A/N: Hello. This is my new story. Please note that this contains my first attempt at *deep breath* a plot. I know, I know... ideas above my station, right? Just humour me for a while, I beg you.
Stop me if you've heard this one before but this is not a songfic. The whole idea was devised long before I had even heard the song whose lyrics I have so lovingly stolen. When I first heard the song it struck me how well it fitted this story and I ended up naming the story and all of the chapters after its lyrics. Well, except this chapter. Although this isn't really a chapter; it's a prologue so - How about I just stop typing and let you read?
Disclaimer: The lyrics to 'After Midnight' belong to Blink 182 because they wrote it.
Harry Potter belongs to J.K Rowling because she wrote that.
All of the words in the middle are mine because I picked them at random and hoped they formed coherent sentences.
Christmas Day 1998, Grimmauld Place
All along we talked of forever
I kinda think that we won't get better
Christmas Day at The Burrow was as hectic as ever. As usual Ginny had managed to not only sneak one of her mother's homemade mince pies out of the kitchen, she had somehow passed the blame onto an unsuspecting Charlie. As Molly scolded her son's impatience and never ending appetite, Fleur muttered to Bill that at least her mother-in-law's shouts were blocking out Celestina Warbeck.
This wasn't a typical Weasley Christmas however. Instead of hiding the latest Wheeze in someone's eggnog, George was sat with Percy in the corner, neither of them talking. Since Fred had died, he had been a shadow of his former self but it had been nearly eight months since the battle and George had been having more good days than bad. Still, none of his family expected him to embrace the seasonal joy of his first Christmas alone so they allowed him his peace. Ginny had offered him a stolen mince pie but he had turned it away after complimenting her skulduggery. Instead the pie had been given to Harry who, after a brief glance at Charlie adamantly denying having even been in the kitchen, shook his head and took a bite out of it.
Another change this year was Arthur. Instead of sitting in his own world, pretending to listen to the screeches coming from the wireless, he was chatting amicably with Mr and Mrs Granger who had arrived for Christmas dinner after being all but demanded to attend by Molly. They had accepted the invitation straight away, much to the delight of their daughter, who had been torn between where to spend her Christmas. Instead of having to sneak away or disappoint someone, Hermione had opened her presents on Christmas morning at her home before the three Grangers flooed to The Burrow for a feast that Mrs Granger was visibly grateful she didn't have to prepare. Now that the sun had set on the first Christmas since Voldemort's downfall, Hermione was nowhere to be found at The Burrow. Instead she was at 12 Grimmauld Place, home of one Harry Potter. More specifically, she was in the bedroom of Harry's non-rent paying housemate, Ron Weasley, having snuck away from their families as soon as Molly had brought the wireless out.
Of course the great escape had been his idea. This was the first Christmas he and Hermione would be together in three years and their first one as a couple and not friends-with-a-lot-left-unspoken-between-them and he had wanted it to be special. This was a hard thing to achieve in a house full of perceptive Weasley's and Mr Granger's (who definitely hated him, no matter what Hermione said) watchful eye. It took only minimal coaxing and a few reminders of the bracelet he had brought her to get Hermione to agree to his plan.
So now, as the rest of their families watched in amusement as Molly asked Harry if Charlie was really in the front room with him, only for Harry to nearly choke on the large lump of pie he had tried to hastily swallow, Hermione curled up next to Ron. She watched as his eyes slipped closed and was tempted to let him go to sleep but she was too busy contemplating the sweet nothings that Ron had been whispering in her ear moments before because, while his words were undeniably sweet, they were far from nothing.
"Did you mean it?"
"Hmm?" Ron responded. He sleepily turned his head to see Hermione staring at him, wide-eyed.
"Did you mean it?" Hermione repeated in a small voice. "What you said?"
Hermione rolled her eyes as Ron stroked her hair that was splayed across his pillow, a sight he was sure he would never get sick of.
"You know," Hermione said, with a faint blush. "During."
Ron tried to cast his mind back to what she was talking about but drew a blank. Normally when they slept together it was a heated, passionate affair that left him with scratches down his back and her with love bites in the most peculiar of places, especially with them only seeing each other a handful of times since Hermione's return to Hogwarts. That night, however, Ron had made a special, and rare, effort to be romantic, much to Hermione's surprise and delight. In fact she had been so happy that she had jumped on him, sending him into one of the many floating candles he had bewitched, nearly setting fire to the entire house. He'd noticed a few months ago that Hermione seemed to respond well to him saying nice things about her (she had called them 'words of love' once but that sounded a bit girly for his liking) so he guessed he must have said something other than the usual "you're beautiful" but he had no idea what. Really, it was too much to ask of a bloke to remember things like words at a time like that.
Ron saw hurt and embarrassment dawn on Hermione's features in the half-light of his room and she attempted to hide her face against his chest. Sensing this was something that threatened to ruin his Perfect Christmas Plan, Ron shifted down under the navy blue duvet so he was at eye level with his girlfriend.
"Look, I'm sorry I don't remember," he said gently, "but I was a bit busy at the time." Thankfully she gave him a small smile at this. "What did I say?" He cupped her face and watched the shyness give way to blind trust in him.
Biting her lip slightly and avoiding his eyes, Hermione whispered. "You said that… this was it for you. That you wanted everything with me. That you were going to spend the rest of your life with me."
Ron rolled onto his back and closed his eyes. How stupid could he get? He hadn't even been with Hermione for a year yet and here he was, spilling his deepest fantasies to her, fantasies that would surely scare her, and during sex no less.
"Ron," he heard her say as he felt her tiny hand slide up his chest to touch his jaw. His muscles relaxed at the feeling of her skin against his and he turned to face her, shocked to see a thin veil of tears clouding her brown eyes. "Did you mean it?"
Unable to get his mouth to obey him, he simply nodded. Before they had become a couple, this level of trust and honesty was unheard of between them, now Hermione could get him to open up with one look. He swallowed the obstruction in his throat before giving her the explanation she was probably going to force out of him anyway. "I- I reckon I did. I'm just sick of being sad, y'know? I'm not sad when I'm with you."
Slowly, a smile spread across Hermione's face before she threw herself on top of Ron's torso and kissed his bemused mouth.
"Oh, Ron," she sobbed, pushing his fringe out of his eyes, the fringe she insisted he kept long enough for her to do that to, "I want it too."
"What?" choked Ron.
"The rest of our lives together."
At that moment Ron Weasley swore a hundred Dementors swarming into his room couldn't wipe the grin off his face.
"You sure?" he asked, wrapping his long arms around her. "Because that's potentially quiet a long time now that we're not on an extended camping trip with the most wanted bloke in Britain."
Hermione poked him in ribs. "Trust you to ruin a perfect moment," she tried to grumble but she spoilt it by chuckling.
She settled back against his chest and he watched as sleep started to claim her.
"Do you think anyone has noticed we're gone yet?" Ron asked, slowly ghosting her spine with his fingertips.
"Probably not," Hermione yawned. "Ginny said she'd cause a diversion and they are her speciality."
Ron chuckled and placed a kiss to her forehead, before leaning close to her ear and breathing "One day, Hermione Granger, I'm going to marry you."
"Do I not get a choice in the matter?" she replied, with raised eyebrows.
Ron felt her smile against his ribs and knew in that moment that this wasn't going to be the last perfect Christmas they spent together.
A/N: I know, I know I promised plot and gave you fluff. This is just the prologue. Actual stuff happens next chapter.