Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters.

A/N: Thanks to my beta MossTheInflatableCow

Update 12/11/2010

Chapter Twenty

Hermione's Birthday

The months that followed were even better than the ones that came before. She didn't know how that was possible, okay she did, but it seemed unbelievable that things could get better every day. It seemed that everything was starting to work out the way it was always supposed to. She had gone to Hogwarts for a few weeks during the summer and learned from all the Professors there, and was able to really learn enough that McGonagall said that she could take a test that was basically a substitute for the O.W.L's. Andromeda said that it was probably a good idea that she got that seeing as she knew how prejudiced people could get and it would give her more proof that she belonged where she was.

Hermione was pleased when she got her test back and she had passed with high marks in all the subjects, though she was a little peeved too… she's never got such a low score on any of her tests before. After that she started really working for Andromeda, helping out in small cases, a good four months before the older witch was planning, but Hermione just seemed to exceed all of her expectations.

The biggest difference that came out of her getting a job and working full time at the Ministry (besides getting to eat lunch with Ron everyday which she loved) was that it meant that she didn't get to see Harry and Bess that much. She really did miss that fact, though of course she and Ron still went over to his house every few days or he would come to theirs, but it wasn't the same. She had spent most of the last year at Harry's and she had grown so close to him, that she came to long to have discussion with him over butter beer or hot chocolate (neither one of them being big drinkers). She also missed reading stories to Bess; there were still so many of them that she hadn't been able to get through. That wasn't to mention that she couldn't see Ginny that much either, and dearly missed having a girl her own age to talk to about all the crazy things that were happening in her life.

However, on a good note, Ginny was doing so much better since she and Harry had really opened up to each other that the Healers were willing to let her live with someone else, as long as she was looked after. Both Harry and Molly wanted to be the one to do this, but Molly, sighing and looking sadly at her youngest child and only daughter, knew Ginny would do better in Harry's hands and let her go. She had only been living with Harry and Bess for a week but you could see a noticeable change in all three of them. They were all happier than Hermione had ever seen them, and Ron admitted he thought the same thing and he'd known them a lot longer than she did.

So, though she missed them, and she knew they missed her in return, it was obvious that it was best for everyone that she was no longer spending all of her time there. However, the week before Ginny was coming to live at Grimmauld Place, Hermione told Harry something that made him think.

"You know you really helped me a lot," Hermione said, she had just got her test score back from the Ministry. She had gotten her Bar exam results back too, and of course she passed with flying colors, so she was in a really good mood those last few days.

"With what?" Harry asked, seeing as she had just brought the subject out of nowhere she wasn't surprised to see that he was confused.

"Pass my test… well to pass both of my tests really," Hermione said thoughtfully for a second and knew that his magical bookcase really did help her a lot too, "but I was talking mostly about the Legal Adult Magical Basic (L.A.M.B's) test that you helped me with."

"Mione, I didn't really do anything for you," Harry said rubbing the back of his head, like he always did when he'd done something helpful. "It was all you… I still can't believe how easy most of the stuff came to you."

"It wasn't easy," Hermione made a face at the last few weeks where she really had to put every ounce of herself into her studies, nearly breaking down a few times; but that was usually when Ron would show up, grab her hand and drag her to get something to eat and relax for a few hours. She always did better after she took a step back and then she started to push herself until she needed Ron again.

"Yeah, but you still did like five years of learning in three and a half months of studying," Harry said, shaking he's head.

"Well, that's only because I'm older so the first few years I was supposed to learn came easier…" Hermione said starting to blush.

"You told me this a thousand times already," Harry rolled his eyes.

"And because you really were a good teacher," Hermione carried on, she hadn't told him that part yet. "The way you explained things… well it really made them easy to understand."

"Hermione… you could understand the most difficult of textbooks like it's nothing," Harry said, exasperated, trying to not let himself blush too much. "I doubt…"

"You were a lot better than Professor Jackson," Hermione said. He was the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who had taken over shortly after the war had ended. "I mean, he was smart and all… he had all the answers, it just… I don't know, but you were a lot better."

"Is that why you were so pleased that he only taught you that one day before he headed off for his vacation?" Harry chuckled.

"Yeah." Hermione smiled sheepishly. "I got you to help me instead and it was a lot better. You know it was my weakest subject…" she added bitterly.

"I wish I could have your weakness than," Harry made a face. "Hermione you were fantastic at Defense."

"Only because of you," Hermione smiled at him. "You should think about being a Professor."

"What?" Harry said, but she made it all too clear she was serious about that. He thought that this was probably the real reason why she brought this all up. "You think I would…"

"Make a brilliant professor," Hermione said. "Of course I do. I've had lots of teachers in my life, all different kinds, and Harry… you're the good kind."

"I didn't know you thought any teacher would be bad," Harry smirked.

Hermione rolled her eyes but otherwise ignored his comment. "Look Harry, you seemed to know the best way to go about teaching things. You obviously know your subject… and, well, there was just something about the way you described all the spells that showed that you had real experience…" she trailed off at the end here because Harry was frowning.

"Yeah… I think I have some of that," Harry said glumly, his eyes having the far off look they always have when thought of the war.

"Sorry," Hermione sighed.

"It's okay Mione," Harry smiled at her.

"Just think about what I said," Hermione said, "I hate to think about you just sitting here wasting your talent."

"Well, I think that I'm going to have my hands full for a long time now," Harry said. She knew he was thinking about Ginny arrival because he had the goofy smile on his face he reserved for her (or mentions of her).

"I know, that's the best part of my suggestion," Hermione smiled at him. "You don't have to do anything about it for a long time… Just think about it Harry. Maybe like in seven years you could do it..." she trailed off with a smirk.

"Oh, I'm sure Bess would love something like that happening," Harry laughed like Hermione hoped he would. "I'll think about it."

That was all Hermione was hoping for, she hoped that someday that Harry really would follow her advice, or do something more than just live at home, but now wasn't the time to worry about it.

Her relationship with her parents was rocky to say the least but she had been talking to them, usually via owl post, which made her sort of angry whenever she thought about it. How could they be so accepting of this world now when they put her through all that torture as a kid? However, for the most part she was pleased that she could still talk to them. She liked that her dad had always ended the letter with a philosophical question (or the continuation of the discussion of the last question) like he always used to do when she was going to school. She had only seen her parents once since she made up with them, that time with Ron (in a way the meeting that she was supposed to have a long time ago). It was a little awkward, but with all things considered things went as well as could be expected.

In a way Ron's life was the same as it had been since the end of the war. He still worked as an Auror, happily doing his job protecting everyone, trying to make the world a safer place for his family. He still hated it when he had nothing to do but paperwork, it still gave him too much time to think about everything that he lost, but it didn't hurt as much anymore. He still came over to visit Harry as much as he could, which seemed to make his day a little better like always.

Most importantly, he still spent every Sunday at the Burrow with his family, though everything seemed to be brighter lately. For one thing, Ginny seem to be there almost every week now, she was even starting to pull some pranks with George (and seeing as Ron was frequently the target of this he wasn't so pleased about that). George had started bringing his old friend and Quidditch teammate Angelina Johnson to brunch about a month after Hermione's first visit to the Weasleys. Though, they hadn't said anything to Molly's constant round about (and sometimes direct) questions about if they were dating they would always get a little flustered. Molly just smiled at them, the gleam in her eyes stating clearly that she had big plans for them.

However, everything in his life had changed when Hermione came into it. Everything she touched, it just seemed to get better in his life. He thought back to how he felt for those first three years after the war… where he thought that he had pulled himself though relatively unscathed, and now realized how wrong he was. Sure, he wasn't as bad as Harry had been, or most of his family for that matter, but he had lost a lot during that war. It was mostly due to the fact that his family was so broken then that everywhere he looked he could meet a sad face, and now it wasn't like that. Of course everyone's problems weren't solved, there were still a lot of things that he lost, but it just looked so much better these days, and he knew a lot of that had to do with her.

He looked at her, it was her twenty-fourth birthday and they had almost known each other for a year now (just ten more days before that). She was a vision to be sure, lying there in their bed in nothing but his favorite T-shirt (or at least he said it was his favorite after he saw her in it), still asleep. He stood there watching her, his heart hammering in his chest thinking that he should change his mind and just do it now, but, no everything was set, and it would be better to wait. He was so lost in his own thought that he couldn't even smell the delicious odor of the food he made for her breakfast or see the fact that Hermione had woken up.

"Ron?" Hermione said frowning a little; she loved it when she woke up in his arms, but when she saw him standing in the doorway she smiled. "Good morning love," she added smiling now at his startled expression.

"Mione," Ron said looking a little nervous and smiling. "I made breakfast." After that statement two trays floated in behind him as he made his way towards her and kissed her quickly, "Happy birthday, love."

"Thanks," Hermione blushed, and then looked at the tray with pancakes he made for the both of them, he had noticed how much she loved maple syrup, but she usually didn't have it. She had a lot more control than he had when it came to food.

They spent most of the morning in bed just talking about things; this really was their favorite time of the day, morning, whenever… they just liked being together. They were about to get into an argument, Ron could see all the warning signs, and though he liked getting into arguments with her (only little ones of course) he didn't want that today. She narrowed her eyes when he let her win, but otherwise let it go, she knew tomorrow he wouldn't let her get away with anything.

They then went to the Burrow, where all the Weasleys, Harry, the Lupins (and Andromeda), some of her friends from work, Luna Lovegood and Ron's friends from Gryffindor whom she had met a while back and found that she liked them, and her parents were there waiting for them. Hermione felt awkward, she had never had a party like this in her honor, usually she just celebrated her birthday with her parents, but she found that she really enjoyed this too. Still she was happy when she and Ron Apparated (separately) back to their flat.

"You know I really wish you didn't learn how to do that," Ron said looking down.

"Yes I do know that, you've mentioned it for the last week since I've been certified," Hermione said. "Something about not getting to hold me as tightly anymore."

Ron made a face at her as she walked over to him, taking his hands and leading him back to their room.

"I knew you couldn't wait to get me back to your lair to do all sorts of wicked things to me," Ron said, smirking.

"You wish," Hermione said, but she had indeed been thinking along those lines. There was something about seeing him in that blue shirt he was wearing now, and the look he had when he was talking to his friends, so happy, that made her want to be alone with him. She took off her shoes and got into more comfortable clothes, as did Ron. She could feel his eyes on her and she loved it. She patted the side of her bed and said, "That really was a lovely party… you were right about my parents."

"Of course I was," Ron said smugly and she winkled her nose at him.

"Hmph," Hermione huffed, but went on with her original train of thought, "it just would have felt so weird not having them there. They've celebrated all my birthdays with me."

"You didn't seem so happy when you first saw them, though," Ron chuckled.

"It still bothers me when I see them in the wizarding world…" Hermione muttered.

"I've noticed," Ron smiled; she hadn't said anything out loud about that but her eyes would always darken a little when her parents and magic were mentioned together.

"Thank you," Hermione said from his arms as she looked into his eyes. "For knowing me better than I do sometimes."

Ron looked at her and his breath caught in his throat. She was looking at him with such love and affection that everything that he carefully been planning for the last two weeks fell though. "Hermione Granger, you've ruined everything," he muttered shaking his head.

"What does that mean?" Hermione furrowed her eyebrows together, looking a little hurt.

"It means I had plans and now it's all ruined because I can't wait any longer," Ron said, tilting his head to the side and smiling at her with her favorite grin.

Hermione looked into his eyes, her heart starting to beat fast, she knew this was going to be big and she couldn't wait to hear what he had to say to her.

"Before I met you," Ron started, his voice nervous as he tried to remember what he had come up with the other night… he thought he would have days to memorize this. "I was stuck in a grey life. I was happy enough, but there was nothing really special. And then I met you in that coffee shop and everything was different. I think I fell in love with you that first day…" at the point Hermione's eyes started to fill with tears and she tried to interrupt but he wouldn't let her. "The first day you met Harry and Bess, I knew that my life would never be the same. I was already making plans for our future together."

"What?" he was sure is what she said, but it came out oddly because his finger was keeping her mouth closed.

He smiled at her. "The first time I saw you read to Bess my head filled with visions of you reading… er… well reading to our own children." He was blushing as red as his roots at that confession but he forced himself to continue, "I knew it was too soon for that, but I wanted it.

"I knew that I could never live without you, when I tried to," his voice and eyes were grave at the mention of their separation, but he felt it was important to let her know this. "I never could have just let you go like that. Luckily for me, you realized the same thing."

"Ron," Hermione said, tears streaming down her face, but again he wouldn't let her interrupt him.

"I knew that all my dreams would come true the night we first made love," Ron smiled fondly at the memory. "When you accepted me for being different than you… well at least that's what we thought at the time… for being a wizard. I feared you wouldn't have been able to… a fear that weighed on my consciousness all those months I didn't tell you. You have no idea how good it felt for me when you said it didn't matter. That you love me no matter what I am."

Hermione's expression changed and he knew exactly what she was thinking, I might have an idea about that.

"I suppose you do have an idea, but still, it was the best day of my life… up to that point," Ron smiled. "And today, you giving me the last thing I've been wanting since I've met you."

"What?" Hermione questioned.

"For you to admit that I'm right," Ron smirked at her madly.

"Prat," Hermione said slapping his shoulder as he chuckled.

"You made it impossible for me to wait a second longer with this," Ron said his eyes going serious as he looked at her with all the love and determination he had. He then got up and went to his drawer, took off a charm that was hiding something very special and turning back to her, more nervous than he had ever been in his whole life.

Hermione gasped, cover her mouth with her hand, she could see exactly where this was going, she had had thought this was coming, but it didn't shock her any less seeing him like this.

"Your dad told me this is what Muggles do," Ron muttered as he kneeling before her, and then looked straight into her eyes, opened the box in his hand and said, "Hermione Jean Granger, will you marry me?"

Hermione didn't say anything; she just lunged at him, tears still streaming down her face and kissed him as hard as she could.


"You know you still haven't answered my question," Ron said chuckling, they were on their bedroom floor with the comforter over them. "I mean, you did say yes a hell of a lot… but I'm not sure…"

"You are such a prat," Hermione said giggling.

"But am I your prat?" Ron asked.

"Yes, Ronald Bilius Weasley, I'll marry you," Hermione said, smiling at him.

Ron's heart beat faster as he reached over to where he noticed the box with a ring in it had landed when Hermione tackled him and picked it up. He placed the ring on her finger, it magically sized so it would fit her no matter what, and smiled proudly at that. Hermione's own heart was beating almost as fast as she smiled bemusedly at him while he did this. This man was going to be hers' forever, she thought.

"Do you like it?" Ron asked when he caught her eyes, he had gone with Harry and Ginny a few days ago, he had waited until Ginny could go with him because he was sure that both Harry and himself would be totally useless at picking out a ring.

Hermione looked at it, honesty she would have been just as happy if it was a plastic ring, but when she saw the small and subtle diamond that wasn't over powering but still beautiful and elegant, her smile broadened. "It's perfect," she beamed at him, and then kissed him again.

"You said that my dad told you to kneel..." Hermione said some time later, Ron was absentmindedly putting his figures through her hair.

"Yeah," Ron smiled. "You know the last time we visited them, well the reason why I wanted to go so badly was to ask…

"It better not have been his permission," Hermione said hotly.

"No, I wouldn't do that," Ron smiled at her; he loved that look.

"Oh, that's good, I would have had to punish you if you had said yes," Hermione said.

Ron's smile became mischievous and longing but he just went back to his story, "I asked if there was a certain ring passed down in your family," and seeing that Hermione was furrowing her eyebrows added, "Our family does. I think that's why Mum wanted a girl so much. The ring she has passed down from mother to daughter for seven… well Ginny would be the seventh generation. Anyway, I wanted to make sure that there wasn't anything like that for your family."

"That's sweet," Hermione smiled as she rested her head on his chest.

"Thanks," Ron chuckled. "So that's when he told me about the kneeling thing and some other stuff."

"Like what?" Hermione asked, but Ron just shrugged. "So, other than my parents and Ginny and Harry… who else knows about this?"

"Well, first off your mum doesn't know," Ron said. "Your dad said something like she wouldn't have been able to keep the glee off her face…"

"She really wouldn't have," Hermione chuckled. "I would have known in a second. I assume you didn't tell your mother yet either… I'm sure she would have had the same problem."

"Obviously," Ron laughed. "Actually my dad was the only other person that I've told. I kind of figured this all out when I was talking to him about a month ago."

"Really," Hermione said.

"Yeah," Ron sighed. "Somehow we got to talking about you… don't ask me how, but Dad always has a way of getting things out of me without me even realizing it. So, I told him of some of my plans with you, and he asked me really calmly, 'so what are you waiting for?' It wasn't demanding like the way Mum would have asked and I don't know. He just made it seem like I didn't have to wait any longer to have everything I wanted."

"So, what were you waiting for?" Hermione smiled at him.

"That conversation obviously," Ron chuckled. "I just thought that it would be rushing things… I mean Mione, we've only known each other a year."

"Not even," Hermione corrected.

"No, but if you didn't ruin everything by being perfect and all, it would have been a year when I asked you," Ron huffed.

"Sorry," Hermione chuckled. "You wanted to ask me on our anniversary."

"Yeah, I figured that would have been the most romantic," Ron said. "I know how much you like all that crap."

"I'm not a romantic…" Hermione said making a face.

"Yes you are, you're always reading the romance novels, and crying over those movies, and you love any and all of the romantic gestures that I've done," Ron said smirking at her indignant face. "And believe me love… it would have been very romantic."

"Well, I'm glad you couldn't wait," Hermione said, snuggling closer to him. "As romantic as you may think I am, I would much rather be your fiancé longer than just about anything you could offer."

"Hm, so you mean you would have liked it better if I'd asked you this morning… I really wanted to," Ron said.

"Er... I'm not so sure about that," Hermione said thinking about going to the party after that. It would have come out in a second and both their mums would have been all over them.

"I supposed everything worked out fine this way," Ron smiled and she started breathing heavily, he could tell that she was nearly about to drop off. "Mione."

"Mmm..." Hermione said.

"I love you," Ron said kissing the top of her head.

"I love you," Hermione said back. "Forever."

A/N: Okay, so I hope you like the ending and it wasn't too fluffy or anything. Like I said I have at least two outtake chapter for this story but I'm not sure when I'm going to update this.