Ronald Weasley was facing a dilemma. He was lying in his bed, completely exhausted, and ready to go to sleep. For once since he had started dating Hermione, the evening had been uneventful. She was at her own flat with her mum doing whatever mother and daughters did when they got together. And that was where Ron's problem sprung from. It was eleven o'clock at night and Hermione wasn't with him. Which meant he had no idea what to do with his arm. For the past six years since the war, Hermione had slept in the same bed as him. At first it had been merely that (sleeping), and after a while it had progressed. But whatever they did in bed didn't matter at all in this situation. The fact of the matter was that Ron's arm went around Hermione every night, cradling her and hugging her to his body. And now that she wasn't here, Ron had absolutely no idea what to do with his arm. He couldn't remember what he had done with it before the war. Sleeping with Hermione curled up next to him seemed so natural that it was as though he had been doing it all his life. He hadn't, of course, but he may as well have been.
Ron tried several things. He tried tucking the arm under his body, but that felt strange. He tried flinging it over his stomach, but that made his stomach ache. He attempted to cross his arms together in the front, but this only served to make him think of dead pharaohs. He grabbed Hermione's pillow and wrapped his arm around it, inhaling that attractive scent. But realizing just how nice the pillow smelled only made Ron realize that he would probably have dirty dreams if he slept like this, which was not something he wanted tonight. He just needed to get through nine hours without Hermione, and then he'd meet her for breakfast in the morning. Seeing absolutely nothing else to do with his left arm, Ron briefly considered cutting it off. But he had a feeling that he, Hermione, and his right arm would all miss it considerably. Besides, what would he use to scratch his nose during the auror missions? He had to have his wand in his hand at all times, and since his wand-arm was his right arm he needed his left to scratch his nose.
Yes, that was the biggest reason why Ron couldn't cut his arm off.
Rolling his eyes to himself, Ron spent at least a half hour trying to pinpoint when exactly his thoughts had become so random, but was unable to come up with a proper number. He'd have to ask Harry if he'd been so odd at Hogwarts. He was sure his best mate would know. Moaning to himself, Ron turned his head to glare at the offending arm. In the end, he decided to splay it out on the mattress as if Hermione was there, then put two pillows over it to make a weight. That way, it was almost as if Hermione was lying there. Well, an unhealthily thin Hermione. But still. Then, after congratulating himself on his plan, Ron closed his eyes and fell right asleep, hoping to all hopes as he did so that he wouldn't wake up until it was time to meet Hermione. He also hoped that he wouldn't have bad dreams. There was nothing worse then hearing Hermione's screams while he slept, but he loved waking up to current-Hermione stroking his hair and feeling her breath on his ear as she whispered that everything was going to be okay.
"It's over now," she would say, tears springing into her eyes. "It's all over, and it's never going to happen again."
Ron hoped she was right. If he never heard her scream like that again, it would be too soon. He couldn't get the bloodcurdling sound out of his head even six years later. This was his last thought before he really sunk into his dream, which featured Quidditch, hamburgers and something about an annual Weasley ketchup squirting contest that had every single Weasley, plus Harry and Hermione, drenched in ketchup.
It was no wonder that Ron was slightly befuddled when he woke up to hear a loud and persistent knocking on his door. He was still in an alternate universe in which everyone was covered in ketchup. Still, he couldn't ignore it. Ron knew that someone wouldn't come to his flat so late at night for no good reason. He wondered if one of his sisters-in-law was in labor. Curse whoever it was for doing so at such a late hour- people were trying to sleep! After glancing towards to clock and seeing that it was one AM ("Merlin, seven hours until I meet Hermione- I was so close!"), Ron jumped out of bed, threw on a shirt, then made his way to the door with his eyes still closed. This, of course, resulted in him bumping into several things that were undesirable to bump into, and by the time Ron had reached the door he was in immense amounts of pain and had loudly cursed at least six times. He hoped his mum wasn't the person outside of his door.
Leaning forward, Ron took a peek outside the peephole. Hermione was standing there, staring blindly ahead, her eyes completely unfocused. They were a little red and puffy, but he thought that could be his own deprivation of sleep playing tricks on his eyes. He let out a sigh of relief. Now he didn't have to use those stupid pillows anymore! Hermione would sleep against him, just as usual, and everything would be back to normal. His arm was saved! Letting a peaceful smile cross his face, Ron threw open the door and said,
"Hi, Hermione! Thanks for coming over. I was considering chopping my arm off and then everyone was covered in ketchup and it was all very confusing." She frowned and Ron realized that he hadn't exactly explained his evening quite right. "What I meant was, I had no idea what to do with my arm because usually you're on it, and in my dream we were having this weird ketchup war. I dunno why, though."
"Oh," Hermione said. Ron wondered why she was still standing outside of his door when it was so much more preferable to be indoors. Sleeping. Against him.
"So..." Ron said as he scratched the back of his head. There was an awkward silence. He decided to fill this with rambling. "I can't wait until you move in here with me. Then you'll be forced to sleep in my bed every night with absolutely no escape. Not that you don't sleep with me every night anyway, but then-" Suddenly Hermione had burst into tears and thrown herself into Ron's arms. "Hermione!" Ron said, aghast. "What's wrong?"
The door was still open, and the moon was making Hermione's expression look unusually haunted. She also looked more beautiful. Attempting to clear his head of everything but Hermione's tears, Ron dragged Hermione into his flat, shut the door, and began stroking her hair.
"I can't do this!" Hermione wailed, her hands twisting bits of Ron's old white T-shirt. He stared at her.
"Can't do what? Breakfast?"
"N-no," Hermione sobbed.
"You can't move in with me?" Ron asked, shocked. "C'mon, Hermione, we've been dating for six bloody years! We should be married by now, for the love of merlin."
"I can't marry you," Hermione said fervently, still sobbing into his T-shirt. Ron wondered how wet it would be before she stopped.
"Alright, alright, we'll wait a bit longer. Although how we'll get my mum to stop babbling about us having kids..."
"No," Hermione said, taking a huge breath. "I can't marry you at all. Ever."
Ron felt his insides completely freeze up. He pushed her away, and she stood there in the moonlit room, wiping her tears with her hands and refusing to make eye contact with him.
"Are... are you breaking up with me?" Slowly, she nodded. "Hermione, you can't be serious," Ron said desperately, surprising himself with his boldness. "What did I do? Whatever it is I'm really sorry, but-"
Her face changed completely, and she shook her head adamantly, causing him to stop talking as her wet brown eyes met his wide blue ones for the first time that night.
"Ron, you didn't do anything! I swear to merlin, you are the most wonderful man in the world, and I love you so much."
"Mixed signals much?" Ron muttered under his breath, trying to dispel his pain with humor. It didn't work, and he wondered if he'd ever be able to properly swallow again. More loudly, he said, "What's this all about?"
Hermione stared at him for a second, her expression frightened and regretful. Then she gulped.
"It's a really long story," she whispered hesitantly.
"Hermione," Ron said, angry tears starting to well up in his eyes, "if it's why you're breaking it off with me, I think I deserve to hear the story. However long."
Honestly, her words hadn't really set in yet. If they had, he probably would have been crying so much harder, and he would have been too furious and hurt and humiliated to sit down and listen to Hermione's whole story. But it was one o'clock in the morning, and besides that, something wasn't right. There was something about this that felt off, unrealistic. Maybe he was being bias (after all, he was hoping her words were untrue), but Hermione was acting very strangely. She was acting as though she didn't want to end their relationship at all. Ron couldn't help but hope that their romance was salvageable.
"Okay," Hermione said, nodding after a few moments of consideration. "Okay, I'll tell you, but at the end I willnotchange my mind, no matter what you say. Don't try to stop me, alright?"
"Alright," Ron said. Wanting to hide his face, he led Hermione over to the couch, asked her to sit, then went off to the kitchen to make some tea. Hermione was silent as he flicked his wand and the water in the kettle boiled instantly. He then proceeded to make Hermione's tea exactly the way she liked it, without even having to ask. He sighed as he picked up the cup and stared into his watery depths. Everyone thought he was romantically crippled, but look, here he was. He was caring about another being! He was having his heart broken by the girl he loved, and he still knew her tea order. Really, he was a right romantic. "And the world will never know," Ron murmured, shaking his head. Then he headed into the sitting room and handed Hermione her tea. He sat down on the couch next to her, his plaid pajama clad knee pressing against her jean clad one. Hermione's eyes filled with even more tears as she felt his warmth pressing up against her. "Talk, Hermione," Ron said, not unkindly. He took her hand in his and tried not to feel like his whole world was falling apart. When, in fact, it was.
"It all started when my mum came over," Hermione said shakily. "She... she brought a movie with her, hoping we could watch it. And so we talked for a while, and then we popped the movie into the DVD player and watched it. And that was when I realized that I had to break up with you."
Ron stared at her for a second.
"Excuse me," he said, anger beginning to course through his veins, "but what the hell?"
Hermione blinked at him, wondering why this wasn't clear. Then she seemed to understand.
"Oh, right. I suppose I should explain what the movie was about."
"That would help," Ron prompted, his voice a bit croaky.
"Well, it was about these two people who were in love, but they had to go through a lot to be together."
"Gee, sounds familiar."
"I'm not finished yet!" Hermione protested.
"Sorry. Do continue."
"They did end up together, and it was a pretty happy ending. But then... well, Ron, it showed them when they were old," As she spoke, Hermione's voice got steadily hoarser, edging closer to when she was going to start crying. Her eyes were full of sorrow, and she seemed to be drinking in the details of Ron's face as though she was under the impression she would never lay eyes on him again.
"Okay..." Ron said, still seriously lacking an understanding on what this was all about. Tears fell down Hermione's cheeks once more, and her voice broke several times as she continued.
"The woman... she had Alzheimers. She couldn't remember anything about her relationship with the man. She had loved him so, so much when she was younger, and it was all shot to hell when they were older. They had children, Ron, and she couldn't even remember them!" Hermione exclaimed, tears springing into her eyes as she bit her lip to keep from crying. "She couldn't remember her own children and she couldn't remember the man she loved. And once she came back, but then she forgot all over again, and I had to watch the old man cry and that just-"
"Hang on!" Ron said indignantly, leaping up from the couch. "Hermione Jean Granger, are you telling me that you're breaking up with me because of The Notebook?"
Hermione gazed up at Ron, her eyebrows raised. Then she said,
"I didn't say the title of the movie. How did you know it was The Notebook?"
Ron swallowed and turned red.
"Er- I might have seen it once."
"When?" Hermione asked interestedly, tears forgotten for the time being.
"I don't know," Ron said, embarrassed.
"Remember the time you came to see me after Ginny's hen night and Harry wouldn't let you in because he said I was on an emergency auror mission?"
"Uh-hu," Hermione said, her eyes swiveling from left to right as her brain tried to work out the true story before Ron told it to her.
"Well, really, I was extraordinarily drunk because I had just seen that movie."
"See!" Hermione said, jumping up with Ron. Her face had a desolate sort of joy on it, if that made sense. Her whole being was aching with the sorrow she felt at what she was doing, but she was happy that he got it, happy that she wasn't the only one deeply effected by the movie. "You understand!"
"No," Ron said, annoyed. Now that he realized she still loved him, this whole breakup thing was comparable to a fly bothering a cow. He wasn't going to let the love of his life throw their relationship away because a movie scared her. Quickly, Ron geared himself up for a fight. "I don't."
"You got drunk!" insisted Hermione. "You have to understand!"
"I got drunk. I didn't chuck you. No amount of alcohol could ever make me stupid enough to do that- I'd sooner pass out."
"But you've seen the movie! You know how awful it is! You understand why we can't be together," cried Hermione, a single tear finding its way down her cheek as her eyes begged him to agree with her.
"Hermione, I'm telling you I don't!" Ron said, raising his voice.
She looked stunned.
"How could you not?"
"Maybe I'm just not as brilliant as you," he replied bitterly.
"Ron," Hermione said, her voice desperate. "I love you so much. I love you so much now it's incredible, and I can't imagine how much that's going to increase if we get married and have children and spend another... well, sixty years together."
"Actually, knowing the average wizards' lifespan it's more like eighty."
"But you see, that's exactly my point!" Hermione said shrilly. There was a terrified feeling in her stomach as she spoke the next few words. They scared her more than heights, more than death itself, more than any earthly, tangible thing. "By the time we're that age we'll be used to each other. We'll need each other, we'll practically be incompetent without each other! And then, someday, something awful is going to happen and our whole lives are going to fall to pieces around us."
"What if I forget, Ron?" This time, her voice was frightened and slightly panicked. "What if I forget everything? Or what if- god forbid- you go before me, and I'm forced to live without you? And, I mean, I think you want to go first so you won't have to live without me, so either way one of us looses!"
"And the statistical chances of a witch and a wizard dying together are much lower than it is for muggles because we don't travel in planes or automobiles."
"No, I can't let that happen. I can't let myself hurt that much, and I can't let you hurt, either. We have to end this so we can stop caring and just spend our lives without each other and-"
"ENOUGH!" Ron roared suddenly. Hermione clamped her mouth shut. "Hermione," Ron said, breathing hard. He'd never felt so utterly annoyed and ticked off in his life, and that was saying something. "Don't you think I fully well know the fact that we won't be able to die at exactly the same time? I mean, I may hate to think about those things, but my mind does tend to wander to more serious matters on rare occasions." She opened her mouth to reply, but Ron held a finger up, shooting her a look of warning about his agitation. "Hermione, I don't give a flying fig about any of that. Not right now. I'm sure I'll care later, but right now all I know is that I want to marry you and spend my life with you and knock you up so that we can have the most awesome babies on the planet."
"That's a delicate way to put it," Hermione quipped, but Ron silenced her with a look.
"I know, sweetheart, that it's going to be hard when we reach that age. We'll look different and act different- over time we will grow and change to be different. But. hey. We'll be growing and changing together. And isn't that all that matters? That everything we do is done together?"
The softness left Ron's voice. It became louder, angry and more insistent.
"How can we deal with that? We just will. Jesus Christ, Hermione, look at my parents! They're getting on in years and you don't see them running away from each other. We will deal with it gracefully and with good humor and above all we will bloody stick together! We need each other."
"I don't think-"
"DAMMIT HERMIONE! The damage is already done, don't you see? The cause was lost when you kissed me for the first time during the Final Battle. Hell, the cause has been lost since we were fourteen years old and you realized you fancied me and I realized I fancied you. I'm sorry to tell you, but you're fighting a loosing battle here."
"Who says I am?"
"Do you think you can live without me at this point? I know I can't live without you. I don't think I'd ever be able to move past you, not after all these years. Can you picture your life without me?"
"No," she replied. "But this isn't about moving on! I would bury myself in my work, I would never ever find someone else."
"No," Ron said simply. "I'm not letting you do that, Hermione. After wanting to be with you since I was fourteen, after loving you for more than ten years, I'm not going to throw it all away because you're being stupid and thinking too much."
"So you're going to just... reject my breakup?"
"Yeah!" Ron said defiantly.
"How would that even work?" Hermione asked despite herself.
"Like this: Hermione, I refuse to accept your breakup. I say that we are still a couple, and you are still moving in with me."
"Oh," she said, blinking. "Okay, then." Hermione's lip quivered a moment before she rushed into Ron's arms again. He held her against him, tears dripping off of his nose. He burrowed it in her hair, bending down considerably to do so. Once again, Ron felt tears soaking his T-Shirt. "Ron, what if I forget everything? What if I forget everything like the woman in the movie?"
He shook his head, then moved his lips down to her ear. She shivered as he spoke. She could feel his lips move against her ear, and the deepness of his voice was sending rumbles through her body.
"Then I will come see you every day and I will tell you our love story from top to bottom while tactfully and conveniently omitting any part that shows me in a bad light. For example, Lavender Brown."
"No!" Hermione said forcefully, pulling back. "You will not Ronald Weasley! You will tell me every single bloody and gory detail of our relationship, as I would do for you if the situation was reversed."
Fresh tears flowed from her eyes, and Ron pulled her back against him.
"Shhh," he said gently, wiping her tears away with his large hand. "Okay, I will. I promise."
"Good," Hermione said, her voice extremely muffled against his chest. She paused. "What if it's too hard?"
"What if what's too hard?"
"Us. Death, I suppose. But also life."
"Oh, it's definitely going to be hard," Ron said, shrugging, his expression a bit braver then he felt. "But that's okay. It's never easy for anyone."
"But what if it's toohard?" Hermione repeated. "What if we try our hardest and we just don't work? Maybe we shouldn't get married. Maybe we shouldn't do that to ourselves."
"You're impossible tonight! I'm never letting your mum pick your movie again, this is just insufferable."
"Hermione, we are getting married," Ron said forcefully. "I don't care if every day of my life I have to sporadically jump up in front of your face and go 'WILL YOU MARRY ME?'"
There was a long, long silence. A jolt went through Hermione's system at her boyfriend's words. It almost felt like he had just proposed, and she had wanted to hear him ask for so long. It was a euphoric feeling, one that made her wish that his words were actually meant for what they were. It surprised her how much she wanted these words to be a proposal, when a few moments ago she had been freaking out over any prospect of commitment. Hermione stared at Ron, searching his face, looking into his eyes, trying to imagine life without him. It was dreadful. And that was when she made her choice, very quickly, but very solidly.
"Okay," Hermione said, staring deeply into his eyes.
Ron didn't get it right away.
"Yeah, I'd say," Ron said, still a bit heated but proud of his argument.
"No," Hermione said, breaking free of him. Her heart was pounding in her chest as she looked deeply into his eyes, begging him to understand what she was trying to communicate to him. She reached over and took each of his hands in one of hers."Ron. Okay."
He looked at her oddly, puzzlement consuming his expression.
"What's that supposed to-?" But then his mouth dropped open, and his eyes widened as he grasped exactly what she was saying. A fierce form of excitement coursed through his veins, joy lifting him up as he stared at her, understanding."Oooh." he said.
She smiled uncertainly at him, not sure if she had done the right thing, not sure if they were jumping into this idea. At her nervous smile, Ron became slightly fearful. Was she not saying what he thought she was saying?
"You... you are saying that you want to get married, right?" he asked hesitantly, and Hermione's face broke out into a beam.
"It's what you want, isn't it?"
"Well, yeah," Ron said, running a hand through his hair. His stomach was a bundle of nerves as he stared at her, his heart in his throat.
"We're not getting any younger," Hermione pushed, now laughing as tears threatened to escape from her eyes.
"But a few minutes ago you-!" Ron started heatedly, then he cut off short. "Merlin's pants, woman- you're bipolar."
"Probably true. Imagine how I'll be when I'm pregnant!" Hermione laughed, the knot in her stomach diffusing as she did so.
Ron also laughed- quite shakily- seemingly mulling the whole thing over.
"Yeah," he said slowly, then with more enthusiasm, "Yeah, let's get married! How about tonight?"
"Whoa, not so fast there!" Hermione chuckled, impatiently casting a tear away. Her whole system felt uplifted at his words, and she resisted the urge to scream euphorically. "You haven't given me a ring or anything. Besides, I want a big white-"
"One second!" Ron called over his shoulder as he bolted out of the room. Hermione heard a drawer being roughly pulled open, then slammed closed, before Ron sprinted back into the room, jumping over his couch to get to her more quickly. After he made the leap he got on his knee and popped a box open with his thumb. "Hermione Jean Granger," he said, beaming up at her, "will you marry me?"
Hermione's hand flew to her mouth and one of her eyebrows rose in complete and utter shock at this formal version of a proposal. He had a ring? He had a ring!She lowered her hand to her heart, feeling the frantic beating here, before she pressed her lips together, trying to hold back the smile that was threatening to burst. She wet her lips before speaking, feeling the tears drip down her cheeks, and then she got down onto her knees with Ron.
"God yes," she whispered before throwing her arms around his neck and kissing him furiously. Laughing and trying in vain not to cry, Ron pulled back and slipped the ring onto her finger. Hermione gazed at it, her eyes wide, before placing her hands on her cheeks and looking at Ron with amazement on her face. Suddenly Ron jumped up and ran over to the door. He threw it open.
"What are you doing?" Hermione asked. Ron ignored her.
"HERMIONE JEAN GRANGER IS GOING TO MARRY ME! I ASKED HER AND SHE SAID YES! I'M ENGAGED TO HERMIONE-BLOODY-GRANGER!" he screamed into the night.
"Ron!" Hermione gasped, giggling loudly. Her face was bright red and she hid it in her hands. He slammed the door shut and rushed back to her, enclosing her in a warm bear hug.
"How did that just happen?" Ron asked after a few minutes of sitting like this.
"I really don't know," Hermione said, honestly sounding puzzled. "How long have you had that ring, anyways?"
"Erm, not long."
Hermione pulled back, looking at him curiously.
"How long, Ron?"
The tips of his ears burned.
"I mighthave gotten it a month after we started dating."
Hermione stared at him.
"What?" she responded, astonished.
"It was the day of the first Hogsmeade weekend of the year," Ron said, not looking at her. "I had missed you so much, it was like there was a hole in my stomach. And then you were there and you were kissing me and you looked so gorgeous, and I had never felt so whole and alive and the hole in my stomach completely vanished. So after you went back to school I just... I bought one. I walked to the jewelers without really thinking about it and I just saw this ring and I got it."
"How did you afford it? If you don't mind me asking," Hermione pried.
Ron turned even redder. Unable to stop herself, Hermione brought up a hand to stroke his cheek and he closed his eyes at her tender touch that matched her gaze in gentleness.
"I... er... I sold my autograph from Viktor Krum. You know, the one I got in fourth year."
Hermione burst out laughing.
"What?" Ron asked defensively.
"Nothing. I love you," Hermione smirked, kissing him.
In time the two of them stood up and started making their way to Ron's bedroom. Ron scooped Hermione up bridal style (ignoring her shrieks of protest per usual, as he knew she secretly liked it) and threw her onto his bed, where she lay laughing until he joined her.
"So, you came here to break up with me," he started.
"And now we're engaged," Hermione finished.
"Didn't see that one coming," Ron said, letting out a low whistle.
"Neither did I," Hermione admitted. "Though I'm not sure I really would have been able to go through the stupid breakup."
"Love you," Ron said, kissing her lips, then her nose.
"I love you, too," Hermione replied, snuggling into him.
Ron lifted her small frame up and placed it on top of his arm so that he was holding her and cradling her.
"Finally," he sighed. "Now I can sleep."
"Mum, will you be okay here?" Rose asked quietly, standing up and grabbing her purse. "I have to get back to Jean, she's probably awake by now."
"Of course," Hermione whispered, reaching out and smoothing the hair on Ron's forehead. "Go on, love. I'll probably be here for a while."
"Are... are you sure?" Hugo asked tentatively. He had been unable to keep his eyes off of his father since he had arrived at the hospital.
Rose hesitated, trying to gauge exactly how okay her mother would be if she left. Hermione sighed and took Rose's hand.
"Really, Rosie. I'll be fine. Besides, I want to be alone with him when he wakes up."
"Alright," Rose said finally, after scrutinizing her mother one last time. "Sleep well, mum."
"Love you," Hugo added, leaning down to kiss the top of Hermione's head.
"Love you, too. Both of you," she said quietly, watching her two children as they exited the hospital room, letting the door swing shut behind them. Sighing, Hermione turned back to her husband, smoothing out the creases on his forehead where he was frowning in his sleep. He hadn't slept like that before the second wizarding war, but every since he almost always looked like that when sleeping. But that war was in the past now, so long ago even the feelings Hermione'd had of being tortured had been forgotten. She supposed that time could do that to anyone. She and Ron didn't even have nightmares anymore. They hadn't had them since they turned fifty.
She let out a startled gasp as Ron's vivid blue eyes sprung open, staring at her own brown ones. Out of all the features on him, his eyes had never changed. His skin became wrinkled, his hair turned white, but his eyes, his beautiful gorgeous eyes had never changed. They were her constant. She needed them in her life to function, she would have sworn on it. Upon seeing them she burst into tears.
"What would I have done without you?" she wailed, throwing her body over Ron's. This was met with a loud 'oomph!' that made Hermione quickly back away from him, but, chuckling, he drew her back to him, enclosing her in his arms.
"Just kidding," he promised, pressing a gentle kiss against her lips. "I've gotten used to that by now, love."
"Don't joke about it!" Hermione protested, swatting his arm. "Every thing's different now!"
"I can't joke anymore?" Ron asked, looking stricken. "Jesus, Hermione, a man gets sick and his wife sucks all the fun out of life."
"Shut up!" said Hermione through thick tears that were pouring down her face. "You stupid-"
She began repeatedly hitting his leg, calling him as many names as she possibly could, before breaking down into even more hysterical tears, her anguish leaking from her eyes and settling on Ron's chest. He sighed against the weight of her sadness and took it readily. He refused to let on how weak he was feeling. She didn't need to know that. He could tell her anything, but for her sake he could not tell her this. Ron knew he didn't have a whole lot of time left. He knew he might actually die in this hospital bed. But while he could accept that, he wasn't sure that Hermione could. It would be much harder for her than it would be for him.
"How are you feeling?" he asked when he sobs had quieted somewhat.
"How do you think?" she asked, drawing back from his comforting embrace to look at him. For some reason, she couldn't stop staring at his eyes. There was a sense of dread that stole over her, looking at them, but she forced herself to tuck it away, to ignore it. Ron didn't need to see it.
"Awful," he decided, taking her hand. He hesitated. "I'm sorry," he whispered.
"Why?" Hermione asked, searching his face and looking confused.
"If you forget," Ron replied, "I won't be here to help you."
"What are you talking about?"
"Remember... the night we got engaged?"
Hermione's brow creased as she tried to do so.
"Yes," she said. Then she paused. "Not really, no."
"You watched The Notebookand-"
"Oh, right," Hermione said, cutting him off. "I remember now. I was afraid I would forget like the woman in the movie."
"I never forgot about that night," Ron told her. "Yeah, I never brought it up again, but I never forgot about it."
"Oh," Hermione said, smoothing his hair back and wondering where this was going.
"When I found out I was sick," Ron said, watching Hermione as she closed her eyes, unwilling to look at him as he said this, "It... my first concern was that."
Hermione's eyes snapped open.
"My first concern was-"
"I know, I heard you. But I don't understand."
"I was worried that you would forget and I wouldn't be there to remind you like you were so afraid of."
"Oh, Ron. I hardly think it matters anymore. Don't worry."
"Because it's too late."
"It's not, though."
"Would you let me finish a damn story, Hermione?" Ron demanded.
"Sorry, continue," Hermione said, flushing and looking down.
In response, Ron reached to the side of his bed and pulled out a large brown book filled to the brim. Arguably, it was bigger than War and Peace.
"Here," he said, handing it to Hermione. She stared at it uncertainly. "Open it," he prodded.
"This isn't what I think it is, is it?"
"Open it," Ron repeated.
September 1s, 1991
This is the day that we met, Hermione. We met on the Hogwarts Express as first years, and you told me that I had dirt on my nose. You also proved that you were much better at magic than I was, even then. You were amazing- and I hated you for it. But I guess in the end your amazingness was what made me fall in love with you, so let's not complain, alright?
Tears came right back as Hermione glanced at a picture placed in the side of the page, Ron in his first years robes smiling proudly, Charlie's old wand in one hand, Scabbers in the other. There was, indeed, dirt on his nose.
"When did you do this?" Hermione asked, looking at the enormous book.
"I started the day after we got engaged. I went out and bought the book and with the help of mum, Harry, Ginny and basically anyone else I could get I started writing out our past. When I was done with that I added bits and pieces to the book every day of our life."
"Oh my god," Hermione whispered.
"I never wanted to see that look on your face again, love," Ron told her quietly. "You won't forget, because you'll get someone to read this to you and you'll never have to."
"You are so wonderful," she said softly.
"Always the tone of surprise," Ron replied.
She became a puddle again, weeping, because she hadn't done anything nearly as astonishing for him and she felt like a terrible, terrible wife. She covered his face and lips in kisses, and then it suddenly hit her. He was giving her the book. He didn't think there was anything else to write in it. He had given up. She pulled back, aghast. This couldn't mean what she thought.
"Why are you giving this to me now?"
He didn't answer that, instead greeting her question with another one.
"Do you regret it?"
"Regret me telling you that we weren't breaking up. Regret marrying me and having kids with me and spending your life with me instead of giving up on caring like you so badly wanted to do."
"No," Hermione said, her answer ready in an instant. "You were, are and always will be worth it. My life wouldn't have been complete without you."
"That's what I wanted to hear," Ron sighed, and he closed his eyes.
"Read the last page," he suggested, eyes still closed. "It'll help. And I love you, Hermione Weasley. Always."
She held his hand, watching as he drew his last breath, his expression unreadable. There was a gasp, a choking sound from Hermione, and she resisted the urge to stand up and scream, to call a Healer. But she couldn't, because there was nothing the Healers could do and he was already gone and she couldn't scream because she was over a hundred years old and...
She screamed anyways.
The Healer came rushing in as Hermione wept over Ron, hugging the book to her chest and keeping her hand in his.
She screamed and she cried, and she kept on doing these things as Rose and Hugo arrived and dragged her away from Ron, trying to calm her down. Trying and failing. Hours later, she sat in her room, alone per her request, and she lay on their bed, now too horror struck to sob. And that was when she remembered the book, how he had said it would help. While Hermione trusted Ron with every piece of her soul, she couldn't see how it would. So she swallowed and opened it. The words on the page made content steal over her for a second before the desolation came back.
I love you. See you soon, Hermione.
She believed him.
A/N: I wrote this because of my feelings after I saw The Notebook for the first time. I needed it to express my sadness at the movie- everything Hermione feels in this one-shot is something I felt after watching the movie. I actually cried while writing this, so if I made you cry, I hope you'll leave me a review telling me! I'd like to think that I'm not alone in that :) By the way, I own neither The Notebook nor the Harry Potter series. What I do own is the plot, the emotions, the writing, and the adamant Romione obsession I posess. This is my first story on , but I have a lot more over at HPFF, so if you recognize the username that's why! ~writergirl8