A/N: Hello, old friend, and here we are. You and me, on the last page. Also, I open at the close, because this chapter begins a couple of hours after the prologue. Okay, I'm done throwing fandom references at you. Thank you all for everything. I can hardly believe how many people have read this story since I started posting it six months ago, and I'm sort of blown away by it. Here it goes - the pinnacle of fluff mountain. It has been reached.
(By the way - I posted Hermione's vows to Ron in a one-shot called "Let Me Count the Ways," if you're interested.)
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. I do not own Ron Weasley. I do not own Hermione Weasley.
21 June 2003
"Bloody fucking hell!" Ron panted as he rolled off his wife (wife - she was his wife!), sprawling across their bed on his back and pulling her into his side. She ended up half on top of him on her stomach, but he didn't mind - the light weight of her naked body covering his was comforting.
"Romantic as ever," she quipped, bringing a hand up to trace the contours of his chest.
"That was not romantic," Ron said incredulously. "That was...whoa, that was something."
Hermione laughed breathlessly. "I thought it was a bit romantic. Just not in the traditional sense," she added in response to Ron's raised eyebrow.
"Well, okay," Ron allowed. "It was brilliant, anyhow."
"Yes, brilliant," Hermione agreed, reaching up to push his sweaty hair out of his eyes with her left hand. Ron smiled as he felt her wedding band brush across his face. He glanced down toward the matching ring on his own left hand and sighed contentedly - something he must have done a few dozen times in the nine hours or so since he and Hermione had been married. Married, married, married. Finally.
"Do you think married shags will always be this good?" he asked absentmindedly, shifting a little so that her breasts were firmly pressed to his chest.
"Probably not," Hermione reasoned. "We can try, though."
"Perfect," Ron replied, bringing his hand up to tangle in her hair. She'd wrestled it into soft curls for the ceremony, but that had changed almost immediately after they'd returned to their flat. Ron didn't mind in the least - he loved her wild hair just as much.
"Mhm," Hermione hummed happily. "Today was perfect, wasn't it?"
Ron quirked an eyebrow. "Except for all the people, I guess so."
Hermione laughed softly. "That's the whole point of not eloping though, isn't it?"
"S'pose," Ron said. "It doesn't matter though, still a great day. Best of my life, I reckon."
"Me too," Hermione agreed softly.
She laid her head sideways on Ron's chest, and they settled into a comfortable silence. Having finally cooled down from their earlier activities, Ron pulled the covers up around them. An easy smile spread across his face; this was his favorite part of the day, really - quietly unwinding with Hermione, especially post-shag. It was fitting, really, how much they'd fought when they were younger to get to this quiet place - in more ways than one.
"George and Angelina are getting married, too," Hermione mentioned off-handedly, interrupting Ron's thoughts. "Sometime in the autumn, she said."
Ron blinked slowly and shifted his gaze toward hers. "How do you know?"
"I was chatting with her earlier," Hermione replied. "They aren't really making an official announcement, you know, just sort of telling people when it comes up in conversation."
Ron snorted. "Doesn't surprise me. I may have to hit George for not mentioning it to me, though."
"Oh, don't," Hermione scolded. "I only got it out of Ange because I could tell something was going on. They probably just didn't want to say anything to us on our day."
"How long have they been engaged, though?" Ron asked.
"A few weeks, I think," Hermione said. "They're quite low-key, aren't they?"
"Yeah," Ron acknowledged. "Good on them, though; that's probably the best way to do it. They are what they are, and that's that."
Hermione hummed thoughtfully. "But knowing George, there'll still be fireworks at the ceremony."
Ron laughed and drew her even closer. "Probably. He's mental."
"But it's nice to see him so happy," Hermione said.
"Yeah. Nice to see everybody happy, really," Ron replied.
"It's strange, isn't it?" Hermione contemplated. "Five years ago, the war was barely over and we were in Australia with my parents. Now look at us all."
Ron chuckled. "I'll never forget the look on your dad's face when you said I was your boyfriend."
"He was a bit shocked about everything, that's all," Hermione defended weakly, but soon she laughed as well.
"That trip was the first time I told you I love you," Ron continued, the smile that had been plastered on his face for the past ten hours growing as he reminisced.
"No, it wasn't," Hermione corrected kindly. "You'd said it twice before."
Ron furrowed his brow. "No I didn't. I definitely would've known if I had."
"Well, the first time you were just happy I'd offered to fix your homework for you," Hermione recalled, "so I suppose that doesn't count the same way. We were together the second time, though, it's just that you were a bit drunk."
"Really?" Ron cringed. "I honestly don't remember."
"It was after Fred's service," Hermione continued. "You and George had gone outside, and when you came back, you kissed me, told me you loved me, and went to bed."
"Oh yeah, I remember kissing you," Ron said, smiling fondly at the memory. "That was George's fault, though."
"His fault?" Hermione asked, raising her eyebrows.
"Oh, don't start," Ron dismissed. "He gave me a push in the right direction. Did I really tell you then?"
"Yes," Hermione confirmed. "I didn't think you'd remember, though. I'm a bit surprised you remember the kiss, to be honest. You had quite a bit to drink that night."
"Well, I meant it, anyway," Ron said, rubbing her side tenderly. "I always mean it."
"I know," Hermione murmured, leaning upward to press a kiss to his jaw. "So do I."
When she made to pull back, Ron stilled her by bringing his hand up to cup her cheek and kissing her softly on the mouth. "Good night, Hermione Weasley."
She responded with a smile that he was certain would be engraved in his memories forever as she whispered, "Good night, Ron Weasley."
Within minutes, they'd settled back into a comfortable position, and their breathing had begun to slow as they were hit by an overdue wave of exhaustion and drowsiness. And as Ron drifted off to sleep, his last conscious thought was of just how fucking lucky he was - and just how blessed they were.
Twelve Hours Later
"Ron!" he could hear Hermione call shrilly from the kitchen. "Ron, we're going to be late!"
"Yeah, just give me a moment!" he called back, throwing the last of his trousers into the suitcase, which Hermione had enlarged with an Undetectable Extension Charm.
They were planning to leave for the airport straight away after stopping for a spot of brunch at the Burrow, but in the excitement leading up to the wedding, Ron had neglected to start packing. Hermione, of course, had been packed for over a week, so she had spent the morning relaxing on the sofa and looking through their wedding gifts while Ron had bustled about trying to prepare for two weeks in Italy. Of course, he didn't really know what he would need for the trip, and he didn't particularly want to make Hermione cross with him on the first full day of their marriage, so he'd resorted to packing about half of his belongings into the suitcase just in case.
"Ron, really," Hermione called again, the sound of her footsteps coming closer as she spoke. "We won't be able to stay long as it is; we can't make them wait for us."
"Hermione," Ron whined, "we're newlyweds! They're probably just going to think we're shagging anyway!"
A second later, he was hit quite hard in the back of the head with a rolled up pair of socks. Ron whipped around and glared at the petite brunette standing in the doorway with her hands on her hips; she responded by raising an eyebrow menacingly, her expression stony. Ron, for his part, managed to keep a straight face for all of five seconds before breaking down into peals of laughter.
"I'm not sure how this is funny-" Hermione began, but Ron was quick to interrupt her by crossing the room and enveloping her in his arms.
"I am so in love with you," he managed to choke out through his mirth, and he felt her relax in his embrace.
"And I with you, but I still don't know how it's funny," she muttered half-heartedly.
"You're funny," Ron said simply, though it was really so much more than that - mostly, it was the fact that he could tell her everything without a second thought. A smile still spread across his face, Ron dropped a kiss on the top of her head before pulling back and turning to the packing.
"I'm done, anyway," he told her as he threw the pair of socks she'd thrown at him into the suitcase. "There we are. Ready for Italy."
"Alright, then," Hermione said, zipping the suitcase shut firmly and lifting it off the bed.
"Wait, let me get that," Ron insisted, snatching it from her hands as smoothly as he could. "Bit heavy."
"What in Merlin's name did you pack?" Hermione asked amusedly, shaking her head as they made their way out to the sitting room.
"Stuff," Ron answered vaguely. "Anyway, are we taking this to the Burrow or coming back here?"
"Let's just take it," Hermione decided. "I don't need anything else here."
"Alright," Ron said, gesturing toward the fireplace. "After you, missus." A couple of uncomfortable moments later, they'd flooed to the Burrow and were greeted by a loud cheer from the crowded sitting room.
"Finally dragged yourselves out of bed, I see!" Charlie shouted by way of greeting, breaking through George's catcalls.
"It's not that late," Hermione protested weakly, but no one seemed to hear her. Ron chuckled as he dragged their suitcase out of the room to rest by the stairwell.
"Oi, there you are!" came a voice from the second floor landing. Ron peered up to see Harry waving at him from above. He grinned and leaned back against the railing to wait for his best friend to descend.
"I thought you and Gin went back to Grimmauld last night," Ron commented when Harry reached him.
"We did," Harry said, "but Ginny left this here." He waved a vial in Ron's face before pocketing it.
Ron pulled a face. "Do I even want to know what that's for?"
"It's not what you're thinking," Harry rolled his eyes. "It's vitamins or something, I dunno. Gwenog's making them all take these bloody supplements for whatever reason."
"The tragedies of being a professional athlete," Ron quipped, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
"Well, she's done after next season," Harry reasoned. "She might as well go out the right way, yeah?"
"S'pose," Ron said. "Have you decided what to do with Grimmauld Place yet?"
"Nope," Harry replied as they made their way back to the sitting room. "Can't very well sell the place, can we? I suppose we'll just keep it for extra storage or something. No chance you and Hermione would want it, is there?"
"Nah," Ron answered. "We've been talking about getting a house ourselves, but no offense mate, the one you've got is a bit dreary." Harry snorted in agreement.
A couple of months ago, Harry and Ginny had confided in Ron and Hermione that they were getting ready to start a family. Since neither of them particularly wanted to raise their children in Grimmauld Place, they had begun looking for child-friendly homes. Additionally, Ginny had decided it was time to end her professional Quidditch career . Instead, she'd begun to write for the Daily Prophet's sports section in her free time, and would be making a full time career of it following her retirement from Holyhead.
"Anyway," Harry said as they rejoined the rest of the family, "we made a bid on a house out near Godric's Hollow - really nice, and it's got a lot of open space. We could be getting ready to move by the time you and Hermione are back, you know."
"That's a thinly veiled cry for help, mate," Ron accused without malice. "But don't worry, we'll try to squeeze you in."
"Well, you're newlyweds. What else have you got to do besides shag?" Harry joked, though Ron could tell that he was trying not to picture the implication behind his words.
"Not a whole lot," Ron admitted. "But that's the best part, see."
"The food is ready!" Mum called from the kitchen, and the large crowd of Weasleys began to make their way to the dining table, which had been enlarged in an attempt to fit the crowd. In the mass of family members, Ron found his way back to Hermione, who took his offered hand with a pretty smile. Feeling gentlemanly, he pulled back her chair when they reached the table, then took the seat next to hers, content to eat with his left hand so he could hold hers under the table for the entirety of brunch.
Ron was quiet for most of the meal - mostly due to stuffing his face with his mum's cooking - but he was content to simply listen and observe his family. Bill was partially in conversation with Charlie while he tried to feed a fussy Victoire, and a very pregnant Fleur had Dominique on her lap as she ate much more meat than she would have if she hadn't developed a craving during this pregnancy - something Mum took as a sure sign they were having a boy.
George and Angelina were sat next to her, deep in their own conversation with Percy, who was giving them unwarranted advice about their impending nuptials. Audrey was next to him, absentmindedly nodding in agreement with his words as she fed little Molly from a bottle. Mum was on Audrey's other side, fussing over the child that bore her name as only Molly Weasley could.
Dad was next to Mum, engaged in conversation with Harry regarding a raid that had taken place a few days previously. A wizard in Bristol had been caught enchanting books at a Muggle shop to explode into fireworks when opened, which had inevitably resulted in several missing eyebrows and singed faces and a load of work for their departments. When George had heard about it, he'd lamented not thinking of it first, causing Angelina to smack him upside the head. Ron mused that she would fit right in.
Ginny and Hermione, meanwhile, were chattering on about anything and everything: Italy, the new house, the wedding gifts, even babies. It struck Ron that regardless of how much was changing, the way they talked about it made it all seem so very natural. Perhaps that was because it was natural, it was the logical next step - and that was why marriage and houses and babies no longer sounded scary or far off. It was happening, just as it ought to - to all of them, Ron realized as he glanced around the table. They were properly grown up now. They may have had to fight a war to get there, and they had struggled through losses along the way, but they had gained so much more. Ron's gaze inevitably fixated on the portrait of Fred that hung on the wall, knowing that somewhere, he was smiling and laughing at the lot of them. Ron liked to think his big brother would have been proud of everything they'd managed to accomplish in five years. He only wished he could truly be there to see it.
Soon, everyone began to finish off their food and settle into the familiar state of early afternoon drowsiness. However, Ron's rest was short-lived, as Hermione had been serious about leaving straight away after eating. As soon as the dishes had been cleared, they began their goodbyes, exchanging hugs and kisses with everyone, each wishing them well in their own way. Some, like Mum, had tears in their eyes. Others, like George, waggled their eyebrows suggestively. When at last everyone was satisfied, and Ron and Hermione had thanked his parents nearly a dozen times for everything, Harry and Ginny offered to walk them out to the Apparition point.
"Remember Harry, if anything goes wrong in the office, I will only make it worse if you try to get a hold of me," Ron reminded him as soon as they set foot out of the door. "Interrupt my honeymoon and you'll wish that Riddle bastard had finished you off."
"Sorted," Harry agreed. "Surely every criminal in the country will simply take a break for your honeymoon anyway?"
"That's the idea," Ron said seriously.
Hermione rolled her eyes and slipped her hand into Ron's. "You two are ridiculous."
"Aren't they?" Ginny commented. "You'd think they'd be sick of each other after a dozen years of bad jokes and taking the piss."
"Nah," Harry said, wrapping an arm about his wife's shoulders. "Rather have a laugh than a serious discussion any day."
"Exactly," Ron concurred. "Serious discussions are what our women are for."
"Do try not to be sexist, will you?" Hermione sighed, though there was no real anger in her tone.
"You know what I mean," Ron insisted softly, and she did - there were things he'd talked about with her that he wouldn't dream of confiding in Harry, and he knew the same was true for Harry and Ginny. Their relationships had changed in the years since they'd left school, but it was all for the best - they all loved each other all the same, loath as they were to say it sometimes. Everything that had changed in the past few years had led them to the place they were now, which, in Ron's opinion, was an incredible place to be.
"Well, have a good time, then," Ginny said as she pulled Hermione into a hug. Harry and Ron, meanwhile, engaged in one of their trademarked handshake-shoulder-grips and exchanged lighthearted jabs about behaving in each other's absence.
"And do try to avoid being sent home early," Ginny continued as she passed Hermione off to Harry, then turned to Ron and hugged him briefly.
"Of course I will," Ron protested, frowning.
"I know," Ginny replied, rolling her eyes. "There's a reason you're my favorite brother, Ron."
Ron smiled and squeezed his sister's shoulder, content to take a heartfelt moment before saying, "It's because I'm the easiest to tease, isn't it?"
Ginny laughed, and Ron could tell she was relieved he hadn't tried to make the conversation any more emotional than it already was. This was Ron's favorite thing about Ginny - she didn't need words, and neither did he. They just knew, and they were content to leave it at that. It was for this reason that Ron was convinced that even if he'd had more than one sister, she'd still have been his favorite.
"Well, we best be off," Hermione said, pulling back from Harry's embrace. "You'll stop in to check on our flat, then?"
"Of course we will," Harry placated. "Now off with you both, don't keep Italy waiting."
"Thanks, mate," Ron told him, and he was sure Harry knew that he didn't just mean the flat.
After a few final waves and goodbyes, Hermione took Ron's hand in hers and turned them on the spot. A moment later, they rematerialized not at the Apparition point near the airport, but instead in a very familiar garden.
"One more stop," she said, smiling at Ron as she tugged him toward the front door and rang the bell.
A moment later, the door opened to reveal a smiling Mrs. Granger. "Don't the two of you have a flight to catch?"
"We couldn't leave without saying goodbye," Hermione said, stepping forward to hug her mother. "We can't stay long though, I'm afraid."
"Well, step in for a moment!" Mrs. Granger insisted before calling up the staircase: "Peter! Ron and Hermione are here! Is that all you packed, dears?" she asked when she turned back to them, gesturing toward the luggage Ron was carrying.
"It's bigger on the inside," Ron explained, setting the suitcase down in the entryway. Mrs. Granger looked confused for a moment, but seemed to decide it wasn't worth asking. A moment later, Mr. Granger emerged from his study, and the four of them retreated to the sitting room.
"How long do you have before your flight?" Mrs. Granger asked when they'd settled in.
"We can only stay a few minutes, I'm afraid," Hermione apologized. "I just wanted to thank you both for all you did to help with the wedding; yesterday was lovely."
"Yeah," Ron agreed. "Though I'd more like to thank you for having Hermione, to be honest."
Hermione tutted, but Mr. and Mrs. Granger laughed jovially. "The pleasure was ours," Mr. Granger said, and Ron tried as hard as he could not to take the comment suggestively, as the part of his brain that was still sixteen wanted him to.
"The ceremony was lovely," Mrs. Granger said. "A beautiful beginning to a beautiful life, I daresay."
"I'm just so happy you're both a part of it," Hermione replied, smiling tearfully as she took Ron's offered hand and squeezed it gently. "Thank you."
Just a few minutes later, it was time for them to go. Once again, hugs were given all around, even between Ron and Mr. Granger, something no one would have thought possible five years ago. With a final teasing remark from Mrs. Granger, Ron and Hermione left her childhood home and made their way to an Apparition point, ready to begin their honeymoon.
They arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. Ron had only been on an aeroplane a few times before, but he was confident enough in the process to keep from asking Hermione any silly questions. He could not, however, keep the ridiculous grin off his face whenever someone referred to them as "Mr. and Mrs. Weasley." The flight itself was much shorter than their trip to Australia a couple of years previously had been, and Ron and Hermione spent the duration of it simply talking about the future - things as imminent as the honeymoon and as far off as their children starting Hogwarts. It was all within reach now, simply waiting for them to take it.
It was early evening when they landed, and after collecting their suitcase, Hermione called for a taxi to take them to the hotel. On the ride over, Ron's stomach made a noise that betrayed just how hungry he was, and she promised him that they would order room service as soon as they arrived - "and then we can take the rest of the night to ourselves."
He couldn't help but kiss her thoroughly when she said that, probably more so than was comfortable for the driver, but Ron couldn't be arsed to care. They were married, they were in Italy, and they were going to have dinner and then shag the night away. There was simply nothing better.
When at last they reached the hotel, a bit tired from their journey but excited for what the trip would bring - for what their lives would bring - Ron insisted on checking in, though not until Hermione assured him that he would be able to do so in English.
"Erm, hi," Ron said to the smiling attendant at the front desk. "I've got a reservation under Weasley."
"Ah, yes, the honeymoon suite! Congratulations to you!" the attendant said in an enthusiastic Italian accent as he typed something into one of those strange contraptions Hermione had called a computer. "And is this your wife, Mr. Weasley?"
Ron looked sideways at the beautiful woman standing next to him, the woman who was holding his hand and smiling right back at him, just as she had for the past five years - and for seven before that, really. An overwhelming feeling came over him, a feeling of bliss, pride, tranquility, joy, and pure, unadulterated love, as he answered in a strong, sure voice: "Yeah. Yeah, she is."
A/N: Sooo...100 years by Five for Fighting: "I'm still the man, but you see I'm a they." Good. Yes. Romione. :)
You all should read this one because I have things to say of the grateful variety.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU.
That's the short version - the long version can be found on my tumblr. :) I changed my url in honor of Ron and Hermione's marriage - I am now hjeanweasley and will be til at least the 21st of June! I may change back to ronaldweasleycountmein after that, but anyway - yeah.
I've got a whole load of posts that I've tagged as "falbts" on tumblr, and there's a link on my sidebar that is aptly titled "Firsts and Lasts: Behind the Scenes." It includes the thank you note, a Romione fanmix, a couple of graphics, and some "behind the scenes" stuff for anyone that's interested.
I can't believe this fic is over. I have been planning, writing, and editing it for the better part of a year now, and it's really been one of the most fun things I've done in my life. I'm not sure what that says about me, but still - I'm so proud to have completed my first multi-chaptered fic.
Needless to say, I'm not done writing - watch out for more Ron/Hermione from me in the future, if you're interested. :)
Lastly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you all for making me smile throughout this whole process. I am so happy that I've been able to share my writing, and I am honestly blown away by how incredibly nice you all have been. I wish I could thank you all individually - and hey, if you leave me a review or a message, then I can. :) I love you all, internet strangers and friends. Thank you.