Disclaimer: I don't have enough skills to write anything that even compares to J.K. Rowling.
Everyday from Right Now
"That wand's more trouble than its worth," Harry said simply. "And quite honestly, I've had enough trouble for a lifetime."
He twirled the Elder Wand in his fingers for a brief moment before stowing it in his pocket. Even with the war over and Voldemort dead, there was still more pressing matters to attend to than celebrating.
Looking back at Ron and Hermione, he sighed. "I reckon we should get back to the Great Hall," he said. "Make sure things are still being taken care of."
"Are you sure, Harry?" Hermione asked him. "Ron and I could go down there and take care of things and you can go rest a bit."
"Seriously, mate," Ron agreed, clapping him on the shoulder. "You look about ready to fall over. We can manage for a few hours without you."
Harry opened his mouth to protest, but Hermione cut across him. "Honestly, Harry, it's nothing. You can head up to the dormitories and we'll just come get you after you have a chance to sleep."
He looked back and forth between the two of them, seeing their encouraging faces and felt a rush of gratitude towards them both. "Thanks," he said earnestly, smiling for the first time in hours. "I owe you guys."
Ron laughed. "You just defeated You-Know-Who, Harry. It's us who'll owe you for awhile."
Hermione hurried forward and gave Harry a hug before he gave them a final wave and headed out of the office. Ron and Hermione made to follow him, when suddenly Ron stopped in his tracks.
"What is it?" Hermione asked him curiously.
"Just hang on a second," Ron said, before turning back around and looking up at the portrait of Dumbledore on the wall, which was still beaming down at them. "Professor?"
"Yes, Mr. Weasley?" Dumbledore responded easily.
Ron reached into his pocket at pulled out the Deluminator. He turned it over in his hands for a moment before addressing Dumbledore again. "You saved my life, giving me this," he told the portrait solemnly. "I just…wanted to thank you."
Dumbledore chuckled. "Mr. Weasley, I daresay that you always knew which way you wanted to go. You just needed something to guide you to the correct path."
Ron glanced over his shoulder at Hermione and smiled sheepishly. "Too bad I was so thick that it took me that long to find my way."
"My dear boy, we all get lost in the dark sometimes. What matters is that we remain determined to seek the light within us, the light that can not be distinguished, and find ourselves back on the path we are meant to be on."
Dumbledore looked over at Hermione now and winked, causing her to go pink in the face. And with a final nod and smile at Ron, Dumbledore stood. "Now if you excuse me, there are some celebrations to attend to." And he walked out of his frame, appearing in another some ways along the wall, joining in a toast with a group of wizards and witches.
Ron shook his head, muttering something along the lines of "still brilliantly mad," before stuffing the Deluminator back into his pocket and walking over to Hermione. She smiled up at him and he smiled back, reaching out his hand to her.
Hermione took Ron's hand, and together they left the headmaster's office for the final time, as the cheers from the portraits followed them out.
"To those who fought to Dark Lord!"
"To friendship and love!"
"To Harry Potter!"
"Harry Potter!" The voices chorused as the door snapped shut.
"Alright," Hermione said in a tired voice, as she walked up to stand next to Ron, who was supervising the clean up of the grounds. "I told the last two groups to make sure that all the house-elves were accounted for and to also make sure that the seventh floor was at least decent."
"This lot is just about done," Ron said, gesturing out at the crew cleaning up the debris from the lawns. "Ernie and Hannah said that their group is still handling the ones who are arriving from Hogsmeade, making sure they find who they're looking for or have a place to stay for the night."
"Speaking of that, is that what you and your family will be doing?" Hermione asked timidly. While most people still making their way to Hogwarts were to help in the clean-up of the castle, some were arriving to collect the bodies of family members they had lost.
A shiver passed across Ron's face before he spoke in a determinedly calm voice. "I s'pose so. I haven't really found out about that yet. I don't know whether Mum and Dad want to take…take him back home or…or have him here with the others. And I guess until we decide…" his voice trailed off as he continued to watch those still on the lawn, without really seeing them.
Hermione bit her lip. She hadn't meant to bring up Fred's death and Ron's forced tone of composure was almost making it worse. She could feel the tears threatening to spill from her eyes again, but held them back. She wanted to remain strong for as long as she could, not just for Ron, but also because she knew if she let go now, she may not be able to stop.
"They may want to keep him here," Ron said suddenly, taking Hermione by surprise. "I mean, if they do go through with that memorial, they may want him -" he closed his eyes to say the word, "-buried here with the others."
Hermione merely nodded, fearing if she spoke she would start to sob.
"He may have wanted that too, you know?" Ron asked, rubbing a hand anxiously through his hair. "I mean, he never finished school, really, but he'd probably think it'd be great fun to be here where all the other pranksters are. He'd get to see them use all the products from the joke shop. He'd like that."
Ron was talking quite rapidly now. His eyes were darting all over the place, unable to stay focused on one thing. It was as though he needed to get all these thoughts out, for he had been keeping them in since Fred was killed and now that he had started, he wanted them out in the open, because it hurt more when he kept them inside.
"Mum may want him back home though. Closer to the family. I suppose we could…could set something up out near our paddock. Then he could be there when we play Quidditch. That way he could take the mickey out of me whenever I miss a save, he'd like that too."
"Ron," Hermione said soothingly, placing a hand gently on his arm, trying to calm him. She could now feel him shaking and his voice was getting quieter and weaker with each word.
"Then again, we could always set him up somewhere in the village. I'm sure the Muggles wouldn't notice us, they never really do. I'm pretty sure there's a graveyard-" here he faltered, before drawing a great breath to finish "-a graveyard out there."
As he finished, he began to take deep breaths, trying to keep himself steady, but Hermione could tell that he was going to break down at any moment. Glancing hurriedly around, she felt a great surge of relief as she saw Neville walking towards them.
"Hey, guys," he said with a smile, "Alright?"
"Neville, do you think you could keep an eye on the clean-up?" Hermione asked him in a rush. "It'll only be a few more minutes, they're almost done."
"Sure thing, Hermione," he said. He looked at Ron and his smile faded instantly, as he realized what was going on.
"No problem," he said again, nodding at Hermione. "I've got it."
"Thank you so much, Neville," Hermione said, trying to smile, but knowing she failed. "Come on, Ron," she said gently, taking him by the elbow and leading him away.
For once, Ron didn't protest. In fact, it seemed like he had forgotten where he was and what was going on, as he allowed Hermione to lead him back to the front doors and into the entrance hall. Once there, she pulled Ron behind her, trying to go about unnoticed and praying that they would find an empty classroom. Thankfully, the classroom that Firenze normally taught in, still made to look like the forest, was deserted. She pushed Ron inside and quickly came after him, locking the door behind her.
Turning around, Hermione saw that Ron had walked into the middle of the classroom, in what was a clearing in a circle of trees. He was standing still with his arms crossed and shoulders hunched, staring at the ground. Hermione walked slowly over to him and came to stand in front of him.
"Ron?" She asked quietly. He didn't look up at her and his only response was an audible sniff. "Ron, if you'd rather be alone, I can go back with Neville and-"
"No," he said thickly. "I'm alright. I just need a moment to get it together."
Hermione frowned. "Ron, you don't have to hold this in. It's- "
"How could I face my family like that?" Ron said in a defeated whisper.
"I stood there in front of them and said that I was there when they killed him." He said miserably. "I basically told them that I didn't save him. How it was Fred, instead of me, who-"
"Ronald Weasley, don't you dare talk that way!" Hermione cried, finally giving up and letting her own tears fall freely. "It's no one's fault what happened, it could have been any of us!" She reached out and took his face in her hands, tilting it up so that she could look him in the eyes. Blue met brown and didn't look away.
"We all knew what the risk was, fighting Voldemort. Fred knew it. And he always met it, didn't he? He risked himself getting Harry from his aunt and uncle's. He did Potterwatch even when it was illegal. He came to help us here tonight without hesitating at all. And you know that's what he wanted to do."
Ron watched Hermione intently as tears clouded both of their visions. For it wasn't just Fred that her words applied to; they applied to everyone who had come to their aid last night. The other students, Order members, members from Dumbledore's army; all of them knew the risks and met them head on, for they knew that choosing to fight was better than sitting back and doing nothing.
"We can't feel guilty over what happened," Hermione insisted, smoothing her fingers gently under Ron's eyes, wiping the one tear that managed to escape. "Otherwise, it's like we're taking away from their sacrifice. Fred and Lupin and Tonks and everyone else, they fought to help us defeat Voldemort and make it safe for all of us. We have to repay them for that, by honoring them and to continue living, not by blaming ourselves."
Taking a deep breath, Ron nodded. Then he too brought his hands up and gently began to wipe at Hermione's face as well. "You're right of course," he said with a feeble smile. "I expect Fred would hit me upside the head for trying to take some credit in why he died. Probably would call me a git and accuse me of stealing his thunder."
Hermione gave a shaky laugh, her skin tingling where ever Ron's fingertips brushed. He was smiling back at her, but then a more serious look came to his features. "I do feel guilty over some other things though," he said.
"Ron, don't," she insisted, holding his face steady in her hands again, knowing what he was going to say. "It's alright."
"It's not," he said. He lowered his hands from her face, and instead brought them down around her waist, bringing her closer to him. "I feel like I owe you a lot, after…after everything."
Hermione shook her head, sliding her hands gently from his cheeks to his shoulders, and looking up at him. "You don't have to say anything right now, Ron. We've got plenty of time for that later."
"Later," Ron said in wonder. "Amazing isn't it? We've been going almost nonstop for months, and now it's like…it's like…"
"Like we have all the time in the world?"
"Exactly," he said, really smiling at her this time. "We have as much time as we want to do whatever we want."
Hermione smiled back at him. "What would you like to do first then?"
"I can think of a few things," Ron replied with a mischievous glint in his eye. "But first things first," he finished in a whisper. "C'mere."
Ron pulled Hermione in close, and she wrapped her arms around his neck, as she had so many hours before. But instead of a hurried kiss in the midst of a war, they simply held each other tightly, relishing in the close contact that they could not have had over the months of Horcrux hunting. Hermione buried her head into Ron's chest, hearing his heart beat softly under his clothing. He was so much taller than her, but now he was bending slightly, his face in her hair, breathing her in.
They stood there for awhile, simply holding each other, before Ron spoke again. "You know, we really ought to do this more often."
Hermione laughed softly, leaning back so she could see Ron's eyes twinkling back at her. "We will," she promised him. "As soon as we can."
Ron nodded, before he tilted his head down and kissed Hermione lightly on the forehead. Even before she could register the flutter in her stomach, he had pulled slightly back. "But for now," he said with a resigned sigh, "we should go get Harry and then go back to my family. See what we're going to do next."
He released his hands from her waist as she removed her arms from around his neck. Though no longer touching, they were still immensely close, merely an inch between them. They stared a moment longer at each other, each wishing that they could do more than they just had, but both knowing that it had to wait.
However, they weren't submitting themselves to complete isolation, as Ron once again extended his hand to Hermione, which she immediately took and held tightly in her own.
"We'll go together?" she asked him.
"I wouldn't have it any other way," he replied, as they walked hand in hand out of the classroom and towards the dormitories, ready to meet every day of their new beginning side by side, starting right now.
Author's Note: Welcome to the story. While this will have a focus on Ron and Hermione, I am going to try and cover as many aspects as I can in the regarding the time period now known as "post-Deathly Hallows." So…let's see where this goes, shall we... :)