A/N – After what feels like an eternity, I've finally been able to write the two little words that had eluded me for months – The End. I have finally finished another story, albeit a short one.
New Beginnings is a reunion story which has 10 chapters and an epilogue. The story is split into three parts, with each part being 3-4 chapters, and each part jumping forward in time. Updates will be Tuesdays and Fridays.
Enjoy the new story.
Ron Weasley was lounging lazily on the sofa at The Burrow in his pyjamas when he heard the voice of his girlfriend, Hermione Granger, in the kitchen. Hastily sitting up he grabbed his wand and tried to clean away the jam stain on his top which had happened when he'd dropped his breakfast onto himself an hour earlier. However, Ron had never quite mastered the cleaning spell, so rather than vanish the jam stain completely, his efforts merely caused the affected spot to fade. Although with a bit luck, it would be faded enough for Hermione not to notice.
"Morning Ron," Hermione greeted breezily as she sauntered into the front room, looking particularly lovely in a pair of dark jeans and a pink and white striped top.
However, the smile faded slightly at the sight of Ron still lounging around in his pyjamas, and stained ones at that. Granted it was a weekend, but it was going on for eleven o'clock, and Hermione had expected her boyfriend to at least be dressed.
"I was just about to go and get dressed," Ron muttered, colouring slightly when Hermione's eyes seemed to linger on the faded jam stain. "Harry and I were out last night, so I'm a bit late getting up. But at least I beat Harry, I haven't seen him this morning, he must still be in bed."
"No," Molly called, poking her head in from the kitchen. "He and Ginny went down to the village this morning. He was up at a decent hour, and he did not look as though he was still inebriated."
Ron flushed even more at his mother's dig, and muttering his excuses to Hermione, he rushed upstairs to make himself presentable. As he got ready, he couldn't help but wonder if it was time to get a place of his own. He'd only been left Hogwarts for a few weeks, and he hadn't planned on leaving home quickly as he liked the convenience of staying at home and having Molly cater to his every need. However, he was quickly discovering that even though he'd left school and had been offered a job at the Ministry, his mother still thought of him as child. She didn't seem to realise that her youngest son was a grown man, and staying out late drinking with friends was a perfectly acceptable way to spend a Friday evening.
Ron's only problem was that he didn't think he would be able to afford to move out. His job in the Department of Magical Games and Sports was only a lowly paid assistant's job. He would need to prove himself and advance his career before he earned a wage decent enough to support himself. Of course, he could speak to Harry about a loan as his best friend was loaded, but he didn't want the tricky subject of money to come between them. As it was he often had to hide his resentment at the easy way in which Harry breezed through life without a financial worry.
If he wanted, Harry could move out of The Burrow at the drop of a hat, but he was content to stay put as it meant spending more time with Ginny, whom he'd recently started dating. However, Ron suspected that once Ginny returned to Hogwarts for her final year, Harry would seriously look into finding somewhere else to live. And even though it was likely Ginny would move in with him once she'd finished her education, that wouldn't be for several months yet, so maybe Ron could persuade Harry to let him live with him in return for a very modest rent which he could afford.
Grinning happily at the idea of moving in with Harry virtually rent free, Ron headed downstairs where he found Hermione sitting at the kitchen table, chatting merrily to Molly. Although another good reason for moving in with Harry, would be the privacy Ron would have with Hermione. Hermione was also still living at home, which meant finding time together was hard. In fact since they'd left Hogwarts a few weeks previously, the most intimate the couple had been was a few heated kisses.
"Do you fancy going for a walk?" Ron asked Hermione, hoping she would say yes and they could find somewhere secluded where they could be alone.
"Actually, I came to invite you somewhere special," Hermione answered with a smile.
"Where?" Ron questioned with a smile of his own, wondering if Hermione's parents had gone away for a while and she was going to ask him to stay with her and keep her company.
"My new house," Hermione replied, unable to stop smiling.
"New house?" Ron repeated blankly as Molly let out an excited squeal. "What new house?"
"The one I've just signed the papers for this morning," Hermione answered.
"I don't understand," Ron muttered, sinking onto a chair as he tried to make sense of what Hermione was trying to tell him.
"After I left Hogwarts, my parents sat me down and explained that they understood that my life was in the wizarding world, and that they wanted to help make sure I had a good foundation to begin my new life. They gave me access to a savings account they'd been paying into since I was born, and they urged me to use it to buy myself somewhere I can live. So I've been looking around, and I found the perfect house. It's only small, but it's beautiful."
"It sounds lovely, Hermione," Molly gushed as Ron sat silently, digesting the new information. "Where is the house?"
"It's in a small village in Wiltshire. The village is called Malbrooke, and it's rather a bustling little place. It's right beside a lovely river and the scenery is stunning."
"I think I've heard of that place. Very exclusive," Molly remarked.
"You mean stuck up," Ron snorted, finding his voice as he turned to glare at Hermione. "What were you thinking, Hermione?"
"About what?" Hermione asked in confusion.
"About buying a house without consulting me?" Ron exploded. "What if I don't want to live there? What if I don't want to live in sodding Malbrooke?"
"You're not the one living there, Ron," Hermione said calmly, trying not to lose her temper now she knew what Ron's problem was.
"But I will be," Ron argued. "This isn't right, Hermione. You had no right to buy a house without at least talking to me first. If you'd mentioned it, we could have looked at flats in London. At least that way we'd be closer to work."
"Where to start there," Hermione muttered as she took several deep breaths. "Firstly, Ronald, I had every right to buy a house without talking it through with you. It is my house, which I bought using the money my parents had saved for me. It has nothing to do with you."
"So now you're gloating over the fact that your parents are rich and can afford to buy you a house," Ron snarled, only hearing what he wanted to as he always did whenever money was mentioned. "Well, I'm sorry we're so dirt poor that my parents can't buy me a house."
"That wasn't what Hermione said," Molly whispered, her complexion reddening and tears pooling in her eyes. She hated to be reminded of how little money they had, and all the things she couldn't provide for her children.
"I am not gloating that my parents are rich, which they aren't by the way," Hermione retorted sharply. "They were just lucky enough to both have good jobs, and that my mother was able to return to work after she'd had me. My parents only have me to think about Ronald. Your parents have seven children, and I know that Molly would love to provide you all with the funds to buy a house. But I also know, she wouldn't dream of giving to one and not the others. So don't you dare judge your parents for not being able to provide you with a savings account. They've given you so much more than that. They've given you a loving home, and all the support you could ever have asked for. So what if your family isn't rich? Money isn't everything."
As Ron had the grace to look chastised, Molly wiped away a few stray tears and thanked Hermione for her support. She knew Ron hadn't intended to upset her with his talk of money and not being able to help him out financially, but she appreciated that Hermione had told him a few home truths. Maybe it would do Ron good to hear it from someone else that money wasn't the most important thing in the world.
"I still think we should have been looking in London," Ron grumbled, moving past Hermione's scolding.
"How many times, there is no we," Hermione snapped. "You will not be moving in with me, Ronald."
"But I'm your boyfriend," Ron protested with a pout.
"We've only been together a few months Ron," Hermione pointed out, softening her voice and trying to be gentle with Ron. "We're not ready to live together yet."
"But when we are, I'll have to move in with you," Ron protested. "Which is why you should have consulted me. You should have been thinking about the future. Even if the house is just for you at the moment, it won't be forever. I should have had my say."
"I will not discuss what may or may not happen in the future," Hermione said firmly. "I was looking for somewhere to live now, and I found the perfect place."
"You should at least see it before you judge it, Ron," Molly said soothingly.
"I guess I can do that," Ron grumbled. "But you've still never answered my question about London. Why didn't you look for somewhere nearer to work?"
"With our means of travelling, I don't see the need to live close to work," Hermione answered.
"Your father manages to commute every day," Molly added. "We never thought about moving to London."
"I'd rather be in London than stuck in stupid wherever it was," Ron complained with a dismissive wave of his hand.
"Wiltshire," Hermione supplied. "Which will actually be closer to work than London."
"How can it be closer to work?" Ron scoffed. "The Ministry is in the middle of London. You can get flats virtually across the street from the place."
"I won't be working at the Ministry," Hermione announced, bracing herself for another explosion from her boyfriend.
And sure enough it was forthcoming as Ron banged his fists down on the table and demanded to know what Hermione was talking about. Harry had been offered a once in a lifetime opportunity with a professional quidditch team, but both he and Hermione had signed up to work at the Ministry. While he was joining the Department of Magical Games and Sports, Hermione was supposed to be joining the Department of International Co-Operation.
"I didn't just buy a house," Hermione admitted. "While I was viewing the house, I also checked out the village and found an empty shop. The house didn't take all my savings, so I was able to pay for almost a years rent on the empty shop."
"You're opening a shop?" Ron scoffed, derision dripping from every word.
"And what is wrong with a shop?" Molly demanded before Hermione had a chance to answer. "In case it slipped your notice, Ronald Weasley, your brothers own a very successful shop."
"But that's different," Ron protested with a wince, having forgotten about the twins business venture. "They always knew they wanted to do something with their inventions. But Hermione has never spoken about owning a shop before. She was happy to join the Ministry."
"Please tell me you never thought that." Hermione gave her boyfriend an annoyed look as she shook her head. "You saw how much I agonised over my career choice in school. I toyed with Healer training, and training to become a Professor. I looked at every single department of the Ministry, and some private firms. In the end, I settled for what looked like an okay job. Joining the Ministry was never my passion, Ron."
"And you think it was mine?" Ron snarled. "You think I want a dead end job at the Ministry? I would love to be out there playing quidditch with Harry. But it wasn't to be. I have to accept my life, and so do you, Hermione. Renting a shop you don't know what to do with is just sheer stupidity. And what happens in a year if you haven't made a go of the shop? You'll have no business and no job."
"Then I will have to make a go of it," Hermione answered with a shrug. "And I do have an idea of what I want to do with the shop."
"What are you doing with it?" Molly asked, genuinely interested in the surprising path Hermione's life was taking.
"My initial thought was a bookshop."
"Of course it was," Ron interrupted with a snort. "There's more to life than books, Hermione. Not everyone wants to spend their lives hidden away with their nose in a dusty old book, you know. Some of us prefer to live life."
Hermione glared at Ron, but she didn't bother to answer him and instead focused her attention on Molly. "But when I viewed the shop properly, I found it was a former apothecary. There's still a room all prepared for brewing potions. So I think I might go down the apothecary route. I also loved potions, and there's nothing like it in the village. I think with a few bespoke potions added to the mix, I could really make a go of it."
"Anything you want help with, just let me know," Molly said with a warm smile. "I think what you're doing is amazing, Hermione."
"Amazingly stupid," Ron scoffed as he pushed his chair back and got to his feet. "Not to mention, selfish."
"Selfish?" Hermione echoed, about ready to slap Ron as in her eyes, he was the only one being selfish.
"Yes, selfish," Ron snapped with a sneer. "We're a couple Hermione, and I should have been consulted about all of this. I don't care if we've only been together a few months, we've known each other for years, and everyone knows we're meant to be together. But now, you've carved out this life for us that I don't even know that I want. You're selfish Hermione, and all you've thought about here is yourself. You haven't given me a second thought."
Not giving Hermione a chance to respond, Ron stomped out of the house. As he went he heard Molly assuring his girlfriend that he would calm down and be just fine, but Ron wasn't so sure. He felt betrayed by Hermione's actions, and he didn't know if anything she could do would make it right. After all, she'd made plans for her future without even thinking about him. Which led him to wonder if they even had a future together.