Right Here All Along
By Sunshine
vee_sunshine@yahoo.com

Rating: PG-13 right now, probably higher later on
Category: Ron/Hermione, Romance
Disclaimer: Were not, are not and never will be mine. The characters belong to J. K. Rowling, the title to Amanda Marshall
Summary: What is Hermione doing in Ron's bed in the middle of the night?
Feedback: Well, YES of course.
Author's note: I'm sorry this is not the new chapter but a revised first part. I'm swamped with work right now, and although I have started on the next part it will take me a few more weeks to update. However, I have finally completed my other story, so when I do sit down to write I'll be completely concentrating on this one!

A big thank you to Moey at the SugarQuill for beta work!

***
Chapter 1

Ron slowly opened his eyes. He was sure that he had heard something within the room that didn't belong there. Having slept with these boys in a Gryffindor dorm room for going on six years, he knew the sounds they made at night by heart. There was Seamus' low mumbling, Harry's struggling with the occasional nightmare, Dean's tendency to somehow get caught up in his bed-curtains and his efforts to throw them off during his sleep, and then Neville's soft snoring. But this sounded different. It sounded more like...footsteps?

Yes, that was it. Well, if it was only footsteps, he needn't have worried. It was probably Seamus going to a midnight meeting with Lavender. He had been doing that quite often - ever since school had started back up last month, Ron had been awakened by him once or twice. He lay back down and closed his eyes.

However the footsteps didn't seem to go away. On the contrary, they seemed to be getting closer to his bed. Even though he reasoned that it might be Harry coming to see if he was still awake at this late hour, he clearly remembered the time in third year when he had woken up to the sight of slashed curtains and Sirius Black standing over him with a knife, and he was instantly alert. Although nothing had seemed to be out of the ordinary lately, everybody knew it was just a short period of time until the newly empowered Voldemort and his followers would try something.

Ron tensed and grabbed for his wand when the curtains to his bed were opened and a figure slipped through. The person wasn't very big, in fact they seemed to be very slim and petite. Ron relaxed when he recognized Hermione, but when she didn't say a word and slipped into bed with him he was bewildered. What was she doing here at night? She was dressed only in her nightgown, he could feel its fabric on his arms and legs as she had cuddled close immediately, and for a moment he was worried that something had happened.

It was definitely not normal for her to just come to his bed, even though she did feel awfully nice pressed against him, but if he remembered correctly she hadn't been in his dorm more than two or maybe three times. There must be something wrong, even though - or because - she didn't make any attempt to speak.

"Hermione? What are you doing here?"

When she didn't answer he bent closer to her face and noticed that her eyes were closed. She mumbled something incomprehensible and then nestled closer to his body, slinging her arm around his torso and nestling her head in the crook of his neck. It felt good to have her so close to him, but Ron blocked that trail of thought as soon as it came up in his mind. This was not the time to deal with it, not when they were so close and both only half-dressed.

"Hey, Hermione!" he tried a little louder, but there still was no response from the girl in his arms. He was dumbfounded. What was she doing here? She certainly seemed to be asleep. And what was he supposed to do? He couldn't raise his voice any more, if he happened to wake any of the other boys apart from Harry, neither he nor Hermione would ever live this down. A girl in a boy's bed at night was just too interesting a story to tell.

Even if there was nothing to it, Ron added silently. Nothing was between the two of them except friendship and the mutual desire to quarrel with the other as much as possible. So what should he do? Could he risk staying like this and try again later? Maybe she would wake up herself if he just left her alone for a couple more minutes. She surely would. Hermione was a sensible girl, she would know what to do, and then he wouldn't have to think about the way she felt any longer.

***

Hermione felt warm and cosy. She hadn't slept this well in weeks, having had nightmares almost every other night since the previous school term. In fact, she felt so relaxed that she didn't even notice the other body in bed with her until she was about to stretch languorously. When she started rolling onto her back she suddenly became aware of the fact that there was an arm slung over her middle pulling her tight against a - very obviously - male body. Her arm was tossed around this same body, buried in its soft hair.

Hermione started to panic and launched into a laboured breath. When she inhaled the scent of the person beside her she calmed down. Mmm, sandalwood and that musky smell she realized belonged to none other than Ron Weasley. Goodness, he smelled fine. Male and sleepy - if there even was a smell categorized as sleepy she didn't know, but it fit this situation perfectly.

Having recognized him Hermione was somewhat put at ease, but it did raise the question of what he was doing in bed with her. Whose bed were they in anyway? Waking up she had believed it to be hers, but now that she got the chance to look around she noticed that the morning light came in at a different angle than usual and as a result she realized that she must be in Ron's bed. But how had she gotten here? And - oh God - how was she going to get out of the room unnoticed?

There were four other boys besides Ron sleeping in it and if even one of them saw her, she was sure she would be teased endlessly. Especially by Ron! Hopefully he hadn't noticed anything yet. But she knew that he either already knew or he was bound to notice once she tried to get out of his embrace, a task she had postponed not entirely out of the desire to not wake up Ron. If truth be told, it had just felt way to good to let go of so fast...

Well, how was she going to manage this? She had to get out of the room quickly, if the morning sun already reached this bed, it wouldn't be too long until one of the other boys woke up, even on a Sunday.

Carefully she untangled her arm from Ron's hair (it was awfully soft at his nape she absentmindedly realized) and drew it slowly back to her body. Then she grabbed over with her right hand to get his left arm from around her body, but when she took hold of his wrist he locked his arm around her even more tightly than before, forcing her right one to be pulled upwards and resulting in her thrusting her upper body into his.

She blushed even though he was hopefully still sleeping (although parts of him seemed to be very awake) and quickly snatched back her hand. Looking up to make sure he was still fast asleep, she almost yelped when she looked into his bottomless brown eyes.

"Hey, ┬┤Mione."

"Uhm...good morning, Ron."

Hermione felt the blush spreading on her cheeks. Although it was unexpected to have him not yell at her for being in his bed, she was confused at his tender tone. He wasn't gentle often, and in her opinion this was hardly the situation for him to be so. He smiled at her sleepily and it was so cute she couldn't help smiling back. Plus, he still hadn't let go of her, a fact that she filed away for later.

"Still here, huh?"

"I guess...wait, what do you mean 'still'?"

Oh no, had he noticed her coming here? Did he think she had done it on purpose? Would he read something into it that she might have meant but never intended for him to know? This was so embarrassing!

"Well, I fell asleep thinking that you would be gone in the morning, but I don't regret you staying. It's a welcome change to see a pretty girl first thing in the morning."

Ron didn't know where he had gotten the confidence to say the things and behave the way he had in the last few minutes. The only explanation he could find was that he was simply too tired to think much about his behaviour and had just acted on impulse. It had been wonderful to wake up with a female body - Hermione's body - pressed tightly against his, and he almost dreaded having to let her go.

She was just so adorable blushing the way she did - and she'd already done it three times since he woke up. He wondered whether he could continue making her blush, and whether all it took was just a little more self-confidence to accomplish this goal. If it continued surprising her and rendering her speechless it definitely was worth trying.

"Oh. Well, I don't know how I got here, and I never sleepwalked before, but that must have been it. I couldn't imagine anything else."

"Sure, must have been it."

At that moment Dean murmured something in his sleep, and Ron and Hermione fell silent. They knew she had to leave immediately, but none of them could bear letting go of the other. It was Ron who finally pulled his arm from around her and stood up quietly. Hermione looked on bewildered while he went over to Harry's bed, but when he bend down and took something out of the suitcase underneath the bed she realized what he was doing. He was getting the Invisibility Cloak for her!

It was quite astonishing, Hermione thought. Ron wouldn't have shown this much consideration or common sense even a year ago, and it made her chest constrict. She had had issues with her feelings towards the red-headed boy she loved to fight with for almost two years, but never had she come as close to letting them overwhelm her as she was right now.

He was just so sweet and looked very handsome in his boxers and t-shirt with sleep-tousled hair, having grown into his lanky frame seemingly over the summer. He now stood a muscular 6'1'', and Hermione idly wondered where he'd gotten the muscles from. She reasoned that it must have been in his genes, but she didn't really care. He just looked good, he did, and with this last thought she pushed herself up and put her feet on the ground.

Ron handed her the Invisibility Cloak carefully and helped her put it on before he whispered into what he assumed was her ear.

"You give it back to me at breakfast and I'll put it right back, that way Harry'll never notice it was gone. Take care, okay?"

Hermione had turned towards his head when she had fastened the cloak and that way his mouth ended up right in front of her lips when he spoke. She could feel his breath on her lips and was extremely tempted to lean forward just a little bit, but she resisted the attraction and whispered back.

"I will. You know, I really do thank you for all this, Ron. I'm glad that you are my friend."

"Same here, 'Mione. Now go and don't get caught! See you at breakfast."

***

Hermione rushed back to her own room as quickly as she could. She took the cloak off before she entered the room, just in case any of her roommates were already awake. Quietly she entered the room and tiptoed to her bed. Both Lavender and Parvati still seemed to be asleep, and she had no problems getting back into bed. She pulled the blanket up over her head and sighed deeply.

Now that had been some adventure! She was sure that as long as she lived she would never forget lying that close to Ron and feeling the places where his skin touched hers intimately. He had smelled so good, felt so good and she didn't remember having ever felt this wonderful before.

She hadn't dared to think too much about him with him still in the same room, although she had admittedly gotten sidetracked. It wasn't everyday that she got to see Ron in boxers and a tight t-shirt, and she surely wouldn't get to admire him like that again in the near future. It couldn't hurt appreciating his physique from afar if she took care to do it in private only, could it?

He was one of her best friends, and it wouldn't do for her to develop a serious attraction towards him. Even if she did - well, did anything about it. She knew that she was past the developing stadium already. - a relationship was not going to happen.

She knew that Ron was more the pretty-girl-type. She had seen Fleur, hadn't she? And even without her stupid teeth she still had the bushy hair, that in her opinion, would forever keep her from being one of those pretty girls.

If she shut her eyes she could still vividly remember everything about the encounter. His breath on her head, his heart beating under her cheek and his arm around her. She had felt him in every pore of her body, at least it had seemed that way. She wasn't sure it would be easy to go back to the way things were before.

Before, when she'd been denying her attraction towards him, she'd told herself time and time again that she was in fact not attracted to him. At all. Nope. Well, now she certainly couldn't do that anymore. He was just so...so...Ron. Ron with the bright red hair, Ron with the short temper. Caring sweet wonderful Ron.

Oh, whatever was she supposed to do now?

***

An hour after she had gone back to her own bed she got up and started readying herself for breakfast. Even as a Muggle-born, she had quickly adapted and had worn her cloaks on Sundays and holidays ever since her first year at Hogwarts.

She put her hair up in a bun; she never had cared about her looks much and it was just the most sensible way to put it, even if it stuck out all around the hair clip. Putting on her shoes she took the Invisibility Cloak into her hands. How was she supposed to give it to Ron without Harry noticing? She could either put it underneath her own coat and try to give it to Ron when Harry was busy climbing through the portrait hole, or she could...hmm. Maybe she cold put it into her bag and pretend she was going to do schoolwork later on. But it would take longer to get it out of her bag, so she decided to tie it around her middle inside out, that way it would not render her partly invisible.

She went down the stairs to the Gryffindor common room slowly, thinking about how she was going to behave towards Ron. It was best to pretend nothing had happen, she decided; he would probably do the same. By the time she had reached this conclusion she had reached the bottom of the stairs but nobody was to be seen. It really was quite early, what if Ron and Harry decided to sleep in? She had gone to breakfast without them often, it wasn't an uncommon occurrence that she was awake before them.

Just as she was about to go and sit down in one of the chairs and wait for them, she could hear Ron's voice coming from the stairs to the boy's dorms.

"Hey Harry, you reckon Hermione will wait for us today? I don't know how she manages to be up so early every Sunday. But we're up pretty early ourselves today, so maybe we won't have missed her."

"I don't know, Ron. You could be right, though. I don't think you've ever been up so early on a Sunday before. What's up with that?"

"Oh, I don't know. I just slept really well today and woke up when the sunlight reached the slit between my curtain."

"Oh. Ah, there she is! Morning Hermione!"

"Good morning Harry! Ron."

The last word was more of a statement than an addition to the first part, but Harry didn't seem to notice. Ron did though, and he smiled at Hermione with sparkling eyes.

"Hey 'Mione, you sleep well? Ready to go to breakfast with us?"

"Yes, I did indeed sleep well, but don't you "Mione" me! You know I don't appreciate being called by a nickname!"

"Sorry, don't go biting my head of. I just thought you looked like a Mione today, what with your hair up like that. It makes you seem more relaxed and I'm not afraid that you demand I study every time I look at you."

"Oh Ron! Anyway, lets go to breakfast."

While Ron and Hermione had their little argument, Harry had preceded them to the portrait hole. He was used to them fighting all the time and didn't notice when it turned quiet behind him. That was usually the state where they stopped talking to each other for a few minutes and he had to plead them to put away their differences at least for the duration of breakfast.

What he hadn't noticed was that Hermione had quickly given Ron the Invisibility Cloak when she was sure Harry wasn't going to look at them. He had made sure to brush her fingers whilst taking it from her, and then he had turned around to go back up into the boy's dorms. He had given Hermione a look that said 'now you go and make up some story to tell Harry' and she turned around to follow Harry through the hole.

"Where's Ron?" he asked when she was the only one following him.

"Uhm, I think he murmured something about having forgotten his...uhm...socks!"

"Socks? Are you sure he isn't sick? First the waking up early, now the socks..."

"Oh no, maybe he just had cold feet or something. I don't know."

"Well, let's wait for him then."

***