If the little flowers knew, How deeply wounded is my heart, They would cry with me anew, To dampen the pain, at last.
I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. It was raining, which mirrored my feelings. I had no tears left to cry anymore, but the weather did it for me. During the last few weeks, I had grown to love the rain; it was becoming a part of me.
I loved walking outside in the wet world, completely on my own. No one would notice when I cried because my face was already wet. Or maybe it was because no one else bothered wandering around on a cold, wet autumn day. So, I grabbed my trainers and my anorak, made certain I still had my keys and left. I went walking in the rain.
Old memories kept surfacing. They made me cry, as usual. Stupid girl that I was, I still remembered every detail about us. We had needed four years and a near-death experience to get together, but only silly little things to break up again.
Ron was in St. Mungo’s, he was in sort of a coma after the Final Battle. Day and night I stayed at his bed, holding his hand, speaking to him. But he wouldn’t wake up, he wouldn’t speak, he wouldn’t even move. Everyone else slowly returned to their old lives, but I stayed. I spent my days reading him the Daily Prophet, telling him about Quidditch matches, about his family, about our old friends. Sometimes Harry would come to see us. Sometimes Ginny would try to get me away from Ron, talking about other boys. There has never been another one in my life. Ron has always been the one and only.
And as long as he was there, alive and breathing, I wouldn’t leave him. We hadn’t been an item before, but I knew that I loved him, and that was enough reason for me to stay.
The months were passing. I had long since tried any possible method of waking him up. I had read books on healing and Muggle medicine; I had even convinced the Healers to try electro-shock therapy, but nothing had worked. Slowly, I started losing hope. He looked so peaceful, lying in his white bed with his eyes closed tight, his hand passive in my grasp.
As the days dragged by, I tried my last resort. Taking his weak, freckled hand between mine, I started talking to him about love. I told him about how I had fallen in love with him. I told him how beautiful the time I had spent with him had been. But foremost, I talked about the future – about a wedding, children, a house, a garden, luck. He didn’t react. Once I thought that he had winked at me, but it seemed that fate just didn’t want him to wake.
That was when I began to lose hope. The pressure of the last several months was finally taking its toll, and I was breaking. When Ginny came to visit the next time, I threw myself into her arms, sobbing desperately. We talked a lot during that last week, and finally I decided that I couldn’t go on this way. I had to get out of there, do something on my own. I started writing applications for every position available at the Ministry, and thanks to Arthur I got an apprenticeship in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Not my dream job, if I’m honest, but I was thankful they took me; I didn’t have any N.E.W.T.s and had spent the last seven months mourning over my almost-boyfriend.
Saying good-bye to Ron was extremely hard. Now that I had given up hope, no one would ever try again. I felt like I was abandoning him selfishly. And so, when the time came, when I would be leaving and not coming back for days, I bent over him and gave him a kiss. His lips felt cold and slack. At first he felt like a dead man. But then, just as I was pulling back, I felt a reaction. After a few seconds I was positive – he was stirring! Was he awake? Was he back?
Yes, he came back that moment. I never understood why; there was no logical explanation. Had Dumbledore still been among us, he would have nodded and said: “Love.”
I stopped for a moment, panting. The sadder I was, the faster I walked. My hair was wet with rain and my hands were cold. I didn’t care. It felt just like I was feeling on the inside – icy cold. When could I ever be happy again? I snuffled, suppressing a sob.
If the nightingales knew, How sad and ill I feel, They would sing a few, Joyous songs that heal
I was standing in front of her door again. Obviously she didn’t want to talk to me, she didn’t open it. As usual. I had grown accustomed to that during the long, hard weeks since our break-up. But it hurt, standing outside, ready to forgive and forget, and being completely ignored. We had been the dream team! Everyone had taken it for granted that we would live happily ever after. But if life has taught me one lesson, this is it: Never take anything for granted.
I tried Apparating inside but she had an Anti-Apparition ward over her flat. Clever girl – I should have known.
Suddenly a horrible thought struck me: What if she wasn’t at home at all? What if she was going out with some man, having a great time, while I was standing here, waiting for her? I felt nauseous. Well, actually there was nothing in my stomach to lose – I hadn’t eaten for days. I had to get some fresh air.
Outside, it was raining, and the water was pleasantly cool to my hot face. The sky was darkening and it was stormy. No one was outdoors now. Well, no one but me. Maybe I should go for a walk – I obviously needed to clear my head.
I had been in love with Hermione for four years before we first kissed. It started in fourth year, I don’t recall how and why. Suddenly I realised my feelings towards her had changed. At first I didn’t know what it meant, having never been in love before. In fact, I first understood these feelings I had for her in sixth year. Looking back on this, I now know what the jealousy and the butterflies in my stomach had to mean. But I didn’t know in fourth year, unfortunately. So when I finally realised how important she was in my life, I had nearly lost several times. Those names still give me a shudder: Krum, McLaggen and Lavender. I’m not certain how we made it through, but we stayed friends, and after our sixth year, everyone thought it would only be a question of time until we became an item. Later, the twins told me all my brothers were making bets, concerning the when, where and how. Unfortunately, we disappointed them. I didn’t confess my undying love to her during Bill’s wedding, we didn’t have a surreptitious shag in that tent on our mission with Harry, we didn’t meet unexpectedly under the mistletoe at Christmas. Without really understanding it, we both knew that Harry needed both of us to focus on the task just as much as he was. There were more important things; love could wait. During long months with her lying next to me in her sleeping bag, I often could barely resist kissing her. In my dreams I pictured the moment of Harry’s victory. I would run towards her, take her into my arms and just kiss her.
As so often in my life, everything was a bit different from my plans. Thanks to Rosier, I wasn’t even able to think or move, let alone kiss my love.
I don’t know what happened over the next months after the victory, apart from what Hermione shouted at me during one of our fights. Apparently she had been sitting at my bed all the time, day and night, watching me. Although this really was lovely, I was quite surprised when I heard this. I would never have wanted her to do it.
The moment I first opened my eyes, her face was barely inches from mine. She gasped and drew her head back quickly. I would have loved to kiss her, but she told me to stay where I was and called for a Healer. So it was gone – another one of those romantic moments I had never used.
During my recovery, Hermione visited me regularly and we grew closer and closer, if this was even possible. Soon everyone was certain that we were going out and I really liked this idea. There was only one problem: We weren’t going out. Each time I came close to asking her, I didn’t have the guts to speak the words. Later in our relationship, it seemed impossible that I couldn’t manage to do it – these three words weren’t my problem anymore.
When they let me out of St. Mungo’s to convalesce at home, I spent ages lying on the sofa in our sitting room at the Burrow planning how to ask her out. I spent so long debating with myself about the most romantic way to do it that I wasn’t really surprised when three months had passed and I still hadn’t made the first move. Slowly I started panicking. What if she met someone else at work? Although she had already waited since our fourth year, I had the feeling she wouldn’t wait much longer. So I finally started planning the event carefully.
Hermione had always loved the Burrow in summer, our flower-filled garden and the small hedges. After some discussion with Ginny and Harry, I decided to invite her to a picnic. They helped me with the preparations. Ginny even wrote me a little speech to learn off by heart.
The evening approached and my nerves were getting to me. When Hermione finally Apparated, I was reduced to a shivering mass and Harry had to “Alohomora” the door to my room, where I had taken refuge, open. Ginny literally kicked me out of the house. Surprisingly, everything went fine at first. I didn’t drop anything. I didn’t spill the juice everywhere. I even managed not to irritate Hermione for the whole evening. When it grew dark, I knew it was time. I had to say something.
“H… Hermione?” I stuttered nervously. She smiled at me in response. How I loved that smile! It made me forget everything that I had prepared. The speech had evaporated from my mind. What should I do? Panicking, I looked around, not really expecting any help from the hedges surrounding us.
“Since we first met,” whispered a voice behind me suddenly. Who was it? Grabbing my wand, I turned around. Harry was hidden in the hedge! I would have hexed him but then I didn’t want to destroy the romantic ambience.
“Since we first met,” I started my speech, then stopped again. It felt exactly like my History of Magic O.W.L. – every tiny bit of knowledge had disappeared from my brains. Helplessly, I glanced back, towards Harry. He reacted immediately, saying something I didn’t quite get. Hermione was looking at me piercingly and I blushed.
“Harry!” I whispered. “Harry! Help!”
“Are you not feeling all right?” my love asked. “I’m Hermione, not Harry.”
There was only one possible way left to rescue the situation. I would never be able to talk my way out of things, so I did the only thing I could think of – I reached over towards Hermione, pulled her into my arms and kissed her.
At that moment, very familiar laughter erupted behind us: Harry-the-git and my lovely sister Ginny. I should have known that they were going to watch us, otherwise they wouldn’t have been so eager to help.
When I looked at Hermione again, I knew that it had gone terribly wrong. She was pulling away from me, and if looks had been able to kill… well, ’nuff said. Luckily Hermione wasn’t a born witch and she still thought the Muggle way when she was upset, which is why she stalked off towards the house and didn’t just Disapparate. One furious nod from Ginny told me what to do – I started running after her.
“You thought it was funny, then! Some sort of a comedy show for you three because you were bored!” Hermione sounded ready to kill.
I made a step towards her but she drew her wand.
“One step further and you will look like Crabbe after we finished with him in our fifth year.”
The sound of her voice made me shiver – it was hard and icy. What had I done?
My lips felt like they were glued together - I tried to speak but nothing came out of my mouth. My throat was awfully dry and I only managed a little cough. Hermione’s hair was even more frizzy than usual, she looked really furious, and I expected her to hex me into oblivion.
“Well, I give you three seconds to tell me. One.”
Her wand was pointed at me.
Her body changed into her duelling position I knew so well.
“Wait! Hermione! It was no joke!” Ginny came running towards us, standing in front of me.
“Oh, it wasn’t? And how would you explain it?” Hermione stormed. “Get out of the way or I’ll hex you, too!”
“Try it.” Ginny’s voice sounded daring and in a blink she held her wand in front of her.
I had no idea what to do now. Obviously Hermione wanted to duel with someone, and I was happy if it wasn’t me. When she was furious, she was practically invincible. Preparing myself for the worst, I quietly backed away, gesticulating towards my former best mate to do something.
“Please!” said Harry sharply, and they both turned and looked at him. “Hermione, please listen to Ron.” He stood there, his hands in his hips, doing a very good impression of my Mum. “Ginny, come on, we’ll leave these two alone.”
Now we were left standing in the last light of a beautiful sunset, both shifting comfortably and avoiding each others’ eyes.
“Well, what is it, Ron?” Hermione asked impatiently.
Suddenly I didn’t have any problems with my mouth anymore. I just wanted to tell her how I felt, to kiss her, to spend the rest of my life with her.
“Hermione, I love you.”
When I stepped closer, she smiled at me and put her arms around my neck. ”I love you, too,” she whispered before we shared the most amazing kiss ever.
The time with Hermione was the happiest time in my life. Barely a day passed that we didn’t see each other. She made me the luckiest man on Earth. When I felt her lips on mine, every worry vanished. I knew we were meant for each other, we had all the time on the world. Even after more than a year we hadn’t had a severe arguement or anything worse than the usual bickering.
And if the starlets, hanging high, Knew about my pain, They would rush from the sky, To shore me up again.
Although it was nearly dark, I didn’t bother illuminating my wand. Even if someone was looking for me, I didn’t want to be found; I wanted to be alone with my sadness. A few minutes ago I had found a bench at the edge of the woods. We had come here often, and behind the bushes was a hidden valley we had made love in.
Thinking about Ron hurt unbelievably, but thinking about making love to him hurt even more. What was he doing now? Seeking comfort from one of his many female friends?
Ron never had a special flair for romance or romantic situations.
I didn’t expect him to ask me to marry him that soon. We were still young and I had just finished my apprenticeship some months before, and was working at the Magical Law Enforcement Squad. We didn’t plan on moving in together, nor had we ever brought up the issue of marriage and children.
Ron had always known that my favourite flowers by far were Bleeding Hearts. So I wasn’t surprised when he turned up one day with a whole bunch of them, obviously nicked right from his mother’s flowerbed. As usual, I put them into the sink while I was searching for a nice vase. Suddenly a cry came from said sink. Ron threw the bouquet onto the floor and started shouting hexes at it. “Where has it gone?” he yelled. For a moment, I just stood there, baffled. Maybe the incident two years before had somehow disturbed my beloved’s brains?
“Ron!” I screamed, panicking, just as a jet of water shot out of the sink and into my spotlessly clean kitchen. “What are you doing?”
Instead of an answer, there was another jet of water, a muttered “Accio,” and a sound like my plumbing couldn’t stand it any longer. Then there was a triumphant cry and Ron turned around, something shining in his hand as it caught the light. He was completely soaked and wearing a broad grin. Needless to say, I was absolutely dumbfounded. I was standing stock-still at my place as if I had just been Petrified, staring at my boyfriend, my eyes wide with shock…
“Ron?” I croaked hoarsely. “What…”
“Oh, you knew?” He looked crestfallen. I looked even more dazed than I had before. Silence fell between us. I was staring awkwardly at my shoes and from there to the great puddle on my kitchen floor. Luckily, a quick “Scourgify” would clean everything up. But I still hadn’t understood what Ron meant.
“So will you take it, then?” He had come a bit closer and looked at me expectantly while I tried my best not to look at him.
“Hermione? You… you don’t want it, then?” His voice sounded disappointed. Very disappointed.
“What?” I said sharply.
“This.” His hand appeared in my view and on his palm was a beautiful, golden ring.
My mind was completely blank, I didn’t manage to get out a simple “yes.” Instead, I jumped over towards Ron and pulled him into a tight hug. This had to be sufficient as an answer.
Soon after our engagement we moved in together. Molly Weasley had given her seal of approval and so we spent an absolutely terrible month with renovating, painting and furnishing a small flat in North London, the Muggle world. After a few lessons Ron had learnt how to buy food in a supermarket, how to use a doorbell and how to wait when traffic lights were red. He didn’t like the area at all, and this was the first thing we argued about.
“Why London?” was the first question Ron asked me after I had come home from a nastily exhausting day at the Ministry. No kiss, no saying hello – nothing. This infuriated me, and it led to the first serious arguement we ever had in our relationship.
“Why not?” I retorted, snippy, my mind on dinner and a peaceful night with lots of sleep.
“Why do we have to live here? You know that I don’t like living in the Muggle world, I’m not my Dad! And you’re a witch, you can Apparate or Floo to work, we don’t have to live here! There are no meadows, the air is always dirty, people are unfriendly – why can’t we live somewhere else? You know that nice village…”
At this point I strode past him, stormed into our bedroom and locked the door behind me. It had been too much. Sobbing uncontrollably, I let myself fall onto the bed and Ron had to sleep in the living room that night. Not because I wouldn’t have let him in, but I fell asleep and forgot him completely. He didn’t talk to me the next evening and when he did again, he never mentioned the place where we lived. Nevertheless, he had other means of letting me know that he felt uncomfortable in London. Each weekend, whether or not I had time to come with him, he visited his parents at the Burrow to enjoy the countryside. Slowly, I was getting furious. Not only at Ron, but also at Molly, of whom I had the impression that she wanted Ron to spend most of his time with her. While Ron was staying at the Burrow longer and longer, I hardly visited anymore; when I did accompany him, I found it extremely hard to participate in Molly’s plans for our wedding. I had more important things to do than to decide the colour of the bridesmaids’ dress robes or how high the cake should be.
Ron and I started feeling uncomfortable around each other. There wasn’t much left we could talk about without starting an arguement, and it was getting more difficult with each passing day. So, we started spending less time together. As I had been transferred into the Department for Experimental Charms, I had a lot of work to do and often stayed in the Ministry till late at night. Ron, on the other hand, started hanging around with Quidditch players from the Cannons, which made me jealous. Quidditch players were popular among girls, and although there was no reason why I shouldn’t trust Ron – he had never betrayed me – I felt uncomfortable. Somehow I didn’t realise that it was my fault, my coldness, that made Ron search for comfort somewhere else.
The hours we spent together were filled with stilted conversation and sex. Just to show each other that we were still in love, we ended up making love frequently, though not as passionately as before.
One Sunday evening at dinner, I couldn’t stand it any longer. Molly had been getting on my nerves for two days; she kept asking stupid questions about the wedding, about the guest list – as if I cared if some stupid great-aunt once removed came or not.
“So, what do you think you’ll be doing after the wedding?” Ron asked politely. This was what made me explode. It was one of these extremely old-fashioned opinions the Weasley family held. Married women should give birth to as many children as possible, not make a career in the Ministry.
“What do you mean, do after the wedding? What should I do?”
“I… well… I mean,” he stuttered. For a moment I felt almost sorry for him, but I was too furious to give in again.
“I don’t understand you. Just tell me what you want. Or does your mother have to speak for you?”
“Er… Now that we’re getting married, I thought you would stop working. Or cut down your hours. We’ll need to get a house somewhere in the countryside, it’s much healthier for the children there, we really…”
I never knew what “We really,” because by then I was at the end of my tether.
“Stopping my career? Buying a house? Having children? You already seem to have it planned very well. When did you plan to ask me? On our wedding night?
“And what does my opinion count? Have you ever considered the possibility that I don’t want any children? That I want to continue working? It isn’t my goal to become a house-wife! I have a mind, I want to use it!
“Where do you see your role in this? Would you ever look after the children, take a day off so I could work? No, Monsieur hasn’t thought about that, has he? It’s just me who should do the dirty work, who should hang around that house in the countryside all day, playing with the children, doing the cooking and preparing everything for the evening when you come home. Of course you would expect me to have dinner ready for you, to clean for you, to do everything! Has it ever occurred to you that I don’t want this? Not at all? And in the evenings, while I would be looking after all those babies, I suppose you would go out with your Quidditch friends, flirting with girls!
“Haven’t I done enough for you? I spent seven months at your bedside, seven months I could have used to work. I saved your life! And how do you thank me?
“Listen to me, Ronald Weasley: I thought you liked me as I am!! But you don’t respect me and my work at all! So what if I’m having a great career? Just drop it and that’s it! So why don’t you stop working? I’m certain that would be lovely.
“I am not your mother. I want a life of my own! And you have been the biggest mistake I’ve ever made, you and your stupid marriage! Go to hell!”
Chucking the engagement ring on the floor, I fled, slamming the doors behind me.
“Hermione! It’s not fair!” yelled Ron, but I ignored him. Tears were running down my face and I could hardly see the stairs as I made my way down. Soon, he was out of earshot, and he was gone, gone from my life. I never ever wanted to see him again. I was finally starting a life of my own.
Crying silently, I decided to go home. This place awakened too many emotions, too many memories about Ron. I should never have moved here, into this town we had visited regularly. Each time I went for a walk, I ended up here, and it always made me cry. And each time, too, I told myself not to come here again. But I couldn’t help myself – it was as if a magical power was drawing me towards this bench, towards all these memories.
All of them couldn’t guess. There is only one so smart: She is the only Goddess, Able to tear my heart!
The flowers in my hand were looking horrible. Each time I had come, I had brought Hermione’s favourite flowers, a couple of Bleeding Hearts. Each time I had left, I had chucked them into the bin. These were the only ones I had kept, and now they were battered by the storm and the rain. Still, I didn’t want to throw them away. There was a game Ginny and her friends had always played when they were small… She loves me, she loves me not… I started pulling out the petals. That’s brutal, I know, but I wasn’t in the most tender of moods this evening. Just when I had reached a “she loves me,” I collided with something.
“Who’s there?” I called out loudly into the darkness. There was a small sob as an answer, and when I put forth my hand, I felt someone. “Are you okay? Who are you?” Again, no answer - but I had discovered something. There was a small scar on the back of the person’s hand, small but easy to feel. And it was at exactly the same place as…
“Hermione?” I asked in the same moment she illuminated her wand. She had always been superb at nonverbal spells.
Yes, it was her. Her hair was soaking wet and her face looked like she had cried for days, but her eyes were fixed on me, and she didn’t seem unfriendly. At least she hadn’t hexed me yet.
“Ron? What are you doing here?”
Instead of an answer, I held the flowers in front of me. They looked ridiculous now, but hopefully she would be able to see what I meant.
“Hermione, I miss you. I would never have imagined I’d miss you so much, but when you’re not there, it feels like a part of me has died. You’re my life, and it’s worth nothing without you.
“I know I’ve made some mistakes – a lot of mistakes – but I didn’t make them on purpose. I just didn’t realise that I would hurt you. Really, Hermione, I love you. You are the most wonderful person I’ve ever met and I don’t want you to change. It’s not my mother whom I want to marry, it’s you.”
I didn’t know how I had managed to say this – I hadn’t planned on saying anything, hadn’t prepared anything, it had just slipped out. Anxiously I watched my ex-fiancée, waiting for her reaction. What would she do? Talk to me? Tell me to go away? Hex me?
Hermione had always managed to surprise me, and this was one of these moments. I had anticipated everything, just not this.
After a moment of awkward silence, I felt two familiar arms around my neck, a mass of bushy wet hair in my face and a head burying itself into my shoulder. Hermione was sobbing uncontrollably and clinging with all her weight at my neck. Surprised, I stumbled a few steps backwards, tripped over a small stone and lost control, falling backwards, pulling her with me.
We landed in the wet grass, Hermione on top of me, the flowers some distance away, now completely destroyed. So here we were, the lost lovers, arm in arm, near the same spot we had once made love. Hermione must have realised this too, because she squeezed me a bit harder, whispering: “Do you remember?” Her eyes were shining and suddenly it felt as if nothing had happened. We still belonged together, we still had that bond. No matter what had happened, it hadn’t destroyed our love. I still loved her, maybe even more than before, and she loved me, too. I knew it, and when I looked into her eyes, I knew that she knew.
Slowly, she brought down her head, I closed my eyes and our lips met.
A/N: Poem: “If the little flowers knew” by Heinrich Heine (original title: “Und wüßten’s die Blumen, die kleinen”), translation by Joseph Massaad, source: www.heinrich-heine.net