They stood silently, holding hands amidst all the rubble. The fires still burned within the castle, but the danger was over, to the castle at least. The sun was rising in the distance, warming the crisp spring air. Harry had disappeared back into the rubble, hoping to be alone with his thoughts. Ron felt Hermione’s hand within his own. He closed his eyes hoping that it was real. He had wanted it to be this way for as long as he could remember. He felt her hand pull away and he grimaced knowing it was too good to be true.
“What are we doing?” He asked as he opened his eyes.
“Excuse me?” She asked as she sat down on a large chunk of stone, tucking her knees under her chin.
“Us, what happened?”
“I thought that was obvious,” She said quietly, a tiny quirk of lips as she too closed her eyes.
Ron turned away, what he was about to say he felt might change everything.
“Before, in the forest, I’m sorry I left. I just… I wanted you to myself and I knew you could never want me when you could have him. His eyes followed the stone where Harry has just walked. “He’s always going to be famous now. And I will always be in his shadow.” Ron sighed as he looked down to pinch the bridge of his nose. As if that could ward away the guilt and envy.
“Men!” Hermione almost shouted. Ron looked around.
“Seriously, You men, you’re all the same! It’s always a pissing contest. It just never occurs to any of you that we could think any differently!”
“Are you saying that there isn’t one small part of you that wishes that you both could be together?” Ron said, desperately trying not to sound like he was accusing her.
“That is exactly what I’m saying, Ron!” Hermione said, matter-of-factly as she stood up. “I love Harry, I really do, but only ever as a brother, I wouldn’t want the life he is about to lead, nor would I want to be sharing that life in any other capacity than as his friend.” She stepped closer to him now. Nervously looking up into his eyes.
Grime, dust and dark stains that were probably blood soaked her clothes and hair and streaked her face. Even with every pain, ache and loss, he had suffered, it healed his heart just to look at her.
“I want you, Ron, I don’t care that you’re not as famous as Harry. You’re the one who called my name in the hospital wing. I don’t care that you’re not as rich, I have never been and will never be reliant on you, my pride couldn’t stand it. You’re both as dense as each other but I love you!” She said forcefully. “I love the way you hold me and make me feel safe and the way you chase the nightmares away. The way you look at me like you don’t believe I’m real. I even love the way you stuff your face beyond bursting at the breakfast table, albeit that I think may be short-lived.”
Ron could feel his cheeks burning as he looked down at her.
“Anything else? I’m still feeling a bit deflated, Y’know…” he chuckled weakly.
“I love the way you make me laugh,” She said as she gripped his hand again. “Now come on, lets head back. Things need to be sorted out and we’re probably some of the best people to do it, and maybe this time, things will be done properly!” She said as she tiptoed and kissed him on the nose.
“Yes, Miss!” Ron said weakly as he squeezed her hand. He looked at her and wondered just how long it would take him to list all he loved about her. He didn’t think they had enough time left, but he would give it a damn good try!