Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.

By Jennifer Collins

All was quiet in the Gryffindor common room the Thursday after Christmas. Most students had gone home for the winter holidays. Harry was with Fred and George Weasley at an emergency Quidditch practice, called by Wood for only the students who had remained at Hogwarts during the break.

Only two students sat by the fire in the common room at Gryffindor Tower- Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The pair had been studying from their Potions text for hours at the urging of Hermione, who insisted that they must start preparing early for finals.

They sat beside one another on the couch that was facing the fire. The crackling of the flames and logs was the only sound that could be heard, other than Hermione's voice as she prattled on.

"And that is why you would mix hair of pig snout with baby dragon's breath," Hermione explained. She paused for a response, but didn't receive one. "Ron?" She asked, looking up from the book in her lap.

Of course. He was leaning against the arm of the couch with his head propped up on a throw pillow, fast asleep.

"Oh, Ron!" She laughed. He looked so angelic sleeping by the firelight, that she didn't have it in her to be angry at him at that moment.

Sighing, she closed her text book and debated for a second on whether or not she should wake him. He seemed so peaceful as she peered at his features through the orangey glow of the fire. She took in his fair skin and freckled face, his full lips that were partially open and she felt the heat rise in her cheeks as she wondered why she'd never before realized just how long his eyelashes were.

She tried to tell herself that it was only the fire burning in the fireplace that made her feel warm, and she searched her mind for a rational way to explain the tingling sensation in her stomach.

Without even stopping to think about it, she reached out to brush a lock of fiery red hair from his forehead, and he smiled in his sleep at the intimacy of the gesture.

Her heart skipped a beat and she wondered for a moment what she should do with this new knowledge. For now, she removed the knit blanket that hung around her shoulders and wrapped it over his sleeping form, tucking him in soundlessly. He shifted in his sleep and she got up slowly from the couch, backing away inch by inch so as not to wake him.

She tiptoed across the room to the staircase that would take her to the girl's dormitory and paused to turn around for one more look at him. She decided that she liked this new feeling he gave her and smiled warmly at him.

As the flickering flames from the enchanted fire in the fireplace illuminated his face, she found herself thinking that sometimes the most extraordinary things could not be produced by magic.