Disclaimer: Harry potter belongs to J.K. Rowling and assorted companies. This is a piece of work, by a fan, for fans and no infringement is meant in any way.

Pushing the Sky

By Char

Habit

She sits beside the window, reading a thick book. Occasionally, she lifts her head to stare at the blue sky in the space between the drapes pulled away from the open window, fingers tightening instinctively around the edges of the book, and her sharp fingernails digging into its leather cover. Her gaze becomes frighteningly intense, he realises, as she focuses on a point in the blue, blue sky, beyond the pretty clouds, that only she can see.

She has been doing that every day since the day Ron slipped a diamond ring onto her third finger, donned his combat robes, kissed her on the cheek and murmured, "I'll make you proud of me," then left the burrow with his other brothers, robes swishing around him dramatically as Mrs. Weasley dabbed away tears from the corner of her eye.

Percy thought of the twins' laughter when they found out that he wasn't conscripted. Percy thought of Ron in his robes, shades of green which clashed wildly with his flaming red hair. Percy thought of Charlie and bill, rugged Charlie who wrestled with dragons, and cool Bill who managed to remain popular despite being head boy. And Percy thought of his father's hand on his shoulder, broad and heavy, like the responsibility that he would take up the moment the six men left the house. Later, he would remember, vaguely, that it was the first time his father had touched him since he was five.

They said that wars made men out of boys. He wondered if that only applied to soldiers, or was it directed to their commanders too, those who sat in the comfort of their houses and sent and received protected messages that would send those boys on their way to becoming men.

At this moment, watching Hermione, Percy thinks to himself, she is his second-in-command and that is all that matters in this war.

Sunlight glints off the edges of the diamond ring, and briefly, he thinks he saw an owl, bearing a letter, fly through the open window.

He dismisses it as his hallucination.

Nights In White Satin

After Mrs. Weasley, Ginny and all the other good boys in their neighbourhood have gone to bed, he is still awake, staring at the ceiling in his room with its numerous cracks and blemishes, awaiting her arrival.

She comes to him in the shroud of darkness, her long brown hair trailing behind her as she shuts the door quietly and moves to sit on his bed. He looks into her eyes from his position on the bed, and sees:

Ron. Ron, with his brash smile and flaming hair and green robes.

The Gryffindor in him wants to push her away and shake her shoulders and yell at her for betraying his little brother. He gets up with the full intention of showing his worth as a Gryffindor, but before he is able to do anything, she places her hands on his shoulder

and

            kisses

                        him. It is a kiss that can melts the snow on a wintry December night, and he thinks to himself, just once more. After that, he stops thinking and allows the different emotions to course through his blood and end up in her body.

At the height of his desire, he hears a name.

Ron.

He feels the rush of pleasure fade rapidly, as he slides out of her and turns away from the sight of her flushed face and kiss-swollen lips that are slightly parted and smoky brown eyes under long lashes.

They never exchange a word, and before dawn, she is always gone.

Suspension of Disbelief

Morning

"We must stop this."

"...what are you talking about?"

"You know what I mean, Hermione!"

(an owl flies through the window)

(sharp intake of breathe; shaking hands open the sealed message...and then...)

(passes the parchment over)

"Professor Dumbledore wants us to send twelve wizards to Little Hangleton." (frowns slightly)

"He thinks the final battle will be fought there." (and then) "Do we have twelve wizards to send?"

"...Yes" (unfortunately)

Afternoon

"Hermione...stop it. Ginny will see us."

(breathlessly) "I thought you liked me."

(looking away) "I thought you liked Ron."

(quietly) "I love Ron."

(silence)

"I thought so."

Night

"Why are you doing this, Hermione?"

(soft whisper against his ear) "I love you."

                                                            (and then)

"Ron."

(running her fingers through his red hair)

"Ron."

(drowning him in her desire)

"Ron."

Interlude

He cries as she kisses him and tries to stop thinking about rights and wrongs and rules and Gryffindor and Penelope and Ron.

Penelope.

Sweet Penelope who entered his life in a haze of brown hair and jasmine shampoo and love letters.

Rational Penelope who wanted to live and left the country,

                                                                                    left him.

He thought he loved Penelope.

(he thought penelope loved him)

He thinks he loves Hermione.

(he wants to think that hermione loves him)

Hermione.

Beautiful Hermione who entered his life in a mist of brown hair and innocence and eagerness.

Hermione who is so much like him, yet nothing like him at all.

He rocks himself to sleep and tries to stop wishing that Ron will not return.

Vita Brevis

(she drops the piece of parchment and clasps her hands over her mouth.)

For the first time in his life, he sees her lose her composure.

For the first time in his life, he sees the woman he loves come apart at the seams, and disintegrate.

For the first time in his life, he sees his family unite in their grief.

For the first time in his life, he's had a wish come true.

That night, he goes to her room.

(she sits on her bed, dressed in her wedding dress, faded white satin of a year, and smiles when he enters. she gets up and throws her arms around his neck, planting soft, wet kisses along his jaw and the contours of his neck.)

"You're back!"

(her voice, like silk against cool skin.)

"Ron..."

But he doesn't hear anything.

That night, he dreams.

He dreams of a melting candle, casting a long, dark shadow and dripping tears of wax that no one can kiss away.

-End-

Author's notes: yes, he loves Hermione. No, she doesn't love him. Yes, the author is on crack. Yes, this fic was written in the wee hours of the morning due to caffeine-induced hyperactivity. No, Char has not seen a psychiatrist. You're welcome to recommend one, though.

Merry Christmas.