The Sugar Quill
Author: Madhuri (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Settling  Chapter: Default
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Settling

“Ron?”

He grunted in reply.

“Ron we need to talk.”

Ron grunted again, rubbed his eyes and turned over on his side. “Ogay.”

Hermione huffed and nearly pushed him off her lap. “Ron this is serious. I’ve been reading.”

Before he could open his mouth to make another one of his smart-arse remarks, Hermione hurried on. “We really need to talk, Ron. I think we’ve been having some communication problems,” she said, pointing to her new book- Wizards are from Mars and so Witches stay in Pluto, by Dr. Hammond Beef.

“Hermione, I’m trying to sleep…”

“Ron, please,” she insisted.

Her husband sighed and slowly got up, rubbing his eyes again and squinting at her sideways. “What?” he said, sulking.

Hermione took a deep breath, and laid the book on the coffee table. “I’ve been sensing that you’ve been a little… distant, lately,” she began.

“Distant?” he queried.

“Yes, distant. I mean, we hardly know what’s going on in each other’s lives. Harry knows more about either of us than we know about it each other. This isn’t right.”

“Sweetheart-”

“Don’t you ‘sweetheart’ me!” she exclaimed suddenly. “We don’t spend enough time talking, Ron, and you know it! We both work all day, and when we come home you just have dinner and fall asleep, or go through your bloody Quidditch magazines. We’re growing apart and I don’t like it!”

Ron looked at her steadily. “What do you want me to do then?”

“What I want us to do,” she said, “is to try out some of the communication exercises suggested in this book.”

Ron didn’t immediately reject the idea like she’d expected, but he didn’t look exactly thrilled at the prospect either. She picked up the book and turned to the bookmarked page.

“Question 1,” she said, her voice betraying her nervousness a little. “Describe your ideal mate.”

Ron snorted. “What?” he exclaimed, looking at her as if to try and figure out whether she was serious.

“Look, just answer the question, all right?” Hermione looked him in the eye.

Ron grinned slowly, not breaking the stare. “You want me to describe my ideal mate. My perfect woman?”

Hermione nodded, trying to keep her face neutral.

Ron leaned forward, and his voice took on a softer, more conspiratorial edge. “She’d be blond,” he began. “A real knockout. Maybe some Veela blood thrown in for good measure. She’d have long, silky golden hair, a fantastic body and legs that go on forever. Bright blue eyes. She’d be a wonderful cook, and prepare food exactly the way I’d want it. She’d stay at home all day mothering my children, and be waiting at the doorstep when I get home to give me a welcome-back-I-missed-you-terribly snog and maybe lick my toes if I felt like it.”

Hermione’s eyes widened. Ron continued.

“She wouldn’t be all that serious. She wouldn’t take life so earnestly, and would shrug off her responsibilities if there was a chance that fun could be had elsewhere. She’d be a social butterfly, hosting dinner-parties every other night and gaining a reputation as a very entertaining and informal conversationalist. She’d agree with almost all of my views, and we’d look at life from the exact same perspective. She’d never challenge my authority, and she’d hate you.”

“I’m not surprised,” said Hermione. “You just described someone who’s the exact opposite of me in every way.”

“Your turn,” Ron smiled.

Hermione crossed her legs primly and stared off into the distance. “My dream man would have… dark hair. Glasses, maybe, to show that he’s well-read. Grey-green eyes. A moustache. He’d wear dark, tailored suits and a sophisticated brand of cologne. He’d be a scientist, or a doctor, someone who sees life in a practical, no-nonsense way and realises the gravity of serious situations, and the troubles of the world that we live in. He believes in working hard to achieve his goals, and comes from a cultured, refined, educated background. He makes a lot of money and agrees that Quidditch is a barbaric, Neanderthal sport that has no use in civilised society.”

She shot Ron a sideways look. “His name would be… Abelard.”

At this point her husband burst out laughing. “Abelard?

She smiled. “Of course. If he’s to be my soul mate, his name obviously must be stranger than mine.”

Ron grinned at her. “Your name is beautiful.”

Hermione set the book back on the coffee table and leaned into the sofa with a sigh. “Such a pity our perfect mates don’t exist in real life.”

“A real shame,” Ron agreed.

“Yes, if we’d met them, then we wouldn’t have had to settle for each other,” she said, and sidled a little closer to Ron, yawning.

“But even so… my head wouldn’t be able to fit perfectly into the curve of Abelard’s shoulder the way my head fits into yours,” Hermione said, showing him what she meant.

“My Veela-spouse might run off with Draco Malfoy if I was late for dinner one day.”

“Abelard wouldn’t make me laugh.”

“Mrs. Veela’s hair would get terribly boring after a while.”

“Abelard wouldn’t want children.”

“God, your hair smells terrific. Did you wash it today?”

“Harry would hate Abelard.”

“I love you.”

“I know, you old sod,” Hermione whispered. She took Ron’s hand in hers and smiled, snuggling closer to him. “Such a pity we settled.”

~*~

 

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