AN: Welcome to another bizarre production.
Hermione's voice was full of annoyance. She pursed her lips as she watched him wave his wand at all corners of the house. There were fiendish mops, utensils, and rags crashing into each other as they jumped around, fervently cleaning everything in their path. In truth, they were creating more of a disturbance than actually cleaning. Hermione let out an unexpected "oof" as she ducked, narrowly avoiding a flying dishrag.
"Stop it, Ronald!" she shouted.
With a flick of his wand, Ron set down the cleaning supplies, feeling slightly afraid of her angry eyes.
"This is completely unnecessary, Ron. I can still use my wand, you know," she continued, standing up from the couch. Ron immediately ran over to assist his wife. "I'm five months pregnant; I'm not ill and dying," she said, exasperated.
"Just, you know, take it easy. Maybe a few days off from work?" The red-haired man gingerly guided her to sit back down on the couch. He then dashed off to the kitchen and retrieved a glass of water. Presenting it to her, he smiled deliriously in the way that only first-time fathers could. After she took a sip and moved to set down the glass, Ron intercepted it, eager to set it down for her.
Hermione gave him an incredulous look in response. Notoriously lazy Ron Weasley had suddenly changed into a horrifically fussy version of his mother and appeared to be having the time of his life doing housework. He grinned absurdly at her.
"Um," she stammered, desperate to be rid of him, "I think I would like some chocolate frogs. Would you run out and buy some? And do get two boxes, I know you'll want to eat one on the way home."
His eyes went wide. "How do you always know?"
Rolling her eyes, Hermione said blandly, "I just do."
"All right, you wait here. Don't move! I'll be back in just a few!" He ran to the door and left in a flash.
When she was sure he had gone, Hermione made her way upstairs to their bedroom. She sat down at her dark wood vanity and opened her jewelry chest. A thousand little matchbox drawers sprang upward. Taking off her rings, she carefully tucked them into a little compartment at the bottom. Her fingers had swelled slightly and the golden bands were becoming uncomfortably constricting. They made a strange clinking noise as she pushed the box closed.
Bothered by the unexpected sound, the witch pulled the box out again. To her shock, there had already been a ring in the box—a tiny ribbon of silver bent in odd waves. A single drop of blue gem stone sat at the sharp corner of its twist. Hermione pulled out the little ring with the intention of placing it in another box. As she held the silver loop, its little gem seemed to shift, crystal color swirled organically. Hunching over, she squinted at the piece closely, but saw nothing.
Hermione played with a small silver ring languidly, unaware of her fingers turning it over and over. It took her back to that terrible night at Hogwarts. She had picked up the crooked little ring in the Shrieking Shack next to her dying professor. Her keen eyes had seen the glint of its singular gem as it fell from Snape's hand when he tried to staunch his fatal wound. Covering her forehead with her hand, Hermione tried to not think of the blood. There had been so much metallic red fluid seeping into everything. Thank goodness her morning sickness was over.
She glanced at the thin ribbon of silver again. It was completely ordinary, she was sure. Kingsley Shacklebolt had checked it himself.
No excuses could be made for why she kept it all these years other than that she'd forgotten its existence. It had a bizarre austere type of beauty, but it was nonetheless a relic from a man she did not like. The ring was either too small or too large for each of her fingers, so she had never worn it. Toying with the band, she slipped it on to her right ring finger absently. It slid on without resistance, as if it had been intended for her, and Hermione made a noise of curious amusement.
The ring seemed to change again, color shifting to become frosty encased light. She held her breath as the light engulfed her, pulling her into its own realm. A chilly paralysis over took her senses.
Hermione could not recall why or how long she had sat staring at the tiny stone. Time was at once still and rushing to her.
It was the sound of jingling keys and turning lock gears which startled her out of the trance much later. Without a second thought, Hermione threw the ring into a random tiny drawer and slammed the chest shut, thinking only a few minutes had passed. She made her way down the stairs and felt compelled to run straight towards Ron as if she had not seen him in ages. Flinging her arms around him, she pulled him into a crushing embrace.
"Blimey, Hermione, I didn't know you liked chocolate frogs this much," he muttered, encircling her with his free arm.
Hermione buried herself into his robes, still clinging to his broad shoulders. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, Ron! I love you so much. Please don't ever leave me!"
"Not even to go to the bathroom?" Ron said jokingly.
"This isn't funny!" said a distraught Hermione. She could not explain her sudden need of him. All she could feel was intense yearning for him as if he would disappear at any moment. Her fears were stained with regret and endless apology which made her feel she was infinitely fortunate to have him with her. It was like he was the sun and she the mere mortal earth.
"All right, all right," her husband yielded. "They really weren't exaggerating about the moodiness."
That night, when Hermione went to bed, she had a deep and vivid dream. She awoke clinging to Ron, gasping with inexplicable tears in her eyes and aching loneliness in her heart. It did not surprise her that the dream had been about him, he had been on her mind ever since she'd put on the ring that afternoon.
"Lily," a dark and lanky boy pleads.
The girl he is speaking to looks confident, standing upright with a straight back. She does not look at his hunched form, but instead glances past him. With a look of determination, she shakes her head. "I told you already, I'm not interested. I only spoke to you that night because Mary asked me to."
Ignoring his plea, she begins to walk away. "This is a new low, even for your lot. I'm going to talk to McGonagall if you have your Death Eater friends corner me again," she says harshly.
The boy's face falls into an expression of pure despair. "Lily...I just want to..."
She spins around and stares him in the eye.
"Get this into your head, I don't want anything to do with you, so stay away. Don't speak to me again," she forces out before hurrying away.
The dark-haired boy draws a shaky breath and stares after her in desperate longing. His sharp features are filled with the shadows of internal turmoil.
This story is inspired by so many things I cannot even begin to count. The most important of them include Maki Kusumoto's monumental work "K no Souretsu" (Funeral Procession of K) and fandom author Leareth. This is as much their work as it is mine. Many thanks to them and to my editor Kim and my beta Lilith.