A/N: I'm sorry, I haven't been writing. There are many reasons for that, but, at the same time, I'm not completely sure why. A few weeks ago, I wrote this fic very quickly, then promptly sat on it. I figured I would post it today. I wish I could tell you when I'll update my other fic but my brain and my heart and RL aren't working together.

Love you and hope you enjoy this little pointless bit of 6th year... wish fulfilment? Something like that. Anyway... onward.

One cold night in November, 1996

"I have to kiss someone."


"Don't think about it, just listen to me."

It was such a simple instruction, and yet his ears were suddenly ringing so loudly that he was having trouble following it. Hermione's cheeks had turned a startling shade of scarlet.

"You know I wouldn't care about this sort of rubbish… ordinarily," she went on, entirely too primly in contrast with the way her wild hair was sticking out at amusing angles about her face. Had she gone mad, too buried in her books and too few hours of sleep lately? They had been spending an inordinate amount of time patrolling corridors, followed by anxiously awaiting Harry in the Common Room until well past midnight. A joke, some kind of clever quip, shit, he had to stop his heart from pounding or she'd hear it…

"Trying to win a wager?" he attempted, immediately relieved that he'd managed to sound passibly normal at a time like this.

She half rolled her eyes and generally ignored him.

"You know I don't have m-many friends, so who else could I talk to about this? If you're going to make fun of me, stop me right now…" The shrill urgency in her voice made his throat feel suddenly very, very dry.

"You have friends," he commented dully, to which she rolled her eyes again.

Her hands twisted together nervously, and she began to pace the otherwise empty Common Room, low firelight glowing in frizzy coils of her hair.

"There's a war on, isn't there, and we try to go to class and carry on, but I've got countless books from the Restricted Section hidden in my trunk, and for some reason all anyone else here cares about is finding a date for Hogsmeade and making out behind bloody tapestries-"

His eyebrows shot up at her phrasing.

"I care about… other stuff," he forced out. She glanced at him briefly before continuing her path across the well-worn, maroon rug, between the hearth and the sofa where he was still sitting, staring up at her.

"Don't you feel it, too? Part of us… we're still very young, but we might as well not be with all we've had to do, and that's just… that's before the war even started-" She broke off and shook her head.

"So…" he tried, pausing to clear his throat, "you're saying you want to find a bloke to-to snog before we fuck off to fight You-Know-Who?"

She pressed her lips together at his wording, and he was pleased to see her actually combating a smile.

"That's-" she started, shaking her head, "-a strong oversimplification."

"So, there is a wager, then?" he smirked, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning further back against the sofa cushions.

"Oh, shut up. Though I'm sure Fred and George have something going…"

He snorted his amused agreement. Damn, they probably had a pool on him as well. He tried not to think about that for more than two full seconds…

"There are… plenty of other reasons, too," she added cryptically, "but it's not going to make much sense to you."

"Try me," he challenged, with the vaguest sting of offense.

"Not just to you, Ron," she corrected, pushing her hair back over her shoulders. "It's just… difficult for me to explain. I've read some things that I don't know how to process. I think it's for the best if I have some… experience… and knowledge… and just-just nevermind."

"So…" he started slowly, "what are we talking about here? Why are you telling me this in the first place?"

Her nervous expression shifted swiftly to a glare, and he puzzled over why, unable to determine what he'd said wrong.

"I don't have any other friends, remember?"

"Harry-" he began, but then he flinched and regretted it. Fuck, had he let on too much just from the context of this conversation, connected to his uncomfortable reaction? Imagining Hermione snogging Harry was one of the worst images he'd ever accidentally brought to mind. Fortunately, she didn't seem to notice or chose to ignore it.

"I have exactly two friends, you're correct," she sighed.

"Ginny's your friend."

"Ginny's not a bloke."

"Well spotted."

Her tense lips wavered up toward that stifled smile again.

"Look…" she sighed, "I'm not asking you… I mean… you don't have to do anything, do you. I just… I thought I could tell you and maybe you'd want… to help me."

He swallowed thickly, choosing to take the worst possible meaning from her words.

"You want me to help you find a bloke to snog?"

"No, Ron," she groaned, briefly closing her eyes. "I need to do this - please don't ask me to keep explaining why - and I thought… you're my friend, you don't have any… conflicts, at the moment…" Her cheeks flared scarlet again.

"Just to be clear here," he said, in a rough voice he didn't bother to adjust. "You're not trying to date someone, you don't want it to happen again, you're just looking for… an experiment?"

"If that's what it turns out to be, then… yes, alright." Was that a disappointed flash that crossed her firelit features before she tilted her chin up? He could never be sure of anything anymore. "I don't want you to have to overthink it. If that's the case, then just forget-"

"I'll kiss you, if that's what you're asking."

Bloody fucking hell. His words hung in the air like reverberating gunshots, and if she couldn't hear his heart beating now, she must've been stricken deaf from shock.

"That's… what I'm asking," she said in the tiniest, softest, Hermione-respecting-the-library voice.

They were both frozen in place, his legs outstretched on the rug in front of the sofa and her wool-stocking-clad-feet planted half a metre away, the rest of her body mostly silhouetted by the dying fire.

"Can't do it from way over here," he forced out, hoping to sound lighthearted and funny but instantly processing the sound of his own voice as more-than-Quidditch-tryouts nervous.

She moved so quickly he didn't even have time to blink. She sat beside him, breathing heavily, chest rising with shocking intensity. He stared at her, holding his own breath and simultaneously feeling like the luckiest bloke in the world and wishing he could vanish into thin air.

This was all he had wanted for… oh hell, years, it would seem.

His strung together perfect memories were a lightning flash now, her tongue darting out to slide across her lips whilst reading beside him, the warmth of her thigh touching his own, the perfect sound of her voice around his name, how clever and brilliant and perfect she was, and now-

Now she wanted him to kiss her, for research, and to never want to do it again. And he'd always had a nagging, gnawing suspicion that bloody Viktor Krum had tried something in fourth year, but what if he hadn't, and this was her first kiss, and it was coming from him, and it was also his first kiss, which he'd only ever wanted to be with her in the first place, and-

His stomach twisted uncomfortably as he recalled her instructions. Don't think about it.

He'd already said he would do it, because of course he'd bloody well do it, and now he had to actually do it.

Don't think.

He took ahold of her wrist and leaned closer as she did the same, and his eyes shut blissful moments before her lips touched his.

Well. If he wasn't thinking, he was acting on impulse, and suddenly both of his hands were in her hair.

Her arms circled round his neck and her chest was lightly resting against his, and she tasted so fucking amazing. She was so warm and so perfect and her lips parted between his, and he could have died bloody happy. His long fingers tangled in a hurricane of curls, and she made the tiniest sound that he could have called a moan if he was thinking, but he wasn't thinking, yeah?

Incomprehensible flashes of phrases like you're kissing Hermione Granger and oh my fucking God you're kissing Hermione Granger tried to fully form in his mind, but he shut them down and kept on snogging her. Her tongue brushed his, and he was surely no longer even physically present in his own body for a second. Behind tightly closed lids, his eyes felt warm and watery and he wondered if he was going to bloody cry about it just before she broke softly away to breathe.

He couldn't open his eyes or it would all be real and he'd never get to have it again, and he'd actually cry in front of her, which was fine, except he'd be crying directly after snogging her, which would surely be just about the worst reaction he could possibly have.

Toothpaste-scented breath wafted from between her parted lips toward his own.

"A-Are you alright?" she asked shortly, as if the words cost her precious oxygen.

"Mmm," he managed to mutter. And then he had to do it, because now he was taking too long and his hands were still tangled in her perfect hair.

He opened his eyes.

She was staring, eyes unblinking, a combination of stunned disbelief and drunken delirium sparkling back at him. For what had to have been a full minute, they stared across at each other, lost.

"Well," he said hoarsely, lightly dropping his hands away from her as she finally leaned back, "we did that."

Her lips twitched toward that almost-smile yet again, the one he wanted so badly to see break free.


"Was that… what you wanted?"

"Yes," she repeated, in a very different tone. He tried to puzzle it out, but she was turning away to face the fire before he could. "Thank you for-"

The Portrait Hole opened, and there was Harry, disheveled and tired and stressed, and they had to talk to him about his meeting with Dumbledore, didn't they. And, in an instant, Ron was thinking again, thinking so much that he could hardly breathe.

"What happened?" Hermione asked Harry, in that frantically concerned tone she reserved for serious talks about You-Know-Who - wars and secrets and the rest of the frighteningly real world that overshadowed everything else. And it was easy to talk, maybe it was easy to think about this, instead.

Late at night, in his four-poster, with nothing but the soft snores of his roommates and the gentle tapping of rain on diamond-paned windows, he would find it again, the indelible, life altering feeling of her mouth on his, her tentative voice as she'd asked him to do the one thing he'd always wanted and never could, the one thing he'd breathe in when all the rest of the world was gone, when there was only darkness and pain and desperation… when she'd look at him, hurt and disappointed, and he'd apologise for all of his mistakes and hope… hope that some lonely, not-so-desperate day… he could do it again.