Written for Ralinde's "Pairing Diversity Boot Camp Challenge" using prompt #42 Pillow Talk

Written for Amelia Letter, who placed first in a competition of mine and requested Romione :D

Happiness In Dark Times

Ron lay awake, listening to the rustling of the trees outside his window. His clock said it was two-thirty in the morning and he still wasn't able to fall asleep. The Burrow was deathly silent – how could anybody be sleeping?

It had been less than forty-eight hours since Fred had died, as well as Remus and Tonks and everyone else who had willingly given their lives to a war that really had nothing to do with them.

So many innocent lives lost, yet everyone else seemed to be sleeping as if nothing had happened. Or maybe they were lying awake silently like he was.

That would make more sense.

After leaving Hogwarts, Harry had Disapparated to Grimmauld Place, saying how he wanted to be alone for a while (who could blame him?). George had gone to his shop and everyone else had come back to the Burrow.

Hermione and Ginny were in a room just below, Percy was back in his old room and his mum and dad were in theirs. After a year of camping in a tent and trying to keep warm in front of a fire, it felt strange to be back in his own bed, in his own house.

It felt like it had once used to be, but of course, that wasn't true at all. So much had changed. Everything was different and would remain that way forever (or until something else changed).

The wind whistled in the dark night – another reason why Ron couldn't fall asleep. His window stood strong against it, though; but rattled in the effort.

To his right, his door let out a loud creak as it was opened. He had been on the run and expecting danger for too long to not grab his wand.

"Who's there?" he whispered uncertainly as a dark figure moved towards him. He gripped his wand tighter, prepared for any curse that may come his way.

The wand light of the intruder came on and he saw Hermione's face staring back at him; her bushy hair tied back into a thick ponytail. Even in the minimum light, he knew she had been crying.

They had all cried at least once in the past few hours – he wasn't ashamed to admit it.

"Can't sleep, either?" she asked, her voice low.

Ron shook his head. "You?"

"No, but Ginny finally fell asleep a few minutes ago. She wouldn't stop crying." Hermione sat on the edge of his bed, her wand the only source of light in the top-most bedroom.

After a moment's hesitation and watching her shiver, he pulled back his covers. He didn't want her to get the wrong idea. He simply wanted to hold her and feel her warmth. It was soothing.

But if she thought anything of it, she didn't say so. She accepted his offer, her petite figure brushing against his body in a bed that was only made for one. Her head rested on his shoulder as he engulfed his arms around her.

How he had wanted it to be like this last summer when she had been here. Just the two of them with no interruptions.

But it had been worth the wait.

"I can't stop thinking about it," she said in a whisper. "Everything that happened, all those people who died for no reason. Yet we're here, alive and as well as we can be."

"We're not well, Hermione," Ron said. "We're far from it. We're the ones who have to deal with the aftermath of it all. We're the ones who have to go to the funerals, say goodbye to the ones we loved and suffer due to their absence. In a way, Fred and Lupin and Tonks and Colin and everyone else... they're at peace. It's people like George and Teddy... and us who were the unlucky ones."

There was a comfortable silence for a long time after that. Ron began to run his fingers through Hermione's hair, unaware of what he was doing. Hermione moved even closer to him, if that were even possible.

"You know," she began again. "I never thought of it like that... you know, they're at peace, they're away from it all. But still, they all died too young. They all had so much to live for."

"They did," Ron replied, staring at his blank ceiling. "They all had a life ahead of them. You-Know-Who mightn't have killed them personally, but they're all still dead because of him."

"I'm glad you're here, though," Hermione replied. "I-I don't know what I would have done if you... if it had been you." She seemed to choke on her last words, which made Ron's heart skip a beat, or maybe two.

Would she really have been upset if he had been killed in the line of fire? Did she really care for him that much?

"If it had been you, I would have wanted to join you," he replied. "I love you that much." Despite being in complete darkness, Ron knew that his face had turned the same colour as his hair. What was he thinking? He'd only managed to kiss her a few hours ago. She probably wasn't going to appreciate any declarations of love just yet, no matter how much he had meant it.

You idiot, Ron, he scolded. Way to ruin a perfect moment.

Hermione was silent for a long time and with every moment she didn't say anything, Ron regretted his words more and more. Silence was worse than anything she could say back to him.

"I... um... what I meant to say..." he eventually said. "I just don't think I could have dealt with losing my brother and my best friend in one day," he finished lamely.

"Harry's your best friend, I'm your girlfriend," Hermione said. She rolled over slightly and supported herself with her elbows. Her face was only inches from his in the small space. Ron could feel her breathing. "I am, aren't I?" she then questioned, a little uncertain this time.

"Only if you want to be," Ron replied. He brought his hand to her face, running his finger along her cheek.

"I've wanted to be for a long time," was her reply. "And for the record... I love you too. I always have."

Ron's heart almost leapt out of his chest at hearing those words. He couldn't even count how many times he had played that moment out in his head, but it had never felt as good as actually hearing her say it.

He wanted to hear those words from her and no one else ever again.

Hermione closed the gap between their lips with force, catching Ron slightly off guard. Besides that one kiss in the middle of the battle, it hadn't happened since... until now. He had known how he had felt about her for years, but he had never been aware of how strong his feelings for her actually were until he had heard her screams at Malfoy Manor.

It had been worse than any physical pain he could possibly imagine. Hearing her, but being able to do nothing about it, had been his own, personal torture.

So, by simply having her so close to him, her lips on his and holding her in his arms gave him hope in such a troubled time. He wasn't sure how – after everything they had been through – there was a part of him that felt pure joy, but he did know that she was the reason for it.

Despite everything that had happened, he was finally able to show the one person who meant the world to him how he felt. What wasn't there to be happy about?

So, what did you all think? This basic idea has been floating around in my head for AGES, but had many different scenarios and endings and outcomes, so it was good to actually finally write it down. And, Amelia, I hope you liked it and was what you were after :D

Your reviews would be very much appreciated!