Chapter 9 : A New Beginning
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After months of learning the traditions and the procedure for such a ceremony, Ron Weasley was getting rather irritated. He almost wished that Hermione had gone straight into the Ministry like he and Harry had gone into the Auror department. The red head knew however that he would be on the other end of a very unpleasant spell should he state this aloud so he bit his tongue. This was to be a special day, a day he would tell his great grandchildren about when he and Hermione were old and wrinkly.
Harry Potter being in the crowd that day was rather exciting to some. Even though he had done his best efforts at a Disillusion Charm, it was a horrid effort. All that changed was that his hair was slightly brown and he was taller, though he was glad that it didn't have the same effect as when Hermione hit him in the face. Ginny sat next to him, making it all the more obvious who he really was, because as many reporters had discovered Ginny Weasley stuck to Harry like glue on paper. Also, she was not afraid to throw some Bat Boogey Hexes if necessary.
The Great Hall had been transformed for the ceremony, the iconic tables gone and replaced with rows of chairs for the graduates. You could tell where each house would sit considering there were exactly enough chairs for each graduate in four columns. Where the Head Table had been, a small podium stood for the valedictorian and salutatorian speeches and behind that was a few chairs for the professors to sit in. The candles that floated in the air had been transfigured to have the graduating year have the flames write them as they flared lightly. All of the guests had taken their seats and whispered to one another about the graduates.
The march began, as the graduates of the combined seventh and eighth years walked down the aisle, Hermione leading the way with Neville next to her. The two of them acted as valedictorian and salutatorian respectively by request of their professors and fellow classmates(though some had protested of course).
As they took their seats also, Professor McGonagall stood and looked out at the crowd. "Good morning. Today, we celebrate the wonderful achievements that these young people have made. When they first came through those doors eight years ago, they didn't know where they would go in life, who their friends would be, or even what house they would be in for the rest of their Hogwarts careers. As I have watched these young adults grow and mature, I have watched them fight with enemies, make friends, and excel in unexpected ways. Through the things that they should have never experienced, they stuck together, even when things got hard. Now I will stop and let our valedictorian, Hermione Granger come up here and give a small speech." Hermione got up to scattered applause.
"Thank you Professor. I'm going to keep this short and sweet."
"Which is a surprise to all of us." Ron murmured to Harry, leaning over his younger sister to speak. He snorted in laughter, trying to keep it in. Ginny elbowed both of them in the ribs simultaneously. They both groaned in pain, holding their ribs.
"Sheesh Gin, it's a joke." Harry hissed, rubbing his ribs over his cotton shirt.
"Listen!" Ginny hissed back. The two Aurors pouted and looked up at their friend who was finishing her speech.
"...And so my fellow students. I congratulate you for your accomplishments and hope for the best in each of your lifes." With that Hermione turned and sat down to more applause. Professor McGonagall stood again, to begin the distribution of diplomas. "Abbot, Hannah." Ron tensed up, waiting for the right moment. Harry nodded to him as Professor McGonagall got to the Gs. Ron got up from his seat and towards the stage. "Granger, Hermione." As Hermione took her diploma, and walked off the stage, Ron stood at the end and looked at her with the utmost love in his eyes. "Ron, you need to move." Hermione said sweetly.
"In a minute. Hermione, I've known you for years, you are my best friend-"
"Hey!" Harry yelled indignantly.
"One of my best friends." Ron corrected with a look to Harry. "My confident." Ron continued to Hermione. "My...everything. Of course we fight, it's to be expected of us. We're us." The graduates nodded in agreement. "But through it all, we stay together. I can't imagine how my life would have gone had you not barged into Harry and I's compartment all those years ago. By the way, I still have not seen Neville's frog." The two looked at Neville, who was grinning from ear to ear.
"He died fourth year." Neville told them. "I think you guys were doing the second task."
"Oh yeah, wasn't he under Seamus's bed?" Harry asked.
"Hey! The underside of my bed was not...actually it was." Seamus said.
"Anyway!" Ron continued. "To wrap all this up. Hermione Jean Granger," Ron pulled out a small box from the pocket of his jeans and got down on one knee, to a majority of the girls in the audience cooing. Ron looked around to make sure there wouldn't be any interruptions. "Would you give the immense pleasure of becoming my wife?"
Hermione stood there in shock, her mouth agape and her breath coming out in gasps. Her mind shut down and for once in her life she went with what her heart said rather than her brain. "Yes." She breathed out. "Yes. Yes! Merlin above yes!" Ron jumped up and took her in his arms, laughing out loud in joy. His dream since fifth year had finally come true. Hermione took Ron's face in her hands and drew him to her, kissing him hard.
And that was how Hermione Jean Granger and Ronald Bilius Weasley became engaged.
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