Anywhere You Looked
He knew where to find her. It came to him instinctively as he wandered around the empty halls that looked like disaster sites. Debris lay on the marble staircases and pieces of armour were strewn across corridors. Tapestries were burnt and the wooden doors of the classrooms had splintered all over the place. Ron walked past these bombsites with mild interest now. He was past being shocked or getting angry. All he felt now was empty. He hadn't really realised where he was walking, but he had ended up standing outside the familiar double doors, a pane of glass shattered, the wood slightly singed. He could see through the spider web like cracks that the library had dodged the distruction the rest of the school sadly hadn't.
The library was well perserved. It was empty of students and people. The bookcases were a shambles and some near the front were broken. Heavy books had been used as projectiles during the battle so they were missing. Madam Pince was sitting behind her desk at the front of the library. She was looking at her broken bookcases vacantly. The desk was lopsided, a leg injured in the scuffle. Pages were strewn across the carpet in the haste to gather weapons.
"We're not open Mr Weasley." She murmured as he walked past her. "But that doesn't really matter now does it?"
A small smile graced her lips before it fell and she continued to stare at her library sadly.
"Nothing like that matters now."
Ron continued past her and walked to the back of the library. He knew that Hermione liked to hide out on the windowsil at the back. He turned the corner of the last stack and saw her curled up on the ledge. Her hair fell around her face and her legs were tucked up infront of her. Ron walked down the aisle. This far into the library the books were nearly all unaffected. It didn't smell like the rest of the school. There was no rubble or smell of burning and blood here. The closer he got he could see that a book was proped up on her knees and that she was wearing one of his jumpers. It made his stomach jump to see her like that.
She looked up and smiled at him, but it didn't really reach her eyes. It sat on her face until she couldn't hold it any longer. Then it disappeared and she looked like Ron felt. Hermione silently uncurled herself and moved so that she was sitting on the windowsil properly, leaving enough room for Ron to sit beside her. Ron settled onto the varnished wood and looked at her. She was looking straight ahead, her bottom lip between her teeth. The cuffs of his jumper were balled up in her fists that lay in her lap.
Silently they sat. Ron could feel the heat of the sun on his back through the window. It sent two long shadows onto the carpeted floor as he and Hermione blocked out the light. As he settled down and breathed normally memories flashed back into his head. It seemed so long ago that they had left Shell Cottage and headed for Gringotts. But in reality it had only been a day ago. Ron sighed deeply as he thought about the battle. How he could've lost Hermione, how he did loose Fred. His throat ached as he thought about his brother and he swallowed, trying to fight back tears. He didn't want to cry. He had watched everyone else cry enough to know that it didn't do any good. It didn't bring Fred back.
Hermione's soft fingers curled around Ron's long and callused ones. Her hand was warm in his and Ron gripped it. She used him as an anchor to pull herself across the gap between them and press herself against his side. Ron moved his arm and swung it around her so she was tucked under it.
"Ron." Hermione smiled up at him. "I'm supposed to be comforting you."
"Why?" Ron asked, his throat crackily. Hermione smiled at him softly and tightened her hold on his torso. She didn't have the heart to break it to him. She reached up and brushed the tear off of his cheek. She watched him as his ears flared up. The colour sweeped down through his cheeks and onto his neck.
"Oh." Ron spoke. It was all he could think to say. He looked at her hairline instead of meeting her eyes. Hermione's head bobbed up and her eyes flashed into Ron's eyeline.
"Ron." Hermione said softly, she pushed the book in her lap onto the floor with a thump and turned herself so she could look at him properly. "It's ok to cry you know."
"I know." Ron sniffed and rubbed at his face roughly. "I just don't want to."
Hermione looked at him. His face went sort of stern, and Hermione took the hint that there was no use trying to talk to him about it.
They dissolved into an awkward silence. Hermione didn't know how to speak to him anymore, not after what they had done last night. It wasn't so much as they had crossed over into more than friends, as the fact that Hermione wanted desperately to do it again. Even with the gap between them Hermione could still feel the heat coming from him. All she wanted to do was roll up into a ball and burrow into his side. She settled with his jumper. She pulled the sleeves around her fingers again and pulled her legs up onto the ledge, letting her arms fall infront of her face. She could smell him off the maroon wool, and the fresh smell of him sitting beside her at the same time.
"Harry was still out when I got up." Ron smiled at her. "I suppose dying and coming back to life takes it out of you."
Hermione smiled softly.
"Ginny was with him." Ron sighed. Hermione turned her head and looked at him. He wasn't smiling but Hermione could tell he wasn't angry.
"And you're ok with that?" Hermione asked with a smile. Ron shrugged.
"Not overly ok with it, but somehow I don't think I could stop it." Ron said evenly, "Plus, I did kiss his sister." Ron even used his fingers to air quote. Hermione giggled.
"And I'd like to do it again." Ron continued. His ears flaring up again. Hermione couldn't help but smile at him.
"So would I." Hermione told him and Ron finally looked at her. He bent his head slowly and took a deep breath before kissing her again. Hermione let it register with her for a second before wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him closer to her.
They could forget about the battle, the clear out and all the dead friends lying in the chamber beside the Great Hall. And for a few moments on a windowsil in the dusty and destroyed library they could just concentrate on each other.