The Perfect Start
"Destroy the middle, it's a waste of time.
From the perfect start to the finish line."
Whenever somebody asked about Hermione Granger, the answers were often the same, she was the brightest witch of her age, she was part of the golden trio, she was a war hero. But whenever someone asked the Weasley's, their response was different.
'She is a part of our family' one would say, 'She's as good as one of my own' would say another, 'She is the love of my life' said another, but the point still stood, Hermione Granger was as much a part of the Weasley family as their own children were and that would never change, at least they hoped it wouldn't.
May 2nd 1998 marked a significant day for many reasons. Some saw it as the day Lord Voldemort was finally vanquished, the day that the boy who lived triumphed. But the Weasley's saw it as the day their already significantly large family became even larger. That was the day that Hermione Granger finally admitted her feelings to the youngest Weasley son, Ronald Weasley, in the room of requirement, sealing the confession with a kiss, one that was long awaited by many, envied by one.
One year later, the 6th of June 1999 marked the day that Hermione Granger finally became Hermione Weasley.
It was a sunny day, birds tweeting in the trees, butterflies flittering from flower to vividly coloured flower around the strange, jenga towered house that was The Burrow. The sun blazed down on the garden around The Burrow, a large, white marquee, open on all sides took up the majority of the flower covered grass. Beautiful red carpets led from the house to the marquee, dozens and dozens of guests milling around, some talking, some sitting, but whatever they were going, their eyes were cast towards the centre point of the tent.
This was where the couple danced alone. The man, a tall and gangly fellow with fiery red hair, blue eyes and freckles wore a tidy black suit, a blue waist coat beneath the black jacket, a blue bow tie already undone hanging around his throat, a white rose bud peeping from his breast pocket.
In his arms was a beautiful young woman, the same age as he was, no older than nineteen. Her usually crazed brown hair was tamed into a delicate up-do, white ribbon weaving through the masterpiece, small curls escaping the binds and twirling around her soft, pale face. Her dark eyes were shining with adoration as she stared at the man who held her, the soft, wispy skirts of her white dress fanning out around her ankles as he spun her with what she knew was practised skill, Ron, after all, was no dancer. A ring glinted beautifully on her finger, a ribbon of white silk wrapped around her left forearm, covering the horrific slashes of war she bore on her skin.
Her pale face was young and baron of any makeup, keeping her looking youthful despite the weight she carried in her eyes. They were happy, and that was all that mattered, and very soon their happiness would only grow, for Hermione had a wedding present for her husband, one he was never to forget.
Before long, others began to join the mix. A tall, skinny, balding man wearing patched up dress robes strolled onto the floor, a short, podgy woman wearing an alarming yellow dress on his arm. Next was a beautiful blonde woman, who held the hand of a handsome man with his Weasley red hair in a short ponytail, they were a couple who had married the year before and were still going strong. The floor was soon filled with red headed men and women, some danced with relatives, others with lovers.
Charlie Weasley, who was wearing nothing more than an un-tucked white shirt with a loose red tie and suit trousers, stood to the side of the marquee, swaying slightly to the rhythm with a little boy perched on his hip. The boy wore a tiny black suit that only managed to accentuate his turquoise blue hair as he smiled, poking the burns on Charlie's neck. Edward (or Teddy) had been the son of Nymphadora and Remus Lupin, two amazing, brave hero's to have fallen in the battle of Hogwarts, leaving behind their only son. Teddy had the been adopted by Harry Potter, his Godfather, much like how Harry's own Godfather would have adopted him had the time arose.
Hermione soon spied her best friends sitting to one side of the dance floor, neither of them intending to dance just yet. They were sat cosily at a table near the centre of the room, a scruffily black haired man the same age as Hermione and a sleek, fiery red haired girl of seventeen, both of which were currently smiling sweetly, their heads bowed over the bundle in Ginny's arms.
Harry Potter was usually a reckless boy, especially during his school years, he very often dove into situations without thinking them over very much, and this was a prime example. Although a silver ring glinted on Ginny's hand, it didn't mean Harry was now responsible. On the contrary, James Sirius Potter had been born only four months prior to this very event, a beautiful accident that none of the Weasley's would ever forget.
The sun continued to blaze, the party alive with the hustle and bustle of people, but just like everything else, it soon had to end. The beautiful day soon fell to dusk, which was quickly followed by darkness as the fairy lights surrounding the gardens blared to life. And with that moment, a new era began, the Granger-Weasley marriage was to be the beginning of many, the Weasley family was growing more and more every day, little James Potter and the little boy or girl that was still waiting to be born was proof of that. So as the party dimmed and the dawn of a new day began, the Weasley's knew that they had finally found peace at last
January 29th 2000, another day to add to the Weasley's calendar, for this was the day another life was brought into the world.
It had started out a day like any others had been. Harry and Ron had left early to go to work with their father, Arthur, at the ministry, the two of them having joined training for the Aurors. This left the women at home. Ginny had stayed in bed past noon, the way she often did getting up only to see to her beautiful baby boy, James, who was soon coming up to his first birthday and her eldest son, Teddy. Hermione was still a morning bird, the way she'd always been.
She'd awake at half past six in the morning and venture downstairs (an action that was becoming increasingly difficult in her current state) and she'd join Mrs Weasley in the kitchen to help make breakfast for all three five of them.
Today the three women had eaten breakfast and receded into the living room by the fire where Ginny was sitting, James crawling gleefully along the floor and Teddy changing his hair colour every time he sneezed. He had developed a slight cold. Hermione arrived with her back bent as she tried to walk comfortably with her overly large stomach, and sat next to Ginny on the sofa, it was then that they had been greeted by quite a shock.
Not two minutes after she'd sat down, Hermione had turned very red in the face. Molly of course noticed immediately, grabbing hold of Hermione's hand, asking over and over again if she was alright.
"It's coming" Hermione replied, her face screwing up slightly at the pain "Oh, Merlin! It's coming" she said.
"We have to get her to St. Mungo's!" Ginny said, jumping to her feet and running straight up the stairs, no doubt going for Hermione's perfectly organised hospital bag, they had, after all, been planning for this day for the past two weeks when the baby was due to arrive.
Ginny arrived back downstairs a few seconds later, her ponytail in disarray as she grabbed five coats from the porch, wrapping one around herself and one around James before helping Hermione into hers, watching as the older witch's face screwed up once more in pain.
"Ginny, I'll take her ahead; you follow with the bag and the boys." Her mother said, already heading a panting Hermione towards the fireplace. Ginny nodded, slipping her arms through the straps and wrapping Teddy in his orange coat before picking up her little boy from the floor, balancing him on her hip. James looked up at her with his curious brown eyes, his thumb in his mouth.
Mrs Weasley stepped into the fireplace, her hand gripping Hermione's so tight the knuckles were turning white as she grabbed a handful of floo powder.
"Oh!" she said suddenly, her straight forward, all-business like tone in her voice "Send a patronus to Ron and harry!" she said before throwing the powder into the flames shouting 'ST Mungos!' as the emerald flames erupted around the two women, swallowing them up.
Ginny reached into her pocket, pulling out her wand before swishing it through the air.
"Expecto Patronum!" she said, relaying the message to the white horse that then galloped out of the window, James giggling furiously as it went, his chubby hands reaching and grabbing for the patronus as it disappeared.
"Come on, Teddy" Ginny said, holding her spare hand out for the little boy who was currently sporting hair the same orange as his coat. He stood up slowly, using his hands for leverage, before plodding over to Ginny, grabbing her free hand in his strangely sticky hands. "Time to go" And with that, she walked into the fireplace, grabbing a handful of powder. "Close your eyes, Teddy, like we practised" she said and Teddy obeyed. "St Mungo's" she shouted, throwing the powder into the grate, disappearing in a swirling vortex of emerald fire and soot.
She arrived at St Mungo's still clutching both of the little boys and covered in soot. Doing her best not to over balance, she stepped out of the grate into the pristine fireplace room of the hospital. She followed the signs to where Hermione must have been taken and was relieved to see Harry waiting for her there, his body slumped in the waiting room chairs.
'Hawwy!" Teddy shouted, letting go of Ginny's hand and bounding clumsily towards the boy who lived. Harry stood immediately, walking to meet Teddy half way.
"Hey there, Teddy!" He said, grabbing Teddy and hoisting onto his hip, the same way Ginny held James. "You're all covered in soot" Harry said, laughing as he ruffled Teddy's now black hair. Teddy sneezed, his hair turning bubblegum pink, the one colour that pained Ginny to see. Bubblegum pink was the colour Tonk's hair always was, it was what set her apart; to see her son wearing the same colour was heart breaking.
Clearly Harry felt the same since he looked over at Ginny sadly before giving her a welcoming smile.
"They're in room seven, Ron just went in" Harry said, pointing with a free hand to a white hallway with doors on either side. "You can leave the boys with me" he said, kissing her quickly on the cheek. "Arthur and the others will be here soon" he said with a smile, his black hair falling slightly into his green eyes.
"Thank you" Ginny said hurriedly, giving harry a quick kiss. She handed James over so Harry held one boy in each arm, Teddy was quite distractedly tracing his finger along the length of Harry's scar. Harry smiled back at her, remembering all too clearly how crazed Hermione had been when Ginny had gone into labour; it was quite a funny image actually.
Ginny hurried off, disappearing behind one of the white doors, the number seven printed on the front.
Three hours and several fractured fingers later, Ginny emerged from the room. Her hair tied back in a long ponytail, her face slightly flushed as she greeted the group of red-heads and their partners, a wide smile on her face.
"You can come and see her now, she's had a baby girl" she said, beckoning forward to the others. Harry dashed through first, followed by Fleur who held James in her arms as Bill followed with Teddy (the two of them were soon going to be having a baby of their own). Next followed Mr Weasley who wore an excited smile and Percy, who looked as neat and serious as ever. The last through were the twins, one looking slightly more anxious than the other, as they edged towards the door, pushing through to reveal the scene beyond.
Inside, Hermione lay on the hospital bed propped up by three pillows, Ron stood by her side, a protective hand on her shoulder. Hermione's hair had fallen from its bun, straggling curls clinging to her red face and neck with sweat, but she was smiling. A medi-witch stood at the far side of the room, writing things down on a clipboard, but she went completely unnoticed as every Weasley gazed longing at the small, white bundle in Hermione's arms.
" 'Ermione" Fleur said, having passed James back to his mother, Her English had improved but her accent would never change, she was too proud to lose her heritage. "She eez beautiful" she said, smiling wondrously at the small bundle in the younger witches arm as she absently rubbed circles on her own baby bump. "What a wonderful leetle girl" she said.
"Thank you, Fleur" Ron said, clearly seeing Hermione was far too tired to respond.
"Has she got a name yet 'Mione" Bill said, trying very hard to restrain a struggling Teddy who was working very hard to clamber onto Hermione's lap. Finally Bill gave up, letting the little boy manoeuvre his way across Hermione's legs until Ron finally picked him up, holding him so he could look at the new born baby.
"Teddy" Ron said, his eyes slightly red, his hand bandaged as he gazed at the baby girl "Everyone else. This is Rose" there was a chorus of 'ooo's' and 'awww's' from the room filled with people, and Hermione could see only one person with dry eyes, even Percy had shed a tear over the baby girl.
"Rose Jean Wesaley" Ron echoed "After Hermione's mum" there were nods of affirmation as they all looked longingly at the baby girl.
"Mrs Weasley" Hermione said, looking up at the portly woman with the greying, red hair who stood by her side, mopping her tears with a once-white handkerchief. "Would you like to?" Hermione said, holding the baby slightly towards the mother of this rather large family.
Molly Weasley bounced forwards excitedly, thrilled as she gently took the tiny bundle of blankets from Hermione's arms. Suddenly everyone crowded Mrs Weasley, each of them desperate for a glimpse of the baby girl she held so close to her.
Without warning, Rose's eye's opened; blinking in the sunlight of the hospital room and gazing up at Mrs Weasley's crying face. She smiled with happiness as she saw the bright, sapphire blue of Ron's eyes looking back at her.
"Ron" George said, a slight laugh in his voice "the poor things got your eyes" everyone joined in the laugh, Ron being far too overjoyed by the perfect little girl to even take offence.
"But I bet she's got her mothers brains" he said, kissing Hermione lightly on the forehead, making her smile as she shut her eyes.
"Give us a go" Fred said, gaining a maternal smile from his mother and a shocked glance from both his twin and his sister. He hadn't said a word as he entered the room and truth be told, he hadn't wanted to come in the first place, George had needed to talk him into it. Molly nodded passing the bundle over to Fred who held her like she was the most precious thing in the world, an air of love and caution to all his movements.
He smiled down at the baby, her Weasley blue eyes gazing back at him, wide and curious as she looked up at the different faces. Fred looked down at her, how her tiny face was so like Hermione's already, her eyes just like Ron's, and despite how much it pained him to see Hermione with someone else, he couldn't help but thank his prat of a little brother for bringing this stunning baby girl into the world.
"You're going to be great" he said, smiling down at her as tears slipped through his eyes, some of happiness, some from something else. "Rose Weasley" And Hermione closed her tired brown eyes, resting her head back against the pillows, feeling Ron plant another kiss on her forehead, all the while knowing that Fred was right.
Looking after a baby proved to be hard work. After the week that Mrs Weasley insisted Hermione and Rose stay at the burrow, just while her body adjusted to the changes, Hermione and Ron finally moved into their new house.
It was a small, quiet cottage in the country, with white walls and wooden window boxes, with a picket fence and a tree in the front garden. It was Hermione's dream home. The bottom floor consisted of a kitchen, living room and a small dinning room that led out into the small, yet beautiful back garden. The top floor contained three bedrooms and a bathroom, one room for Ron and Hermione, a nursery for little Rose, and a spare room, should any of the Weasley's come to stay.
Almost a year later and everything was perfect. Hermione would spend her day's looking after Rose - who would very soon be turning one - not quite ready to return to work, and with Ron's income it wasn't necessary. He and Harry had both been accepted as Aurors and were earning a fair pay each, enough to keep their little family going at least.
Molly would sometimes pop round, offering Hermione cooking advice and helping her care for Rose, a beautiful little girl who was quickly developing a mass of red hair atop her small head. Ginny came round often too, bringing little James and Teddy with her to visit their little cousin sometimes Fleur would join them, bringing her own daughter with her.
At night, after she been fed and bathed, Rose would be put down into her cradle, the blankets covering her tiny body as Hermione read to her from a very old, much frayed book of fairytales; stories Rose would learn to love once she was old enough to understand them.
Every Sunday, Ron and Hermione would take Rose to The Burrow for Molly's weekly lunch outside in the garden. Ginny and Harry would bring their boys, Teddy who had just turned three, James who was two and Ginny who was currently pregnant with yet another boy. Bill and Fleur would bring along their daughter who had been born three months after Rose, a beautiful baby girl with soft, silvery blonde hair and big blue eyes.
It wasn't until after Rose's first birthday that the arguing started.
Ron would return home later than usual, so swamped with work from the amount of deatheaters still lose in the world. He'd trudge through the house, demanding something or just being rude to Hermione, who'd then scold him for his tone and constantly remind him that Rose was sleeping upstairs. The arguments started small, Ron complaining about how Hermione ran the house, about how she should have food on the table for him when he returned home, an argument Hermione often countered with 'That's if you ever were home'. That was when Ron would start on about how Hermione didn't even have a paying job, how she just stayed at home, spending day after day reading or doing other mindless nonsense.
After a few hours of shouting and swearing, Ron would finally lose it. He'd storm out of the house, slamming doors and punching walls in his wake, apparating the second he'd reached the front door.
Hermione tried not to indulge herself in it, saying that every marriage had its rough patches, it was only natural. It was only after an exceedingly bad argument, where by Ron had called her the most rude names of all that Hermione finally told someone of her difficulties.
Ginny arrived the next day on her own, she comforted Hermione as best she could, telling her that it was the stress of work, that Harry had also been over tired.
"But does Harry call you these things" Hermione would say with teary eyes, a question Ginny felt too guilty to answer, because Harry would never call her such things, he loved her too much. Soon it reached the point that others of the Weasley's were stopping by when Ron was out, making sure Hermione was okay, that she was coping with the baby and the arguments, the most common of these visitors was Fred.
He was kinder than Hermione had ever realised, more than just a prankster. He was considerate and compassionate far beyond what Hermione would give him credit for. He would stop by just after Ron left for work, sometimes he'd make her breakfast, just to make sure she was eating how she should, he'd see to Rose when she cried, sometimes taking her out into the garden and playing games with her in the grass while Hermione got the sleep she deserved. Fred Weasley was her guardian angel.
It happened slowly, over the course of months, during which time Ron had taken to drinking, returning during the early hours of the morning shouting and swearing, sometimes he woke Rose, sometimes it was only Hermione that heard his war upon the house and anything that happened to look at him the wrong way. It was around this time that Hermione needed Fred the most, when she'd send him a patronus late at night, only for him to apparate outside her door half an hour later. He'd comfort her until she was all cried out, telling her how wonderful she truly was, and how foolish Ron was if he couldn't see her brilliance. It was around this time that Hermione realised her life wasn't supposed to go this way. It was around this time that Hermione realised she was married to the wrong Weasley.
Perhaps it was her imagination, perhaps she was going mad from the stress of her marriage and the lack of sleep, but she was sure that the way Fred Weasley looked at her was the same way Ron should look at her, the way he never seemed to have looked at her.
After that, everything fell into place and made sense in her mind. She loved someone else, how could she stay in a marriage with a man when she was in love with his older brother, a brother who was possibly in love with her.
So one night, while Ron was no doubt out drinking, Hermione sat at the in the vanity table in their shared bedroom where she'd been sleeping alone, and wrapped in her dressing gown, by the light of her wand, she wrote a letter.
It started simple, just a simple greeting, idle chit chat in her mind, then it deepened. She wrote about the way her marriage had faltered, the flame flickering before it was almost dead, about how Ron wasn't right for her, how the way he treated her made her anger flare as her stomach plummeted. She wrote about Rose, of how Hermione could raise her baby girl in this environment, with her husband yelling all manners of abuse before slamming the door, disappearing for yet another night. The letter ended with a question, a simple question, one she needed desperately to be answered before any action was taken.
Do you feel the way I do?
She sat back, content with her work, signing the letter before folding it up, ready for it to be sent. It was then she heard the front door click shut. Frantic, and horrified at her own foolishness, Hermione stashed the letter in the bottom drawer of her vanity table, slamming it shut before making her self look as casual and ordinary as she could.
A few moments later, the door of her bedroom opened, and standing beyond the threshold was Ron. His face was tired and guilty, one arm held behind his back. His ginger hair was scruffy from his fingers running through it, his eyes exhausted and remorseful.
"Hermione" he said, looking at her with his sad blue eyes. "Do you remember when we were travelling, hunting the Horcruxes, and I tried to find you." Hermione nodded, crossing her arms protectively over her chest. "How I sat on that hill in the snow all day, waiting for just a glimpse of you?" She nodded again "I've kinda noticed that, well recently I've been, I've been a prat, a bloody stupid prat" Hermione nodded once again. "A bloody, stupid prat that doesn't deserve a wife like you."
"Ron-" she began, only for him to cut her off.
"No, Hermione" he said defiantly, making her eyebrow raise curiously "I don't want you making excuses for me. I've loved you for what I can only imagine to be ten years, ever since I lost you to that bloody great snake" She couldn't help but smile at the way he was speaking. It had been so long since she'd seen this Ron, the Ron that she'd fallen in love with. "I didn't know it then, but I did know that I couldn't ever lose you again. I've made mistakes, Hermione, I know I have, but I cant lose you, I've loved you since I was twelve years old, and I'll love you until I'm a hundred and twelve!" he exclaimed boldly, but then he shied away slightly, looking towards the floor as he removed his hands from behind his back, holding out a large bouquet of flowers towards Hermione. They were pink and white roses, the flowers she'd had for her wedding. "That's if you'll let me"
"Oh, Ronald" she said, throwing herself at him, wrapping her arms around his neck, allowing him just enough time to drop the flowers on the bed as he wrapped his arms around her, burying his face in her hair. "Of course I will, I love you too!" And she did, of course she loved him. Ron was her husband, and she would love him until she died, how she could possibly think otherwise, it was insanity, a moment of madness on her part.
Their embrace was broken by the shrill cries of an infant, making Hermione jump back, ready to see to the one year old girl.
"I'll get her" Ron said, a new found happiness glittering in his eyes as he held her by the shoulders, stopping her from moving. "You get good nights sleep, you deserve it" he said, kissing her quickly before he disappeared out of the room with a flutter of un-kept ginger hair.
Filled with a new found hope that her marriage was saved and that she loved Ron, her husband, more than she could possibly love any one else, she climbed into the bed, waiting patiently for her husband to return, the letter in the drawer, completely forgotten, and everything became perfect once again.
But perfection could only last for so long.
A month later, in late March, Hermione returned home after going out for lunch with Ginny, it was a simple lunch at a café in Diagon alley, Molly had looked after the children with Fleur and Mr Weasley. It was late afternoon, the sky slowly beginning to pink with the on coming sunset. When Hermione opened her door she called out for Ron, knowing he finished work early today.
"Ron!" she shouted "Ron, I'm back" she didn't receive a reply. "Ginny's brining Rose by later, so I thought we could have dinner" she said hopefully, listening intently for a reply. Assuming he hadn't heard her, she checked the house. The kitchen was empty, as was the dinning room, so she preceded upstairs. All the lights were off in the house, making it hard to climb the stairs without tripping on the top landing.
Once she reached the upstairs hallway, she saw a slither of light peeping from beneath the bedroom door. Rolling her eyes, Hermione walked towards it, assuming Ron had merely fallen asleep, the way he did on the couch sometimes. Smiling to herself and the ways of her husband, Hermione opened the door.
He was sat at the foot of their bed, opposite the fireplace, his shoulders hunched and his back to her.
"Sorry I'm late back" She said lightly, pulling out her earrings "Me and Gin just lost track of time, I guess" she said, dropping them on the bedside table. "And then we ran into Padma and Parvarti, and you know what those two are like" she said rolling her eyes as she slipped off her shoes "It's a wonder how its been all these years and they still haven't changed" she continued, not noticing how he didn't respond as she placed her black converse back into the wardrobe, leaving her in socks. "And then we stopped by Flourish and Blotts" she said, as she unzipped her coat "And you know what I'm like once I'm in there" She pulled it off her shoulders, eyeing the back of Ron's head sceptically as she moved towards the vanity table, Ron was never quiet "You're being awfully quiet, Ron" she said, hanging the coat over the chair, then freezing. The top drawer of the vanity was open, and the letter she'd never sent, the one she hadn't even thought about since she'd written it was gone.
"It's true then" Ron said bitterly, still not looking at her. Figuring it was better to play dumb, Hermione silently shut the drawer, turning to Ron with a confused look.
"What's true?" she asked, hoping the crack in her voice didn't show.
"You know what!" he spat, standing up so quickly that Hermione started. He turned just as fast, the parchment gripped in his fist. "I decide to try and organise a nice night for us and decide to crack out some candles. So I thought I'd look through some drawers, she wont mind, I thought, but then I found it. What in the bloody hell is this!" he shouted, shaking his hand before her, the letter clutched in his fist.
"I-I don't know" Hermione said, her stomach plummeting as Ron's face darkened.
"Don't lie to me, Hermione!" he said "There's someone else, isn't there? Just like when we were hunting, you and Harry getting it on while I just spoilt your fun. Who knew what the two of you got up to when I left, you were probably thrilled to see the back of me!" he shouted again, Hermione's face was anguished.
"No - Ron - No, that's not true!" she shouted back, tears welling in her eyes.
"Is it Harry? Is that who the other guy is?"
"There is no other guy" Hermione said, trying desperately to keep her voice even, trying to instil some calm into this mayhem.
"Bullshit!" he spat "I've read the letter. 'Ron doesn't understand. He doesn't know how hard this is. He's not even trying, he's not the one for me' Is this ringing any bells?" he was shouting in her face now, his face and neck bright red with the rage that was filling him "Come on, Hermione. I know you wrote that letter. It's your fucking handwriting!"
"Yes I wrote it" she said, tears slipping from her eyes silently as she looked away from him. "But there isn't someone else, Ron, not anymore, I swear!" she pleaded, watching as his face screwed up, a tell tale sign he was about to explode.
"Not anymore?" he said angrily "Not. Anymore!" he was shouting again now, his anger reaching breaking point. "You always chose somebody else over me. First it was Krum, the Cormac. Even Harry fucking Potter, my best friend and now this other bloke" he said, throwing his arms in the air. "Did you enjoy it, Hermione? Was he good, Hermione?" he sneered, getting close to her face so she was backed against the door. She desperately wished she hadn't shut it now "Was he all that you expected? Was he better than me!"
"Stop it!" she shouted, shoving hard against his chest, making him stumble back a few feet. His face was shocked, but an angry sort of shocked, he looked almost horrified. "Now, I told you" she said, pointing at him, tears still falling from her eyes. "I told you that I loved you, and I do" Ron scoffed "And the mere idea, that you think I would cheat on you" she said, looking appalled.
"Don't turn this on me you slut! I've got fucking proof you have" He shouted at her, all shock gone form his face. "This is you who's done this, you and your stupid, whorish ways! Well you know what, Hermione" he said, grinding the words through his teeth. "I'm done, I am fucking done with you and with this house and with that fucking, little brat!"
"She is your daughter!" Hermione half screamed, horrified that Ron could say such a horrible thing.
"How do I know that?" he spat at her, and she froze. She hadn't imagined it, not only was Ron accusing her of cheating, but also about lying to him about his own daughter. "She could be the child of Draco Bloody Malfoy, and I wouldn't be any the wiser!"
"How dare you! Insult me by all means, accuse me of adultery, but if you ever, and repeat, ever, accuse me of lying to you about our daughter, then you are a far more despicable man than I ever thought possible of you, Ronald Weasley!" she shouted, breathing heavily, tears were no longer falling from her eyes as she glared at the man in front of her.
Ron's jaw was clenched, his face redder than Hermione had ever seen it.
"She is not my fucking child!" He shouted "you probably only married me to cover for the fact you were some stupid slut who got herself pregnant from someone who wasn't her boyfriend!" he shouted at her and she froze. "It's over. I'm sick of this, all of it. You and your obsessive needs, how you want to know where I am every minute, how you want us to be the 'perfect' family and I'm so done with your fucking cat!" he said, pointing to where Crookshanks was curled up on the pillow. "You're a slut, Hermione" he spat at her "A slut and a whore, and I want you out of this fucking house and you can take your bloody bastard child with you!" he shouted, his voice reaching it's crescendo. He paused for a second, breathing heavily as he looked at Hermione.
Her face was flushed, new tears falling down her cheeks as she cried silently.
"Ron, please" she said, reaching towards him, hoping it was a spur of the moment thing. Once her hand got within three inches of him, he backed away like her touch would burn him.
"You and the brat" he said bitterly. "Gone" and with that, he apparated, and Hermione didn't see him again.
She didn't waste any time, she apparated immediately, stumbling slightly as she appeared outside the boundaries of the burrow.
She could see a few specks of red in the garden still, their hair illuminated by the fireflies, and she could see Mrs Weasley in the kitchen, everyone seemed happy and blissfully ignorant. This answered her first question, Ron wasn't here.
She ran to the house, trying so hard to stop her sobs, but they choked out of her throat as she gasped in the cool evening air. Despite the fact she kept stumbling, and despite the fact she could hear people calling her name. Just as she reached the door, she felt two strong arms pull her backwards slightly and she felt herself come face to face with the second to last person she wanted to see.
"Hermione? Hermione, what's wrong?" Fred asked a hand on each of her shoulders. By now Mrs Weasley had heard the commotion and opened the back door, clearly confused as to why Hermione was on her doorstep at this hour and not at home with her husband and beautiful daughter. "Hermione?"
"It's over" she hiccoughed, her eye's stinging from the onslaught of tears, her sobs echoing through the silence. "He's left me" every one seemed to understand. Fred dropped his hands to his sides, his fists clenching at his sides, his whole body shaking with what George knew to be a building rage. He grabbed Fred's shoulders and hauled him away before anyone else noticed while Mrs Weasley wrapped Hermione into a bone crushing hug.
"Hermione, dear" she said, as the younger witch wrapped her arms around her mother-in-law "What happened?"
"He said I'd cheated on him, that there was another man, that Rose wasn't his daughter, but it's not true, Mrs Weasley" she sobbed loudly. "It's not true; I'd never do that, never!"
"I know, dear, I know" she said, clearly as angry with her son as the twins were in this moment. "What else did he say" she said, leading Hermione to sit down at the kitchen table where Mr Weasley was currently sat with a cup of tea.
"That I was a whore and that it was over, and that I had to take Rose and leave. But I can't leave, Mrs Weasley, I can't. I've got nowhere to go" she sobbed harder than before, cupping her hand over her mouth to stop to horrendous noise.
"You can stay with us" Said a voice from the doorway. Hermione turned and saw George, clearly having taken Fred somewhere to calm down. "You and Rose can stay with us until you find your own place." He said, placing a hand on Hermione's shoulder.
"Thank you, George." She said, wiping her nose on her sleeve "That's very kind but I couldn't, I couldn't do it to you and Fred" she said, trying not to flinch when she said his name. It wasn't Fred's fault; it was hers, all her fault, and it always would be.
"Nonsense" he said, dismissing her with his hand "We've got plenty of room, plus we love that little girl to bits" he said with a smile, making Hermione return it with a sniffled one of her own.
"My little boy!" Mrs Weasley suddenly gushed, wrapping he arms around George, pulling him down to her height, which was quite a challenge since she was at least two heads shorts than he was. "And you too!" she exclaimed, grabbing Fred as soon as he entered the room. "You're both so kind, I'm so proud!"
"Okay, 'Mione" George said with a smile, you go and get Rose from Ginny, We'll start moving your stuff" he said and apparated before she could argue.
"See you in a bit, 'Mione" Fred said once he was freed and he too, apparated away, leaving Hermione feeling lost and far more guilty than she had a few hours ago.
Hermione arrived at the flat above Weasley Wizard Wheeze's a few minutes later, Rose clutched in her arms and with a promise of explaining to Ginny what had happened to her the next day. Amusingly, Hermione arrived just in time to see Fred trying to disentangle Crookshanks claws from George's leg.
"Jesus, 'Mione!" Fred said, finally managing to pull the cat off, which then proceeded to sneak off a hide beneath the kitchen cabinet, its yellow eyes wide as it hissed and spat at the twins.
"That cat's a monster" George finished for him, waving his wand towards the rips in his trousers, repairing them instantly.
"You two really don't have to do this" she said, holding tightly to Rose who was sound asleep in her arms.
"No problem" George said with another dismissive hand. "Now you and little Rose" he said, wiggling a finger towards her cheek "Are in the second bedroom over there" he said, pointing to the door off from the living room.
"But that's Fred's room" she said, remembering from the time when she'd apparated here after a fight with Ron to then knock on Fred's door.
"Not while you're hear it's not. And before you complain" he said, holding a hand up to silence her "Rose's crib is already in there. Now go and get some sleep, we'll sort everything else out." Fred said with a smile, his hand sat on Hermione's shoulder as she stared at him, dumbstruck by his sheer generosity.
Knowing not to look a gift horse in the mouth, Hermione trudged off to Fred's old room, lying Rose down in her crib and shutting the door.
"You've got it bad, Freddie" George said, clapping his brother on the shoulder.
"You know I'm going to kill him, right?" Fred asked, his eyes not leaving the door that the twenty-one year old witch and her daughter had just disappeared behind.
"I think we all are, mate" George said before apparating back to Hermione's old house. Fred, however, stood rooted to the spot in the living room, listening pained as the broken sobs of the beautiful witch echoed through the flat, filling Fred's heart with more hatred than he thought it was capable of holding. He wasn't just going to kill Ron; he was going to make his life hell for what he'd done to her.
Hermione never did meet Ginny the next day.
It was too much, far too much for such a young witch to be dealing with, especially only four years after fighting in the most brutal battle of the wizarding world. Hermione knew that this wasn't the place for her; she'd lost her husband, her home, now she was sure to lose her friends, and she didn't want to be around when that happened.
So that night, while Fred and George were both asleep, Hermione began packing away all of hers and Rose's belonging in her bag. She charmed furniture to shrink before shoving it all inside her handbag, the same one that was used when the trio went horcrux hunting, the one that was far bigger on the inside. She lifted Rose out of her crib, lying her down on the bed as she shrank her cot, shoving that too, into the bag.
Wrapping Rose up in a blanket and tying the string of her bag around her wrist, Hermione snuck out into the living room where a snoring Fred currently lay sprawled on the sofa. Flicking her wand, she summoned some parchment and a quill, jotting a quick note down and leaving it on the cluttered coffee table.
She kissed Fred quickly and delicately on the forehead, soft enough that he wouldn't feel it before wiping her cheeks dry. With one last look at the flat, she apparated with a loud crack, one that both of the Weasley twins slept through, neither of them knowing until sunrise that Hermione had even gone, by which point it would be too late to find her.Start writing here ...