Summary: And then, with their graceful pantomime of limbs and souls, they breathe like they never have before. RH, a fic dealing with post-DH emotions and a little glimpse into their first time :):).

AN (1) : Recommended listening : "Through the Dark" by Alexi Murdoch.

AN (2) : So, I just love Ron and Hermione haha. And I have ONE WEEK left of my first year of university (I'm still alive! Woo!). Crazy, crazy. So, this is to celebrate that I don't have any more chemistry homework for, like, two months! Yay! Anyways, this is a little more "M" than my other RH fics, but it's not grossly explicit or anything, more like assumed, so don't worry about that. Also, I love your reviews a TON, so please don't stop now :D. Thanks, friends!


Don't Forget to Breathe

The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.
- Chuck Palahniuk

My salvation
Lies in your love
- Alexi Murdoch


"None of this should've ever happened," he whispers.

Hermione takes a deep breath, taking a tentative step over a pile of his clothes in his bedroom in the burrow so she can be closer to him. "Ron," she breathes, and she knows her eyes are swimming in the same never ending river of tears his are, too.

She places a shaky hand against his arm - she's tried this before. He glances at her hand, small and petite and brilliant, with little scars littering it, shiny in the light. He doesn't shake it off, like she expects, but brings his fingers around her wrist. He lifts it off of his arm, still gripping, but not tightly (she could run away if she wanted). He pulls her arm gently so that it's in front of his face.

Her eyes are full of realization and then pain as he stares at the scar she's most ashamed of (though, if she's being honest, she doesn't really like any of them). He takes apart the slashes that have never completely healed. That will never completely heal. It spells a word, but maybe all over her body are stories.

Only he knew them.

She feels his breath against her wrist, against the letters, and for a split second she's horrified of him kissing her there - the dirty word against his wonderful lips.

But he just murmurs, "None of this should've ever happened," again, letting go of her arm.

It falls to Hermione's side silently, and its weight feels unbearable. Her arm is freezing without his fingers and his breath, and she thinks maybe his kiss would wipe away the shame she feels every time she sees the slashes.

And she knows by "everything" he means what happened to her. And Fred. Everyone else who died to save a future none of them were sure about.

"I know," she fights out softly.

He turns towards her, his brow knit together - usually she argued.

"It never should've happened," she whispers, and he allows her to place both of her hands against his arms. She hasn't touched him in what feels like years. (It's been days.)

His jaw clenches and unclenches, and a few tears slip out of his eyes.

She brings her fingers to his cheeks, wiping them. "I shouldn't have been tortured."

He shakes his head, looking away.

"Fred shouldn't have died. None of them should've died," she continues, and he meets her gaze again. "But, Ron, it did happen." Her words are so soft she almost wonders if she'd actually said them out loud.

He swallows and it seems to her that he's trying to work out whether she'd said them too.

So she says them again, louder and more surely. "And we're here," she whispers.

Something in his eyes changes - the shift lets her breathe. "We are, huh?"

She feels her lips quirk into a tiny smile.

He puts his hand against her cheek, smoothing the worries away from her skin. His eyes are soft, now, and he brings his lips to hers gently. "Thank you," he murmurs into her mouth, his breath warm.

When she wakes up, he's staring at her.

She smiles, softly.

"Hey," he says, noticing her eyes are open.

"Morning," she whispers, amazed that she was still in his bed, surrounded by his enticing smell. She'd fallen asleep there the night before, she guessed, after they'd kissed and then nothing more - nothing was supposed to taint what was the biggest step they'd make as a couple for a long time.

But just sleeping with his arm around her waist, her legs tangled in his, his breath in her hair - it had been enough.

He smiles at her, and she hopes he's thinking the same thing. He never takes his eyes off her as he says, "I never dreamed I'd wake up to Hermione Jean Granger in my bed."

She rolls her eyes with a laugh. "We both know you dreamed a lot more than just that."

He laughs, but then grows serious, brushing a curl from her forehead, following it with his lips. "You're beautiful."

It brings tears to her eyes - because she's a girl and she really has always wanted to hear him say it. Sometimes she doesn't think it's true, because she has (she's counted plenty of times) twenty-seven scars.

But he smiles again, tucking her into his chest. She hears his heartbeat and they don't talk but he tells her more than any words could. His touch.

It's enough.

It's always been enough.

"I can't wear this, Ginny," Hermione protests, her hands trying self-consciously and unsuccessfully to cover the entirety of her arms and legs left exposed by one of Ginny's sundresses.

Ginny looks perplexed. "Of course you can, Hermione. It fits perfectly."

"Do you at least have a sweater or something?" She says this quietly, and Ginny can sense the strain of shame so unfamiliar in her friend's voice. She hadn't seen it yet - the scar - but Harry had told her, sadly.

Ginny hesitates. "Can I," she stutters, "will you..."

Hermione sighs, putting her wrist in front of Ginny's face.

Ginny doesn't say anything, because she can't even imagine having to face something like that for the rest of her life. It's sickening and ugly against Hermione's perfect skin, but not because it's a scar. But because Ginny knows it's just the beginning of what had happened to Hermione - someone she loves. Her sister.

So instead, Ginny wraps her arms around Hermione, in a strong, startling hug. It's different, because it's not Ron telling Hermione whispers of comfort or Harry with murmurs of apology. Ginny doesn't say anything, doesn't cry, and neither does Hermione. Ginny holds Hermione fiercely, pulling her together in a way no boy ever could.

After a while, she steps back. "It's too hot outside for a sweater," she states firmly.

Hermione searches her face for a second before nodding, following Ginny out of her room and into the sunshine of a lunchtime picnic outside the Burrow without a word of protest.

Ron holds her hand and they laugh. She doesn't forget.

But she knows it's going to be okay.

Her breath catches when she walks into his room. It's been cleaned, since the morning. Ginny had taken her shopping and now she knew why.

Ron grins when he sees her, handing her a single red, wild poppy. There are muggle candles lit all around, and a muggle record playing softly (and she has no idea how he even knew what that was, but she's not surprised he found out, because she loves them.)

"Sorry you had to put up with Ginny all day," he whispers, pulling her against him.

"I suppose it was worth it," she smiles.

"We don't, we don't have to, tonight, if, if you..." he stutters. "I just wanted, if you... our first time... I wanted it to be special," he finishes.

She feels so full of love and peace and safety at that moment that she's sure nothing can touch her.

She doesn't say anything, just presses her lips to his softly, pulling the bottom of his sweater over his head.

His lips are breezes and tornadoes against her skin, and for a second she has enough cognition to be worried about her scars.

But he unbuttons her shirt and sees the dark, rough mark from the curse in their fifth year against her ribs, and he touches it softly. He brings his lips against it, steering her towards his bed and laying her down softly in the process.

He looks at her, his face gentle, their eyes meeting. "You have twenty-seven," he mumbles, the pads of his fingers running along a scar on her stomach. She's shocked that he knew the exact number, but then - at once - she's not surprised. "And I love them all," he says.

She pulls him as close as possible, an incredible release and permission, her hands everywhere along his skin and her lips following.

And then, with their graceful pantomime of limbs and souls, they breathe like they never have before.

"Oh," Molly whispers, shutting the door quickly, but not before grinning, making sure the tray of breakfast stayed in it's place levitated next to her.

Her youngest son, sleeping soundly and apparently completely naked, with a girl she knows he's grown to love more than anything in the world curled in his arms. Warding off nightmares. There are remnants of muggle candles being burnt the night before, and Molly's sure of what happened. It fills her with joy and relief, because Hermione belongs in her family.

And she breathes again, too.

He comes home from work, sore and filthy.

He expects Hermione to be asleep, because it's late and her job at the Ministry has been exhausting lately.

But she's sitting on the couch, watching a muggle film.

Her head snaps up when she hears his arrival, and immediately he can tell something's different.

"I'm pregnant," she blurts.

He's speechless. But then he finds himself grinning and spinning her around the room, kissing her.

She smiles. It'll be a girl - he's sure of it.

"I love you," she breathes. He prays to whatever deities may exist in the universe that she's just like her mother.

And he breathes too.

...

She's so beautiful for a second he's sure she's going to fly away, too.

Hermione runs beside Rosie, their curls blowing in the wind. The kites are bright against the sky, their tails making them dip and pop and burst.

Hugo sits atop his shoulders, pointing excitedly and giggling.

Hermione smiles over at Ron as Rose lets out more string, the kite going higher and higher in the brilliant blue sky christening their family reunion at the Burrow.

The air is warm and fresh.

She has twenty-eight scars, now. One from when she had Hugo.

It's the one he loves the most.

He puts Hugo down, walking to Hermione and Rose. He takes Hermione's hand, feeling the familiar letters against his wrist.

She rests her head against his shoulder. He kisses her hair. It smells like coconuts and raspberries and their childhood and pain and love and maybe forever.

And they breathe: in, out.

In. Out.


AN : What did you think? Let me know, and happy almost summer! :)