disclamer : i don't own but it was fun to write

Ron was in the hospital wing a little over a week and a half, no one seamed to care, unless you counted Hermione, Ginny and Harry, and of course the omnipresent Lavender who had taken to following Harry around leaving Hermione little choice but to sit as far away from her in the stands wiliest the Quidditch team practiced.

McLaggen circled the hoops menacingly. Hermione thought of the best way to punish him for taking Ron's spot on the team whilst the man in question lay in a hospital bed. Her answers seemed limited and dated; most had already appeared on the list 'A thousand ways to do in The Lavender.'

Ever since the day in the library Ginny and Hermione had been adding the word the in front of lavenders name much as if you would if you were referring to something like the plague.

Lavender was the enemy and Hermione was beginning to see how Ron's overall plan would fall in to place. Although how this was easier than just dumping her was beyond Hermione Ron had assured her that his plan would work.

Step one of the master plan was for him to continue to pretend to be asleep when The Lavender visited, it appeared to have the desired affects she had done nothing but complain to Harry about it ever since.

What Ron planed on doing after that was anyone's guess.

That night under the cover of the invisibility cloak Hermione joined Ron in the hospital wing, true to their agreement on the second night Hermione had visited, they had not even mentioned the possibility of them being together, however Ron's hand would find hers with absentminded slips of concentration, or maybe deliberate acts of persuasion Hermione was never sure. The topics of conversation were never about them but always about them, and the way that Ron would look at her as if she was the most important thing in his life made Hermione immensely glad that none of her friends knew how to see in to her mind.

When she left the next morning, she passed Ginny on the stairs, obviously on the way to see her brother before the match.

"Lavender was looking for you this morning, she knows you weren't in your bed last night." said Ginny in a low whisper.

"That's just great that is." Hermione said shoving the invisibility cloak a little deeper in to her bag.

"I told her you must have fallen asleep in the library." said Ginny smiling.

"Well I did." said Hermione trying to muster a face of innocence.

Ginny nodded. "Yep that's the face you need to pull, butter wouldn't melt would it?"

Hermione was still smiling to herself when she caught up with Luna on the way down to the Quidditch pitch, Hermione kept a safe distance the lion hat of Luna's was known to take a random chunk out of anyone at any time, in fact she was surprised it didn't appear on Filch's list of dangerous and banned objects.

Hermione had to admit she hadn't expected to be visiting the hospital wing this soon, but as she sat on Ron's bed watching Ginny, Dean and the two new beaters plan McLaggen's comeuppance she was glad that she could at least spend open time with Ron.

"Maybe it was McLaggen who's trying to do the team in," said Ron from his bed." First the necklace takes out our best chaser, I get poisoned and now the team captain and the best seeker in the school ends up in the next bed from me, I mean I know McLaggen thinks he knows everything, but he can't play all seven positions at once."

Dean laughed, but Ginny hadn't taken her eyes of Harry since Madam Hooch had brought him up here.

Soon the matron rushed everyone from the room, well everyone except Ginny and Hermione, Ron had argued too much about Hermione leaving and Ginny had refused to give up her spot next to Harry.

Hermione now sat on the bed listening to Ron quote Luna's commentary.

"You know she's starting to grow on me." he said as Hermione leaned back on his pillow.

"Well she's very fond of you, well when you're not saying nasty things." said Hermione resting her arm on his.

"She knows I'm just joking."

Hermione rolled her eyes.

As it reached teatime, the two girls excused themselves and headed down to the great hall.

Beside the hourglass full of Emeralds, they ran in to Lavender.

"Where have you been?" she asked snidely.

"We went to see Harry." said Ginny quietly.

"Was Ron their?" asked a Lavender staring at Hermione.

"No he got up and decided to take himself on a cruise down the Nile." Ginny said pulling Hermione past Lavender.

"Look what we have here." came a snide little voice.

"Evening Malfoy." said Hermione not even turning around.

"What's wrong the pair of you fighting over Weasel?" Hermione chanced a look at him the corners of his mouth twisting and his eyes glinting in a way she hadn't seen since she saw it through a mask in the hall of prophesies.

"Malfoy get lost." said Ginny pointing her wand at him, Malfoy had been on the end of her bat boggy hexes before he shook his head and stalked off down the south corridor.

Ginny exchanged looks with Hermione she shrugged and tried to ignore the in-dignified grunts of Lavender from behind her.

When Harry and Ron were finally let out of the hospital wing life became even more difficult for Hermione. Even though Lavender wasn't around nearly as much as she had been, Ron had yet to let Hermione in on his master plan.

As they sat around in the library doing their homework for Snape, Harry yawned, he looked stressed, Ron had told Hermione this morning that Harry hadn't been sleeping well of late and that he was starting to think that maybe the nightmares were coming back. Hermione had told him it was more likely what lay ahead that made him so uncomfortable.

Being friends with Ron again had raised a few eyebrows, the after affects of that Daily Prophet article about her Harry and Krum were still floating around especially in the Slytherin camp, but none so close as the accusations that were floating around in her own room.

"She's only talking to him again now because he's all interesting."

Well he was certainly interesting but not in the way that they thought that, he was.

Hermione smiled to herself as she thought about the way that this had turned out, bizarrely now they were a lot more at ease with each other. The reality of admitting the truth hadn't damaged there relationship nearly as much as Hermione thought it would.

"Were covering Dementors not dung bombs." She said reading the parchment over.

Harry laughed at her…Ron looked at her pleadingly.

"I'll go over it." She started tapping the parchment with the end of her wand and it started to correct itself.

"I love you Hermione." said Ron leaning back in his chair.

"Don't let Lavender hear you say that." she said catching his eye for the briefest second.

Harry looked at the two of them shaking his head slightly.

"Maybe I will then she might dump me." he said sighing.

Hermione turned her attention back to the parchment, she deliberately tuned out these days when talk turned to Lavender, and it was amazing how things seem easier when you just pretend they don't exist.

It was growing dark outside when Hermione and Ron fell in to step half way along the second floor corridor. Prefect duty was still the only time the two of them managed to get completely alone together since they were aloud out past the curfew. They had hardly spoken at all just enjoying the fact that they could talk about anything if they wanted, but they knew they didn't have to talk now, there were no awkward silences.

As they reached the girls bathroom they stopped.

"What we doing here?" Hermione asked quietly. Ron opened the door carefully and stepped inside. He pulled Hermione in after him quietly.

They looked at the deserted bathroom.

"You still want to be part of my master plan?" he asked quietly.

Hermione looked around at him, for the first time ever she noticed the resemblance to Fred and George, it was the look of mischief that crossed his that had done it. She nodded.

Slowly he pulled her towards him.

"What you doing?" she said looking up at him as he placed his hands around her waist.

Behind them there was a small clinking sound in one of the cubicles, Ron's mouth twitched.

"Perfect." he whispered in to her ear. "Is it alright if I kiss you?" he asked gently.

Hermione nodded quietly she knew what his plan was now.

She closed her eyes as his mouth found hers, it had been to long since the last time and she missed him, his kiss was warm and welcoming, as was the way he pulled her close.

She chanced a look when they broke apart; Myrtle was watching them from the cubical. Just as Ron had wanted, she had a feeling Ron knew this but as he kissed her again, it seemed like the last thing on his mind at the moment.

Hermione closed her eyes again. Despite the promises that they made to each other she couldn't help it, if he had never kissed her if they had never started this she would be ok. But now she had to follow it through there was no way for her to stop , at this exact moment in time all that mattered was that Ron wanted her like this.

He deepened the kiss, his tongue forcefully fighting with hers, both battling to be the one in control of the situation. Hermione eventually giving up and letting him win.

Hermione felt the coldness of marble behind her with her free hand she felt it out, the sinks were pressing in to the backs if her legs as Ron pushed her up against the long cracked mirror.

His body pressed up against her making her gasp for breath, Ron took this as a sign and kissed her gently on the cheek.

"You ok?" he asked her looking at her in the light of the torches that lined the stonewalls.

His eyes sparkled as the fire danced in them, she looked at his face, there was no trace of embarrassment or regret just a confused look as if this was too good to be true.

"I'm more than ok." Hermione said quietly her hands playing with the bottom of his t-shirt. "So this master plan of yours is for Lavender to find out from everyone but you?" Hermione asked him quietly.

"Something like that…I wasn't supposed to get so," he looked for the right word. "Carried away?"

Hermione grinned.

"I don't mind." Hermione said quietly.

"I noticed." he said as Hermione pulled him back to her initiating the kiss.

Hermione had to admit it was having the desired affects, Ron was exactly the same around Lavender but she seamed to hang around less and less, she actively avoided Hermione as much as possible, this suited Hermione just fine.

It was after all just a case of putting the pieces in place, loading the board until checkmate was inevitable no mater what.

As Ron had foreshadowed Myrtle told Malfoy about what she had seen in the toilets that night, (and twice since, even if they tried not to … and not that Hermione was counting. Honest.) Ever since Malfoy and his cronies had been watching the two of them like hawks.

Ron would grab her hand on the way to potions as Malfoy walked behind them.

If enough rumours came from Slytherin camp then Lavender was bound to start believing them.

Lavender's snide comments of 'I'm watching you' had grown; she got them at least twice a day now.

However, Hermione was so busy trying to convince Harry that the memory he needed to get from Slughorn was more important than Harry knew, and the downright absurdity of Hagrid wanting them to attend the giant spider's funeral that night in the grounds.

It was this topic that had lead them up to the boy's room, the three of them descending the staircase some time later, Harry covered in his invisibility cloak.

That was the final straw for Lavender, "What were you doing up there with her alone?" a question Hermione felt sure Gryffindor common room had heard many a time in years gone by.

Ron looked down at his feet and Hermione stared absentmindedly at the fire.

"Well come on?"

"Talking." said Ron.

"Oh yeah just like you were talking in that girls bathroom?" said Lavender her head tipped on to the side one hand propped on her hip.

"What are you on about?" Hermione said the look of innocence that she now had down plastered on her face.

"Don't play dumb, I know you want Ron for yourself, everyone knows you want Ron for yourself."

Hermione looked at Ron and then at Lavender.

"If I wanted Ron do you seriously think that I would have let him anywhere near you?" but Hermione wasn't looking at Lavender she was watching the fight brewing between Dean and Ginny. Was this the luck potion that Harry had taken kicking in? Did Harry secretly want Ron and Hermione together? Because she knew that, he definitely wanted Dean and Ginny apart.

"You're not even listening to me are you; sorry am I not good enough for a self-righteous cow like you to be bothered with."

Hermione went to retaliate with a witty remark but it was Ron who cut across her.

"Lavender you can't talk to my friends like that."

"Friends…yeah right." if looks could kill Hermione would be seven feet under.

Ron took a deep breath.

"Lavender if you can't deal with me and Hermione being friends …well then we shouldn't be together."

It was as if someone had put a silencing charm on the room.

Lavenders face contorted it looked as if she was about to internally combust.

She turned on her heals and headed up the stairs.

Parvati and a group of fifth years followed her casting Ron harsh looks as they passed.

Hermione looked at him he was staring at the floor.

"That wasn't that hard now was it?" Hermione said sarcastically as she watched Dean copy Lavenders actions and head up the Boys staircase.

The noise in the room began to grow again as Hermione lead Ron in to a quite corner of the room; they were soon joined by Ginny whose face looked almost as stressed as Ron's.

"What's up?" Ron asked looking up from the table where he had placed his head.

"I dumped Dean." she said shaking her head, "But that's not important…finally dumped the succubus I see."

"We'll it saves the two of you doing her in." he said raising an eyebrow.

"Hey she was asking for it. Anyway, are any of these rumours true? What have you two been up to in the toilets?"

Hermione went red; it was one thing to lie to Lavender but Ginny?

"Oh Hermione that's just nasty, you don't know what he's got…."

Ron looked at the two girls.

"Hello just sitting here!"

"Yeah so?"

Even so as they listened to Ginny, go on about why she had dumped Dean, Hermione felt Ron search out her hand under the table.

Hermione didn't see Lavender until Charms, she had gotten up before the others and the curtains were drawn tightly around her when Hermione had gone to bed.

Harry's news however shoved the thoughts of everything else out of Hermione's head, if what Harry said was true that made Voldemort almost invincible, and it made the task that laid ahead even more difficult.

Hermione wasn't the only one distracted Ron had been making it snow for the last ten minutes.

"It looks like we have really bad dandruff." he said carefully brushing it from her shoulder. Behind them Lavender gave an audible sob. Ron looked guilty but Hermione couldn't help it, the smile creped to her face Harry gave her a strange look.

"We broke up." said Ron quietly.

He looked at Hermione searching out her eyes as he brushed the last of the snow from her shoulders.

The look read volumes.

Both knew now it was now when and not if. However, there would be time for them later; right now Harry was the priority. Ron would always be there to install her bravery and Hermione would always be there to be his voice of reason, they needed each other and now that they understood each other, they need to help Harry understand himself, get him through this whilst he still needed both of them.

Then maybe after all this is over, maybe then they could be together properly.

"It was a day for break-ups, Dean and Ginny broke up yesterday as well." Hermione said quietly.

Hermione smiled as the glint of triumph shone in his eyes.

Hermione figured the first step on helping Harry find himself was getting him together with someone who never really thought of him as lost in the first place.

Hermione watches him as he strides out of the crowed of well-wishers, the quidditch cup held tightly in his hand.

He seeks her out in the crowed and walks over to her; a rousing chorus of Weasley is our king residing over his humble servants.

"Your majesty." Hermione says bowing to him as he approaches. His face every bit as handsome as it ever was, even covered in mud and an assortment of coloured confetti.

"Get up." he grins as he picks her up by the waist and pulls her behind one of the stands.

"Weasley is my king, Weasley is my king." Hermione sings gently under her breath, it's only just audible over the noise coming from the victorious Gryffindors.

"Damn right I am." he says putting her down and checking to see if anyone's looking.

Hermione picks at the gold writing on the front of his robes R.B. Weasley, she traces the line of his robes up to his neck.

"Not bad since I only got in to the team because someone cheated." he said looking down at her. Hermione looked at him, all this time he had known.

"I know you had my best interests at heart," he says softly, kissing the end of her nose.

"Like hell I did, do you know how good you look in Quidditch robes, I did it for myself."

He laughs, it's a deep laugh and Hermione knows to make the most of them, she might not get to hear them for a long time, soon enough there may not be anything to laugh about.

He kisses her quickly before dragging her back to the party that is moving its way back to the common room. This was the way it had to be stolen moment, time to fall back and block out the outside world, Harry, Ginny the impending battles they could all be forgotten in a few secret moments between friends, friends who would do anything to protect each other, even if it meant meeting in secret all over the castle.

Ginny falls in to step beside the two of them she catches Hermione's eye and Hermione falls back from Ron so that he can't hear the two girls.

"I'm going to tell Harry, about how I feel and stuff." says Ginny quietly as Ron pauses for the two of them at the castle door.

"Good." says Hermione looking at Ron, "It makes life a lot easier."

"You think?"

Hermione smiled.

"I know."

The End?

One day I may have time to write a sequel, but who knows, personally I think something is defiantly going on between our favourite book worm and lovable goof , it died of in book 5 and then came back in book 6 and Hermione took all that Lavender stuff a little too bad.

I could be wrong , I probably am, but there are a thousand and one possibilities and I'm not Jo Rowling so until book 7 we won't know will we….

My new story is called From the Shadows…the o/c character won its set post Hogwarts years but it's back at Hogwarts its HR/R H? so you know. Now go read that one lol

thank you to everyone who reviewed I will reply to everyone when I can big massive hugs paula-lou