1 January 2005—Wedding
Hermione's hands shook as she tried to apply a bit of pink blush to her cheeks. She dropped the brush, cursed under her breath, and laid her hands flat on Molly's vanity. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
"I'm going to pass out," she said hoarsely. Ginny, who held month-old James, shared a smile with Angelina, Fleur, and Audrey. They all sat on the end of Molly and Arthur's bed.
"You weel be fine, ma petite," Fleur told Hermione gently. She handed five-month-old Louis to Audrey and walked over to Hermione, placing both hands on her shoulders. "Come, let me do zis." She reached for the forgotten brush and makeup and sat down facing Hermione.
"I think I'm going to die," Ron said, his voice cracking. "Does anyone else feel hot? I think I can feel my heartbeat in my eyes." He tugged uncomfortably at the collar of his robes, blinking rapidly. Harry, Charlie, Percy, George, and Bill laughed, and Percy got up off of Bill's bed, coming over to straighten the offending garment.
George chuckled and leaned against the wall beside Harry. "Maybe we should just do him in," he said to Harry. "Or at least knock him out. Might make Hermione angry, though."
Harry grinned and took Ron by both shoulders. "Ron, you know you're glad you're doing this."
"No, I bloody well don't!" Ron cried, shaking his head fervently.
"How are we doing?" Molly asked excitedly, coming in the door to her bedroom, followed by Mrs. Granger.
Hermione looked at Molly and Jean, her eyes wide. "I can't do this," she said. "I just can't!" She got up and ran into her mother's arms. Jean looked surprised, but stroked Hermione's hair sympathetically.
"Girls, why don't we give Hermione a moment?" Molly said, gesturing for the others to leave. She took James from Ginny, making cooing noises at him, and then followed her daughter out the door.
Jean smiled at Molly, then looked back at Hermione, who was still wrapped tightly in her arms. "Come here, sweetheart," she said, kissing the top of her head. "Sit with me." She guided Hermione to the edge of the bed and sat down.
"Okay, Ron," Harry said, clapping him on the shoulder. "We're going downstairs. Think you can manage that?"
Ron nodded weakly, unwilling to open his mouth. Harry steered him out the door after his brothers. As they reached the landing, they almost collided with Arthur.
"Oh, Ron, good," he said cheerfully. "Mind if I borrow him, Harry?"
Harry looked exasperated. "All yours," he said, releasing Ron and squeezing past them both.
"Ron," Arthur said. "I've got something I need to say to you."
"Sweetheart, don't you want to marry Ron?" Jean asked.
"Of course I do," Hermione said, her eyes filling with tears. Her mother wiped them away gently with her handkerchief. "I just—I don't know if I'm ready for all this. I'll be with him for the rest of my life! I've never even considered other people! Even Viktor—it's always been Ron," she said.
Jean smiled. "You're right," she said gently, taking her daughter's hands. "It has always been Ron."
Hermione looked up at her mother.
"Ronald," Arthur said, holding one hand on his son's shoulder. "I want you to listen to me, and listen well." Ron nodded. "Hermione is the best girl you could wish for. You're a lucky man, and you can't ever forget that."
"I don't deserve a girl like her," Ron said weakly, shaking his head. "I—"
Arthur grinned. "Now you've got it! And as long as you always do your best to try, you'll be fine. You're a great young man, Ron. I'm proud of you." He hugged his son tightly.
"Dad?" Ron asked as his father pulled away and started down the stairs. Arthur looked back. "Did you deserve Mum?"
"Merlin's beard, no, and I still don't," Arthur said. "But I always try to." And with that, he winked and hurried down the spiral staircase.
"You look beautiful," Molly said, circling Hermione with James in her arms. Hermione smiled, taking her father's arm as he offered it.
"Just one final touch," said Ginny, gently tugging Hermione's dress straight. "Perfect," she said, stepping back to admire the effect. "All right. Time to line up," she said. She hurried over to give James a kiss and went to retrieve Teddy and Victoire.
Percy, Audrey, Bill, Fleur, George, and Angelina stood at the opening of the marquee. Fleur held Louis, and Dominique swung from her father's hand. George, carrying Freddy, stood next to Angelina. Teddy, the ring bearer, and Victoire, the flower girl, stood near Ginny. Hermione smiled at them all.
"Lovely," Bill said, leaning in to kiss her cheek. George winked at her, and Percy squeezed her arm with a broad smile.
"I love you," Jean said, hugging her daughter one last time. She kissed her husband, then left the tiny tent where the bridal party gathered away from the snowy lawn. She and Molly, still holding James, hurried up the aisle to their seats, closely followed by the others.
"Excited?" Ginny asked. Hermione nodded. "Good." She took Teddy and Victoire and went to her place at the opening, and Hermione and her father took their positions. Edward leaned over and kissed his daughter's temple. She smiled up at him, pulling him closer.
Harry saw Bill, Percy, and George getting into their front-row seats with their families, and turned to Ron. "Excited?" asked Harry. Ron stared at him for a moment, then nodded.
"Yeah, I am," he said, a grin spreading across his face.
"Good." Harry glanced at Charlie, who looked over to Luna, seated at her harp, and nodded. She began to play a soft, sweet melody, and Ron pulled his shoulders back, standing tall.
First down the aisle came four-year-old Victoire and six-year-old Teddy. Teddy held a white silk pillow with the rings tied to it, and shuffled along with Victoire, who fastidiously dropped one white petal from her little basket every few feet.
Ron chuckled to himself.
Ginny glanced over her shoulder at Edward and Hermione, and smiled. She began her walk down the aisle, carrying a bouquet of snowdrops and white daisies in her hands. When she reached the altar, she came to Ron, kissed his cheek, and took her place.
Luna's music changed, and the guests all got to their feet and faced the back.
Hermione heard the harp change tune, and looked up at her father. He nodded encouragingly, and she smiled. The guests stood.
"Wow," Ron said softly, his mouth falling open. Hermione seemed to float down the aisle on her father's arm, her face alight with a kind of joy that he had never seen before.
Ron's mouth fell open, and Hermione wanted to laugh aloud. As she walked down the aisle, she saw her friends—Hagrid stood at the very back, tears already pouring down his cheeks; Ernie and a very pregnant Susan, with their two children; Seamus and Katie, with their three boys; Neville and Hannah, newly engaged; Dean, Lavender, and Parvati; all of them smiled at her as she passed.
Near the front, at the seat Hermione had insisted be saved for her with the family, stood Minerva McGonagall, leaning on her walking stick. Tears sparkled in the headmistress's eyes, and Hermione began to feel herself well up.
The dress was the most beautiful thing Ron had ever seen, though he admitted later that he was probably biased because of who was in it. It was completely without ruffles, and hugged Hermione's waist and hips, widening into a skirt that brushed the floor. The sleeves were short, edged with just a hint of lace, and a string of pearls hung at her throat. Her hair was gently curled, but sleek, and hung around her shoulders. Hairpins adorned with pearls held it back from her face. Hermione reached the altar and handed her bouquet to Ginny, her smile brilliant.
Hermione gave Ginny the bouquet and took Ron's hand, unable to stop smiling as she looked into his eyes and stepped onto the stair before Charlie.
"Welcome, everyone," Charlie called. The guests all seated themselves. "We're glad you made it. As you can see, Ron and Hermione picked a wonderful day for a wedding," he joked, gesturing to the clear sides of the tent, where snow covered the ground.
"Rather than recite vows, Ron and Hermione have asked to speak their own, which they will do now," Charlie said. "Ron?"
Ron took a deep breath and held Hermione's hands. "There are a lot of people who should be here with us today," he said. Hermione's chin quivered, and she nodded. "People who loved us all, and who we still love. But there are also a lot of people who are here." He looked out at his family, his classmates, his teachers, and smiled, holding Hermione's hands a little tighter. "And that's pretty miraculous. It's miraculous that so many of us are here, and in love, and—"
Baby James gave a soft wail, and Molly rocked him gently.
"Exactly," laughed Ron, grinning at his nephew. "But the most miraculous thing about it all, Hermione, is that I'm standing here with you. Being with you, knowing you for the last thirteen years is a miracle, and I know that spending the rest of my life with you will be, too. I love you, Hermione, and I always will."
Hermione's lips trembled, and she nodded, tears spilling down her cheeks. She looked up into the air, trying to regain her composure, and noticed for the first time the large, sparkling chandelier that floated magically above the altar, revolving slowly. Her mind flashed back for a moment, and she looked at Ron with a broad smile.
"I should've insisted I go first," she said. Everyone laughed. "Ron, you've found some new way, every day since we've met, to annoy me," she said, smiling. Ron chuckled. "But you've also found a new way to make me fall in love with you. You make me a better person every day. You make my life brighter, and happier, every time you smile at me. I can't imagine not having you to drive me mad and then make me laugh about it, every day. You are the reason I can still smile, and the reason for so much of my happiness." Hermione's voice broke, and she looked down. "You're my miracle, too. I love you more than anything in the world," she whispered. Tears began to well again. "Always."
Ginny wiped a tear from her cheek, holding Victoire's hand. Harry swallowed and lifted Teddy into his arms, carrying him forward with the pillow. Ron reached out and tugged Hermione's ring free. Hermione retrieved Ron's band, and gave both Teddy and Harry a kiss on the cheek.
"Do you, Ronald Bilius Weasley, take Hermione Jean Granger to be your wife?" Charlie asked. "For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, so long as you both shall live?"
"I do," Ron said, his grin wide.
"Place the ring on her finger."
Ron slipped the golden band onto Hermione's hand, where it glittered with her engagement ring, and smiled at her.
Charlie turned to Hermione. "Do you, Hermione Jean Granger, take Ronald Bilius Weasley to be your husband? For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, so long as you both shall live?"
"And longer," Hermione whispered, sliding the ring onto Ron's finger.
Charlie smiled and raised his wand. "Then I do declare you both bonded for life," he said, firing golden sparks into the air. He looked at his brother. "All right, go on."
Ron scooped Hermione into his arms and dipped her back, sharing a long kiss.
"Eww!" shrieked Teddy, and all the guests laughed. Ron and Hermione straightened, and everyone stood, applauding. They smiled at each other and ran back up the aisle, hand in hand, to the cheers of their family and friends.
Holy cats. That's it. So many people I need to thank...but you all know who you are. You've stuck with me this whole way, and I love and appreciate you for it. Thank you for everything. I hope you noticed that Hermione got her chandelier...it was only fair. I hope that I'll continue to hear from you all on my future projects. Your support is everything to me. I hope that no matter when you read these, they'll brighten your day.
Ronald Bilius Weasley + Hermione Jean Granger = 38 letters. 38 chapters of their lives together. :)
And yes, I may have borrowed the heartbeat line from Modern Family. ;) Ron and Luke sort of are the same person.