Chapter 5: The End
Hermione woke up to the sound of Ginny calling her name. She lifted her head from the pillow, squinting at the sunlight filling the room.
"What time is it?" Hermione asked thickly.
"If you hurry, you might just have time to eat breakfast before the wedding starts..."
"Bloody hell!" Hermione shot up out of bed only to hear Ginny roaring with laughter. Hermione paused where she stood. "What time is it really?"
"It's around 8. You have plenty of time. You should still be able to get a hot shower."
Hermione grabbed her things, tossing a slight glare at Ginny as she passed. "I could turn your hair blue you know..."
Ron and Harry were already outside setting up the chairs. They had been stacking them to see how high they could go till Mr. Weasley caught them. Now they were calmly using their wands to line the chairs up nicely.
Harry was still waiting for Ron to tell him more about the night before. When they had reached their room, Ron's face remained covered by the goofy smile. He mumbled something about things being okay with Hermione, but had left it at that. Harry had his fingers crossed. He could use a few more good moments in his life.
"I think we're done." Ron came over to where Harry stood.
Harry looked over their rows and with a few flicks of his wand, made some minor adjustments. "Your mom should be pleased..."
"Have you seen how weird she's acting?"
"What do you mean?"
"She's completely nutters. It's like she's drunk too much or something."
"She's just happy." Harry started walking back to the house.
"I know. She's really bloody happy. It's just weird. She won't stop smiling."
"Speaking of...you had an interesting look on your face when you came inside last night. What exactly happened out here?"
Harry stifled a laugh seeing Ron's cheeks flush with color.
"Nothing. I told you this last night."
"Just talked? Nothing else."
Ron hesitated. "That was it."
"If you say so..."
"Everything is fine." Ron held the door open for Harry. "I think."
By the time Hermione had showered, ate breakfast, and gotten dressed, the house was full with more Weasley family members in addition to the wedding party. Hermione was thankful she hadn't been chosen as a bridesmaid. Ginny looked bored standing with the other girls, her bouquet bouncing against her hip. Hearing laughter from the stairwell, Hermione gazed up from where she stood.
Fred and George came down first. Hermione thought she could see lumps in the pockets of their suit jackets. Charlie was next. He flashed Hermione a quick smile before moving on to chat up a couple of Fleur's girlfriends. Bill followed, a dazed expression on his face. Mrs. Weasely was on him in seconds. Her voice was full of emotion as she told him how handsome he looked.
Harry and Ron were last down the stairs. Harry had ditched the tie, but he wore the rest of the suit well. Hermione's eyes shifted to see Ginny stand up a bit straighter as she caught sight of him. Ron paused on the landing, trying to knot his tie. Hermione watched his fingers fumble with each attempt. Wow, he looked really good, she thought. The horrible dress robes were long gone. Instead he wore a soft gray shirt under a dark suit. The tie was a dark, charcoal gray silk. Ginny had made sure to accompany her brothers when they went shopping to make sure everything was just right.
Taking a deep breath, Hermione maneuvered through the crowd to reach the stairs. She stepped on to the landing next to Ron.
"Hi." She said softly.
Ron jumped a little. He had been so focused on the tie her presence had gone unnoticed until now.
"Hey..." his voice cut out as he looked at her. She wore a simple, lilac dress with some sort of purple-y colored...what the hell was that...a belt? A sash? He had no clue. Didn't know what it was called and didn't really care that much. She'd left her hair down and he could see a thin silver necklace shining on her skin. Was she taller? He glanced at her feet. Of course, she had on the right sort of shoes. "...wow..." he said under his breath.
"What?" Hermione had just barely caught what sounded like a word.
"Nothing." Ron felt like his heart was going to bust out of him and go bouncing across the floor.
"Seems you're having some trouble?"
"Huh?" He looked confused until she pointed to his tie. "Oh, this thing. I can't seem to do it right." His hands fell to his sides.
"I think I can help." Hermione reached up and adjusted the ends of the tie. She spoke as she looped and pulled the tie into a knot. "My Dad taught me how to do this. Sometimes Mom would be too busy making breakfast so I would help him out."
Ron twitched each time Hermione's fingers brushed over his chest. She was close enough he could sense the slightest sway of her body. Hermione adjusted the tie so the knot rested comfortably under his Adam's apple.
"Is this okay?" she asked. She caught his eye. "It's not too tight is it?"
Ron turned his head a bit each way. She had left the top button of his shirt undone, the knot resting just below.
"Feels just right." Ron let himself exhale as her hand pressed against him one last time, smoothing the tie as it went. "Thanks."
"You're welcome." She smiled up at him.
Ron licked his lips. He dipped his head shyly before speaking.
"I just wanted to tell you..."
"Tell me what?"
Ron's efforts to complete a sentence were halted thanks to his father calling out to him. It was time for the groomsmen to gather together. Last minute instructions or something. Ron wasn't really listening. He felt George tugging on his arm, pulling him from the landing. Ron turned to look back at Hermione. She could just make out his voice from the din of the gathering. Pretty was what he said.
Ron knew he was supposed to be paying attention. Granted, he didn't have to do much of anything other than stand still. But, his mind was definitely elsewhere. He didn't really hear the vows being spoken. He didn't see Bill slip the ring on Fleur's finger or see her do the same to his brother. He didn't see them kiss. He only knew when to start walking down the aisle when his partner for the stroll elbowed him in the side. She was annoyed, but he didn't care.
For the whole of the ceremony, all he thought about was what had almost happened the night before. Luck never seemed to be on his side. He and Harry had already been talking about what they were going to do in the next few days. There would be a lot of travel and plenty of opportunities to find themselves in trouble. Ron couldn't help but feel like he was running out of time.
He found himself being led to the wedding party's table. He had asked his mother if he could sit with Harry and Hermione, but she said tradition dictated he at least eat dinner with the rest of the groomsmen and bridesmaids. Ron ate quickly and without really enjoying the food before him. He almost groaned aloud as Charlie and his father both made toasts to Bill and Fleur. This was taking for-bloody-ever.
The sun set just as the band began to play. He watched as Bill and Fleur seemed to float over the lawn. While everyone was focused on the happy couple, he made his way to another table. Harry and Ginny were sitting and chatting.
"How did you get over here so quick?" he asked his sister.
"I'm sneakier than you." She rose from her chair. "I'm going for cake. Anyone want some?" Harry and Ron both nodded at her.
"Where's Hermione?" Ron asked casually after his sister left.
"She went inside with Charlie." Harry answered.
Harry began laughing. "Kidding."
Ron gave Harry's shoulder a shove. "Don't do that..."
Harry's laughter began to subside. "Sorry. She's around here somewhere."
Ron's mouth slipped into a frown. "Tell Ginny to save me that piece of cake." He got up and began to work his way through the crowd. How hard could it be to find one girl? Ron circled the dance area with no luck. He wove through the tables to no avail.
Finally he spotted her. She was standing by herself at the back edge of the festivities.
"Hey." He approached her slowly, not sure if she wanted any company.
"Hey." She gave him a small smile.
"Everything okay?" He took his place next to her.
"Yeah. I was just feeling a little squished."
"Did you like the wedding?"
"It was nice. Doing the vows in French was sort of romantic." Hermione laughed seeing Ron's reaction. "You did realize they were speaking a foreign language, right?"
Ron shrugged, his cheeks going red. "Guess I wasn't paying attention."
"I noticed. You seemed a million miles away."
"I didn't do anything stupid did I?"
"Besides forcing one of Fleur's cousins to practically beat you into moving, no, you were fine."
Ron frowned, causing Hermione to reach out and rest her hand on his shoulder.
"You were fine." She said firmly. She squeezed his shoulder before letting her hand drift down his back softly.
They fell silent watching the crowd shift from one dance to another. The candles floating above them in the yard created a second set of stars. Hermione could feel Ron's arm brush against hers as they both instinctively swayed to the music. Every time his fingers swept past her hand she felt like floating herself. She turned her head and just looked at Ron for several moments.
She thought back to the first time they'd met. She never would have guessed then what her life was like now. How could she have imagined the intense feelings she would be having for another person? Her heart began to beat faster. Hermione knew things were going to start getting really difficult once they left with Harry. She had to do something.
"Dance with me..." she said slightly breathless.
Ron's gaze shifted, a surprised look on his face. "What did you say?"
"Let's dance." She took a couple steps to stand in front of him.
"I don't know..." Ron rocked back on his heels, his eyes looking over her shoulder to the crowd.
Hermione turned her head to see what he saw. She understood what he meant then. She turned back to him.
"We can stay right here. No one has to see..." She held out one of her hands.
"You sure? You saw how bad I was when McGonagall was trying to teach us in class."
"Just shut up and dance Ronald..." her voice was light and teasing, but her expression betrayed her nervousness.
Ron stepped forward to meet her. He carefully placed one hand on her waist as the other took her outstretched hand. Hermione lifted her free hand to rest on his shoulder. She held in a giggle as she saw Ron counting soundlessly to start them on the right beat. The first few steps were awkward, leaving Hermione glad she didn't wear open toed shoes. Eventually, they found themselves dancing with a bit more grace.
Hermione shifted her gaze from just over Ron's shoulder to his face. All she could see was the top of his head. He was completely focused on staring at their feet.
"Ron...you can stop looking at your shoes."
"You're looking that direction."
"I'm looking at your shoes. I don't want to step on your feet again."
"If anyone is going to step on my feet, I want it to be you."
Ron raised his head enough to look at her. She was smiling and again he felt surprised it had anything to do with him. He held her gaze for another verse of the song.
"See...I told you...you're doing fine." Hermione's hand moved from his shoulder to wrap around the back of his neck, effectively bringing her closer to him. She felt him inhale sharply, but she stayed where she was. The fingers of her other hand intertwined with his. It was her turn to go woozy when Ron slipped his hand from her waist to the small of her back.
Ron saw her eyelids flutter as his hand changed position. He pressed on her back, drawing her in closer till there was no space between them. He could hear his heartbeat pounding away in his ear. Every breath Hermione took reverberated throughout his chest. His own eyelids felt heavy as he lowered his face towards her.
Hermione rose slightly on her toes, holding Ron's gaze till the moment his lips were on hers. His mouth was surprisingly soft. He kissed her sparingly at first, his lips light and tentative. Hermione thought about how many times she had looked at those lips and wondered what they would feel like, what they would taste like. Ron pulled away just enough to check her reaction. Her eyes opened lazily, her mouth brushing his as she gave him another shy smile. She brought him to her, applying gentle pressure on the back of his neck.
Hermione kissed him more firmly. Her squeak of surprise was swallowed up in his mouth as he let go of her hand to encircle her with both his arms. She almost lost her balance as he opened her mouth just a bit wider, deepening the kiss. He felt her tip and tightened his hold on her. The kiss finally ended with each one gasping for air. Hermione rested both her hands on his chest, her fingers just under the lapels of his jacket. She felt relieved to see the look on Ron's face. He appeared to be happy and just a bit dazed. Hermione figured she looked about the same. She leaned in to lay her head on his chest, her arms sliding down to go around his waist. Hugging him, she resumed swaying to the beat of a new song. He moved with her, barely aware of the music.
They continued to sway long after the song ended. Charlie had noticed them and came over to see what was up. Hermione heard his footsteps and let go of Ron, not sure if he was ready to endure his brother's teasing. Ron gave Hermione a worried glance until he spotted Charlie upon them. Ron and Hermione turned to face him, each one tensing.
"Everything alright here?" Charlie asked, a knowing look on his face.
Ron looked to Hermione. Her eyes were wide. She was waiting for him to answer the question. Ron straighten himself and smiled. Reaching out, he gently took her hand in his.
"Everything is great." he said.
Well, that's it. I hope everyone enjoyed it. Thanks for the reviews. I'm a little short on inspiration right now, so if you have a suggestion for a story feel free to message me or toss it in with a review. Perhaps I can come up with something good through outside ideas. Thanks again.