A/N: Okay, I know the Hermione thing at the end of the last chapter was a bit OOC..but come on, it was cute.
Thanks to ALL of my reviewers throughout the entire story, especially those who reviewed multiple times (you know who you are).
Here we go… the last chapter!!!
Chapter 19: The New Weasley
Three weeks passed since the encounter with the McEwans, and Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Bianca had left the hospital wing after a week of boredom. Of course, Madam Pomfrey did have a fit after discovering Ron and Hermione in the same bed ("WHAT IN THE WORLD WERE YOU TWO DOING?!?!"), but after a while, it just didn't matter to them anymore what anyone thought.
One morning, Hermione appeared in the boys' dormitory, poking Ron in the shoulder to wake him up.
"Ermmmmm…go away Mummy, I don't want to clean out the broom shed today," Ron mumbled.
"Ron? It's Hermione, not your mom," Hermione said, a bit confused.
"What? I'm not a mime! Stop poking me…hey, Hermione! What're you doing here?" Ron finally opened his eyes and jumped up, startled, but soon grinned sheepishly.
"Good morning to you too," she replied, smiling brightly. "Why are you sleeping so late? Everyone except Harry's already left for breakfast."
"Yeah, get up, lazy," chided Harry. "You heard her."
Ron sat up and tried to smooth his ruffled hair. "I never did understand why you could be in a boys' dormitory and we couldn't be in a girls'…"
"It doesn't matter," Hermione replied briskly. She opened the curtains to let the sun's light shine in.
There was a moment of silence between the three of them. Finally Ron spoke.
"It's still hard to believe what the Ministry did to Jasmine," he said quietly.
"No kidding," Harry added. "Thrown to the centaurs…no wonder they hate humans, they're always stuck with the horrible ones."
"She deserved it," Hermione said resolutely. "She absolutely deserved it."
Both boys expected to see tears in her eyes, but instead they found a strong resolve.
"Ripped to pieces…" she mused. " At least she won't make any other person's life hell."
Another silence, and then Ron ventured, "Where was it that they sent Hunter again? St.-er-what's it?"
"St. Brutus's Secure Center for Incurably Criminal Boys," Harry recited with a grin on his face. "And his wand's snapped, too…no more magic for him!"
"Like she said," Ron mused, "he deserves it."
They got up to go to breakfast. Ron and Harry left the room quickly, but Hermione noticed a green envelope lying under Ron's pillow. She snatched it and stowed it in her pocket.
When they arrived at the Great Hall, Bianca came flying toward Ron and threw her arms around him.
"Oh, Ron, oh, Ron, I'm so excited, your mum's so nice, I can't wait to meet the rest of your family, it's gonna be so fun-"
"What are you talking about, Bee?" Ron gasped, trying to untangle himself from her death grip.
"I'm going to live with you at your house! Your mum and dad are adopting me! Oh, it's gonna be so fun, I'll have a big sister, and a bunch of big brothers that won't hurt me-"
"Professor McGonagall, is this true?" he inquired, for the professor had followed Bianca over to the Gryffindor table.
"It is," she replied with a smile. "Miss McEwan has no-ahem-suitable relatives that can or will take her in. We discussed what would be best, and your mother has agreed most happily to take Miss McEwan in as another daughter until she is of age."
"Oh, I have to go tell Susie and Jeannie! They'll be so excited!" Bianca sped off in search of her fellow first year friends. It amazed Ron to see how much of her personality had changed. He could see how bubbly and fun this once-reclusive eleven year old really was.
McGonagall leaned in close to Ron. "I must admit," she whispered, "you have made a very positive impression on Miss McEwan. She's quite taken with you and looks up to you."
"Err…thanks…" Ron responded, not quite sure what to say. McGonagall strode off, leaving three very surprised people behind.
After breakfast finished, Ron and Hermione left Harry with Ginny and decided to take a walk around the grounds. Their footsteps crunched in the pristine white snow. Unfortunately, they met Malfoy on their way.
"Well, if it isn't Weasley and Miss Mudblood. I'm surprised at you, Weasley, you've left your first year girlfriend already? Oh, that's right, she hasn't even hit puberty yet…"
Ron opened his mouth furiously, but Hermione butted in calmly. "Draco," she began sweetly, "I just say Pansy in the loo, crying over some little plastic stick-thing, before breakfast. She was with a couple of her friends…they were talking about a "positive" test result? I was confused…I thought she'd be happy about passing some sort of test…"
Malfoy looked horrified. He sped off toward the castle doors. Ron and Hermione laughed together.
"That," Ron stated, "was brilliant."
Hermione shrugged modestly. "Hey," she said, changing the subject, "I found this under your pillow. Did you forget…?" Her eyes shone as she pulled out the envelope.
"Oh, no, I'm sorry, 'Mione…I just-er-forgot in the midst of everything else that happened…" Ron looked extremely guilty.
"Well, go ahead and open it now!" She handed the envelope to him. He opened it and pulled out a paper that looked like it had been ripped from a notebook. He read some very familiar words:
Tumbling, bumbling, stumbling down
Falling, sprawling on the ground
Elusive and intrusive things
Fragile as butterfly wings
Daisy petals one by one
Scattered in the summer sun
Does he love me, love me not
Is he burning, is he hot
Can I, am I willing, able
Lay my card upon the table
Will it be the queen of hearts
The place where all the hurting starts
The bottom of the poem was signed: To my one and only. Love forever, Hermione.
"Wait a second," Ron said. He was so confused! "Why'd you give this to me if you wrote it for Hunter?"
"What?" She looked astounded. "I never-why do you think-how'd you know I ever wrote this?"
"Oops…I read your diary-but not on purpose! I found it in the common room, and…" He looked down at his shoes. There was no talking his way out of this one.
"I didn't write it for Hunter. I wrote this during the summer holidays, right after my mum died. I wrote it for you. I missed you so much, and the poem's just about…taking a chance, I guess."
"For me?" He looked up into her eyes, which were shining happily.
"Yeah, for you."
All of a sudden, Ron wrapped his arm around her waist and kissed her: a soft, sweet kiss. Wow, I have waited waaaaaay too long to do this, he said to himself. She kissed him back. Her soft lips tasted like sweet strawberries, ripe at the harvest. Despite the cold temperature, they found warmth in each other. They stood there for a few sweet moments, losing themselves in each other, and then began walking slowly again. Sure, they didn't know what was ahead, but they knew they'd be standing side-by-side, ready to face it together, with their friends by their side and their relatives, both alive and dead, helping them to carry on wherever the road might take them.
A/N: And all together now….AWWWW!!! Just kidding…it's actually kind of a fluffy ending, but hey, I'm a sucker for fluffy endings! So…overall…did you like it? Hate it? Love it? Let me know…
I was thinking about doing another chapter just to make it an even twenty, but I think this ending is good.
I would just like to say THANK YOU to everyone that reviewed!! I never dreamed that I'd get so much feedback…and so much of it was so positive! Really, whenever I didn't really feel like writing, I would get a review that made my day. It really meant a lot to me. So…THANKS!!! Especially to those of you who reviewed multiple times…you all will be receiving Christmas presents…hehehe
Stick around…I'll began writing my next fic shortly…; ) I'm thinking about a dance theme...
Much love, Pepstepper