Prompt: Ron is a little spoon

Prompted by: queenbqueenbb

The sun was setting on the waves outside Shell Cottage, and she was laughing. He reckoned he hadn't heard her laugh like that in months. They were sitting in the sand, and she'd leaned her head against his shoulder, shaking. He'd made a joke he was already forgetting, too wrapped up in this moment to care. Just then, it could have all been over, they could have been there on holiday instead.

He wanted to put his arm around her. He was strangely confident that she wouldn't mind, but it still look him a few stretched seconds of overthinking to finally do it.

She immediately leaned further against him, the moment his hand touched her shoulder. They stayed that way for several heart-pounding minutes. He could have stayed for days.

A salty breeze blew her hair across his face, tickling his nose and mouth, and he reached up to move it. She lifted her head from his shoulder again, smiling.

"Sorry," she said, but he shook his head, grinning back.

Now, they didn't even need a reason - everything was light and amusing. She stared into his eyes, a soft flush across her cheeks, and she laughed once more, unable to hold it in, even with her lips pressed together.

"Supper!" called a French voice from behind them, but neither turned to look back.

"Do you want to go in?" he asked quietly.

"Not yet," she sighed. "It's nice out here." She was looking at the sea again, pink and orange reflecting off the surface.

"Yeah," he agreed. He was looking at her.

She was too alert to rest, lying wide awake on her bed and obsessing over the way he'd held her hand all the way back inside for supper. She smiled broadly, not caring how silly she must look to the dark, quiet room. And she wanted to see him again. It was well past midnight, and everyone was surely asleep, but she slid out of bed and quietly crossed the room, opening the door with a glance back to be sure she hadn't disturbed Luna before slipping out into the hall.

As she came down the stairs, she could hear Harry's soft snores, and she held her breath, hopeful she wouldn't wake the others. Not for the first time, she wished there was someplace she could go with Ron to be alone…

She quickly spotted him lying on the floor, his shaggy ginger head, sleeping bag tugged down to his waist, back toward her. Bubbly excitement filled her stomach, and she tiptoed closer, kneeling when she reached him. She'd come this far, she reasoned, and she could tell how warm his body would be, radiating so close to her.

Carefully, she stretched out on her side, behind him. Scooted closer. Tentatively draped her arm over his side-

"Hermione?!" he started, way too loud.

"Shh, you'll wake Harry and Dean," she whispered frantically, shivering from the sudden arrival of nerves. She hadn't gone too far… had she? The first night they'd been here, he'd slept in her bed. The circumstances had been… different, but-

As if to reassure her against the thoughts he couldn't know she'd been having, he reached down and held onto her arm, tugging her closer so the front of her body pressed along the back of his. And as she leaned into their closeness, she found her face so near to the back of his neck that her lips brushed his hair when she spoke.

"You're so warm."

He shivered immediately, contradicting her words, and when his fingers twitched on her arm, she sensed he'd reacted to her breath on his skin… This thought lodged heavily, and she could think of nothing else. Could he really be as affected by her as she was by him?

God, he felt amazing. She breathed as quietly and as deeply as she could, trying not to get too carried away… to obsess on the fact that, aside from the night he'd thought she might die, they'd never been this close before.

"I'm not complaining," he whispered, "but what are you doing down here?"

She shrugged against his back, aware that she had no good reason to name. I missed you seemed to stick permanently in her throat.

"What are you doing down here?" she teased instead, smiling.

"I was trying to sleep, cheers," he whispered back, clearly grinning, too.

"So sorry for disturbing you," she hissed sarcastically, beginning to move her arm away. He snatched her hand to stop her, weaved their fingers together, and held on even tighter than before as she briefly shook with giddy, silent laughter.

His thumb brushed across her knuckles, and she tried to calm down. He was holding her hand against his chest, and this wasn't the sort of thing you did with a friend.

What was wrong with her, really? This wasn't the first time she'd had such a thought… as far back as his brother's wedding and the way he'd ducked his head over the top of hers while they'd danced. Earlier still, if she was being honest. How much longer did she have to wait to convince herself that this was safe? That the something he felt for her wasn't just friendship, anymore?

Was it easier when she wasn't looking at his face? She closed her eyes and tried to picture his expression, but her hand moved absentmindedly under his, and he flinched. She realised a second later, as she opened her eyes, that she'd accidentally tickled him. She did it again.

"Oi!" he whispered loudly.

"Shhhh!" she giggled, trying and failing to do it a third time. He was holding on too tight for her to move, and before she'd figured out what he was doing, he'd hauled her hand up to his face. He locked his forearm over hers and held her knuckles against his mouth.

Her heart thumped boldly behind her ribs.

"Cut it out," he mumbled against her fingers, evidently smiling again from the amused tone of his raspy whisper.

She swallowed and tilted her head just enough forward that she could feel the skin of his neck through his hair.

"Fine," she whispered back, her lips touching him as she spoke.

His body tensed for a moment before his hand slackened on hers, sliding down to her wrist.

A metre away, Harry's snoring abruptly cut off… then resumed.

They remained motionless and silent for what had to have been a full minute after that.

"Ron?" she whispered to his neck.

"Yeah?" he answered immediately.

She struggled with what she wanted to say next, finally forming three words.

"This is nice."

"Yeah, it is."

"I'll go back up soon, before someone wakes up."

"Not too soon…" he muttered, linking his fingers with hers again, and she couldn't be certain, but she felt his lips brush across her fingers like the faintest hint of a kiss.