Disclaimer:  J.K Rowling is the mastermind behind Harry Potter.  I cannot match up to her brilliance.  I am just a fan.

Asleep and Awake

After tossing and turning for the last hour or so, Ron groaned and sat up in his pajama bottoms.  Finding sleep was difficult.  The recent events kept him from getting any sleep.  Hermione had told Professor McGonagall about Harry's Firebolt, got Crookshanks and on top of that, she was keeping secrets too.  It was their third year at Hogwarts and instead of acting like friends, they were acting like strangers or rivals.  Couldn't they be polite for just one minute?

'Why does Hermione have to be so--so--' he thought angrily and cut off his mental sentence when he couldn't think of anything to add.  He was too tired to think of anything that could sum Hermione up in one word.  She was a lot of things:  Bossy, a-know-it-all-and-is-not-afraid-to-show-it kind of girl, a bookworm, if Ron wasn't so dog tired, he could think of a hundred things to explain Hermione Granger. 

Ron rubbed his head, groaned and pushed the covers off of him and swung his legs over the bed.  His feet touched the cold floor and he got up, massaging his neck.

'Maybe a game of chess would help,' he thought.  He sauntered across the floor, careful not to wake up Harry or the others.  He knew Harry must've had trouble sleeping too, with the Dark Lord after him and now that serial killer Sirius Black.  Yawning, he walked down the stairs and entered the common room.  When Ron discovered that the common room was not empty, he cursed under his breath.

Hermione was there.  She was seated on the sofa with a book on her lap.  Her left hand was lying next to her thigh and her right still held the book, loosely with her fingertips. Hermione's head was down and her chin nearly touched her chin.  She had read herself to sleep.

Ron grinned.  He was waiting for the day when Hermione's studying would nod her off to sleep, as it had done to Harry and Ron a few times.  But Ron was tired and he couldn't sleep, all because of Hermione.  'If I can't sleep,' Ron thought enviously, 'neither can she!'  He started to her.  'I'll pinch her nose to wake her up then make her play chess with me.'

But as he got closer to Hermione, he stopped.  He couldn't do it.  She looked so peaceful sleeping and he knew she had to be tired too.  Hermione was taking more classes than even she could handle.  No one had tried to take two classes at one time.  She had to be more wasted than he was. 

Ron stood in front of her for a moment or two, he wasn't sure, watching her sleep.  His breath was taken away.  All the bad things he had thought about Hermione left his mind and all he could think now were positive things.  Hermione was the smartest girl he knew and could solve any puzzle.  Beyond her know-it-all exterior, she was kind and helpful.  And now, as he looked at her, he found her pretty.  Hermione was his friend, but he had never thought of her attractive until now.  That day on the train when he first saw her, he pegged her as a big toothed, big haired, and even bigheaded witch.  She still had large front teeth and hair had more than enough body and acted like she knew everything, but at the moment, he didn't care.  Hermione's parents were dentists; maybe they could give her braces or something to fix her teeth.  They went to a magic school; surely their had to be hair-straitening potions.  Even if she change her teeth and hair, in his eyes, he found her pretty and she'd only get prettier.  Hermione was just trying to be a good witch so she could pass. It was different for her because she was muggleborn witch so she had to study harder than some of the students with magical parents. 

 Hermione had just bought Crookshanks because she didn't have a pet and was probably lonely.  She probably always loved cats and Crookshanks must have stood out to her.  Crookshanks was a good cat, even if he tried to eat his rat.  Scabbers was getting old and was probably about to kick off any moment.  He was a big bore and did nothing but sleep and eat.  If Crookshanks had eaten him, he'd do Ron a favor.  At least Scabbers wouldn't die slowly if he had some disease or something. Ron sighed, realizing he was being the big stinky rat.  He was taking everything too seriously and being a jerk to his friend for no good reason.    Besides, if he would ask nicely, Hermione might let Ron take care of Crookshanks time to time.  Hermione had only been looking out for Harry's safety when she told McGonagall about his Firebolt.  What if she said nothing and it really was cursed to explode or move on its own against the rider's will? Harry would probably blow up to bits or ram into a tree.  Hermione, he had to admit, was a lifesaver.  How could he be so hard on her?  Hermione was his friend.  As a poor boy like himself, it was hard to get good friends.

 Ron took a knee in front of her and watched her bob her head and mumble some words she had been studying from her book.  This made him chuckle a bit.  It was rather cute.  Ron pulled the book away and put it down on the floor next to the sofa, careful not to wake her.  He picked up her legs and placed them down on the sofa and straightened a pillow behind her head.  She was now laying on her right side and in her sleep; she reached her hands to her pillow.  Ron walked to a chest and pulled out a blanket with two giant scarlet and gold squares with their house mascot and name.  Gently, he put the blanket over her and tucked it under chin.  A tuft of brown hair fell in front of her face.  Ron leaned forward and tucked it behind her ear.  On impulse, he kissed her cheek and whispered, "Goodnight, Hermione," as he brushed his fingers down from her temple to her chin.  Her skin felt so soft.

Hermione sighed contently and mumbled sleepily, "Goodnight."  She didn't catch the sound of his voice because she was so out of it and she refrained from talking to Ron as often as she could.

Ron smiled.  He didn't have to play chess.  Now he felt like he could sleep.  He trekked up the dorms, got underneath the covers and in an instant; he fell into a deep slumber.  He dreamed about Hermione with a smile on his face all through the night and as for Hermione, she dreamed about the next day's exams. 

Fin.

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