this story honestly has no point. x i'm warning you now.

there's the creak of the gate, the window, each hinge of the door. a frantic rush of pink & green that is ginny, wide wide smiling, teeth all showing. it's the first winter of her life all over again, and that funny man in the pea-colored coat with snow up to his knees is harry. waiting for her. so many photographs bewitched to hang like stars.

& the smell of a thousand new things: furniture and clothing and soaps. the sound of people walking upstairs, a sound that, after a childhood of living in a thin-walled home, makes everything feel all right again. there are so many different fingerprints on each doorknob, and so many voices lifting & falling. they shout whisper i-love-you. in them is the keen needle of a new voice, a child: he curls his baby fingers into the wild brightness of ginny's hair. all of it is motherly glow. whoever passes their room stops and sighs and asks to hold the six month old. yes, says mrs. potter. of course you may.

& unpacking each bag and exchanging stories and gifts and kisses on the cheeks. the bedsheets are turned down so hospitably. this is a home for everyone torn apart and sewed shut again, like ron. this is a home for people who stood brave or tried to or wanted to. this is a home of relieved hearts and minds. this is a factory, a kaleidoscope of newness and sweet heavy love. we have the formula to make your spade of war a heart of love.

but ron still can't sleep. he grins toothy sweet like everyone else, and roars with laughter at seamus' jokes, and bounces his nephew up and down until ginny scolds. he wakes at 10 in the morning and has his tea with sugar. he & harry have made it a game to see who can retrieve the newspaper first. ron can move his limbs in all these familiar motions, sometimes so close to genuine he nearly fools himself. amazed at the things they built out of nothing, ron walks with a smile on his face. he is still humbled into giving thanks for this ending. praying yes thank you God for this ending. i shattered my/his/her own mind & heart & ribs for this.

ron has to keep his eyes wide open and know it like the back of his hand, so that if it's taken away he will be able to pretend it's still there, breathing curled into his back.

night is something different. ginny holds her (finally) harry, the baby cooing in his wicker basket. parvati has the downstairs couch, her twin's arms wrapped tight around her. everyone has someone to share a space with. lovers & sisters & friends. all of them breathe easy and smooth in the formations they adopted during the war, and even new ones. even unexpected ones. luna and seamus and neville together, sprawled on the rug. ron steps over all of these bodies on his way for a glass of water.

the only difference is that nobody wonders if its the last time, the last night; they kiss eachother and smirk and make jokes, drawing straws to see who will make breakfast. ron brushes his lip against ginny's forehead, harry's cheek, and the baby's funny grasping fingers. he deliberately pulls the short one to have an excuse for being up early. at the bottom of everything is the simple fact that ron lies -- he lies just as well as he ever did, and an interlude to violence is simply that. an interlude.

because when ron tries to sleep, he hasn't got anyone. even though he could be breathing into the space between lavender's shoulderblades, his arm over her hip. even though he could (maybe) let himself hold hands with luna, lips grazing. maybe. he could be. even though. it's at midnight, the bad hour when most lamps go out, that ron realises the things he had once and lost millions of times. sometimes he wonders if it's wrong to wish for war again. along with madness, war had given him all the things he'd wanted. or dreamed of. this adventure, this big empty space all full up with you & your love

ron shuts his eyes in darkness to remember the days in hiding, harry's weak muscles smoothed under his hands. none of them ever took it for granted: the light, the cold, the ice. their cave. sharing a blanket at twilight, taking turns locking arms around eachother. that smell, better than anything else: hermione's wild curls, the dewdrop heavy weight on his shoulders. the sound of her feet shuffling over the stones. ron braided the tangles into knots and chains and ivy bunches. hermione would shake them out, laugh, and have him start over.

now, in the new house, ron holds up baby sirius. he thinks of what ginny must have been like at that age, and realises with a pang that he resents all of it. resents her, the resolution, & how she had managed to charm harry away again. when memories of the hiding well up and he reaches for that familiar mass of curls -- meeting nothing -- he wonders how she and harry can take it, so happily splayed together. so whole, when ron keeps his heart under so many stones. stones that bite. there are so many bad jagged stones in him, like the ones hermione broke her feet against & cried & then crawled

ron's eyes burn like fires, or molten something something -- bad

like a green spell

he is so un-natural. he is so clumsy. his fingers are stained with the same newspaper ink as everyone else, but unable to hold anything of worth. ron nearly drops baby sirius, and then his heart splits in half and he begins to cry and kiss that little red forehead. i'm so sorry. sorry so sorr y sorry

ron's faltering grin begins to make the others umcomforable; in their place of plenty, his willingness to be alone is too large a reminder of what they'd escaped. ... but what had they? all ron had escaped was a gentler harry, concerned that he would die in the next moment. harry the father, husband & veteran let things pass un-noticed, expecting them to be there tomorrow. he ate his eggs and toast & beamed up at ginny. the zoo? museum? where would you like to go, wife?

harry the hunted the starving & bruised had pressed his fingers into ron's ribcage, rolling the words over and over on his tongue until they became "i live, too.", and not "i love you". but ron had let him say it again over and over because that was what he had had to say. i really am alive, and so are you. because i kiss you you are more alive you become alive and you glow. ron's meaning lay in the light of those green eyes -- the way that mouth hung open -- and then the beautiful body he touched --

until the goddess came

& hermione had kissed ron's neck, closing her fingers over harry's. all three had lain pressed together on the floor, hardly breathing, shocked at what they'd allowed out of themselves. now harry only gave ron looks over his wife's pale freckle shoulder, sometimes a shy smile as they passed sirius to one another. once -- only once -- ron allowed himself to run his hand through harry's hair and down his cheek, shivering at the memory it woke. harry said nothing, only kept thumbing through the photo album.