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A/N: Sorry for the delay. I've been sick lately. I don't get sick often, but when I do, I try to get REALLY sick. I'm better than I was, but I'm still feeling a little under the weather. I went back to the doctor today, and they told me to drink fluids and come back Friday. Typical.
A/N 2: Here it is, the long-awaited final chapter. sobs Several of you expressed that you were still unclear as to why the Death Eaters were in France, so the beginning is for you.
Ron was finally ready to pick Hermione up for dinner. He took a deep breath as he walked into his office. Her familiar voice floated out to him.
"So the Death Eaters chose France both to hide from the British Aurors and, of course, to work the anti-Franco feeling that we all tend to have. They thought that if they had to work somewhere, they might as well terrorize France. Apparently they had done some damage there over the last three years. The French Ministry of Magic just didn't want to admit it."
"I suppose that makes sense. Tonks just can't stand not knowing what's going on," Remus Lupin's voice replied. "She felt like you explained nothing to her after dumping the twins on her for a week." He paused. "She's also hormonal, which accounts for a lot of it."
Ron cleared his throat and interrupted the tête-à-tête.
"Oh, hello Ron," his former professor greeted. He gave Ron a knowing grin. "I'll leave you two alone. I need to be getting home anyway. Tonks will have my head if I'm late starting supper." He pushed past Ron and went out the door.
Hermione grinned and gave Ron a quick peck on the mouth. "Hey. How was your day off today?"
"Okay. I'm glad dinner is finally here, though."
Hermione swatted his arm. "Honestly, Ron, is food all you ever think about?"
"No. I think about other things!"
"Okay, food and quidditch?"
"I think about you."
Hermione grinned widely. "Oh, Ron, I believe that's the most romantic thing you've ever said to me." She sighed. "I don't ask for much, obviously. Come on, I'm hungry!"
The Italian restaurant they went to was in Muggle London. Ron had found it after one of Ginny's doctor visits and had fallen in love with the cheap but succulent cuisine. It was literally a hole in the wall, hidden between a Laundromat and a secondhand electronics store. Inside, however, it was quite impressive. The tables had the stereotypical checkered tablecloth and a candle on them, and the walls were cluttered with framed pictures of various Italian locales.
Hermione perused the pictures as Ron went to claim their reservation.
As they walked to their table, Hermione looked back at them. "Where in Italy would you want to go, Ron?"
"I don't know. Rome, I guess."
"What about Venice? It's so romantic!"
"Doesn't it smell like rotten eggs?"
Hermione sighed as she plopped down across from him. "You never change."
He flashed her a grin. "I know."
As they looked over the menu, Ron prayed that Hermione didn't want wine. The wine made up for the cheap food. He should have known better. She ordered the lemonade.
"What do you eat here, Ron?" she asked, frowning over the menu.
"Everything's good. I really like the fettucini alfredo. The ravioli is good as well."
"How about the eggplant parmesian?"
"Eggplant? Really, Hermione!"
"Why would you get vegetables? Get some good old fattening pasta. It's Italian food, after all."
"I want to try something different. You should try it."
"Fine. I'll have the shrimp and crab ravioli."
"As opposed to?"
They were interrupted when the waiter came and took their order.
There was a long period of awkward silence. Ron had no idea what to say. Finally, Hermione broke in. "Ron, there are a few things we've never talked about."
"Like your work?"
"Oh no, I got a job today in the Lup—Remus' department. No one will listen to him, but I found they are very receptive to my ideas. It's quite enthralling, actually."
"Maybe you can create a national chapter of Spew now," Ron joked.
"S.P.E.W., Ron. And that's not what I meant."
"I know. You meant for Remus and Tonks."
"Yes. Well, no. That's not what I was saying we needed to talk about."
She was interrupted by the arrival of their food. "Oh, I guess it can wait a little longer."
Ron didn't even here her. He was already tucking in. Trying something new was a very good idea. His ravioli was really good. Maybe he ought to eat crab more often.
Hermione found the eggplant good as well. It was quite filling, even though Ron had suggested that pasta was the only thing Italian that could satisfactorily fill one's stomach. Then again, it took a lot to fill up his stomach.
After they had finished their meals (and Ron his dessert of chocolate mousse cake), the couple left the restaurant.
"So what was it that you wanted to talk about, Hermione?" Ron asked, as they continued to walk down the sidewalk.
Hermione spotted Hyde Park. "Let's go in there and sit on a bench to talk."
Hermione found a bench under a shady tree and motioned for Ron to sit beside her.
"It's chilly for late March," he mused.
"Yeah. In like a lamb and out like a lion, I suppose."
Ron sat down and turned towards her. "Okay talk.
"I need to tell you why I left in the first place."
"Oh," Ron said flatly.
"It wasn't because I didn't care for you or that I was pregnant. Not really, Ron. It was what you said to me that day."
"What I said to you what day?"
"Don't you remember?"
"Will you just hurry up and tell me?"
She sighed. "Ron, it was that day at St. Mungo's. I had just found out I was expecting. I didn't know it was twins yet, though. Anyway, I was nervous and scared and excited. I came to tell you."
"And you were in the room with Ginny. Harry had left the day before. I came up to you and said 'Guess what, Ron?'" She looked at him. "Don't you remember?"
Tears formed in her eyes. "I said 'Guess what, Ron?' and you just looked at me. Then you started yelling. You told me to go away and leave you the bloody alone. You told me you didn't care what I had to say, that you didn't give a shit about me. You were still yelling at me when I burst into tears and ran out of the room."
Ron's jaw dropped. "I said that?"
She nodded. "How can you not remember something as horrible as that?"
He took her face in his hands. "Oh, Hermione, I didn't mean it. I said a lot of horrible things to everyone when Ginny went mental. I was scared. I was so scared. I was scared of losing all of them, of being the only one left, I was scared of going mental myself, I was scared of everything. I don't even remember seeing you." He kissed her on the forehead. "I'm sorry that I hurt you. I didn't mean to, I promise you that."
She wiped away her tears. "I'm glad. I've always been so afraid that you really didn't love me."
If there was one emotion Ron had experienced every aspect of (and not just the teaspoonful amount Hermione had once accused him of) it was insecurity. "Oh, I do love you, Hermione. I reckon I always have. It just took until fifth year for me to really notice."
"That's not fair. I've known I loved you from first year."
And he kissed her. Really kissed her. "Hermione, I don't want you to ever have to worry about my feelings ever again."
He got up off the park bench and slowly fell to one knee. He pulled a small box out of his pocket and handed it to her.
She took it and opened it. She gasped in disbelief when she saw the diamond ring.
"Hermione Granger, will you marry me?"
She began to cry earnestly now. "Oh yes. Of course I will." She then proceeded to pull him in for a smoldering kiss.
When they pulled away, Ron was dumbstruck. "Wow. That was actually really easy."
Hermione smiled her little knowing smile that Ron loved so much. "It was always easy, Ron Weasley; all you had to do was ask."
A/N: The end! Oh, I'm sad now. As for the other pairings, don't worry. I'm reworking The Power of the No (RL/NT) right now, so with this one finished, I should fix it soon. Expect an update of Nymphadora Tonks and the Seven Deadly Sins later this week. I also plan to do a one-shot of Ron and Hermione's wedding by next week. And a George/Alicia sequel is on the way, as well as a Fred/Angelina, and possibly a Harry/Ginny.
Thanks to my beta jwoods471. Check out her stories, por favor.
Thanks too all of my dedicated reviewers: johncardy87, thesongremainsthesame, Alex Boyd, Isi Wisi, Borrow-the-moonlight-until-it-is-through, Joan Mesi Marie, Neurotic Newt, Ron Freak 101, karma-as-long-as-your-mine, Ms. Bianca Grint, A lost soul and shattered, Ponee, MIDNIGHT-PIXIE, jug virus, Green Tea and Honey, Elyse90505, Unforgiven, krumfan, bruised papaya, ainat92, blooh 2, Phyre's Child 13, etc. : D