Warnings: Character pain ;)
Length: 1,500 words
Summary: Will an accident tear Ron and Hermione apart or will it push them together?
The sound of the siren is what woke Hermione. She tried to turn her head, but there was something solid holding her in place.
Ron. Where was Ron? The thought rose out of her, knocking the wind from her lungs. They'd been together...
"Why're you needing to learn how to drive a car, anyway?" Ron asked, his eyebrows disappearing behind his fringe.
Hermione rolled her eyes and smiled at him. "You know I think it's important for Witches and Wizards to know Muggle things and if I want to visit my parents, a car is the easiest way."
Ron smirked at her. "Apparating is the easiest way."
Hermione pressed her lips together in a fine line before answering. "It may be easy, but I could also be seen. How'd that look, then?" Hermione said. She reached under the seat for the button that'd allow her to move closer to the steering wheel. "I don't want any Muggles seeing me appear out of thin air."
Ron grinned, his eyes sparkling with good humour. "Driving a car can make Muggles suspicious too."
Hermione gave him a mock stern look while fighting to keep the smile from her face. "Only if the car is flying, Ronald."
Ron laughed, the sound rich. Without a word he shifted to face her more fully from the passenger seat. As his laughter faded, Hermione smiled affectionately.
Hermione put the car into gear and began driving. Every manoeuver was carefully executed, just as the driving manual and her father had taught her.
That was the last Hermione remembered until she awoke to stare at the roof of the ambulance.
Through dry lips, she spoke in a rough whisper. "Ron?"
A woman appeared in her line of sight and she flashed a light into Hermione's eyes.
"Where's Ron?" Hermione said again.
"The person who was with you in the vehicle? He's being transported in another ambulance." After a long moment, she spoke again. "Do you remember what happened?"
Hermione tried nodding, but the brace holding her head still prevented her doing so. "Most of it."
The woman gave her a quick, sympathetic smile. "You had an accident. I think the other car struck you from the side."
Frowning, Hermione spoke. "Is Ron...my friend...is he all right?" Her heart began to thump painfully in her chest as she awaited an answer.
The woman pressed her lips together. "Try not to worry. We'll do everything we can."
The woman's words sent a flash of pain through Hermione's chest. Tears leaked from her eyes, slid down her temples and into her hair.
They arrived at the hospital, where everything began happening too quickly. Hermione wanted to ask for Healers, but she said nothing as a doctor examined her. Instead, she waited silently, dreading and hoping for news about Ron.
Finally, she was settled into a room. They were going to keep her overnight for observation. As a nurse brought in some pain medication, Hermione finally spoke. "Where is my friend?"
The nurse took her hand. "He was hurt a bit worse than you, though you were both lucky. Anyway, he should be fine after a spot of rest. He's been taken to a private room upstairs." With those words, the nurse left Hermione sitting alone.
Immediately, Hermione stood, though her legs were a bit stiff and sore. She grabbed a dressing gown, covered herself and headed out of her room.
With only one wrong turn, she managed to find his room. However, as she tried to enter, a matronly nurse halted her. "You can't go in there."
Hermione lifted her chin and pressed her lips together before answering. "I'm not leaving until I see for myself that he's all right."
The nurse's expression softened just slightly, but she remained firmly planted in front of the door. "Are you family?"
Letting out a breath, Hermione nodded. Her voice broke as she answered, the lie feeling true as it slid off her tongue. "Yes. We're family. He's my fiancé."
For a moment, Hermione wondered if the nurse would believe her. Finally, she stepped aside, motioning for Hermione to enter. "You've only a few moments to spend in there," she said. "He needs his rest."
Hermione nodded slowly before stepping forward and entering the quiet room. Near the window, Hermione could see Ron's red hair stand out stark against the white linens. How many times had she seen him like this? Her mind coursed with memories of their years together and all they'd suffered. Both her boys had spent too many days in hospital, although this was the first time the hospital had been Muggle.
Hermione moved closer, pulling a chair up to sit beside the bed. With trembling fingers, she picked up Ron's hand and grasped it in her own. His skin was cool and dry. Impulsively, she leaned down and pressed her lips to his hand, wanting to warm him with her touch.
Quietly, she spoke, although she didn't know if he'd hear her. "I'm sorry, Ron." Tears spilled from her eyes. "I'm sorry."
"It's not your fault, Hermione," Ron said in a gruff whisper. "The other car hit us." Ron blinked his eyes open slowly. "Are you all right?"
Hermione lifted her head, startled and pleased that Ron was awake. "I'm fine. Are you all right? I was so worried."
Ron smiled. "I'll be fine. Just a bit tossed about, is all."
"Even if the accident wasn't my fault, I'm still sorry," she said. "If you hadn't been with me, this wouldn't have happened."
Ron shook his head against the pillow, though the action caused him to wince in pain. "I wanted to be with you," he said. The tips of his ears grew red, but he didn't look away. "If I hadn't been there, you'd be here by yourself. I wouldn't want you to be alone."
With a shaky smile, Hermione nodded. "I wouldn't want you to be alone either," she said. After a moment, Hermione's face grew warm as she confessed. "I told them we were family so I could get in to see you. I, uh, I told them you were my..." Her face flooded with heat. "...I said you were my fiancé."
Ron's eyes grew round with surprise before he grinned widely, his own face going red. He chuckled, still grinning madly. "So we're to be married? I wonder what Mum and Dad'll say about that?"
Hermione looked down, blushing. "I had to tell them something to let me in here, Ron. What was I supposed to say?"
"Well, I don't mind being your fiancé. I mean, you are my family already," Ron said.
Hermione's surprised gaze snapped up to meet Ron's. Although his face was an alarming shade of red, his eyes met hers directly.
"And you're mine, Ron," Hermione said.
After a moment, Ron broke the silence. "Come here, Hermione," he said, his voice hoarse.
Although her heart was pounding in her chest, Hermione stood. She sat on the bed, facing Ron. With his free hand, he reached up to slide her hair behind her ear. Then he brushed her cheek with his thumb, the pad of which was slightly coarse, even as gentle as he was just then.
Determinedly and with her gaze still locked with his, Hermione leaned down and pressed a quick kiss to his lips.
As she started to draw back, Ron's grip on her tightened and he pulled her back down to him. With a gentleness few knew Ron possessed, he slid his mouth over hers in a sweet kiss. Then, he drew her bottom lip between his and deepened the kiss, just slightly.
Hermione gasped, her lips parting as he kissed her. Tentatively, she traced his upper lip with her tongue, pleased when he responded in kind.
This sort of kiss was nothing like Hermione had expected. It was different from her first kiss, which had been awkward and stilted. This was richer and so much more than she'd hoped. She could sense Ron's affection in the kiss. This kiss held a promise that had never been there before. This time, Ron was kissing her and he was kissing her like he wanted it to last for the rest of their lives.
Slowly, Ron drew back. He opened his eyes and his gaze locked with hers. Then, with a mischievous grin, he said, "I think I like having a fiancée."
Smiling, Hermione leaned in and kissed him again before stretching out to lie beside him for a few moments. "Me too, Ron," she said.
"Just promise me the next time we visit your family, we can Apparate, all right?" Ron spoke with a smirk on his face as he wrapped an arm around her.
Hermione laughed against his shoulder. "I promise," she said, "even though I'd not change this bit for the world." With that, she leaned forward again and pressed a warm kiss to his mouth. "Not for anything."
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