Okay, I had this done since… long ago, I forgot I had it and just now found it. I went over it and discovered it was supposed to be the first part of a three-shot, but since I can't remember how the rest was going to go and it stand perfectly well as a one-shot, I'll leave it at that.
I wrote this right in response to a talk about the Erised of the Golden Trio here in PK's forum, long before it was shut down. And also as my interpretation of what Hermione's Erised is (I still like to think of my idea better because it was never really specified as to whom Hermione sees, JKR only implied it, never went out and said the name, not that I know of) and what Ron's and Harry's Erised would be after the War.
Note that this is told from Ron's POV. I might add Hermione's and Harry's later, but as of now, it's remain as it is. So… I hope you enjoy it!
"The Mirror of Erised"
(post-dh, right after ch36 // It is their hearts' deepest desire.)
Ron waits for Harry to be no longer within sight, and a few seconds more until he hears the door to the 7th year boy's dorm close, before turning around to face Hermione. She is still looking at the stairs to the boy's dorms, right where Harry was before leaving to get his well-deserved rest.
He takes this chance of distraction on her part to watch her, really watch her.
Her hair is no longer bushy, sometime around 6th year she managed to tame it down, now it's only wild (especially now), so her long tresses fall almost gracefully along her back and around her shoulders, and almost because they have just won a war-finally, after all the suffering and hardships, it was all over. His eyes move along the elegant curve of her forehead and nose and lips and chin and jaw and neck… then up to her eyes, so brown and inviting, that seem to be seeing something only she can see. His eyes move back to her lips, those glorious lips he has been lucky enough to kiss and-
Oh, bloody hell…
That's it, isn't it, the kiss? Delivered in the hardest moment of their lives, it was everything he ever dreamed of and yet… not. He remembers feeling elated, a sense of finally overcoming him, but then… his elation turned into confusion and a little bit of satisfaction upon hearing Harry rage at them for not focusing in the matter at hand. He should've felt happy, shouldn't he? As happy as he could ever be, but he didn't. He felt confused and disappointed.
Because, to be the one kiss he's been looking forward to all his life, it was only that; a kiss. Not the turning point of his life, not the beginning of his happily ever after, not the epitome of Hermione and his relationship. I was only a kiss. Still, it was the most important moment of his life.
Even now, as he watches Hermione's profile intently, he knows he will never forget it, the kiss, will always cherish it, even though it turned out to be the exact opposite of what he wanted.
Because it was his and Hermione's first kiss, and the precise moment he realized the truth about his heart's truest, deepest desire.
Hermione turns to him then, and raises an eyebrow, questioning his insistent staring, and he knows. He knows she felt it too, the confusion and disappointment, knows she still feels it, but, unlike him, doesn't know what to do about it.
I guess it is my turn to be the mature one of the Trio, uh?
He extends his hand to her and she takes it after a brief moment of hesitation, without another word, he leads her out of the common room. Soon, they are walking down halls, around corners, passing by empty classrooms, and down stairs until they reach a very familiar-looking wall and-ah, there it is. The door that'll take them to the Room of Requirement.
He holds up his hand, stopping her midsentence, and urges her to keep walking. She resists at first, her hesitation is great enough for him to feel it too, and he smiles reassuringly at her. There's nothing to fear, nothing to doubt, he thinks, not for the first time wishing he and Hermione had that special bond she shares with Harry, so she can understand what he means to say, only this time, there is no resentment, no jealousy in between.
Hermione finally complies and they step into the room, and she gasps.
Ron smiles, silently thanking whoever created this room, for it has given him just what he wants. The room is empty, but it's not that emptiness what he wants, it's the object standing tall and proud in the centre of it.
"The Mirror of Erised…"
He nods softly, not knowing if she saw him, and lets go of her hand, walking down a few of the steps surrounding the mirror, and then sits down. He smiles amusedly as he realizes he was sitting right in front of the mirror.
Hermione follows his lead and sits next to him, neither saying a word for a while.
"So, what do you see?" he asks suddenly.
After a prolonged silence, he sneaks a glace out of the corner of his eyes and sees guilt, longing, and an overwhelming sadness reflected in her eyes. The overall display of emotions dies as soon as he turns more fully to face her, and her expression becomes guarded. His eyes widen slightly and a knowing look settles on his face.
Oh, I see…
An apology, surely. She is going to apologize, but he won't let her, because if he does, he'll be allowing her to escape from the truth that he saw clearly in those brown, brown eyes he loves so much.
"You see, when I first looked into the mirror, it was during Christmas in first year," he began, cutting her excuses short. "Harry had found it, and he came to wake me so I could see it. We didn't know what it was back then. Harry thought the mirror showed us the past, I thought it showed the future, because while Harry saw his whole family reflected there, I saw myself as a seventh year, with a Head Boy badge, and the House and Quidditch cups in my arms."
Hermione smiles weakly, appreciating his humour thought she is most likely fighting the urge to go back to Gryffindor tower and hug the life out of Harry. He gives a knowing smile and leans back into the steps of the stairs surrounding the mirror, resting his elbows in the cold, hard stone.
"We found out later what it really was, the mirror, and it made sense. What I wanted the most back then was to surpass my brothers; and what Harry wanted the most…"
"Was-is his family. He still wants that," says Hermione, finishing his sentence.
It makes him wonder how every time they talk about Harry, their thoughts seem to be in perfect sync, but push something non-Harry-related into their conversation and within minutes they are at each other throats.
"Yeah, he still does… Anyway! The image probably stayed the same until around fourth year, when I realized you were a, insert exaggerated gasp here, girl. From then on, I like to believe, since I don't really know for sure, that my Erised would have been something along the lines of me and you-"
Hermione cuts his monologue with a soft but clear "You and I," before motioning for him to continue.
Ron chuckles good-naturedly, "Alright, alright… something along the lines of you and I together as… a couple, lovers, or whatever you want to call it."
She opens her mouth to talk, but Ron holds up his hand and turns his face to look into the mirror.
"Now, however… I am looking into the mirror, and all I see is Harry, Hermione, and Ron as they should always be, as they-we were back in first year, without the complications of teenagers' hormones."
The silence prolongs between them for a few minutes. Hermione's eyes remain trained on whatever it is the mirror is showing her, as are his; both with slightly sad smiles on their faces. The topic he's been dancing around suddenly falls upon them, waiting for someone to acknowledge it, letting the truth hanging over their head like a heavy cloud of a storm. It is Ron who decides to acknowledge this truth; one that he has accepted the very moment he decided to bring Hermione into the Room of Requirement, and now is ready to voice.
"The thing is, Hermione… what I really want to say is… that I know I've fancied you ever since the Yule Ball, but this last year, while we hunted for the Horcruxes, I really…" he pauses and takes a deep breath. "I really, really thought to be in love with you. I honestly believed me loving you like that; believed you to be my ideal girl, the one for me, but… you aren't."
"What are you saying Ron?"
Ron sighs softly, "I'm saying… that I'm glad you kissed me, Hermione… because it made me realize that my love for you isn't any different than my love for Ginny. I look at you and I think you are beautiful, but it's in the same way I think Ginny is beautiful."
"And you can tell that just by sharing one kiss?" asks Hermione, tilting her head to one side in confusion.
He clears his throat a few times, averting his eyes and staring at the ceiling, a light blush reddening his cheeks.
"Don't take me wrong, but when we kissed," he coughs nervously, sneaking quick glances in her direction. "When we kissed, it was great and all, but… I didn't quite feel anything of what I was expecting, you know… No excitement or desire… None of…" there's another nervous cough. "None of what I felt when Lavender used to kiss me back in sixth year…"
He trails off rather lamely, not wanting to look at Hermione for he knows he's probably made her mad with his stupid comment, but he honestly doesn't know how else to explain what happened to him during their first (and most likely only) kiss. And just when he was about to stutter an apology, Hermione giggles.
Like really giggles.
And his shock must've been showing clear on his face, because as she turns to look at him the laughter bubbles out of her heartedly. In a way that hasn't happened in almost a year.
"I know what you mean, Ron," she says, brushing a lone tear from the corner of her eyes. "I didn't feel anything either, no matter how much I tried to force myself into doing so. There was none of what I felt when I kissed Harry-oh… oops."
Ron gapes at her, watching a blush begin and deepen with every passing second. She coughs nervously, avoiding his gaze and looking stubbornly ahead of her, right into the mirror, which only makes her blush to redden.
"Er-I wasn't supposed to say that…"
"You kissed Harry? When did it happen? Why didn't I know that? How come he didn't tell me?"
He can't quite grasp the thought of Harry and Hermione kissing, even though she just confessed, and her blushing face is more that proof enough to assure him she isn't lying. It's just… so surreal. And if it really did happen, then why did Harry tell him he loved Hermione like a sister? You don't kiss your sister. At least not like that!
"He doesn't know, Ron," says Hermione, still avoiding his gaze. "And I would prefer it to stay that way; a secret."
"Uh, yeah, sure, but… Hermione, why not just tell him?" he wonders in confusion. "And how can Harry not know? It's a kiss! I mean, I know he can be a bit dense from time to time, but he isn't-"
"He was sleeping."
Ron shuts his mouth silently, and then there's a pause. Slowly, almost involuntarily, the left corner of his mouth starts to twitch, finally lifting into an amused grin. Hermione looks at him warily, probably trying to foresee his next course of action.
"Why, Hermione, I didn't know you were that kind of girl, taking advantage of a bloke while he's unconscious," he grins cheekily, enjoying her embarrassed blush. "I'll have that in mind before falling asleep while being in the same room as-ow, hey!"
"Git! He was having an awful nightmare, and wasn't waking up, no matter how much I shook his shoulder! I didn't know what else to do!"
Ron laughs good-naturedly while rubbing his right arm.
"Did it work, then? Did sleeping beauty wake up from his nightmare?"
"Ron! I'm serious, I-he didn't wake up, but… it did chase the nightmares away, I-oh, sod it."
His laugher dies into a few chuckles that appear from time to time, before settling into a comfortable silence. It is probably the first silent moment he's ever had with Hermione where neither is ignoring the other and he likes it, very much.
"Does this mean we'll stay friends only?" Hermione inquires suddenly.
"Yep, the best of friends."
She leans back into the stone steps, copying his position, and smiles. They both focus their gazes in the reflection shining from the mirror. And suddenly Ron knows everything is finally alright.
"Good, because I like that very, very much."
Ron grins happily, staring at the mirror, where a much older version of Harry, Hermione and himself stand hugging each other and smiling brightly at him. Hermione is in the middle, with one arm wrapped tightly around Harry and his' waists. Harry in turn, has his arm around her waist, while he has his around her shoulders. They are quiet for the most part, until he says something that'll make them all laugh heartedly. Occasionally, Hermione would turn to Harry and kiss his cheek affectionately, while he makes gagging gestures from his place next to them, only to laugh at their flushed faces later.
When he first saw the image materialize in the mirror, he'd been confused, because, why would his best friends being together be his heart deepest desire? But then, he'd realized something; it wasn't the fact of them being together, it was the fact of them being happy, and Ron knew -knows- that together, they'd be happy, truly happy.
Ron blinks confused as out of the blue, another person walks into the happy picture; a woman. Harry and Hermione smile at her, as if they were used to be in her presence, and as Hermione leans further into Harry and away from him, the woman envelops him in a tight hug, one Ron can see does not bother his older self at all. In fact, older Ron returns the gesture gladly, and he realizes with a start that this woman must be his wife, or future wife, whoever she is.
So this is it, my heart truest desire… The Golden Trio, finally happy.
"Well, your Erised must be really good, Ron, because you have this goofy smile on your face as if you just won something big."
Hermione's voice snaps him back to reality. He turns to her and gives her a mischievous wink. "Oh, I'm just seeing Harry, you and I in the near future having this amazing threesome, and Merlin, Hermione, I never thought-hey, that hurt!"
Hermione keeps swatting his arm, each time harder than the last, as she grows steadily embarrassed and angry. "Don't you dare finish that sentence!"
"Merlin, Hermione, stop! I was only joking, really!" he laughs as her face takes a lovely shade of red, pretty close to his hair colour. "Honestly, girl, you have no sense of humour."
"Just tell me what you see."
"Alright, it is about us, you know. You, Harry and I are standing there, hugging, and being the best of friends. We look older, and you and Harry look very cosy hugging each other," he chuckles again as her face gains the exact same colour of his hair. "Really, I'm feeling left out here."
"Your Erised is about me and Harry-"
"Harry and I," he corrects.
She sticks her tongues out at him before resuming her sentence. "About Harry and I being… together?"
"Yeah, well, not exactly like that. I just see us there, all happy smiles and group hugs and hearty laughs. You do seem to be glowing as you lean into Harry to kiss his cheek though, that ought to mean something. And I…"
Hermione looks at him expectantly, but he can't seem to keep talking.
He feels his cheeks getting incredibly warn, "Er, and I… seem to be the same, you know, all happy with this woman that suddenly decided to appear in there."
Suddenly, there's a familiar pair of arms around his neck, and Hermione proceeds to hug the life out of him for good. "Ron, I'm so happy for you!"
"Yeah, Hermione, need air," he wheezes out, breathing deeply once she lets go. "And thanks, but I don't even know who this woman is yet."
"Oh, you will find her, Ron, I'm sure you will."
Hugging her tight to his side, he sits with her for a few more minutes before the curiosity gets the better of him and he can't keep himself from asking.
"So, what is your Erised, uh?"
Upon seeing her blush come back with a vengeance, he smirks delighted. "Ooh, does it involve you and Harry and wild, passionate sex somewhere here in Hogwarts? The woods? The Quidditch pitch?"
Hermione pulls away from him, standing up abruptly. "Goodness, Ron, no! And I'm not going to tell you!"
"But it is about Harry, right? Come on, Hermione, I know your feelings aren't as platonic as you want to believe, tell me."
"No," she says, and starts walking towards the door. "Now, let's go, I'm tired and all I want right now is a comfy bed and a pillow."
"I'm sure Harry's bed is comfy enough. Want me to sneak you in?"
Before reaching the door, Hermione spins around and points a finger to him. "I swear, Ronald, if you don't stop your inappropriate comments right now, I'm going to hex you into next century!"
Then, she exits the room and slams the door shut behind her, leaving Ron laughing as if there was no tomorrow.
"No sense of humour at all!"
He eventually catches up with her on her way to Gryffindor Tower. As they step through the portrait hole, the first thing Ron notices are the worried faces of his family, the remaining member of the DA as well as the Order, plus Headmistress McGonagall (Merlin, it's going to take time to get used to calling her Headmistress instead of Professor). Ginny is the first to realize their entrance as she runs straight to them, hugging him tightly.
"Ron, Harry's missing!"
She barely finishes her sentence and Hermione is already halfway up the stairs to the boys' dorms. He disentangles himself from his sister and follows her up, only to find her sagging in relief against the doorframe of the seventh years' room. The panic he manages to see on her face fades quickly, and she gives him a smile as he reaches her side.
"He's in here, still sleeping, oblivious to everything… Thank God," she whispers, the relief clear in her voice.
He releases the breath he doesn't know he's holding and leans into the door, next to Hermione. "That was quite a scare, huh?"
He notices the sweet smile, however small, on her face as they turn around and head to the Common Room to spare their friends for further stress. How lovely of her, denying her feeling when they are pretty darn obvious.
"Still going to try to deny your feelings for him, Hermione?"
She punches his arm and as they descend the last steps of the stairs, her face becomes incredibly blank. Ron can only chuckle.
"What was that? Why did you run off so suddenly? You should be looking for Harry! He could be-"
"He's sleeping upstairs, Ginny. Just where we left him," says Hermione, cutting his sister's worried rant.
They nod and Ron takes it upon himself to give explanations. He tells them, vaguely of course, that when they were in the Great Hall Harry came to their side asking them to follow, and then proceeded to roam the castle until they reached Dumbledore's office. It is here where he hesitates, and Hermione takes over.
"Why go there? What was he looking for?"
"He wanted to ask Professor Dumbledore's portrait something… That's all."
The group seems to accept this answer, or they're either too tired to keep asking. Just when Ron thinks he'll be able to sneak into his room and catch up with some sleep, Ginny steps in front of them and smiles in a way that tells him that whatever comes out of her mouth will make him cranky.
"So, where have you two been?"
Hermione frowns at her, making her smirk, and he can only sigh tiredly. No use in hiding anything, he supposes; then again, there isn't anything to hide.
"We were in the Room of Requirement, talking about our future as the Golden Trio and about our romantic relationship-our very non-existent romantic relationship."
Ginny's shocked expression, as well as everybody else's, makes him roll his eyes.
"What do you mean non-existent?"
"Exactly what it is, Ginny," says Hermione. "There is nothing going on between Ron and I; there never was and there never will. We're just friends."
"The best of friends," he cuts in.
"The best of friends," repeats Hermione, giving him an annoying look.
"Now, sister, if you don't mind, we're very tired and want to rest. So please, step aside."
Ginny does as she is told, looking at their retreating backs in shock. At the foot of the stairs though, Hermione grabs his elbow, ignoring everyone stares. She struggles as if trying to win a battle for a while, then opens her mouth to talk; and right there he sees exactly what she wants to say. He squeezes her hand, halting her struggle.
"I get it, Hermione," he smiles as she looks at him in disbelieve. "And don't worry, I'll tell him. Though I could still try to sneak you in…" he whispers the last part, and receives a hit in response.
He grins and ruffles her hair before turning to climb the stair, ignoring to the best of his ability the stares of his family and friends. He enters the rooms he shares with Harry and the other boys, plopping down onto his bed. His mind finally decides to catch up with his tired body and all he wants now is grab his pillow and sleep.
But he has one more thing to do before that.
"You know, Harry, you are one lucky bastard for having Hermione care so much about you," he chuckles as his only response is a small snore coming from his friend. "Like truly lucky. And you may be my best mate and all, but if you hurt her, I'll have to hurt you."
He is forced to pause as a huge yawn finds its way out. Rubbing his eyes tiredly, he focuses them back on the sleeping form of Harry. He suddenly realizes it's been literally years since Harry last had a good night of sleep. He grabs one of his pillows and begins toying with it.
"I could tell you how much she loves you, you know, mate, but it isn't really my place to do so. In the meantime…" he trail off, and throws the pillow straight at Harry's face.
Harry jolts awake, grabbing his wand and frowns when he only sees him grinning. "What the hell, Ron? I almost hexed you right now and-why are you smiling at me like that?"
"Hermione says good night and sleep well."
Ron grins as he watches Harry look around the room, searching for Hermione no doubt. Crawling under the covers, he murmurs a quick good night to Harry, who responds with another snore. The sleep doesn't take long to arrive, his much needed rest. And as he drifts off into oblivion, he thinks of everything that is to come starting the next day. His brother's funeral, as well as all those who lost their lives in this war… Everything that is left to be done…
End… for now.
As I said, if I remember where I wanted to go with this story, I might add the two parts left, but if not, it's good as a one-shot, so I'll mar kit as complete.Document created with wvWare/wvWare version 1.2.7