HAPPILY EVER AFTER
Bill had sold his apartment in Egypt and he and Hermione spent a whirlwind couple of weeks packing it up ready for the move to the States. They had contracted a magical removal company to move their belongings from Egypt to their new home. Although they could easily shrink everything and carry it with them, they had Muggle neighbours and had to be seen to move into their new home the Muggle way—their neighbours would question the lack of a removal van. They even had cover stories for their employment. Hermione, for example, could easily say she was a librarian since this was also a Muggle profession, but this would invite questions as to where exactly she worked if not at the local library, therefore, she planned instead to say she was self-employed as a professional researcher working mostly from home thanks to the wonders of the internet; that way, she could portkey to work and no one would be surprised that they did not see her drive off to work in the morning. Bill, on the other hand, was going to claim he worked for an exclusive and hush-hush firm of security consultants, a believable cover story given the proximity of wealthy Naples to Cape Coral.
Hermione and Bill soon settled into their new lives. Bill found his work both challenging and interesting and Hermione loved working at the Magical Division of the Library of Congress. Some of the other married members of Bill's team had also chosen to live in a more child-friendly environment than a village which had been purpose-built to support a dragon reserve in the middle of the Everglades, and had followed them to Cape Coral. This gave them a good group of friends with whom they could socialise outside work without having to worry about accidentally giving away the secret of magic.
Despite the distance, Hermione managed to visit her parents at least once a week—'Thank Merlin for magical travel,' she thought each time she made the journey—and they saw Charlie even more frequently. In fact, Hermione's parents had all but adopted Charlie and Aidan and the young couple could often be found visiting the Grangers even without Hermione and Bill's presence.
The next big hurdle for Bill and Hermione was planning their wedding. They both knew that Molly would expect it to take place at the Burrow, and that she would insist on taking over all the planning, but Hermione refused to allow her parents to become marginalised. "Mum and Dad want to be involved in planning the wedding of their only child," Hermione pointed out and Bill, who had already had a large wedding at the Burrow, agreed.
"I don't mind the wedding taking place in Britain—there's less of us to travel than there is of your family—but it won't be taking place at the Burrow," Hermione declared. "I have family and friends who are Muggles and I want them at my wedding. That means the wedding can't be at the Burrow, it has to be less magical."
"How will you organise it from here?" Bill asked practically.
That was when Hermione had an idea. She knew that Lavender had found it hard to find work since having been bitten by Fenrir Greyback in the Final Battle. Lavender had since been helping out George at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, but the bubbly witch was not wild about her job. Knowing the types of things that interested Lavender, Hermione contacted her friend to ask, "Would you be my wedding planner?"
"What's that?" Lavender wrote back.
"I guess it's a Muggle profession," Hermione replied in her next letter. "A wedding planner is a professional who assists with the design, planning and management of a client's wedding. Planning a wedding can be stressful, especially if the couple is working long hours or if they're planning their wedding from a distance, like Bill and I are. The extent to which the wedding planner is involved will vary from couple to couple. The advantage of using a wedding planner, rather than just leaving it all in Molly's hands, is that Bill and I would still be involved. For example, I'll tell you what colour and type of flowers we want for the table arrangements and you'll contact some florists. They'll give you prices and pictures of different styles of arrangements, you'll send that information to us, we'll decide which we want, let you know and you'll book it with the florist. Another example is that while I'll go looking for a wedding dress here in the States, I'll need you to supervise sourcing the bridesmaids' dresses, once I've decided on a colour, since they'll have to be bought in Britain." Hermione's bridesmaids were to be her two best friends, Luna Lovegood and Padma Patil. As a magizoologist, Luna travelled frequently but was based in Britain, while Padma had transferred back to Britain from Egypt not long after Bill and Hermione moved to the States.
After Hermione had explained in detail what she would need from Lavender, her soon-to-be sister-in-law immediately and gratefully jumped at the chance to plan Hermione and Bill's wedding, understanding perfectly well why Hermione would not want Molly to take over all the arrangements (Lavender had also had to contend with her well-meaning but over-bearing mother-in-law when planning her own wedding to Ron, after all) and what a brilliant opportunity Hermione was offering her. Lavender knew that planning a wedding would suit her exactly and was excited at the thought of making this into a career, should all go well with this first wedding.
Hermione smiled at Bill when she received Lavender's enthusiastic agreement. "Molly knows how hard it's been for Lavender to find employment, so we can present this to your mother as giving Lavender the opportunity to develop her own business," she remarked.
Bill grinned at his fiancée. "Mum can't object under those circumstances," he concurred, amused by his mate's hidden Slytherin nature.
Lavender did a superb job of planning the wedding. She even managed to achieve the impossible and find a venue that met Hermione and Bill's requirements. This was a venue owned by an enterprising Half-blood who had grown up in both the Muggle and the Wizarding worlds. The venue was used to weddings that had both magical and non-magical guests, and had procedures in place to hide magic, a necessary requirement since it was not at all unknown for magical guests to become careless after imbibing a bit too much good cheer.
The wedding went off without a hitch, despite the somewhat frosty attitude of Molly, Ginny and Ron Weasley towards the bride. Harry spent much of the reception hovering near Hermione, clearly wanting to talk to the bride, but not daring to risk incurring his wife's wrath, until Lavender rolled her eyes and grabbed Harry's hand, pulling him out of Ginny's tight grasp and over to Hermione. The former friends would never again be best friends, but they did manage to clear the air and regain some degree of friendship. Harry finally put his foot down with his wife and made it clear that he would continue to be in touch with Hermione whether Ginny liked it or not. Harry may have supported his wife in public, but in private, he had made it known how angry he was over the purloined letters, his guilt over the knowledge that he had allowed himself to be distracted from any effort to contact Hermione himself making him all the more determined to stay in touch with Hermione now, regardless of his wife's opinion on the matter. Ginny went along with it because Hermione was now safely married and living on another continent, and so could no longer be a rival, as Ginny perceived it, for Harry's attention or affections.
Molly remained frosty until the birth of Hermione and Bill's first child. Bill did not know why Molly was like this but his wife remembered how easily Molly had believed Rita Skeeter's lies about her when Hermione had been a mere fifteen years old and had philosophically remarked that sometimes one person dislikes another for no rational or specific reason and there is nothing that can be done about it. It helped that Charlie finally decided to come clean with his family and redirected some of Molly's wrath in his direction by announcing his relationship with Aidan. Molly's displeasure was not because of Charlie's choice of life partner, rather it was because it meant that Charlie would not be providing her with grandchildren; fortunately, the Weasley matriarch was speedily distracted from her woes on that subject when Bill informed his family of Hermione's pregnancy.
When they were discussing baby names during the pregnancy, Hermione had asked Bill if he would like to name the child after Fred if it was a boy but her husband had sadly replied that it was for George to name a child in his twin's honour. They chose boy and girl names they liked but when their daughter was born, Hermione threw the planned girl's name out the window.
"Bill, what do you think about calling her Winifred?" Hermione suggested, her eyes shining with love for the tiny baby cradled in her arms. "The name begins with W, just like her daddy's name. And it's not Frederica, so we're not naming her directly after Fred, but it's still in Fred's honour in a roundabout sort of way."
Leaning down to kiss his wife lovingly, Bill agreed happily. Molly adored little Winnie, as she came to be called, and the choice of name did much to reconcile Molly to her daughter-in-law, after Bill had made it clear just whose idea the choice of name was.
Hugo was born when Winnie was two and it was Bill who suggested his son's name. He liked the meaning, which was bright in mind and spirit, and in the same way that Winnie's name began with W in her daddy's honour, Bill wanted their son's name to begin with H in his mummy's honour¹.
Their family was completed with the birth of Elaine a year and a half after Hugo. Hermione had suggested they choose an Arthurian name, as per Weasley tradition, and Bill thought Elaine would be appropriate. Not only was that an Arthurian name but it was actually Scottish for Helen, which was Hermione's mother's name. "This way, both our families are honoured in one name," Bill said and Hermione happily agreed that this name would be perfect for their younger daughter.
When Winnie was ten years old, the family moved back to Britain. Not only did Bill and Hermione want their children to attend Hogwarts, but they had both been offered positions in their Alma mater. Madam Pince, the school librarian of their youth, was desperate to retire and the school was frantically looking for a new librarian who would be magically powerful enough to constrain the collection and keep it under the rigid control required by such a large magical collection; so far no one suitable had been found. When the Hogwarts Professor of Ancient Runes, Bathsheba Babbling, also decided to retire shortly afterwards, the Headmistress, Minerva McGonagall, decided to approach the couple. With Hermione's Mastery in Magical Librarianship and Bill's Mastery in Ancient Runes, which he had undertaken during his years at Gringotts, it was as though it was fated for Hermione and Bill to accept positions in Hogwarts.
When Hermione's parents decided to retire to Britain shortly after Hermione and Bill's return to the country of their birth, John and Helen Granger acted on a suggestion from Harry and bought a home in Godric's Hollow, a mixed magical and non-magical village. As non-magicals, John and Helen were unable to see Hogwarts, nor was it permitted for them to be connected to the floo network. However, whenever Winnie, Hugo and Elaine wanted to visit their grandparents, it was easy enough for the children to floo from Hogwarts to one of Helen and John's magical neighbours and then walk the short distance to their grandparents' home. Hermione and Bill later bought a home in Godric's Hollow for use during the school holidays, when they wanted to escape from Hogwarts or spend more time with their extended families.
Bill and Hermione were blissfully happy together and if they were not close to all of Bill's siblings, their children mixed with their cousins indiscriminately. Looking at his wife and children, Bill could only be grateful that despite the efforts made by Molly to get him to remarry again quickly after his divorce, he had held out until he had found his mate.
¹ It took me quite a while to realise that JRK named Ron and Hermione's children in that manner: Rose beginning with R for Ron and Hugo beginning with H for Hermione. I know a lot of people don't like the name Hugo, but I do actually like it, so I'm keeping it, I'm afraid.
A/N: Thanks to everyone who reviewed, favourited and followed this story.