Something sharp sliced down her spine and sent spikes of pain throughout her body. Every limb suddenly curled up in endurance as the abrupt aching awoke her. Through the commotion of yelling, Hermione became aware of the fact that she had been screaming, and as the frightening sound died on her lips she was able to make a dull sense of the noise surrounding her.

"…can't see what's wrong with her if you don't move, Ron!"

"…something for the pain! She's hurting…"

"The Malfoys?"

Another wave of pain washed over her, and her back arched off of the cold ground she was lying on.

"Hermione," his voice sobbed, and she barely had the strength to keep from shrieking again. She tried to concentrate on his closeness, how his voice had sounded so near. She thought she tried to open her eyes, but couldn't remember seeing anything. There were no faces, and no colors, but she was certain that he breathed against her, with her.

There was more talking, and a warm hand pulled her jaw open. Something horrible tasting was poured into her mouth, and she choked as it ran to the back of her throat. She turned her head away and sputtered as the awful liquid ran back up. She coughed and retched into the grass.

"Sit her up."

"No," she moaned, and her face turned again.

"Hermione, swallow this," he ordered, and her jaw opened again. One more time the potion was poured into her mouth, and she struggled to swallow. Almost immediately the pain began to ease away from her head. A welcoming warmth spread down her spine and through her limbs, leaving a mere dull throb in its wake.

There was sudden rush of awareness.

"Ron?"

"I'm right here, love."

He was crying. She felt warm fingers pushing the wet strands of her hair out of her face. His thumbs came to stroke her cheeks.

"I missed you."

She felt his body heave with a new sob. "Open your eyes," he commanded thickly.

Fuzzy hues of red danced around. After a few moments, Hermione finally was able to discern her surroundings. His arms had always been around her. Where was she? What happened?

"Why are you…?"

"You," he sobbed, and he tucked his head and drew her in close.