating in Egypt. They were recently married and Charlie scored the Defense Against The Dark Arts position at Hogswart and lived and decided to live at the Burrow with Mr. Weasley. The rest of the Weasley clan also convinced Ron that he needed to live on his own just to have the chance to experience total independence in life.

They had dinner together at the Burrow and Hermione found Ramona a breath of fresh air. She never seemed to get enough of hearing about life in Egypt and working with dragons. She also learnt to bear with Fleur, whenever Bill and the family came for visits at the Burrow.

For example, that particular day, she had spent making dinner with Fleur in the kitchen and nothing caught fire.

After dinner, they bid goodnight to everyone and apparated to Hogsmeade to meet up with Harry and Ginny and some old friends for drinks and to catch up on everybody's lives. Hermione loved this part the best – where old friends just gather around and unwind. If she concentrated quite enough and closed her eyes, she could almost feel the warmth and safety of Gryffindor's common room and the innocence of being nothing more but kids worrying over the next due assignments and talking (or listening, in her case) about Quidditch.

Ginny's hug for her brother was slightly longer than normal that night. Harry kept resting his arm across Ron's shoulders as if to tell the world 'look at me, I'm having a drink with my bestest buddy in the world'. Dean and Seamus talked about that random hot girl they met at that random muggle pub and how that random girl turned out to have a hot twin as the rest of them, including Luna and Neville, listened.

"I don't get the hot twins fixation," Ron declared after having another sip of his plain water. "I just keep seeing Fred and George."

That caused quite a ruckus over at their table as everyone started breaking into fits of giggles that refused to stop.

"I don't know, Fred and George are kind of hot." Hermione had said after they had recovered from the laughing fits. This proved to be a bad move as both Ginny and Ron almost choked in their own drinks while the rest broke into another fit of uncontrolled laughter followed by Dean and Seamus' complains of how Ron had ruined their fantasies.

"Are we still going to Gryffindor's first match next week?" Luna asked casually when the laughter had died down.

"Careful Luna, your house team might think you've changed sides." Neville teased.

"They're going against Slytherins, I'm okay with that." Luna shrugged.

"We'll be there." Dean said on behalf of himself and Seamus.

"We'll be there if we're not on duty." Ginny said while Harry nodded in agreement.

Hermione squeezed Ron's hand softly under the table and he threw her his assuring smile before looking at Luna. "Are you going to wear that hat you wore back then?"

"Do you want me to? I still have it."

"Yes. You wear that, and we'll be there."

Hermione nodded because she couldn't trust her voice. Next week was still too far away to think of.

It was close to ten when Hermione felt Ron's body began to lean heavily against her. Good at being subtle after so much practice, Hermione stole a glance at him while taking another sip of her Butterbeer and noticed how tired he was. There was also a light shin on his forehead, which always mean that he wasn't feeling good.

She yawned and then declared out loud how tired she was.

"I think that's our signal to get the heck home." Dean said.

"Yes, we have an early shift tomorrow." Luna said. "There's a wallaby flu epidemic going on."

Everyone looked at Neville, who shrugged and scratched his head.

"Right," Ginny said, still looking questioningly at Neville. "best keep ourselves warm every time then."

"And try not to visit…Australia?" Harry offered.

"What's a wallaby?" Ron asked.

"Never mind Ron, I'll tell you what it is later, we should go home now, it's rather late." Hermione said.

"You know you're getting old when you consider ten o'clock as late." Dean yawned. Everyone laughed, because they were a bunch of nineteen and twenty year olds who already felt as if they were older than that. War did that to people, she guessed.

Ginny looked as if she was in pain to let go of her brother but said nothing more than 'I love you' and hugged him good night. Harry shared a short hug with Ron and patted him on the back and told him he would see him the next day for Quidditch.

After bidding them goodnight, Ron and Hermione apparated back to their house.

"Home sweet home." Ron sighed as he pulled her in a hug and kissed her gently on the lips. "You taste of butter."

"Better than onion, I'll take that."

He laughed and they walked up to their bedroom where Ron excused himself to take his shower.

Hermione spent the time waiting for her turn to shower by arranging the potions he had to take for the night on the side table. It was a nightly routine for her, to measure the exact amount of potion and to mix them together for his dosage. And then she would placed a new roll of bandage with the medicated plaster and the pair of scissors next to it so Ron didn't have to trouble himself to find them. She also made sure there was a glass of pumpkin juice for him to wash away the bitter after taste of the potions.

By the time Ron came out of the bathroom clad only in a towel around his waist, Hermione was reading a muggle novel in bed. She abandoned the book the moment she saw him and reached out for her wand as she got out of bed.

"You missed a spot." She said casually and scourgified a trickle of blood near the wound.


"Get dressed quickly, it's quit chilly tonight." She said as she made her way to the bathroom.

"Whatever happened to woah Ron, I'm so turned on by your nakedness?"

"Whatever happened to the shy kid who blushed at every little thing?"

"I told you he's not here."

Hermione rolled her eyes and turned to face him. "Oh he's here alright, he's just being a prat and hibernating."

This made him laugh for some reason and Hermione left to take her shower.

By the time she returned and got dressed, Ron was already in bed almost in a fetal position, the blue blanket covering him from the chest down, his back facing her. She knew this position very well by then and her heart fell. She took a few deep breaths and willed herself to calm down before climbing to bed and spooning him from the back. She slid her arm around his waist and rested her chin on the curve of his neck. She heard him sigh and felt his arm rested on top of hers.

"I think I'm sick."

"Did you take the potions?" She felt him nodded his head. "Then it'd be okay."

"Today was fun." He murmured with his eyes closed.

"It was. Plus, I get to see you bend over and fixed things."

She felt him smile and she couldn't help smiling herself. "What happened to the bushy haired girl who thinks dirty talks are sinful?"

"Hibernating maybe."

"It's really cold tonight."


"I'm just saying. You're not going to get upset are you?"

"Would you rather me lie?"


"I'm terrified."

"It's going to be okay."

"I don't think I'll ever be ready for that Ron. It's not going to be okay."

"I need you to be okay…for me."

"I'm sorry, but I can't…I don't want to."

"Tonight is just one more night Hermione."

"Is it?" Hermione asked. "Then why am I so terrified all of a sudden?"

Ron turned to face her and Hermione moved to give him room before she snuggled and rested her head on his shoulder. He was trembling now and the heat from his body told her that his temperature had risen, yet Hermione chose not to dwell in them and played with the button of his shirt instead.

"I don't think that'll ever go away no matter what the outcome is Hermione, you chose this life, remember?"

"I've never regretted it Ron."

"I know. I'm sorry you're terrified though."

"I'm sorry you have to go through this."

"We're a very sorry couple aren't we?"

She smiled and nodded her head, which caused Ron to chuckle. "Ginny and Harry are not that much different than us you know."

"Oh really?"

Ron nodded. "Yeah. I bet you they wake up every morning wondering if they'd both return home with all their body parts still attached to their bodies."

Hermione nodded. "Being tend to gamble on your own lives."

"Right. Just like Neville and Luna as well. You just never know what kind of epidemic might be spreading, being in contact with the sick all the're jeopardising your own life while trying to save others."

"What are you saying Ron?"

"What I'm saying is Hermione, we're not any more worst than anyone else out there. Every day is a gift."

"Every day with you in my life is a gift." Hermione said as she looked him in the eyes.

"I love you Hermione Granger," He said as he kissed her forehead. "I'll see you tomorrow, good night."

"I love you too." And tomorrow was a promise Hermione wasn't ready to make.

And Ron had drifted to sleep soon after, leaving her wide awake, listening to his heartbeat, afraid for him. Afraid of what tomorrow held for them both.

Ron shifted in his sleep, breaking her from her reverie. A few seconds later, he started to cough and wheezed rather than breathe. Hermione pushed herself up and started brushing his hair away from his sweaty forehead. His lips were a tad pale and Hermione couldn't help the rising panic creeping up inside her.

She reached for her wand and started to mutter some cooling spell for the fever and another that helped him to breathe easier.

There was a soft 'ting' coming from the alarm clock and the time showed a minute passed twelve.

Ron coughed again, this time it was harder and lasted longer than the first. "It's okay Ron, shhh." The frown on his face eased as she began to massage his chest lightly. She kept telling herself that she had done this every time Ron fell ill and that this was nothing, that they had weathered worst nights than this.

She did this for Merlin knows how long until she heard Ron called out her name.

"Do you want something to drink?" She whispered. Ron nodded as he pulled himself up and then leaned heavily against the headboard. She reached for the glass on her side table and refilled the drink before holding it to his lips. Pass experiences had told her that Ron would usually be too weak to hold his own drink when he woke up at night.

"You're soaked in your sweat," she chuckled. "I think your fever has broken but that cough of yours need some tending to."

"That's good." Ron croaked as he shook his head to tell her he had enough of the drink.

"That's very good." She agreed.

"Did you sleep at all Hermione? What time is it anyway?"

She grinned. "Nope and it's five minutes passed midnight."

"Wow, it's late."

"It's never too late." She claimed excitedly, almost jumping in bed. "Ron, it's passed midnight, we've passed the three year mark!"

He smiled and leaned over to kiss her on the lips. When he looked at her again, his eyes were glistening with unshed tears. "I told you didn't I? Good morning Hermione."

"Happy good Sunday morning to you too Ron Weasley!" Hermione laughed as they embraced in another hug. She knew when tomorrow comes, the same fears would overcome her again, it would never stop, like Ron had said. But for now, she was just grateful for another day, to be in the arms of the one man who could ever make her this complete.

"I'm sorry Ron, but I can't love you the way you asked me to. Do you hear me? I said I can't love what's left of you Ronald Weasley, because to me, you've always been whole."


Your very long author's note, hehe:

As she sneaks online at home to post this

Right, so, I just have to make this clear because I got me in a laughing fit after I read my own typo and which qb1 pointed out to me later in her review...Molly wasnt supposed to go swishing her flick...whatever that means! wipes tear

And is it just me or do you find my description of Hermione spooning Ron sounded like a cross between funny and somewhat...not suitable for the rating of this fic? lol...I swear I tried to use another word to describe it but nothing else came to mind, lol.

And to clear some doubts...Mr. Weasley was articulate enough by chapter 11, what seemed to be his problem is his physical condition and the ocassional fits he would get at night. I know I didn't describe his progression clearly in this fic because it was meant to be a background story; that was, until I needed for him to come forward for Ron in chap 11...something I wasn't planning to do in the first place. So I hope this clears things up a bit?

and qb1, trust me, I hate what they did to Ron in the movies! Not only did they make him to be someone who doesn't seem to have a backbone, they had to give his lines to Hermione! gah! (Although casting Rupert Grint is a bless) That was one of my aims for this fic, I wanted Ron to be three dimensional and I hope I have achieved that. However, I'm such a sap and couldn't help loving that swish and flick moment in the movie (maybe that's why I got Molly swishing her flick? LOL).

Whenever I read reviews saying I have written a very cannon them, I did a happy dance. My no.1 fear while writing this - to make them appear non cannon.

Whenever I read reviews saying they can overlook my horrible English, I did a jiggy. This would be my second fear while writing this.

Oh...I hope you like how I end this. It'd be awesome to have them married don't you think? I almost did that and then decided not to. I think realistically, their main aim is to get through the 3rd year together and to give both of them the time and space to get used to this new relationship before either of them take that next step. What do you think? And I hope they still appear canonish while at the same time trying to make them sound more grown up after all they'd been through. I was struggling with that for awhile, lol.

Ok so I've blabbered enough...lastly but definitely most importantly, I'd like to thank all of you who've ever reviewed this story. You have no idea (well maybe you do, lol) how much reviews seriously help in the writing process. Your comments made me look back at my original plans and I changed a lot of them and added some new ones that I never think about until I read your reviews. For me, it's uplifting as well as challenging. Thank you so much! I hope to hear from you guys and your opinion abt how this ends, it'll mean a lot to me :D

Greenpluff, scooterrg, sarahchandler, quickquill, ivebeencrucio'ed,qb1 (you reviewed every chapter and have been very vocal with your opinion, for this, I thank you for your help!), RTds9, Alik22, EvelynW, Anaii,Andi, gagHafrunt, Pugui, Ash, GiddyGirlie, HahaHannah, MagnoliaLane, HaryPoterGal13, LorraineShiloh,JKWilliams,LadyofAngels, charma10 THANK YOU MUCHLY FOR ALL YOUR REVIEWS!