Summary: The road to happily ever after wasn't always easy. But it was worth it. They thought so, anyway. A love story told in 100 words and multiple parts.
Characters/Pairings: Ron/Hermione (with a cameo by Harry Potter!)
Genre: Romance, fluff (like really, really fluffy)
Beta: None :(
Word Count: 100 words each (17 parts)
Can the Order post to Tumblr?: Yes
If yes, your Tumblr username: heartsamongstars
It seemed like there were hundreds of keys. Big ones, small ones, oddly shaped ones, some hanging from blue strings, some from red, and all of them unlocked little parts of her that he had yet to discover. Every key was a clue. More than a clue, really; every key was an answer. But he didn’t know all the answers, and he hadn’t the slightest inkling how to go about finding them. All Ron Weasley knew was that it was his heart’s deepest desire to unlock every secret Hermione Granger held in her soul. And those keys would help him.
They would graduate soon. Only days were left before it was all over. It still amazed her how seven years--full of turmoil, friendship, laughter, tears, blood, sweat, pain, death, love, victory--could culminate into a single moment. It was hard for her to believe. Hermione drew her knees closer to her chest as she stared at the surface of the lake. The hot sun beat down her back, and she relished in its warmth and the rays that reflected off the water. In just a few days, she would no longer call Hogwarts home. And she wasn't ready to say goodbye.
One year ago today.
Ron stared at the name card in his hand, the same card that his siblings and parents held, the card that bore his brother's name.
He remembered that moment vividly. He hadn't been there, hadn't seen the explosion. But he remembered how it felt to see his brother's lifeless body on the stone floor, his bloodless cheeks, his cold skin.
A fresh wave of pain overtook him, and the hand holding the name card shook slightly. He didn't hear Shacklebolt's words remembering the victims of the final battle. He focused on the name.
His vision blurred.
Her heart ached for him. Of course, she mourned with his entire family, but her heart hurt for him the most.
She wanted so badly to reach out and touch him, to steady the hand that was shaking, to dry his tears.
He had been so strong, her Ron. He had stayed strong for his family: for his sister, who was still so young; his mother, who had lost a child; George, who would never be the same again.
She wanted to be his strength now.
Her hand reached, but she hesitated...
She gave in to the impulse.
He suddenly felt ludicrously shy around her. His hands were clammy, his breath quickened, and his heart pounded nearly through his chest.
If this was love, then he had no idea what those idiot poets were writing about, because these feelings were disastrous.
How was he supposed to function around her now?
She bit her lip, eyes speeding from side to side as she devoured her book, ignoring Harry's incessant chatter about Merlin knows what.
He couldn't focus on anything except her lips.
Bugger it all, Ron Weasley, pull yourself together!
Friends. He had to remember. They were just friends.
If Harry were to call himself a type, he would say he was the silent observer.
Yes, his friends would probably call him a hero, and throw the term "complex" around, but he disagreed. He was more subtle than that, and very observant.
He noticed the way Ron's eyes kept straying toward Hermione, how his cheeks pinked slightly when she looked his way, how he stammered every other word.
Oh, he was observant, all right.
He was Harry Potter, Auror Extraordinaire, Savior of Wizard Kind, and Most Observant Friend in the World.
And he would help Ron get his girl.
Hermione shifted uncomfortably, taking a sip of her Butterbeer. She avoided looking either of her two best friends in the eye, but she was studiously avoiding even turning her head in Ron's direction.
The awkwardness was stifling.
"So, how was your Valentine's Day?" Harry ventured, trying to break the silence.
But at his question, Hermione's cheeks became suffused with color. "Er...quite fine." She was very unconvincing.
Ron sighed, and went for the plunge. "She was allergic to the chocolate I gave her. Blimey, Harry, it was...something."
Harry snorted into his Firewhiskey, and Hermione blushed even more.
The brunette looked up distractedly, and it took a moment for her brain to register the visitor. Then, her eyes widened comically. “Ron!” She leapt up, hands immediately going to her unruly hair in a self-conscious gesture. “I had no idea you were back from your mission. I wasn’t expecting…” There was an awkward silence as she trailed off.
Ron chuckled, amused at her discomfort. “You look good, Minister.”
Her cheeks flared red. “Oh, stop it, Ronald. You know I don’t like it when you call me by my title.”
He only chuckled more. “Sorry, Minister, I forgot.”
His face was actually turning slightly green.
Hermione practically flew out of her chair, grabbing her wand from across the room just as he started choking. She could barely breathe herself.
A few flicks and whispered spells later, his breathing was regular again, and the natural color had returned to his cheeks.
They both heaved a sigh of relief.
Taking a seat, Hermione tentatively placed her hand atop his and gave a cautious smile.
He chuckled. "I suppose that was your revenge for the Valentine's chocolate, huh?"
She couldn't help but laugh. "Ronald, I'm never feeding you zucchini ever again!"
“Ron, are those Lucky Charms?” Curiosity piqued, Hermione strode toward him and picked up the colorful box from the table.
Ron nodded eagerly, taking the box from her and pouring more cereal into his half-empty bowl. His mouth was too full of the sugary goodness to give a verbal response.
"Where on earth did you get it?" Her eyes were wide with surprise.
He swallowed quickly. "Your father!"
The look she gave him was incredulous, and he had no idea why she was so surprised.
"It's so good!" he enthused, munching.
Her hair was carrot-top red, and her eyes were bright blue. There were dots of freckles on her face, and she had the sweetest dimples. She had all the usual Weasley traits.
Except for her unruly curls.
They bounced when she laughed, framing her face in a familiar way. He lifted the child in his arms and sat her on his knee. He tickled her sides, and her laughter grew, mingled with squeals of delight.
"Daddy, I love you!"
Ron shot up in bed, breathing labored.
It was just a dream.
All he could think about were those red curls.
"Do you think Pansy is pretty?"
He had no idea why she was asking about her newest Ministry employee, but he answered in the affirmative.
"Prettier than me?"
"Hermione, where is this coming from?"
"Well, I'm just wondering what type you like, is all. I mean, I know I'm passably attractive, but--"
"Passably?" he interrupted. "Hermione...you're crazy."
She gasped, obviously affronted. "Ronald, that's completely unfair! It was an honest question, and--"
His lips, suddenly on hers, stopped her tirade. Eventually, they pulled apart, breathing unsteadily.
"Hermione, you're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen."
Her answering smile was breathtaking.
She gasped as she walked into her office at the Ministry.
There were yellow flowers. Everywhere.
“Oh, my goodness, Hermione, who would…”
Lavender, her secretary, stood behind her, mouth similarly agape.
"Ron," the Minister of Magic stammered. "It's our two-year anniversary today." She walked over to the closest bouquet and examined it, taking a mental inventory of each different type of flower.
There were aster, for contentment; forget-me-not, a request to always remember; lilac, to symbolize first love; hibiscus, for delicate beauty; sunflower, adoration; pansy, loving thoughts.
Most abundant were the yellow tulips, her favorite, symbolizing being hopelessly in love.
The air had turned cold, and he wrapped an arm around Hermione's shoulder to shield her from the chill.
"I can't believe it's been three years," she mused.
He nodded in silent agreement. She was right, but he had hardly noticed. The passage of time was funny that way: it was easy to miss.
Suddenly, Ron felt his age very keenly, though he was still quite young. He wouldn't be young forever, and there were many things he wanted to do.
One thing in particular, he thinks. He fingers the small, velvet box in his pocket and makes a decision.
It took him months to act on his decision, though.
The snow had finally begun to thaw, small buds of green peeked out from the icy hills, and the days had lengthened slightly before he gathered his courage.
He took her hand and knelt before her, his fingers lifting to her cheeks to wipe away tears that were rapidly falling.
He couldn't even remember how he'd asked. All he remembered was the way she had cried--tears of joy, she'd assured him--and laughed and kissed him. He remembered her hushed promises and the way her eyes shone when she whispered yes.
Hermione Jean Granger-Weasley.
Hermione Jean Weasley.
She was absolutely thrilled. She knew she must look rather silly, with the ear-splitting grin she had been sporting since they'd vowed, "I do." She couldn't help it. She was finally Hermione Weasley.
And Ronald looked radiant.
Yes, she was aware that she looked beautiful in her white, beaded gown with its heart-shaped bodice.
But her new husband looked positively ravishing.
She couldn't take her eyes off him: his pleased blush, the tenderness in his blue eyes, the crooked smile he reserved just for her.
He was perfect. And he was hers.
Once upon a time, he had had so many secrets locked away inside him. There had been so many things she hadn't known back then.
But now, years later, Hermione finally felt like she had found the keys.
Not all of them, maybe. Surely, there were more discoveries to be made, more locks to coax open.
But as she held her son's small hand in hers, and waved goodbye to the Hogwarts Express and their daughter with the other, Ron's arm wrapped firmly around her shoulders, she realized that it had all come full circle.
And she couldn't be happier.