Epilogue

"Hermione gave an almost inaudible sniff. She had been exceptionally quiet all day. Having hurtled, white-faced, up to Harry outside the hospital wing and demanded to know what had happened, she had taken almost no part in Harry and Ginny's obsessive discussion about how Ron had been poisoned, but merely stood beside them, clench-jawed and frightened-looking, until at last they had been allowed in to see him."
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince: Chapter 19 – Elf Tails.

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He was just lying there in front of her, looking pale and not like Ron at all. His vivid hair was making his skin look paler still. She wanted to straighten his fringe, but she resisted, she didn't want to disturb him.

She was on her own, except Ron of course. Harry and Ginny had gone to get a drink and the Twins had gone back to their shop for an hour, promising they would be back later.

She placed her hand on his and gave it a small squeeze, hoping for some kind of sign that Ron was coming out of his unconsciousness. There wasn't one.

She stroked her thumb over the back of his hand and shifted her weight so she could lean forward. She arranged herself so she could rest on the bed but still keep a hold of Ron's hand.

As soon as she closed her eyes images filled her mind. She of course, hadn't seen Ron as he was being poisoned, but she saw it in her head and wondered what she would have done if it had been her and not Harry with him. She shuddered. She wasn't sure if she would have kept her head and been able to think of what to do and how to save Ron. By all accounts he should be dead, he drank a lethal dose of poison after all. Would she have been able to save him?

Subconsciously she gripped his hand tighter and tried to rid her mind of images and thoughts. She imagined her calm place, blue sky, green grass, a warm breeze blowing all her troubles away. She walked through the field. The grass between her toes was warm, heated by the sun.

She barely noticed the pressure increase around her hand because she was so peaceful how she was, in her calm place, her troubles and fears a world away.

She turned around and noticed the sun was hiding behind the horizon, was it setting or rising? She had seen a sunset before, many times, but she had only seen a sunrise once, though she couldn't quite remember when or where.

She looked to the right and was surprised to see a figure sitting on the grass looking at the horizon. His legs were crossed and he had his head in his hands, leaning on his knees. There wasn't much light but she could tell his hair was red and she knew exactly who it was.

She walked over to him and sat next to him on the grass.

'Hi,' he said with a genuine smile.

'Hi,' she replied. 'How long have you been here?'

'A while, I'm not sure why I'm here but I am. Do you know why.'

'Yeah, I do. You're not well Ron.'

'I'm not?'

'No.'

'Oh, okay. So, are you not well either, if you're here too?'

'No, I'm fine. I'm making sure you're okay.'

'Oh, thanks.'

He turned and looked at her before looking back at the sunrise.

'This is the second sunrise you've seen.'

'It is, or it will be, when it does,' she replied with a smile.

'I've been remembering things that we've done, but I don't understand because I didn't remember them before I arrived here.'

'No, I didn't either. It was like when I arrived things started to come into my head. I knew they were things I'd done, things that we'd done, but I didn't know when or where. It doesn't make sense.'

'Well, I've had longer to think about it than you have so I have a theory. Do you want to hear it?'

'I do!'

'Well, that thing that happened which we can't remember anything about, well, we were told it was a connection on lots of different levels, so chances are it went quite deep into our subconscious, which I think is where we are now, but, if this is my subconscious then you won't remember this anyway, because it's just me and my thoughts.'

'I think we are sharing this, Ron.'

'What makes you say that?'

'Well, we shared our dreams, didn't we, before, and when we were really ill, we interacted with each other before we…before our connection broke didn't we?'

'Yeah, I suppose, so that's why we can remember stuff here but not when we're awake. Which is really annoying when you think about it.'

He grinned and she smiled at him.

He turned his head to the horizon.

'Damn! We've missed it!'

Hermione turned her head and looked at the horizon line. Sure enough the sun had already appeared.

'Ah well, we've seen a sunrise together before haven't we?'

'Not that we remember!'

They laughed. Ron shuffled round so he was facing Hermione more and she did the same.

'You know, I've had another thought.'

'Oh? What is it?'

'Well, if we talk about things that we remember here, then maybe there's more chance of us remembering some of them when we wake up.'

She thought for a second. 'It might work,' she replied. 'And maybe if we think of things that we remember the most clearly then they're more likely to stick.'

'Yeah,' Ron agreed.

They looked at each other and then down at the grass.

'I did want to, you know,' Ron said quietly.

'You did want to what?'

Ron cleared his throat. 'Okay, if you remember this can you pretend I didn't blush and stumble over my words?'

'But you aren't blushing and aren't stumbling over your words,' she said, puzzled by his statement.

'No, but I have a feeling I'm about to do both,' he said with a grin.

She giggled. 'Okay, I promise, if I remember this, I'll pretend you didn't blush and didn't stumble over your words.'

'Thanks,' he replied sheepishly. 'Well, as I was saying, I did want to, kiss you. You said, you wanted our…er…our first kiss, where we actually had to think about doing it and consciously made the decision to do it, to be because we wanted to. Well, even before you said that, I wanted to, I just wasn't sure if you wanted to, that's why I said that we should do it because we had to.'

'Oh, well…' she thought for a second before looking at him in the eye. 'You didn't stumble over your words.'

'No, but I know I've gone red!'

They laughed. 'I'll be sure to pretend you didn't. And, I did too, before we said anything, I was just more vocal about what I wanted than you!'

'Weren't you just!' he teased. 'It's a bit sad, isn't it? We had our first kiss but we can't remember it.'

'Yeah it is, although Ginny told me what happened.'

'Harry told me too. Hardly the same though, is it?'

'No, it's not.'

They both looked at each other, the sun rising slowly and the grass around them and then back at each other.

She felt the breeze pick up and it started to push her away from Ron, she knew it was time for her to leave.

'It's time for me to go, Ron.'

'What? Why? I don't want you to.'

'I know but I don't belong here, really. Neither do you. You have to get better and come back to us in the land of the living.'

'But I've got stuff I want to say to you.'

'So say it.'

'But…I…'

'Ron, chances are I won't remember this anyway, so it doesn't really matter.'

'But what if you, we,do remember something. I've thought about everything we did, everything we went through, the ways we changed as people and we lost all of that, Hermione, it's wrong. The way we are with each other is wrong, we shouldn't be ignoring each other, we should be happy, we should be talking and bickering like is normal for us!'

'Ron, I've been doing but nothing but thinking today. After what happened to you, I decided to put our stupid differences aside. There are far more serious things going on to worry about than the disagreements we have, getting annoyed at ourselves and each other for not saying things we both wanted to and just wasting energy on insignificant…stuff! When you wake up things will be different, regardless of whether we remember any of this, things will definitely be different.'

The breeze was stronger now, reminding her she needed to leave.

'Promise?' Ron said only managing a half-smile.

'I promise.'

She thought for a second before stepping up to Ron and kissing him lightly on the lips. 'Now you can be sure I wanted to, too.'

He smile cheekily at her, but her small smile faded.

'Don't stay here too long, Ron. We need you back with us, all of us do. Don't keep us waiting.'

'But, you will wait for me, won't you?'

'Always.'

She turned and walked away from him. The sky slowly turned to black and the grass became cold under her feet.

She opened her eyes and instinctively gripped Ron's hand. She smiled when she felt him squeeze her hand back.

Her head was fuzzy; there were too many thoughts in there. She tried to separate them, sorting the dreams from the reality. She was slightly confused; some didn't seem to be either and some a mixture of both, but as with most dreams the more she tried to remember the quicker they faded.

She smiled, she had dreamed of Ron, they had talked, but she wasn't sure about what, but it was a happy feeling that filled her and made her feel calm and relaxed.

He was going to be okay and that was all that mattered.

…oooOOOooo…

Yes, he liked it here, wherever he was, but he liked it better when Hermione was here. He didn't like being on his own. Growing up with a family as big as his, it just seemed unnatural to be on your own for too long.

He wasn't sure how he knew, but he knew he wasn't going to be here much longer. He felt ready to leave, whereas before he liked the comfort and sanctuary he had found here. He lay down on the grass and looked at the stars. He found patterns in them and after a while closed his eyes.

Yes, he would leave here soon, but not quite yet. But when he did leave, things would be different. Life was too short to ruin friendships with bitterness and misunderstanding. Hermione had promised him that things would be different and he would keep that promise too.

He closed his eyes and dreamed. Wherever he went in his mind there was always one person with him. Always. Wherever he was, she would be there.

"Er-my-nee."


.fin.


And so it ends. ::sniff:: At one point I wasn't sure I'd get here it was taking me that long to get chapters out, but I thank you all for staying with me through it. You seem to have enjoyed it and thanks for letting me know. We're on over 400 reviews for this fic now and I'm well chuffed about that. Considering I started this story as something to keep my muse occupied when she was bored with 'Heartfelt Dream' it's gone on for a lot longer than I thought!

Thank you to each and every one of you who reviewed and encouraged along the way, constructive critisism and excessive squeeing is always appreciated :D

Special thanks to Solstice Muse, Leviathan0999 and Bluebell Field for their thoughts, betaing and ancouragement from start to finish. ::hugs::

Er, think that's it really. New stuff, well considering how much I enjoyed writing the trio in sixth year I'm going to be doing a bit more of it, taking snippets out of HBP and writing them from Hermione's point of view and there's something else I'm working on which shouldn't be too long up, and, you know, putting me on alerts would stop you missing both ::lol:: ;)

If you could just do me one more favour and review one last time it would make me very happy indeedy.

Ta muchly,

Step ;)