The sun was hot in the sky already. It was only ten in the morning, but the impending summer was bearing down hard. Hermione was enjoying the intense sunshine, something she sadly didn’t see as vibrantly at home. She could understand why Rose liked it here so much based just on the weather, it had been sunny and in the 80s since they had arrived in Connecticut two days ago. Both Rose and Kenny had lamented on the cold, snowy winters they got in return when she mentioned it.
She looked around her at all the people on the large stretch of green between the ornate buildings. Ron and Hugo were seated on either side of her, both looking uncomfortable in the heat. Down the row, next to Hugo, Lily seemed to be trying to bask in as much of it as she could, while Ginny insisted that her pasty skin would burn. Harry and Albus looked as if they were trying hard not to let it get to them. Hermione’s mind drifted to the sea of black in front of them. Thousands of graduates were seated, dressed in black robes and black hats. She had seen Rose take her seat. They must have been in some sort of alphabetical order, because she was seated near the back, while Kenny had been spotted near the front.
As the ceremony continued, a number of well dressed people got up and spoke. The president of the university spoke for quite a long time, and all the graduates were making faces and becoming fidgety. There was a man who was apparently a very famous American businessman, of whom the Weasleys and Potters had never heard. He was much more engaging than the president, but still quite long winded.
Hermione wasn’t really paying attention to them, however. She actually had a moment where she mused that this is what Ron and Harry must of felt like in school, and how strange it was to not care what the person in front was saying. But all she could think about was the strange series of events that had brought them to this day: her never ending fights with Rose, the two of them refusing to listen to each other; years of almost not talking at all; the attack on her life; their attempts to make amends. She smiled when she thought that things were only looking up from here. She herself was getting better. She could walk again, although a little slower than normal, but that was getting better. Her magic was almost fully restored, the Healers had been right; she just had to be patient. Rose was coming home, and was excited about it. It wasn’t as if they hadn’t had a single fight, but they were consciously working on their relationship. Now that Rose was done with school, she seemed eager to come back to England and find a job. Albeit she still was set against working at the Ministry, but Hermione guessed she could get over that.
When she came out of her thoughts for a moment, she realized that the speeches were over. They had begun to call names of graduates. Seeing as she wanted to hear one at the beginning and one at the end, she decided it would be good idea to listen. Soon enough the man at the podium called, “Kenneth Adam Baldwin, Bachelor of Arts, Economics, cum laude,” Kenny walked across the stage and shook hands with the president and a number of people beside him. He smiled out at the audience and gave a small wave, most likely to where his own family was sitting.
As Kenny was making his way back to his seat, Ron leaned over to Hermione, “You think they’re going to say her middle name right?” he whispered.
Ginny leaned over Hugo and answered, “No,” Hermione let out a quick laugh at the look on Ginny’s face.
“You were the one who was ecstatic when we told you we were naming her after you,” Hermione shot back.
“Yeah,” Ginny answered, “but then I remembered I have the worst name in the world, and you don’t shorten middle names,”
“Would you mind,” an irritated voice came from behind them, “my son is next,”
“Sorry,” Hermione apologized sincerely, but shot an amused look at Ginny who had to bury her face in her hands to hide her laughter. Hermione turned her attention back to the stage where Sean Alexander Gates was getting his Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science. The group behind them clapped extra loud for him. She tried to get comfortable; it was a long way to W.
Eventually, they made their way through the rows toward the back. It seemed like hours had passed since Kenny had been up on the stage when they finally saw Rose’s row stand and make their way to the stage. After a surprising number of V’s, the man at the podium called Jennifer Ashley Walsh, and all the Weasleys and Potters perked up. Soon Rose was next in line. “Rose Ginevra Weasley,” the man called. Ginny was beaming; they had said it right. “Bachelor of Arts, Sociology, summa cum laude,” Rose glided across the stage in her graduation gown. Her red hair stuck out under the black cap. Her makeup might have been a little smudged from the heat, but her smile masked that. Her family in the crowd clapped wildly, and Albus even let out a high-pitched whistle. She blushed slightly at the noise, but was more than happy that they were all there.
After the ceremony was over, Rose was pushing her way through the dense crowd. As she was making her way, people would call out her name and require a congratulatory hug. She felt bad not really caring about any of them. They were her friends, but she would have a chance to talk to them and reminisce later. She had other people to find. The pack of black robed graduates slowly merged with the plain clothed crowd and there was more room to walk. Her head swiveled back and forth, searching. Then, over her shoulder, she heard a familiar voice call, “Rosie!”
A huge smile spread over her face. Even if she hadn’t known immediately whose voice it was, the out-of-place accent would have given it away. She turned to find her family seeking refuge from the heat under a large tree. She hurried toward them and ended firmly in her father’s arms.
“Congratulations!” Ron cried. Then he added in a whisper, “That’s what I hear everyone else saying. That’s what I should tell you, right?”
Rose looked up at him in amusement, “Yes, dad, that’s fine,” she laughed.
After her cousins and brother had given her their hugs, Hugo commented, “I thought you said this was a Muggle school? Everyone’s wearing robes,” He pinched a piece of her robe between his fingers, “Badly made robes,”
Rose shook her head, “Not what we wear everyday, Hugh,” Ginny and Harry took turned congratulating their goddaughter; with Ginny commenting on the good job they did pronouncing her name. “I had to talk to the announcer,” Rose replied, “He kept saying GinERva,”
Rose was left staring at her mother. She put up her hands and uttered, “Well, that’s the end of that,”
Hermione smiled, “Will you please come over here and give your mother a proper hug,” Hermione gave Rose the warmest mother/daughter hug they had ever had. “I’m a little insulted you came to me last,” she quipped.
“I wouldn’t be the same person if I didn’t,” Rose smiled and gave her mother another hug.
Just then, Kenny came striding over across the grass, “Have you all burnt to a crisp yet in this brutal sun?”
“Almost,” Lily replied, “I guess we should congratulate you too then?”
Kenny got hugs and handshakes from Rose’s family and turned to Rose, “I haven’t even gotten to congratulate you yet,” he bent down and gave her a sweet kiss.
“You two are just so cute,” Al mocked in a high pitched voice, “you’ll make the long distance thing work,”
Hermione turned serious, “Speaking of that, you’re sure? 3,000 miles is a long way,”
“Honestly Mom,” Rose answered, “No, we’re not sure. But we are willing to try,”
Hermione paused for a moment, looking like she was mounting a rebuttal. Then she shook her head in defeat, “Well, I guess you’re going to try then.”
The End. Wow, I can't believe I actually finished something this long. Thank you all so much for reading and those of you who have reviewed and been loyal reviewers, you are the best. It means a ton to me. I would love to know what you think. I had a hard time with the ending, but hopefully what I wanted to come through came through. Thanks again for reading.