I do not Own Harry and his friends, only the characters I create and scenarios I put them all in. J.K. Rowling owns the rest.

The search for the Horcruxes was beginning to take its toll for the three Gryffindors. Ron, who had worn the locket, had given in to the voices which plagued him, making him question Harry's lack of a plan for finding the last of the horcruxes, including the sword of Godric Gryffindor. They had fought, and Harry had given Ron the ultimatum to continue the search with him and Hermione, or leave. The stubborn Weasley blood, running through his veins, mixed with the unexplained power of the locket willed him to give up the fight and return home to spend Christmas with his family. No one was more devastated than Hermione by this.

Though she tried not to show it, she was falling for Ron, had been for years, and she missed him terribly. It was Ron's arms that had kept her warm, during cold winter nights, sleeping in that old tent and his arms which comforted her, when she was frightened. Though she wouldn't admit it, she liked his arms around her, and his light breaths in her ear warming her neck. Yet during the day as they continued their journey, he was the same Ron as when they went to Hogwarts, who ignored her, making Hermione wonder if she was imagining more in the embraces then Ron had intended. Still it felt sweet to be cared about, and protected by Ron.

Though she tried to hide her sorrow, Harry could hear the muffled sounds of Hermione's weeping. Night after night Harry would listen to her sobbing, but he assumed it was her parents and her school friends she was missing. Harry knew she liked Ron. It was evident, when she blew up at him at the Yule ball in fourth year, and especially during sixth, when Ron was dating Lavender Brown. Harry also knew that Ron liked Hermione a little bit more than he let on.

One night, he and Hermione were listening to Potterwatch, a secret radio program, ran by Lee Jordan on which Ron's twin brothers Fred and George mentioned Ron and his gloomy moping.

"Hermione if you're listening Ron is missing you, though our git of a brother won't admit it!" said Fred, causing Harry to spray a mouthful of Macaroni in his lap, with laughter.

"Yeah, but we hear him – kind of hard not to – talking in his sleep, 'it's alright Mione, I'm here, I won't let anything hurt you." chimed in George.

"STOP IT you pair of twits!" a third voice boomed, and right away, both Hermione and Harry knew it had been Ron. At that moment the transmission went hazy.

There was a tear visible in Hermione's eye which she had tried to hide, by forcefully wiping it away with her palm. She turned to clear up the plates, but Harry, noticing her faltering voice, as she muttered to Harry, that she was going to bed, grabbed her hand. Their eyes met and instantly, Hermione's filled with tears. She went to pull her hand away, but Harry held it tighter. He too knew what it was like to be missing someone so terribly.

Harry missed Ginny, Ron's little sister, and the one he had believed was his true soul-mate. Harry had broken up with her to protect her from falling victim to the fate it seemed, for all who loved Harry, death at the hands of Voldemort or one of his death-eaters. It had broken both of their hearts, that day of Dumbledore's funeral, when their love was so honest and raw with emotion. Ginny cried, though she understood, Harry's reasons. Ling Harry was a dangerous thing, while Voldemort was alive and using all he could to break Harry down. Her tearful goodbye when he set off with Ron and Hermione, remained in Harry's memory, a forbidden kiss playing over and over in his head. Out in the cold world, alone, he'd have given anything for the comfort, Ginny would have given him. He rose to meet Hermione enveloping her in a hug.

"Ron is a git for leaving us, leaving you like this, but at least he is safe." Harry whispered.

"I know." Hermione agreed, "But I just –,"

"Miss him. I know. When this is all over, it will all be okay." Harry assured his friend.

"When Harry?" she asked, pulling away from him. "When will it be over?"

"Honestly? I dunno. All we can do is keep going and hope, Hermione. As long we have hope, we can win this." He brushed a strand of hair behind her ear and their eyes locked, like they never had before.

"I'm scared, Harry." Hermione sobbed. A tear trickled down her cheek, like so many before.

"I know," he said and with a thumb, he wiped the tear way.

Before they knew it, their lips were locked in a kiss and all their worries seemed to melt away. As their lips brushed together, their hands began to explore, both comforted by each other's touch. Harry's fingers slipped under Hermione's night robe, under which he discovered, she was only wearing a lace singlet and panties. Yet her skin felt so warm as he traced the side of her rib cage, through the florally lace. Her hands were under his robe, as it fell away from his shoulders exposing his bare chest, which was beginning to show a hint of chiseled muscle. To her amazement, he was far from the skinny boy, who she'd met on the Hogwarts express, all those years before. Harry loved the sensations that were erupting inside of him as a result of her touch. A moment of guilt filled him, as he wondered what Ginny would feel, if she saw him in the arms of her best friend, but with a reminder to himself, that they weren't together at that time, was enough for the guilt to give way to pleasure.

His fingers had found the hem of her singlet and were creeping under it across her small belly. His thumb brushed the side of her breast as his hand travelled up the side and around to her back, where he traced her spine. Hearing her moan, he found her other breast with his other hand and was cupping it in his palm. It was small, soft and warm, waking his own senses, as he began stroking the nipple, beneath the lace. Her kisses intensified with the pleasure of his touch.

His hands inched down to her bottom, where they slipped inside the elastic of her panties. With ease he picked her up off of the ground and held her to him, while she wrapped her long legs around him, making him wonder, when they had got so toned. He cupped her bottom with his hands supporting her, while she clung to his neck, kissing him all over. As he explored her bottom, his fingers brushed a part of her, she had never been touched before. Ron had tried many times recently during their embraces and she had almost let him, but for the voice in her head that had stopped her. Not here, not now, she had always thought. At that moment with Harry, her mind was clear and free of those voices. She needed his comfort, his touch and his kisses. With Harry she felt safe. He moved to remove the lace panties and she stood momentarily so he could. Then he sat on the floor of the tent and pulled her on top of himself, her legs wrapped around him again as before.

They both released and they clung to each other, and Hermione was in no rush to move at that moment and the sensations flowed through her body. She buried her head in Harry's chest and he rested his chin on top. The tears had subsided long ago, and Hermione was physically and emotionally drained. Harry laid back letting her rest on top. Closing their eyes, they fell asleep in each other's arms.

Harry woke with the dawn's early rays. Hermione had already risen, dressed and was busy making breakfast. She could barely look at him, and when she did, she blushed. She knew they had gone too far, and was embarrassed by what they had done. Harry, too felt the guilt for she was his friend and ally and although he had enjoyed the comfort, he didn't love Hermione, the way he loved Ginny. What would Ginny say, if she knew? What would Ron say? Harry knew, it was Ron Hermione loved and not him. Yet still Hermione would not face him.

"Hermione, about last night," Harry said.

"Yeah?" she asked, finally looking him in the eye.

"You know it was a moment shared in comfort, nothing more, right?" She nodded, as he went on. "You like Ron, and I love Ginny, and one day Ginny will be the one I ask to marry me."

"I know, Harry," Hermione said, hurriedly. "We won't speak of it again."

"Right," said Harry in agreement.

They ate breakfast in silence and proceeded to pack up the tent. Remarkably, it fit back into the book bag, Dumbledore had given her, without even a hint that it was there. The trudged through the forest in silence, lost in their individual thoughts.

Hermione had agreed initially with Harry that it was a one-off thing that they had shared, but she was beginning to wonder, if it was really Ron, she was falling for, now. Why hadn't she let Ron share with here what she and Harry had? Why had she chosen to share her first time with Harry, when clearly she was missing Ron? She was beginning to wonder if she was wrong to dismiss it all as a mistake. Perhaps Harry had felt the same.

That's crazy, she reminded herself. He had made it clear that he had stronger feelings for Ginny. She would just have to accept that. It's just the loneliness and the fact that Harry is here, while Ron isn't. That seemed to make sense and all feelings towards Harry were squished down into the secret place in her heart, when no one would see how she was feeling. If and when she saw Ron again, time would tell, what would become of them.