All characters J. K. Rowling; I’m just amusing myself. ;)
“Be very careful with that one, Ron, it’s been in my family for an extremely long time and I would hate to lose it.”
Ron bit his tongue as his wife reminded him yet again how careful he should be with the delicate ornament in his hand as they decorated their tree. The fact that Hermione had been reminding him to be careful every other ornament and every time he even breathed on one of the small decorations, it was a miracle to Ron he hadn’t yet tasted blood from all the holding back he was doing. He knew Hermione was just being her usual bossy self; something he’d had years to get used to, but for some reason tonight it was bothering him more than usual. Perhaps because they both had other things on their minds - namely the upcoming nuptials of their best friend, Harry.
Hermione, acting as maid of honour for the bride, had taken her job very seriously, and while Ron knew the wedding itself would be a great celebration, he found himself wishing more and more these days that it might have been better for his wife’s state of mind if their best friend had just decided to elope. Hermione had been driving him mad with all her fussing lately and while he knew it was because she just wanted Harry and Ginny to have a nice wedding, he couldn’t help but want his wife back - still bossy, true, but ten times less…intense about it. That, at least, he could handle.
“It was very nice of your Mum to give us this box of decorations, don’t you think? We’re going to have a proper tree on our first Christmas as husband and wife. I was a bit worried we were going to be stuck charming our own, but this is coming together quite nicely.”
Ron made a non-committal noise and moved to decorate the part of the tree that was facing the back. Actually, Ron thought, he would have preferred to just charm some ornaments for the blasted thing; constantly being told how old and delicate things were was really starting to wear thin to his ears. And he didn’t quite get how the Muggle ornaments Hermione had got from her parents were all that special; if he broke one couldn’t he just use his wand to fix it right again? Wisely, he had kept this last question to himself, not wanting to have a row.
“Oh! I was hoping Mum had packed this one. Look, Ron, it’s a picture ornament. You can put in a favourite picture and hang it on the tree. Which do you think we should use?”
Ron looked at the small framed ornament in her hand and shrugged. “Do we even have any pictures that small?”
Hermione shook her head at him. “Well, as you’re always pointing out, we’re ‘bloody wizards’, we can fix anything with a wand, right?”
Ron hoped his face wasn’t turning red and took the ornament out of her hands. “Fine, I’ll get the memories box.”
He heard Hermione sigh behind him and ignored her; he made his way over to the large cabinet she liked to keep her books in and pulled out their box of photos. It was actually quite full, surprisingly. After the war, Ron and Hermione had both made the conscious decision to make certain they had more photographs of everyone - they’d lost too many good friends and been left with nothing to remember them by.
“Do you want one just of us or with everyone?” Ron asked as he started flipping through the pictures.
“Do we have a younger one?” Hermione asked as she joined him. They made their way to the settee and sat down. Ron put the ornament on the end table and they both started looking through the box of photos.
“Where did you get some of these?” Ron asked as he held up an old black and white shot of him, Hermione and Harry.
“Colin gave me some,” Hermione said as she took the photo from him. “I think this was during third year; you can see Crookshanks looking at you funny.”
“That could have been taken any year, Hermione.”
She pursed her lips at him and picked up another photo. “Here’s one from fourth year, oh goodness, Ron, look at your hair. What a mess.”
Ron frowned and looked at the picture, watching as his younger self keep running his hands through his hair. “I look tichy.”
“Ron, you were never tiny; you were the tallest in our year.”
“And my hair wasn’t a mess, it was just shaggy. Very smart at the time, you know.”
“Yes, of course, dear, which explains why you keep messing with it in the photo,” Hermione said as she rifled through more of the pictures. “I was hoping we could find a holiday shot to put in the ornament, but we don’t really have that many do we?”
Ron shrugged. “I reckon we just never really posed for that many photos back then.”
“Oh, here’s one of Harry and Ginny at the Burrow during our sixth year, before they got together. Look at how Harry keeps stealing glances at her.”
Ron nodded without looking and flipped through a few more. “How about this one? It was taken right after Harry got back from fighting Voldemort. And there‘s snow in the background.”
Hermione bit her lip as she looked at the photo. “He looks so skinny and unwell. I don’t think he’d like to reminded of that time if he saw it, do you?”
“No, you’re right,” Ron said, and reached for more photos to sift through. He realised something as he saw more faces pass through his fingers. “Hermione, we don’t really have any photographs of each other, do we?”
“Hmm, sure we do. There’s this one.”
Ron looked down at it and frowned. “But that’s with Harry again. I meant just you and me…together.”
“Oh!” Hermione turned a bit pink and took the box back from him. “There must be some…here, how about this one?”
Ron looked down at the photo and sighed. “We’re both about thirteen years old in that.”
“No, we’re probably around fourteen actually; we didn’t do a lot of speaking to each other when we were in third year, as you recall.”
“Well, I wouldn’t call what we did in fourth year any better…hey, is that a photograph of you and Viktor Krum?”
Hermione, who had been trying to pull one of the photos out of the box, gave a small yelp as Ron grabbed her wrist and took it from her. He looked down at her old suitor and bit back a growl; it didn’t matter that he and Hermione were married now - it didn’t even matter that Viktor himself was married either. It still drove him crazy to think of the git.
“Perhaps I should see if I have an old photo of Lavender around, if keeping pictures of our exes is allowed,” he said now, not liking the tone in his voice.
Hermione blinked rapidly at him and took the picture back. She frowned and put it in the bottom of the box. Ron suddenly felt like an ass and reached out to touch her hand. He reckoned Hermione wasn’t the only one with a short temper these days.
“I’m sorry; I’m not sure why I just felt compelled to act like a jealous fifteen year old. I guess he will always bother me.”
She sniffed softly and shrugged at him, and he took the box of photos off her lap, setting it on the end table and pulled her into his arms. At first she wouldn’t look at him, but he lightly tickled the back of her neck with his fingers, letting the tips of them start to get lost in her hair. She finally turned her face up to his and he kissed her gently.
“You’re a git,” she said sometime much later, after they broke apart. “I honestly don’t know why I married you.”
“Because I’m the only one who can put up with your bossy ways,” Ron said, smirking at her. “In fact, you know it’s because I find you irresistible in spite of them.”
Hermione made a face but he could tell she was pleased by the small smile on her face. He leaned forward and kissed her again and then pulled away, chuckling. She looked at him with a question on her face, clearly not understanding why he was amused.
“You also married me because, and I quote…‘I kiss so goddamn bloody well’. It was the first time I ever heard you curse, as I recall,” he said boastfully.
Hermione rolled her eyes and tried to look cross, but he was pleased to see she failed. She tilted her head to the side and finally smiled.
“Perhaps,” she said. “But maybe I just didn’t want to have to go around sending canaries after you every time you made me angry. Pity we don’t haveany photographs of that.” She picked up her wand and smiled pleasantly at him, but her eyes were full of mischief.
“Yeah, yeah,” Ron said. He held up his hands and gave her what he hoped was a stern look. “Don’t get any ideas about re-enacting things from our youth.”
Just then the clock in their sitting room chimed, and Hermione’s brow furrowed as she saw what time it was.
Well, there goes that, Ron thought. He knew what the look on her face meant and he sighed; they’d been so close to having a little fun.
“Honestly! We’ve been wasting time; we should have already finished the tree. Harry and Ginny will be coming by later to go over a few more wedding plans. I promised I would have some more invitation mock-ups to show Ginny,” she said, straightening the jumper he’d managed to muss with his hands earlier.
Ron groaned as they started to stand up together, imagining yet another evening of wedding talk and didn’t notice the photo box slipping from its perch on the table. He was dismayed as all the contents were suddenly spilled out onto the floor.
“Bloody hell,” Ron said as he looked around for his wand.
“And you wonder why I was being shirty with you about the ornaments,” Hermione said, laughter in her voice.
“Shut it,” Ron said, and tried to grab her wand from her. She moved deftly out of his reach, tutting at him.
“Nope, sorry, it‘s your mess. I’ll leave you to fend for yourself. I have to go to the loo and fix my hair,” Hermione said sweetly, smiling at him.
“You know, we don’t have to stay married,” Ron warned as he bent down to pick up the pictures. Hermione made a snorting noise as she turned and left, and he grumbled under his breath, knowing that she knew an empty threat when she heard one. But at least she seemed as though she were in a better mood, now.
He grabbed the photos and stuffed them unceremoniously back into the box and thought he had got them all when he saw a few more sticking out from under the settee. He bent down to retrieve them and was surprised by what he saw when he looked at them. He smiled and suddenly had a brilliant idea.
“I don’t know, Ron, it looks sort of dodgy,” Harry said to him as he tried to put the finishing touches on what he’d been working on.
“That’s only because I haven’t done the last spell on it. Trust me, it’ll work. I mean, I think it will.” He pretended not to notice the look of doubt that crossed Harry’s features.
“Well, hopefully she loves it, because she’s really going to pop something when she sees that we haven’t been in here working on that,” Harry said as he pointed at the guest list Hermione had ordered them to go through.
“Don’t worry, I can handle Hermione,” Ron said, biting his lip in concentration.
“Oh, I‘m sure. You‘ve always done such a bang up job of it ever since you met her.” He heard Harry mutter under his breath, and Ron decided to pretend he hadn’t heard him.
He waved his wand once more over the photo he’d been working on, praying to Merlin’s ghost that this idea of his did work. Because Harry was sort of right about one thing; if they went back out there empty handed and the guest list was still unsorted, he’d be sleeping on the settee for a long, long time.
“Ah ha!” He exclaimed as he stood back to admire his wand work. He held the picture collage up proudly to Harry. “What did I tell you?”
Harry gave him a look of surprise and he moved in closer, to look at the doctored photographs more closely. He finally nodded his head and smirked.
“I have to admit Ron, you pulled it off. It really does look like the two of you. In all of them.”
“Well, that’s because it is us,” Ron said, putting the photo back down. “I just… helped us along a bit.”
“She’ll love it, but you do realise it’s too big to put in that frame ornament thing, right? If you shrink it down, it’ll lose some of its…meaning.”
Ron frowned, knowing he was right. He shrugged. “Oh well, I mean, she’ll be happy with it either way, I think. What if I make a copy of it for the frame?”
“Here, let me,” Harry said, removing his wand from his back pocket. “Consider it your Christmas present as I’ve been too busy with this insane wedding planning to actually do any shopping.”
“Oh, brilliant. Thanks ever so much, mate,” Ron said sarcastically, and then watched as Harry did a tricky movement with his wand. A moment later he was holding a small copy of the doctored photos and he slipped it into the frame. It didn’t look half bad.
“Nice one. Where did you learn that?”
Harry shrugged. “Around. It won’t stay like that forever, mind you, but long enough to impress your picky wife.”
“Whose future wife is out there right now deciding if she likes fawn better than beige?”
Harry sighed. “Mine. Okay, point taken. What should we do about this?” He held up the guest list they had been ordered to put to rights and Ron took it from him. He tapped his wand on it and they watched as the jumbled list settled itself back together.
“It’s a fake organising spell,” Ron said, seeing Harry’s blank look. “Fred taught it to me; I’ve been using it on things for the last two weeks. It wears off after awhile and things go back to how they were before. It’s been driving Hermione batty, but she refuses to say anything about it because that would mean she‘s not as organised or as clever as she thinks.”
Harry smirked at him. “You’re mean.”
“No, I’m a married man who’d like some peace and quiet every now and then and who also expects his wife to enjoy it as well. I‘ve been trying not to do it so often, but trust me, she needs this.”
“Okay, you’re noble, but still mean,” Harry said, laughing.
Ron smirked and picked up the collection of photographs. “Should I give it to her now, do you think?”
“Wait for me and Gin to leave; she might want to repay your hard work with something I don’t ever need to see again,” Harry said, shuddering.
“Hey! It was your fault you didn’t knock before you came into the room that one time and you know it, and if you think the idea of what you get up to with my little sister isn’t enough to turn a stomach, then you have another thing coming.”
Harry held up his hands in surrender and smiled as they left the room. Ron grabbed the guest list and left the ornament and the photo on the table, knowing he’d be back for it soon.
“The tree looks nice,” Hermione said softly as she handed him a cup of hot cocoa. Ron nodded and took a sip of the hot liquid, thankful the evening was over and that tomorrow was Christmas finally.
They settled down on the floor in front of the tree and looked at the twinkling fairy lights and held hands. For his part, Ron just enjoyed the quiet and peace. It was almost midnight and he knew they’d be heading for bed soon.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t find a photo for the ornament though,” Hermione said, frowning. “Do you know where we left it?”
“Oh, blimey. I completely forgot. Hang on, don’t move a muscle,” Ron said, setting his cup down and getting up. He’d almost completely forgotten all his hard work earlier in the evening.
He checked the ornament and saw that Harry’s spell on it was still in working order and tucked it into the front part of his shirt. He rolled up the photo and held it behind his back as he made his way back to the sitting room.
“Okay, close your eyes,” he said as he approached Hermione. She gave him a curious look.
“What are you up to? We agreed not to open presents until the morning.”
“This isn’t a present; well, it is, but not like you think. Come on, Hermione, play along. Close your eyes.”
“Oh, all right,” she said, pursing her lips. He watched as she closed her eyes and he sat down across from her, unrolling the photo.
“Right, go on then; open them.”
For a moment, she looked confused and then as she took in what she was looking at, he was pleased to see happiness in her eyes. Her smile grew from small to wide as she reached out and took the photo collage from him. She touched it as though not sure it was real.
“But how did you…I don’t remember there ever being this many happy photographs of us together, Ron.”
“I took one for each year, see, that’s us in first year, except well, I was with Harry there and we were laughing about something…I don’t even know where that photograph came from, actually. Anyway, look, and there you are…and I just sort of…morphed them together to make it seem as though it was us. And here‘s second year, thankfully, I had more to go on, thanks to Colin…and here‘s third and…fourth….and well, that‘s what we would have looked like had I actually got enough nerve and asked you to go like you said.”
Hermione touched her face in amazement as she looked at the image of their younger selves, all dressed up and ready for the ball. He could remember with perfect clarity how beautiful she’d looked that night and how he had ruined it for her by being a git. He touched her hand and her eyes were wide with unshed tears as she looked back at him.
“Hey, don’t cry, Hermione, I didn’t mean anything by it -”
“Oh! Will you never understand what it means when I cry?” she asked, sounding exasperated.
“Er…no?” Ron said, wondering what he’d done wrong.
“I’m crying because this is the loveliest thing you’ve ever given me. Ever.”
“But I thought you said that ring on your finger was the loveliest thing I’d ever given you.”
Hermione shook her head and started to cry freely. He pulled her into his arms, not exactly pleased with the reaction he’d received. He patted her head and tried to quiet her.
“I thought it would make you happy,” Ron said quietly. “You seemed so sad we didn’t have any photos of when we were younger and I thought…I reckon it was stupid.”
Hermione pushed away from him and gave him a cross look. “Ronald Weasley, you take that back. It was a wonderful idea and I’m glad you thought of it. I love it.”
“Oh,” Ron said, relieved. “Okay then.”
“Silly man,” Hermione said softly, kissing him. Before he could stop it, they were falling back onto the floor and she was settling into his arms, her hands moving over him. He started to do the same and was a bit dismayed when she pulled her head up and gave him a funny look.
“What?” he asked, wondering why they weren’t still snogging.
“What’s in your pocket?”
Ron looked down at himself. “Er, Hermione, it hasn’t been that long since we er…you know….”
“Not that pocket! This pocket,” she said, reaching out and dipping her hand into the front part of his shirt. She pulled out the small ornament and gasped.
“You got it to work in the frame!”
“Yeah, well, Harry did. He said it wouldn’t last all that long, but it should be long enough for us to enjoy it tomorrow.”
Hermione smiled and stood up, suddenly. She hung it on the tree and then stood back to admire it. She looked down at him and grinned widely.
“Happy Christmas, Ron.”
“No, not yet it isn’t. Get back down here,” he growled as he started removing his clothes.
“Oh! You. There are more important things than…honestly, Ron, I noticed that earlier, and it’s not like I haven’t seen it….oh…well, I reckon…since we’re here…already.”
Ron pulled his rather unbossy wife down to her knees and proceeded to have a very happy Christmas, indeed. And neither of them mentioned the upcoming wedding for the rest of the night.