A/N: I broke a bag I was rather fond of and decided to write this in memory of it. That's a normal thing to do, right? Anyway, goodbye, Bag. You amused me and taught me an important life lesson. You will be missed. May your wisdom live on forever through this story and sorry again for having sharp keyrings.
As well as a bag, this story is dedicated to the anon on tumblr whose birthday it is tomorrow, Kate whose birthday was Tuesday and all other February babies because they are the greatest.
Disclaimer: J.K Rowling has never written a memorial story for an accessory before. This story is not an exception.
Hermione nearly tripped over the rug as she burst out of the fireplace. Normally her return home was more dignified but now was not the time to worry about stubbed toes or ash over the carpet. A matter of seconds ago she had been enjoying an afternoon with her mother when her mobile rang. Seeing as her parents were usually the only people who ever contacted her via Muggle means anymore, she was surprised to see Ron's name on the display.
After buying him a mobile five years previously and spending hours teaching him to use its basic functions, she could probably count the times he had actually bothered to use it on one hand. Either the call was an emergency or he had sat on it. Again.
"Hi, Ron," she had answered. "What's up?"
For a moment she was sure he had pocket dialed her until she realised the scratching noise she could hear wasn't fabric rubbing against the mobile but her husband's breathing.
"Hermione, I'm sorry, but - but I think I'm dying."
The thing with living with Ron Weasley for nearly three years and knowing him for far longer before that was that this wasn't exactly an unusual conversation starter for Hermione.
"What's wrong now?" She had tried not sound too exasperated. Her mum wasn't exactly helping as she smirked at her daughter. "If you've been buying those cuts of meat from Mundungus again then I-"
"No, Hermione, seriously." He had coughed several times. "I-I don't know what's happening. My mouth is all foamy."
"You're foaming at the mouth?" That had stopped her mother smirking.
"Yeah." There had been more coughing followed by a feeble sounding, "love you."
Hermione was out of her seat, her bag and coat forgotten in her haste, before she had registered that she was even moving. "Don't you dare, Ron. Don't you dare di-" She choked on her words, unable to process the thought. They did not survive a war for him to die so soon afterwards. She wouldn't let him. Really, what was the threat of death compared the tenacity and research skills of Hermione Weasley? "Are you at home?"
He hummed in affirmation as Hermione kissed her mother on the cheek and scooped up too much Floo Powder. The emerald flames whipped around her as she shoved her phone into her pocket. The journey hadn't been a comfortable one. Rushing into the fire place and not assuming a safe position before calling out her address left her elbows grazed and stomach queasy, but Hermione barely noticed. Her mind was filled with only one thought - Ron was not going to die, not if she had anything to do with it.
The same solitary thought was still consuming her as she sprinted into their bedroom, calling his name. As predicted, Ron's long limbs were curled up to make him as small as possible for someone who often had to duck when entering a room. The parts of his face that weren't buried in a pillow were pale, making his freckles stand out more than usual.
"Ron," Hermione cried as she knealt beside him. "Ron, sweetheart, look at me. Please."
It would have been better if she could have stopped her voice wavering but the sight of greenish bubbles at the corner of Ron's mouth were scaring her.
"'Mione," he groaned, his half-closed eyes searching for hers, "my belly hurts."
Hermione pushed his thick fringe off his forehead with a shaking hand. He only resorted to childish language when he was seriously ill. It didn't matter how old he was, deep down he would always be his mother's youngest son and used to being pampered when poorly.
"Don't panic, okay?" she said, well aware how much she was panicking. "Let me get a bezoar and-"
"Tried that," he grunted. "Not poison."
All the partially formed plans Hermione had crashed around her as she saw the small, foamy stone on the bedside table. Running through her extensive knowledge of illness, both magical and Muggle, she couldn't think of a single thing that could have caused this. Fear and uselessness battled inside her as she gripped his hand and examained her husband for a symptom that would help her diagnose whatever this was.
"Ron, what have you done today? What have you eaten?"
He coughed and more foam seeped out of his lips. "Toast. And jelly."
That didn't help. Having done the food shop herself, Hermione knew that he wasn't allergic to the brands she had purchased and besides, with the way Ron ate pretty much anything put in front of him, it was unlikely he would discover a new allergy in his twenties.
"Love you," Ron told her roughly. "I'm sorry I didn't do the washing up last night-"
"Stop talking like that."
"It was me that broke your vase two years ago-"
"Crookshanks wasn't even in the house."
"And I should have told you how beautiful you are every day-"
"Don't you dare remarry-"
"RON!" she screeched over Ron's increasingly garbled monologue. "You aren't helping! Stay calm, all right? I'm going to get you some water and Floo St Mungo's for a healer." She kissed him on the cheek and darted into kitchen.
"Don't let me die on my own!" Ron called after her, sending a wave of nausea to crest. She had to stay focussed. Ron, despite all of his Auror training, was falling apart and if she followed suit they'd both be too hysterical to do anything.
Frantically, Hermione picked a glass off the draining board and began filling it with water from the tap. As she took several deep calming breaths, she saw Ron had left his dirty plate and knife, still covered in a pink paste, by the sink unwashed. She rolled her eyes and then immediately felt guilty. He was probably already feeling ill when he had abandoned them and had higher priorities.
Still. It didn't excuse every other time he left the kitchen a mess after a light snack that was more like a three course meal to most normal people.
With the glass full, Hermione twisted the tap and turned back to bedroom when a detail from her recent findings trickled through her brain's filters and stopped her mid-step.
She glanced back at Ron's discarded plate and frowned.
"What did you have on your toast?"
"Dunno. Some spread stuff."
"Where did you find it?"
Hermione opened the fridge and, just as she thought she would, saw no spread or paste that matched the thick pink substance on the knife.
"Where in the fridge?"
"Door shelf thing," he answered. "Does it matter? My insides are all twisty."
Ignoring Ron's grunts of pain, Hermione looked at the shelf in question and spotted a small black pot with the lid only half on - a sure sign Ron had been near it. She sagged against the counter behind her and covered her eyes with her hands. The relief hit her with such force that her knees were too weak to support her.
"Hermione? Hermione? Come back. I-I think I'm blacking out."
Instead of rushing to his aid, Hermione sipped the water, deciding the heart attack she was nearly having was a bigger concern. She calmly pulled her phone out and sent a text to her mum telling her to stop worrying and that she would explain later.
"Ron," she sighed, "you're not going to die."
"How do you know?" he squawked indignantly. "If a bezoar can't cure me then what hope is there?"
It was hardly arrogant for Hermione to say that she was above average intelligence. Normally, she was proud of this. Sometimes though, the people around her made her wonder if this was even a compliment.
"The reason the bezoar didn't help is that you haven't been poisoned," Hermione said evenly as she grabbed the black pot and closed the fridge. On a whim, she had a peek in the peddle bin by the fridge and shook her head at what she saw.
"Yes," Hermione replied, picking a clear tub out of the bin. "You've not been poisoned, but you have been incredibly stupid."
"What?" spluttered Ron as Hermione entered the bedroom again and placed the water on the bedside table. "I didn't do anything!"
Hermione stood next to the bed and held up the black pot. "You put this on your toast, didn't you?"
Ron, still pale, nodded.
"Did you noticed anything about the taste?"
He shrugged. "Wasn't great. Just figured the bread was a bit off or something." He spotted the clear tub in her other hand and nodded at it. "That jelly was rank and all. That was when I knew I was ill. Food tasted funny."
Hermione sat on the bed next to him and wiped a bubbled from the corner of his mouth. "The reason your food tasted funny, Ron, was that it wasn't food."
The look he gave her told her that he hadn't clocked on yet.
"This-" She held up the black pot. "-is face cream."
The look he gave her combined with a slow blink told her he was possibly even more lost than before.
"But it was in the fridge," he said as if that settled everything.
More blinking. He stared at Hermione, then the pot, then Hermione again. When he screwed his face up she knew he was following her. "What the bloody hell is face cream doing in the fridge?"
"It's got to be kept cool," Hermione explained. "It's made with all natural and organic products."
"So it is food?"
Hermione sighed. "Not unless you want a smooth and blemish free esophagus."
"But... but the jelly," Ron grimaced as he propped himself up on his elbows. "The jelly was definitely jelly. It wobbled!"
Glad that her husband had followed his talents and went into law enforcement instead of becoming a potioneer surrounded by wobbly and therefore, by his logic, edible ingredients, Hermione shook her head. "I'm afraid not. I left it on the side when I came back from shopping because I was late for my mum. It's actually soap."
"Yes." Hermione stroked his jaw with a thoughtful expression. "It probably explains the foaming."
Ron laughed weakly and shook his head. "Now I know you're having me on. Soap isn't jelly."
"Jelly soap is," countered Hermione.
Under her fond, if slightly long suffering, gaze Ron tried to form some kind of sentence but couldn't think of any words in his soap-addled state. "Don't leave soap in the kitchen!" he eventually managed.
"Don't eat the soap!" laughed Hermione.
Ron glared at her. "This isn't funny!" he growled. "I could've died!"
"Contrary to what your teenage self may have believed, Ron, soap isn't lethal to humans."
Hermione did her best to look contrite under Ron's thunderous look, but broke down into giggles. He couldn't pull off angry with bubbles stuck to his face.
"Oi!" Ron moaned. "I didn't know, did I? What mentalist makes soap look so edible anyway?"
Taking pity on her husband - and wanting to hide her continued mirth - Hermione lay down next to him and curled into his side. To his credit, it was fairly easy assumption to make if you completely ignored the lables on the products. And the way they tasted.
"I'm sorry," Hermione chuckled. "I promise to warn you next time non-food is in the kitchen."
"Thanks," sniffed Ron, which caused him to cough up more foam.
"You know the cleaning potions under the sink aren't-"
"And the sponges are purely for-"
"Crookshanks' litter tray-"
"Okay, okay," Ron said over her, "you've had your fun."
Hermione gave him a squeeze and fell silent. Her fun was far from over. Even when she had ran out of jokes she was sure Ginny could take it to a whole new level. George could even make a range of Wheezes inspired by the story.
"You know you've got to buy me some more face cream and soap?" Hermione told Ron.
"Yes," he sighed, planting a kiss on her temple. "But only if you promise to keep it in a sensible place and properly labled."
The pair drifted into an easy silence that was only broken by Ron's stomach making perculiar noises every so often. In fact, Hermione was nearly asleep when she suddenly sat up and poked Ron in the ribs, causing him to jerk awake.
"You broke my vase?"
As Hermione's eyes narrowed at him, Ron's bugged out of his head, looking very much like he would happily eat another pot of jelly soap to avoid the conversation he was about to have.
A/N: Thanks for reading!
Anyone waiting for the next chapter of Make This Real, I promise it will happen one day. In the meantime, I will be posting an excerpt of what I've already written on my tumblr (the link is on my profile) because you guys have waited long enough.