Written for Mrs. Bella Riddle's Loved and Hated Ships Competition.

Also written for SnarkyAndProudHufflepuff's Random Pairing Challenge.

Both had the assignment Ron/Hermione.

I could spend forever explaining why I repeatedly choose to portray this pairing in this way, but the AN would wind up longer than the fic.


She is living in a house of cards. One wrong move, and the life she's so carefully built will all come tumbling





She cries sometimes, when no one is watching. She cries for the choices that she cannot un-make. She cries because she loves him, and she's afraid — so afraid — that it's no longer enough.

When they are watching, though, she puts on a brave face, because she is strong enough to fake it, and her children don't need to see her pain.

She isn't sure what happened. She isn't sure where it all went wrong, where it stopped being enough. All she knows is that it did.

She walks through her life on tiptoe, delicate, knowing that the cards could so easily tumble. One false step, one wrong word, and all the fracture lines will be exposed.

The problem, she's decided, is that she didn't start with a firm foundation. Her base level is shaky, hastily built. The shoddy work of an overeager teen. Overeager teens, perhaps, because she certainly didn't build it by herself.

They were so in love.

So fiercely, passionately in love.

And maybe — just maybe — that's the problem.

You can't build anything solid out of passion.

Because passion never lasts forever.

And maybe — just maybe — logical, literal, cerebral Hermione Granger thought with her heart instead of her head this time.

She is living in a house of cards, and when it falls, they will all come tumbling





Him, her, and everyone else, and it's the everyone else she's afraid for, because she doesn't need this to destroy her kids. They deserve better.

So instead she scrambles around the insubstantial base, throwing down plaster and plastering on smiles and trying to stop her fragile life from falling.

Because if it falls, they will all come tumbling down.