This is my very first attempt at any kind of fanfic. It's kind of my baby.

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New and Improved. I plan on expanding just about every one of my one-shots. Maybe not into chapters, but definitely more content in each one. Thanks for your continued support.

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The cackling voice echoed Ron's head.

"What did you steal? You filthy Mudblood. I ought to chuck this blade out after I soil it with your disgusting blood. But you will tell me what you stole from my vault! What did you and that blood traitor downstairs steal from me, girl?"

Hermione's screams of agony grew louder each time Bellatrix applied the cursed blade to her. Ron thought he'd go mad. He beat his hands bloody on the cold stone walls screaming her name, if he could only get to her. He would ensure Bellatrix Lestrange never cursed anyone again. Hermione's tortured begging made his heart pound in his ears. "Please, I didn't! Stop! Please!"

"HERMIONE!" Ron bellowed, still pounding the walls. He masked his face in the crook of his elbow and sobbed, he couldn't lose her.

One final scream escaped from Hermione's lips, "RON!" And suddenly he was awake, shaking and covered in cold sweat.

He blinked himself awake, his chest heaving and he pushed himself up on his elbows. Looking around, it took him a few moments to re-orient himself. He was in the tent in the backyard. He saw the shadow of the Burrow looming up in the distance. The smell of cats had further dissipated from the tent since the time Harry, Hermione, and he had been in hiding but somehow he found comfort in the odor, it confirmed that he was no longer trapped in the cellar of Malfoy Manor.

Ron hadn't been able to sleep comfortably in the house since Fred's death. The whole of the summer so far he had insisted on camping out in the yard, something that worried his parents greatly but they didn't want to insist Ron grieve as they had - by surrounding themselves with photographs of Fred and talking about him as if he were merely late home from work, not dead and gone forever.

Harry and Hermione had both been staying at the Burrow for the summer and they took turns sleeping on cots in the tent with Ron. He turned and saw Hermione's face, contorted with concern over his apparent nightmare. He flopped back down and put his hand on his chest to try to stop his heart from pounding so furiously. This particular nightmare hadn't come in several weeks, but it was as vivid as ever.

"Again?" Hermione said softly, sitting at Ron's side and pushing his sweaty fringe from his eyes. Ron didn't need to answer. She knew what he had seen in his dream; they had lived it not so long ago. But she took a deep breath and tried her best to console him. "It's over, Ron. The war, the danger. Bellatrix can't hurt me or anyone else ever again." She cooed placing soft kisses on his temple and his lips. She ran her hand across his chest and interlocked her fingers with his own. "This is what's real, Ron. You and me. This is real, not the dream." She pulled his hand up to her chest and he felt her heartbeat.

He turned his tear-filled eyes to hers. "But it was real, Hermione. It happened. She...she..." he let his eyes drift down to the scar on her arm but they darted back up. He tried to avoid staring at the second scar at her throat. "I couldn't protect you. I thought you were going to die." His voice cracked and she wiped the tears away from his face. "But darling, don't you know that it was you who kept me alive? I heard you calling out to me from the cellar. Even when I was on the brink of death, I heard you and it gave me strength."

She turned his face towards her and kissed him passionately. While she and Ron had technically been a couple since the final day of the war, he had been in no real condition to be a proper boyfriend to her. Hermione was entirely patient, knowing it was completely inappropriate to address her basal needs when Ron was in such a delicate state. Whenever she stayed in the tent with him, she had respectfully slept in a separate cot. When Ron showered she attempted to keep her mind from travelling in there with him, soaking together in the hot water, lathering his chest, his stomach, letting her hands roam further south... No. She simply put the idea out of her mind...until it crept back in again. There were times when she'd catch him looking at her with what she could only interpret as desire, but neither of them made a move.

On a recent trip to Diagon Alley with Ginny, Hermione had popped into the Alchemist and bought various supplies she'd need for classes when she completed her seventh year at Hogwarts, but she also bought a contraceptive potion, just in case. Even when it was clear that Ron's state wasn't improving, she faithfully took the potion daily, just in case. On September first, she and Ginny would board the Hogwarts Express and wave goodbye to Ron and Harry, who were going forgo their final year to begin Auror training. They wouldn't be alone again at least until the Christmas holidays. While she and Harry agreed to alternate sleepless nights watching over Ron, Hermione had spent the last four nights in the tent; half because she knew there would quickly come a day when she didn't have the option of being so close to Ron. She also vividly recalled her own battle with nightmares about Bellatrix and Ron hadn't left her side.

Hermione scooted in close to Ron and laid her head on his pillow. They lay there with their faces very close together, breathing synchronized when they heard a pop just outside. It was Harry. He stuck his head in the tent flap.

"Is he alright?" He whispered.

"Yeah, mate, I'm fine." Ron called back. Harry took this as an invitation to enter. He stumbled towards them yawning, his pyjama bottoms dragged on the floor underneath his bare feet.

"Bellatrix again?" He asked knowingly. Hermione stood and paced nervously over to Harry, nodding.

"How did you guess?" Ron asked.

"Well, it's hot and - er - the windows are open, and I heard you. We all heard you." Harry said tentatively.

Ron closed his eyes and sighed. "Mum heard me?" Harry grimaced and nodded.

Ron rubbed his eyes and sat up straight. "Will I ever be able to sleep again? Will I ever be able to close my eyes and not see F-Fred laying there cold or hearing what that woman did to Hermione?" Harry and Hermione exchanged nervous glances. The question hung in the air between the three of them.

"Tell Mum I'm sorry I woke them. Sorry I worried them. You can go back to bed, Harry. I'm fine." Ron swung his legs over the side of the bed and stared at the floor.

"Do you want me to stay, Hermione? You can go sleep in the house; I could switch off with you if you want to sleep?" Harry offered. Hermione smiled weakly but shook her head. She reached out and gave his hand a thankful squeeze before walking back over to Ron's bedside. Harry nodded. "Well, I'll go back then…goodnight." He hated seeing Ron like that. Harry cursed Lord Voldemort under his breath for all the damage he had inflicted on everyone Harry cared about. He exited the tent and seconds later Disapperated back to the house with a pop.

"Hermione?" Ron said weakly.


"Could you…would you…lay with me a while?" His voice sounded like that of a small child. Hermione smiled at him and motioned with her head for him to lie back down, and Ron did so. She stroked his forehead and cheek with the cool back of her hand and he turned his face to kiss it. He took her hand and gently pulled her down into bed with him.

As he was laying the left side of the bed, Hermione would have to climb over him to get to the empty side. She swung a leg over him delicately and was surprised when he put his hands on her thighs to stop her from moving. They stared at each other silently for a short while until Ron ran his hands up to her lower back, pulling her down onto his chest. She was but a short breath away from his face when he started kissing her. She felt his strong arms wrap around her and run the length of her torso, down to her bottom and up into her hair. He gently but firmly rolled onto his side taking Hermione with him as they were locked in each other's arms. His mouth ventured down her neck and he licked her collarbone. She let moans escape her mouth into his ear and she ran her hands up under his shirt feeling his chest.

She ran her fingers through his damp hair, tugging slightly whenever his tongue penetrated her mouth. Her body was aflame, every nerve ending alight with passion. Ron's natural musk filled her nostrils and wilted her from the inside. She loved his scent. She held his face to her own and moaned into his mouth. When she heard about tongue-kissing she found the idea of it rather off-putting. Who wanted someone slobbering into their mouth, how unsanitary! Since the very first one, each one of Ron's kisses however made her crave more. Entirely out of her depth, she tried following his example, swirling her own tongue around his, even daring to push hers past his teeth. His grip on her tightened when she did that, she noted.

Ron rolled on top of her, careful not to crush her petite frame and Hermione felt his erection against her leg. She reached down and pulled Ron's favorite Chudley Cannons shirt up over his head and he peeled off the thin white tank top she was wearing. She hadn't been wearing a bra and Ron flushed to see her erect nipples greet him.

It was as exposed as she could imagine being up to that point. They had all lost weight in the last few months. Looking at herself in the mirror she saw bones protrude where they never had. And then there were the scars. The ugly curse scars that she might be able to cover, but never erase.

Ron traced his fingers over the purple keloid scar tissue on her chest and he kissed it gently. He buried kisses between her breasts and molded them with his large hands. Trying to keep her volume down, Hermione bit her fist but as Ron continued to kiss down her stomach and just below her naval she let a sound escape her lips that made Ron freeze.

With fear in his eyes he stopped and bolted upright, his legs straddled over her knees. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry!"

Hermione's chest was heaving as she spoke, "Sorry for what?!" Come back!" She held her arms out for him. Ron slowly lowered himself next to her and stroked her hair.

"I thought I had hurt you…" Ron said, tracing lazy circles around her breast.

"Not at all." She said planting soft kisses on his freckled shoulder.

"I thought for a moment we were going to…" his voice trailed off.

"Don't you want to?" she asked hopefully.

He cocked his head to the side with an eyebrow raised. "Are you mad? Of course I want to!" He replied laughing, sounding like the old Ron, the pre-broken Ron.


He smirked at her. "Miss Granger, are you asking me for it, then?" He playfully pulled her thigh up over his hip and she could still feel his hardness poking at her through his pyjamas. He was teasing, but he knew it wasn't a decision Hermione would ever make lightly. He'd made such a mess of things with her last winter, he was determined to get this part right. His bollocks might turn blue and fall off but he was going to wait as long as she needed to.

Hermione bit her lip, she decided to be bold. With one swift movement, she pushed her hand down into his pants and stroked him. Ron shivered and released a loud moan of surprise. She toyed with him a while, feeling the velvety soft skin glide back and forth in her hand. Sometimes squeezing hard, sometimes faster, just to see his face, and hear his pleasure.

"Ohfuck, ohfuck, ohbloodyfuckingshit…" Ron moaned, releasing a hot, sticky load over her hand. Hermione continued stroking him until his body stopped shuddering. Confident that she'd done it right, she removed her hand from his pants, admiring the look she had plastered on his face and caught his eye as she licked his juice off her hand with a pointed tongue. She wasn't sure what to expect; but the bitter, salty substance on her fingers made her wrinkle her nose.

"Blimey, woman. I'm going to make you pay for that!"

He pounced on top of her and traced a line with his tongue down her middle, to her naval and below. His body was still buzzing from the unexpected hand job. He lingered just above the waistband of the shorts she was wearing and licked his way back up, biting playfully at her nipple before he nestled his mouth in her neck.

She squeezed her eyes shut tight. Every touch of his lips on her skin lit a fire in her womb. She tried not to let herself shake with nerves. Imagining Ron's rough hands and mouth explore her skin was one thing, but the experience of it was something entirely different. Remembering what she had read in a book for girls when she was 12, she was scared it would hurt; scared she'd bleed and scared of Ron's reaction if she did.

Ron kissed her fervently. He wanted to taste her skin, every last bit of her was as soft as he imagined. He hoped he was doing it right, it certainly felt right to him. He felt her body shake and he couldn't be sure why. He'd already far exceeded his previous experience with sex and girls as soon as he and Hermione were topless together, this was all new territory and all he could hope to do was not make an arse of himself.

Lying next to her whispering in her ear, he ran his fingers lightly up her inner thigh and grazed the crotch of her shorts. She bucked her hips slightly and moaned. Ron raised his eyebrows asking silently if she was sure and Hermione nodded.

He let his fingers travel down into her shorts, finding she had not been wearing knickers.

"That's so bloody hot.." Ron moaned. He let his hand descend and he cupped his hand over the area between her legs. Delicately he rubbed the outside of her swollen entrance, enjoying the soft down of her pubic hair and the warm stickiness that awaited him.

She was glad he was going slow; both because it felt absolutely brilliant and because she was incredibly nervous. He dared to let a finger slip between her lips and again, her hips bucked. All of the oxygen was sucked out of her lungs at that moment, she couldn't think; all she could do was feel. Her breathing got shallow and she trembled harder still.

Gently, he inserted another finger and Hermione hissed in his ear. He found her hole and glided his fingers in and out in different rhythms, just as she had toyed with him. His mind raced. He'd heard the locker room talk at school, and of course Fred and George spared him no details when one of them got off with a girl. However, feeling her pulsate around his fingers and watching her arch her back nearly made him come. Remembering something George had once told him, his thumb found what he assumed was her clit and he flicked it carefully.

Hermione was writhing. Ron's long fingers were inside her, gently massaging. She fisted the sheets; her body was debating with itself: was this painful or the most incredible sensation in the world? What was that he was doing with his thumb? Circles? Squares? She was absolutely not in control of her body when she felt herself coming. That dazzling moment of bliss as she tightened around his fingers and let loose a groan so loud he clapped a hand over her mouth to stifle it - the windows in the house were open, after all. Her muscles continued contracting around his fingers as her breathing returned to normal. She realized there was a reason the book couldn't explain what an orgasm felt like. There were no words for it.

Kneeling up, Ron raised his hand and licked her off of his fingers. He wanted more. Studying her face, he couldn't tell what she was thinking – what was that look in her eyes? Without a word, Hermione slid herself out of her shorts and tossed them carelessly to the floor. She grabbed the waistband of his pyjamas and yanked them down to his thighs. He was hard again. She blushed slightly at the sight of his naked sex. But the urge to kiss him there came out of nowhere and overtook her.

She took him in her mouth and Ron cried out "Ohbloodyfuckingfuck!"

He stopped her and wiggled out of his pyjamas, pushing her legs open. It was a little more forceful than he wanted to be, but she was driving him barmy.

"We can stop…if you're not sure, stop me…" he said breathlessly.

"I'm ready, Ron." She took him in her hand and he felt the tip of his cock rub against her soft, wet skin.

"Oh, fuck!" He groaned, clenching his buttocks. He pushed a little further but he was truly petrified of hurting her. He once heard Seamus refer to a bird he'd skived off class with as "tight" but he never knew what that referred to until that moment.

She winced; he was almost too big for her. A sharp intake of air made him push away from her but she stopped him from leaving her, "It hurts, but go slow."

He nodded and re-adjusted. Not wanting to hurt her, he moved only as fast as he dared. She was so wet he quivered all over with pleasure at the feeling of being inside her. She inhaled his scent deep down into her lungs and his musk made her whole being tingle. One thrust of his hips in particular made her whimper loudly and her eyes watered. She breathed slowly through the pain hoping it would fade away.

"Faster…" she said moaning. It was better than she imagined. At first it felt like she was being cleaved in two, but that was soon surpassed by the inexplicable feeling of Ron, just Ron.

Holy shit. Holy shit. Holy fucking shit. This is really happening. She feels so goddamned good. Ron thought.

They found a rhythm and Hermione locked her legs around his waist. Ron buried a forceful kiss on her mouth and she scraped her nails across his back and his bottom. With a grunt and extended moan he erupted inside her and they both trembled as he left her. Covered in sweat and orgasmic bliss they couldn't speak for a few minutes. Hermione was sore, but she loved him so much, loved everything about him so much, it didn't matter.

He put his hand on her hip and she winced. He withdrew his hand quickly, as if he were burnt. "I'm sorry – I hurt you! I'm so sorry!" he said kissing her face.

"It's fine Ron, really. It was going to hurt whenever it happened…you're…erm…gifted down there." She smiled.

He blushed and jokingly said "That's probably the nicest thing you've ever said to me." She laughed and swatted at him playfully. She sat up in search of her shorts. Spotting them on the floor she stood and was embarrassed to see the small trail of blood on her leg. Grabbing Ron's robe from the bed post she covered herself and dashed to the loo. Walking hurt and dashing hurt even more but she wasn't going to let him know she was bleeding.

"Hermione?!" he called after her. She emerged trying to be casual but she knew it from the look on his face when she walked back out. "Are you ok? There's blood on the sheets, I fucking hate myself for hurting you." His blue eyes wide oceans of worry.

She waved him off. "It's just what happens, Ron. Really I'm just fine." She tried to hide the limp she had acquired due to his size as she got closer to him.

Unabashed at his nudity, Ron climbed out of bed and stood in front of her, pulling her into his chest he smelled her hair. "I love you."

"Love you, too." She answered. "So…we know that was my first time…you?" She asked, raising her eyes to his face.

Ron chuckled. "Of course it was. I wasn't exactly a hot commodity at school, was I?" Hermione shot him a look. "Oh, you mean Lav-" Hermione flinched at her rival's name.

Ron looked away and plopped himself down into a chair. "She and I never did, Hermione. Honest. "

Hermione searched his face for signs of dishonesty but found none there. She sat in his lap. Her arms around his neck she placed chaste kisses on his mouth. "It was you. Always. Only you." He wound his strong arms around her and pulled her into him.

"Do you think you'll be able to sleep now?"

"Hermione Jean, with you in my bed, I don't think I'll ever sleep again."