Chapter 9: Should’ve and Shouldn’t
A minute after the door shut behind Ron, Hermione was still sitting up against the wall. She was thinking of all the times that they had been in the same place and hadn’t been interrupted. Try as she did to stop them, the memories attacked her mind…
Hermione and Ron were dancing to a slow song at Harry and Ginny’s wedding. Swaying side to side, Hermione had her arms around Ron’s neck and Ron held Hermione’s hips close to him. She looked up into those deep blue eyes she loved so much and smiled. What she would give for this song never to end. When the song finally did end, Ron leaned in and kissed her. Who cared if everyone on the dancing floor was now staring at the deep kiss the two were sharing…
Shaking her head to clear it of more memories that were sure to come she thought, I should go and check on Paige.. After all, her daughter was the most important thing in her life, even more important than what might have happened if Ivy hadn’t yelled…
She lifted herself off the floor and walked out of Ginny’s old bedroom. Ivy’s voice reached up the stairs and even from the first floor hallway, Hermione could hear the conversation. She walked over to the stairs and looked down. Ron and Ivy were facing each other at the bottom of the stairs; Ivy looked livid. Deciding that interrupting them might not be the best idea at the moment, she stood at the top of the stairs wondering how she was going to go check on Paige if she couldn’t go down the stairs. I could apparate… said a voice in the back of Hermione’s mind. But the other part of her mind, the greatly larger part, wanted to say where she was and listen to the conversation. Deciding that Paige was with Molly and therefore perfectly fine, Hermione sat down on the top step feeling slightly guilty.
Ron shut the door behind him and leaned against it, his head pounding. He want split so many ways. One part of him wanted to rush back in there and snog Hermione senseless, another part wanted to run down the stairs and yell at Ivy, and yet another part was telling him off for almost cheating – he was still engaged; this was still his wedding day to Ivy, not Hermione.
Ron resisted the urge to bang his head back against the door multiple times then he pushed himself off the door and headed towards the stairs. Who the hell was responsible for this? he thought desperately as he rounded the corner and started down the stairs, Because whoever it is, they have a sick sense of humor.
He would just have to talk to Ivy and tell her… tell her what? “Hey Ivy, sorry but I can’t get married today because I think I’m still in love with my daughter’s mother. Oh yeah, did I mention I have a one and a half year old daughter?” Somehow, that didn’t seem to work.
“RONALD!” Ivy yelled as she stomped to the stairs and saw Ron stumbling down them. Ron saw that Ivy was still in her night-robe but had her hair and makeup ready for the wedding, “Were you ever going to tell me?” she shrieked. Merlin, she knows! How can she know? Ron thought frantically. Then he noticed that she was waving a roll of something white in her left hand at him.
“Tell you what?” Ron asked cautiously.
Ivy let out a cry of exasperation, “This!” she yelled and stuck the roll out at him with such force that her elbow popped. Ron took it and saw that it was a copy of the day’s Daily Prophet with the huge headline Member Two of the Golden Trio Weds Today scrawled across the front page.
“Oh,” Ron said and looked at Ivy.
“Oh? OH?” Ivy screamed and began to pace in front of Ron, strands of hair falling from her up-do, “Everyone and their brother thinks that you and that… that… girl were supposed to be married. What’d your mate say,” she snatched it back and consulted the Prophet, “Oh yes, it was obvious to the whole school that the two were in love. Yet all you tell me is that ‘you went to school together’ then you let me invite her to our wedding?”
“Ivy,” Ron cut in, “we need to—”
“Don’t you give me that we need to talk speech, Ronald. You and this… this…” Ivy gazed at the picture of the trio that accompanied the article, “bushy-haired homewrecker were practically married and all I hear is that you went to bloody school together! And what’s worse, she’s coming to our wedding!”
“Don’t say that about her.” Ron growled.
Ivy laughed a shrill, high laugh, “Why not?” she dared him.
Ron ignored this comment, “Don’t worry, she’s not coming to our wedding.”
“She’s not?” Ivy looked at Ron, her anger subsiding.
“No, she’s not coming because there isn’t going to be a wed—”
“Mummy?” interrupted a small voice, “Where Mummy?” a red-headed little girl toddled out of the kitchen door and into the middle of the shouting match. She looked up at Ron, then at Ivy, and back at Ron, “Da-da? Where Mummy?” she asked, her blue eyes shining with tears.
Hermione watched from the top stair as Ivy and Ron yelled at each other. But just as Ron was getting to the part Hermione was unknowingly waiting for, the part when he would call off the wedding, she heard a different voice. The voice of her little girl. She leaned to the left so that she could see the kitchen door and saw Paige push it open, observe the situation then ask, “Da-da? Where Mummy?” Ron looked at the little girl, as did Ivy.
“DA-DA!” Ivy yelled so loud Hermione swore the house shook as she turned to face Ron. Paige burst into tears at the noise and fell to the floor. Hermione reacted instinctively and she stood up and ran down the stairs.
However, as Ron was right next to Paige, he got there first and scooped his daughter into his arms, “Nice going,” he growled at Ivy. But Ivy didn’t hear him, she was too busy staring at Hermione as the latter reached the bottom of the stairs and ran up to Ron.
“Paige, baby, I’m right here, it’s okay,” she soothed, stoking her daughter’s hair over Ron’s shoulder. Paige looked up, saw her mother, and stopped crying; but she didn’t reach her arms out for Hermione to take her, as the child normally did when she was upset. It seemed, knowing that Hermione was there was enough to keep Paige happy in her father’s arms. Hermione smiled, glad that Paige was content with Ron.
“You – Mummy – dad— with HER!” Ivy stuttered looking wildly from Ron to Paige to Hermione. “You little BITCH!” Ivy yelled pulling out her wand. Hermione stepped around Ron so that he and Paige were no longer in the middle of them. It was then that Hermione realized that she didn’t have her wand and thus she felt very vulnerable, “You stole my Ron, you ruined my wedding, and you seduced my fiancé to make that little monstrosity.” She spat indicating Paige with her wand.
“Oi!” Ron yelled turning to shield Paige from wandpoint.
“My daughter is NOT a monstrosity,” Hermione growled taking a step towards the offender, “And I wouldn’t point my wand at her if I were you.” She better be glad I don’t have my wand.
“She isn’t?” Ivy laughed, also moving forward “I always heard the branch doesn’t break far off the willow.” She finished her wand inches from Hermione’s chest.
“Curse me,” Hermione dared, “Curse me and just see what happens.”
“Don’t tempt me, you little –”
“IVY!” Ron’s shout rang out in the hallway causing Paige to start crying again and twist around looking for Hermione.
“WHAT THE BLOODY HELL IS GOING ON!” Ginny threw open the door the kitchen, looking more mad than Hermione had ever seen her (and Hermione had seen Ginny in labor).
Ivy froze and stared up at Ron, “You can’t seriously…” she began, “how can you…”
Hermione took a deep breath and backed up, facing Ivy, to Ron. When she knew she was right in front of him she turned her head and reached up to take Paige.
“Do you need my help, Hermione?” Ginny asked as she glared at Ivy her hand in her pocket obviously fingering her wand. Hermione knew that Ginny was just waiting to curse Ivy.
“No, I was just leaving, Gin.” She breathed as she held Paige tight to her chest.
“No,” Ron put his hand on Hermione’s shoulder, “I won’t let you leave. Not again.” Hermione looked back at Ron and saw that his face held many emotions.
“You sure?” Ginny asked Hermione, almost begging to curse the lady in front of her.
“Yeah,” Hermione said feeling no need to add flying bat-bogeys to the situation, “thanks.”
Ginny tore her gaze from Ivy and looked at Hermione, “I’ll be,” she said to Hermione then turned back to Ivy, “on the other side of this door.” She said threateningly making it obvious that she had her fist clenched around her wand. With one more look at Hermione, Paige, and Ron, Ginny pushed back into the kitchen and out of sight.
Looking back at Ivy, Hermione read her face and saw, for the first time, a look of hurt in it as Ivy stared at Ron. Hermione’s stomach dropped in guilt.
“Ron,” Ivy whispered her eyes sparkling with tears of anger and betrayal.
“Ivy,” Ron sighed and Hermione looked to see guilt etched more evidently in his long face, “I’m sorry.”
Hermione felt Paige struggling in her arms so she looked down at her daughter. Paige was trying to turn in Hermione’s arms so that she could observe the situation.
“You… you should be,” Ivy said quietly to Ron before turning to Hermione, “A-and you! Y-you and your damned daughter ruined my wedding!” she spat then turned on her heel and was gone with a pop.
Silence beat on Hermione’s eardrums; not even Paige said anything. Hermione was staring at the spot that Ivy had just vanished from, knowing that Ron was doing the same thing. Hermione’s legs were weak – they would give out soon if she didn’t sit down soon. Hermione backed to the staircase and plopped down on the third stair, Paige let out a small scream as she fell to the stair in Hermione’s arms. Hermione felt with wind as Ron sat down beside her. Paige crawled over to Ron’s lap and looked into his face. Paige’s eyebrows formed a ‘v’ as she concentrated on her father’s face. She slowly reached up her little hands and poked a long finger to each side of Ron’s mouth pulling them into a weird smile, “ ‘Mile,” she whined and dropped her hands.
Ron’s face mouth stayed in the same weird grimace-smile and he wrapped Paige into a tight hug.
“Ron, I’m so sor—”
“Hermione, it’s not your fault.” Ron interrupted her as he released Paige from the hug. Paige sat up, rubbing the knot on her forehead.
“It is, though,” Hermione pleaded.
“No. Just… no,” Ron shook his head, “I should’ve never asked her.”
“But I should’ve told you.”
“I shouldn’t have left.”
“I shouldn’t have gotten mad.” Paige’s head turned to Hermione – the child was following the conversation with her eyes.
“I should’ve come after you.”
“I should’ve known.”
“It should’ve been you,” Ron finished. Paige shook her head as if she was dizzy from all the back-and-forth and climbed back over to Hermione, wanting some attention.
Hermione ran her fingers through Paige’s hair looking at Ron sadly, “But none of that matter’s now. We can’t change anything!”
“That’s where you’re wrong.” Ron turned and Hermione was lost again in his deep blue eyes.
“How?” Hermione wanted him to be right, but she didn’t see how he could be. Neither of them could take three turns on a time-turner and go back to change one of their ‘should have’s.’ They were where they were and nothing could change that.
As if he read her mind, Ron said, “I know we can’t change our past – but we can sure as hell change our future.”
Hermione looked into his deep eyes for a moment, “What about Ivy,” she finally whispered.
“I’ll go talk to her.”
“What about the guests and the food and the drinks?”
“They can enjoy it all, have a big party, I don’t care,” Ron looked down at Paige then back up to Hermione.
“What about us?” Hermione asked as tears threatened to overcome her, yet again.
Paige gave up on anything interesting happening and climbed off Hermione’s lap and toddled through the door and into the kitchen. Hermione watched Ron watch Paige. As the door shut slowly behind her, Ron turned back to Hermione, “‘Us’ will work out.”
“H-how d’you know?” Hermione asked him. Ron looked deep into Hermione’s chocolate eyes and slowly bent over.
As their lips met, Hermione felt a warmness spread through her body as if a dillusion charm had just been lifted or dementors had just been cast away by the strong patronus she was sure she could have made right then. She felt Ron’s hand touch her cheek and she reached up and put her hand over it, leaning into the kiss that told her that everything was going to be okay – the kind of feeling that only Ron could give her.
“That’s how,” Ron said softly when they broke apart.
A/N: Well, there is the last actual chapter! *tear* I hope that you guys enjoyed this story as much as i did. Not to worry, i will write an Epilogue that will explain what happens after this and stuff. Thanks to everyone that has reviewed, i really appreciate it.