A/N: Yes, I know I said I wouldn't write another part to the Ice-Cold Roses trilogy thing. Well, I lied. Not intentionally, but I did lie. Don't read this unless you've read Ice-Cold Roses, The Warmth Found in Tears, and Fear of the Dance. Oh, and I own nothing. J.K. Rowling owns the characters, I don't know who owns the rose quote.

She was gone.

Ron still couldn't believe it, wouldn't let it sink in. The funeral had taken place two weeks earlier, outside a Muggle church in the open spring air. The sky was a piercing shade of blue that day, and it made Ron angry. Why couldn't it have rained THEN? Why did the sun have to shine so innocently as they lowered her body into the damp ground? Where was the damned rain then?

In fact, it hadn't rained since the day of her death. April showers had given way to May flowers, and Ron looked out the window of Gryffindor tower at an azure sky. It seemed to mock him and his grief, as did every sound of laughter he heard in the halls, every smile he saw. Not that there was a lot of rejoicing about anything around Ron lately. A lot of people knew Hermione, and although they were saddened by her death, they had their own lives to live. Out of respect for the grieving, most of them stifled their happiness whenever Ron came nearby, but it still slipped out every now and then.

Every day was just a repeat of the last. Wake up, go to classes, eat when necessary, do homework, go to sleep. He had become a machine. Harry wasn't much better off emotionally, but he dealt with his remorse by diving headlong into everything. Quiddith, classes, anything he could find to occupy himself. He and Ron still hung out together, but they never talked about anything. Especially her.

Ron idly let his eyes travel around the empty room. Everyone else was at the Gryffindor-Slytherin Quidditch match, but he had stayed behind. All her books were gone....he had grown so accustomed to seeing her books lying on one of the nearby tables.....

But there was one left. The notebook. The small, worn, blue notebook that they had poured out all their thoughts in. Why hadn't he realized it was here before? Without really knowing what he was doing, Ron picked up the book and began leafing through it slowly, skimming over all the old notes, his vision slightly blurred. He stopped short at one particular page.

The rose. He had almost forgotten all about it. The rose that she had drawn. That he had so angrily torn apart last fall. He stared numbly at the page, his eyes taking in each rent in the paper...each smudge of lead that his fingers had made....and tearstains. Her tearstains.

Shutting his eyes, Ron let a tear of his own slip down his cheek, splashing onto the ripped paper. He sat there for several minutes like that, the book held in his lap. Finally, he opened his eyes and turned the page, expecting to find a blank sheet of paper.

A picture met his eyes. It was the same rose, redrawn from the original ripped sketch. If the first drawing was once beautiful, this one was nothing short of sublime. It had been drawn over in ink, then carefully colored in with colored pencils, each petal perfectly shadowed. It looked so real, Ron though he could smell the sweet scent of roses floating up from the paper. Another tear leaked out of the corner of his eye, but he quickly moved the picture out of danger.

He held it up before him, letting the golden sunlight shine onto the paper. At the very bottom of the page, words were scrawled in Hermione's neat handwriting.

Memories give you the power to collect roses in the winter ~ 12/9/99

She had finished this the day before they had rekindled their friendship. Was it really only a few short months ago that they had fought? Was it really only a few short weeks ago they had been dancing in the rain?

A strangled sob escaped Ron's throat. He loved her. He had always loved her, and had just been too afraid to tell her. And now she was gone. He would never see her again. Never again could he tease her about being a bookworm, laugh with her about something stupid Malfoy had done, try to get her to let him copy her homework. He would never have another chance to tell her he loved her. Only that one moment in the rain.


Miles away in a Muggle cemetery, a wild rose bloomed as if by magic on a modest headstone marked with the name Hermione Granger.