Disclaimer: I claim nothing but the plot. JK owns it all.
Hermione felt the pull through time and arrived just in time to see her crumpled body disappear. She took a moment to steady herself and glance down at her hand. Her ring was still there, it had survived the trip through time. She readied her wand and headed back into the fight, surprised to see that it was more or less over. She tripped over rubble and tried to see through the smoke as she looked for Bill. Her heart sank as she realized that she didn't actually stop the battle but it didn't look as if it was as bad as it was when she left. She made her way towards the hospital wing to check on her friends. She saw most of the Weasley family there and froze.
"What happened?" She asked in a shaky voice.
"It's Bill. He was attacked by a werewolf." Ron explained. Hermione's heart nearly stopped at his words and she felt herself pushing forward through the family to get to her fiancé. He was a mess. He had gashes across his face and shoulder. His eyes were shut tight and his face was contorted in pain.
"Is he. . . Is he going to be all right?" She asked, her voice cracking.
"He'll live." Molly told her. "He'll be all right. It's not the full moon so he won't be a full werewolf but the scars will never fully heal and he'll never look the same."
Tears were running down Hermione's face as she kneeled down next to Bill's bed. She took his hand in his and whispered in his ear. "Bill, I'm here. It's Hermione. Can you hear me?" Ron was stunned as watched her cry over his brother. Nobody was quite sure what was going on. It wasn't until Molly noticed the ring on her finger that she understood. "Oh my! It's you?" She asked.
Hermione looked up at Molly and nodded. She couldn't manage any words. Molly walked up to her and helped her stand. "Come with me for a moment dear. Let's go get a drink of water." She led Hermione into Madame Pomfrey's office and poured her a glass of water.
"Where's Fleur?" Hermione asked, finally finding her voice.
"Fleur? She's with Charlie I suppose. He's on his way here but I don't know if she's coming. Why are you asking about her?"
"Isn't she engaged to Bill?"
"No dear, you apparently are engaged to Bill."
"You mean he waited for me?"
"I think he'll tell you himself, but I think he's been waiting for this day for a very long time."
"Eight years." Hermione mumbled.
"Eight years." Molly agreed. "I expect to hear the full story very soon but I doubt I can take much more tonight. I do have a question for you."
"After seeing what happened, after knowing that he'll never be the same, are you still prepared to love him?"
"I will always love him. No matter what."
"That's all I needed to know. I always knew you would be a Weasley someday." The two women exchanged a hug and Hermione hurried back to Bill's side, leaving it only as Harry and Ginny came in with the horrible news of their headmaster.
Charlie and Fleur appeared a little while later to find a subdued group. They were mourning the loss of Professor Dumbledore and their grief was apparent. Charlie noticed Hermione sitting at Bill's side and smiled. Finally, she was back. He caught his mother's eye and she gave a nod of understanding. He knew that the rest of the family was still in the dark as everyone kept giving Hermione questioning glances.
"Hermione?" Charlie called quietly as he walked over toward the bed. She looked up and saw Charlie smiling at her.
"Hi Charlie." She smiled back.
"Can I talk to you for a moment?"
"Sure." Hermione reluctantly left Bill's side and followed Charlie into the hallway.
"It's good to see you Jane."
"It's good to see you too Charlie." She gave a weak laugh. "You've changed a lot since yesterday."
"Yes, I imagine I have. It looks like Mum figured it out already."
"Well, she doesn't know the whole story yet but she saw the ring. I think she'll understand."
"I haven't actually gotten around to talking to him yet. I wanted to talk to Bill first. To find out if there was even a reason to tell him."
"You don't think he waited for you?" Charlie asked with a touch of anger in his voice.
"I don't know! Eight years have passed for him." Tears started forming in her eyes.
"Hermione, Bill will tell you himself but yes, he waited. Every day was torture for him, but he waited. He loves you more than I thought was possible. I hope you won't hurt him."
"I'd never hurt him Charlie. Not again. He understood why I had to leave. I hope you do as well."
"I do understand and I'm sorry for snapping at you. I guess I just wanted to make sure that you hadn't changed your mind."
"It's been two hours since I kissed him goodbye in Dumbledore's office. Love doesn't go away that quickly."
Charlie pulled her into a tight hug. "I'm sorry. It's just an emotional night. I'm glad you are back. I'm glad you'll be my sister-in-law."
"Thank you. I'm glad too. I'm going back to Bill now." Hermione kissed Charlie on the cheek and went right back to her post at Bill's side.
The school was quiet; the only sound was the hushed murmured voices in the hospital wing. Hermione refused to leave Bill and wouldn't explain. Her friends were unsure of why she was suddenly so devoted. It was early in the morning when Ron and Harry managed to get Hermione back to the common room so she could shower and change clothes. Ginny promised to sit with Bill until she got back.
"Hermione?" Bill croaked as he started to wake up.
"No Bill, it's Ginny." She took his hand and moved closer. "How are you feeling?"
"I feel like I've been attacked by a werewolf." His voice was weak, but the pain wasn't as bad.
"That's exactly how you should feel. Now do you want to explain why you asked for Hermione? Why she hasn't left your side and why she's wearing Grandmum Prewett's ring?"
"It's a very long story."
"Give me the short version Big Brother."
"She's Jane. My fiancé. Hermione Jane Granger."
"She's Jane? The girl you've been pining over all these years? Hermione is Jane?" Ginny's voice rose an octave as she got more and more excited. "How is that possible?"
"She used a time turner. She wanted to go back a few hours to stop the battle. Instead she was hit with a curse and she came to me."
"You've waited for her all these years? That's so romantic." Ginny sighed.
Bill tried to laugh at his sister but it hurt and instead he held her hand tighter. "Ron's not going to like this. Please help him through."
"I'll try. I always knew Hermione would be a Weasley but I never expected you'd be the one she'd marry. Does anyone else know?"
"Charlie. He knew her as Jane and realized it the first time he met her as Hermione."
"Wow. What a story." Ginny mumbled as a freshly clothed Hermione came back in the room. Ginny ran up and threw her arms around her. "I'm so happy for you! I can't wait for you to be my sister." With that she hurried out of the room, anxious for her own shower.
Hermione walked tentatively up to Bill's bed. His eyes were open and he was watching her. "Hi Bill."
"Hi Hermione." She sat beside him and took his hand.
"Do you still want me?" She asked bluntly. If he were going to hurt her she'd rather get it over with.
"More than anything in this life. I've loved you for forever." Bill lifted his hand and rubbed it against her cheek. It was all so familiar having her back at his side. "Do you still want me? Especially now with all of this." He gestured to his wounds.
"I will want you forever. No matter what. I'm just sorry you aren't well enough for me to drag you up to the Room of Requirement right now." She laughed.
"You're only seventeen, I think that's illegal." He teased. "I can't believe you are here. It's been so long. For me anyway. I have been waiting for this day since the second you left."
"Why did you wait for me? You didn't have to."
"I made a promise to you. It was very easy to keep. Every other girl paled in comparison."
"Bill, I didn't know. . . I had no idea that this would happen to you. I would have warned you, I could have stopped it." Hermione cried.
"Shhh, don't cry. You aren't to blame. I was distracted and unprepared. I'm going to be fine, just not as pretty."
Hermione laughed in response and leaned over to kiss his forehead. "Your mother seemed to take this all well. She saw the ring."
"She's a strong woman and she loves you. If you were a stranger it might be different."
"What are we going to tell Ron?" Hermione asked.
"I don't know. It's going to be hard."
"It's going to be hard on all of them. I'm surprised Ginny took it so well.
"What's going to be hard? What did Ginny take so well?" A voice called from the doorway. "I'm not stupid. What's going on with you all of a sudden?" Ron stood there, looking at his brother and his longtime crush. There was something going on between them that he didn't like or understand. He'd never seen them together like this before so he couldn't understand how they could look so in love all of a sudden.
He sat down in a chair as Hermione and Bill told their story. Bill explained that he never wanted to hurt Ron and Hermione tried to convince him that she still cared for him and loved him, but like a sister.
"So, all this time, you've been flirting with me and you've been in love with my brother?" Ron yelled out.
"No! I would never have done that to you. I did have feelings for you, strong ones. I love you, I do, but not like I love Bill. You have to understand that a few hours ago to you is actually three weeks ago for me."
"It's not that easy to understand Hermione."
"I know, but you will. I need you to. You are one of the most important people in my life and we need each other. We can't get through what we have to do if this is going to hang between us."
"I'll try. I just need time." Ron left hurt and angry but he made a promise to both of them that he would just need time to think and would be fine. Hermione was never his after all, Bill did nothing wrong.
Harry worked through it all in his own quiet way. Through the processing he finally came to the conclusion that the young woman who had said such kind things to him all those years ago was Hermione. When he asked her about it, she stammered her way through an explanation.
"Hermione stop. Don't explain. What you said to me meant more to me than anything in my life at that point. You were my angel, giving me hope. I've clung to those words my entire life. I never would have even survived my first year if I hadn't had your words repeating in the back of my mind. Thank you." They hugged and cried and Hermione was glad she had taken the chance to see him when she did.
The rest of the family took it all in stride, knowing that Hermione made Bill happy and that happiness was helping him get better. Hermione spent the summer at the Burrow, helping him recover. She was determined to follow Madame Pomfrey's instructions exactly. His scars healed better than they expected and throughout the summer, he grew stronger. One day late in summer, a few days before Fleur and Charlie's wedding; Bill took Hermione to Shell Cottage.
"Oh Bill, it's beautiful. Who does it belong to?"
"It's ours. It's our home if that's all right with you."
"It's perfect!" She spun around and gently kissed his lips. Bill's injuries prevented much intimacy between them but it didn't matter to either of them, as just holding hands was enough at the moment.
"I want you to live here, with me after you finish your schooling. We can plan the wedding. You'll be eighteen soon and you can spend weekends here."
"I want nothing more but I'm not going back to school, I told you that." Hermione had told him of her plans to go with Ron and Harry, but not why. That was something that she couldn't tell him yet.
"Is it really necessary? I want to know you are safe."
"You know that all signs point to me not being allowed at Hogwarts anyway. I'm a muggleborn and I have very few rights. What Harry, Ron, and I have to do can change everything. I have to go. I can't abandon them. Not now, after all we've been through together."
Bill knew that he had to let her go. She promised to come back to him and he knew she made good on her promises. They left during Fleur and Charlie's wedding and he threw himself into work and research for the Order. This separation was worse than the one before because this one was dangerous and Bill had no clue as to the future.
When he was reunited with her at Shell Cottage they snuck away to be together, just thrilled to be back in each other's arms. He fought for her, alongside the rest of his family at the Battle of Hogwarts. It was after the battle, after Harry had saved the world, after they had mourned the loss of Fred and their friends, that Bill proposed to Hermione once again.
They were married in the spring in a quiet ceremony at the Burrow. After the reception, Bill apparated Hermione to Hogsmeade where they ran up to the gates of Hogwarts. Headmistress McGonagall gave them a stern look and told them she was breaking the rules for them. After letting them in she gave them a wink as they ran up the stairs to the Room of Requirement where they spent their honeymoon in a four poster bed with cream satin sheets.
Author's Note: Well, that's all folks. I really enjoyed writing this. It was originally written for the Cliche Challenge over at Granger Enchanted. It was fun to write and I'm pleased with how it turned out. I can't thank you enough for reviewing. Seriously. For those of you who write, you understand the thrill of knowing that someone read your work, let alone took the time to comment. I appreciate each and every one of you. Oh and if at least 3 of you review, I'll hit my 100 review goal! Thanks so much. Virtual ice cream for every one!