There's a sound of quiet, raspy breathing and I'm lying down in a warm bed surrounded by that breathing and freckled arms clutching on to me.

I've tired Ron Weasley out.

It's all I can think, it's all I can feel really, and it's pure ecstasy. He could have said a thousand words and, while I know he means every single one of them, they wouldn't stack up to this feeling. It's what I felt the first time and a little part of me revels in it and hopes I never lose it: it's the warm rumbling in my stomach of being wanted, of being accepted. Not as the smart little witch, nor as the only daughter, but as a woman who could be loved by a man. By Ron.

I know I'm daft to think otherwise, considering the first time we were together his reaction to me, to my body, filled me with a pride I hadn't had since… well, since getting the Head Girl's letter I guess, even if I didn't show it.

Cloud nine, euphoria, oxytocin, an analgesic – you can call it whatever you like but I quite enjoy this. It's surprising to me because, honestly, sex with Ron had been one of the last things on my mind on that date but something pushed me a bit further. Now I'm here and he's snoring, because things can't be perfect and he's louder than a steam engine going full bore, and I'm glad it happened. At least, I'm glad we had that conversation before I…

I know I'm blushing because it all happened like a blurry photo reel and I don't really recall ever telling myself that the best course of action would be to stand up and shove my hand down his pants. We have to live with our choices though, and I'm hearing an absurd amount of noise telling me that what I did was for the best.

And, suddenly, the noise stops and I feel strangely disconnected. I don't like him shaking the foundations of the building, but the sound is correlated to his body trying to remain comfortable and if he can be comfortable around me I haven't a care what he's doing. I'd actually been a bit surprised more than anything that he swore around me more often – it was another thing that came with the Weasley territory and they were certainly a wholesale package deal.

Ron's breathing becomes more relaxed, I'm realizing, and I look up to see him staring at me with a sort of calm, half-lidded expression. I should be entirely concerned that he's staring at me while I 'sleep,' but I'm far too interested in kissing him to really consider that.

"How long was I out?" His question is filtered through a few hours of sleep and a stifled yawn.

"Only a bit - maybe two or three hours."

"And you?"

"I've been thinking." He snorts and I laugh into his chest, silently understanding the sarcastic remark he doesn't need to say. I'm giggling more than I'd like to admit, and he joins me for a few moments before gently stroking my hair and kissing the top of my head. The whole building could be on fire and I wouldn't mind as long as we stayed like this.

"About what?"

"Us, this… y'know, the works."

He hesitates with the relaxing motions for a moment before returning to a slower, more methodical pace. It's like he's trying to give me the least manageable hair possible.

"Whaddya mean, by 'us?'"

"Oh, you know… just trying to think about why this never happened sooner. I mean all's said and done and we're fine now, but it wouldn't it have been better if we had…"

"Been thinking?" He's gotten good at finishing my sentences, or maybe it's that he's been able to do it for a while now and he's just voicing it properly. Either way it's endearing, if a little unnerving at times, "yeah, that's an oldie in my head. I reckon we're together now, so who cares? Let bygones be bygones I say."

"And you're only saying that because of the position we're currently in, aren't you?" I knead his inner thigh a bit and he laughs again.

"Well, it helps. Certainly confuses me, though," he answers with a more serious tone.

I'm a little confused as well, since I have absolutely no clue what he's going about. I make it clear enough by scrunching my nose up at him and he has the nerve to mimic me before obliging me a response.

"I mean, you're sitting here with a bloke like me – maybe a bit rugged, but definitely nothing special."

Here we go again. At this point I'm convinced he's just doing this to goad me into stroking his ego, but I know that isn't him. He just needs reassurance, even if moaning his name (I'm not stupid, I know what he wants) won't give it to him.

"I'll agree with rugged. Actually, I have a correction-"

"And I'm not surprised why?"

If he doesn't wipe that smirk off of his face…

"I'd say you're just a bit scruffy. Mangy is the word, isn't it? More like a mutt, really."

His moves his free hand over his chest in mock agony. I try not to smile, but I really love seeing Ron acting so freely around me and our banter being totally detached from any tension, sexual or otherwise, only makes these moments more enjoyable. He's only very recently, a few weeks at most, finally moved past Fred's death and it's suddenly like he has to live up to his brother's name.

"You're the one with a bale of hay for hair, Miss Granger."

"Oh now you're just being rude, Mr. Weasley," I'm saying all of this while still trying to hold the grin from bursting on to my face.

"You started it." I shake my head, trying to look as innocent as possible. It's only so long before a pouty lip, goodness knows where I picked that up, will beat his resolve. He cracks far too early for my taste, but I give in when he cups my face with his hands that are so large they wrap nearly all the way around my head and plants a lingering but gentle kiss on my lips.

"So, where were we?" He pulls back and I resume the 'put out' face, "Like I said Hermione, you're not the bushy haired, eleven-year old girl anymore. You're a regular lady I daresay, and I'm still lanky old Ronniekins but with extra facial hair. It's to maximize comfort, I hear."

I chortle and break out the stupid grin that's been fighting me for the past minute or so and he can only respond in kind but his eyes take on a more serious tone.

"Do you really not know, Ron?"

"I mean, I get it. You've proved that you like it when we…" he trails off, bunching up his eyebrows and clearly thinking hard, "well, when we do it…"

"Really, Ron? When we 'do it'?" I respond, breaking the banter, a little amused by his peculiar ability to turn a phrase.

"Hey lady, what do you want from me? It's not like our first time was in a bed of flowers or a field of something just as corny."

He's right; a bed that was clearly designed for one fairly young girl, with her father downstairs watching football, isn't exactly what you dream about. But it's Ron, so you get what you get and that's enough for me.

"You could word it a bit more… you know, eloquently or with any manner of tact at all. 'Sex' and 'making love' are perfectly fine terms."

"Fine then," he draws himself up as well as he can in a supine position, "when we make love." He makes sure to add emphasis on the last two words by arching one brow and puckering his lips in a distinctly 'girly' manner. Words are too easy, so I punch his arm. More like a love tap, to be honest.

"Ow!" He looks expectantly at his obviously shattered forearm, so I lean over and give the site of the brutal attack a kiss before imploring him to continue.

"What was I saying? Oh right, I was just a little curious as to what you see in me. I mean, really what do you see?"

"Do we have to do this Ron?"

"Hey, I told you that I find you supremely fuckable," I'm shaking my head before I even have time to process what he's said, which is, in a bizarre way, flattering, "and you've got to believe by now that we can have a bit of fun. Not to mention you're brilliant, and that you can have enough patience to love house elves, Harry, Crookshanks, your family, and me without going around the bend. You're lucky you're not completely mad. "

"I'm not going to comment on why caring about racial equality is so insane to you, but how is it so hard for you to believe that I've felt – no, feel – the same things?"

"You? Attractive. Me? Freckly, pasty mess." There he goes with this whole self-deprecation thing, and it's driving me through the roof.

"Excellent Ronald, you're really showing rapid devolution with that one. And is that all you think about? Looks?" I've got him in a fairly good corner, because if he mentions anything about 'being with me' as a counterargument, I get a free smack. I know he won't mean it but-

"No, not at all. It just certainly helps that you look this good starkers," I blush and I know I've lost a bit of ground by showing flattery, "but I'm just as attracted to you when you're clothed and yelling at me. That has to count for something, right?"

I shake my head again. I know what he means, but his choice of words astounds me more and more with each passing day.

"If that's how you'd like to go down, 'Ron Weasley, the Boy Who Loved Clothed Bossy-types', then yes that is perfectly fine." We're at a stalemate here, so I'm just going acquiesce. I need confident Ron here, and this just won't do, "look, do you really think that I, Hermione Granger, would have… done what I did in the den if I didn't love you?"

He's smiling, blushing, and looking slightly smug. At least I've got confirmation that he liked it.

"You're brave…"

"I'm afraid of spiders."

"You've got a wonderful sense of humor…"

"Thank Fred and George for that. 'S entirely out of my hands."

"You're handsome..."

"I'll give you that. But, still, out of my hands." I smack him playfully and continue.

"You've got a wondrous bum, you know?" He's lost for words, and ready to burst with laughter from what I can tell. I'm certainly not backing down with him exposed like that now.

"And you're loyal." He's deadly silent all of a sudden and, annoyingly, stops playing with my hair. Oh joy, this conversation yet again, "Ron, you know that I've-"

"I left you. I left both of you." Listentomeyoubraindeadlug. If I could literally project my thoughts to him this would be so much easier.

"But you came back." I'm pleading with him, trying to steer this disaster laden road back to the wonderful time just moments before. I give his leg a reassuring squeeze and continue, "You left, yes, but you came back. I don't need to hear apologies and, as you said, 'let bygones be bygones.' Coming back meant you were sorry, saving my life meant you were really, truthfully sorry."

He looks like he knows he's being an idiot, but I still give him another reassuring squeeze to really drive the point home. I've got a new tool in my arsenal to calm down a rabid Weasley: give him a tug and he's all yours.

He doesn't know that I've thought that but I start laughing all the same. I must be spending too much time with Ron if 'giving him a tug' is how I'm going to word it. His previously accepting face turns into a nervous grin, followed by a look of real concern. This would be the most bewildering conversation to stumble into, I'm thinking.

"Are you all right? You sure you're not going a bit…" he makes a twirling motion with his finger around his ear and it only makes me laugh harder. This flummoxing, idiotic man-child was something else; something I didn't regret spending an afternoon with in bed.

"No, actually. I'm just… really happy. I love doing this," I nod towards him but he understands, just like he always does, "I love you."

I push the words out with as much conviction as I can, putting more than my vocal cords behind it. I don't just say them because it's the proper thing to do, I feel them and the little moments like these – Ron very much insecure but hilarious and myself being pretty much the same, except a bit pushier – really hit home for me. I thought I was in love with Ron before, but I know I am now. I look up at him after I say the words, expectant, and I'm a bit taken aback by his expression.

His eyes are quite... I guess the word is vibrant? His eyes tell a lot about him, and they're the happiest I think I've ever seen them. His mouth is half-open in an adorable, if also completely unbecoming, way and he's struggling for the words. Is he surprised I feel that way?

"I l-love you too, H-Hermione," he sort of stutters out. I make it plain in my expression that I want to know why he's so hesitant, and why what I said is so strange. I realize after I've done it that, before then, he hadn't said the words to me.

"I just, we never… y'know I never said – look, I've been waiting to say that but you never really seemed, y'know, ready for that leap…"

"Yet I was perfectly fine with sex?" I cock an eyebrow up and begin to wonder how this man's brain really works.

"That's not what I mean, really! I just mean, I didn't know if you were just going along with the kiss and the next logical step was that." Oh you dumb oaf.

"Yes, the next logical step from a quick snog and staring at you like an animal in the headlights is clearly intercourse. Obviously I didn't care a thing for you, I was just really randy." I squint my eyes and purse my lips with emphasis, and he finally gets it. I could love him just for that, even if it's taken him this long.

"You were cooped up with two boys for nearly a year, and in a tent no less. Mind you, one is a bit of a tosser…"

"Just be glad I chose him." He opens his mouth and closes it in a knowing grin – he stepped into that one.

Before I can continue the banter any longer he's hoisted me up towards his face and is slowly moving his hands down my body, and I wonder how that managed to excite him. However, he makes his intentions clear and tickles my side suddenly. I don't know why that was his first course of action, but I can't really put together my thoughts right now, seeing as I'm preoccupied with a violently ticklish side and he with an equally sensitive pair of feet. I can't just back down either, but he's found an excellent position to get at me without me being able to tickle his feet somehow.

I'll just have to reformulate and come up with another battle plan. Perhaps I'll lure him back into bed just so I can yawn and feign a snore. Human anatomy, you will be my savior once again.

A/N: HalfASlug and msbinns are my Romione saviors, not that I ever had any intention of leaving their side. I've given in and realized that I just really love these quiet moments between the two of them more than anything else, much like in real life. So this is dedicated to those two authors and Lauren, my rock and the only one who gets what goes on in this wibbly-wobbly turntable that I've come to call my brain. Much love to you all, but I'll dole out even more if you review. I just love those people.