Summary: His heart crushed as the torture Hermione was reliving overcame him.
AN: This is a missing scene from Deathly Hallows. It's also my first Ron/Hermione story. They're not always my favorite couple, but this wouldn't work in the storyline with anyone else. Hope you enjoy it.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. If I did things would have ended differently.
Ron couldn't sleep. He'd spend the past three nights busy with his now favorite activity—pacing. Each night, after Harry snuck outside to his latest thinking spot, Ron would wear an oval trail into the carpet.
While on this endless walk, he went over everything that had recently happened in his life.
One minute he was living with Bill and Fleur, wracked with guilt for leaving his best friends. The next he was following a light to their camp. He jumped into a frozen pond after Harry and destroyed a horcrux. Not too long after that, they were captured and taken to the Malfoy Manor. And now they were working with a goblin to plan what could only be described as a ludicrous attack on the most well-protected building in all of England.
He felt like his head would explode from the pressure they were all under.
He took a few slow deep breaths in an attempt to lower his heart rate.
Once his breathing was silent and the pounding in his ears quelled, he heard it.
Behind the closed door nearby he heard muffled cries.
He quietly approached the room and opened the door.
He found Hermione tossing and turning wildly. In hushed tones, he could make out words like, "Leave me alone…Bellatrix…won't tell you……Ron."
His heart crushed as the torture Hermione was reliving overcame him.
Later, he wondered if this was how Hermione felt when he whispered her name after being poisoned.
He rushed to her and gently held her in place.
"Hermione," he whispered. "It's a nightmare, wake up."
He smoothed back the hair from her sweat-covered face. "Please wake up. I've got you. You're safe."
Her eyes flew open, rapidly taking in the world around her. They rested on Ron's face and for the first time she began to breathe evenly. "Only a dream," she whispered.
Ever the calm and collected one of their trio, she immediately tried to rebuild her façade. "Hello Ron. Thank you for waking me."
"Has this been happening every night?" He handed her a glass of water from the nightstand.
She eagerly took several swallows. "Yes. It's not a problem."
"Not a problem! You were tortured Hermione. Of course you're going to have nightmares. I should have checked on you days ago."
She sat up. "Really, Ron, I'm fine."
For the first time, he noticed the deep circles under her eyes. She had slept even less than him over the past few nights.
"No, you're not. But luckily I know just the thing for nightmares."
For the confusion on her face, Ron knew that he had successfully gained her attention.
He took the glass of water back and set it down. "Now, move over."
Hermione reluctantly made room for him on the bed.
Once he was comfortable, Ron explained. "When I was young, anytime I had a nightmare my mum would read me stories until I fell asleep again. It always made me feel safer, somehow."
Before Hermione could interrupt, he continued, "I don't have any books here, but I do have a few children stories memorized."
With that, he began the story of "The Wizard and the Hopping Pot". Even though Hermione had read the story ten times in the book Dumbledore had given her, she stayed quiet. Ron did a different voice for each character. He used his arms as he described the important or exciting scenes.
Hermione stayed silent the entire time. Now and then Ron would look over at her to see if she was awake and listening.
Slowly during the first story, he felt her body relax against his. As Ron had hoped, she was finding comfort in the smooth tones of his voice.
At some point during the second story, Hermione found her way under his arm. She placed her head on his chest. The even beats of his heart and the rise and fall of his breathing soothed raw nerves.
There she stayed, snuggling deeper into him for the remainder of the second and third stories. Somehow, the fables calmed her violent thoughts.
Sometime during the fourth story, Ron felt Hermione drift into a peaceful sleep.
He softly kissed her forehead and adjusted his pillow. As he settled back and curled his arm around her still form he promised her, "I will always bring you back from the nightmares."
Thank you to my beta Johnathan for reading this over and giving some great advice for the last line.