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MARKING TIME (PG) BY IAMSHADOW

Title: Marking Time (By Counting Hours Apart)
Author: iamshadow
Ship: Ron/Hermione, Ron/Harry
Word Count: 920
Rating: PG
Warnings: Hurt/comfort. Fluff.
Summary: Ron and Harry are in love. Hermione is alone.
A/N: Happy birthday yaaronet!

In the original fic, Longing, I made a reference to a difficult patch early on, when Hermione went back to Hogwarts to get her NEWTs while the boys stayed down south working. This is a little fic written about that time period.

Unlike the other three fics in this 'verse, which are first-person Ron, this is third-person Hermione. Sorry about that, it's just the way it came out.

Stories in the Longing 'verse


Four months.

She’d only written two inches on her Transfiguration essay, due tomorrow, in over an hour. Her last full stop had been vicious. There was a little hole in the parchment now, ringed with a blot of ink, and the tip of her favourite quill was bent.

Four months, two weeks.

The thick wad of letters in her trunk was calling her. There was page upon page of cheery reports from Harry about mad things that had happened during that day’s work at Wheezes, or his childlike excitement in his newfound past-time; broom-making. Most brooms were made in workshops, apprentices handling the basic shaping of the raw materials, then passing them on to the journeymen, and so on, until at the end of the production line, the Master Broomwright would lay the charms and the Broom would be sold. However, independent broomwrights weren’t unheard of. In fact, many of them made enough to live on from their “hobby”, simply because large workshops rarely made brooms customised to the individual’s needs. Harry was years away from being able to make money from his craft, but she knew that wasn’t the point. With Harry, money never was.

Four months, two weeks, three days.

There were also the slightly awkward epistles from Ron, which she reread most often. They were often smudged with butter, chocolate, or some other unidentifiable foodstuff. There were seemingly unending paragraphs about Quidditch, indignant tirades about family tiffs, and occasional moody, self-deprecating rants. But always, in every one, there’d be a short sentence or a turn of phrase that told her clearly how much he missed her, in his roundabout, shy way.

Four months, two weeks, three days, seventeen hours.

She gave up staring at her essay and retrieved the bundle of correspondence, reading well into the night, trying not to ache at the message that both had unknowingly written between the lines over and over again. We’re so happy. We’re in love. He makes me feel so special, so wanted.

She felt so lost.

The next morning, she scribbled the last four inches of her essay in a hasty scrawl as she hung, heavy eyed, over her breakfast. She sleepwalked through her classes, taking notes mechanically but absorbing nothing. That evening, Pigwidgeon arrived, predictably insanely thrilled at successfully completing his assigned task. The message was short.

Hogsmeade, The Three Broomsticks, this weekend. Ask for permission to stay the night in town.
Ron


***


“Where’s Harry?” she asked automatically, trying to stay in control, to not dwell on how wonderful it was to see him, on how he looked so good, better than he had in years. On how he looked happy and comfortable and content in his own skin.

“Did you get permission?” Ron asked immediately.

“Yes, but –” she began.

“Oh, good,” Ron said, breaking into a smile. “Come on, let’s go up. We can talk in private, then.”

He took her hand and led her upstairs, into one of the plain but comfortable rooms. She hesitated, just inside. “Where is he?”

“Harry? He’s working,” Ron answered, closing the door.

“But won’t he need you? Tonight, I mean,” she asked.

Ron shook his head. “Nah, he’ll be fine. He’s in London, tonight, anyway. George has started sleeping at the flat again, and one or both of us have been kipping there most nights, just so he’s not alone while he’s getting used to it.” Ron was pouring wine into two glasses, and Hermione could see a bowl of ripe, red strawberries on the little table between the chairs by the fire.

“I should go back,” she said abruptly. “My NEWTs... I have to study. I’m Head Girl, I shouldn’t be here.”

“Your exams are months away,” Ron said with a confused frown, “and you’re a mature aged student. Neville and Hannah are married with their own private chambers, for Merlin’s sake. Why shouldn’t you be here?”

“You should be with him. You should be with Harry,” she blurted. “Not sneaking up here when he’s off in London.”

Ron’s face reflected a quick series of emotions. For a moment she thought he was going to shout, but instead, he gave a heavy sigh and set the glasses down on the table. He walked over to stand in front of her, placing his hands on her upper arms so that she couldn’t turn away.

“For the record,” he said, his voice tight, “me coming up here was Harry’s idea in the first place. He offered to work my shifts at Wheezes for me. Nobody’s sneaking about.”

“Oh,” she said softly, her cheeks reddening.

“What’s wrong? Is there somebody else? Someone you fancy?”

“No!” she replied. “I love you! I just don’t understand why you would want... I mean, you’ve got Harry, and I’m...”

“Did you not read my letters?” he asked, confused, and a little hurt.

“Yes, but –”

“Did you not read Harry’s?

“Of course, I just...”

“You just didn’t believe it when I said I loved you?” he asked softly. “Or when Harry told you how much I missed you; how much we both missed you?” His hands were rubbing up and down her arms now, and his brow was furrowed, not in anger, but in concern.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered.

“Come here,” he said, gently, pulling her forward into his arms.

When he kissed her, she stopped holding back the tears, because his lips on hers and his hands pressing her in closer told her everything she desperately needed to hear without a single word.


<- Bedfellows *L* Teasing ->
Tags: longing, pg, ron/harry, ron/hermione, trio
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