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Snow and Stars

Ron sighed as he read the same sentence over and over in his Transfiguration book. It was no use, he had just read it for the tenth time, and all he had registered was the fact that he was on page forty-five. He knew why he was so distracted, the reason was sitting beside him on the couch, her feet were curled up under her, and her sock covered toe was just barely grazing his thigh, causing major shivers up and down his leg. Hermione was reading the Transfiguration chapter for the second time, but he could guess that it wasn't because she didn't understand it. He let his eyes drift from the page again, and glanced over at her. She had her elbow propped up on the arm of the couch, and her head was resting in her hand as she stared at the page. She was mouthing the words to herself, and every few seconds she'd whisper a spell to herself while doing the current wand movements. He knew she was trying to memorize the spells, he just didn't know why. Hermione didn't have to try hard to be good at something, it just kind of happened for her, not that it was a bad thing.

" So that's how the famous Hermione Granger knows everything, you read it all out loud to yourself, and then it just sticks to your brain...interesting, I'll have to try that. " He said not being able to control himself. He never missed a chance to bug Hermione, it was irresistible. As he expected, she lifted her head off of her hand and looked over at him. He could see a slight blush creeping up her neck, as if she'd been caught doing something she shouldn't. As always she tried desperately to hide the coloring of her cheeks.

" Well see, there's a little flaw in your plan. You have to have a brain, in order to stick something to, you might have a problem with that part... " She said, giving him an amused look. She may complain about their arguments from time to time, but deep down he knew she really enjoyed them as much as he did.

" Oh that's nice Hermione, real nice. " He said sarcastically. He laughed and closed his book. Hermione, who had been smiling, stopped when she saw this.

" Your done? We've only been reading for an hour! " She said looking at him like he was crazy. Ron smirked.

" Yeah, amazing right? That's longer than I've ever read. " He said in mock excitement. Hermione rolled her eyes and closed her own book after reciting one last spell under her breath. She stuffed her parchment and the quill she had let Ron borrow into her bag and threw it into the corner of the common room.

" Your hopeless. " She said uncurling her legs and stretching them out in front of her in the air. She yawned once and plopped her feet on the ground, causing a sleeping Crookshanks to wake up and stalk away angrily.

" Yet you still make me do it. " He said shaking his head disbelievingly.

" Well if you want me stop.. " She muttered. He quickly spoke up.

" No. I want to keep my mediocre grades thank you very much. " He said running a hand over his hair. He definitely didn't want her to stop making him study and read all of the time. Not only would his grades drop tremendously, but that would also mean less time spent with Hermione, and that just wasn't an option. Hermione stood up, running her hands down her gray skirt and pushing her hair behind her ears.

" So where's Harry? " She asked folding his parchment for him, and screwing the lid onto his ink bottle. Now he felt stupid, she just had to clean up after him. Great, now he looked like a complete slob.

" Here let me get that, sorry I forgot about it. " He said grabbing the ink bottle and parchment from her hands. She smiled and handed him his bag. He tried to ignore the brief moment in which her figures brushed his own when he took the bad from her, it was hard, but he'd had practice at the ignoring those feeling thing for the last few years, and he had it down to an art.

" Thanks. I think Harry went to study with Neville and Seamus for that Potions exam. " He said shoving his things in his bag and throwing it on top of Hermione's. He looked over at her and smiled when he saw that she was giggling to herself. He raised an eyebrow at her suspiciously.

" What? " He asked. She gave a real laugh when she discovered that he really didn't know what she was laughing about.

" You mean..he told you, that he was going to go STUDY. With Neville and Seamus? " She said still laughing slightly, and looking like she knew some big secret that nobody else did. He nodded, not knowing what else to do. He had know idea what was so funny about Harry going to study with Neville and Seamus for a Potions exam, especially since they were some of the worst potion students in their class. Plus Harry had been studying a lot lately, and at odd times of the day, Ron figured that he was just trying to get his grades up so that he could get enough o.w.l.s to go to Auror training.

" Ron have you ever noticed..that Ginny's not here either, and that she hasn't been in the common room since Harry said that he was going to study. And Neville just walked through here about thirty minutes ago? " She said, talking slow, and making him feel like he was a three year old. He thought about what she was saying. If Neville had just walked through...then didn't that mean that he was finished studying? And if he was then where was Harry? Most importantly, where was Ginny? Hermione looked at him sadly and sighed again.

" Ron... Harry and Ginny are together. " She said flatly, looking a little guilty at not having told him earlier. Ron had to admit that he would have preferred her to have told him about it, buit was deciding that it was really none of his business anyway, and if Harry and Ginny ever decided to tell him about themselves, then that was fine, but for now he wasn't going to press the matter..much.

" was bound to happen sometime. " He said, watching as Hermione's face turned from a smile to a confused looking frown. She brought her hand up to his forehead and pressed the back of it against it firmly.

" Are you feeling all right? " She asked sarcastically, laughing despite herself, while removing her hand from his head. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

" Yes, I'm feeling all right. What? I can't just be happy for my best friend and sister? " He said pretending to be insulted. He walked over to the boy's stair case and started to walk up them. He could hear Hermione's foot steps behind him.

" can't. Or at least I thought you couldn't.. " She said coming up beside him.

" Well it just so happens that I am choosing to be OK with this. I mean it's not like Harry's going to hurt Ginny, I know that. And I know Ginny's not just going after Harry because of who he is, so the way I see it, it's none of my business " He said opening his dormitory door and holding it open for Hermione, he walked in after her.

" OK, Can't argue with that. So what do you want to do? " She asked taking a seat on Harry's four poster bed. Ron opened his trunk and pulled out his cloak.

" I was thinking we could go for a walk outside. " He said pulling the cloak over his head and fastening the front clasp quickly. He looked up at Hermione and saw her smile slightly.

" You do realize that it's probably below zero outside, don't you? " She asked getting up from the bed anyway. Ron returned her smile and held out one of his spare cloaks. It was a good thing that his mother had agreed to buy him new robes this year, or else he probably wouldn't have any cloaks for them to wear. She reached out and grabbed the cloak from him, not saying anything until she had it on.

" Yeah, I realized it. " He said leading the way out of the dormitory. Hermione followed him silently as they reached the bottom of the staircase and crawled through the Portrait hole. Ron didn't question her quietness, but it was killing him inside. He was afraid that she had found out why he was taking her on a walk, at night, when he knew that the grounds were covered in a thick powdery snow that was probably untouched. He only hoped that you could see the stars tonight, that would make it perfect, it would be the ideal place to admit to Hermione that he was in love with her, to tell her everything that had been on his mind since their fourth year.

They came to the big oak front doors and, trying to keep his gentleman act going, he held the door open for her this time adding a goofy little bow to it, so not to totally freak her out. The smile that had been plastered to her face the whole time widened as she walked ahead of him. As soon as he closed the door behind him and turned around, he almost let out a gasp, his mouth fell open.

Magical. That was the word that immediately came to his mind when he saw the picture perfect view in front of him, The snow on the ground was beyond untouched, there wasn't a speak of dirt any where, no grass either, it was like the ground was made of the soft feathery substance. The most amazing part was the sky. It was an extremely dark blue, only a few shades away from being black. Stars could be seen for miles, he'd never seen anything like this before, and neither apparently had Hermione. She had let out a gasp, and her eyes were wide, as if she was trying to fit all of the scene into her field of vision. Ron couldn't help bit to smile as he reluctantly removed his eyes from the sky. He had to think of how he was going to do this. Should he just some right out now and tell her everything, or should he wait for the right moment? He made a quick decision to wait.

" Shall we? " He asked. He knew it sounded corny, but Hermione didn't laugh, and barely took her eyes off the stars as she hooked her arm through his and let him lead her down the front steps.

Once the initial shock of the snow and sky sunk in, he realized how truly cold it was. Hermione's prediction of below zero was probably an understatement. It was freezing. He pulled his cloak around himself firmly, and felt Hermione give a shiver as she pulled him closer with her arm.

They walked for a few minutes in silence, it had started to snow, and Ron was finding it harder and harder not to look at Hermione's face. He had made the mistake of glancing at it moments before and couldn't get the image of her pretty face, with her hazel eyes, little flakes of snow sitting on her eye lashes, her hair was framing her face perfectly with bits of snow sticking to her curly strands, and her lips...

" So... " Hermione prompted, looking at him for the first time since they had arrived outside. He couldn't avoid looking at her now. So he tried hard to form words as their eyes met.

" So...what? " He asked pretending that he didn't know why she was asking him this. She laughed giving him her famous Do-You-Think-I'm-Stupid look, that always made him rethink his answers.

" What? A guy can't take his best friend of six years out on a walk? " He asked, again running to his sarcasm to prevent the inevitable conversation that was bound to come up in the next few minutes. He waited for her smart response, waited for her to see right through his jokes and ask him what was really up. But she didn't. She just walked with her mouth firmly shut, a hint of a smile playing on her pink lips.

Is she kidding me? Does she really expect me to be able to just come out and tell her how I feel? She knows, I know she does, that's why she wont say anything, she wants me to hold it in till I burst, and then she'll laugh at me, or worse, she'll give me that pity look she gives me when I don't know the answer to a homework question. This is just great...

" I can't feel my toes. " She said looking down at her feet and then back up at Ron, she shivered for extra affect. That sounded like her que for him to speak up, she didn't want to walk out here at night in the freezing cold weather, the icy snow though very pretty stung everytime it hit your face. She was probably just waiting for him to say whatever it was that he was planning on saying so that she could run back into the castle and never speak to him again.Ok now you sound stupid, Hermione wouldn't stop talking to haven't even told her yet! Bloody hell Ron, give her some credit...

Ron took a deep breath and prepared himself for the bog bad of rejection he was about to be handed to from Hermione Granger. He started going over ways he could tell her, but all of them sounded either to desperate or stalkerish, neither of which he wanted. He was thinking of maybe just saying a simple Hermione I think I'm in love with you, but was afraid that it sounded to rehearsed. Urgh. Why did this have to be so hard? He stared at his breath, it was coming out in big puffs of vapor in front of his face, then he noticed a rather large puff emit from Hermione's mouth. He looked over at her, she stopped short and almost pulled him down when he kept going. He regained his balance and continued to look at her questionably.

" Your really not going to say anything are you? " She asked suddenly sounding agitated. Ron's mouth dropped open for the second time that night. Once he realized this he closed it immediately, but even that little bit of movement was hard, because at Hermione's words, all of Ron's limb's had suddenly refused to listen to what his brain wanted them to do. His brain wanted to tell Hermione that he was going to say something, that he was going to tell her that he loved her, and that he hoped that she felt the same way. But his mouth was now completely frozen.

" Well? " She asked expectantly. He couldn't blame her for getting an aggravated, he wasn't exactly being Mr. Talkative. He willed him self to make a sound, any sound, something to let her know that he wasn't trying to be rude or play a joke on her. But nothing was coming out, and he could tell by the way she was looking at him, that she wasn't in the mood to wait for his mouth to thaw out.

She stepped out in front of him, and looked him directly in the eye. Crossing her arms in front of her chest she breathed in and out once before opening her mouth.

" Fine. If you wont say something, then I will. " She paused for a moment, all confidence left her face, she looked like she didn't know how to say what she wanted the right way. Ron could totally relate to that. Of course, they were having problems say two totally different things. Ron wanted to confess his love to her, and Hermione on the other hand was probably thinking of a way she could tell Ron that she didn't have any feelings for him once so ever.

She let out her breath slowly before speaking again.

" Ok..this is going to be so, yeah so, you brought me out here, for a walk. And not that I mind going on a walk with you, but...I mean, look at it! It's gorgeous out here! The snow, the sky, the forest. I mean maybe I was being totally selfish, and reading way to much into this little outing, and if I am then I'm really sorry, but... " She stopped to gather herself, and Ron took that moment to quiet the voice in his head down that was now screaming She like's you! She like's you, you idiot!, so loud that he was sure she could hear it.

" seems kind of like...Oh this is ridiculous! Forget I said anything. " She said turning back around and dragging Ron with her by the arm again.

Ron couldn't do anything but follow her, she was leading them back up to the castle, they still had a ways to go, meaning there was still time to find out what the bloody hell had just happened moments ago.

" I can't forget you said anything. Hermione what is it? " He asked trying to hide the desperation in his voice. He hoped, no he needed Hermione to say that she liked him, and that she was glad he had brought her out here. And he thought that that's what she had been about to say, but then she had stopped, and now he didn't know what to think.

" It's nothing Ron, forget it. " She said turning her head away from his. Ok, now he was suspicious, he could have sworn that he had seen the hint of a blush creeping up her face.

" Oh come on Hermione, something's up. What is it? " He asked, again having to mask his feelings, and keep a straight face. She was silent for a few more minutes, and Ron didn't push her into saying anything. He knew Hermione, whenever she was quiet it meant that she was thinking hard about something. And in this case that could be a good thing or a bad thing. The wait was killing him, thankfully though it didn't last very long.

" Fine. I like you Ron. There I said it. Happy? " She said finally looking at Ron, so that he could now see the total extent of her blushing. Her face, probably matched the tips of his ears when he heard her last words. He was speechless again. It was funny how easily Hermione could do that to him. He would have laughed if his mouth hadn't been totally incapable of that certain task at that particular moment.

" And I just thought...that when you took me out here, that maybe you... " She let her voice trail off before finishing her sentence. Suddenly Ron came out of his stupor and spoke for the first time in minutes.

" That maybe I liked you too. " He said finishing her sentence and saying the thing that had been on his mind for the past hour they had been outside.

" Well yeah. I know, I know, I'm totally out of line, it's just that...well I mind as well tell you now, I've liked you since our second year. " She said blushing if possible, more than she had been earlier.

" Wow that's embarrassing.... " She muttered to herself, loud enough for Ron to hear. Now that his mouth was working again, he gave a short embarrassed laugh himself.

" It's not that embarrassing...I have a little secret of my own. " He said. Now he was the one looking at his shoes. Okay Weasley, this is your chance, tell her how you feel. He knew that it shouldn't be this hard, since she had just told him what she had obviously been thinking about for a long time now.

" Oh really? " She asked, pretending that the weirdness of this conversation didn't exist, which was exactly what Ron was trying to avoid. He gave another awkward laugh.

" Yeah, lets just weren't reading to much into me taking you out here. " He said kicking some snow off of his boot, he looked up to see Hermione smiling.

" Nice to know... " She said tightening her grip on his arm and pulling him close.

He didn't really know what to do now that he had told her how he felt, and she had told him the same thing. Mostly because he hadn't expected her to feel the same way, but also, he didn't have a lot of practice with this sort of thing. So he did the first thing that came to his mind. He took his arm out of her grasp and wrapped his arms around her waist firmly hugging her tightly for a few seconds before loosening his grip just enough to tilt his head downward towards her's. She gave him a surprised look before the side of her lips twitched upward in a half smile. He leaned in further, and was now aware of how close their lips were. He brought his hand up to the back of her head, and felt the snow that was in her hair melt at his touch. She tilted her head up, that was his que, he closed the gap between their mouths, and suddenly their lips were set firmly together.

Everything around them seemed to melt away, if it was still snowing, Ron didn't know or care, if there was still a sky filled with stars above them, he was totally oblivious to them. He wasn't even cold anymore, in fact he was extremely warm. As soon as their lip's had touched a warm feeling like he had never felt before had started at his lips and moved down his body ending at his toes then starting back up again. Her lip's were so soft, sweeter than he had ever imagined, it was quite possible that he could spend the rest of his life this close to her, but given that that was intirely impossible, he reluctantly pulled away, opening his eye's he looked at Hermione, who was just now opening her own.

" That was nice. " She said simply looking a little flushed, she tucked some of her hair behind her ear and grabbed Ron's hand. He took a second to regain his composure, his breathing slowed to normal and he returned the grip on Hermione's hand as he lead her towards the castle.

" Yeah...I could get used to that... " He breathed, thinking that she had no idea how true that was.

Neither of them spoke another word as the walked hand in hand back to the castle, back to the place everything had begun, the place were he spent his time with Hermione, were he had gotten to know her, it was then that he realized that without that castle he wouldn't even know Hermione, or Harry for that matter. One thing was for sure, he'd never complain about studying again.

Awww, I love this little fic!

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