The buzzing voices of the guests floated in through the open windows of Ginny's old room, but Hermione was too distracted to pay any attention. It was her wedding day, and her only priority was her and Ron. Well, also that disturbing gleam in George's eye from earlier, but Angelina had assured her that she had that well in hand, and Hermione trusted her. When she used her Quidditch Captain voice, even George snapped to attention.
"Hermione, stop touching your hair! It looks perfect, but those pins are barely able to contain it. One wrong move, and it'll explode everywhere," Ginny warned, putting on the last touches of her own makeup.
"I know; thanks for helping me get it under control today. I was afraid I was going to have to break out the Sleakeazys, and I hate how limp it makes my hair feel afterwards."
"At least the humidity isn't too bad today. Oh, I meant to tell you! Your parents arrived while I was downstairs, and your mum is talking French politics with Fleur, and your dad is in the kitchen with mine, where he'll wait until it's time to walk you up the aisle."
"Oh, good! I know they've been here plenty of times, but for some reason, today I was worried about them getting lost."
"It's all the excitement," Ginny said with understanding. "It'll have you thinking the most absurd things, even if you know they aren't true."
"It does, and I feel so-" She stopped dead, her words catching up to her. Instantly she went to Ginny's desk and found a bottle of ink, parchment, and a quill, and set to writing a small note.
"Hermione?" What are you doing?"
"Stopping any irrational fears before they start," Hermione muttered, scribbling away.
In the months since their therapy session, she had noticed an improvement when it came to anticipating Ron's feelings and reactions. She was pleased to say that they had even caught themselves in the middle of a few arguments before they even turned into fights. And now, while she knew Ron wouldn't really think that she would change her mind, she knew his brain would be coming up with all kinds of crazy scenarios with that theme. Today was a day for happiness, not being nervous and on edge; she would just send him a little reminder...
Upstairs in his old room, Ron paced the floor, going cross eyed as he tried to look at his own neck. Had George charmed his tie to slowly strangle him? He would hate, on this, the day of his wedding, to commit fratricide, but if he must...
"Ron, what room is directly below this one?"
Startled, he glanced over at Harry, who was sitting at his desk. "Um, Charlie's room, why?"
Harry shrugged. "Just wanted to make sure it wasn't one that was important, when you finally wear a hole through the floor and drop down."
He jerked his fingers up at Harry. "Sod off! I'm getting married in less than an hour; I deserve to be nervous. At least, I'm getting married in less than an hour, unless she changes her mind and runs screaming for the hills before then."
"Oh, come off it!" Harry snorted, that one stubborn lock of hair already springing up from where it had been combed within an inch of its life. "If Hermione was going to leave you, she would've done it back when we were gross teenagers. Why would she leave you, now that you've decently learned to chew with your mouth closed?"
"We have less than an hour, Harry. I don't have times to go into all the reasons."
What would he do if she called it off? What if she thought thirty was a nice, round number, and they should wait? What if he kept standing there with all of those people watching, and she never even showed up?
Just as he really began to wind himself up, there was a thwapping sound at his window. Looking over, he saw a paper airplane trying to get in. Puzzled, he went over and opened it, plucking the letter out of the air when it came to hover in front of him.
Stop thinking that! Today is the happiest day of my life, because I'm getting to marry my best friend-the person I want to spend the rest of my life loving and cherishing. You're an incredible man, and I can't wait to have my life joined with yours; just watch, I'll practically be dragging my dad down the aisle! So get rid of those ridiculous doubts, and instead, make sure your bags are packed.
I plan on making the most of this honeymoon.
Yours very soon,
"That has to be from Hermione; nothing else ever puts that sort of gormless expression on your face. You alright now?"
Ron carefully folded the letter, and put it in his pocket, his heart now beating quickly from anticipation rather than nerves. "Yeah, mate. I'm good. Budge over a minute."
Once Harry was out of the way, he hurried to compose a reply, aware of his friend's amused stare. "It's my wedding day; I can be a lovesick fool if I want to!"
Harry shook his head. "Nah, I'm used to that. Mostly. I was just thinking how far the two of you have come...If I had said back in fifth year you'd end up with Hermione, would you've believed me?"
He looked up from his letter long enough to grin and roll his eyes. "Given your skills in Divination-or lack of them-no. Of course, I still would've secretly hoped that might be a sign, but at that point I couldn't imagine her looking at me like that."
"She did, you know. Still does."
Ron finished writing, and used his wand to send his letter flying to Hermione. His smile widened at Harry's words. "Yeah, I know. Brilliant, isn't it?"
"Definitely. Not as brilliant as me and Ginny, but brilliant." He looked down at his watch. "Hey, we'd better get you downstairs! I'm surprised at least one of your brothers hasn't come up to drag us down."
"Mum has them all working; she said my room's too small for all of us to be up here, and we'd only end up getting our clothes messed up hippogryphing around."
At the door, Harry stopped him, looking suddenly serious. "Hey. You know...you know I'm really happy for the two of you, right? You're both my best friends, and I'm just...I'm just really glad the two of you are together."
Ron gave him a light punch on the shoulder. "Wouldn't have asked you to be the best man if you'd felt otherwise. Now come on, let's get outside; if you have to hold me up at any point, try to be subtle."
Hermione's mouth went dry as the first notes began to play, and her grip tightened on her father's arm enough that she felt him wince.
"I did offer to pay for a nice elopement," he said, smiling down at her.
"I didn't realize all of these people staring at me would be so different than in a courtroom!"
Her feet felt rooted to the spot; she felt too self-conscious to breathe, let alone walk.
"Hermione, is this what you want? Because there's no shame if you've decided you're not sure. I'm certain Ron would understand-"
Ron. Flickers of memories passed through her mind, from the day they met until her last sight of his smiling, excited face last night.
"This is most definitely, without a doubt, what I want."
With that, she and her father began to move, and as they came closer, Hermione allowed her gaze to lift from the ground in front of her, and she saw Ron. He was a bit paler than usual, but he looked splendid in his dress robes, and she couldn't help the huge smile that spread across her face.
Once he was in place, Ron tried very, very hard to focus on a spot above the heads of the crowd, to avoid making eye contact with any family members. He loved them all dearly, but he didn't trust them farther than he could throw them. Why hadn't they popped into the Ministry this morning, then left immediately for the honeymoon? He could be somewhere tropical right now having his flesh roasted off his pasty arsed body, and it would still be less painful than what he was going through now.
"Reel your eyeballs back into your head; you look like you're about to bolt any second," Harry hissed from beside him.
Well, it was still an option, wasn't it? He could lope down the aisle, grab Hermione, and Apparate away before too many people realized what was going on. Why didn't they give the groom something to do, instead of just standing around her like some daft twat? It was-
Whatever it was suddenly didn't matter; Hermione was visible, and everything else melted away at her approach. Her dress was stunning, but more than that was the expression on her face. It was radiating such happiness, that Ron couldn't think of a moment when she had looked more stunningl. He didn't take his eyes from hers until she was directly before him, her father stepping back as he reached forward to take her arm.
Although they knew their vows by heart, neither one was sure, exactly, of what they said. The promises and commitment between them were more than words; their eyes spoke far more than what those gathered to witness were able to hear, except, to some extent, those that knew them best. There was laughter amongst the guests once they were instructed to kiss, as many there had been forced to witness their public displays of affection many times before. They weren't disappointed, either; the kiss was more passionate than a peck, and it was obvious that if Ron wasn't being mindful of her dress, she would have been lifted from the ground. No one thought she would mind very much.
They walked down the small strip that separated the crowd into two halves, blushing at the loud cheers going up all around them, the inside of the tent transforming, as it had years ago at Bill's wedding. The musicians began to tune up, and people began to take up positions, leaving plenty of room in the middle.
"I almost forgot, we have to lead the first dance," Hermione said, as they faced each other.
Ron noticed Muriel at one of the tables, where she was watching them and speaking loudly to the couple sitting at her table, much to their evident discomfort.
"Merlin, I hate this," muttered, then blinked, looking down at her raised eyebrows in horror. "Not being married to you! I love being married to you! Brilliant, best thing ever that is-"
"Ron, we've only been married less than ten minutes; I don't think anything in that time has given you enough of a basis to love or hate it." She snickered. "I'm fully aware that you mean the parts where everyone stares at us."
"You're understanding, and I love you dearly. Have I mentioned that before? Because I do," Ron said, placing his hands on her waist as the music began to start in earnest.
"Are you saying you didn't marry me because I'm the brightest witch of our age?"
He gazed down at her, his expression serious and heartfelt. "Hermione, I married you for one reason, and one reason alone."
Her breath caught. "Yes?"
"Because your nose is perfectly centered on your face," he whispered, grinning broadly at her choked laughter, as he pulled her into the dance.
Hermione wasn't even mildly offended; there would be time for sweet declarations and passionate phrases later tonight, but now was a time of lighthearted laughter as they shared their joy with those around them.
Whirling around the tent, both were reminded of their first dance under similar circumstances, and both were quite glad that this wedding wouldn't have a similarly disastrous end. They were both so caught up in each other that they didn't realize when one song ended and the next began, as other couples started to join them, the noise level growing louder.
"Scuse me, little brother, but can I cut in?" George asked, making them both almost miss a step.
Ron stared at him suspiciously. "Do you promise to bring her back?"
"In the same condition as she is now?"
"I swear, the only change will be that she realizes I'm a far better dancer than her husband," George said, hand raised.
Ron quirked a brow at Hermione, who laughed.
"A short dance," she said to both.
"To go with my short brother," Ron quipped. "I'll go grab us some drinks while you're gone."
"Are you sure that was safe?" Charlie asked, taking a swig of Butterbeer.
"If he messes with Hermione on our wedding day, he's taking his life into his own hands, and he knows it," Ron said, knowing Hermione had her wand with her.
"This is true. So, how does it feel to be an old married man?"
Ron opened his own bottle, and took a swallow. "Aside from the pain of hearing those words come out of your mouth? Fantastic, actually."
"That's the right response, Ron. Too bad Hermione didn't get to hear it," Bill chimed in, holding Victoire on his hip to keep her out of trouble.
"I plan to let her hear it plenty. Where's Fleur? She's not feeling sick again, is she?"
Bill gave him a mischievous smirk. "Thankfully, no. She's talking to another guest she wanted to catch up with. A famous one."
It only took two clicks for Ron's brain to make the connection. "Merlin's withered-is he here?"
"Don't worry, Ron, you beat him!" Charlie laughed, clapping him on the back.
"Yeah, now let me just go stick my tongue out at him, and I'm all set," Ron rolled his eyes. Honestly, it wasn't really jealousy that was bothering him, as much as it was not wanting to have anything related to negative memories. Didn't mean he wouldn't shut his gob and let Hermione have her fun.
"We can all make sure to time our dances with her, so he doesn't get a look in, if you want," Charlie joked. "I'm sure even Percy could be persuaded."
But Ron shook his head. "Nah. What does it matter if he has a dance with her? He'll be out of the country in less than a week anyway. Besides, it's not like even he cares about anything like that anymore. And I'd just as soon as you didn't bring Percy over; I nearly fell asleep when he came in to congratulate me this morning, and you know how keyed up I was."
"Such maturity makes me feel old, doesn't it you Charlie?" Bill said, with a fake sniff. "And that was the plan, actually. We knew you might not listen to any of us, but Percy was confident he could bore you into a relaxed state."
He laughed. "I thought that was a little long winded, even for Perce."
"Ron! Ron, over here!" Someone shouted.
Looking up, he groaned. There, waving wildly at him, was Lavender Brown, and he knew if he didn't go over and speak to her, she'd just track him down anyway.
"Scuse me a minute," he mumbled to his brothers.
"We'll save you some FIrewhiskey," BIll said.
"Hey, Lavender. How're you-oof!" He stumbled back a little as she hugged him.
"Oh, I'm fine, but look at you! I haven't seen you in what? Almost a year? And only a little less since I saw Hermione. Both of you look so wonderful today, and I'm so happy for you!"
He patted her shoulder awkwardly as she untangled herself from him, trying to be careful not to disrupt the expensive looking scarf she wore around her neck-a signature look she had developed since the last battle, although he had heard there had been some progress being made with Charms and even Muggle surgery, which Lavender was spearheading.
"Yeah, but you've been pretty busy yourself. Didn't someone tell me you were in France not too long ago? Glad you could make it, though."
Lavender squinted at him. "Really? Because you don't seem very enthusiastic."
Ron felt the tips of his ears going red. "What? No! Of course I-it's just that it's today, and you know, we used to, erm..."
"Are you serious?" She threw back her head and laughed. "Puh-leez, Ron! You were what, four boyfriends ago? Six? That's ancient history, for the love of Merlin! It isn't like we all haven't buried that years ago. Do you honestly think Hermione cares if you talk to me today, when she hasn't cared at any other time in all these years?"
"Well, no, of course not-" Abruptly, he recalled certain key facts. "Although if she had, it would have been at least partially because of you! Damn it Lav, you really had to go and play up the whole thing, didn't you? What were you thinking?"
She blinked, tipping her head in confusion, before comprehension dawned. "Wait, do you mean sixth year? Alright, I'm not proud of the things I said to Hermione, but she obviously found out pretty quickly that-" At his look, she paused. "No? Wow. Maybe I did make a mistake, throwing you over before I could test you out..."
"Just joking!" She waved a hand, as if he was being ridiculous. "Honestly, Ron, I haven't had feelings like that for you since that year; I promise I didn't come to the wedding in search of fresh Auror meat."
He rubbed his neck, embarrassed. "I know. And, well, I don't think I ever really said, but I'm sorry about...everything. From then."
Lavender gave him a fond smile. "That's sweet of you, but I forgave you a long time ago. We were all pretty horrible in one way or another, but we were kids. We messed up, we learned, we grew and did better. Now, I need to go and find my date, before he feels like I've abandoned him amongst strangers."
"I...thanks. We'll see you later, yeah? And Lav," he said, as she turned away, "I am glad you got to come today. Really."
"Oh, I am too," she gave him a devilish grin over her shoulder. "I hope you enjoy the wedding gift I picked out, Won-Won!"
He stared after her a moment, more than a little nervous about that laugh. Oh well; it couldn't be too bad, whatever it was, right? Right. It could be dealt with (or disposed of) later; right now, he wanted to find his wife.
"Alright, why were you so eager to dance with me?" Hermione asked, as George lead her off.
"Can't I just-"
"No, usually not."
George sighed. "I'm so misunderstood. Well, part of it is bragging rights. Did you really think I'd let the day pass without an I-told-you-so?"
No, now that he brought it up, she didn't. As someone who valued being right, she wasn't exactly in a position to blame him; however, that didn't stop her from accepting gracefully, just to burst his bubble a bit.
"Yes, you were right. I realize you don't hear that very often, so it's probably a big deal to you. Was that all?"
"Not even gonna let me savor it, are you? But no, that's not all. It's tradition for a sibling to dance with the new family member, and talk about how special you are and how glad we are to have you, blah blah blah. Normally it'd be Bill."
They turned away from each other in a spin before she answered, "So how did I get so lucky and draw you?"
"Because I volunteered. And not just because I was right about you and my dear brother, but because when it comes to Ron, you and I are a lot alike."
Hermione wrinkled her nose. "I truly, sincerely hope that isn't the case!" She joked.
George, however, looked serious. "No, really, think about it. We...you know. We love Ron. But we hurt him, too."
"I don't think that's a particularly nice thing to say to someone on their wedding day," she snapped, frowning heavily as she started to pull away.
"Just hear me out! We didn't mean to. We just...Always thought he understood, or didn't really realize how he took things. We'd try, and sometimes it worked, but sometimes, it fell flat."
"I suppose that's true, but where exactly are you going with this?"
"Well, we'll skip me since today is about you, and that's what I'm trying to say. You made it. After everything, you got it right. Life isn't easy, Hermione. I know that." His eyes darkened briefly, "It won't always be Butterbeer and Pumpkin Pasties. But...whatever it is, you'll get through it; the two of you already went through a lot of shite to get here, so you can make it through anything else, too."
She hadn't particularly thought about any of that, but George was right. Both of them loved Ron, and both had hurt him over the years, although they hadn't meant to-even at times when they were trying to be nice. Both of them had better relationships with him after the war. Both of them had learned to be better about his needs. And, as he said, life wasn't easy. The therapy had definitely helped, but that didn't mean they would never have problems, or that the outside world wouldn't wear on them. But they had made it through so much already, that it showed that they could get through whatever life threw at them, if they just remembered that they had already done it once.
"Thank you, George. Maybe I needed to hear that today, after all."
He smirked a little. "Well, I've reached the limits of serious, warm-hearted wisdom, and just in time, too; here comes Ron."
Just as Hermione was being spun into the direction of her approaching husband, she heard George sing softly, "Hermione Weasley!"
"Looks like I showed up in time. Thirsty?"
"Yes, thank you! I forgot how energetic these are," Hermione said, both of them moving to the edges of the crowd as she sipped her drink. "Where have you been? Not that I mind, but I missed you."
"MIssed me that much already, huh?" He asked with a large smile.
She had noticed, in the past few months, that both of them were more vocal about things like that; how they missed the other, or were glad to see them, or enjoyed spending time together. It was something they had known, of course, but hearing it out loud always gave a nice boost to your mood.
"I ran into Lavender, and we had a chat."
"Oh? I wasn't sure she was going to be back in time to make it. How is she?"
"Um, fine. So you're not..."
Hermione set her glass on a nearby table, giving Ron a small smirk. "Not upset that she's here? Ron, Lavender might not be my closest friend, but we still see each other fairly often. If it was going to bother me, she wouldn't have gotten an invitation."
"Are you saying that if you were still hacked at her, you would have invited our entire year, except her?" He asked, bemused.
She leaned against his arm, her eyes on the dancers as they passed. "Hm. It might have slipped my mind. Of course, to make up for it, I would have sent her a wedding picture of us later. A nice one, of us looking very, very happy."
He laughed, choking on his drink. "You've still got that vicious streak, haven't you? Oh, by the way...Krum's here." He was pleased with himself for having been able to say that with perfect neutrality.
"I know. I waved to him while I was dancing with George, but he and Fleur seemed to be in a competition about who had the cutest baby pictures, so I stayed back. I figured it was best not to give your mum any ideas."
Ron rolled his eyes. "Like she doesn't have them already? I'm hoping Bill and Fleur keep her distracted for another year or two."
"A year or two? Is that a subtle way of telling me that's when you want to start having children?"
"Ah, well, I thought I'd leave the actual having part to you-"
"But, I dunno, maybe at least thinking about it then?"
She smiled up at him, finding his nervously hopeful expression endearing. "I think that's possible. I also think I'd like at least one more dance with you before we sit down to eat."
They moved back out onto the dancefloor, where they spent the next hour dancing together, in between Hermione being stolen away by each of his brothers, both their fathers, and Harry. Both were quite tired but happy by the time it came to transform the tent once more for dinner, and their aching feet thanked them as they sat down. Although she had help, Molly was in charge of the food, and the familiar smells wafting through the tent put them in mind of evenings in the Burrow, and helped ease some of the tension that came from being the focus of attention.
Under the table, Ron felt Hermione's leg bump against his, and, expression not changing, he bumped her back, before they shared a quick, secret smile. That had been a common gesture for them in the first few months of dating, and Ron was pleased to see some of those things coming back. The therapy hadn't just shone them things they needed to fix; it had also reminded them of things they both liked, and insight into the things that touched the heart of the other. It was amazing how small demonstrations of affection brightened your day, and not just when you were on the receiving end. While they were by no means telepathic, there was certainly a deeper level of intimacy-both in and out of bed.
"Ron, if you keep looking like that, your mum is definitely going to jump aboard the grandchildren train," Hermione whispered, smiling all the same.
It was difficult to keep up with the comments directed at them and to eat all at once, but thankfully most people didn't seem to expect much of a reply. Mostly some sort of thanks for well wishes, a laugh in the right place, and a blush or two when jokes bordered on matters of a personal nature, but for the most part people were pretty well contented to hear themselves talk. Which suited them both fine; the sooner people lost interest, the sooner they could-why was Harry standing up? Why was he asking for everyone's attention? No need to ask why they were giving it to him. To most of the Wizarding World, he would always be The Boy Who Lived, and while he still didn't like the focus on him that came with that, he was getting better at dealing with it.
"Can I get everyone's attention for a few minutes? Thank you. As the best man, I'm supposed to give a toast, or speech at this point. I had one all planned, but now it just doesn't seem right, so I'm afraid I'm going to wing it."
"Isn't that what you usually do, mate?" Ron said, ignoring Hermione's elbow nudging him.
Harry laughed along with everyone else, then sobered as he began to speak. "You know, they say that to truly love someone, you have to know them. I've known Ron and Hermione since I was eleven years old, and the truth is, they were two of the very first people to show what love was to a kid that had been severely lacking in that department."
Harry's voice shook a little, and Ron felt himself blush; Harry didn't normally get sentimental, especially in public, so his words meant a lot. Beside him, Hermione gave a hiccupy sort of sob; he reached under the table and took her hand.
"I got to watch them as they got to know each other, and I got to watch as their feelings for each other deepened-even if I was thick about the signs sometimes. It was such a natural thing, that I don't think either one of them really noticed it; the way they could carry on an entire conversation without words-I take partial credit for that, by the way-or how Hermione always passed Ron the food she knew he liked before it was all gone, and how he let her have the seat with the better reading light in the common room. In fact, most people couldn't figure out why they didn't get together sooner, when they were so obvious. I'm still not sure, but maybe it's because they didn't know themselves as well as they knew each other."
There was a pause, and both Ron and Hermione were struck by how true that was. It hadn't been hard to fall in love with the other. Scarily easy, in some ways. But their age in general, combined with their own unique issues, made seeing themselves in the same light much harder. It wasn't until each of them had come to really accept themselves that they had been able to reach out to the other.
"Whatever it was, though, they moved past it, and are closer than ever." He sighed dramatically, green eyes sparkling, "Sometimes I even feel like a third wheel."
The crowd laughed at that, while Ginny, sitting in the chair beside him, reached up to pat his arm in mock consolation before he continued.
"I think they know each other as well as any person ever can know another; the things about each one that leaves the rest of us baffled, the other can understand." He raised his champagne flute. "To Ron and Hermione; may you always love each other as well as you know each other."
Under the echoes of the toast around them, Hermione leaned closer to Ron. "Ron, you didn't tell him..."
"No! I...that's weird. But...sort of fitting, yeah? I don't reckon two people can know each other more than that. Or, at the risk of sounding thoroughly soppy, love any more than that, either."
With complete disregard for the crowd around them, Hermione leaned closer and kissed him soundly on the lips, ignoring Harry's muffled words of, 'Here we go again!'
The festivities began to break up soon after, and Ron and Hermione, after a quick word to both sets of parents, slipped back to the Burrow to get ready to leave. They waved across at Ursula Fletcher and her fiance, who were already walking back home with her cousin-second cousin-Luna.
Just as they reached the door, there was a loud crack and high pitched whistle, and they both spun around to track the noise to the sky. There, hanging in the night, was a large firework display in the shape of a heart, with the initials R+H in the middle. Both grinned, recognizing it as the larger version of the ones George and Fred used to flash Hermione behind Ron's back.
"Now that's one trick I don't mind," Ron commented, as they turned back once the last light faded.
"Did we remember to say goodbye to everyone?" Hermione fretted, entering the quiet building.
"Everyone who mattered. Don't worry, most of them are still at the FIrewhiskey, and by morning won't remember if we did or not."
"I suppose that's true; our families will, though, and I didn't want to leave without telling them."
Ron helped her with her dress on the stairs, careful not to snag it on the wood. "Yeah. Could've done without Mum sobbing all over me about 'her sweet baby boy,' though."
"Oh, you love it when she makes a fuss over you, don't deny it!"
"...Maybe a little. Still, I prefer it when it comes with food."
"Ron, we just had a huge meal; how can you even move, let alone think of wanting more?"
"I expect I'll be needing the energy for later," he said, giving her an exaggerated leer as they came to the landing.
She laughed. "You act like we don't have sex on a regular basis already."
"Yeah, but, this is honeymoon sex. Never had that before," he informed her happily.
"And that's different, is it?"
"Yup; just like office sex is different, and make up sex, and sleepy sex, and sex against a wall, and-"
"I think I get the general idea," she said, as they finally made it to his room to change. "So I take it this means you're looking forward to being married?"
Ron paused in the middle of taking his shoes off. "If I wasn't looking forward to it, I wouldn't have done it. And, I mean, the sex is brilliant, but obviously I'm looking forward to more than that."
Hermione began the long process of peeling herself out of her dress. "Ah yes; my centered nose, I believe it was?"
"Not gonna lie, that was a compelling reason, but not just that. I was thinking more along the lines of what Harry said earlier. You know me; the best and worst I have to offer. You bring out the best parts, and accept the grimy bits. Not everyone is lucky enough to have someone like that," he said, ridding himself of his tie and unbuttoning his shirt.
"Help me with this?" She asked, having finished undoing her dress, and needing help lifting it over her head. "We are lucky, aren't we? Although, to be fair, we put a lot of work into it. Still, that part about loving someone the more you know them is true. I've loved you for years, but when we went for therapy, I found all of these new reasons, and built on old ones."
Careful not to damage things, she began to hang up her clothing, for Molly to drop off at their flat while they were gone. She took out her mother's diamond earrings, and carefully put them in a small jewelry box, but kept on the thin, silver bracelet that had been a gift from Harry and Ginny. She put on the outfit that she had set out earlier this morning, and turned around to face Ron, only to find him dressed, and staring at the wall with an odd expression.
"Ron? Is something wrong?"
He gave a start. "What? No. I was just thinking. I spent a lot of my life in this room, you know? I remember the first time I wrote you a letter, and how mental I thought you were for reading our books before school started. I remember how I sort of slowly started looking forward to seeing you, then going to downright missing you. Trying to deal with the fact that I fancied you, and trying to figure out how to get you to feel the same for me."
She walked over to him, and put her arms around his waist. "Did you ever think we'd be here, like this?"
Ron laughed a little. "Married? Not while we were still at Hogwarts. It was hard enough to imagine you wanting to be with me at all. After...yeah, there were definitely a few times that I let myself hope."
"I'm glad you did. I know there were times when you thought you might as well give up, but it means a lot to me that you kept trying."
He leaned down to kiss her. "You were worth it."
"You were, too," she said, pulling away and lifting her bag from the floor. "Are you ready? I think the Portkey is about to go off."
Ron put one arm around her, and his other hand on the Muggle soda can she held out. "I'm ready for anything, love."
As they waited for the Portkey to activate, Hermione looked up at him, snuggling a little closer. "Now that you're older, and this is all over, what do you think?"
He grinned, just as the can began to glow. "Hermione, if you think anything's over, you haven't been paying attention!"
There was a flash of light, and the couple disappeared, one chapter of their lives closing with a small pop. They had come so far, from two eleven year olds on a train; there had been laughter and tears, pain and sorrow. Their love had been tested and proven time and again, and they had been nearly pulled apart before finally coming together. But happily ever after doesn't end with 'I do.' Ron and Hermione knew that, and the prospect was more thrilling than any adventure they had ever had.
After all, there was still so much more about each other to know...and still much more to love.