She was dreaming. Dreaming of that night she'd danced with Harry. But this time her dance partner had red hair and a freckle covered face. As he spun her, he let go and she kept spinning. Further and further away from him.
"Ron! Don't leave me again! Ron!"
She suddenly heard his voice, as if from a great distance and not the dream Ron. "I'm coming Moine. I'll be there soon. Don't worry. I'm coming back to you."
Dream Ron began fading as Hermione drifted back to wakefulness. She lay there sniffling for awhile before drifting back into a light non-restive sleep. Sometime later she was woken by voices. She ran out, afraid Harry was in trouble. With dream Ron fresh in her mind, she didn't dare hope for anything else.
The sight of him stopped her in her tracks. Harry's and Ron's words barely drifting through her usually perceptive brain. "Came back…followed a doe…pond…Gryffindor's sword…drowning…locket...destroyed" She must have said something since Ron was suddenly focusing on her, looking hopeful.
"I was using the deluminator…heard you calling me. A light came out and flew into my chest and brought me here."
She wanted to forgive him. Run into his arms. Especially since she had no doubt that he'd heard her as she dreamt and that it had been real Ron who'd answered her. That warmed her more than any cup of tea or down blanket. But she couldn't, not yet. He'd been gone too long. Her heart had broken too much. It needed some time to heal. She needed to be reassured he wouldn't leave her again. After she turned in a huff, leaving Harry and Ron standing in the snow she smiled. Time was all she needed now. Soon she'd tell him. Soon.
As Bellatrix came at her again, wand raised, it hit her. She didn't have any time left. She'd waited too long and now she'd never have the time to tell him. This time she was the one who'd leave. But unlike Ron, she'd never be able to find her way back.
"Hermione!" she heard him yell, pain filling his voice. Then darkness. Goodbye.
She woke up in a dark room with a large warm hand enclosing her own and a head pushed into her side.
"Ron," she said. "I have to tell you before we run out of time."
"I already know." He said. "Don't say anything yet. We won't run out of time. I promise. Later." With his reassurance and closeness she agreed. "Soon."
"I know Ron. Later. Soon. But just in case." And she kissed him. Because she knew they'd have more time. No need to make confessions now. But she also needed this. And, just in case.