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Conflict Resolution

The June nights were slightly warmer than the ones of early spring. Hermione usually enjoyed the difference in temperature as she drifted off to sleep, but the sweet hours of unconsciousness were not coming to her this night.

There was a host of reasons why she should be sleeping easier that night. Voldemort had been dead for some months now, her N.E.W.T.s were over and done with, and her apprenticeship with Professor Vector was set for the following year. Sure her status with Ron was as uncertain as ever, but Hermione would never spend her waking hours contemplating her relationship with the red-headed prat.

But since her subconscious refused to deal with the matter any longer with heated, frustrating dreams, Hermione kept finding herself warm and sweaty and unable to get to sleep.

Hermione rolled over to the other side of her bed and had to push her hair out of her face. She tried to employ the calming techniques she had used for exams or before battles with Death Eaters or when thinking about Ron…

Damn, damn, damn that bloody Weasley!

"Are you on again about my brother, Hermione?" Ginny pulled aside the covers of her four-poster, and Hermione realized she'd said her thoughts aloud.

"I'm sorry, Ginny, I didn't mean to–"

"It's okay; I know Ron's an idiot sometimes. Move over, I'm coming in." Although Hermione was slightly embarrassed that Ron's sister had heard her exclamation, she was glad Professor McGonagall had allowed Ginny to take up one of the two empty beds in the dormitory for seventh years in recent months. Hermione shifted to the other end of the bed so that Ginny could sit on the other side.

"What's troubling you now?" Ginny asked, reminding Hermione of Mrs. Weasley.

"I can't sleep," Hermione admitted, feeling like a little girl after saying those words.

"Did you try counting crups? Reading a book? Though I don't think even Hogwarts: A History with a warm goblet of milk is going to help you with your problems. Before I was with Harry and I couldn't get to sleep, I would use a Vibrating Spell on my wand –"

"Ginny, I'm not using my wand for that!"

"Well, it got me to sleep every time!" Ginny glared at the older witch but then erupted into a fit of giggles.

"What is it?"

"Nothing… I was just thinking of what you could do in order to get some sleep, but it was a ridiculous idea."

"Ginny, I'm desperate. What does your idea entail?"

Ginny's grinning face grew sober as she contemplated further on her plan. "This idea does involve a wand and some courage –" Ginny hastened to finish when seeing Hermione's frown – "Just think of it as a bit of conflict resolution."

As Hermione crept down the stairs from the girl's side of Gryffindor tower, she thought of the parting words Ginny and she had exchanged before she left.

"I don't think I can do this… it's crazy, that's what it is," Hermione said as Ginny worked some spells on her hair.

"I thought your advice about Harry was crazy, but look how everything worked out. Now I have my boyfriend, and you're getting yours."

Hermione checked the common room and sighed with relief. Empty. She proceeded to ascend the stairs leading to the Boys' dormitories and smiled to herself, pleased with the fact that an archaic Hogwarts rule worked in her favor. So much for honorable intentions, she thought as she opened the door of the room for seventh years.

The sound of five sleeping boys filled Hermione's ears once she stepped into the dormitory. She quickly shut the door behind her so that the candle light from the outside wouldn't wake them. Hermione made her way through the debris the boys had left on the floor. Her efforts to navigate through the piles of clothes, books, and candy wrappers were in vain; she was about to open the curtain of Ron's four-poster when she tripped over a shoe in her path.

Hermione was now at her destination, though not the way she'd hoped. At least the noise she made went unnoticed by the others – even Ron remained asleep, his knees a few inches away from her nose.

Damn, damn, damn those bloody boys! Hermione, thought, taking care not to have those words said out loud. She untangled herself from the curtain and crawled into Ron's bed properly.

"Silencio," Hermione whispered as she drew the curtains closed. She turned around to find a pair of blue eyes staring at her.

"Ronald Weasley," Hermione murmured, "what are you doing awake?"

"Hermione Granger," Ron said, mimicking the witch's voice, "what are you doing in my bed?"

"I was going to… well… I was only trying to–"

"Were you on a dare? Did Lavender put you up to this?"

Hermione grimaced at the mention of the other girl's name. "No, you prat. I was only going to try… some conflict resolution," she said in a matter-of-fact tone.

"And what conflict are you resolving?" Ron asked, licking his lips.

Hermione stared at the passage of Ron's tongue before she could speak. "This… I mean here – you and me – us." She tried to keep her voice calm but failed miserably.

"So what's the problem?" Looking at Ron's relaxed posture did not aid Hermione's response.

"I can't sleep." That was a brilliant observation. "And I can't because there's a problem. I know that we called things off during the summer while we worked to defeat Voldemort, and then I went to Bulgaria and you got friendly with Padma Patil, but… don't you think… oh, to hell with this." Hermione crawled up the bed, put her hands on either side of Ron's shoulders and kissed him.

Ron's utter surprise at the action made him lose his balance, and he fell backwards. Hermione let out an oath and relinquished her hold on him. She looked him over and asked, "You okay?"

"Can't breathe," he gasped.

"Oh… sorry." Hermione moved away from Ron and waited for him to sit up.

"That was it?" Ron asked incredulously.

"Excuse me if I'm not quite good at it; I don't snog the entire school, you know." Hermione said with indignation.

"No, it's not that," Ron said, turning red, "I didn't know that was the problem that bothered you. I mean, I've been wanting to kiss you for ages."

"You have?" Hermione put a finger to her lips. Maybe she wasn't that bad at all.

"Yes, but if you want to hear the full story, ask me about it tomorrow. I've alot to do now."

"Right. You must be wanting to get back to bed now." Hermione turned to leave, but a firm hand went around her waist and brought her lying back on the bed, a lightly freckled face grinning down at her.

"Don't go yet," Ron laughed. "We have to finish what we started."

"We? I'll have you know that I–" Hermione was heard no longer.

Hermione walked into the Great Hall for breakfast the next morning with a spring in her step and a light in her eyes. She spotted Ginny already eating at the Gryffindor table, and she hastened to join her.

"How'd it go? You seem happy, but you're not walking funny–"

"Ginny! Not everything revolves around sex." Hermione tucked into her meal with gusto. "We just snogged, that's all."

"That's all? It's enough to make you look like we won the war all over again." Ginny sipped some orange juice. "So are you two together, now?"

"I hope so. We never really talked about it. There was the… kissing, and then I finally felt tired, so I slept – in my own bed." Hermione took a muffin and stood to leave. "I'll see you later, Gin. Thanks for the advice."

Hermione saw Ron and Harry enter the Great Hall. Ron caught sight of her, and she mouthed the words, "Meet me outside later" before winking at him.

She headed for the lake, grinning with every step. Her conflict was resolved, and she'd have nights full of sleep from now on. Even though her problem with Ron was taken care of, her normally stringent sense of self-control wasn't. Ginny didn't have to know that a certain vibrating spell helped her keep some of her virtue and get some rest, after all.

- fin.