“So you see,” I say to the baby I'm rocking back and forth, “The blanket was there when we got together. We never broke up after that. I went back to Hogwarts, and Ron moved to Hogsmeade. Since I was nineteen, McGonagall let me visit him whenever I wanted to. It was the perfect setup for the start of our relationship. I know that now. And one year later, after I'd finished Hogwarts, we moved in together, to this little apartment in Hogsmeade. Four years after that, we finally became serious. Not that we weren't before, but we started talking about things like marriage and kids. Of course, it was Ron, so I didn't expect him to commit anytime soon. Still, the thought was a nice daydream. So we set out to build our dream home. Thus this house was made. What do you think? Do you like it?”
If I close my eyes, I can almost imagine the baby looking around, trying to decide if he likes his new house or not. I hope he appreciates it as much as his mother does.
“I had the blanket the whole time. What do you think of that, little boy? I never lost it, and it always smelled like Ron. He'd go on auror missions, and I'd miss him dreadfully, be worried sick... then I'd take out that blanket and feel so much better. And one of those times was... well... one of the best things that ever happened to me.”
Ever since moving into the house, my favorite part of the day has been coming home. I love placing my hand on the doorknob and knowing that Ron and I are the only ones to ever own it. That this house is our place to be together, and to experience life as a couple. I feel so grown up whenever I walk over the threshold, knowing that I own this house. That my name is on the deed for it. That I'm earning the right to live here with the man I love by making an income. And, of course, it's also a wonderful place to be when Ron is away on one of his missions. Like now, actually. He's been away for a week, and the only thing that's been getting me through is the blanket. That blanket, along with the many photographs that line my home, remind me that he is real, strong, and will always come home to me, because he promises that he will every time. And Ron never lies. He wouldn't promise if there was a doubt.
I'm so tired. Of course, whenever Ron is away I always work late, so I bring it upon myself. The truth is, without having a Ron to go home to, it's hardly worth going home at all. The house always seems empty without him, minus the aforementioned pictures, which I always pay extra-special attention to when Ron isn't home. I love the photos that enable me to remember, but when the man I love is actually with me, I don't bother with them. I'm more focused on making new memories with him, and that's just fine with Ron. But since he's on a mission, and has been for a week, no memories will be made. Instead, I'm going to take a long, hot bath. I've been planning it all day- to the extent that I decided to go home at six, which is quite early for me when Ron isn't home. I'm going to eat dinner and take the bath that I have been dreaming about for a long time. When Ron is your boyfriend and house mate, you don't exactly have a lot of time to take baths. There's always something else, something better or different or necessary. But not tonight.
I head through the doorway and into the hall, where I step carefully out of my shoes, lying them on the designated mat near the door. And that's when I smell it. The unmistakable smell of macaroni and cheese. A smile grows on my face, and I abandon my coat in the middle of the floor as I run into the kitchen.
“You're back!” I squeal, and the red haired man at the stove looks up.
“Yep. Hence the macaroni.”
Ron and I have a tradition that whenever he comes back from a mission we have mac and cheese with wine. If his mission goes particularly well, we also bake cookies. But I don't dwell on the cookies or the macaroni. Instead, I raise an eyebrow and say,
He grins at me.
“You've rubbed off on me.”
“And yet you still find it impossible to hang your towel up or get your boxers off the floor.”
“Mmmm. Well, baby steps, love.”
I roll my eyes, and his grin widens. Unable to resist, I catapult myself across the room and launch myself into his arms. He catches me easily, and I twist my legs around his waist and kiss him as hard as I can. Ron's back is against the sharp corner of the counter, but, true to form, he doesn't seem to care. Classic Ron, really. He doesn't care where we snog as long as we're snogging. It can lead to some spontaneous snogging in the most random of places, and he always keeps me on my toes. You can never read it by mood, with Ron. All I know is that he always gets the same look on his face when he's about to kiss me, so I'm never unprepared.
“I missed you,” I breath against him. “Don't ever leave for a week again.”
He sighs and mutters,
“If this is the greeting I'll always get after being gone so long, I might just do it more often.”
I look at those beautiful blue eyes, then kiss him again, trailing my hand up his chest, neck, and cheek until it finds his hair.
“If you do that, the same thing you'll be going away for is also what you'll be missing.”
“True enough,” Ron says huskily. We snog until we decide that we're hungry, and then I hop down from the counter where Ron has long since placed me, fix my shirt, and tell Ron that I'll finish making dinner. He agrees, so I head to our room to change into a pair dark wash skinny jeans and a dark red v-neck sweater. After placing my hair into a high ponytail, I pad back out to the kitchen and stir the pasta, half paying attention to the pot, half talking to Ron.
“So how did the mission go?”
“Well, let's just say that we should right about now be picking out our cookie flavor.”
“Congratulations!” I say happily. “And... oatmeal raisin.”
“I love you,” Ron says in reply, gazing at me admiringly.
“Ditto,” I laugh. “Why, though?”
“You do you love me?”
“No, Ron,” I say sternly.
“Why do I love you?”
“Still no. Although now that we're-”
“Oh, shut up.”
“I meant why did you just randomly tell me you loved me?”
“You've got to elaborate, a little. I may be the brightest witch of my age, but goodness knows I can't read minds.”
“Should have stayed in divination.”
“The reason I spontaneously said that I loved you was because that's the flavor I want.”
“Wow. How in sync are we?”
“Well, we can't agree on anything else, but we're always craving the same cookie flavor.”
“It's what really matters in life,” I declare sarcastically.
We talk steadily through our dinner, then manage to make our cookies with only a few minor accidents, most of them involving flour suddenly colliding with some part of my body and a sheepish expression from Ron. We eat the cookies lying on the couch, my head on Ron's chest, our hands entwined. We attempt to watch a movie, but the urge to talk more is too much, and with a flick of my wand, Ron quickly turns off the muggle television we keep in our home. It's something that drives me crazy. Not the television, although sometimes that can be a bit annoying. It's the fact that I always have my wand, but Ron is constantly forgetting to carry his around. So, instead of getting his wand, Ron usually just borrows mine. Wands generally work very well with someone's significant other, so Ron can use my wand pretty much as well as I can. Which is unfortunate, because I hate it when he does it. I tried putting it in different places, like stuffing it down my bra, but that only encouraged him. It's something that has long ago become endearing to me, something I've come to only roll my eyes at instead of initiating a screaming match. I've learned to live with Ron's faults. Well, it was bound to happen soon enough.
We talk until ten, when I inform Ron of the fact that I've never been more exhausted in my life. We head to our bedroom, purposely bumping into each other on the way up the stairs, trying not to smirk or giggle. As we do every night that we are both home, we brush our teeth together and change into our pajamas. By the time I've finished brushing my hair out and have put on my long plaid bottoms and white camisole, Ron's already in bed. And he has that look on his face, the one that lets me know he either wants to make love or talk literally until it's time to go to work. Seeing as I am too tired for either of them, I eye him warily, and he quickly rearranges his features.
“I'll be good,” Ron informs me, and, not altogether reassured, I climb into bed next to him. No surprise, a few minutes later Ron starts kissing my shoulder. I bat his hand away.
“C'mon, Ron. Tomorrow's Saturday. We can do whatever you want when I'm well rested.”
“Right. Forgot.” Ron says. “I just really missed you.”
“Of course. I missed you, too,” I yawn. “Goodnight.”
But, of course, a few minutes later, Ron starts talking.
“I stopped over at Mum's, and she was freaking out about Ginny's new haircut.”
Resigning myself to the fact that I am not going to get any sleep, I open my eyes and look at Ron.
“It's very pretty. Harry's a little disappointed at how short it got, but what can you do. It's still below her shoulders.”
“I knew they shouldn't have gotten married so early,” Ron says fervently.
I raise my eyebrows.
“What the hell does Harry not loving Ginny's haircut have to do with them getting married too young?”
“Well, now he's having regrets.”
“No he's not. It's hair, Ron. It grows right back, I promise you.”
“Well, I know yours does,” Ron says, tugging a piece fondly. I sigh.
“Just because he isn't fond of her haircut, doesn't mean he doesn't love her, Ron. Would you still love me if I chopped all my hair off?”
Ron looks extremely conflicted.
“Well, how much of it would you kill?”
I bolt upright.
“What?” I yell, my tone alerting Ron to danger immediately.
“No... joke... kidding... I love you,” he finishes weakly. I lie back down, and lecture him for a few minutes, but the lecture very soon turns into a casual conversation. Ron's always good at doing that to me. It's only around three that I accidentally fall asleep while Ron energetically recounts a finer point of the last Quidditch game Ginny played in. I've been asleep for nearly an hour when I hear Ron's voice again. “Hermione?”
“Mmmph,” I respond, so deep in sleep I couldn't be bothered if Ron told me Merlin himself was outside our bedroom window.
“You wanna marry me?”
I nod sleepily.
“Sure. You know that. I've told you before.”
“Oh. Cool,” Ron says, and I hear him breathe a sigh of relief and lie back down on his pillow. Five minutes pass, and I've already fallen back asleep when Ron's voice says my name again.
“What?” I bark, starting to get seriously annoyed now.
“I think you misinterpreted my question.”
I peak an eye open. That can't possibly mean what I think it does. Because if it does, that would mean...
“I meant... will you marry me. In the immediate future. Like, less then a year. Will you be my wife. All that good stuff.”
My other eye opens, wide and shocked. The next thing I know, I've rolled out of bed, grabbed my pillow, and slammed it down on Ron's head.
“You-complete-ARSE!” I yell. “Of course I'll marry you, but honestly! You call that a proposal?”
Ron smiles sheepishly.
“Sorry. I couldn't wait.”
“No, really?” I say sarcastically. “Do you even have a ring?”
Ron's expression brightens.
“Yeah!” he says. “I bought it like three years ago.”
I let out an annoyed huff.
“We could have been married three years ago? What the hell happened?”
“Way to be ungrateful.”
“YOU PROPOSED TO ME AT FOUR O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING! WHAT WERE YOU BLOODY EXPECTING?”
“Wanna go back to sleep, honey?”
“Yes. No! Can I have the ring?”
Ron nods, smiling to himself, and reaches into his bedside table to get it. He opens the box and quickly slips it onto my finger.
“Oh,” I say, looking at it.
“Oh?” Ron replies, frowning. “Was that another fail?”
I glance up at him, my eyes shining.
“No. Oh, it's perfect, Ron! I love it. Thank you.”
I yawn suddenly, and Ron kisses me before saying,
“Do you want to go to sleep now? We can talk more in the morning.”
“ Okay. I love you. See you in the morning.”
“I love you, too.”
Laughing to myself at the memory, I lay the baby in his crib, unwrap his blanket, and tickle his stomach. He giggles right along with me, and I stare at him with a smile on my face until I remember. Then I sigh.
“What is mummy going to want to name you?” I ask him. “We can't keep referring to you as the baby... it's actually getting sort of annoying.”
“Well, she's had nine months to think about it,” Ron says, walking into the room. He's triumphantly brandishing the blanket, and I kiss him thank you before I take it and swaddle it around the boy. Ron leans over and takes him from me, gazing down at him adoringly. “It's been a while since we've had someone as small as you in our family.”
“Immediate family, Hermione. Immediate.”
I shut my mouth. Somehow, Ron knows exactly what I was about to say. He always seems to.
“I wasn't going to say that!” I say quickly, because he starts looking smug. “I was going to tell you that I'm hungry. Make me something to eat?”
“I don't get the way this kitchen is set up. I can't find anything!”
“Figure it out, Ron,” I groan. “Trial and error, yeah?”
“Fine,” he says, and he slowly tromps out of the room.
“There we go. I just wanted to get him out of the room so I could work on the story. Now, after the proposal, there was a wedding. But the next time I used Ron's blanket was the Honeymoon.
I'm married. I, Hermione Jean Granger, am no longer a Granger. I'm not Hermione Granger. I'm Hermione Jean Weasley. Hermione Weasley. Mrs. Weasley. Bloody hell. I have the same name as Ron's mum. I have the same name as the best cook in the world. How will I ever live up to that? I can't cook! Mrs. Weas- no, Molly- promised that she'd help me out, but I don't want to intrude. Then again, I won't really be intruding. I'm family now. I'm a Weasley. Oh, dear merlin. I just married Ron. What have I done? I'm married to Ron! I'm married to the little boy who had dirt on his nose. I'm married to the boy who's homework I did for six years. I'm married to the boy who burped up slugs. I'm married to the boy who had a huge row with me just because he thought my cat ate his rat. I'm married to the boy who was obnoxiously jealous of me and Viktor Krum, the boy who I constantly bickered with all my life. I'm married to the guy who broke my heart into fifty billion pieces with the help of Lavender Brown. On the bright side, I'm married to the only man I've ever been in love with. On the downside... well, is there one?
Mr. and Mrs. Ron and Hermione Weasley. God, I feel old. I look at all the young people, milling about below our honeymoon suit in Greece. I'm wondering what I must look like to them when one of the French doors to the balcony opens, and Ron's flaming red head emerges, clashing brilliantly with the sunset. At the sight of his blue eyes, I suddenly remember why I married him, and the nervous, frightened feeling quickly vanishes from my stomach.
“Hey,” he says, his eyes sweeping over the view we have. “What's wrong?”
“Okay, yeah, yeah, yeah. You can read my facial expressions. But that was fast!”
“What's wrong?” Ron repeats.
I smile at him.
“Nothing. Nothing at all. I was just a bit... nervous.”
Ron snorts and walks fully onto the balcony, leaving the door open as he settles in next to me. I peer in and smile as I see the array of rose petals around the room. It's gorgeously cliché. I love it.
I consider this. Then I say,
“I'm married now.”
“I know. Me too,” Ron shoots me a side glance and gives me a lopsided grin. “Cool, huh?”
“Yeah,” I say, breaking out into a beam. “Yeah, it is pretty cool.”
Ron walks behind me and hugs me, rocking us back and forth as we stare out at the place neither of us have ever been.
“Shame we won't really be doing much sight seeing.” Ron says.
“Why not?” I ask, surprised. Ron looks exasperated.
“Hermione, it's our bloody honeymoon.”
“Does that mean we can never leave the hotel room the whole time?”
“Ron, you're going to get sick of ravishing me soon enough. And it is at that point where I will bring out my vacation book, and we can go to the temple of Athena, and-”
“Mmmm. There's a bit of a flaw in the plan.”
I raise an eyebrow, sincerely doubting that there could possibly be a flaw in my plan.
“And what is that?”
“I'm not going to get sick of- ehem- ravishing you, as you so aptly put it.”
I bite my lip.
“Well, I really want to go to-”
“Oh, dear god.”
“Fine,” I murmur, my eyes slipping shut as Ron leans into kiss me. We head back into the room, shutting the door behind us, and out of the corner of my eye, I can see Ron's blanket, neatly folded and always there in case of an emergency. I just couldn't bring myself not to pack it. “Say my name?” I ask tentatively.
“Hermione.” Ron says, his lips slipping down to my neck.
“My full name.” I correct.
Ron seems confused now. Great. I married an idiot.
“Wrong again.” I sigh, pulling back. “Ron, what's my name?”
“Hermione!” he says in answer.
“Ron!” I snap, frustrated.
“Have I accidentally married Lavender?”
I'm silent, glaring at him with my arms crossed. He suddenly gets it.
“Oh!” he leans over to kiss me again, and I allow him to as soon as I've finished rolling my eyes. “Hermione.” Ron says softly. “Hermione Weasley.”
I turn around.
“Back so soon? Where's my food?”
“You didn't tell me what you wanted.”
“Oh.” I say guiltily. “Um... grilled cheese and tomato soup.”
“That's going to take forever!”
“No it won't. Besides, I'm with the baby.”
“I can hang out with the baby!”
“Don't forget to do that butter thing I love!” I call after. No answer. “I love you!” I shout down the hall, and I think I hear Ron laugh before he finds himself back in the kitchen.
“Okay, little boy. This part of the story is called fight.”
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