- Story Summary:
- When Ron learns that he and Hermione are to be parents, there is someone he wants to share the news with.
- Author's Note:
- My thanks go to Nacey for the beta.
It was a warm summer's day and a light breeze was blowing around the tall, red-headed man as he walked through the cemetery. Hundreds of gravestones surround him, markers for the final resting places of those no longer living. He kept moving, unaffected by his surroundings. His stride was long and sure, following a path he'd tread hundreds of times previously. When he reached his destination, he looked around furtively as was always his way and stepped forward through the trees and vines that hid the entrance, seemingly walking into thin air.
Ron Weasley shook a few errant leaves off him on the other side and stepped forward. The room in which he stood was light and airy, as if unaware of the sombre nature of its being. Shafts of sunlight streamed in through the open white slats, which were shrouded in flowers and more vines for camouflage. The room wasn't underground, just well hidden from prying eyes.
It didn't matter, though. Nobody other than Ron and Hermione knew of this place's existence. Everyone else in the wizarding world believed Harry Potter to be buried next to his parents in Godric's Hollow, Wales. However, in a private ceremony soon after his death, Harry Potter's lifeless body had been cremated and his remains interred by Ron and Hermione in a Muggle cemetery close to their home.
It had turned out to be a wise move. More than once, Harry's grave had been unearthed by dark forces intent on claiming the body of The Boy Who Lived as their own gruesome trophy. However, the wards and charms over the grave had ensured that the coffin placed in the ground could never be opened. After the third unsuccessful attempt to dig his body up, Ron and Hermione had moved his parents' remains and laid them to rest with their son.
Ron stood for long moments, staring at the three plaques that had been strategically placed on the wall. Harry was in the middle, just below that of his parents; James Potter was on his left, Lily on his right. Fresh flowers were in vases along the ground in front of the wall, full of different varieties in vast colours. Hermione brought fresh flowers every week, and the entire room exuded an atmosphere not of death, but of love.
Love for a friend they'd loved with everything they'd had. Love for a friend they'd been unable to save. Love for a friend whose ghost was forever with them.
Ron blinked back the tears that always seemed to appear out of nowhere whenever he stood where he currently was and stepped forward. His hand rose of its own accord to the gold plate that was in front of him, his fingers tracing the words already embedded in his brain.
Harry James Potter
July 31, 1980 - March 15, 1998
Beloved son of James and Lily Potter
Adored godson of Sirius Black
Cherished friend of Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger
Gone but never forgotten
"Hey, Harry," Ron said softly. "I know Hermione and I usually visit on Fridays, but I have news I wanted to share with you that couldn't wait." He allowed himself a small smile, fully aware that if anyone was to see him -- no longer a child but a twenty-five year old man -- talking to himself, they'd likely think he was mad.
But Ron wasn't mad. He liked to think that Harry could hear him. Sometimes, he could even almost hear Harry answer back. Share in the highs and lows of Ron's life. Ron talked to him as if Harry was standing right next to him.
Harry had been dead for seven years. The same length of time that Ron and Hermione had known him. While it had become easier to get through the day, their grief had never left them. Ron didn't know how many times he'd heard people telling him that time heals all wounds; while it was true that the days became easier to bear, the gaping wound in his heart that Harry's death had caused would never fully heal. He and Hermione would miss him forever.
Ron knew that it was because of Harry it had taken so long for he and Hermione to finally admit to themselves what they'd known for a very long time... that the love they had for each other had moved past being platonic into something neither of them could ever fully explain in words.
He could still remember the night it had finally happened, three years previously. They'd been arguing for months, each fight longer and more bitter. They'd blamed each other for Harry's death, even though they both knew no amount of studying or bravery could have saved him. They'd been in the middle of a screaming match, both of them standing in the living room with tears pouring down their cheeks, their eyes bright with anger and their faces flushed, when in mid-sentence Hermione had stopped, closed her mouth, wiped her eyes and stared at him, looking into his eyes as if they were the keys to his soul, and told him she loved him and couldn't bear to lose him like she had Harry.
Ron's brain hadn't been able to come up with a coherent thought so his body had taken over for him, pulling her into his arms and kissing her until neither of them could breathe, and then when she'd gotten her breath back, he'd taken it again. When he'd finally been able to think, he'd realised that just kissing her wasn't enough, so he'd picked her up and carried her to his bedroom.
Three weeks later, they'd married in a civil ceremony with only their parents, his siblings, and Albus Dumbledore in attendance.
And now, three years later, he was there once again to share happy news, wishing desperately that he could tell Harry in person rather than talk to the plaque that bore his name.
"Hermione's pregnant, Harry," Ron said softly, his fingers tracing Harry's name. He stopped on the 'y' and stared at the simple gold band that sat on his third finger. "We haven't told anyone yet. I only found out this morning myself. I wanted you to know before we told anyone. Hermione's six weeks now and I think she wants to wait a bit before we share it, just in case something goes wrong." Here he stopped, swiping at his eyes as the thought that something could happen with the pregnancy flitted through his mind. "I'm sure all will be fine, though. It wouldn't be fair for us to lose the baby, would it?"
In spite of himself, Ron let out a hollow laugh. "I should hardly be talking to you about fair though, should I, mate? Nothing in your life was ever fair. Your parents' death, your lousy childhood, your struggle to fit in, losing Sirius in fifth year... were you ever truly happy, Harry? Did you ever have a moment of happiness?" Ron didn't bother to wipe away the tears that flowed steadily down his face.
"You know he did, Ron," a voice said softly behind him. "Harry was happy being at school with us and playing Quidditch." Ron didn't bother to turn around; he should have known Hermione would know exactly where to find him. He heard her quiet footsteps behind him and he relaxed as her arms went around his waist, her cheek resting on his back. "Are you sharing our news?"
Ron nodded and murmured quietly in the affirmative. He placed one hand over Hermione's, the other still running over the embossed letters in front of him. "He should be here with us, Hermione. We shouldn't have to talk to a gold plate."
"No, we shouldn't," Hermione said soothingly, hugging her husband more tightly. "You're right, it's not fair, Ron." They stood there silently for a few minutes, each wrapped in their own grief. Finally, Hermione let go and moved to stand in front of him, reversing their positions. Ron echoed her earlier movement and placed his arms around her waist, one hand absently rubbing her abdomen. "How long will we grieve for him, Ron?" Hermione's voice was equal parts wistful and sad.
They both knew the answer, but neither of them wanted to say it. Forever sounded so long, so final. So instead they stood together, reading their best friend's name over and over silently, wrapped up in their memories while the sun continued to shine around them.
"Well, now you know you're going to be an uncle, Harry, we should probably go." Hermione brought her index and middle fingers up to her lips and kissed them, then pressed them against Harry's name. "We love you. We'll see you Friday." She stepped out of Ron's embrace and took her hand in his.
Ron stared at Harry's resting place for a few more seconds, then did the same as his wife and pressed a kiss to Harry's name. "We miss you, mate. We'll be back soon."
And together, they walked back out into the sunshine.