Harry Potter quite obviously belongs to JK Rowling and her publishers. I should also point out that the structure of this fic is inspired by, "The Five People You Meet In Heaven" by Mitch Albom. This also doesn’t belong to me.
This is an outtake to my story ‘I Will Be Waiting.’ There should be no need to have read the rest of the story as this one can stand on it’s own.
He takes your hand as soon as the long-distance Apparation wards allow him to, and as you instinctively intertwine your fingers with his, you marvel - not for the first time - just how right it feels, and the events of the last twenty-four hours only increase your feeling of contentment. He looks at you and grins; with him it's always a grin, never just a plain smile, but even so, you know he feels it too.
You squeeze his hand and grin back It's been over three hours since you set off from the Diagon Alley Apparation port, and you need to reassure yourself that this is real, that he is real and that this hasn't been some kind of wonderful dream.
He seems to feel your need and pulls you towards him. As he wraps an arm around your waist, he leans down and kisses you soundly on the lips before pulling away with such a look of intense desire in his eyes that you shiver in expectation. However, here is most definitely not the place, and swallowing hard to regain your composure you bend down and pick up your bag, and head over to the immigration desk.
You can hear him grumbling as you approach the desk, and you almost join in when you see the queue. It's going to be longer than you allocated before you reach your hotel, and you're relieved you convinced him to fill in his visa form back in Diagon Alley whilst you were waiting for your allotted Apparation slot, despite his protestations that "When we get there will be fine, love, stop worrying." At least that should speed things up when you eventually get to the counter.
Whilst your new husband sits down on the floor and rests against one of the marble columns and opens a copy of 'Quidditch Weekly', - "No point standing around doing nothing, love." - you look around and try to absorb as much as you possibly can; this is going to be such a fascinating trip! You can hardly wait for the morning so you can both get out and explore this wonderful country.
You feel a tug on your robes and you look down to see him smiling up at you.
"I hope you're allocating some 'us' time in that gorgeous head of yours."
You swallow hard, how does he do this to you? "Oh don't worry," you reply in a whisper, "I definitely have some plans which include you."
His breath catches, and you grin inwardly as you turn away and edge further forward in the queue.
You awake the next morning feeling wonderfully right with the world, your husband is lying next to you snoring gently. As you snuggle in closer to him, he responds by wrapping his arm tighter around you and you sigh happily.
It was late when you eventually got to bed last light, even later when you got to sleep…. But you know you will have to get up before long; you have so much planned to do today that despite how good this feels you are beginning to get fidgety.
Even though you ordered breakfast in bed, you leave the hotel without eating, a first for Ron, you tease him, and you head down into the town, deciding to walk rather than catching a taxi. It's a wonderfully clear and warm day and the sun is already quite strong, despite it still being fairly early in the morning. Pleased you remembered your sun protection charms before leaving the hotel, you start to swing your hand – clasped with your husband’s – starts to swing
"Happy, love?" he asks, whilst grinning at you.
"Very," you reply.
"Is it just me, or does this feel like we're eighteen again and walking into Hogsmeade?"
"Yeah, sort of," you reply. You are finding yourself uncharacteristically unable to find the right words, "but this is much better."
"You've got the directions for how to get in to the Wizarding section of the Medina, haven't you?"
"Yes, love," he replies patiently, before switching to his 'teasing voice'. "Just as I did in the hotel room… As we left the hotel… By that big funny shaped tree… Ten minutes ago when we were ne-"
"Okay, okay," you reply as you lightly punch his arm, "I should trust you, shouldn't I?”
"Yes, love, but you probably never will."
"More than likely," you reply, your smile showing only in your voice.
"Good, that's one of the reasons I love you." As he speaks, he squeezes your hand, and locks his gaze with yours for the briefest of wonderful moments and your head spins.
"We're here," he says a few minutes later, and you can just see his wand poking out of his sleeve slightly as he surreptitiously makes a few waves of his arm. You watch in fascination as the ornate doorway seems to liquefy for a second before returning to normal.
"Did it work?" you ask.
"Only one way to find out," he replies as he grabs your hand again and steps through the door, pulling you with him.
You both stop dead as you take in the scene before you. You thought Diagon Alley was busy, but it has nothing compared to this! You don't think you have ever seen so many witches and wizards going about their daily business, there are hundreds of them milling about the narrow streets. At first glance it looks like an unorganised mêlée but after you spend a few minutes taking it all in you can see that beneath the surface there is a subtle order to things, everybody seems to instinctively know where to go and what to do; experiencing it will be one thing, but you can't wait to stop at a café and just people-watch for a while.
For a split second, you regret not bringing a few sheets of parchment with you to take notes; if you decide to take up that position at the Ministry this could all be invaluable information. But you promised Ron that you would try to hold back the urge to study whilst you were here. "It is our Honeymoon after all," your new husband's words come back to you. And you agreed whole heartedly with him. Anytime you could get alone with him, without his family or Harry around (despite how much you loved them all) always put a spring in your step. But still….
"Where first, then?" he asks, a look of apprehension on his face as he looks into the crowd of people.
"Let's just wander round for a while," you suggest, "though we do need to call in at Gringotts at some point."
"What for?" he asks. "We've got plenty of money to last, haven't we?"
Sometimes, your husband - Merlin, you like that phrase - can be wonderfully clueless you decide.
"We have enough Wizarding money, Ron, but what if we want to go out in a Muggle area?"
"We have plenty of Muggle money as well, Hermione," he answers, proudly tapping his money pouch.
"Yes, but we need to change it. You can't spend our money over here, they have their own."
"What! The Muggles don't use the same money," he exclaims. "How stupid is that?"
"It's a different country, Ron," you explain. "You can't expect everything to be the same." He goggles at your words, his incredulity evident.
"Nutters!" he replies, shaking his head, and then you both step off and enter the flow of people.
An hour later and you can both be found cooling off in one of the many cafés that are dotted about the market.
It’s been an amazing morning; a breathtaking sensory assault, ever since you first entered the Medina; the spices, the animals, and the smell. Astonishingly inviting smells around the food and spice stalls, to stomach clenching ones as you pass by the butchers, the heat of the day intensifying the already pungent odours. If it wasn’t the smells it was the colours, a vibrant riot of shades and textures, leather, silks, woollens, precious metals. It’s not just the stalls: the whole place is full of contrasts, cool covered streets filled with natural light and shadow sunlight pouring in through small openings in the roof, that occasionally give way to expansive sun-drenched squares.
You are currently leaning back against cool blue walls of the café, pretending to look up and out one of the wrought iron windows, high up in the ceiling. The shafts of light it throws on the walls are decorated by the craftsmanship in window; the wonderful swirls and curls lend a relaxing atmosphere to the place, a contrast to the bustle in the Medina. Or it would be, if it wasn't for your darling husband, who is looking at his drink as if it it's about to transfigure into a blast-ended skrewt or something.
You find yourself having to hold your sides to keep from laughing at the look on his face - a mix of bewilderment and disgust - that is so wonderfully adorable.
"What's so funny?" he demands.
"Oh, nothing, love. I'm just wondering what's wrong with your drink?"
"It's got things in it."
"That would be pistachios, love."
"And, this?" he asks, holding up a floppy green leaf, while wrinkling his nose.
"That would be a mint leaf, love." You add a long-suffering sigh for good measure.
"Just taste it, Ron, it's not going to bite you."
He glares half-heartedly at you, before taking a tentative sip, and then another.
"Hmmm, not bad," he says. "But I still don't know why it needs half a tree in it."
"And men say it's women that moan!" you reply, before taking a sip of your own drink – a coffee so strong and flavoursome you muse you could almost stand the small silver spoon up in it.
His considered response is to stick his tongue out at you.
"Less than a day! And already I'm wondering why I married you..."
"For my good looks and sophisticated manner?" he banters back.
"Hmmm..." you reply, smiling inwardly. It's for moments like this that you did marry the prat. You're not going to tell him that though.
"What are you smiling at?"
"Err... Just looking forward to going back out there," and you nod your head towards the café door. His eyes widen in disbelief.
"You’re kidding me, Hermione, you can't be looking forward to that, they're nutters the lot of them! They bang into you, jabber away in your ear even if when you don’t speak to them first, stand on your feet-”
"But don't you think it's a fascinating experience?" you ask anxiously. He did agree to come after all, but maybe he was swayed by your enthusiasm.
"It's an experience, alright," he mutters under his breath, hoping that you don't hear him.
"Pardon?" you reply, watching him squirm slightly as he realises that you did indeed hear him.
"I can think of better experiences back at the hotel..." he replies, not breaking eye contact with you.
Damn, good answer, you think, before downing the rest of your drink in one go and swallowing hard.
"Ronald Weasley!" you eventually manage to say.
"Hermione Weasley!" he replies, his grin as infectious as ever. "Don't even try to pretend, you don't want to."
"I'll have you know, I have no intention of spending half this trip in bed with you," you huff, half-heartedly.
"As long as you plan to spend some of it there." As he speaks he waggles his eyebrows.
You lean in close, licking your lips. You can see his nose twitch ever-so-slightly as he catches your perfume - his favourite - and you whisper in your most seductive voice, "Honestly, Ron, of course I do."
You can see it in his eyes - you have him completely - he starts to close the gap to kiss you, when you add, "we have to sleep somewhere, don't we?"
He freezes mere inches from your face, his eyes wide. You can see all sorts of emotions running through those wonderful eyes; shock, disbelief, frustration, merriment, desire....
Shaking his head slightly, he whispers, "You definitely don't deserve this after that." then he finally closes the gap between both your lips and proceeds to kiss you, it's an incredibly tender kiss, almost chaste. - You are both aware of the closeness of the other tables and diners - It may have only lasted the briefest of moments, but you are both breathless when you sit back. An elderly witch in the corner winks at you both. You are pleased to see your husband's face flush, you do so hate to be the only one embarrassed.
You sit and talk for a little while longer and eventually talk your husband into heading back out into the Souks, where he buys you a pair of beautiful, burgundy traditional leather shoes to go with the dress you intend to wear tonight, when he takes you out for dinner.
You are sitting up in bed, both exceptionally glad that he booked the restaurant for nine o'clock rather than eight as you had originally suggested; even having returned early, you are going to be rushed. How he can make you lose track of time so easily, you just don't know; it's something that's going to take repeated studying... But despite how enjoyable that sounds, you need to get ready.
Swinging your legs round, you stand, and perfectly naked you stride purposefully into the bathroom, amazed that you can do this without your entire body blushing. You can feel your husband watching you and it's a very pleasant feeling.
As you step out of the shower, he hands you a towel before stepping into the shower himself.
"So, do you like your shoes then?" he calls out above the sound of the shower’s spray.
"They're lovely, Ron, as I told you when you bought them."
"Just checking, love; I got a little bit carried away in there."
You smile at the memory, remembering the way his face lit up, just like it did when he made a chess move you weren't expecting; the poor stall holder never had a chance. "Yes, I'd noticed that. Why the change of heart, you were calling them all nutters and madmen earlier."
"I listened to something you said," he replies.
"You did?" you reply, pretending to be surprised.
"Hey, I do sometimes, you know!" You pay him for that cheek with a wet flannel to the back, which you run under the cold tap before dropping it into the shower stall. The sharp yelp indicates you hit your intended target.
"Anyway," he growls, before continuing in a more friendly tone, "yeah, it was when you said to treat it like Quidditch."
"I did?" you reply, genuinely perplexed. You can't remember mentioning Quidditch at all.
"Well you said to treat it as a game, I just chose the game."
"Well, manoeuvering though the crowds and avoiding the stall holders is pretty much like devising chaser strategies."
"And the most fun is haggling."
"You had fun?"
"Oh yes, haggling is like a good game of chess; you manoeuvre your opponent into the position you want him, then you pounce!"
As he says the last words he steps from the shower and snatches the towel from your hands, stopping your attempt to hang it back on the rail.
"And I can't wait to get back out there tomorrow; I spotted this wonderful little wooden doll that looked just like Harry. Can you imagine his face?!"
His chosen method of experiencing this wonderful culture goes against your grain, but you are just too happy to have him experiencing something life enhancing and enjoying it.
You never do get to the restaurant.
In later years, when you look back and remember this week, you remember it as the first of many fascinating trips you take together, and despite his protestations that 'he always found the hotel rooms more fascinating,' you know just how much he took pleasure in immersing himself in whatever society you visit. You know this because more often than not, he brought his own parchment.