Title: Bookends 6/6 (The real chapter Six - pay no attention to that previous chapter that was impersonating chapter 6)
Prompt Number: 194
Rating: M - cursing
Main Pairing: Hermione/Arthur
Secondary Pairings: BW/FW, CW/Dragons, PW/AW, GW/AW, RW/HG, GW/HP, HP/RW
Summary: There's a new Weasley on the way! Arthur's the dad and Hermione's the mum! How do the Weasleys react?
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction set in the Harry Potter universe all recognisable characters and settings are the property of J. K. Rowling and her associates. No copyright infringement is intended. No profit is made from this work. Please observe your local laws with regards to the age-limit and content of this work.
Word Count: ~46,500 words. So wish I was kidding.
Author's Notes: Thanks to my Betas, the letters J, K & L.
Synopsis: Ron's the lone hold out and the Weasleys children decide to knock some sense into him.
Time it was and what a time it was it was,
A time of innocence, a time of confidences.
Long ago it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you.
Bookends by Simon and Garfunkel
Ron Weasley was a tad distracted, which was very bad considering he was an Auror. Couldn't blame him as his ex-wife had hooked up with his father and they were having a baby. By Albus Dumbledore's bespangled pants, HERMIONE and his FATHER. They were flaunting their relationship as they were in the Daily Prophet and featured three days running in Rita's column.
The others might be fooled by Dad's happy glow, but Ron had lived with the bitchwitch for ten years of torture, ten years of her constant nagging, ten years of her 'let's go to marital counseling', 'let's talk' and the final straw where she wanted to see a sex counselor because he wasn't doing anything for her. Well, like her harping on him day and night was going to get him in the mood.
Didn't have that performance problem with Harry. They were two men, quite comfortable together, didn't have to worry about using good forks and clean linen for supper.
Harry didn't freak because he left his muddy boots on and walked through the house. He had done that accidentally mind you, as his body was screaming for a hot shower after a long day tracking down Dark Wizards and Hermione had bloody calved on the spot. Cared more about the damn rugs than him.
He had called Hermione, "Mum" then and she hadn't been happy. With Harry, Harry had just laughed, called him a gormless idiot and had the House elf clean up the mess.
Well, maybe with Mum ill, Dad wasn't used to being free. He had been rather pussy whipped by his mother so maybe that's why he was enjoying Hermione.
Therefore because he was quite distracted, he made sure he was quite careful when he walked home. Zigzags, looking around and then and there. Probably could have just popped on home but Harry was in strange mood. Wanted to talk about Dad and Hermione and Ron just didn't want to deal with it.
Sadly, he still managed to get jumped in the middle of London by two of his brothers and Harry. When he came around, he was at Shell cottage surrounded by his disapproving family.
"Very well." Bill Weasley had taken control of the meeting as he was the senior Weasley present and it was his house, after all. "Ron, we'd like to hash out the current situation and get it resolved."
"Bill, I was married to the bitch," Ron began.
"I'm not listening to this," George interrupted. "If ickle Ronnie can't be respectful about Dad's girlfriend, then I'm not staying. Angelina?"
"Agreed," said George's wife chimed in. The two Weasleys then left.
"Are you mental? I was married to her for ten plus years of hell," Ron reminded his family. "Don't you think I'd be a very good judge of her character?"
"My children will not know their grandfather because of you," Percy reminded his brother.
"Dad will come around," Ron glibly assured his brother. He wouldn't let them pressure him into changing his mind.
"No," the once prodigal son reminded his younger brother. "He won't. He'll walk right past you, as though you don't even exist. How do I tell Molly and Lucy that the reason why their grandfather won't acknowledge them is because of their dear Uncle Ronnie?"
Ron was about to open his mouth to protest, but Percy cut him off.
"Well, two can play that game, you're dead to me. I refuse to let you hurt my daughters."
Audrey grabbed her husband by his arm, and made a soothing gesture.
"Let's go" Audrey ordered.
Charlie was the next to speak.
"I really don't understand. Do you really get it? You are trying to decide that your dad can't be with who he wants to be with. Why do YOU get Harry? Just because he is who you want to be with? The man you love? Don't you think the two of you shacking up?"
"Don't say that," Ron growled.
"Don't you think that you finding your Tru Luv caused a great deal of pain to everyone in this family?" Charlie asked. "We accepted it, some of us more easily than others, but no one said, 'No, Ronnie, you can't shack up with Harry because well, Ginny used to be married to him'. I understand it's different because it's all about you."
"Doesn't it bother you? I thought of everyone here, Charlie, you'd be the one to understand why it's so wrong. You and Mum were close," Ron reminded his brother. "Doesn't it upset you that Dad's just given up on Mum and decided to start a new family with a much younger witch?"
"Ron, Mum isn't getting any better. She has no idea who Dad is," Bill inserted. "She has no concept of who any of us are. To deny Dad any chance of happiness until Mom passes? That's cruel and selfish, Ron."
"Ron's rather self-centered," Ginny inserted. "Look, I'm glad you and Harry have found each other, as you're perfect for each other. Harry, I thank you for our children, but it would have been a lot easier for me if you just admitted you were queer when I first asked you. I'm leaving."
Charlie and Ginny both left the room leaving Bill and Fleur and Harry and Ron.
"I'd like you to leave," Fleur regally requested. "You're not welcome here until you can get over yourself."
She left then and Bill shook his head.
"You're hurting Dad," was all he said.
"I don't need you lot," Ron protested. "I've got Harry and he's the most important person to me. I have Harry and I have Teddy. I don't need you."
"Ron," Harry softly inserted. "They're your family. They're our family. Mr. Weasley Arthur he's the closest I've had to having a proper Dad. Sirius? He was a big brother and Remus? Remus tried but he was too worried about his little furry condition would affect my reputation to take a ore active role in my life Arthur Molly they took me in, made me part of the family. I don't know why you dislike Hermione so much. When I realized that I was gay, she she was quite understanding about it. Ron, we nearly tore your family apart when we got together and now you're completing the division. Because of you, Arthur's not talking to any of his children or grandchildren."
Ron wasn't sure how to take Harry's comments. A betrayal? From the man he loved? Was there the painful ring of truth in Harry's comments?
He didn't get a chance to respond because Fleur returned to the room and informed them that Arthur was back at St. Mungo's.
"I could get quite comfortable with these lie ins," Hermione murmured to Arthur. She was wrapped around him and an industrious Arthur was attempting to make some sense out of the various sheets and blankets. Well, at least enough sense so he could cover them both. While they hadn't made love the previous night as Hermione's libido had gone a burton, Hermione had a tendency of hogging the covers, leaving Arthur a bit chilly.
"You owe me eggs, sausage and toast," he reminded her.
"Hush," Hermione chastised him. She was resting her head on his chest and she was listening to his heart. Hesitantly, she reached for his wrist and began to count the beats, watching the battered clock on the wall.
She counted the racing beats several times to confirm the rate. Forty, forty-one, forty- two.
"Arthur?" Hermione hesitantly asked.
"It's racing a bit," he admitted. "Normally, I can break it."
"Normally? Break?" Hermione repeated. Awkwardly, she sat up and looked at him. He did look a pale and sweaty, and not in the good 'I've been busy shagging all night long' way but 'Is there a Healer in the house?' way. "You've been having attacks and you haven't told me?"
"I took my medication half past the hour," he informed her, deliberately not answering her questions. "I'm fine, Hermione. Sometimes, I get a little stressed and my heart bounces about. Should be fine."
"You took your medication twenty minutes ago and your heart is still racing along? We're going to St. Mungo's," commanded Hermione. She grabbed her wand, got them both properly dressed and at St. Mungo's before he could cease his futile protesting.
The triaging Healer took one look at the diaphoretic Arthur and forced him into the Cardiac Casualty Ward, leaving a terrified Hermione alone in the waiting room.
"Dearie," an ancient witch interrupted her dark thoughts. "If you're going to call his family in, I'm supposed to get the Security Brigade here first so we can securely separate them. Will you be advising them of the situation?"
Hermione nodded her head once. Yes, she needed to contact Percy. Yes, Arthur was currently estranged from his family, but this this could be very serious.
"I'll be contacting Percy," Hermione announced. "How much warning time do you need?"
"Ten minutes," the crone cackled. "I think they're being rather silly. I think they're just worried as your husband's family is just so numerous and so ginger. Plus, the whole lot of them are the Heroes of the Battle of Hogwarts and they weren't tossing flowers during that donnybrook."
Percy literally jumped through the Floo when she Called him about Arthur's admittance to St. Mungo's. Audrey agreed to inform the rest of the extended family so Percy could sit with her. Poor Percy, as she broke down in tears when she saw his familiar face. Being used to highly emotional, pregnant females, he just hugged her and urged her to cry.
"If anything happens to him" she wept. "I won't be able to do this by myself."
"You're family, Hermione," Percy reminded her. "Always have been, always will be. We'll be here for you and the baby."
"He's been having episodes of the fast heart rate, and he didn't tell me. Arthur didn't want me to worry. Arthur's been so stressed with this damn situation with his familyI'm sure it hasn't helped his condition."
Percy just continued to hold her as the various Weasleys began arriving. Meanwhile, the Security team had been dispatched and was carefully watching the situation but the Weasleys were being remarkably subdued and behaved.
"I'm going to St. Mungo's," Ron tersely informed Harry.
"Do you think you're wanted there?" Harry asked the Weasley Non Grata.
"Bugger them if they don't want me there. He's my father also, Harry. And as you just reminded me, you consider him your father also. Now will you be coming with me? We should probably tell Teddy," suggested Ron.
"Yes, we need to inform Teddy," agreed Harry.
Teddy was quite upset when he heard about his grandfather and insisted on going to St. Mungo's with them. The three of them were greeted at the door by Bill, who tersely informed Ron that he better behave or Bill would ensure that he did.
"What's that about?" Teddy asked Harry.
"Nothing," Harry lied. "From what I understand, sometimes brothers act like that."
"Oh, ok," Teddy murmured his understanding.
Ron just ignored Harry and Teddy as he was watching a tearful Hermione. She was sitting next to Percy and George, and both of his brothers were talking to her. His ex-wife was noticeably upset and both her hands were resting on her belly. Oh bloody hell; Ron was a trained Auror. He could see that Hermione did care for his father. In that way, the proper way.
Their eyes met, and Hermione flinched.
Bloody hell, he had cared for her, once, a life time ago, when he didn't realize who and what his true inclination was. Ron remembered how Hermione had made his Mum happy as a potential daughter-in-law, and how he believed that would be enough to silence his doubts.
Time to let go. Time to move on. He had only the one parent left after all. Hadn't his indecisiveness and his uncertainty hurt Hermione enough?
"'Moine, I understand that I need to offer my congratulations," Ron carefully offered. "You and dad must be delighted."
A slight hesitant smile as though Hermione feared that she was dreaming their encounter and feared to wake.
"Yes, we both are," she admitted.
"Good," Ron said. "You and Dad deserve to be happy."
And for the record, Ron was giving his blessings because he wanted to do so, not because his cack-handed, overbearing family had guilted him into it.
Thank you very, very much.
Hermione was dreaming. She was standing at the old Burrow, and her belly was quite heavy with Annie Rose. Michael and Keegan were running toward the door and an exhausted Hermione waddled after them. She warned them to behave and wait for her, but naturally they didn't listen.
I'm dreaming! Wouldn't it be nice not to be thirty nine weeks gone?
The boys ran into the open door and Hermione huffed and puffed until she entered the kitchen.
She saw a young teenage boy Fredwith two proper ears and he was hugging both boys and Molly Molly was busy kissing a squirming Michael.
Hermione's heart skipped a beat when she saw Molly.
I'm dreaming of Molly and Fred?
A young, radiant Molly turned to face her and an alarmed Hermione stepped back.
I'm dreaming of Arthur's wife? She looks barely twenty years old, like the wedding picture of her and Arthur on our mantel.
Molly shook her head in disapproval at Hermione's apprehension and she widely opened her arms. Hesitantly, Hermione stumbled towards Molly and she was quickly engulfed in Molly's arms. Before long, Molly was embracing her tightly and soon Fred was hugging her also. They kissed and hung on to each other, and Molly put her hand on Hermione's belly.
Annie Rose kicked her hard and Hermione woke.
Eight minutes before two, she noticed. The other side of the bed was still empty which meant that Arthur still wasn't home from the hospice. Michael and Keegan were deeply asleep next to her, and she tried to make herself comfortable. Well, as comfy as she could, considering Annie Rose was due in three days.
Exhausted, she drifted back into a dreamless sleep.
When Arthur came back to their bed, she woke. It was half past four in the morning.
"Sorry, didn't mean to wake you," he whispered. "What are the boys doing in our bed? You know I don't like our bed being communal. It's supposed to be our little fun spot."
"Just wanted them near," she explained. "Did Molly?"
"Yes, she passed on a little bit before two," Arthur shakily informed her. "She was sleeping and she just stopped breathing. Very peaceful."
She had dreamed of Molly and Fred around that time had Molly been giving them her blessing?
To her surprise, Arthur kissed her on her cheek and tenderly whispered in her ear, "I love you."
Hermione blinked back her tears. It was the first time Arthur had ever said that to her. How bittersweet it was that he could only tell her now, after Molly had passed on.
"I have for the longest time," he assured her. "It didn't feel very proper telling you that while I was still married to Molly."
"I love you too, Arthur," Hermione confessed.
"Do you think we could get married before Annie arrives?" Arthur asked. "The funeral will be two days from now, so maybe we could get married on her due date? Think she'll agree to cooperate and delay her arrival? I want us proper and legal before she's born."
"Is that a proposal?" Hermione asked. "If it is, it is the worst proposal I've ever heard."
"I'm seventy years old, Hermione. If I get down on bended knee, there's a strong possibility that I might not get back onto my feet." Arthur tartly reminded her. "But very well."
He knelt before their bed, and he put his hand on hers.
"Will you do me the honor of being my wife, Hermione?" He asked.
"Better," she teased. "But not very romantic."
"It's four in the morning, love. You want romantic, I'll do my best to give you romantic. I love you and cherish you. I adore how you talk about things I can't even begin to understand. I wish you to be my wife, and I vow that I will treat you with respect and caring. I will be understanding of your wishes and desires, and respect your integrity, your intelligence and intentions. I shall support your dreams and goals. Where there are troubles, I will stand with you. I bring to you a deeply flawed man, who struggles to be the best man he can be, to honor all my commitments. I will do my best by you, Hermione. I swear this is so by my name and my soul"
"That's your commitment vow to me," Hermione reminded him.
"Yes, I was there for it," Arthur teasingly retorted. "I thought I've improved on it."
"But this time it's much nicer," Hermione purred. "Yes, let's get married. We can do it tomorrow, as Kingsley reminded me at our last dinner at Minerva's, that as a former Minister of Magic, he can officiate at weddings. Now get into bed, as I'm tired. I can't sleep when you're not nearby."