Chapter 13: I Do & Much More
Chapter 13 - "I Do" & much more
Ron held her hand as they approached the house when the front door burst open and two people who she knew immediately were Ron's parents hurried out to meet them. Before she could catch herself Mrs. Weasley had her in a tight hug as she welcomed her warmly. She could hear Mr. Weasley greeting his youngest son over her shoulder.
"Oh it's wonderful to have you here dear." Molly Weasley gushed. "And I want to thank you personally for taking care of my little boy when he was too stubborn to stay put." she added.
"Mom! I am not a little boy I keep telling you." Ron stuttered out before his mother grabbed him in a similar hug.
"Oh shush you and give me a hug. I just want you here more often." she carried on. Hermione finally found her voice as she greeted Ron's dad.
It's really nice to meet you Mr. Weasley and it was not a problem to see about Ron. He can be a big baby sometimes I know." she grinned.
As they all laughed with Ron rolling his eyes, Mr Weasley warmly took her hand.
"It's a pleasure and a bit of an honour to meet you Hermione. You are truly welcome here anytime." he said with a nice smile. As she suspected, it was evident that Ron got his hair and eye colour and most of his features from his dad while Ginny took to her Mom.
"Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. It's nice for you to have me here in your wonderful home. It truly is." she replied politely.
They all bundled into the warm and cosy sitting room. Hermione could not get over the quaint decorations and furniture that seemed to exactly fit the unusual home. She found it welcoming and friendly as she relaxed with Ron by her side. She continued looking around as Mrs. Weasley went to the kitchen to fetch some biscuits and tea. She now noticed another couple in the room and immediately recognized another one of Ron's brothers standing with a pretty woman next to him. What surprised her was that the woman was Fleur Delacour who was at Hogwarts during the Tri wizard Tournament in her fourth year.
Ron had turned to her a bit shyly to introduce his brother when someone came pelting down the stairs and greeted her with a big hug. Ginny pulled back with a big grin on her face.
"Hermione! Oh it's good you're here finally! You look lovely. How have you been?" she asked giving Ron a knowing glance. "I don't know why my little git of a brother here insisted in making you drive all the way here."
"I'm fine Ginny and I enjoyed the drive really." she answered moving a bit closer to Ron.
"Have you met Bill and Fleur as yet?" Ginny asked.
"Well I was about to introduce them when you came barreling down like a crazy woman." Ron interjected as he pulled her gently forward by her arm.
"Hermione this is another one of my annoying brothers Bill and his wife Fleur and this is Hermione Granger." he introduced. She smiled as she shook Bill's hand. He was tall and almost as good looking as Ron but his smile paled in comparison to her boyfriends as he greeted her.
"Hello Hermione. It's nice to have you here with us. If little Ron here ever gives you reason to hex him please call me and I will be glad to assist you." he laughed with her as Ron rolled his eyes.
"Thanks I will. It's nice to meet you Bill and I know Fleur from my fourth year at school." she acknowledged as Fleur gave her a small hug and kiss on her cheek.
Fleur looked a bit surprised at first before recognition registered on her face.
"Oui. I remember now. You were weet Vicktor Krum. Ow ezze he?" she asked innocently.
Hermione's face suddenly flushed over as she felt Ron stiffen next to her. Oh God! I should have told him! She tried to appear calm and deliberately kept her eyes away from Ron as she answered hurriedly.
"No. We were never together. He's just a friend who took me to the school ball when I was fourteen years old that's all. It was a long time ago and I haven't heard from him in a while." she said truthfully putting her hand on Ron's arm to reassure him. To her relief he didn't move and as she dared a glance, his face displayed just a slight frown. Why should she be nervous about something that was so far in the past? She should have just talked to him about it. Of course Ginny did not let it fly by.
"Wow! Hermione. A famous Quidditch player! Come up to my room and help me get ready and you can give me all the details...and bring your bag so I can work on your hair." she smirked as Ron gave his sister a glare. Ginny pulled her up the stairs but as she turned and gave Ron a small smile, his face remained blank and her stomach dropped.
She contemplated going back down to talk to him but Ginny had already pushed her into the room and closed the door, her face ripe with excitement.
"Harry is coming in just a while and I haven't told anybody! I was so nervous asking him to come to the wedding and I almost feinted when he said yes. Do you think he likes me? Did he say anything about me to you?" she rambled on.
Despite her feelings she had to concentrate on Ginny to calm her down.
"Calm down Ginny or you will send everyone mad. You shouldn't have to worry. He said yes and he's coming so that's good and he did say that he likes you, so relax you're making me dizzy." she grinned.
"He said that! Really! but you're right. I shouldn't be behaving like a schoolgirl. After all he's just a scrawny spectacled mop haired grunt...who just happened to kill the most powerful and evil wizard to have ever existed and save the world as we know it...God! What am I doing." she wailed.
"Ginny listen to me. Harry is just a normal guy with normal feelings so just treat him like you did when you first met him. He's the nicest guy I know...well except for...so just make him comfortable and everything will be fine. Your home and your family are wonderful so it shouldn't be hard." she reassured her. Ginny stared at her for a second.
"You're right again. Gosh I'm so glad you're here Hermione and I'm so glad you are with Ron." she cried as she hugged her again. "So tell me about Krum. What was that all about?" she now grinned.
"It wasn't about anything Ginny. I told you he asked me to the school ball and that was all. I think he wanted to get a bit more serious but I was fourteen and had no time for that sort of thing. Besides I only liked him as a friend. I just hope Ron sees it that way." she finished looking a bit concerned.
"My prat of a brother has no reason to be concerned. Don't worry too much about it. OK let me get ready then I'll see about your hair and then we'll go to the edge of the driveway where I'm supposed to meet Harry. Oh by the way you're staying with me tonight...that's your bed over there." Ginny informed her as she pointed to a cot bed placed opposite Ginny's bed. Hermione was taken by surprise at the sudden announcement.
"What?... Are you sure? Do your parents know about this Ginny?" she asked as she sat down on the bed nearest her.
"They were the ones to insist Hermione. They want everyone accounted for after the wedding sober or drunk so we all have to stay except for George of course. Ron protested as usual but once they consented to you staying he gave in. I can't ask Harry to stay but it would be nice." she grinned wickedly.
The more she thought about it the more she liked the idea of staying at his home for the night. It was a chance to get closer to his family and in all honesty she liked it here. Ron hadn't mentioned it so she added it to her list of things to talk about with him later...this and Vicktor among others.
The two girls were soon ready and they made their way back to the crowded kitchen where she saw George next to a pleasant faced dark haired man talking to Ron and another one of his brothers who had arrived while they were upstairs. They all turned as the girls entered the kitchen. George had his large warm smile plastered on his face and she wondered if he was always like this or it was just because of this special day for him. He grabbed her in a hug.
"Hey Hermione. Nice to see you again. I see that Ronnie here has not chased you away. Your reputation for being a brave and strong woman must truly be accurate." he grinned as he slapped Ron on his shoulder as he introduced his best man and friend Jordie.
Even in the midst of all the teasing, Ron moved next to her and put his arm gently on her lower back. She instantly felt calm and reassured as she smiled up at him. He grinned back at her and she felt her heart leap.
"Just ignore George. He's just having his last day of fun before his soon to be wife takes control." he jabbed. "Say hello to Percy the prim and proper Weasley. Percy this is Hermione Granger." he spoke to a shorter and younger version of his dad.
"Hello Hermione. I can't say how proud and honoured I am to meet you. What you did with Potter was courageous and selfless. We all owe you immensely." Percy gushed out with a big smile.
Hermione was taken aback but recovered quickly as she blushed openly.
"Thanks Percy. We just did our part like everyone else." she said quietly as Ginny now leaned in close to her ear.
"Speaking of Potter let's get going." she whispered making a move to the door.
"Hey where are you guys skiving off to?" George asked. "Ginny, aren't you going to help Mom and Fleur with Helen?" he eyed her suspiciously.
"No George. I'm sure Mom has Helen under control. I'm going to meet my date to your wedding so I suggest you stop being nosy and start to get yourself ready. It make take some time for you to look decent I'm afraid." she laughed.
All the other men in the room suddenly turned and looked at Ginny with some intrigue.
"So who is this guy?" Percy asked with raised brows.
"Who are you meeting?" Bill queried with a frown.
"It is a guy right?" George smirked.
"I didn't know you invited someone Ginny. I hope he finds his way here safely." Mr. Weasley said with some concern.
"You'll meet him soon. Just promise me you all won't behave like idiots. I'm trying to make a good impression so please try all of you." Ginny asked sincerely. George suddenly let out a loud chuckle.
"Well I knew I was special but...little Ronnie with the lovely Miss. Granger, my baby sister willingly bringing a mysterious date and Charlie to show up with an actual woman to the Burrow. I should get married again next week to see what else will happen." he chuckled loudly.
Ginny sighed loudly as she headed out the door after giving Hermione and Ron a hopeful look to accompany her. Grateful to have some time alone with Ron she followed Ginny out pulling him along with her.
The ginger haired witch was already some distance ahead up the driveway when Ron and Hermione stepped away from the front door following slowly behind.
Ron slid his hands into his front pockets as they walked in silence. Her dread had returned as she suspected Ron's latent insecurity had raised its ugly head again with the mention of school balls and famous Quidditch players. She mentally went through her list before turning to him but he spoke first surprisingly.
"So...not overwhelmed so far are you? Do you...erm...like it here?" he asked softly. His hands stayed in place as she placed her arm through his tentatively.
"Ron it's lovely here and your family are wonderful. Your Mom and everyone involved have made this place so perfect for a wedding. I looked out from the sitting room and the decorations are beautiful. I'm having a lovely time." she answered truthfully. He gave a small laugh as he glanced at her again.
"Yeah it does look good but trust George to get married in the middle of December. It took everyone, except me of course, over an hour to put up the warming charms around the tents and the outside areas. Thank Merlin that tonight is clear. I think Mom and Helen are considering removing the tent for the reception." he told her.
"I really like George. He seems so cheerful but I guess tonight he should be." she laughed. Ron nodded at her but paused briefly before he spoke again.
"He wasn't like that for a long while...you know...after Fred...in fact he was a right wet rag. We finally convinced him to reopen the shop and even though he was reluctant at first, he started to get better slowly. When Helen started to work at the shop he improved greatly to the point where you see him today. Mom and Dad will forever hold her as the George's saviour. The power of a woman and all that..." he grinned at her knowingly with the smile she loved and she moved closer to him with her stomach in flutters.
"Harry! Over here!" the voice of Ginny called, breaking her out of trance.
They hurried up the driveway to see Harry give a long hug and quick kiss to Ginny on her cheek before he turned to greet them sheepishly. Hermione gave him a small hug and Ron slapped him over the shoulder in the usual manly greeting but not before raising his eyebrows at Ginny.
"Wow Ginny. This is...amazing." Harry spouted as he gazed at the Burrow. "It looks like something out of a book...wait...maybe that comment should have come from Hermione." he grinned at his friend.
"I know Harry. It's wonderful isn't it? You will love it here." she told him.
"Well we are not going to meet anyone standing out here so come on Harry we have to get through two parents, four brothers and assorted others tonight so I hope you live up to your reputation as the brave and invincible one." she laughed as Harry visibly lost a few shades of colour on his face.
"Don't let them frighten you Harry. They are a sweet bunch especially Ginny's Mom and Dad. Just be yourself and they will love you." Hermione reassured him. Harry swallowed loudly as he grabbed Ginny's hand with a grim determination.
"Right. After all I am the chosen one and I did choose to come here with you so let's go...erm...you all will stick close to me right?" he asked hopefully.
Hermione now hesitated as she looked at Ginny.
"Actually I just want to talk to Ron for a minute. Can you go ahead and we can catch you soon? Sorry Harry you're on your own. Ginny can protect you until we arrive." she smirked.
"Fine. I hope you are satisfied if the interrogation gets physical and I lose some of my sensitive parts in the melee." Harry grumbled.
"It's going to be fine Harry. Stop over reacting. I'll be sure to make it worthwhile for you." Ginny winked at him. She pulled him along as she glanced over her shoulder at Hermione.
" You two...just talking right. We don't want the guests to see anything disgusting before the wedding do we?" she laughed. Hermione pulled Ron away from the driveway before he had a chance to voice a nasty retort to Ginny. She led him over to a small bench next to a tree on the grassy lawn holding his large hand in hers as they sat facing each other. Ron looked a little nervous as he waited for her to begin.
"Ron I'm sorry about what you heard earlier from Fleur. I should have told you. We agreed for this to work we have to talk to each other and I messed up. We are a couple now and like in that game of yours...couples should be able to tell each other everything. Vicktor took me to the Yule Ball in my fourth year when I was fourteen. I was flattered and a bit overwhelmed but I never wanted anything more. I had my schoolwork and even though I suspected he wanted more I never felt anything but friendship for him but not even like what I feel for Harry. He...he was...my first kiss...actually my first two but they were both innocent and tiny in relation to...you know. We stayed in touch for a while but I haven't heard from him for a while. I just wanted to tell you that..." she paused as she looked for some reaction.
Ron was staring at her with a look of disbelief on his face.
"You passed on Vicktor Krum over schoolwork? You really are mental Hermione." he said with a serious face before grinning at her.
A wave of relief passed through her as she slapped his arm before shuffling closer to him.
"Yes you nut. I never had any romantic feelings for Vicktor...unlike my feelings towards a certain red haired git." she grinned back at him.
Ron suddenly withdrew his hand to rub at his neck. She waited.
"So...are there any other old boyfriends that may come out to bite me again? other than old Dickwood?" he asked tentatively passing his hands through his hair now nervously. She had started it so it had to be finished.
"Vicktor wasn't my boyfriend Ron. He was just a friend. I went with Dickinson for a while in my seventh year because I thought it was the expected thing to do and I thought he was nice and he fitted all my...criteria. It was nice at first but he was a control nut and we soon parted ways. There... was another guy I dated for a short while I was at the Ministry...Scott Anson. He is an Auror working with Harry but he could never accept Harry as my friend so that ended poorly...and that's my love life in a nutshell...a bit pathetic but that's it." she finished.
This time it was Ron who reached for her hand. He stared down as he rubbed his thumb over her knuckles.
"It's not pathetic Hermione. It's just the way you are and I lo...like that about you. I know it's silly to be jealous of something that happened in your life so long ago but being the prat I am it still got to me. What could be more pathetic than that!" he chuckled a bit sadly before looking up.
"I'm glad you told me and you're right about being able to tell each other everything so...I guess now it's my turn even though there's not much to tell honestly. As I'm sure you've guessed, my first kiss was with Luna when I was thirteen. We were each other's first actually but it was hard for us as she was in Hogwarts and we could only see each other on holidays. It could have never worked out and I told her. Besides I was a bit messed up in those days and I didn't want to keep her from finding someone who was...more suited for her. It was only fair because I only felt a close friendship with her. The few witches I knew either felt sorry for me or just tolerated me. It was only when I went to university that I started dating other muggle girls but I could never connect properly with them and soon I started to feel guilty...like I was just using them for...you know...so I just stopped and concentrated on my work." he paused to assess her.
Hermione did not want to fool herself. She knew Ron was more experienced than her, especially being a male and especially being an attractive one at that. It still hurt on some level but she had to accept it as being in his past and look forward. She nodded slightly as he continued.
"I never had a real girlfriend after Luna and I have never felt anything strong for any girl...until I met you Hermione. You took me completely by surprise and turned me upside down. I had built up this wall over the years and I thought I was capable of withstanding anyone. But you wouldn't go away...you were always in my head until I couldn't resist anymore. You are so smart and beautiful and kind and caring plus you are the bravest and most independent minded woman I have ever met...You mean the world to me now Hermione and for the life of me I still can't believe you want to be with me." he finished with a croak in his throat.
Hermione felt her heart explode with the love she now carried inside her and she flung herself at him wrapping her arms around his body and burying her head in his chest. She had to tell him! She could not hold it in any longer.
"Ron you mean everything to me also. Sometimes I think I was just a shell until I met you. I don't know what I would do without you. I will always want to be with you because I lo..." her words were interrupted by a loud crack and the appearance of two people on the lawn directly in front of them. No. No! Not now!
"Ron? Have you gone starkers! What if Mom finds you out here like that when guests are arriving?" she heard a loud disbelieving voice.
Ron had jumped away from her and quickly stood up with his face turning red. Hermione tried to recover her senses as she also stood up next to him her face closely matching his.
"Charlie! Erm...it's great to see you...and we weren't doing anything!" Ron denied strongly even though his face told a different story.
"Could have fooled me you cheeky prat. So are you going to introduce me to this person who you were doing nothing with?" he asked with a smirk.
The eldest Weasley was of a heavier build and shorter than his other brothers and his face had the appearance of someone who had never worked inside an office. There were so many freckles on his face that he almost looked tanned. Hermione knew Charlie worked with dragons and his looks fit the job perfectly. The girl on his arm had the same appearance and it was obvious they worked together.
"Yeah sorry, Hermione this is Charlie my eldest brother. Charlie say hello to Hermione Granger." Ron introduced her with a small flourish of his hand still trying to hide his blushing face. Charlie started to reach out his hand.
"Hello Hermione...you know you have the same name as one of the most famous...Holy Shit!" he cried out with his mouth hanging open and his hand frozen half way in front of him. Hermione chuckled softly.
"Nice to meet you Charlie...I'm not that famous actually and you should watch that language in front of your mother." she said lightly as she reached out and shook his hand. Ron gave a loud snort at her side as Charlie recovered a bit.
"Sorry. I apologize for my expletive. It's not every day you meet a war hero especially one who was just cosying up to his youngest brother. It's an honour to meet you Hermione and may I introduce you to my friend Patricia Sherrard." he said as he turned to the girl by his side who smiled warmly.
"It's also a pleasure to meet you Hermione and you too Ronald. My father has told me a great deal about you. It's nice to finally meet you. I know you are working at Hogwarts with him at the moment and I hear you are doing a fine job." she informed them. It was Ron's turn to be shocked.
"You're the Professor's daughter? He always spoke of you but I just never pictured you so...well...grown up." he laughed. Charlie then spoke again.
"I assure you she is all grown up and working with dragons with me Ron. So is that where you both met? At Hogwarts I mean?" he asked Hermione.
"Yes. I am now teaching there and I am assigned to the restoration project with Ron. It's been hard work but you're right he has been doing a remarkable job with Patricia's father." she answered as she smiled at Ron.
Ron was blushing again but this time she knew it was because of the praise he had just received from Patricia and herself. He was such an adorable git sometimes. Charlie now turned to the house as he spoke.
"Well I think we should go inside. This night has started with quite a surprise little brother. The next thing you'll tell me is that Harry Potter is also coming to the wedding." Charlie grinned as he slapped his brother on the shoulder.
"Actually he's already here. He's inside with Ginny." Ron replied nonchalantly as he took Hermione's hand and proceeded to the house leaving Charlie with his mouth open for the second time in ten minutes.
Even though the Burrow had a sitting room of sorts it seemed that all of the serious meetings took place around the large table in the kitchen. That is where they found Harry looking a bit shell shocked with Ginny protectively by his side and everyone else talking a mile a minute at him. Mrs Weasley moved to place some order in the small room.
"Al right everyone. Harry is a guest here just like everyone else and I want him to be comfortable so please let him be. I suggest you all go outside and await our other guests." she said with a wave of her hands.
Then like a sudden response to her command everyone stood and turned to the entrance door but all attention was now focused on the red haired burly man who entered the room with a girl next to him. There was a brief silence before another eruption of greetings and hugs all around. Charlie and Patricia were now engulfed among the crowd in the kitchen. It was only when Charlie turned to Harry that the noise died down a bit.
"Hello Harry. I'm Charlie and this is Patricia. It's indeed a pleasure to meet you and I hope you do feel comfortable and have a good time." he said shaking his hand. Harry looked pleased by the gesture though Hermione reckoned he was also glad that the strongly built man was not inclined to damage his sensitive parts as he had intimated earlier.
"Wow Charlie. That was smooth. Percy here almost wet his pants when Ginny introduced him." George said with a chuckle.
"Well I was not about to look like an utter arse again like I just did outside with Hermione here." he grinned at her. George never hesitated.
"Who said you don't always look like an arse to us most of the time even though you look slightly better now with Patricia here next to you." he smirked as the whole room laughed.
Ron was indeed right Hermione figured. With all that was going on she felt comfortable and at home here with him. His family was loud and playful but they were warm and friendly and she was enjoying herself. Of course Ron was with her and after their small talk outside moments ago she felt even closer to him. He had obviously felt a bit shy and tentative about introducing her but he had relaxed as the evening wore on and right now he was actually lightly playing with her fingers in front of everyone. This could not get better she thought.
Soon George disappeared upstairs and everyone moved to the covered lawn to await the guests for the ceremony. Ron left her with a quick kiss as he also went upstairs to get dressed. She took a seat with Harry and Ginny as they chatted quietly while the guests filtered in slowly.
"So Harry any luck with you finding out about those Death Eaters?" she asked him with some concern.
"Nope not yet and it's getting me worried. I guess I should be glad that there is nothing going on but I have a bad feeling sometimes." he answered.
"Well you don't have to worry tonight. Just try and have a good time. I so glad that you are here because I know you tend to get stuck sometimes." she smiled.
"Well I just have to try my hardest and unstick you Mr. Potter." Ginny interjected with a grin before glancing over his shoulder at her and clearing her throat nervously.
"So Harry...Do you have to get back to work early tomorrow?" she started slowly as Hermione suddenly figured out where this was leading.
"Not really. Why?" he asked with a raised eyebrow. Ginny to her credit pressed on.
"Well...you don't have to decide now...right this minute but Mom wants the whole family to stay overnight after the wedding and she...I would like you to stay too...if you wanted that is...Hermione is staying right Hermione?" she gave a pleading look at her. Hermione rolled her eyes at her friend.
"Ron hasn't really asked me as yet but yes I am staying...in Ginny's room. Just for the night. I have to leave early in the morning to get to school in time to change and start my classes." she informed them.
Harry looked unsure but not as opposed to the idea as she first thought.
"Are you sure? Is there enough room for me?" he asked as Ginny rushed to answer.
"You will be staying with Ron in his room. Mom and Dad would really be pleased if you would stay Harry." Ginny asked again playing her last card.
"Well I guess if it's ok with the then I will." he grinned.
Hermione did not really hear Ginny's loud and pleased response. She did not hear much of anything as she spotted Ron across the lawn. He was wearing a three piece muggle suit that fit him as if it was tailor made. His hair was slightly damp as usual from his shower and he looked absolutely gorgeous! He was obviously scanning around looking for her but stopped to greet various people as he walked over to the tent. When he spotted her he shrugged his shoulder slightly and grinned at her with her favourite smile. She felt her heart actually stop and she forgot how to breath for a few seconds as her legs and arms refused to respond. She knew! This was the man she would spend the rest of her life with if he would have her. This was the only man she would ever love and want in every way. Unfortunately all she could muster under his gaze was a love struck smile plastered on her face.
He placed a hand on her waist as he reached her giving Harry and Ginny a small greeting before he turned to her.
"Sorry that took so long. Never realised I had so much family to say hello to." he said with a chuckle.
Her lungs relaxed enough for her to move her throat and respond.
"You look nice Ron. Really really nice and you are not allowed to leave me for any long period for the rest of the night." she openly flirted as she moved against him taking in his warmth and his smell.
"Not a problem Granger. If you keep looking at me like that you may have to prise me off of you." he smirked. She suddenly felt a heat wash over her under her dress but before she could reply George and Jordie were running to the front as the music started.
As Ron sat beside her, the wedding sped past in a blur. Soon the ceremony was finished, toasts and speeches were made and delightfully the reception tent was removed to reveal a clear starry night under which music and dancing commenced amidst the twinkle lights strung up around the surrounding trees. It was a scene that Hermione could only marvel at. Mrs. Weasley and all her family could be proud of her last sending off for her son.
A hand gently wound around her waist and his voice sang in her ears softly.
"Would you be so kind as to have this dance with me Hermione Granger." he asked.
"It would be my absolute pleasure Ronald Bilius Weasley." she replied with a smile on her face.
She soon discovered without much surprise that Ron was an excellent dancer. They moved around the dance floor without much effort as he led her smoothly against him. She was lost in his arms and she soon abandoned all formality and held him with her arms around his neck as he pulled her closer around her waist. Despite the height difference, they seemed to fit perfectly together.
Without warning, fireworks exploded beyond the trees and lighted up the sky above them. Ron laughed as he informed her that it was a specialty of Georges and he did not expect anything less than a spectacular show. As the colours of the fireworks reflected off of his face and red hair, she could only stare at him in wonder. How had she reached this beautiful place surrounded by wonderful people and in the arms of the man she loved more than she could have ever thought possible.
She realised that they had stopped moving and he was staring back at her with a strange look on his face. The noise of the fireworks faded away as he tucked a strand of her hair away from her face and gently stroked her cheek and neck.
"Hermione..." he choked out suddenly. She was a little worried now by his look.
"What is it Ron? Tell me." she asked apprehensively.
"I have to say something but I don't want to frighten you. God! you look so beautiful right now." he cried in anguish. She held his hand against her neck her eyes wide open in anticipation.
"Hermione...I...I'm madly in love with you. I love you with all my being and I can't not say it anymore because it's slowly killing me. I love you and..."
Oblivious to all around her, Hermione reached up and pulled his lips to her own with a sudden cry. She held him as tightly as she could as she moved her lips against his in a deep and passionate kiss that she did want to end. She felt the tears begin to fall on her face as she pulled away to look at him.
"Oh Ron. I love you so much! I only want you. I love you and I've wanted to say it to you for so long. You make me happier than I could ever dream off and...I love you too." she cried over her tears as he pulled her into another daring kiss. As they came apart she heard a snicker behind her and she came back to reality.
"Oi! All this effort I put into this display and you two miss it completely. I'm hurt. I'm tempted to say "get a room" but I'm afraid you might just go inside and do that." George smirked on the arms of his wife.
Hermione felt her face completely flush heatedly but she was still too happy to care less. Ron gave a small laugh as he held her tightly.
"Sorry George your fireworks just put me in the mood so it's your fault." he grinned and they all laughed happily.
Hermione was on a cloud for the next hour. She was never happier as she danced with Ron until she had to take a rest. Ron handed her a cold beverage before Ginny grabbed him for a dance. She sipped her drink as she gazed on the sibling couple laughing on the floor.
"I used to hate him you know." she jumped at the voice next to her. Charlie Weasley was slumped in the chair next to her and also watching his brother and sister. She was stunned at his announcement and she had no idea how to respond.
"It was not one of my finer moments in my life I'm ashamed to say." he continued on without her answering his eyes glazed over with too much fire whiskey she thought.
"I was eleven years old and was looking forward to starting Hogwarts when Dad got his promotion turned down. I blamed Ron for that and for everything that went wrong for a long time. I was young and I was naive and plain stupid. One day in summer of my fourth year he came home with his face all bloodied with his arm and most of his ribs broken. He was never angry with us and he took those beatings without a complaint. I realised then that it was not his fault. Nothing was his fault. He was just a normal boy who was my little brother and I have been trying to make it up to him ever since." he trailed off softly with a glint of tears in his eyes.
Hermione wasn't too sure if Charlie was talking to her or was just talking aloud to himself.
"Ron told me that it was you who got him his first job with Professor Sherrard so you did good Charlie." she reminded him.
"Yeah thank God for that and thank God for Patricia actually. I met her back then while I was in Norway. She had just left school and was rash and trying too hard. Got herself in a mess with an angry hungry dragon before I saved her. When she told me about her father and what he did, I asked her for a favour. We only met up again recently when she transferred to Romania." he explained.
"You don't have to keep trying Charlie. He doesn't expect anything from you except being the big brother you are." she told him reasonably.
He slowly turned to her from his trance and his face seemed a lot lighter.
"You are good together. I can see it even from now. Who knew eh? I'm happy for him. He deserves to be happy." he said with a small smile now.
"I hope I can make him happy for a long while Charlie. I really do." she said softly not really realizing that she was sharing her deepest thoughts with someone she had just met.
Just then the red haired man in question came bounding up to her and pulled her out of her chair before sitting down and pulling her back down on his lap. She squealed with laughter blushing next to him.
"I hope old Charlie was not boring you with his dragon tales. I could tell him a few myself." he winked at her as she remembered a distant conversation with Ron and Harry.
"You dare not. Charlie and I were just having a nice conversation of his more youthful days right Charlie?" she grinned with her arms draped around Ron's broad shoulders.
"Right." he laughed out as he stood. "You have the real one there Ron. Mess it up and you will have to deal with me." he warned before striding away.
"What was that all about? You weren't talking about me were you?" he questioned.
"I can talk about you whenever I want to you big git." she said with a smile as she squeezed his arm and leaned forward to give him big kiss. "Let's go and find Harry and Ginny."
Soon George and Helen were saying their goodbyes and the crown slowly dwindled down to just a few close family members. Hermione and Ron went about clearing away the tables when she noticed Mr. Weasley staring out at the lighted garden.
"This was really nice Mr. Weasley. You and Mrs. Weasley did a fantastic job. I'm sure even George was glad he didn't follow through with getting married on the sly." she said sincerely sensing that he was off somewhere.
"Thanks Hermione even though it was mostly Molly. She has a knack for these things. I...just...I just wish that Fred was here to see it. He would have been proud too and he would have seen his twin brother happy." he sighed wearily.
Hermione had never asked Ron about his brother as she felt it was too personal to bring up so she kept her silence politely.
"Has Ron ever told you about Fred and of our involvement in the war?" he asked suddenly.
"No. I never asked either. I just thought he would bring it up one day. Were you in the Order Mr. Weasley?" she asked tentatively.
"No not directly. I was a well know senior official against Lord Voldemort and his cronies at the Ministry and I was watched too closely. However with my muggle knowledge Dumbledore asked me to keep an eye out for the muggle neighbourhoods south of London. I enlisted all the boys even Ron, as well as anyone interested in helping to run a watch every night. Towards the end it was terrible. Those crazy death eaters would attack any muggle household and destroy anyone they could get...man woman and child. We did our best to protect them you know...casting protective charms over whole neighbourhoods and helping after the attacks. Fred...he was always the reckless one. He went into a house to save a young girl whose house was attacked. It collapsed before he could get back out. He didn't even know the family and he died trying to save one of them..." he stopped as he sat heavily into a nearby seat with his head hanging.
Hermione felt her heart constrict as she moved to his side. She could not conceive of his hurt and pain but she tried. This was supposed to be a happy day.
"I can't begin to feel your loss Mr. Weasley but Fred died so that all of us could carry on. So that George could spend a night like this with his family and friends safely. So that Ron and I and Ginny and Harry and Bill and Fleur can believe in a future. You can be proud of your son Mr. Weasley...of your whole family..." she finished when she couldn't find any more words.
"I am Hermione. I am." he nodded. "And you're right, this is a night to be happy and proud. I guess that's why Molly and I wanted the whole family here tonight." he gave her a weak smile as he stood.
"I'm also so glad that you are here too Hermione. Please make yourself at home here...anytime." he patted her arm and moved towards the house where his family was now gathering.
She watched the family patriarch fade into the night before noticing Ron leaning against a table studying her. His jacket and vest were now discarded and his tie hung loose with his shirt unbuttoned. He looked delicious and she moved towards him with a heat rising in her body.
"Are you spying on me Weasley? she asked as she reached him. She fell against him rubbing her hands on his chest.
"I was just admiring. Can't fault a guy for checking out his beautiful girlfriend." he smiled as he gave her a quick kiss. "I'm jealous actually. My family has also fallen in love with you and now I have to share you." he pouted sweetly. She moved her hands along his side.
"I am only yours Ron. You have the whole of me for yourself. You are the only one for me. What can I do to convince you?" she flirted shamelessly.
The music had started back in the distance and they swayed together.
Ron moved his hands from around her waist and moved them slowly down her body. His right hand moved down below her dress and back up on her bare thigh. His left hand rubbed against her soft bum drawing her core closer against him. She gasped against his mouth right before he claimed her lips in a savage kiss. She was completely gone. Her mind could only register his taste, the feel of his mouth on hers, his tongue with hers, his hands over her body, the heat of his hard length against her stomach. She was way over the edge as she felt the heat and the slick between her legs.
Ron finally pulled away from her breathing heavily with his eyes all smoky blue.
'Hermione...you are killing me. I have a right mind to ask you to take me to my flat this second and to hell with everyone else." he gasped between breaths.
Hermione reached up on her toes and whispered in his ear.
"Ron...I'm literally dripping right now for you. If it wasn't for your parents you could take me anywhere you wanted...and then you could take me anyhow you wanted. " she said in her most alluring voice as she pressed up against him.
Ron made a moaning sound as he pushed her away from him completely.
"Holy Merlin frigging bullocks! Shit Hermione. How am I to ever get to sleep tonight when you're in bed just one floor down from me." he shrieked. She made a move towards him but he put up his hands.
"No. No. You stay there! In fact stay behind that table. Shit. That table looks too good for something I would like to do to you. You better stay on the other side of the house. Yes. That could work...and I could chain up myself to Harry...and chain the door lock too...just to be sure." he said wildly.
Hermione could only laugh at his rambling. He was such a sweet and utter nut but she loved him. She loved him with all of her heart and it made her feel alive and glad to be a woman.
"Well you can always dream about what we can do the next time we are alone together...if that could help. I know I will." she suggested.
He finally drew her to him and hugged her while dropping gentle kisses on her forehead.
"I love you Hermione Granger and when I sleep I will dream about you for the rest of my life." he whispered above her.
"And I love you Ronald Weasley and wherever you sleep I will be there with you." she answered.
Hermione rose early the next morning and quickly dressed. She had slept well despite all that had transpired the day...and night before. She felt excited and lightheaded and was ready to face the day ahead. Ginny was now stirring and she knew Ron hated the early morning but she had to get to school. She decided to go to his room and say a quick goodbye but not before making plans to meet again soon. Her excitement grew at the thought.
She opened the bedroom door just as Mrs. Weasley approached from the stairs below.
"Hermione. I'm glad you're up. There's a man downstairs to see you and Ron. He says that it is important. Can you fetch Ron and bring him down to the kitchen...and ask Patricia to come too. He also wants to see her." she said hurriedly before turning and heading down the steps again.
Hermione was now confused a bit. Who could possible know she was here? and what could he possibly want with Ron and herself...and Patricia?
She flew back into the room and tugged Ginny awake to tell her to wake Patricia before heading up to Ron's room. She paused at the door before knocking loudly. When she heard the first groan she opened the door and entered.
Ron was sitting up with his hair tossed all over the place and yawning widely. Harry groaned as he turned around in his bed. She rushed to Ron's bed and gave him a quick shake.
"Ron...get up now! There's a man downstairs to see us . Hurry and meet me in the kitchen. Now Ronald!" she ordered.
She hurried down the steps and ran into the kitchen. The man who had come to see them stood up from the table with a cup of tea in his hands.
"Professor Sherrard!...is everything all right?" she asked when she recognized the elderly man.
"Hello Miss Granger...is Ronald coming?" he asked with some concern.
Just then Ron entered the kitchen still in his flannel pyjamas and tee shirt. She instinctively moved to his side as Patricia made her appearance.
"Dad! What are you doing here? Are you ok?" she asked as she gave him a small hug.
"I'm fine Patricia. I just came to have a few words with Ronald and Miss...Hermione here." he explained.
"Did something happen at work Professor?" Ron now asked. "I'm sorry to be late but I can be ready in five minutes and we can go." he told him.
"You don't have to go in today Ronald." the Professor informed him with a grim look on his face.
"No. Honestly it's all right. I could leave right away, Hermione is already dressed so it won't take long I promise." Ron continued.
The Professor sighed deeply as he faced Ron squarely.
"Ronald you don't have to go in today or any other day as a matter of fact. As of this morning the restoration project at Hogwarts has been cancelled indefinitely."