I am not J.K. Rowling, and I don't own Harry Potter.
Well, this chapter wraps it up, I hope you enjoyed the story! Please go read the other stories from the Big Bang at rhrlove . com (without spaces) they are all just bursting with Ron and Hermione goodness!
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Hermione emerged from the bedroom, wrapping a fresh towel around her hair to absorb a bit more of the ocean of water she always managed to accumulate in the ridiculous mess of curls.
Planning to clean up the mess from, um..."breakfast" before Ron could command her to leave it there or something, she stopped short as she spied an envelope sitting in the middle of the kitchen table.
She spun around sharply at a soft scratching noise behind her, finding to her immense relief that it was only Harry's newest owl, Aldara, perched atop her dish cupboard. She stared at the elegantly poised bird for a few moments, putting her hands on her hips in puzzlement.
"How did you get in here?"
"Who're you talkin' to?"
Ron walked into the kitchen, his words muffled by the towel he had thrown over his head and was rubbing vigorously to dry his hair. His beautiful, silky hair would likely be completely dry in a few moments, the lucky prat. He pulled the towel off of his head, squeaking as he came face to face with Aldara, making Hermione bring her hands up to stifle a giggle.
"Oi, how'd she get in here?"
Hermione rolled her eyes, picking up the envelope on the table.
"I think Harry sent her with a message, it seems as though she's waiting for a reply."
The bird bobbed her head as if she were nodding, Ron slowly backed away from her to stand with Hermione, peering over her shoulder at the letter.
"What's it about?"
Hermione scanned Harry's familiar scrawl for any sign of trouble before going back and reading it more carefully.
"Apparently your mother has trapped him and Ginny into a family dinner at the Burrow. He wants us to come and support them when they break the big news."
Ron nodded, sneaking an arm over her head to take the letter and read it himself.
"More like he wants us there to save his arse when they break the big news."
Hermione shrugged, putting the bowl and spoon into the sink before he had a chance to notice what she was doing.
"Well, however you want to put it, I think we should go."
Ron groaned, turning pleading blue eyes on her.
"But it's my last night of the bet! We can't spend the rest of it behaving ourselves with my family!"
She wanted to laugh at the way he spat out "behaving ourselves" as though she were suggesting he put on a ruffled nightdress and parade through Diagon Alley. But the look of genuine distress on his face gave her pause. She brought her hand up to his cheek, patting softly.
"What if I promise to shag all you want, for another entire week?"
He perked up like she had just told him the Cannons had won the World Cup, the lopsided grin on his face warming her insides. There was something about a truly joyful Ron-grin that lifted up his entire being so that he appeared even taller, more confident. He could do anything with that grin.
"Alright. But since we're wasting the rest of my winnings by going to a bloody family dinner, I have one more request."
She could not possibly have felt any more ridiculous if she had tried.
She had not gotten a chance to do her hair properly, as Ron had fancied having the same thing for lunch as they had enjoyed for breakfast, and the frizzy mass atop her head made her feel like a harpy. She was also fairly certain that her face was red from stubble burn, though at least her cheeks had fared better than the fragile skin of her thighs.
Then, to top it off, there was Ron's demand.
From the overlong scarf looped around her neck to the slouchy hand-knit socks slipping from her ankles, she was dressed entirely in Chudley Cannons orange. The garish T-shirt he had shrunk to fit her even sported a blinking lighted sign proclaiming the superiority of the team.
She kept to the shadows, slinking around the Burrow in the futile hope that no one would notice her. She was forced to cross her arms over her chest to diffuse the obnoxiously bright orange lights.
"Lose a bet, bookworm?"
She jumped, looking up into George's laughing eyes, panic creeping in. Surely he didn't know ... he couldn't know! How could he possibly…?
If Ron had told him ... well, her husband had just better hope that he hadn't said a single word or else she'd...
"Don't worry, darling, orange really suits you. Doesn't it, Ange?"
"Holy shit, what happened to you?"
"I think she lost a bet with Ronniekins."
"Oh, thank Merlin. I was afraid she'd gone mad."
"Well, I wouldn't discount the possibility entirely..."
Hermione lifted her chin in the air as she turned and stomped away, leaving the couple to collapse on each other in a pile of gasping laughter.
She tried to arrange the scarf so that it blocked out a significant portion of the blinking lights as she took a deep breath and entered the kitchen to lend a hand in the meal preparation. She was thankful that nobody had seen the debacle she had made of this morning's breakfast. In fact, she really hoped that everyone would attribute the red in her cheeks to the heat of the kitchen …
As she and Ginny were sent out to lay the table, she took the opportunity to have a private word, resting her hand on Ginny's arm as she leaned in to whisper.
"Is everything alright, Ginny?"
Her sister-in-law beamed at her, happiness bubbling up to overcome the nervousness Hermione had seen edging into her face.
"Everything is perfect."
They shared a smile before Hermione turned away to arrange the silver, blinking back some unexpected tears. It was just that … maybe Ginny was right, and not only regarding herself and Harry. Perhaps everything really was perfect, and had been all along, and she had just been allowing the little unimportant things to pile up around her until she couldn't see over them to the beauty of her life. Her life with Ron.
Mrs. Weasley brought out the food and the entire family descended on the dinner table like a swarm of locusts, demolishing the first platters in a matter of minutes. Mrs. Weasley didn't even blink an eye as she summoned fresh platters from the kitchen, conversations erupting all over the table as everyone settled down to their second plates. The meal went exceedingly well, in Hermione's opinion, as no one else even commented on her odd attire beyond a brief waggle of the eyebrows from Harry.
As Mrs. Weasley returned to the table with the pudding, Harry stood with that air of importance he had been able to command for as long as Hermione could remember. There was something about Harry Potter that demanded attention, and it was Hermione's long-held opinion that he would have done quite well for himself even if he had not been the most famous boy in the Wizarding World. He would have been extraordinary regardless, she was sure of it.
Ginny stood by his side, her arm looped around his waist as she looked over at her parents. Mrs. Weasley sat down heavily beside her husband, Ron diving frantically to save the pudding as she raised the hem of her apron to her face, tears already pooling in her eyes. Hermione looked at Harry expectantly, but it was Ginny who broke the news.
The room was deathly quiet as everyone turned to watch Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. He kept one arm wrapped about her shoulders as she wept noisily, his other hand coming up to swipe at the corner of his eye behind his glasses. Hermione began to feel dread curl in her stomach as the silence stretched on, watching Harry's smile start to wilt at the corners.
Everyone gathered at the table breathed an audible sigh of relief as Mrs. Weasley stood shakily, a joyous smile sparkling through her tears. Mr. Weasley stood behind her, his hands bracing his wife's shoulders as he beamed with pride at their only daughter. Mrs. Weasley took a halting step toward them, and Ginny flew into her arms, melding them into a beautiful mess of love and tears and freckles. Harry edged slowly closer until he was caught up in the fray by Mr. Weasley pulling him into a firm hug. Hermione thought she saw him whispering something into his son-in-law's ear, but she couldn't be completely sure.
Someone produced a bottle of wine and soon everyone was shouting congratulations, battering poor Harry about like a quaffle with friendly slaps on the back as he stumbled from one Weasley to the next.
Ginny was practically carried around the room as each of her brothers hugged her gingerly, as though afraid of damaging the baby. The only one who showed no fear was Bill, whose own child was already asleep upstairs. He laughed loudly at Percy's look of shock as their sister grabbed his hand a held it to her stomach, telling him to feel for himself when he asked her how the baby was doing.
Hermione watched all of this with a kind of wistfulness. Perhaps someday she and Ron would be standing here making the same announcement. She wondered if this was a good time to bring up the subject of children, or if he would just feel pressured to match Harry's "accomplishment."
She found him in the crowd, laughing at something George had said behind his hand as they both watched Harry receive more congratulations. He caught her eye, a wide smile still on his face, and for a frozen moment she saw everything that she had been thinking reflected there in his eyes.
It was far more difficult to leave the Burrow than it had been to arrive, as there was always one more toast going around or one more person to hug or one more joke to be made at Harry's expense. They finally extricated themselves with a bald-faced lie about Hermione's work, practically running out into the garden once they were given the chance.
Popping back to the flat, Hermione wrapped her arms around her husband's waist as he turned the key in the lock, releasing the enchantments protecting their home.
The moment he closed the door they exploded into a flurry of activity as they wordlessly stripped the clothing from each other, flinging it hither and yon all over the living room.
Words were simply unnecessary as they swayed together, holding each other as tightly as possible while they communicated everything that needed to be said with lips and eyes and skin.
Within moments he was lowering her to the couch as he covered her with the warm length of his body. She lifted her hips insistently until he slid inside her and everything was perfection.
Ron nuzzled into the skin of his wife's neck as they melted into the couch, boneless after the hurried post-dinner shag. Groaning loudly, he sat up, shifting her legs out of the way as he stretched his arms over his head.
Blimey, look at the place. Cannons orange decorated every surface as Hermione's clothing was scattered much further than his own. Well, he did have a much stronger arm, he supposed…
A blinking glow under the coffee table told him the location of his favorite game day shirt, which he would need to enlarge back to its original size before the next match. He let his head fall back against the couch, rolling his neck to look at his wife.
She looked exhausted, all shagged out. Her hair was a glorious mess, nearly covering an entire arm of the couch as she lay just where he had left her, panting softly. Heaving a great sigh, she stood slowly and stepped over the orange debris to get to their room.
He followed her, pulling on some pants as she rummaged in her bedside drawer for the small bottle of potion, taking her nightly dose in a familiar ritual.
"You won't always have to take that, you know."
She looked over at him, surprise registering on her face. She couldn't be any more surprised than he was, he certainly hadn't meant to say anything, it had just … come out.
"I mean – if you don't want to…"
He swallowed thickly, his eyes jumping all over her face as he tried to read her expression. He didn't want her to feel pressured or anything…
She set the bottle down on her nightstand and walked around to the foot of the bed where he had perched himself, waiting nervously for her reaction. She stood in front of him, still blissfully naked, and took his hand in hers as she gazed into his eyes.
"What are you saying, Ron?"
He almost lost his nerve, but then he thought of Hermione with a tiny ginger baby in her arms. Not that it had to be ginger, of course. Come to think of it, he probably shouldn't wish that on his child, he didn't want it to feel like just another ginger freckled Weasley in the crowd. No, it'd be better if it had wild curling brown hair, just like its mother. Actually, it would be far better off if it just took everything from Hermione and left him out of it entirely…
Hermione cleared her throat, still looking at him expectantly. He took a deep breath and went for it.
"I just meant that … well, I think you'd make a bloody brilliant mum, Hermione. Y'know, whenever you decide you're ready …"
Something tightened in his chest as her eyes shone wet with tears, her hand closing more firmly around his own. He could tell that she wasn't sad; he'd learned a fair bit about women and tears in the course of his marriage. These were those mental "happy tears" his wife liked to spring on him to keep him off balance.
She took a shuddering breath, those tears rolling down her cheeks as she blinked luminous brown eyes at him.
"Is that what you want?"
He nodded slowly, bringing his free hand up to brush the tears from her cheeks.
"Yeah. 'Course it is, love. Well, I want it someday, sometime in the future when we're a bit more prepared for it. I've been thinking…maybe we should take a look at some houses when our lease is up. Would you – would you like that?"
She nodded firmly, making a visible effort to hold back more tears.
"Yes. I would love that. All of it."
He couldn't control the smile that split his face in two. She wanted it, too. All of it. With him. He pulled her close against him, wrapping his arms around her as he fell back to lay them both out on the bed.
Hermione rested her head on her husband's chest, her mind running at double speed while she struggled to sort out everything that needed to be said. He had been the only one of the pair of them brave enough to bring up the subject of children, a discussion they had been dancing around since Harry had told them the news. Now it was her turn to bring up the other subject they needed to talk about.
"Ron? I-I should tell you that I truly am sorry, for the way I've acted over the past couple of months. I'm not going to make any excuses, but I will do my very best never to treat you that way again."
Ron ran his hand through her hair, sighing deeply.
"Well, it wasn't just you, though, was it? I should've said something sooner, really told you how I was feeling instead of making some stupid bet."
She raised her head, nestling her chin in the center of his chest.
"I can't say that I haven't enjoyed they way you've chosen to collect your winnings."
He grinned at her as he pinched her bum lightly. She laid her cheek back against his chest, feeling it rise and fall with every precious breath.
"We let it get the best of us for a little while, didn't we? Life, I mean."
He nodded, meeting her eyes as she rolled them up to look at him.
"Yeah. But it's alright, as long as we always come back to this."
He held her tight against him, giving away the true meaning of his words.
"This" was them, it was how they should be, how they were meant to be. The way they were when they remembered what was truly important in life. The way they ceased to be just Ron or Hermione and became something so much greater when they were together.
This was everything, and she would never, ever lose sight of that again.
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