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Old 08-08-2014, 12:31 AM   #1 (permalink)
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quill Breakdown - Sa16+

This is my first FF attempt. It's post DH (meaning most/all characters and concepts are not my own. They belong to THE J.K. Rowling). I hope you enjoy!

It was moments before dawn, when the sky was light enough to create silhouettes of the land it hovered over, but dark enough to cling to the peace that the night had instilled. It gave him the chance to find the calm he was seldom able to reach. He had come to find this time of day to be sacred to him, which was funny considering up until almost three years ago he wasn’t even aware this time of day existed. Auror training had truly done a number on his sleeping patterns. Auror training had done a lot to his life.

It sounded ungrateful. To be honest, it was. He and Harry had been nothing short of stubborn in terms of their career path. Hell, they had spent their entire childhood building a resumé that could put even some of the best Aurors to shame. Sure, he had other passions, such as quidditch, but none could rival the contentment he got from personally ensuring the safety and protection of his loved ones.
And that was all Ron needed in life. Harry had said it best, their fifth year, that in the end, they had something that was “worth fighting for.” His parents, siblings, friends…they were all worth fighting for, and he reminded himself of it every day. He had to, or else the ungrateful bit of him would consume him completely.

Ron scratched his head and rubbed his eyes as he took a deep breath in. The sun had now risen halfway, cutting its rays of light into the sleepy sky, and reminding Ron that his day was not going to wait on him. He stood up off of the windowsill he had been laying restlessly upon and stretched before making his way across the room to the navy, velvet curtains that encased his sleeping best friend. He always found it funny that they had left the Hogwarts dorms only to be put back into a similar sleeping arrangement with Auror training. The only difference here was that the room only housed Harry and himself, and the room was bare but for the couple of portraits of former Aurors and Auror-involved battle scene tapestries that were decorated on the dark oak walls. It wasn’t as warm as Hogwarts, either. Overall he liked it, though. It felt like a bit of Hogwarts had stayed with them. A bit of home.
“Wake up, mate. Let the final month of training countdown begin,” he called as he flicked his wand and the curtains flung open. He scoffed at the sight of his best friend, sprawled across the bed with his blankets in a heap of chaos. Harry rolled over lazily as he inhaled deeply.

Ron returned to his own bed, pulling out his training robes to change into.
“Five more weeks and we’re official,” Harry managed to say with a loud yawn as he found his glasses on his bedside and sluggishly stuffed them onto his face before following Ron’s lead and preparing for the day of training ahead.
Ron snorted. “You’d think after we saved the entire wizarding world from bloody ruin we would have been considered ‘official’,” he grumbled. He was aware that much of the credit of their successes went to dumb luck, but nonetheless. Voldemort’s downfall could never have happened without him, or Harry, of course, or Hermione.

There it was. Hermione. He mentally kicked himself for bringing her name up at all, though to be fair, his mind would have conjured it up somehow anyway. The woman practically haunted him, his thoughts, his dreams…it was partially why he could no longer sleep the way he did in school. And there was no one but himself to blame. He shut his trunk rather forcefully in frustration with his inner dialogue. The sound snapped him back to reality, and he immediately regretted the commotion he had caused.

Harry’s attention shot to Ron’s direction. “You alright, mate?” he asked, a look of both confusion and concern on his face.
“Oh, yeah, sorry. I forget my own strength,” he chuckled half-heartedly. It was partially true. Ron often forgot how the training had physically changed him, Harry, and even Neville. Ron’s build was finally beginning to match his height, thickening out with muscle. His mother had practically sobbed into him when he had visited for Christmas, both upset and proud of how her youngest son had grown into such a man right under her nose. She had even gone so far as to claim, dramatically he might add, that she would not have ever recognized him if not for the tell-tale signs of a Weasley boy, being the overwhelmingly red hair and freckles. That woman.
“I’m heading down to the dining hall. See you down there,” he added quickly before Harry could see that something was actually bothering him. He knew Harry wouldn’t prod him about it, their friendship had a mutual understanding in that respect. But their mentors had stressed the dangerous principal of showing any weaknesses to the opposition to such an extent that Ron no longer felt comfortable sharing any vulnerability with anyone, even his best friend.

Alas, Harry had bought the excuse, seeing as appetite was a defining quality of Ron’s, and Ron left the room hastily. He was the first to the dining hall, filling his plate with all the biscuits and sausages and eggs his plate could take before finding himself a quiet corner to eat. The hall was unnecessarily large, considering the amount of applicants that were ever actually accepted into training had always been significantly low. There were no windows, as the hall was underground, but was heavily lit with torches that floated overhead. The tables were large and circular, with long circular benches wrapping around the tables, both made of dark oak as well. There were about a dozen of these tables scattered throughout the hall, covering the majority of the room albeit a large statue of Rufus Scrimgeour planted in the center of the room with the inscription “We, ever your servants, will continue to defend your liberty and repel the forces that seek to take it from you- Rufus Scrimgeour, 1997”, and a long table at the head of the room where the food was served. He missed the house-elves’ cooking at Hogwarts, and above all, his mother’s, but the squibs of Scrimgeour Academy for Magical Combat were good enough cooks to satisfy Ron’s appetite.

He ate quickly, in hopes that he could both prolong social interaction and distract himself from the constant battle he fought with his subconscious. As per usual, he was only succeeding with the former. His mind revisited the same scene over and over whenever he thought of her.

“It is but raw emotion that allows one to heal from loss, indeed. We must remember, however, that those who have died have died for a life without desolation or fear. Let us not wallow in our losses, but embrace the life of freedom we have fought so valiantly for.”
Almost two weeks had gone by since the war had ended, and Ron’s entire family, Harry, and Hermione were gathered around the radio listening to what was now referred to as ‘Fawkes Radio’ (formerly called ‘Potterwatch’) as Kingsley Shacklebolt made his first speech as minister for magic. Ron looked around the room at his family: His mum and dad were sitting on the couch, his dad’s arm wound tightly around his mum’s small, plump frame as the other held her hand; Bill sat in their armchair, Fleur perched gracefully on the arm with a hand on Bill’s nearest shoulder; Charlie and Percy standing side by side next to the fireplace, Charlie’s arm around Percy’s, almost in a headlock (which Ron foresaw happening as soon as the seriousness of the moment passed); Harry and Ginny sitting on the floor in front of the coffee table, Harry’s arms enveloping Ginny, who was leaning up against him (Ron had inherited the aphorism of life being too short, and had since given up playing the role of overprotective brother); a sharp pain ached in his heart as his eyes wandered to George, sitting next to his mother whose other hand held his, no twin in sight. They had held a proper funeral for Fred last week, finding a bit of closure in sharing their grief and knowing he’d want his family to find their way back to happiness. In fact, the Weasleys felt everyone needed a little light to pull them out of the dark times they had so long been facing, and thus offered to host a celebration of new life. As far as ulterior motives went, Ron’s father knew it would be something to keep his mum’s mind away from her loss, and thus would force the rest of them from their losses as well. There was nothing more distracting to a Weasley family than a festivity commanded by their mother. In fact, this moment had been the first in days that they had all been able to gather around as a unit and relax. Truthfully, if it had not been for Kingsley’s speech, they probably wouldn’t have had the rest at all, but his mum was in agreement that it could not be missed.
Ron couldn’t hold his attention to the speech, however. He preferred the view. Specifically, the one he had yet to settle his eyes upon. He turned his gaze behind him, to the occupant of the chair he was leaning against. There she was, Hermione Granger, curled up on the seat, her small hand absentmindedly running through Ron’s hair as she listened intently to the radio. She looked down at him in response to his shifted attention, her lips curling up into a grin and her eyes squinting slightly. Everything about her expression was warm, and Ron immediately felt his stomach churn.

Seven years. Seven years of broken hearts and bickering and friendship and hardship and growth and love. They had finally made it. And while he may have wished it hadn’t taken them so long, he would not have traded any of it for the world, because it brought him here. To this moment, with this girl, this brilliant girl who was just daft enough to choose him, above all. He stared back at her with matching intensity, hoping she knew how much he cared for her. It was all he could do when words were just not his strong suit.
She cupped his cheek softly with her hand, and he felt his whole face get hot. He couldn’t help but smile sheepishly as she took notice of his now-pink complexion and smiled even wider, suppressing a laugh. It was all very new, to both of them, acting on the emotions they had suppressed for so long. But they were happy, incandescently happy.

If he had only treasured that sole passion then the way he did now, he was sure that things would never have changed. He would never have let them.

Last edited by Hera; 08-13-2014 at 07:22 AM.
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Old 08-17-2014, 10:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I hope everyone's been enjoying the story thus far
Here's a bit more!


“Right. First off, I think a bit of congratulations are in order! Two years, eleven months of some of the hardest, and best in my opinion, work done!” The encouraging words were Gawain Robards, Head of the Auror Office at the Ministry of Magic. They were standing in a room about as large as Hogwarts’s Great Hall in a far corner of the Academy that they had, until this day, never even known about. It was dimly lit and completely bare, causing Ron curiosity of what its actual purpose was.
Ron couldn’t help but smirk. He, Harry, Neville, Dean Thomas and Terry Boot were the only Aurors-in-training of their year. Who wouldn’t be pleased with themselves for making it as far as they had in Auror training? It was right nasty work, and he was one month away from reaping his well-earned rewards.
“Now, as you all know, the final month is our chance to see what you’ve truly taken away from all of your training. You will be put through a series of situations, testing what we have come to acknowledge as both personal and communal strengths and weaknesses. We ask that you do your best to treat them as authentic crises, for they will help us determine who is ready to move on from the academy,” Robards continued, his cheerful demeanor replaced with complete seriousness.
Ron scoffed quietly and leaned over to Harry. “Yes, Harry, I’m not sure you’re capable enough to save the world from the Dark Arts. Oh wait…” he whispered sarcastically. Harry grinned, fighting back laughter.
“Ahhh, right. I see Weasley thinks our final tasks here lack a proper challenge?” Robards interrupted.
Ron’s arrogance quickly shifted to feigned diffidence. “No sir. I’m actually looking rather forward to it,” he replied.
Robards eyed Ron with skepticism, and while Ron had the urge to give his true opinions on the matter, he preferred to make it to graduation, so he smiled meekly at the man.
Robards finally dismissed the matter with a nod. “Alright! Let’s get started then!” He said with a smile before apparating.
The boys looked at each other for answers, though it quickly became clear that no one knew what was to come next.
“I don’t like this,” Ron could hear Neville mutter, and Dean chuckled as he slapped Neville on the back.
“Oh, come off it, Neville. You’ve been in far worse shape,” Dean reassured him. Ron and the other boys joined Dean in laughter.
“Yeah, come on, Neville. I bet these tests will be easier than asking my sister to the Yule Ball,” he joked, and Neville’s nervousness broke as he, too, cracked a smile.
Suddenly the torches that barely lit the room went out, and the boys were in complete darkness.
“Lumos!” rang out, and as the room was re-illuminated, Ron could see that like him, the other four had their wands at the ready and were scanning the room. The tone had changed, and the nonchalant attitude of a ‘test’ disappeared as Ron’s survival mode kicked into autopilot. He looked around, and the room had changed completely. They were in what appeared to be the disheveled living room of a house. Books were strewn about, furniture was turned over, something made of glass had been shattered, and he spotted a trail of blood making its way up to the second floor.
He turned to the others and indicated to the trail, suggesting his intention to follow it. The others nodded and Harry took a step towards Ron, establishing that he was going with him. Ron nodded his consent, and they slowly made their ascent to the second floor. As they neared the top, Ron noticed the blood looked darker and fresher, and he could now hear a soft moan coming from a room to the right of the stairs. He glanced back to check on Harry, who had also taken notice of the new additions to their investigation. Harry pointed to Ron and cocked his head to the left as he veered to the right. Ron nodded, investigating the noise down the narrow hallway. The moaning was getting louder now, and his pace quickened until he got to the very last room on the left. The door was slightly ajar, and he could hear now that the moaning was coming from a woman in severe pain. He readied himself for the unexpected, and with a wave of his wand, the door flew open.
“Lumos Maxima,” he called and a great ball of light sprouted out of his wand and into the room so he could survey its condition. The room was just as tousled as the rest of the house, albeit a distracting pool of blood leading to…
Ron’s breath caught in his throat and he stopped dead in his tracks. His body tensed, and his eyes widened slightly. The trail of blood had stemmed from a brutally wounded Hermione. Her body was bundled into a heap in the corner, and though she had been moaning softly before, her body was empty of any life.
He began to panic, trying to push down the sobs that were urging to surface, to clear his mind of the emotion that could potentially block him from physically taking hold of the situation. He took several steps forward into the room until he hovered over her, and the emotional reaction to the sight in front of him began to overpower. He froze. In his mind, he knew it was only a drill, but the shock of the situation before him was too much for his heart.
He shut his eyes tight, trying to snap himself out of it. It’s not her. She’s not really here. DO SOMETHING, FOR MERLIN’S SAKE! He snapped his eyes back open, and found that Hermione was no longer Hermione, but his mother in a similar state. He realized the mistake he had made within moments, and in an eager effort to rid himself of the awful images he had fallen witness to, he bellowed, “RIDDIKULUS!” The boggart vanished.
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Old 08-21-2014, 08:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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More!

Also, I would love to hear what people think, if they are enjoying it, ect. Thanks!


“I just don’t get it, Neville! Put you in a war, and you’ll practically fight the Dark Arts off yourself…but put you in front of a lady…” Dean practically choked out before bursting into hysterics as Neville’s cheeks burned bright red from the awkward encounter he had just had with the bar maiden.

They had passed the day’s test in two hours, Neville having discovered several peculiar looking cats in the downstairs cellar of the house about forty minutes in. In a careful effort to remain detached to the presence of the cats, he sent a patronus to the upper levels of the house, requesting the assistance of his fellow Aurors. Only Terry had gotten down in time to help before the half-a-dozen cats turned back into their human forms to take Neville out. One hour and twenty minutes, seven injuries, and six disarmed and bound ‘Death Eaters’ later…the five boys returned back to the hall they had been briefed in and escorted to the Auror clinic for remedies. Immediately following was their review, presented by Williamson, and a five hour training session in what the boys endearingly referred to as the “Bludger Ring”. The training takes place in a circular dome in which the Auror-in-training is faced with obstacles similar to that of the maze in the most recent Triwizard Tournament. The exercise is aimed at challenging both physical and mental strength, leaving one feeling as if they have just endured the repetitive blow of a bludger for the entirety of the exercise…hence it’s charming nickname.
Finally, they were released to finish the day at their leisure, which for them meant drinks at Devil’s Snare, the local pub.

Ron tried his best to laugh and joke along with the others, to cast away his disappointment in himself, to forget the image that had scarred itself into his memory.
Why had he been so quick to believe that a Ministry-approved test would allow the deliberate danger of another? It was careless of him, completely witless. It was her. It would always be her, and if he couldn’t cast her out of his mind he would have to turn to more extreme measures. The kind that he could barely even consider.
“Whoa, mate. It’s not a race,” Harry slapped him on the back. Ron realized he had drank the entirety of his pint and about half of Terry’s. They were all staring at him now, mostly amused save for Harry, who looked concerned and Terry, who seemed slightly annoyed.
“Sorry, mate. Got a bit- er- distracted. I’ll grab you another.”

He managed, with great effort, to carry on the rest of the night more presently in the frivolities of the evening. He even went so far as to buy a round of firewhiskey. This proved to be just enough liquid courage for Neville, who returned twenty minutes later from a long exchange at the bar, beaming and red-faced, with a bit of parchment pertaining to how he might contact the bar maiden for a date. The moment was short-lived, however, as he almost immediately lost it on their trek back to their dorms. It put everyone nearly in stitches over it, and even Neville had a good laugh as he remarked on how “useful” his remembrall was in such cases. The night had become easier, and whether it was the company he had finally decided to embrace or the alcohol, he was grateful.

When the hysterics had died down and the realization that they’d all be called back to round two of their final tests in less than six hours had surfaced, they all sauntered off to their dorms to get much needed rest. Ron heard a mumble of sorts from a highly inebriated Harry as he hit the pillows, and that was the last he remembered of the night before he welcomed the heaviest sleep he had had in months.
“Ron! RON!”
He snapped awake as his stomach dropped, the all-too familiar feeling he had a few dozen times in school. He was late. As his eyes adjusted, he saw that Harry was the source of the wake up call, and seemed equally as flustered. They scrambled frantically around the room, collecting articles of clothing and rather ungracefully attempting to put them on without pause, Ron muttering obscenities under his breath. If he missed breakfast before training, he was half certain he wouldn’t make it through the day. It made him think of his time spent as a refugee with Harry and Hermione, on the brink of starvation (by his standards) for weeks at a time. He shuddered at the idea, and picked up his speed. By now he was halfway across the campus, Harry following just behind. The sunrise was just about over, which had to mean it was what, 6:45? That gave them fifteen minutes before their meeting with Robards. Plenty of time to eat a full breakfast, in Ron’s opinion. He could smell the bacon by now and his mouth began to water. He hoped there’d be poached eggs and biscuits and—
“—OH!”
He had turned the corner to their dining hall and slammed right into someone. A very small someone. A very small, hairy someone. He grabbed his victim’s shoulders to keep him (or her) upright and regained his own balance. “Sorry! I’m just running a bit—“
“Late? I’m absolutely shocked.”
He froze. There was no way Hermione Granger was standing in front of him at Scrimgeour Academy, and yet no matter how many times he blinked she was still there, grinning in amusement.
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Old 08-23-2014, 07:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hogwarts RPG Name:
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Werecats are people too! Reader of Fan Fictions

Hey Episky, thanks for posting your ff here on SS. I think it's wonderful so far and I look forward to read more as you post more. Do you want us to call you Episky or do you have a name we can call you? Here are a couple thoughts on your ff.
Quote:
It was moments before dawn, when the sky was light enough to create silhouettes of the land it hovered over, but dark enough to cling to the peace that the night had instilled. It gave him the chance to find the calm he was seldom able to reach. He had come to find this time of day to be sacred to him, which was funny considering up until almost three years ago he wasn’t even aware this time of day existed. Auror training had truly done a number on his sleeping patterns. Auror training had done a lot to his life.
I love starting a story with descriptions like this. I love being able to picture the scene in my mind as if I am really there.
Quote:
His mother had practically sobbed into him when he had visited for Christmas, both upset and proud of how her youngest son had grown into such a man right under her nose.
Mom's are that way. I am a mom of three grown children, and I am that way myself.
Quote:
He missed the house-elves’ cooking at Hogwarts, and above all, his mother’s, but the squibs of Scrimgeour Academy for Magical Combat were good enough cooks to satisfy Ron’s appetite.
Ron always did have a healthy appetite.
Quote:
a sharp pain ached in his heart as his eyes wandered to George, sitting next to his mother whose other hand held his, no twin in sight.
So sad!
Quote:
If he had only treasured that sole passion then the way he did now, he was sure that things would never have changed. He would never have let them.
Poor Ron. Looking back on the past makes going on the path you chose for your future hard to follow.
Quote:
You will be put through a series of situations, testing what we have come to acknowledge as both personal and communal strengths and weaknesses.
Sounds ominous.
Quote:
He began to panic, trying to push down the sobs that were urging to surface, to clear his mind of the emotion that could potentially block him from physically taking hold of the situation. He took several steps forward into the room until he hovered over her, and the emotional reaction to the sight in front of him began to overpower. He froze. In his mind, he knew it was only a drill, but the shock of the situation before him was too much for his heart.
He shut his eyes tight, trying to snap himself out of it. It’s not her. She’s not really here. DO SOMETHING, FOR MERLIN’S SAKE! He snapped his eyes back open, and found that Hermione was no longer Hermione, but his mother in a similar state. He realized the mistake he had made within moments, and in an eager effort to rid himself of the awful images he had fallen witness to, he bellowed, “RIDDIKULUS!” The boggart vanished.
This was very well written. To Ron it probably felt like he spent too much time figuring out what was really going on. But I know that when you are terrified like Ron was there that time seems to drag out when in reality only moments went bye. Very good way to end your post in my opinion.
Quote:
Immediately following was their review, presented by Williamson, and a five hour training session in what the boys endearingly referred to as the “Bludger Ring”. The training takes place in a circular dome in which the Auror-in-training is faced with obstacles similar to that of the maze in the most recent Triwizard Tournament. The exercise is aimed at challenging both physical and mental strength, leaving one feeling as if they have just endured the repetitive blow of a bludger for the entirety of the exercise…hence it’s charming nickname.
Oh wow! No wonder not many kids go in for Auror training!
Quote:
When the hysterics had died down and the realization that they’d all be called back to round two of their final tests in less than six hours had surfaced, they all sauntered off to their dorms to get much needed rest.
I can't wait to see what comes next in the testing.
Quote:
“Sorry! I’m just running a bit—“
“Late? I’m absolutely shocked.”
He froze. There was no way Hermione Granger was standing in front of him at Scrimgeour Academy, and yet no matter how many times he blinked she was still there, grinning in amusement.
Well Ron, give her a quick hug and kiss and get your breakfast. (That is if it really is Hermione and not some trick of Mr. Robards )

Well done Episky. I like your ff and hope you can post soon.
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Old 01-13-2018, 12:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm back after a longggggg holiday. Excited to get back into this story. Here's more!

“Is there something in your eye, Ronald?”
“Hermione?!” Harry had finally caught up.
“Harry!” They embraced, and Ron snapped out of his momentary trance. He realized how badly his head was pounding, not to mention the ever-growing hole in his stomach and the sweat he had accumulated from his unprompted workout. He looked a bloody mess, and Hermione…

Well, she looked amazing. Her hair was just as bushy as ever, her eyes big and brown, a smattering of freckles on her face. She looked like the same Hermione, save for a certain growth of grace or maturity about her, and he couldn’t help but feel relieved. She turned to him and smiled, and he felt himself relax, despite the unease he should have been feeling given the last time he had seen her and what it had done to him.

“Hermione,” he finally mustered, and opened his arms to her. She looked a bit taken aback at first, but welcomed the greeting enthusiastically. He knew the hug was a bad idea, but couldn’t help but indulge, he had missed her so much. Her smell, the feeling of her…it was a greater pleasure than his mother’s cooking.

“What are you doing here?” Ron was grateful he wouldn’t have to be the one to ask. He was almost certain that if it had come from him, Hermione would have found some offence in it and this whole reunion would find them back in their previous row. He felt his heart react to the memory of it. It was the most miserable day of his entire life.
“Oh, I know. I should have written you, but I thought it would be a fun surprise!” Ron couldn’t help but notice the nervous side-glance Hermione may or may not have given him just then. “I’ve been expressing interest in volunteering. They have this excellent organization in France to protect and rehabilitate hippogriffs, since they’re growing extinct and poachers can get a good price for their talons and wings on the Dark Market—I won’t bore you with my dissertation. Anyway, they don’t want me so far away from work what with my S.P.E.W. project picking up,” she paused to give them both a smug look at that detail, “but they offered me a position here to curb my volunteering-appetite. Besides, I haven’t seen either of you in ages and I, erm, I miss you…” she was staring right at him now. Her big, brown, intense, beautiful…stupid, inconsiderate, foolish eyes. She, too, seemed to snap out of it. “…both. I miss my best friends. So I’m a new resident healer, I suppose!”

“Hermione! That’s amazing! We’re not as noble a cause as hippogriffs, but I know I’m certainly happy to have a pair of gentle hands to set me right after these sessions. The other healers are a bit rough, in my opinion.”

“This is, erm…this is cool, ‘Mione. How long will you be here for?” It was all he could muster. Truly, he was too overwhelmed to know how he felt, let alone react in any sort of way.
She shifted uncomfortably and pulled her hair behind her ear. “Indefinitely, actually. I’m hoping to be able to keep a schedule so I’m doing some form of healer’s practice while I’m working for the Ministry.”
Of course she was. “So you’ll be here for the rest of our training?” He didn’t mean to come off curt. Or maybe he did.
She studied him for a moment before replying, “Yes.“
“Hey you lot! Meeting’s about to start. I brought you some biscuits so you don’t starve—Hermione!” bellowed Neville, and he wrapped her into a hug.
“Hi Neville!” she laughed. “Look, I’ll catch up with you all later! Don’t train too hard or I’ll see you sooner,” she joked as she backed away from the group. She looked at Ron. “It’s so good to see you all,” she said finally before turning around and heading to the clinic.
As they made their way to the meeting, Ron could feel his face getting hot.
“Neville, you’re a hero,” Harry proclaimed as he shoved a biscuit into his mouth.
“Did you know she was doing this?” Ron turned on Harry before stuffing his face, too.
“She mentioned looking into some volunteer work closer to the Ministry and us…” Harry replied, taken aback. “Look, I’m sorry, mate. I would have told you but it wasn’t set in stone when I spoke with her, and the last time I brought Hermione up to you, you seemed perturbed. She’s happy to see you. Is it so terrible that she’s here?”
Ron shook his head and fell silent. He didn’t know how to respond. His head was spinning. Of all the volunteer opportunities she could have taken on, she decides to station herself here. Here, where he trains and lives and sleeps (sometimes) and has been getting on with his life. How dare she just show up with one month left-- the hardest month-- to focus on training without distraction? How was he supposed to do anything with the lump in his throat, the numb in his hands and the knot in his stomach?
No. He wouldn’t let her affect him. He had worked too hard and gone through too much trouble to go back to square one. He had resolved not to let Hermione’s sudden presence in his life get to him, and if Ron was anything, he was stubborn. He shoved a third biscuit into his mouth as if to settle his inner argument and turned his focus to Robards, who had been talking for ten minutes already.
“…and so as we continue our simulated field work, we encourage you to utilize our rehabilitation and recovery facilities. The last thing we want is an auror-to-be taken out so close to graduation.”
“That would be my bloody luck,” Neville muttered.
“Now, let us begin,” Robards finished, and as he snapped his finger the lights went out. Ron’s eyes adjusted to the sudden light to find that he was in a Ministry office of sorts, and as he began to inspect his surroundings and find the others, Ron did his best to sink into the task at hand and set earlier events aside.
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Lunch couldn’t have come soon enough. Ron practically apparated to the cafeteria, filling his plate to capacity and ravenously devouring it. Harry had followed close behind and the two sat in silence as they shoveled food into their mouths. They had finished their test when Harry sneezed loudly and Angelina reacted with a binding charm. The sneeze was not in fact Harry’s, but a “dark wizard’s” who had used polyjuice potion, and Ron found Harry tied up in an office drawer under an extendable charm. “Enjoying your day off, are you?” Dean teased as he sat down next to Harry.
“HEY-YID-WUZZN-DUH-GLIMRUS-TYME,” Harry retorted, mouth completely full. He swallowed. “I was tied up in a drawer, wasn’t I? It was very uncomfortable and all I knew was that I could be there for hours, defenseless. I felt like Mad-Eye.”
The table took on a somber tone.
“You reckon we’ll have to go through half of what he did as an auror?” Neville asked, with mild anxiety and sincere curiosity.

Ron's mind went to the night before the Weasley post-war celebration, and he, Harry and Hermione had stayed up talking in Ron and Harry’s room. They were all sharing a fit of laughter over each other’s less-than-proud moments.
“Oh! Oh! I have—“ Harry bellowed.
“Shh-shh-shh!” Ron whispered between snorts.
“I have one!” Harry whispered, trying to hold back another fit. “It was sixth year— Hermione knows this one— sixth year, Quidditch tryouts.” Hermione’s laughter picked up again— though she begged him not to continue, and Ron chuckled in anticipation, his interest officially piqued.
“Shh-shh, she knew you were better than Cormac.”
“Of course I did, I watched you play. Hell, you two made me play with you when numbers were short.”
The memory of that made both Harry and Ron burst.
“O, shut up! Shut up. I am not that bad.” She pushed them both. “And beside the point! I knew you were better, and I knew you were nervous—“
“—and you were in love with him,” Harry teased.
Hermione flashed him a look, though a smirk quickly followed.
“She cast a confundus charm on him as he was lunging to make a save.”
Ron’s heart lifted and the heat rose into his cheeks. He stared at her absolutely dumbfounded, and he could see her eyes widen with concern. “Oh, wow…”
“Ron, I—“
“—you really had it bad for me!” He saw Hermione immediately relax and he broke into a new fit, Hermione and Harry joining in.
It was the lightest he had felt in weeks. While the end of the war had brought much relief, the pain and mourning that came with it had left everyone feeling heavy. They all seemed to acknowledge the weight that had temporarily lifted, and the heaviness settled back in.
“We’ve been through a lot, we have,” Ron finally broke the silence. He looked at his best friends, marveling at their resilience and bravery and heart. He was proud to walk among them, and to call them family. They had certainly been through more than most, and lost a lot. He thought of Sirius, of Mad-Eye, of Lupin and Tonks, of Fred…all the family they fought for and now mourned together. Hermione took his hand and squeezed it.
“Yeah, mate. We have,” Harry replied softly, smiling back at him. They sat in a warm, comfortable silence, Hermione’s hand resting in his.
Harry left to use the bathroom and get ready for bed. They were told they’d be waking up bright and early to help mum with decorations, so they wanted to get some sleep.
“It’ll get easier. We’ll all get better, in time. And together.” Hermione was looking at him with an intensity he couldn’t quite describe, but made him feel—well—loved.
He smiled and gave her a nod, holding his arms out to her. She nestled into him, the frizz on the top of her head tickling under his chin and the weight of her body leaning into his.
“Well— goodnight,” she said softly as she slowly pulled away. Ron held tighter. She looked up at him, her cheeks turning pink as they locked eyes, and he remembered he didn’t have to hold back his feelings for her anymore. He bent his head down and kissed her softly. It was the fifth time they had kissed— not that he was counting— but it was the first time he realized that they truly did have time. For once, there was no impending danger, no time running out. There was a tomorrow, there was a future and there was a now, and at the moment he was indulging in something his heart had been aching to do for years.
He begrudgingly pulled away, if only to make sure that he was, in fact, snogging Hermione Granger. He felt heat in his cheeks and he smiled as he opened his eyes to find her perfect face, smattered with freckles, eyes still closed and a smile mirroring his.

“RON!”
He snapped his head to see the call had come from Angelina. He ducked just in time before the bludger headed straight for his head made contact. “Thanks, Ang,” he grumbled as he straightened up.
“You’re gonna end up in the healer’s ward if you don’t snap out of it!” she called back before hopping over some vines that looked and behaved suspiciously similar to the ones he encounter in his first year, in devil’s snare. Hermione had saved him from that.
Focus, Ron. He followed Angelina, narrowly avoiding a jinx sent his way. They found Dean stuck in a swarm of Cornish pixies, and Ron was forced to push Hermione out of his mind. It was maddening. Not to say that he had successfully or even healthily healed, but Hermione’s presence had ripped the wound open and freed it of any progress he had made these past two and a half years. He was angry, and the way he saw it, it was her fault.

“Why in the bleeding hell are you here? Why now?!” He burst into the Healer’s Ward, red faced and sweaty.
Hermione’s eyes widened and she looked at the other two healers who were in the room. “Erm…Ron. Can we take this outside?”
“No, no, it’s fine. You two stay. We were just packing up anyway,” Jasper interjected. Jasper Maxwell was the Head Healer at Scrimgeour Academy. A tall and well-composed man of about 53. He had a thick mustache and large, round spectacles that were beginning to fog up at the moment— a sign of his discomfort. He and the other healer, Alice, made a quick, fumbling exit. And then they were alone.

Last edited by Episky; 01-23-2018 at 10:51 PM.
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