I own nothing to do with this story. I make no profit from it either.
The couple stepped out of the dinning room onto the veranda, carrying their after-dinner wine.
"I told you the only table was taken" the man said irritably.
"Maybe they won't mind us sitting with them" she said softly.
"I'm not sitting with a couple of old muggles" he snapped.
"Shh! They'll hear you."
"I don't care."
"Well you should. I'm going over to ask them." She left him and walked over to the table.
"Sorry. I didn't mean to disturb you" she said when she saw they were holding hands.
They turned and looked up at her. "You're not disturbing us. We're just enjoying the sunset. It;s really quite spectacular, isn't it?" the elderly man said.
The young woman looked out across the desert and for the first time, noticed the colours. You're right, she thought.
It had been a long, hot day and Severus hadn't made it any easier. Hermione and Severus had taken a week off work at Hogwarts to get away from the constant pressure of the Wizarding World. Both knew their two-year-old marriage was in trouble and something had to be done to save it. They loved each other, but the constant bickering and fighting had taken to passion from their love. Yet without one another, they would be lost.
They'd decided a holiday at a small muggle hotel in an oasis green was the best idea. The only idea they could agree on. The place was beautiful, trees bent gently and water splashed over the stones of the stream that crossed the front lawn.
"Please join us." The soft voice of the elderly woman nudged Hermione back from her thoughts.
"Thankyou" she said gesturing to Severus to come over. He joined them and sat down.
"Do you come here often?" the elderly man asked.
"No it's our first time."
"And the last," Severus added.
"That wasn't necessary" Hermione retorted. "I'm sure these people don't want to hear about our troubles."
The elderly couple exchanged looks. A knowing smile touched their lips, as if they knew exactly what the couple was going through.
"I'm sorry," Severus said gruffly. "We do l.. lo.. We do Love eachother. It just... becomes so difficult for us to get on together and we don't know why," he said, looking at Hermione, his eyes softening.
"You know the desert is a wonderful place to heal wounded hearts. Look around. It's vast," the elderly man said. "By comparison," he continued, "we are, with all our troubles, totally insignificant. In it's stillness you can hear your spirit talking more clearly then anywere else in the world."
"We came here a long time ago when we had difficulties in our marriage." The elderly woman said.
"In fact, we'd almost come to the end, hardly talking to each other. Remember darling?" she asked, looking at her husband fondly.
"I remember," he said. "It was a night just like this that saved us."
For a long time they sat in silence, gazing at the stars.
"Look!" Hermione said as a shooting star streaked across the sky.
"You can touch the stars," the elderly man said, raising his hand and tracing the stars with his finger across the sky.
"you're right. They're so bright and near," Severus sad, moving his own finger across the sky.
His hand found Hermione's and tightened. For a long time the sat gazing into the heavens. The moon touched the horizon, it's light casting small shadows across the rock-strewn desert.
"Our troubles are nothing compared to this" Severus said after a while.
"Where have they gone?" Severus asked as he looked up at the two empty chairs were the elderly couple had sat.
"I don't know" Hermione said looking around, both suddenly realising they never actually saw the elderly couples faces in the light, "Maybe they were never there."
"That doesn't make sense. You saw them." Severus said.
"Perhaps" Hermione paused, deep in thought. "Perhaps they were sent to give us a message." Her hand tightened on Severus' as he looked into the starlit heavens. "I think they were us"
"Then we have nothing to worry about. We'll always be together." Severus replied.