Chapter 1 : Somewhere Only We Know
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Hermione turned her attention to the photo album nestled amongst her study shelves with a heavy heart. It was a bound leather album, boxed around the edges a little from age; she hadn’t looked at it for years.
It had been several decades since the children had left home and she and Ron had been on their own. At first the empty house was blissful, but they soon missed the thumps and laughs that made the house come alive every day. Their wish was granted with the arrival of grandchildren, and to this day she still doted on them as if they were still young and wanting her attention. She knew Ron did too.
Tentatively opening the album, the first page read ‘Summer Holidays’ in messy, scrawled writing. Ron had insisted on writing in every album so he knew which one was what and Hermione had seethed for days after declaring his handwriting worse than Rose’s, who was three at the time. Now she looked at it with fondness and she allowed herself a small smile.
The first set of photographs were labelled ‘Greece 2000’ in neat, cursive handwriting. The first picture showed a nervous looking couple, their faces shining in the blistering Greek heat. Hermione remembered that it was their first holiday together... and the cracks left from the war were beginning to heal. Ron was determined to stay in the shade as much as possible whereas Hermione was dragging him around the ancient historical sites, frenetic street markets and the golden beaches. Needless to say, Ron went as red as his hair. Greece was a healing experience for both of them; the escape from the madness at home was a welcome relief. The following week, they moved in together.
The next set of photos were labelled ‘Thailand 2003’, and immediately Hermione cringed at the flood of embarrassing memories which resulted from that trip. It was a joint trip with Harry and Ginny which the latter had insisted upon – to celebrate Ron and Hermione’s one year anniversary and their own upcoming nuptials. Ginny was also the one who instigated many late nights with copious amounts of alcohol to the point where Hermione missed a whole day of exploring thanks to a hangover. She groaned out loud as she remembered how her stomach roiled. Despite Ginny’s demanding fun side getting the better of them all, they were able to spend a day with elephants and enjoy the bustling sights of Bangkok before relaxing on a beach for a solid week.
Skipping ahead to their first holiday as a family, Hermione lips curved into a smile once more. Rose and Hugo were so young, just four and two, and their frazzled parents had decided to take a quick trip to Ilfracombe, Devon. They checked out the monument of the 1932 Ilfracombe Incident where the children had gotten ice cream all over themselves and Hermione had saved the day with some wet wipes. The quaint British coast was somewhere the children loved and they visited there several times again. She regarded Devon with fondness after all these years.
While all the children were growing up there were many mishaps and disasters along the way, but no holiday would stick out in Hermione’s mind more than when she and Ron holidayed with Rose and her fiancé. By his very name Scorpius Malfoy earned Ron’s eternal enmity, and the poor boy seemed to be able to do nothing right in his eyes. When Rose suggested a ‘bonding family holiday’ with gritted teeth, Hermione had forced Ron to comply. They had all travelled to Kenya as paid for by Scorpius in a desperate bid to get into Ron’s good graces, but he could have been the most perfect gentleman and Ron wouldn’t get over his Malfoy roots. Rose and Ron were in perpetual turmoil the entire time which resulted in Ron sulking in the room of their expensive hotel for two days. Amazingly, Scorpius offered to talk to Ron himself and five hours later, they were at peace. Hermione doesn’t know to this day what was said... but everybody was able to get along with minimal fuss afterwards. The bugs, the heat and even the baboons stealing food from their very plates were so much more manageable when everybody got along.
After over two decades of having children to look after, Ron and Hermione took a celebratory trip to Australia for a month. Flicking to the pages that encased the memories she laughed aloud at the boyish charm Ron kept alive even in his fifties. His more rotund tummy and flecks of grey hair were outshined by his beaming but terrified face standing next to a kangaroo. Their solitary treks and hikes left them exhausted each day but meant that they could rediscover what it was to be married and alone once more, and it was something that Hermione was forever grateful for. They still fought like cats and dogs and challenged each other constantly but she knew she wouldn’t have had it any other way. People expressed their love in different ways; theirs was done over arguments about who didn’t take the washing in.
The last few holidays consisted of the couple visiting wild and outlandish places off the beaten path. Pictures from Madagascar, Laos, Russia and Iceland all flew pass as she turned impatiently towards the end to see a burst of people all in one photo. Ron, Hermione, Rose, Hugo and their own children in Spain greeted her. The picture was moving as the children waved madly at the camera, sticking their tongues out as young ones do. Scorpius looked dignified but tender as he kissed Rose’s temple, and Hugo grabbed his wife and gave her a swooping kiss. She watched the image replay for a while before she noticed Ron’s caption of ‘The Best Holiday Ever’.
Marriage was a funny thing, Hermione had decided as she closed the photo album nestled on her lap. She and Ron together had come through hard and good times, had survived the stress of raising two children, and ultimately hadn't murdered one another in their sleep. Perhaps this was simply because love was enough for the both of them. Their differences and similarities were perfectly balanced to harmonise in what was a love story that tested the ages.
Hermione turned her gaze to the empty chair next to her as a solitary tear rolled down her cheek. Ronald Weasley was gone, but their memories together would still live on.