Author's Note: Well … it's been a while, hasn't it? Sorry about that. But I think we all know by now that sometimes life gets in the way of letting us do the things we truly enjoy.

Anyway, a quick note about this chapter - if it seems repetitive and unnecessary, just know that it is necessary. I really need to express what's going on in Ron's head to give readers an idea of the way his thoughts can go back and forth between what's the truth and what his insecurities are telling him.

Lastly, thanks for your reviews and the addition of this story, as well as myself as an author, to your alerts and favourites. It's so incredibly appreciated.

Disclaimer: not mine.

Ron squinted as the first rays of sunshine seeped through the gnarled branches of the trees surrounding him. Sighing heavily, he covered his eyes with his hands, trying very hard to stop thinking about the intense conversation he'd had with Harry a few hours prior.

Alone with his thoughts, he had lost the small bit of confidence Harry had given him in his adamant reassurance that Hermione was just as much in love with Ron as he was with Hermione.

If he'd spoken to Harry about this while the locket was still around, he would have most likely believed that Harry was lying to him. But the simple truth was that the locket was destroyed and Harry was his best friend. There was just no fucking way Harry would do something so cruel, especially if he'd known all along that Ron loved Hermione.

Ron moved his hands from his eyes, and wrapped them tightly around his knees, almost as if the tighter he held, the saner he'd remain. Harry had given him two weeks. Two sodding weeks to tell Hermione that he, at the very least, fancied her. How the bloody fuck was he supposed to accomplish this task? Yes, Harry had promised him that everything would work in Ron's favour; however, there was still a part of him, tiny as it now was, that couldn't fathom how or why Hermione would have any interest in him. Harry was so much better suited for her. He was the hero, and Ron the insignificant sidekick; and in every story Ron had been told as a child, it was the hero who got the girl. The sidekick had no storyline - at least, not one that included an incredible, brilliant, beautiful and perfect girl.

But Harry loves Ginny, Ron silently reminded himself. Your sister is his girl.

And so the war in his mind continued. Over and over, in a continuous loop - Harry wouldn't lie to you; Harry's your best mate; Harry's confident she loves you; there's no way she does; she can do better; you've suspected for years she wanted Harry; you're mental if you think you have a chance with her.

Ron shook his head to clear it, and groaned out loud when it didn't work.

Maybe you need a different approach.

Ron scowled in frustration. How the fuck else could he look at this? Harry's threat couldn't really be taken seriously. Could it? Nothing good could come from any of this.

He fucking promised you, Ron!

And it suddenly dawned on him that he really had no choice but to attempt to find something positive about Harry's threat.

Right. The positive.

Well ... she obviously cared for him as a friend, and no one could ever convince him otherwise - not even himself. He'd seen for himself how badly affected she'd been when he'd stupidly dated Lavender. Fuck, he still had the scars on his hands to prove it. And if memory served him correctly, in fourth year she did, in fact, scream at him not to treat her as a last resort.

She had asked him to Slughorn's party. And while Ron assumed that she only meant as friends, the truth was that she had never actually specified. So that left the possibility that she had attempted to ask him out a on a proper date, which was more than he'd ever done, short of acting like a jealous prat whenever the name "Krum" was uttered. Ron could only imagine what would have happened between himself and Hermione if Ginny had just kept her fucking mouth shut about Hermione and sodding Krum sharing a snog.

He felt a horrible ache in his chest when he finally reached the most obvious indication that she could possibly be in love with him.

She had run after him. She had screamed his name, pleading for him to come back. She had sobbed – a lot. He fucking hated himself for putting her in a position that forced her to choose. Hermione was nothing if not loyal and Harry's cause was too big for her to also abandon him. Ron couldn't take it personally that she had opted to stay with Harry.

He would have to start paying closer attention to the way she reacted around him. He wondered if maybe a deep-rooted fear of rejection had subconsciously forced him to remain oblivious to her feelings where he was concerned.

Maybe there was a chance that her heart raced whenever she was around him. Perhaps she did dream about being his girlfriend. Maybe she wanted to kiss him, or touch him ... have him touch her.

He clenched his teeth, closed his eyes and balled his fists when he remembered Harry stating so confidently that Hermione had most definitely been ... wanking in the forest. And if, if, Harry was right about Hermione fancying Ron, then there was a possibility that when Hermione touched herself, it was Ron she thought about.

'Fuck,' he moaned quietly.

It would make sense. Ron definitely thought of Hermione when he gave himself a wank, and had done so since third year. Actually, come to think of it, she was the only girl he thought about - even while he'd dated Lavender.

He had to stop thinking about this or he'd go mad. He opened his eyes, and hugged his knees to his chest. He stared at nothing in particular as he tried to clear his mind. No sooner had he begun to rest his chin on his knees when he was assaulted with the mouth-watering scent of vanilla. Hermione's scent. He internally groaned. The smell was strongest when she just finished having a shower.

Shower. Hermione. Wet. Naked. Lathering herself. Wet. So incredibly, fucking wet.

Miraculously, he remained expressionless. He told himself to remain calm and slowly turned his head to look at her.

She stood at the mouth of the tent with a mug in each hand staring at him apprehensively. She looked so fresh and beautiful and her scent was everywhere. He couldn't stop his eyes from slowly roving over her body. A body he wanted to desperately taste, touch and feel. He wondered if she'd taste as good as she smelled, and subconsciously licked his lips.

Hermione gasped and he looked up, immediately flushing red when he realised he'd been caught ogling her. He had to start acting normal.

'Good morning,' he said, his voice hoarse.

Hermione cleared her throat.

'Morning.'

Ron decided a bit of light-heartedness was needed to ease the tension and raised his brow at the mugs in her hand.

'One of those for me?' he quipped.

'Oh, well, actually, you see, one of them is for Harry,' she replied.

It surprised Ron how much that hurt him and his face fell.

'Oh.'

'No, that's not what I meant,' Hermione said frantically, but it did nothing to ease the pain in his chest.

'It's okay, Hermione,' he muttered.

'No, listen,' she said desperately. 'I only meant that I expected to see Harry out here because I was under the impression that he was still keeping watch. I'm afraid that you won't find this tea as sweet as you usually take it.'

Ron felt a little overwhelmed by her outburst and decided to keep things simple.

'The way I usually take it?' he asked.

'Well, yes,' she answered. 'You take two sugars. Three, if you feel the tea was made too strongly.'

Something about the fact that Hermione knew this seemingly useless fact about him made his heart beat madly. It was stupid, really. As stupid as the fact that he knew she took only one sugar in her tea because with dentists for parents, she was unaccustomed to sweets.

He openly stared at her, trying to find in her brown eyes if she was experiencing a bit of what he was feeling, but it was difficult to read her. He wanted to know more.

'I see,' he said. 'What else do you know about me?'

Instead of answering, she sat next to him and handed him Harry's mug. She smelled fucking delicious. Ron had to bite his lip to keep from moaning aloud.

'I know that one sugar is entirely too little for you,' she joked.

'Cheers,' Ron said with a grin. He took a sip and made a face.

'That bad?' she laughed.

'Awful;. Entirely too bitter for my taste.'

Hermione rolled her eyes.

'Honestly, Ron. Just drink the damn thing,' she said.

Ron felt giddy at hearing her swear again.

'Done it again, have I?' he quipped.

'Only you, Ron,' she replied. 'Only you.'

For a moment, Ron felt his heart stop. He turned to look at her. There was something about those words spoken from her lips that had Ron thinking that maybe this was the opportunity he was looking for to find out what he needed and wanted to know. Maybe Harry was right - in retrospect, two weeks was a bloody long time. He needed to know now.

Hermione stared back at him, her breath hitching. Ron swallowed and licked his lips, preparing himself to speak when Hermione whimpered. Ron's eyes widened and he groaned.

Now. He had to fucking know now before he went completely mental.

'Really?' he said suddenly and quietly.

Hermione jumped slightly when he spoke, but he kept his gaze on her.

'What?' she asked.

There were many ways he could respond, the foremost in his thoughts being "never mind"; however, Harry's threat was hanging over his head, and Ron decided that it really made no difference whether he did this now or in two weeks.

'Am I ... ' he swallowed. 'Am I the only one?'

Hermione gasped lightly, yet Ron refused to back down. Everything that happened next depended on her answer. She would either make him or break him.

'Yes,' she said.

Sweet merciful fuck.

Ron kept his eyes on hers as he placed his cup on the floor and scooted closer to her. His heart pounded hard in his chest as Hermione did the same. He couldn't believe what was happening. He had no inkling of what to do next.

'Hermione,' he whispered.

'Yes,' she repeated in a trembling voice.

His mouth opened, but unsure of what to say, he immediately closed it and shut his eyes. He couldn't lose his confidence now.

Ron was about to speak when he heard Hermione quietly begin to sob. His eyes snapped open and he panicked when she started to move away from him.

'No!' he cried as he gently grabbed her wrist. 'Stay,' he pleaded. He couldn't give up now. Not when he'd got so far.

'Why?' she asked.

Ron felt an ache at the obvious sadness in her voice. He forced himself to believe it was because she wanted the same things he did. He'd waited too long for this moment and he put all his hope into thinking she'd waited just as long. Enough was enough.

'Ron - ' Hermione began, but Ron had already moved in and it was too late to back down now.

As soon as his lips touched hers, a jolt of electricity shot through his entire body. It quickly faded, however, when he realised Hermione hadn't responded. Dejected, he began to pull away.

'No, stay,' she panted, and it didn't escape Ron that she was also begging him using his exact words from only moments earlier.

He leaned forward, unable to resist her now that he'd had a brief taste. He kissed her softly and slowly, careful not to move too fast. It was extremely difficult though. For years, he'd wanted this woman and now that he finally somewhat had her, all he wanted was to ravish her.

There was a tingling at the back of his neck. Briefly, he wondered what was causing it when he felt the unmistakable shape of Hermione's small hands. Her touch felt so good that he pulled her closer and licked her lips. Hermione sighed and something deep within him snapped. He groaned loudly, slipping his tongue into her mouth and moving it over her own. He wanted more - needed more, but he didn't want to scare her. She tasted like toothpaste, and sitting this close to her made Ron feel as if he were drowning in her scent. He was trying to work up the nerve to pull her closer when Hermione unexpectedly yanked on his hair and pushed her breasts up against his chest in a manner that could only be described as animalistic.

She wanted him. Apparently as badly as he wanted her. His cock hardened at the possibilities of what that could physically mean and even though he didn't want to stop kissing her, he desperately needed air to think clearly on what move he'd next make. He pulled away and the loss of her lips and tongue had him groaning in despair.

Ron had to suppress a moan when he focused his gaze on her. Her face, and what he could see of her neck, burned crimson. Her lips were moist, red, and swollen. Her brown eyes were clouded over with what Ron desperately hoped was lust. And her chest heaved as she tried to regain her breath. She bit her lip, and she was so incredibly fucking beautiful that Ron had to use every bit of his willpower not to declare his love, rip off her knickers, and fuck her senseless.

'Sorry,' she said as she began to loosen his hold on her.

'No!' Ron yelped as he kept his hold on her.

Sorry? She was ... sorry? That had to be wrong. If she told him she regretted it, Ron didn't think he would be able to handle that. Especially when it had felt so ... right. Like for a moment, everything in his life was as it should be. She had to have felt the same way.

'Please don't tell me you're sorry. Tell me anything but that,' he pleaded.

Hermione took a deep breath.

'What do you want me to say?'

That you love me, Ron thought. So that I can finally tell you how much I fucking love you back.

'Tell me ... ' he started to verbalise his thought, but he worried that it may be too soon. After all, they had just shared their first kiss. The first of what he hoped was many. He needed them now.

'Tell me I can do it again. Whenever I want,' he finally said, but it wasn't enough. He needed to know that she wanted it too.

'Ron - '

'More importantly,' he stressed, 'tell me that you want me to.' And waited breathlessly for her answer.

'I ... I ... Ron, I want you to,' she whispered.

Ron couldn't stop the growl that escaped him as he kissed her hungrily and he was pleased when Hermione responded in kind. She wanted him. He'd heard the words, and they'd come out of her mouth. Not Harry's. Hers. He wrapped his arms around her waist, shoving his tongue deeper into her mouth. Fuck, he loved her so much and it fucking killed him to know that he had to wait to tell her.

Hermione suddenly ended the kiss, pushing Ron away from her.

'Stop!' she cried.

Ron stared at her in shock.

'Why?' he asked stupidly.

'Just stop for a moment.'

Ron removed his arms from her body.

'Okay.'

He felt sick. He had gone too far and she resented him for it. And to think he had almost told her he loved her. He thought he'd understood correctly that she had wanted him to continue kissing her. But as usual, Ron had fucked everything up. And there was only one way to fix it.

'I'm sorry. I thought you wanted ... ' A huge lump had lodged itself in his throat and he couldn't finish.

He'd been wrong. Harry had been wrong. Ron had misunderstood. He almost wished he hadn't kissed her because now that he knew what it felt like to have her lips pressed against his own, he didn't know how he was supposed to live without that feeling ever again. The thought was incredibly painful and not wanting to cry in front of her, he quickly got up and made to leave.

'I'm gonna go try and sleep,' he murmured as he started to walk away.

'I don't want to be another Lavender!'

Ron froze in shock and slowly turned towards her. There were tears in her eyes, and when Ron met her gaze, Hermione buried her head in her hands. He'd never been more furious with himself. He should have told her years ago what she meant to him - what she would always mean to him. It sickened him to think that Hermione believed his only intention was to use her physically. He knelt down in front of her.

'Hermione, look at me.'

'No. Go away, Ron,' she said with a sniffle.

She was mental. Completely fucking mental. And he loved her and he wanted her and he fucking cherished her more than anything else in the whole bloody world. He wouldn't walk away from her now. Not ever again. Hermione was stuck with him.

He pulled his hands away from her face but she wouldn't look at him.

'Didn't I tell you,' he began, 'that I'd never leave you again? I may have told you that there's not one thing I wouldn't do for you. But leaving you is not one of them. It's my own fault for not being clearer.'

He watched silently as Hermione began to cry, wanting so badly to pull her into his arms and comfort her.

'Ron, please let go of me,' she said.

Sod it, Ron thought, and moved one of his hands to her face to wipe away her tears.

'Hermione, listen to me,' he said in a strong voice. 'You are not just another "Lavender" to me. You never have been and you never will be.'

Hermione finally met his gaze.

'What do you mean?'

Ron grinned. As nervous as he was, he was also excited to finally tell her that he, at the very least, fancied her.

'Merlin, Hermione,' he said shakily. 'Considering you're the most brilliant witch of our age, it's surprising to me you haven't figured it out yet.'

'Figured what out?' Hermione asked with a furrowed brow.

She was actually going to make him say it. Ron felt his whole face heat up and nervously bit his lip. Just tell her, you fucking idiot!

'Well ... ah ... I'm kinda ... um ... you see, the thing is ... ' He paused and cleared his throat. 'I'm completely mental about you,' he quickly said. His face was on fire.

'Excuse me?'

Ron sighed, unable to look at her. She had to have heard him. Why was she torturing him like this?

'Fuck, you're really gonna make me do that again?' he asked. 'Do you know how hard it was the first time?'

'I don't know if I heard you correctly. I just need to make sure.'

There was something about her tone that finally gave Ron the bollocks needed to stop blushing like an idiotic little girl and look at her. It sounded almost like ... hope.

'What is it you reckon you heard?'

He watched as Hermione closed her eyes, and waited impatiently for her to speak. She breathed deeply and her eyes opened.

'I thought I heard you say that you were completely mental about me.'

It would be so easy for Ron to just admit that she'd heard him right. But he wanted some sort of affirmation that it was she had hoped to hear. Warily, he looked at her.

'And is that ... is that what you wanted to hear?'

It was uncanny how he could actually feel her frustration, and if the circumstances didn't mean so much to him, he would have laughed. Anxiously, he waited.

'Yes,' she suddenly said.

He couldn't stop his smile. Yes. She had said yes. One word. A word spoken a million times a day by people all over the world. Ron felt like he'd been waiting his entire life to hear it uttered the way she just had.

'Really?'

'Yes.'

And there it was again.

'Does this mean you're completely mental over me?' he asked hopefully.

'Yes,' she said a third time.

'How long?' he asked. He wanted to know how many years he'd lost with her so he'd know how many times to bash his stupid head into a fucking wall.

'I suppose since second year. Maybe subconsciously before that,' she said. 'But it's when I became aware I saw you differently than Harry. I wasn't sure though, until third year, exactly what that difference was.'

'Wow,' Ron breathed. 'Why second year?'

Her features softened.

'You defended me against Malfoy.'

'I failed miserably at that,' Ron replied, as his face burned.

Hermione pulled him down to sit across from her.

'That doesn't matter, Ron. I'd known at that point since first year, that you would always defend the people you care about when you took on the position of a knight in that awful chess game and bravely sacrificed yourself so that Harry and I could continue on.' She stopped then, a thoughtful expression on her face. 'But when you defended me against Malfoy, that's when you became my personal knight.'

Words failed him. Not knowing how else to respond, he kissed her hard, pushing his tongue past her lips. He knew even if he tried, he'd never be able to express to her what it meant to him to hear her call him her knight. He couldn't help but feel a sense of pride.

Hermione moved on to his lap and wrapped her legs around him, effectively muddling his thought process. And when she pulled herself closer to him, accidentally brushing against his hardened cock, Ron thought he would explode. He pulled away, groaning and swearing. To his surprise, rather than scold him or slap him, Hermione did it again. His teeth clenched, and he roughly grabbed her hips, stilling her movements.

'Damn it, Hermione.'

Hermione pouted.

'But it feels so good.'

Ron stared up at her in amazement.

'What?' she snapped. 'Is it so inconceivable that I'd enjoy something like this with you?'

Ron didn't answer her. He worried if he opened his mouth, he'd either start giggling madly or moan uncontrollably. He couldn't help but feel that she'd imagined them in this current position before. Maybe she did think of him when she wanked. He grinned at her like an utter fool and Hermione returned his smile.

'You're absolutely adorable,' she said unexpectedly and Ron felt his face flush. She stared at him with a bemused expression. 'And gorgeous.'

He glanced at her disbelievingly and she chuckled.

'So incredibly sexy,' she breathed.

The ridiculousness of Hermione calling him sexy instantly brought him down from his high. There was no way she could be that attracted to him. An insanely freckle-faced, pale, gangly, and bony-arsed ginger? No way in hell.

'You don't mean that,' he said.

'Yes, I do,' she replied.

How the hell could someone as perfect and gorgeous as Hermione not only find him attractive, but actually like him as a person? Hearing her call him sexy made the whole situation seem incredibly unrealistic and every insecurity he'd ever experienced came rushing to the surface.

'Why me?' he asked.

Hermione looked completely taken aback.

'I'm sorry?'

Ron sighed heavily before responding.

'Why me, Hermione? You're the smartest witch of our age. You're the one who's adorable, gorgeous, and sexy.' He stopped for a moment, bracing himself for what he'd say next. 'I reckon you could have any bloke. Someone better than me.'

'Ron!' she admonished.

'Honestly, Hermione,' he said. 'A better friend. Someone who'd buy you nice things just because he could ... someone better looking. Someone brave and loyal. Someone like H- ' he couldn't say it.

His head dropped as his mind was once again assaulted by a vision of Harry and Hermione eerily floating above the locket, closely entwined with one another. He swallowed back his bile and wished Hermione would tell him she loved him.

'Someone like who?' she asked instead, and Ron felt even more sick. So she was exploring her options.

'Someone like Harry,' he said blankly.

Hermione gaped at him.

'Ron, that's ... that's ... ' She obviously didn't know what to say and Ron mentally prepared himself for whatever word she'd use.

'Disgusting.'

Ron couldn't have heard her right.

'What?'

'Disgusting, Ron,' she cried. 'Insane. Ridiculous. Grotesque. Preposterous. Vomit-inducing! Practically incestuous!'

Ron gave her a wary look.

'Really?'

'Of course,' she replied. 'I've always seen Harry as a brother. To think of him any other way is just ... it's just mental.'

He gazed at her hopefully.

'You mean that?'

'Yes, you idiot!' she snapped.

Relief coursed throughout his body, and he chuckled softly against her skin as he pressed his lips to her neck.

'Good,' he whispered.

Hermione's body shook as her grip on him tightened.

'There's no one better than you, Ron,' she said quietly.

That was all he needed to hear and he kissed her. Hermione was too good of a person to lie to him, especially about something like this.

'Wait,' she said as she pulled away slightly.

He gazed at her longingly. Her words, just as much as her body, created an urgent need to bury himself deep inside of her, and he was struggling with every second that passed to move slowly and remain patient.

'I want to know when you realised it.'

He couldn't help but stare at her lips as she spoke and he gently rubbed his thumb over her mouth. Remembering she had asked him a question, he cupped her cheek rather than continue to tempt himself unnecessarily.

'Second year, as well,' he said.

'No,' Hermione gasped.

'Yes,' Ron laughed.

'That long?'

'Yes,' he said again. 'When you were petrified. I thank Merlin everyday that you were brilliant enough to carry a mirror.' Slowly, he lowered his hand to rest just above her heart. 'It makes me sick to think about what would've happened if you hadn't.'

'Oh, Ron,' she said as she touched his forehead with her own.

Ron held onto her tightly, trying to show her how much he loved her without actually saying it. He wanted to give her some idea, though.

'I've never felt this way before,' he said quietly.

'Me neither,' she said.

He kissed her then, if only to stop himself from revealing what he truly felt. She was so incredibly soft and warm, and he was desperate to feel more of her. Tentatively, he started to move her onto her back, and when she looked at him, he began to stop when Hermione gave him a slight nod. She lay beneath him and Ron hovered over her. He was trying to figure out what to do next when she shivered.

'Are you cold?' he asked.

Hermione gave him a cheeky grin.

'Quite the opposite.'

Ron's eyes widened. He finally understood what she was hiding from him earlier. He made Hermione feel ... hot. Fucking hell.

'I see,' he said.

He wanted to taste her. Preferably between her legs, but he knew she would think he was taking things too far. So he settled on her neck instead. Beneath him, Hermione whimpered and trembled and he felt heady with the power he had over her. He wanted to mark her in some way, to prove to the world she belonged to him. He sucked on her neck, and when she hissed and pulled him closer, he sucked harder. Satisfied with his work, he licked his way up her neck. He was so hard and he panted into her ear. That's when Hermione let out a loud gasp and wrapped her legs around him. Ron pulled away from her, swearing through clenched teeth. His cock was right there and he pushed up against her.

'Oh, god,' she moaned.

Judging by her reaction, she was enjoying herself, but he had to make sure this was what she wanted.

'Okay?' he asked her, even if he couldn't stop pressing himself against her.

She tilted her head back and moaned.

'Don't stop.'

Ron grunted and roughly pushed against her.

'I never will,' he promised.

Hermione writhed underneath him as her features contorted in the sexiest way. She pushed up her hips and Ron wanted more of her. He'd always want more because he would never be able to get enough of her. His hand moved down to the zip of her jumper and pulled it down when she made no move to stop him. His task completed, he moved the fabric aside and stared.

Even through her shirt and bra, he could see her nipples and his mouth watered. She was breathing heavily and Ron licked his lips, mesmerised by the way her tits moved with each breath.

Suddenly, she pushed up against him, breaking Ron's concentration and causing him to groan in pleasure. He, however, wanted her to be patient. He wasn't done staring.

He held her arms down, pressing the entire length of his body against her so that she couldn't move. She didn't protest; rather, she looked up at him with such a trusting expression. Ron was once more overcome to tell her he loved her, so he kissed her instead. He gave up on keeping her pinned down and he felt her grip on his waist tighten as she wildly rubbed herself against his cock. He pulled away from her to gasp loudly . He wanted her to feel as good as he did so he moved his head down and sucked on her nipple through the fabric of her clothing.

Her reaction was instantaneous. She cried out and shook underneath him, so he moved his lips over her other breast, marvelling at the sounds he was causing her to make. They were the same kinds of sounds he heard her making in the forest, but this time Ron knew she definitely wasn't in any pain. He desperately wanted to pull off her shirt, rip off her bra, and lick and suck her bare nipples, but the way she thrashed beneath him caused so much friction that he knew he'd come at any moment. He settled for resting his hand on her bare stomach instead, and her skin scorched his hand. His thrusts were becoming erratic and rough and he looked down at her.

'Not ... gonna last ... much longer ... ' he panted.

'M-me n-neither,' she choked out.

With the knowledge that she was as close as he was, Ron finally allowed himself the release he so badly needed.

'Fuck ... Hermione,' he groaned.

She bucked wildly beneath him.

'Ron!' she called out.

Hearing her call out his name when she came had Ron feeling extremely emotional and he gripped her tightly as they caught their breath. When they fully recovered, he pulled her up to sit next to him. He handed her his wand.

'You do it. I can't concentrate.'

'And I can?' she said incredulously.

Ron couldn't help but smirk with pride.

'Regardless, you'd still do a better job than me.'

She sighed, waved his wand, and cleaned them both.

'Better?' she asked.

'Much,' he said.

Silently, they looked at one another and Ron had never felt so close to her. She was so incredibly beautiful and he was already itching to touch her again. He gave in and brushed a stray curl away from her face, and then pulled her close so that her back rested against his chest. He felt a need to constantly touch her and kissed her softly on the back of the neck.

'Okay?' he said quietly. He wanted confirmation that she was completely comfortable with what had just happened.

She didn't answer for a long moment, and Ron began to feel anxious.

'Never better,' she finally said, and Ron let out a deep breath.

It seemed the sidekick now had his very own storyline.