The evening was going to be a disaster in Hermione's mind. The caterers had canceled at the last minute, leaving her guests without food, the venue had been shut down due to severe water damage, the minister was sick and her parents were stuck in Italy because of the weather.
Hermione ran her hand through her already tangled hair, then pushed it back and into a tighter ponytail. She thought of her mother's breathing exercises, letting her chest fall in and out slowly and deeply as she watched everything around her crumble. Pieces were breaking bit by bit until Hermione started to fear that she'd finally found something she couldn't fix or work out.
She just didn't think it would be her own wedding day.
Hermione wouldn't stop, though. She'd find another way of feeding her guests and she'd find another venue, someone else would marry her and she'd get her parents to her wedding even if it meant moving the wedding to them.
Too many guests to move, the rational part of her mind reminded her. But she wasn't in the mood to listen anymore. Rationality had landed her in this predicament; if thinking outside of the box, even bordering on slightly insane thoughts, got her out, then so be it.
Finishing her breathing exercises and feeling her heartrate slow down slightly, Hermione got to work fixing her wedding.
Nothing worked; everything was already booked the day of her wedding, from venues to food, Hermione had nothing. And Ronald wasn't helping at all; he was being too calm, too normal, too much like himself that Hermione feared his laid-back approach to their ruined day would be what finally tipped her over the edge.
He didn't seem to understand that.
Hermione slumped against the wall of her future in-laws' home and let herself fall to the floor. The door to the garden was open, letting in a refreshing, almost comforting, breeze and Hermione spent a moment to gaze at her surroundings before she closed her eyes and let the breeze wash over her, fill her and take away every negative emotion she had. Even if it only lasted a minute.
Because a minute was all she had; her wedding day was on Saturday, less than a week away, and calls still had to be made, places still needed to be found and her parents were still in Italy.
Slowly, almost hesitantly, Hermione opened her eyes again, jumping back into the wall when she found Ron kneeling in front of her. She put her hand to her quick-paced heart, which had only just calmed. "Gosh, Ronald. You scared me half to death! I didn't hear you come over."
In response, Ron smiled sweetly and held out a hand. "Come with me."
"Where are we going?" she asked suspiciously, though trusting her fiancÚ enough to take his hand anyway.
"You'll see." Ron helped her up and led her outside, taking her across the garden to the spot she liked to sit and read. It was secluded, far enough away from the house to get some privacy but close enough to where the family played Quidditch for her to be reached easily enough if they needed her. Hermione loved this part of the garden and Ron knew it; it was where he'd proposed almost a year ago. "Here we are," he said, breaking the silent.
Without warning, Ron let go of Hermione's hand and lay down on the grass, still damp from the rain that morning, and stretched out. He rested one hand behind his head like a pillow and used his other to pat the space on his right.
"Would you join me?" he asked.
Hermione shook her head and took a small step back. "I have a wedding to fix."
"Please join me," Ron said with a hint of forcefulness and desperation. He wouldn't stop her if she left, he'd follow her, but he needed her to stay. "I need to talk to you."
It was the look that got to her; his blue eyes were wide and bright and pleading, his concern and worry suddenly evident. Every part of him needed her to lie down and she could see it. Hermione conceded, curious as well as on guard, and with a sigh and a grimace, she took the same position on the wet grass. She felt the moisture seep into her clothes, onto her skin, and wished she could get back up, but Ron seemed perfectly at ease on the ground and she didn't dare ask in case it took away the point of lying on the ground.
"So..." she prompted.
"So," Ron repeated with another smile. "You've been too stressed recently." Hermione opened her mouth to scold him, wanting to say that he'd be too if he'd helped with the wedding plans. But the finger pressed to her lips shut her up. "I know why and I understand that everything that has happened has upset you. But you shouldn't stress, it's not good for you."
"Then what do you want me to do, Ron?" Hermione demanded to know.
"I want you to lie here, with me, and forget it all, just for a moment," he murmured. "Relax, waste time, forget the world, Hermione. We'll go back to it later. Will you do that?"
Hermione considered it; she wanted to, more than anything, just for a moment at least. But she shook her head sadly. "The wedding stuff I can sort out later, but I have to help my parents."
"What if I told you that I had everything sorted?" Ron replied softly.
"I'd find it hard to believe and want you to explain it to me," she retorted.
Smirking, Ron jumped up, making sure Hermione stayed were she was. He stepped a little further back and held out his hands to gesture to the section of the garden they were currently occupying.
"I know how much you love this place; it calms you, relaxes you, it's perfect. So, this is where I'll marry you. Well, my first thought was the library, but they don't do weddings," he said with a grin and a nod. "We'll put a tent up and chairs for the guests, like Bill and Fleur. The party bit will be closer to the house, because this place is for calm only."
Hermione looked around, secretly picturing herself marrying Ron in her favorite spot and enjoying the image. She played along, not yet ready to tell him that she loved the idea. "Who will marry us? We have no minister."
Ron dropped to his knees in front of Hermione, his smile never wavering. Hermione began to think it was infectious. "You want a mix of a traditional Muggle wedding and a traditional Wizarding wedding, right? I know it took you ages to find the minister we had who would do that, and he knows that, so he managed to get out of bed long enough to find someone for us - we have a minister."
"And the catering?" Hermione asked next, hopeful.
"My mum is shocked that we didn't ask her to begin with, she's already preparing it," Ron answered without hesitation. "I tried to tell her that we wanted her to enjoy our day and not have to work through it, but she wouldn't listen. And the reception's here, so... Well, it makes her happy."
"And my parents?" she whispered, needing to know what she considered the most important.
"Kingsley is talking to the Italian Ministry and sorting out a port key, they'll be here," Ron promised. "I told you I had everything sorted."
Hermione covered her mouth with her hands and allowed herself to finally laugh and relax, feeling her body calm and lighten, like a weight had been lifted. Though she couldn't believe a port key hadn't crossed her mind. "You weren't being laid-back, you planned our wedding for me. I love you."
"I love you," he murmured, leaning in for a quick kiss. A kiss Hermione was happy to give and make last. Then he moved to take his original place beside her. "Now will you relax, waste time and forget the world?"
A/N: For the out of your comfort zone challenge. I've never written Ron/Hermione as a main pairing before, but I had so much fun. Maybe more will come some day.
The story, chapter title and general inspiration for this one-shot is from Chasing Cars, which belongs to Snow Patrol.