harsh breath of the icy wind blows at the white horses galloping up and down
the ever shifting shoreline.
Two salty liquids come together to slowly trail their way down the naturally rosy pink arch of her cheekbone until they halt, unwilling to take the sudden drop down towards the large expanse of crushed and broken down stones and pebbles. A strong scent of seaweed invades her senses as a huge gust of wind uses her hair to whip her face like a drunkard father uses a belt on his falsely accused child. It should hurt her as the fierce snake tongues lash out because of the wind, but all she can feel is the pain of confusion in her head. The pain that’s slowly taking over her body.
Her chocolate orbs stare out at the bright mass of changing colours resting above the dark abyss of various habitats, without daring to look at the object she toys with in her numb fingers.
The sound of approaching footsteps should awake her from the stupor that she’s lost in but she stays still, searching for a way out. The person sighs as if to get her attention, but her gaze remains focused on the changing horizon and her fingers continue to twist and turn the object in her hands. A cough, a call of her name, a wave of their hand, nothing can break the sobbing girl away from the lost land of her future.
They softly place a hand on her delicate shoulder and finally she releases a shiver, accompanied by a gasp of surprise. She knows who it is, and they cause her to clutch the thing that should have been thrown in the shifting tide or buried into a rotting bin even harder than she was before. Suddenly, she falls like a tower, having been imploded on the ground floor, the bottom crumbles and the rest follows then gently rests in an organised chaos atop the devastated ground.
Only then does she give into the real world.
He steps forward, unsure of whether to pull her close or to just sit by her, but she answers before he asks by pulling at his leg to shift him into a sitting position and clinging to his broad frame. Her thin arms circle around his neck to rest with one hand in his hair and the other clutching the material of his knitted jumper at the base of his neck. Her make-up stained face nestles into the place where his shoulder and neck meet and his arms delicately shift themselves to grip her waist, pulling her onto his lap and into the safety of his warmth. The sobs continue to shake her body as the maroon of his jumper becomes painted by the continuously falling salt water spilling from her eyes. He moves his chin to sit on her shoulder and buries his face in her hair, whispering words of comfort. However, he can only hope that his words make her feel better because she still hasn’t told him what lead her to the beach today. But he’ll find out. It’s inevitable.
He tells her that “it’ll be okay” “everything will sort itself out” and “give it time and it’ll go away”. But he’s lying. He doesn’t know that he’s wrong, but she does. She knows that he’s wrong because of so many things, but the main thing that stands out in the rough storm of her mind is the one thing that he hasn’t quite noticed. The one thing that stands out is also the one thing that lies hidden in the chaos of the sand.
He places his hands on the unstable floor in order to shift into a more comfortable position but as he does, he feels something. He grips the object and brings it up behind her and in front of his face. A pain in the form of confusion starts in his head and he realises why she’s crying, soon he is too.
No noise is made to accompany his tears and so she doesn’t notice the boy’s pain until he lifts his head from her unruly waves and whispers a shaky “’Mione”. She pulls her heavy head back from his shoulder and detaches the hand from his t-shirt to wipe at the stream of heavy black mascara running across her cheeks. Her hand halts as it reaches her chin and then instead reaches across to brush his cheek instead of her own. He stares into her eyes, searching for an answer to what this all means. All he receives is the same pain and confusion that he has no doubt is in his own dark circles.
They sit staring at one another for a few minutes until he shatters the silence by clearing his throat and asking the one question burning bright amidst the swirling paint upon the black canvas in his mind.
“Who …?” He can’t go on, but he doesn’t have to, she knows what he’s asking.
“I don’t … I know I’m five months gone Ron … that’s how long it’s been.”
It takes him a minute but soon he realises what she’s saying. Three months ago they broke up. She looks at his face and shrugs, not knowing what to say. All he can do is allow his tears to fall in a more methodical pattern and pretty soon the roles are reversed; she’s the one doing the holding. She’s the one saying the words of comfort.
He decides that he can’t take this. It’s not his place to. He pulls away from her and refuses to reconnect his eyes with hers. Her voice holds a hint of surprise when she calls his name and he responds by putting his hands on her waist to gently push her off of him, giving him space to shuffle slightly away from her. Her cold fingers reach out and rest on his shoulder, thinking that it’s just the shock of the news finally reaching him completely, but as he flinches, she can tell that it’s not as simple as she originally thought.
He doesn’t respond, just stands and faces the sea that’s steadily lapping at his shoes. She looks up to his face in the hope that she can see any signs of what he’s thinking, however, as she glances up, he turns his head to the side, and all she can see is a single tear trailing it’s way down his cheek. She doesn’t understand what she’s supposed to do now, and so she stands, placing her arms around herself with the knowledge that he won’t put his own arms around her again for a while, not while he’s in this state.
“Talk to me? Please? Ron - I need to know what’s on your mind, we can’t do this if-” She gets cut off by the glare that he’s giving from under his eyelashes.
“We? WE?!” He turns to face her full on and goes to step forward before stepping backwards instead, not wanting to get to close in fear of his actions being led by his anger. His shout turns into a whisper, almost afraid of the words about to escape his lips “You and I stopped being a we when you slept with him.”
He looks at the tears trailing their way down her cheek and his face softens but as his hand reaches up to wipe the tears away, he snaps back to reality and turns sharply on his heels. She whispers so soft that he doesn’t hear it the first time, but when he does, he knows he can’t go any further.
She takes a deep breath and lifts her head hoping to see his face, but all she sees is his back, tense at the possibility that he heard her right.
“Please, Ron? I can’t do this alone”
His head turns towards her over his shoulder as he addresses her previous statement “How can you know that?” He turns and stands so close that their noses are touching “Hermione, how can you POSSIBLY know that?!”
She’s scared, she’ll admit it. Never before has she seen him like this and it’s frightening her. She takes a deep breath and a step back “Because that cow Lavender only told you what she wanted to! I never slept with him barely even kissed him! I never did anything, it was him, and she twisted it to ruin us …”
He starts to tremble, whether from rage or relief she can’t tell, but she knows it only makes her want him more, seeing him so vulnerable, she can’t help but pull him closer. His body is stiff, but he realises he can’t be angry anymore and his arms snake their way around her waist as he starts to hear rushed apologies, but he tells her to be quiet. He doesn’t want the apologies, not yet. At the moment he just wants to hold her, know that she’s alive, and try, just a little bit, to make sense of what all this means for them. But she won’t rest without some piece of mind.
She pulls herself away from his grip and looks up towards the sky, noticing the steadily approaching evening fog and pushes his hands away as he goes to grab her back again. “We need to talk Ronald! It’s been killing me these past 3 months, knowing that you didn’t know, about me and him, and all this. I need to know where I stand, if you can forgive me, if you can’t, if you don’t want anything to do with me, if you want to get back-“
“’Mione, just tell me what happened, that’s all I want to know.”
“He … I … he kissed me because I was upset after that argument … and he wanted more but I didn’t want to cause I still love you, always have, but … he tried to kiss me again and I told him no … but then it didn’t matter anyway because I felt sick so ran to the bathroom and … all I know is that I threw up, left and then … Ginny was the one who told me to take the muggle pregnancy test. She’d noticed my mood swings or something and thought it was more discreet then a magic one-”
He cut her off with a kiss, one that she didn’t give back because as soon as she could even begin to register what was happening, he was pulling away and burying his face in her shoulder. The tears start to roll down her cheeks once more as she settles into the idea of it all being right again. Him and her, together, it’s all she ever wanted. She loves the feeling of everything being perfect, but as his lips leave a kiss on her collar bone, she knows that it’s all too perfect, too sweet. She knows that they can’t go back to how it was before. Before; the time when it was all sideways glances, soft touches and electrifying kisses. And as much as he wants to deny it, he knows it too.
There’s something in their way.
Something that brought them here, to this beach, this conversation, this confrontation, this reunion. And this thing all happened by accident. A mistake. One that they have no idea what to do about. In a perfect world, their mistake would be easily forgettable, one to leave in the past. Like her mistake with Cormac is now forgotten. But it can’t be, not unless they decide to do the thing they both swore they would never do if they got into this situation. No, backing out was not an option.
His kisses on her collar bone continue up her neck and along her jaw until finally his lips are mere millimetres away from her lips. He doesn’t kiss her, not yet. Instead she hears him murmur “I’ll be here, if you want me or even if you feel you don’t. Just promise me that you understand that.” She nods her head as her lips hungrily try to find his in an emotionally charged kiss. She feels one of his hands remove itself from its place on her hip to cup her cheek and his thumb removes any trace of tears that she has running make-up stained tracks down her face.
They both get lost in the moment that they’ve been dreaming of for so long that they jump when they hear the shrill tone of the muggle contraption she made him use (and still couldn’t get rid of) from where it had fallen out of his pocket and onto the pale ground. She hears him swear under his breath and for the first time in a few weeks a trace of a giggle can be heard to escape from her now swollen lips. Arms start to untangle themselves as he bends down to retrieve the still ringing phone. He looks at the caller ID and then back to her with an apologetic look on his face. It’s a call he has to take. She gives a small smile to say that it’s okay, she doesn’t mind. Quickly he presses the accept button and holds the phone up to his ear, and answers with forced politeness to the person on the other end of the line. He has to put his finger in his other ear to block out the sound of the steadily approaching waves. She wraps her arms around herself, finally feeling content after the worst three months she feels she’s ever gone through. Her eyes drift down to her feet as one of the waves finally washes over them and bashes something against her as it travels back down the beach.
She picks the object up and starts to twist and turn it in her fingers, much like she did when she thought he would hear her news and walk away, never turn back. The smirk she wears changes into a full on grin as she starts to draw the hand holding the object behind her head and then brings it forwards, letting it go at the same time. She has no use for it now, she knows what’s happening. She knows that she has him.
He ends his call defeated and walks over to her, pulling her back towards his chest. He tells her that he has to go, Harry’s having a melt down over some gnomes that have managed to get into their kitchen. He apologises and kisses her neck before she turns around and tells him to come find her later, they can work out a plan. Unwilling to leave he makes the moment last a little bit longer by kissing her cheek and leaning his forehead against hers for a moment.
Thunder claps overhead and he takes it as sign for him to go, but not before he’s pulled her into a hug so secure that she never wants to move from it. For what seems like the millionth time that evening, she feels his lips close to her ear, but what he says is something she hasn’t heard him say in over 3 months.
“I love you”
As he pulls back she repeats his words, but she doesn’t get a reply, just the view of his maroon jumper moving further into the distance and the feeling of rain drops gently coating her skin.