"Mommy?" a small girl with red curls asked.
"Yes, Rose?" Hermione responded smiling down at her daughter.
Rose shifted a little and clutched her white bunny tighter to her chest. "Um," she sniffed a little and accepted the tissue her mother handed her. After blowing her nose she asked, "Would you please tell me how Daddy proposed, and how you got married?"
"Of course, Sweetie," Hermione said, and scooped her six year old up into her arms. "But first you have to get back into bed. Little girls with colds need their rest."
Hermione carried her daughter into the small bedroom that had been decorated to look like a fairy glen, and tucked her into the white sleigh bed.
Rose snuggled down under the covers and hugged her bunny tighter.
"Let's see," Hermione murmured as she settled down on the edge of the bed. "I guess I should start at the final battle…"
- - -
"Charlie!" Hermione cried out as she ran through the crowds of people. Harry was missing, and Ron had run off to fight Greyback, who had attacked Lavender. One of the twins was barely breathing, and was only still alive because the other twin was using a dangerous 'Life-Sharing' spell. The last time she saw Percy; he was fighting Death Eaters and protecting the weakening duo. Bill and Fleur were organizing the Curse-Breakers for an attack on Voldemort's inner circle. But she still couldn't find Charlie.
"CHARLIE!" she cried louder in panic.
"MIA!" the broad-shouldered young man yelled, fighting to get through the crowded Entrance Hall to Hermione.
"Charlie," she sobbed as she finally threw herself into his arms and kissed him.
"Its okay, Hermione, I'm here," he said as soon as her lips left his. He held her tightly to his chest. "Whatever happens, I love you," he said, burying his face in her hair.
"I love you too," she murmured. "Don't leave me!"
"I can't promise that. I will promise to fight to stay with you no matter what though," Charlie said.
Hermione opened her mouth to respond, but before she could, Voldemort's amplified voice echoed across the grounds. Harry was dead.
- - -
"So, after Uncle Harry defeated Voldemort," Hermione began, but was interrupted by Rose.
"You should call him what Uncle Fred does… Moldywart," Rose said, giggling.
Hermione shook her head and muttered, "I should have never let the twins baby-sit you."
Rose giggled again.
Hermione continued, "After the battle was over, your daddy was hurt very badly…"
- - -
Charlie yelled loudly as the curse went into the second stage. If the Healers didn't reverse it soon, it would go into the third stage and would be irreversible.
The first stage had no symptoms, the second caused unbearable pain as it slowly destroyed his nerves. The third stage was numbness, a numbness that would never go away. If he reached the third stage, he would never be able to feel anything ever again. He would never taste things, feel someone touch his arm, and according to the Healers, he'd never walk again.
Hermione paced in St. Mungos waiting room as Healers rushed about, trying to get the proper potions to Charlie on time.
For once, being Harry Potter's best friend was an advantage. The top Healer had been called in to help Charlie, as was the best Potion Master. Even the floor receptionist was catering to Hermione.
So far, the older woman had come by five different times to offer her coffee or tea, or even a copy of 'Healers Today', the medical magazine.
"What's taking so long," Hermione groaned as she continued pacing.
"Mr. Weasley?" an old man asked from the door to the waiting room.
"Which one are you looking for?" Arthur asked.
The man looked at the file in his hands. "A… um… Mr. Percival Weasley?"
Percy looked up from his clasped hands, worry etched onto his face. "That's me," he said.
"Ah… Mr. Weasley, my name is Reggie Sloane, I'm with Young Witch and Wizard Protection Services. I have some rather unfortunate news. A Miss Penelope Clearwater died during the battle, and unfortunately this leaves her daughter orphaned as the child's father was not listed on her birth certificate. As Miss Clearwater's ex-boyfriend, we were hoping you would agree to take a paternity test." The man looked nervous at the way George, Ron and Bill were staring at him.
"O-of course," Percy stuttered.
As the two men left the room, Hermione continued pacing.
- - -
Rose's eyes were wide. "So that's how Ellie went to live with Uncle Percy?"
"Mhmm," Hermione said, "She wasn't Percy's daughter, but when they couldn't find Ellie's dad, Percy asked to adopt her. His girlfriend at the time…"
"Aunt Audrey!" Rose said.
"Uh-huh, Aunt Audrey was really happy that he would do that, because otherwise Ellie would have gone to an orphanage."
"Anyway, the Healers barely managed to find the cure in time…"
- - -
"OW!" Charlie snapped. "That hurt!"
"Oh, stop complaining! At least they got the cure to you in time, otherwise, you'd never be able to feel anything ever again! A little pain now versus a lifetime of no feelings at all! Hmm, tough choice!" Hermione snapped back.
Charlie grumbled under his breath as he tried to walk using the crutches. He was having trouble controlling his movements.
"Damn Lestrange!" he snapped as his right leg started to give.
"At least he's dead now," Hermione said, as she slipped an arm around his waist to help support him.
"And so is Dolohov," Charlie said, a somewhat bloodthirsty grin on his face. He had been the lucky one to kill him. Suffice it to say, that Dolohov could now join the Headless Hunt.
- - -
Hermione smiled, "Your daddy spent all summer learning to walk again."
Rose smiled happily. "Then what happened?"
- - -
Hermione's hands were shaking so badly that she couldn't clip her hair up properly. "Ginny!" she finally yelled out.
The red haired girl hurried into their bedroom saying, "What do you need? Oh!" She stopped when she saw Hermione. "You look beautiful."
Hermione was wearing a light blue satin dress that Fleur had bought for her in Paris. It had beading on the scooped neckline and at the waistline.
Hermione blushed. "Thanks. Could you please help me put my hair up in this," she said, indicating the claw-clip in her hand.
"Nope. Leave your hair down," Ginny said. "It looks prettier that way."
Hermione sighed and stared at her reflection. "Oh, alright."
"So where are you two going?"
"I have no idea." She sighed. "All Charlie told me was to dress up, because he was taking me out to dinner." She stood up and grabbed her small gold purse. "I'd better be heading down now."
- - -
"Where did he take you?" Rose asked.
Hermione smiled. "He took me to the same French restaurant that we went to for our first date." She giggled a little. "He was so nervous, and I didn't have a clue why."
- - -
Charlie kept dropping things. So far, he'd dropped his napkin twice, his fork once, his dinner roll once, and he'd accidentally knocked over his wine glass once also. Thankfully it had been empty at the time.
"Do you want to dance," he asked nervously, his voice shaking.
"I'd love to," Hermione said.
Charlie took her hand, helped her out of her chair, and led her onto the dance floor. He rested his slightly sweaty right palm against her back, and gently clutched her hand with his left one.
Hermione could feel the dampness of his rough palm against her own. She really had no idea why he was that nervous.
The pair slowly moved across the dance floor, Hermione's head resting against Charlie's chest.
"H-Hermione," Charlie stuttered.
"Hmm," she responded.
He took a deep breath. "W-would you… um… would you m-marry me?" he said in what seemed to be little more than a whisper.
Hermione's eyes shot open in shock. She lifted her head off of his chest, and gazed into his eyes.
Charlie was starting to get nervous. She hadn't answered yet.
"Yes," Hermione whispered. "Yes, I will," she said louder this time, her smile lighting up her face.
Charlie started grinning in relief. "I – uh – I guess I'd better put this on your hand now." He pulled a ring box out of his pocket. He opened it to reveal the blue diamond ring that he had bought two years before.
"Oh," Hermione gasped. "It's beautiful."
He gently slid it onto her left hand. "I love you," he whispered.
"I love you too," Hermione replied, tears glistening in her eyes.
Their lips met in a gentle, tender kiss. When they finally pulled apart, the room was clapping. Apparently, they hadn't been as quiet as they thought, because they were now the center of attention.
- - -
"What was your wedding like?" Rose asked, never having heard this part before.
"It was perfect… well… it was raining," she admitted.
- - -
Rain was pouring out of the sky like a waterfall.
"HARRY!" Ginny yelled down the stairs. "Get your arse up here, Hermione needs you!"
"Coming!" he called out from the kitchen.
Hermione was pale and her hands were shaking. "Oh, Ginny! What if he changes his mind?" she asked, as thunder boomed outside.
"He won't. He loves you! Now calm down before you make yourself sick," Ginny said, her hands braced on her hips.
The cinnamon red dress Ginny wore made her look like a flame and clung to her curves. Her red hair had been piled haphazardly onto her head in loose loopy curls, and she wore the same gold heels that she had for Bill and Fleur's wedding.
Hermione's wedding gown had a beaded satin bodice with gauzy off-the-shoulder straps and the skirt was layers of gauze caught up in places with large sparkling broaches. Her thick brown curls were tamed and hung down her back, pulled back at the sides to reveal her blue diamond earrings. Aunt Muriel's goblin-made tiara was resting on her head, adding to the illusion that she was a princess.
Hermione's mother's diamond necklace hung around her neck as her 'something old'. Harry had loaned her his mother's diamond bracelet for her 'something borrowed', and Ginny had crocheted a lace garter for Hermione's 'something blue'.
Harry entered the room and wolf-whistled. "Wow, the two of you look gorgeous."
"Thanks," Ginny said, kissing her boyfriend.
Hermione was too nervous to respond.
"Mione," Harry said, "Charlie asked me to give you this." He handed her a small box. "It's for your 'something new'."
Hermione carefully opened the box and gasped. It was a white gold ankle bracelet with a charm of a rose dangling from it.
Harry grinned. "Do you want me to put it on you?" he asked.
"Please," Hermione said, smiling for the first time in an hour.
Harry gently removed the anklet from the box and knelt in front of Hermione, who lifted her skirt a bit. He placed her right heel on his leg to hold it steady; Ginny held Hermione's arms for extra balance.
Harry clasped the small chain around Hermione's ankle, and grinned up at her as he placed her foot back on the ground.
"Are you ready now?" he asked.
Hermione smiled happily. "I am." Suddenly, the day looked brighter, even if it was still raining.
Harry held out an arm to each of the girls, and the trio apparated to just outside the ballroom of the Hôtel de Magique in London. It was owned by a French acquaintance of Fleur's.
Molly was waiting for them when they arrived. "Oh, good," she said. "I was worried that you were going to be late. Now, Ron will escort me to my seat then the music will start, and Ginny will walk down the aisle. Alright?"
Ginny smiled. "We know, Mum. Now, let's get this show on the road!"
"What road?" Molly asked in confusion.
"Never mind, it's a Muggle saying," Ginny explained.
Ron arrived then. "Are you ready, Mum?" he asked.
"Yes," she replied.
He escorted her through the doors to the ballroom.
A moment later, a harp began to play and Ginny walked through the doors.
Harry turned to Hermione. "Are you ready to get married?" he asked, grinning like a kid in a candy store.
Hermione smiled; her nerves nowhere in sight. "I'm ready."
"Let's go," Harry said as the wedding march began to play and the doors opened.
He led her down the center aisle toward Charlie. Ginny stood to the left of the magical minister, and Charlie stood to the right of him with Bill on his other side.
They had decided to have a very small wedding party because Hermione was not very close to any girls besides Ginny, Fleur, and Luna. Luna had refused to be a bridesmaid, saying that having a single bridesmaid was bad luck and the pig-nosed boomers would attack them during the honeymoon. Fleur could not because she was pregnant, and too tired to stand on her feet that long.
Hermione was glowing as Harry handed her off to Charlie. With her father dead, there was really no competition on who should give her away. At one time, she would have had both Harry and Ron escort her, but with Ron's reaction to her relationship with Charlie, it would have been awkward.
Her small hand rested comfortably in Charlie's larger calloused one as the minister began to speak.
The wedding seemed to speed by, especially compared to the extraordinarily long rehearsal they had the night before. Soon the minister was announcing, "Mr. and Mrs. Charles Weasley."
Everyone stood up clapping and the chairs disappeared, only to reappear around tables scattered around the edges of the room.
- - -
"Oh, Mommy," Rose said, "Did you and Daddy dance together for the whole reception?"
"Not quite," Hermione said, "But we did dance together for most of it."
Hermione's eyes glazed over in remembrance. "The best part of the reception was…"
- - -
Harry and Ron stood up, champagne glasses in hand.
Harry started, "As you all know, we are gathered here for a momentous occasion." He paused a moment. "Now… Those of you who don't know us are probably wondering why we're up here giving a toast, seeing as neither of us were the best man."
There were murmurs of confirmation coming from some people in the crowd.
"We became best friends with Hermione when we were eleven years old," Harry said.
"You forgot to tell them that we didn't start out as friends with her," Ron said grinning. "It took the bossy know-it-all a couple of months to grow on us."
Harry smacked the back of Ron's head then continued, "But there are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them."
The Muggles at the reception laughed thinking it was just a joke.
"Hermione is well prepared for marriage and eventually motherhood," Harry said. "After all, she had to put up with two boys throughout puberty and their teens, one of whom had the emotional range of a teaspoon, and the other had the temper of Mount Vesuvius."
Everyone who had attended Hogwarts with the trio laughed.
Harry said, "We are as close to Hermione as best friends can possibly be, so we are going to give you the list of people who've liked her and why they did or didn't meet with our approval."
"Number one on the list… Draco Malfoy," Ron said, grimacing in disgust.
"It seems," Harry said, "that he likes feisty women, so after Hermione decked him in third year…"
"…making him cry," Ron added, snickering.
Harry continued, "He got a wee bit… obsessed."
"But he obviously met with disapproval, as we had to…" Ron cleared his throat, "discourage him from making further advances."
"Second," Ron said, "was Oliver Wood." The Scottish Keeper began to blush, and whispered something into his date Katie Bell's ear. Ron continued, "Now, Ollie, we know she helped the team win the Quidditch Cup in your last year by teaching the team the Impervious Charm, but did that really warrant a crush?" Ron then added, "We couldn't approve of you because you were a tad too obsessed with Quidditch, and Hermione needed someone who would spend more time with her than with a Quaffle."
There was more laughter from the magical portion of the room, and confusion from the Muggles.
"Third on our list is Viktor Krum." Harry nodded at the Bulgarian seeker, who currently had his arm wrapped around the waist of a leggy blonde. "He met with our disapproval because he was never around when she needed him. He was too busy with Quidditch, and he lived in a different country."
"Fourth is Neville Longbottom," Ron said. "We couldn't approve of him for our Hermione because he didn't have the… guts... to stand up to her when necessary. Let's face it, Nev, she could walk all over you without you protesting… no offense."
"None taken!" the formerly pudgy young man said from his seat beside Luna.
"Next is Ron himself," Harry said. "They were too different, and everyone in Gryffindor tower breathed a sigh of relief whenever they decided to give each other the 'silent treatment'."
"You said it, Harry!" came from the direction of a slightly tipsy Seamus Finnegan.
"And it was fairly obvious that if Hermione and Ron got married, the relationship would end up with me having to pick a side at the divorce proceedings," Harry said.
Everyone laughed at this.
"Last on our list is Charlie," Ron said. "Despite his being my brother, it took a long time for me to approve of him. This was partly due to my being jealous."
"I approved as soon as I saw how happy he made Hermione," Harry interjected.
"But it took me until I saw her crying over him when he was injured in the final battle to realize how much they loved each other. Really, when it comes right down to it," Ron said, "We could only approve a man who could love her more than us, if that's possible."
Harry lifted his glass, "And that man is Charlie… here's to them… Hermione and Charlie!"
Both Harry and Ron downed their glasses.
- - -
"And after that your Daddy and I cut the cake then left for our honeymoon," Hermione said, smiling tenderly.
"Where did you go?" Rose asked, accepting another tissue from her mother.
Hermione sighed happily. "We went to Mexico. What a shock your Daddy had when he saw my bathing suit."
- - -
"What in Merlin's name is that?" Charlie asked as Hermione unpacked her suitcase.
"What is what?" she asked distractedly.
"That!" he pointed at something in the suitcase.
"What… this?" she asked holding up her bathing suit.
Charlie nodded, his eyes wide.
"This is my bathing suit," Hermione said as she put it in one of the drawers of the dresser. "I was thinking about buying a couple more while we're here."
"There's nothing to that thing! You can't wear that in public! What'll people think?" Charlie snapped.
Hermione smiled. They were at a Muggle resort, and Charlie had no idea what Muggles wore to the beach. "People will think it's rather modest. Most girls wear bikinis with even less fabric than mine."
Charlie's mouth was hanging open. "Who'd let their sister, wife, or daughter wear something that skimpy? It's indecent!"
"You say that now, but just you wait…" Hermione left her words hanging as she went into the bathroom with her bathing suit. A minute later she came out wearing her bikini.
Charlie's eyes went wide, and he opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out.
"Would you rather I change?" Hermione asked. "I'm sure I can find that old-fashioned bathing costume your mother bought for me."
Charlie opened his mouth again, but still couldn't speak.
"I'll just go change then," Hermione said, smiling as she grabbed the aforementioned bathing costume.
"Now just wait a minute! I never said that!" Charlie protested.
- - -
"What happened when you told Daddy that you were pregnant with me?" Rose asked. She had been wondering that ever since her Mommy had told her that she was pregnant with her little sister.
Hermione smiled. "I didn't exactly tell him."
- - -
"Happy Birthday, Charlie!" Hermione said, as she woke up her husband of two months.
Charlie grinned at her as he stretched. "So when do I get my present?" he asked.
"Oh… eventually," Hermione said, smiling like she knew something he didn't.
Charlie smiled. "Eventually, huh? I guess I can wait."
"I certainly hope you can."
After breakfast Hermione handed Charlie a small slender box. "Open it," she said excitedly.
He ripped off the paper and opened the box. "What's this?" he asked, holding up a slender stick. "And why does it have a plus sign on it?"
Hermione smiled, her face was glowing. "It's… well… it's a – a pregnancy test."
Charlie looked confused for a moment. "And the plus sign means… what exactly?"
"It means that the test was positive," Hermione explained.
"So your – we're…"
He grinned widely. "You're pregnant!" He swept her up into his arms and spun her around.
"Yes, Charlie. We're having a baby," Hermione said.
He let out a loud whoop of joy, and spun her around again then kissed her deeply.
- - -
"Where are my girls?" Charlie called out as he entered the house.
Hermione came out of Rose's room. "I was just telling Rose about how you proposed, how we got married, and how I told you that I was pregnant with her. She's asleep now."
Charlie smiled and kissed her tenderly. "I love you."
"I love you too," Hermione said softly.
"How's this little one?" Charlie asked, sitting and placing his palm against the barely visible curve of her stomach.
"She's just fine. I missed you today," she said as she settled onto his lap to relax. "You've been so busy lately, that we've hardly seen each other." She sighed softly. "I miss my husband."
Charlie grinned widely. "Which is why next week Bill and Fleur will be having Rose over for a visit. You and I have a date with Mexico." He grinned widely. "What do you think of that?"
"That's why you've been gone so much?" Hermione asked.
"Yes, I've had to work double shifts to have enough time off for both this vacation and for the birth of this little one." He caressed her stomach again.
Hermione covered his hand with hers. "Just think, when we met, could you have ever imagined that we would be married and with children ten years later?"
"I never thought it was possible. I hoped, but… When we met, I thought you were the loveliest young woman I'd ever seen before. Whenever I thought about marriage before then, it was always to a woman like you. When we met, I didn't dare hope that you could ever want to be with me. I thought that you and Harry or Ron… but me?" He smiled. "When you told my brothers off, I realized that if I wanted to be with you, then I was going to have to court you."
"And you did," she stated.
"Well, it was either that, or I let you marry someone else and regret it for the rest of my life," Charlie said.
"You made the right choice. I wouldn't have been happy with anyone else," Hermione responded.
"Neither would I," he replied. "Now, how about I cook us some dinner, and you relax?"
"That would be nice," she said, standing up, "I'll just go take a nap until its ready."
Charlie kissed her then swatted her on the butt as she left the room.