Chapter Thirty

by The Steppy One and Solstice Muse

Part two of the finale. Solstice's parts are bolded and Steppy's are not. Solstice starts us off.

It was like a bucket of cold water had been thrown over me, only dry. I shuddered and sat up, running shaky hands through my hair and laughing nervously.

It was like an adrenaline rush, no energy to full energy in less than a second, and I tried to ride out the rush.

"Oh God are you okay?" Hermione was looking at me with her 'I think I've failed my exams' look.

"Just...buzzing!" I grinned.

"Oh Ron!" she said, her face falling as she flung herself at me and hugged me tightly.

"Sorry, I didn't plan to fake my death or anything, I just fell funny. I'm really so-"

She was kissing me.

There was nothing else I could do. I'd wasted enough time doing nothing as far as Ron was concerned. By some strange twist of fate I had my second chance. I wasn't going to waste it.

He relaxed and instinctively I held on to him tighter. I wasn't going to let him go for a long time. I started to relax when he moved his arms around my waist and held me in his arms. I don't think I had ever felt so happy.

Anything he threw at me as reasons why we couldn't do this I'd hex into oblivion.

I'm thinking far too much.

I was savouring the kiss while struggling not to rush it. All I wanted to do was push into her mouth and kiss her as deeply as I could. There was the fear that she might push me away again. There was the fear that she was just giving me what she thought I needed because I had just been through a hell of a day. There was the fear that this wasn't what she wanted.

What if I wasn't what she wanted?

I wove my fingers through her mass of brown hair and tried to soften the kiss but as soon as I pulled back I dove back in again.

His hands were in my hair, tangling it and getting his long fingers caught in it, and I loved every movement he made. I felt his tongue on my lips and I brought the tip of my tongue to meet his. I knew he was smiling as he started exploring my mouth with his tongue, and I couldn't help but smile back.

I tried to ignore my need to breathe, I didn't want this to stop, not for anything, but I had to. I pulled back a fraction but held his forehead to mine, letting him know I wasn't letting him go, not yet.

We were breathing heavily and taking on board much needed oxygen.

'I'd say I'm sorry, but I'm not. Not at all,' I said quietly.

I pulled back a bit so I could look at his eyes. I kissed him on the nose before pulling him back towards me.

'Ron, before I do anything else I have to tell you something.'

I breathed deeply to calm myself.

'I…I love you. I'm in love with you Ron.'

There, I'd said it, and this time he'd definitely heard.

"What?" I blinked.

"I said you."

"What?" I said again with a frown.

She laughed weakly and took my hand with both of hers, kissing the back of it and holding it in her lap.

"I. Love. You."

"Wh-" I began before she pushed her lips against mine and spoke into my mouth.

"Believe me, I was confused before and I didn't realise what the kiss really meant until later. I love you Ron."

I mouthed silently for a moment before turning my head a little and clearing my throat. I looked back at her, right into her eyes.

"You too, I do too, love you."

She giggled into my face but I suddenly felt like I didn't deserve this.

I looked at him, smiling like a mad woman. But his face fell and he looked at our still clasped hands.

'I don't deserve you,' he mumbled.

'What?' I asked.

As much as I tried to ignore it, a slight panic rose up inside me.

He shrugged. 'I don't deserve you.'

He took his hands from mine. I instantly grabbed both of his. He was going nowhere.

'Don't you dare say things like that Ron! If anyone here doesn't deserve the other, it's me who doesn't deserve you. I put you through so much yesterday and yet you're still here in front of me, telling me you love me.'

He stroked my hands with his thumbs and took a deep breath. He looked at me and opened him mouth to speak.

"I should have told you."

"And I should have told you. We were both idiots but it's okay now," she was smiling again.

I shook my head and averted my eyes.

"I should have told you about...I've been..." I told myself to be a man and met her eyes again, "I didn't get better. I lied to you and Harry, I lied to everyone. I didn't get better.

She stroked my cheek and leaned in a little closer.

"I should have noticed," she whispered.

"No," I shook my head, "I was unreasonable and snappy and I told Harry he was lucky his bloody parents were dead and I was stuck! I had to choose between losing my mind or losing my temper and I should have just told you."

"Why didn't you?" Hermione rubbed her thumb gently against my cheek.

"I was ashamed of myself."

'You have no reason to be ashamed of yourself, Ron. After everything you've been through, everything you had to do its no wonder that's it's affecting you.'

My gaze dropped to the plinth we were sat on. It was cold and hard and really uncomfortable. Of all the places to have this conversation and we were having it here. In the depths of the Ministry of Magic in a morgue. I closed my eyes.

'You went through exactly the same as me, so did Harry, he went through more and he's fine.'

Images flashed through my mind. Bits from the war, the white room, Ron stopping Wormtail from cursing me, Ron lying on the floor, apparently dead.

I couldn't stop them, one by one, but Ron was waiting for reassurance from me.

'After ev…everything I put you…through…today… I'm sur-'

I had to breathe, I had to calm down.

'Hermione! What's wrong?'

I shook my head, this would pass. It would, it would pass.

She was freaking out. I'd freaked her out. I wondered how much she really knew, how much my dad had told her after I was supposed to have died.

"I was never going to hurt myself. I never meant to overdo it that time in the bathroom, I was distracted and took two doses and then I got all confused and I somehow took more. I didn't mean to Hermione."

"Not...don't talk about bad things anymore, not now." Hermione said shakily, "You're back. You came back."

I tried to hug her to keep her from shaking.

"You came back to me!" she sobbed and crumpled into my shoulder.

"I'll always come back to you. Even if you didn't want me I'd still be there."

"But you were cold!" She screamed into my shoulder.

"Am I cold now?"

She shook her head.

"You were dead and I'd spent your last day upsetting you and now you're here and...and..."

"Hermione don't."

"And I'll never forget what it felt like to lose you."

He pulled me closer to him.

'Shh Hermione, come on, calm down. You haven't lost me. I told you I'm here.'

'I saw you die twice! I couldn't stop it. I tried…I tried Ron, I tried so hard, but everything was the same. I couldn't save you. I promised you I…I would do it if it was the last thing I did…but I couldn't! I failed you!'

He rubbed my back and held me tighter. I gripped his…his…whatever they'd put him in, tightly.

'Hermione look at me.'

I buried my head into his shoulder.

He somehow manoeuvred me away from him, firmly but gently and forced my chin up with his hand.

'Look at me,' he said again.

I reluctantly lifted my eyes to him, my breath still hitching from the crying.

'You'll never fail me. Never. You don't know how to fail. This whole thing was different.'

I appreciated his words. But I'd always feel the guilt. That would never go away.

"Everything I do, all the times I try to be better, the reason I kept the stress thing and the potion a secret was because I wanted to be better for you. I want to get better. I wanted to be okay again before I tried to be with you like I wanted to."

She sniffed and stared at me.

"I don't want a super-human perfect Ron. I want you."

"Oh thanks!" I snorted and she laughed.

"I meant that I want to help you, I like helping you. I liked helping you with your homework and seeing how proud of yourself you were when you did well. I liked helping you feel more confident and watching you walk with your head held high. I want to help you handle this whole PTS problem, you while you do this all by yourself and watch you pour that potion down the sink."

His eyes widened in slight fear. 'But I can't! I need it Hermione, you haven't seen me flip out and go AWOL!'

I put my finger on his lip to shush him.

'No, I didn't mean today or tomorrow or the day after that, I meant when you were ready to. When you'd worked through everything and fought this thing head on like I know you can. I want to be there to watch you come through it…if you want me there.'

I held my breath, I'd told him, in not the most obvious way, what I wanted. I thought that that was what he wanted too, but I knew how much this PTS thing was affecting him, and I half understood. The easy thing would be to hide away so we wouldn't be affected by it too. That's what he'd done so far, he'd been protecting those who he knew cared for him, hopefully now he'd let us, me, support him.

I still wasn't breathing.

She wanted me.

Hermione wanted me, she really did.

I didn't know how to talk to her anymore. I didn't know what the right thing to say was. She hadn't exhaled since she finished her little speech and I was drawing a blank. We were both as useless as each other!

I laughed.

Hermione looked confused as she let the breath she was holding deflate her.

"What's so funny?"

"You..." I began before shaking my head in disbelief, "I'm a mess and you don't care. You really don't care. You want to be with me anyway. That's what you're saying right; you want to be with me?"

I punched him half heartedly on the shoulder. He'd answered my question with another question, that wasn't allowed, that was my trick!

'Ah!' he exclaimed.

'You know that's what I want, Ron Weasley! Now for your own safety will you please tell me what you want? Because if you keep me waiting much longer I'll…I'll…'

'You'll what?' he asked with a grin.

I couldn't help but smile again.

'Nothing,' I said. 'Well, I won't do nothing, but I won't let you go until you tell me what it is. Please.'

I took both my hands in his, and waited, again.

"I could only be with you. I always wanted you but I didn't want you to compromise with me. I could never ask you to settle for m-"

She was kissing me again.

Tears fell down her cheeks but her lips formed the shape of a smile and she leaned into me and we kissed with clashing teeth and bumping noses and tits squashing against my chest and the horrific realisation that I wasn't wearing anything below the waist...

...and it was great!

It was rushed and it was frantic but I didn't care, I was kissing my Ron and I would savour every minute of it. We both wanted it, and we both knew the other one wanted it to. Finally we could-

Stop thinking Hermione!

Or at the very least think about what he's doing.

His hands were in my hair again and then they were pressing me against him and his tongue was exploring every bit of my mouth, and then I got to explore him with mine. The muscles in his back stiffened slightly under my hands.

I pulled back a fraction and mumbled 'what?' between kisses but then kissed him again before he had the chance to reply.

'Nothing,' he mumbled between more kisses.

I pulled back and he moaned.

'What?' I asked with a grin?'

His eyes dropped to what was covering him and then he looked up at the ceiling, avoiding my gaze.

Realisation hit me and I snorted in a very undignified way.

'Sorry!' I said, trying to straighten my face. Er, maybe we should-'

He cut me off by kissing me again. Well, I wasn't going to complain.

We weren't going to have our first time together, oh come on...our first time with anyone ever, be on a marble slab in a mortuary. I honestly didn't know if I'd been embalmed or not!

Soon the kisses turned into hugging and the hugs melted into the two of us just lying on the plinth with our arms around each other. I was tired and groggy from all the potions and Hermione had lived two days in one without any sleep. But we couldn't sleep just yet, we had to find my family and tell them.

We had to get to Harry before he destroyed himself over every time he ever called me a prat and vowed to kill everybody who'd even looked at me disdainfully.

We had to find a Healer and get me checked out.

What we really had to do was start this new life of ours we'd put on hold when the war ended.

It was as if, from the day we met on that train, we'd been playing the parts of the heroes, we were beginning our quest on page one and when You-Know-Who was defeated the book was closed and we all stood around wondering what we were supposed to do with ourselves.

Nobody was writing our future in the stars...nobody was turning those pages or dictating the plot.

It was down to us now.

Me and my Hermione.

I was holding him. He was warm, and he was breathing and he was… he was happy.

And I was happy. No that's a lie, I was more than happy. I was with Ron, there was nothing else I needed.

I was cold though, and I shivered. Ron ran his hand up my arm, but after a few seconds he stopped. He was tired, we both were, and we needed to get out of here. We were in a morgue for Merlin's sake!

'Ron,' I mumbled, 'as much as I don't want this to stop-'

'We're lying on a marble plinth, in a morgue, freezing cold and we really need to get out of here.'

I smiled. 'Exactly.

I kissed him lightly and we sat up and stood up off the plinth. I handed him my, his wand and he smiled before transfiguring the silk sheet and whatever it was they'd put him in, into more substantial clothes.

I looked at him, stood in his makeshift pair of trousers and jumper, and my heart melted. He was beautiful.

He held out his hand for me to take and nodded towards the door. We didn't say anything as we walked out of the room, words could wait, we'd said what we needed to.

He stopped as the brighter light from the torches along the wall hit his eyes. I watched as he took a deep breath, knowing that what we had to go and do would be draining, for both of us. But he took a deep breath and his chin rose. I'd never loved him more. We walked hand in hand through the Ministry, towards a life I thought I'd never get to leave. But I was going to, I was going to live a life with Ron, that was they way it would be.

Me and my Ron.

A/N - from The Steppy One - *cries because it's over* Just want to say thank to Solstice for coming up with this idea and letting me play with her and her bunny... *gigglesnort* love ya mate *hugs*

A/N - from Solstice Muse - See! I told you to trust us! This was so much fun and as other attempts I have made to co-write have gone on to prove, working with me is very nearly impossible (apparently I'm too fast *rolls eyes*) so my Steppy sis is a very unique girl.

We will both be posting new fic about our favourite characters seperately again so please put Steppy on author alert if you'd like to follow her writing (and her Hermiones)

Thanks to all for the reviews and to the couple of people very early on who left Ron-hating messages that had nothing to do with the fic...we both hope you become Twilight fans and leave decent male lead characters alone in future! *lol*