Disclaimer: And now for the last time, I own nothing! Hi, everyone. Sorry for the wait but life's been busy. And once again, I wanted to add in everything I could to give all of you a satisfying ending.
Also, if Jo ever releases any info that contradicts something I wrote in this chapter, I will most likely go back in at some point and change it. I really want this story to stay as close to canon as possible.
And now with that being said, the end of this story has finally come! I hope you all enjoy it.
-Epilogue: Almost Perfect-
-19 Years Later-
Ron awoke that morning in his favorite way. There was no buzzer or wailing alarm of doom, just the warm gentle rays of dawn's early light and the beautiful face of his still sleeping wife. It was rare for Ron to have the luxury of waking up on his own. Being an Auror meant that he was called away at all hours, but his schedule had gotten a little better since he was made Assistant Head.
That wasn't to say that Hermione's job was a walk in the park either. The Ministry's Wizarding Law Department was known as one of the toughest out there. Their weekdays often consisted of one or both of them waking up far too early and returning home far too late. It was hectic trying to balance their family, careers, and love life, but they had found a way to manage...
"Hey, kids! Who wants to go into work with me and learn how to magic paper airplanes to bonk Uncle Percy in the head?"
Ron cleared his desk with the sweep of his arm as he and Hermione started making out against it.
A warm smile briefly graced Ron's face. He then turned his focus back to Hermione's sleeping form.
Ron lived for days like these. Her wild hair lay in a messy lump on the pillow. Her face was peaceful and relaxed, except for the slight puckering of her lips. It always looked like she was expecting to be kissed. Ron didn't see that expression on her often, but it made him smile when he did.
Ron gently reached out and caressed her soft cheek with his hand. Her dark eyelashes fluttered for a moment, and Ron moved in and kissed her before she could completely open her eyes.
"Hmmm…mmm!" she hummed happily, returning the kiss. Ron then reached both his arms around her and cuddled her close to him under the covers.
When they finally broke apart, Hermione muttered, "Well good morning to you, too."
Ron laughed good-naturedly and gave her another peck on the cheek.
"It sure is," he replied as Hermione reached out and started playing with his red hair.
They lay there for a moment, simply soaking each other in. Until Hermione finally broke the silence when she sadly said, "So, it's here… The big day has finally arrived."
"Oh come on, now. Don't be like that, love. This is a big day for Rose. You should be excited!" grumbled Ron as he snuggled closer to her.
"I know, but I can't help it. My baby is going away!"
Ron sighed into her bushy hair and replied, "I know."
Hermione was very attached to her children. She was a wonderful and devoted mother. Above all else, family came first for Ron and Hermione; no matter how taxing their work became.
Their little girl was finally old enough to go to Hogwarts. An entirely new chapter in her life was about to begin, and Ron and Hermione would not be around to experience it with her.
Ron thought back to when their Rosie-bud had been born. They had decided to wait a few years after getting married to start a family, because they wanted to save up enough to be able to provide for their children. As much as Ron loved his entire family, he knew how hard a large one was to maintain. No matter how good the parents were, one child would always feel neglected at some point. It was something that Ron was quite determined to make sure his children never felt.
On the flipside, Hermione knew what it was like to have everything you could ever want and yet have no one to share it with. When she was a little girl, Hermione was very lonely. She never got along with children her own age. The few cousins she had, lived a great distance away from her family, and were a great deal older. Hermione had begged her mother to have another child, but it wasn't meant to be. Hermione was quite determined to have more than one child. So after much discussion, they settled on having two.
Since they decided on having only two, Hermione thought it would be nice to use the first letter of each of their names to develop new ones for their children. Their first baby's name would start with an "R" and their second with an "H." Ron would have final say on what the first baby's name would be, and Hermione would have the second. After James was born, Ron and Hermione felt that it was time to start their family as well.
Hermione's first pregnancy had not been easy. Their little Pepper-pot was quite the kicker. When Ron would touch Hermione's stomach, it felt like someone beating on a drum. Rose was always moving around and her boundless energy within Hermione's womb made his poor wife very queasy.
Rosie made it quite clear that she was determined to enter the world as soon as possible. It fact, she came a little too early, by say almost a month.
It was very touch and go for a long time if their Rosebud was going to make it. But she seemed to have inherited both her parents' stubbornness and just kept right on going.
But still… she was so small.
In fact, she was so tiny that she just fit snuggly into the palms of Ron's hands. She'd look up at him with her wide brown eyes and shake her little fist at him, until her face was as red as her hair.
Yes, their Rose had come with a little tuff of curly red, right out of the womb.
Luckily for the two of them, Hermione's second pregnancy had gone a lot smoother. But the two of them were still quite protective of Rosie, because for a while, they had come very close to losing her.
To Ron and Hermione, it all seemed such a short while ago. But eleven years seemed to have flown by in an instant and now their baby was going off to Hogwarts.
"Cheer up, love," said Ron, trying to sound optimistic. "Just think of all the cool new stuff she's going to learn! Not to mention the chance to make new friends and play Quidditch; she's gotten really good at being Chaser. And the books! Hogwarts' library will be mesmerizing for her; she'll love it! "
"I know there's a lot of good at Hogwarts, but so many horrid things happen there as well. What if a troll gets in again or another monster? We won't be there to protect her…"
"You've got a point," mumbled Ron as he burrowed deeper into his wife's hair. "But we can't protect her from everything, love. She'd never have a life if we did that. We've taught her well, and now's the time to trust her to fly on her own."
"Oh, Ron… It's just so hard…"
"Yeah…" he replied, knowing that it was easier said than done.
After lying in bed for a few more minutes, Hermione finally grumbled, "Well… we'd better get up or we're going to be late."
"Grrr… I hate time and deadlines," Ron complained as he climbed out of bed and cracked his back. "Hermione, can you make a batch of new Time-Turners that can stop it?"
His wife just rolled her eyes at him and sarcastically replied, "Sure, I'll see what I can do."
"Great! George and I can sell them in the shop and we'll make a fortune!"
Hermione's laughter filled the bedroom as Ron took his window of opportunity to slip into the bathroom.
"Hey!" Hermione exclaimed just as he shut the door. "I wanted to go first!"
"Yah snooze, you lose. First rule you learn in a house of nine, love!" called Ron as he walked over to the sink and turned it on.
Ron got out his toothbrush and started scrubbing his teeth. He looked at his reflect in the mirror with a smile. At long last, he was no longer the gangly, awkward kid he had once been. Ron had finally grown into his features. His skin was not quite as pale as it used to be. And many of his very prominent freckles had faded over time, along with his scars from the brain attack. Over the years, he had collected several other scars on his fit body, but none that overly severe. His red hair was cut fairly short, but it was still long enough that he could run his hand through it. And although his hairline had not receded, Ron would unfortunately find a gray hair mixed in with the red every once and awhile.
When Hermione found out, she told him not to worry, because gray hair on a man was considered distinguished. But Ron still felt quite old because of it.
That was until Harry mentioned one day that he also had them.
Ron's response to this was not what Harry had expected…
"You! I- this is your fault, you bloody prat! All these years of worrying about you and your stupid stunts have turned me gray!"
Needless to say, Harry got his arse handed to him that day.
Ron brushed away the slightly curled bit of hair that had fallen in front of his face. His eyes were, of course, the same light blue they had always been, but a few wrinkles now resided at their sides. Overall, for an Auror of his age, he was in pretty good shape.
He spit out the toothpaste into the sink and made his way over to the tub for a nice long shower.
After giving Hermione the bathroom and getting dressed, Ron made his way down the stairs to get breakfast started. He leisurely strolled into the well-lit kitchen of their two-story townhouse and put the kettle on the electric stove.
Ron looked out the large kitchen window at their backyard. He smiled at the bees as they jumped from flower to flower in the little garden Hermione had planted. Crookshanks, their old fart of a cat, sat lazily in the sun lit garden watching the bugs fly by. Crooks was a very old cat and had probably lived so long because he was half-Kneazle. He and Ron had come to a truce over the years. But Crooks was far too old for Rose or Hugo to take to school.
Rose was quite alright with that, since she really didn't like cats. So she had decide to take their owl, Pen. The only problem was that Hugo absolutely adored cats. So it looked like that when he went off to school, they were going to have to get another bloody cat. Ron was not looking forward to that. But he would put up with another ball of annoying fur, if it made his son happy.
Ron shook himself out of his thoughts and went to pour himself a cup of the freely brewed tea. He then walked toward the window and peered at the Muggle houses surrounding them. Married life, Ron discovered, was all about compromise. After much discussion, Ron and Hermione decided to settle in a small Muggle community just outside of London. That way, Hermione's parents could visit them easier and their children would be exposed to both worlds. While the outside of their house appeared quite normal by Muggle standards, the inner was a fusion of Magical and Muggle. If any of their Muggle neighbors visited, all the Magical elements could be easily hidden with a simple wave of the wand.
In short, they made sure their children were exposed to and experienced the best that both worlds had to offer.
And surprisingly, Ron took to acting like a Muggle rather quickly. He enjoyed exploring and learning about the world Hermione had come from.
In many ways, Muggle technology was a kind of magic within itself. And Ron was rather quick to use it to both the Ministry's and Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes advantage. He had even gone as far as taking a Muggle driving test, which he had passed just yesterday. He really wanted to be able to drive Rosie to King's Cross station for her first trip to Hogwarts.
Harry had helped him quite a lot to prepare…
"Uh…Ron I'm not so sure about this…"
"Oi, stop being a twat. I have to practice, don't I? And who better to do it with than you?"
"Mate, I'm flattered, really. But I would like to remind you that the last time you drove me anywhere, we slammed into a tree that could hit back."
"Details, details… what's the worst that could happen now?"
Needless to say, that little excursion had made Harry jittery for a week. But that was a story for another day.
Ron's usually supportive wife had mercilessly teased him that he wouldn't be able to pass without resorting to magic.
And as loath as he was to admit it, in the end he had.
But, seriously though, he could use a Supersensory Charm in place of the stupid mirror.
Anyway, it was a beautiful sunny day; one that Ron was quite ready to spend with his family.
As he looked out the window, Ron suddenly smiled and put down his cup of tea. He slid open the window just in time for Pen, Pigwidgeon's son, to fly in with both The Daily Prophet and the local Muggle newspaper.
"Good job there little mate," said Ron, patting the owl on the head and then giving him a treat.
The small owl wagged his tail and gave a hoot of approval before flying off again.
Ron sighed to himself as he picked up his tea and the newspapers and made his way into the living room.
As he entered, his favorite objects in the house caught his eye. He put down his mug and the papers onto the side table and walked over to the fireplace.
Hanging on the wall above, was a massive portrait of his parents, brothers and sister, their spouses, and all their children. Ron smiled softly as he watched his mother and father laugh. They were in Romania right now, trying once again to convince Charlie that it was time to settle down and get a wife. But Ron really didn't think his brother was ever going to do that. They were supposed to have been home a few days ago, but a bad storm blew in, preventing them from making it home in time to see Rose and Al off to Hogwarts. When he had last talked to his mother, she was devastated. But it simply wasn't safe for them to travel right now. They were both getting on in years and it wasn't a risk Ron or the rest of the family were willing for them to take.
"It'll be okay," Ron told his mum, "Besides, it'll be more personal if Hermione, Ginny, Harry, and I are the only ones there. They are our kids after all! This is our big moment here!"
His mum just laughed at him and finally agreed.
Ron then looked at the two pictures hanging next to the large one, the first was of his own family of four, his little Rose was standing in front of Ron while Hermione held baby Hugo in her arms.
The second was a photograph of both Ron and Harry's families together. James was making stupid faces at the camera and clinging onto Al as Ginny scolded him. Al was trying to push his brother off while Rose was preparing to sock James to get him to let go of Al. Hugo was looking up to the sky in both disgust and amusement. Hermione was trying to hold Rosie back from socking James. Teddy patted Harry's back as he banged his head against the wall behind him. And Ron simply laughed merrily beside the anguished Harry as Lily rolled around on the floor in hysterical laughter.
Needless to say, both the Potters and Weasleys were permanently banned from ever returning to "Mystical Memories Photography" from now until the end of time. They did get one picture of the two families that was fairly decent, but both Ron and Hermione preferred this one. It pretty much embodied everything they loved about life.
The Potters and Weasleys were two very closely knit families. The depth of the trio's friendship spread over to include Ginny, and then to Teddy, and then finally enveloped their children as well. Just about every other weekend they were at one another's houses. Harry and Ginny now lived in Grimmauld Place after much remodeling.
"Wow, George was not kidding about the strength of this magical paint thinner!"
"AAAHHH," screamed the portrait of Mrs. Black, "I'm melting! I'm melting! What a world! What a world!"
Ron snorted at the memory thinking, "Serves her right. Permanent Sticking Charms be damned!"
Much like Ron and Hermione's home, theirs was a fusion of both Muggle and Magical. Though, theirs leaned a bit more on the Magical side because no one could visit them if they weren't invited. This aspect of Grimmauld Place became quite handy when Harry's fame reached mammoth proportions.
But once again, that was a story for another day.
Ron then moved on to look at the other pictures sitting on the mantle. The largest one was of their wedding and it sat proudly in the middle. There was one of Hermione's parents holding Rose. Another one was of Bill and Fleur with their two beautiful daughters and son. Next to that was one of Charlie, with of course, a dragon. After that was one of Percy, looking all prim and proper with his wife and daughters.
And then… there was a picture of George and Angelina with their children. George had a very rough time after the war. Ron worked at the shop to keep an eye on his brother. Little by little, he, Angelina and Lee were able to put George back together again. It was not easy. There were times when Ron had seriously consider returning to Aragog's old lair and search for the Resurrection Stone. Just to… just so he could talk to Fred for a few seconds, and ask what he should do to help George. But Ron knew that Fred would never forgive him if did such a thing. And there… and there was also the possibility that Ron wouldn't have the strength to send his brother back to the land of the dead after he used it.
Ron felt a shiver travel down his spine at the thought. The trio had made a silent pack that they would never speak of the stone again, especially in George's presence.
His brother was still not as extravagant as he used to be, but George eventually found a way to be happy again. Ron had learned a lot about George and business in general by working at the shop. Yes, he had grown to believe in himself a lot more over the years. Not only did Ron have more confidence in his appearance, but also in his abilities as well. Managing "Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes" helped him realize that he was smart, creative, and strong.
He had a lot to offer the world, especially the Auror Department. After the war, the Ministry was left in shambles. Minister Kingsley went to the Weasleys' homestead and asked if Harry would join the Aurors. Harry, being the noble prick that he was, accepted. Much like the destroyed fountain in the main hall, the Ministry was being rebuilt from the ground up.
After Ron was sure George was stable enough to survive on his own, he joined the Aurors. Ron knew exactly what he was getting into when he signed up. He would always be considered second best, as simply part of Harry's shadow.
Ron then moved over to sit at his Wizard's Chess Set that sat next to Hermione's many bookshelves. He reached over and picked up the Black Knight and held it firmly in his hand.
You see, the reality of it was, he was counting on that misconception. If he was viewed as just Potter's lackey, then he wouldn't be considered a threat.
The underestimation of Ron's true abilities had proven to be quite vital to the stability of the Ministry as well as Harry's life. In Auror Training Camp, Ron came to the realization that when it came to war, Professor Snape had the right idea.
It took a lot for him to admit that, but it was undeniably true.
One could not limit themselves to be simple Gryffindor or Slytherin.
A true knight had to have the intelligence of a Ravenclaw, the courage of a Gryffindor, the cunning of a Slytherin, and the determination of a Hufflepuff.
Harry might be the literal figurehead of the Auror Department, but Ron was in charge of a great many things people didn't realize.
While their enemies were watching and fearing Harry, Ron would sneak up behind and take them out.
You would think that would be hard for a 6 foot ginger to do, but Ron had become quite the master at misdirection.
Very few people in the Ministry knew that Ron was the actual Head of Ministry Security. On the books it was a man with a different name, but in reality, Ron pulled all the strings.
He was also the unofficial representative for the Auror Department to the Department of Mysteries. Ron wielded his anonymity like a physical weapon.
Ron had long since grown out of his want for acceptance and social recognition. He knew how great he was, and so did his family and friends. And that was all he needed.
Both Ron and Harry loved the fact that they were luckily enough to work together. And through all the trials and tribulations life continually threw at them, they were still as close as brothers. As far as Ron was concerned, the best thing about Harry and Ginny getting married was now he could officially call his friend, brother.
Ron looked up at the picture of the two of them that sat on the bookshelf to his right. It was taken the day of the Ministry's Interdepartmental Quidditch Championship. Ron and Harry were Keeper and Seeker for the great "Ornery Aurors." Their images were laughing and joking, it had been a great day. Harry once confided in Ron that he was a little disappointed he never got to try out for a professional Quidditch team. So Ron and Hermione pulled some strings to help establish a Ministry Quidditch League in order to promote team building and other such nonsense. Being able to play Quidditch on a semi-regular basis really lifted Harry's spirits. But when Ginny had flown for the Holyhead Harpies, Ron could tell Harry still longed to be up there with her.
Ron laughed to himself as he thought of the time his little sister tried to hex him into submission to wear her team's jersey.
"Sorry, Gin. But I'm a Cannons fan through and through!"
Luckily, Hermione and Harry came up with a reasonable compromise before Ginny ran him through and through. On days that the Chudley Cannons were playing anyone other than the Harpies, Ron was allowed to wear his jersey. On days that the Harpies were playing, he would wear Gin's number. And on the days when they were both playing or going against each other, Ron would just wear his Quidditch World Cup t-shirt.
But that promise had been made years ago, and since Ginny had retired and started writing her Sports column for The Daily Prophet, Ron was once again allowed to wear his Cannon's pride whenever he wished.
And with that happy thought, Ron placed the Black Knight back on the chessboard and looked around the living room. There were so many wonderful memories held within, it really was his favorite room in the house.
Ron's attention was then drawn to the form of his son, Hugo, as he trampled down the stairs.
"Hey, Dad," he said merrily, taking the seat opposite Ron at the chessboard. "What yah doing?"
"Just taking a trip down memory lane," he replied, reaching out to ruffle his son's red hair.
Hugo's hair was much darker and tamer than Rose's; it was more of a reddish brown with only a slight curl to it. While both their children seemed to have inherited Hermione's temperament and brain (though his wife still insists that they were intelligent because of him, too), they had also received Ron's Quidditch skills and sense of humor. Ron found both his children to be brilliantly wicked, and he loved them with all his heart. Every day, they'd seem to find a new way to amaze him.
Whereas Rose had Hermione's brown eyes and build, Hugo had gotten Ron's baby blues and lanky form. His son had also developed a love for chess. Rosie liked the game, but Hugh really had Ron's passion for it. Hugo's first display of magic had even been linked to chess.
You see, when Ron's son was very young; he threw a tantrum one day after his father beat him at a game. Hugo was so angry, that he somehow made his white queen grow tall enough for her head to reach the ceiling. Needless to say, this event did not stir up fond memories for Ron, especially when the white queen bent her head to stare down at him.
Overall though, Hugo was the calmer and more reserved of his children, but neither of his children was considered 'wild' by any means. It was a fact for which Ron thanked both Merlin and Godric for every single day, especially when he had to help look after the Wrecking Crew named Al and James.
"So what are you doing up so early little mate?" asked Ron as he looked questioningly at his son. "You're not still sad about staying home while Rosie goes off to Hogwarts, are you?"
His son just shrugged and started playing with the white chess pieces on the board. "Well… no, not really. Not after the talk we had yesterday… You were right, I was worried about just being seen as Rose's little brother. But Lily and I will be in the same boat and I guess we'll simply have to make new names for ourselves together."
"You will son," said Ron confidently as he placed a supportive hand on Hugh's shoulder. "But always remember that you define who you are, not others."
"Yeah, Dad. I know…" replied Hugo, blushing slightly. "But that really isn't why I came down here."
"Yeah, it's… Rosie. She's acting strange…" said Hugo as he rubbed his neck nervously. "I think she's the one who needs the pep talk today, Dad."
"Really? She seemed perfectly fine last night," asked Ron worriedly. "She was practically bouncing off the walls in excitement. Though… I did find it odd that she didn't wake your mum and me up, right at first light. "
"Well, I just went in to check on her and to… you know, say goodbye. But for some reason she won't get out of bed," he admitted with concern. Ron really loved how well his children got along with each other. It had surprised him at first, remembering what his family had been like. But when Ron thought about it, Rose and Hugo had a similar relationship to what he and Ginny had when they were younger. It wasn't until school started that they became really hostile toward each other. It had taken a long time, but he and Gin seemed to have finally gotten back to the way they were before. Ron sincerely hoped that school would not cause the same kind of rift to form between his children.
Ron didn't need to focus on hypothetical problems right now, because there already seemed to be one with Rosie-bud that needed to be fixed.
But before Ron could answer his son, Hermione came running down the stairs. When she reached the bottom, she looked at the pair and let out a frustrated sigh.
"What on earth are you two doing just sitting round?" she exclaimed with annoyance. "Ron, I thought you were making breakfast. We've only got an hour left before we have leave. At this rate, we're going to end up being late!"
Ron and his son glanced at each other and sighed; neither one were too concerned about their punctuality.
"Yeah, yeah, I know, love. Hugh, go help your mum in the kitchen. I'm going to check on Rosie and we'll be down in a couple of minutes," said Ron as he sat up from his chair and stretched. He then walked passed Hermione and started to make his way up the stairs.
"Ron… is something wrong?" asked Hermione as he passed.
"No, nothing major. Rosie-bud just seems to be having a few pre-Hogwarts jitters," replied Ron as he took the stairs two at a time. "Don't worry about it, love. I'll handle it this time."
"Well… okay. Just try not to take too long!" called Hermione as he reached the second floor and made his way down the hall.
The room all the way at the back of the main hall was Rose's. It was decorated in a beautiful garden motif that Luna had happily agreed to paint for them. Rose's name was painted on the door with vines wrapping around the letters. As Ron opened the door, the mural of a flowering field with a family of red-headed Quidditch players and a dark haired boy with glasses, caught his eye. The painting always made him smile; especially because of the girl with the dark hair and the ginger cat sitting under the tree in the corner watching them.
Ron then turned his attention to the bed, where a big lump was curled up in the middle.
"Pepper-pot!" called Ron as he walked around the room, "Rosie-bud! How very odd… it seems my daughter has gone missing."
A snort from under the pile of covers was his only reply.
"Of all the things to happen! On this day of all days! Now Hogwarts will be deprived of the most intelligent witch of all time!" exclaimed Ron dramatically as he flopped down onto the bed next to the lump.
The pile of covers just inched away from him and said nothing.
"And Al! Oh, poor little Al! He'll be left to sit all by himself on the train. The poor specky git will be lost and alone without his best friend and cousin. He will sit there, a pitiful lump of despair and depression. Woe, woe I say, for the poor Pottery spawn!"
"GAHHH!" roared the covers as Rosie suddenly burst forth from the pile. "Will you please shut up, Dad! I'm really not in the mood for games right now…"
"Oi! Watch that mouth. Don't you tell your loving devoted father to shut up!" said Ron indignantly.
Rosie's response to this was to stick her tongue out at him.
"How rude and unladylike!" gasped Ron, pretending to be shocked.
He then reached out to his daughter and started tickling her while asking, "What would your mummy say? Huh? Huh?"
"Daddy!" she squealed with laughter trying to escape. "You're such a royal git! I'm having a serious crisis here!"
"Oh, all right, all right," relented Ron as he sat back on her bed and slung a loving arm around her shoulders. "So you want to talk to your dear old dad about why you're in such a rotten mood?"
Rosie just sighed and looked away with a shrug.
"Well… there as to be something bothering you, because just yesterday you couldn't wait to leave for school," stated Ron. "Heck, you've been wearing your Hogwarts' robes for the last three days. What changed all of a sudden?"
Rose just looked down and started to play idly with the bed sheets.
"I don't know… I just don't want to go anymore. That's all…"
Ron gave her a very skeptical look.
"Grr!" Rosie growled irately, "Okay, I'm scared all right!"
"And if I'm scared, then how on earth am I going to get into Gryffindor?"
"Rosie-bud, being a Gryffindor isn't about being fearless. It's about having the strength to face what you're afraid of."
Rose just snorted and looked away from her father, "Easy for you to say. You're already a hero, Dad."
This caused Ron to burst out in boisterous laughter.
Rosie turned back and glared at him in annoyance. "I'm being serious here!"
"I know you are! I'm sorry it's just… it may not seem like it, but I had the same worries!"
"Come on, Dad…"
"No, really Rosie. I was both terrified and excited about going to Hogwarts. I was a total knot of tension. Thanks in no small part to the lies I was told by your Uncles George and Fred…"
This made Rose laugh for a moment and Ron then continued on, "My entire family had practically been sorted into Gryffindor before me. How would it look, if I was the first one not worthy of the title?"
"Exactly!" exclaimed Rosie as she jumped to her feet, "It's a lot of pressure!"
"I know! I felt I had to be better than all my brothers before me."
"Yeah, well cousins, famous aunts, uncles, and parents aren't a cakewalk either," added Rose with a huff.
"I know, sweetheart… it's a lot of pressure. You… do know I've only been joking about you having to get into Gryffindor, right?"
Rosie just shrugged and turned away from her father nervously.
"Yeah… of course I do…"
"Oh, Pepper-pot. I'm so sorry," apologized Ron as swept his daughter up into a big hug. "I can be a big insensitive prat sometimes…"
"Sometimes?" asked Rose teasingly as she hugged her father back.
"Oi! You've got quite a mouth on you little one," exclaimed Ron as he ruffled his daughter's wild red hair.
"Yeah, wonder where on earth I got that from, huh?"
"Jeeze Rosebud, you are really getting good at this!" complimented Ron as he released his daughter.
"Thanks," she chirped, but then her voice became serious once again, "I know you didn't mean it, Dad. You were only trying to help by making a joke of it to lessen the tension."
"Yeah," agreed Ron with a sigh, "I can't help it sometimes; it just seems to spill out of me when I'm nervous. And I am- but not because you might not get into Gryffindor! I… just am going to miss you Pepper-pot."
"Daddy…" whispered Rosie as she launched herself at her father. "I'm gonna miss you, too."
They stood there hugging for a moment, and part of Ron wished he could hold on to his baby girl forever. But he knew she was destined for great things. And it was time to let her fly…
When Ron finally pulled back, he placed his hands on Rosie's shoulders. "Whatever house you end up in honey, I'll be proud of you. You tell the sorting hat to put you wherever you think is best, okay?"
"Thanks, Dad…" said Rosie, still looking a bit unsure, "But Mum told me the hat picks for you."
"It does have the final say, dear. But it also takes into account what you want as well."
"Huh…" said Rose as she looked away ponderingly for a moment and then back at her father. "How do you know that?"
"That… is a question you should ask Uncle Harry…" replied Ron vaguely as he gave his daughter's shoulder a reassuring squeeze. "Now… is there anything else troubling you about going to Hogwarts?"
"I… well…" Rose answered hesitantly as she once again glanced away from her father, "Oh, rats. When did you become all perceptive, Dad?"
"Your mum has a way of rubbing off on people," answered Ron as he took his right hand off her shoulder and pointed his finger at her chest. "Now, spill young lady."
"Well… it's… uh, f-friends…" stuttered Rose as she forced the words from her mouth, "You know my track record making them has never been very… well good."
Ron mentally sighed to himself as he remembered back to when Rosie went to a Muggle Preschool a few years ago. Hermione really wanted their children exposed to both Muggle and Magical education systems. Like her mother, Rosie seemed to get along better with the boys than the girls. The girls just seemed to think she was odd. It hurt Hermione so, because a similar thing had happened to her as well. Rosie so wanted to be friends with everyone that she drew pictures for the entire class… that she had magically made to move.
It was Rose's first display of accidental magic, and it broke both Ron and Hermione's hearts to have to take her out of the school. Both Hugo and Rose were home schooled by a tutor from that point on. So it made sense that Rosie was apprehensive about the same thing happening again now.
"Oh, Rosie. Mummy and I explained it to you though. They didn't understand that you were a witch and it scared them. The same thing won't happen at Hogwarts…"
"But it did to Mum!" cried Rose as tears started to form in her eyes. "She told me last night when I went to bed, about how long it took for her to make friends! And I don't think I'm going to have a bloody troll attack on my side this time!"
"Rose Weasley!" exclaimed Ron in surprise, "That is not the only reason Uncle Harry and I became friends with your mother!"
"No buts! You may not believe it, but I think you are quite good at making friends."
"Oh, yeah?" challenged Rosie with a snort, "Name one."
"Al," answered Ron with complete confidence.
"Dad. He's my cousin. He's family. Al doesn't count!" she explained rationally, trying to make her father see reason.
"What about James? He's your cousin and you aren't friends with him," pointed out Ron.
"That's because James is an arrogant twat!"
"True," laughed Ron as he thought of mischievous nephew, "But he is family, as you put it; just like Al. So by your logic, shouldn't you be friends with both of them?"
"I- well… huh. I guess I didn't think about it that way," replied Rosie in surprise.
"It's okay, honey. I get why you're scared," said Ron reassuringly. "When I went to Hogwarts, I thought the only reason people would be nice to me was because they were friends with my brothers."
"Oh come on now, Dad," said Rose in disbelief, "You've always been good with people. Just look how fast you became friends with Uncle Harry on the train."
Ron laughed at his daughter and said, "Just because Harry and I sat together on the train, dear, did not mean we had already decided to be best friends for life. And I would also like to point out, that other than your mother and uncle; I really didn't have that many close friends at Hogwarts."
"I- but-" replied Rose as she tried to break past her speechlessness. "But- you're so cool! Who wouldn't want to be friends with you?"
"Well trust me Rosie-bud, not many people thought so then. I was quite invisible, poor, and unpopular."
Rose looked up at her father in shock.
"Yup, but regardless of all that; your Uncle Harry and I just seemed to click. In much the same way you and Al did the first time…. "
Ron thought back to first time they put Rose and Al in a playpen. They took one look at each other and immediately started laughing and playing together. The two children had pretty much become a duo from that moment on.
"You're Al's best friend because he likes you for who you are. It has nothing to do with family. And it may take a little while, but I'm sure you'll make more good friends at Hogwarts as well. The main thing to remember about friends, Rosebud; is that it's the quality, not the quantity."
"What do you mean?"
"I've known people with tons of friends, but when things got rough, none of them stuck around to help them. You are a great judge of character Rose; I can already tell. I'm sure you and Al will find true friends that will last through the rest of both of your lifetimes."
"Oh, Daddy," said Rose as she launched herself at her father to give him one last hug. "You're just so full of it sometimes."
"WHAT? Hey, I'm trying to be inspirational here you little brat!" he exclaimed and started tickling her mercilessly again.
After a few minutes, Ron finally let up and asked, "So, are you ready to take Hogwarts by storm now?"
"I guess so," laughed Rose as she got up and looked at the clock.
"Oh no, it's almost time! We're going to be late! Oh, where are my robes!" she gasped and started frantically digging through her trunk.
"Crisis averted," thought Ron as he walked toward the door. "Don't worry kiddo. We'll get you to the station on time."
"Thanks Dad, I-" she started to say, but then stopped for a moment. "I'm going to miss you."
"Me too, honey," said Ron with a smile. "But don't worry. We'll all be here when you get back."
"I know… But is… is Hugh going to be okay? I mean…"
Ron laughed, walked over, and ruffled her hair again. Rosie was a good big sister.
"I'm sure he'll be fine. Mum, Aunt Ginny, Uncle Harry, and I are going to take him and Lily around Diagon Alley after we drop you off so they don't feel left out."
"Awww! That sounds like fun. I want to go, too," she replied with a pout.
"Sorry Pepper-pot, but you can't have it both ways."
"Yeah, you're right," she sighed and turned back to her trunk. "But you better send me some Chocolate Frogs, okay? I still have to find Hufflepuff and Uncle Neville's cards!"
"You don't have to tell me twice," he laughed and turned to leave the room.
"Now get going!" Ron exclaimed as he shut the door, "The Hogwarts train waits for no man, even the Great Harry Potter; which I unfortunately know from firsthand experience!"
And with that, Ron left the room.
The Weasley family quickly ate breakfast and rushed out of the house in a flurry of feathers and chaos.
As Ron drove, he made several smug comments about how safely he was driving. He and Hermione exchanged their normal banter in the car, making their children laugh. Ron found a nice parking spot a few blocks down from King's Cross railway station. The family then quickly found a trolley and made their way through the crowd. People and merchants were scattered about throughout the place as always. Ron had to try quite hard to contain his laughter when he saw several Muggles look at them strangely for having an owl in a cage.
And then, there it was: Platform 9 and ¾.
It had been such a painfully long time since Ron had seen it. But there it was, just as stationary as ever. It gave him a profound feeling of nostalgia. Ron then turned to look at his wife and noticed she had the same pensive expression on her face.
So many memories…
"Uh, Mum? Dad? Earth to Dad!" yelled Hugo snapping Ron out of his reverie. "You two can reminisce about the good old days later! We're gonna be late!"
"Oh, right. Sorry. Okay, Hugh and Rosie. Take tight hold of the trolley and run right at the divider. Your mum and I will be right behind you."
The two siblings gave each other wide grins, grabbed the cart, and took off at a fast run. The second they hit the pillar they were taken to the platform.
"After you, madam," said Ron to Hermione with a bow. She just laughed at his silly antics and made her way through with Ron following close behind.
The Weasleys then wove their way through the many groups of families sending their children off to Hogwarts Academy. The large, red train filled the station with smoke. It was just as impressive as Ron remembered it.
Finally, they came to a stop at the back of the very last carriage.
"I think this is a good place to wait for Harry and Ginny, they'll most likely be late trying to rein in the Wrecking Crew," said Ron using his nickname for James and Al.
"Oh, Ron," scolded Hermione with a roll of her eyes. "They are not that bad."
"Do I have to remind you what they did to our living room that one time, or why Al's bedroom still smells a bit like burnt troll dung?"
Hermione opened her mouth to respond but quickly closed it, knowing there was nothing she could say in defense of that.
Ron smirked knowing that he had won. James and Al acted very much like Ron and the twins had at that age. James teased and argued with Al constantly, and while Lily was a bit of a trouble maker, the youngest Potter was nothing compared to the Wrecking Crew. The two having earned the title when James, in his first display of magic, made the entire wall between his and Al's room disappear. Al retaliated a few weeks later with his first display of magic by blowing James up like a balloon and kicking him around the house. Needless to say, the Potter home was in ruins and two little boys got their arses good and grounded. And since then, the brothers were known throughout the Weasley family as the Wrecking Crew.
Ron sighed as he remembered how distraught Harry had been over that incident….
"I don't get it," said Harry as he paced worriedly in front of Ron and George. "They're brothers! Why are they acting like this?"
Both Ron and George just turned and looked at each other before bursting out into laughter.
"Oi! I'm being serious you two!" exclaimed Harry with a stomp of his foot. "The way their acting is really concerning me."
"W-we know Harry, it's just- it's just-" tried George, but he was laughing too hard.
"What George is trying to say," squeaked out Ron, "is you shouldn't worry. Brothers just act like that sometimes."
"That's what Ginny said," responded Harry with a defeated sigh. "But Ron, you and the rest of your brothers never fought like this!"
This statement just sent Ron and George into another fit of laughter; George even fell off his chair and started shaking on the floor.
"Oh, Harry! You poor, naïve little man!" croaked George between his merriment.
Harry's skin turned red as balled his hands into fists.
"Mate, I'm sorry but… you have no idea the things George, Fred, and I used to do to each other when we were younger. Heck, the twins pretty much treated me like a pair of saints by the time you came in the picture!" exclaimed Ron as he started banging the armrest of the chair with his hand.
"Really…" said Harry in disbelief as his anger dissipated.
"I have two things to say to you, Harry," said Ron, holding up his fingers. "Spider Teddy bear and Unbreakable Vow, and trust me mate, those were only a few of the things those jackals did to me when we were younger."
At hearing those words, Harry became quite pale, most likely thinking of all the horrible things that were yet to come.
"Shit," said Harry as he fell back into his chair in defeat.
"Aw… don't be like that," said Ron as he got up and walked over to his best friend. "Even with all the crap Fred and George used to do to me, in the end, we still loved each other."
"Yeah," agreed George as he recovered with a cough, "It's just how brothers act sometimes. Heck, if Fred and I grew out of it, I'm sure James and Al will…"
"I guess…" said Harry hesitantly as he wrung his hands in worry. "It's just… since I never had a brother at that age… the only thing I can compare it to is… my relationship with Dudley. And that terrifies me."
Ron and George gave each other serious looks. Harry's relationship with Dudley had gotten better over the years; they even called each other from time to time to catch up. But overall, it was not a good thing for Harry to think of when it came to his sons.
Ron then stepped forward and placed a supportive hand on Harry's shoulder.
"Yeah, I guess if I had gone through something like that, I'd freak-out about the stuff they do to each other, too," replied Ron giving Harry a sad smile.
"Tell you what little brother," said George as he reached out and ruffled Harry's hair like a child. "If Ronniekins and I ever notice things going beyond the boundaries of brotherly fighting, we'll let you know and try to step in, okay?"
Harry looked at the two of them for a second and then agreed with a smile.
Since then, Harry became more at ease with his feuding sons. They were still a pair of little terrors, but they were already much better than they used to be.
And so, the Weasley family stood there waiting for the Potters to finally arrive.
Ron looked nervously at the gold watch his mum and dad had given him for his 17th birthday. The time of departure was quickly drawing nearer and there was still no sign of the rambunctious Potters.
"Where are they?" asked Rose anxiously as she stood on her tippy toes in an attempt to see over the growing crowd. "You don't think Al already got on the train without me, do you?"
"Please," Ron replied with a snort, "I highly doubt Al can tie his shoes without you, let alone go off to Hogwarts."
"Now, Ron," scolded Hermione as she tried not to laugh, "That's just mean."
"Al would do fine without me," answered Rose as she looked around the platform sadly. "He's the son of Harry Potter after all."
"Oh? I wouldn't be so sure of that…" Ron replied as he placed a reassuring hand on his daughter's shoulder. "Potters usually need a Weasley to help keep their head on straight. Just look what happened to James without one."
"What the heck are you taking about?" asked Rose with annoyance, "James does have one; his name is Fred."
"Rose, watch the language there," warned Hermione lightly as she two started looking around the platform for the tardy family.
"Well…" said Ron with a snicker, "Potters should preferably have one that isn't the spawn of one of our family's most notorious trouble makers."
Rosie chuckled a little at that, but quickly became solemn again.
"You don't think…" she asked worriedly, "Hogwarts will change our relationship, do you?"
Ron and Hermione traded a glance. When they both became parents, they had agreed to never sugarcoat life for their kids. When their children asked a question, they would give them an honest answer.
"All friendships are tested at some time or another, Rose," said Hermione seriously. "But for one as strong as yours, it will most likely stay intact. The key is to be honest with one another's feelings and talk it through when a problem arises."
"I… Okay, Mum. We'll try," replied Rose as she walked a bit away from her parents to stare off into the smoke filled crowd.
Ron stared at his daughter's back, watching her wild red hair fly around her. His Rosebud would be a force to be reckoned with at Hogwarts, he was sure of it.
The sound of a faintly ringing bell caused Ron to look up just as four distinct figures emerged out of the mist. Harry and Ginny along with Lily and Al had finally arrived. They quickly moved to the Weasley family's side.
"Hi," gasped Al in relief as he looked at Rose.
Yes, Ron was sure that the duo would be just fine.
Ron immediately asked Harry if he had any trouble parking, once again rubbing his success to Hermione. When his wife was out of earshot though, he told Harry about the Confundus Charm he had used on the instructor, making his brother-in-law laugh. Poor Harry seemed quite tense so Ron decided to ramp up his jokes.
After he and Harry had loaded all the trunks, they returned just in time to hear Hugo and the red-headed Lily discussing what houses they'd be sorted into when they went to Hogwarts.
"If you're not in Gryffindor, we'll disinherit you," teased Ron without thinking, "but no pressure."
"Ron!" reprimanded Hermione as he heard Hugo and Lily laugh. But Ron's attention had already been grabbed by something he saw out of the corner of his eye.
He quickly glance back at Harry and nodded over to where the balding Draco Malfoy stood on the platform with his wife and son.
The little boy was the spitting image of his father and it made Ron's stomach turn. He knew he shouldn't judge the child by the things his father had done, but at that moment, Ron was finding it hard not to. The air between the two families had cleared over the years, but they still weren't on friendly terms by any means.
Ron briefly commented on the boy, telling Rosie to beat the pants off him in every class. There was something about his and Hermione's daughter putting the Malfoy heir to shame that filled him with great joy.
Hermione of course scolded him again, but her voice held a bit of amusement as well.
He apologized, but simply couldn't resist adding in one last joke about marrying a purebood.
Rosie looked up at him and sent her father quite the glare of annoyance.
It was then, that James came running out of the crowd yelling, "Hey!"
While Al looked exactly like Harry, right down to his ruddy round spectacles, James had inherited Harry's dark hair and Ginny's brown eyes. James Sirius Potter was quite the sly little prankster and did his namesakes proud.
James was simply bursting with the news that he had seen Teddy Lupin, Remus and Tonks' son, kissing Victoire Weasley, Bill and Fleur's eldest daughter.
This of course was no surprise to the grown ups, which annoyed James to no end. They had seen the signs that Teddy and Victoire were becoming more than friends for quite some time now.
Lily commented that he would officially be part of the family then. But the truth was; Teddy was already a major part of all their lives. After the war, Harry had asked Andromeda if he could adopt Teddy. She politely refused his offer, saying that she wished to raise her grandson. From that point on, Teddy and Andromeda pretty much became unofficial Weasleys. They were invited to all family events and gatherings. And Harry, Ginny, Hermione and Ron made it their mission to be very much part of Teddy's life. Even though Teddy missed his parents, the entire Weasley family made sure he was never short on love.
Harry then made a joke about him already being at their home every other day. And James immediately jumped on the opportunity, suggesting that Teddy move in so he and Al could share a room.
"No," was Harry's firm reply, "you and Al will share a room only when I want the house demolished."
"Yeah, putting the Wrecking Crew together in the same room is not a smart idea," thought Ron happily.
Harry then glanced at the gold watch that Ron's parents had given him for his 17th birthday and announced that it was time to say goodbye.
"Oh, honey!" exclaimed Hermione as she swept her daughter up into an emotional hug. "I'm going to miss you so very much!"
"Me too, Mum," said Rosie into Hermione's shoulder.
"Study hard and stay safe, dear," his wife whispered as she reluctantly pulled back.
"Good luck, Pepper-pot," said Ron as he bent over to hug his daughter as well. "I know you'll do great. Make time for fun and friends as well, okay?"
"I will, Dad," laughed Rosie into his chest.
As Ron stepped back, he put an arm around his wife and let Hugo have his turn.
"You holding up alright?" Ron whispered to Hermione.
"Yes," she answered. "It's just hard to watch her go."
"Don't do too well in all your classes, Rose," teased Hugo merrily. "You'll make me look bad once I get there."
"Oh, stop it you!" exclaimed Rose as she broke the hug to slap him on the arm. "You're just as smart as I am. Now, don't sulk because I'm gone. And write me whenever you can. "
"Okay, okay," he agreed with laughter in his voice.
"We'll all write to you a lot," said Hermione firmly, "Won't we, Ron?"
Ron put on his most affronted look and quipped, "For my daughter, I would do anything. Even put on display my abysmal writing skills."
This earned him a hit from both his wife and daughter while Hugo just stood back and laughed.
"Oi!" he exclaimed rubbing at his arm. "Why am I always surrounded by violent women?"
"Because for some reason we put up with you!" exclaimed Rosie as she leapt forth to give her father one last hug.
"Thanks again for the pep talk, Dad," she whispered softly before letting him go.
"Anytime, sweetheart," replied Ron as the doors on the scarlet train started to slam shut.
"You'd better get on," said Ron sadly as Hermione and Hugo each gave Rose one last quick hug.
Rose's bright red hair flew wildly in the wind as she spun around and leapt into the nearest door of the carriage.
Ron turned to look at Harry as he spoke his parting words to his youngest son. Whatever he had said, must have satisfied the boy, because seconds later he was bounding up the stairs to join Rosie. Both children's faces were filled with the excitement of starting a new adventure.
Harry then walked up and stood next to the train. All the children inside then suddenly stuck their heads out the windows to catch a glimpse of the famous Harry Potter.
Even now, after all these years, Harry was still being stared at by people and judged. But he had eventually gotten used to it.
"Why are they all staring?" demanded Albus as he and Rose stuck their heads out the window trying to see what was going on.
Ron immediately jumped in to save Harry from embarrassment by saying pompously, "Don't let it worry you. It's me, I'm extremely famous."
This made Al, Rose, Hugo, and Lily all laugh. The train then blew its whistle and started to move with Harry walking along with it.
As his friend passed by, Ron could hear the ringing of the tiny gold bell that hung discreetly around Harry's neck. The bell had been a present from Ginny. Or rather, Ginny had gotten it for Harry at Ron's request.
You see, Ron had been quite serious about putting a bell on Harry. It had taken a few years, but he had finally found a way to do it. Even as a grown man, his best friend and brother still found a way to get into all kinds of trouble.
So with the help of Hermione and Luna's combined brainpower, they were able to create a small bell that only those who loved Harry could hear. It became immensely helpful to Ron, especially when they were on the job. Of course… they had to come up with a good excuse to make Harry wear the bloody thing, without him knowing of its true purpose…
Harry held the bell up to Ron with a look of disgust.
"Ron, what the heck am I going to do?" asked Harry indignantly, "I can't wear this thing, it's like jewelry!"
"Look mate, do you really want to piss off my sister again with the wedding just a few days away? Because if you refuse to wear it, I can assure you she's going to hex your bollocks clean off!"
"But-but-" stuttered Harry as he looked at the little bell in defeat.
"You can hide it under your shirt you know. And it's a hell of a lot better than that ugly thing Lavender got me for Christmas 6th year. Besides, you heard Ginny, its Weasley tradition. Mum and Dad'll be hurt too, if you refuse," said Ron, adding the final blow.
Harry just let out a mournful sigh and placed the bell around his neck commenting, "Well at least it doesn't make noise…"
It of course did, only Harry couldn't hear it. And Ginny's cover story of it being "tradition" for a female Weasley to give her new husband a bell as a wedding present, had worked quite well. The entire family gladly agreed to support story after Harry almost kicked the bucket for the tenth time that year.
And granted… the story could be true for all they knew… considering that Ginny had been the first female Weasley to have been born in hundreds of years…
But Harry didn't need to know that.
And who's to say that they couldn't make a tradition of it now?
Ron and Hermione waved their hands as they watched their daughter and Al slowly drift away with the train. They were off to start a brand new adventure. Ron longed to go along with them, but those days were far behind him now.
Once the train was out of sight, Hermione grabbed Ron and buried her face into his chest. Ron placed a kiss on the top of her head and looked up at the tracks again. Harry was still standing at the edge of the platform with his hand raised in farewell, long after the train had gone. Ginny then slowly walked up to help console him. Hogwarts day was always rough on Harry.
But they would all get through it together.
The life Ron had now was almost like the one he had dreamed of as a child.
It wasn't perfect, and it never would be; not without his family being whole and all the countless loved ones they had lost.
Ron and Hermione's life wasn't perfect.
But it was close.
And when all was said and done, that was enough for Ron.
Author's Notes: It's done! Yay! Hope all of you liked my slice of life ending. I really wanted it to be rich and in depth and just add on what Rowling mentioned. I also tried to connect it back to my other fic Ministry Misadventures, which follows the ongoing adventures of the trio as they work in the ministry. And I'll start writing new chapters for that hopefully starting sometime in the New Year.
Thank you to all my readers and reviewers for sticking with me through the whole story. It was so much fun to write and I'm happy that I was able to bring all of you a little joy.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed to get this fic up to a 100 reviews here at the end, so if you enjoyed it, please take a few seconds to review!
And with that, I'm going to finally have a chance to play Skyrim. Woot!
Write all of you again soon!