Disclaimer: Any characters, settings and other references you recognise belong to JKR. I just play with her ideas!
Destination, Determination, Deliberation
She's lost count of the number of times she's truly been angry. They say madness is an art, and if it is, she's surely proficient – especially when he is involved.
Last week, he told her he loved her, but neither of them is ready to comprehend that, not yet.
Instead, she tries idle conversation when they find themselves alone. Unlike anger, conversation is an art she's yet to master completely.
"How's Lavender?" was never going to be a good start, particularly now that the warmth has risen in his cheeks. His lips tighten in displeasure, but he doesn't respond immediately. When he does, it's to change the subject:
"D'ya think we'll be Apparating into those hoops again?"
She hates him for his avoidance – but not really.
Madness is an art, and to be successful she needs to commit herself. She tells herself she can't be truly angry when hate renders her indifferent. The excuse sounds feeble, but when he accidentally appears out of thin-air before her, mid-lesson, she knows she's made the right choice.
Birth, Death and Marriage
He can count the number of times he's truly been angry with her on one hand. Madness is an art, and he is the sort of artist who believes in moderation.
He didn't expect her to forgive him easily – in fact, he realized almost as soon as he left that he'd probably spend the rest of his life paying for it – but from where he's standing, things are starting to get ridiculous, even for them.
There was something in her eyes, the night they arrived at the little cottage-by-the-sea; something beyond pain, that is. He remembers the feel of his arms around her as they stood by the graveside; remembers the overwhelming feeling of guilt that coursed through his body. This is where I was hiding, he wanted to tell her, but it didn't seem like a good idea to bring the topic up again, not when she was relaxing in his embrace so effortlessly.
He's prepared to fight, though; fight for them, that is.
They're all learning to use their anger for a purpose, now, instead of letting themselves wallow in it, and he sees this as an infinite improvement, because none of them can afford to wallow at the moment. In the space of a bare month, he's seen two deaths, one birth, and a marriage. (And he wants that for them, those last two, although he'd rather eat slugs again than admit it.)
This quiet, fitful month at Shell Cottage has left him with a growing sense of fundamental change; from the way the sun hits the sea, to the loss of dreaminess in Luna's eyes.
They need to win, at any cost.
He needs to win, at any cost, for her.
Lest We Forget
She's been truly honest with him for almost a year, now, because she understands that omissions can be as poisonous as lies. She won't pretend the last year has been the easiest, or that he's been the easiest person to love through it, but she knows him, and she knows it's only the grief talking, and that at the end of the day, it's worth her time to wait for him. Some days, he reminds her with an ironic smile that he hasn't lost the ability to make the blood curdle in her veins – but this madness he makes her feel is more refined, now.
She's mad for him, for them.
They fight for each other, now, and even though his eyes snap and her hair becomes static with tension, she knows everything is going to be all right.
They've been through so much, seen so much, lost too much, to waste a minute on anything meaningless.
The art of madness, she's learnt, lies in reason.
A Promising Generation
He's built a home for them, amongst the rubble of a battlefield. They've built a home together, and he revels in the overwhelming feeling of completeness he feels. It isn't complacency, and he knows this for a fact, because he's working harder than ever – they're working harder than ever – to get their world in order again.
Some days, he gets caught in the past, in the madness of grief, but more often than not she'll find him gazing blankly at the memorial in the new Ministry of Magic, and she'll pull him back with a touch of her five little fingers against his cheek.
Everywhere he looks, he sees The Future; where he is a maker of dreams, an enforcer of the law, and very shortly, an uncle. One day, maybe, even a father for her children, although it's a constant struggle, reminding himself not to get too far ahead. He knows that if he keeps thinking this way, he'll end up madder than Trelawney, an outcome he knows they'd both much prefer to avoid.
It's almost surreal to imagine that a few years ago, their world was very nearly consumed by evil and death, when now all he sees is life, and an inherent goodness.
He has more than just something to live for, now. He has someone.
The Thrill of the Chase
They've come a long way to reach this point; she acknowledges this now with a happy sigh, leaning back into his chest as they watch his family making fools of themselves in the name of childish fantasy, hunting the Weasley garden and fending off gnomes in the name of Molly's famous toffee eggs.
They've fought for this: for his niece to be here, sitting in the middle of the lawn, clapping her hands with glee as she tugs on George's rabbit ear. Nearby, her parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts dance in the fading light. They fought for little Teddy, asleep in an armchair, fists closed tightly around his treasure basket of brightly coloured eggs, to know the joys of the world as well as the sorrows.
And even though some days are still a struggle, and life is still mad, she wouldn't change anything, because she has the sneaking suspicion that without all their trials, without the thrill of the chase, she and he wouldn't be standing here together.
He's whispering crossly about her ring digging into his palm, but his eyes are smiling and he pulls her closer still, so she knows he doesn't really mean it, and that there's no place in the world he'd rather the ring was than just there on her finger. Because these days, despite the periodical arguments (they wouldn't be them, otherwise), things are traveling startlingly smoothly, and it's really not anger when all it's over is a wet towel on their bathroom floor, or her inconsiderate jewellery.
She tells him the art of madness lies in reason, and he tells her he knew there was a reason he's mad for her.
Note: This was written for the Reviews Lounge Easter Project, and will as such also be published as part of that collection.
I'm fiddling around with prose poetry at the moment - so, a little different, but I hope you like it! Please take the time to review - as always, I'd love to hear your thoughts, and general feeback is always appreciated. I haven't actually written Ron/Hermione before, so I'm most grateful for critique!
Thanks so much for reading, and (to everyone applicable) I hope you have a very happy Easter!