In the aftermath, they didn't talk about The Kiss. There were funerals to plan and attend – gods, there were so many funerals. Hermione stood strong and steadfast between Ron and Ginny as they said goodbye to their brother. She held Harry up at the services for Professor Lupin and Tonks. At all the other funerals, she offered condolences on behalf of her friends who couldn't bear to come themselves.

They're so sorry they couldn't be here.

Of course, dear, we understand. Give them our best.

She attended a service almost every day – sometimes two – and in between, she returned to the Burrow where she helped cook and clean, and held her friends as they grieved. Late at night when she was so physically exhausted and emotionally drained that she couldn't sleep, Hermione's thoughts drifted to that moment in the midst of war, when the power of the moment took over and they'd finally let their feelings show. Remembering the sensation of Ron's lips on hers helped soothe her anxious mind and remind her that life might be "normal" again… someday.

After dinner on Bill's last night before returning to Fleur, the remaining Weasley siblings decided to go out to the pub. Although they were invited to come along, Hermione and Harry decided to stay back and let the brothers and sister be alone together.

Molly and Arthur retired early, and Hermione used the quiet time to spread her Australian maps and books out on the table in the living room.

"No word yet from the Ministry?" Harry said softly as he came up behind her. He leaned his forearms on the back of the couch and peered over her shoulder.

"Nothing certain, but the Australian office has some good leads, so it could be any day now. I want to be ready." She sighed. "It's going to be hard to leave though."

Harry was quiet for a moment. "He'll be back to normal someday soon, don't worry."

Hermione looked at him but quickly tried to control her facial expression.

"I saw you two holding hands after the battle," Harry said with a smirk. "Even with everything that was happening, I still noticed that."

"It was just one kiss, but it was… um…" Her face got warm. "Powerful."

Harry cleared his throat. "I don't need to know exactly what happened, but it's about time. I couldn't take the longing gazes anymore."

"Sorry," she giggled. It felt good to laugh.

"It'll get better," he said, "and then you lot can get this all sorted and live happily ever after. Until then, I'm going to sleep." He patted her shoulder and headed to the stairs.


Hermione pored over her papers until late into the night – it wasn't doing much good at this point, but it made her feel like she was doing something productive – when the front door creaked open and Ron tiptoed in.

"Hi," she whispered.

Ron flailed and fell against the door, slamming it loudly. "'Mione! You startled me!"

"Shh…" she said. "Your parents and Harry are asleep."

"Oh, right." He swayed on his feet. "Whatcha doing?" He staggered toward her and collapsed on the couch next to her. The smell of firewhiskey was almost overwhelming but the pink in his pale cheeks made her smile.

"Getting ready to go get my parents."

"Aw, you're not leaving, are ya?" he slurred. "I don't want ya to leave."

"Not yet – I'll let you know when it's time."

Ron rested his head on her shoulder, his soft, ginger hair brushing her neck. "I'm gonna miss you, 'Mione."

"I'll miss you too." She reached up and patted his cheek. "I won't be gone more than a few weeks."

"'S too long."

She looked down and his face was just inches from hers. His eyes darted toward her lips, and Hermione seized the moment. Her hand slid from his cheek to the back of his neck and she pulled him into a kiss. His response was immediate, shifting his position to push her back on the couch and climb on top of her.

The kisses were wet and sloppy but she didn't care. Feeling the warmth and weight of his body on hers was just what Hermione needed. It was easy to ignore the taste of firewhiskey on his tongue when she felt his hair clutched in her fingers. She sighed when he moved his lips to her neck.

Ron began fumbling with the buttons on her blouse and she moved his hand away, interlocking his fingers with hers. But a few minutes later, those fingers were clumsily working at the button on her jeans.

"No, Ron, not here," she whispered. "Not like this."

"'S'okay, 'Mione," he said, "Don't you want this too?"

"I do, but not here," she said, pushing him back. He sat up and blinked hard. "Your family could come tumbling through that door any minute."

"Oh. Yeah." His face brightened as he got another idea. "Let's go upstairs!"

"There's more family upstairs," she reminded him, smiling a little at his pouty reaction. "This isn't a good time. Or place. And you're kinda drunk."

"I guess so."

"Come on, I'll get you to bed." He looked up at her in surprise. "To go to sleep." His face fell again.

Hermione gathered her books and maps and stood, giving him a hand to pull him to his feet. She led him to the stairs and pushed him up ahead of her, casting a quick Muffliato at his feet clomping on the wood floor. They stopped at his and Harry's room.

"Good night," she whispered, giving him a quick kiss. He reached his arms around her waist and kissed her harder, until a noise from down the hall made them jump apart. "We can talk tomorrow."

The next morning, she and Harry were up for hours before any of the pub-goers. Bill slunk down the stairs first, with his travel bag in hand. Eventually, Charlie, Ginny, Percy, and George came down to wash down hangover potion with strong tea. Each time one of them tottered down to slouch into a kitchen chair, Hermione's eyes flew up to see if it was Ron coming. Finally, shortly after noon, she heard his heavy footsteps.

"It awakes!" George cried, clearly starting to feel the effects of the potion.

"Not so loud," Ron mumbled.

Harry cackled but got up to get two cups for his friend. Ron took the potion cup and guzzled the contents, handing it back to Harry with one hand while taking the teacup in the other. Harry returned to the table, and Ginny, while Ron braced himself against the kitchen counter. Seeing that everyone else was occupied, Hermione joined him in the kitchen.

"So, um, once the potion kicks in and you feel a little better, maybe we can talk about what happened last night?"

"Last night? Oh bloody hell, what did I do?"

"You don't remember?"

Ron rubbed his forehead. "I don't remember anything after Percy started buying firewhiskey shots."

Percy looked up at the sound of his name and then rested his head on the table again.

"Nothing?" she asked.

"Shit, what did I do?" Ron asked quietly. "Be honest, 'Mione. How stupid was it? Who do I have to apologize to?"

Hermione took a deep breath and tried to smile. "No one. Don't worry, it was nothing. We'll talk about it someday when you're not drunk or hungover."