When You Left Me Behind

Ron stared into the fire and let the images of the past few hours run through his mind. So much had happened; so much had changed. He was cut open deep inside for his brother and Remus and Tonks, his heart felt raw and it ached with pain for all the rest that had been lost, they seemed to outweigh everything that had been gained, and yet, he knew that wasn't true. Still, how could he celebrate when there was so much to grieve for?


Turning he took in the sight of Hermione and gave a weak smile, "Hey." She looked beautiful, her hair wild and bushy as ever and even more stunning when she slowly padded her way over and took a seat beside him, letting his arm wrap around her and subsequently cuddling herself deeper into his tall frame. "What are you doing awake?" Ron sighed and buried his head in her hair, feeling the pain in his heart lessen slightly as he whispered, "Couldn't sleep. You? You were asleep when I left you." Hermione nuzzled her cheek against his and sighed, "I can't sleep anymore without you next to me. When I woke up and you weren't there I..." She sighed and looked away, "I thought for a second you had left me for good."

Ron felt his heart clench and pulled back reaching over to take hold of her chin in his hand, moving so that she faced him, "I will never leave you again Hermione. You know that don't you?" She smiled and nodded, "I know, I just, get scared sometimes." Ron closed his eyes and leaned forward, resting his head against hers, "I hated myself for leaving you like that Hermione. I regretted it the minute I had gone and I loathed myself even more when I came back and Harry had told me of the state I had left you in." Hermione looked up in shock and embarrassment, "He told you that?"

Ron sighed and nodded, "He did, but he didn't tell me because he wanted to make me feel bad or anything, he was-well, he just had to, trying to comfort me...after destroying the locket I was in bad shape." Hermione turned to face him and tilted her head in question, "What do you mean?" Ron sighed and shook his head, "It was horrible Hermione, not at all like the cup, there were things that I saw, things that it tried to convince me of. Evil images that told me things that I had dreaded were true ever since I realized how much I love you."

He glanced down to meet her gaze, knowing that he had finally said what they both had been burning to say for the past six years. "What did they say to you Ron?" Of course this wasn't the answer he was hoping to yield from her, and quite frankly he didn't want to talk about the damn locket anymore because it still gave him the willies, but seeing Hermione's face, the need and desire for her to know made it easy to just let it out.

And he told her, told her everything, from the terrifying echoes of Hermione and Harry and how they looked to how they had taunted him, said that he wasn't good enough, that they didn't need him. He explained everything in horrible detail, unable to stop himself until he came finally to the end where...

"You kissed him, Hermione. You kissed Harry. After telling me that I was stupid for thinking I could even compare to him." He rubbed his face in exhaustion and felt her move in closer, "It wasn't me Ron, it was the locket. It was Voldemort." Ron sighed, "I know, but it still didn't leave me in any better shape knowing that." He looked down at her and met her gaze, watching as she reached up to stroke his cheek lovingly, "Oh Ron, how could you ever think that I could choose Harry over you?" Ron scoffed, "Well come on Hermione, he's the Chosen One, the Boy-Who-Lived, who wouldn't?"

Hermione smiled, "I wouldn't." She pulled him down to her and pressed her lips against his, pushing meaning and love into every inch of it as he responded in enthusiasm. When they finally pulled apart she sighed, "Harry may be the Hero of the wizarding world Ron, but you'll always be my Hero. And I could never feel for Harry the same things I feel for you, he's more like my brother. I thought that would be apparent after so many years." Ron shrugged and kissed her jaw bone lightly, "I guess I just never believed I was good enough for you. To be honest I'll never believe I'm good enough for you." She stared at him with almost disbelief before her eyes softened and she kissed him again, this time pulling him down with her as she laid herself down on the couch.

He kissed her back bringing their display deeper and she smiled against his lips as her hands found their way into his hair, his hands in turn moving to her waist and tracing circles on her sides. Finally he pulled away and moved himself so that he was situated behind her into the cushion, wrapping his arms around her waist. He kissed her neck lovingly and she smiled, leaning into him as she entwined her fingers with his. There was silence, a comfortable silence that made it easier to breathe after everything that had happened. Ron felt himself yawn and close his eyes in exhaustion, finally letting himself surrender to sleep when Hermione broke the quiet.

"Ron, I love you."

He opened his eyes and looked down on her, seeing that she was now staring into the fire, but still wide awake, "I know Hermione, I love you too." She sighed and turned in place so that she was facing him, "And I want you to know that you're more than enough for me." She sighed, "No one could ever complete me like you do, and I never want you to think that I could ever feel what I feel for you, for someone else." She sighed and looked up at him with earnest, seeing his small hint of a smile, the kind of smile that said he understood what she was trying to do but didn't actually believe her.

She set her brow in determination and gazed steadily at him. "When you left Ron, when you left me behind, I felt like I was going to die, I felt so lost and alone without you, I didn't think I would survive some nights. Harry and I would barely speak and I was crying the whole time! I missed you so much." She rested her head on his shoulder as Ron looked down, feeling guilty and suddenly raw again, "Hermione, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you, I was just stupid and the locket didn't help with all of it's evil thoughts and what not. I honestly didn't want to leave you behind..."

"But you did."

He sighed and nodded, "Yes I did."

"And then you came back."

He met her gaze, "Because I love you, because I couldn't continue living without you Hermione, not knowing where you were, not knowing...what you were doing, if you were safe or not. I felt like I was going to insane. I feel bad because I wasn't even that concerned for Harry, you were all that occupied my thoughts, You are all that occupies my thoughts." She stroked his cheek again lovingly, "So we both couldn't live without each other?" He smiled weakly, "Seems so."

"And we both know that we can't live without each other?"

Ron nodded, "Yup."

She smiled and watched as he turned to leave a kiss on her palm, "So, now do you believe me when I say that no one else Ron, can make me feel complete? Don't you see? Without you I don't make sense. I could go on living without Viktor and McLaggen, and even Harry, but you? I couldn't possibly fathom the idea of it." Ron gazed into her eyes, seeing the yearning she had for him to understand, for him to see just how much he meant to her. He could see it in her eyes. With understanding he chuckled, "Okay Hermione, you're right. Just like always." She smiled somewhat triumphantly and he brought a hand up to her cheek to slowly trace her jaw line, "I guess I was just afraid that you would had come to your sense and had left me behind, or you eventually would.." Hermione chuckled and shook her head, "Never Ron. Never"

He smiled and gave her a soft kiss before pulling back and stroking her cheek affectionately in return, "Never."

There was so much that had happened, so much to grieve for and so many negative that seemed to outweigh the positive. But in that moment, Ron realized what it is he had gained from this war. Everything good that came out of it, especially so, a new beginning with Hermione. The past had been washed away, left behind, and it was from that moment that Ron knew, with Hermione by his side, he could survive moving on.