In truth, he's always thought that the Weasley jumper tradition was a little stupid.

It isn't that Ron dislikes the jumpers themselves, really. Perhaps they could be a little less itchy and a little less…homemade (there's no mistaking those obnoxiously vibrant colors and fuzzy knitted letters), but many a cold night at Hogwarts had been made a little more comfortable with whatever color sweater his mum had decided to send him that year.

The part that's a little stupid is the sheer quantity of Weasley jumpers in existence. Only Merlin knows how many hours Molly's spent knitting sweaters for all seven of her children (eight, if you wanted to count Harry, which Ron always does) for every Christmas, birthday and New Years since they all were born. Truthfully, many times he'd much rather have received something cool, like a new chess set or a Quidditch broom or even a bloody book about Quidditch (though Hermione would have had a field day with that, and he doesn't quite feel like giving her the satisfaction of letting her know that he is, in fact, literate).

Most of his jumpers have sat somewhere bunched up inside his closet, untouched for years—until, that is, the day that Hermione finally moved in with him (how he tricked her into that, he'll never know, but he knows better than to question his good fortune) and she spent most of the day oohing and ahhing and pressing them against her nose and looking at them with a strange misty look in her eyes that made Ron wonder if she had finally gone mental.

So, to be honest, even though he's never really been good with feelings, he can't help but be confused at the way that Hermione cries when she receives her own Weasley jumper, the first Christmas after they are married.

So her corners her later, when everyone else is gathering around the table for more food (he loves Hermione, he really does, but she is rubbish at cooking, and he loves it when his mum insists on stuffing his face). She's wearing the jumper, and it's far too big for her frame, but she's still wearing that silly grin on her face (wait, when did she stop crying?) and he knows at that moment that he will never understand women.

"Are you ok?" Ron asks her, because he knows that is what you're supposed to ask and he's afraid that he's done something stupid (already) to make her so strangely teary and smiley.

"Oh Ron," she says, and waves her hand in dismissal, though her voice sounds a little unsteady. "I'm fine, really."

He brushes a tendril of bushy hair behind her ear. "Why were you crying earlier?" he asks, because he really is curious. "Is it because you don't like the jumper my mum gave you?"

She gives him that look, and he knows he's missed something vital, so he shuts up and lets her talk (because she will, and he's known her long enough to know not to interfere).

"Ronald, honestly," she says, and he wants to smile when he thinks of how many times she's started a conversation with him with those exact words. "Your mum gave me a Weasley jumper. Don't you realize what that means?"

"Enlighten me," he asks, because of course it was a nice thing of his mum to do, and he gets that, but it's just a jumper (and not even a really attractive one at that).

"I've watched you and Harry and everyone else receive Weasley jumpers since our first year at Hogwarts," she says, and her eyes are somewhere else, reliving long-forgotten memories. "Mrs. Weasley practically adopted him as her own son—she made him a sweater, Ron. That's something that only mums do for their children. Even my mother has never made me anything."

She reaches for his hand, the left one, the one that sports a shiny silver band on the ring finger, the one that now matches Hermione's own. "These rings mean that we love each other, that we're committed for life," she says, holding his hands. "Merlin, I've loved you since I was eleven, Ronald, before I even understood what that meant—but this jumper…it means that I'm not only just Ron's wife, the way Fleur is still just Bill's wife." Her eyes are misting over again, and she holds out the sweater, her expression earnest. "I'm a Weasley, Ron," she breathes. "I belong somewhere."

He feels tears pricking at the corners of his own eyes, then, because Hermione rarely talks about her childhood, but he knows she felt lonely and out of place and wrong, but here with him, with his family, she feels like she matters. Merlin, has it taken her until this moment to realize that she's always been a Weasley?

He sweeps her up into his arms, the jumper scratching the underside of his wrists and palms. "Hermione, you became a Weasley the moment I found out that troll was after you, and I knew we had to go get you," he said, stroking her hair, chuckling at the thought. "You fought with us and were willing to die with us," he said, trying determinedly not to think of all the times she almost had, "and that's what makes you one a Weasley. Not this bloody jumper."

She sniffles from inside his embrace, and pulls back to meet his eyes. Her tears are spilling freely now, and he loves that she can still cry so easily, even after everything they've been through, because it is just one of those things that is so Hermione. "I've always been the smartest," she admits, "but I've never been loved."

"Well of course you have," he amends, kissing her forehead, and they make their way back to the table, filled with laughter and red hair and freckles and inappropriate jokes, and she sits besides him, where she's always belonged.


Fin.