Hi everyone, I know, I know, I've been very annoying with the picking up and dropping of this fic, but I thought it needed some proper rounding off. Also, this chapter gives me a chance to reorder everything into the right order! For old readers, thanks for coming back and sticking with me. For new readers, thanks for reading to the end! I have loved writing this fic and getting all your reviews and opinions, and thanks to everyone who gave me ideas for missing moments, you're all so lovely!
This epilogue is my own epilogue, not based on the one in the book – I kind of wanted to stick to the teenage Ron and Hermione that we all know and love – I also know how to write them better than their mature selves! Just a side note; at one point in this it may seem like things are going to get naughty – I promise they don't! So feel free to read and don't worry!
The sun arose over Hogwarts differently that day; somehow brighter and more illuminating. The first sunlight shone through the cracks in the walls, it reflected ethereally off the shards of glass that littered the ground, and it dulled the smouldering embers that were all that remained of evil curses. The great hall had become a memorial tribute area for the dead, and shrouded bodies lay neatly side by side, the rays highlighting them in banded colours through the remains of the stain glass windows.
The survivors of the battle of Hogwarts were a sorry looking bunch. People had conjured up beds in classrooms and corridors, and had passed out from exhaustion and relief. The injured spilled out of the hospital wing, and a few dishevelled looking healers moved quietly amongst them all. Many witches and wizards were just sat where they had stood hours earlier, looking shellshocked and exhausted.
Ron and Hermione were not amongst the crowd though. They, along with the students of Hogwarts, had returned to the house dormitories, almost as if it had just been the end to another school day. The Gryffindor common room was surprisingly undamaged. If it weren't for the state of its occupants, the battle might not have happened.
Neville sat in a squishy armchair, staring with an empty gaze into the fireplace, absently holding the sword of Gryffindor. Harry had gone up to bed, and had literally collapsed with exhaustion seconds afterwards. Hermione had checked on him, and had seen Ginny go up the stairs soon afterwards. She knew he was in good hands. The rest of the Weasley family had accompanied Ginny, Ron and George to the Gryffindor common room. Arthur had put the inconsolable Molly and George to sleep with a sneaky dreamless sleep potion that he had hidden in glasses of water. He sat on the sofa with his wife's head in his lap, stroking her hair sadly and staring blankly out of the window with bloodshot eyes. Charlie, Bill and Percy had all conjured beds for themselves, although none were asleep. Various other Gryffindors were around; those who had not yet overcome the shock enough to walk up the stairs to their beds, or didn't want to face the empty beds of their friends they knew waited for them in their dorms.
Hermione was sat in her favourite squishy armchair, her legs curled up to her body and her arms hugging herself. Ron was perched on the arm of the same chair, his arm resting comfortingly around her shoulders, and his other hand gently stroking her knee. Odd tears still escaped from his eyes, but the shock meant he still wasn't feeling the loss of his brother fully. Hermione caught his eye occasionally, and they would exchange small smiles.
Some time passed and no one moved or said anything. The silence was only broken by occasional stifled sobs and grief stricken sighs from various occupants of the common room. Eventually, as the dawn fully broke and the sun shone intensely through the windows, people started to go to their beds or fall asleep; exhaustion finally overcoming shock and grief. Soon, only Ron and Hermione remained awake.
Ron stood from his perch on the chair arm and proffered a hand to Hermione, staring at her completely openly; no embarrassed looking away or confused frustration there. It was new, she liked it. She took his hand without questioning him, and he intertwined his fingers with hers, and led her up the staircase to the boys dormitory.
She followed him without thinking about it. It seemed completely natural that they weren't going to part now, for sleep or anything else. They entered the dorm; Ron and Harry's beds were still there, just as they had always been, looking comfy and inviting. Harry and Ginny lay together on Harry's bed. They hadn't even bothered to draw the curtains. Harry had clearly fallen on the bed and passed out, and Ginny had curled in next to him; her left arm was sprawled across his chest protectively. They were both fast asleep.
Ron sat on the edge of his bed with a sigh of relief, and tugged Hermione to sit down next to him. She did so as Ron began untying his shoe laces. She took off the big jumper she was wearing; an old one of Ron's, and kicked off her boots. She wanted nothing more than to sleep, possibly for days on end, with him by her side. Once Ron had removed his trainers, he sat back up and stared at her with that intense gaze again. He opened his arms to her, and that was all the invitation she needed. She flung herself into his chest and felt those strong arms close around her, and they both fell back onto to the bed, scooching up so their heads reached the pillows. Hermione closed her eyes languidly as Ron pressed a kiss to her grubby forehead, still holding her tightly, and they could both feel sleep approaching rapidly.
'This is it now, you know?' mumbled Ron into her mane of bushy hair.
'I know.' Said Hermione sleepily.
'I'll be with you forever.'
Ron gave a deep contented sigh, and Hermione could feel the ghost of a grin on his face as he pressed their heads closer together.
'I hope you know what you've let yourself in for.' He murmered, right next to her ear.
She smiled drowsily, and let out a little laugh.
'I know.' She said with conviction, giving him a little kiss on the cheek.
Ron hummed in approval, and she smiled in response. They both fell asleep as the sun rose higher and higher in the sky; it was the dawning of a new day.