I have been trying to write a story that showed more of Ron's and Hermione's relationship as time went on. Is he intimidated by her rocketing rise through the ministry or is he content and supportive. Is she happy, or is she feeling the strain? A prompt from The Reviews Corner [August Event] Pumpkin Pastie Eating Contest Words- Ocean-Walking

PLEASE Please, review. I need to know what you think! Thank you.

Just to Hold Your Hand

Ron took the dishes out of the cupboard and set the table. He sighed and then took two away again, forgetting that Rose and Hugo would be at Hogwarts by now. It'll just be Hermione and himself for dinner. That is, unless Hermione works late- again.

Nearly Eight pm, Ron gave up and fixed his own plate to eat on the couch. Turning on the wireless, he reasoned that maybe she had to work later, seeing how she took the morning off to see the kids go.

That's okay. She takes her job seriously. She's worked hard to be the first muggle female, AND the youngest Minister of Magic. She's earned it. She has all the drive and ambition that he never did. It's ok. It's who she is. But Damn! It gets lonely here.

He took his plate back to the kitchen and rinsed it in the sink. He took the leftover casserole from the warming oven and placed it in the fridge. As he closed the door, he heard the whoosh of the floo. Then…nothing.

Ron walked back to the lounge and found Hermione slumped on the chair with her back to him. The chair they reserved for company, because it was too uncomfortable to sit in regularly. Ron wanted to toss it, but it was a gift from Hermione's parents, so they were stuck.

"Hey." He said softly as he moved to face her. As soon as he saw her face, he fell on his knees and took her hand, "Babe? What is it? What's wrong?"

With tears flowing freely down her cheeks, Hermione fell over his hands, sobbing. Ron smoothed her hair, shushing her, like he would with a sad child.

As her sobs turned to sniffles, she wiped her eyes and sat up a bit straighter, something that was hard to do, as the chair was too tall and her feet didn't quite touch the floor.

"Ron, I can't take it anymore." She raised her head to try to see him through the tear-filled eyes. "We can't go on like this."

His heart dropped. "We? What do you mean? We can't go on like this?" He sat back on his heels, afraid. Is she? No, She can't.

Hermione finally saw his face after wiping her tears with her sleeve (something she never did!) "No Ron, Not like that." She gave a little half-laugh. "Something's wrong and I don't know what to do about it."

He placed his hands on either side of her on the chair seat. "What is that something?" He asked levelly. "Tell me."

"I can't go on. I need to quit." She whispered.

"Quit? Quit us?" Panic rose in his chest. How could he lose her?

"No Ronald. Not us. Silly man. No, I…I need to qui…I want to quit my joooooooob." The tears started up again.

Ron used his wand to bring over the box of tissues and he placed them in her hands. So long as she doesn't want to leave him, he can be as patient as needed.

He didn't say anything until her sobs turned into hiccoughs and she had blown her nose several times. "Sweetheart, can you tell me about it? We'll work it out together."

"Where do I even start?" She wiped her nose again. "I realized something tonight."

"What's that?" He asked, pulling an ottoman to him, so he was sitting off the floor.

"For the past twenty years, I have worked harder, worked longer. Always trying to get another promotion. Trying to prove I can do more. Prove that I can have it all. But I don't have it all!" She looked at Ron, a fire in her eyes, more desperation than conviction. "I've paid a price that is too high."

"What price is that?" Ron asked, knowing her answer but not daring to admit it.

"I'm afraid I…I might be losing you. You and the kids." She took a deep breath and looked blindly around the room. "Seeing Hugo step on the train, hearing him say goodbye to you, and not me. He must think he's just one more thing to squeeze into my agenda. I missed their childhoods, Ron. I missed us. I miss you." She searched his face, hoping she would see…will he understand?

"'Mione, I'm here. I'm always here. You will never have to miss me. The kids know what you do. They know how important your job is to you. They understand."

"Do they? 'Cause I don't. Ron, I need to tell you something that I never dared say before."

"Okay. What is it?"

"I never wanted the Ministry." She whispered, afraid the words would make the world mock her.

"You didn't? But…"

"No. I really just wanted to help creatures. I would find myself promoted over and over again. Each time meant less time with you." Hermione blew her nose again, "Ron, tell me something. Tell the truth."

Ron nodded.

"Do you feel intimidated by me?"


"Really, I overheard Lacey Baker in the lift tell her friend that you must be the most cowed man in Britain. You left your high powered job with the Aurors because of me. You cook, you keep shop, you take care of the kids. You play the little housewife while I get the power. I need to know, is that how you feel?" She asked anxiously.

"Sweetheart. Listen very carefully. Remember, I left the Aurors not because not because you made me but because I hated it. I hated the hunt, the danger. I had too much of that with the horcruxes. I went in with George because Angelina wanted more time with their kids. The Shop, as you called it, is now Four shops and the largest shop in all Diagon Alley. George and I each earn more than six of Lacey Bakers." He shifted slightly. "Two, I cook, because, well I hate to say it, but you…"

"I hate cooking."

"Yeah. I watched over the kids, because I could have them with me at the shops. Yes, I admit, it's been hard with you working so much. We miss you when you aren't home. But we understand. We're proud of you. I'm proud of you. You're good at what you do. You're the best. And we will be your greatest supporters. But, and this is a big but, if you're not happy, then what the hell are you doing there?"

Hermione sat back, at a very awkward angle because of the over-sized chair, "If I resign, what will I do?" She asked quietly.

"You always said you had a few books you wanted to write." Ron pointed up the stairs, "You have two whole file cabinets filled with notes. Maybe you could work on that?"

"Yeah? Maybe I could." She pulled herself out of the dreadful chair.

"Being a strong, independent woman means making choices that are right for you, right?" Ron asked as he pulled her into his arms.

She nodded, melting into him. The rhythm on the wireless moved them into a slow waltz.

"So make the choice that will make you happy."

'I will be happy with you, so long as I can hold your hand."

He realized he was saying the words to the song. A low sultry voice sang the chorus,

I'll be swimming in the ocean-walking all the land

Climbing the tall mountains-just to hold your hand.

Just as the tune ended, an owl tapped on the window and interrupted their slow dance.

"Hugo's a Gryffindor!" Hermione exclaimed happily.

" Celebration time!" Ron waved his wand towards the kitchen. A bottle of wine and two glasses floated after them as they walked arm in arm up the stairs.

The last words heard for the night were, "…and that chair goes out in the rubbish heap in the morning!"