A/N: Just a teeeensy bit of fluff to cure my anxiety that just won't stop building until July 11th hits to sustain me at least a little bit until JULY 21st!!!! AAAH!!! YAY!!!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!! squeal, choke, die
But, uh... yes, this is a ridiculously pointless one, so you may ignore it (which you already will anyway, I know it), but it was still fun to write at 2 in the morning. Weee.
The world was grey with the mist of late morning. The grass that mocked them with its lively beauty, thriving in the flawless summer light, tickled Hermione's toes as she pushed off her shoes momentarily simply to feel the ground's solidity. Nothing like that grass should be allowed to live and be so beautiful on a day so sad; nothing should be so beautiful in a world without Albus Dumbledore. Nothing should ever be allowed to be so healthy and wonderful, so soft and calming, in a world where tragedy could strike so easily—a world where tragedy always seemed to befall Harry, leaving him more heartbroken than any person deserves.
She hardly heard a word spoken at the funeral. The speech, to her, felt meaningless. She was far too involved in her own mind, attempting to comprehend the concept of death—of someone's absolute absence—to possibly concentrate on the pathetic ramblings about Dumbledore's greatness. No simple speech could ever even scrape the depth that was the greatness of the old headmaster. Hermione knew the school would never be the same without Dumbledore's immense power to protect and influence it.
Beside her, Hermione could feel Ron shift uneasily. His knee bounced furiously as he sat, and it was all she could do not to calm him with a hand upon his leg. She knew it would help nothing, but she wanted so to touch him. She was sweating something dreadful, and it was only partially due to the terrible heat. She knew his presence near her was contributing strongly to the sweat that ran down her burning face and body. Oh, she knew it was a doomed attraction, but still it haunted her, against all her best judgment.
When Ron's hand began to clench anxiously where it lay upon his thigh, she could not help herself: Hermione reached out and placed her palm over the back of his very tense hand. His skin was hot to the touch, and her face flushed at the collision. Out of the corner of her eye, she knew his cheeks were red as well, though it could have been merely a burn he was developing from the sun that so violently beat down upon them. His hand shifted beneath hers so that their palms lay against each other. His fingers closed around her hand, squeezing gently.
The speech had ended without her realization. She hardly cared.
Her eyes blurred against the ominous sight of Dumbledore's fabulous marble tomb. The sweet pressure of Ron's hand so delicately clutching her own was making her dizzy and lightheaded; it seemed to allow for the release of all her fears and sorrows. She could feel his fingers in such entirety that she began to forget a time when he had not held her hand that way. It was so sweet, and so firm, and so beautiful, that it stirred such emotion inside of her that all she was feeling about Dumbledore and Harry suddenly welled at her eyelids. Within an instant, tears were pouring down her cheeks. Her heart leapt as she felt suddenly free against Ron's caring hand. Her entire body gave in to his simple, small touch, and she fell against him, her chest heaving with sobs, and her head aching with Ron's enticing scent.
People were standing around them. Everyone was moving away from the area, but Hermione remained weak against Ron's shoulder, her tears so suddenly coming faster than she could ever remember them coming. She let go of Ron's hand, which flew to her hair. He held her tightly to him, and said nothing. He simply held her, and let her cry against his robes, which grew quickly soaked with her loud tears. She sobbed freely, for her guard was down around him—she was easily vulnerable with Ron near her. With his arms around her this way, she was helpless, and completely his in every way. If only he knew just how deeply Hermione loved him, and how much power he had over her.
Long minutes passed. The two forgot themselves in their silent, comforting embrace. It seemed a wonderful eternity before Hermione finally raised her head. Her bottom lip continued to tremble, though her tears had slowly dissipated. Her face was wet, and his, she found, was damp as well. A single tear lingered on his upper lip. He quickly licked it away, wetting his mouth in the process. Oh, how she so wanted to kiss him. She wouldn't, though—she couldn't. He would never return her pathetic feelings. She knew he wouldn't.
For a while, they looked at each other. She examined the freckles that spotted his entire, beautiful face. They made him fascinating. She smiled weakly as she stared at him. One hand trailed to her cheek from its previous position at the back of her head, stroking her hair tenderly. His palm was hot to her tear-stained cheek, and it made her shiver. It was terrifying, the way he was gazing at her. His eyes were so warm, and so loving, that she was completely struck dumb by the piercing stare he blessed her with.
"I…" she stuttered, but she had no other words. She could tell him how she felt, but it would ruin the moment, she was certain. All she could do was move her face closer to his. Her lips were parted and aching for his, which were shaking. The ease with which he suddenly moved his lips to hers shocked her. She made a sound of confusion, but her heart was so elated with his delicious taste that she quickly forgot her shock.
Her chest swelled as the lips she'd desired and needed for so long at last became hers. Her hand flew to his face, as one of his hands still tangled in her hair tightened its grasp greedily. The hand he had at her face slid to her back, and pressed her to him tightly.
"Ron," she gasped against his sweet mouth. "I love you."
He pulled away, staring at her with an expression she could not decipher. The corners of his lips twitched with the beginnings of a relieved smile. "I love you, too," he whispered. The space between them closed, more quickly than either of them might have ever believed possible. The love they shared seemed evident as their tongues collided passionately. The couple poured all of their emotion—all of their sorrow and grief and intense worry—into this single kiss. It felt impossible that she had ever disbelieved he could ever love her, for she had never been more certain of anything in her life as she was of the fact that he loved her just as she loved him, now.
Together, they were relieved and calm for the first time in what seemed like a lifetime. They pulled away with a newfound gladness in their previously aggrieved hearts. Still, they grieved, but now, they felt full, and whole. They knew that their love would only have made Dumbledore proud.
He was panting, and she grinned placidly as he licked his swollen lips. "We should, uh…" he grinned back, for a moment, before continuing. "We should probably, uh…"
"Yeah," Hermione agreed breathlessly. She glanced over at Harry. Ginny was no longer with him, but now he was accompanied by none other than Rufus Scrimgeour. "Harry doesn't look very well off."
Ron looked over. "Oh no," he said anxiously. "That can't end well." He stood rapidly, his hand moving swiftly to Hermione's arm to help her up as she was still so weak at the knees.
Quickly shoving her shoes back on her feet, Hermione stood with Ron's assistance. The two, hand in hand, started immediately toward the shady tree under which Harry and Scrimgeour stood. "Wait," Hermione said, suddenly.
"What?" Ron questioned as he came to an abrupt halt.
"Uh…" Hermione gazed up at him sadly, a soft expression held fast in her concerned eyes. "I don't know that it'll be a very good idea for Harry to know about, well… us."
Ron nodded. "You're right. He doesn't need any more pressure on him than there already is."
With a last loving squeeze, Ron let go of her hand. Hermione smiled. "We'll tell him when he's ready to hear it," she said calmly.
Her eyes flew back to where Harry stood. Scrimgeour was turning from him, and starting back up toward the tomb. Ron and Hermione began their way to Harry, carefully avoiding Scrimgeour's accusing glares as they came closer to crossing paths. Harry's gaze met with hers, and she smiled a small, sympathetic smile. It was not returned, but she knew—and Ron knew it, as well—that these times were going to be the hardest on Harry, and they had to accept whatever he dished at them.
A silent agreement passed between Ron and Hermione even as they drew to Harry's side that they would stay with their mutual friend no matter what the circumstance. Harry needed them now, and they knew that their love could only aid them in the struggle that inevitably nearing. All they could do now was to support their friend in all he did, and trust their invariably powerful and clearly epic love to be their stronghold through this war that must be fought.