Whispers in the Night

The room was very dark, the thick curtains on the window blocking out the pre dawn light. It was surprisingly cool in the room despite it being the middle of summer. There was a spring digging into his back from the old mattress he was lying on but he couldn't find the energy to move away from it. He was in his old bed at Grimmauld Place, Harry had staked claim on Sirius's old room and had disappeared up the second set of stairs to the third floor every night looking pale and ill. They all looked ill, Ron mused as he stared at the pitch black above him.

Hermione had worried herself sick and Ron hated that she was so unhappy. He had finally gave into his feelings about her. He knew for months that his friendly affection to his best friend was more than he gave Harry. He knew that she had won over a part of his heart that would belong to no one else. He had been thinking about it for months, after the whole Lavender fiasco. Everything made a bit more sense now that he was being honest with himself and sometimes he could've hit himself for being so silly.

Ron sighed into the darkness and the noise of it joined the rhythm of Hermione's soft breathing. Ron couldn't tell if she was asleep or not. When they had first came to Grimmauld Place she hadn't wanted to sleep on her own in the room across the hall and Ron couldn't blame her. When Harry had disappeared the second night Hermione had timidly knocked on the door and asked to sleep in the old spare bed next to his. Ron had obliged, hoping he didn't sound to eagar, that was the last thing he needed - Hermione thinking he was some sort of horn mad teenager. They were room mates now. And that was as far as their relationship had progressed. It made Ron nervous to be in the same room as Hermione. Ron sighed again and to his right he heard Hermione move in the old bed next to his.

"Are you awake?" She asked, her voice thick with sleep and loud in the silence.

"Yeah." Ron croaked and cleared his throat with a quick cough. "Can't sleep."

There was a pause and Ron thought for a second that Hermione had fell back into the depths of sleep until she spoke again.

"I had a nightmare."

Her voice was quiet and if the room had not already been silent except for their breathing, Ron would not have heard her confession. Ron turned his head and looked over at the dark outline of her bed, he could see her sitting up in it and his stomach twisted. He could see the shadow of her hair falling down around her shoulders and the lumps of her knees as she drew them up to her chest. Her voice had sounded so sad and scared that it frightened him as well.

As if working on their own accord his legs moved and he was out of the rusty bed in a second. Once out in the cool air Ron hesitated. He stood in the middle of the floor between the two beds. Hermione barely looked up. He heard her sniff and his legs moved again, not completely under Ron's guidance. He perched himself on the old mattress of Hermione's bed and waited until she looked up slowly. Closer now he could see her face and was horrified that there was a single tear rolling down her cheek. Nerves bubbled through his stomach as he tentatively he reached up and wiped it away, his fingers lingered on her soft cheek before resting on her shoulder. Hermione's eyes flashed to his and Ron wrenched his hand away.

"Sorry." He murmured but she shook her head with a small smile on her lips. Ron felt himself starting to smile as she stifled a yawn.

"Go back to sleep." Ron half commanded her. At least one of them should sleep. She looked at him, with fear in her eyes and Ron nearly broke at the sight of her. "It's only a dream, they aren't real." He tried to comfort her. Ron's head was spinning as he tried to think of better ways to comfort her without making a prat out of himself.

"But they could be." Hermione finally spoke and the finality in her voice unsettled him. Ron looked at her and grabbed her fingers that were sitting on top of the blankets. They were warm and he squeezed them tightly.

"I promise not to let anything happen to you." Ron said fiercely into the dark and he heard Hermione gave a distressed sigh and pulled at his fingers so they were clasped between her own.

"But, it's you I'm worried about." She said quietly. Ron didn't have an answer for that so he pulled her into an awkward hug. Her arms wrapped around his shoulders and she half clung to him. She buried her head into his chest and he felt her shoulders heave as she took a deep breath.

"You should go back to sleep." Ron muttered again into her hair and she nodded.

"Stay here." She mumbled into his raggy t-shirt and couldn't meet his eyes. Waves of nerves crashed over him. "There's enough room."

"Hermio-" Ron started but he bit his tounge as her arms tightened around him.

"Just until I fall asleep." She whispered into the skin at the bottom of his throat. Her tone was heartbreakingly pleadful.

"Ok." Ron felt himself say and she nodded once before moving, loosening her arms around him so he could climb into her bed. The sheets were warm and beside him Hermione moved a couple of inches into the middle of the bed. Ron smiled into the shadow and fell back into the pillows. He knew that he wouldn't be able to sleep properly with Hermione this close to him. He heard Hermione take another deep breath.

"All this is beginning to get to me." She whispered into the night, with only Ron as an audience.

He closed his eyes and felt her fingers wrap around his own as she fell asleep again. Ron sighed softly into the duvet and his eyes swept over the pale tired face beside him and sadly he knew no matter how hard he tried to keep her safe, he couldn't protect her from her imagination.

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