So this happened. This one was never quite intended but I still enjoyed writing it.
I'm thinking about a possible sequel to this but I'm not wholly convinced I should for various reasons, so there will be more thought needed before I make a decision.
As always, if you could let me know what you think it would be much appreciated. Yes the last line is a mirror of a previous chapter, no I honestly didn't think people would remember/realise. :P
Ta muchly, Step :)
She was ready.
In reality she had been ready for about twenty minutes but Molly, Fleur and Ginny had been fussing over her and her dress and her shoes and her tiara and other things that she was sure didn't need fussing over.
But in a way she had expected it, she was the bride after all.
They had all left her alone to go and take their places and at her request, just so she could gather her thoughts before she took her place in her wedding. A wedding that only a few short weeks ago she didn't think she would ever be a part of.
She took a deep breath in and smiled, those days were behind her now and she had her whole future with Ron to look forward to. She took one last check in the mirror at her make up and with a satisfied nod at herself she left the bedroom and, very carefully, made her way down the stairs of the Burrow.
The wisdom in her getting changed into her wedding dress three floors up was suddenly thrown into doubt, but she had practiced walking in her wedding shoes so she managed fine and didn't lose any dignity or break anything as she made her way downstairs.
As she rounded the corner on the second floor landing she stopped as voices drifted in on the breeze through the open window.
'Just avoiding the crowds, really. I only just avoided getting crushed in a stampede!'
She managed a small smile at Hermione's comment, she had taken a quick look out of the bedroom window earlier and had seen people running – and that was no exaggeration – back and forth between the house and the marquee and what had to be a magically enhanced van for the amount of stuff that was coming out of it.
Recently she had lost the instant and automatic pang of jealousy in her stomach when ever she thought about Hermione, or Ron talking to Hermione, or if ever Ron mentioned her name, and for a second she waited for it to return, but it didn't and again she smiled. She had no reason to be jealous; today was, after all, her wedding day.
She could tell from Ron's tone that he was being scrutinised. His what was both a question and a plea.
'Nothing. I was just thinking how handsome you looked.'
Instantly she ached to see him all dressed up in his dress robes. She had insisted he decide what he and Harry wore as she wanted him to be as comfortable as possible throughout the day, but she had a feeling he had still gone for a formal look.
'I look like a penguin!'
As much as she knew he was exaggerating she sighed, she hated when Ron put himself down, but knew that it happened most when he was the centre of attention.
'No you don't, you look great.'
She recognised Hermione's need to talk him up because she did exactly the same thing.
She shook her head and realised she really should be making her way down the rest of the stairs but a giggle from Hermione had her staying where she was.
'What?' Ron asked and she found herself glad he had asked the question.
She heard rustling and then Hermione spoke.
'You've got dirt on your nose, by the way, did you know?'
She took in a sharp breath and goose bumps covered her skin even though she wasn't at all cold.
She tuned out the rest of the conversation and tried to make sense of her body's strange reaction to those words.
They rang a bell in her mind but she didn't know where she had heard or knew them from. She closed her eyes and frowned as she tried to think and find connections to getting her answer. But after a couple of minutes and after realising she could no longer hear voices from below the window she shook her head, decided if she couldn't remember instantly why the words would have an effect on her then they couldn't be that important and started - finally - to make her way down the rest of the stairs.
Ginny met her at the bottom with a grin on her face and Mattie's flowers in her hands. After Mattie had made sure that her dress was how it should be she took the flowers off Ginny and waited for Ginny to make sure that everyone was in the marquee and waiting for her arrival.
After a smile and a nod from Ginny she started walking towards the elaborately decorated ceremony venue and she could feel the butterflies in her stomach as she walked.
'You okay?' Ginny asked as they neared the entrance to the marquee.
She nodded and smiled.
'A little,' she replied with a nod and an apologetic smile.
'You are allowed to be, you know!' Ginny said with a laugh. 'Just take a few deep breaths and remember that you're about to marry the love of your life.'
She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. She swallowed down her nerves and nodded.
'Okay, I'm ready to get married.'
Ginny grinned again and Mattie saw the entrance to the marquee being pulled back. She thought it had been magic until she stepped forward and saw two of the many people she had seen running around earlier in the day holding the material back. For a second she was mildly disappointed but the site made her smile and relax a little bit more.
She looked up and saw Ginny walking slowly in front of her and she waited until she was half way down the aisle before setting off.
Not too fast, she said to herself as she started walking. She smiled at the beaming faces which took in every detail of her appearance and finally, after making herself wait for as long as she could to look at Ron, her eyes met his.
She wasn't sure as she was still a bit too far away from him to be certain, but she thought she saw tears in his eyes. She had secretly hoped he might shed a tear and she gave him a smile as she walked up to him.
She smiled at the officiate and then turned to hand her flowers to Ginny.
Ron bent down and gave her a kiss on the cheek. She rolled her eyes at him, the last time they had spoken she had said kissing her on her arrival was cheating and that he should wait until they were husband and wife before doing so.
She tried to listen to what the officiate was saying, determined to remember as much of her wedding as possible - she had been told it would fly by and she wouldn't remember parts of it, and she was starting to see what those people meant. After what seemed like far too long, the words the officiate was saying filtered through to her.
'If anyone here does know of any reason why these two should not be joined in matrimony, please speak now.'
She didn't realise she was holding her breath until her natural instincts took over and forced her to. For a split second she imagined Hermione Granger standing up and declaring her love for Ron in front of everyone and making at scene at her wedding, but no one said a word, no one made a noise and after what had to be the longest five seconds in her life, the officiate started talking.
Something was stirring in her memory and that tight feeling in her stomach returned.
If she was being truthful with herself she had been thinking about Hermione more than she had thought normal since she had awoken that morning, so why was this time ringing alarm bells?
She looked at Ron and smiled trying to ignore the feeling in her stomach.
'Do you, Ronald Bilius Weasley take Matilda Lauren Fergusson to be your wife?'
Ron smiled at her and said firmly, 'I do.'
She smiled and he grinned at her. It was then she saw that the side of his nose had the faintest trace of a smudge on it and suddenly it all came flooding back to her.
You've got dirt on your nose, by the way, did you know?
When she had read Ron's book she had been taken aback by the abruptness of the character that leaves such an impression on the hero of the story that he vows to take the same train every day for just the chance of seeing her again. She had burst into the carriage, nose buried in a book and only spoke to him to tell him...
You've got dirt on your nose, by the way, did you know?
His hero's faith in life and love and everything had been returned because of that woman.
A woman who was, apparently, Hermione Granger.
'Do you Matilda Lauren Fergusson take Ronald Bilius Weasley to be your husband.'
And the words were falling out of her mouth before she could do anything to stop it.
'You've got... dirt... on your nose...'
And in that instant she knew that was it. There were no words that Ron could say that would make her believe that he still didn't love Hermione.
It wasn't that she disbelieved his love for her, it was the fact that she would never be the same to him, would always be his second best and that was something she refused to be. No one deserved that.
For a second she contemplated marrying him anyway because he believed he loved her like he had loved Hermione, but she knew that eventually, some day, some how, he would realise that, too. She wasn't about to set herself up for that particular fall.
Ron, and probably everyone else in the room, was waiting for her to explain her words. She obliged.
'The first words she said to him, 'You've got dirt on your nose, did you know?''
Ron frowned and she saw concern flow over his face.
'Er, Mattie, I know you love my book, but this isn't really the time to discuss it.'
She shook her head and tears filled her eyes.
'Are you okay?' He asked, panic starting to creep into his voice.
'How could I have forgotten?' she said to herself more than Ron.
Maybe she hadn't forgotten, maybe her brain had just refused to let her see the truth.
For some reason tears didn't fall from her eyes but they should have done. Because not only was her heart slowly breaking as her realisation sank in, but she realised she would have to do the same to Ron. For the second time in his life he was about to have his heart broken and she was going to be the one to follow in Hermione Grangers footsteps.
Some part of her was used to it by now.
He tried to get her to explain what was wrong so he could fix it and she tried to explain it to him, to explain why she couldn't marry him but still he refused to let go. She could hear the buzz of the people to her right and she knew, for her sanity, that she had to leave as soon as possible, that she had to close this chapter of her book quickly and concisely.
'It's fiction!' He all be shouted at her and she could see that he knew he was losing the battle.
She took a deep but shaky breath and looked him in the eye.
'Except that it's not, I'm sorry, Ron, I can't marry you. I'm so sorry.'
She turned and ran through the marquee and didn't stop until she reached the apparition boundary at The Burrow. She heard shouts behind her, she thought one of the voices was Ginny's but she didn't listen or stop to explain, she just turned on the spot and with a strangled sob apparated away.
Away from Ron Weasley and to a new life she didn't as yet know.