Hermione sighed and looked at the dusty mirror in front of her. It was the last meeting of Dumbledore's Army before the holidays, and she was thinking hard. Everything was going to change soon, she could feel it. They weren't little kids anymore, and they were all on the blade of the knife.

As she watched her fellow schoolmates leave, Hermione vaguely wondered how many she would see next year. She rubbed her tired eyes, she had been spending too many nights working too many classes, and it was starting to catch up with her. Looking at the mirror again, she studied her reflection. She looked different, older.

"Mione?" Ron's voice cut through her tangled thoughts, startling her a little. She turned to see him only a couple inches from her.

"Everything...Alright?" The taller boy asked, brotherly concern etched in his face. That was another problem she was faced with... What to do with Ron. He only looked at her like another little sister, not like anything more. Lately she was finding herself needing his company more, if only for someone to yell at.

"Hermione" Ron's voice once again broke her train of thought.

"What?" She asked, focusing back on him.

"You were spacing out" He said, putting his hands in his pockets.

"I'm sorry Ron, I-I'm just distracted, that's all" Ron stepped closer, his blue eyes deepening.

"Do you want to talk...about it?" He asked hesitantly, unsure if that was a safe move.

"I'll be alright, I-I better go" Hermione replied, moving to step past him. Ron stopped her, grabbing her arm as he looked up.

"What?" Hermione spun around. Ron pointed up, avoiding her eyes. Hermione followed his gaze and saw a small bundle of leafy green mistletoe hanging directly above their heads. For a minute, she was speechless. Ron wanted...To kiss?

"I-it's tradition, but we don't have if you- er- don't want to" Ron said, his ears turning scarlet. Hermione felt like she had been petrified again. Was this really happening?

Tentatively, Hermione stepped forwards, and Ron hesitantly put his hands on her hips. Slowly, Ron leaned his head down, pressing his lips to hers as gently as possible.

His lips were soft and tender, moving lightly across hers. It was unlike anything she had experienced before, and definitely not something she would expect from Ron, the way he acted, you'd think he kissed like a dog, but no. This was...Nice.

After a couple seconds, Ron pulled away and let out a small breath. He smelled nice, like cinnamon and grass. Hermione's brain was stuttering, it was thinking so fast.

"Hermione?" She felt her knees buckle a little, and Ron's strong arms grab her before she fell.

"Blimey Hermione, one kiss and your weak at the knees. Was it that good?" Ron chuckled.

"I-I wouldn't know" Hermione gasped, trying to regain her footing. Ron's hands dropped from her shoulders.

"You mean, you and Harry never...?" Hermione stared at him for a second, then burst out laughing. Ron's ears turned red again.

"Well, you guys are together all the time, so I thought..." Hermione laughed even harder, tears of mirth dripping down her cheeks.

"Ron, honestly..." Hermione said, gasping as giggles overtook her again.

"Well what about you and Vicky?" Ron countered. Hermione shook her head, straightening up. Ron stared open mouthed at her.

"Ron" It was Hermione's turn to break Ron out of his stupor. He shook his head, then looked at her, eyes slightly unfocused. Hermione hugged him, unsure of what to say. Slowly, he wrapped his arms around her too, and Hermione grinned into his shoulder. She felt safe, pressed into Ron's chest, like he could protect her from anything.

"You know Hermione, i've been thinking... How it's not going to be the same after this, y'know?" Hermione nodded, and Ron continued.

"I just wanted to say... I'll be here for you, no matter what" Hermione felt tears well up in her eyes. Who knew that gangly, obnoxious, git-like, Ronald could make her feel this way.

"Hermione? Are you crying?" He asked as he felt Hermione's tears start to seep into his shirt.

"Y-Yes" She sobbed.

"Shhhh, Hermione it's alright. Bloody Hell, I didn't mean to make you cry" Ron patted her back awkwardly. Hermione pulled away from him and wiped her eyes, giving him a watery smile.

"Blimey Hermione, you're all over the map tonight" Ron helped her wipe her cheeks.

"I know, I know" Hermione scrubbed her eyes and swatted away Ron's hands.

"Is something bothering you, 'Mione?" Hermione felt her knees weaken a little when he said her name like that. He had been using that nickname for quite a long time, but now it sounded different...

"I feel like I-I might not make it out of this" She gasped, turning her back to him. She was being stupid, really...

Ron's arms were around her in a second, his muscled chest pressing against her back.

"I promise you 'mione, i'll never let you get hurt in this war, i'll protect you with all i've got" Ron whispered in her ear, his breath misting her cheek. For a second, neither of the dared even breathe, then Hermione turned around and cupped Ron's cheek, kissing him with everything she had. When they broke apart for air, they could only stare at each other, then Hermione broke the silence.

"And i'll do the same for you, Ron. Don't forget it"