A/N: Hey guys! Here's the next chapter: the one you've all been waiting for.
And no, it's not to soon for them to be engaged. They've liked eachother for years, remember? A lot of you reviewed saying you couldn't picture Ron with a goatee. Remember, there's an artwork of him on my deviantart. (I'm under the same username: KiahWMConnie)
Disclaimer: See previous eight chapters and PICK ONE!
So Sick of It
Ron Weasley apparated just a few feet from the Burrow's front door. The weather was almost the exact opposite from when he left. It was calm and warm. The sun had begun to set and there was only a small breeze. Ron took a deep breath and slightly shook.
Was he ready for this? He had no earthly idea how his family would react to his presence. Would they welcome him back? Or would they send jinxes at him for being a crying, whiny git? How did they respond when Ginny told them about his birthday? Were things going to work out?
No matter what, he decided, it was time to face his fears. He took another deep breath and prepared to knock.
The Burrow seemed quiet; much too quiet for itself. He could only hear soft mumbles coming from inside, one of which he recognized as Fleur's accent. His family was in there, alright. But how were they? There was only one way to find out.
Ron gave three, solid knocks to the wooden door. He could hear the mumbles increase slightly for a few seconds. Suddenly he heard the voice of his mother.
"It's okay! I'll get it," he heard her say to the rest of his family.
He heard the door unlock and saw the doorknob turn. His heart pounded in his ears. This was it.
"Yes? May I help-" Mrs. Weasley opened the door and froze mid-sentence.
Time seemed to stand still. Slowly, her eyes widened in shock and she seemed to stop breathing, her mouth slightly open. Ron couldn't make himself move or even speak. Behind her, the room fell silent and eyes widened. Finally, Mrs. Weasley found her voice.
"R-R-Ron?" she stammered.
"H-hey," he could barely make out. He looked up slightly.
He could see the rest of his family several feet behind his mother. They all had similar expressions of shock and worry on their faces when he met their eyes. Ron wanted to apparate away, but he stayed by sheer will power.
"Is that...really you, Ron?" Mrs. Weasley sounded like she was about to cry.
Ron nodded jerkily. Thirty long seconds passed before anyone could make a sound.
"May I...come in?" Ron finally asked, barely above a whisper.
Mrs. Weasley stepped aside to let her much taller son enter. He stepped in, but just enough so that she could easily close the door. He noticed that Fleur, Fred, George, and his father were sitting at the table. Bill, Charlie, and Percy were standing behind them. Ginny was sitting in a chair near the corner of the room, a very unusual spot for Ginny, and his mother was a few feet beside him.
"Ron?" he heard Charlie say, "Is that you, little bro?"
"Looks like him," said Percy.
"He's got a goatee," he heard Bill observe quietly. Ron would've smiled if he wasn't in such an awkward position.
Ron looked up at his entire family again. They were all whispering things similar to "Ron?" and "Really you?"
"Yes," he finally replied with a small, sad smile, "It's really me."
By the looks on their faces, it was as if he'd confirmed their worst fears.
"Ron..." his mother choked out, "Where have you been?" she softly asked.
Ron was quiet for several seconds, but replied, "I'm sorry..."
"Oh, Ron," Mrs. Weasley lunged forward and engulfed his waist in a tight hug. He actually expected his mother to do something like this. She began to sob into his shirt as he stood very awkwardly. No one else spoke, however.
Finally, his father asked slowly and concernedly, "Why did you leave?"
Ron was a bit surprised at the question. Scanning face to freckled face, he could see they were all mentally asking the same question. Slowly, he turned to his sister.
"Ginny?" he asked the pale-looking girl, "You...didn't tell them?"
Ginny didn't know that he had talked to Hermione after their meeting and it showed on her face. Nonetheless, she eventually shook her head abruptly, "I couldn't find the heart to," she said in an unusually meek voice for herself.
"Tell us what?" George asked confusedly.
"Ginny? What did you not tell us?" Fred did the same.
Mrs. Weasley let go of her youngest son, "She's been extremely quiet for over a week..."
Ron could see Ginny was having trouble with the spotlight she was put in. He easily forgave her.
"It's okay, Gin," he gave another sad, small smile, "You don't have to say it."
"Ron, what's going on?" his mother asked worriedly.
"Why did you leave?" Fleur asked unexpectedly.
Ron took a deep breath and closed his eyes. He reopened them and forced his mouth open to say his even more forced words.
"Do you remember...what a week before Monday was?" he asked his family.
They all exchanged worried glances.
Mrs. Weasley was the first to answer, "It was March the first, Ron, why-" she stopped and her eyes got bigger as her face got paler. Everyone held their breath in anticipation.
"Ron!" she gasped, "Oh, Ron!" her eyes filled with tears.
"Mother, please-" he tried to calm her down.
"We forgot your birthday!"
The room was more silent than ever. Ron could hear every heartbeat in his eardrums.
"Ah non," Fleur whispered.
"We...forgot his birthday?"
"Oh, damn, we did!"
"We actually forgot Ron's birthday!"
"Oh, Ron!" Mrs. Weasley buried her face in his shirt and sobbed again, "I'm so sorry!"
"How could we-?"
"Mother! That's-!" he took a large sigh, "That's not all," he said quietly.
Nobody dared move a muscle except for Ginny who put her face in her hands, and a few labored breaths from around the room. Ron hated it. No matter how bitter they had made him over the years, it was still his family, and he made them worry themselves sick over him. They were still worried sick. He couldn't bear it anymore. He had to get it out. He had to explain. He had to apologize.
It took Ron a minute to finally speak. It was odd, though. When he spoke, he sounded as if he were speaking half-way to himself. His voice was very soft and timid.
"It's like...all my life, I've always felt that I didn't matter. No one really noticed me. I could never catch up to anyone else. I was only there for a good beating or teasing once in a while."
Fred and George looked particularly guilty at this point, though everyone listened attentively.
"Usually, though, I could get over it. I mean, we're a large family, I could understand that. We just couldn't afford new clothes or materials for me, and I was okay with that most of the time. And it's not like my life was just horrible, and I know it will never be perfect. But...when the thing happened with my birthday...I felt like a failure. And the teasing...and everything, I just sort of..." it took him several long moments before he could finally finish, "...snapped...I was so sick of being left behind."
If it was possible, the Burrow was even quieter. Ron was finally able to look up from the spot on the floor he realized he was staring at. He looked each of his family members in the face.
"I'm sorry," he apologized barely above a whisper, "I've been so selfish these past few weeks..." he took a slightly staggered breath, "I'm sorry...Can you all forgive me?"
"Ron," Bill, who was often a voice of reason, replied firmly, "Can you forgive us?"
Ron was a bit taken aback. He honestly did not expect that reply. With a small, grateful smile he answered, "Done."
"Oh, Ron!" his mother and Ginny chimed at the same time, his mother wrapping her arms around him once again. He looked around the room once more. Everyone's faces were brighter and more relieved. Most of them were even smiling.
This was his family, he realized. No matter how horribly they treated him at times, they still loved him. It took him leaving to get that through all of their minds. Now they understood everything...as did he. His thoughts were interrupted, however, by Mrs. Weasley jerking on his arm.
"Sit! Sit! You must be hungry!"
"No, Mum, I-"
"Sit!" she insisted and was able to physically shove her son to the table and down in a seat.
Ron turned a little pink at the new, awkward situation. However, none of his family members cast him the "Weasley-glare" so he figured he was safe.
"A-actually, Mum, I've already eaten dinner," he stuttered from his seat, "I'm okay, really."
His family that was not at the table soon crowded across from him and began asking several questions at once.
"Is that a new shirt?" Ginny asked above her brothers.
"Huh?" he looked down, "Oh, yes, I was able to get some new clothing for once."
"Oh, look at that," Mrs. Weasley smiled, "It matches your eyes perfectly."
"Th-thanks," he smiled sheepishly, "That's what Hemione said."
"Hermione?" Mr. Weasley asked, "You saw her?"
"Oh..." Ron blinked. He had forgotten about the other big news, "Dad...I've been living with her the past two weeks."
"With Hemione?" Mrs. Weasley gasped.
"Y-yeah...well...she found me my first night away. I didn't have anywhere to go and I was completely broke, so she let me stay with her."
"Oh, what a nice thing to do," Mr. Weasley said.
"Wow, have you found a way to repay her?" Charlie lauged.
"Um..." Ron stayed very still.
"So, you've been with Hermione this whole time?" Ginny asked.
"Yes," Ron replied simply, their eyes met and they had a silent understanding to keep quiet about Ginny's secret meeting.
"So, um, Fred," Ron suddenly changed the subject, "H-how's your jaw?"
Much to Ron's surprise, Fred chuckled as he touched the spot where Ron hit him, "It had a huge bruise on it for quite a while. And it was sore. But, it's better now."
"Okay," Ron sighed in relief, "That's good. I'm...sorry for punching you."
Fred actually began to laugh, "Wow...I had no idea you could punch that hard! What happened to Ickle Ronniekins?"
Ron gave a meaningful smile, "He grew up, I guess."
"Indeed he did," George agreed.
"Yeah, since when did you have a goatee!" Bill pointed out.
It was Ron's turn to laugh as he touched his chin, "I've had it for a while, actually, I've just always shaved it off."
"I think you looked better without it," Percy said with a hint of a smile.
"Whoa! Did Percy just tell a joke?" George gasped.
"No, he's just jealous because he can't grow his own facial hair!" Fred laughed.
"Ha ha, guys," Percy gave a sarcastic sneer.
Ron laughed. Things were beginning to get back to normal.
"I don't know," Ginny tilted her head to one side, "I think I like the goatee. Makes you look more manly."
Ron turned slightly red.
"I 'zink 'e zhould keep it," Fleur stated.
"Oh, you're just saying that because Bill has a goatee too," Charlie laughed.
"And?" Bill raised an eyebrow jokingly, "I don't see the problem here."
"Now that you mention it," Mrs. Weasley interrupted, "Ron looks a lot like Bill did at his age."
"Hmm," Ginny mused, "Tall, lean, blue eyes, long nose...yes, I'd say he is similar."
Ron turned pink again. He found himself laughing along with his family again. Suddenly, however, he remembered something very important.
"Wait!" Ron suddenly yelped, "I've got big news!"
Everyone stopped laughing and listened closely.
"Well...when I stayed with Hermione," Ron began, suddenly realizing the awkwardness of the subject, "We...well, we...eventually...fell in love," he ended quietly and sheepishly.
Several of his brothers gave the traditional, manly 'whoop's and 'woohoo's, while the others merely froze in shock.
"Just wait a second!" Ron demanded silence again.
"What is it?" Fred and George pressed.
"Yes, do tell," Mrs. Weasley made the rare occasion to agree with her twin sons.
"Well," Ron's ears turned very pink and he tangled his fingers in the bottom of his shirt. He took a deep breath and finally said, "Long story short: we're now...engaged to be married."
The entire Weasley family was silent for five, long, excrutiating seconds, letting the words sink in.
Suddenly, they all threw their hands up and cheered loudly, Mrs. Weasley and Ginny hugging either side of his head.
The next few minutes of his life were a blur to him. They consisted of several slaps to the back with a "Congratulations!" and Mrs. Weasley crying how her 'baby boy' was going to get married and Ginny and Fleur tearing up with her as well.
"When's the wedding?"
"Have you picked a time and place?"
"Where's Hemione now?"
Ron couldn't help but grin. Two weeks ago, he was more miserible than he had ever been. Now, he had made up with his family...he finally felt like he belonged.
He wasn't alone anymore. His family finally understood how he felt and still accepted him. On top of everything, he was engaged to a wonderful woman. This was truly one of the happiest days of his life.
Hermione sat, nervously petting Crookshanks before he got up and wandered off again. What was taking Ron so long? He had been away for two and a half hours now. The suspense was absolutely killing her. She wouldn't have to wait very much longer, though.
"Hermione!" a voice rang out from outside in the hallway. The next second, the door swung open to reveal her tall, red-headed fiance.
"Hermione!" he ran over and wrapped his arms around her, picking her up and spinning her around. He was laughing the entire time.
"Whoa! Ron! Ron!" Hermione had to yell before Ron finally put her down.
"Oh, Herm! Haha!"
"Ron! How did it go?" she had to pull him down to her eye level to get him to talk.
"Wonderful!" he beamed, "Better than perfect! We made up! We're a whole family again!"
"Oh, Ron, that great!" she hugged him tightly.
"Isn't it?" he he grinned and cupped her face in his hands, "And it's all," he kissed her left cheek, "Because," her right, "Of," her forehead, "You," he ended with a deep, passionate kiss on her lips.
Hermione was ecstatic, but very taken back by Ron's energy.
He pulled away, "Come on. They're waiting," he grabbed her wrist and led her out to the hallway.
"I told them everything, Hermione! I told them about our engagement and I promised to bring you there as soon as possible!"
"You told them everything?" it was all going a little too fast for her.
"Yes, now hurry up!"
Within seconds, both Ron and Hermione apparated in front of the Burrow. Almost immediately, they heard a voice from inside.
"They're here!"they heard oneof the twins call.
Ron rushed them inside before Hermione could completely catch her breath. She was met with nine, very happy faces.
Within seconds, most of them had embraced Hermione and offering their congratulations. Mrs. Weasley was crying happy tears as Ginny gave her a full hug.
"I'm sorry about not telling you about Ron staying with me," she whispered into Ginny's ear.
"S'ok," she whispered back and released from her.
"Oh, Hermione, thank you! Thank you for taking care of my baby boy!" Mrs. Weasley cupped her face.
"Mum!" Ron went a little red.
"And now you're getting married!" she sobbed the last word and gave Hermione a hug that almost crushed her.
"D-don't mention it," she squeaked out.
"Ever," Ron mumbled, though he was smiling a little.
Hermione looked into Ron's eyes. As blue mixed with brown, all the yelling and cheering of the huge family seemed to disappear. They both smiled at each other. Hermione suddenly rushed forward and gave her fiance a simple, but warm hug.
"Remind me to talk to Harry tomorrow," he told her.
"Gotta have a best man somewhere," he said casually, then grinned. He bent down and gave a small peck to her forehead as several of the family members said, "Aw."
"Maybe we should have cat food at the reception," Hermione smirked.
"Only if I get to wear the 'Save a broom' shirt!"
"Forget it!" she playfully punched his side as the family started asking questions, obviouslyconfused about what they were talking about.
"I'm zo glad zat was over wit," Fleur happily sighed to the side.
"Are you kidding?" Ginny chuckled quitely with a very large grin, "It's just the beginning..."
A/N: Sorry, Ginny. Fleur was right on this one. THE END!
Okay now, imagine this:
As Ginny said the last line, "Get Right Back to Where We Started From" by Maxime Nightingale begins to play. As the song continues, the camera pans out of the window and keeps getting farther and farther away from the Burrow and credits begin to roll.
Thank you everyone who reviewed! You've all been so supportive! (cries happily)
I also want to thank the uber-fantastic Paige for proofreading this last chapter. You should all thankher. She's the reason Fleur's accent came out decent! And 'Ah non' means 'Oh no' in French. (Again, thank you, Paige.)
This is the first fanfiction that I've actually finished. That rocks! I'm exausted now. Again, thank you all for reading and thanks even more for reviewing. (But that doesn't mean you have to stop here! Haha. Let me know if you enjoyed it!)