A/N: Yes, I'm still alive! Sorry for the long wait but real life and limited access to a computer didn't allow me to update sooner.

Thanks to all my anonymous reviewers, Marina, shays. Jess89, Sandrinha, Sarden, harrylovesginny, anonymous, anon, BeccaBLC, Hermione-notMione, Reality, valia, I don't have a name, Danipaige, Withdrawals, Hilary, katie.

Special thanks to 79AvadaWeaskeyKedavra for being my #200 who put this story to their favourite list. WOW, 207 people have this story in their favourite list! I can't believe it!

Huge thank you once again to my wonderful beta ObsessedRHShipper for her fast work and for her smart suggestions. xx

Ron hated practices the day before a game because they were a lot more tiring and very boring. Two hours in the field, followed by three hours of analyzing video of the opponents and their tactics was too much for him.

As a goalkeeper, he only had a few things to look over in the videos. Mostly it was to see what foot the opponent striker uses or if they play with crosses or with the ball down. But his part was over really quickly and for the rest of the time he had to pretend to watch the analysis of the rest of the squad.

Next to him, Seamus let out a heavy puff of air. He too seemed ready to fall asleep. His part was over too. After all, strikers and goalkeepers had very clear instructions; goalkeepers must keep the ball off the net and the strikers must put the ball in the net. It was the defenders and midfielders that got the most out of this training method.

"This is a pain in the hole, mate. I want to get out of here," Seamus whispered to him and sighed in boredom.

"I feel you, my Irish friend," Ron agreed with a sigh. "I'm too fucking tired right now."

"Tell me about it. I'm still knackered from last night. That bird was wild, but she was in another weight class. Her drawers were the size of Cork!"

Ron chuckled but luckily not loud enough to draw attention to them. The last thing he wanted was Snape to lecture them once again. He always found it amusing the way Seamus would hit on every bird he laid his eyes on. "A little variety is never bad, right?" he whispered back to Seamus.

"Cheers to that," Seamus grinned. "What sucks is that to keep faith with my superstitions before a game, I need to score her again tonight."

"Oh, yes!" Ron chuckled. "Same bird, twice in a row before a game, how could I forget?"

"At such times, our superstitions are all we have. To not follow them is a crime against luck," Seamus firmly said.

"No argument there, Seamus. I have a few of my own. I eat chocolate ice cream while I'm lying down on my bed, reading Sports Illustrated the night before. I take a bath first thing in the morning, but I don't wash my hair. I wear one red and one white sock underneath my football socks and I always enter the field with my left foot. That's all I suppose."

"That's nothing, Ron. I'm doing everything the same way I did it the first time. Even when I'm taking a shit, I must do it exactly the same."

"Blimey, I'd never thought of that, Seamus. That's genius!" exclaimed Ron.

Ron hadn't noticed before but he saw a local newspaper in Seamus' hands with a photo of their new teammate as it was rumored. He remembered what Harry had told him yesterday and judging by Seamus' behaviour during the training earlier where he didn't talk or joke with anyone, he thought he should ask him if he was okay with the news of the new transfer.

"It seems like we're going to have a new teammate soon," he said and Seamus face changed all of a sudden and sighed.

"Josh Preston. Another "talent" from the big clubs I need to beat," Seamus replied emphasizing the word talent in a mocking way.

"Don't tell me that you're afraid that he's going to take you job, mate."

Seamus snorted. "Quit joking, Weasley!"

"Why the heavy sigh then?"

"Because he's a fucking toddler and once again I'll have to play the tutor. You think you have it bad? Try to teach a virgin how to give the perfect blowjob; that's how hard it is."

Ron laughed in silence and patted Seamus on the back.

"They never listen to what I or anyone else is advising them. They think they'll come, teach us all the tricks they learned in their fancy academies, score a few goals and then they'll go back to their big clubs and play in the fucking Champions League," sighed Seamus.

"Who's going to play in the Champions League?" Neville who was sitting behind them asked quietly, joining the conversation.

"Not you, for sure," Seamus retorted.

"Piss off."

"Nice remark. Your lady taught you that language?"

"No, your mother."

Ron watched his two friends, trying to hide his smile. It was always like this with the two of them but he knew that no matter what, in their own twisted way, they were great friends with each other.

"Do you want to add something, Mr. Finnegan? Or perhaps you, Mr. Longbottom?" Snape said angrily, causing them to apologise to him and return their attention to the video analysis, or that's what they pretended to do anyway.

Ron slumped back in his chair too, not a bit surprised that his mind wandered once again to Hermione. She was his beautiful escape and thinking about her made everything tolerable.

Hermione was accustomed to dealing with mostly males in her line of work and she knew how to handle them. She wasn't cocky or full of herself. She just had faith in her abilities.

The three men in the room representing the club made the same mistake everyone did when they met her. They thought of her as a sweet little girl that could easily be beaten, but like everyone else in the past, they too were proven wrong and realised that she wasn't that sweet after all.

Gary Owen in particular was exactly as Ron described him, so Hermione knew what to expect and she came prepared. It wasn't going to be easy, but if there was one thing she was proud of about her work, it was that she was unbeaten. And she wasn't planning on losing that record anytime soon.

She presented a counter proposal that was designed based on the contracts of all the other first-rate players. Hermione originally had planned to negotiate only the automatic termination term, until she read the numbers of all the contracts of the team. After doing that research, she was surprised to discover that even with the new contract, Ron would be among the lowest earners of the team…lower than the substitute midfielder than never played!

That's why Hermione entered the meeting room today more determined to win a lot more for Ron. She used all the right numbers and she knew exactly what buttons to push every time. Ron gave her permission to do anything she wanted regardless of the result and she wasn't going to fail him.

"Ms. Granger, I insist you be more reasonable. Your demands are nowhere near our original offer," Gary exclaimed after he read and reread Hermione's proposal for Ron's new contract.

"You offered my client a contract. We feel that we can't reach an agreement under those terms, so this is our counter proposal," said Hermione with her most professional attitude.

"You practically demand us to double our offer!"

"That's because your initial offer is nowhere near my client's demands," Hermione answered mimicking him and his previous words.

This seemed to anger Gary more. "I need to remind you, Ms. Granger that our offer to your client is more than generous and there is a significant increase of 50% of his current contract."

"And I need to remind you, Mr. Owen, that my client has the right to accept, refuse or negotiate this offer. Based on the numbers we see, we are not satisfied and unless you are ready to negotiate, I'm afraid we can't reach an agreement," replied Hermione showing clearly that she was there to play hardball.

Gary realised that very soon, so he turned his attention to Ron in an attempt to scare him. "Mr. Weasley, let's be realistic. You are the second in line goalkeeper of this team. We both know that as soon as Mr. Zabini recovers from his injury, he's going to be our first goalkeeper and you'll be on the bench again. How can you demand almost the same contract as him?"

Ron made a fist under the table, but to Hermione's surprise, he managed not to show any anger. "Weren't you the one that two days ago told me that the team values my abilities and you want to secure that I'm going to continue being a Millwall player?"

"That doesn't mean that we value your abilities more than other players or Mr. Zabini in your case," said Gary.

Hermione thought for a moment that Ron was going to jump on the table, grab that wanker and punch his stupid face, but she gently placed a hand over his clenched fist and that was enough to cool him down. He looked at her and she mouthed don't to him.

His fist was gone and the blood could once again flood to his fingers. Hermione knew she was right. Ron wouldn't win anything if he attacked Gary besides temporary satisfaction.

"If you really believe that, then you can just ignore our proposal, let me finish the season and be out of contract in the summer. I'm not forcing you to accept my demands. I'm just telling you what I want," Ron said to Gary in a very calm tone, as calm as he could muster anyway.

"And I would like to remind you, Mr. Owen, that I am the only one who can say whose abilities are more valuable in this team and no one else," Coach Snape intervened much to Ron's and mainly to Hermione's pleasure. Surely having the support of the coach was a great bargaining chip.

She looked at Gary who was looking at Snape with anger in his face. She was sure now that since it was obvious that he couldn't change their minds, and since Coach Snape decided to open his mouth and ruin a potential threat that he could use to make Ron sign those papers, it was game over for Gary.

"Listen, Mr. Weasley-," Gary began one more attempt to change Ron's mind but one of the other board members that was there, the oldest one, signaled him to stop.

He then turned to Hermione and Ron. "Would you mind waiting outside so we can have a quick meeting with Mr. Owen?"

Hermione wasn't surprised by this at all. For years, she was at meetings with clients and she could always tell when they were defeated. "Of course," she said and walked away and Ron followed her closing the door behind him.

"They're going to agree, trust me," she whispered into his ear when they were out of the room before giving him a quick kiss on the cheek without anyone seeing them.

Hermione's confident words came true a little later when they were called back inside the office.

"I suppose we can find some solution to work for all of us," Gary said, clearly in distaste, but Ron and Hermione couldn't care less as they both felt relief and simultaneously they intertwined their hands under the table. They had won.

It has been almost an hour of hard negotiation in which Hermione made sure that she wasn't going to leave the room before every single demand she had prepared had been granted. When all the details were ready, the contract was signed. Hermione really managed to give Ron almost double the original offer and to erase the clause that allowed Millwall to terminate Ron's contract if he didn't play enough games.

They were getting up and ready to leave when Gary spoke to him.

"Before you leave, I must inform you that we received a loan offer for you, Mr. Weasley, from Newcastle United. They were impressed by your recent performance when you played against them last month and they asked for your services until the end of the season. As a board, we rejected this offer. Have a nice day," he simply said, but with an obvious satisfaction in his voice and a smirk on his face; he took enjoyment in having told Ron that he rejected an offer from a Premier League club, most likely as a twisted payback.

Ron was stunned. He had no idea that one of the "big clubs" would ever be interested in signing him and he honestly didn't know how to feel about it. He knew for sure what he felt about the board's decision though. "Why you didn't tell me about it before you rejected it?" he demanded to know.

"It wasn't your decision to make. Only the board has a say regarding loan offers, not the players. Again, have a nice day," Gary waved them away showing clearly that this discussion was over.

Ron wanted to smash his face but Hermione grabbed him by the elbow, practically dragging him outside. They walked together to the car, Ron still furious, calling Gary and the board all sorts of foul names.

Inside the car, Hermione didn't speak. She was too shocked about the offer too, but for a different reason. Ron could leave London and… her. It was so easy. Just the right offer at the right time and Ron would leave.

And what would she do? What was going to happen to them if Ron had to leave for another city or country? Was she supposed to go with him? Was she supposed to stay back and wait for him? Was he going to even consider her if he got an offer? Could an offer like this end their relationship before it even began?

The thought scared her far more than she would ever admit. For the first time in her life – and something inside her was telling her for the last time too – she was in love. She was in love with a man she couldn't live without. But what if she had to? What if she had to live without Ron?


"I mean, can they even do that, Hermione?" she suddenly realised that Ron had stopped swearing about a bunch of guys she never heard of before and now was talking to her.

She tried not to show what her emotions were at the moment and replied calmly. "There is nothing stopping them. Don't feel bad though. You just got yourself a new contract," she reminded him. "And besides, why leave now that you have a place in the starting line-up to become second in line again in Newcastle?"

"I'm not saying that I would accept the offer, Hermione." At this, Hermione felt relief that didn't last long. "I probably would though; I'm not going to lie."

Hermione stopped breathing. She felt this was some kind of torture. "You-you would?" she choked almost inaudibly.

"That is the Premier League we are talking about, Hermione. I'd have to be crazy to reject the opportunity to play there even as a second in line goalkeeper."

"Yes… crazy," Hermione whispered mostly to herself as she turned her gaze outside her window and away from Ron. "Can you just let it go for now and drive us back to the Burrow. It's getting late."

Ron didn't say anything. He simply started the engine and drove away. His mood was angry throughout the whole ride back home never uttering a word and for that, Hermione was grateful. She wasn't in any state to have a talk with Ron at the moment while her mind refused to think of everything other than the vague possibility of Ron going away.

Despite the countless dark thoughts that were troubling her mind, Hermione decided to let it go for the time being. When they arrived home, she went straight to her parents' room for some distraction. Ever since they had arrived in the Burrow, she hadn't had much time to talk with her parents and see if they were having a good time or if they needed anything. She found only her mum in the room who was resting after a walk to the local shops with Molly.

She went and lied down next to her in bed giving her a kiss on the cheek. "Hi, mum. Molly told me in the morning that you two were going shopping. How was it? Did you two have fun?"

Emma smiled at her daughter and gave her a hug. "Yes, I wanted to buy a few things as souvenirs and Molly knew exactly where to go. Honestly, she's a great and smart woman. I can't say we have a lot in common, but there is a lot more to her than just being a housewife."

Hermione smiled. She was very glad that her mother was having a good time with Ron's mother, especially after she could see how well Arthur and her dad hit it off.

"Dad is off again with Arthur?"

"Your father is always off with Arthur. I think I'll have to drag him back home kicking and screaming when the holidays are over," she joked and Hermione chuckled.

She loved those rare days where she and her mum were having a laugh and spending time together. It was certainly better than the dreadful feeling of tension when her mom caught her mounting Ron at the dining table.

"I'm sorry, mum. About yesterday at dinner, I mean," she apologised, blushing like a tomato.

Emma placed her hand on Hermione's hand and gave a light squeeze. "There is nothing to be sorry about, sweetie. Your father was right; I just overreacted," she reassured Hermione who felt a little better after this.

"Where were you by the way?" Emma asked her.

"I went by the house to see if everything was in its place and then I accompanied Ron to a meeting about his new contract as his lawyer."

What she didn't mention was that she also stopped by a lingerie shop and spent more than an hour there trying to find the perfect set for what she was planning. A devilish smirk appeared on her flushed face at the thought, but she shook it off quickly, not wanting her mother to notice anything.

"Oh, how did it go?" she heard her mother asking her in fake curiosity.

"It went great!" Hermione announced in enthusiasm. "With my help, he got a better contract," she added proudly.

"Good for him then, that you were by his side."

Hermione blushed at her mother's comment. "Are you coming to the game tomorrow?"

"Your father insists, so we'll be there," said Emma with a grimace.

Hermione didn't like the sound of that. "Does that mean that if dad didn't want to, you wouldn't come?"

"You know I'm not a sports fan, Hermione."

Now Hermione knew that the wise thing to do was to listen to that little voice inside her head screaming at her that she shouldn't ask what she was about to ask. But Hermione decided to be honest with herself and realized that the little voice meant nothing as she got tired of her mother's attitude; instead it was time for her mom to tell the truth.

"You're not a sports fan or you're not a Ron fan?" she asked looking intensely into her mother's eyes.

Her mother obviously wasn't expecting this and she decided to not answer and just shrug. She was surprised when Hermione asked her again. "Careful, sweetie. Don't try to make me the bad guy here."

"Oh, so you deny that you don't like him?" Hermione challenged her. It was obvious that Hermione wanted answers and she was going to get them whether Emma Granger wanted or not.

"It doesn't matter if I like Ron or not. It's you that lives with him and is in a relationship with him. I'm here to be the parent and protect you from any harm."

Typical thing of her mother to say. She was always like this. Never saying what she really believed but only what she thought others would like to hear.

She felt her eyes watering. She was already in an emotional state after what happened earlier and when she felt she had enough of her mother, she knew she needed to respond. "You don't have to protect me because Ron doesn't hurt me. It's the way you look at him almost despising him that's hurting me," Hermione cried.

"I'll try to act better around him, alright?"

This outraged Hermione more. "You'll try? Why do you need to try, mum? What could Ron have possible done not to deserve your respect and love?"

"Hermione, I never objected to your relationship with Ron. In fact, I remember proposing to you to hold an engagement party on New Year's, but you refused. Isn't that enough proof that I support this relationship?"

"Oh please, mum! You're anything but supportive. Molly is treating me as her daughter and everyone here is making me feel like I'm a member of the Weasley family, and look at you! For God knows what reason, you treat the man I love as someone unworthy and I'm sick of it," Hermione shouted. "So you are going to tell me what-,"

"He almost killed you!" Emma snapped not letting Hermione finish her sentence. "There, I said it!"

Hermione was taken aback by her mother's outburst. It wasn't so much what she said but that in a matter of seconds she saw her mother shaking in tears like this was too painful for her.

"Like you said, I'm not Molly. Unlike Molly, I only have one child to love and do everything I can to protect her," Emma said wiping away some of her tears.

"Mum, that was five years ago," Hermione said confused but Emma wasn't listening.

"When they called me that day to inform me about the accident, I went hysterical. I ran out the door and I kept running to the hospital. I was 200 yards away from home when I realised how stupid I was for thinking that I could run 15 miles and came back to take the car. All I could think was that my baby girl was in danger."

Hermione felt her own tears on her cheek and she quickly pulled her mother into a tight embrace, hearing her mother's perspective of that day for the first time.

"Maybe I don't show it with hugs and affection as often as other mothers, Hermione, but I love my child. I love you, Hermione, and losing you is not one of the things I can survive," said Emma with her lower lip trembling in silent sobs.

"I love you too, mum," said Hermione hugging her more and more tightly. She wondered how long it must have been since the last time she heard her mother say those words or when was the last time she said those words to her mother.

"I couldn't stand the thought of you being… being-" Emma choked unable to voice her worst fear.

Hermione had no idea that her mother felt like this for so long. She just assumed that her dislike for Ron was because he somehow took her away from home when she left to live with him. She was so wrong.

"When I went to the hospital and the police there told me how the accident happened, I wanted to burst inside Ron's room and smash his head with everything I could find. I actually entered his room, only to find him still unconscious. I was watching his sleeping face and this somehow made me angrier. I was thinking that he was mocking me…that he almost killed my little girl and he was sleeping without regrets or guilt."

Hermione decided not to interrupt her mother. She could tell how important it was to let her get this off her chest. She would just hold her until she was finished.

"I know I don't make sense, Hermione, but in the state I was, nothing made sense to me either," Emma said with a sniff.

"I left the room and I was planning to wait for him to wake up so I could tell him exactly what I thought of him. Unfortunately, the next time I saw him, he was sitting in a chair next to your bed. You two were talking and laughing and I couldn't believe it! Next thing I know, you are starting to spend all your time with him and before I knew it, you decide to move in with him!"

Emma broke off the hug to look Hermione in the eyes like she was about to say something very important and needed her daughter's full attention.

"To this day, I haven't told him what his stupidity almost cost me that day. I swallowed everything from that day on, Hermione. So, don't tell me that I need to try to be nice to him. I try because every time I look at him, I see you in that hospital bed and I just can't…"

Her sobs covered the rest of her sentence but Hermione didn't really need to hear those words. She understood how painful it must have been for her mother. She hated herself for thinking that her mother simply disliked Ron for no reason.

However, she couldn't agree though with her decision of treating Ron like this. If she really felt this way for so long, it was her fault for not saying something. She should have confronted Ron and given him a chance to apologise if needed. No, her mother was totally wrong in this.

"But mum, I didn't die. It's unfair to Ron to be treated like this because of what could have happened, can't you see that?"

"I know! I know, Hermione."

"Mum, you have to let it go," she pleaded in a whisper.

"I'm trying, sweetie. You have no idea how much I'm trying," Emma admitted in all honesty.

"Try to think of it this way, mum. Before I met Ron, I was miserable. Afterwards, I was happy. Maybe everything happened for a reason; it was fate for Ron and me to meet."

Emma's stared deeply into Hermione's brown eyes and Hermione wondered if she was somehow searching to find crumbs of doubts behind them. "Do you really love him, Hermione?"

It was the first time her mother asked her this question. She never asked her that question in the two years that she "supposedly" had a relationship with Ron. All she could do was nod.

"Does he really make you happy?"

Hermione nodded again.

"Then I guess I can cut him some slack," Emma joked causing both women to laugh.

Hermione felt tears of happiness washing her cheeks as she hugged her mother again. She always wanted her mum by her side to support her with Ron and now she had the hope that she'd have that.

"Thank you, mum! I love you so much," she kissed her mum before she made a move to walk out of the room. She stood for a moment before leaving. "Mum, you should talk to Ron and tell him everything. He'll understand."

"I will, sweetie," smiled Emma at her daughter. With an even bigger smile on her face, Hermione left the room.

Ron was still angry about what happened in the meeting. He couldn't tell if he felt angry because he didn't go to Newcastle or because they didn't inform him about the offer before they rejected it.

The dream of playing in the Premier League wasn't that far though. Millwall was on the top of the division and they were close to promotion. So, it couldn't be that.

Was it that they didn't inform him? Perhaps, but he shouldn't expect better. They offered him a contract with a two-day deadline for Christ's sake! Why would they treat him better this time?

He knew that this internal train of thought was a dead end and he stopped debating about it after a while. He wanted a distraction or something to take his mind off it. Unfortunately for him, Harry and his brothers left after dinner; they had gone to help with the set-up of the fireworks for tomorrow's festival and left him behind to get some rest that he really needed for his game tomorrow. Luckily, Walter was in the playroom and Ron decided to have a chat with him to pass the time.

"You were off again today with my dad? My mum will start to get suspicious, Walter," Ron joked taking a seat next to him.

Walter laughed. "Arthur and I have a lot in common, Ron. It's been so long since I had a best friend."

The honesty and excitement in his voice pleased Ron. He knew that his father felt the same about Walter. "I'm glad for this, because my father wanted a best friend too. Lately he only had Hagrid who is a great guy, but he's not very articulate as I'm sure you've noticed."

"Yes, that's true. I hardly understand half of what he says," smiled Walter.

"Everybody understands just half of what he says," Ron laughed.

"Hermione told me today you had a meeting about a new contract. How did it go?"

Ron placed a hand on Walter's shoulder. "Walter, I'm sure you already know it, but your daughter is amazing. She managed to get me a contract that was double the original offer."

A proud look formed on Walter's face. "She did? That's great! Congratulations to both of you," he said enthusiastically.

Ron couldn't help but feel proud of Hermione too. She was so brilliant today, beating that tosser. Plus, she was so Goddamn sexy, dressed in her lawyer suit, that again the thought of shagging her right there on the table crossed his mind a few times.

Don't think about that in front of her father, you twat! He cursed himself. He quickly shrugged the thought away.

"Thanks, Walter. That's one thing less to worry about now."

Arthur came to the living room with a cup of tea in his hand, taking a seat next to Ron. "Hey son, are you ready for the game tomorrow?"

Why do they keep asking me if I'm ready. Of course I'm ready. It's my bloody job to be bloody ready. It was even more important when I was on the bench, because the call to play could happen at any time. But, when I was on the bench, nobody from the family even called to ask me if I was ready or how I felt. Well except, Ginny and the twins; they were always there.

He gave his father though a different answer. "You can never be completely ready, dad. You just practice and prepare and hope you're up for the challenge," was all he said.

"I'm sure you'll do great," his father patted him affectionally on the back.

Ron wanted to pretend that it didn't mean that much to him but he couldn't ignore the warm feeling that pat caused him. He realized that he didn't need his parents' support to make it. He followed his dreams, despite them telling him to follow a different path. If he had listened to them, he would now be in a high position at the factory, probably married to one of those candidates his mum forced him to date throughout the years.

Still though, just because he didn't need their support and encouragement, didn't mean he didn't want it. And a simple pat on the back was a huge boost of confidence for Ron, even though he wouldn't admit that to his father.

"It's going to be great to see you playing, Ron. It's been so long since I attended a football game," Walter said in excitement.

"You mean since you met Emma, right?" Ron assumed.

"You'd be surprised, but I went with Emma to a football game on our three month anniversary. I wanted to show her my world."

Ron raised an eyebrow in disbelief. "And she hated it so much and now I'm paying the consequences? Thanks, Walter," he joked in sarcasm.

"It wasn't that bad. As far as I remember, we had a nice time that day. She even cheered a couple of times and sang the team's chants along with the rest of the fans."

Now this was something that Ron would pay to see! "Are you sure she wasn't drunk?"

Walter shook his head knowingly. "Trust me, Ron. Tomorrow she'll be there and we're going to have a great time. Emma will change her mind about football and sports and she's going to cheer you on."

Yes, I'm sure that will happen. And then we all going to hug, hold hands, and bond by singing Kumbaya, Ron thought in sarcasm.

"You know what I just thought of, Arthur? We should buy some Millwall jerseys to wear to the game," Walter suggested and Arthur agreed with great enthusiasm.

"Excellent idea, Walter! And it would be nice to buy some hats or scarves for the wives," Arthur suggested just as excited.

The two men started talking animatedly and after a while, Ron got bored so he feigned a yawn and bid them goodnight.

Before going up to his room though, he stopped by the kitchen to serve himself some ice cream like he always did the day before a game. Or perhaps he was just stalling his arrival to his room knowing that Hermione would probably be waiting for him, lying down in their bed. The thing was that he couldn't bring himself to focus on anything other than her. His only thought was about Hermione.

Well, her and the chocolate ice cream he was eating right now. Truth be told, sometimes Hermione covered in chocolate ice cream. The latter seemed more enjoyable if he was honest.

He ran a hand through his hair and sighed at the thought. He barely slept last night thinking that right next to him was the object of his desire. And no matter how hard he tried to convince his cock to calm down, it seemed to have a mind of its own.

He wanked twice during the night, but it wasn't nearly enough. Every time he would come back from the loo, he would catch a glimpse of Hermione's body underneath that thick fabric of her pajamas, and it would torture him to no end.

He felt like he was 12 years old all over again discovering self-pleasure. He just couldn't take his mind off it. He wanted that body. He wanted to rip Hermione's clothes off and ravish her on his childhood bed and have her moans of pleasure wake up everyone in the Burrow. Was this too much to ask?

Well, he probably could do without the last part, but he had no idea how he would manage to sleep another night in the same bed with her and behave like a gentleman. He strongly considered asking Hermione to sleep in one of the other rooms for the remaining nights until they got back to their flat, but he shrugged the thought immediately off.

Even without being able to be as intimate with Hermione as he wanted, he knew that he wasn't going to sleep well without her body wrapped in his, her head on his chest, her wild bushy hair tickling his nose and the sound of her light snoring filling the room.

Just take the bloody ice cream, read some fucking magazine, and stop thinking about Hermione, you silly ponce! You have a game tomorrow! Ron ordered himself and with a heavy sigh he picked up his ice cream and headed to his room, which to his surprise was empty.

It was later than she used to go to bed these days. Having to wake up so soon to go with Ron to London had affected Hermione's sleep habits a bit. She wasn't sleepy now though. After her talk with her mum and dinner, she spent some time with the girls and later she found her dad in the living room and had a chat with him, not very loud though to avoid any possible snide remark from Aunt Muriel who didn't even hide the fact that she was eavesdropping.

Her dad told her how proud he was of her after Ron told him about his contract, how excited he was to see Ron playing and how much he missed going to football games instead of watching them on the telly.

They didn't talk too long because Walter was tired, but he asked her if he could see her tomorrow in private to talk about something. He didn't say what and that filled Hermione with curiosity. But soon her mind started drifting away to the redhead who was waiting in their room.

Her walk to the room was slow. Too slow actually, wishing that by the time she would reach the bedroom door Ron would somehow be asleep. She didn't want him awake. She couldn't shake the dark thoughts out of her mind after Gary told them about that loan offer and especially Ron's reaction. It was evident that Ron wanted that transfer and she wanted to confront him, but she was too scared of his answer.

What if he tells me that he wants to leave Millwall, London,… me?

Every thought inside her mind though vanished the moment she caught sight of Ron. He was lying down on the bed with his back resting on the headboard, wearing only his boxers, eating a bowl of ice cream while reading something that looked like a sports magazine.

Standing in the doorway, she was contemplating whether she should walk inside or keep admiring the view. She had never imagined when she joked to him four years ago that he shouldn't wear a shirt while he eats ice cream because he was such a sloppy eater, that Ron would take her advice to heart. After that day, Ron always ate ice cream, naked from the waist up and tonight was no exception. What made it more unbearable was that Ron had failed to notice that some of the ice cream had dropped from his chin, forming a thin dark chocolate line down his chest.

Desire, horniness, longing… call it whatever you wanted, but she wanted to lick that line desperately. It was clear that she couldn't control herself anymore. She thought that it wouldn't matter if they waited a little, at least until they had a proper first date, but even that was beginning to prove an impossible task.

But she had to try. The young Hermione inside her deserved it. She never lived her teenage romance like most of the girls at that age and she had no choice but to drag Ron into this. She loved him even more after he acted so understanding and decided to wait and fulfill her silly dream.

She wasn't naïve to believe that Ron wasn't thinking about sex. He wasn't the most discreet person when it came to that. She caught him gazing at her lustfully all the time and his prick in full erection every time she was close to him, was a huge giveaway. Oh yes, she did notice that!

The thought made her want to jump Ron but instead she compromised with licking her lips at the sight of him and taking a few deep breaths that helped her ease the pleasant ache between her legs.

"Enjoying the view, are you?" she heard Ron teasing her as he had apparently sensed her presence. "I can tell you that up close I'm a lot more shaggable, beautiful."

She blushed a little that she was busted staring at him but bravely walked to the bed and snuggled into his arms. Oh, those arms, she thought dreamily at the touch. She pecked him on the lips and then he kissed her softly on the nose, before taking another mouthful of his ice cream.

"Is it really wise to eat ice cream so late?"

"Yhou wand swome," he slurred, with a mouth full of ice cream.

"So handsome," she teased him.

"No need to state the obvious, darling," Ron said wiping his mouth.

"And modest too," Hermione slapped his hand playfully when he tried to feed her.

"Yes, I am the full package."

She smiled and let Ron feed her a few spoonfuls. She couldn't help but agree with Ron's decision. Winter or not, this ice cream was the perfect dessert before sleep. Or maybe being fed by Ron made it ten times tastier; she couldn't be sure which.

She kept staring at him while Ron kept his stare focused on that magazine. She loved doing this even before she developed feelings for him. It always fascinated her whenever Ron was reading something with great interest. He wasn't someone who would normally read a book by choice, but there were some rare times like this one that he'd find something interesting – interesting without involving naked women that is – and then he'd read it with great focus. Back then, she wouldn't have been able to find the proper word but now she could. It was sexy.

I must be crazy. What girl thinks that reading is sexy?

"What are you reading?" she asked trying to sound as casual as she could.

"There is an interesting article about doping."

"I hope it's about the negative effects and not how to use it," she tried to joke unsuccessfully, but Ron smiled anyway. She wasn't the funny one and she knew it, but even so it always felt good when she managed to make Ron laugh with her.

"You seem calmer now. I guess you're not mad anymore about what happened with that loan offer, right?" she couldn't help herself but bring up this conversation topic. She bit her tongue and cursed herself mentally for that. Here she was in his arms and once again she was ready to kill the mood.

"No, I'm still mad about it," Ron answered sternly, as his expression changed to a more serious one.

She had already regretted bringing this up again, but since she started it there was no turning back. She had to know. "Ron, I want to ask you something. We talked about it a bit in the car actually. It's about the loan offer you had from Newcastle. Well, it made me wonder… if you're going to go after a bigger team in another city or country if an offer comes in the future."

Ron put his magazine aside. "I don't know, Hermione; I really don't. I was surprised when they told me and truthfully I don't know how I feel about it. I mean at first I was, and still am by the way, angry, but… I don't know. Maybe this wasn't my big chance after all."

There was some sadness behind those words and Hermione wondered just how much what had happened bothered Ron.

"That didn't answer my question, Ron. Would you accept an offer away from London?" she wanted an answer even if it wouldn't please her.

"Hermione, this is my job. If the best offer is from a team miles away from London or from a foreign club then I'm not going to reject it just because of the distance. I'm not saying I fancy the idea of moving away from London, but I won't just shrug without first considering what's best for me. I have ambitions you know," Ron answered truthfully.

It was only logical to think this way. He was a professional after all and Hermione wasn't surprised by his attitude. "I didn't mean it that way, Ron. I just… what I'm trying to ask is…What about m-your family?"

Ron arched an eyebrow in confusion. "What about them?"

"How would your mother feel if you moved to another country?"

"Charlie lives in Greece and she's cool with it."

Hermione rolled her eyes at this. "Charlie and Sofia come here twice a month; that's why your mum is cool with it. She practically sees them more often that she sees you and you live two hours away."

"Well then maybe that's what I need to do, to visit my parents more often too," said Ron with a shrug.

"You can't be serious!" Hermione shrieked.

"Obviously, I'm not Hermione. What's wrong with you today?" Ron asked giving her a curious look.

"Nothing, I'm… I'm just…," she paused not knowing how to put her fears into words. Taking the time to look at her, Ron was able to read her expression perfectly though.

"Hermione, is this about my family or you? Are you afraid that I'll leave you?"

"Why wouldn't I feel afraid of that, Ron?" she snapped. "If the board today had accepted the offer from Newcastle, you would be packing right now to go 300 miles away! Now of all times! Now that… now that we're finally together," her broken voice was a clear indication of how much it pained her to even think about the possibility.

"Hermione, why are we even talking about something that didn't happen? I won't go to Newcastle or anywhere for that matter. You were there with me today when I signed a new 3-year contract with Millwall. Isn't that enough proof that I'm staying where I am?"

"But look at you, Ron! You are sad and angry. You wanted to go to Newcastle; don't deny it."

"I'm not angry because I didn't go to Newcastle, Hermione. I'm angry because they rejected the offer without telling me first."

Hermione was ready to make a comment but Ron cut her off before she had the chance to utter a word.

"And I'm not sad, Hermione. I just know how easy it is never to have the chance to play at the top level. If we keep winning then next year we'll play in the Premier League and who knows, maybe I'll be the first goalkeeper in line, and my dream will come true," he paused for a moment.

"But what if Millwall doesn't gain promotion? What if they decide to sign a new, more experienced goalkeeper? What if I have an injury? Take Neville for example. He had an offer from Liverpool three years ago, but he broke his leg and he stayed here," Ron tried to make his point.

"You see, Hermione; these are questions that haunt every athlete. We don't have much time on our hands and we're lucky if we get a chance to prove ourselves. So yes, I'm sad that it didn't happen, because maybe I won't have another chance. That's the only reason, Hermione."

Hermione placed a hand on his cheek. "Don't think like that, Ron."

"Thinking about it is not a bad thing, Hermione. If anything, it motivates me to try harder and not give up. I mean, can you believe it? A Premier League club wanted to sign me! It means that some people believe I'm good enough to play against the best!" Ron said in awe.

Hermione raised her head and kissed him just for a second. "You are going to have the chance to prove how great you are, Ron. I have faith in you."

Ron's eyes never left hers and the intensity of his gaze made Hermione almost stop breathing. She had no idea if it was her words that caused this stare or something else, but she couldn't look away.

Ron smiled and kissed her softly on the lips. "To return back to what we were talking about, Hermione, I must say that you are an idiot," he said when their lips broke apart.

Hermione raised an eyebrow in surprise and confusion.

"Yes, you heard me correct. I, Ronald Weasley, called you, Hermione Granger, an idiot. Did you honestly think that I could ever let you go? You're stuck with me, so deal with it."

Despite the warmth of Ron's words, Hermione felt a tear threatening to roll down her cheek. "You think I'm a bad person?"

Ron laughed a bit. "I think you're a bit mental, but why are you asking?"

"I feel like I'm a horrible person for not wanting you to move away, even if that would be a better step in your career, so I can keep you with me," Hermione said, gazing intensely in Ron's eyes as she said the last part.

Ron kissed her again just for a second. "You shouldn't feel horrible for thinking that. That's… that's flattering actually. I would think the same way if it were you instead."

Hermione felt the urgency to inform him about her offer from Lupin&Tonks but she decided against it. With everything that happened today and with his game tomorrow, she knew it wasn't the best time to talk about that. She decided to talk to him tomorrow at the festival or maybe before bed.

"What time are you going to leave tomorrow?" she asked him.

"I set the alarm for 8am. Don't worry, I'll try not to wake you up. You need sleep as much as I do."

"I won't argue you on this," she laughed for the first time after she brought the subject of his offer. "Come on now; ice cream and reading time is over. Now we need to get some sleep."

"Hermione, you know I can't sleep before a game."

Hermione simply took the magazine and tossed it away. "I know you can't usually, Ron, but that's going to change. We're going to cuddle and we're going to sleep holding each other, and I won't take no for an answer."

Ron was ready to argue when Hermione said with stern voice. "If you don't sleep, then neither shall I."

Despite the serious tone in her voice, Ron smiled. He agreed mostly because he knew that sooner or later Hermione would fall asleep and if he pretended he was sleeping then she wouldn't feel bad about it.

"Fine, you win," he said in mock defeating voice.

Hermione smiled to herself. "You better get used to that phrase, Ron. It won't be the last time you say it."

She cleared the bed and moved the blanket over her and Ron. She positioned herself with her back on Ron's chest and she grabbed Ron's arms and placed them around her waist, so they were spooning each other.

"Goodnight, handsome," she said softly as she turned for a moment and gave him a peck on the lips. "I better hear some of your extremely loud snoring hurting my ears soon."

"Goodnight, beautiful and it's you who are the one who snores not I."

Ron couldn't see her face, but he knew she was smiling at his comment. He held her there in his arms and to his surprise, he felt himself falling asleep very quickly and very deeply. He had a wonderful dream about Hermione trailing kisses on his chin and slowly licking down his chest. Then he felt her soft, delicate hand grabbing gently – well, not too gently – his prick and starting to stroke it slowly; first, he felt her hand over his boxers and then underneath the cotton fabric.

It was such a pleasant dream and Ron didn't want to wake up. He moaned as he felt Hermione pressing her breasts on his chest and quickening her speed of stroking.

"Oh fuck!" he said breathlessly once Hermione decided to play with his balls and then her hand went back to his dick, stroking him more firmly and much faster. He was so close to his imaginary orgasm and then he heard Hermione's sweet voice whispering in his ear.

"Open your eyes, Ron. I want to see your eyes when you come for me."

Ron's eyes went wide open as he looked straight into Hermione's brown eyes. "Bloody hell, is this real?" he exclaimed in astonishment.

Hermione's lips found his. This kiss was sweeter than before. It was everything that Ron needed to realise that he wasn't dreaming. "What do you think?" she breathed into his ear.

"Oh fuck, don't stop!" Ron moaned gasping for air.

"I don't intend to," said Hermione naughtily.

It didn't take more than a few strokes more for Ron to reach his orgasm, calling out her name. Hermione kissed Ron with great passion at his release and he replied with equal enthusiasm. He still wasn't sure that this was actually happening. A good morning handjob from Hermione wouldn't be at the top of his list of things he was expecting to experience today. He wasn't going to complain though.

"I love you," he breathed when they broke apart gazing at her beautiful brown eyes with affection. "And not because of what you just did, although it did earn you some points to be honest. While we are talking about this, next time don't be afraid to use more parts of your body, Hermione. Mouth, tits, legs, I'll take anything!" he joked.

Hermione punched him lightly in the arm with her 'clean' hand. "You're incorrigible, you know that?" she scolded him before leaning forward and kissing him one more time. "But I love you."

There was a question that Ron wanted to ask Hermione but Hermione was able to read him before voicing it. "Ron, believe it or not, I'm just as horny as you, if not more. It's almost unbearable to keep my hands off you. I want you, Ron. All of you!" she said passionately.

"But since we must wait a bit longer for that and since you were extremely understanding on the matter, I decided to award your patience and not let you go to your game without a prequel of what's coming. Did you enjoy it?"

"I fucking loved it!" Ron exclaimed. He gave her another long kiss and then he made a move to get out of bed and go clean himself in the bathroom, but Hermione stopped him. She raised her 'dirty' hand and they both grimaced at the sticky image.

"Let me go clean my hands first and then the bathroom is all yours," Hermione said and went to the bathroom leaving a grinning Ron staring at his alarm clock and realising that it was time for him to get ready to leave. He did it without complaining, thinking that this day couldn't have started in a better way.

A/N:I hope this little smut wasn't that bad for your taste.

Now, I had a very interesting conversation last night about my story being nominated in the .com for Best AU and Best Romance. Btw, I want to thank whoever nominated my story. It's something I feel proud of, although I reckon there are a lot better stories that deserve a lot more these awards than mine.

Anyway, this person accused my story that it's not a HP one because of the lack of magic and people shouldn't read it, let alone to nominate or recommend to others. At the end of the talk she really understood what i was trying to do with this story and i wanted to share it with you.

The reason this story has no magic is for 2 reasons. 1. magic wouldn't add anything to the story. The same story you would read if this story was in wizarding world where Hermione works for the Ministry and Ron is a Quidditch player. Sure some names or situation would be different, but the story itself would be the same. And 2. the most important reason, is that i really wanted to make R/Hr shippers or writers to explore the AU world of fics. There are not many AU R/Hr stories out there, and I understand the reason. R/Hr are canon, we don't need to force situations, make characters completely OOC, etc. Keeping them faith to their characters and the books is enough to have a great R/Hr story. But, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't explore AU. To my mind, R/Hr are meant to be together in every universe, hence my story. So, my advice is to get creative! There are so many possibilities with this pair! That's why we love them together :D

p.s. I don't know if British say Kumbaya, but for the sake of the story let's pretend they do, haha.