A/N: Wow! The last chapter! I really hope everyone likes this one. Thank you again to everyone who has read and reviewed this story. I'm so thankful for everything. So, here it is enjoy!
Maybe you won't have to…
Ron's footsteps echoed in the empty corridor as he continued to McGonagall's office, wondering what she could want with him. He reached the entrance to her office and gave the password to the gargoyle. It immediately jumped aside, and he ascended the stairway. McGonagall looked up when he entered and set down the quill with which she was writing.
"You wanted to see me professor?" Ron said.
"Yes, Mr. Weasely, please sit down," she answered, indicating the chair on the opposite side of her desk. Ron sat, and she continued, "Have you met our Defense Against the Darks Arts teacher, Professor Santini?"
"No, I haven't." I wish she would get past the small talk and tell me why I'm here.
"Well, she is great at what she does and has apparently broken the 'curse' on the position, as she has been with us since we reopened two years ago. Unfortunately, we found her late in her career, and she will be retiring at the end of the term."
"Oh. Really? That's too bad…" said Ron, still not sure where this was leading.
"I would like to offer you the job," she said curtly.
"Y-You what?" He had certainly not been expecting this.
"You will remember, Mr. Weasley, that Remus Lupin was viewed by many students as the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher the school has ever had. He was an Auror, and like you, he had not only the training that alone made him qualified, he also had experience fighting the ultimate Dark wizard. You are every bit as worthy and qualified as he was, and I would be honored to have you join our staff. So what do you say?"
She was right. He was perfect for the job. It would be a nice change from what he was used to without the boring monotony of an office job at the Ministry, he could stay with Hermione, and he had really missed Hogwarts in the past few years. "I accept," he said.
"I'm glad to hear that," said McGonagall, with the most genuine smile Ron thought he had ever seen cross the old lady's face. Ron stood to excuse himself from he office when a thought struck him.
"That is of course," he said, "at least if things go the way I'd like, that you don't think it will be confusing for the students to have two 'Professor Weaselys'."
McGonagall raised her eyebrows and peered at him over the top of her square-rimmed spectacles for a moment before smiling faintly and saying, "I'm sure we can work something out." Ron grinned and left the office. All through dinner he held his tongue, wanting to wait until he and Hermione were alone to tell her the news.
When they got back to her common room, Ron waited on the couch while she went to her bedroom to change. She came out having discarded her teaching robes for a pair of sweats and a much too large Chudley Cannons t-shirt that Ron suspected might have once been his. Her hair had released from its tight bun and now fell across her shoulders in soft, loose curls.
He wrapped an arm around her as she curled up beside him on the sofa. She laid her head on his shoulder and draped her arm across his chest, gazing into the fire, simply enjoying being close to him. "I wish you didn't have to leave tomorrow. It's not the same without you here. And I can't believe that even if you visit a lot, I'll still have to wait six years before Evangeline is old enough to permanently bring a little 'Weasely spirit' back into this place."
Ron glanced down, absently stroking her shoulder as he looked at the smart, bossy witch he had fallen in love with all those years ago and the beautiful woman she had become. He had no doubt that he had made the right choice. "Maybe you won't have to," he said. She sat up and looked at him with a puzzled expression. "Professor Santini is retiring next year, and McGonagall offered me the job."
"And you took it?" she said incredulously.
"Ron! That's fantastic!" she threw her arms around his neck.
"And there's one more thing," he said. He pulled away, stood up, and knelt before her. "I may be crazy to do this so soon, but we were together for three years before I left. If I had stayed, we would probably already be married by now, and those two years apart did nothing to change how I feel about you, so why wait? I love you Hermione Granger. Will you marry me?"
Hermione's eyes had filled up with tears. "You are crazy," she said, and as the tears began to fall she choked, "but apparently so am I. Oh Ron, of course I will." Ron stood, pulling her up with him. He brushed a tear from her cheek with his thumb, then leaned forward and kissed her with a passion he had never felt before. He pulled away slightly, resting his forehead against hers. "By the way," she whispered, "I love you too." Ron laughed and kissed her again.
Hermione went home with Ron for the weekend to announce their engagement to their families together. They were married at the Burrow in the last week of June, surrounded by those they loved.
A few years later, Ron was coming out of the kitchen late one night when he stopped. Hermione was sitting in a chair, reading by the firelight, a lock of hair falling in front of her face. It was as if they were seventeen again – Hermione absorbed in a book, Ron simply admiring her, all the stress of teaching and grading didn't seem to exist. Hermione suddenly closed her book and pulled a two year old red-haired girl into her lap. Ron smiled. Then again, maybe he didn't want to go back to seventeen.
A/N: Ok, so there it is! Thank you all so much, and I hope you enjoyed it. I've got something else in the works, so be on the lookout for it (note: it may be a while before this is up- see my profile for details). Thanks!