The Betrothal

Chapter 1 The Letter

June 2

"Hermione, dear, can we talk?" Molly patted the sofa cushion next to her.

Hermione paused and turned, putting a false half-smile on her face. She had a feeling this might happen.

"Of course." She said with a sigh.

"I…I just got a letter from your folks. Now, I don't want to upset you. But you need to know what they said." Molly pulled out an envelope.

"Yeah, no. You aren't upsetting me, they are." Hermione opened the letter and sat down to read.

Molly just nodded and waited while Hermione read the two-sided paper

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Weasley

We are writing regarding our children. They seem to be under the illusion they are in love and wish to be married. I'm sure you agree that this is ridiculous. At their age, what can they know?

Now, Ron is an exemplary young man. You must be very proud of him. We're convinced he has great possibilities for his future. This is what we see for our daughter. They need to concentrate on that future, not be sidetracked by fleeting feelings.

We are asking, no pleading, for you to talk some sense into them. A classroom crush formed by hormones and excitement can't shape a lasting adult relationship.

We tried to talk to them while they visited. Hermione even tried to pull some supernatural trick with signs and marks. We humored her, but we could tell it was a desperate move to convince us.

They would not listen to reason. And that is what we are hoping you could do. We would hate for them both to lose out on all the opportunities awaiting them.

As an incentive, we have offers for them both. For Hermione, we have contacts at many top universities in the UK and in several countries around the globe. She has a place at any. We can set up similar situations for your son. A single word and he could be studying at any one of the UKs most distinguished vocational schools. But only if they agree to turn away from this childish foolishness.

As good parents, you must agree that our job is to help our children in making the right choices. We must shape and mold them, so they may reach their full potential.

With the way things ended during their all-to-brief visit, we are afraid it is all out of our hands. If they do not see reason, we can do nothing else for them. We cannot condone throwing away their lives. We did not go through this change of identity just to have Hermione throw our sacrifice away.

Please talk with them. For their sake.

Mr. and Mrs. Granger

Hermione smoothed out the paper then violently balled it up tightly, fighting against the desire to rip it into shreds. "How dare they…" She muttered, not caring that Molly could hear her. She reeled her hand back and threw the paper wad as hard as she could against the far wall. She watched it ricochet off and land under a chair.

"I'm sure they thought…" Molly's thoughts tapered off. She couldn't believe her own words, so how could she convince the woman her son loved.

Hermione reached over and squeezed Molly's hand. "Thanks, Mrs. Weasley. Your support means more to me than you know." She wiped her eyes on the proffered handkerchief.

"Just so you know, I'm not going to do what they ask. What you and Ron decide, it's between you two. In your circumstances, I am behind you all the way. But I need to know, how do you want me to reply?"

"I don't know." Hermione hung her head, wiping her eyes again. "I'm too ashamed."

"Ashamed? Why? You've done nothing wrong." Molly was confused.

"No, not for me. For them. That they would think that writing you and saying these things would ever do any good. Ashamed they would think to bribe. Ashamed that they would think so little of you, of Ron, even of me." She glared at the ball of paper, peeking out from the shadow. "How dare they."

Molly didn't know how to answer. She agreed with a portion of their letter. It was a parent's job to mold and shape their children. She herself had done her part, even to nagging and haranguing. BUT, once each one reached adulthood, her job was done. They had to make their own life choices, their own mistakes. She didn't have to like it, she didn't have to hold back on her opinions either, but it wasn't her place to force anything. Her job was to support. Love and support. That is the only job held by a parent of adult children.

She sighed deep, "I will say one thing, they do love you. It's not easy to let go."

Hermione sniffed again, "But why? Why won't they believe me? I've explained as best as I could. I gave them as much proof as I had. I told them all about the sign. And all they did was humour me. I know it sounds dramatic to say, but it would kill me to leave Ron, it will. Literally."

"It will kill me too." Came a quiet, calm voice from behind her.

Hermione turned and smiled as Ron entered the room. He laid his hands on her shoulders and stood over her. "Can I read the letter?" He asked, nodding to the balled paper.

Hermione nodded.

As he scanned the words, Hermione could see his ears getting more and more red from the fire that was burning inside. She admired his efforts at keeping calm. She heard a whispered 'Damn!' as he balled the hated letter back up and hurled it towards the stairs, narrowly missing George, who was carrying a box down from his old room.

"Whoa! Almost got me!" George set the box down at his feet, joining two others that were brought down earlier. "What's got your knickers in a knot?" He glanced at the three angry, sad faces. "I hope it's not me you're glaring at." His grin faltered when they didn't respond.

Finally, Hermione shook herself and said, "No. Not you. Just some…an upsetting letter from my folks."

He looked closer and realized he was intruding, "Ah, right. I'll be back upstairs. I want to get all my stuff packed up." He turned and headed back upstairs. By leaving his old bedroom door open, he could hear every word said in the sitting room. No Weasley ever passed a chance to eavesdrop.

"So, you've visited them, you've explained, and you've written. With the Sign, you don't have much more time before you have to make a decision." Molly said tactfully.

Ron squeezed behind Hermione, so she was sitting on his lap. "The decision is made. I wanted the Vows. Hermione wants to go for betrothal first, so that's what we'll do. Either way, it will be without their blessing."

"It's not that I don't want to take the vows, I just think that I might go back to school. I don't know how they react to married couples. But yeah, time has run out." Hermione leaned into Ron, seeking out his comfort. "If they can't support our decision, so be it." There was silence for a minute, only to be broken.

"Coming through! Coming through!" George yelled as he came back down carrying more boxes. "Sorry to interrupt." He went straight out the door and set the boxes on the lawn. "Sorry." He waved his wand and the stack at the bottom of the stairs flew up and towards him. "I'll finish up later." He said as he closed the front door.

Ron laughed, and it broke the solemn mood. Molly jumped up and moved towards her kitchen. "Well then. Keep thinking on things. I'm here if you need me. Bread is about ready for the oven."