You and I
Soul mates seemed like such a clichéd term. It was easier to refer to Ron as the one person she could trust to keep her life interesting. He liked to talk (sometimes he was never quiet when she needed him to be), to argue as much as Hermione herself did (often arguing himself into a corner), and a surprisingly good cook (when given the right materials, like spices). They disagreed about little things, but they always seemed to come from the same place about things through vastly different reasoning.
When Hermione was stressing herself into small, manageable fits of panic Ron would be there to drag her away to see some form of natural light with the children and rub her shoulders while making off color comments about where her boss could stick his insane schedules and her workload while Rose and Hugo rode their brooms in the back field and tossed tennis balls back and forth.
She rubbed the back of her neck and opened the window curtains. It was well past sunset now and with both the children away at school and Ron working late on these murder cases that had the whole of wizard Britain on the edge of their seats, Hermione was alone and finishing some paperwork. The house was too quiet. Perfect to get work done. It was eerie.
It was just her mind trying to create noise that was not there, seeing shadows move from the corners of her eyes. The imaginary movements kept her glued to her chair, she felt like a child again. She should go downstairs to have a look at the chicken she was keeping warm in the oven and see if the topping and the dessert had set in the refrigerator. Hermione stood up and stretched her arms over her head, wincing at the loud cracking noises from her spine and shoulders that told her she had been sitting still for too long.
She stepped into a hall and rolled her eyes at how dark the rest of the house was, she must have been in her home office for a couple of hours longer than she thought. Hopefully the chicken was not to dry.
Hermione lit her wand and looked for the light switch on the wall, hoping she would not slide down the stairs on a stray sock in the process. She flipped the light switch before this became a reality and moved downstairs to the kitchen. The stairs creaked eerily with each step, causing Hermione to wince at each exceptionally loud creak and groan.
She reached the bottom of the stairs and turned towards the kitchen. There was a light on. Ron was not going to be home for another few hours if the past couple of weeks had been anything to go by. She took out her wand and held it out in front of her. There would be no unwelcome intruders in her home; she would be well within her rights under the law to turn him into a pincushion. She was home alone, not helpless.
She had her wand enter the kitchen first before speaking. "What are you doing?"
The tall figure looked over, "Hermione, what are you doing?"
"What was the first thing you said to me after Voldemort's defeat?"
Ron put the chicken on top of the oven before looking at Hermione with his blue eye wide. "Er… I love you."
Hermione put her wand down and released the breath she had been holding.
"Wait, I didn't ask mine yet?"
"Fine." She put her wand up half-heartedly and waited for one of their safety questions.
"Where did you drag me on our first date?"
"I took you to a muggle bookstore and then to get coffee at a place across the street."
They both released their hold on their wands and smiled at each other, before Hermione walked across the kitchen to wrap her arms around his neck.
"I thought you wouldn't be home until later."
"I told Harry you were making my favorite dinner tonight and that I decided to take off early. Then I got held up at the door for two hours and here I am."
Hermione laughed, "You could have let me know you were home."
"I'm sorry. I figured you were working on something; I didn't want to bother you. Besides, I was about to set the table and surprise you." He motioned to the plates and silverware stacked on the counter next to the stovetop. The pudding Hermione had made that afternoon had set perfectly, and was uncovered on the counter next to the plates.
Hermione smiled and stepped back. Little things, like dinner, easily fell into a natural team effort. Working together was so easy. They made it fun, Ron told some of his ridiculous work stories while Hermione laughed at how infectiously funny he was when he told them. Laughing together was the easiest thing in the world. Telling him to pick up his socks was another matter entirely. Arguing together over stupid things was one of the core foundations of their relationship.
Hermione never liked the term soul mate; it made human relationships seem so final. Like there would only be one perfect match in life for each person. If that were the case, what would happen if one half died? In the case of soul mates, did the other half shrivel up in all consuming grief? Spiral down and just stop living?
Hermione did not have an answer for this. She knew if she lost Ron there would be a large gapping hole inside of her that even her children would not be able to fill again. They had come close to losing each other many times over the years. He was such a large part of her life and all of their adventures together that not having Roan around made everything seem so bleak. Hermione never cared to find out what his death, many, many, years down the line, would do to her. She had a vague idea, but did not want to see if the horrifying idea matched reality.
"Er… I love you."