Chapter 1 : The Sands of Time
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Ron Weasley yawned as he crawled into his bed wearing just his boxers and a t-shirt. It had been a long day and he was tired. He had just returned from a ceremony commemorating the 25th anniversary of the end of the Second War. Twenty-five years…it hardly seemed possible that it had been two and half decades since Harry had defeated Voldemort, a quarter century since his brother, Fred had left them forever; 9,131 days since he had first kissed his beautiful wife of 20 years. At this thought he opened his eyes and looked into the bathroom where Hermione was standing in a modest, bronze, silk chemise that brought out the gold flecks in her chocolate brown eyes. He smiled as he watched her perform her nightly ritual of washing her face and brushing her hair and teeth. He was a truly lucky man indeed, very few of those 9,131 days had he gone without kissing the love of his life. Some days it was nothing more than a goodbye peck as he left for work, others…well, he closed his eyes again to reflect on those a little more.
A loud sigh brought him out of his reverie. He opened his eyes again to see Hermione frowning at herself in the mirror. He got out of bed and walked into the bathroom and stood behind her.
“What’s wrong, Love?” he asked looking at her reflection in the mirror.
“Did you see Lavender tonight?”
“Yes, we spoke for a few minutes after Harry’s speech. Why?”
“She doesn’t look like she’s aged a bit over the years,” Hermione replied with another sigh.
“Well, I would imagine that has something to do with her Muggle husband. He’s a Healer of sorts, a ‘plastic surgeon’ I believe she called him.”
Hermione smirked a little at this, and then returned to studying her reflection in the mirror.
“I’ve gotten old, Ron,” she said with another sigh, attempting to push her cheeks up with her hands.
“Haven’t we all,” he said with a chuckle.
“You have only grown more distinguished, Ron, but me…just look at me, have you not noticed my hair is going gray,” she ran her fingers through her bushy mane that was still mostly brown, “I’ve got crow’s feet around my eyes, my breasts have abandoned all defenses against gravity, and my hips will never be what they were in that picture,” she sighed again as she waved her hand toward a framed photograph of the two of them taken the night they got engaged. She picked up the frame and studied the young faces smiling and waving back at them.
Ron took the frame from his wife’s hand and looked at it for a moment, then set it back down on the counter. He stepped closer from behind and wrapped his arms around her waist.
“Are you mad, woman?” he asked, raising his eyebrows, “You’re more beautiful today than you were in that picture.”
“Now, who’s the one that’s mad?” she responded looking at his reflection in the mirror behind hers.
Ron just shook his head. His wife might be brilliant, but there were just some things she knew nothing about. He took his hand and ran it through her bushy hair, examining it closely.
“I have noticed the gray hairs,” he fingered one of the silvery strands, “this one right here showed up shortly after that final battle. There were no more for a very long time after that one. These over here came after Rosie was in St. Mungo’s with dragon pox and you stayed every second with her. Over here…these are from when Hugo fell off the broom and broke his arm,” he kissed the top of her head as she shivered remembering some of the scariest moments of her life.
Ron turned his wife so that she was no longer facing the mirror but him. He reached up and touched the lines that were beginning to form near his wife’s gold flecked, chocolate eyes.
“You call these ‘crow’s feet’. Nonsense. You should be proud of these, Hermione. These are a testament to your strength, your love, your ability to overcome. These have been formed by years of laughter and happiness, no small feat considering some of the horrors we’ve seen in our lives,” he bent and kissed the cursed lines on her face.
As she continued to look at him with doubt in her eyes, he ran his hand down her cheek, and over her shoulder. He stopped, and gently caressed her breast. Hermione closed her eyes and sighed.
“These breasts that no longer defy gravity? I’ve marveled at them for decades. I’ve watched them from the day they first started growing, I watched them as they nourished our children. They’ve held the tears that I would only share with you. And they still fit in my hands perfectly,” he said giving her a flirtatious wink.
“Ron!” she whispered in a shocked voice, but with a smile on her face. He smiled that he could still embarrass her after all these years.
His hands continued their journey down her curves, stopping on her widened hips.
“These hips that won’t ever be the same as the ones in that picture…these are the hips that gave birth to the children we created together, the ones that carried them around when they were toddlers. These hips have grown with love, and they are beautiful.”
“Now, I know you’re mad,” Hermione said playfully.
“True, my love. Very true. I’m mad about you,” he said as he bent down and kissed her softly.
Hermione broke away and turned back toward the mirror, seeing herself in a new light. What she had seen as flaws mere minutes ago, were now well earned mementos of a life well lived. She looked back at Ron’s reflection and smiled.
“You never cease to amaze me, Ronald. You either know the exact wrong thing to say, or the exact right thing,” she turned back and gazed up at her husband, “this time you got it right,” she whispered as she took his hand and led him to their bed. With a flick of her wand the lights went out. Ron smiled in the dark. He no longer seemed to be tired.
A/N: Darn plot bunnies! This one struck me last night as I was examining my own gray hairs and noticed the beginnings of lines around my eyes and simply wouldn’t let me rest until I wrote it down, (which means that in addition to the lines of age, I have huge black circles under my eyes as well, lol). Now if only I could find a man like Ron who will appreciate them ;o). And yes, I know Ron is usually a tongue tied, but loveable oaf, but as Hermione said, he either knows just the right thing or just the wrong thing to say…he got lucky this time. And FWIW, I truly believe that most signs of aging are simply hints to a life well lived!
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