A/N: Review! (Post HBP)
Disclaimer: I do not own anything.
Loud ringing filled the air as an alarm clock ran off. It echoed through the flat and continued on. The lump on the bed pulled the bed sheet to cover her face, hoping the noise will stop soon enough. But it didn't and with a groan a hand reached out and pressed the snooze button on the alarm clock.
A girl with brown hair sat up from bed. She rubbed her eyes, trying to adjust in the bright light. Her hair was a mess and her throat felt like sand paper, she definitely needed a drink. Reluctantly she got out of the warmth of her bed and slipped on her slippers. Dragging her feet across the wooden floor towards the kitchen she poured herself a glass of water. In two gulps she finished it and sighed contently, that's much better.
She frowned when she noticed what time it was, six in the morning, on a Saturday nevertheless! Usually she'd be up at seven as her work at the ministry required her at eight. Though on a weekend she would be lazy and sleep as long as she wished. She had no idea why she was up at such an ungodly hour. She fell in thought, thinking what in the world was so important that she needed to get up early? Tapping her index finger on her chin she glanced around the flat hoping it'll give her some sort of sign. It was then when she noticed it, the picture on her coffee table, it was turned upside down.
Curious to why she would randomly leave a picture there when she was so organized and neat; she took a step forward and grabbed it off. She gasped when she saw it. The picture was a portrait of a red-head with freckles and brilliant blue eyes that were twinkling in mirth. It fell out of her limp hands, floating down to the floor. There was no mistake of who it was.
And it all came flowing back.
Ronald Weasley, the one man in her life that had successfully made a fool out of her, Hermione Granger. She, who was supposed to be the cleverest witch of her year had lost her head like many seemed to do when hit by cupid's arrow, she had fallen in love. It had been wonderful really, for the first few months. But she had given up hope in sixth year. Hermione had dropped so many clues and hints and yet Ron hadn't picked them up. But all of a sudden after Dumbledore's funeral Ron had confessed and Hermione dubbed that day the best day of her life, even managing to win over the time she had smacked Malfoy. He had told her that he didn't want to wait and that this might be the only time they could be able to be together, for no one knew the outcome of the war. It had seemed perfect to Hermione, despite the fact that there was a war raging on outside.
When the war had ended with Harry succeeding on top she was overjoyed. But that's when her dream started crumbling. Hermione never was a lucky girl. When she was younger she was ridiculed since she was so different, and even at Hogwarts for being a muggle-born. She also had to suffer with her bushy hair until sixth year when it started taming down. Nothing was ever truly happy at any point in her life, something always went wrong. This time it crumbled before her eyes.
Ron wanted to break up. He said he wanted to train to be an auror and that he would have to move to Scotland for two years at the least. He didn't think they should wait for each other and just move on. 'Friends?' he had asked, she had merely nodded fighting back tears. In her mind she knew she could never be 'just friends' with Ron, not after what they had, not after knowing what they could have. No, it was impossible.
He left. They owled each other often, though as the months passed by the letter came less often and they were short and crisp. Soon they skittered to a stop. He didn't come by for Christmas, Easter or any of the holidays for that matter; he was always busy with something else. Either he was hard at training or someone had asked him to join them for the holidays. She stopped visiting the Burrow and lost contact with the Weasleys except for Ginny. It's been years, five to be exact, since Hermione had last seen him. She remembered it as the reopening of Hogwarts. Professor McGonagal had taken over and ensured that Hogwarts was up and running as fast as it could.
Hermione had moved on somewhat and landed herself a job in the ministry working in the department of magical trading. She tried dating for a while but given up when she always ended up ignoring her date thinking of Ron. Instead she devoted herself to work and achieved being promoted to the head of her department. But in the back of her mind she thought of him. Like when it rained or when she heard some one talking excitedly about quidditch. Small insignificant things reminded her of Ron in one way or another and it killed her knowing she'll never forget him. There was no life without Ron Weasley for Hermione.
Her heart ached at the thought. Tears stung her eyes, he had hurt her. He had hurt her more than anyone could comprehend. It was stupid really still not over him when it's been six years since they broke up and five since she had last seen him.
She remembered why she had decided to wake up early. It was because he was coming to London. After his training he had been offered a job in Scotland and he accepted. But now, for Ginny and Harry's wedding he had decided to come home. He was after all to be the best man. Ginny had informed Hermione of this, she had even asked Hermione to be the maid-of-honor. She didn't have it in her heart to say no, especially when the reason was because she was afraid of seeing Ron. There was two months until the wedding it was to be in June. A summer wedding, well the end of spring and the beginning of summer, Ginny loved the month of June. Surely she'd be able to handle two months of Ron right? She had to be.
Ginny's wedding was bringing everyone together. Hermione had lunch with Ginny only yesterday when she told her that Ron would also be there. The younger girl had looked radiant, glowing like a star. Hermione guessed love did that to people, for she too used to have the same glow. She was happy for her two friends having managed to find each other. Ginny was to have an extravagant wedding, she didn't really want to but her mother insisted. Mrs. Weasley had sobbed that she was letting her baby girl go. Mr. Weasley had comforted her that she still had Ron and the twins.
Harry had become an auror in less time then Ron had, only a year. He was already qualified for facing and defeating Voldemort. Harry didn't need a job really, they had of course awarded him with enough money for saving the world and not to mention the money his parents and Sirius had left him. But Harry had said he wanted to. So Ginny had said she'd wait even though Harry said she didn't have to. She only held her head up high and replied, 'I've already waited eight years, I think I can wait one more,' Hermione wished she could have said something like that but atlas she had not. They actually waited a bit more to tie it off with the marriage. Harry wanted to make sure he had a decent home for his bride; he had given Sirius' house to Remus, who lived with Tonks.
Suddenly feeling flustered and anxious she rushed into her bathroom. She quickly turned the tap for the bath. Hermione poured in bubbles and bath salt. Trying to calm her nerves and relax into the warm water. It didn't help much for every time she closed her eyes she saw him clear in her mind. Even though it's been five years she could still remember every line, every freckle. She wondered if he had changed, was his favorite quidditch team still the Chudley Cannons? Did he grow his hair? Or perhaps a mustache or a beard? Could he have gotten taller? So many questions bombarded her mind. She was beginning to get restless. Getting out of the tub not long after, she snatched her robe from where it was hanging and tied it tight around her waist.
Hermione flung open her wardrobe and flipped through the rack looking for the perfect outfit. An outfit that said: 'I haven't missed you at all' and 'don't I look better than ever?' or something along that line. Her eyes settled on a red dress that Ginny had made her buy three years ago, insisting that she looked beautiful. Hermione had never worn it not finding a quite an appropriate occasion to wear it. It was a burgundy red with tight sleeves that only reached her elbow. The dress was formfitting at the top and loosened at the waist, swishing around her feet. The neckline plunged a bit farther than Hermione would have liked. It was a velvety material and had golden stitching around the neckline, waistline, the end of her dress and the end of each of her sleeves. The colors reminded her of Hogwarts.
Hermione's hair was glossy now with ringlets bouncing at the bottom. The dark brown color of it went fabulously with her dress. She put it in a half ponytail so half her hair would fall about her shoulders while the other half was pinned up in a gold clip. She took out her black cloak and a ruby broach to clasp it. She looked in the mirror. Her reflection was that of a beautiful young lady. From the pretty hair to the golden hem of her dress she looked better than she had been in years. She had wanted to look good in front of him, to remind him of what he lost, and perhaps she hoped deep in her heart that he'd want her back. Was she ready though? She swallowed the lump in her throat. Hermione Granger wasn't sorted into Griffindor for nothing.
With a quick glance at the clock she had about an hour or two before it was time to arrive at the Burrow where all of them would have a small reunion. So she took a book off the shelf and snuggled in her couch. A light read to pass the time.
Hermione suddenly remembered breakfast. She had forgotten about it, being too preoccupied with… memories. She got up from her couch and made herself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a flick of her wand. Silently she munched on it and drained a glass of milk. She sighed. Her nerves were a wreck, she couldn't think straight, and the book she had been reading was a blur. Concentration would never come with a distraction like Ron Weasley. Massaging her sore eyes she groaned, she had hardly slept a wink last night. How in Merlin's name was she going to survive this? For once, she had no answer for a question.
There was a knock at her door. Hermione looked up and stared at the door until it finally registered that she had to open it. She got up and unlocked the door and only peeked her head out. You never know what might come at you.
"Hello," Ginny waved obviously amused by Hermione's superstition, "Are you alright?" she asked stifling a giggle.
Hermione just sighed in relief and open the door fully and stepping aside to let her in, "What are you doing here? We would be meeting in a few hours."
Ginny smiled, "I don't know, I thought you'd chicken out," she undid her coat. It was chilly for April.
"From what?" Hermione asked as if she didn't know what Ginny was talking about. They both knew what she was talking about.
"Plus I wanted to pick out an outfit for you," Ginny then looked at Hermione. "I guess you already picked one, well undo the cloak let me see,"
Hermione did as she was told.
Ginny inspected her, asking her to turn around or to lift her chin. Then finally she smiled, "You look amazing, I told you the dress was worth those galleons!" she said proudly, rubbing it in that she had been right all along.
Hermione rolled her eyes at the childishness, "Yes, we all know you have great sense of fashion," she said dryly.
Ginny grinned, "Why thank you. I don't get why you won't let your hair down fully, it looks wonderful." she said tsking.
Hermione frowned, "I don't like it down, this is the closest to down it'll go." she said as she gestured to her half ponytail. Hermione knew that wasn't the real reason she stopped keeping her hair down but kept it tied all the time. She supposed it was about a few days after the break up she started tying her hair in a ponytail. Ron had always said he liked her hair down so he can run his fingers through it. She wanted to only let it down for Ron, no body else.
"You know what? Let's go shopping for a while, just us two girls. It'll be fun and you look like you need it." Ginny suggested.
Hermione looked skeptical, "Shopping?"
"I won't take no for an answer," Ginny said teasingly.
"Yes, you always get your way, that's how you got Harry to marry you,"
Ginny smirked, "But he's grateful that I was stubborn as I was," She reached over and pulled on Hermione's wrist gently, "Come on, you owe me one for making you to get this dress,"
Hermione smiled, "I guess a little browsing won't hurt,"
But as soon as she said it Harry popped in. He smiled wryly, looking very tired. "Hey Hermione," he then turned to Ginny, "Ginny you have to come, your mother's and Fleur are going crazy,"
Hermione raised an eyebrow.
"Fleur's pregnant again," Ginny explained, "I swear soon Bill will have more kids than mum did."
"Is this the fifth one?" Hermione asked.
"No, the sixth, they had twins too remember?"
"Uh… Gin?" Harry said nervously.
"Sorry I left you there with the two of them…" Ginny said before turning to Hermione, "How about you come with us?"
Hermione hesitated. She hadn't seen the Weasley family in about four years. Well at least not all of them together. She had seen Percy around the Ministry sometimes, and she met Charlie when doing some trading in Romania. She saw the twins sometimes when ever she passed by their joke shop, which was famous all over Europe. But aside from that she didn't see them. She finally broke out into a shakily grin, "Sure, you think they'll remember me?" she joked slightly though not laughing at her own small joke.
Ginny smiled reassuringly, "Of course, how can they forget?"
Hermione was sure Ginny was going to add something like: 'they'll never forget when you and Ron were so in love' but thankfully she didn't. She didn't want to think about that let alone hear about it.
So all three of them apparated to the Burrow. It was busy and crowded as always when there was a big event. It was warm and smelt of good food. There was loud chattering and laughter throughout the house. To Hermione the Burrow had been and always will be a second home. She couldn't believe she had been able to stay away for so long.
"Bill!" Mrs. Weasley yelled angry, "Come here and take care of William! He's been crying non-stop!" She was stomping through the living room. She spotted Ginny, "Oh there you are, where have you been? I've been looki-" Mrs. Weasley paused as she noticed the other girl. "Her-Hermione!" she gasped surprised. Before Hermione could answer she scooped up Hermione in a giant bone crushing bear hug. "Oh Hermione I've missed you! You should come visit more often, there's always room for you in this house,"
Hermione suddenly felt guilty about not even dropping by once in a while. Mrs. Weasley's warm welcome made her feel better and she really begun to wonder how she had lived without one of Mrs. Weasley's bear hugs.
"Come, come, the twins have arrived along with Charlie and Linda with little Matthew and Michael." Mrs. Weasley ushered Hermione into the family room where the fire place was. There was a gathering of red-heads along with a blond and a black, with little children running around.
Fleur looked beautiful as ever, even after having five children and with another one coming. Her stomach wasn't showing very much, she must be only a few months in. Hermione envied the brilliant smile on her face.
Linda, Charlie's wife, also looked blissful as she patted the head of one of her sons. Her black hair was short and clipped back out of her eyes. She spotted Hermione and smiled waving her over, "Hermione!" Linda used to be her co-worker at the ministry until she got Matthew and decided to quit.
"Linda!" Hermione gave her a hug, "Is that Matthew?" Hermione bent down to the four-year-old boy with black hair and blue eyes. He was holding onto his mother's skirt and sucking his thumb.
"Say hi, it's Aunty Hermione," Linda said.
Matthew smiled shyly, "Hi," he raised his hand that wasn't in his mouth and gave a small wave.
The sound of 'Aunty Hermione' gave her heart a tight squeeze. She could have been, if things worked out that is, Aunty Hermione for real. She had a small smile, "Hello," she all but whispered.
It was then Matthew smiled wider as if to say, 'are you nervous too? Because I am' Hermione kissed his forehead.
"Wow, Hermione, I never knew you were so good with children," Linda said amazed, "Matthew doesn't get used to new people so quickly, he must really like you,"
Hermione smiled, "I've always wanted children my self," her eyes were far away and she was thinking about how her kids all would have red hair blue eyes just like their father. She snapped back to reality when someone bumped into her legs.
A little girl with blond hair and brown eyes looked up at her.
Fleur came over, "There you are, I was so vorried. 'Ermione! This is 'Arah. 'Arah give her a kiss,"
Hermione knelt down to Sarah's height and Sarah gave her two light kisses on each cheek, "Are you a Mrs. Weasley too?" the girl asked.
The question took her by shock. She fumbled for the right words. "I er- no." she cleared her throat, "I'm Hermione, a friend of the Weasleys."
"Now 'Arah vhat 'ave I said about questions?" Fleur said looking at Hermione apologetically.
"It's fine," Hermione said, "I'm fine,"
Fleur smiled softly, "You look beautiful today, you always do," then she walked away with Sarah's hand in hers'.
Hermione went around greeting everyone. Chatting about the ministry with Percy, talking about dragons with Charlie, and asking about family with Bill. But she only half-hearted talked her mind on something else. She stayed a little away from the twins afraid of what might happen to her. She lingered about wanting to see a different red-head. Ron had yet to show up. She almost gave up hope when Sarah yelled, "Uncle Ronny!"
Hermione turned around, her heart fluttering and her hands sweaty with nervousness. He looked every bit Ron. Just a bit taller, a bit more muscle, and a little less freckled but he still had the deep blue eyes that twinkled when he laughed and the same fiery red hair that she loved running her hands through. Her Ron, he had come back. A silly smile donned her face but soon it disappeared. Her heart sank to her stomach when she saw a blonde come up behind him, linking her arm with his. No. It couldn't be. No matter how much she wanted to deny it, it was true. Ron had found someone else. A pretty blonde with blue eyes and rose lips, she was slender and her figure curved at just the right places. Most important of all she was clinging to him like he was his.
Of course he had a girlfriend. Of course he'd move on and not linger on stupid memories like she did. Of course he'd forget about her while she still remembered his touch and dreamed of it every night. Who said he'd wait? That was the reason he broke it off because he didn't want to wait. How could she be so stupid to think they could pick up from where they left off? How could she have dreamed Ron would even have any feelings left for her? He always preferred blondes didn't he? What with Fluer, Lavender and now this girl. What had she expected?
She felt her lips tremble and she had to bite it to keep it steady. He didn't see her yet, so she still had time to run away and pretend she was never there, no one would really notice right? She'll just slip out, really she only came to see Ron and she had done that. Luck was not on her side, before she could take a step; Ron was staring right into her eyes. His ocean blue eyes met her dull brown ones. She was stuck; he had seen her and she had lost her chance. So instead of running away like she planned she forced out a tight smile.
He smiled back in the most wonderful way that Hermione had to choke back a sob. Stop it. Stop making her fall in love with him all over again. Just stop. He walked over still smiling. Hermione was frozen on the spot. She looked pleadingly at Ginny but Ginny was too preoccupied.
It was too late he had spoken. She turned and looked at him and forced out another smile, she swallowed her tears, "Hey" she said shakily.
He looked away from her eyes to study her, to see if she had changed. Ron stared into her eyes again, "You look good," he said.
She could have laughed, she looked good? Compared to Ms. Gorgeous over there she looked like plain Jane. "Thanks, you do too." she said looking down at her feet.
The blonde came and wrapped her arms around Ron's waist. "Ronald!" she said beaming.
Hermione didn't look up. It would hurt her too much to see him hold her just like he used to hold her. To see him kiss her on top of her hair and breathe her in and then whisper sweet nothings in her ear that would always make her giggle with his tickling breath. No if she looked, it'd kill her. It was taking all her self-control not to cry and run off like an idiot.
"Viena meet Hermione, Hermione this is Viena my-" Ron hesitated. Hermione looked up eager, hoping he'd say co-worker or friend or anything other.
"Girlfriend," Viena interrupted smiling.
Hermione's hopes crushed again. "Nice to meet you," she said sounding as if she really meant it.
"You're Hermione Granger? Oh Ronald had went on and on about you, and how you both helped the Harry Potter. He told me you are best mates. I wanted to meet you so much!" Viena said smiling wider she held out her hand for a shake.
Hermione shook her hand, her short stubby fingers against Viena's long elegant ones. "Yes, friends, that's what we are," she said smiling yet another fake smile. It was as if she was trying to remind herself that they were only friends, "How did you happen to meet Ron? At auror training? Or work?" she couldn't help but ask. She wanted to know everything about them and not know at the same time because she was afraid it wouldn't be what she wanted to hear.
"No, I'm a healer, and he had come all hurt. I was his healer, I must say he's lucky he made it out alive," Viena said.
Hermione turned to Ron surprised, he was hurt? How badly? Why? Is he okay? So many questions came up but she only managed to say, "Ron!"
He smiled almost as if he understood what she meant with that one word, "Nothing big just a little spell from a death eater, we caught him though," he said proudly.
He was probably expecting her to be proud and she was.
"Oh Ronald you promised I get to meet Harry Potter the Boy-Who-Lived, the Chosen One," Viena said excitedly, pulling him away with his arm.
Ron looked back at her smiling and gave a small wave. She could only raise her hand in response. Suddenly she felt too sick to stay for lunch like she planned. She turned to leave but Ginny stood in front of her. "Ginny." she said pleading.
"No, you're my maid-of-honor I want you to stay for my hard planned lunch." Ginny crossed her arms.
"Ginny," she begged, "Please," Her eyes were already watering.
Ginny looked weakened, "Hermione you have to stay, just for lunch just eat then go okay?" Ginny didn't wait for an answer but only steered her into the dining room.
And it just so happened that she sat right across the happy couple. She kept playing absent-mindedly with her peas and refused to look up. That was until Ron spoke to her.
"So, what are you doing now? Anything new?" he asked and his voice sounded so welcoming and warm that it propelled her to look into his eyes.
"I-I'm head of my department now, there's not much changed," she said stumbling over her words.
He smiled proudly, "I knew it, I knew you'd be head of the department,"
He sounded so happy and proud that she smiled too, for real this time. It almost felt like they were seventeen again.
"Ronald is the best auror in all of Scotland!" Viena showed off.
Ron blushed, the tips of his ears going red. He looked adorable.
"Not the best, and definitely not all of Scotland," he said quietly.
"Oh Ronald you're much too modest, you are simply the best, no one saw a braver soul." she gushed making heart eyes at him.
Hermione could have barfed. "He is brave; he was after all in Griffindor,"
Ron looked up at her surprised but soon he smiled, "I could say the same thing about you,"
The way he looked at her made her shiver, it felt like it was only him and her. Like she was special to him, but it only lasted a second. He went back to conversations with other people and she went back to picking at her food.
"Hermione dear do you not like the food?" Molly asked concerned.
Hermione shook her head, "No, it's not that, I just don't feel like eating, excuse me," she said and ran out of the dining room to the washroom. She turned the tap and splashed herself with cold water. Hermione looked in the mirror, she was pale and wide-eyed. She couldn't recognize herself.
"Ginny, I'm fine really," she said though in her eyes she was dying.
Ginny embraced Hermione. Hermione felt all strength leave her and she leaned limply in her arms. She closed her eyes and sighed. "I'm sorry I made you stay, I'll tell mum you're sick; here let me take you home,"
Hermione shook her head, she pulled back from Ginny. "I can go home myself, go enjoy your lunch. Don't let me ruin it," she said trying to look strong.
Ginny looked unconvinced.
Ginny nodded, "Owl me," she said exasperated.
Hermione nodded and hugged the other girl quickly. Then she was gone.
A/N: Tell me how it is! It's a long chapter but mostly trying to catch up on recent events and yes this is an R/H fic don't expect all the chapters to be this long. Please review and let me know what you think!