I'm sorry for the wait. I'm sorry for this too. I hope you like it.
A few days later, and we're dancing at yet another wedding. This time it's Ron and Padma's. I know I give my little brother a rough time, a lot of the time – because he's so damn annoying – but I can't help but feel proud of him. He looked all grown up and mature, but we all know he's still a big baby. I don't know how Padma will put up with him to be honest, but I guess we managed it for his whole life.
Hermione's been quiet all day, and I want to know why without having to ask her. It's not like she has feelings for Ron, considering she seems pretty content in my arms right now, but she's still acting odd and I'm pretty sure it's to do with the fact that he's gotten married.
My concerns remain firmly in my mind as we dance. It's a slow, calming song and as we move I look down at the woman in my arms. If someone had told me this time last year that I'd get to be with the woman I love, then I'd have thought I was the one being pranked. But... here we are.
Hermione looks stunning too. She's wearing this long, light purple bridesmaid gown and it has these floaty sleeves with slits up to the shoulder. Sometimes, the fabric falls away and I see her 'Mudblood' scar from Bellatrix Lestrange. I guess she's finally become comfortable with it being out in the open. She doesn't even wear long sleeves all the time like she used to. I'm simultaneously heartened and in awe of this woman. Plus, Merlin, purple is definitely her colour. It makes her skin look heavenly and her figure is just perfect and I get to hold her as much as she'll let me.
"You know I can feel it when you stare at me." Hermione says, after an age of silence. She tilts her head against my chest and looks up at me, smiling lightly.
"Sorry. I can't help it, I can barely focus on anything but you." I tell her honestly, tracing circles between her shoulder blades.
"Smooth." Hermione smiles mischievously and I laugh, nodding.
"I do try." I tell her, rather happily. I have a range of jokes whizzing through my brain, but none of them seem appropriate right now. That's what I love about being with Hermione. She doesn't expect me to be the happy, comic prankster that everyone else does. She recognizes that the war was hard on me too. She can just be with me and be quietly content in just dancing all night to music that would bore Aunt Muriel. "I'm so lucky to have you, Hermione Granger."
"No, you're not. I'm lucky to have you. I love you, you know."
"The feelings mutual." I wink at her and we return to our dancing.
Hermione's hair smells so good, as always. Since Percy's wedding I've had a lot more time to think over that damnable scent. It's like cherries and hazelnuts and pecans and cedar. It smells of autumn and it's so very Hermione. I can't really think of another way to explain it. It's just lovely and I don't know how she does it, considering our shampoo is just plain. Anyway, her hair is straight for the occasion and she looks stunning.
When the song ends, Hermione leads me over to the drinks table and we grab a glass of champagne each. The night is still young but she looks at me, takes my hand and smiles.
"Would you like to move the party inside? It's a little chilly out here."
That night, when I roll onto my side in a wonderfully dozy state, I watch Hermione. She's asleep already, her chest rising and falling with steady breaths. I can't help but stare in wonder at this beautiful woman beside me. Her hair isn't quite as straight as it was earlier; it's rumpled and beginning to curl again. Her lips are swollen a little and without a doubt, I know she's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen.
When I wake up, it only takes a second for me to remember the grand memories of last night. Fred's arms are wrapped around me and I smile into his chest, content to stay like this forever.
"Good Morning." Fred murmurs and of course he's awake, he always wakes up early.
I tilt my head to look at him, but his eyes are closed. He looks so peaceful that I honestly do wish we could just stay here forever. Unfortunately, I have work this afternoon and I'm pretty sure Molly wondered where we disappeared to last night – thank merlin for locking charms.
"Very good morning." I reply gently, my fingers absently trailing down the scar on his chest. I remember how he got it and it's one of my worst memories, which is saying something considering I survived a war. That had been the first time we'd see Death Eaters and Fred had been there to protect me. I hadn't considered for a second that he might not make it out unscathed.
It was probably the worst thing I'd seen since watching Professor Lupin transform into a Werewolf – which at the time had been the most horrific thing I'd ever witnessed. But seeing Fred just collapse, after saving me, with blood streaming down his body... it frightened me more than anything. You think, what with being friends with Harry Potter, I'd have become immune to witnessing pain. But that was the first time I'd ever properly seen someone I cared for get hurt badly. Harry always seemed to escape everything by luck. But that night... Fred could have died.
"What are you thinking about?" Fred asks me, his eyes now open and fixed on me.
"You." I reply honestly. "I love you." I tell him and he smiles, kissing my nose.
"I know. I love you too."
I return his smile, sliding out the bed and wrapping my dressing gown around me. Fred watches me from the bed, his eyelids still heavy with tiredness and, perhaps, something more.
"I'm going for a shower before your parents awake. You're quite welcome to join me."
It's not everyday that I manage to sleep in this late in the morning, even if it's still considerably earlier than most people, and there's not a shred of doubt in my mind that it's because of Hermione Granger. I suspected she'd solve all my problems in life the moment I realized I was in love with her, but never did I expect I'd sleep the whole night through. This morning I woke up with this big grin on my face and I got the privilege of just watching her sleep and holding her, knowing that nothing could spoil that moment.
And then Hermione woke up and the moment got even better. Man, I didn't think it was possible.
So now, I think it's fair to say that I'm quite possibly in the best mood a Weasley has ever been in.
"These will be for you two, dears." Mum says, as soon as some official Ministry owl shows up at the door bearing two letters. I guessed the second it arrived it would be for Hermione and I, considering we're the only 'kids' that live here and neither of us have reported to the Ministry yet regarding the marriage law.
"No kidding." I mutter, taking the letter off the table. Maybe the only thing that could spoil my good mood would be talk of marriage. I'm not gonna pretend that I wouldn't love to be married to Hermione, some day, but the more time I spend with her the more I realize the injustice of being forced to marry. I want things to be normal with Hermione.
I open the letter with a heavy heart, silently praying that Hermione's appeal has been accepted. Next to me, Hermione places her jam and toast down and opens her own letter. With a deep breath, we both begin reading.
Dear Mr Frederick Weasley,
It is my duty to remind you that the deadline for the 'Happiness Decree' is the 20th December of this year. A response to this letter with your chosen partner should be returned to the Ministry of Magic, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, at the soonest possible date.
Failure to comply with this law could result in a fine, imprisonment or, in extremes, banishment from the wizarding world.
A . J. Finlay
I throw my letter down on the table when I've finished with it. They haven't given the slightest indication that the Law may be repealed sooner rather than later. How many ignorant morons will get this letter this morning and then take drastic measures, because they think they have no other options left? What the ministry is doing is ridiculous.
Hermione finishes her letter a few minutes later than I do. Hers is longer, but she also reads it several times over before looking up with dark, furious eyes.
"Listen to this! The nerve of them, I can't believe it!" She fumes, holding her letter up with a grip that turns her knuckles white. If the situation wasn't so appalling, I'd probably laugh. "Just listen! 'Dear Miss Granger, It is my duty to inform you that your request for a repeal has been denied. Blah Blah Blah... Oh, here it is! It is my personal opinion that, as a figure of importance and a role model to many, you should be complying with laws put in place for the benefit of the people.' I mean, can you believe it!"
As it happens, I can't believe it. Admittedly, the relationship we've all had with the ministry has changed since Kingsley became Minister, but let's not forget that just a few years ago Harry was refusing to be a poster boy. What on earth makes them think that Hermione will just go along with this ridiculous law because she's a role model. If anything, that encourages her to stand up for her own beliefs more!
"Let's get in touch with Kingsley. Report the sender. They had no right to say that." I tell Hermione, half ready to floo directly to the Minister's office and demand an explanation. But Hermione just shakes her head dejectedly, shrugging a little as her anger dissipates.
"There's no point." She says with a sigh. "It doesn't matter really. The important thing is that there's no getting out of this. It looks like we're getting married, Fred."
Our eyes meet and I'm pretty sure my expression is identical to hers. Blank. I don't think it's really registered. I just assumed Hermione would find a way out of it, but now we're stuck.
"We should set a date." I respond thickly, before adding. "Mum will need to plan it."
Hermione nods, chewing her lip in thought. "December. After Harry and Ginny's. I don't mind really. I don't want it to be anything big or... Oh god, I'll have to tell my parents."
Now I feel something more than shock, primarily in the form of nervousness. It's hard enough meeting a girl's folks without having to tell them you're marrying said girl when she's barely left school. I don't think they'll quite understand why we're having to do this. They've already found Hermione a job in Australia if she wants to leave the wizarding world. What if they encourage her to leave? She won't... she wouldn't leave me... would she?
"Don't look so worried." Hermione laughs lightly, taking hold of my hand. "They'll love you as much as I do." She smiles and my world seems a little brighter. It always does when she smiles.
"I hope not in the same way." I reply, mischievously and Hermione whacks my chest. It occurs to me that I'm going to have to find a place for us to live, whether we get married or not. So, with a slightly less scary goal of finding a flat, I pick up the paper and begin looking. Hermione curls up at my side and I imagine us doing this in our own place. It's a nice thought. Something I definitely wouldn't say no to. Who'd have thought I, Fred Weasley, would actually look forward to settling down with the girl of his dreams?
A week later, Hermione and I have been to see three houses and 2 flats. We've found a great place in London. It's close to the shop and to Mungo's, it has a second drawing room which Hermione plans to turn into her own miniature Library and it's a wizard building so magic is allowed. It's rather perfect, actually.
We'll be able to move in right after the wedding too, which is good I suppose. With the exception of mum and dad, the past month or so has been like living with Hermione anyway so I can't imagine it will be that different.
It's the 1st of December today and, so everyone keeps telling me, a very special day. Today is the day that my baby sister turns from Miss Ginevra Molly Weasley to Mrs Ginny Potter. George and I have seen this coming for years and frankly, without even the prospect of pulling a good prank, I'm not looking forward to it much. I've been to so many weddings recently that I could just remember one of the others and put Ginny's face where the bride's should be.
Then again, I suppose it is my only sister's only wedding. I've agreed to behave, albeit reluctantly. And it's not just because of the many threats and warnings from both Ginny and Mum, there's something more now. I think it's that Hermione and I are marrying in just a fortnight, which is monumental. I'm not upset about it; I'm excited. But I still have that numb sense of shock that I'm actually getting married, to Hermione Granger at that. I think I'm more nervous about being a husband than anything, but if my little sister can get married then so can I. I'm not that immature.
"Are you brooding, Mr Weasley?" I turn to see Hermione entering the kitchen. She looks stunning, in a cream halter neck dress and her hair all curly down to the small of her back. The wedding isn't for another hour, so I'm barely ready. I still need my outer robes, tie, flower, shoes and hair sorting. "That's very unlike you." She smiles, but I can still see that flicker of worry in those deep brown eyes.
"I wouldn't say brooding." I reply. I drain the rest of my coffee quickly and stand, depositing the cup in the sink. "More... pondering, Mrs Weasley to be." I can't help but grin then. Mrs Hermione Weasley. I like the sound of that.
"Pondering, eh?" Hermione arches an eyebrow and I wrap my arms around her waist. She's taller than normal because she's wearing heels. "What would you be pondering on a morning like this?"
"How exceptionally gorgeous my fiancée is." I tell her promptly and kiss her soundly. It's with a great deal of reluctance that I pull away, smirking a little at the look on her face.
"Well, we're clearly not in the same boat." Hermione says as payback. I display a look of mock hurt.
"You wound me, 'Mione!"
"Good." She grins. I bloody love this woman. "Go and get ready. Ginny's going to throw a fit in a minute."
"No change there then. Good luck to Harry." I wink and saunter out of the room.
An hour later, and the wedding is about to commence. Harry is stood at the end of the garden looking white as the snow around us, Ron by his side. The garden has never been so packed in all the weddings we've ever had here. Harry and Ginny have more friends than the rest of us put together, it seems, so we're at breaking point. Hermione and I decided that for our wedding, it's close family and friends. No-one more. Ginny, apparently, wanted the biggest wedding of the century. It's understandable though, she is becoming a Potter.
When the music begins, something classical that I would never admit out loud in a million years was nice, George and Angelina are the first to walk down the aisle. They make a damn good couple and I've never seen George happier if I'm honest, which is not something a twin likes to acknowledge.
Hermione and I then follow, and I get this surge of pride to be holding the arm of this beautiful woman. My Hermione. To think that this time a few months ago I would never have contemplated marriage in a thousand years. I guess that's what love is.
When we reach the front, Hermione move to Harry's side and I to Ginny's. We're still for merely a second before Ginny begins to walk down the aisle. I can't believe this is my baby sister. I remember when she was born. I was a little kid and I thought she was the grossest, most annoying thing ever. George and I kept to ourselves mostly. But when she was a baby, this one time, Ron made her cry. I can't remember what he did, but that was when George and I fell for our little sister. I hope we've been good brothers to her.
My eyes flick to George and I know he's thinking the same thing.
I don't think Harry even blinks as he watches her approaching him. She looks stunning, of course, but a part of me worries that if he doesn't breathe soon he might faint.
Luckily, Ginny reaches the front before he loses it and the ceremony begins.
And it NEVER ends.
I feel like we've been sat here for hours.
Even the ceremony conductor, a small, chubby man, looks bored as hell. He's reading at the speed of lightening, trying to get it all done. If it wasn't for the songs or the god damn self-written vows, this could have ended an hour ago. Ginny tried, rather unsuccessfully, to combine a muggle and magical ceremony to represent Harry's upbringing. I haven't the slightest clue why and I no longer care. I just want to sleep.
Just as I'm beginning to hear the snores of Aunt Muriel in the row behind me, the long and winding speech about love from the conductor is interrupted. He stops suddenly and begins to cough.
"Could I get a drink?" He asks loudly, looking around for his bag.
I turn to George, confused. He shakes his head a little, indicating he hasn't done anything to the man. He must just be thirsty then.
"Looking for this?" Harry asks, holding up the man's bag with dark, furious eyes. Harry rummages in it, then pulls out a flask. He opens the cap and sniffs it, then pours it onto the ground heartlessly. "Polyjuice potion." He explains briefly and in less than a second, every single guest in the crowd -save for Muriel who is still snoring contently- has their wand out and pointed at the man. "Did you really think we wouldn't be prepared? My colleagues found our actual Minister wandering aimlessly in Otter St. Catchpole early this morning. We knew you were coming. We just had to wait."
Bloody hell. That information would have been useful before we all sat down.
The man looks vicious and then his face bubbles magnificently. We've not used polyjuice potion in ages, I forgot how disgusting it is. The man lifts his arm to cover his face.
Then, the world goes black.
The bastard threw down some of our Peruvian instant darkness powder. Who the hell have we been selling to?
Lots of people scream in the darkness and I conjure a shield around our entire row -just in case.
When the darkness fades, I'm faced with a scene from my worst nightmares. The imposter is Rodolphus Lestrange, looking almost as demented as his wife had been. In his grip are Ginny and Hermione. I stand up, my heart racing. I simultaneously feel sick to my stomach and enraged.
Rodolphus is cornered, but as long as he has my sister and my fiancée there's very little we can do. They are his human shields and his wand is on them.
"Let them go, Lestrange!" Harry yells. Anyone can hear the panic in his voice. He clearly wasn't expecting this to happen.
"Right you are, Potter," Lestrange smiles this twisted grin, his teeth rotting, and makes to push the women away. He yanks them back in at the last second and laughs at the small squeak of surprise that leaves Ginny.
"Why are you doing this? The war is over; Voldemort is dead. You have no chance." Kingsley says, emerging from the seating. People are staring in horror. But really, this is the wedding of Harry Potter. What did anyone expect? Apparently Harry can't survive without a little mayhem in his life. I take back what I said earlier, it's Ginny that needs the good luck.
"The war is never over. Not until Potter is dead too." Rodolphus snarls. "You 'good guys' took everything from me. My life, my status, my wife." His eyes fall on mum then, and we all grip our wands a little tighter. Not that we need to. Mum wiped the floor with Bellatrix, I'm sure she could manage Rodolphus too.
"So now I'm going to take my wife's murderers daughter in laws. She how she likes the pain. And when they're dead, I'm come back for the rest."
I notice George gripping Angelina's hand a little tighter. Ron looks to Padma, and I'm sure Bill and Fluer stand a little closer but I can't really tell.
All I can see for sure is Hermione and the small smirk playing on her lips. For a brief second, I think she's just smiling nervously or trying to reassure me that she's alright. But then her eyes sparkle and I grin. She has a plan. My Hermione Granger, the smartest witch of her age alright.
I notice immediately when Ginny's arm shifts. Her face lights up in a bright smile, radiant on her wedding day. Then her elbow slams down into Rodolphus' stomach and he doubles up in pain. Hermione twists and snaps his wand in two. Then, both the girls wrap a foot around his ankle and pull him over with apparent ease.
Rodolphus hits the floor with a loud 'OOF' and Ginny and Hermione get away scot free. They extract their wands from under their dresses as George and I, Harry, Ron, Bill, Kingsley and Charlie surround Rodolphus on the floor. They join us and Hermione takes my hand tightly, somewhat pink in the face from the effort of knocking him over.
"We fought a god-damn war, do you really think we didn't pick up a few tricks?" she asks Lestrange who simply grunts in pain.
"I bloody love you Hermione Jean Granger." I grin.
I don't reckon there has every been a period of time so hectic for anyone as the past few months have been for me.
It's Christmas Eve and we're all sat in the living room, and I mean ALL of us, doing very little but eat and drink and talk. The newly wed Harry and Ginny Potter are playing with Teddy in the corner and various other people are having their own conversations.
But I can't take my eyes off my Hermione. She's sat beside me, my arm wrapped around her shoulder. My Hermione Granger.
The morning of our marriage, we got an owl from Kingsley. It read 'Marriage Law revoked, merry early Christmas.' Hermione and I sort of looked at each other when we got it. Everything we had to adjust for in the past few months was just out of the window. Except it wasn't, because I learnt more about who I am by falling in love with Hermione Granger than I ever would have done alone.
We shrugged at each other after reading it and then we got married anyway. Because, after all, we're in love, and now I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life. Even George admitted it, and that's not the sort of thing a twin likes to acknowledge.
It seems sort of weird to think that this Christmas is going to be an average, good old Family Christmas. This year has been a blur of everything and anything imaginable. I never thought at the end of it I'd be sat in my childhood home with the woman I love, watching my entire and now extended family talk happily.
But, I suppose, this is what everything was leading to. The war, the pain, the nightmares, the sleeplessness, the anxiety, the living hell. It's all been worth it in the end. And now we get to do all the rest of that dumb, boring stuff that I swore I'd never do. Only, I know with Hermione Weasley by my side, it won't be that boring. It'll actually be great.
Once again, I'm sorry. I really lost where I wanted to go with this story, despite my highly detailed plan. You wouldn't have thought I had a plan, would you.
I really didn't want this to be resolved so easily, but I figured - the War is over, they've all learnt a lot, Lestrange has been on the run and so weaker than he would have been. Let's let Hermione and Ginny kick ass.
Thank you to all who reviewed, I'll take all the advice with me wherever I go next xoxo