A/N: So, I wrote this a while back for the 2018 Seven Deadly Sinfest on sinfully-romione (on Tumblr). After author reveals, I never got around to posting it, so here it is! Hope you enjoy x

Also, I'm not sure if I'll be able to do my Tuesday fic posts next week or the week after because of Christmas and New Year's madness. But, if not, I should return the following week! Hope you all have great ends to your 2018, friends!

They really weren't supposed to wait this long.

That was wrong - they. It was almost definitely his own fault. He'd fucked it up. He hadn't told Harry to sod off when he'd suggested the three of them bring her parents back from Australia, together.

No, that was wrong, too. The real mistake had been a week before that, the night they'd gone home to the Burrow, after the war had ended. Hours later. His mum had set up the camp bed in Ginny's room for Hermione, and Harry had his bed in Ron's room, and everyone had said goodnight… but he wasn't supposed to. Not to her.

Lying there in the dark, unable to sleep, he should have gone to her. He recalled the way he'd talked himself out of it for hours. Shit.

Nerves compounded every minute, post-battle, until they were caught up in trying to mend, in funerals, repairs, pubs… where he found himself almost a full month later. Everyone was there. Harry had thought it was important to go, too. Ron would probably have rather hidden in his room for his last night at the Burrow before moving to Grimmauld Place with Harry, but there they were.

Unsurprisingly, Hermione looked fucking amazing. Her hair was piled in messy twists on top of her head. She was wearing a thin, black shirt that dipped lower in the back than anything he'd seen her wear before, and he kept catching himself staring too long at the way an escaped curl had dropped to brush across the back of her exposed neck.

He watched her walk away to the bar, and he was left with too many thoughts for an empty table. She seemed to have been avoiding him a bit, or was it just his imagination? Her eyes darted away when he spoke to her. A heaviness was dampening her smile, and he could hear it in her voice.

Somewhere between his second drink and midnight, he'd realised. A terrifying corner had been turned. Waiting to find the right time to talk to her had faded to the very real possibility that he was giving her the impression that he wasn't interested. His worst fear between them had always been imagining what he could lose. But he was suddenly hit with a mighty, alcohol-induced clarity. What the fuck difference did it make?

No part of him believed there was any chance he'd simply live the rest of his life in the safety of friendship and not tell her how he really felt. If he was going to lose her, if she didn't reciprocate his feelings and was too uncomfortable around him after his admission, then it was going to happen now… or it was going to happen later. It was an inevitability.

What he should have been focused on, what should have been much more terrifying to face, was the possibility that he'd waited too long, and she'd moved on. Or he'd wasted days, weeks, months they could have shared.

Fuck it all.

He knew how she was likely to feel about doing what he was trying to work himself up to doing in public, recalling those disapproving sighs from her toward their classmates in their later years at Hogwarts. Himself included, if he was being honest. Possibly himself almost exclusively, he corrected. But it was loud and crowded, and he had to do this now.

He got up to approach the bar, focused on her back toward him as he moved closer. But she turned around, caught sight of him, and there was that smile again, the disappointed one she probably didn't know he could read so well.

She was going to walk away, but he was too determined now, and there wasn't time to come up with the perfect words to keep her there. He blocked her between the bar and his body, reaching to steady himself on the edge of the counter behind her. One half-step closer and he'd be touching her. He suddenly felt too bloody bold and maybe a little bit too self-conscious for her not to notice. His heart was racing.

He saw the moment her shocked eyes softened, darting across his face and reading him perfectly.

What the hell had he done, looking the other way for so long? He knew her, as she knew him, in every moment… the honesty they shared without speaking. He'd just covered that truth with his own lack of self-worth.

"We need to talk," he nearly growled, hardly able to contain his emotions for another full second.

"What?" Her inaudible voice didn't stop him understanding her.

"We need to have that conversation, y'know… the one I've been avoiding. Maybe you have, too. Dunno."

"Ron… you'll have to be more specific," she said a bit shrilly, louder this time, breathing uncomfortably. He dropped his arms from either side of her, returning to his full, towering height in front of her.

"You know. What we should have done a month ago," he managed to rake out. "A year ago, probably. A month ago, definitely."

Her eyes widened and locked onto his… both a vast improvement and a sure detriment to his ability to form coherent sentences.

"You want to do this now?"

"No one can hear us," and he had to raise the volume of his own voice to be properly heard. "Music's bloody loud, and I can't wait any longer. Can you?"

"I… I don't know."

"I need you to say it's okay… or I can't…" He hadn't really considered this important detail until he'd said it. Once the words were out, he felt like a prat for not having thought of it moments ago, back when he'd determinedly approached her.

"Okay?" she puzzled, forehead creased. He sighed slowly, already feeling a bit deflated. The faster they did this, the more likely he'd manage to explain.

"I was sitting at the table over there, and I started thinking… it's not gonna get any easier, is it? I'm going mental, Hermione."

She did know what he meant. He suddenly noticed that she was lightly trembling. What was she thinking and what did she want him to say (or not say)? He'd have given anything to know.

"You want me to lie and tell you it's okay," she started, just above the volume of the music, "that I'm not terrified of what you're going to say?"

"No. I'm bloody terrified, too. Just… it'll be over. We won't have to feel like this anymore." He was pleading, really. Wanker. He should buy them both another drink, sit back down, forget it.

No! Fucking hell, if there was any chance she'd let him, he had to end this tonight.

She whimpered, eyes softly watering.

"Two minutes? That's all I need."

Slowly, she nodded, a resigned look melting across her face.

"Alright, but please. Before you say anything, you have to know… you're my best friend, Ron. You mean so much to me, and I-"

"Bloody hell, not sure that's making it easier…"

"Oh, just go on," she actually moaned. "We'll… we'll still be friends, won't we? Or-or whatever you want… Depends what you say next, doesn't it."

"Depends on me? What about you?"

His hammering heart sorted what her words had accidentally meant to him, moments before the rest of him caught up. If the fate of their relationship rested with him, then that could only mean… She wanted more than what they had - wanted the same things he did. Everything. He almost laughed, but he knew his relief was premature. She wasn't going to answer him, and he was waiting too long again. A bloody recurrent theme for them, wasn't it… and it ended now.

"You kissed me," he heard himself state, almost as if he had to say the words aloud to believe they'd been real.

"I remember." Her response was nothing but a frail whisper, but he was close. And he could read her lips, anyway.

"I don't think we should just be friends anymore."

They both stood there, breathing, his words washing over them. It wasn't all he should say, wasn't all he owed her, not in the least. But he'd done it, that next step that had felt so bloody impossible for so long, and her eyes were watering.

It wasn't fucking fair. He didn't deserve it. The fact that she'd been standing in a crowded pub for one bloody minute and had only seen him. If nothing else ever worked out, if years of glances when she had no idea how much it really meant, hours in the library with her whispering voice, late nights alone in the Common Room… If she was his best friend, if she didn't love him, but for one fucking minute she'd looked at him the way she was looking at him just then-

"Neither do I," she cried, relieved, wiping her eyes on the side of her wrist. He hadn't realised exactly how close they were until she sighed and he felt her warm breath on his chin.

What were the rest of the words he'd wanted to say? Goddamn it. His heart was beating wildly, and all he could think was-

"Can I-"

She answered with an interruption, grabbing his collar and tugging him forward, leaning back against the bar behind her, head tilted to accommodate his height. As his lips crashed down against hers, he braced himself with a forearm pressed to the bar, behind her, his other arm sweeping around her upper back, palm flattening to her bare shoulder blade.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, and he felt his own moan vibrate up his throat. Fuck, he'd thought kissing her the first time had been incredible. But there was no threat looming over them now, no reason to stop. Did they ever have to stop?

She tasted amazingly sweet and just a bit bitter from whatever she'd been drinking, and her chest was pressed so tight to his that they had to breathe in sync when their lips finally broke apart.

"You wanted to have a conversation," she panted.

"Snogging counts."

"Does it?"

He nodded, eyes dropping to her parted lips.

"But what were you saying?" she whimpered… only he could see the corner of her mouth twitching, trying not to smile and give herself away. But he knew her far too well for that.

He responded by kissing her yet again, which had clearly been the correct choice, in spite of her question. Whatever he had been leading up to saying aloud surely would have been irrelevant now that her tongue was in his mouth…

His hands slid across her shoulders - bloody hell, her skin was so soft - and he considered every other place he wanted to touch her, in rapid succession. Distantly, he heard a glass clattering behind her as they tried desperately to get closer to each other.


Well, fuck, that was familiar… only it wasn't Harry this time. Ron grinned against Hermione's mouth before they pulled apart, both laughing.

"Watch it, eh?" The bloke behind the bar narrowed his eyes up at Ron as he picked up the spilled glass, shaking his head.

Ron's ears were suddenly burning quite insistently, and he had a nagging suspicion that someone was standing behind him, though he shook it away, sure he was only imagining it.

"Could we get out of here?" Hermione asked quickly, and he could feel her body lightly shaking against his.

"Grimmauld Place," he answered, immediately. "No one's there."

She sucked in a needy breath, dropped her arms from around his neck, and fiercely grabbed his hand.

They were Apparating before he'd comprehended what was happening.

The dark front steps swam into view, and his free hand shot to his back pocket for his wand. He unlocked the door with an effortless flick, and Hermione let go of him to turn the knob and lead them inside. Though the entryway was shadowy and cool, they had cleaned the place out over the last few days and had made it rather liveable, so the short walk to the steps in near pitch dark was far less intimidating than it once would have been.

"Lumos," and Hermione followed the beam of light from her wand to the sconces on the wall, illuminating them with a nonverbal spell.

She turned back to face Ron, eyes glimmering in warm light and beautiful features bathed in splashes of flickering shadow, and he backed her to the first stair until she silently stepped up, still gazing at him, trembling hands lifting to his shirt collar as he lost any sense of patience remaining and covered her mouth with his again.

It was almost impossible to climb stairs and snog at the same time. Almost. They managed up to the first landing, nearly tripping on the rug.

"Which room's yours now?" she asked breathlessly, between kisses, and her question served to answer a vague one of his own, one he hadn't fully formulated, though of course he probably should have by then…

She wanted to go to his bedroom. God.

"Uh… next level up," he muttered in a suddenly scratchy voice.

"Ron… well, is that alright?" she shivered, timidly. He crushed her lips with his answer, feeling her fingertips dance at the bottom hem of his shirt.

His mind seemed to be alternating in and out of consciousness of their situation, that this was Hermione, and she was snogging him back, and they were alone. His current reality was so much like a recurrent fantasy that they wouldn't quite merge just yet. His hands wound into her hair as her own hands slid up the back of his shirt, and it occurred to him that they still had another flight of stairs to traverse, but how could he move away to do it when he had flattened her to the nearest wall with his own body, and she was bloody enjoying it? Fuck, the noises she was making…

"Wait," she muttered against his mouth, and he stepped back so fast he might have been hexed. She blinked up at him, stunned by his sudden movement. "I just thought we should go on up before we, um… well, get too carried away."

"Oh. Yeah," he said in a low voice he hardly recognised. Her cheeks were gorgeously flushed, even in such low light, and he felt quite possibly drugged by how much he was feeling, all at the same time.

She licked her bottom lip and a nervous smile flickered as she turned to lead them up the stairs quite quickly.

"Here," he indicated as they arrived on the next landing, reaching past her to push open the door to the room on the right that would be his own, a faded rug across the wood floors with a large bed in the centre and tall windows on the far wall. Full moonlight flooded the otherwise dark and rather empty space as she stepped inside.

He kept a bit of distance as he contemplated closing the door behind them, but no one was expected there until the next morning, himself included, so he gave it up to stare at her. He'd "ruined" her hair, he noticed, though her usual messy curls were a lovely improvement to organised chaos, he thought, lips twitching toward a grin.

"What?" she asked rather self-consciously.

"Not sure where to start," he admitted, clearing his throat. "Can't really believe this is happening."

"Which part?"

"Whadd'ya mean? All of it. Can't count the number of times I thought I might kiss you and then lost the nerve."

"Me, too."

They stared at each other in silence for a moment, the metre between them feeling much too far. Did she have a destination in mind now, or were they just drifting blissfully? He didn't want to make a mistake - God, he couldn't stand to…

"Are you… sure you want me here?" she asked quietly, and there was no way in hell he was actually giving off a single sign of regret. But he was far too familiar with insecurity.

"Never wanted anything more."

"Then why are you way over there?" she asked, whilst losing a weak fight with a shy, relieved grin.

"No bloody idea," he grinned back, closing the space as he spoke, cupping her face in both hands and kissing her. She reached up to hold his wrists before changing course and wrapping her arms around his neck, sighing into his mouth.

He dropped his hands to her waist, accidentally skimming her chest in the process, but her shiver of pleasure in response made him regret having moved away so quickly…

Time. They had time now. So bloody much of it, if they wanted. And as well as he knew her, how she flourished with plans and calculations, he was inexplicably sure that she hadn't planned this. Her movements felt far too desperate, nails sinking briefly into his flesh as she pushed up to her toes to get closer.

He wasn't dreaming this time, he reminded himself, as he dragged her shirt up her back to touch her warm, perfect skin. But his movements stalled as his palms spread across an uninterrupted expanse. There was clearly very, very little clothing between their upper bodies. The first time she'd snogged him, in the middle of the battle, they'd been separated by grotty jumpers and Harry's shouting…

He could distinctly feel both their hearts beating as she sucked his bottom lip between her own.

"Y-You can take it off," she muttered against his mouth.

His immediate thought was that she was referring to her shirt, but there was no way in hell-


"My shirt," she breathed.

He dragged his lips fully away from hers and stared down at her, heavy lidded and slightly dizzy.

"What?" he heard himself repeat, filling the silence with nonsense. "Seriously?"

She nodded with only a flash of hesitation, and if he was reading her as well as he thought he might be, his own pause had raised her barely restrained nerves.

"Maybe I could…" she whispered, sliding her arms away from him, fingertips down the front of his body to the hem of his own shirt.

His answer was yet again in the form of action. He dropped his hands from her back, finding it far easier to help her take his shirt off than to work up to removing hers, scrambling cotton over his head from the back as she vaguely tugged with him… letting go so it dropped to the floor.

Her gaze washed down his naked upper body, and her chest was moving quite visibly as she breathed. He'd been shirtless in her presence before, in the tent, but that now felt like a useless comparison.

"Why have we never done this before?" she said, gently slurring her words, and a soft laugh escaped them both at the same time. Their eyes met.

She was so gorgeously familiar, features and mannerisms and tones of voice memorised and recalled in dreams for so many years. He could never be like this with anyone else.

"I love you," he heard himself confess. "I think I would've said that." He couldn't explain why it had suddenly felt so natural to say, but that didn't stop him holding his breath for her reply as her eyes widened considerably.


"At the pub, when you asked what I was trying to say, I dunno," he smiled, nervously. "I didn't bloody rehearse."

"You-you… Ron." Her hands slid up his shoulders, and he easily ducked to meet her as she kissed him urgently… and with lightly scraping teeth.

Seconds blurred together, and his hands found their way inside the back of her shirt again, and he really didn't need her to say it back… did he? It wasn't a small thing to admit. Or to feel for someone else, of course. He had previously wondered, if they ever actually made it here, if he'd be swept down a rapid current, losing control. How could they stop now, after barely containing a flood for so, so long?

He pushed it to the back of his mind, that small ache of reaching too far, of knowing he shouldn't expect-

"I love you." She whispered it, breaking their kiss and sliding her cheek past his to hug him fiercely tight. "I've loved you for so long," she continued, next to his ear, more clearly this time. "I c-can't believe you love me back."

His hands were high up inside her shirt again, yet he had to get closer somehow. A giddy grin plastered across his flushed face, and her stomach was half bare against his, skin touching like fire.

She actually loved him. Every bit of shite they'd been through had been more than worth it.

She finally let go of him to wipe her eyes dry on her sleeve. He took in the sight of thin, black cotton hanging off one of her shoulders and her partially bare midriff, and she sniffed, and he moved to do what she'd asked. She helped him tug her shirt over her head and shake it free to join his on the floor, and he was fucking speechless.

She didn't give him much time to dwell on the fact that he was the luckiest bloke alive or that her body was literally the most perfect thing he'd ever seen before she closed the gap between them again, effectively rendering every one of his thoughts incoherent as her naked chest pressed to his. He slowly closed his eyes as she moaned, kissing him deeply.

They stumbled together toward his bed, and it was merely a fleeting thought again - how far did she want this to go? But it escaped him the moment the backs of her legs hit his mattress. As their mouths separated for a breath, she adorably had the forethought to toe off her shoes, and he grinned, doing the same and dropping his wand to his bedside table, watching as she copied him quickly with her own. She sat and tugged him down, scooting back to his pillow as he covered her body, half lying on top of her.

"Are you nervous?" she asked, as her hand slipped down his bare arm. She must have felt him shaking, too.

"Yeah," he smiled. "You're just…" He swallowed and tried again. "I can't believe you want to do any of this with me."

"Why?" she asked sadly, brow furrowed. "It's been so long. Hadn't you guessed?" Her legs shifted under him, and as her skirt rode up her thighs, he momentarily lost his train of thought. When he regained it, it was quite possibly clouded by her naked chest and a bit of alcohol still working through his bloodstream...

"So, I reckon you already knew I've been thinking about shagging you since I was fifteen…"

She took in a stuttering breath as her cheeks flushed, pressed her lips together, and shook with restrained laughter. He tried to make a show of acting offended, but it failed miserably and he grinned instead, dropping to cover her mouth with his. As her arms draped around his shoulders and held him tight, their bodies meshed together from waist to collarbone, and he was so focused on how fucking incredible it felt to be touching so much of her skin that he could hardly snog her. Their parted mouths breathed hotly together, noses bumping as he smoothed one large hand down her side, feeling the beautiful curves of her body pressed to his.

Her fingers slid across his back, then through his hair. He dragged his lips down, over her jaw to her neck, and she pulled his hair just hard enough to make him wince.

"Sorry," she whispered.

He briefly shook his head, too distracted by deciding what to do next. He wanted to touch every inch of her. His neck was burning as he slid down her body enough to properly look at her, and he caught her closing her eyes.

"Hey-" he started, wondering if he should stop.

"I'm just… just overwhelmed or something. Don't stop."

She pushed her head back and her lips parted slightly to breathe, and he believed her because he understood exactly what she meant. Every new thing between them felt equally thrilling and familiar, as if they'd always been meant to end up here.

He must have taken too long in silence because she opened her eyes again.

"We'll have a long time now, won't we?" she asked softly.


"I know I'm not always the easiest person to be around. Just… don't let me mess this up with you."

"That's mental. You couldn't. If anyone's gonna fuck up, it'll be me."

"After everything we've been through, you honestly think I could stop loving you?"

"Bloody hell. You said it again," he grinned. "God, I love you."

"Come here," she grinned back.

"Can't get much closer," he teased, but he lowered his mouth to her collarbone, and she sucked in a sharp breath.

Resuming his plan to touch as much of her as possible, he slid his lips down toward her chest, stopping short when he realised neither of them were breathing. Her hands had wound into his hair again, and he lightly cleared his throat. But words became impossible to form - he'd reached the twin scars that ran down the centre of her chest, one much bigger and more pronounced, the other quite faded from fifth year. He didn't think before he pushed back to his knees, between her legs, to see them properly… also giving him a startling, full view of her naked breasts. He tried to swallow as her hands fell to the bed quilt and clenched into soft fists.

He took a shaky, deep breath, and glanced up as her eyes met his.

He felt how much he wanted her pouring out from his gaze, and he thought she might have seen it too, because the corner of her mouth twitched, despite her obvious nerves. So he reached up and ran two fingertips softly down her scars. She shivered lightly, goosepimples appearing across her skin.

In spite of assuming that there was no possible way he could verbally express a single thing at the moment, when he shifted between her legs and she encouraged him with a tiny nod and a soft gasp as he covered her breasts with both of his hands, raspy words tumbled out.

"Fuck, y'feel bloody perfect."

Her back arched slightly off the bed as she smiled shyly for a second, but it faded to another gasp as he experimentally brushed his thumbs over her hardened nipples. He heard his own low moan as he tried to comprehend that his hands were actually attached to his own body, and his erection strained painfully inside his jeans.

He quickly changed position, ducking to replace his hands with his mouth and stretching out on his stomach, forearms shaking on either side of her, hips firmly against the bed between her legs, giving him the smallest amount of relief as his tongue found a nipple and she slurred his name. Her ankle dug into the back of his leg and her nails sank into his upper arm, and all he could hear was his heart beating in his ears and breathy little moans between the two of them.

She tugged him insistently after a while, and he dragged himself back up her body to snog her again.

She eventually pushed against him until he rolled to his side, lips still sliding between each other in frantic kisses, her hands roaming down his back, right leg hooking over his thigh.

"Can I… Ron…" she breathed deliriously, and whatever she was trying to ask him, he reckoned it would be a lot easier just to show him. He spread a palm across her back and hummed an unintelligible response into her mouth.

When he'd walked up to her at the pub, not so long ago, not a single part of him had considered what was currently happening as a possibility for the night. But she was rolling on top of him, knees on either side of his hips, hair cascading in curtains around their faces. Her skirt was bunched up nearly to her waist, making him feel overdressed.

As they separated half an inch for a breath, she pressed down on his lap, and he wasn't even sure she fully realised what she was doing. Her eyebrows shot up just as his hands shot down to hold her hips.

"Sorry-" she began, at the exact moment that he mirrored her movements by almost involuntarily pushing back against her. She quickly steadied herself by pressing both palms to his pillow, above his shoulders.

"Don't be sorry," he raked through his dry throat and half-clenched jaw. So, she did it again, harder. "Fuuuck."

She dropped quickly to kiss him, a light sheen of sweat between their chests, and he swept his hands up her bare back. Time seemed to blur, minutes disappeared in seconds, and he wasn't going to be able to keep this up much longer, the way she was shifting on top of him, the way he couldn't help meeting her movements with his own.

She must have known exactly what she was doing by then…

Panting for a desperate breath, she lifted her face from his and stared down at him, eyes glowing in moonlight. He nearly choked by the intensity of it, staring back up at her, her body meshed to his.

"Hermione…" He held her face in his hands, fingers tangled in her hair.

She licked her swollen bottom lip, and he brushed his thumbs across her cheeks.

"If you don't stop that…" he added through a shaky grin. This was surely the longest they had ever maintained eye contact, and he suspected he didn't need to finish his sentence.

"Do you want me to?" she asked hoarsely, a new, timorous tone of voice he'd never heard before.

He shook his head, she kissed him again, and his hands flew away from her face to grip her thighs.

The pressure of her body on top of him was way too much, and he gave up any question of slowing down, fingertips digging a bit too hard into her legs and softly biting her lip as he thrust once more against her and came in his pants, a groan vibrating through the back of his throat.

She froze for a moment, then breathed quite heavily against him, and once he'd calmed down enough to speak, he turned his head slightly, eyes closed.

"Gotta move," he slurred, and she quickly climbed off of him so he could sit up. She sat in anticipation beside him and tugged his quilt over her chest, wild and disheveled and bloody gorgeous.

"Ron…" she questioned quietly.

"Uh… sorry," he muttered, clearing his throat. "I'll just… go to the loo…"

"Oh!" She winced as her gaze flicked down to his jeans. "I'm sorry, I didn't think about after…" She tried to delicately clear her own throat, but she was breathing through parted lips and her cheeks were a deep shade of pink, and she looked anything but composed. He found it oddly satisfying that even though Hermione always planned ahead, she hadn't planned this.

"It's fine," he smiled back, managing to stay in a drugged haze of lust for another few seconds, long enough to escape. "Wait here for me?"

"I wasn't going anywhere."


He slid off the bed, snatched his wand from his bedside table, and made his way to the loo without looking back. Once inside, he softly clicked the door shut behind him… and reality arrived, finally and completely pushing aside his inability to fully believe what was happening.

He pressed his burning forehead to the cool glass of the mirror over the sink and shut his eyes.

He was with Hermione. She wanted him as much as he wanted her, and he could actually cry. He laughed instead, legs feeling like jelly. Years of trying to ignore his feelings for her, then finally admitting it to himself just enough to believe that she could never feel the same in return.

He finally sniffed, opened his eyes, and stepped back to strip off his jeans, cleaning himself with a charm repeated twice. His reflection stared back through the mirror at him, and he could swear he looked different, not that he'd often had the chance to notice what he'd looked like over the last year. But he was distinctly Ron after Hermione had told him she loved him, not the Ron he had been an hour before.

He shoved his hands through his hair, rubbed them across the stubble peppering his jaw-

It rapidly hit him then, as if he'd forgotten time was still moving forward. What the hell was he doing, taking so long?! Hermione was in his bed, not wearing a shirt…

He sighed shakily and tugged open the loo door.

Correction. Hermione was in his bed, wearing his shirt.

And now he felt underdressed, in only his boxers.

Her eyes roamed down his body in an… interesting way. No one had ever looked at him like that before, and the cooling effect of the mirror on his face from moments ago was lost.

He tore his gaze from her shining eyes and made his way back into bed. They moved at the same time to lie down on their sides, facing each other.

"You're fucking amazing," he scraped out, and she shook her head, thrown off by the compliment.

"This went a bit further than I expected," she whispered with a playfully embarrassed smile.

"Oh, me too," he grinned back, gently resting his hand on her side.

She adorably turned her face toward his pillow, hiding in her hair, and he scooted closer to drape a leg over hers, realising she had completely taken off her skirt…

"It's your fault, you know," she mumbled.

"Hm?" He shifted his face closer to hers until his nose was almost in her hair.

"Kissing me like that with your shirt off. What was I supposed to do?"

He laughed and closed his eyes, but when he felt her turn her head back up to look at him, he lazily cracked his eyes open again.

"You nearly drove me mad in the tent… walking around with your shirt off after a shower like I wasn't there."

"What?" he laughed again. "Stop. That's ridiculous."

"Trust me, it's not."

He searched for a joke, his most reliable defense when feeling self-conscious.

"Why didn't you walk around the tent with your shirt off?"

She lightly shoved his chest and half-rolled her eyes.

"Harry was with us."

"That was the only reason?"

"Well," she sniffed. "It was cold, too."

His laughter shook the bed, and she shyly reached for his hand. He sighed as he watched her loosely lace their fingers together, and he really couldn't stop smiling. She seemed to be struggling with the same thing as they stared at each other.

"Will you stay and sleep here with me?" he asked softly.

"Yes," she agreed right away. The only problem was… how would he ever sleep alone again?

"Maybe I should let Harry know where we are," he considered. "We were meant to stay at the Burrow tonight."

"I'm sure he's figured it out."

He raised a brow at her, trying to recall seeing Harry at all during their hasty departure.

"He saw us, at the pub…" she revealed, sliding her fingers further between his. "Everyone did, actually. They were all gathered round behind you when we left."

"Really?! I didn't think anyone was paying attention."

"Oh, let them know. They'd have found out anyway." But her expression turned mildly nervous for a moment. "Wouldn't they?"

"Yeah, of course," he answered swiftly, fully aware of being happier than he had ever been in his life.

For several minutes they were quiet, just looking at each other. He reckoned he knew every detail of her face better than he knew his own, but he'd also never been able to look for this long… and the way she was looking back, no longer guarding what she felt.

"I'm not tired yet…" she whispered. "Are you?"

He shook his head, and they moved at the same time, his hand sliding away from hers to spread across her jaw and cheek as their lips met.