Ron was walking through the 7th floor corridor at Hogwarts when Percy and Fred turned the corner laughing. Something about this felt wrong to Ron and he wanted to tell them to get somewhere safe when suddenly a wall exploded and Fred lay on the ground dead.
"NOOOOOO!" Ron screamed. Percy had disappeared as well. He tried to throw away debris to get to Fred's body when he heard someone scream his name.
"Ron! RON! Help me Ron!" Hermione's voice rang out in the distance and he jumped up to try and figure out where she could be.
"Hermione! Where are you?!"
Ron ran down the corridor and found her in an empty classroom, writhing in pain on the ground. He ran to her, but before he could reach her, she was in Bellatrix's arms with a blade to her throat.
"Let's see just how filthy her blood is." Screeched the evil witch.
Ron woke up covered in sweat. It was just a dream, he thought as he tried to steady his breathing.
"Are you okay?"
Ron turned his head toward the familiar, yet unexpected voice. Hermione. She was sitting in a chair next to his old four poster bed in the boys dormitory at Hogwarts. By the light coming in from the windows, Ron thought it must be early evening, only hours since Harry had defeated Voldemort.
"I-I'm fine. I was just having a bad dream." He said as causally as he could.
"I know, I saw that. I tried to wake you, but I think I just made it worse." Said Hermione with a slight frown on her face.
Ron shook his head, "Don't be daft."
Hermione raised an eyebrow, while wearing a slight smirk. "Excuse me? Daft, am I?"
"If you think being here right now isn't exactly what I would want, then yes. You're daft. Completely mental." He said with a smile.
Hermione let out a quiet giggle as she tentatively reached for his hand. Ron took hers in his hand and squeezed. They sat, hand in hand, in silence for a few moments. Finally, Ron broke it.
"As much as I love waking up to you sitting at my bedside, what are you doing here? Why aren't you getting some rest?"
She sat up straight, as if she was preparing for a fight. "I'm fine. I wanted to check on you and make sure you're okay. In case... you need me," she said as a blush crept up her cheeks. "I want you to know that I'm going to be here for you as long as you need me to, so it's best if you don't try and fight with me about it." She crossed her arms over her chest and gave him a stern look.
Ron raised his hands in defeat. "Okay, okay. You won't hear me complaining."
"Good." She whispered, almost to herself.
They sat in silence for a few seconds, neither sure of what to do or say next.
"You really should get some sleep, Hermione. It's been a long day," he paused as he thought about it. "Two days? When did we escape from Gringotts on the back of a dragon?"
Hermione let out a small giggle. "That was about 24 hours ago." She opened her mouth to continue, but snapped it back shut. The lighthearted look in her eyes disappeared as she stared down at the ground. Ron grabbed her hand and squeezed it.
"I know," he said with a frown. She didn't need to continue for him to know exactly what she was thinking. So much had happened in the last 24 hours. Great things, things that should be celebrated, as well as horrible things that would take some time to fully accept.
As Hermione began to cry softly, Ron shifted on the bed to make room for her. "No, no, no; don't cry Hermione. Come here." He opened his arms and she fell into them. She cried into his chest as they lay on his bed. He smoothed her hair and rocked her gently. "It's going to be okay," he whispered into her ear.
Hermione looked up at him with giant, chocolate brown watery eyes. "You're not supposed to be comforting me. I'm supposed to be here to comfort you."
"You are. You being here means more to me than you know." He said with a smile. When she smiled back at him, he knew he couldn't hold in his greatest secret any longer. "I love you, Hermione."
She smiled up at him and said, "I know."
A year or two ago, that would have driven him crazy, but now he could see how she felt about him written all over her face. He knew she loved him and he knew that they had all the time in the world to explore their feelings.
"So what do we do now? The war is over... what is the first thing Hermione Granger wants to do?"
"Find my parents," she said without hesitation. "The second thing I want to do is snog you senseless," she said with a wicked smirk.
Ron pretended to push Hermione off of his chest, "Sorry, I'm going to Australia! I'll be back in a few minutes!" Hermione pulled him back down to the bed as she laughed. They curled back up as they laughed.
"Okay, what's the first thing Ronald Weasley wants to do?" Hermione asked.
Ron sat silently for a few seconds while he contemplated the question. "Well since I've already done the first thing I wanted to do, I guess the second thing would be.."
Hermione cut him off mid sentence. "What was the first thing you wanted to do? What have you already done?"
"Tell you that I love you, of course."
Hermione gasped. Ron could feel her smile into his chest and decided to wait for her to respond.
"I love you too, Ron." She looked up at him and smiled. Ron felt his heart nearly explode in his chest. He wondered how he could be sad and so happy at the very same time.
"I know," he responded with a smile.
They lay together in a comfortable silence for several minutes before Hermione spoke again. "Ron, I know I said this earlier, but I'm going to be here for you. We don't have to rush into anything. I want you to take as much time as you need to deal with... everything that has happened."
Ron considered what she said and finally replied, "You know who would think that is barmy? Fred." Hermione looked at Ron hesitantly. "It's okay, Hermione. We all knew something like that could happen. It was war. Nothing was certain. No one was safe."
Ron could feel Hermione crying softly into his shirt. "We made it though, Hermione. After everything that happened last year, we're here and we're alive and we can have a future."
She nodded, "But everyone we lost..."
Ron cut her off. "Everyone we lost would want us to be celebrating. They'd want us to celebrate their lives and the sacrifice they made to make our world a better place. Don't get me wrong, I'm gutted about everyone that died, but we aren't honoring their memory by wallowing in pity and sadness. They're heroes and we should celebrate them as such."
Hermione beamed at Ron as he spoke. "You're brilliant," she said to him as she tilted her face up to give Ron a kiss on the lips. It was the exact opposite of the kiss they shared hours earlier; nothing urgent or frantic about it. It was sweet and soft; a promise. "And you're right. Fred is probably looking down at us saying, 'Stop talking about me and snog already!'"
Ron pretended to think about it for a second and nodded, "Yeah, that is exactly what he'd want." He took Hermione's face into his hands and continued, "We better get to it, I don't want his ghost to barge in here to make fun of us if we don't."
Hermione's giggle was cut off by Ron's lips crashing into hers.
They both knew that they were hurting and that they had so much to do to rebuild their world and their lives, but they were together and in that moment, nothing else mattered.