Things to Fight For
Hermione wasn't quite sure what had woken her, but as she jolted, her entire body seized up, making her gasp in pain, feeling breathless and mildly paralysed. She heard a creak, shuffling, and then felt as the side of the bed dipped slightly.
'Ron,' she said hoarsely.
'Shh, it's okay. We're safe. Did I wake you? I'm sorry; I just couldn't hold the loo off any longer,' he whispered quickly.
Hermione reached out to find his hand and she threaded their fingers together, squeezing as tightly as her muscles would allow. Ron squeezed back and she felt herself relax slighly.
'How are you feeling?' he asked, shifting closer to her on the bed.
'Stiff,' she replied, her voice still rather gruff.
Ron nodded and started running his thumb over the back of her hand.
'Would you get into bed with me? I need to hear you breathing,' she whispered. 'As ... as odd as that seems.'
Ron kicked off his trainers and got under the covers as slowly as he could without jolting her around. As soon as he had settled down, Hemione snuggled up against him, her head resting on his chest. His arms went around her automatically and they were silent for several minutes.
'Ron?' she whispered.
'He's asleep downstairs,' Ron replied softly.
'No, I'm right here.'
Hermione turned her head as best she could. The floor creaked a bit and Harry sat behind her on the bed.
'Ron, move over so Harry can fit on the bed,' she said. 'I need to hear you both tonight.'
'Hear us what?' Harry asked as Ron shifted over.
'Breathe,' Ron replied, helping Hermione move closer to him.
Harry moved into bed with them and Hermione felt herself relax fully. Feeling the rise and fall of her boys' chests against her back and under her head as they breathed, she drifted back to sleep.
Ron stroked Hermione's hair slightly, trying not to move too much lest he wake her.
'She's okay?' Harry murmured.
'Yeah,' Ron replied. 'She seems to be fine now.'
'Hearing us breathing, huh?'
'Clearly. She fell right back to sleep.'
'Good. She needs her sleep.'
Ron nodded in agreement.
When she woke again, it was because her boys were talking. Not wanting them to know that they had disturbed her, Hermione stayed as still as possible and kept her eyes closed.
'So how long?'
'How long what, mate?'
'How long have you been in love with her?'
'Stop playing stupid, Ron. How long have you been in love with Hermione?'
Ron was quiet for a few seconds.
'I dunno. A year or so.'
'Don't "nothing" me, Potter. What?' Ron growled.
'I just ... I know you've fancied her since forever -'
'Third year,' Ron muttered.
'- and I was just wondering when it changed,' Harry finished.
'I dunno. It's confusing, Harry,' Ron mumbled, stroking Hermione's hair.
Hermione resisted the urge to sigh delightedly as tingles raced from her scalp and exploded throughout her entire body.
'Why don't you tell her?'
'I don't want to complicate things further.'
'"Complicate things further"? What the hell are you talking about?'
'I don't know what she feels for me, mate. I mean, I think she might fancy me, but I'm not sure and I don't want to come out and trust her with my heart only to have her break it, even if it's unintentional,' Ron explained softly, stilling the stroking of her hair.
'But she loves you, mate,' Harry muttered. 'I can't believe how thick you're being that you haven't seen it yet.'
'That she's in love with you, too!'
'She's not, though.'
'Yes, she is.'
'Harry, she's not. Stop getting my hopes up,' Ron snarled.
'But I am,' Hermione whispered, slowly moving her head up to look at Ron, who jumped slightly, having not known she was awake.
Ron stared down at her.
'How ... how long have you been awake?' he whispered, his hand going back to stroking her hair.
Hermione closed her eyes and snuggled closer to him, trying to get him to understand that she loved him without having to say it aloud; she wasn't sure if she was ready for that.
'A few minutes,' she murmured. Ron stopped stroking her hair and she made a sound of protest. 'No, please don't stop.'
It was a couple seconds later before Ron picked up where he left off and continued to stroke her hair down.
'How are you feeling?' Harry asked, obviously trying to break the slight tension in the room.
Hermione took a breath as Harry's hand ran up and down her arm in an attempt to soothe her.
'I'm feeling a little bit better,' she said quietly, peering up at Ron, who refused to meet her gaze. 'Ron?'
A slight sigh and then he finally looked at her.
'Hi,' he breathed.
'Hi,' she whispered back, smiling sheepishly.
Ron's ears and neck turned a deep red hue and she smiled a bit wider at the sight; he was as nervous as she was.
'So, I sort of fancy you,' he mumbled.
'I sort of fancy you, as well,' she replied.
Harry chuckled a bit and Hermione reached back as best she could to smack him so he'd shut up. Ron cleared his throat and shifted down a bit more, pressed a soft kiss to Hermione's forehead and snuggled her closer. Hermione tilted her head and kissed Ron's cheek before settling down again and feeling Harry shifting a bit.
'I think I'll leave,' he said, humour lacing his voice.
'No!' Hermione said anxiously. 'Please stay. I ... I still need to hear you both.'
There was a few seconds of silence, but Harry returned to his spot behind Hermione and he rubbed her back a few times before spooning up behind her, sandwiching her between himself and Ron.
'I love you both,' she murmured as she felt sleep attempt to wash over her yet again. 'Just in different ways.'
Hermione managed to sleep soundly through the rest of the night and, when she woke up the following morning, Ron was still curled up with her. Her back, however, was oddly cold and when she turned her head, she noticed Harry was gone. Sighing, Hermione snuggled closer to Ron, who grunted and tightened his grip on her. The door creaked open and she heard footsteps coming towards the bed.
'Harry?' she whispered as the bed dipped slightly.
'Morning,' he whispered back.
Hermione shifted as slowly as she could so that her back was against Ron's chest and his arm remained over her, but she was facing Harry, who waited until she stopped moving to clamber back into bed.
'Hi,' she said quietly.
'Hey,' he replied, grinning. 'How're you feeling?'
'Better. I slept better than I have in a while. How are you?'
'I'm alright. My scar stings a bit; had a dream.'
'Where were you?'
'The loo. Dream woke me and I had to ... well, you know,' Harry mumbled, shrugging.
'I'll be getting there soon,' she said. 'I just don't really want to move right now.'
Harry chuckled, but was soon silent.
Hermione reached out and placed her hand on his shoulder. He sighed.
'I know you two have waited for years to get everything out in the open, but will you both wait until this is all over? I need you both right now and if something happens between you two during this, I don't know what I'd do.'
Hermione let her hand run up to his cheek and she turned Harry's head to face her.
'I'll discuss it with Ron.'
'You'll discuss what with me?' came Ron's raspy voice from behind her.
Hermione laughed slightly as his lips pressed to her shoulder and she slipped her fingers between his.
'Just think,' she murmured, 'when this is all over, we can go back to living a normal life.'
'No danger,' Harry added.
'No wondering if we'll make it to tomorrow,' said Ron, his arm squeezing Hermione a bit tighter.
'Knowing we'll be able to be happy and carefree again,' Hermione breathed, her fingers tightening on Ron's.
'Not needing to sleep lightly.'
'Keeping our wands on our bedside tables.'
'Starting real relationships.'
'Starting real jobs.'
'Knowing our families are safe again.'
'Finding Hermione's parents.'
'Not having to hide anything anymore.'
'Understanding what it means to take something for granted.'
'Knowing peace,' Hermione whispered. 'Peace and quiet.'
Ron and Harry nodded.
'Things to fight for,' Harry said quietly.
Ron pressed a kiss to Hermione's cheek.
'Things to fight for,' he agreed.
Hermione nodded and closed her eyes.
'Things to fight for.'