Disclaimer: Ron and Hermione don't belong to me... I've just kidnapped them for a bit. No infringement of JKR is intended.
A/N: This was originally written for The Quidditch Pitch. org's Wild World of Weather challenge. Thank you to Jeff for the super speedy beta!
"Two whole weeks to ourselves!" I exclaimed happily. "I can't wait to relax."
"You? Relax? Who are you and what have you done with my wife?" Ron teased me in response, earning a laugh and a light smack on the arm.
Wife. I could get used to this, I thought with a smile. I hadn't been sure the day would ever come, but here we were and I was going to enjoy every moment.
"I know how to relax. I simply haven't had much time for it in the last several years."
"You mean, as long as I've known you?" Ron continued with a grin.
"Just because I don't sit around and waste the day away, that doesn't mean I don't know how to relax. I prefer to spend my time on more worthwhile things, like reading or going to museums. You know, something to enhance my mind. Perhaps you should try it some time," I said, trying to keep a straight face, but failing.
"I'm going to punish you for that later," Ron growled in my ear and planted a kiss on my cheek. Oh, I do hope so! "But, there's no time right now- that portkey is going to go off in about a minute."
Ron adjusted his grip on our suitcases as I tightened my arm around his back. Glancing at my watch, I counted down the last couple seconds softly under my breath before our fingers became stuck to the portkey, an old hair comb, and our bodies were swept up in a vortex of light. It seemed as though we were being knocked around in the odd dimensions of space and time for much longer than anticipated when our fingers loosened from the comb and the ground came up solidly beneath our bodies. Ron landed a bit awkwardly on the suitcases and had a pinched look on his face, as if to say that he was experiencing great discomfort, but was trying to keep in the curse word nearly bursting from his lips. I landed on my bum, laughing at how predictable we both were, despite attempting to be prepared for the landing this time, and then began rubbing my elbow vigorously where it had smacked onto the hard ground.
Still giggling, I got to my feet first and put my hand out to help Ron up from his awkward position. He gripped my hand and pulled me forward for a soft, sensual kiss before allowing me to help him get to his feet. He was showing enormous restraint, but I planned to divest him of that at the first opportunity.
"Where are we?" he asked, looking around at the room we landed in. The room was large and airy, with dark blue tiles on the floor, off-white walls, and various plants scattered on shelves and on the floor. A few men and women were walking past the open doorway, which lead out to a reception desk and lobby area.
"That sign there is in Greek, so I'd assume we're in Greece to start with," I said and pointed to various signs written in Greek. This is going to be amazing!
Ron tugged on my hand and started to walk toward the reception desk. As he and the concierge completed the various identification and wand checks required to stay in the inn, I mused about the interesting two weeks ahead of us. Much to everyone's surprise, planning our wedding had been simple and quick- we didn't need anything fussy or huge. We just needed each other and our family and friends to witness us finally making official what everyone had known all along: our futures were forever entwined with each other. I didn't really understand what caused so many couples to argue and fight for months leading up to the special day. We planned our wedding over two nights of talking to each other and then explaining it to our families. Our Mums, under my supervision, quickly took upon themselves the task of creating a simple, intimate affair, without any hoopla. It was definitely the least stressful wedding the Weasleys had thrown for one of their children and it was exactly what we were hoping for- beautiful, elegant, focusing on celebrating our love.
However, planning the honeymoon was another story. We each had a very specific idea of what we wanted for the honeymoon. He wanted time to relax and sleep and explore each other; he wanted to eat new foods and find a change of scenery, away from the dreary weather we'd been having in England. I wanted to wander through museums and historical ruins; I wanted to explore the ambiance of an old romantic city, enjoy hot chocolate by the fire, and make love all night. Nobody ever said we were all that similar. Despite several attempts at compromise on both ends, the only thing we could definitely agree on was that we couldn't wait to spend time on our own, without the distractions of work and family and friends.
In the end, the answer was given to us in the form of our wedding gift from Harry and Ginny. They had arranged for an international, multiple-use portkey that would transport us to three different locations of their choosing, which had been selected after hearing what we both specifically wanted. Additionally, they had arranged for accommodations at each of the three locations, and the portkey had been created to bring us directly to wherever we were staying. We had the flexibility to go to the next destination whenever we felt ready to move on, whether that was a couple of days or for the entire duration of the trip. It was an incredibly generous gift- too generous, actually, but both Ginny and Harry insisted it was the gift they wanted to give, to ensure we started our married life off on the right foot. Unable to know what to anticipate, both Ron and I had packed a combination of bathing suits, casual clothes for warm weather, and warmer clothes for cooler weather. I could tell he was as thrilled to be surprised as I was and the suspense of the unknown heightened our excitement for the trip.
I'll have to tell them that Greece was a perfect choice, I thought happily, imagining walks on the beach, and exploring the Parthenon and the Acropolis.
"Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, you're completely checked-in. Please let us know if there is anything at all we can do to make your stay more enjoyable," the concierge said as he handed over the room key. "Also, we're in a bit of a heat-wave right now, so please take care to drink plenty of water and to use sunscreen."
We strolled hand-in-hand to our room, grinning silly grins and leaning into each other, as though we couldn't bear to be separated. I was certain we would have made his brothers feign retching noises if they could see us, but I couldn't be bothered to care.
Our room was gorgeous and held a large bed, paintings from local artists (according to the cards below their frames), and double-door windows that opened onto white, sandy beaches. Ron dragged me onto the bed "to try it out", of course, and snogged me breathless for several long minutes. Just as he began unbuttoning my blouse and scooting lower on the bed, I sat up and told him I fancied a walk on the beach before dinner. He grinned suggestively at me, knowing I was holding off, because I wanted our first time making love as husband and wife to be special, not just a roll around the bed as soon as we could find time. I smiled back and blew a kiss at him, vaulting off the bed, grabbing my swimsuit, and heading to the bathroom before he could persuade me to change my mind.
I glanced at my reflection as I smoothed the two-piece suit over my hips. Ginny had dragged me to several shops to find a couple sexy new suits and insisted that I buy the blue checkered one I was currently wearing. She promised Ron wouldn't know what hit him and I certainly hoped she was right. Ron had always made me feel beautiful, but I still felt shy showing off my body in front of other people. His low whistle of appreciation, as well as his smacking my bum lightly as I passed, eased some of my concern though.
Grabbing two beach towels off the stack in the loo, I crooked my finger at Ron for him to follow me out onto the beach. The sand was much hotter than I had expected and my hand felt slightly scalded as I leaned down to straighten our towels on the sand. Standing back up, Ron engulfed me with his strong arms from behind and nuzzled my neck with a warm, wet kiss. I turned in his arms to kiss him, wanting to drown in him, loving the heat coming off of him in waves. After several moments of clutching him to me, I pulled away to see a slightly dazed and happy expression on Ron's face. I did that! It was wonderful to be in love and not afraid of what the future might hold, to simply revel in knowing where my home would always be- who my home would always be.
We walked along the shore for a good, long while, talking about the various parts of the wedding we did remember. Ron snorted loudly as he recalled what George and Bill had done with the bowl of punch and I took his distraction as a chance to splash him with some cold water.
"You're gonna regret that, Granger!" he exclaimed, walking ominously toward me and backing me into the water a bit more.
"Granger? You must have me mistaken with somebody else... I'm a Weasley," I said, amazed at how natural it felt to adopt my new surname. I had always thought I would be so attached to my own last name and would fight tooth-and-nail to not give it up for my husband's. However, as the time came closer and closer, it seemed only right to want to take Ron's name. This wasn't about me or him as separate individuals anymore; this was about us as a couple and the last thing I wanted was to reject something as essential to him as his name. I wanted to be the same as him. Love, it seemed, made the difference between feeling forced into changing my name and willingly wanting to accept my new role within his family.
"So you are," he said, his face lighting up," but you're still gonna regret that."
I turned and ran for probably three seconds before he caught me and dunked us both under the cool water. It was so refreshing, especially given the extreme heat of the season, to feel the gentle water flowing over and around my body. I came up for a breath and promptly dove under the water again, swimming a short distance before coming up for air. Ron swam over to me, standing on the sandy floor while I waded to keep afloat. I hooked my arms around his neck and wrapped my legs around his waist. The water suspended me in a perfect position to kiss Ron, neither of us having to crick our necks to get that little bit closer, both of us able to move freely in the cool water.
Eventually, my arm began to ache from holding it around his neck and both of our fingers were beginning to prune, so we trudged back to the beach to rest on our towels. The sun was so deliciously warm and the breeze was heavenly. I leaned against Ron and closed my eyes, grateful to have the opportunity to rest my body for a few moments.
Ow! Damnit- what was that?
I woke up to see a spider scampering across the beach- surely it was the cause of my toe suddenly throbbing. I sat up and examined my foot, grateful to see that it wasn't swelling, but it was red. Actually, my whole arm was a little pink and tender. We'd fallen asleep without remembering to move to the shade or to put on any sort of sunscreen or to cast a light shield spell over our skin. We'd have to cast healing spells once we got back to our room and I hoped that the stinging would go down.
I turned to wake up Ron and burst out laughing at the sight he presented to me. Where I had lain on my side and therefore only burned the left side of my body, Ron had sprawled out on his back. His skin was bright pink and looked on the verge of painful. That, of course, wasn't funny at all and I was certain I was going to have to perform several healing and cooling charms on his skin later. However, what was funny was the fact that he had several patches of untouched, still fair and slightly freckled, patches of unburned skin on his body from where I had protected him from the sun. He had a large splotch running down the left side of his stomach, which was where the majority of my body and head had rested against him. He also had a couple smaller patches on his left shoulder and upper arm, indicating where my hair had saved him from the sun's rays. In additional to being a dark pink colour basically from head to toe, his freckles had also started to develop and became bigger, so he had several clusters which I was certain I hadn't seen before today. More to love.
My laughter roused Ron, who, characteristically, stretched his limbs quite wide and then made a face at his body's clear discomfort. He cracked one eye open to look briefly at me before smirking and asking what I thought was so funny. I pointed to his chest while I stood and gathered my towel.
"Fuck!" he said very loudly when he realised what I was amused at. "How long were we asleep for?"
"Long enough for us both to get burned," I responded, urging him up with a hand on his arm. He hissed at the contact and pulled his arm away. He narrowed his eyes for a moment, seemingly confused as to why he had random patches of unmarred skin surrounded by angry, pink flesh. "Come on, we need to put cooling and healing charms on each other before the burns set and get any worse," I said and grabbed his towel as soon as he stood up. We dashed to the room, trying to avoid our feet being burned by the hot sand.
"Hermione, d'you realise I have a wonky burn line on my chest?"
I'll never tell you just how funny it looks!
"I'd think you'd be happy that my body protected you from more burnt skin," I said, about to flop onto the bed, but deciding it might aggravate my burn more than it already was.
I grabbed my wand from the bureau and motioned to Ron to come over so I could cast some healing spells on him. After a couple basic healing spells, it was clear that burns were an entirely different kind of wound. None of the healing spells I tried seemed to make much of a difference, other than lightening the shade of pink Ron was sporting. The grimace on Ron's face when I gently touched his arm was proof that the damage was still there. I cast a cooling charm on his skin and he sighed in relief, but when I kissed a newly developed freckle, he groaned again- and it wasn't a happy noise, but one of restrained pain.
"Oh, dear! I don't know what to do, Ron, nothing seems to be healing the burn."
"Try it again- maybe you need to do it a bunch of times because the burn is so bad."
I dutifully flicked my wand at him over and over, muttering various healing spells with complicated twists of my wrist, but he was still several shades too pink. I furrowed my brow and took a deep breath, trying to search my memory for another charm, but failing to come up with anything different than I was already trying.
"I could numb your nerves for a bit- maybe that would help the skin to heal?" I half-stated, half-asked, because I had no clue why this wasn't working.
"Suppose that would be alright," he said, eyes still closed. It was clear when the numbing charm worked, because he slumped a bit and I put my hand out to steady him. He didn't flinch in the slightest. Much better.
"Would you mind doing me, Ron?" I asked, not caring that my language was suggestive and would normally have him leering in my direction. It was a testament to how much pain he must have been in that he didn't make a single rude comment, but dutifully cast similar healing, cooling, and numbing charms on my skin. Like it had with Ron, the healing charm had only lightened the appearance of the burn, but not the feeling of it. Luckily, it healed the spider bite that had been developing on my toe, so I had one less thing to worry about. The cooling charm helped with the intense heat I felt radiating off of the skin on my left side, but it did little for the underlying irritation in my body. Only the numbing charm took away the throbbing feeling.
"Ugh. I need to take a shower- I feel awful and my hair must look dreadful!" I said, heading toward the loo.
Ron followed me and began laughing while I was undoing the strap of my bathing suit top. I looked up sharply, feeling self-conscious all of a sudden, when I saw he was laughing and pointing at our reflections. We looked absolutely ridiculous! I was pink only on the left side of my body and my hair was huge and more out of control than usual. Ron's contrasting skin tones, with the addition of an impossible number of freckles, made him look as though a child had painted his skin and gotten tired most of the way through. We made quite a sight and I was quite glad that nobody we knew were around to see us and take the mickey.
Laughing heartily, Ron and I both stripped off our bathing suits and stood under the cool shower stream together. I could hardly feel the temperature, buy luckily I didn't notice the pressure of the water on my skin through the numbing charm. We took turns soaping each other up, kissing patches of burnt skin as we went. I snorted at one point, because I couldn't actually feel Ron's kisses, so I had the oddest sense of being disconnected from my body while still watching what was happening. After washing my hair, I turned to rub some shampoo into Ron's ginger locks, when he let out the loudest bellow. His face was screwed up in pain and he whined that his scalp hurt and he swore in quick succession at the damn sun. I gently rinsed his head and bit my tongue to stop my mirth, because it really wasn't funny that he was in so much pain, but his reaction was amusing regardless of the cause. What could have been a romantic shower turned out to be an exercise in caution.
What a disappointment.
Getting dressed was interesting as the numbing charms had warn off, so we both hissed and gasped when a rougher piece of cloth passed over sensitive skin and we made strange noises in protest of the situation. It was hardly ideal.
Dinner was an even bigger disaster. It was still hot outside, so both of us refused to sit outside on the terrace for fear of getting burnt again. However, the cafe's air conditioner had been working overtime to ward off the tormenting weather throughout the unseasonable heat spell, and had given out sometime during the day. Inside, though there was a gentle breeze blowing from fans, it was hotter than it had been outside and sweat began to pool on my body. Ron's forehead glistened with beads of sweat, but he resolutely refused to move outside when I suggested that we take the risk. Ignoring how hot we now were, in addition to the afternoon's burns, we ordered skewers of meats and plates of rice and vegetables. If the shower was an exercise in caution, eating was a comedy of errors. Both of us had chapped and burnt lips from earlier and the heat, spices, and oils from the meats caused instant pain when they came into contact with the sensitive skin. The rice and vegetable plates didn't fare much better and I was certain I left more food on my plate than I had in my stomach. I'd never seen Ron eat so little; it was easy to see he was taking great pains to not complain about everything, but he was clearly uncomfortable. The best part of the meal was the yogurt and honey dish we had for dessert- it was soothing and refreshing and very welcome after our lips had been damaged further.
Returning to the hotel room, I collapsed onto the bed and then groaned when the seemingly soft sheets scratched my poor skin. I turned over on my side in time to see Ron flop onto his back, so as to avoid his front touching the bedspread. I scooted up the bed, ignoring the protests of my body and leaned over Ron to kiss him. After various attempts at kissing without touching at all, I made a loud, frustrated sound and got up from the bed.
We can't have our first night like this!
I cast cooling and numbing charms on both of us before heading into the loo and changing into my new lingerie. I didn't notice twinges of pain and was pleased that the charms had done their job. I smiled, thinking of how long I had waited to make love to Ron as his wife. I couldn't wait.
I walked slowly out of the loo and looked at Ron, happy to see his mouth was hanging open at the sight of me. At least we could get back on track. I crawled onto the bed on four limbs and began kissing my way up his body. I should have noticed his lack of movement or sound, but once I got to the midway point of Ron's body, it was abundantly clear that something was not right. He wasn't aroused. Not at all. Not even the slightest bit.
NO! I screamed inwardly. I couldn't believe I had been so stupid: I had numbed our bodies for the pain, but the pleasure was blocked out as well. I nearly banged my head against the wall in frustration. Ron, for his part, seemed to be breathing very deeply, probably in an attempt not to curse or throw something. I felt his pain.
"Well... guess I didn't think that through, did I!" I said, trying to make light of the situation.
He chuckled and agreed, pointing out that we could wait until the charm wore off again. It nearly broke my heart to remind him that there was no way we could make love in our current conditions without the numbing charm, as we had struggled to even snog comfortably earlier.
Don't I wish!
"Not tonight, it seems," I responded, again trying to make him laugh.
He turned to me and guffawed a huge laugh and told me he loved me and it didn't matter how long we had to wait- it would be worth it. I nearly burst into tears at his words, but he wagged his finger at me and said "no tears allowed" and I swallowed down the emotion. Instead, I conjured a pot of aloe vera and smoothed the salve over his burn and into his scalp, despite his protestations. He covered me in the goop in turn and we fell into a companionable silence, randomly bursting into laughter at something from the wedding or the general ridiculousness that the first day of our honeymoon had become. We finally fell asleep in a sticky, stinky mess, content to simply hold each other and be held.
I thought Ron wouldn't mind going to some of the old ruins, especially give that our predicaments had come from too much sun exposure on the beach. I was completely wrong: he complained about how hot the sun was, how much his feet were hurting, how he was afraid the burns were going to get worse, and then he asked every ten minutes if we could go back to the hotel. I was no puddle of joy either: muttering "damn Helios" under my breath, saying I wanted to stop in the shade to readjust my shoes, and frowning at everything. The joy had been sucked out of a potentially lovely day, due to the damn heat wave! To say I was frustrated was an understatement.
Around three o'clock, I finally realised that we were going to be paranoid about sun exposure making things worse on the entire trip. I suggested that we take our chances and try our next destination, despite wanting to stay and explore Greece. Ron's huge smile and enthusiastic kisses proved it was the right thing to say and we were packed and checked out of the hotel within an hour.
Anything has to be better than this, I thought, wishing for cooler weather. Ron again grasped our luggage, I held onto him, and we activated the portkey. After another short stint of light and wind whipping around us, we landed in a place I couldn't identify by the language. The change in weather was noticeable immediately. It was humid, but it was much cooler. Upon speaking to the concierge, we learned that we were in Sweden.
"Of course! I told Ginny that I wouldn't mind going to Drottningholm palace or seeing the various archaeological digs open to the public. This should be wonderful!" I was genuinely excited about exploring the many historical sites throughout the country. I grabbed a couple of brochures sitting near the check-in desk as Ron completed the identification and wand checks again. Performing a simple translation spell, it was easy to see how the various tours offered could take up a lot of time. I hoped Ron would be willing to go on at least a couple of them.
My nose was buried in a brochure the entire time he checked in and I followed him blindly to our new room, which was also quite lovely. It was lavishly furnished and held such a different character to the room we had just vacated in Greece. Pulling open the curtains in front of the windows, I was surprised to see dark clouds rolling in through the sky. Rain? In the middle of summer? We were used to such an occurrence in England, but I thought Sweden was supposed to have either mild or warm weather throughout their summer. A loud thunderclap threatened to break my happy mood, so I showed Ron the brochure instead.
After agreeing on two tours we both thought looked interesting, I went to the floo to call the company in charge of the magical tours. The witch in charge informed me that they did not plan tours for rainy days, because the beauty of Sweden was over-shadowed by the weather. As I was about to point out that it wasn't yet raining, Ron whistled lowly and I turned around to see a hefty amount of rain pouring in front of out window. I asked her if rain was usual for this part of the country at this time of year. She said that it had been known to happen, but it certainly wasn't the norm. I thanked the witch, told her I would be in touch as soon as the weather cleared, and went to watch the rain with Ron.
"Y'know, this would be perfect weather if I could touch you without being in excruciating pain," Ron complained. "We could lie in bed all day and do nothing but make love. Perfect, yeah?"
"I'm feeling quite a bit better already," I said, reaching my hand out to rub Ron's chest. "Are you sure we can't-" Ron's hissing interrupted my hopeful inquiry and I knew we were in for a very long evening. In truth, my body wasn't really up for passionate intimacy either, but I wanted him so badly, I was willing to work through a little pain. However, Ron had gotten significantly more burnt than I had and I wasn't willing to have him suffer for my pleasure.
"At least I can kiss you today without feeling like I need to be submerged in a vat of aloe vera!"
"Small miracles..." I said, trying not to sound sad at how the weather had managed to ruin a potentially perfect holiday.
Ron seemed determined to make sure the weather didn't ruin our trip though and he proceeded to tell me hysterical stories about his childhood and the various antics he, Ginny, and the twins used to get up to. He asked about things in my childhood, though my stories didn't feel as interesting, since I didn't have siblings to share things with.
We managed to pass two days just talking and playing games with each other. We kissed and cuddled progressively more each day and I wasn't feeling pain by the morning of our third day there. He wanted to give me pleasure and asked several times if he could, even though it was still too much stimulation for him, but I repeated what he'd said earlier: he would be worth the wait. His skin was healing well and though it was warm to the touch, it was getting progressively less painful as the days passed.
We were caught in a torrential downpour for five days. Five long days of staying inside and longing to go out and explore. The waitress at the hotel's restaurant said she had never seen anything like it. Ron was nearly back to normal and I was certain we could finally be able to make love. I suggested that we try the last destination they had picked out for us. They couldn't have possibly known about the heat wave or the torrential downpour. It seemed impossible that all three places would have the worst weather of the year during the one week we wanted to spend there.
But, knowing our luck...
"You know what? I don't even want to take a chance on the last place. I know somewhere that the weather is always perfect. Somewhere we will be cosy and comfortable and won't be disturbed. The perfect place to ravage my wife for the first time."
"Really? I trust you."
"Good, then close your eyes and grab this. We'll be there soon." I dutifully closed my eyes and waited through the swirls of light, where I landed on a soft surface. That was a nice change, for once.
"There's no place like home," he whispered in my ear. I opened my eyes, thrilled to see we were in our own flat, back where all we needed was each other. Perfect! He flicked his wand at the fireplace. At my raised eyebrow, he said he took us off the Floo Network until further notice. "I don't wanna be disturbed."
"I couldn't agree more."
"Shall we, wife?" Ron asked, putting his arm out to escort me to our bedroom.
"Always, husband, always."
Thanks so much for reading! I'd love to know what you thought! Thanks, ~Risie :o)