The smell of rain and grass and trees was somehow soothing and energizing all at once, but Hermione still felt as though her head was clouded. She closed her eyes and let her thoughts drift, hoping that an answer would present itself. She didn’t get very far before her reverie was interrupted.
“Hermione-“ the familiar voice ventured hesitantly. She opened her eyes and looked up to see that Ron had joined her on the porch. He handed her a cup of tea, which she sipped in order to avoid having to speak.
“Are you all right? You’ve been sitting out here for hours.” Ron searched her face carefully.
“I’m fine. I just needed some room to think, ALONE
.” Hermione raised an eyebrow to emphasize her point but Ron had apparently decided to ignore it.
“You’ve got to tell him. He’ll be leaving any time now,” Ron persisted.
“Who?” She avoided Ron’s pointed stare and looked out over the garden. The rain was still falling, drumming on the roof and in her heart.
“Hermione, stop being so stubborn. When are you going to tell him the truth? What are you so afraid of?” Ron’s voice was surprisingly strong.
“I’ll tell him when I decide the time is right. It’s my life,” she snapped half-heartedly.
“He loves you. That’s why he came here. He came for you, Hermione.” Ron took the cup and set it on the ground. He grasped her hands and smiled.
“I can’t Ron, it’s-“ a tear rose in Hermione’s eye and spilled down her cheek.
“It’s what?” A deeper voice spoke from the doorway. Ron and Hermione watched a stocky figure step into the fading sunlight and hold one hand out to the astonished Hermione.
“It’s time,” Hermione whispered before smiling at Ron and dropping his hands. She stood and took a deep breath. “It’s time to tell you the truth, Charlie.”
“Truth about what?” Charlie’s hands felt like sandpaper and they dwarfed Hermione’s.
“What happened before, what you said. You scared me. But you also made me realize that you were right. I just let my head take charge of my heart.” Tears poured down her face in earnest.
Charlie wiped away Hermione’s tears with his calloused thumbs and watched as she gathered her courage.
“I love you, Charlie.” She looked down at her feet as her cheeks burned a red that was more Weasley than Granger. “I couldn’t let you go without telling you.”
Charlie wrapped his arms around Hermione and pulled her close to his chest. Her kissed her softly and whispered, “It’s about time.”