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Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.

Look at Me

Chapter 1

Look at him, just sitting there, not bothering with proper posture, his tie loose and his big feet propped up on the table, not caring if anyone has to pass; which they don't, of course. Everyone just walks around the table instead of interrupting him. He's so unaware of the fact that people would rather go out of their way than bother a relaxed-looking Ron. One of his shoelaces is untied. Again. I have to tell myself not to nag him about double knots. Is it really that hard to tie your own laces, for goodness' sake? It's an everyday occurrence.

He's twirling a quill in his hand, with a book open and parchment propped up on his knees, obviously not bothering with his homework. I'm watching him out of the corner of my eye as he drops the quill, and it falls onto the blank parchment for the fifth time in a row. He's obviously not finding success at rotating it between each finger in one go, which is clearly his intention. When he picks it up, he glances at me, and I hold my breath, because I notice he has that look on his face: a small quirk in his eyebrow; his eyes squint making them appear just a millimeter smaller, and his mouth sort of relaxes a bit, like he's letting out a tiny breath.

It's very subtle, but I notice it because I know everything about him. This look is new, and has been driving me up a wall for weeks. It's just that one look. Every other expression he has, I've catalogued into my memory, sorted by mood and time of day. I can literally read his face like a book…except for that one incredibly infuriating look. As far as I can tell, it happens sporadically, and when I least expect it. Every time I see it, he happens to be looking at me. I'm clever enough to know this is not a coincidence. Not to mention the way it makes my heart race and my palms sweaty. It's almost as if it's a look just for me, but I can't really say for sure. I have to compile all the facts and cross reference them against his other looks to figure out some type of pattern. My mind is racing.

I chance a smile at him, and he drops the quill again. The look is gone. Just like that, and I didn't have time to process it. Damn.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Look at her, sitting up so straight and proper. I wonder sometimes if she has a pole stuck up her - nevermind. I really shouldn't be thinking about anything being shoved into her - fuck. Harry in a bikini…Snape in a bikini. Perfect.

I wonder if Harry would fancy a fly later. Yeah, if he's not sucking face with my sister…and I just found a new disgusting image to use. Thank you very much, you two prats.

My quill drops, and when I pick it up, I hear a sound from across the room, like a sigh or something. I look up, and there she is looking at me. Again. Why is she always bloody looking at me? Not that I'm complaining. Having her look at me with anything but disgust and hurt is a step in the right direction. Now that it's over with Lavender, and Hermione has forgiven me, I can't help but search her out. I notice new things about her every day: the way she chews her lip and how her knees are a bit knobby and how smooth her elbows are. Did she always have that many freckles along her nose?

She's smiling at me, and I feel my stomach turn over. Ever since she sent those birds after me, I thought I'd never get her to smile at me again. I've never been happier about being poisoned than in this moment. I catch myself staring, and drop my quill again, breaking eye contact. I look down and see a blank piece of parchment in front of me. Damn, maybe that's why she was looking at me. I haven't done anything productive, and maybe she wanted to get my attention so I can study.

Then why would she smile at me like that, then? Shouldn't there be a frown and the usual 'Get to work' look on her face? Come to think of it, she hasn't given me that look in weeks. What is she playing at?

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

I close my book and lean back in my chair. I have to stop reading. I can't concentrate with him across from me, frowning like that. I know that look by now. He's trying to figure something out, and, seeing as he has no intention to study or write anything down, he must be thinking about something other than homework. Could he be thinking about me? I notice he didn't smile back, so maybe he's upset with me about something. As if he would have a reason. I know I didn't do anything to him. I wasn't the one snogging all over the castle with that blonde bimbo rubbing it in- alright, never mind. I can't think about that anymore, unless I want my head to explode. Besides, Ron and I talked about it, and he admitted there was never anything really serious between them. I will never understand teenage boys.

"What's the matter?"

I open my eyes quickly and look around the common room. I know we're the only ones downstairs, but that doesn't stop me from making sure. We haven't spoken for hours, so to hear him speak must have just startled me. I look at him sheepishly and smile again.

"Nothing is the matter. Why?"

"Oh," he says, and rubs his neck. He always does that when he's nervous. Do I make him nervous? "You look a bit knackered. Are you finished studying, then?" He sits up and sets his "work" down on the table, where his feet were previously perched. His arms are across his knees, and there's that look he has when he honestly wants to know the answer to what he's asking.

I look at my watch and realize how late it is. We've been sitting here for a long time. Then, I glare at him. "Yes, I'm finished, and you didn't get any work done on that essay, did you?"

"I-Well, no, but that's only because I can't get started. Once I do, I reckon I can get it done. I just have to, you know, get an idea for it. Besides, it's only Friday. I'll have it done by Monday, promise." And there is that smirk, that lopsided grin he has that he thinks makes him look so innocent, when, really, I know he's only trying to get out of something.

"Well, I'm not up for doing your homework, Ron, so I suggest you get started tomorrow and finish it before the weekend is over."

"I wasn't going to not do it!" he says, sitting up straight. He looks so indignant that I feel sorry almost immediately.

"I know, but-"

"And I wasn't going to ask you to do it for me either, Hermione," he says, shaking his head. I can tell he's telling the truth because his eyes are steadily looking into mine, and his neck is turning red.

"Alright," I say, moving to the edge of my seat and placing my book next to his. "I was only saying that I wouldn't, just in case you had the idea. Don't deny you've never asked me before to do your work for you, Ron."

He has the decency to look ashamed, then shrugs his shoulders. "Yeah, alright, but I won't do that anymore. Could you at least look it over when I'm finished? I would be so grateful. Please?"

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

I put on my best begging face and watch, trying not to laugh, as her thoughts write themselves across her face. She thinks she's so closed off and has this huge wall up, but I see right past that. I know she has a soft spot when it comes to me and Harry and our school work. I know she'll give in. It's just the matter of getting her to admit it that's a challenge…a challenge that I rise to time and again. Harry should be kissing my arse at this point.

"Fine. I'll look it over, but only after you're finished," she says, and her smile tells me she knows what I was doing, and it worked. I don't care, and she knows it. I missed her all those months we weren't talking, and having her reluctantly help with homework is one of the things I missed most of all. That, and having her laugh because of something I've said, or just having her look at me without fearing the loss of my bollocks.

"Sorted," I say, and give her a smile. "You're amazing, Hermione."

I watch curiously as her face turns red, and wonder if it's just me making her blush or maybe she's thinking of something else? I can't begin to hope that anything from me would make her feel the same way toward me that I feel toward her. Not after what I put her through. I'm surprised she's even down here alone with me so late when, clearly, her work is finished, and everyone else already gone to bed. Did she stay just for me, or was her book really that interesting? I find the latter hard to believe, but this is Hermione, after all.

She stands up suddenly, and I'm taken aback. She doesn't look to be breathing properly and, before I can ask her anything, she's walking toward me. Then, she plops down on the sofa next to me. She has her body turned to look at me, and when I look down, I can see her leg bent in front of her. Her skirt is gapped, and it feels like a hundred hippogriffs are pulling on my hair to prevent me from leaning down and taking a peek at her knickers. Thankfully, she doesn't notice, and clears her throat.

"Am I really, Ron? Amazing, I mean."

Is she…wait, what? What kind of question is that? Is this one of those barmy female things where you're not supposed to answer the question, but come up with something clever to avoid it? Or do I just answer it honestly and hope for the best? I'm staring at her, and I must have a weird face on, because I can see her face get redder and her eyes start to worry. Okay…just say anything; it doesn't matter if you understand what the bloody hell is going on or not.

"Yeah, of course…I mean, I said it, didn't I?"

I can't tell if this was the right answer, because her face suddenly goes blank. Right, that can't be good.

"You did, but-" she says, and chews her lip. Oh, her lips. Every time she bites or licks them, it takes everything I have not to replace her teeth and tongue with mine. "Nevermind, it's stupid." I'm staring as she moves to stand up, then realize she intends to leave, so I grab her arm to make her stop.

"Wait." She gasps and sits back down. She's looking at me strange, then down to my hand, which is still wrapped around her forearm. I look, too, and notice tiny hairs on top of gooseflesh from her arm against my palm. The contact is sending shivers up my arms and into my chest.

"Sorry," I mumble, and yank my hand back as if I burned her. "I didn't mean to grab you like that. I just- don't leave. You wanted to say something before, and I'm listening. Just tell me."

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Why do I want to rip my clothes off every time he touches me? No, that's not right. Where did that come from? I would never do that, but it does make me lose my breath, and I get hot all over. Surely, it's not enough to make me disrobe and forget where I'm at and then make him take off- blimey it's hot in here.

I didn't notice I was staring until he let me go so abruptly. I take a deep breath and realize he's still talking.

"…say something before, and I'm listening. Just tell me."

"It wasn't anything serious," I say, and smooth out my skirt. I need to turn this conversation around fast. I don't know why I had to ask him that question. Did I want him to repeat it? Did I want him to say something else, something more? He only said I was "amazing" because I relented and agreed to help him with his homework. He's said it before, but there was something about the way he just said it now that made me all tingly. I glance at him, and there it is. That annoyingly piercing look is back. Is he even aware he's doing it?

"Why do you look at me like that?" Dammit. Isn't he the one who usually speaks before thinking?

The utter confusion that took over his face is enough to tell me that he has no idea what I was talking about. Normally, he reserves that look for when I talk about S.P.E.W. or when I want to go to library instead of outside. He turns his body towards me, and I find myself resuming my previous position. We're facing each other now, and I'm struck with such an intense feeling; to have his full attention always makes my head spin.

"What- How am I looking at you?" he asks, and his face softens from confusion to something else.

"I…I didn't mean it in a bad way. I mean, like just now. This look," I say, and point to his face. It's gone again, as a look of surprise and confusion replaces it. "Well not now, but it was there."

"Hermione," he says slowly, and I have to resist the urge to roll my eyes. I can tell he's struggling to say the right thing, and I have to admit, I'm not making it easy. Why did I have to open my big, fat mouth? Why do I always have to know every little thing? "What…the hell are you talking about?" he says finally, with his hands palm up on his lap.

"I told you it was stupid," I say, and cross my arms across my chest. He did insist I stay for this ridiculous conversation, so any confusion is partly his fault, isn't it?

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

What in the bloody buggering hell is going on with her? First, she's all smiley; then, she's asking barmy questions; and now, she's accusing me of…looking at her. How am I supposed to look at her, anyway? Even though I grew up with five older brothers, I do have a sister and a mother who made it well known to the rest of us just how insane their species can be. Hermione, on the other hand, is unlike any other girl I've known. Within the first five minutes of meeting her, I knew she wasn't like the rest of them. The things that repelled me from her those first few years are now the things that attract me to her the most; which is why her behavior right now is baffling to me.

Here we are, talking about homework. Then, suddenly, I'm in a conversation about words and feelings. I have to admit, I'm thinking her a bit mad at the moment, but I know that if she felt she had to bring it up, then it must be important. I'm always doing shit without thinking, and don't even realize until she calls me on it, so I know enough not to laugh at her. At least not yet, anyway.

"Hermione, you and I – and the rest of the wizarding world – know that you are anything but stupid. If you say I'm looking at you funny then…I believe you. I'm sorry if I make you uncomfortable." I can't stand to look at her anymore in case she finds something else I'm doing wrong, so I tilt my head down to look at my hands.

"Oh, Ron. This is all coming out so wrong…" I hear her say, and I peek at her through my lashes. She's shaking her head and biting her lip again. I have to run my hands through my hair just to clear it. I love having her back, but I almost forgot how complicated this girl can be sometimes.

"Then just tell me already, so I can stop doing whatever it is that I'm doing that's making you upset."

"Oh, no. I'm not upset," she says, as if I'm supposed to know this already, as if I'm the strange one making things up. How can she sit there and not hear herself going on about how I'm acting weird, when I'm obviously not. Then, she starts acting strange, and claims to be the normal, sane one? I'm trying to be patient, but this is starting to become bizarre, even for us. And that's saying something.

I can't help but look at her incredulously, which only serves to make her look at me like I'm not catching onto something. I can feel the misunderstanding getting thicker between us, and nothing gets my temper up more than when I can't understand something. When it comes to Hermione, that feeling just seems to get worse. Every time we row, I feel this ball of fire in my chest when I see her brows knit together or her lips fold into a straight line. I have to stand up. I can feel her energy coming off of her in waves, and I need more space between us.

"Really?" I say, and stand up to my feet in front of her. "You could have fooled me. You want to talk about looks? How about the one you're giving me right now? You say you're not upset, when all this…" I point my finger, and wave it in front of her face, "…tells me a whole different story. You think you can read expressions so well that you can tell me what I'm thinking all the time and when I'm looking at you weird, but you can't even tell your own emotions apart from your own face!"

I stand there, with my hands fisted at my sides, glaring down at her. I want to run away or hide under the table, but I have to see this row through. This is a row, isn't it? I'm so confused that I can feel my hands shaking. She doesn't move or say anything for a few seconds, and that makes me worry like nothing else.

Fuck.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Well, this is a disaster. I know I'm having a hard time explaining myself, but that's only because I didn't think this conversation through enough before I spoke in the first place. How am I supposed to articulate something like this? Ron's mind doesn't work like the average bloke's. No matter how hard he wants everyone to believe he's ordinary and has a laid back attitude, he does not have me fooled. I know he has a temper. Well, everyone knows that, but I know what secretly makes him tick. I know that any mention of Krum will have him flying off the broom handle. I know that whenever someone talks about something new they bought from Hogsmeade, his jaw clenches before he smiles and tells them how wicked their new purchase is. I know that when he thinks he doesn't understand something or he's confused, he feels inferior and useless. It breaks my heart when he feels any of these things, and here I am, making him feel so bad that he's yelling at me. I know I deserve it, but my first instinct is to yell back, so I do.

"How dare you tell me how I feel?" I yell. He didn't leave much room in front of the sofa, so when I stand up, my chest bumps into his. I suck in a breath, as tight coils wrap around my stomach all the way to my chest. I realize a second later that he made the same sound. We're standing so close, I can feel his breath in my hair, tickling the curls against my forehead.

"I…I'm sorry I yelled," he says quietly, and takes a step back. I almost reach out to him, but stop myself and run my hands through my hair instead. I've become accustomed to his apologies over the years, seeing as we've rowed so many times, but I can always tell when he's sincere. I look at him carefully, and notice his hands are jammed in his pockets and he has his head ducked down, staring at me through his lashes. He raises his head, and there it is again – that damn look. I sigh, and look away, feeling tired all of a sudden. There is no way I can possibly explain this to him. He has no idea what I'm talking about, and, even if he did, he would just think I'm nuttier than he already does.

"No," I say, sobering up from my outburst after seeing him looking at me guiltily. "I'm sorry. I know I'm not making any sense."

"Well, at least you admit it," he says, and I fix him with a glare. I may have admitted it, but he doesn't have to look so pleased about it.

"Sorry," he mumbles, and looks away from me. And that is an example of an insincere apology from Ron Weasley.

Feeling drained, I sit back down heavily on the sofa. I close my eyes and feel him sit next to me. His knee knocks into mine, and his thigh is pressed against my bare leg, making my skirt ride up. I glance sideways at him, and can see his ears blazing red, and I smile to myself.

"Maybe I can explain what I meant, and we can be done with this ridiculous conversation, yeah?" I ask, staring straight ahead into the empty fireplace. I don't dare move or look at him. I can feel the heat from his leg and arm where they're touching me, and I don't want to do anything to lose that connection with him.

"Sure," he says, and shifts next to me, getting comfortable. I have to hold the edge of my skirt as his knee catches it, almost sending it straight up, baring my entire leg and knickers. We glance at each other and chuckle nervously. I look away again, suddenly hot under my button down shirt and tie and wool skirt. The fire is absent from the fireplace, but it feels like someone's turned an oven on full blast.

"I like to think of myself as a very observant person…sometimes. And I think we both have a…connection. You know, being best friends with Harry and all. I mean, who wouldn't, right?" I peek over at him, and he's nodding, looking straight ahead. So far, so good. "Right, so we have this connection and…I notice things about you, being your friend, and lately I've seen you look at me. Not in a bad way," I say quickly, and I see him look at me out of the corner of my eye, and he smiles a little before nodding again. "It's just…different. I don't know what to make of it, and you know how I like to know everything." He lets out a snort, and I smack his arm. "Shut it, okay? You know what I mean. When I notice something different about you…or Harry, I need to know what's going on. And I know you only look at me this way and I'm just wondering…why?"

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Oh. Fuck. Could she be talking about when I have to hold myself back from attacking her and snogging her senseless? Is that the look she's talking about? I can't think of any other look I might be giving her that would make her this confused. I'm assuming this because, when I do imagine doing certain…things to her, I know I have no control over my face, and that is always when I catch her looking. It never fails. Leave it to Hermione to catch onto it. How the hell am I going to explain this? I can't lie to her. She's like one of those lying telling machine things that muggles use.

I rub my hands on my thighs, and it accidentally slips and lands on her leg. I freeze, my thoughts and hands stopping. I peek at her sideways to gauge her reaction. She's waiting for an answer, but now she's breathing through her nose, staring down at my hand. I look at it, too, and it's like we're stupefied into this trance of hand touching leg, bare soft skin under my calloused, oversized fingers. I notice her chest heaving, and I look up at her face again. She's pointing at my face and beaming.

"Right there! See? What are you thinking right now, Ron? This very second?" She looks so excited, like when she's so close to figuring out a rune translation and all she needs is the last one before she can finish. She's actually smiling, and I'm groaning, suddenly aware of what she's been talking about this whole time. My assumption was right, and I've been caught. Apparently, I'm not as stealthy as I thought. Fuck.

"Er…" I say unintelligently as I rummage through my dirty and mostly inappropriate thoughts. Hermione's soft skin under my hands as I trail them up her leg and into her knickers? No, that will just get me debollocked. "I was thinking about…you," I finish lamely. It isn't exactly a lie, is it? I was thinking about her. I'm always thinking about her.

"What about me?" Hermione says impatiently. Of course she wants details. Did I forget who I was talking to here?

"About…" I'm stalling, and know I have to be honest. We were both looking at my hand on her leg before I got that "look", right? If I say anything else, she's going to know I'm lying. "I was thinking about my hand…on your leg, alright? I was thinking about how soft your skin is compared to my big rough hands and how…I liked it."

What is wrong with me? Was all that really necessary? I basically just told her I like to touch her! I realize my hand is still on her, and I snatch it away as quickly as I can.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Is he seriously telling me that he was just thinking about how much he likes to…touch me? I can't believe this. He pulls his hand away, and I try not to feel offended. I mean, he did just admit to liking it, right? Then why would he take it away? I need more clarification.

"So every time I see you looking at me like that," I say, and point to him again. He's now grimacing as if he just got caught with his pants down, and I'm trying my best not to feel giddy before I get a straight answer, "is because you're thinking about me? About…touching me?"

"Yes, Hermione," he says, with his hands now over his face. I bite my lip and lightly touch the spot on my leg that his hand was just covering. It's still warm. "Shit, you make me sound like such a wanker."

"I don't think that at all, Ron," I say, reaching out to take his hands away from his face. "I think you're sweet, and maybe a bit confused."

He turns to look at me, and I'm pleased when he doesn't try to take his hands away from mine. I hold onto them more firmly and look him in the eyes. I can barely breathe, and my heart is thumping so hard in my chest, I'm sure he can hear it. I can feel some of our friendship slip away from us, but it doesn't feel the same as when we're in a big row. The part that's going away feels like it's being filled up with something else. Something a lot more fulfilling than friendship.

"Confused is my middle name, didn't you know?" he says, and I'm laughing because the tension has been broken, and I love him for it. I love him. I stop laughing as that incredibly revealing piece of information starts to take form inside my brain.

"What just happened?" he asks, his laughter subsiding.

"I…I don't know."

He squeezes my hands, and it feels like he's just squeezed new life into my heart. A thousand sparks erupt inside my belly and, suddenly, I'm blinking back tears. Is this really happening right now?

"Do you feel that?" I whisper, and pull his hands towards me, clasped in mine, onto my leg in the same spot as before. I peer up at him, needing him to understand without me having to explain it. He has to know what I'm talking about this time, because if he doesn't, then I might just faint from the overwhelming feeling of being alone in this spiraling wheel of emotion I'm just now recognizing as love.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

I'm sweet. No, I'm confused and sweet. Sweet and confused. However you want to say it, this is what I am because Hermione Granger says so. She could say I'm a three-headed dog who likes to take long naps, and I would agree at this point. As long she doesn't let go of me, she can say whatever the hell she wants. Her hands are so tiny and soft inside of my large and hard hands, but her grip is firm, and I'm reminded of her strength. When I look into her eyes, I can see the duality behind them. I think I may be one of the few people who know the real Hermione, and how she has a soft, vulnerable side to her that she rarely lets anyone else see. The moment is feeling intense and, of course, I have to muck it up by saying something.

"Confused is my middle name, didn't you know?" I'm so lame it hurts. But she's laughing, and the sound makes my head spin. I laugh with her for the sole purpose of keeping her laughing. I want to take that sound and bottle it somehow. If I could pour it into my ears and listen to it all day, I would. I'm lost in it as I watch her mouth split into a smile and her eyes crinkle as she giggles.

Then, she stops, and I'm confused, for real this time.

"What just happened?" I ask.

"I…I don't know."

She's staring into my eyes, and I see hers start to turn shiny as she blinks.

"Did you feel that?" she asks me so quietly, I almost don't hear her. Her hands are still in mine, and she's pulling them back to her leg. Her grip is even firmer than before. I gape at her as strange feelings start to run through my body. I'm surprised when not one randy, thoughtless, or pervy thing enters my mind. All I can think about is Hermione and how much I want to make her smile again. I squeeze her hands back, and am rewarded with a sharp gasp from her. Wow, what a reaction.

"I feel…something, yeah," I manage to breathe out. It was risky to answer her question without thinking first, but I figured being vague would be best before I own up to anything more.

She takes one of my hands and rests it on her chest, over her heart. I can't breathe all of a sudden. What is going on with me?

"Is your heart doing this?" she asks, and I have to tear my eyes away from her chest and up to her eyes before simply nodding, not trusting myself to speak just yet. I can feel a wild thumping under her thin shirt. I'm completely gobsmacked.

Leaving my hand on her chest, she drops my other hand and slowly reaches out to touch my heart with her palm flat against my chest. If it wasn't pumping faster before, it is now. Her small hand is warm, even through my shirt. I let out a breath, finally, and move closer.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Oh my God, what am I doing? I just put his hand on my chest! And his heart is beating just as fast as mine is.

I just had a large epiphany that may very well define my life, and I have to make sure it's real. I do love him, so much, and, most importantly, I have to make sure he feels the same way. I'm smart enough to know that, logically, he wouldn't be reacting this way if he wasn't interested. I am also smart enough to know that teenage boys react to just about anything with breasts and legs. Case in point: Lavender Brown. No, I have to at least test him to find out what his true feelings are, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally.

He moves in closer, and his leg is now pressed firmly against mine. I drop my hand and take his away from my chest. I can't think properly this way. Having his entire body only a foot away from mine is enough to make me lose my head.

"What are you thinking, Ron?" I watch him take a deep breath and run his hands through his hair. "I don't want you to think about it. I don't want a safe answer. Just tell me."

"I don't know, Hermione," he says, and my heart drops to the floor in a pile of dung. "I don't know why or how, but you make me feel things I've never felt before." I look up at him; my heart is being scraped off the floor and put messily back into my chest. "I can't explain it…" he continues. "What are you thinking?"

That's not too bad, right? I can't expect too much too soon. I smile at him and feel a weight being lifted when he smiles back, that smile that lets me know that he just told me something very private, real, and true. I gather up all my Gryffindor courage and say, "I feel things about you, too. I'm thinking about how it feels good when you touch me. How you make me feel when you look at me that way. Now that I know what's behind it, I love it even more. And I love…your hands. They're not that big."

Alright, so it wasn't a full confession, but I can't hit him with it all at once. This is Ron, and I know him well enough to know when he's had enough. Telling him I love him will most likely turn him into a stuttering mess, and that is not conducive to this conversation. I don't need to hear him say it back to me. I only just realized it myself. Besides, I just want to know where his feelings are in regards to me and our relationship. I'm watching him carefully, looking for any signs of retreat, and I'm seeing none.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

What planet am I living on right now? What planet is she living on? Can it be possible that she feels the same way I do? Could she love me? This is insane.

"That's…nice," I say, and literally smack myself in the forehead, earning another laugh from her. I drop my hand and gaze at her, listening and letting the sound calm me down. "Sorry, I was a prat just then. Let me start over, yeah?"

She nods and laughs quietly again. I stop to listen. Then, I clear my throat. "Right, so we both like when I…touch you? And we both have feelings we can't explain…am I right so far?"

She nods, so I decide to take a chance, throw everything in the pot and bet it all. "So would it be too bold if I were to ask to…kiss you right now?" I hold my breath and watch for her reaction. I can tell she didn't expect that question as her face turns red and, suddenly, goes blank for a moment. I am secretly proud of myself for stumping her.

"I…yeah, sure…" she says, and I have to strain my ears to hear her. She licks her lips, the tip of her tongue darting out quickly to moisten them. I've seen her do this hundreds of times, and, even though it always has an effect on me, nothing compares to how it's making me feel right now. She's wetting her lips to get ready to kiss…me. I'm going to feel the result of her lip moistening on my own lips, and that is just brilliant. Why am I not kissing her right now?

I shake my head and can't help but grin. "Okay, are you ready?" Why am I asking her this? Why am I speaking, for fuck's sake?

"Mmm-hmm," is her response, and it is the best thing she's said all night.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

I'm dreaming, that's all. I fell asleep in my chair, and I'm going to wake up any second. Thanks for watching. The end.

His face is coming closer, and I secretly pinch my wrist to make sure I'm not dreaming. It hurts, so I'm awake. My eyes flutter closed of their own accord when I see him doing the same thing, and it's heaven. Better than heaven, actually. It's like an ice cream sundae without all the sticky mess and worrying about it melting before you can reach the bottom. What am I thinking? His lips are on mine and I'm thinking about sweets?

His lips are softer than I imagined. They're full and soft and fit perfectly between my lips. He's so gentle and timid, and I can't help but smile. It's so bizarre kissing someone you've been friends with for the past six years. I was afraid he would think of me as his sister or something wretched like that, but the way his hands are now in my hair leave no question about what he thinks of me. Sister is not one of them, thank goodness.

I feel his hands in my hair, and I have to stop myself from thinking about how frizzy it is. He must like it because he is now running his hands through it and touching the back of my neck. Oh, that feels so very good. I relax and press my chest into his, my hands mimicking his and grabbing on to the hairs behind his neck as I move my lips with his. I hear a low moan and realize it's coming from me.

"Hermione," I hear him mumble into my mouth, and the sound sends my brain buzzing.

"Yes," I say. It's not really an answer and not exactly a question. I don't know what I'm saying. I just want his mouth on mine again. He reads my mind and resumes kissing me, but he's going too slow, and he's being so careful, and I just want more.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

I'm trying to be a gentleman. I want our first kiss to be perfect. And bloody hell, is it ever. I can't get over how wet her lips are, sliding into place and fitting perfectly into mine. When she made that moaning sound, I almost lost it completely. This is the best kiss of my life. Lavender who?

I never imagined I would be thinking like this, but I feel like this could be heaven. It's such a simple kiss, but there is just something about Hermione that excites the hell out of me. She makes me forget everything else when I'm around her under normal circumstances. Having her close and allowing me to touch her is just…brilliant! I can't believe we're actually kissing! Asking her to do this could actually make me a genius…in my own mind, of course.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

I'm panting, taking short puffs of oxygen into my lungs in order to stay as close to Ron as possible, not wanting to break the most intense moment of my life.

Clearly, he doesn't have the same lung capacity as I do, and breaks away from the kiss, breathing heavily on my face. I can feel his hot bursts of air on my mouth and cheeks. I can smell his breath, a hint of chocolate, if I'm not mistaken. I shouldn't be surprised. I can't take the separation, so I move to kiss him again, and he shakes his head to stop me.

"No, wait…I have to…catch my…breath," he puffs out. My eyes are open, but his are not. He's leaning his forehead on mine, and his hands are still tangled in my hair. He's keeping my head up as he uses it for support, and I don't mind at all. I have a suspicion that his lack of air has less to do with the kissing and more to do with what's going on inside his head. So I wait.

I lick my lips and use the time to study his face this close up. His eyelashes are so light, they're almost gold, and the light dusting of freckles on his face is standing out against the pinkness of his cheeks. I look down to his lips, and they're as full as ever, most likely swollen from using them on mine. I feel a surge of energy ripple through my chest as I realize it's all because of me.

I take a deep breath and slide my hands to his shoulders and down to his chest to feel his heart beat again. It's beating even more rapidly than before.

"I…I feel it, Hermione," he says, and, when I look back up, his eyes are open and staring at me. I've never been this close to him before, and, when I look into his eyes, I am suddenly lost in the blueness of them. They're so bright and yet there is deepness to them that I have never seen before. I'm speechless for a few seconds, trapped in his gaze. I feel almost…desired. It's having a very profound effect on my mind…and my body, to be perfectly honest.

"Feel…what?" I think I know what he's trying to say, but I need to hear it.

His hands move to my shoulders, and I feel a chill run down my spine, and I tremble. I know he noticed, because his hands continue moving down my arms and then to my waist. His hands are so big, they make my waist seem smaller by comparison. For a second, the self-conscious side of my brain is grateful, and I smile inwardly.

"I feel everything...I feel you. I've wanted to kiss you for so long and then I fucked it all up, but you're here now, and we just kissed and…I don't want to stop. Does that make me mental?"

I pull back from him and think about what he just said. "Ron, do you mean to say you had these feelings before…Lavender?"

"Yeah, I did," he nods, and I have to look away to let his words sink in. He's probably felt this way for as long as I have, and yet we've never done anything about it. What is wrong with us? "I'm so sorry I never told you. I never would have gone with her if I had any idea you wanted me, too. You're my best friend and I reckon it's not easy to let something like that out and risk not ever being your friend again," he continues, looking dejected. "But I did that anyway, didn't I? I made you hate me all those months when all I had to do was tell you that I'd rather be with you than with her. I really am a prat."

He's breaking my heart and mending it together simultaneously. How is that possible?

"Ron, I should have told you something before you-"

"But why would you?" he asks, cutting off my sentence. "I mean, I didn't make it easy always starting rows with you and then getting off with Lavender. I don't blame you, Hermione. I should have said or done something, but I was too afraid and stupid." His hands grip my waist, and I hold my breath, knowing he's not finished yet. "I tried to make you jealous, and when I saw it was working, I was confused and didn't know how to get out of it."

"Ron, I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't hurt, but that's all over now. I understand, and I'm not going to hold it against you," I say, and realize that I mean it. I don't want to hold a grudge anymore. I saw, just like mostly everyone else, that he was getting sick of Lavender hanging all over him and that he didn't know how to break free from her. Everyone knew, except her. As much as it pained me to see them together and hear him complain about her, I knew he just didn't want to upset her. I have been trying to find the silver lining in that whole situation and, if all I come away with is that he was just too damn nice to hurt a girl's feelings, then I suppose that isn't too bad. "Can you promise me that if you ever feel uncomfortable or need space or…don't want me anymore, that you'll tell me straight away? Don't string me along."

I know it may have sounded harsh, but I need to make sure he understood what I meant. I don't want to become another Lavender, totally oblivious to the fact that the boy she loves wants nothing to do with her, thus making her the laughing stock of the school.

"You…I would never do that to you, Hermione," he says, and, just like that, I believe him.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

I must have really screwed up with that whole Lavender…thing. I can't even call it a relationship because all we did was snog all over the damn place. I let my hormones take over my brain and, in the process, almost lost one of my best friends. It wasn't worth it, not in the least. I am fully aware of how lucky I am to have Hermione talking to me again, not to mention having her in my arms right now, wanting to kiss me. I swear if I ever hurt her again, it will probably be the last thing I do.

"Can I kiss you now?" she asks, and I grin at her red face and the fact that she asked so politely. Only she can sound so innocent and so sexy at the same time.

"Yeah," I say, and wish I had something more macho and charming to respond with. I could have said something sweet like 'with pleasure, my love' or something hot like 'you bet your arse you can. Now come here, beautiful'. But I settle for 'yeah,' and that seems to be enough, because her eyes are closing and her lips are parted and she's leaning in, and it's fantastic.

Instead of slow and gentle, I want and need something more. She seems to be of the same mind, because she crushes her lips to mine with no hesitation. I use my hands to push her waist until I feel her back hit the arm of the sofa. Her shirt comes out of her skirt, and my fingers are suddenly touching skin. I feel a jolt down in my pants, and I don't dare move my hands. First her leg, now her bare waist. Oh, if my hands could talk…

I slowly move my hands over her narrow waist to her flat belly and, sweet merlin, she's so smooth. I spread my hands and feel the tips of my fingers graze the bottom of her bra covered tits. Holy shit.

I pull back for a breath and lean in again. This time, I can feel her mouth opening, and her tongue is licking my lips. I plunge my tongue into her mouth and swirl it around, wanting to feel every crevice of her lips and mouth. I can feel her tongue twirling around mine, and we are kissing so slowly and passionately, breathing through our noses and panting, our breaths mingling together.

As I deepen the kiss I hear her gasp inside my mouth. It's all so much and my heart is beating inside my brain all the way down to my crotch. It's like I'm one huge heart just thumping away loud and steadily in my ears.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Oh. My. Goodness. Oh, God. I'm so hot, and I feel slick between my legs. It might just be the wool from my skirt making me sweat, or maybe it's the tall ginger on top of me, kissing me like there's no tomorrow with his hands on my…skin. I'm whimpering and panting and our tongues are just all over each other's mouths. I've never kissed anyone like this before, but I know Ron has, so I let him lead and just mimic whatever he does. It feels like a dance, almost like when we row, but much, much better.

I can breathe again, because his lips have moved from my mouth in favor of my neck. Oh, sweet Merlin, he's licking my neck and, oh God, did he just bite my ear?

He's doing things to me and making my body react in ways I never would have thought possible. I can feel myself losing a bit of control, and I can't justify the fact that I have no desire to stop him. Not even a little bit. My hands skim the back of his shirt until they reach the edge of his trousers. I feel like I'm in another state of mind as I pull his shirt out, delving my hands underneath to his bare back. He's sweaty and warm and hard under my palm and my fingers as I trail them over his spine.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

She tastes so good. 'Delicious' is the word that comes to mind. Better than treacle tart or pumpkin pasties. I can't think of any other words than 'soft' and 'delicious' and 'wet.' Those three words keep recycling themselves in my brain as my tongue drags itself up her neck to her ear.

I feel a rush of adrenaline, and, before I can stop myself, I'm nipping her earlobe with my teeth. I feel her jump underneath me, and she lets out a small squeak, and I know she enjoyed it because her hands are now on my lower back, and I have to fight my body's instinct to buck against hers when she reaches for my trousers. She's so close to my arse, and I don't think she even realizes it.

When I feel my shirt being taken out of my trousers, I swear I can hear loud ringing in my ears. Then, her hands are on my skin, moving up my back and tickling my spine, and the control I have over my body is slipping away. I pull away from her neck to look at her face and see her eyes are closed and her mouth is open. Her lips, usually pink and perfect, are puffy and red, and I see her tongue slip out to run over her bottom lip so slowly that I feel like time is stopping.

"Why…why'd you stop?" she whispers without opening her eyes, and her hands still on the skin of my back, and I can't find words for a response.

Why did I stop? Did I want to stop? Did she? How far is this going to go? We only just kissed and now we're touching, and it feels bloody brilliant. A creeping sensation starts to fill my gut, and I know we have to stop because if we don't I won't be able to control myself any longer. Looking at her now, lying there, looking so fucking sexy and more relaxed than I've ever seen her, and at the same so wound up with her ragged breathing, I have a feeling she has no intention of stopping me, either.

"I just wanted to look at you," I say, and reach out to smooth her hair from her face. I want her to be the one to stop this before it gets out of hand. I know from the many times I had to withdraw from Lavender (for a completely different reason) that girls don't take well to rejection. Hermione is light years away from Lavender, but I suspect they're all pretty much the same in this area, right?

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

I open my eyes, and he's staring down at me with another new expression on his face. Even though I've never seen it on him before, I recognize it almost instantly. It's a look of…adoration, care, and, if I'm assuming correctly, love? It's certainly more than just lust or your run of the mill boyish horniness. No, there is more there, and it fills my heart, and I have to take a deep breath through my smile.

"Do you like what you see?" I ask, feeling like it is alright now to flirt with him. I have no idea how, but I've seen enough girls my age act ridiculous around boys, so, what can it hurt to try it out? He grins, and I feel a sense of accomplishment that my first attempt at being a "girl" is paying off. He tucks my hair behind my ears, and it feels so intimate and strange to have him do this. We were just snogging our brains out, yet this simple gesture gets to me.

"I love what I see."

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Did I just say "love"? And what I see is her, so did I just say I love her? Did she take it that way? I open my eyes wide, trying to suppress my panic.

"Really?" she says, and her hands stop when they reach my hips. The temperature in the room seems to be escalating, and I can feel my shirt sticking to my back, wrinkled from when she had her hands underneath it.

"Er…yeah," I say, and then she's sitting up, her hands leaving my skin. I want to push her down again and pull her hands back, but I don't. We're sitting up, facing one another, and when I look down, I realize I'm sitting between her legs, and her skirt is almost all the way up, and if I tilt my head just so I can see a sliver of white knickers tight on her arse. Right, focus.

"I love what I see, too," she says, and she's smiling at me.

"Wicked," I say, and she's still smiling. Thank Merlin I didn't screw that up. Either that, or she's so far gone that I could say anything and she would agree. This is a new development in our relationship. Our relationship…that sounds right scary. And, to my surprise, just plain right.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

We're just staring at each other, and I can't stop smiling. This euphoric feeling has washed over me, and I can't shake it off. We're not even touching anymore, not kissing, and the feeling is still there. There are so many questions I want to ask him, so many things I want to say and do, and yet all I can do is repeat what he said and just…look. We've always been able to communicate without words, and now is no exception. I can tell he's trying to think of something to say to fill the silence. A joke, maybe, to relieve the tension.

"Wicked," he says, and I smile wider, because it's not clever or very funny or sentimental, and it doesn't make sense, but it's such a Ron thing to say. I am so relieved that he is who he is and that, even though there is something developing between us, he will always be the same Ron.

I'm not sure what he meant when he said he loved what he saw. He could have just meant it figuratively, like a clever response to what I said, or maybe he was professing his love. I don't know, but I don't care, because I can feel his real feelings coming off of him in waves, hitting me with such force that it's hard to ignore or misunderstand. When he's ready, he'll say it right, but, for now, I'll take the hint and the knowing look in his eyes that tells me he does, in fact, love me.

A/N: I plan on making this a multi-chaptered story detailing moments between these two incredibly neurotic and fantastic characters. If you like what you read please leave a review and subscribe for more chapters like this one. The M rating is for future chapters. If you read my other stories you will understand why.

Thank you for reading!