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The Thing You'll Miss The Most
More than friends, closer than brothers....
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.


“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: , , , ,
Current Mood: busy busy

22 comments or Leave a comment
redsnake05 From: redsnake05 Date: March 16th, 2008 09:08 am (UTC) (Link)
You wringer of emotion, you! This was touching and heartfelt and I loved it.
shadowfiction From: shadowfiction Date: March 16th, 2008 09:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!

I feel like I've kind of shown all sides of the triangle now. Bedfellows and Longing are both heavily Ron/Harry, Teasing shows the dynamic between Harry and Hermione, and this focusses in on the Ron/Hermione.

Giving Harry a profession where, eventually, he'll be able to 'work from home' puts him right where I want him to be, too. When I wrote the original story, I pictured him as being the 'stay at home' parent. Hermione has her career at the Ministry, and Ron is one of the major partners in Wheezes. I liked the idea of Harry having a shed where he could tinker on broom charms and plane pieces of wood into handles while the baby is nearby, asleep, or playing in her pen.
mrsquizzical From: mrsquizzical Date: March 16th, 2008 09:47 am (UTC) (Link)
oh bless.

bless them ALL!

*squishes them all to my bosom*
shadowfiction From: shadowfiction Date: March 16th, 2008 10:03 am (UTC) (Link)
YAY! I'm glad you liked it!

Once I opened up a document and reread the original fic, I knew exactly what I wanted to write. No pornishness, but she can look at her birthday pic from Em for that. :)
oncelikeshari From: oncelikeshari Date: March 16th, 2008 10:31 am (UTC) (Link)
All is full of meep!
shadowfiction From: shadowfiction Date: March 16th, 2008 10:34 am (UTC) (Link)
*pets you*

I wrote R/Hr! Het!

*checks own temperature*
hpuckle From: hpuckle Date: March 16th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was perfect, perfect, perfect. The relationship was so lovely and completely spot-on!

Oh, I do love my OTP *sighs*

shadowfiction From: shadowfiction Date: March 16th, 2008 03:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
*huggles you*

I *can* write het...I just like slash better. :)
shocolate From: shocolate Date: March 16th, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
*big happy sigh*

shadowfiction From: shadowfiction Date: March 16th, 2008 03:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
This one makes me happy, too. Didn't take me long to write either. No more than an hour, I don't think.
hedwigs_bane From: hedwigs_bane Date: March 16th, 2008 07:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, not my favorite idea, but I suppose there's plenty of Ron to share.

shadowfiction From: shadowfiction Date: March 16th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Het's not my favourite to write either. But if you want an antidote, read my latest...it's the evil twin of this fic. Or this fic is its evil twin. Or something.
tree00faery From: tree00faery Date: March 17th, 2008 12:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Oooh, this was lovely! I loved Hermione not being able to concentrate on school work. And Ron was perfectly sweet and caring. Your Ron makes me actually like Ron/Hermione. ^_^
shadowfiction From: shadowfiction Date: March 17th, 2008 09:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Ron doesn't always have the emotional range of a teaspoon!

Actually, I think Harry was the main orchestrator in this. They could tell she was getting stressed from the letters she wrote back, but Harry read between the lines and told Ron in no uncertain terms that Hermione was feeling lonely and left out. He'd felt like that himself only a few months earlier, after all.

And so, while Ron and Hermione reconnect, Harry's playing Exploding Snap and letting George get him a little drunk, because I think George is the person they've confided in about their polyamorous relationship. George is going to be the one trying to distract Harry, rather than the reverse, for once. He's a good big brother, with a good heart. And Harry's making a big effort not to be jealous, and probably feeling a little guilty that he's having to make an effort, because a relationship like this would take time to become naturally balanced and that's not going to happen when one of them is hundreds of miles away.
tree00faery From: tree00faery Date: March 17th, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, it would have been Harry's idea, wouldn't it? That's really what makes me enjoy this story - I don't enjoy Ron/Hermione too much by themselves, but add in Harry and suddenly I like it. The dynamic between the three of them is so full of possibilities. (And by the way, I think you write them perfectly.)
shadowfiction From: shadowfiction Date: March 18th, 2008 03:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
foretinterdite From: foretinterdite Date: March 17th, 2008 04:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love how you've captured that Hermoine-ish element of knowing what the answer should be, and trying to accept it yet still trying to worry for three.
shadowfiction From: shadowfiction Date: March 17th, 2008 06:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hermione's really lost, up in Scotland on her own. I think until she was at Hogwarts alone, she didn't realise how much she relied upon Ron and Harry. She doesn't relate well to most people around her (though she seems to have a fairly cordial relationship with Ginny), and I think she's identified herself since beginning her life as a witch with Harry and Ron in the picture. Alone, she has to redefine what makes her a witch and a woman. She has to figure out who Hermione is. That's why she's clinging so much to the letters, even though they are a painful reminder of how alone she is. They help to make her feel grounded.
yaaronet From: yaaronet Date: March 21st, 2008 12:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh look at the both of you with your het for my birthday!

*clings and loves*

This is lovely, thank you so much! *sighs*

shadowfiction From: shadowfiction Date: March 21st, 2008 12:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
There aren't many I'd write het for!

*snogs you*

Happy Birthday, love.
shygryf From: shygryf Date: April 23rd, 2008 05:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
OH! poor sweet hermione. silly girl.
shadowfiction From: shadowfiction Date: April 23rd, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
She's insecure, too, and being away from the boys while they're getting closer every day really doesn't help.
22 comments or Leave a comment