BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

Ron and Hermione sat bolt up. "Ron? Wh-what was that?" Hermione asked.

She sounded very frightened. And so was Ron. I have to be strong, for her sake. He thought.

"Don't worry; it's probably just a tree branch or something. It's raining like tea and biscuits out there".

Hermione gave a small laugh and seemed to relax. Though it was awfully hard. That afternoon, Harry left the tent to go find a river for some fresh water.

It was almost midnight.

Hermione desperately wanted to go and find Harry, but by the time they noticed that Harry was gone for a long time, it started to rain. Hard.

"No, Hermione. We can't go out there. It's not safe and its storming like crazy. Harrys' gonna be okay." Ron had said.

Ron.

Hermione was beyond grateful to have Ron there with her. With him, she felt so… amazing. Like she could fly across the Pacific. Its like he's my missing puzzle piece. She thought.

Hermione couldn't help but notice Ron has gotten so mature over the last year. Before this, Ron was like an annoying, little prat. A kid.

Not anymore, he's a man.

A year ago, Hermione would've burst out laughing if someone ever said Ron was a 'man'. But now, she looked at him, really looked at him. He's gained a lot more muscle from playing quidditch all this time. His radiant red hair had grown out a bit. His deep, blue eyes could hypnotize anyone. That was his best feature. She thought. That or his freckles. He also looked much older. Hermione wasn't sure if it was because it was so dark and she was really sleepy, or because she thought she was losing it. Either way. She thought. He really has come a long way.

Ron caught Hermione staring at him. "What's wrong?" He asked. Hermione didn't answer, she was deep in thought. Ron silently smiled at that. Hermione was a lot of things: beautiful, talented, caring. But what impressed Ron the most was how smart Hermione was. He quietly snorted. 'Smart' was an understatement. He thought. Incredibly intelligent. Clever. Keen. Witty. She was just… amazing.

Up until a couple of years ago, Ron always thought of Hermione as the bossy, know-it-all, big, bushy, haired kid who followed him around and nagged him to do his homework. Heck! He forgot she was a girl till the Yule Ball. But now, (though she still is a bossy, know-it-all sometimes) Hermione was downright gorgeous. Another understatement. She was… a goddess That was the best word Ron could describe Hermione. Her normally frizzy, bushy hair was now soft, curls. Her brown eyes were caring and lovely. But Hermione didn't need makeup or whatever. She had natural beauty. She really has come a long way.

Since the 4th year, after the Ball, other boys were starting to notice how beautiful Hermione really is. He'd always hear boys talking about Hermione in his dorm. About how hot she was, how pretty she's gotten. And every time Ron would see them staring at her, or talking to her, or asking her out. He would get insanely jealous. Back then, he would deny that feeling or ignore it. But now, it was getting harder and harder.

This was something both Ron and Hermione thought of. Neither of them had ever felt like this before. They just thought it was a strong friendship. Little did they know, that they were both so wrong. They both tried to pass the feeling or forget about it, but they couldn't. All those years of fighting, arguing, bickering; they were just avoiding pouring out their feelings for each other. What they had was special. They both needed something that had been right there, in front of them, their whole lives.

Finally, Ron cleared his throat. "What's wrong?" He asked again.

This time, Hermione heard him. "Oh, um, nothing. Just, you know, thinking and… stuff."

Ron moved closer. "Thinking and stuff. Eh?"

"Well, what else would I being doing? After all, our best friend is missing And we're just here. Waiting." She had a bit of edge to her voice, and it didn't go unnoticed by Ron.

He sighed. "Look, I know you wanna go find Harry, but we can't. It's just not safe. If we're in the tent no one will find us. He's gonna come back."

"But what if he doesn't come back?" Hermione looked him right in the eye, wanting an answer.

Ron couldn't give her one.

They sat there quietly, until Hermione burst out, "I'm scared!"

Ron was a bit surprised. Hermione wasn't usually the one who just told people how she felt. She would hide it.

But still, Ron comforted her. He climbed on her bed, sat down next to her and said "I know." Of course, Ron felt the same way. He was frightened. Each morning, when his eyes open, he would always think, 'Will this be it?' He was overreacting, but still. This was hard. A death eater could come out of the bushes and BAM. Over.

As Ron patted Hermione, she silently sobbed. Which again surprised Ron. But he couldn't blame her. If it were up to him, he would be in his room, at the Burrow, cradled by his mom, and knowing his family was safe. But it wasn't up to him.

Right now all Ron could do is comfort her. He held Hermione in his arms, praying that no one would ever lay a finger on her.

Once Ron was sure Hermione was asleep, he whispered something he'd been dying to say out loud for almost 5 years. "I love you, Hermione."

After Ron fell asleep, Hermione, for the first time in weeks, smiled.

THE END