It Still Hurts
A short story about Ron talking to Hermione about Fred.
Disclaimer: I, of course, own nothing.
Hermione had been looking for Ron for about twenty minutes before she saw him out the kitchen window of the Burrow. He was lying in the grass under a tree by himself and she immediately went to join him.
Since the war had ended three months ago, Ron and Hermione had been everything to one another. They spent all of their free time together making up for the lost time they had spent dancing around the fact that they happened to be in love.
They spent most of their time outside on warm summer days just talking. They went into more detail about their lives than ever before. They talked about their lives before Hogwarts and Hermione's relationship with her parents; focusing on the hole she felt when they were in Australia, and how it had felt to restore their memories and have them back in her life for good. He opened up about how he never thought he was good enough for her, and even told her about the locket, the night he had come back to them…back to her.
One thing that he never seemed to want to discuss was Fred. He certainly didn't avoid talking about him, but it was like if he didn't bring it up, he wasn't really gone. Hermione saw a desperately sad look on his face sometimes and knew he was thinking of Fred, but wasn't sure herself how to discuss him. If she brought him up would that make Ron sad? Angry? Would he want to tell funny stories or relive old memories? She wasn't sure.
When she approached Ron now, he had that same look on his face. She sat down and didn't say anything, waiting for him to speak first.
"It still hurts, Mi" Ron said plainly. He knew that she would know what he was talking about and let him say what he needed to say.
She took his hand in her own so that he would know she was listening. He looked into her eyes briefly and went on.
"I know he's gone, but it's like part of me doesn't really believe it. I keep thinking that he is just going to stroll up one day and pat me on the back and smile and everything will be the way it was." He wasn't crying, but his voice sounded far away. Hermione knew not to interrupt, and just to let him get this out. He needed it.
"It's like I just don't know how to accept that this is forever. I feel like he's on some extended vacation. I even think sometimes that I'll see him in a year or something, if I just wait, and that makes me feel better for about a minute until I think about how ridiculous it is, and then I just get more upset. I feel like I'm going crazy." The words were more and more difficult to get out as he spoke. A few tears escaped, but he kept himself composed. He moved his free hand up to wipe away the tears and kept his eyes down to the ground.
Hermione wasn't sure exactly what to say. The truth is, she felt the same way. She truly thought that one day Fred would be home. She was still holding his hand, and moved her other hand to stroke his hair as she spoke to him.
"It's going to hurt for a long time, Ron, but that's fine. It was a tragedy and you're allowed to hurt forever if that's how long it takes. You're allowed to feel pain and cry and be upset. I hope you know that I'm always here, any time, day or night, even if you just want me to hold your hand."
"I know you are." He looked into her eyes and leaned in to give her a soft, sweet kiss and then pulled her close. She hugged him tight, never wanting to let go. Slowly he lay down on the grass, pulling her with him. They were silent, letting the sound of the wind relax them. After a few minutes, Ron spoke.
"Did I ever tell you about Fred teaching me how to be a beater before my first year at Hogwarts?"
"No, you haven't" she said.
"Well, it was quite the disaster actually…" Ron said with a chuckle as Hermione looked up into his face and snuggled closer to listen. She knew their previous conversation would come up again and again, but for now, Ron just wanted to think of happy memories of Fred. She also knew that she would love nothing more than to lay with him and listen to him talk forever, if that's what he needed.