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23 June 2008 @ 12:16 pm
Fic Request Fulfilled for franlock  
Title: The Sanity In Your Laughter
Author: Lire Casander lire_casander
Beta: Lovely B. Any mistakes left are my own.
Rating: PG
Word count: 2100
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction set in the Harry Potter universe – all recognisable characters and settings are the property of J. K. Rowling and her associates. No copyright infringement is intended. No profit is made from this work.
Summary: After the Last Battle and Voldemort's defeat, Ron and Hermione try to come to terms with the new reality they have been thrown into.
Warnings: None, really. Just mentions of characters' deaths and a general angstiness followed by some fluff, as per requested.
Notes: Thank you very much to B, who has put so much effort in this story. I owe you tons and tons.




Are you sure?" said Ron. There was the faintest trace of longing in his voice as he looked at the Elder Wand.

"I think Harry's right," said Hermione quietly.

"That wand's more trouble than it's worth," said Harry. "And quite honestly," he turned away from the painted portraits, thinking now only of the four-poster bed lying waiting for him in Gryffindor Tower, and wondering whether Kreacher might bring him a sandwich there, "I've had enough trouble for a lifetime."


The three of them walked down from Dumbledore's office, not knowing if they were ready for whatever happened next. They had faced danger and pain together, they had broken all the prophecies, and they had lost half of their hearts in the process. Harry led the way back to the Great Hall, with Ron in tow. Hermione walked a little behind, dragging her feet over the dusty floor that once was a shiny staircase. When they reached the last step, Harry stopped abruptly and turned around to see his friends looking at the ground with a miserable air.

"I'm going to bed right now," he announced. "I don't care about the rest of the world," he continued, interrupting Hermione's speech before it could be started. "I just want to sleep, for a day or two if possible, but even half an hour would suffice. You two can come with me, or you can go back to the Great Hall with the rest."

Hermione looked up at her friend; the definite tone in his voice was something new in this aftermath Harry, just as if he were another person, a boy become an adult far too early. She sighed. "Then go. I'll tell them that you're okay and that you need some time alone to rest and try to forget."

"And what about me?" Ron said in a tiny voice, so uncharacteristic of him that Hermione had to make sure it had been the redhead speaking.

"You can either come with me or go with Hermione," Harry replied, rubbing his neck with his right hand, his unruly hair sticking out in every possible direction, laced with dust and rubble. "I'm far too tired to think properly, and I will probably not be the best company ever, Ron. Moreover, maybe your family would like to see a bit of you, wouldn't they?"

Ron looked straight into his friend's eyes, noticing too the lack of verve in his words, as if the battle, the losses, had taken the best of the Harry he used to know. He wondered briefly if they would ever be the same, after all the things they had been through together. "I think I'll go with my parents, then. Be safe, Harry. We still don't know what's out there."

"But we beat them inside the castle," Harry reminded his friends. "There's no Death Eater here. I should be fine."

He turned to the left and walked through the corridor, not wanting to gaze into his friends' faces to read worry and pity all over their features. Alone in the sunlight stealing its way through broken windows, Ron and Hermione stood side by side, close enough to feel each other's warmth but not touching yet. "What now?" Ron whispered his next words, shaking his head a little. "I can't go back into the Great Hall and up to my family as if nothing happened. I can't go back, not when he is not there."

Hermione took a deep breath, understanding his fears and reliving a few of her own uncertainties. "We can walk for a bit, around the lake, if you want," she finally drawled, after what felt like a million years spent under the sun, silent and waiting.

"Don't you want to rest?" he asked. "Aren't you tired?"

"I am," was her reply. "I'm so tired I could sleep for a week, but I am afraid of what I might see if I close my eyes long enough to allow slumber."

Ron nodded curtly, his eyes never leaving her face as if searching there for some sort of relief. "Then let's walk. At least it's not raining out there."

"It's June, for Merlin's sake!" Hermione laughed. "If it were raining, it would be strange."

He had to agree with her. The year had gone by so quickly he hadn't even noticed the passing of the time, to the point that he wasn't even sure when the days turned into nights, and he had completely missed the coming of summer. "It's soothing, to hear your laughter," he said aloud without thinking twice. "It makes me think of completed things."

"Completed things?" she asked as they moved along, their feet stepping in time as they moved away from the hall with the gargoyle, in the opposite direction Harry had taken.

"Yeah," he smiled softly. "You know, like before all this craziness. We have suffered so much, and I've seen Harry willing to give up more times than I cared to count, and right now he seemed so off, so not himself... Your laughter, however, remains the same. If you laugh enough, I think I may keep my sanity."

She blushed, his speech rendering her every move useful, his voice lifting her spirit and preventing her from feeling like a criminal for wanting to be happy when so much had been lost. When so many had been lost.

Hermione wanted to express her feelings, but she found no words worth being spoken. She stared at Ron as they ambled through the empty corridors, the fading echoes of voices, of people talking loudly, crying loudly, puncturing them as they sauntered across the Entrance Hall, ignoring the footprints leading towards the Great Hall.

"I'd do anything, Ron, anything, if it meant I was able to bring Fred back to you," she said instead.

"I know," he replied sharply, lowering his head so she wouldn't be able to see the stray tears hanging from the very edge of his eyelids, just a blink away from being shed.

She longed for him to take her hand, for her to accept the rush of feelings growing inside of her chest, but none of that happened. They kept on walking in silence until they reached the lake, but it seemed the wails and cheers, as contradictory as they were, were meant to ring in their ears forever. The water shone under the bright sunlight, the rays showing the best shades of blue and green Hermione had ever seen.

She wanted to talk about what had happened right before the Battle of Hogwarts, right before they all watched Harry, dead on the cold ground, subjected to Voldemort's cruelty, right before Neville produced the Sword of Gryffindor out of the Sorting Hat. Right before the Weasley family was incomplete, and before Colin Creevey met his undeserved destiny. She opened her mouth and tried to speak, but no sound came out of her throat.

All she could see was the flashing of pain when her parents had looked back at her and not recognized her.

"I'm leaving," she announced in a small voice. "I'm going to Australia."

"I supposed so," was his retort, deception and hurt covered up in a false smile. "When are you going?"

"I think right now isn't great timing, but I need to," she explained. "I'm sorry."

But neither of them made a move. She kept standing, staring at the lake as if waiting for the Giant Squid to emerge and swallow them both – then maybe all the doubts, all the feelings, everything, would disappear. He bent his knees weakly and sat, hugging his legs as if his life depended on it.

"I can't go back there," he croaked, repeating the words over and over again. "But I can't go with you either. I can't leave them."

"I wasn't asking you to come along," she clarified. "I would never ask you to abandon your family for me, Ronald. That's the only thing I have clear in mind."

She itched with the need of feeling his arms wrapped around her, reassuring her that she was family too, but her dreams never materialized. Instead, all she could sense was the emptiness of the cool breeze around them and the scorching bareness of a blazing sun above them.

Hermione Granger turned around without so much as a goodbye and started walking towards the castle, searching for both a reason to stay and a cause to leave.

~~~~~~~~~~


Australia was bursting with life and noise when she finally arrived in Sydney, four days, two international Apparitions and three overseas Portkeys later. Swearing at her own choice of a place to hide her family, she strolled down the streets she had learned by heart when she had sent her parents down there the previous year.

Their house was still intact – the war had not affected that side of the Earth – the lights on and small sounds coming out of the kitchen she knew was located behind the third window at her right. Hermione hadn't paid much thought to the mechanics of getting inside and coaxing her parents, who didn't recall who she was anymore, to let her in and invite her to a cup of tea, just so she had enough time to reverse the spell.

If it could be reversed.

A shadow that was not her own sprawled before her eyes on the street in front of her, covering with its darkness the marks of her body, obscuring the pavement. A hand slid into hers, and a soft, reassuring voice whispered into his ear. "Did you think I'd let you do this on your own?"

"Ron," she breathed.

"Four days late and honestly sorry, Hermione, but I'm here," he said, turning her around to face him. "I should have come with you in the first place."

"How... when did you decide to come here?" she asked lamely.

"This morning was the breaking point, to tell the truth," he chuckled, holding her hand in his with a softness she had been yearning to feel. "I guess Mum grew fed up with my changing moods. If I have anything to confess, it's that, without you to restrain me, I'm always up to no good." She laughed a little, a low titter that made Ron smile too. "Your laughter still keeps me sane, Hermione."

"And what about... well, everything else?" she demanded, not sure if she wanted to know. "What about your family, Fred, and the rest of the world?"

"Honestly, I don't know," he admitted, stepping forward and wrapping his free arm around her waist. "But I wouldn't mind finding out about the consequences of this war with you by my side. Hermione," he continued, his heart beating harder and faster within each syllable. "Hermione, I still feel the same I felt in the Room of Requirement. I still want to kiss you and feel you kissing me, but I also think we should---"

"Take things slowly?" she offered, relief washing over her chest and relieving the weight that had moved in with such force four days before. "I think so. There's so much to solve, so many things to take in stride. And then there's your family and---"

"I need you to accept what has happened," he interrupted, a single tear finally leaving his eyes. "I need your strength to help me find my place in this new world. I don't think I can make it if I don't have Fred... if I don't have you."

She was too enthralled by his words to realize in time that he had leant in, that his lips were merely inches apart from hers, that his breath was grazing her skin.

A beat. Two beats. A million years. Or just a second.

He kissed her, and though it was not world-shattering, it was enough to lift her up off the ground in a swirling movement. When it was over, she was not left breath-ragged nor shaking. Just filled by a strange feeling she didn't want to get rid of.

It was like walking on thin ice and discovering that she had the power to make her way to the other side.

"And now, what do you say we get inside and help your parents remember?" he whispered, his forehead against hers.

"What if... what if they don't?"

"Oh, they will," he assured her, taking her hand again and stepping up to the front door, merely seconds away from knocking. "You just have to laugh a bit. There's something about your laughter that makes it easy to love, worth to treasure, and impossible to forget."

------------------------

ORIGINAL REQUEST
Briefly
describe what you'd like to receive:

Preferred Genre(s): General/Fluff with a bit of angst
Preferred Rating(s): PG/PG-13
Canon or AU?: Canon!
A specific you want: Deathly Hallows missing moment or a fic soon after it. I wouldn't mind a prego fic either.
Deal Breakers (what don't you want?): Ron/Hermione sex, too much angst/fluff, excessive quirkiness


Thanks for participating in the Love in Full Bloom Exchange!
 
 
 
drcjsniderdrcjsnider on June 23rd, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
oh... I like how you speculate about how Ron and Hermione would survive/get through the days after the war
Snarky Journalist from Heck: cheeselire_casander on June 23rd, 2008 10:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I always wonder about how they finally got over the war together, and this was just screaming to be written!
Rachel Smachel: mandasmal//silly amy and ephramfranlock on June 24th, 2008 01:49 am (UTC)
Aw, that was really cute! I liked it how there was some tension before they finally got together - It made it a lot more realistic. I really liked the characterization of Hermione in particular. Overall, you did a job well done! Thank you so much!
Snarky Journalist from Heck: awwlire_casander on June 26th, 2008 08:32 am (UTC)
Thank you very much for your words! I always aim for realistic characterizations, sometimes they're dead on, and sometimes they slide... I'm glad you liked this!
howcanthatbe on June 24th, 2008 04:39 am (UTC)
that was really well done. I love how you carry the sobriety through the story. It is a nice counterpoint to the sort of dizzy Room of Requirement scene in DH. The laughter line--so sweet, too.
Snarky Journalist from Heck: beautifullire_casander on June 26th, 2008 08:37 am (UTC)
You see, I never liked the way JK wrote that scene, it was so rushed and not explained... Thanks for reading and commenting!
Ms. Friday: OTPi_am_girlfriday on June 24th, 2008 01:34 pm (UTC)
I really loved this bit, "Four days late and honestly sorry, Hermione, but I'm here," he said, turning her around to face him. "I should have come with you in the first place."

I do think that sums them up nicely. Very well done.
Snarky Journalist from Hecklire_casander on June 26th, 2008 09:10 am (UTC)
Their relationship is always taking false steps, so i thought it could be great to show how they started everything...

Thanks!
dransinha: Hermione & Rondransinha77 on June 24th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
"There's something about your laughter that makes it easy to love, worth to treasure, and impossible to forget."
Very sweet! :)
Snarky Journalist from Heck: fly awaylire_casander on June 26th, 2008 09:12 am (UTC)
Thanks!
a little summer wind: kissslam_girl on July 1st, 2008 04:09 pm (UTC)
I must have this fic, so sorry. This was such a lovely post-kiss what's going to happen now fic. I liked the tension that was still between them though and how Hermione ended up going to Australia alone, though of course, I was glad when Ron showed up to be his adorable self. Loved the ending :D
Snarky Journalist from Heck: kisslire_casander on July 1st, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC)
It's yours then. I cannot stop you from having it =)

You know, I wrote the two versions - Ron going with her, and then she going on her own. I like the two a lot, but this one was a lot much more Ron!