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Moving Forward

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Hermione made her way through the woods that were the Forest of Dean, carrying her bag slung over her chest, wearing her comfy worn out in spots black jeans that were soft and cozy, a long-sleeved black shirt, a hoodie sweater over that in a deep charcoal grey with the hood up to protect her ears from the wind and cold, her black well-worn leather jacket buttoned up, her fingerless gloves that she never left the house with, because she had learned to always be prepared. In her hands, she carried a pink glitter covered thermos that had a unicorn on it that said “ Bitch please, I am a badass unicorn” on it of cocoa and a tote that carried two blankets and a pillow so she could sit by the stone for a bit, and stay warm while she talked to him. She weaved her way through the trees to where the little space was, where the strong oak tree grew. Next to it was the black stone, the letters carved into it, marking the life of the red-headed man who, even with all his faults, she had loved, and on some level always would love.

Next to her, was the dark-haired, green-eyed man who had been her best friend since they were eleven years old. His hand was on her lower back as they walked to the stone, silent. He stood back and watched her as she went through the routine she always did when they came here.

 

She set things down and took out a small rag from her messenger bag and cleaned off the stone, humming softly as she did so, before tucking it back into her bag. She then took out a small votive candle to replace the one in front of the stone. Carefully lighting it, she then moved to lay out the blanket and the pillow from the tote bag to sit on it, to talk to him. Her chestnut curls, cropped into a bob, blew in the wind as did so.

-She sat on the pillow, tucking her throw around her legs and looked at the stone, quiet before she began to talk, her voice a bit shaky as she spoke. She knew Harry was next to her, giving her quiet, steady support that she needed more than she ever could admit out loud. He had always been there.

“ I know I’ve not come to see you in a couple of months, I am sorry for not coming to see you. I really have no excuse for it, but I shall try to do better. So many things have been happening as of late, I thought we could play catch up for a while. -

She opened the thermos, and took a sip, before offering it to Harry quietly.

“So, big news first. Luna, you remember Luna I am sure, Ginny’s girlfriend and so forth? Well, she asked Ginny to marry her. Finally, looks like I won that bet with you. I told you Luna would be the one to ask, and not Ginny first. Seriously, I am so happy for them both. Ginny, I swear on my shoe collection, is floating ten feet in the air still. Luna came over last night and I showed her the presents..and she loved them, so that is a perk, to say the least, that my knack for finding the right book for someone is still working. “

Harry took the Thermos and sipped from it, handing back to her as she talked while keeping silent, giving Hermione the careful support she needed for this. He didn't ever really speak when they came together, he did that when he came alone. He knew this was for his Mione.

She put the cap back on as she spoke, her hands shaking a little as she did so.

“So, more news. Draco and Neville were married last evening at Malfoy Manor. I am sure it was a lovely ceremony but I didn’t attend. I know.. You would have told me to buck up and go and be supportive even if I was uncomfortable with being there, but Neville understood. We talked about it before they made it public, and he understood just as Draco did when I congratulated him. Draco’s not the same guy we knew at Hogwarts but he knows, I will never.. Ever step foot in that house again. I may not always agree with choices made, but I love them and will be happy for them, even if I can not physically be there in attendance for…well, you already know all of the reasons.”

She took a breath, doing her best not to become emotional again, looking at the words engraved on the stone.

She feels Harry’s hand on her shoulder, and she leaned into his touch, feeling that steadying strength there, and she closed her eyes for a second before she kept talking.

“Harry is here with me, and I am really glad he is since he is part of why I wanted to talk to you today hun. He proposed. I know I asked him first and gave him a ring but he turned around and chose a ring for me, and asked me to marry him himself. I, of course, said yes.

She sighed softly, biting her lower lip, her hands shaking, tears pushing at her eyes but she determined not to start crying, not again.

“ Part of me, even though I am so very happy and excited and looking forward to marrying Harry, is still...hurting. Angry even about .. how things happened with us. Even a few days ago, hanging with my family, someone teased about sending things off with us on our honeymoon, and I had to admit.. You and I, we didn’t have that. The ..worst part is.. I’m sitting here, angry at you, for leaving without... ever telling me goodbye. I know it makes me... petty, and more than likely I’m pissing everyone around me off by just..even saying this, but... I’m so.. Bloody angry at you for that. More than the secrets you were keeping... More than knowing now about the others that I found out about after the fact, which by the way, you really should have fucking burned the evidence of, or better yet, you could have just been..honest with me about them. Granted... How to hide it when she carries around your son in her arms, who looks just like you.

“I’m not sure what is the hardest thing to handle, even now. The fact you didn’t feel you had to keep your promise to be honest with me, the fact you were sleeping with Lavender Brown, again, or that you left me behind with no goodbye. You knew that mission was .. suicide..but you had to take it... Had to... “

She was shaking, from emotions, or anger or cold or maybe all of the above. She looked at the stone, her chest hurting, feeling as if an iron band had been tightened around her heart and was squeezing it hard.

Harry reached over and squeezed her hand. Knowing this was hard for her.

“I thought I was...over this, over how badly this hurt, but... I realized, when Harry and I looked at places to get married and I saw where You and I were married and it felt like I was being stabbed in the chest, I don’t know if..if I will ever really be .. okay with how this happened with us, Ron. I do know ..that.. I can’t... Keep feeling this..consent anger and be able to.. Move forward, but I don’t know.. How not to be angry at You yet. How not to miss the good, the wonderful that we were for so long. How..to stop... Second-guessing myself, and wondering if. If everyone is going to ..do the same shit to me. How to just..not be..hurting anymore at the thought of what we were..or could have been, or the stupid..what-ifs. I hate the fucking ..what-ifs.”

She had tears falling, her voice was shaking, uncontrollably as she spoke.

“I need to be able to be happy Ron. I need to be able to sleep at night, to plan my future again. I’ve.. put so many things on.. Hold. I can’t even.. Face the bank manager about our vaults. I know I need to do that, soon, but I haven’t had the courage to do it. Everyone ..expects me to be.. strong, and able to face an army of dragons or a goddess on the warpath, but... I need to be honest, I .. I am wondering if... If I have ..courage to .. let go of You, and.. What.. what we could have been, because... We both know Ron, you’re not actually here, and I.. I’m just... The crazy widow who can’t seem to stop her grief to see the truth... That... That... I need .. I need to .. move..on, without... You.”

-She holds on to Harry’s hands as they held hers, and she speaks softly-

“I .. love you Ron, but... You are my past, and I, I have to let you go, so I can embrace my future with both hands. I won’t forget you, and we both know I will come back here to talk to you, even if you’re not really here. It’s time though, for me step into my future with Harry if he will still have me, knowing just how..fucking broken I am on in the inside. “

She let go of Harry’s hands and moved to kneel to blow out the candle in front of the stone, her words suddenly quiet.
“Goodbye, Ron. “

-She stood, slowly, shakingly. She walked to Harry and bent to pick up the pillow and the blanket from the ground, to put back into the tote bag. Harry helped her, flicking his wand to handle it for her, putting his arm around her, as they walked and vanished into the distance, heading toward home.