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Chapter 5: Two Years Later
It had been a very long time since Hermione had heard the contents of the letter. Though it had been a while, she couldn't stop herself thinking of the poor man who wrote his heart out when she looked at George.
George and Angelina had settled down nicely after a rather extravagant wedding in which they tried to sneak in munchkins, much to Mrs Weasley's dismay. It had overall been a lovely wedding and Angelina had looked absolutely beautiful walking down the aisle to meet her husband.
It was earlier that year that Angelina had given birth to their first child, Fred Weasley Junior. They nicknamed their son 'Junior' for short. Both were very busy trying to keep a sustainable life and taking care of their son. They would usually send him over to the Burrow when they both had to work. Molly was more than happy to look after him. Victoire was occasionally over as well. She was a very enthusiastic two-year-old with beautiful silvery-blond hair just like her mother. Her eyes were large and blue.
Whenever Ginny and Hermione had time off they would try to keep the two out of Mrs Weasley's hair. Feeding them, changing them, keeping them occupied. It was all they could do to help her out. She very much needed the help they thought. Not only did they have to look after two very rambunctious toddlers but Percy and his wife Audrey were expecting twin girls near the end of the year and Fleur was expecting another child near the end of July. Things were very busy.
“I can't believe we have so many children around now!” laughed Ginny, snatching Victoire away from the fire.
“Yeah but you'll bet Percy'll want to raise his on his own,” Hermione said, cradling Fred and smiling. She really did love children.
“True,” Ginny answered, beaming as she transferred Victoire from near the fire and onto her lap.
“Bill and Fleur are going to have their hands full,” Hermione said absent mindedly, gazing at the mess in the living room. It was completely littered with empty bottles, toy wands and other mishap objects from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.
“I'll say!” Ginny giggled as Victoire played with her hair. “I can't wait to have my own!”
“Neither,” Hermione said dreamily, imagining the day that she would be covered with grandchildren. “But I could never stop work. Ever!”
“Yes I 'spose that's true! I couldn't leave the Harpies!” Ginny said, playing peek-a-boo with Victoire. Hermione knew that one day Ginny would make a wonderful mother. Her way with children was amazing. Baby Fred began to cry.
“Shhhh,” Hermione whispered, rocking him gently in his arms, “You do look incredibly like your namesake.” she laughed, looking into his huge eyes. He looked like the exact depiction of his father and uncle to the red hair on his head.
“He's got Angelina's nose,” mentioned Ginny from the corner, trying to teach Victoire to walk properly. She toppled over and started crying. “C'mon up you're alright.” she said gently, bringing the toddler back to her feet.
Once again summer seemed to arrive. It was beautiful at the Burrow. The gnomes seemed to have left of their own volition which suited the family very well whenever they chose to eat dinner outside. Extra rooms had been added on the bottom floor for Hermione and Harry, much to their protests. They had not been finished in time for George and Angelina's wedding due to Mrs Weasley's perfectionism about the whole thing.
Occasionally Hermione would visit her parents and fill them in on what was happening. They were very close with the Weasley family as they enjoyed coming over for day trips. Unfortunately it was getting harder to do as they all had busy schedules and it was a long trip to make in one day.
But it was on fine morning when Hermione had only just woken up, her hair all messy and worn when Ginny arrived in her room, bouncing on her bed.
“What is it Ginny?” Hermione mumbled, sitting up to get a better view of her. She was absolutely positively glowing.
“Harry proposed!” she said beaming, indicating the small unique ring on her left hand.
“What?!” said Hermione, scrambling out of bed and gazing at the ring on Ginny's finger.
“He snuck into my – don't tell Ron but he snuck into my room last night and well we snogged for a while but then he did it out of the blue!” she was beaming from ear to ear, her eyes sparkling with tears.
The two girls embraced each other, squealing and hugging each other, absolutely thriving with delight. Of course Hermione was delighted for Ginny, who wouldn't be?! She was getting married to Hermione's best friend!
“Have you told your mum?!” Hermione asked, suddenly worried. Mrs Weasley was so busy lately! She would do her head in if she knew.
“Not yet,” Ginny said, looking at her feet. “Look I know that Dominique's only just been born and I know the timing's crazy but when have we ever been noticed through all this?”
“Yes I suppose so,” Hermione said slowly. “I just don't want her to overwork herself.”
“Trust me she won't overwork herself with me!” Ginny laughed, holding out her hand to gaze at the ring. But despite how happy Ginny was, Hermione couldn't help feeling a pang of sadness. She thought it might be from the fact that they were all growing up but somehow she wasn't so sure.
It wasn't until breakfast that morning that Hermione realised what was wrong. Everyone was getting up to congratulate Harry and Ginny on yet another wedding in the Weasley household. Everything was so busy and chaotic. Hermione was sitting at the table, after sending her congratulations and putting on a convincing smile. She turned her head slightly and saw, that, to her utmost horror and realisation, Ron was sitting at the other end of the table, looking surly and tempered. Hermione went over to him.
“What's wrong?” she asked him nervously, taking a seat beside him.
“Wrong?” he asked, his voice high. “Nothing.”
“Come off it!” Hermione said exasperatedly.
“Maybe you'll learn that my sister's gonna marry my best friend and I might not be happy about it!” snapped Ron, marching off upstairs.
After she heard his door close, Hermione too left the scene and entered her bedroom. There she fell onto her bed and sobbed for what seemed like forever. Ron would never marry her, she thought. He had barely touched her over the past few months. It was like he didn't want anything to do with her. She should have known, after seeing Harry and Ginny always so loving and obvious together that there was something wrong between her and Ron but she had been way to naïve and now look what it had done! She couldn't tell Ginny. Not now, not ever. This was her secret and she would take it to the grave. But it didn't make her situation easier because in the end she loved Ron but how was he ever supposed to marry her if neither of them would open up and show affection to each like Harry and Ginny did?
The wedding. It had come. It was the big day. The marquee had gone up and everyone seemed to be in the mood for celebrating. Even Ron, smiling and laughing with his best friend. They seemed to be the happiest pair in the whole entire universe.
For February it was an absolutely beautiful day. The air was warm and the sky was clear. As the boys filed everyone into the tent, Hermione and Ginny were getting ready in Hermione's room.
Ginny had picked out a simplistic bridesmaid's dress, a beautiful pink tinge to it that seemed to really radiate Hermione's beauty, her hair pulled back into an elegant bun. Ginny, on the other hand, looked simply remarkable. She wore a stunning white dress with light sleeves barely reaching the edge of her shoulders. Her hair looked as though a god has designed it. It was elaborately twisted and curled to make her look like some sort of angel.
“Beautiful,” sighed Hermione, beaming at her best friend. It was true, Ginny really did look impeccable.
“Are you sure that I don't look too slender?” Ginny asked worriedly. She had a tiny figure which led people under the illusion that she was much to slim than what she should be.
“You look fine Ginny,” laughed Hermione, gathering the flowers and stowing away all the things they weren't using. She peered out of the doorway. Everything seemed to be in order and the food had clearly been taken out of the bustling kitchen and into the marquee.
The clock chimed twelve. It was time for Ginny to be married.
“You coming Ginny?!” Hermione called.
“Yup!” Ginny yelled back nervously.
They met Mr Weasley right before the archway set up for the wedding. Outdoors was how Ginny liked it. Hermione could see that nearly all of Ginny's Quidditch team, the Holyhead Harpies, had turned up for the occasion.
Mr Weasley was struggling to hold onto a wriggling Victoire. Hermione quickly took her to Mr Weasley's relief and fixed her dress. She seemed to always calm down when Hermione had her.
“How does Auntie Ginny look?” Hermione asked her. Victoire always liked to have an opinion.
“Beautiful!” said the small girl as she gazed at Ginny. Ginny laughed at her.
Ron came bustling up the aisle with Fred. He had grown so much over the past few months.
“We ready?” he asked, positioning Fred in his arms as he struggled to hold onto the rings which Fred was 'supposed' to be carrying. There was no need for him to say this for at that moment music began to sound all around them.
Ron was in front with baby Fed, Hermione holding Victoire's hand while she hummed to the sweet music.
“La la la la,” her little voice floated down the aisle as the procession went forth. Finally they were at the end and instead of going to her mother like she was taught to do, Victoire hung onto Hermione. Everyone laughed as Hermione took her small hand and brought her over to Fleur who was holding Dominique with one hand and scrambled to collect Victoire, finally passing her to Bill with a quick “Thanks” to Hermione.
Hermione held Ginny's flowers as the ceremony went forth, finally ending in a beautiful cascade of rose petals as they kissed. After collecting her flowers from Hermione, the two kissed each other on the cheek and Ginny was exiting the tent with Harry. A married woman, thought Hermione. A tear came to her eye.
She exited with Ron who held her hand gently. She loved it when he held it. He was like her guardian angel. But it was all gone as they were swept into the marquee and she lost him in amongst all the commotion.
She talked to quite a few people while everyone mingled. She spotted Luna in a far corner. Except, she didn't look like Luna. She looked entirely different. She was absolutely beautiful in a sweet cherry coloured dress with matching earrings. Her hair had been curled and her eyes were like luminous moons as they sparkled in the light cast by fairies.
“Luna?” Hermione said, stunned.
“Oh hello Hermione!” Luna answered in surprise, still she had the dreamlike state of not exactly meeting Hermione's eyes when she spoke to her.
“You look absolutely wonderful!” Hermione said delightfully.
“Oh yes Rolf thought so too,” beamed Luna.
“Rolf? Hermione asked politely.
“Oh my husband!” Luna said sweetly.
“I never even knew you had a wedding!”
“Oh we found that the money was best suited towards looking for different exotic creatures. We just signed the papers.” Luna said seriously. Hermione laughed. She was still the same Luna, the only difference was her new clothes.
“Well I'd better go find Ron,” Hermione said, looking over people's heads.
“I think he's over there.” Luna pointed to a lonely figure sitting at a table not far from where they were standing.
“Oh!” Hermione said, “Thanks Luna! Cya!”
“Bye!” Luna said dreamily as she went and started dancing exuberantly. Hermione laughed quietly as she made her way over to Ron. She sat down next to him and sighed.
“What are you sighing at?” Ron asked, laughing.
“Just tired,” said Hermione sleepily.
“Reckon we should turn in?” said Ron, looking hungrily back at the Burrow.
“We can't can we?” Hermione answered, staring around at everyone in the marquee.
“Yeah I 'spose,” said Ron quietly.
“Oh what the hell,” Hermione said, jumping to her feet.
“What?!” Ron yelped, jumping to his too.
“I'm turning in, there's only half an hour left!” Hermione said, heading over to tell Ginny. Ron followed silently.
Ginny was busy dancing with Victoire, who was squealing delightedly as she attempted to trample Ginny's feet.
“Yes,” Ginny said, laughing as she continued to dance.
“Me and Ron just thought we'd let you know that we're gonna turn in now,” Hermione said, kissing Ginny on the cheek and giving her a hug.
“Oh if you must!” Ginny said, smiling and picking up Victoire. “Thank you so much for everything you two!” she continued, giving her brother a hug.
Hermione smiled sweetly and after a quickly sending Harry their thanks, headed back out of the marquee and towards the Burrow.
As they entered the house Hermione went to kiss Ron goodnight, but he stopped her.
“No,” Ron said as she backed away, blushing slightly under the faint light.
“What?” she said, bemused at his behaviour.
“Just no,” he said. Ron stalked away up the stairs, leaving Hermione standing in the kitchen, tears in her eyes once again.