The imagination of a heart

Ron gazed distractedly at the door, abruptly awoken from his thoughts by a sound.

He was sitting at the foot of the bed with some paper sheets in his hands. They had a ragged look, as if they'd been carried around and were being repeatedly read by a reader dedicated to soaking up every last syllable in them.

The first was a rather short note. Hermione had given it to him the day after the war, before she left to find her parents.

He hadn't read it until late that same night, exhausted from making it through the day. The loss of Fred was unfathomable, but the Weasleys found what comfort they could in each other.

The note said "Dear Ron. I'm so sorry for everything, and please pass on my condolences to your family. I just want to say that I am so sorry, but this isn't my world. I just want to forget everything. Except you, of course. Take care of yourself, and Harry too. Love you always, Hermione".

That was long ago now.

The rest of the papers were envelopes. All addressed to Hermione Granger, all sent, and all returned unopened. Ron had taken to carrying them all around with him, as if keeping his and Hermiones writings together would somehow bring him closer to her.

After the initial shock and grieving, the Weasleys were now trying to bring their lives back to normal. After the funeral they had all decided it was time to remember Fred for the happy times, and not concentrate solely on the unhappy circumstances under which he was taken from them. It was getting easier each day to keep his memory with them and still live, and even be happy.

For Ron, letting go of Fred meant Hermione was taking up more and more of his thoughts.

Seven letters he had sent and gotten in return. Initially he had been terrified something had happened to her, but he recognized her hand in the writing crossing out her address and replacing it with his. On the second letter she had scribbled a short sentence by the address.

He had refused to believe what it said.

Ron imagined her in his head, different scenarios fleeting past his eyes. He saw her sitting at her desk (though he'd never actually seen her room), maybe reading.

He imagined her outside, in some sort of park, with people all around. Muggles, in her muggle world.

Ron felt his ears reddening, and cold fury rising up through his chest. Then suddenly he slumped. He'd been through these scenarios a million times, and others like them.

Lately he felt like she was slipping, and the more he tried to imagine her face, the more it blurred and refused to stay in focus. The more he tried to remember the feel of her hair against his skin, the harder it became. And her lips…it might not have happened at all.

And yet, even as a slipping memory of times gone past, she still held his heart.

All he had left inside his chest, was imagination.