A/N: Hello everyone. For those who don't know me, I'm TenderHooligan and I love writing ridiculously long fanfics about Hermione and Ron with as much Harry, Ginny and everyone else thrown in as I can manage. This fic is the second entry in my There Is a Light series, which will eventually consist of five fics covering the entire span of Ron's and Hermione's lives after the war. What can I say? I'm thorough. This fic is a direct sequel to Closer and while I don't think it's 'necessary' to read that one first to enjoy this fic, it would be helpful in understanding things as Closer covers the events taking place during the first year after the war while Hermione finished her last year at Hogwarts and Ron worked in Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes before Ron joins the Aurors and Hermione begins working in the Dept. for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.

Stop Making Sense will follow a similar structure as Closer in that the odd-numbered chapters will follow chronologically, picking up 3 years after the Battle of Hogwarts and 2 years after the end of Closer, while the even-numbered chapters will fill in the two-year gap in-between that fic and this one, explaining how Ron and Hermione arrived at where we see them here. In terms of POV, the story will be told entirely from Ron's and Hermione's perspectives. Some chapters (like this one) will be all Hermione and others will be all Ron, but I reserve the right to switch back and forth (like I did in the last two chapters of Closer) whenever I feel it's appropriate. I like that freedom I guess.

Anyway, seeing as Jessie, my wonderful beta for Closer no longer has the time to devote to fixing all my little mistakes and keeping some of my more 'out there' tendencies in-check, I am currently looking for a new beta if anyone feels up to the job. I don't think my grammar or spelling are so horrible that my chapters are unreadable or anything without a beta, but it would certainly help to have someone on my back to update consistently. Let me know if you're interested.

Now, without further ado...

Stop Making Sense

Chapter 1: Everything In Its Right Place

11 August, 2001

Hermione was at her desk in the Ministry when there was a knock at the door. She looked up to see Lavender.

"What is it?"

"A Mr. Potter to see you," Lavender said, straining to act professional when she was clearly holding back a giggle.

Hermione looked at the clock. "Oh my gosh, it's already noon?"

"Should I tell him you're busy?"

"Of course not. I was expecting him. I just…forgot."

"Hermione, has anyone ever told you that you work too hard?"

She smiled. "First time actually."

"Did you know you haven't taken a single vacation or sick day since you started working here?"

Hermione shrugged. "I like my job."

This time Lavender did giggle. "So do I, but I don't forget to have a life too."

Hermione closed her eyes and rubbed her temple. "Could you just show Harry in?"

Lavender let out a 'hmph' but complied. "Maybe you can get through to her," Hermione heard her telling Harry as she brought him into the office.

"Thank you Lavender, that'll be all," Hermione said dismissively, her eyes flicking toward the door.

"Fine," Lavender said coldly before turning to Harry. "By Mr. Potter," she said, much more sweetly, touching him on the arm on the way out.

The door closed behind her and Hermione took in the bewildered expression on Harry's face and smirked.

"Was she just—"


"Doesn't she know me and Ginny—"

"Honestly, Harry. It's Lavender. Do you really think that'd stop her?"

"Good point. So, you ready to go? Or is there a house-elf who requires your attention more than me?"

"Of course there is, but I guess I can spare an hour for you."

"You're too good to me Hermione."

She smirked. "And don't you forget it."

Hermione lead the way through the store, pointing out everything that caught her eye to Harry who trailed behind her looking an odd mixture of clueless and trepidation.

"Harry, I'm sure she'll love anything you pick out," she told him encouragingly. "What about this one?" she asked, pointing to another display.

"Yeah…" he said uncertainly. "Maybe…"

Hermione frowned. When Harry had asked for her help in picking out an engagement ring for Ginny, she'd been flattered. She knew the final decision had to be Harry's, but she was doing her best to point out examples of what she thought Ginny might like and which ones she knew wouldn't sit with her red-headed friend's taste. Of course that had been weeks ago. Just like his best mate, Harry seemed to leave anything to the last minute.

"So who else knows?" Hermione asked innocently. Harry shot her a feigned look of surprise but she returned one to let him know she wasn't fooled. She knew him too well to believe she was the only person he'd told of his plan.

"What? That I'm proposing to Ginny, or that I'm proposing to her tonight?"

"Either," Hermione said, rolling her eyes, recognizing the fact that hew as putting off answering.

"Fine. I told my parents." Instinctively Hermione's face took on a look of concern and she almost reached out to comfort him but restrained herself when she realized it was unnecessary. "And Mr. and Mrs. Wesley know of course. I also told Teddy, but I had to bribe him with a slab of Honeydukes chocolate and the promise to take him to all of Ginny's matches for the rest of the season to get him to swear he wouldn't tell anyone." Hermione laughed. She knew Harry was still nervous with Teddy, afraid he wasn't doing enough for the boy while at the same time fearing he was overstepping his bounds and trying to replace Remus, but after three years he was finally learning to relax around his godson and enjoy they time they spent together. Hermione had seen them together enough to know that Harry was a perfect godfather, and would make an equally great father himself one day.

"I also told Ron," he said, interrupting her thoughts.

For a moment, her heart ached with at the sound of his name. "Really? I suppose he took it well," she said sarcastically, trying to cover the mixture of emotions boiling inside her.

"Actually he did," chuckled Harry. "I wanted to tell him first because I thought he might need a little extra time to get used to the idea and I thought it'd be best if he could do that somewhere Ginny wasn't around."

"So did he? Overreact I mean?"

"Nope, just jumped up and hugged me and called me his brother. Don't think he even mentioned Ginny."

Hermione's heart practically melted at the image of her boys sharing such an important moment, and she actually felt her eyes start to water until she caught a funny look on Harry's face. "You're making fun of me, aren't you? Ron just told you to say that?"

Harry held up his hands defensively, but he was biting the inside of his cheek to keep from smiling. "It's true, I swear."

Hermione shook her head as she asked to examine another ring. "Unbelievable." Ten years as best friends and Harry and Ron still had trouble showing emotion around one-another. It was enough to cost any witch her sanity, and they didn't help matters with stunts like this.

"You don't give him enough credit, Hermione. He said there were only two women in the world worthy of me. And since he's not about to give you up, he told me he knew it was inevitable that Ginny and I'd end up here. And he finally confessed that he'd been hoping for it to happen since fourth year, and all that protective big brother stuff with Michael and Dean was just his way of trying to push him together."

"I give him credit…more than you realize," Hermione muttered under her breath, smiling in spite of herself. "What do you think of this one?" she asked Harry, speaking more loudly.

"Yeah that one's nice…"

"You'll have to pick one eventually," Hermione told Harry as he examined the ring. Quickly, she bit her lip. "How…how did he look? Was he happy? Did he look like he's eating enough?"

Harry gave her an infuriating smirk. "Worried about him a bit, are you?"

"Of course I'm worried. I haven't seen him for over two months. I haven't even heard from him in weeks. I was starting to think…"

"Relax Hermione," Harry said, placing a firm hand on her shoulder and squeezing gently. "I don't think we'll ever have to worry about Ron not eating enough."

"That wasn't what I—"

"I know," Harry said softly. "He loves you, Hermione. And I'm sure he can't wait to come back to you."

Hermione smiled. There really was no one else like Harry; if anyone knew Ron better than herself it was him. "Back to us, you mean," she said wetly, wiping her eyes and feeling very silly that she still got so emotional over the smallest things.

"Right. Speaking of, I was thinking we could combine Ron's welcome home party with the engagement slash birthday, since everyone will already be together. That's if Ginny says yes."

"Of course she'll say yes." But as Harry moved on to the next display case, Hermione remained rooted to the spot as his words sank in. "But the party's tonight."

"Yeah?" Harry asked, clearly not following her train of thought.

"You mean…Ron's coming home today?"

"Yeah, I thought you knew?"

"How would I know?" Hermione huffed, panic rising in her chest. "Didn't I just say I hadn't heard from him in weeks? And now you tell me…oh my gosh there's so much to do…I'm not even ready and he's coming home and—"

"Hermione, breathe. It's just Ron."

Instead of calming her, his words had the opposite effect and she rounded on him. "And just how long have you known about this?"

"Er…since this morning?" Harry offered unconvincingly. She fixed him with a stern look. "Okay, a week."

"A week! And you didn't tell me?"

Harry shrugged helplessly. "I thought you knew."

Hermione returned to the task at-hand, practically steaming that it was taking so long for Harry to find a ring and making a mental checklist of all the things she needed to do and how little time she had to do them.

"Hermione, it'll be fine. We'll just get Winky and Kreacher to get everything ready when we get back to the Ministry."

"That's your solution for everything isn't it? Call a house-elf."

"I didn't mean it like that. You know I didn't. And I mean, it's what we pay them for, right?"

"You don't pay Kreacher," she snapped smartly bringing up an old argument.

"Only because he doesn't let me." Hermione let out a 'hmpf' and Harry wisely tried to ask her opinion on another ring to distract her.

As they continued to browse, Harry occasionally picking up a ring to show Hermione before she shook her head in disapproval, a though began to take root in her mind as Ron's return loomed ever closer, building in her thoughts until she eventually just had to come out and say it.

"Harry, how did you know you wanted to marry Ginny?"

Harry shrugged, returning another ring she'd rejected to the proprietor. "Since always, I guess."

"No, I mean how did you know it was finally the right time to ask her?"

Harry stopped dead. "Why, what'd she say? Is she not ready?"

"Nothing," she answered hurriedly to calm him. It was funny to see Harry so flustered when he was usually the perfect picture of cool. "I was just wondering."

"Oh, well…uh…" Hermione looked at him curiously. "I really have been thinking about it for a long time. I mean once we beat Riddle and Ginny and I got back together I realized I had to actually start planning out the future. I realized I actually had a future to plan for. And…I dunno, no matter what I pictured, Ginny was always a part of it. A big part."

It was so sweet, but it wasn't quite the answer she was looking for and she continued with her needling. "But if you felt that way all along, what made you realize you were finally ready? I mean if you've been thinking about this for so long, something had to have changed."

"Well…alright. But if I tell you, you can't get mad at me. And you can't tell Ginny. Or Ron," he said, almost as an afterthought. She nodded, her interest piqued. "Well about a month ago, about a week before I told you I was planning on asking her, I had a rough day. It wasn't a big deal or anything," he added hurriedly after seeing Hermione's worried expression. "Just the usual stress from work. And I needed to talk to someone. And I went to Ginny. And after I sort of realized that it used to be you or Ron that I'd go to for that sort of thing—"

"More like we'd force you to talk about it."

Harry smiled. "That's it exactly. For once, I actually wanted to talk about it. Ron obviously wasn't here, but you were, and I could've always owled or Floo-called Ron if I wanted. But Ginny was the one I wanted to talk to. It was sort of when I realized that she wasn't just my girlfriend anymore. She was…is…my best friend," he finished nervously, looking uncomfortable at the admission.

Hermione understood why he'd been so hesitant to tell her; he was worried that he'd hurt her feelings, that she'd feel like Ginny had in some way replaced her and Ron in his life. It was silly, but she knew that Harry had probably worried he would be excluded when she and Ron finally got together in their younger days and now he'd gone and done the same thing to them. "Oh, no Harry that's wonderful. Really," she said, happy to see the look of relief on his face. And she meant it. It didn't bother her at all that Ginny was now Harry's best friend. Hermione knew it didn't mean he cared about her and Ron any less than she had a month ago. Ginny just meant more.

But something else did bother her, the thing that had caused her to question him in the first place. Ron.

She and Ron had always been best friends. Well okay, the three of them had always been best friends. Okay, really Harry and Ron had always been best friends and they'd made room for her when she came along. But if she was completely honest with Harry, the way he had been honest with her, the truth was that she'd considered Ron and only Ron her first best friend for a long time now. Of course she'd never told Ron this and had never planned to say anything to either boy, but now she wondered what it al meant in terms of her and Ron's relationship.

Because now she realized she and Ron had been at that place for years before they were even together, or at she had. Yet here was Harry buying a ring for Ginny just days after getting to that point. So…where was her ring?

She knew it was a stupid thought. Labels like girlfriend or fiancée shouldn't matter to her the same way it didn't really matter that Ginny now ranked as Harry Potter's number one friend and she was tied for second at best and probably ranked third if everyone was being honest. They were still best friends, just as she and Ron were still in love, the same as yesterday, and the day before that, and for as far back as she cared to remember.

Plus it was rather unfair to think that Ron should propose to her the minute she was ready after what they'd been through in the past few years, what she'd put them through. There was no particular rush to tie the knot, no pressure from her mum or the internal tick of her biological clock. Ron would propose when he was ready and the time was right and in the meantime she could wait.

But the question remained whether Ron even wanted them to get to that point, or if he could. Not every couple ended up married, and her and Ron's relationship was more volatile than most, certainly compared to Harry's and Ginny's. Yes, once upon a time Ron talked about spending forever with her, but that was nothing but a distant memory now.

"Here," Harry asked, breaking through Hermione's concerns for her own future. "What do you think of this one?"

Hermione looked at the simple, yet elegant ring held between his fingers and felt tears licking at her eyes. "Oh Harry, that's it. That's perfect."

Harry grinned, reminding her very much of Ron as he turned back to the counter. "I'll take it."

"So I'll see you back at the flat later?" Harry asked her after they got back to the Ministry.

Hermione nodded. "Good luck," she told him as he quickly pecked her goodbye on the cheek and strode off with an extra bounce in his step, making her giggle.

As soon as he was out of sight, Hermione composed herself and rushed back to the office, determined to finish her work as quickly as possible to give her time to get ready for the party. She'd only just sat down at her desk when Lavender bustled in.

"So, how did it go?" she asked excitedly.

"It was just lunch Lavender."

"Please, Hermione. You haven't gone out for lunch since Ron left," she said knowingly. "And you certainly don't spend," she checked the clock, "two hours when you do."


"So you and Harry are up to something."

"It's just Ginny's birthday tonight. Harry just needed help making sure he picked out the right present for her and thought I would do a good job."

"Oh really? So what did he end up getting her?"

Hermione thought about continuing to play dumb, but she really needed to get back to work. "Fine. Harry's asking Ginny to marry him. He just wanted my help picking out a ring."

Lavender squealed in excitement, making Hermione wince. "I knew it!"

Hermione groaned. She really didn't have the time to deal with Lavender right now. "If you knew, then why were you trying to flirt with him when he was here earlier?"
Lavender waved her off. "That wasn't flirting."

"Please. You were all over him."

The blonde shrugged. "Harry has nice arms." Hermione shot her a look of incredulity. "What? He does."

Hermione shook her head. "What are you doing tonight?"

"Absolutely nothing, why?"

"Well I'm putting together an engagement party for them at my flat and—"

"Say no more. I'll let Parvati know too. And Dean and Seamus, the whole crowd."

Hermione nodded and returned to her work, before quickly looking up again as an idea struck her. "But you can't say anything about the engagement."

"Why not?" Lavender asked.

Hermione was beginning to regret ever telling Lavender anything. The girl had shed the worst of her gossiping tendencies since leaving Hogwarts, but she was still far too nosy in Hermione's opinion. She could only hope that Lavender wouldn't be able to do too much damage in the few scant hours that remained before Harry's dinner with Ginny. "Harry worried she'll say no."

Lavender rolled her eyes. "Men. As if Ginny Weasley would even dream turn down Harry Potter."

Hermione silently agreed with her friend slash assistant, but decided that continuing to gab with Lavender wasn't helping her finish her work any faster. A goblin named Lubbock who was reputedly a very fine craftsman had gone missing recently and the Confederation was requesting the Ministry's assistance in locating him—or demanding it rather, stating that seeing as the Ministry (meaning Hermione) had repeatedly denied their approval for a new dragon for Gringots, they still owed the goblins a rather large favor. And while Hermione would've normally been more than happy to provide Ministry assistance, the goblins were refusing to provide them with any information surrounding the circumstances of his disappearance. But as she filled out the necessary paperwork, she noticed Lavender's lingering presence. "Yes?" she asked exasperatedly as she set down her quill.

Lavender scooted forward and hopped onto her desk. "Well?"

"Well what?"

"Aren't you excited?"

"About Harry and Ginny? Of course," she said, picking up her quill again and starting to write. "They're two of my best friends."

"Nooooo, not Harry and Ginny," Lavender said teasingly.

"Lavender, I really haven't got time for guessing games, so I'd appreciate it if you just told me what you're getting at."

Lavender pouted. "You better pull the wand out of your arse before Ron gets home. Or don't. Maybe when he's reminded of how boring you are he'll remember what a good thing we had."

Hermione was too shocked to even get feign outrage at Lavender's insinuation. "How do you know Ron's coming home?"
Lavender giggled excitedly. "I just found out actually. I had to take something over to Magical Law Enforcement and I overheard someone talking about it."

Hermione let out an exasperated sigh. "Was I the last to know?"

"Probably. That's what happens when you lock yourself up in here for twelve hours a day. You miss things being a hermit. So are you excited?"

"Of course I'm excited," Hermione told her, though her excitement was nothing compared to the anxiety she was feeling about Ron's return and her conversation with Harry. "Which is why I'd like to finish all this," she said, gesturing to the mounds of paperwork on her desk, "as soon as possible. So I'd really appreciate it if I wasn't disturbed."

"Why don't you just leave it?" Hermione quirked an eyebrow at her and Lavender clucked her tongue. "Right, almost forgot who I was talking to. But, why not? It's just one day, and we're way ahead of schedule on the new proposal. Surely you skived off a lesson or two back at Hogwarts."

Hermione looked insulted. "Of course not."

"Not even for Ron?" Lavender questioned.

Hermione looked back down at her work and made a decision. "You're right," she said. "Lavender, I'm leaving early. If anyone owls looking for me, tell them I had to take a personal day." She stood and began gathering her things.

"I knew it!" Lavender said victoriously, all too happy to trumpet the triumph of true love over work. "So what time should I come over?"

"Well Harry's meeting Ginny at half past five for dinner, so I've been telling everyone to get to the flat by seven—"

"Great. I'll be there at six."

"What? Why?"

"Hermione, Ron's been gone for months. Don't you want to look your best for him?"

Hermione instinctively tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear, for a moment actually considering Lavender's offer. "I'll be fine," she said, trying to sound more confident than she felt.

"At least let me do something with that hair," Lavender pleaded.

"Goodbye Lavender," Hermione said with a laugh before heading for the Floo.

Hermione ducked into the loo and appraised herself in the mirror as she cast an anti-perspiration charm on her armpits, relieved to see she hadn't sweated through her dress already. She'd been running around since the moment she arrived home and looked a right state. There was just so much to get ready, even with Winky and Kreacher helping her. Molly, of course had shown up two hours early with Arthur in-tow, insisting that she couldn't just sit at home with her knitting needles when she knew her little princess was getting engaged. Hermione would've appreciated the woman's help and expertise, but she got the impression that Mrs. Weasley didn't believe her capable of making sure everything was perfect for her daughter's special night, and as a result, the two headstrong women had been in a silent unspoken battle, adjusting and readjusting the other's decorations over and over and conjuring mountains of extra chairs for more guests than the small flat could possibly hold. If it was just Harry's and Ginny's night, Hermione might've been content to let Mrs. Weasley manage everything, but this was Ron's night too, and Hermione would be damned if he came home and thought his mother had put more effort into his welcome than herself.

She untied the apron around her waist and siphoned off the scattered bits of dust and flour that had landed on her dress, swept her hair back, and hoped that would be enough. She didn't know when Ron would be arriving, but Harry and Ginny were due at any minute.

Sure enough, she heard a chorus of excitement and congratulations through the door signaling the couple's arrival, and by the sound of the cheers she wagered Ginny's answer had been the right one. After briefly considering and then deciding against the idea of going knicker-less for the rest of the evening, she went out to greet her friends; while she knew Ron would've enjoyed such a surprise she didn't particularly fancy the idea of having to worry about Teddy or Victoire catching a peak by accident.

Predictably, she saw that Mrs. Weasley had enveloped Harry in an enormous hug while Lavender, Parvati, Padma and a host of Weasley wives and girlfriends were clustered around Ginny to admire the ring. Hermione smiled and waited patiently for her turn to congratulate her friends as Ginny's brothers preceded to clap Harry on the back and give him trouble now that he was officially going to be a part of the family. Hermione's heart ached with longing as she watched Arthur shake Harry's hand, her eyes flicking to the door hopefully, wishing her redhead was about to stroll through any moment now.

The party rolled on without a hitch. She got her chance to kiss Harry on the cheek and congratulate him and spent over half an hour in the loo while Ginny gave her the blow-by-blow account of Harry's proposal. She was quite pleased that she'd managed to put such a wonderful party together for her friends, with Winky's and Kreacher's help of course, and she watched admiringly as everyone enjoyed Harry's and Ginny's special night and shared in their happiness, not quite able to bring herself to join in.

"Is something going on in here? What are all these people doing in my house?"

"Ron!" Hermione exclaimed, practically jumping into his arms when she turned around to find him standing there. He was as warm as always, sending tingles through her body the moment she touched him.

"I missed you so much Hermione," she heard him whisper into her hair.

"Me too," she whispered back, pulling away regretfully. If it was up to her, she'd never let him go again, but she very much doubted either of them could survive George's teasing if she didn't.

Speak of the devil…

"So Ronniekins, how'd you make out?" asked George, leading what seemed to be half the party guests over to interrupt their private moment as he clapped a hand on his brother's shoulder.

"Top of the class," Ron answered proudly, puffing his chest out just a bit.

"Oh Ron," Hermione and Mrs. Weasley exclaimed at the same time, though it was Hermione who determinedly got her arms around him first before his mother cut in. "I knew you'd be brilliant," Hermione told him quietly enough so only he could hear.

"Did you really get top marks?" George continued with just a hint of disbelief as Hermione released her boyfriend to allow his mother the hug she was obviously dying for.

"Well, besides Healing and Stealth and Tracking," Ron amended, somewhat bashfully as he squirmed out of his mother's arms. "And Interrogation," he added as if suddenly remembering. "But who cares about those things, anyway? The shop's got plenty of stuff to keep me hidden and help me find the bad guys. And I really was top of the class."

"And what about Healing?" Hermione asked concernedly. "That's important Ron. What if you get hurt?"

"Well…that's what I have you for," he said, sending a lopsided grin her way. "To kiss all my boo-boos better."

His words were innocent and playful, but the way his eyes darkened when he said them had Hermione shifting uncomfortably, rubbing her legs together and reconsidering her decision to keep her knickers on.

"Alright, enough of that," George said. "Save it for later you two. I want to hear about Paris."

"I'll tell you everything in a minute," Ron said. "But first I need to find my sister." He leaned over and kissed her cheek briefly before moving off in search of Ginny. And just like that, Hermione was happy again. Ron was home and everything was back to normal.

The party turned out exactly as she'd hoped after that. It was simple yet elegant and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. While Ginny was clearly the center of attention, Ron's return was just as big a cause for celebration. And with Ron here, Hermione was finally able to relax a bit herself, enjoying her own party and allowing Molly and the house-elves to take care of all the little crises that arose sporadically that just a short while before would've sent her into a panicked frenzy. For now her only concern was how soon she could get all these people out of her flat so she could get Ron alone.

After managing to escape from a conversation with Percy about how he was considering transferring departments in order to give him more time with Audrey who was hoping they could start a family of their own soon, she caught sight of Ron and Harry chatting amiably on the sofa. It was one of her greatest pleasures, just seeing them together, laughing and happy. They were her boys, her oldest and best friends in the world, and she quickly moved to join them.

Ron wrapped an arm across her shoulders, drawing her in to snuggle against him as she sat down as Harry leaned back from their conversation to give the couple some room. "And what are you two girls whispering about?"

"Oh nothing important," Ron said airily.

"Thanks Hermione. This party, everything…I know Ginny appreciates."

"Yes, she's thanked me about a dozen times already for helping you with the ring. And I think even your mother's starting to relax and enjoy herself."

"She had to stop crying at some point," Ron joked. "Anyway, don't you have something to do, Harry?"

"Right," Harry said, finishing the last of his butterbeer. He stood and walked over to Mrs. Weasley who had been chatting with Angelina, no doubt trying to convince her that it was about time she and George made things official now that her youngest was engaged. Hermione was only glad that Molly hadn't started dropping hits about her and Ron yet. While she couldn't blame the woman for wanting her children and their significant others to be happy, she was already feeling stretched thin on the idea of marriage.

As Hermione and Ron looked on, Harry began speaking quite rapidly to his soon-to-be mother-in-law, clearly embarrassed about whatever it was he was sharing with her. But before he even finished, Molly let out a cry of joy and threw her arms around Harry's middle and squeezing him tightly as she rocked them both in a motherly embrace.

Ron was chuckling. "Guess she had a few more stored up just in case after all.

"What was that about?" Hermione asked curiously, sensing Ron knew exactly what had just taken place.

"What that?" Ron asked, gesturing toward his mother and Harry. "Oh nothing. I just told Harry he should call her 'mum,'" he said, smiling widely. "Knew it'd get her going like nothing else."

In that moment, Hermione's heart could not have been more full of love for her boyfriend, her wonderful, sweet, amazing, sexy boyfriend whom she couldn't wait to have all to herself. And she began impatiently thinking of all the ways she wanted to show her appreciation for this man the moment she managed to get him alone. Unfortunately she'd have to remain patient just a bit longer before she could privately tell him just how much she'd missed him.

"They're not married yet, Ron. They haven't even set a date."

Ron just shrugged. "Like it really needs some big ceremony to make it official. Harry's been a part of this family since he was twelve. Some things are just inevitable I guess."

The way he was looking at her as he spoke somehow told her that Ron wasn't just talking about Harry joining the family. And she felt her heartbeat quicken as she wondered if maybe she and Ron were really all that far behind Harry and Ginny after all.

"So…" Ron said, coughing slightly at the somewhat awkward moment, "did I do alright? I mean I know I wasn't top in every category, but I did try, I swear. I even made myself timetables and stuck to a review schedule and—"

She cut off his explanations with a searing kiss, her fingers curling through his ginger locks to press his lips hard against her own. "I know. You did fantastic Ron. And I'm so proud of you. You know that right?"

Ron nodded, though he still only looked half-convinced. "And you know I was only joking about making you treat my injuries. I promise I'll start practicing. I'm sure I'll have plenty of chances once I start getting some field work."

Hermione smiled coyly. "Oh, I don't think I'll mind playing nurse for my little genius…so long as you don't get hurt too often. I don't fancy my boyfriend looking like another Mad-Eye," she added.

Ron's ears were suddenly quite pink. "Little?"

"Sorry. I mean by big, burly, rugged genius."

"That's better," Ron said, pulling her in for another kiss.

"Alright you two. You can save that for after we leave," Ginny interrupted as she and Harry joined them, causing Hermione and Ron to pull away, Ron looking somewhat bashful while Hermione was mildly irritated at having yet another moment interrupted.

Unfortunately it was another two hours before the celebrations died down and their guests dispersed, leaving her and Ron alone with just Harry and Ginny as the two couples chatting comfortably in the lounge while Hermione ran her fingers through Ron's hair affectionately as his head rested in her lap.

"So what do you think, Ron? Up for a game of chess?" Harry said, clearly eager to keep the night going and enjoying having Ron back.

"Harry?" Hermione asked nonchalantly, completely panicking on the inside. It probably wouldn't take Ron to win, but she knew how easily one game could turn into half a dozen where the boys were concerned. "Don't you think it's getting a bit late?"

Harry looked over at her. "Is it?"

"It's not that late," Ron added, completely clueless as well, causing Hermione to shake her head in frustration.

Thankfully, Ginny was far perceptive. "I think Hermione's trying to politely tell us that Ron's had a long trip and might be a bit tired."

"It was just a Portkey," Ron shrugged nonchalantly. "Only took five minutes."

Both women rolled their eyes. "And she's only seen him twice in the past six months and probably wants a bit of alone time so they can 'catch up,'" Ginny added.

Hermione colored a bit at the suggestion in Ginny's words, but didn't deny the implication. "I want to catch up with Ron too," Harry said. "I'm positive Ron wasn't nearly as diligent in our correspondence as he was with Hermione. I feel like I've no clue what he's been doing the last few months."

Ginny stood, pulling her fiancée by the arm and toward the door. "You'll have plenty of time to catch up at work. Besides, I think you and I have a bit of 'catching up' to do ourselves."

Harry finally seemed to get the message in her voice. "I guess that's our cue. I'll see you tomorrow Ron, Hermione."

As soon as they were out the door, Hermione looked down at her boyfriend's head in her lap.

"So," he asked softly, "what did you want to talk to me about?"

Only you could be so thick Ronald Weasley, she thought exasperatedly, running her fingers through his gorgeous hair. And so adorable at the same time. Still she couldn't resist gently chiding him just a little for leaving her in the dark about something he should've known better than to surprise her with. "So," she started, trying her best to sound genuinely angry, "did you conveniently forget to tell me that you were coming home today or did you just think I wouldn't care that my boyfriend who thought it was a good idea to leave me all alone for six months was finally coming back to me?"

Ron's relaxed expression suddenly became rather worried. "Hermione, I didn't mean…I just thought…I wanted to surprise you," he finished lamely, looking so apologetic that her heart nearly broke. Oh how she loved to see him squirm. She knew it was rather unfair of her to make him think she was upset when nothing could be further from the truth. But then again, Ron did the same thing to her, and quite effortlessly it seemed. They'd always been that way, and she was relieved that at least one aspect of their relationship hadn't changed in all the time they'd known each other.

"Well as long as you promise not to do it again. I like surprises, but a girl prefers to have forewarning so she can make sure to prepare herself to receive her gentleman caller."

Ron's face was a mixture of relief and confusion. "Is that it?" he asked hesitantly. "You're not angry?"

"Why would I be angry?" Hermione asked, moving her hand to his chest, undoing a few buttons to slip her fingers inside his shirt to slide deliciously over his skin.

"Well Ginny said—"

"Oh, I don't think you understood what your sister was actually getting at. Believe me, it has nothing to do with talking."


"Ron. I. Don't. Want. To. Talk."

He looked at her befuddled. "Then what—" In answer, she slid out from under him and quickly shifted to straddle his waist. "Oh."

"Oh is right," Hermione whispered in a sultry tone before bending over to taste his lips the way she'd been dying to four hours, weeks, months now, sure they wouldn't be interrupted.

Immediately Ron responded, his hand reaching behind her to bury itself in her hair, pulling her deeper into the kiss, while the other reached down to pinch her bum. She giggled at the thrill of his touch as she slid down to lie on top of him, pleased to find that he seemed to be as eager for this as she was. She pressed her hips into his, grinding against his hardening length, already imaging what it would feel like when he was inside her again.

"Hermione," Ron growled, and she giggled again, nipping at his lips teasingly. His eyes fluttered with arousal and she knew there was no way they'd ever make it to the bedroom in time.

"I missed you."

"So much," Ron agreed, clearly too preoccupied to even care what he was saying.

"Ron. I need—"

And before she could even get the words out, she felt his hands slide below the length of her dress to drag her knickers down her legs, kneading her round arse as he went. In one swift motion he'd flipped them over, sitting up as she squeaked in protest as their lips separated. "Easy love," he whispered, unbuckling his pants, clearly enjoying the power he held over her. "It's better when it's slow, remember?"

"You know I've never had any patience when it came to you."

"Good things come to those who wait," he said, pausing to reach down and tease her, dipping one long finger into her slit, causing her eyes to roll back into her head.

"Ron. I've been waiting to get you like this for months. I'm finished waiting." And with those words, she pulled down his pants, letting his turgid cock spring forth to settle on her stomach. She moaned in anticipating of what it was about to do to her.

"Look at you," he teased gently, reaching down to grasp his length, stroking it while bouncing the head on her stomach, sending her into a frenzy of lust with each light slap of skin on skin.

"Enough teasing. I cant take it right now," she said, her hands settling on his waist before sliding up across his stomach, feeling the ripples there that she didn't remember being so defined before he left.

"Show me your tits, love."

"You're awful," she scolded, though she hurried to comply with his demand nonetheless. "They're called breasts."

"Yeah, but tits sound better. Tits sounds like sex."

"We make love Ron."

"Not tonight, luv. Tonight, I'm going to remind you the difference between making love and fucking. That's what you wanted, right? Or did I get that wrong?"

If she hadn't already been dripping with arousal, those words would've done it. "I love your dirty mouth, you know," she said, already panting as her arousal clouded everything but the feeling of Ron.

"You're gonna love it even more in a minute," he said before his lips descended on her breasts—her tits, she mentally corrected—suckling and biting and licking them every which way as she begged him on, her nails scrabbling across his back, purposely leaving scratches as she re-marked him as hers.

"Ron," she said, struggling to form words as he lavished attention on her chest, undoubtedly leaving a few marks of his own, "you know…I love this but…right now…"

"What?" he asked, his lips finally separating form her skin, a fine sheen of perspiration on his forehead that somehow made him look even more delectable than before. "You need something?"

"Ron," she begged.

"You need a cock in your tight little pussy?"

"Yours Ron. Only yours."

"My what, Hermione? What does your sopping little fanny want inside of it right now? I bet I know. I bet it's begging for a big, fat—"

He never finished. Instead he buried his cock inside her with one thrust, which was more elegance than you'd suspect Ron capable of if you didn't know him like only Hermione did.

"Fuck Ron!" she shrieked, feeling the painful pleasure of him stretching her after months of absence.

"There it is," Ron managed to grunt as he thrust deeply into her as her hands reached down, undecided between pulling his lips back to hers just to shut him up or grabbing his arse to spur him on. He always seemed to take immense pleasure in getting her to shed her usually prim and proper language and Hermione was only too happy to give him what he wanted.

Not that it mattered. Long before she was even ready, she felt herself coming undone in Ron's arms, her arms shaking and shuddering with the rest of her as Ron continued to pound into her, driving her through her orgasm.

"Already, love?" he teased, laughing as he slowed down when she'd finally relaxed, her head settling back into the couch with an air of complete contentment. "You didn't even make it five minutes."

"I know you did that on purpose," she scowled at him, almost ashamed that he could make her beg and plead and lose control at his slightest touch.

"I can't help it. It's just so easy."

Immediately, her competitive nature rose to the challenge. "I'll show you who's easy, Ronald Weasley."

"Ronald? You must be serious." And to emphasize her point she rolled her hips, wigging her arse to push back against Ron, determined to prove she wasn't the only one who could lose control. She thrust against him again, letting out a moan of her own, still swollen and sensitive from her earlier release. She raised herself up on her knees, planting her hands on his shoulders for leverage and slammed down on his cock, gasping again as she took Ron's full length inside her. She knew there was a very good chance she'd come again as she bounced on his cock while Ron's fingers tweaked her nipples and his mouth once again set to work on her neck, but Hermione Granger wasn't one to shy away from a challenge.

Apparently, Ron was just as determined not to make it easy on her as he reached down to press on her clit, applying just the right amount of pressure that he knew drove her crazy. "No…fair," she gasped, struggled to remain coherent, sliding down on his length, feeling every bump, every ridge of his cock enveloped by her heat.

"All's fair in love and war, Hermione. And it's always been a bit of both with us."

"Please, Ron. Come for me."

He must've understood how much she needed it from him, because his hands moved to her hips and neck, holding her in place as he hammered up and inside of her with such ferocity until she was screaming delicious agony as she came. And two thrusts later so did Ron, holding her in place on his length as he shot into her over and over.

At last, he collapsed onto his back, pulling her with him. She laid her head on his chest, reveling in the feel of his cock softening against her stomach and the warmth of their combined juices trickling down her legs, probably ruining the couch she'd spent the afternoon cleaning.

"Welcome home, Ron," she whispered, planting a soft kiss above his heart full of as much devotion and tenderness as their earlier kisses had desire and need. "Don't ever leave again."

After recuperating for a bit, they somehow managed to stumble their way to the bedroom, divesting themselves of their surviving articles of clothing along the way. There they made love again, their earlier releases finally allowing them the languid patience they hadn't had time for earlier. And they'd been catching up ever since, filling one another on the smaller details of their lives for the past six months that never made it into their letters, occasionally pausing for a bit of kissing and the occasional grope from Ron, though they were clearly too exhausted to make another go of it.

Hermione would've liked nothing more than to drift into a post-sex coma, but unfortunately her emotions were firing on all cylinders, begging for the same satisfaction as her physical side. She knew she shouldn't bring it up, knew it would be pushing, knew that she should just enjoy being with him after months apart. But she was Hermione Granger. And Hermione Granger just didn't let things lie.

"Ron?" she asked

"Hnn?" She knew he'd been about to fall asleep. It had been a long day for him, and she considered waiting until the morning, but she knew she'd never get to sleep until they'd talked so she pressed on.

"Do you ever think about the future?"

It took him a moment before he was conscious enough to actually reply. "Sure. I mean I think about what I want for breakfast tomorrow morning. And what I'm going to have for lunch. And if the Cannons have a chance at winning their next game—"

She slapped his stomach lightly. "I didn't mean it like that you oaf."

"I know what you meant. I guess I just don't know what you want me to say. After everything we've been through, I just feel lucky to have a tomorrow to wake up, and a today to enjoy in the moment. So I try to take it as it comes and make the most of it, and not worry so much about the rest. And it's kind of hard to think about the future when I have you lying next to me naked. You know I've never been good at multitasking."

It wasn't the answer she'd hoped for, but in some ways, it was even better. So of course, she felt her eyes starting to tear up, but fought them back. She never wanted to be one of those girls that cried after sex. It could give a guy a complex, or so she'd read. So she forced herself to speak, but her voice came out a bit mushy.

"Ron, am I your best friend?"

"Of course," he replied without giving the question a second though.

"What about Harry?" she asked a bit more slowly, wanting him to understand what she was really asking.

"Well yeah. But that's different. You're my best friend who also happens to be my girlfriend. And Harry's my best friend who is soon to be my brother in-law."

Her emotions finally steadied, she turned her head so her chin rested on his chest and she could look up into his face. "You know you're my best friend. Even more than Harry."

For a moment, Ron just blinked, and then he smiled. "You too."

"Don't say it just because I said it. I only want you to say it if you mean it. And it's alright if you don't feel that way. I mean you've known Harry longer, though not that much longer I suppose. I just wanted you to know how I felt—"

"Hermione, breathe." He picked up her hand and pressed his lips to the back of it. "I meant what I said."

She couldn't help but smile again. "Since when?"

He thought for a moment. "Probably since summer before fifth year, when you came to Grimmauld Place to stay. I'd never spent that much one-on-one time with someone before, or at least someone who wasn't related to me. And no matter how much you got on my nerves, I was glad you were there."

Hermione opened her mouth to tell Ron that she was glad she'd been there too, but apparently he wasn't finished. "Or maybe even before then. I remember back in second year, after you were attacked. I mean I still had Harry, and I knew that you would recover soon as the Mandrakes were ready. But it just felt like something…some part of me was missing. I dunno if I remember ever feeling that way with Harry, even when we had our fight back in fourth year.

"I always felt that I annoyed you a lot, so I put a lot more effort into being your friend than I did with Harry. Kind of had to put you first, you know? If I put you on the same level as him, you'd have gotten so fed up with me, we would've been finished before we even started." He paused for a moment, then frowned. "Guess I still didn't go that great of a job, come to think. But I did try."

She pulled herself up by his shoulders and kissed him gently. "I know you did. And it worked out in the end didn't it?"

"I'd say so. What about you? When'd you realize I was your best friend in the whole wide world?" he teased.

"When I found out you'd been poisoned," she said, deadly serious. "I was already crazy about you, obviously, but it wasn't until I almost lost you that I realized your friendship meant even more to me. It meant so much that everything else seemed to fade into the background by comparison," including your relationship with Lav Lav Hermione finished in her head.

"So I beat you?" Ron asked in disbelief. "I actually beat you!" he said, sounding quite pleased with himself.

She patted his stomach again. "It's not a competition."

"You're only saying that because I beat you," he said smugly. "It sure seemed like a competition when you wanted to know whether or not you edged out Harry."

"No, I…" Her brain kicked into overdrive, refusing to let Ron win twice in one day "…well I figured out I had feelings for you ages before you realized the same."

"No you didn't."

"Ron. You didn't even know I was a girl until fourth year!"

"I bloody knew!" Ron countered. "Believe me, by the start of third year I couldn't forget you were a girl if I wanted to."

Hermione paused, trying to make sense of his words. "What does that mean?"

"Let's just say there was a reason why it took me so long to get ready in the mornings."

Hermione could only look at him, completely befuddled. "I don't get it."

"Well, er…there were some days…a lot of days actually…where I would wake up with a…you know, after having…you know…"

"You mean you dreamt—"


"And I was—"


"What do you mean, mostly?"

"Hermione, I was thirteen. I dreamt about anything and everything so long as it had a pair of tits."

"I didn't even have…tits…back then."

"No but you had a great arse."

Hermione was caught between feeling pleased and insulted. But overriding both emotions was something else. "Who else?"

"Hermione, it was ages ago."

"Who else!"

"Madame Rosemerta. Angelina, Katie Bell, Parvati, Fleur starting in fourth year." Ron's face scrunched in embarrassment. "McGonagall one time."

"What!" Hermione exclaimed before breaking out into peals of laugher.

"I was thirteen," Ron explained again, scowling at her laughter. "It's not I wanted to."

"I know," Hermione giggled. "But just the thought of you and Professor McGonagall…"

"I'm glad you find my humiliation so amusing. At least you're done acting jealous of my teenage wet dreams, though I'm not sure if my humiliation was a fair trade."

That shut her up right quick. "Who's jealous? I'm not jealous."

"Of course not," Ron said patronizingly as he kissed the bridge of her nose. "I forgot. I'm the only jealous git in my relationship."

Hermione let out a hmpf. "Don't you want to know mine?"

"Not really," Ron murmured, his eyes already closing for sleep. "And if you say Vicky, I'm kicking you out of bed."

"You can't kick me out. It's my bed too."

"I paid for it."

"And I've been the one sleeping in it for the past six months. Alone."

"Guess I should thank you for keeping it warm for me."

"Prat," Hermione muttered, only instead of smacking him again, she slid her hand down the length of his body until Ron's eyes snapped open once she found what she was looking for. "Ready for round two?" she asked seductively.

"Technically I think we're on round four, love."

She smirked devilishly. "Who's counting?"

"Merlin woman. I'm only human."

"No, you're a man. A man with a girlfriend with six months of pent up sexual frustration."

"And you're determined to make up for it in less than twelve hours?"

"Well I'd like to make a nice dent in it. Don't worry," she said, giving him a searing kiss. "This one's just for you." And with a shamelessness that only Ron could bring out in her she slid down his body, marveling at all the new, wonderful muscles she was still discovering, until he could feel the warmth of her breath on his cock. "Well, it looks like someone's been expecting me," she said, gently taking hold of his hardened cock in her small hands and starting to stroke him. She knew Ron was big, based on everything she'd read about the male anatomy, and she certainly felt it every time he was inside her. But there was something about seeing it this close, about the feel and weight of it contrasted with her small hands that send a thrill to her very core in wonder of just how her body managed to accommodate for Ron's. And it's all mine, she thought with a perverse pleasure, grinning like the devil herself.

"Now, what am I going to do with you?" she whispered against his cock, making it twitch in anticipation in her hands.

"Bloody tease," Ron growled.

"You didn't think you were the only one, did you?" she asked as she took his bollocks in her hands, massaging them with her fingers as she licked his cock from base to head, making him shiver.

"Yeah, but you enjoy it too much."

Hermione had been apprehensive about oral sex at first, both giving and receiving. She'd wanted to try it, to do for Ron what he did for her so willingly, but a part of her had been afraid she wouldn't be any good in a way she hadn't worried about with intercourse. Which perhaps had been why it'd taken so long for her to get to the point where she could actually get Ron off with just her mouth. But, like everything else, she'd practiced and studied until she knew exactly what to do.

She glanced up at Ron, making sure that he was watching, pulled her hair back so he would have a clear view, and swallowed him until her lips were at the base of

"God, woman. What you do to me." She had to suppress the smile that tugged at her lips at Ron's words or else she might choke. And with excruciating slowness slid up and back down Ron's length, drawing in her cheeks around him and sucking on him for all she was worth, as if she were trying to draw Ron's very essence into herself. Which, in a way, was exactly what she was doing.

"I knew…was a reason…you got head girl."

She pulled her mouth off his cock with a wet smack and wiped her lips with the back of her hand, feeling sexier than she ever had in her life as Ron whimpered at the interruption. "Looks to me like you're the one who's getting head, Mister Weasley."

"Hermione…" Ron groaned in frustration, clearly finished talking.

"Is that impatience I'm hearing? Well, I guess we should get back to the task at hand. I believe we were right in the middle of your oral, right Mister Weasley."

Ron didn't say anything, merely moved his hand to cup the back of her head and push her back toward his waiting cock still begging for her attention. And after wetting her lips once more in anticipation, she got on with the job at hand.

As Hermione returned to her ministrations, she wondered how women thought giving oral sex could be demeaning. She supposed that some men were probably more forceful and degrading than Ron, but holding Ron in her hands and mouth like this, giving the part of him that gave her so much pleasure such lavish attention that he probably couldn't even remember his mother's own name if asked, she felt powerful, in control. She loved watching him squirm and writhe like this laid out before her and knowing it was all because of her.

Before she could bring him off, he was lifting her off him by the shoulders, sliding her up to straddle him. It was always like this with him; no matter how much he seemed to enjoy having her mouth, Ron never seemed to content getting off that way, preferring to come inside of her, something she had absolutely no problem with as she slide him inside her.

12 August, 2001

Standing in front of the mirror in their loo, Hermione realized she couldn't remember ever being happier than at that moment. There was just an air of contentment about her, having Ron back. She realized that even though she'd been living in the flat since the start of the year, a place Ron himself had picked out just for them, it hadn't felt like home without Ron there. She hadn't been able to wake up with his arms around her every morning, hadn't been able to have lazy mornings together where they fixed breakfast and chatted aimlessly for hours before falling back into bed together. Now, there'd be time for all that.

In fact she'd already started. She'd spent an hour already watching Ron sleeping after she'd woken up. There was something mesmerizing something utterly devastating about watching him be completely at-peace with his life as he dreamed about Merlin only knew what. She'd learned how much pleasure it gave her to see him that way after that first night they'd spent together, and time had only helped make those moments more precious to her. While Ron exuded an hair of relaxed contentment about him that infected everyone around him, helping them to slow down and take each moment as they came, she'd noticed that there was a tension in his demeanor, an edge that hadn't been there back in their school days when he'd always been totally carefree, even during the darkest days of the war. It physically hurt her to see him that way, to imagine that he'd been robbed of some of that innocence that made Ron…well, Ron.

She wondered if others saw those changes in him as well, if Harry had picked up on it, whether or not the boys discussed such things at work or during their boy's nights. Somehow she doubted it. Harry had changed too, though in the opposite direction. Despite the fact that more and more responsibilities were placed on his shoulders as he moved up the ranks in the Auror department, Harry seemed more carefree than every, finally able to relax and enjoy every aspect of life now that he was free of the his destiny to defeat Riddle and save the world. She guessed Ginny played a large part in that. She'd always been good at bringing out those parts of Harry that she and even Ron could only glimpse. And more than anything she wanted to be able to do the same for Ron, to be the one whom he could let down his walls around and open up to and unload his troubles on. But one thing she'd learned in the last two years of their relationship was how to give him his space, to let him come to her when he was ready. She didn't try to pressure him or nag him anymore. She didn't need to. She just needed to be there for whatever he needed.

She'd been so deep in thought that she was startled to catch sight of Ron's reflection in the mirror. He was standing in the doorway of the loo, just watching her. Apparently, playing voyeur was something they both enjoyed, and she wondered how long he'd been there.

"What are you doing?" she asked, pulling her dressing gown more tightly around her instinctively despite the fact that Ron had probably memorized everything there was to see…the same way she'd done with him.

"You didn't tell me you put the Mirror of Erised in our bathroom, Hermione. And here I was thinking it got burned up in the Room of Requirement thanks to Crabbe. How ever did you find get your hands on it?"

"It's not," she said, quite confused. "What are you even talking about? It's just a normal mirror."

"Not the way I see it," Ron said, striding purposely over to stand behind her. "From where I'm standing, all I can see is my greatest desire in all the world."

Hermione blushed. "Your greatest?" She saw him nod over her shoulder.

"Because I would've thought this would be even more appealing," she said, allowing her gown to slide off her shoulders until she was standing there naked, fighting the urge to cover herself. Despite her boldness, seeing herself, and more importantly seeing Ron see her made her feel like a little girl.

A visible lump appeared in Ron's throat and he swallowed. "Well I've always said you know everything, so I guess you must know what you're talking about." His words were husky and Hermione knew his throat had gone dry. She was still amazed that after the last two years, after the last ten really, even after everything they'd done last night, she still had that sort of affect on him.

She turned away from the mirror to face him. "Shower or bed first?" she asked.

"Uh I'm not sure if we have time to do it twice love. It's all ready after eight."

"I think you're forgetting that it's Sunday. Which means I have no place I need to be, nowhere else I'd rather be. In fact, I might have to call in sick on Monday as well."

"Merlin, Hermione," Ron said as her hands slid down his naked back, down to his firm bum, "I don't," she kissed him, "think I can," she kissed him again, "I'm supposed to have," another kiss, "my first day," he finally managed to finish.

She kissed him again purposely. "Well then I expect you to make the most of the next twenty-four yours," she said, gently pulling him toward the shower.

"God I really have corrupted you," Ron said, smirking as he allowed himself to be to be lead into the shower an turning on the faucet.

"And to think it only took you ten years," she grinned, reaching down to cup him, coaxing a groan from his lips. "Now if you wouldn't mind," she said, picking up a wash cloth and offering it to him, "I'd like to be thoroughly washed before you proceed to get me filthy again."

Ron grabbed the cloth and tossed it aside. "I don't think we'll be needing that," he told her, his eyes dark with determined lust as he kneeled down and proceeded to lick every inch of her clean.

A/N: The title of this chapter comes from the song "Everything In Its Right Place" by Radiohead off their album Kid A. For those who haven't read Closer, all my titles are based on song or album titles or lyrics, all of which provide my inspiration when I write. A lot of my musical preferences might be 'out there' for some people, but I encourage you to check out any artists you're unfamiliar with.

Anyway, I'm sure you guys are confused about a few things (Lavender, anyone?), but remember, the even chapters will hopefully explain most everything. My last fic was pretty angst-y, but while there will be some angst, I wanted to set the tone for this one (which will hopefully be happier and more light-hearted) in the first chapter. Hence all the smut. They won't all be so one-dimensional as this one, but I promise plenty more in the future.

In terms of updates...they probably won't be very regular or timely. I'm currently in my first year of teaching and attending night-classes for my Masters degree. Plus I'm working on an original novel which eats up a lot of my writing time and creative energy. I'm hopeful I can stick to maybe two updates a month, so with any luck you guys will be getting chapter 2 as a Christmas present.