Disclaimer: As much as I wish it were mine, JK Rowling owns the Harry Potter universe.
From a branch of an old, burly oak tree hung a small wooden swing. This tree grew on a small hill overlooking a cozy multi-storied house. Once an enchanting plaything for seven children, the swing now hung neglected, merely a toy for the occasional wind.
Molly Weasley had been itching to get rid of it ever since her little Ronnie came home sporting a bright purple bruise on his knee from when "Fwed and Geowge" made the swing sway so fast that the poor boy was thrown from it. And so the favorite pastime of the Weasley children had been abandoned under penalty of Molly Weasley’s wrath. For reasons unknown however, the mother of the seven children never quite got around to getting rid of the swing.
On a midsummer evening, a bushy haired girl was to be found seeking a place to contemplate her worries. She came upon a small swing hanging from a tree on a hillside and being so absorbed in her thoughts, suddenly found herself swinging gently in it.
Kill or be killed. There is no other choice for him. What will be the outcome? Who will triumph? What will remain of us, the friends of the Boy Who Lived?
I can’t believe he didn’t tell us! Instead, we all had to find out by eavesdropping on the Order! But I suppose we can’t blame him for not telling us. He probably didn’t want us to do exactly what I am doing right now—worrying about things I have no control over. But, another part of her brain spoke. You do have control—you can be a supportive friend, and be there for him in his time of need. The other part of her brain said, but it is all so decided, I feel there is nothing I can do. What will happen if Harry dies? Or Ron? Or anyone else I love? What will I do?
Hermione Jane Granger closed her eyes to stem the burning of tears and the wail of despair that willed itself to be released from her mouth. The soft steady motion of the swing was her only release; she pumped her legs, driving her frustration into the energy of the swing as she swayed higher and faster.
As her frustration died away, the swing slowly came to a standstill. Hermione then noticed a small dot of red moving up the hill towards her. She quickly brushed her tear-streaked cheeks with the back of her hand, and resumed her gentle swinging.
"Hermione?" said the tall redheaded boy who came into her view. His expression was sincere and full of concern.
She looked into his eyes, and saw pain mirroring her own reflected back at her. Unable to bear the striking blue eyes anymore, she looked away over the hilltop, to the warm home of the Weasleys. The cozy house was a sharp contrast to her unspoken feelings.
The boy walked over to the swing, and attempted to put an Engorgement Charm on it so that he might also sit. After much prodding with his wand, the swing remained the same size.
"Ron, it’s like this," Hermione said as she took out her wand and muttered the proper incantation. The swing magically extended enough so that another person could fit.
Ron sat beside her, and they gently swayed on the swing. He reached into his pocket and, taking out a Chocolate Frog, broke it in two. He handed one piece to Hermione as he stuffed the other in his mouth. They chewed their chocolate in silence until Ron spoke.
"So, what brings you out here?" he asked Hermione.
She sighed. "Just thinking, I suppose."
He looked up at the sky and muttered, "Yeah, me too."
"Do you believe what it says?" asked Hermione suddenly.
Ron didn’t have to ask what she was talking about.
"I guess we have to believe it. We have to believe Harry can do it."
"Of course. But what place do you think we—as in just us—have in this whole war?" she asked with a questioning look.
"Standing with Harry," he said immediately.
She asked, "Aren’t you afraid?"
"Afraid of what?"
"Death." The word rang in the silence of the deserted countryside.
Ron glanced at her. Her eyes were bright; she was holding in tears. He turned from her and looked over the hilltop to his home. His home of warmth and love, of family and friends, of all the things for which it was worth living. But Ron then realized that they were worth dying for also.
"I suppose I am. But when it all comes down to it, I think it will be worth even death if You-Know-Who is defeated," he said at last, but then corrected himself, "When he is defeated I mean."
Hermione sighed again. "I want to do all I can for Harry, but I feel this frustration—because I really can’t do much. Books don’t really help in this situation."
"We can only help him get through all this," answered Ron.
"It doesn’t help that he won’t let us! Look at him now! He’s over at that horrid place, most likely moping around by himself, blaming himself for Sirius’ death. And he won’t talk to us!" sniffed Hermione. "How can we help him if he doesn’t even open up to us?"
"Everything will fall into place after some time," Ron said firmly.
Hermione was amazed at Ron’s newly obtained sensitivity. Maybe he’ll finally come to his senses and realize I’m a girl. His girl, she corrected.
"We just have to be there for him—just like always," he added.
The swing had thrown off the Engorgement Charm. It shrunk to its normal size, which of course, was not the size for two people to sit platonically.
And so Hermione ended up sliding into Ron’s lap.
"That must be a first: a charm by Hermione went wrong!" Ron said in attempt to lighten the situation.
Blushing fiercely, Hermione moved to quickly get off his lap.
"Wait," said Ron, fumbling as he grabbed her arm and pulled her back. He didn’t want to ruin this, not now when he had such a good chance to express his feelings.
She fell back unceremoniously into his lap. "But you know I’ll always be here for you too, right?" he said, his breath tickling her ear.
"Don’t make promises you can’t keep," Hermione whispered, wiping her eyes once again. She still did not move from the very cozy position in which the swing had inadvertently put the two of them. Ron wrapped his arms around her small waist and moved closer to her.
"I’ve always been here, Hermione," he said at last as she looked up at him. "And it’s going to stay that way."
Ron brought his fingers to her face and tucked a stray curl of hair behind her ear. The gesture ran tingles down Hermione’s spine.
As Ron looked at her face, he finally realized just how much he loved her.
He leaned forward, and gently brushed his lips against hers. They shared a shy, sweet kiss; full of promise and hope. It seemed to last an eternity as the couple’s dam of hidden emotions was finally broken.
As they broke the kiss, Hermione smiled curiously at Ron.
"I’ve waited for this a long time," she said.
"What about Viktor?" he asked, as she leaned her head against his shoulder.
"I was never in love with him," she assured him. "I was only waiting for you to come around."
"Well I’m glad I finally did come around," Ron said, smiling at her.
They stood and Ron squeezed her hand as he whispered, "Try not to worry too much. We’ll get through whatever comes…together."
And they walked hand in hand, back to the Burrow.
"I knew that swing would come in handy one day," Molly Weasley whispered to her daughter Ginny. They shared a grin as they peeked out the window at the couple walking back from the swing and oak tree, the heavenly sunset glowing behind their silhouettes.
A/N: This is my first attempt at a romance fanfic, and my third attempt overall at fanfiction itself, so I hope you enjoyed it!
Many thanks to my English teacher Mrs. Browning, for inspiring in me the courage I needed to share my writing with others.
My appreciation also goes to my pre-beta, SilverApocalypse and of course, my PS beta Gerry.